Mormon Divorce

Why Mormon Divorces Cause Trouble For Some Couples

kutv.com channel 2 news

February 15, 2008

SALT LAKE CITY - When nonreligious couples get divorced, typically the court documents signify the end of it.  When Mormons divorce, there are typically post-split issues that continue to hound many couples.

The LDS Church preaches family togetherness and eternal marriage, but when one of the unions based on the faith falls apart it often creates challenges that ordinary couples do not face.

For example, LDS couples who divorce are often unsure where they fit in the church because of the split.  Mormon teachings advocate unions that last for all of human life -- and into what the church calls "eternity," or the afterlife.  If a couple fails to meet the former benchmark, they often feel disenfranchised.

"They don't feel like they have a place in the church anymore... and a lot of them leave the church," said Jennifer James, a therapist who experienced an LDS divorce.  "I think we tend to fly in the face of the mantra that families are forever."

James says that the community surrounding a split LDS couple often doesn't know how to react as well.

"The culture treats us as if we really are an embarrassment," she said.

It really doesn't matter to some in the faith that Mormon marriages often fall apart for many of the same reasons nonreligious marriages do.  One thing that might separate LDS couples apart, however, is the faith's cultural emphasis on quick courtships and marrying young -- in some cases, too young.

"They really think it's all going to work out some way magically... and of course, it doesn't," James said.

As a therapist, James has written several books on the subject of LDS divorces and actively conducts workshops on the issue.  In her experience, she says often times what Mormon couples benefit from is pre-marital counseling and post-breakup support.

Most of the time, James says, there is a need for more understanding when a union that was supposed to last forever comes to a sudden end.

"Everyone makes mistakes and you learn from them and move forward into successful relationships," James said.

MORE:
LDS Broken Wings - A website about Mormon relationships

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