I don't have many friends in my hometown that I've kept in touch with over the last four years. Only two, really, and they're sisters who I spent a lot of time with in high school and whose house I came to consider a second home -- those kinds of friends. Close friends. Good friends.
Very religious, very active in church friends.
Friends who don't watch PG-13 movies because they don't like the vulgarity or violence, who only listen to "good" music, who don't go to bars to avoid the appearance of evil, who volunteer for every service opportunity that comes along.
They're good and faithful people. And in high school, we had a lot in common (except that I liked PG-13 movies).
And now that we're older -- well, one is married. The other, all but engaged. And both to good, righteous, upstanding Priesthood holders.
I joined their family for Family Home Evening on Monday -- a trip to the movies to see one of the kids movies that just came out. A good, clean flick. After it was over, we wandered out into the parking lot and I showed off my new car
. We chatted. We talked. The sister who was there cajoled me to come to Institute the next night -- said I should stay after and sing in the choir with her. She'd introduce me to some good Mormon boys -- because, if I'm single, I obviously need introducing.
They began to list the possible boys: well, this one's cute, if you don't mind dating a dentist. Stay away from this one -- and this one -- and this one -- and this one. This one likes so-and-so, but he's 24 and she's only 19, so if you wanted to go out with him...
And so forth.
At that point I casually (or, rather, not-so-casually) mentioned that I've been seeing a guy back east, and wasn't all that interested in being set up...
...at which point, of course, they ask the obviously logical question: "Is he Mormon?"
"Well, no, but--"
"Well, that's not good enough!"
And so on it went.
Isn't it? I've given that conversation a lot of thought over the past couple days, and I have to wonder.
When I was younger, I was determined I'd only marry an RM in the temple. As I got older, I began to temper my zeal a little bit -- he didn't have
to be an RM. But I basically had a list of priorities -- of "What I Want In A Guy" and those were high on it.
They're important, but not top-most. If I'm going to spend time and all eternity with a fellow, I'd like him to be someone I feel like I can be myself around; and if I can't find that in the Church, then I'll be happy to settle for time, and let eternity sort itself out.
So there's the question -- is
it good enough? Am I allowed to make my own priorities? Or do I need to conform them to what I'm told in church is most important? And when it comes to dating -- just dating, not Mormon-dating-with-high-marriage-pressure -- does it matter?(I don't intend for this to turn into a discussion of whether there are date-able/marry-able guys/girls in LDS-land. There must be -- Heaven knows, they get married often enough. The question, rather, is whether religion ought to be every young LDS person's highest priority in looking for a mate.)