Ask Angela: He didn't serve a mission, does that mean I shouldn't marry him?

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  • Mormon Book Worm ----------, UT
    April 20, 2014 6:42 p.m.


    I find that stereotype of Mormon Utahans (That is certainly not true) very offensive. My father never served a mission because he was converted to the church and he does not get judged for it! People would not judge you because you didn't go on a mission because you were converted after the missionary age. And her MOTHER is saying that he's "not good enough", not her. Your comment was probably offensive to her and she most likely does not enjoy that in this moment in her life.

  • Mormon Book Worm ----------, UT
    April 20, 2014 6:31 p.m.

    My dad never served a mission because he wasn't Mormon, and my mom still married him. Do what you think is right. Just pray and remain faithful. Ask someone for a blessing.

    Good luck.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    June 13, 2013 7:12 a.m.

    lotsofkids: I don't understand. If you "love the Lord" and have a testimony, how can you be "about to leave the Church" because you are worried about your social life? The Church is not a social club.

    That's a huge disconnect to me. The Church is not a convenience where we can step in and out depending on our current life circumstances. Even if he doesn't leave now, how will he stay "in the Church" when he faces other trials in his life: the loss of a child, political disagreement, leaders he doesn't like, intentional offense from another? Don't preemptively blame your son's possible actions on others. Staying in the Church (or not) is totally up to him.

    I think of Thomas B. Marsh and his wife who left the church over milk strippings. Historically, we conclude she was dishonest in her dealings with her neighbor. But what if the neighbor was wrong? Would she then have been justified in leaving the Church? Of course not. Who would give up salvation for milk strippings? And who would give up salvation for a few dates?

  • lotsofkids kaysville, UT
    June 12, 2013 10:11 p.m.

    You imply in the article that he must have done something wrong if he didn't go on a mission. i.e. - "Make the conversation with your mom more about who he is, not who he was, or what he does and not what he did." Just because he didn't go on a mission doesn't mean he didn't love the Lord then either or that he was unworthy or anything like that. I have a son who served an honorable mission, but I have another son that for medical reasons cannot serve. It is eating him up and he is ready to leave the church, not because he doesn't love the Lord, but because he doesn't fit into the Mormon culture and he fears that no girls will be interested in him because he didn't go on a mission. We are too quick to judge why a person didn't go. Even the Prophet tells Young Men that can't go for health reasons or other concerns that they are honorably excused and are still worthy members of the church. There are many amazing people that don't go on missions. Quit judging!

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    June 12, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    LOL, if you don't marry him, someone else will. Don't sell yourself short by marrying some criminal, but don't let a good guy slip through your hands if you really like him. Believe me, if not serving a mission is the only thing he is guilty of, you could do so much worse.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    June 12, 2013 12:25 p.m.

    On second thought, it might be useful for the potential bride and mother-in-law (and the rest of use too...) to read Elder Dallin Oak's treatise found by searching on "judge not and judging" - highly instructive and spot-on to this sort of situation.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    June 12, 2013 12:07 p.m.

    No difference on this topic in and out of UT. It's an LDS cultural/judgmental tendency.

    re: mission - Not everyone you serve with lives up to the expectations, either in the mission period or after. It runs young men off to constantly over-emphasis this service. It's between the young man, family, Bishop/SP and the Lord - Leave it there, as you aren't privy to all the issues involved and they are.

    Young lady if you see this young man doing the right things over a period of a couple of years you are in a position to know the veracity of his nature. Decide for yourself and forget the expectations of others. You've been there, done that. Will you serve, equally yoked in your opinion ?

    I left the mission field after a few months and it basically ended my dating within the church. 27 when I finally married an inactive member who didn't care about it. 57 and single, I now meet multi-time divorced LDS women who won't date me because I'm not a return missionary. HPGL, Bp Counselor 7yrs. Go figure

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    June 12, 2013 10:22 a.m.

    ?: I love your side note. Any parent who doesn't advise their children is probably trying to be a friend instead of a parent. Children of all ages need people with more life experience to provide counsel and advice (parents). I have a hard time with posts that suggest parents should abdicate their duty to help their children with life's tough decisions.

    Dadof5Sons: I'm sure you view yourself as an accepting, tolerant person free of the biases of someone like this mother. You label her as nit-picky and judgmental (showing your own penchant for nit-picky judgment). You openly judge Utah Mormons, generalizing them into a caricature based on your prejudices. I'm 59 years old. I moved to Utah when I was 29. I had a hard time when I first moved here because I was as blindly ignorant and biased as you are. But I've found the best of Saints here in Utah just as I found them in other places. The beam is in your own eye, brother. Pluck it out so you can see more clearly.

  • ? SLC, UT
    June 11, 2013 11:51 p.m.

    Dear Dadof5sons

    What you have said gives just cause for church members outside of Utah to be rude to those from Utah because one perceives another's life experiences to be easier or harder versus another? Yet, all are members of the church and have made the same covenants.

    I don't know why, but the parable of the laborers comes to mind where laborers were hired at various intervals and all were promised the same wage. In the end, those who labored longer complained about those hired later when all received the same wage.

    All who make and keep covenants and endure to the end have the same promised blessings. No one is better.

    Side note: I think folks are being hard on the mom for suggesting her daughter should marry someone who is also a returned missionary. If anything, at least add it to the list of things to think and pray about. She's lucky to still have her mom to seek and receive advice from, whether the advice was sought after or not, or whether she agrees with the advice or not. It's what moms do. Someday she might be a mom, too.

  • A peculiar person Monterey, CA
    June 11, 2013 9:10 p.m.

    Do you think that you and he together can successfully work towards a Celestial marriage? If the honest answer to that question is "Yes," then the past is irrelevant. Because creating a Celestial marriage means that you are each dedicated to seeking forgiveness for past error and becoming more wholly committed to the Lord in the future. Missions are great, but there are a million reasons a man might not have served. Even if that reason is that he wasn't worthy... is he worthy now?

    You served a mission- a mission on which you preached the redeeming Gospel of Jesus Christ. A mission on which you promised investigators that they could repent, be forgiven and return to their Father. You probably fell in love with many of those investigators. If you are in love with this man, and he is equally committed to the strenuous process of fulfilling his covenants, let the same redemptive Gospel principles apply to him that you so freely and faithfully applied to your investigators.

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    June 11, 2013 4:40 p.m.

    @ BarkerMom,
    want to know why we who live in the mission field aka out side of Utah Idaho and parts of Arizona, Dis on Utah mormons? Here are some of the reasons not all
    1. the majority take what you have for gannet it came to easy for you. maybe not you but the Majority of you the population of Utah LDS. when was the last time you drove 45 min to get to church? I do it every sunday. when was the last time you got up at 5 am to drive your kids to the meeting house 45 min away for seminary?
    2 not that many kids that are different in religion at public schools. when was the last time your son or daughter was the only LDS kid in the whole school district? grades k-12? when was the last time your child stood up to defend his or her religion in class? Does not happen much in Utah got it way to easy?
    3 Most Utah Mormons live in a bubble and have no clue to what the rest of the church member deal with. thats why!

  • kathybeebee Ephrata, WA
    June 11, 2013 4:38 p.m.

    Why are we so quick to see people in term of what they're NOT instead of what they ARE?


    LESS Active.


    DIDN'T put in his two years.

    What happened to "See The Good In The World" ? I agree with these suggestions, to determine the young man's reasoning and more important...Mama, it's not your choice! I have kids who married in the Temple, kids who were sealed after civil marriage, and kids who married people of another faith or no specific faith at all. I don't have to / GET to live in any of those marriages.

    To repeat--Mama, you get an opinion, but you don't get to make the decision. I hope you will support whatever choice the couple makes, even if you don't happen to like it. Everybody's life will be so much happier if you do.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    June 11, 2013 3:55 p.m.

    Missionary service is an indicator. But it not the sole indicator. It is not conclusive in and of itself. I would want my daughters to think long and hard about marrying someone who chose (key word) not to serve a mission in this era (previous eras had different expectations), but I would not make that the single determining factor concerning their "worthiness" or their ability to be a good husband.

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    June 11, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    "Most young men that go in a mission don't "Love the Lord". They go because they turned 18/19 and it seemed like the right thing to do."

    I wouldn't say "most" don't love the Lord. But most if not all at least think they do.
    No one is perfect.

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    June 11, 2013 2:04 p.m.

    Serving a mission is a wonderful opportunity to serve others. For the most part, it helps young men grow up and become more responsibly. However, when it comes to deciding who to marry, whether or not a man is an "RM" should not be deciding factor.

  • barkermom Hurricane, UT
    June 11, 2013 12:41 p.m.

    There are many good husbands that did not go on a mission, but it might be important to know the reason that he didn't go. As for people who look down on "Utah Mormons", what makes you think you are better than us! I have never felt so lonely as I did when I lived in a dorm at BYU with California girls. They would have nothing to do with me simply because I was from Utah. Thank heaven for the girls from Idaho!

  • SLC gal Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2013 8:50 a.m.

    After high school, I dated RM's and a few "non members". I nearly stopped dating RM's altogether after I realized how much better the non-LDS guys who hadn't served missions treated me. Ultimately those guys were the sweeter, more chivalrous group. Serving a mission is great, but it's not the be all end all.

    (My husband did serve a mission but not until after a year of proving to me he was just as sweet, and chivalrous, and above all, right for me, as any of the non-LDS guys. Even better there was no friction over faith.)

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    June 11, 2013 1:58 a.m.

    People need to realize the shunning of Temple worthy members for not going on missions does damage to testimonies. Yes, we should have standards but not to the point where we use it to make others feel bad or feel coerced.

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    June 11, 2013 1:10 a.m.

    I have advice for the boy friend, RUN! don't look back keep running! If your future Mother in-law is that nit picky and judgmental and I mean mental! your going to have a hard marriage. There is a thing called repentance and forgiveness. Shoot I know young men that did not serve because of money issues back in the day when it seamed all the rich utah BYU student went to mexico on 10 dollars a month and had a hooch maid. were as those of us that had missions that cost us 1,000 dollar a month and we came from blue collar families were not fair at all. A lot of guys did not go because of money. even today 10,000 plus for two years is a lot to ask some families and young men to shell out. The desire is there but not the funds. So to the young man again RUN! FOREST RUN! any nit picky mother in laws is not worth it!

  • El Chango Supremo Rexburg, ID
    June 11, 2013 12:13 a.m.

    I didn't go because of family circumstances.

    I am now 30, married in the temple with four children, and love the gospel and have a firm testimony and am jealous of those who got to serve.

    I have a very good friend who did go and was a great missionary. Once he and his wife and a few other friends who were RMs shared stories about their missions and about the horrors that went on among the many bad missionaries.

    Of the best people I know, some served missions and some did not. I think the more important questions is where is his heart now? Is he a good person? Is he a hard worker? Does he love you? Does he love the Lord? Is he worthy of a temple marriage? Ask our Heavenly Father, he knows this young man better than anyone!

  • Great Russ MESA, AZ
    June 10, 2013 4:56 p.m.

    As a young man with no prospects for college and no $$$$ for a mission, I went into the military. There I saw first hand the discrimination by church members towards anyone who wasn't a RM. I have had a father intercept all my letters to his daughter and destroy them, and screen all phone calls saying she wasn't home. I have had numerous members (way too many to count)treat me with a attitude of " Stay away from my daughters, dogs and goldfish" in that order. Lip service of honoring the military members was fine as long as it didn't involve their daughters. This hypocritical attitude drove me away for years before I realize I was letting others dictate how I worshiped my Lord. I have been Temple married for 25 years now, put two sons on missions and 3 more in line to go. Don't let the fact of him not being an RM turn you away from him. I have seen many RM's whose marriages fail and/or the RM go inactive. Being a RM doesn't guarantee of a successful marriage before God.

  • bw00ds Tucson, AZ
    June 10, 2013 3:50 p.m.

    Howard W. Hunter, former prophet/president of the church did not serve a mission.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    June 10, 2013 3:35 p.m.


    Good grief; we're even half-seriously advocating a formal interview process for choosing a spouse or son/daughter in law? I know plenty of people that could provide very doctinrally-sound, highly articulate responses to those questions. Thinking of what I know of a few of them, I can't imagine being married to them. They found wives/husbands, and good for them, but there's a little thing called "compatability" (in various categories) that can't be measured by how well one answers gospel quiz questions.

    Note to self: Remember to advise all of my kids that if a prospective spouse or said prospective spouse's parents start to pepper them with churchy questions to determine their "worthiness," RUN THE OTHER WAY and don't look back.

  • mbenfield Wooster, OH
    June 10, 2013 2:01 p.m.

    This decision is between you and the Lord, not you and your mother. Is she worrying about bragging rights?

  • platesofplatinum Mount Laurel, NJ
    June 10, 2013 1:54 p.m.

    Missions serve the opportunity to testify to those outright hostile to the church and gospel. A mission provides the opportunity to strengthen, anchor, and fan a fire of faith in the Lord. I would float a few questions to the young man considering that you have served a mission concerning the following: "How do you see the differences between grace and mercy?" "How is a marriage sanctified over time?" "What does integrity mean to you?" "How has grace changed you?" How would you if you were allowed to interview baptismal candidates make a pre-determination on which of those who embraced the gospel would remain active and flowering decades into the future? Strong friendships grow from a co-eternal desire to obtain intelligence from the "best books". Parables; there went out a sower to sow, (Mark 4). Faith which increases (Alma 32). Weaknesses turned into strengths (Ether 12)

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    June 10, 2013 1:33 p.m.


    I don't think we can say 'most' missionaries do not serve because they love the Lord. To make such a statement you would need some pretty substantial research. To be on the safe side, let us say 'some'. My experience has been that most do.

    That much said, I know plenty of non-returned missionaries who are just as faithful as those who did serve missions. It isn't serving or not serving a mission that makes a person faithful, or worthy, it is the choices that they make on a daily basis and especially post mission. As I stated before, I have seen examples of both extremes and plenty in between.

    In fact, when it comes right down to it, the only thing we can really control is ourselves. I have also known returned missionaries who went on to serve as bishops before cheating on their wives -- there are no guarantees and to control someone else is completely contrary to the concept of agency. Again, all we can do is control our own actions and responses to what ever may come our way in life.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    June 10, 2013 12:23 p.m.

    I also resent the tone of the article and many of these posts that the noble, long-suffering righteous women are the ones who must put up with their clueless, childish husbands, RM's or not. Relationships fail for reasons other than "the husband was a jerk" or "the husband didn't honor his priesthood." Believe it or not, at times wives can be equally or more at fault than husbands when things aren't all puppydogs and lollipops! True story.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    June 10, 2013 12:20 p.m.

    I am an RM, but am an admittedly unenthusiastic church member at this point in my life (I'm 41). I have a 16-year-old son, and while I'm not opposed to him going on a mission, I am annoyed that everyone in the church talks about "when you go on your mission," as opposed to "if you choose to go on a mission." Believe it or not, you can actually turn out OK in life without serving. If my kid wants to serve, I'll support him. I know my mission was valuable, my current feelings about church notwithstanding.

    I do find it odd that the two worst offenders of the "assumption" game are my dad and my father-in-law. They both take for granted that my son will go on a mission. Why is this odd? Neither of them served missions. One (my dad) is a convert, but my father-in-law just chose to get married at 19 instead. Somehow he managed to carve out a life despite the awful awful decision not to go, but he's sure my son MUST go. Interesting.

  • EldritchGunn orem, UT
    June 10, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    I served a mission and due to medical reasons I had to return home and was honorably released for have had served a full time mission. When you return home after the way I did you definitely find out who your real friends are.

    Its been a rough 12 years since I returned home and have yet to find any success in dating because of the imaginary RM rule despite the fact I'm still active and worthy. Now I'm not against girls finding worthy men to marry and vice versa I encourage it. But judging or defining someone on who they were in the past is just wrong. I'm sure this Mother did something in her past that required repentance. I wonder how she would feel/react if the tables were turned even momentarily.

    Even though my mission was short I learned lessons that will stick with me forever I wouldn't trade them for the world. I just wanted to serve the Lord and my fellow man unlike a lot of my fellow missionaries who just took a 2 year vacation instead.

    My advice listen to your heart.

    From a guy stuck between a rock/hard place.

  • shadow01 ,
    June 10, 2013 8:08 a.m.

    I came from a military family with four siblings. We didn't become active until we were teenagers. After High School I didn't think of a mission. Neither my family nor my branch could support me. Nor could I support myself. I had a poor academic record so college was out.
    I joined the Air Force, served in Viet Nam and eventually went to Hill AFB. While attending a stake Singles activity I met a wonderful young woman who, despite my flaws and her mother's initial apprehension, decided to marry me. It was a decision made through prayer. Truthfully I had no idea what the Lord saw in me to recommend me to her. For the past 38 years our love has continued to grow. She has supported me and I her. We have been through trials and have experienced great joy together. Her parents and I love each other dearly. We have both served faithfully in whatever calling given.
    Nobody is good enough for your mom’s daughter (That’s what they do). When YOU make that decision on who YOU marry, listen to YOUR heart, listen to your mother, but most importantly, carefully listen to the SPIRIT.

  • Sean70 Arlington, VA
    June 10, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    Mother is missing the big picture here. She is focused on what has he done as opposed to what has he become. A mission is one tool that can help us become something more, but it is not the only way and, as others have pointed out, it is not a guarantee.

    She is looking on him "as a man seeth, for a man looketh on the outward appearance" (i.e. the nametag) "but the Lord looketh on the heart."

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    June 10, 2013 7:25 a.m.

    The lord has already spoke on the mission descision. He does not tell someone to disobey the prophet. You are not bad for not going. However can't use revelation as an excuse not to go since the Lord through his prophet already said what to do. Robert D Hales in his book return with honor said only Priesthood leaders can excuse someone from not going on a mission you can't and don't use him as an example do to circumstances at that time.

  • downtown424 CHICAGO, IL
    June 10, 2013 7:20 a.m.

    The idea of this even being an issue boggles my mind. If you're not willing to forgive a guy for not going when he was 18/19 several years later, do you not have a testimony of the atonement? Do you not believe people can change? Sounds like somebody's mother missed the boat.

    The important question is if the guy has a testimony and is committed to living the gospel now. Serving a mission isn't some special merit badge that can be redeemed for prizes later. The administrative and theological lessons you learn during that time can be picked up in other church service opportunities. Not having finished college feels like a *way* bigger issue (since that can impact how somebody can provide for decades to come) than a mission.

    Besides, you know who else didn't serve a formal mission? THE PROPHET.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    June 10, 2013 5:26 a.m.

    The judgmentalism in the LDSChurch is so thick, you can only cut it with a flaming sword!

  • Wwwookie Payson, UT
    June 10, 2013 12:28 a.m.

    If you served a mission, then you shouldn't marry him. The differences in your past lives would lead to future problems.

    If you didn't serve a mission, then relax. Tell mom to repent and marry your love.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    June 9, 2013 11:24 p.m.

    I would just add that while men can serve missions up to age 25, that does not mean that if the man is under age 25 he should go on a mission. We had a missionary in my mission who went at age 25, he had been a member a year at that point. He was told that it might be hard serving with missionaries so much younger than him, and at first did not expect such, but later found that was the case.

    The Lord knows the best case in each circumstance.

    I would also point out that the commandment for every young man to serve a mission was not issued until the early 1970s, so people not serving missions in the 1940s and 1950s is not relevant to it.

    That said, there are many people who legitimately cannot serve missions, and as was pointed out above, even if the guy did not serve a mission because he wanted to be a non-conformist rebel and go against the Church, it does not mean he is so now. We believe in repentance, which means change, so we should not judge people on past actions.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    June 9, 2013 10:54 p.m.

    There is one issue that I think was avoided though that should be addressed. Could this boy friend in theory at present chose to serve a mission? The answer to that question might affect the best way to react, although there are lots of factors. If he could go on a mission now, that might be the best course for him.

    June 9, 2013 10:51 p.m.

    Several commentators have suggested it directly or indirectly: we should all be concerned about how we are serving our own "life's mission" and less intrusive of how others are serving theirs--regardless of (1) present or previous activity or lack of it in the Church (2) full-time service or lack of it in the mission field (3) where members live now, have lived or where they were born and raised, and (4) anecdotes of those who have or have not served well or not at all (5) and so forth.
    This is a decision between the girl, the young man, and the Lord. We don't know her mother or her mother's intentions, concerns, and depth of feeling about the young man, his lack of a mission, or whether or not she has given her own soul to prayer concerning the matter. As I stated earlier, those NOT involved in the relationship will find it hard to give helpful advice.
    We need to be careful not to become busybodies. This is one case where we should be taking care of "number one" first.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    June 9, 2013 9:35 p.m.

    IT seems so funny that those offering the most advise are those who could be relegated as more know it alls of the Gospel. Is the mother short sighted, the answer is yes. Are all RMs as bad as some here have stated, the answer is no. I didn't serve a mission. Instead I went directly into the military. However, when each Stake had a Mission Presidency I served for three years doing every week for at least one night doing exactly what a missionary does, except I did't have the rules he has. I've heard it described not as the best two years of my life but the best two years for my life.

    I feel as many that all Young Men should serve a mission. They should be taught and shown that it is their responsibility and DUTY to serve a mission. However, it still remains a personal decision and one that should be done through prayer. The other is that each Young Woman and Young Man should prepare himself or herself for the soul purpose of serving a mission whether they want to or not. The new Youth Cirriculum is meeting this effort.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    June 9, 2013 5:37 p.m.

    Yes, Serving a full time mission is a Priesthood Responsibility.

    So is Home Teaching.

    Neither are requirements for a temple recommend.

    I guarantee you that a lot of the 40% who don't do their home teaching are RMs.

    Is this guy worthy to go to the temple and dedicate his life to the Lord and his Family? These should be qualifiers.

    My 1st son - no missio. Could have gone, but not until he was 23, and he ended up getting marries at 20 to a recent convert. He was then married in the temple.
    My 2nd son - on a mission now
    My 3rd son - not going because he made some mistakes that don't qualify him under 'raise the bar'. But he continues to go to mission prep classes, leads the priest quorum and is seen as a leader among his peers. No doubt he will marry in the temple and be dedicated to his Lord and Family.

    The Mom is short-sighted if "non-RM" is an automatic de-qualifier.

  • CWJ Layton, UT
    June 9, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    My dad didn't serve a mission and my mom without hesitation married him in the temple because in-spite of not serving; my father had a powerful testimony and showed utter and complete devotion to the temporal and spiritual well being of my mother. I might also add that my dad wanted to serve but at the time the Korean War was being engaged and the Church wasn't sending as many missionaries into the field. Dad was one of many worthy young men who didn't get the opportunity to serve. My dad went on to become a bishop at 29 yrs. old. I'd say mom did well in marrying someone who didn't serve a mission.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    June 9, 2013 11:19 a.m.


    I totally agree with your line of thinking.

    I think going on a mission is an intensely personal decision. I think it is inappropriate for church leaders and members to apply undue pressure for young people to go on a mission. And even more inappropriate for people to decide what constitutes a "worthy/good" reason not to go. I also think it is dishonest that we always present the "best two yrs" picture without the " hardest and at times, worst 2 yrs" picture.

    It would be great if the Church offered different opportunities to serve-- say a shorter humanitarian-type mission. I think service can be a tremendous spiritual tool, for those being served and those serving.

  • aceroinox Farmington, UT
    June 9, 2013 10:32 a.m.

    Bruce Christensen makes an excellent point. Neither did President Howard W. Hunter serve a mission. Serving a mission is not a saving ordinance of the gospel. I with those suggesting that the reason he didn't serve should be a determining factor. Where he is right now, his love for the Lord, his commitment level, his humility, his involvement in his personal ministry, his kindness to others, the way he keeps his covenants, and perhaps above all: is he worthy to and does he pay the price in diligence to regularly receive guidance and instruction from the Spirit--these are what's important.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    June 9, 2013 8:24 a.m.

    25 is the age limit for a mission. So can't go at 28 contrary to God's army. For what people did decades ago what the prophet says now is to serve. I've been told repeatedly that is what you are to do. Can't use what leaders did in past.

    Since Prophet said to go can't use what they did back then we believe in present revelation. For RM jerks there are those that don't honor there priesthood. However compared to those that didn't go I would think people that did go have a higher rate of activity and honor there priesthood. Can't stereotype.

    The fact that someone did go on a mission means they were obedient to that commandment. As for why he didn't go that will come up but ultimately that is the choice the daughter has to make. I would not stereotype rm jerks though to justify not going because someone is good that didn't go. Depression and wars kept some leaders out.

  • Europe Topeno, Finland
    June 9, 2013 8:02 a.m.

    By now you should know him and ...
    1. Reasons why he did not go?
    2. Knowing/living as he know does - would he go, given the opportunity?
    3. Do you dream of the possibility of going one day together?

    Courtship is the time to create an eternal friendship and learn to discuss things as they are and have fun doing it.
    I hope you felt it with some of your missionary "buddies".
    I told my wife that I was looking for that special friendship as part of our togetherness. At first she did not understand what I meant, but now she does.
    Talk, talk, talk you can find the answer between YOU we are just friendly bystanders.

  • earthquakejake Logan, UT
    June 9, 2013 7:26 a.m.

    I am a returned missionary and one thing I learned from my mission is that some missionaries shouldn't be missionaries. They go on missions because of pressure from home or to get "RM status". As a returned missionary, it is a turn off for me to hear a girl say that she'll only marry a returned missionary. It's a great quality to look for but it shouldn't be a make or break sort of thing.

  • Sore loser tampa, fl
    June 9, 2013 7:17 a.m.

    A better question might be: does he/she pray and study their scrips and try to do good?

  • teleste Austin, TX
    June 9, 2013 12:42 a.m.

    @Truthseeker and all

    The 18/19 year old version of a person is *very* different from the 26 year old version. The 26 year old version is very different from the 35, 50, and 65 year old versions. The reason(s) an 18/19 might choose to not go on a mission could be seen differently by a person later in life.

    My point is that an 18/19 year can have no good reason at all to not go on a mission, or could choose to not serve for overtly bad reasons, and that same person could still be the cream of the crop in terms of quality, spirituality, citizenship, values, prospects, and commitment a few years later when they are 26 years old.

    Perhaps a change of heart is required, perhaps repentance, perhaps just regular maturing. Missions aren't saving ordinances. Missions are not required. Missions aren't always positive experiences. Discounting someone merely because they didn't go on a mission, even without any 'good' reason, is silly.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    June 8, 2013 10:19 p.m.



    What are "acceptable" reasons for not choosing to serve a mission?

  • teleste Austin, TX
    June 8, 2013 9:04 p.m.

    Far too many commenters suggest that it is OK to marry a young man who didn't go on a mission as there are many valid reasons for a young man not to go. (Health reasons, military reasons, etc...) This seems to lead to the idea that one has to have one of these 'valid reasons' to still be an OK marriage prospect.

    Well what about...

    1. those who chose not to go because they didn't want to and then 'grew up', grew their testimonies, and became firm members


    2. those who chose not to go because they didn't want to but are still solid citizens and great men who will make excellent husbands and fathers


    Being an "RM" is not a mark of anything but having gone on a mission. That does not define one's character and it definitely isn't a sure sign of Mormon faithfulness. Missions sometimes build spiritual men. They also often destroy lives. (Take it from "teleste".) Either way, a mission shouldn't at all be a marriage qualification or deal breaker.

  • SparkyVA Winchester, VA
    June 8, 2013 8:08 p.m.

    My youngest sister dropped out of college and married a dishwasher at Denney's. We were all disappointed at first, but she saw something we didn't. Now not all the credit goes to the man she married, a loving wife can make a world of difference. Today you couldn't find a better LDS family, and her husband answers to the name "Bishop". Oh yes and he retired from being a District Manager for Denney's and now runs three restaurants. It comes down to a clear principle of the priesthood: revelation is only given to those who have authority/responsibility for the decisions to be made. In this case, only the young man and the young woman can receive that revelation. No one else is eligible. Mom and siblings, you are working against not only that principle, but also the principle of free agency. Be warned least you attempt to thwart those principles!

  • Ranch Here, UT
    June 8, 2013 7:49 p.m.

    With the younger age limit for female missionaries, this is bound to become a much more common question.

    Going on a mission doesn't mean somebody is a great catch, it simply means that they went on a mission.

  • Little Andy Tremonton, UT
    June 8, 2013 6:53 p.m.

    At a later time we all will have to answer to the Lord and not all these know it alls. Nothing is set in stone. The two of you may have the finances later to serve. Go with your answer to prayer and the best to both of you..

  • thefid Kearns, UT
    June 8, 2013 6:52 p.m.

    If you are looking to marry the man, then have a heart to heart chat with why he didn't go. Any information acquired during that discussion should most likely not be shared with your parents. It is my experience with friends and family that did not go, it was because of something in their life... The number one issue was pornography which led to other bigger issues of worthiness. Find out why he didn't go, then when you have all the facts, your answer will follow close behind. The best way to find out, is simply ask direct questions.

    My opinion... No RM status should not, in itself, be a reason to dump him.

  • LadyRaeJenx Taylorsville, UT
    June 8, 2013 6:42 p.m.

    Our daughter is getting married in a month. The process through which she went to decide whether to marry him or not was by counseling with us, her parents, fasting, praying and going to the temple to do baptisms, which is what she can do now. We don't know this young man, but know that she is supposed to marry him. The Lord does hear and answer prayers. We are confident that he is a good young man and are happy to see them marry and progress together in the Gospel and life. Be prayerful and invite your parents to be prayerful, too. They are your sounding board and are able to receive revelation for you to confirm what you "feel" by the Spirit until you marry, then you and your husband will do that for each other. If your parents are not willing to put opinions aside and seek the Lord's will, then talk to your Bishop, who would be next in line in priesthood authority. Good luck and God bless!

  • Kinderly Spanish Fork, UT
    June 8, 2013 3:55 p.m.

    His lack of mission service is definitely not a good reason to not marry him. I agree with other commenters, however, that it would be good to know why he didn't serve. If he wasn't ready to serve when he was 19, would he consider serving now? It really boils down to what the Lord plans for him and for you.

    If you both know, with certainty, that it is the right thing, talking to your mother will be much easier. It sounds like you see spiritual maturity in your boyfriend. Express that to your mother and hopefully she'll stop worrying and follow your confident tone regarding the marriage. But you've got to have confidence in the decision first.

  • jimhale Eugene, OR
    June 8, 2013 3:53 p.m.

    I've not read all the comments. But none that I did read ask the obvious question: How old is the fine young man. If that fact is in the article, I must have missed it. If he is under 25 and loves the Lord, he should turn in his papers and go serve. If he is over 25, there has been a lot of good advice on here already.

    June 8, 2013 3:44 p.m.

    My father did not serve a mission. He was 19 and she was 16 when they married without their parents' permission. (They were "too young") They were sealed the next year. Dad worked full time while he finished college, built their house, raised 5 children, was always supportive of her talents and endeavers. He served with the young men, as bishop twice and in the stake high council. They are still madly in love with each other after 64 years. What is most important is why you are getting married and what type of life you both want to lead. If the Lord is included in your marriage, if the Gospel is impoortant to both of you, if you pray together and live righteously because that is what you both want, then get married. And may joy fill your lives eternally.

  • SummitHigh Salt Lake City, UT
    June 8, 2013 2:35 p.m.

    Thank you to everyone that has stood up to answer the prejudicial "Utah Mormon" issue. I've lived inside and outside of Utah (and USA for that matter), met all sorts in all locations, those living their religion and those that aren't. It is so sad to me, this us vs. them mentality, especially in a group that proclaims to believe in acceptance and love. Where in the world does this come from? Who is teaching this? It is an LDS cultural phenomenon (mainly in the US) that I can't get my brain around. Obviously it is pride, but why? Surely it's not based in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I think we all have our natural prejudices, individuals that we better understand and get along with, vs. those we don't. Isn't it a primary challenge for each and every one of us to get over our own pride, and be more like Christ? This was the essence of the original article, and apparently the essence of what we all need to continually work on, as commentators.

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    June 8, 2013 2:28 p.m.


    My goodness, you sure do rush to judgement -- and a very harsh judgement! First, there is no indication of where the person is from. The Deseret News has readers all over the world. Second, from your comments I would be surprised if you had even been to Utah. Are you sure what you charge is TYPICAL behavior??? I can't imagine that any good LDS (regardless of their geography) being judgmental of a 28 year-old convert who, because of his age, is not able to serve a mission. I have lived all over the country, the west coast, mountain west, midwest, and east coast (including your area in Florida). Everywhere I have been I have met some of the best people in the world. Each stop also included some rather ordinary people as well. I will say that my time in Utah was particularly noteworthy of some of the greatest Christians on the planet and I am so grateful for their fellowship. Do not judge so rashly and harshly my friend. There is a lot of good out there.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    June 8, 2013 2:23 p.m.


    I never said all Mormons who live in Utah are that way. There are a lot of them who move from other parts of the country for various reasons (not the least of which is trying to find a spouse). Then there are those who are from there but are wise enough to see the inconsistencies between the culture and the Gospel and choose the latter over the former. They are to be praised and admired.

    But it would be hard to find a Mormon outside of Utah, except perhaps in the general Mountain West area around Utah, who thinks the way this girl's woman does. Perhaps she's unaware that President Monson himself isn't a returned missionary. I guess he must not "love the Lord" either.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    June 8, 2013 2:15 p.m.


    I think you're being a little harsh.
    Perhaps her mother didn't voice her disapproval until just recently which is causing her to 2nd guess her own judgement.
    It is part of the process of dating and contemplating marriage. Better that she seriously explore issues now before getting married.

    Hopefully "Too good" doesn't think that a mission is the ruler by which everybody should be judged. And if her mom thinks that, then she is ignorant and wrong.

  • kosimov Riverdale, UT
    June 8, 2013 1:53 p.m.

    My oldest son did not serve a mission. He recently told us he "knew" we were disappointed in him. We cried! His three brothers served missions, became zone leaders, etc., which made us proud, but perhaps made him feel bad. It never occurred to us to be disappointed in him.

    He married a wonderful woman in the Temple and has been the leader amongst his siblings all along. They respect him and seek his counsel when they cannot talk to me (still happens even after 40+ years!). I have continued to have problems with illnesses I contracted while on my mission and haven't worked for nearly 20 years, and he has taken over for me at times, donated money to help family members who needed help, and has been an outstanding son and brother. If challenged to guess which had served missions, you would choose him first. Not serving a mission does not seem to have had a negative effect for him, so I believe Heavenly Father was with him. His brothers were strengthened by their missions, of course, but he seems to have been meant to take another road from the beginning.

  • Daddiooh Orem, UT
    June 8, 2013 1:37 p.m.

    Now that you are completely terrified of marriage , the best advice I can give you is to go to the temple, fast and pray about it, and make the decision that you know through inspiration to be right. All of us old married people have had our ups and downs in our relationships, regardless of who we married, but if you trust the Lord and keep him close, even the rough times where you may question your decision, will be made smoother with the knowledge that the Lord had a hand in your decision.

    My Brother-in-law went to the Air Force Academy and served in the Air Force for 20 years but didn't serve a mission. He has been a bishop, a bishop's counselor, and a scoutmaster for 25+ years. He is one of the best men I know and I really try to be more like him--and I did serve a mission!

    Also, SOME of the comments above are good ones, while others are rude and insensitive--ignore those. As long as the Lord is the one you are listening too, you will be fine.

    I have said too much. Best of luck to you.

  • hermounts Pleasanton, CA
    June 8, 2013 1:33 p.m.

    Yes, judge people on who they are, not who they were. To suggest she shouldn't marry anyone who didn't serve a mission is appallingly self-righteous.

  • michael.jensen369 Lethbridge, 00
    June 8, 2013 1:29 p.m.

    I'm 22 and I can't serve a mission because of health reasons. The qualifier for men, isn't whether they serve a mission, it's whether they honor the priesthood. I cannot express how hard it was for me to struggle through all of the cultural and personal expectations around serving a mission, when I couldn't go through no fault of my own. It felt that the culture sometimes says that "You're not a MAN, if you don't serve a mission." It's brutal sometimes, when cultural expectations clash against God-given trials in one's life. I know that the Lord has been making childish boys into child-like men for a very long time. He is not just limited to a single opportunity (a full-time mission) to bring about that change. I learned that manhood(and womanhood) is NOT dependent upon an opportunity that you may or may not be blessed with. It's based on spiritual maturity, emotional maturity, and attitude. I wanted to go, but God had another plan for me, a plan that has brought about that change of heart.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    June 8, 2013 12:56 p.m.

    Again, these are questions "Too good" should have been asking herself after the second date. It is utterly ridiculous, and unfair to the young man, for her to be asking them now.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    June 8, 2013 12:56 p.m.

    I've got dozens of friends, coworkers and family members whose lives offer ironclad proof that whether or not you served on a mission is of precisely zero value in predicting whether you'll be a good person, a good employee, a good parent, or a good spouse by the time you turn 40.

  • liahona Westbank, BC
    June 8, 2013 12:25 p.m.

    Serving a mission is not a saving ordinance. Not every man or woman needs or should go on a mission.

  • oldcougar Orem, UT
    June 8, 2013 12:00 p.m.

    @ Antodav:
    May I politely ask you and others who constantly stereotype the attitudes and beliefs of "typical Utah Mormons." They are not all the same...they are as richly diverse as any other large group of people. Your notion that they are all alike and predictable in their ideas is quite silly and naïve.

  • Harrison Lapahie Shiprock, NM
    June 8, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    I never had enough money to go on a mission when I was at BYU. The philosophy at that time (1973 to 1979) was you have to earn your money and pay your way to go on a mission. I never made enough to pay my way for a mission, therefore, I did not go on one. When I went looking for an apartment to live in Provo, some owners would ask me, "Did I go a mission?". I was also told by many BYU staff to go on a mission, but I had to pay my way for that.

    The philosophy is not like that today. Anyway, not when you don't live at BYU. Many LDS parents and members in the Ward pay for their children or missionary members to go a mission. Has the LDS philosophy changed? I was baptized at BYU in 1975 and didn't have a home Ward.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    June 8, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    To have honor is, to do your best for God and your country. It's an honor is to be recognized, you have earned the respect. You can be in a possession that is honored and have no respect.
    To be honored.
    To have honor.
    Respect and trust, is earned.
    Your marring the guy she isn't. He will have to earn her respect.

  • johnhenry APO, AP
    June 8, 2013 11:21 a.m.

    I served in a ward Bishopric and know what questions the Bishop/Branch President is supposed to ask prior to two members getting a Temple Marriage. Here's a fascinating fact about those questions: "Did you serve a mission" is not one of those questions. Call me silly, but I think there's a reason it's not.

  • Rirruto Nampa, Id
    June 8, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    I grew up in Utah, and served a mission over 10 years ago. Since I got married a year after returning I haven't lived in Utah. The fact is that there are a lot of missionaries from Utah who go for "traditional" reasons. But in the five states I have lived in I haven't seen a difference in that trend. There are simply more in Utah, so it is more noticeable. Missionaries go out, come home, and live their lives by their level of testimony and dedication to the gospel.

    My dad served a mission. But did he "go" on a mission? Nope. He always said that his mission was raising me and my 8 siblings to live the gospel. No one should be judged for not serving. No one should be judged for serving for what so many "non-Utah" Mormons see as the wrong reasons. Lets get over the stigma of LDS men who didn't serve. And of Utah people who did. I'm honestly sick and tired of the judgement and hatred(yes I mean that) that accompanies "Utah Mormons." Its just as bad as judging people who didn't serve. Get over it!

  • 32843 PROVO, UT
    June 8, 2013 10:46 a.m.

    I'm the product of someone's mission. I have had the blessing of going through the temple and taking out my endowments. I'm quite certain that my love of our Lord is no less valued by Him having not gone on a mission that the love of a RM.

    I moved here from the deep south where they a more practical approach to relationships, if not as spiritual. I was astonished when I witnessed the "check list" mentality of the girls I met when I went to BYU. Active in the church, check. Attends all his meetings, check. Pays his tithing, check. Has a six pack, check (come on, you know it's true). RM, check. Well, this Elder is suitable. As many have said already, how many RM's have broken their vows, ended up in jail or have abused their wives? I suppose, though, some 22 year old woman need to learn the hard way that it's about a persons heart and not outward appearances.

  • ? SLC, UT
    June 8, 2013 10:42 a.m.

    I agree with NDM.

  • Utah Soldier Bountiful, UT
    June 8, 2013 10:37 a.m.


    My son was sent home from his mission due to a medical situation that couldn't be resolved. It was members from outside Utah who condemned him for not completing his mission. he began dating a girl from California whose parents were convinced that he was no good because he didn't complete his mission. He ended up marrying a girl from Utah who accepted him for who/what he was.


    I can think of a number of returned missionaries who turned out to be jerks, and a number of non-missionaries who turned out to be wonderful husband and fathers. While I would like to believe that there is a coorelation between being a returned missionary and a good husband / father, I know that the coorelation is not 100%

  • PepperLayne Salt Lake City, 00
    June 8, 2013 10:24 a.m.

    I've always hated - HATED - the attitude that a man is a unworthy candidate for marriage if he didn't serve a mission. There are plenty of very worthy and faithful men who couldn't go because of health or family or any number of other reasons. My dad is one of those - there were things going on with his family when he turned 19 that prevented him from going. But he has since served in many, many church positions (including bishop and the stake mission presidency - back when that was a thing) since then. He is a wonderful example of a faithful priesthood holder, husband and father. In my own dating efforts and socializing, I have yet to find anyone who I feel measures up to that example - even among the ones who served missions (that includes elders who I served with on my own mission).

    Is a mission important? Yes. But so is making the right decision for yourself at the right time. Those decisions should always be between you and the Lord and hang what anyone else says.

  • NDM Vienna, Austria
    June 8, 2013 9:59 a.m.

    There are any number of reasons for a worthy young man not to serve a mission, including very good ones. Use your best judgement and discernment. If your mother sees warning signs that you are being manipulated by someone less committed to the gospel than he wants you to believe, it might be wise to step back and take a second, third, fourth and fifth look at your relationship. But if her one and only reason is the mission, she has some learning to do.

  • Jon1 Arlington, VA
    June 8, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    Aren't we commanded to judge not. I find that too many good LDS people are not satisfied with living the higher law, they establish an even higher version that often borders on the absurd.
    Use some common sense. Yes it would be nice if your potential spouse served a mission, but if your wondering whether you should marry him or not and your listening to cynical advise from your mother, then by all means don't marry him. It appears the problem is with you not your potential spouse. It sounds like your are not ready for marriage.

  • ? SLC, UT
    June 8, 2013 9:44 a.m.

    I've married a wonderful man who did not serve a mission, but has honorably served in the military. I did serve a mission. Yet, while I was serving, it was he, my would be husband, who was an example to a fellow service member who then asked him questions which led to missionary discussions and who eventually asked my husband to baptize him. Me on the other hand, am not so sure I helped anyone, but learned valuable lessons from the examples of others in their families that sometimes was and was not shown in my own family growing up. Sometimes people put just as much stigma on folks from broken families as they do for RM vs non.

    RM or not, do you both communicate well with each other, find joy in similar things? How has he served in other ways? Can he take you to the temple? All things to think and then pray about.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    June 8, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    My husband and best friend never served a mission but I will tell you, he is the most incredible human being I've ever had the privilege to be sealed to for Time & Eternity. He loves the Lord with all of his heart, his knowledge of the Gospel is endless and he loves me. What else could I ask for? Nothing.

  • fatcaesar Las Vegas, NV
    June 8, 2013 9:39 a.m.

    President Howard W. Hunter did not serve a mission. Was he not worthy to be the church president? ,
    Many returned missionaries have gone inactive. The writer makes a good point. What is the attitude of the man now?

  • flatlander Omaha, NE
    June 8, 2013 9:24 a.m.

    Sorry you are all missing the point, whatever she does, she needs to move away from her mother and make sure she lives her married life with a helicopter parent critiquing all her decisions.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    June 8, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    Why did you start dating him in the first place? Did you not foresee that this day might come? In my opinion, the fact that you are even asking the question makes you unworthy of him.

  • Bruce Christensen SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    June 8, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    No one in the First Presidency serve a mission in his youth. End of conversation.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 8, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    Not all RMs are marriage material, not all non-RMs aren't. The most obvious example of someone worthy who didn't serve a mission is President Monson.

    Considering that Utah LDS singles aged 20-40 are something like 3:2 women and not all of those men served missions... there's gonna be a lot of lonely sisters if they're all expecting to marry RMs.

  • vinnyb3 Provo, UT
    June 8, 2013 9:06 a.m.


    Your judgment of Utah Mormons is as bad the judgment of those that don't serve missions. Please don't clump us all into that category. In my time spent living outside of Utah I have met plenty of other members with that same non-acceptance of non-RMs. With that said, it is a problem in the church, but I have seen a lot of improvement in attitudes toward this issue.

  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    June 8, 2013 8:57 a.m.

    There are plenty of scriptural references addressing the situation. Old testament Moses (in the specifications portion of the tabernacle) was specifically told to accept stuff only from those who gave with a willing heart. Christ talked about those who "served" in the public eye. King Benjamin put it all together beautifully as he addressed the issue of matching up service needs with resources.

    One of my own kids about fell of the too old mark before he was ready. Another never went. Another just couldn't wait. They all have wonderful families of their own now.

    Is your Mom speaking 100% from her love for you, or is she one who wrinkles her nose at a smoker who steps into the chapel? Everyone is struggling with something: some struggles are not quite as obvious as others.

    Want to try something that may appease your Mom and test her concerns? Follow the advice I gave to missionaries returning home: don't go find a wife (or husband), search for your Senior Mission companion instead. See if he is willing to plan that with you. Include your spiritual ears in the conversation.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    June 8, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    I too, was raised by parents who thought RM's were the only appropriate marraige material.

    But missions are not for everybody, just as military service is not for everybody. Sometimes missions can cause physical and spiritual damage. There are great young men who would make great husbands and are great husbands, but who didn't fulfill a church mission. I believe we lose many young men to church inactivity around missionary age because church becomes a place of constant pressure to serve a mission-- or constant judgement because they didn't go. Church needs to be more than a factory which just makes cookie-cutter people. Diversity is healthy.

  • fastfingers Salt Lake City, UT
    June 8, 2013 8:53 a.m.

    My daughter did marry the "returned missionary" who later got into porn wanted nothing to do with the church. Better men out there who have not served missions. Yes, there are things that one can only learn while serving a mission but don't discount those who don't go who learn things a different way but still serve their Father in Heaven with everything they've got.

  • In Utah but not of Utah Draper, UT
    June 8, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    "Judge not that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge ye shall be judged"
    Just a little reminder for Mom, of a scripture she seems to have conveniently forgotten.
    If the local Priesthood Authorities, (Bishop, Stake President) deem him temple worthy. who is Mommy to say otherwise. Even if your boyfriend did something in the past that prevented him from serving, isn't repentance a wonderful blessing we all need throughout our lives.

    The decision to marry or not marry your boyfriend should NOT be based on whether he served a mission. I know several RM's that have been married in the temple who have done terrible things to their wives and children. I also know several that did not serve that are wonderful husbands, fathers and some of them are bishops.

    Decide to marry or not based on who is is now and how he treats you.

  • cj2018 KUTZTOWN, PA
    June 8, 2013 8:24 a.m.

    Although the mother obviously wants the best man for her daughter, she's using set-in-stone criteria to determine his worthiness; however, she isn't the one marrying him. What really jumped out at me was the writer's comment that the man she loves and wants to marry also deeply loves the Lord. So then, why didn't he serve a mission? My thought is that maybe he loved the Lord enough to be honest and recognize that a traditional two-year mission wasn't the best way that he could serve. Maybe it was because of his love for the Savior that he didn't go. I've known many missionaries over the 30+ years since my conversion. Among them, there were some who had a strong testimony of the Church, but they never felt comfortable as missionaries and were ineffectual. Then, there were others who were smooth and silky in their delivery, met all their goals and appeared very effectual, but secretly had no love for the people or the work. If her man stayed home for the right reasons, his was the better choice. Either way, what he feels now matters most.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    June 8, 2013 8:13 a.m.

    I served a mission, But my wife did not. Why should the reverse be any different?
    There are a number of reasons why someone did not serve a mission as a young man. In some cases it involved military service, or health matters, or other things. The important thing is how committed your prospective spouse is to you and to the Lord. If you look at the bios of general authorities, you will find that it is not unusual that one did not serve a mission as a youth, and their first time as a full time missionary was as a mission president, after service as a bishop and stake president. One of the great things about the gospel is that Christ is eternally willing to give us new opportunities to repent and rededicate ourselves to him. Eternally condemning someone for what they didn't do years ago is not what Christ calls us to do.

  • Fern RL LAYTON, UT
    June 8, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    I agree with what Angela says, but I might add that it might be more important to know why he didn't serve a mission than the fact that he didn't. It also might matter as to how open he is to discussing his past. These are still matters that might be more important to you than to anyone else, including your mother. The main thing is that marriage is about more than being in love. Communication matters a lot, usually more to females than males. I have also been on the side of being so much "in love" that I couldn't think clearly. Only when I caught my reflection in a glass door unexpectedly, did I see that I wasn't really happy.

    Look into it more in terms of your total relationship; and, as Angela says, make it a matter of prayer and choose for yourself.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    June 8, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    This reminds me of something profound that Gordon B. Hinkley once said to the young men in a conference priesthood meeting. I have to paraphrase, but it went something like this: "Young men, be sure you are worthy of our young women. After all, when a young woman marries one of you, she's taking a TERRIBLE chance!"

    He was right. I've lost track of the number of shattered marriages I've known in which the young man was a returned missionary.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    June 8, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    My brother-in-laws did not serve a mission. He has served as a Bishop, High council and principal of a major high school. He has a son and grandchildren that served and are serving missions. Enough said.

  • Zoniezoobie Mesa, AZ
    June 8, 2013 7:52 a.m.

    Missionary service is not necessarily the good housekeeping stamp of approval. There are many who serve, even in the raise the bar era, who due to their own personality, work ethic, or level of devotion to the work, do not return with honor. My mission president once spoke to our mission conference in an address he called, RMs -- A to Z, meaning returned missionaries return home after their mission at all levels of spirituality, commitment, and yes, testimony. He was seeking to help us improve our perspective of what kind of missionary we wanted to return home as.

    True that missionary service is one of life's refining fires, but I also know many great and honorable men who did not serve for whatever reason, lack of desire, lack of family support, lack of testimony, but now serve in the Church with unfailing devotion.

    Just because he doesn't have The RM stamp of approval doesn't disqualify him from being an excellent choice for eternal companion!

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    June 8, 2013 7:40 a.m.

    Typical judgemental attitude of Utah Mormons who don't properly understand Gospel principles and just go along with the Church because it's a part of their culture. I joined the Church at 28 and despite my strong desire to serve a mission my bishops and stake president have consistently told me that I'm too old. Is that my fault? No. But if I was out in Utah I sure as heck would get judged for it.

    If a woman would throw away a good man because of past choices he has made, no matter how much he loves the Gospel and The Lord, SHE is not good enough for HIM. End of story. I have been blessed to find someone who doesn't care about my lack of missionary service, and appreciates the member missionary work I do every day. I hope our children serve missions, and I will strongly encourage them to do so from the day they are baptized onward.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    June 8, 2013 7:23 a.m.

    Most young men that go in a mission don't "Love the Lord". They go because they turned 18/19 and it seemed like the right thing to do.
    I'd feel badly for any young woman that married half the elders in my mission. Work with what you know. If you have any understanding and connection with your feelings you'll know what to do. This isn't a question for someone else, follow your heart.

    June 8, 2013 7:22 a.m.

    It seems like a key is why he didn't serve a mission. If it's because he thought the "rule" didn't apply to him for some reason, then that would be cause for concern - which other rules also won't apply in the future? Those who view duties and commandments as a buffet from which they may pick and choose can be highly unpredictable.

    If it's because of a medical reason, that's different.

  • BYR Woods Cross, UT
    June 8, 2013 7:16 a.m.

    I had a friend, who served a mission, was an AP, came home, got into law school, started a law practice, embezzled money from a pension fund, ended up on drugs and died from an overdose. True story. He was married (temple marriage) with four children at the time of his death. Should his wife not have married him because he was a RM?

  • Dave M Louisville, KY
    June 8, 2013 7:10 a.m.

    Good advice.

    June 8, 2013 6:27 a.m.

    It's hard for anyone outside a relationship to give advice to those that are in one--and that includes your mother, Angela, and me. If you're asking yourself the right kinds of questions (Angela has suggested some good ones), you'll know what to do.
    The unspoken concern here is: will Mom accept the marriage if that's what you decide to do. Most parents will, and most will support children if the child finds out (too late) that the marriage was a mistake. If those are part of your concerns, read the 122nd Section of the D & C & remember that life throws us challenging experiences for our own good. This won't be the last, and probably not the worst, challenge you'll have. But if you're committed to family, faith, and the Lord, you'll be alright.
    (Incidentally, many don't graduate from college, don't get their Eagle Scout, don't quarterback their high school football team--and they turn out just fine!)