Ask Angela: I'm meeting his atheist family for the holidays, help

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  • Joggle Somewhere In, HI
    Dec. 27, 2013 6:30 p.m.

    She should be more concerned about her boyfriend dealing with her LDS family than her dealing with his atheist family. Contrary to what many believe...atheists are some of most accepting people around. My husband who was raised in the LDS Church but left before I met him. We both are atheists. His LDS family never even temporarily suspended one religious action for our benefit during any time we visited including Christmas. Our discomfort was of no concern to them. Their only concern was to get their adult child back in the Church because not doing so affected their place in heaven. We didn't matter. We could never be ourselves in their LDS home because of their holier-than-thou attitudes prohibitive attitudes. That's fine's their home. But..they wondered why we rarely invited them to our home. We didn't because...they would expect us to accommodate their beliefs in our home even though they would never accommodate ours. Peaceful coexistence is a two-way street.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Dec. 27, 2013 10:42 a.m.

    My LDS wife and I have raised four children with no problems from my being atheist and her being temple Mormon. We both agreed to allow the children to choose what they wanted regarding religion. Many if them chose to go to the Mormon Ward with my wife for a while. Two got baptized, but one has since abandoned Mormonism. We love our children and respect their decisions.

    Do you mean to tell me Mormon couples don't always treat their children with such dignity and respect, and instead try to coerce, guilt and pressure them into the Church?


  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    Dec. 26, 2013 9:29 p.m.

    If you go to meet the folks, just step in and do the dishes, that's always a good first impression. Play it by ear from there.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 26, 2013 3:01 p.m.

    "My favorite comebacks to an atheist, who like to critize religion. How long have you've been a member of the athiest religion, yes they are organized against God. What are your feelings belonging to a religion that is responsible for the deaths of 100 million in the 20th century alone, primarily Stalin and Mao, and host of other athiest rulers who followed that pattern. That normally gets them rattled."

    If your goal is to advise the letter writer to antagonise the family and make them hate her, you're doing a fantastic job of providing advice for that.

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Dec. 26, 2013 12:44 p.m.

    Comment was off topic or disruptive.
    Is the word Gentiles disruptive, or 101 class mormons ?

    Ok, I am sorry if so, but I see a lot of comments in here that got through, but they are worse anything I have heard before !

    Here the rev. text :
    There is a god in heaven, knowing all things, before we even think of marriage.
    He got his children on earth in a very difficult live situation, to manage upon prayer and a watchful eye.

    Please, Atheists ...whatever you want to call them, they are not that in the eyes of god. Some of these comments in here want to save church, but do not save relations.
    What it is like to be in love with someone ? If he loves his girl, he wants to know. Parents want to know.They will know along the road.

    With all that strong counseling on "keep out, get going, move on", there is much damage you do to any eternal perspective the Lord might have in mind.

    Some of you people, should not have been in the garden of Eden, disrupting the fall, so I could come to earth.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Dec. 26, 2013 8:01 a.m.

    I've had better experiences, felt more love and compassion from my "atheist" friends,
    than I have ever had from most of my "Mormon" friends.

    That should be telling...

  • FT1/SS Virginia Beach, VA
    Dec. 26, 2013 7:14 a.m.

    As long as they behave, should be no problem. My favorite comebacks to an atheist, who like to critize religion. How long have you've been a member of the athiest religion, yes they are organized against God. What are your feelings belonging to a religion that is responsible for the deaths of 100 million in the 20th century alone, primarily Stalin and Mao, and host of other athiest rulers who followed that pattern. That normally gets them rattled.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 4:50 p.m.

    "The young man is an atheist, how much darkness can cover the mind of a person than one who does not believe in the existence of a divine Creator?"

    New Hampshire is the state with the highest percentage of atheists and the least crime. Looking at all 50 states there's basically no correlation so I'd say no more darkness than any other person on average.

    "And, what will the marriage ceremony be like?"

    Pretty similar to any other wedding actually.

    @Brent T. Aurora CO
    "these are deal breakers."

    I think she can choose for herself what she considers a dealbreaker...

    "Her father should say, "You appear interested in my daughter. You should know that she and her church basically go together." The young man should be invited to take the missionary lessons in the family home. If he agrees, those lessons should take place. ...
    If he never joins, she should move on"

    Okay... I was going to criticize this as 19th century control of young women then I realized you might apply this to all children...

    "she should think about how her daughter very likely will not have one either."

    Nope, just girls.

  • TheWalker Saratoga Springs, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 3:52 p.m.

    I don't see his family as the problem. They're not going to be the ones teaching your children their values, nor are they the ones that are going to be asking you why you have to go to church every Sunday. Nor will they be the ones that refuse to read the scriptures, or to say family prayer, or hold Family Home Evening. They will not be the ones that are unable to give a Priesthood blessing, nor get sealed in the temple as a family.

    If none of these things are important to you, then you'll probably be OK. On the other hand, if they are important, you will have a continual battle between your values and your husband, and be forced to make compromises to save your marriage, or abandon your values or your marriage altogether.

  • Not Asleep Lewiston, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 11:50 a.m.

    Such a massive philosophical difference portends massive ill consequences in marriage. When the children come along everything changes.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    As a convert from atheism, CS Lewis has always been a guidepost. Reading Lewis' Mere Christianity may help. Intellectually honest people who do not believe in God are agnostics, not atheists. Those who claim atheism have not proven the null hypothesis that God does not exist.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 24, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    @Michael Matthews – “Atheism could be viewed a religion in a sense.”


    So in the common way most people claim to be atheists, saying it is a faith claim is actually nonsensical.

    Think about it this way – if I claim that unicorns exist and you doubt my claim, is your doubt predicated in any way on you having faith? If so, faith in what?

    Or this - what if I were to tell you all about my devotion to Zeus, the supreme god of gods and creator of all. And on top of that, what if I were then to go on with an entire narrative about Zeus and all the things he’s done and how he has made himself known to mankind, and what we can do to earn his favor.

    Would your skepticism towards me be a matter of faith on your part? If so, faith in what… non-Zeus?

    For most atheists, this is exactly how they relate to the God of Abraham. It’s not faith, but in fact the opposite of faith.

    It’s incredulity in the presence of someone else’s credulity…

  • donn layton, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 9:37 a.m.

    .(Psalm 14:1).The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 24, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    @Michael Matthews – “Atheism could be viewed a religion in a sense.”

    Perhaps – if someone claims to know what happens after we die or to know there is no God (and I use the term extremely loosely – could be like The Force) then yes, there is an element of faith there, but it is mostly of the negative variety – seeing no evidence for things and then deriving conclusions from that lack of evidence.

    That is a far cry from the faith of a religious believer who believes a host of positive things based on little or no evidence – apples and bicycles.

    But most atheists do not make such (Dawkins-like) claims – they simply do not see evidence for all the positive claims the religious believer is making. So in that most common sense, it is most certainly NOT faith.

    And the whole “churches” thing is for purely political reasons… nothing more.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Dec. 24, 2013 8:49 a.m.

    Thid Barker:

    I was raised LDS and now consider myself agnostic. Trust me, my life has plenty of meaning. The difference now is that I get to discover it for myself instead of having it dictated to me.


    Or maybe her father could accept that she's an adult and trust her to make her own decision. The Church really loves to infantilize people, doesn't it?

  • Michael Matthews Omaha, NE
    Dec. 24, 2013 4:30 a.m.

    @ Tyler..

    Atheism could be viewed a religion in a sense. Not all metaphors work perfectly and yours doesn't work here in a sense. For example, their are atheistic churches now and atheistic preachers. So, to some it is a religion. But what makes it a religion at least at some level is this. Most atheists make claims about things such as God, death, why we are here (the claims could be "there is no God", "for whatever reason we chose", "nothing, we go in the grave and become food for worms") and they do so based on assumptions that are identical to the assumptions that religious people make because both sets of assumptions are unprovable and based on faith. Certainly though there are many aspects of organized religion that are NOT aspects of atheists lives usually.

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Dec. 24, 2013 12:04 a.m.

    Having a testimony and knowing the past I went through to fight a war among relatives,
    I do not understand some of the above comments to be helpfull at all.

    Each one of us has individual pace to meet god, but I would never advice a member of the LDS church to do otherwise, never try to put her into harms way. Sorry. I just disagree.

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Dec. 23, 2013 11:51 p.m.

    By the time we got through this, you are off to them already.
    But I was very impressed by the balanced statement Angela made, be such a balanced girl and all will go well.

    Your meeting of his family could be the sole purpose of building your entire future.
    They want to see that you can pass a test, and be as honest and kind as he predicted.
    Not him, not his family will ever join you in your religious believes, if you are too "religious".

    Focus on keeping the commandments, they will test you on it.
    But your main focus must be, that everything you have learned is personal.
    Your feelings are personal, your faith is personal, your boyfriend is personal.
    Now his family will be personal for you.

    That way he will always feel of a need to understand the purpose of the church in the long run, it will become personal for him as well, because you so frankly lived it a very personal way.

  • language fan longview, wa
    Dec. 23, 2013 10:50 p.m.

    Angela, your advice was perfect. His family is just a family.

    I have a good friend who is an atheist and is married to a committed Lutheran. Their marriage works, even if it is a little more complicated than a marriage between two people with the same beliefs. Mutual respect and love go a long way.

    He and I have great conversations about religion, philosophy and ethics, by the way. He doesn't mind hearing about what I believe and I don't mind hearing about what he believes. Since we both believe in accepting truth and in doing good, there is a lot of overlap in our beliefs. I'm sure it is the same with this young couple and is likely to be the same with her and her family.

  • moniker lewinsky Taylorsville, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 5:18 p.m.

    I think it's very sad that you were raised to believe there was something wrong with your family. This is one of the main reasons why I made the decision to leave the LDS church before my first child was born. (That and the fact that I no longer believed it was true.) My atheist husband was find with my belief system, but hardly anybody in my church could handle his. I didn't want my kids raised to believe their family was flawed.

    We're getting a divorce 13 years later, but I will always consider myself an atheist. It suits me better than organized religion ever could.

  • LiveFreeOrDie2016 Chula Vista, CA
    Dec. 23, 2013 4:18 p.m.

    There are atheists and there are Atheists. Most atheists think spirituality and belief or non-belief in a God is a personal choice and don't want to interfere with other people's choices. On the other hand, Atheists actively seek to destroy religion and spirituality and replace it with some other "Godless" religion. For example, and atheist will have a Christmas Tree and a Nativity set as part of their Christmas celebration. An Atheist will not have any holiday celebration in protest of Christianity. There is a big difference. As an atheist, I welcome one and all to my home, if my guest wants to pray over their meal, then I'll join them, if they ask me to say a prayer, I will do it out of respect for them and their beliefs. It sounds like the boyfriend and his family are of the lower-case type, I think that she will be just fine. My LDS family members welcome me, and I welcome them. I'd be more wary of an Evangelical Christian or a Neo-Fascist than an atheist.

  • OneWifeOnly San Diego, CA
    Dec. 23, 2013 3:45 p.m.

    In response to Fani’s query “What do atheists celebrate during Christmas?” I celebrate family and friends. I love the happiness and joy that the secular aspects of Christmas offers—for example, the Christmas Tree, Santa Claus, Lights on every house on our street, music that we only hear during December. I love finding that perfect gift and making the recipient feel so special that they believe their gift is my “splurge gift” this year – even though I wrapped over 300 gifts this year (mostly one gift per person). I love that my small nieces and nephews squeal with delight when I ask them to help me decorate by putting snow on my Christmas Village (even the messiness of fake snow being tracked all over my house). I have much to be thankful for. The basic message is to celebrate the act of giving, doing kind things for others, reconnecting with friends and family. I basically do everything you do—except (I suspect) you don’t put rum in your egg.

  • OneWifeOnly San Diego, CA
    Dec. 23, 2013 3:24 p.m.

    Southernmiss. It sounds like your father allowed you to worship as you wanted but you are not able to offer the same courtesy in return. This is sad. The Mormon 11th Article of Faith states: "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." I have not been able to find an amendment to the Article of Faith "until they are dead". My own Mormon family has said to me and to my atheist husband "I can't wait for you to die so I can go to the temple for you." I don’t think they really mean they would prefer us to be dead. Still, it is hurtful. More important, it is the height of arrogance and disrespect to ignore one’s choices and beliefs simply because the person is no longer around. Perhaps an experience similar to mine is one of those encountered by The GF’s atheist BF’s parents.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Dec. 23, 2013 1:30 p.m.

    Brent T. Aurora CO

    I am not calling you a liar here. I don't think anybody knows. Aside from having a visitation from god himself, it isn't possible. I never said I don't believe in god (I do), I just don't think he works in the ways that mormons portray him to work. I don't think he lets families who are sealed live together in heaven while those who aren't sealed don't get that same benefit. Not the god I believe in.

    Dec. 23, 2013 12:53 p.m.

    Several posters have asked, "What do atheists celebrate at Christmas?"

    Family. Love. Friendship.

  • EngineerinSaltLake Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 12:37 p.m.

    I think a problem we have is that we are assuming her situation. Maybe she has tried really hard to marry in the temple and nothing is working out. We need to stop ignoring that its just not working out for many single adults and living a celibate life isn't something realistic or desirable.

    As a single adult, the loneliness and frustration with temple marriage has caused many years of depression and even a suicide attempt where I came to really despise my life. I'm doing the best I can and being a Sheri Dew isn't something that we can all handle well for the next 60 years. I'm trying to chose my life and if that means I find happiness and love outside of the church I'm going to take it because my years as a ysa has been horrible.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 12:24 p.m.

    I'm sorry to say this, but I think she is heading down a very painful road. The chances that it will only lead to unhappiness are very high. Love is NOT enough. Love does NOT conquer all. You must share the same values or you are headed for trouble. However, be guided by the spirit.

    Most atheists are not that way because they don't believe in God. They are usually that way because they had a negative experience with religion. It was shoved down their throat or they went to Catholic school and the nuns were mean or their mother spend too much time at the church. In order words, they base their feelings on emotion rather that logic. Many of them just need to have a good experience and be willing to listen.

    I wish her well, but she's got her work cut out for her.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 23, 2013 12:03 p.m.

    @antodav – “Atheists… understanding of right and wrong is subjective and relative.”

    You’re confusing absolute morality with objective morality. Absolute morality (true for all time and in all situations) is something that only exists in the minds of religious believers – and btw, the only absolute moral edict in the Bible is “obey God”… the other “laws” are relative as any Amalekite would (if they still existed) tell you.

    Objective moral precepts have been posited throughout history and often by non-theists (e.g., Aristotle and the Buddha).

    And the examples of modern day Sweden, Japan, Denmark, France, New Zealand, Germany, Norway, Canada, Australia and others is evidence to the contrary of your entire premise.

    @Brent T. Aurora CO – “Atheism is A RELIGION

    Atheism is a religion the same way baldness is a hair color, and claiming it is violates the logical law of non-contradiction.

    And we all know what it’s like to be an atheist with respect to almost every god in history (e.g., Zeus, Baal, Odin, Krishna, etc…). Modern day atheists simply believe in (see no evidence for) one less god than you do.

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    Dec. 23, 2013 11:55 a.m.

    Brahmabull again the common misconception repeatedly propped up... that no one "knows" or can know, presumably because you don't know. I KNOW. I also know that others know.

    And yes, I also know the difference between wanting to believe, believing, understanding what others believe, and knowing... as four different things all which I experience on various things. There is a God -- I know this.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 11:37 a.m.


    Athiests have no corner on the market of being the villans.

    1) The crusades.
    2) Salem Ma.
    3) Spanish Inquisition.

    Would you like some more examples?

  • dw1156 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 11:35 a.m.

    I am this type of parent. I say you don’t need to plan, and stop worrying. Just be your true self. In my case, I’m very capable of talking about religion. Also, I’d never stomp on your religion, ever.

  • my two cents777 ,
    Dec. 23, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    @mugabe: you found the very best scripture to quote- yours is, by far, the best response to this young woman. Life is hard enough when spouses have the same belief system- and it is doubly hard when they do not share something as important as religion. It will affect every single area of her life should she marry into that family. Don't do it!

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    Dec. 23, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    For purposes of this article it is important to clarify what atheism is, and why it very possibly won't apply here. Atheism is A RELIGION -- not the absence of. Atheists believe there is in fact no God and they believe that as strongly as others believe there is. And they face the same task. They cannot prove there is no God to the same standards as those who know God exists can prove he does. There are in fact few atheists. And there is no compatibility (extreme tolerance perhaps) between one who knows God exists and one who knows there is no higher being.

    There are a lot of agnostics and ecumentalists who don't know either way, ripe for conversion to either persuasion, and who at present maintain it doesn't matter what you believe... lukewarm towards truth or authority. Unlike atheists, their reaction to believers is to find belief quaint, maybe endearing.

    Atheists would be closed minded, and some militantly evangelical. Agnostics are open minded because they "don't know."

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    Dec. 23, 2013 11:20 a.m.

    I see no problem. You have a mind. You can use your critical thinking skills to consider any information that his family may present. If you're not afraid to ask questions, answer questions and to go where the facts lead you, then you will be fine.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Dec. 23, 2013 11:13 a.m.

    As for this girl, she is playing a dangerous game. Either her family will try to destroy her beliefs or by some miracle she will soften their hearts enough to accept the Gospel. The former is more likely than the latter. If her goal is temple marriage, this relationship is a dead end. She is a daughter of god, and she should not sell herself short by settling for someone who doesn't believe that, no matter how "good" he may appear to be on the surface.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Dec. 23, 2013 11:13 a.m.


    Atheists frequently (more frequently than not, in fact) disregard the idea of there being a "right" or a "wrong" thing because in absence of a law-giver, their understanding of right and wrong is subjective and relative. As a result, the past century is full of examples of terrible atrocities committed by atheists who thought they were "good without God" and supplanted their own twisted moral code for God's. An atheist who believes that something is the "right thing to do" is clinging to a moral code that he or she inherited from religion, whether he or she is willing to admit it or not. Meanwhile, while doing things out of "fear of punishment" may be true of certain religious groups (including cultural Mormons who lack strong testimonies), religious people who understand the Gospel do what is right because they know that it is what is best for them and those around them, and that God only wants what is best for each of us.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 23, 2013 11:12 a.m.

    @Cache Valley-ite – “without understand the devastating consequences, which are only perceptible to a spiritual point of view.”

    So people are incapable of seeing cause & effect relationships unless they are religious believers? There are many countries with majority atheist/agnostic populations who would beg to differ.

    And if they end up getting married I suspect whatever conflicts arise on this issue will likely come from the believing side of the family (as many comments here make clear – see “Southernmiss” and “Mugabe” et al).

    Most (non-militant) atheists I know are very accepting of what each individual needs (beliefs, etc…) to live a happy life, but for some reason the idea that atheists can be happy, good, moral, etc. seems to terrify many believers.

    Perhaps the believers here could help us understand why…

    @Shelama and @Scientist – thank you both for your thoughtful comments…

  • Abbygirl East Carbon, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 11:03 a.m.

    The hardest thing about dating non members doesn't come till later when you have married a non member. Right now you are just boyfriend and girlfriend! I know all to well what its like to marry a non member and the heartache of a husband who doesn't go to church, to sit in church alone, or with your children.. you can hope and pray for years that they will come into the fold.. but the question is, "I am meeting my atheist boyfriends family who are also atheists"! Be who you are, let your light shine and don't hide it under a bushel. You don't have to talk religion, unless they ask! You never know if you will end up being the catalyst of saving a whole family and bringing them to the gospel. Just remember the heartache that may go with it if you marry! Sometimes the heartache turns into joy, but it can take awhile! But so worth it if you perservere!

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 11:03 a.m.

    @joe5, Coach, et al.

    Where did I say "LDS"? I said the "religous". My point has been completely borne out by the following comments advising her to "run" from the young man, or worrying about her "eternal" future. It's about the FEAR of losing out on your "eternal reward".

    Why not just do the right thing because it's the right thing to do? If you're only doing it because "god told me to", then you're not sincere.

  • jimhale Eugene, OR
    Dec. 23, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    Rather than going home with him for the holidays, the GF should have her father talk to the young man. Her father should say, "You appear interested in my daughter. You should know that she and her church basically go together." The young man should be invited to take the missionary lessons in the family home. If he agrees, those lessons should take place. Then, sometime before a commitment to baptism, the young lady should break off communication.....and let him join - or not - on his own.
    If he never joins, she should move on....and certainly never join his family for the holidays.
    If he does join, she should reestablish contact but still give his independent testimony a chance to grow - without her company.
    She should do this because she loves him.

    If she has no father to do this for her, she should think about how her daughter very likely will not have one either.

    That all worked well for me... 49 years ago. My wife appreciates the role that other young woman's family played in my life. After I joined the LDS Church at 20, I would never have married outside the temple.

    The GF should not either.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 10:43 a.m.

    Brahmabull: I'm fine with your belief that you can enjoy eternal family relationships without being sealed by one with authority. Knowing you believe that, I understand why you don't think religion is an important factor in relationships.

    The intent of my comment was not to convert you. It was to help you understand why religion is important to us.

    Which of us is right is a fruitless debate. My belief in the effect of priesthood sealings won't change what is true any more than your lack of belief in them will. The truth is the truth regardless what either of us believes.

    Also, I agree that God is not going to punish anybody who doesn't believe in Mormonism. Mormon doctrine is unique in that it postulates that all of God's children (except a very few) will inherit a kingdom of glory. It will doubtless be like what we imagine heaven to be.

    Mormon doctrine is not about punishment so much as reward. We believe God loves his children far more than human parents can comprehend. Though he desires each of us to receive every blessing, some will reject the greatest of blessings.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 10:36 a.m.

    Advice from this "atheist" - one who has no belief in any deity:

    My LDS wife and I have been happily married now for over thirty years!

    Based on our experience, The only problems you might run into will Be grounded in the intolerant attitudes of the believers who engage in worrisome handwringing and fear mongering about your future together. Their "fears" about your future are little more than religious prejudice and superstition stemming from the faulty assumption that you are doing something wrong by marrying outside of the faith.


    You should never be made to feel guilty for following your heart and marrying whom you love, regardless of religion. Efforts to stir up your imagination with fears are so much tribalism wagon-circling, trying to defend an insecure religious bias against rational reality.

    We do not command love; we obey love, and that fact has made my marriage to my beautiful, LDS wife rich, sweet, and long-lasting.

  • sisucas San Bernardino, CA
    Dec. 23, 2013 10:36 a.m.

    Don't be on your best behavior; Be yourself around them. If you marry this guy you're going to be spending big portions of the rest of your life around these people. They need to know what they're getting into and so do you. I broke off a serious relationship after meeting the girl's family and realizing we didn't get along at all. I loved my wife's family and felt like I fit in with them perfectly, but after 10 years of marriage even they can get a little annoying sometimes. If you have to behave around them, you don't want to be related to them.

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    Dec. 23, 2013 10:36 a.m.

    Belief/non-belief in God, membership in a common church or lack thereof, all that goes with this -- these are deal breakers. And anything "working around" these barriers are compromises which either move the paradigm of one or both people in a marriage or leave one or both endlessly/hopelessly frustrated and secretly desiring the conversion of the other. And yes, falling in love often leads to this path. The best advice is to follow this early warning, not going down that path -- to set and follow standards in your life... having relationships only "develop" with those who can (in this case) take you to the temple, worship and serve God with you, raise your children to know the Lord...

    As to visiting for the holidays, great advice already given here. Be yourself. Certainly be tolerant and non-confrontational/self-righteous. But be firm in your testimony as it regards anything that might come up.

    Last point -- don't confuse atheists with agnostics. See my next comment.

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    It's amazing how many "Gospel principles" overlap with secular humanism. Like, "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

    One thing you will notice, GF, is that the atheists reject only one more god than you do. Which means hundreds for both of you.

    If you pay attention, you'll also notice that the only things needed for a system of morality are evolutionary intelligence plus the evolutionary traits of empathy, altruism, cooperative social living, a sense of fairness and a sense of sharing, and the nurture, protection and education of the live-born young. That will give us the closest thing to an "absolute morality" we're ever gonna get or need.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 10:32 a.m.

    The GF-

    Good advice from Angela. I would also suggest you do not bring up religion at all -- let them do it and work according their desires. Just love them and try to establish a sincere friendship.

    In the long-term, I also worry like others. It will be very hard to reconcile many aspects of life if you are LDS and he is atheist. If your relationship becomes more serious and you begin thinking of marriage, it will become overly complicated and stressful for both of you.

    I have some siblings that grew up in the church, but today can probably be considered atheist for all intents and purposes. When together for holidays/dinners, conversations about religious topics don't tend to end well and can become contentious fairly easily. In the long-term, it will be very difficult for you to live the gospel faithfully while having a very close relationship to a non-believer.

    Your boyfriend may be a good person and living some gospel principles, but remember -- the church is concerned with the fullness of the gospel. As individuals, we should be striving to live the fullness of the gospel, not parts of it.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Dec. 23, 2013 10:16 a.m.


    Your truth doesn't equal absolute truth. I do understand LDS doctrine quite well as I was a member for over 30 years. I doubt god is going to punish the entire %99 of the earth who doesn't believe mormonism is the absolute truth. We have no idea if we are going to be together as families after we die or not. Nobody knows that. Yes the LDS church has its own teachings but we really don't know. People waste so much time hoping and wishing that we will be together when we die, and hoping and wishing everybody around them will believe the same as they do. Well if we do get to be together as families when we die, I know that it won't be based on a sealing ceremony that we have to get in a temple. As far as I know, the LDS church doesn't and never will have a monopoly on eternal families - that is, if it exists it will exist for all. You don't need a ceremony to be together with your family. I don't think god works in such an odd manner.

  • Mugabe ACWORTH, GA
    Dec. 23, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    This isn't a question of tolerance or intolerance, it is a matter of following the teachings of the Savior. The scriptures counsels us: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with the unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14)

    The young man is an atheist, how much darkness can cover the mind of a person than one who does not believe in the existence of a divine Creator? And, what will the marriage ceremony be like?

    Young lady, you need to know that being married to someone and dating them are two very different things. This is a reality that even those who share the same beliefs have to face, and sometimes, it doesn't work out.

    You want this marriage so badly that you are unwilling to face the reality of what you are about to do, otherwise, you would not have to confide in someone else about this situation.

    Heavenly Father leaves it up to us to decide whom we will marry, but when we make the decision, the consequences are ours to bear. You should pray fervently about your decision.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    Wow, from the first comment on this thread, I don't want to hear any more whining from the anti-lds on these boards. Pot, meet kettle.

  • my two cents777 ,
    Dec. 23, 2013 10:07 a.m.

    Why would Atheists be celebrating Christmas to begin with? My advice to this young woman is to RUN not walk away from this man. They will have nothing but problems if they ever decide to marry- and, it can never work unless one of them subscribes to the others choice of life style.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    Don't worry about it. Watch schlocky tv, eat too much, drink some beer. You'll probably find that they're pretty normal people.

  • fani wj, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 9:46 a.m.

    What do atheists celebrate during Christmas?

    Maybe this is a way to see if this is a lifestyle you can live with, but then once we love someone our judgement tend to be skewed towards making the relationship work and compromising our values.

    In the bible it was advised against marrying outside of one's faith for a reason. Samson being the most famous of marring outside of his faith that ended in his death.

  • RickChappell Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 23, 2013 9:35 a.m.

    Notice the number of people concerned about the long term? That should be an indication to worry. "It's amazing how many gospel principles I see him living on a daily basis" is a recipe for pain. Everybody is wonderful while they are dating. One - they are on their best behavior to make good impression (courting is really just sales), and two - he gets the "halo" from being the boyfriend - obviously you have strong feelings or you wouldn't be thinking of making a trip to see his family. What concerns me about that statement is that down the road you will be disappointed if he doesn't always live by the standards (that he doesn't share) and frustration that he's not changing. And from his point of view, the frustration of being expected to be something he's not.
    I think Southernmiss nailed it on the head. How does the prospect of a lifetime as a part-member family sound?

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Dec. 23, 2013 9:30 a.m.

    Failure to observe is the problem non-believers have. Just because someone fails to observe the numerous evidences for the existence of God does not mean millions of other haven't. I am a believer because I can not comprehend that all I experience in my life, all that I learn and all that I love, has no meaning! Because if the atheists are right, when we die, the lights go out and everything ends, forever, and therefore nothing has any meaning! As a believer, I know that everything I experience, everything I learn and everything and everyone I love belongs to me, forever! That's the difference!

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    Dec. 23, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    sandy, ut


    "So sad that you couldn't accept your father the way he was and respect his decision to not attend church. Don't you think he would have if he believed in it? Your mother married him, I assume, because she loved him. Religion doesn't have to be a deciding factor on whether or not couples get married. That is a ridiculous notion."

    Just because you don't believe, you also therefore don't understand how important a thing it is to latter day saints to be together as an eternal family. Whether the father accepts the sealing is another story. Just because the ordinances of salvation has been performed in the temple doesn't automatically make it binding. He has to accept it of his own free will on the other side of the veil. No one is forced to receive the promised blessings against his own free will. That is the beauty of the gospel.

  • RickChappell Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 23, 2013 9:12 a.m.

    I think Angela's advise is good. I'd like to add another possibility - it's a bit pessimistic, but it's best to have your eyes open and be prepared for it. It's not likely, but there is a chance that the opening their home might be a way to help "free" the GF from her oppressive upbringing. I know of a few people who have been in that situation, but I would think it would be pretty rare.
    Some things to think about - you say trip, so I assume this is more than a day. Have you made sleeping arrangements. It's not uncommon for people today to assume that a couple is sleeping together and put them in the same room. How about the alcohol situation? It might be good to check some of these out before you go - that will give you some indication of what you are in for.
    Most of these scenarios are unlikely - they majority of people are good-hearted, great people. But it's good to be prepared.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    Brahmabull: Your statement shows a complete lack of understanding of religion in general and LDS doctrine in particular. Regardless of what people believe, the truth is the truth. If LDS doctrine is correct, even if nobody on earth believes it, then many will have robbed themselves of eternal blessings despite what they may have believed in mortality.

    If you don't believe there is any truth,
    or the truth doesn't matter,
    or that the truth is that there is nothing after death,
    then I can understand your comments.

    But if you believe (as I do) that our mortality is a significant part of our eternity, then it makes sense that one would do everything in his power to learn the truth and build his life around it. In fact, it would be a ridiculous notion to do anything else.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Dec. 23, 2013 8:40 a.m.


    So sad that you couldn't accept your father the way he was and respect his decision to not attend church. Don't you think he would have if he believed in it? Your mother married him, I assume, because she loved him. Religion doesn't have to be a deciding factor on whether or not couples get married. That is a ridiculous notion.

  • Cache Valley-ite Windermere, FL
    Dec. 23, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    I agree with your advice to GF to "stay cool" and give it a chance to work itself out. However, I cannot let the comment by "Ranch" pass without comment. The attitude that " athiests (sic) are frequently more "moral" in their personal lives than religious people because athiests (sic) do it because it is the right ..." presupposes a life so devoid of challenges that with a little logical effort we can all just "figure it out". There are a number of logical traps, that lead us to entertain certain choices, without understand the devastating consequences, which are only perceptible to a spiritual point of view. Some examples from the headlines: accepting or indulging in "Gay" lifestyle and marriage, engaging in heterosexual sex outside marriage, ignoring the commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy, imbibing in alcohol and other additive drugs, failure to pay a full tithe. ... and so forth.

  • Goldminer Salem, ut
    Dec. 23, 2013 8:38 a.m.


    And you are not judging? I think Ranch pointed out some Truth; you did not agree with it and that, frankly, proved what he was saying. Stating a fact is not "judging"; nor is disagreeing with it either.

    I think the young Lady is facing some difficult times in the future and that is based on what I have seen happen many times in the lives of others. She needs to look down the road and be prepared for what might happen and pray it doesn't. But ignoring potential problems will not make them go away; nor will love alone.


  • pat1 Taylorsville, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    Christmas is a cultural holiday for many people. Just enjoy what their traditions are. Now. Regarding your relationship with your boyfriend, if you have it in the back of your mind that this is someone who will eventually join the church, you could be very wrong. If the two of you become committed enough to marry, these differences could become real problems later.

    We have a child who now believes again, but is married and has a family with someone who does not and if this child becomes involved again, the marriage will not survive. This was never to become a problem, our child thought, because at the time of marriage our child was out of the church.

    So at the holiday time, observe and keep an open mind, but don't harbor a fantasy that a possible life with your boyfriend would change to be more like how you were raised.

  • Southernmiss kaysville, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 8:32 a.m.

    I agree with Airnaut..

    If your boyfriend has invited you to spend Christmas with his family, then this is more than just boyfriend/girlfriend. Recognize that now.

    You need to look ahead. There are many decisions that will have to be made that will weigh heavy on your heart and the hearts of your family. You will not marry for time and all eternity. You may not have the opportunity to have your babies blessed, and certainly not by their father, then there will be baptisms, ordinations, blessings, missions.

    My father was not a member. As a small child I couldn't understand why my mother married him. I loved him so much, but he wasn't there for my primary talks, baptism, or anything else. He was a kind man. When he passed away we could hardly wait to go to the temple and seal him to my mother.

    Think ahead. You and your future family deserve "all the Father hath".

  • Semi-Strong Louisville, KY
    Dec. 23, 2013 8:10 a.m.

    Sorry for the poor editing. It should read:

    "I agree with Angela's advice . . ."

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Dec. 23, 2013 8:07 a.m.

    My advise --

    1. Don't you ever bring it [religion] up, ever.

    If they want to open a discussion - fine, but let them start, and keep it on their terms.

    I can almost guantee the "bad" experiences his family has had is from holier-than-thou, do-gooders, I'm saving you for your own good, with our withour your permission, like it or nots.

    2. This is not just a one time weekend thing.
    This will be a wedge you are going to have to live with 24/7/365,
    with his family -- and with him down the road.
    You need to accept it now, and not dream about "converting" him later.
    The fact is -- Later may not ever happen, and are you willing to settle for that?

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    Ranch: No stereotyping or prejudging for you, is there?

    The GF: In Lehi's Vision of the Tree of Life, he arrives safely at the tree. Once there, he beckons for his family to join him. Some do, some don't. But the key is that he never leaves the tree.

    You, too, have reached the tree and tasted the goodness of the fruit. However, the vision records that many who reached the tree become ashamed and fall away. My advice for you: NEVER leave the tree.

    Forget about what they may think of you. If they judge you harshly, then they are like the people in the great and spacious building.

    Forget about any pressures or awkwardness.

    Forget about the beckoning right now. You are not there to proselyte them. Let you example be the only preaching you do.

    There are only three things I suggest you focus on:
    - Enjoy yourself
    - Love the people you are with
    - NEVER leave the tree

  • LetsBeRational Spanish Fork, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 7:47 a.m.

    RE Ranch
    Your statement that "religious people only do it because they're afraid of punishment" is not true of most of religious people I closely associate with. We look at the commandments of God as advice from a loving Father who wants us to live as He lives that we can enjoy ultimate peace, joy, and prosperity (and by prosperity I don't mean $$$).

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 7:33 a.m.

    Which matters the most to you....this person and his family (whom you have never met) or your desire to live your religion fully and receive the blessings of the Temple for you and your future children? Please keep your eyes wide open. Since the family involved no doubt loves their son there may be no major issues and you may be accepted by them. Down the road, however, may be a different story. The most important question is how will he deal with your desires? Don't expect him to change after you're married just because you love each other and you want him to be more like you. You are the only one that can weigh the parameters and decide if this is what you want and what the Lord would have you do.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 7:31 a.m.

    Every one want's the Stamp Of Approval. Since Christmas Isn't about "ME", It's about The Spirit Of Things. Religion is only what you do Religiously, Just mind your Manners, and be polite. You'll be fine.
    I wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  • Dode Smithfield, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 7:15 a.m.

    Your advice is well and good for the holiday. I worry about afterwards if things get serious.

  • Semi-Strong Louisville, KY
    Dec. 23, 2013 7:14 a.m.

    U agree with Angela's advice but I worry about the prospect for conflict later on down the road and especially once there are children, etc. Will she feel pressured to give up on her church activity? Will he feel pressured to go to church even though he does not believe? Marriage has plenty of challenges without being divided on questions of religion or the lack thereof.

    I hope the best for them. But I am concerned.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 23, 2013 7:13 a.m.

    It sounds like she has a good relationship with her boyfriend. Morality isn't the sole realm of religion; athiests are frequently more "moral" in their personal lives than religious people because athiests do it because it is the right thing to do and religious people only do it because they're afraid of punishment. Athiests also enjoy the holidays; nobody ever said that holidays weren't to be enjoyed.