Can I Marry a Mormon?

Q. Hello, my name is Becky and I’ve become infatuated with a Mormon boy. He’s 22, and I’m 18. I am not Mormon, but have seriously been thinking about becoming Mormon. Not only because of him, but because I feel it would be good for me. My mother on the other hand, thinks I’m being stupid and does not support me in any way. I believe it’s my choice, and I would like to marry him. If I don’t become Mormon, I shall be Christian. Can Mormons marry Christians? Would it be bad if they aren’t sealed?

Hi Becky! It sounds like you have at least two questions here:

1) Can I/Should I be a Mormon?

2) What would a mixed-religious marriage commitment be like if I remained a non-Mormon Christian?

Young love

To the first question, a hearty YES!

Of course, if you embark on such a momentous decision you should do it for the right reasons, and having a crush on a guy, while thrilling, just won’t have the kind of lasting draw to keep you in communion with Christ in the restored church. Talk to your local missionaries and they will help you understand and obtain the deeper motivations that will bring you everlasting life and joy. Introduce them to your mother, too. They can help alleviate her fears.

And my answer to the second question is: CAUTION!

Mixed-faith marriages are tough on any family. They are stressful, and only get more stressful as the hormones wear off. Mormons are particularly hard-hit because marriage itself is a sacred ordinance and covenant with God that must be entered into by both husband and wife. Is it bad not to be sealed? Well, it’s not “going-to-hell” bad, but it’s settling for less. Less than what Our Father has prepared us to become.

I’ve written back to another person about this topic before. Please read it next. It’s called, “I’m in Love with a Mormon, What Now?

Temple Open House

Boise TempleFor the past year, the temple in Boise, Idaho has been undergoing extensive renovation. Now that construction is complete, the temple is open to the public for a short time before it is dedicated. During the open house, everyone is welcome to take a tour through the temple and see what is inside. If you happen to live within driving distance, or are passing through Boise, then it would be great to have you come visit the temple. At the moment, the Boise temple is the only temple in the world that is having an open house, however Brigham City, Utah and Calgary, Alberta had open houses in past months and you can anticipate being able to visit temples in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Gilbert, Arizona in 2013 after construction on each is finished. You can check here for an unofficial list of temples that have been announced or are under construction and here for an always up-to-date list of temple open houses.

If you have questions about temples, you can read our article about them here or shoot us a question.


Doctrines of Mormonism

I’ve been reading a great book called “Increase in Learning” by Elder David A. Bednar (he’s a modern apostle in the LDS church). I recommend it, because  it has changed the way I “make” my life. Let me tell you about a concept I’ve gleaned from it’s pages:

The Framework

In making your life, you turn to DOCTRINES, Principles, and applications. They create a framework within which you can forge the tools of life-building, or the weapons of life-desolation. They form your worldview.

A DOCTRINE is a foundational, fundamental, and comprehensive truth. It answers the question, “Why?” In the LDS church, the doctrines are believed to be revealed by God to man through ancient or modern prophets.

A Principle is a doctrinally-based guideline. Principles provide direction. They answer the question, “What?”

An application is an actual behavior, action step, practice, or procedure by which doctrines and principles are enacted in real life. This is where the rubber meets the road and plans are executed. An application answers the question, “How?”


Doctrines are frequently spoken of in a religious context, but they also have wide applicability. For instance, in America we adhere to the doctrine of freedom. We believe that all humans are entitled to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That is an important doctrine, and one principle that stems from it is the first amendment right to free expression. In other words, the US government cannot use its powers to silence its citizens. In application, this might mean you are protected when you protest at your state capitol building. It also means that the publishing of a repugnant anti-Islamist movie is beyond the reach of US government to censor, in spite of the global instability it might incite. Applications can naturally and appropriately vary widely from case-to-case, and doctrines and principles only carry power if they are held constant and inviolable.

Mormon Doctrines

With that framework in mind, let’s explore some of the doctrines of the restored gospel of Christ (as we Mormons believe them). I will list some of the primary doctrines, sub-doctrines, and principles (sometimes the lines are a bit blurry).

  • We believe that God is our Father.
    • We are all children of God and we should treat each other like brothers and sisters. We are one big family.
    • He loves us. His work and his glory is to bring about the eternal life of man (see Moses 1:39)
    • He has a plan for us. We can trust Him and His plan.
  • We believe that all men and women are free agents.
    • The purpose of life and of God’s plan is for us to choose to learn godliness. Life is a test and we couldn’t grow without free will.
    • We are encouraged to find and do good things without being commanded.
  • We are flawed and it’s part of God’s plan.
    • When Adam and Eve ate that fruit in the garden, it led to mortality, pain, and suffering. It also led us to learning what true joy is (see 2 Nephi 2:22-25).
    • Help one another through our flaws and woes.
  • We believe that through the atonement of Jesus Christ all mankind may be saved.
    • We can receive the grace of Christ by entering into a covenant relationship.
    • He doesn’t require perfection of us, but he requires a “broken heart and a contrite spirit” (see 3 Nephi 9:19-20). In other words, we show our faith by being faithful to Him.
    • The power of His atonement makes us perfect.
  • We believe that God spoke, speaks, and will continue to speak to man.
    • We believe in modern prophecy. Men today have seen Jesus Christ and received instructions from Him. This began in modern times with Joseph Smith.
    • All people may have a message given to them by the power of the Holy Ghost. Asking God questions in prayer yields answers. Seek and ye shall find.

You’ll notice I never mentioned abstaining from coffee or alcohol. I didn’t talk about paying tithing or avoiding swimming on the Sabbath. I didn’t even mention going to church every Sunday (in some parts of the world Mormons worship on Saturday or Friday). That’s because all of these are application-level decisions, appendages to the doctrines, and there are hundreds of thousands of possible applications. So many good things I could do, it’s overwhelming!

Identifying core, fundamental doctrines has allowed me to put my life together. It has helped me prioritize my everyday activities and set long-term goals. I also hope that by explaining them to you, you will be better able to relate to me and other Mormons. Ask us questions about these and tell us the doctrines that drive you.


Q. When studying with some missionaries a number of years ago, I was told that the Mormon, LDS church did not believe in hell.  It appears that this may not be accurate.  Can you please tell me what the church’s teaching on hell is, if any?

We believe in hell, but our conception of it is a bit different than the way many Christians think of it. My good friend Dave wrote an excellent piece about it called “What Do Mormons Believe About Hell?” back in 2009.

In a nutshell, hell is “to be shut out from the presence of our God” (2 Nephi 9:9). It is a separation from Him and is the natural result of sin.

You may be asking, “Is hell used as a threat to enforce obedience in the Mormon church?” The answer is, “not too much.” That theme can be found occasionally in the Book of Mormon and the Bible, but the main thrust of our motivation to live clean and honest Christian lives comes from knowing who we are (God’s children) and knowing His plan for us. We believe the atonement of Jesus Christ provides remission of our sins and that He is willing to remit them all; consequently, a permanent hell (though it is an option) really isn’t a live option, anyway.