This is the 2nd post from Howard, a frequent commenter here at W&T.
I’m fascinated with human nature and human behavior! Twice during my career I’ve gone undercover, once to determine how employees were being injured in a particularly dangerous factory and another time to improve production. For several months I lived in a way similar to the homeless to observe life on the street. For the last few years my informal laboratory has been online dating, including dating LDS divorcees and widows ranging from inactive to active members with temple recommends.
A couple of years ago while living in Salt Lake City as an experiment I put up a dating profile that subtlety without lying suggested that I live a monied lifestyle and I’m looking for a woman who can fit into it. I wanted to test the folklore money digger cliche. Well the the SLC women actually did very well showing little interest. It did draw one divorced women who was clearly looking for someone to financially take care of her and a few worldly ladies who appeared to be familiar with that approach as a professional career path. So I shut it down earlier than expected. But lately I’m finding an interesting trend among Mormon women even those who present themselves as active members.
On non-member sites I came across three women who identified their religion as LDS but appeared to have typical non-member dating morals. One was still fairly active but had been through the regrettable experience of having a Bishop expose some of her many children to lewd behavior and then was not believed or supported by the church when she reported it! This strongly impacted her faith in the church but she is still attending. One who is somewhat active, still has family in the church but finds that the Law of Chastity hampers her relationships. One had been inactive for a year or two. The commonality was an attitude of “don’t tell” meaning live you life according to the morals you choose and simply don’t tell the church authorities! Don’t tell resonated with me because I’ve read of this attitude on various LDS blogs but usually associated with lessor sins.
I’m a reasonably good looking guy, (a little better than average I guess) so I put up a simple profile and photos on an LDS dating site. The first thing I noticed was I’m drawing far better looking LDS women than I typically draw from non-member sites suggesting to me that dating choices must be pretty bleak for LDS women! This profile stated that I occasionally enjoy a beer or glass of wine and I like to make love without involving the church. At first I was mostly ignored except for a few looky loos who made repeating visits to my profile and sending an occasional flirt, but as time went on I began to receive a slow but steady stream of emails from very nice looking normally appearing LDS women who described themselves as active members many with temple recommends or who claim to be temple worthy. A few kind ladies pointed me back to the church’s teachings but most of them wanted to explore dating me! So now I know of probably a dozen active Mormon women who don’t tell, for example; one a wine drinking temple goer who says she would probably make love without being married if she fell in love with someone. One who loves genealogy, is still married and living with her husband but in separate bedrooms which she calls a separation. She plans to divorce because he turned away from her years ago after disfiguring breast cancer surgery and has no interest even after the cosmetic work. I found a widow who loved to get a baby sitter and take a short road trips with her husband just outside her stake boundary so they could combine a bottle of wine with making love and she wants to do this again, marriage is optional. There’s a temple going widow who’s already made love to one man since her husband passed and is considering doing it again.
The life details and circumstances of these women vary greatly but the common attitude is “don’t tell”. Now this is not meant to be a scientific study or a random sample of Mormon women because I indicated a preference for drinking and making love without involving the church and respondents strongly self-selected to that bias. I did it because I was specifically looking for “don’t tell” and I easily found it!
What is you experience or opinion is there a growing trend to live by your own morals and simply not tell the church authorities?