Teen dating practices
Here, young people participate, usually once a week, in gender-segregated activities designed with an adult adviser for their particular age group. Occasionally, joint activities are planned that include boys and girls together. Two doctrinally based principles guide the dating and courtship of LDS youth: first, because of the religious significance of marriage, virtually everyone who can is expected to marry; second, because of the spiritual and social importance of chastity, sexual relations must wait until after marriage.Latter-day Saints place an unusually strong emphasis on marriage, believing that marriage is ordained of God (D&C ) and is a prerequisite for obtaining the highest heavenly state after mortality (D&C 131:1-4; see Exaltation).Serious, steady dating and marriage-oriented courtship are expected to be delayed longer, perhaps until after a mission for males and after completing high school for females.
These contemporary dating patterns form a social context that influences somewhat the majority of LDS youth.
Missionaries leave romantic relationships behind and are counseled not to worry about or telephone girlfriends or boyfriends.
They are restricted from all dating activities during their missionary service.
Not only do these improper relations often lead to fornication, pregnancy, and abortions-all ugly sins-but in and of themselves they are pernicious evils, and it is often difficult for youth to distinguish where one ends and another begins" (Kimball, 1969, p. Although Latter-day Saints consider sexual relationships outside of marriage to be sinful, sexual relations within marriage are not only right and proper but are considered sacred and beautiful (see Sexuality).
Like most of their non-Mormon peers in dating cultures, LDS youth date to have fun as they participate in social activities with other boys and girls.