Cohabitation

by
June 29, 2009

Q. Can a couple who’s not married but has a baby together live with each other without it going against the Mormon religion?

In the LDS Church, an unmarried couple is expected to live their lives according to the Law of Chastity.  That is, no sexual relations until marriage.  Cohabitation, even in abstinence, is discouraged for the inherent temptation and shaky foundation involved.

There are many ways to deal with this situation, and the most recommended is simply to get married.  Where a child is already born, you should think not only about your own happiness, but also your partner’s and your baby’s.  Doing what’s right for them will, in itself, bring you happiness.  Ensuring your child’s future means being a good parent and staying together, even through hard times.  From the Proclamation on the Family:  “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”

Weddings don’t need to be elaborate, expensive affairs, either.  Any Mormon bishop will gladly perform the ceremony for free, and will even let you use the local meetinghouse for the services, also free.  The only cost is the marriage license you need to obtain from the state.  If this sounds like a good idea, get in contact with some local Mormons (the missionaries will be able to introduce you to the right people).

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4 Responses to “Cohabitation”

  1. Merry

    I think it’s important to note that adoption is also a good option, if you don’t see yourself creating a stable, good environment to raise the child in. Don’t marry someone just because you think that you should for your child, especially if they aren’t a good person to you now. Marriage will never change that.

  2. Thaddeus

    Thank you, Merry. Adoption is a good alternative if marriage doesn’t seem right for you. Make your decisions together and ask Heavenly Father for advice in prayer.

  3. Brent Hartman

    What if the couple hand made solemn religious covenants with each other, but failed to pay the ordinance tax to the state? I just don’t buy that the only covenants God recognizes are those that are sanctioned by a government entity.

    LDS position:

    “You’re un-chaste for not getting a license to make religious covenants! You’re going to hell!”

    That position puts government before God. Where does government even get the authority to determine the validity of religious covenants?

  4. Thaddeus

    Good question, Brent.

    I believe it comes down to commitment. A man and his wife are to be totally united in heart and mind. In religion and in finances. In service to God and in service to country.

    God’s covenants are not dependent on the local mortal government, but I think He uses the law of the land for His wise purposes when suitable, such as making an entire and whole-hearted commitment.

    The current Church policy (which is different from an eternal doctrine) requires couples to be “lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” (Family Proc.) There may come a time when a civil marriage becomes so meaningless that the requirement is dropped, but I can still see many advantages to combining a civil and spiritual marriage for unity’s sake.

    Also, check out our beliefs on hell. We don’t have the mentality that if you break this or that commandment that automatically means “You’re going to hell!” It’s not as extreme as that.

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