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PAMELA - I am Greek Orthodox. i am in love with a Mormon man. we have been together for 3 years and they have been the best 3 years of our lives. The problem is that we both love our religion, and wouldn't want to convert to anything different. what can we do? is it ok to get married even though we're not the same religion?

JOEL - Your situation is not uncommon. Members of the LDS faith are allowed to marry those of other religions and remain in good standing in the church. There are many LDS members who have married non-members and they can have a very happy marriage if they are tolerant and accepting of each others beliefs.

Such a situation however is not without serious challenges, regardless of the religions involved. First of all, in order for us to be saved into the highest kingdom of God the LDS church believes that we need to enter into the everlasting covenant of marriage; an ordinance that is only performed in our temples. There a man and woman, who must both be members of the church in good standing, are sealed together forever, and if they remain faithful to each other and to the promises they make in the temple, they will together obtain the highest glory of the Celestial kingdom in heaven. If this is something your future husband wants he is going to have to realize that it is not going to happen for him, unless of course you should decide to change your religion to his. And neither one of you should go into a marriage where one of you secretly plans on trying to convince the other to change their religion. Most of the time that never happens, and can lead to discontent and a break up of the marriage, or if not that, one of the spouses becomes inactive in their religion in order to keep harmony in the home.

According to a research study the divorce rate for LDS members who marry in an LDS temple is only about 6%-10% - the lowest rate of all religion-based rates in the US, by far. The divorce rate for LDS non-temple marriages (when both people are Mormon) is about 18%-21% - which is about the same for all Christian denominations. The divorce rate for an LDS/non-LDS marriage is about 41%; almost double. To make your marriage work you must love each other unconditionally and be fully accepting and supportive of each others religious differences.

Another challenge is in which faith do you raise your children? Many think that they can just let their children decide that on their own when they get older. Parents who do that end up with children that might not choose any religion. The Bible tells us that we must teach our children from their youth about God and His Gospel (Proverbs 22:6). So which gospel will you teach them? Within which religious culture will they grow in? If I have scared you a little by all this...........good! These are real challenges that must be considered. But as I said at the beginning there are those who have made it work, some are even in my own LDS ward I live in. You asked me if it's OK to get married, but the only one who can really answer that question is you.

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