Q1. Is it OK for a Mormon and a Christian to date?
Q2. If a person is an atheist and dating a Mormon, will the Mormon faith accept the individual?
Interfaith dating is not prohibited but there is a slight caveat that goes with this. Generally, interfaith relationships are discouraged by many religious groups based on the inherent differences in such fundamental beliefs. That is, on top of personality differences, other differences in cultural and religious upbringing just add potential problems that must be dealt with. Something that is so basic to a person’s being, such as religious belief, can cause great problems down the road.
Dating can also be difficult when the standards between the two parties differ. Young Latter-day Saints are encouraged to date only those with similar standards and goals. That means those who keep the Word of Wisdom, , attend church and have a goal to be married in the temple. Since these are generally peculiar to Mormons, it can be hard for two young people to reconcile these differences. Pressure to change from one side to the other often occurs and, if left unchecked, will eventually destroy the relationship. Members of the LDS Church will do what is normal for him or her. No drinking, no smoking, keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, no pre-marital sexual relations, and others. A person who chooses to date someone who does not follow even one of these standards runs the risk of compromising his or her values, possibly creating a division in the relationship where the desires of both sides cannot be met.
While this division may or may not be crucial during dating, any division can be fatal to a relationship after a couple gets married. Since dating is a precursor to marriage, the question of inter-faith dating applies even more strongly to marriage. In my opinion, ideal marriages are built upon common trust and unity and a marriage that isn’t progressing towards those ideals is likely not progressing at all, which is a bad situation. A good, strong marriage is one where a man and a woman agree to put aside differences and work together. Religious differences can be difficult to put aside.
For the second question, the answer is yes. The “Mormon faith” accepts any individual (see 3 Nephi 18). That being said, don’t be surprised if you are encouraged to attend church and learn more about it. Mormons are Mormons because they enjoy what they believe and derive much happiness from it. And when any individual has something that makes them happy, they want to share it with others. I also encourage you to learn more about our faith if for no other reason than to understand what your significant other believes in.
An article was published in the church magazine, The New Era and answers the question from the point of view of the LDS member who asks if it is ok to date non-members.