Monday, March 31, 2014

What if One Spouse Leaves the LDS Church? What Should the Other Spouse Do?

I think perhaps the greatest command given "outside the law" was the first command given - to "cleave unto her and none else". Adam chose to be cast out of the presence of God to stay with Eve. In other words, in a very real way, Adam chose his wife over God - exercising faith that God would take care of that separation somehow.

In the context of church activity and membership, I'm NOT saying one spouse has to or even should leave the LDS Church if the other spouse leaves or isn't a member. I'm not saying that at all. For some, that might be the only option - but I don't think it is even close to the "ideal" solution for the vast majority of people, and I would not recommend it for the vast majority of people who are in that type of situation. I believe people need to be as true to their own consciences as is possible, while being willing to make acceptable sacrifices to stay together. (I'm not including abusive situations in any way when I say that - which is a totally different discussion.)

So, my advice to all who are or will be married is:

Cleave unto her / him, regardless of religious differences.

- or, as a friend whose wife left the Church said years ago, work to make your marriage stronger despite your differences in whatever way you can.  

Work to become truly "one" - since I believe God won't split two-become-one. Our temple work (for the living, but especially for the dead) is the tangible "proof" of our belief in that principle. I believe it applies just as much to any two living people as to any other two dead people. Become "sealed" in practical terms, and I believe you will be "sealed" by divine declaration in the end.


SilverRain said...

How can you be "one" when the fabric of who you are as a person doesn't mesh?

My religion, my belief system is who I AM. If a supposed "partner" were to reject that, they would be rejecting me.

I could stay in such a situation, but there would be no way for me to be "one" in such a circumstance.

Papa D said...

That is why my advice isn't worded as being for everyone. Ultimately, this has to be a personal decision.

Tim Malone said...

You and I have dialoged about this before. I've always appreciated your views on this most important subject. I so much emphasize with Silver Rain and agree with your response. I know many divorced folks who suffered tremendous hardship and pain as a result of their decision to divorce but rose above it and became better people because of it, either with or without new partners. What a tough path. Surely the Lord must have special compassion for those who walk that road.

Paul said...

Your religion may be who (you think) you are. But why does it also have to be who your spouse is?

It feels more threatening because it's closer to ego, but disagreeing about religion isn't so different from disagreeing about how to squeeze the toothpaste. It matters exactly as much as you decide it matters.