People ask me sometimes whether it’s hard for me that my husband is not Mormon.Or they want to know, on a practical level, how we make our interfaith family work.Looking past the important twenty-something years of dating, Riley explores how interfaith families respond to the later challenges and complexities of raising children when the partners don’t agree on religion. This seems on the surface to be a counterintuitive argument—if Mormons are kind and accepting of interfaith marriages and the people in them, as Riley claims from her interviews and research (and as our family has experienced firsthand, with only a few exceptions in two decades), wouldn’t the opposite be true?This is difficult in the LDS faith, where so much is expected of ordinary members. Wouldn’t there be more interfaith, part-Mormon marriages? Because of Mormonism’s strong emphasis on missionary work, approximately a third of part-member marriages will become same-faith marriages when the other spouse converts, sometimes many years down the road.
Tonight is the 25 anniversary of the evening we met, so forgive me if I’m a little gushy.But there’s a significant outlier to the national trend toward intermarriage.My own part-member family notwithstanding, Mormons are the least likely of any religious group to marry outside the fold, at just 12%.According to Naomi Schaefer Riley’s new book Till Faith Do Us Part, 36% of American marriages are now interfaith (when all brands of Protestantism are lumped together).