Views on Intermarriage
by Marcus H. Martins, Ph.D.

What do you think about intercultural marriages?  Do the Brethren have any words on this subject?

Personally, I don't have a problem with intercultural marriages, as long as the prospective couple has a sense of the potential challenges they may face, the adaptations they will have to make in their lifestyles, and are still comfortable with the idea of getting married.  This personal opinion refers solely to local cultures and customs, not to doctrines of the gospel.

I don't know what the brethren think today, but in their statements over the years they have discouraged people from marrying outside the Church, outside their culture, and outside their nationality. Consider the following statements:

Elder Russell M. Nelson
Conference Report, April 1994

"It is morally wrong for any person or group to deny anyone his or her inalienable dignity on the tragic and abhorrent theory of racial or cultural superiority."
President Gordon B. Hinckley
Conference Report, April 1995

"We must not be partisans of any doctrine of ethnic superiority. We live in a world of diversity. We can and must be respectful toward those with whose teachings we may not agree. We must be willing to defend the rights of others who may become the victims of bigotry."
Elder Boyd K. Packer
"Follow the Rule" - BYU-Hawaii, 14 January 1977

"We've always counseled members in the Church for our Mexican members to marry Mexicans, our Japanese members to marry Japanese ...  That counsel has been wise.  You may say again, 'Well, I know of exceptions.' I do, too, and they've been very successful marriages.  I know some of them. ... But I say, ... 'As for me, I'm going to follow the rule first; and then, should there be an exception, perhaps that will be made known.' "
Elder Spencer W. Kimball
Unpublished Letter, circa 1960's

"Long and wide experience has seemed to indicate that interracial marriages bring [many] problems.  This, of course, is not a matter of inferiority and superiority; it is a matter of backgrounds and acceptance.  It may well be that in many instances the minority member may be superior to the Anglo member.  We regret exceedingly that there are many members of the Church who do have racial prejudices, and for this we are unhappy, but we deal with human beings and we cannot seem to totally control their thinking and their feeling.  When all is [considered,] it seems wise to counsel our Japanese youth, or Chinese youth, or Maori youth, or Mexican youth, or Indian youth as well as all others to marry within their race for their own greater happiness."

This essay is published as a support for and an extension of classroom discussion and in no way represents an official statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or its General Authorities. Dr. Marcus H. Martins assumes full responsibility for the opinions, views, and interpretations contained herein.  For more information contact me at: