It's hard for anyone outside a relationship to give advice to those that
are in one--and that includes your mother, Angela, and me. If you're asking
yourself the right kinds of questions (Angela has suggested some good ones),
you'll know what to do.The unspoken concern here is: will Mom accept
the marriage if that's what you decide to do. Most parents will, and most
will support children if the child finds out (too late) that the marriage was a
mistake. If those are part of your concerns, read the 122nd Section of the D
& C & remember that life throws us challenging experiences for our own
good. This won't be the last, and probably not the worst, challenge
you'll have. But if you're committed to family, faith, and the Lord,
you'll be alright.(Incidentally, many don't graduate from
college, don't get their Eagle Scout, don't quarterback their high
school football team--and they turn out just fine!)
I had a friend, who served a mission, was an AP, came home, got into law school,
started a law practice, embezzled money from a pension fund, ended up on drugs
and died from an overdose. True story. He was married (temple marriage) with
four children at the time of his death. Should his wife not have married him
because he was a RM?
It seems like a key is why he didn't serve a mission. If it's because
he thought the "rule" didn't apply to him for some reason, then
that would be cause for concern - which other rules also won't apply in the
future? Those who view duties and commandments as a buffet from which they may
pick and choose can be highly unpredictable.If it's because of
a medical reason, that's different.
Most young men that go in a mission don't "Love the Lord". They go
because they turned 18/19 and it seemed like the right thing to do. I'd feel badly for any young woman that married half the elders in my
mission. Work with what you know. If you have any understanding and connection
with your feelings you'll know what to do. This isn't a question for
someone else, follow your heart.
Typical judgemental attitude of Utah Mormons who don't properly understand
Gospel principles and just go along with the Church because it's a part of
their culture. I joined the Church at 28 and despite my strong desire to serve a
mission my bishops and stake president have consistently told me that I'm
too old. Is that my fault? No. But if I was out in Utah I sure as heck would get
judged for it. If a woman would throw away a good man because of
past choices he has made, no matter how much he loves the Gospel and The Lord,
SHE is not good enough for HIM. End of story. I have been blessed to find
someone who doesn't care about my lack of missionary service, and
appreciates the member missionary work I do every day. I hope our children serve
missions, and I will strongly encourage them to do so from the day they are
Missionary service is not necessarily the good housekeeping stamp of approval.
There are many who serve, even in the raise the bar era, who due to their own
personality, work ethic, or level of devotion to the work, do not return with
honor. My mission president once spoke to our mission conference in an address
he called, RMs -- A to Z, meaning returned missionaries return home after their
mission at all levels of spirituality, commitment, and yes, testimony. He was
seeking to help us improve our perspective of what kind of missionary we wanted
to return home as.True that missionary service is one of life's
refining fires, but I also know many great and honorable men who did not serve
for whatever reason, lack of desire, lack of family support, lack of testimony,
but now serve in the Church with unfailing devotion.Just because he
doesn't have The RM stamp of approval doesn't disqualify him from
being an excellent choice for eternal companion!
My brother-in-laws did not serve a mission. He has served as a Bishop, High
council and principal of a major high school. He has a son and grandchildren
that served and are serving missions. Enough said.
This reminds me of something profound that Gordon B. Hinkley once said to the
young men in a conference priesthood meeting. I have to paraphrase, but it went
something like this: "Young men, be sure you are worthy of our young women.
After all, when a young woman marries one of you, she's taking a TERRIBLE
chance!"He was right. I've lost track of the number of
shattered marriages I've known in which the young man was a returned
I agree with what Angela says, but I might add that it might be more important
to know why he didn't serve a mission than the fact that he didn't.
It also might matter as to how open he is to discussing his past. These are
still matters that might be more important to you than to anyone else, including
your mother. The main thing is that marriage is about more than being in love.
Communication matters a lot, usually more to females than males. I have also
been on the side of being so much "in love" that I couldn't think
clearly. Only when I caught my reflection in a glass door unexpectedly, did I
see that I wasn't really happy.Look into it more in terms of
your total relationship; and, as Angela says, make it a matter of prayer and
choose for yourself.
I served a mission, But my wife did not. Why should the reverse be any
different? There are a number of reasons why someone did not serve a
mission as a young man. In some cases it involved military service, or health
matters, or other things. The important thing is how committed your prospective
spouse is to you and to the Lord. If you look at the bios of general
authorities, you will find that it is not unusual that one did not serve a
mission as a youth, and their first time as a full time missionary was as a
mission president, after service as a bishop and stake president. One of the
great things about the gospel is that Christ is eternally willing to give us new
opportunities to repent and rededicate ourselves to him. Eternally condemning
someone for what they didn't do years ago is not what Christ calls us to
Although the mother obviously wants the best man for her daughter, she's
using set-in-stone criteria to determine his worthiness; however, she isn't
the one marrying him. What really jumped out at me was the writer's
comment that the man she loves and wants to marry also deeply loves the Lord.
So then, why didn't he serve a mission? My thought is that maybe he loved
the Lord enough to be honest and recognize that a traditional two-year mission
wasn't the best way that he could serve. Maybe it was because of his love
for the Savior that he didn't go. I've known many missionaries over
the 30+ years since my conversion. Among them, there were some who had a strong
testimony of the Church, but they never felt comfortable as missionaries and
were ineffectual. Then, there were others who were smooth and silky in their
delivery, met all their goals and appeared very effectual, but secretly had no
love for the people or the work. If her man stayed home for the right reasons,
his was the better choice. Either way, what he feels now matters most.
"Judge not that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge ye shall
be judged"Just a little reminder for Mom, of a scripture she seems to
have conveniently forgotten.If the local Priesthood Authorities, (Bishop,
Stake President) deem him temple worthy. who is Mommy to say otherwise. Even if
your boyfriend did something in the past that prevented him from serving,
isn't repentance a wonderful blessing we all need throughout our lives.The decision to marry or not marry your boyfriend should NOT be based on
whether he served a mission. I know several RM's that have been married in
the temple who have done terrible things to their wives and children. I also
know several that did not serve that are wonderful husbands, fathers and some of
them are bishops.Decide to marry or not based on who is is now and
how he treats you.
My daughter did marry the "returned missionary" who later got into porn
wanted nothing to do with the church. Better men out there who have not served
missions. Yes, there are things that one can only learn while serving a mission
but don't discount those who don't go who learn things a different way
but still serve their Father in Heaven with everything they've got.
I too, was raised by parents who thought RM's were the only appropriate
marraige material.But missions are not for everybody, just as
military service is not for everybody. Sometimes missions can cause physical
and spiritual damage. There are great young men who would make great husbands
and are great husbands, but who didn't fulfill a church mission. I believe
we lose many young men to church inactivity around missionary age because church
becomes a place of constant pressure to serve a mission-- or constant judgement
because they didn't go. Church needs to be more than a factory which just
makes cookie-cutter people. Diversity is healthy.
There are plenty of scriptural references addressing the situation. Old
testament Moses (in the specifications portion of the tabernacle) was
specifically told to accept stuff only from those who gave with a willing heart.
Christ talked about those who "served" in the public eye. King
Benjamin put it all together beautifully as he addressed the issue of matching
up service needs with resources. One of my own kids about fell of
the too old mark before he was ready. Another never went. Another just
couldn't wait. They all have wonderful families of their own now. Is your Mom speaking 100% from her love for you, or is she one who
wrinkles her nose at a smoker who steps into the chapel? Everyone is
struggling with something: some struggles are not quite as obvious as others. Want to try something that may appease your Mom and test her
concerns? Follow the advice I gave to missionaries returning home: don't go
find a wife (or husband), search for your Senior Mission companion instead. See
if he is willing to plan that with you. Include your spiritual ears in the
antodav,Your judgment of Utah Mormons is as bad the judgment of
those that don't serve missions. Please don't clump us all into that
category. In my time spent living outside of Utah I have met plenty of other
members with that same non-acceptance of non-RMs. With that said, it is a
problem in the church, but I have seen a lot of improvement in attitudes toward
Not all RMs are marriage material, not all non-RMs aren't. The most obvious
example of someone worthy who didn't serve a mission is President
Monson.Considering that Utah LDS singles aged 20-40 are something
like 3:2 women and not all of those men served missions... there's gonna be
a lot of lonely sisters if they're all expecting to marry RMs.
No one in the First Presidency serve a mission in his youth. End of
Why did you start dating him in the first place? Did you not foresee that this
day might come? In my opinion, the fact that you are even asking the question
makes you unworthy of him.
Sorry you are all missing the point, whatever she does, she needs to move away
from her mother and make sure she lives her married life with a helicopter
parent critiquing all her decisions.
President Howard W. Hunter did not serve a mission. Was he not worthy to be the
church president? ,Many returned missionaries have gone inactive. The
writer makes a good point. What is the attitude of the man now?
My husband and best friend never served a mission but I will tell you, he is the
most incredible human being I've ever had the privilege to be sealed to for
Time & Eternity. He loves the Lord with all of his heart, his knowledge of
the Gospel is endless and he loves me. What else could I ask for? Nothing.
I've married a wonderful man who did not serve a mission, but has honorably
served in the military. I did serve a mission. Yet, while I was serving, it
was he, my would be husband, who was an example to a fellow service member who
then asked him questions which led to missionary discussions and who eventually
asked my husband to baptize him. Me on the other hand, am not so sure I helped
anyone, but learned valuable lessons from the examples of others in their
families that sometimes was and was not shown in my own family growing up.
Sometimes people put just as much stigma on folks from broken families as they
do for RM vs non.RM or not, do you both communicate well with each
other, find joy in similar things? How has he served in other ways? Can he
take you to the temple? All things to think and then pray about.
Aren't we commanded to judge not. I find that too many good LDS people are
not satisfied with living the higher law, they establish an even higher version
that often borders on the absurd.Use some common sense. Yes it would be
nice if your potential spouse served a mission, but if your wondering whether
you should marry him or not and your listening to cynical advise from your
mother, then by all means don't marry him. It appears the problem is with
you not your potential spouse. It sounds like your are not ready for marriage.
There are any number of reasons for a worthy young man not to serve a mission,
including very good ones. Use your best judgement and discernment. If your
mother sees warning signs that you are being manipulated by someone less
committed to the gospel than he wants you to believe, it might be wise to step
back and take a second, third, fourth and fifth look at your relationship. But
if her one and only reason is the mission, she has some learning to do.
I've always hated - HATED - the attitude that a man is a unworthy candidate
for marriage if he didn't serve a mission. There are plenty of very worthy
and faithful men who couldn't go because of health or family or any number
of other reasons. My dad is one of those - there were things going on with his
family when he turned 19 that prevented him from going. But he has since served
in many, many church positions (including bishop and the stake mission
presidency - back when that was a thing) since then. He is a wonderful example
of a faithful priesthood holder, husband and father. In my own dating efforts
and socializing, I have yet to find anyone who I feel measures up to that
example - even among the ones who served missions (that includes elders who I
served with on my own mission).Is a mission important? Yes. But so
is making the right decision for yourself at the right time. Those decisions
should always be between you and the Lord and hang what anyone else says.
Antodov,My son was sent home from his mission due to a medical
situation that couldn't be resolved. It was members from outside Utah who
condemned him for not completing his mission. he began dating a girl from
California whose parents were convinced that he was no good because he
didn't complete his mission. He ended up marrying a girl from Utah who
accepted him for who/what he was.==========I can think
of a number of returned missionaries who turned out to be jerks, and a number of
non-missionaries who turned out to be wonderful husband and fathers. While I
would like to believe that there is a coorelation between being a returned
missionary and a good husband / father, I know that the coorelation is not 100%
I agree with NDM.
I'm the product of someone's mission. I have had the blessing of
going through the temple and taking out my endowments. I'm quite certain
that my love of our Lord is no less valued by Him having not gone on a mission
that the love of a RM. I moved here from the deep south where they
a more practical approach to relationships, if not as spiritual. I was
astonished when I witnessed the "check list" mentality of the girls I
met when I went to BYU. Active in the church, check. Attends all his meetings,
check. Pays his tithing, check. Has a six pack, check (come on, you know
it's true). RM, check. Well, this Elder is suitable. As many have said
already, how many RM's have broken their vows, ended up in jail or have
abused their wives? I suppose, though, some 22 year old woman need to learn the
hard way that it's about a persons heart and not outward appearances.
I grew up in Utah, and served a mission over 10 years ago. Since I got married
a year after returning I haven't lived in Utah. The fact is that there are
a lot of missionaries from Utah who go for "traditional" reasons. But
in the five states I have lived in I haven't seen a difference in that
trend. There are simply more in Utah, so it is more noticeable. Missionaries
go out, come home, and live their lives by their level of testimony and
dedication to the gospel. My dad served a mission. But did he
"go" on a mission? Nope. He always said that his mission was raising
me and my 8 siblings to live the gospel. No one should be judged for not
serving. No one should be judged for serving for what so many
"non-Utah" Mormons see as the wrong reasons. Lets get over the stigma
of LDS men who didn't serve. And of Utah people who did. I'm
honestly sick and tired of the judgement and hatred(yes I mean that) that
accompanies "Utah Mormons." Its just as bad as judging people who
didn't serve. Get over it!
I served in a ward Bishopric and know what questions the Bishop/Branch President
is supposed to ask prior to two members getting a Temple Marriage. Here's a
fascinating fact about those questions: "Did you serve a mission" is not
one of those questions. Call me silly, but I think there's a reason
To have honor is, to do your best for God and your country. It's an honor
is to be recognized, you have earned the respect. You can be in a possession
that is honored and have no respect. To be honored. To have honor.
Respect and trust, is earned. Your marring the guy she
isn't. He will have to earn her respect.
I never had enough money to go on a mission when I was at BYU. The philosophy
at that time (1973 to 1979) was you have to earn your money and pay your way to
go on a mission. I never made enough to pay my way for a mission, therefore, I
did not go on one. When I went looking for an apartment to live in Provo, some
owners would ask me, "Did I go a mission?". I was also told by many BYU
staff to go on a mission, but I had to pay my way for that.The
philosophy is not like that today. Anyway, not when you don't live at BYU.
Many LDS parents and members in the Ward pay for their children or missionary
members to go a mission. Has the LDS philosophy changed? I was baptized at BYU
in 1975 and didn't have a home Ward.
@ Antodav:May I politely ask you and others who constantly stereotype the
attitudes and beliefs of "typical Utah Mormons." They are not all the
same...they are as richly diverse as any other large group of people. Your
notion that they are all alike and predictable in their ideas is quite silly and
Serving a mission is not a saving ordinance. Not every man or woman needs or
should go on a mission.
I've got dozens of friends, coworkers and family members whose lives offer
ironclad proof that whether or not you served on a mission is of precisely zero
value in predicting whether you'll be a good person, a good employee, a
good parent, or a good spouse by the time you turn 40.
Again, these are questions "Too good" should have been asking herself
after the second date. It is utterly ridiculous, and unfair to the young man,
for her to be asking them now.
I'm 22 and I can't serve a mission because of health reasons. The
qualifier for men, isn't whether they serve a mission, it's whether
they honor the priesthood. I cannot express how hard it was for me to struggle
through all of the cultural and personal expectations around serving a mission,
when I couldn't go through no fault of my own. It felt that the culture
sometimes says that "You're not a MAN, if you don't serve a
mission." It's brutal sometimes, when cultural expectations clash
against God-given trials in one's life. I know that the Lord has been
making childish boys into child-like men for a very long time. He is not just
limited to a single opportunity (a full-time mission) to bring about that
change. I learned that manhood(and womanhood) is NOT dependent upon an
opportunity that you may or may not be blessed with. It's based on
spiritual maturity, emotional maturity, and attitude. I wanted to go, but God
had another plan for me, a plan that has brought about that change of heart.
Yes, judge people on who they are, not who they were. To suggest she
shouldn't marry anyone who didn't serve a mission is appallingly
Now that you are completely terrified of marriage , the best advice I can give
you is to go to the temple, fast and pray about it, and make the decision that
you know through inspiration to be right. All of us old married people have had
our ups and downs in our relationships, regardless of who we married, but if you
trust the Lord and keep him close, even the rough times where you may question
your decision, will be made smoother with the knowledge that the Lord had a hand
in your decision. My Brother-in-law went to the Air Force Academy
and served in the Air Force for 20 years but didn't serve a mission. He has
been a bishop, a bishop's counselor, and a scoutmaster for 25+ years. He is
one of the best men I know and I really try to be more like him--and I did serve
a mission! Also, SOME of the comments above are good ones, while
others are rude and insensitive--ignore those. As long as the Lord is the one
you are listening too, you will be fine.I have said too much. Best
of luck to you.
My oldest son did not serve a mission. He recently told us he "knew" we
were disappointed in him. We cried! His three brothers served missions, became
zone leaders, etc., which made us proud, but perhaps made him feel bad. It
never occurred to us to be disappointed in him. He married a
wonderful woman in the Temple and has been the leader amongst his siblings all
along. They respect him and seek his counsel when they cannot talk to me (still
happens even after 40+ years!). I have continued to have problems with
illnesses I contracted while on my mission and haven't worked for nearly 20
years, and he has taken over for me at times, donated money to help family
members who needed help, and has been an outstanding son and brother. If
challenged to guess which had served missions, you would choose him first. Not
serving a mission does not seem to have had a negative effect for him, so I
believe Heavenly Father was with him. His brothers were strengthened by their
missions, of course, but he seems to have been meant to take another road from
Re:waistintimeI think you're being a little harsh.Perhaps
her mother didn't voice her disapproval until just recently which is
causing her to 2nd guess her own judgement. It is part of the process of
dating and contemplating marriage. Better that she seriously explore issues now
before getting married.Hopefully "Too good" doesn't
think that a mission is the ruler by which everybody should be judged. And if
her mom thinks that, then she is ignorant and wrong.
vinnyb3, I never said all Mormons who live in Utah are that way.
There are a lot of them who move from other parts of the country for various
reasons (not the least of which is trying to find a spouse). Then there are
those who are from there but are wise enough to see the inconsistencies between
the culture and the Gospel and choose the latter over the former. They are to be
praised and admired.But it would be hard to find a Mormon outside of
Utah, except perhaps in the general Mountain West area around Utah, who thinks
the way this girl's woman does. Perhaps she's unaware that President
Monson himself isn't a returned missionary. I guess he must not "love
the Lord" either.
Antodav, My goodness, you sure do rush to judgement -- and a very
harsh judgement! First, there is no indication of where the person is from. The
Deseret News has readers all over the world. Second, from your comments I would
be surprised if you had even been to Utah. Are you sure what you charge is
TYPICAL behavior??? I can't imagine that any good LDS (regardless of their
geography) being judgmental of a 28 year-old convert who, because of his age, is
not able to serve a mission. I have lived all over the country, the west coast,
mountain west, midwest, and east coast (including your area in Florida).
Everywhere I have been I have met some of the best people in the world. Each
stop also included some rather ordinary people as well. I will say that my time
in Utah was particularly noteworthy of some of the greatest Christians on the
planet and I am so grateful for their fellowship. Do not judge so rashly and
harshly my friend. There is a lot of good out there.
Thank you to everyone that has stood up to answer the prejudicial "Utah
Mormon" issue. I've lived inside and outside of Utah (and USA for that
matter), met all sorts in all locations, those living their religion and those
that aren't. It is so sad to me, this us vs. them mentality, especially in
a group that proclaims to believe in acceptance and love. Where in the world
does this come from? Who is teaching this? It is an LDS cultural phenomenon
(mainly in the US) that I can't get my brain around. Obviously it is
pride, but why? Surely it's not based in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.I think we all have our natural prejudices, individuals that we better
understand and get along with, vs. those we don't. Isn't it a primary
challenge for each and every one of us to get over our own pride, and be more
like Christ? This was the essence of the original article, and apparently the
essence of what we all need to continually work on, as commentators.
My father did not serve a mission. He was 19 and she was 16 when they married
without their parents' permission. (They were "too young") They
were sealed the next year. Dad worked full time while he finished college, built
their house, raised 5 children, was always supportive of her talents and
endeavers. He served with the young men, as bishop twice and in the stake high
council. They are still madly in love with each other after 64 years. What is
most important is why you are getting married and what type of life you both
want to lead. If the Lord is included in your marriage, if the Gospel is
impoortant to both of you, if you pray together and live righteously because
that is what you both want, then get married. And may joy fill your lives
I've not read all the comments. But none that I did read ask the obvious
question: How old is the fine young man. If that fact is in the article, I
must have missed it. If he is under 25 and loves the Lord, he should turn in
his papers and go serve. If he is over 25, there has been a lot of good advice
on here already.
His lack of mission service is definitely not a good reason to not marry him. I
agree with other commenters, however, that it would be good to know why he
didn't serve. If he wasn't ready to serve when he was 19, would he
consider serving now? It really boils down to what the Lord plans for him and
for you. If you both know, with certainty, that it is the right
thing, talking to your mother will be much easier. It sounds like you see
spiritual maturity in your boyfriend. Express that to your mother and hopefully
she'll stop worrying and follow your confident tone regarding the marriage.
But you've got to have confidence in the decision first.
Our daughter is getting married in a month. The process through which she went
to decide whether to marry him or not was by counseling with us, her parents,
fasting, praying and going to the temple to do baptisms, which is what she can
do now. We don't know this young man, but know that she is supposed to
marry him. The Lord does hear and answer prayers. We are confident that he is a
good young man and are happy to see them marry and progress together in the
Gospel and life. Be prayerful and invite your parents to be prayerful, too. They
are your sounding board and are able to receive revelation for you to confirm
what you "feel" by the Spirit until you marry, then you and your husband
will do that for each other. If your parents are not willing to put opinions
aside and seek the Lord's will, then talk to your Bishop, who would be next
in line in priesthood authority. Good luck and God bless!
If you are looking to marry the man, then have a heart to heart chat with why he
didn't go. Any information acquired during that discussion should most
likely not be shared with your parents. It is my experience with friends and
family that did not go, it was because of something in their life... The number
one issue was pornography which led to other bigger issues of worthiness. Find
out why he didn't go, then when you have all the facts, your answer will
follow close behind. The best way to find out, is simply ask direct
questions.My opinion... No RM status should not, in itself, be a
reason to dump him.
At a later time we all will have to answer to the Lord and not all these know it
alls. Nothing is set in stone. The two of you may have the finances later to
serve. Go with your answer to prayer and the best to both of you..
With the younger age limit for female missionaries, this is bound to become a
much more common question.Going on a mission doesn't mean
somebody is a great catch, it simply means that they went on a mission.
My youngest sister dropped out of college and married a dishwasher at
Denney's. We were all disappointed at first, but she saw something we
didn't. Now not all the credit goes to the man she married, a loving wife
can make a world of difference. Today you couldn't find a better LDS
family, and her husband answers to the name "Bishop". Oh yes and he
retired from being a District Manager for Denney's and now runs three
restaurants. It comes down to a clear principle of the priesthood: revelation is
only given to those who have authority/responsibility for the decisions to be
made. In this case, only the young man and the young woman can receive that
revelation. No one else is eligible. Mom and siblings, you are working against
not only that principle, but also the principle of free agency. Be warned least
you attempt to thwart those principles!
Far too many commenters suggest that it is OK to marry a young man who
didn't go on a mission as there are many valid reasons for a young man not
to go. (Health reasons, military reasons, etc...) This seems to lead to the idea
that one has to have one of these 'valid reasons' to still be an OK
marriage prospect.Well what about...1. those who chose
not to go because they didn't want to and then 'grew up', grew
their testimonies, and became firm membersand2. those
who chose not to go because they didn't want to but are still solid
citizens and great men who will make excellent husbands and fathers?Being an "RM" is not a mark of anything but having gone
on a mission. That does not define one's character and it definitely
isn't a sure sign of Mormon faithfulness. Missions sometimes build
spiritual men. They also often destroy lives. (Take it from "teleste".)
Either way, a mission shouldn't at all be a marriage qualification or deal
re:TelsteAmenWhat are "acceptable" reasons for
not choosing to serve a mission?
@Truthseeker and allThe 18/19 year old version of a person is *very*
different from the 26 year old version. The 26 year old version is very
different from the 35, 50, and 65 year old versions. The reason(s) an 18/19
might choose to not go on a mission could be seen differently by a person later
in life. My point is that an 18/19 year can have no good reason at
all to not go on a mission, or could choose to not serve for overtly bad
reasons, and that same person could still be the cream of the crop in terms of
quality, spirituality, citizenship, values, prospects, and commitment a few
years later when they are 26 years old. Perhaps a change of heart is
required, perhaps repentance, perhaps just regular maturing. Missions
aren't saving ordinances. Missions are not required. Missions aren't
always positive experiences. Discounting someone merely because they didn't
go on a mission, even without any 'good' reason, is silly.
A better question might be: does he/she pray and study their scrips and try to
I am a returned missionary and one thing I learned from my mission is that some
missionaries shouldn't be missionaries. They go on missions because of
pressure from home or to get "RM status". As a returned missionary, it
is a turn off for me to hear a girl say that she'll only marry a returned
missionary. It's a great quality to look for but it shouldn't be a
make or break sort of thing.
By now you should know him and ...1. Reasons why he did not go?2.
Knowing/living as he know does - would he go, given the opportunity?3. Do
you dream of the possibility of going one day together?Courtship is
the time to create an eternal friendship and learn to discuss things as they are
and have fun doing it.I hope you felt it with some of your missionary
"buddies". I told my wife that I was looking for that special
friendship as part of our togetherness. At first she did not understand what I
meant, but now she does.Talk, talk, talk you can find the answer between
YOU we are just friendly bystanders.
25 is the age limit for a mission. So can't go at 28 contrary to
God's army. For what people did decades ago what the prophet says now is
to serve. I've been told repeatedly that is what you are to do.
Can't use what leaders did in past.Since Prophet said to go
can't use what they did back then we believe in present revelation. For RM
jerks there are those that don't honor there priesthood. However compared
to those that didn't go I would think people that did go have a higher rate
of activity and honor there priesthood. Can't stereotype.The
fact that someone did go on a mission means they were obedient to that
commandment. As for why he didn't go that will come up but ultimately that
is the choice the daughter has to make. I would not stereotype rm jerks though
to justify not going because someone is good that didn't go. Depression
and wars kept some leaders out.
Bruce Christensen makes an excellent point. Neither did President Howard W.
Hunter serve a mission. Serving a mission is not a saving ordinance of the
gospel. I with those suggesting that the reason he didn't serve should be a
determining factor. Where he is right now, his love for the Lord, his
commitment level, his humility, his involvement in his personal ministry, his
kindness to others, the way he keeps his covenants, and perhaps above all: is he
worthy to and does he pay the price in diligence to regularly receive guidance
and instruction from the Spirit--these are what's important.
Re:TelesteI totally agree with your line of thinking.I
think going on a mission is an intensely personal decision. I think it is
inappropriate for church leaders and members to apply undue pressure for young
people to go on a mission. And even more inappropriate for people to decide
what constitutes a "worthy/good" reason not to go. I also think it is
dishonest that we always present the "best two yrs" picture without the
" hardest and at times, worst 2 yrs" picture.It would be
great if the Church offered different opportunities to serve-- say a shorter
humanitarian-type mission. I think service can be a tremendous spiritual tool,
for those being served and those serving.
My dad didn't serve a mission and my mom without hesitation married him in
the temple because in-spite of not serving; my father had a powerful testimony
and showed utter and complete devotion to the temporal and spiritual well being
of my mother. I might also add that my dad wanted to serve but at the time the
Korean War was being engaged and the Church wasn't sending as many
missionaries into the field. Dad was one of many worthy young men who
didn't get the opportunity to serve. My dad went on to become a bishop at
29 yrs. old. I'd say mom did well in marrying someone who didn't serve
Yes, Serving a full time mission is a Priesthood Responsibility.So
is Home Teaching. Neither are requirements for a temple
recommend.I guarantee you that a lot of the 40% who don't do
their home teaching are RMs.Is this guy worthy to go to the temple
and dedicate his life to the Lord and his Family? These should be
qualifiers.My 1st son - no missio. Could have gone, but not until
he was 23, and he ended up getting marries at 20 to a recent convert. He was
then married in the temple.My 2nd son - on a mission nowMy 3rd son -
not going because he made some mistakes that don't qualify him under
'raise the bar'. But he continues to go to mission prep classes,
leads the priest quorum and is seen as a leader among his peers. No doubt he
will marry in the temple and be dedicated to his Lord and Family.The
Mom is short-sighted if "non-RM" is an automatic de-qualifier.
IT seems so funny that those offering the most advise are those who could be
relegated as more know it alls of the Gospel. Is the mother short sighted, the
answer is yes. Are all RMs as bad as some here have stated, the answer is no.
I didn't serve a mission. Instead I went directly into the military.
However, when each Stake had a Mission Presidency I served for three years doing
every week for at least one night doing exactly what a missionary does, except I
did't have the rules he has. I've heard it described not as the best
two years of my life but the best two years for my life.I feel as
many that all Young Men should serve a mission. They should be taught and shown
that it is their responsibility and DUTY to serve a mission. However, it still
remains a personal decision and one that should be done through prayer. The
other is that each Young Woman and Young Man should prepare himself or herself
for the soul purpose of serving a mission whether they want to or not. The new
Youth Cirriculum is meeting this effort.
Several commentators have suggested it directly or indirectly: we should all be
concerned about how we are serving our own "life's mission" and
less intrusive of how others are serving theirs--regardless of (1) present or
previous activity or lack of it in the Church (2) full-time service or lack of
it in the mission field (3) where members live now, have lived or where they
were born and raised, and (4) anecdotes of those who have or have not served
well or not at all (5) and so forth.This is a decision between the girl,
the young man, and the Lord. We don't know her mother or her mother's
intentions, concerns, and depth of feeling about the young man, his lack of a
mission, or whether or not she has given her own soul to prayer concerning the
matter. As I stated earlier, those NOT involved in the relationship will find it
hard to give helpful advice.We need to be careful not to become
busybodies. This is one case where we should be taking care of "number
There is one issue that I think was avoided though that should be addressed.
Could this boy friend in theory at present chose to serve a mission? The answer
to that question might affect the best way to react, although there are lots of
factors. If he could go on a mission now, that might be the best course for him.
I would just add that while men can serve missions up to age 25, that does not
mean that if the man is under age 25 he should go on a mission. We had a
missionary in my mission who went at age 25, he had been a member a year at that
point. He was told that it might be hard serving with missionaries so much
younger than him, and at first did not expect such, but later found that was the
case. The Lord knows the best case in each circumstance. I would also point out that the commandment for every young man to serve a
mission was not issued until the early 1970s, so people not serving missions in
the 1940s and 1950s is not relevant to it. That said, there are many
people who legitimately cannot serve missions, and as was pointed out above,
even if the guy did not serve a mission because he wanted to be a non-conformist
rebel and go against the Church, it does not mean he is so now. We believe in
repentance, which means change, so we should not judge people on past actions.
If you served a mission, then you shouldn't marry him. The differences in
your past lives would lead to future problems.If you didn't
serve a mission, then relax. Tell mom to repent and marry your love.
The judgmentalism in the LDSChurch is so thick, you can only cut it with a
The idea of this even being an issue boggles my mind. If you're not willing
to forgive a guy for not going when he was 18/19 several years later, do you not
have a testimony of the atonement? Do you not believe people can change? Sounds
like somebody's mother missed the boat.The important question
is if the guy has a testimony and is committed to living the gospel now. Serving
a mission isn't some special merit badge that can be redeemed for prizes
later. The administrative and theological lessons you learn during that time can
be picked up in other church service opportunities. Not having finished college
feels like a *way* bigger issue (since that can impact how somebody can provide
for decades to come) than a mission.Besides, you know who else
didn't serve a formal mission? THE PROPHET.
The lord has already spoke on the mission descision. He does not tell someone
to disobey the prophet. You are not bad for not going. However can't use
revelation as an excuse not to go since the Lord through his prophet already
said what to do. Robert D Hales in his book return with honor said only
Priesthood leaders can excuse someone from not going on a mission you can't
and don't use him as an example do to circumstances at that time.
Mother is missing the big picture here. She is focused on what has he done as
opposed to what has he become. A mission is one tool that can help us become
something more, but it is not the only way and, as others have pointed out, it
is not a guarantee.She is looking on him "as a man seeth, for a
man looketh on the outward appearance" (i.e. the nametag) "but the Lord
looketh on the heart."
I came from a military family with four siblings. We didn't become active
until we were teenagers. After High School I didn't think of a mission.
Neither my family nor my branch could support me. Nor could I support myself. I
had a poor academic record so college was out.I joined the Air Force,
served in Viet Nam and eventually went to Hill AFB. While attending a stake
Singles activity I met a wonderful young woman who, despite my flaws and her
mother's initial apprehension, decided to marry me. It was a decision made
through prayer. Truthfully I had no idea what the Lord saw in me to recommend
me to her. For the past 38 years our love has continued to grow. She has
supported me and I her. We have been through trials and have experienced great
joy together. Her parents and I love each other dearly. We have both served
faithfully in whatever calling given.Nobody is good enough for your
mom’s daughter (That’s what they do). When YOU make that decision on
who YOU marry, listen to YOUR heart, listen to your mother, but most
importantly, carefully listen to the SPIRIT.
I served a mission and due to medical reasons I had to return home and was
honorably released for have had served a full time mission. When you return home
after the way I did you definitely find out who your real friends are. Its been a rough 12 years since I returned home and have yet to find any
success in dating because of the imaginary RM rule despite the fact I'm
still active and worthy. Now I'm not against girls finding worthy men to
marry and vice versa I encourage it. But judging or defining someone on who they
were in the past is just wrong. I'm sure this Mother did something in her
past that required repentance. I wonder how she would feel/react if the tables
were turned even momentarily. Even though my mission was short I
learned lessons that will stick with me forever I wouldn't trade them for
the world. I just wanted to serve the Lord and my fellow man unlike a lot of my
fellow missionaries who just took a 2 year vacation instead.My
advice listen to your heart.From a guy stuck between a rock/hard
I am an RM, but am an admittedly unenthusiastic church member at this point in
my life (I'm 41). I have a 16-year-old son, and while I'm not opposed
to him going on a mission, I am annoyed that everyone in the church talks about
"when you go on your mission," as opposed to "if you choose to go on
a mission." Believe it or not, you can actually turn out OK in life without
serving. If my kid wants to serve, I'll support him. I know my mission was
valuable, my current feelings about church notwithstanding.I do find
it odd that the two worst offenders of the "assumption" game are my dad
and my father-in-law. They both take for granted that my son will go on a
mission. Why is this odd? Neither of them served missions. One (my dad) is a
convert, but my father-in-law just chose to get married at 19 instead. Somehow
he managed to carve out a life despite the awful awful decision not to go, but
he's sure my son MUST go. Interesting.
I also resent the tone of the article and many of these posts that the noble,
long-suffering righteous women are the ones who must put up with their clueless,
childish husbands, RM's or not. Relationships fail for reasons other than
"the husband was a jerk" or "the husband didn't honor his
priesthood." Believe it or not, at times wives can be equally or more at
fault than husbands when things aren't all puppydogs and lollipops! True
@DennisI don't think we can say 'most' missionaries
do not serve because they love the Lord. To make such a statement you would
need some pretty substantial research. To be on the safe side, let us say
'some'. My experience has been that most do.That much
said, I know plenty of non-returned missionaries who are just as faithful as
those who did serve missions. It isn't serving or not serving a mission
that makes a person faithful, or worthy, it is the choices that they make on a
daily basis and especially post mission. As I stated before, I have seen
examples of both extremes and plenty in between.In fact, when it
comes right down to it, the only thing we can really control is ourselves. I
have also known returned missionaries who went on to serve as bishops before
cheating on their wives -- there are no guarantees and to control someone else
is completely contrary to the concept of agency. Again, all we can do is
control our own actions and responses to what ever may come our way in life.
Missions serve the opportunity to testify to those outright hostile to the
church and gospel. A mission provides the opportunity to strengthen, anchor,
and fan a fire of faith in the Lord. I would float a few questions to the young
man considering that you have served a mission concerning the following:
"How do you see the differences between grace and mercy?" "How is a
marriage sanctified over time?" "What does integrity mean to you?"
"How has grace changed you?" How would you if you were allowed to
interview baptismal candidates make a pre-determination on which of those who
embraced the gospel would remain active and flowering decades into the future?
Strong friendships grow from a co-eternal desire to obtain intelligence from the
"best books". Parables; there went out a sower to sow, (Mark 4). Faith
which increases (Alma 32). Weaknesses turned into strengths (Ether 12)
This decision is between you and the Lord, not you and your mother. Is she
worrying about bragging rights?
@platesofplatinumGood grief; we're even half-seriously
advocating a formal interview process for choosing a spouse or son/daughter in
law? I know plenty of people that could provide very doctinrally-sound, highly
articulate responses to those questions. Thinking of what I know of a few of
them, I can't imagine being married to them. They found wives/husbands, and
good for them, but there's a little thing called "compatability"
(in various categories) that can't be measured by how well one answers
gospel quiz questions.Note to self: Remember to advise all of my
kids that if a prospective spouse or said prospective spouse's parents
start to pepper them with churchy questions to determine their
"worthiness," RUN THE OTHER WAY and don't look back.
Howard W. Hunter, former prophet/president of the church did not serve a
As a young man with no prospects for college and no $$$$ for a mission, I went
into the military. There I saw first hand the discrimination by church members
towards anyone who wasn't a RM. I have had a father intercept all my
letters to his daughter and destroy them, and screen all phone calls saying she
wasn't home. I have had numerous members (way too many to count)treat me
with a attitude of " Stay away from my daughters, dogs and goldfish" in
that order. Lip service of honoring the military members was fine as long as it
didn't involve their daughters. This hypocritical attitude drove me away
for years before I realize I was letting others dictate how I worshiped my Lord.
I have been Temple married for 25 years now, put two sons on missions and 3 more
in line to go. Don't let the fact of him not being an RM turn you away from
him. I have seen many RM's whose marriages fail and/or the RM go inactive.
Being a RM doesn't guarantee of a successful marriage before God.
I didn't go because of family circumstances. I am now 30,
married in the temple with four children, and love the gospel and have a firm
testimony and am jealous of those who got to serve. I have a very
good friend who did go and was a great missionary. Once he and his wife and a
few other friends who were RMs shared stories about their missions and about the
horrors that went on among the many bad missionaries. Of the best
people I know, some served missions and some did not. I think the more important
questions is where is his heart now? Is he a good person? Is he a hard worker?
Does he love you? Does he love the Lord? Is he worthy of a temple marriage? Ask
our Heavenly Father, he knows this young man better than anyone!
I have advice for the boy friend, RUN! don't look back keep running! If
your future Mother in-law is that nit picky and judgmental and I mean mental!
your going to have a hard marriage. There is a thing called repentance and
forgiveness. Shoot I know young men that did not serve because of money issues
back in the day when it seamed all the rich utah BYU student went to mexico on
10 dollars a month and had a hooch maid. were as those of us that had missions
that cost us 1,000 dollar a month and we came from blue collar families were not
fair at all. A lot of guys did not go because of money. even today 10,000 plus
for two years is a lot to ask some families and young men to shell out. The
desire is there but not the funds. So to the young man again RUN! FOREST RUN!
any nit picky mother in laws is not worth it!
People need to realize the shunning of Temple worthy members for not going on
missions does damage to testimonies. Yes, we should have standards but not to
the point where we use it to make others feel bad or feel coerced.
After high school, I dated RM's and a few "non members". I nearly
stopped dating RM's altogether after I realized how much better the non-LDS
guys who hadn't served missions treated me. Ultimately those guys were the
sweeter, more chivalrous group. Serving a mission is great, but it's not
the be all end all.(My husband did serve a mission but not until
after a year of proving to me he was just as sweet, and chivalrous, and above
all, right for me, as any of the non-LDS guys. Even better there was no friction
There are many good husbands that did not go on a mission, but it might be
important to know the reason that he didn't go. As for people who look
down on "Utah Mormons", what makes you think you are better than us! I
have never felt so lonely as I did when I lived in a dorm at BYU with California
girls. They would have nothing to do with me simply because I was from Utah.
Thank heaven for the girls from Idaho!
Serving a mission is a wonderful opportunity to serve others. For the most part,
it helps young men grow up and become more responsibly. However, when it comes
to deciding who to marry, whether or not a man is an "RM" should not be
"Most young men that go in a mission don't "Love the Lord".
They go because they turned 18/19 and it seemed like the right thing to
do."I wouldn't say "most" don't love the Lord.
But most if not all at least think they do. No one is perfect.
Missionary service is an indicator. But it not the sole indicator. It is not
conclusive in and of itself. I would want my daughters to think long and hard
about marrying someone who chose (key word) not to serve a mission in this era
(previous eras had different expectations), but I would not make that the single
determining factor concerning their "worthiness" or their ability to be
a good husband.
Why are we so quick to see people in term of what they're NOT instead of
what they ARE? NON-Member.LESS Active.DEEE-vorced.DIDN'T put in his two years.What
happened to "See The Good In The World" ? I agree with these
suggestions, to determine the young man's reasoning and more
important...Mama, it's not your choice! I have kids who married in the
Temple, kids who were sealed after civil marriage, and kids who married people
of another faith or no specific faith at all. I don't have to / GET to
live in any of those marriages. To repeat--Mama, you get an
opinion, but you don't get to make the decision. I hope you will support
whatever choice the couple makes, even if you don't happen to like it.
Everybody's life will be so much happier if you do.
@ BarkerMom,want to know why we who live in the mission field aka out side
of Utah Idaho and parts of Arizona, Dis on Utah mormons? Here are some of the
reasons not all1. the majority take what you have for gannet it came to
easy for you. maybe not you but the Majority of you the population of Utah LDS.
when was the last time you drove 45 min to get to church? I do it every sunday.
when was the last time you got up at 5 am to drive your kids to the meeting
house 45 min away for seminary? 2 not that many kids that are different in
religion at public schools. when was the last time your son or daughter was the
only LDS kid in the whole school district? grades k-12? when was the last time
your child stood up to defend his or her religion in class? Does not happen much
in Utah got it way to easy?3 Most Utah Mormons live in a bubble and have
no clue to what the rest of the church member deal with. thats why!
Do you think that you and he together can successfully work towards a Celestial
marriage? If the honest answer to that question is "Yes," then the past
is irrelevant. Because creating a Celestial marriage means that you are each
dedicated to seeking forgiveness for past error and becoming more wholly
committed to the Lord in the future. Missions are great, but there are a million
reasons a man might not have served. Even if that reason is that he wasn't
worthy... is he worthy now? You served a mission- a mission on which
you preached the redeeming Gospel of Jesus Christ. A mission on which you
promised investigators that they could repent, be forgiven and return to their
Father. You probably fell in love with many of those investigators. If you are
in love with this man, and he is equally committed to the strenuous process of
fulfilling his covenants, let the same redemptive Gospel principles apply to him
that you so freely and faithfully applied to your investigators.
Dear Dadof5sonsWhat you have said gives just cause for church
members outside of Utah to be rude to those from Utah because one perceives
another's life experiences to be easier or harder versus another? Yet, all
are members of the church and have made the same covenants. I
don't know why, but the parable of the laborers comes to mind where
laborers were hired at various intervals and all were promised the same wage.
In the end, those who labored longer complained about those hired later when all
received the same wage. All who make and keep covenants and endure
to the end have the same promised blessings. No one is better.Side
note: I think folks are being hard on the mom for suggesting her daughter should
marry someone who is also a returned missionary. If anything, at least add it
to the list of things to think and pray about. She's lucky to still have
her mom to seek and receive advice from, whether the advice was sought after or
not, or whether she agrees with the advice or not. It's what moms do.
Someday she might be a mom, too.
?: I love your side note. Any parent who doesn't advise their children is
probably trying to be a friend instead of a parent. Children of all ages need
people with more life experience to provide counsel and advice (parents). I have
a hard time with posts that suggest parents should abdicate their duty to help
their children with life's tough decisions.Dadof5Sons: I'm
sure you view yourself as an accepting, tolerant person free of the biases of
someone like this mother. You label her as nit-picky and judgmental (showing
your own penchant for nit-picky judgment). You openly judge Utah Mormons,
generalizing them into a caricature based on your prejudices. I'm 59 years
old. I moved to Utah when I was 29. I had a hard time when I first moved here
because I was as blindly ignorant and biased as you are. But I've found the
best of Saints here in Utah just as I found them in other places. The beam is in
your own eye, brother. Pluck it out so you can see more clearly.
No difference on this topic in and out of UT. It's an LDS
cultural/judgmental tendency.re: mission - Not everyone you serve
with lives up to the expectations, either in the mission period or after. It
runs young men off to constantly over-emphasis this service. It's between
the young man, family, Bishop/SP and the Lord - Leave it there, as you
aren't privy to all the issues involved and they are.Young lady
if you see this young man doing the right things over a period of a couple of
years you are in a position to know the veracity of his nature. Decide for
yourself and forget the expectations of others. You've been there, done
that. Will you serve, equally yoked in your opinion ? I left the
mission field after a few months and it basically ended my dating within the
church. 27 when I finally married an inactive member who didn't care about
it. 57 and single, I now meet multi-time divorced LDS women who won't date
me because I'm not a return missionary. HPGL, Bp Counselor 7yrs. Go figure
On second thought, it might be useful for the potential bride and mother-in-law
(and the rest of use too...) to read Elder Dallin Oak's treatise found by
searching on "judge not and judging" - highly instructive and spot-on to
this sort of situation.
LOL, if you don't marry him, someone else will. Don't sell yourself
short by marrying some criminal, but don't let a good guy slip through your
hands if you really like him. Believe me, if not serving a mission is the only
thing he is guilty of, you could do so much worse.
You imply in the article that he must have done something wrong if he
didn't go on a mission. i.e. - "Make the conversation with your mom
more about who he is, not who he was, or what he does and not what he did."
Just because he didn't go on a mission doesn't mean he didn't
love the Lord then either or that he was unworthy or anything like that. I have
a son who served an honorable mission, but I have another son that for medical
reasons cannot serve. It is eating him up and he is ready to leave the church,
not because he doesn't love the Lord, but because he doesn't fit into
the Mormon culture and he fears that no girls will be interested in him because
he didn't go on a mission. We are too quick to judge why a person
didn't go. Even the Prophet tells Young Men that can't go for health
reasons or other concerns that they are honorably excused and are still worthy
members of the church. There are many amazing people that don't go on
missions. Quit judging!
lotsofkids: I don't understand. If you "love the Lord" and have a
testimony, how can you be "about to leave the Church" because you are
worried about your social life? The Church is not a social club.That's a huge disconnect to me. The Church is not a convenience where we
can step in and out depending on our current life circumstances. Even if he
doesn't leave now, how will he stay "in the Church" when he faces
other trials in his life: the loss of a child, political disagreement, leaders
he doesn't like, intentional offense from another? Don't preemptively
blame your son's possible actions on others. Staying in the Church (or not)
is totally up to him.I think of Thomas B. Marsh and his wife who
left the church over milk strippings. Historically, we conclude she was
dishonest in her dealings with her neighbor. But what if the neighbor was wrong?
Would she then have been justified in leaving the Church? Of course not. Who
would give up salvation for milk strippings? And who would give up salvation for
a few dates?
My dad never served a mission because he wasn't Mormon, and my mom still
married him. Do what you think is right. Just pray and remain faithful. Ask
someone for a blessing.Good luck.
Antodav,I find that stereotype of Mormon Utahans (That is certainly
not true) very offensive. My father never served a mission because he was
converted to the church and he does not get judged for it! People would not
judge you because you didn't go on a mission because you were converted
after the missionary age. And her MOTHER is saying that he's "not good
enough", not her. Your comment was probably offensive to her and she most
likely does not enjoy that in this moment in her life.