To Date or Not to Date? That is The Question

To Date or Not to Date? That Is the QuestionJacob,_Laban_and_dtrs_1343
Latter-day Courtship: A new (old) approach to dating

We have been told that “we’ve never had a better generation of young people in the Church than we have today.” 1  Why then are we losing more to immorality than we have ever lost? 

WARNING: Do NOT read this article if you are content with contemporary society or happy with the direction this world is heading.

Date Night

It is a beautiful Friday night and the Gordon home is stirring with excitement as Sister Gordon, a wife and mother to four children, puts the final touches on her hair, makeup and evening dress.  As a car pulls to a stop in the front driveway, she swiftly gathers up her purse and flies down the stairs to greet her visitor.  Brother Gordon sits quietly on the couch, reading the evening news when the expectant knock comes.

“Why, hello, Brother Jones!  How are you?  It’s so good to see you again!” gushes Sister Gordon as she swings open the door.  Her husband, Jim, comes over to shake the visitor’s hand.secret combos dvd cover

“Always good to visit your home again!  Thank you, Jim, for sparing your wife for a night.  I have a wonderful night planned and it will be great to catch up on life!”

“There is no one I can think of whom I would rather see her with, besides myself of course.” Jim chuckles, “Try not to be out too late sweetheart and enjoy your evening!” and with a parting kiss, Jim waves goodbye as his wife and Brother Jones go out, hand in hand, for an entertaining evening.

Is Dating logical?

I hope as you read this short scene, you felt uncomfortable. What was a married woman with four children and a seemingly strong marriage thinking to go out with the husband of another woman? Granted, they were “just friends”. Sister Gordon and Brother Jones were capable adults with years of world experience. They were not in love and there were no serious intentions. They just wanted to have a good time and get to know one another better.

If this scene were to be reenacted in real life, it would certainly raise some eyebrows and gasps. Why? Because it isn’t worth the risk. For a married woman to deliberately place herself in a position which could potentially wreak havoc on her marriage (with or without her husband’s approval) would be unwise. Whether or not a man or woman are friends, strangers or co-laborers, if the individual is married it is generally understood in the Church that “going out” with someone else, someone other than his or her spouse, is unthinkable.

This discussion begs the following question:  if it is considered wrong for a married individual to date other friends, (though they are not “in love”, have years of world experience and know the clear expectations and boundaries for their interaction) why is it considered normal for single young men and women?  What could possibly induce us to allow two young adults, head over heels in love or at least attracted to one another, with no experience, no commitments and only a few clear expectations and boundaries, to engage in activity we would shun for married adults?  To varying degrees, we place a watchful eye over married men and women to ensure that they safeguard their hearts.  We encourage them to purify and strengthen their marriage.  Why are young adults exempt from this same care?  Note the inconsistencies in our modern approach:

Married Man or womenTeenager or Young Adult
Not in “love”, already have a spouseIn love, a “crush” or at least an attraction
Years of world experienceNo experience
Possible maturityNo chance to have gained wisdom from age
Clearly understand that this is only “fun”Intentions range from “fun” to serious relationship
NO DATING!DATING OK! (even encouraged)

We encourage the youth to go out and experience life without true restraint, without true precaution, and then we are shocked when some or even many of these “fine” youth succumb to the flesh and make tragic and “serious” mistakes.

Disturbing Statistics

In spite of the logical arguments, we could possibly make some exceptions if the dating system had positive data to strengthen its argument.  Instead we see relationships with no intended commitment, young men who don’t want to grow up, women who are not constant, increasing struggles with pornography and fornication, skyrocketing divorce, broken hearts, ruined friendships, jealousy, wasted time over “who likes who” and the list goes on.  As one married father once told me, “crushes and dating only give you baggage you really don’t want to bring into your marriage.” Statistics are revealing that the 21st century approach to relationships is failing.  Divorce rates are soaring and single adults outnumber married couples in the United States. 2 3 An even greater concern among parents today is the ever increasing threat of pornography.

image dating article

Image source: Proven Men Ministries/Barna Group


I believe these are only symptoms of the real problem.  But do these trends have anything to do with the Latter-day Saints?

Unfortunately, the active LDS community is struggling as well.  We have been told that “we’ve never had a better generation of young people in the Church than we have today.” 4 Why, then, are we losing more to immorality than we have ever lost?

Step back a century or even several decades.  If you had surveyed an LDS community, you may have found that those personally acquainted with a friend or family member who had engaged in premarital sex were an anomaly.  At the very least few would argue that youth morality has improved.  Today it is rare to find a ward without at least one case of immoral activity, abuse or children born out of wedlock.  Sometimes the problems are near universal.

One BYU professor, a friend of mine, has mentioned repeatedly that the incidence of sexual immorality on campus is significantly greater than we understand.  Considering the fact that I believe this to be a very serious issue, these comments cause great concern.

President Gordon B. Hinckley mourned:

Perhaps our greatest concern is with families. The family is falling apart all over the world. The old ties that bound together father and mother and children are breaking everywhere.  Hearts are broken, children weep.  5

Our approach to relationships is failing.  Standards are drifting, immoral behavior has become “normal” and this is sadly true for the Church as it is with the world.  But are these statistics only symptoms of the real problem?  What has changed in the past several decades to create this catastrophe?  Where did we go wrong?

President Joseph F. Smith prophesied that in the last days “there are at least three dangers that threaten the Church within, and the authorities need to awaken to the fact that the people should be warned unceasingly against them. As I see these, they are flattery of prominent men in the world, false education ideas, and sexual impurity.” 6  (emphasis added)

Note that in this prophecy these issues appear WITHIN, not outside, the Church.  Note also that President Smith warned that Church authorities or leadership needed to wake up to this.  It is easy to quiet an agitated conscience while criticizing the world; however, the failings within are harder to swallow.

We are now experiencing the fulfilment of President Smith’s prognosis.  How did this occur?  Something has changed, and if we continue on this road, our families, government, communities and culture will fail.

The definition of “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” 7  We will never see marriages salvaged, families strengthened or strong youth until we do somethingradically different.  I believe that if we return to our righteous foundations, the principles our nation and Church were founded upon, we can rebuild our civilization.

History of Dating

Could dating be a major part of the problem? Lets take a step back from societal norms and ask the simple question, “Where did the concept of dating come from?”  The answer may shock you.

Mark Driscoll in his book Religion Saves and Nine Other Misconceptions reveals:

In 1896 the word dating was introduced as lower-class slang in reference to prostitution. ‘Going on a date’ was a euphemism for paying for sex. By the early 1900s, ‘calling’ was the primary means of marrying. Calling involved a young man, a potential suitor, scheduling a time to meet a young lady in the parlor of her parents’ home in the presence of her parents. These meetings were carefully overseen by the parents. . . .

Such a process protected young people from danger (e.g., abuse, rape), ensured the involvement of the entire family in the courtship of a young woman, allowed her father to keep away the wrong kinds of young men, minimized opportunity for fornication, and kept marriage as the goal of such relationships rather than such things as cohabitation. 8

Notice the transition that occurred.  During the early 1900’s, anti-Christian philosophies were successfully dismantling America’s scriptural foundation.  The Bible had become myth and fairy tales.  American young women drank in women’s  magazines and romance novels in an attempt to “escape from reality”.  “Hollywood love” became the ideal and relationships became a means to satisfy the natural man.  Jazz and ragtime communicated sloppy, loose behavior.  Interaction between men and women began to become less guarded and parental wisdom and control was disregarded.  Chaperones were neglected and “steady” relationships had no commitment.   Youth were groomed for potential divorce by alternating through 10, 15, perhaps even 20 boyfriends or girlfriends before they even began to seriously consider marriage.  “Off with the old, on with the new” became the norm before and after marriage.  In short, Christian refinement and culture was being directly attacked.

By the 1920s, urbanization provided social outlets for meeting outside the home. Rather than calling at the woman’s home, singles were now able to go out together at places such as restaurants, movie theaters, and dance halls. This began to create new social networks for single people away from their homes and parents and opened up greater opportunities for such things as casual dating and inappropriate sexual contact. 9

America’s Puritan legacy and multi-generational heritage of faith was abandoned for frivolous amusement and fun.  When the 1960’s rolled in, “Free love”, feminism, playboy magazines, pop music, the birth control pill and legalized abortion swept America with shocking success.  The revolution may have seemed sudden, but this new culture was merely the religion of America’s youth externalized; a religion that had been converting Americans for nearly a century.

John Lennon, of the Beatles, “imagined” a world with “no heaven or hell”, “no countries”, “nothing to kill or die for”, “no religion” and a “brotherhood of man” and he called us to join them.  Over four decades later, we have witnessed their dream (our nightmare) become a reality–political and religious principles abandoned through past cultural compromises.  Unfortunately, President Joseph F. Smith’s prophecy has come true for not only the world, but the “Latter-day Saints” as well.

Take Heart

If you are feeling discouraged, take heart.  Western civilization is failing, but we have an opportunity to rebuild.  How do we restore our families and marriages?  By a return to principle.

Emerging from the ruins of failed marriages, broken hearts and shattered dreams, a shift is beginning in how we approach pre-marriage relationships and the process of selecting a marriage companion.  Allow me to briefly touch on this new Latter-day Saint courtship approach.

Gentlemen, Ladies & Patriarchal Authority

Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and others among the early brethren of the Church were masters at family dynamics.  Their teachings can play a critical role in our return to time proven principles if we are humble enough to listen. John Taylor made the following statement from the Tabernacle in 1865.

It is usual in othercountries, before a man can be received into society, that he must bring with him a reputation from reputable men; he is expected to have introductory letters before he can be introduced to them and associate with them, and not because he is in the shape of a man and walks on two legs. Why, baboons do that.  10

During the 18th and 19th centuries, letters of introduction set a standard when it came to friendships and acquaintances.  For instance, some believed that a “gentleman should never be introduced to a young or old lady without her permission being obtained.” 11  One etiquette manual advised young women:  “Courtesy is always to be cultivated, however, and a lady who knows her own dignity, and possesses self-respect, will not accept an introduction to a gentleman and dance with him, unless she is willing to also accept him as an acquaintance on the street. Young ladies should always preserve a modest demeanor in dancing, for it throws around them a halo of light and purity, and it does not beseem them to display the science or grace of an artiste.” 12

These statements reveal that in the past, refined men and women exercised a cautious demeanor when it came to relationships.  Influences were not taken lightly and there was a certain reserve maintained between young ladies and gentlemen.  President Taylor continues by emphasizing the father’s role in this area.

Before I should allow strangers to come into my family and mix with my wives and daughters, I should want to know who they were, where they came from, what their instincts were, and what was their moral and religious character. As a head of a family, I have a right to know these things; I have a right to know what influences are brought in and around my house, what spirits predominate there, and I have a right to know what a man’s religion is.  [Emphasis added] 13

Notice that President Taylor considers himself the judge of not only suitors who come for his daughters, but those who desire to interact as friends.  President Taylor states that he has a right first to know of these influences and second to make decisions regarding these influences.  In the Webster’s 1828 dictionary, the word “right” indicates a:

Just claim; legal title; ownership; the legal power of exclusive possession and enjoyment. In hereditary monarchies, a right to the throne vests in the heir on the decease of the king . . . That which justly belongs to one.

Who endowed this authority?  The giver of all rights is God, our Heavenly Father.  The scriptures and the Brethren have clearly taught that each righteous family embodies a kingdom.  If built on Celestial principles, this Celestial Kingdom or Family Kingdom will become exalted.  This patriarchal order has been taught and emphasized by the Brethren to varying degrees throughout the years.

President John Taylor anticipated that critics of his teachings would employ a faulty understanding of agency when contending that the father lacks a legitimate right to govern his household.  “Such behavior negates agency and the right to choose!” some cry.  President Taylor responds:

“But do you not allow liberty of conscience?” Yes. You can worship what you please—a donkey or a red dog—but you must not bring that worship into my house; I do not believe in your gods, I believe in the God of Israel, in the Holy Ghost, in the spirit of truth and intelligence, and all good principles; and if you want to worship your gods, worship them somewhere else, and if anybody else wants to worship them, they can do so: you can go on to one of those mountains and worship your gods, or if you are living in a house here, you can be a worshipper of Buddha if you please; butI do not want it in my house, and I do not want the spirit that you have—the spirit of those gods, visible or invisible; I do not want their teachings, spirit, nor influences.  [Emphasis added] 14

The standard President Taylor advocated is truly remarkable.  A father who strictly monitors the attitudes, culture, media, music, books, education and friends entering his home would ultimately create a Zion culture in his home.  Sadly, true manliness and patriarchal fatherhood have been mocked and denigrated for many decades.  Due to this worldview shift, modern fathers are generally afraid to preside over their home and some wonder whether such activity is even appropriate.  This dysfunctional behavior is strongly and often frequently encouraged by overactive daughters, wives, mothers and mother-in-laws.  We seem to have forgotten the wise counsel of the Prophet Joseph Smith in this regard:

It is the place of the man to stand at the head of his family and be lord of his own house, not to rule over his wife as a tyrant, neither as one who is fearful or jealous that his wife will get out of her place and prevent him from exercising his authority. It is his duty to be a man of God– for a man of God is a man of wisdom–ready at all times to obtain from the scriptures, the revelations and from on high, such instructions as are necessary for the edification and salvation of his household.

And on the other hand, it is the duty of the wife to be in subject to her husband at all times, not as a servant, neither as one who fears a tyrant or a master, but as one who in meekness and the love of God regards the laws and institutions of heaven [and] looks up to her husband for instruction, edification, and comfort.

“Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord, whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” — 1st Peter, 3rd 6th.15

I find it sad that parts of this statement can be found across the Internet, but inadvertently or perhaps not so inadvertently some of the fundamental phrases have been omitted.  Before attempts to write off the Prophet’s statement as “opinion” or a reflection of his “times”, please remember the Lord Jesus Christ stated that our generation would have His word through His Latter-day servant, the Prophet Joseph Smith. 16  We would do well to consider carefully the Prophet’s counsel.

“As for me and my house”

Inspired leaders have made it clear that God blesses the father who determines that “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord”. 17  Fathers must remember that both parts are important.  The father must serve the Lord and he must direct his family in serving the Lord.  Each father will stand and be judged in this capacity.   Returning to President Taylor’s counsel:

You may see people come here smiling and bowing, and very polite, and ‘won’t you let me take your daughter to a party?’  No, nor yourself either, not unless I have a mind to; I will have a say in that, for I want to know who dances with my wives and daughters, and whether they have a reputation or not, and if they have a reputation, what kind of people they are. This I have a right to do in a social capacity, independent of all religion, and I mean to do it. 18

Contemporary society seems to be a stranger to parental involvement with the associates, friends and dating companions of modern youth. It is typical for children to “let their Dad know” of their engagement after it has occurred.  I believe all parties could use some reformation.  Yet President Taylor instructs us that this is one of the father’s duties and obligations!  Fathers must not fail in this most important responsibility.

President Taylor viewed his home as a mini-country for which he would answer to God in respect to his dominion over that jurisdiction.  He viewed his role as building a dynasty that would leave a mark upon the world for good.  His children were not merely adults in training, but warriors who would restore Christ’s true order and bring perfect peace to the world.

Approaching life from this mission-oriented perspective strongly influences the focus of children as they venture into selecting their own mates and beginning their own “kingdoms”.

A Watchful Eye

Consider how a Zion society would be fostered if we moved away from the dangerous dating custom.  Instead of a “generation gap”, grandparents, fathers and mothers would be involved through the entire process of friendship, courting and eventually marriage.  President Benson warned of dangerous trends in parent-child responsibilities and obligations during the 20th century.

In a real Latter-day Saint home there is no such thing as a generation gap.  We never heard of it until a few years ago, and where did it start?  It started with some of these so-called social reformers, these do-gooders who are used as tools of the adversary to drive young people away from their parents and to get parents to let down in their responsibility to give guidance and direction to their own children. 19

Parents need to keep a watchful eye over their children as the Lord keeps a watchful eye over His children.  Can you imagine the Lord saying, “I don’t know where my children are.  They are out somewhere having a good time.”

Focused on Fun, Leisure vs. Entertainment

This Latter-day Courting approach also changes the way we look at social activity. Rather than frivolous activities focused on feeding a hunger for entertainment, these are replaced by valuable conversation and social engagements involve the entire family and occur in real life situations.  Anyone straight out of Babylon can shine on the dance floor or in a candle lit restaurant, but the true revealer of character is practical, service-oriented projects.  This real life experience can only be seen, understood or judged in the sphere of the home.  Unexpected situations and impromptu reactions allow a couple to become acquainted with the real person behind the public mask.

Along with working together in the home, activities of culture are also important in any relationship.  President Joseph F. Smith counseled:

But, you say, we must have recreation; what shall we do? Turn to domestic [home] enterprises, and to the gaining of useful knowledge of the gospel. Let the love of reading good and useful books be implanted in the hearts of the young, let them be trained to take pleasure and recreation in history, travel, biography, conversation and classic story. 20

Leisure is having a “change of pace” and balance while still being productive.  On the other hand, to be entertained is to mindlessly engage in amusement.  The word “amusement” comes from the Greek word “muse” which means to think.  Prefixing the word with “a” inverts the definition, i.e. “not to think”  Our contemporary society seems to be intoxicated with amusement, but President Smith counsels otherwise.

We should train ourselves to find pleasure in that which invigorates, not stupefies and destroys the body; that which leads upward and not down; that which brightens, not dulls and stunts the intellect; that which elevates and exalts the spirit, not that clogs and depresses it. So shall we please the Lord, enhance our own enjoyment, and save ourselves and our children from impending sins. 21

Do we really want to choose our spouse while enveloped in a spirit of indolence?  Can the Spirit of the Lord exist in such an atmosphere?  President Smith’s statement declares mindless entertainment to lead to sin, stupification and destruction.  Are these the ideals we want to found our marriages upon?  The vast majority of contemporary couples are making decisions about who they are going to marry while they have a spirit of indolence, which is the spirit of the adversary.  Sadly, these indolent activities are usually considered the “better” activities or harmless “fun”.  Other activities include watching inappropriate movies, 22 listening to irreverent music 23 and dancing in styles that have been censured by Latter-day prophets. 24  How intelligent is this?

One’s character may be determined in some measure by the quality of one’s amusements. Men and women of industrious, business-like, and thoughtful habits care little for frivolous pastimes, for pleasures that are sought for their own sake. It is not easy to imagine that leading men in the Church would find any pleasure that was either inspiring or helpful at the card table; indeed the announcement that a president of a stake, bishop of a ward, or other leading official of the Church was fond of card playing would be a shock to every sense of propriety even among young people who are not seriously inclined to the duties and responsibilities of life. Such a practice would be looked upon as incompatible with the duties and responsibilities of a religious life.  25

President Joseph F. Smith and President David O. McKay have counseled that what we choose for our amusement exposes who we really are, our true character.

Tell me what amusements you like best and whether your amusements have become a ruling passion in your life, and I will tell you what you are. 26 You tell me what you think about when you do not have to think, and I’ll tell you what you are. 27

Might we not also conclude, “Tell me what leisure was chosen while searching for an eternal companion and I will tell you how inspired your decisions while courting ultimately were.”

Emotional and Physical Intimacy

A principled approach to Latter-day Courtship also establishes the importance of avoiding emotional intimacy, physical interaction (kissing, hugging, etc.) and any kind of serious relationship until there is commitment and understanding in both parties.  Commitment is marriage–before this time there is no true commitment.

President Spencer W. Kimball advised as President of the Church:

Since courtship is prelude to marriage and encourages close associations, many have convinced themselves that intimacies are legitimate—a part of the courting process. Many have cast off bridle and harness and have relaxed the restraints.28

President Kimball advocates restraint when it comes to physical interaction.  One purpose of this restraint being to ensure that commitment is wise and completed before emotion takes over.  Among the refined classes of society in the past, hand-holding or any such demonstrations of affection were strictly avoided and purity was highly prized.  Giving yourself in any degree to someone whom you will not marry only brings heartbreak and a lifetime of regret.  Avoiding such mistakes encourages respectful friendships, productive courtships and ultimately a rewarding marriage.  President Kimball taught:

They [early apostles and prophets] included all sexual relations outside marriage—petting, sex perversion, masturbation, and preoccupation with sex in one’s thoughts and talking. Included are every hidden and secret sin and allunholy and impure thoughts and practices. . . .

The world may countenance premarital sex experiences, but the Lord and his church condemn in no uncertain terms any and every sex relationship outside of marriage. 29  [emphasis added]

Withholding closer intimacy until marriage enables a couple to keep their “head on straight” and approach their potential companion logically and objectively.

Purpose is Marriage

The purpose of a Latter-day Courtship approach, as opposed to modern dating, is marriage.  This is one of the most significant decisions you will ever make.  It must be made with inspiration.  It is a time when you need all the mental faculties you posses and when thinking clearly and rationally is imperative.   Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated “The most important single thing that any Latter-day Saint ever does in this world is to marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority.”30

I believe that applying these principles will move us closer to a Zion society.

Additional study resources on this topic:


Articles & Ebooks



  1. President Gordon B. Hinckley, Church News interview, June 7, 1995
  2. “Utah has a higher-than-average divorce rate compared to the national average. According to a 2009 U.S. Census Bureau study, the national divorce rate is 3.4, with Utah slightly higher at 3.6.” (Source) “In fact for women, Utah has the fourth highest divorce rate.” (Source)
  3. “Unmarried American adults outnumber their married counterparts for the first time since the federal government began tracking that data in 1976, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  There were 124.6 million single Americans in August — accounting for 50.2 percent of the 16-and-over US population, the BLS data showed.” (Source)
  4. President Gordon B. Hinckley, Church News interview, June 7, 1995
  5. Gordon B. Hinckley, in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 94; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 69.
  6. Smith, Joseph F. Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, Sixth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1920. 312-13. Print.
  7. The author of this famous statement is disputed.  Some credit Albert Einstein, David Boswell or even possibly Benjamin Franklin.
  8. Mark Driscoll, Religion Saves and Nine Other Misconceptions
  9. Ibid.
  10. John Taylor, “Divine Government, Etc.”, Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, pp. 51-59, January 18, 1865.
  11. EYEBRIGHT”, “DAISY. A Manual of Etiquette with Hints on Politeness and Good Breeding. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
  12. Ibid.
  13. John Taylor, “Divine Government, Etc.”, Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, pp. 51-59, January 18, 1865.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Joseph Smith, “On the Duty of Husband and Wife,” Elders’ Journal, Aug. 1838, 61–62; “It is the duty of a husband to love, cherish, and nourish his wife, and cleave unto her and none else; he ought to honor her as himself, and he ought to regard her feelings with tenderness, for she is his flesh and his bone, designed to be an help unto him both, in temporal, and spiritual things; one into whose bosom he can pour all his complains without reserve, who is willing (being designed) to take part of his burden, to soothe and encourage his feelings by her gentle voice. It is the place of the man to stand at the head of his family, and be lord of his own house, not to rule over his wife as a tyrant, neither as one who is fearful or jealous that his wife will get out of her place and prevent him from exercising his authority. It is his duty to be a man of God (for a man of God is a man of wisdom,) ready at all times to obtain from the scriptures the revelations, and from on high, such instructions as are necessary for the edification, and salvation of his household. — And on the other hand, it is the duty of the wife, to be in subjection to her husband at all times, not as a servant, neither as one who fears a tyrant or a master, but as one, who, in meekness and the love of God, regards the laws and institutions of Heaven, looks up to her husband for instruction, edification, and comfort. ‘Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord, whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.’ — 1st Peter, 3rd 6th.” (Joseph Smith, Elders’ Journal, August 1838, 61-62)
  16.  D&C 5:9–10 “Behold, verily I say unto you, I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations; But this generation shall have my word through you;”
  17. Joshua 24:15
  18. John Taylor, “Divine Government, Etc.”, Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, pp. 51-59, January 18, 1865.
  19. Benson, Ezra Taft. Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.  406. Print.
  20. Smith, Joseph F. Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, Sixth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1920. 329-3o. Print.; Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 38, September 1, 1903, p. 529
  21. Ibid.
  22. Stoddard, James F., III. “Our Philosophy on Movies.” Joseph Smith Foundation. N.p., 20 July 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. <>
  23. Stoddard, James F., III, and L. Hannah Stoddard. “Music: The Forgotten Language of the Heart.” Joseph Smith Forum. Joseph Smith Foundation, 7 Dec. 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. <>.
  24. “Music and Dance FAQs.” Joseph Smith Forum. Joseph Smith Foundation, 21 Aug. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. <>.
  25. Smith, Joseph F. Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, Sixth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1920. 329-3o. Print.; Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 38, September 1, 1903, p. 529
  26.  Ibid.
  27. David O. McKay, Pathways to Happiness, comp. Llewelyn R. McKay (1957), 257
  28. Kimball, Spencer W. “President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 1980. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. <>.
  29. Ibid.
  30. “Agency or Inspiration?” New Era, Jan. 1975, 38., also cited in Monson, Thomas S. “Whom Shall I Marry?” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 2004. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. <>.

7 thoughts on “To Date or Not to Date? That is The Question”

  1. Interesting perspective and concept. The song “Imagine” was a John Lennon solo recording – after the Beatles had broken up. Of course, that doesn’t change or weaken your point.

  2. Good article. The obeservation that modern dating with multiple partners has become practice for divorce occured to my wife and I a couple years ago. Its nice to see somebody else, anybody else, making the same argument. We realized this after searching for some guidance as we had a teenager approaching 16. We were quite surprised to find that the various ensign articles we were reviewing outlined that dating at 16 was only group dating. Essentially it amounted to little more than 16 being the age where adult supervision in g roup settings we no longer needed yet no steady dating of the same individuals was to be done. It also said that group dating was not a group of couples. Couple dating was only to be done when looking for a spouse at an age appropriate to marry.

  3. Great article! Considering the cultural climate of mass integration of the sexes, the approach to courting, as advocated, might be rather challenging. Perhaps a change of dating age to 18 would be appropriate since the whole point is to find a companion in the first place. The frivolity in which people date is definitely concerning – it is treated as fun and games. I love the concept of courting through service and under the supervision of both families. Sexual impropriety has plagued every generation; every generation has had their perversions. It is hard to take examples of proper relationship standards from polygamists like John Taylor. Ultimately, a lot of heartache, sorrow and mistakes are avoided by simply following the Golden Rule in ALL relationships.

  4. I am a big believer in arranged marriages. With certain safeguards and limits, such as no one has to be forced into such an arrangement, going into it should be voluntarily and consent freely given. I think such a practice would do away with many of the evils of our society.

  5. Wonderful article. As a single young LDS woman, even thinking about finding a celestial companion is terrifying.Putting myself “out there” to be “found” and finding someone and making evaluations on him and all of that – I’ve never even been on one date, and it’s been a handful of years since I left high school. How nice it would be to have some reputable young man from a reputable family known to my own introduced to me – no worrying too much about his faith or family, just casually getting to know him with dad ready to bash his head in should he do anything wrong. But it looks like dating apps are all I have at my disposal. I love the idea of complete physical restraint until marriage – I have decided to do that myself already. It just makes sense to me. I will be rereading this article to strengthen my ideals and determinations.

    1. Stay strong and try and find groups of like minded men and women to help keep you strong in your values. You are worth it!

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