So when I was an LDS missionary my mission pushed the Lock Your Heart article on the missionaries quite strongly. With good reason, I guess. There were stories of elders from my mission, like the one who went home early, came back and married a 35-year-old divorced woman with children. That's the craziest. Plenty of other elders I know personally married sisters that they were zone leaders over, or served around, etc. My ears were just ringing with Lock Your Heart, so every time I met an RM who had a story like this, I judged him harshly. Read on...
So Lock Your Heart is allegedly a transcript from a talk given by Elder Spencer W. Kimball. In short, I don't believe that it's authentic any more. My first tip off was that there were too many typos. Then I couldn't find it anywhere on the official Church web site. Finally, according to the transcript, I believe Elder Kimball contradicts himself in the article. For example:
Well, is there any harm to marry a Mexican
girl if you are working in Mexico? No, that isn't any crime, but it proves
that some missionary has had his heart open! He has unlocked it!
Really? Well what if you didn't meet this Mexican girl while serving in Mexico? That seems harsh to say you can never marry a girl whose nationality coincides with where you served. But in the next example, Elder Kimball allows for this:
wrong to marry a German girl when you have been on a German mission? Why
no, there is no crime in that, if you met her some other way. But when
you meet her in the mission field and you have opened your heart, I tell
you it isn't right, and you have shortchanged your mission!
That's better, but it means something different from the last example. Secondly, if you met a girl in the mission field, think nothing of it, and years later run into her again and marry her, that should be harmless. President Hinckley agrees with me on this point. From his talk "What This Work is All About":
I first met Jack in Japan when he was serving as a missionary there. ... [This man had] a great effort and a great sense of
devotion, and above all, a certain humility and reliance on the Lord
with anxious, prayerful pleadings for help.
I also first met in Japan and interviewed on a number of occasions the
young lady he was later to marry. She had a wonderful spirit, a deep
faith, and a moving sense of duty. Their acquaintance in the field was nothing more than having seen one
another on one occasion. They worked in widely separated areas. But out
of their experiences had come a common touchstone—a new language in
which each had learned to share testimony with others while laboring in
the great and selfless cause of service to our Father’s children.
And he goes on to say many great things about each of these RMs and how wonderful their life is together. The talk isn't about how people can marry those they meet on their mission, but in talking about what missionary work is about, President Hinckley would not use an example like this if he thought it was a bad example. Obviously, people who were acquainted in the mission field can marry later without somehow, mysteriously, shortchanging their mission that is already over and done.
I honor and respect President Spencer W. Kimball. That's why I don't believe he really gave that talk. And if he did, I believe the transcription is faulty. While I oppose going on a mission to find a bride or groom, and I oppose flirting on a mission, and I support mission rules regarding not writing letters to people in the mission field while you're serving in it, I nevertheless believe that there are perfectly acceptable circumstances in which you can marry someone who lived within your mission boundaries.