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As a 26-year-old woman, I still consider myself young, but the prospect of facing such limited dating opportunities for four to five years has me approaching the question of my romantic future in an entirely different way.

As I discussed this issue with a friend, she said something surprising.

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Such dating is most likely to lead to marriage in the House of the Lord.On the one hand, family is an essential doctrine and focus of the Church, and dating men who are not Mormon but who share a good number of one’s values can increase the likelihood for a Mormon woman to be married in this life (rather than in the next life, as single Mormons who have done their best to obtain a family in this life are promised).But marrying a man who is not Mormon carries its own set of challenges.When a father is unable to perform these ordinances (rites), it is looked at as a very sad thing.When I was growing up, I recall hearing stories of the horror women felt when they married outside the Church and then realized that their husband would not be able to baptize their children. And for any Mormon in an interfaith marriage, there will be a question as to whether their marriage will extend past mortality.Her suggestion was so bold and potentially offensive that she framed it with the disclaimer of “this may sound blasphemous.” On a doctrinal level, marrying outside the faith is not a sin, but members sometimes discuss interfaith marriage as if it were, at the very least because it can be seen as a deviation from prophetic counsel.Because Mormons view marriage as something that should ideally be for eternity, and only active, worthy members are eligible to enter into the covenant that makes marriage eternal, many leaders have counseled against interfaith marriage.For instance, in a 1981 talk addressed to young men, Gordon B.Hinckley encouraged Mormon boys to be respectful of people who are not Mormon, but he added this caution: Now, in saying this I am not suggesting that LDS boys date non-LDS girls, or vice versa.But the uncertainty is much higher for a couple that is not sealed, which can lead to the Mormon spouse hoping and praying for the other spouse to convert.It’s not just a matter of wanting to be sealed to a spouse – there’s also the question of children, who can only be sealed to parents who are sealed to each other.

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