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Any dating or pairing off in social contacts should be postponed until at least the age of 16 or older, and even then there should be much judgment used in the selections and in the seriousness" (Kimball, 1975, p. As a consequence of this teaching, the age of sixteen has become the acceptable age when dating can begin. Nineteen is an especially pivotal age in the social and religious life of late adolescent LDS youth. 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.The change of this one pattern of social activities of our youth would immediately eliminate a majority of the sins of our young folks" (Kimball, 1986, pp. Steady dating is further discouraged until youth are ready for courtship. In the past, LDS youth were basically counseled not to begin dating, especially steady dating, until they were "old enough and mature enough" to consider marriage.
At this age LDS boys and girls leave primary, the Church's organization for children, and enter the young women and young men organizations. For most young people in the United States outside the Church, dating begins at an early age (about age thirteen during the 1980s); it has no set pattern of progression, and is often informal and unsupervised.These contemporary dating patterns form a social context that influences somewhat the majority of LDS youth.Because the selection of a mate in life is so extremely important, we should intelligently seek the experiences which will help us to make that great decision" (Hunter, pp. Typical of the advice given to LDS youth is the following counsel about dating: Who? Only those whose standards are high, like your own. Clean places, decent places, proper places where you can be proud to be. Associating with others under wholesome circumstances helps develop friendships and permits you to learn about qualities and characteristics in others, to get to know them, to have fun together, to widen areas of choice, to achieve a wider and wiser vision of what one may seek in an eternal companion. Not too young, not too often, not on school nights as a rule, not too expensively. Fun things, wholesome things, good and useful things- things pleasing to you, to parents, to God. With others, in groups, chaperoned when proper, appropriately dressed, cheerfully, courteously, modestly, wisely, prayerfully. 134-35] While dating and courtship patterns among LDS reflect broader societal patterns, there are several age-graded characteristics of dating and courtship in the Church that are special.