03249_000_014or The Romance of Mary Mormon and Norman Nonmormon
A form of this game has undergone experimentation with several thousand students in the Church School System, from which source the New Era’s idea originated.
Should a Latter-day Saint date a nonmember ?
If you do, what is your obligation to him? What is your obligation to yourself?
On the following pages you will find an interesting game—something that for many of you, we hope, will be an absorbing experience. The game, however, is more than a game. It is what might be called a “near-life experience.”
By that we mean that in order to play the game you need to pretend that you are in each one of the settings. Picture yourself in each scene and then make a choice from the alternatives listed.
As in any game, there are a few rules:
1. Start at the beginning—frame No. 1.
2. After you have read the alternatives, make your choice and go to the frame number to which you are directed. That’s the fun of the game—to see where your decisions are leading you. In all cases, the frame you are seeking should border the frame in which you find yourself.
3. You may wish to go through the game several times, pretending to have different feelings each time. You will note that each alternative leads to a different chain of events. It might take an hour or so to work all possible chains of events.
The game can be played by one person or several persons, each of whom can help make the decisions. The game is geared toward the girl’s point of view, but any boy can also play.
One other point. Obviously, real life might present additional alternatives in some of the settings. Also, a prayerful person should seek inspiration, which could influence his feelings and decision at any point. Even so, the basic guidelines of the game seem to hold up in real life.
So here it is, your proxy date.
Enter Mary Mormon and Norman Nonmormon.
1. It’s a Wednesday evening. For three days it has been raining. I am getting tired of the gray, overcast skies. The telephone rings. “Hi! This is Norman Nonmormon. Would you be interested in a movie with me Friday night?” I say:
A. “I’m sorry, Norman. I’d like to, but I think I’d better stick to dating fellows who are members of the same church that I am. It’s really the best way to have no hurt feelings later on. Thanks, anyway. It’s sweet of you to ask.” (go to 20)
B. “Hey, that sounds fun. What time will we go?” (go to 5)
C. “I’m sorry, Norman, but I promised to tend my little brothers and sisters that night.” (go to 4)
3. from 5, 10, 18
The water skiing is great. The water is warm and calm. Norman is fun. I think he sort of likes me. He puts his arms around me and gives me a little squeeze. I react:
A. “No, Norman. Let’s just have a nice time.” (go to 11)
B. I move away from him and say nothing. (go to 8)
C. I like it and show him by cooperating and smiling. He has such nice eyes. (go to 6)
4. from 1, 5
Norman is an honest fellow and trusts that I am honest too, being a Mormon and all. Why do I think I have to lie? He thought my excuse was genuine, so he asked for another date. If I don’t want to go out, I can just politely say no. My choice now is:
A. “Okay. What shall I wear?” (go to 5)
B. Oh, oh, he’s trying again. I’d better get to the point this time. “No, I have made it a policy not to date fellows who are not of my religion. It’s really the best way to have no hurt feelings later on. I do think you are a fine person though, Norman. Say, maybe you’d like to meet some of us—we’re really a neat group.” (go to 19)
C. It will hurt his feelings if I tell him the real reason for not dating him. Better think of an excuse: “No, I’m sorry, Norman, but I have to milk the cows that night.” (go to 7)
5. from 1, 4, 7, 10, 18, 19, 20
Norman is fun. He has a good sense of humor, is outgoing, and I feel at ease with him. We both like music, water skiing, and the same foods. I think he enjoyed the date too, because he wants to take me water skiing next weekend. I say:
A. “No, thank you. We have had a good time, but I think it would be better if we didn’t go out anymore.” (go to 10)
B. “Yes. That would be great fun.” (go to 3)
C. “Sorry, Norman, but I have to go shopping with my mother.” (go to 4)
6. from 3, 8, 11
After we finish skiing, we dock and lock the boat. Norman opens the car door for me and I slide in. He is polite, and I’d like him to know that I appreciate his courtesy, so I:
A. Slide over near him. (go to 13)
B. Stay on my side and smile back at him. (go to 12)
7. from 4
I can’t fool Norman. He knows that I am just making up an excuse. Everyone knows that my mother milks the family cows. He doesn’t take the hint, so he asks me again, “How about next weekend?”
A. I guess it won’t hurt to go with him. “Okay. What will I need to wear?” (go to 5)
B. I might as well be honest with him. “No. I have always felt I would be better off not to date out of my church—nothing personal. Say, maybe you’d like to meet some of us—we’re really a neat group.” (go to 19)
C. What would be a good excuse that would be an obvious hint to him that I don’t want to go? “No, I’m sorry, Norman, but I have to trap flies that night.” (go to 19)
8. from 3
I hope actions speak louder than words. But did I move away because I didn’t like him or because I didn’t want to get involved in that kind of relationship? At any rate, I hope I have let him know that there are certain limits to our friendship. I wonder what would have happened if I had encouraged him. (go to 6)
10. from 5, 20
Norman was hurt when I said I would not accept. He asks me if the real reason is because he is not a Mormon.
A. I’d better get to the point. “Yes. You’re really a nice person, Norman, but I have just felt that if I date only fellows who are members of the same church as I am, I’ll have fewer regrets later on.”
(It is easy to see that if you choose this response, Norman probably will not continue to ask you out. You will have avoided having to make any possible difficult decisions later on, if it turns out that Norman isn’t interested in the Church. To learn what could have happened if you had dated Norman, go to 5—or 3, if you’ve already dated him once.)
B. I can see he is easily hurt; I’d better not be too blunt. “No. Not really I just have to babysit a lot and don’t have a chance to go out much.” (go to 18)
11. from 3
Well, I’m letting him know how I feel about advances at this point. Anyway, we are still on the date. (go to 6)
12. from 6
That was a safe move, I think. I haven’t encouraged him. I hope he realizes that I know what I am doing. I hope he respects me for my standards.
Suppose I were to slide over next to him. (go to 13)
13. from 6, 12
Norman takes me to the door. We are holding hands. He tells me what a nice time he had. Then he asks me if I would like to do something next weekend. He’ll call later and let me know what we will do. If I accept, it will mean the third date with Norman Nonmormon. My response is:
A. I think two dates are enough, but three are too many, so—“Thanks, but let me pass this one by.” (go to 14)
B. “Sure, I would be happy to go somewhere. But let me know what we are going to do a little ahead of time.” (go to 16)
14. from 13
Well, now I’ve done it! I know, of course, that I never have to give reasons for refusing a date. I realize that I have to break off the relationship with Norman Nonmormon early if I am going to break it off at all. Should I have tried to explain to him that I do not want to develop a relationship with a non-Mormon fellow? How could I do it without hurting his feelings? But if I were going to follow this approach, I wonder if it would have been better to have told him this on the first date. Haven’t I been a little dishonest? I’ve accepted his dates and am breaking off now because he is not a Mormon. Yet I don’t even know what he thinks about the Church. I haven’t tried to introduce him to it or to other young Mormons.
Suppose I had encouraged him to call again. It might be interesting to see what would have developed. (go to 21)
16. from 13
I really do enjoy him and we get along so well together. I guess he must feel the same way. Am I prepared for what might be developing? (go to 21)
18. from 10
Boy, that situation was uncomfortable, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. But why do I have to lie? If I don’t want to face the issue or be honest with Norman, I don’t have to explain my feelings. I can just politely say no.
Anyway, this is two no’s for him, and I’ll be relieved if he doesn’t call again. (It is easy to see that if you choose not to explain, Norman probably will not continue to ask you out. You will have avoided having to make any possible difficult decisions later on, if it turns out that Norman isn’t interested in the Church. to learn what could have happened if you had dated Norman, go to 5—or to 3, if you’ve already dated him once.)
19. from 4, 7
The course I have chosen may or may not be a difficult one, depending upon where I live. If I have few opportunities to meet other Mormons, it certainly will affect the number of dates I have. Of course, many good people would join the Church if someone were to introduce them to it. Maybe the important thing here is that I remember that at some point in my life, dating can lead to marriage—and for me, there is only one kind of marriage. But what if I didn’t want to break off at this point? What would have happened had I accepted Norman’s date? (go to 5)
20. from 1
The next day I tell my best friend about my chance to go with Norman. She thinks I was crazy for not accepting the date. She says, “After all, he’s nice, well-liked, and a lot more active in his church than a lot of Mormon boys are in ours. And anyway, how do you know he wouldn’t be interested in the Church?”
The next day I see Norman in a biology class. He smiles and in a half-kidding, half-earnest way asks me for another date. I decide:
A. I’ve got to be firm. And I realize, of course, that I never have to give reasons for refusing a date. Some things are best left unsaid. “I’m sorry, Norman. But it really is nice of you to ask.” (go to 10)
B. He really does seem to be a fine person. And if I don’t let him meet a Mormon, maybe he’ll never know what we’re like. “I’d be glad to go if you’d still like to.” (go to 5)
21. from 14, 16
Everyday Norman waits for me and we go to class together. Sometimes it is a little hard to concentrate in class.
Wednesday he asks me if I would like to go over to his house Saturday night to watch television.
A. I’ve really got to stop this. “No, thanks, Norman. I don’t think we should see one another anymore.” (go to 23)
B. “Sure! Should I bring some popcorn?” (go to 25)
C. “I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t you come to my place?” (go to 22)
22. from 21
I’m right in inviting him to my house. Who knows what it would have been like at his house? Would his parents be home? It could have been uncomfortable. (go to 29)
23. from 21
Was I saying no to that type of date, or did I say no because I did not want the relationship to develop further?
At any rate, I have given him a stop signal. (go to 24)
24. from 23
I can’t help but wonder what that date might have been like. I wonder where such a decision could possibly lead? (go to 25)
25. from 21, 24
Norman picks me up at my house, and we drive to his house. His parents seem very nice and welcome me warmly to their home. Then they excuse themselves. They are going out and don’t expect to be back until late. I didn’t count on this.
After Norman and I pop some corn, we watch a movie on television. He tries to kiss me. A little surprised,
A. I say, “Please don’t, Norman!” (go to 31)
B. I turn my head away. (go to 32)
C. I kiss him. (go to 30)
29. from 22
Norman and I are sitting on the couch watching the late movie. My parents have retired for the night, and it is getting late. They rap on the adjoining wall. Norman gets the picture, but before leaving he tries to kiss me. I was expecting this, so:
A. I say, “Please don’t, Norman!” (go to 31)
B. I turn my head away. (go to 32)
C. I kiss him. (go to 30)
30. from 25, 29, 31, 32
I realize that Norman is getting serious, and I am a little anxious. He asks me to the big school dance. I have heard that an LDS boy is thinking of asking me, so I think about it a minute, then say:
A. “No, thanks, Norman, I have plans for that night.” (go to 33)
B. “That sounds great! It’s a formal dance, isn’t it?” (go to 35)
31. from 25, 29
He gets the message, and nothing happens. But at the doorstep when he holds my hand, and looks so nice, and has such deep blue eyes … I’m going to assume that before I know it, he has kissed me good night. I’m even surprised myself because I hadn’t planned on it and really didn’t do anything to discourage him. (go to 30)
32. from 25, 29
Later, Norman tries again. I guess he likes me, and I guess I’m not really discouraging him.
I wonder what would happen if he didn’t get the message and I gave in. (go to 30)
33. from 30
It was wrong to lie. But then, I do have plans for the night—I plan to not date Norman. Of course, since I kissed him, Norman’s probably doing what he expects should normally follow the present pattern of our relationship. (go to 36)
35. from 30, 36
So now I have accepted another date with Norman Nonmormon. Norman puts his arm around me and leans forward to kiss me. My response is:
A. A “no” and a smile. (go to 37)
B. A kiss that means I really like Norman Nonmormon. (go to 38)
36. from 33
My turning down the date to the big school dance may have said “Stop!” to Norman. He wanted to know why I wouldn’t go to the dance, and I said I thought he was a swell person but that we were moving too fast in our relationship. He probably won’t ask me out again, and this is what I want—to get off the “marry-go-round” romance between Mary Mormon and Norman Nonmormon. But suppose I had accepted the dance date? Or another date later? Now that a relationship would be beginning, when would I start to introduce for consideration the Church and other factors upon which decisions could be based that would be mutually understandable and honest to both him and me?
Let’s see what would happen if I were to choose all of the answers that would encourage Norman. (go to 35)
37. from 35
Some boys are funny. They think that just because girls accept dates with them, they will eventually give them good night kisses. This is what Norman thinks, and I guess I have him going around in circles wondering why I continue to accept dates with him. As a matter of fact, I wonder myself. Isn’t it time for me to really get this whole thing on a more intelligent basis?
I’ll see what kind of encouragement a kiss might have given. (go to 38)
38. from 35, 37
The big school dance is very special. And Norman is so very thoughtful. Several people told us they thought we were a fine-looking couple. After the dance, Norman asks me to go steady. I say:
A. “No, Norman. I don’t think going steady would be wise.” (go to 39)
B. “Let me talk it over with my parents before I give you an answer.” (go to 42)
C. “Oh, Norman, I’d like to, very much.” (go to 45)
39. from 38
Norman is hurt. He says that the difference between regular dating and steady dating is not clear to him. Of course, to me it is—going steady is really like saying to others, “We’ve found in each other all that we want. We’re now off-limits to everyone else.” Maybe I should have broken off the relationship earlier.
But let’s assume that I accepted. (go to 45)
41. from 42
My parents said, “Just because a fellow is baptized, it doesn’t mean that he will be a model of perfection. If a Latter-day Saint doesn’t follow the Church’s high standards, don’t date him, either.” Should I accept my parents’ advice or not?
A. Well, whom can I date? (go to 44)
B. No. I’m telling Norman I’ll go steady with him. (go to 45)
42. from 38
After a long discussion with my parents, I am nearly exhausted. They keep bringing up the fact that because Norman is not a Latter-day Saint, he couldn’t take me to the temple if we decided to marry after school is finished. My argument stresses how much I like him and how nice a person he is. I finally say:
A. “Okay. I’ll accept your advice and not go steady.” (go to 43)
B. “But he is so much more a gentleman than any Church member I have ever dated.” (go to 41)
C. “I don’t want to follow you advice. I’ll tell Norman I’ll go steady.” (go to 45)
43. from 42
After the talk, my married sister came by. She said I am to be congratulated for agreeing not to date Norman steadily. She said, “You may think that Mom and Dad are ruining your social life; but if you will have a little faith in their wisdom, things will work out for you. Then, too, we don’t always consider the difficulty of being a parent. Have you ever tried to explain to Johnny why it is not good to put paper clips into an electrical outlet? Parents sometimes feel that same frustration in trying to explain some things.”
Had I not made this decision, where would steady dating with Norman Nonmormon have led? (go to 45)
44. from 41, 51, 52, 65, 66
My folks, Church leaders, and friends have always said that I should use the programs of the Church to get acquainted with other young Latter-day Saints. I know that my chances of finding happiness with a good Latter-day Saint man are much greater when one considers the importance of temple marriage, family customs, children, and our basic gospel values.
Going to Church socials and going to meetings are ways to get acquainted with members of the Church who believe as I do. And I should turn any future dates with any non-Mormon Norman into group affairs and introduce him to the Church and other Mormons. A non-Mormon needs to know a lot more about me and I need to know his response to the gospel before any decision on a close relationship can be made. Right from the start, Church socials and meetings should be my strength—to receive dates from these sources or introduce non-Mormons into them quickly.
(If you arrived here from 41, go to 45 and see what might have happened if you had gone steady. If you arrived here from 51 or 52, go to 54 and see what would have happened if you had accepted the ring.)
45. from 38, 39, 41, 42, 43, 44
I am now going steady with Norman Nonmormon. Since we are going steady, we decide to spend Sunday afternoons together. Norman wants me to go to his church, but I would rather he go to mine. Finally we decide to:
A. Go to mine, and he agrees to accompany me. (go to 47)
B. Go to his church. This pleases Norman. (go to 46)
C. Compromise, rather than quarrel, and go to neither. We decide that watching television is a good way to avoid quarrels like this. (go to 48)
46. from 45
On Sunday Norman directs me to what would be similar to an investigator class in our church. I am invited to begin studying Norman’s faith. My reaction is:
A. “Not now; maybe later. I would like to know more about your church sometime in the future.” (go to 48)
B. “No, thank you.” (go to 49)
47. from 45
I thought getting Norman to go to my church might be a good way for him to meet the Mormons and for me to introduce him to the missionaries. After meeting Norman, the missionaries offer to explain more about the Church to him. If Norman refuses to listen to them:
A. I will quit dating him. (go to 50)
B. I will say nothing but will try to convert him later. (go to 48)
48. from 45, 46, 47, 49, 50, 65
Time passes, and a holiday arrives. I expect a small gift from Norman, because he has hinted that he has something for me. But I am taken completely by surprise when he shows me a diamond ring and asks me to marry him. I say:
A. “Norman, I couldn’t possibly marry a non-Latter-day Saint.” (go to 51)
B. “Oh, Norman, you’re wonderful! You know I’ll marry you!” (go to 54)
C. “Norman, if you’d join the Church, I’d consider it.” (go to 53)
49. from 46
I realize now that Norman’s faith is very important to him. He seriously wants me to come his way regarding religious issues. So:
A. I decide not to date him any longer. (go to 65)
B. I decide it does make a difference that he feels strongly about his religion, but I’m sure our love can solve these problems. Everything will work out. (go to 48)
50. from 47
This is the right decision! But haven’t I been unfair to Norman? Bam! All of a sudden, the Church! I should have been discussing this with him all along; then this decision would be understandable to him. He’d know why I couldn’t continue a serious relationship with a non-Mormon.
I should have learned from him a long time back whether he was interested in the Church; and if he didn’t wish to hear or know more about us, the signal to break off our dating would have been clear.
What would happen had I kept dating Norman after he knew how I felt about the Church? (go to 48)
51. from 48
Well, I got out of that! But my friend Peggy wants to know how I justify that refusal in light of all the steady dating during school and in light of my not seriously trying to let Norman know about me and what I want out of my marriage. But I’ve never been honest enough with Norman to tell him of our differences. Peggy says Norman would not have asked me if I hadn’t encouraged him all along. Norman is probably hurt and bitter. What should I do now?
A. Meet some good Latter-day Saints. (go to 44)
B. See what would have happened if I had accepted the ring. (go to 54)
C. Turn down the ring but continue to date Norman. After all, he takes me out to fun places, and even though I could never marry him, I enjoy going places with him and he has nice friends. (go to 52)
52. from 51
My older sister thinks I’m self-centered and dishonest. She says, “Don’t you think Norman has feelings? Don’t lead him along when you don’t have any serious intentions. You’re not being honest. Come on, sister, get with it! Let him know that you could never marry him. Then go out and find yourself some nice Church member who is eligible.” (If this interests you, go to 44)
53. from 48
I guess I underestimated Norman. I thought he would become discouraged when I refused to become engaged until he joined the Church. Consequently, he has studied with the missionaries and has agreed to be baptized. I’m so happy I can hardly stand it. Earlier this evening we attended his baptism, and I saw him become a member of the Church. Afterwards he again asked me to marry him. I accepted his proposal. Now he wants to know when we can get married. My answer is:
A. “Let’s wait a year until you can hold the Melchizedek Priesthood so that we can go to the temple.” (go to 58)
B. “Okay. It will have to be a civil marriage, but we can go to the temple in a year or so when you can get a recommend.” (go to 57)
C. “Let’s have a civil marriage.” (go to 59)
54. from 44, 48, 51, 63, 66
I agree to marry Norman Nonmormon. We will be married in two months. That gives us plenty of time to plan the wedding and to work out some problems such as where we will live, what church we will be married in, and so forth. I wonder which church we will be married in:
A. My chapel? (go to 68)
B. His church? (go to 55)
C. A compromise. We’ll marry civilly. Then no one in his family can say that our marriage was overly influenced by my religion. (go to 68)
55. from 54
My sister Lucy is at it again. She says, “What in the world ever prompted you to make that decision? To be married in his church is the same as saying that in all future decisions, your marriage will follow his faith. The blessing (or baptizing) of your children, their confirmation, and the general attitudes and values to be found in your home will follow his faith. You have said—almost—that the Church is not a part of your life. You would have been smarter to marry civilly. At least that would be neutral ground. Better still, it would have been much smarter of you to have gotten off this ‘marry-go-round’ much earlier.”
Well, it’s too late now. The invitations have already been sent out. (Or can you change your mind even after invitations have been sent? You most certainly can! Better to suffer a little embarrassment than get things off on the wrong foot. Let’s assume you realize that marrying in his church could never work, and that you’ve convinced Norman to marry civilly.) (go to 68)
56. from 57
I wonder how I can be sure. A converted person is a changed person. Has Norman really changed? Does he attend all of his meetings, carry his priesthood assignments, and pay his tithing and offerings? Do we hold family prayer and home evening, and does Norman seem to enjoy these and understand why we do what we do? The choice now is Norman’s. I can’t go without him, and I can’t go alone. I’ve certainly put myself in a risky position. The thing I want more than anything else—a temple marriage—is now out of my control. I’ll just have to wait and see what happens. (go to 59)
57. from 53, 63, 64
We have been married for over a year now. I have been looking forward to our going to the temple to be married for eternity. But whenever I bring up the issue, he avoids it. I am becoming worried. I’m beginning to wonder whether we will make it. I’ll ask him again. He says:
A. “Yes.” (go to 56)
B. “No.” (go to 59)
58. from 53
Congratulations to myself! I have let my head rule my heart. The year has passed. It’s been a busy year for both of us, and now we love each other even more. We are waiting and working for a temple recommend. Of course, this matter is up to the two of us and our bishop. We know that moral and religious laws of the Church. As a result of the interview with the bishop:
A. Norman is worthy to obtain a recommend. (go to 63)
B. Norman is not worthy to obtain a recommend. (go to 64)
59. from 53, 56, 57
As time passes, Norman gradually expressed disinterest in attending Church with me. First he has one excuse, then another. Now he doesn’t even bother to give an excuse—he just doesn’t go to church. For a while he didn’t say anything about my going alone, but now he seems to resent the time I spend working in the Church. My position as MIA teacher doesn’t take as much time as he says it does. He seems to think that one hour on Sunday is all the time anyone should spend in church. That’s all he ever did. How will I solve this problem?
A. To help get better feelings in my marriage, maybe I will quit my job as MIA teacher and go to church just once in a while. (go to 61)
B. I will continue going to church and teaching MIA in spite of Norman’s nagging. He’s been baptized. He knows how important Church service is in keeping ourselves spiritually in tune—doesn’t he? (go to 60)
60. from 59
In spite of Norman’s resentment, I continue to be active in the Church. I try to help him feel good about it, but he has started bowling and playing cards with his friends three or four nights a week. It seems to me he does this just to get even with me for spending my time in church. I’m afraid we are starting to drift far apart even though we still live together. What am I going to do now?
A. To help get better feelings in my marriage, maybe I will quit my church job and attend meetings only once in a while. (go to 61)
B. I will continue my Church activities, in spite of Norman’s feelings. I’m sure he will come to see that he’s wrong. (go to 62)
61. from 59, 60
Quitting my church job and going to church once in a while may stop Norman from nagging me about spending so much time in church, but it won’t solve my problem. It will lead to more and more inactivity on my part. What about my children? If Norman resents my spending so much time in church, he will feel the same way about them. Will they be able to attend church regularly and participate in its activities? Even if he permits them, will he cooperate with me as I attempt to teach them to fast and pray, pay tithing, keep the Word of Wisdom, and hold family home evening regularly? I’m afraid I have placed myself in a very risky and potentially very unhappy situation, and all because I didn’t know enough to make the right decisions at the right time. Anyone can see what my future holds. It will be a miracle if my dreams about my family can ever come to pass.
I’m glad this has been just an imaginary experience and that I didn’t really have to live it. (end of this route)
62. from 60
As time goes on, it is becoming clear that persisting in my church activities causes more and more conflict. Even though I am active in the Church, I am miserable. Choosing the other alternative and participating in church activities only once in a while will not make me happy either. Neither of these choices is bringing me happiness at home, but what other alternatives are there for me?
I chose this risky possibility when I chose to get married civilly and not wait until Norman held the Melchizedek Priesthood. During that year, if Norman were not converted or had joined the Church just for me, it would have become obvious to both of us. Of course, this present situation of Norman’s inactivity in the Church could have happened even if we had waited and gone to the temple, but the possibility of its occurring would have been greatly reduced.
I am glad this is not a real experience. By making the right decisions at earlier stages of this sad situation. (end of this route)
63. from 58
I’m very happy. Norman is a member of the Church and we are soon going to be married in the temple. Some say I am lucky. They say that my case represents the small percentage that gets this end result—a truly converted fiancé. But when they say I am lucky, they are wrong. This wasn’t a matter of luck. It was based on intelligent decision-making. I made two wise decisions that set me on the right path. First, I discussed marriage and my church with Norman and chose not to marry him because I would marry only a member of the Church. Next, I chose to wait a year until he could hold the Melchizedek Priesthood so we could be married in the temple. These are the two major decisions that have greatly influenced my future life and happiness.
Suppose I had not made these decisions?
A. What if I had said, “Let’s get married now,” instead of “Let’s wait until you join the Church,” when Norman first proposed to me? (go to 54)
B. What if I had waited until Norman was baptized and then said, “Let’s get married now and go to the temple later”? (go to 57)
64. from 58
What am I going to do now? If the bishop has told me that I’m worthy, morally and in every other way, then it only means that Norman has failed to keep the commandments, isn’t fully converted, or has some other problem. I decided to:
A. Marry him anyway. (go to 57)
B. Break off our relationship and not see him anymore. This is too risky for marriage. (go to 66)
65. from 49
Well, I have finally realized that it is necessary to get off the romance boat when the oars don’t work. I wonder what took me so long. This relationship could never work. We’d both be very unhappy, quarrel over which church our children should join, and I’d always hope he’d come my way. Our basic philosophies would disagree at so many points that only such a superficial relationship as dating could have hidden them this long. I want to get off the “marry-go-round” with Norman Nonmormon. I now want to:
A. Meet some boys who are Church members. (go to 44)
B. See what would have happened if I had continued to date Norman. (go to 48)
66. from 64
Congratulations! When a bishop cannot give a temple recommend to a person, it means that there are some problems that need serious attention. I’ll ask the bishop to see that Norman’s bishop and ward members work hard to keep Norman in the Church. But this is too risky right now. I must have been pretty foolish or must have been going around with my eyes half closed not to notice Norman’s growth—or lack of it—during this past year. Anyway, there is no question but that this is the right decision. If I want to know how to meet some other LDS fellows, I can go to 44.
Had I not made this decision, however, and decided to marry Norman, what might have happened? (go to 54)
67. from 70
Well, I’ve really blown it! Don’t I realize that my children, their children, and their children’s children will likely all be raised outside the gospel? If my children were not members of another church, at least there might be a chance that Norman would let them be baptized into the restored Church in time, but it is extremely unlikely that this will happen if my children are in another church. Didn’t I remember Lucy’s talk to me? Don’t I understand what the Church is—or what it can mean to me throughout all time? I am denying my son the fulness of joy reserved for those who accept the Lord’s Church. With this pattern of behavior, what will our future hold? (go to 72)
68. from 54, 55
We have been married for one year. The honeymoon is over. Our first conflict was when the bishop asked me to teach a Primary class. I really wanted the job, but Norman didn’t like the idea of my being away from home. He likes his meals prepared and waiting when he gets home from work. I say:
A. “I will not accept the job.” (go to 69)
B. I tell Norman that Church activity would mean a great deal to me and I’m asking him to fix his own meals the nights I have to teach Primary. (go to 70)
69. from 68
I have come to miss the spiritual growth and opportunity for service that I had when I was active in the Church. My spiritual life will continue to decay and nothing in my future suggests that it will get better. Did I consider this reality when I first started dating Norman Nonmormon? (go to 70)
70. from 68, 69
It is some months later, and Norman and I are blessed with our first child. He weighs seven pounds, eight ounces, and is twenty-one inches long. I can’t wait to get out of the hospital and take him home. When I get home, Norman is anxious to have him baptized. I say:
A. “Are you kidding? Little children don’t need baptism. Let’s wait until he is eight years old. That’s when we baptize children in my church.” (go to 71)
B. “Okay, you’re the father of our household. I guess it’s okay for the firstborn son to be baptized into his father’s church.” (go to 67)
71. from 70
Those are nice words, but how am I going to persuade Norman? He is convinced that his church is best for the children. Before we were married, I never thought how deeply we could feel about these kinds of problems. (go to 72)
72. from 67, 71
Years pass, and several children have come into our home. Life has had its happy and sad days. We have had joy together, but I know that we have missed so much. Our main conflicts have been religion-oriented, because our philosophies about life are so different. I didn’t know that the gospel is such a total part of my life. Each time one of our children is faced with a religious decision, I say:
A. “Your father is the head of the family. We’d better do as he says.” (go to 74)
B. “Norman, my church is really the true church. Can’t you see that? This time, do as I say, please.” (go to 73)
C. “Let’s not baptize them in either church and then our kids can decided what they want to do.” (go to 75)
73. from 72
I wonder why I think Norman will agree to this idea. Our dating relationship certainly couldn’t have shown him how I felt. Norman might—or might not—compromise his thoughts. But did I ever consider that it is impossible to compromise with the truth? Either something is true or it isn’t. Even if Norman agreed for half of our children to be baptized in my church, I can see the conflict and hard feelings that would arise in our family. Misunderstanding, no common bond, arguing all the time—what have I gotten myself into? (go to 76)
74. from 72
But when Norman answers life’s important questions, our children get a distorted view of the purpose of life and the eternal values that are most important. Norman’s answers aren’t bad answers. They just won’t help our children get into the celestial kingdom. My narrow-minded sister Lucy says I don’t think enough of my children to provide them with the very best kind of family. Well, she can just go to church. We’re as good as she is any day. (go to 76)
75. from 72
At first I thought this was a sensible solution, but as the years go by, I see that not baptizing our children into the Church means that they grow up without the gospel. I’m heartsick. Maybe if Norman and I really communicate and if he’ll let someone whom he trusts in my church talk to him, we can solve this problem. But it will be hard, and maybe I’ll never be able to solve this problem. (go to 76)
76. from 73, 74, 75
I finally realize that it is impossible to ignore the truth of the gospel and still find happiness. The minute I compromise, like getting romantically involved with a person who does not believe as I do, I immediately set myself on a course that will lead to unhappiness. The amount of unhappiness I experience will depend on how far I go along that romantic path. I can see now that when one chooses a path he also chooses the place where the path leads.
I’m relieved that this is only an imaginary romance. I’m glad that the conflicts and problems encountered here can be avoided if I make proper decisions early in my dating career. The steps that can lead me to eternal happiness or to sorrow are obvious. Anyone can see how important it is for one to recognize the steps that lead to increased involvement with a person and then, most of all, to make up one’s mind ahead of time about how far he’ll go on the Norman Nonmormon “marry-go-round.”