Ask a Mormon Woman: Do Mormons Believe in Divorce?

Jul 17, 2009 by

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Kathleen, a faithful Catholic woman, asks this question: Do Mormons Believe in Divorce?

~by Cheryl

The answer to this question is complicated. However, to put it simply, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believes in marriage. In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, it says:

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that not only is marriage central to the plan of God, but it can also last forever. Divorce, when used commonly and without much thought, goes against this plan.

This does not mean divorce doesn’t, shouldn’t, and can’t happen. Nor does it mean members of the Mormon Church are automatically “excommunicated” or “disfellowshipped” when divorce occurs. Many times, in situations where there is continual abuse (sexual, physical, mental, emotional) of a spouse (or of children), divorce may be the only option. Other times, women (and men) are left alone –abandoned–by a spouse. Sometimes adultery, severe addictions, illegal activities or other severe problems may plague a marriage, and because of this, divorce may be pursued.

The standard does not change, however. Mormon men and women are counseled to do everything they can to strengthen their marriages and families, making their marital relationships one of their highest priorities. Where there is hope and a chance of reconciliation, we are taught to do everything in our power to save our marriages. From the get-go, we are encouraged to date our spouses weekly, pray together, attend church together, go to the Temple together, “cleave unto each other and none else“, care for one another, and as President Gordon B. Hinckley (the 15th Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) once said:

I have long felt that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion…

Having many divorced family members myself, I know the pain divorce can cause families. I also know the pain that can come when divorce is not an option (or treated as not an option). Having seen both sides, however, it is easy for me to say that divorce should always be the last resort. I’m grateful for the knowledge I have that marriage is sacred and should be treated as such. I know that when there is love, respect, kindness, and hope, marriage can be wonderful! It may not always be easy, but through the principles of repentance and forgiveness, it is worth every effort.

In conclusion, here is a video that depicts some excerpts from Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ General Conference talk entitled,  Divorce:


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  1. Very well said!

  2. There are mountains of data now, including a really excellent article from Time magazine, for a wonder, that indicate that divorce and out-of-wedlock birth are two of the worst things that can happen to children.

    This is a really great response, Cheryl. It’s not enough to rule out divorce as an option; there has to be a sincere and immovable commitment to the marriage in the first place. It must be the top priority, both urgent and important every single day. These days, especially, without that commitment it is practically impossible for a marriage to last.

  3. The Time article is entitled “Is There Hope for the American Marriage”, FYI.

  4. Liz

    Although this is about 3 years old I feel some more comments are necessary to fully answer the question. Yes, Mormons divorce. Yes Mormons marry again. I have never heard of a Mormon being kicked out of the Church for divorcing. I only know of individuals disfellowshipped or excommunicated for sexual sins (i.e. infidelity and sex outside of marriage). Although I am sure there are other reasons, an individual is not excommunicated for divorcing. If it was the case I know quite a few people including myself who would not be worthy temple recommend holders. As to the comment on children, no article will ever substitute for the fervent and honest prayers of a concerned and loving parent.

  5. Liz, it’s never too late for another comment. Thanks for your added perspective.

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