Mormons and opposite-sex friends

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Shelah at FMH recently posted about having opposite-sex friends in Mormon culture.

I wonder how much my culture plays a part in the fact that I haven?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t developed platonic relationships with male friends as a married woman. I mean, if I can?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t have missionaries in my home unless my husband is around . . . and can?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t team teach my daughter?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s nursery class with a man who isn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t my husband, that seems to send a pretty clear message that friendship isn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t exactly encouraged.

What do you think about this part of our culture?

Comment here or there.

5 thoughts on “Mormons and opposite-sex friends

  1. well, who knows. All I know is I don’t feel the need nor feel it is appropriate to have opposite gender friends.,..close friends, the type you pal around with and confide in. My best opposite and only needed opposite gender friend is my husband :)

    It is too easy to become to attached, emotionally when that should be towards your spouse.

    Why, do you want opposite gender friends? :P

  2. Seems this opposite sex mixing is not only Mormon culture but from the larger White Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture of North America.
    I don’t know how explicit such prohibitions are in church handbooks. I think much of it is unwritten convention.
    Such prohibitions are to avoid even the appearance of evil and are evidence of the high priority placed on marital fidelity.
    That said I don’t know that opposite sex friendships are expressly prohibited.
    I don’t have much insight. I am a man and I have very few male friends. I hardly have any friends at all. Sad isn’t it.

  3. I don’t think there is a logical basis to the cultural hesitation with opposite friends. Let me explain. I am a 47 year old active, chaste gay man. I have a calling in the Family History Center. The older sister (a widow) who serves as director of the center thinks it is totally inappropriate for me and her to be alone in the center by ourselves EVEN though I have many times explained to her that I am gay and she has nothing to be worried about. She gets hung up on what others will think. I tell her that 95% of the people won’t think anything. The culture has changed and people don’t think that way anymore (at least in non-social settings).

    I also have a 36 year old single sister who refuses to let me come and home teach her without a companion. Even though she also knows I am gay. She won’t even go out and grab a bite to eat as our home teaching visit. I cannot get my companion to go out with me (here in Florida it is difficult). She continually defaults to this “comfort” factor thing that I have a hard time understanding. I have home taught many single moms and have never run into this conundrum. I had to home teach her as a tag along with the visiting teachers last time.

    Where does this convention come from? Even with a gay guy they will not be alone?!!!

    I must be honest and tell you that both of these women are also very “patriarchal” in their outlook and do not take much initiative in the Church without being directed by men in the smallest details.

  4. Wow. You’re an opening gay man who is active in the church? I bet you have a story to tell!

  5. Of course we can have opposite sex friends, but the boundaries are very different. I would not be alone with an opposite sex friend. I refrain from physical touch with male friends, whereas with my female friends, I’ll hug or put an arm around them, etc. I might, however, lightly hug a male friend as a greeting or goodbye. I also limit phone contact and email. My boundaries are part of how I know I can trust myself because I’ve put safeguards in place.

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