2The Importance of Standards Standards are important for security and consistency. There are standards in weights, measures, and distances that you can count on. You know that one pound is always 16 ounces. One foot is always 12 inches. One mile is always 5,280 feet. You can depend on those measurements always being the same. Imagine what life would be like if those things were arbitrary and different from person to person or circumstance to circumstance.
3Standards are found in education. Many tests are standardized, such as the ACT. Everyone takes the same test in essentially the same conditions. An ACT score of 25 means the same thing in California as it does in Pennsylvania. When you read and write (at least in the US), it is standard to move from left to right, top to bottom, front to back.Standards are found in driving. It is standard to drive on the right hand side of the road. Red lights always mean stop and green lights always mean go. Speed limits are designed to provide a safe standard driving speed for specific roads and conditions.
4There are standards in sports There are standards in sports. A standard basketball hoop is 10 feet high. A standard pitcher’s mound is 60’ 6” from the batter’s box. Scoring is standard. Rules are standard. The sizes of fields and courts are standardized. Would you want to compete with someone who refused to follow the rules and made up their own instead?
5Why do we refer to the Scriptures as the Standard Works? Standards provide consistency, protection, security, and can increase our happiness in life. Just as there are standards in measurement, education, driving, sports, and many other areas, there are also standards for dating. For Latter-day Saints, who determines the dating standard? The importance of the Lord’s standard for dating was expressed in the pamphlet, “For the Strength of Youth,” under the heading “Why Standards.”
6Why Standards in “For the Strength of Youth” (Fulfilling our Duty to God) “Standards are rules or guidelines to help you measure your conduct. Why has the Lord given standards? He wants all his children to return to live with him one day… By comparing your behavior and thoughts with your Father’s standards, you are in a better position to govern yourselves and make the right choices. God’s commandments (standards) are constant, unwavering, and dependable. As you adhere to them, you will receive countless blessings from heaven– including the gift of eternal life.”
7By learning what God’s dating standard is, we come to know how he thinks and feels about it. We then can compare our personal conduct with the thoughts and desires of our Heavenly Father. As stated by the First Presidency: “By comparing your behavior and thoughts with your Father’s standards, you are in a better position to govern yourselves and make the right choices.” Making the right choices always brings greater happiness.
8Dating Standards Right marriage begins with right dating! Soul mates’ are fiction and an illusion!Do you think you noblest thoughts?Do you aspire to your finest deeds?But in so doing, be humble, be prayerful, and the smiles of heavenwill fall upon you!Don’t rush it unduly and don’t delay it unduly!Don’t use too much makeup, to be over decorated is bad taste!You can’t afford to take a chance on falling in love with someone who may never accept the gospel!Date a variety of companions until you are ready to marry!Walk according to His precepts and commandments!
9“Date only those who have high standards, who respect your standards, and in whose company you can maintain the standards of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
10What about dating or marrying someone of another race? President Kimball counseled: “Cultural differences pose dangers for marriage…We discourage intermarriage, not because it is sin. I would like to make this very emphatic. A couple has not committed sin [by interracial marriage]… but it is not [wise]. Marriage is not easy. It is difficult when all factors are favorable” (TSWK 302). “We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background, and above all, the same religious background, without question” (Marriage and Divorce). Elder Bruce R. McConkie said: “Interracial marriages are discouraged by the Brethren…” (Mormon Doctrine, 527).
11FRIENDSHIP:“Dating: A Time to Become Best Friends,” Claybaugh suggests that one of the most important ingredients for a successful marriage is friendship. He identified four things that contribute to the development of friendship during courtship. First, time. Friendship takes time to develop. It can’t occur in a weekend. It requires that you spend your time in activities that help you get to know each other well. Second, restraint. One of the quickest ways to destroy friendship during courtship is to allow physical intimacies to occur. Third, creativity. Friendship is enhanced by creative dating. Avoid the “dinner and movie” rut. Variety is not only the spice of life. It is the spice of dating. Fourth, inspiration. True friendship in which we bring out the best in each other is most likely to occur when we have the Lord’s Spirit with us. The Spirit enables us to see the good in others.
12Think about the best friends you have had in your life- time Think about the best friends you have had in your life- time. How did you become friends? What brought you together?Is there anything we can learn from this relative to marriage and preparation for marriage?What did you like best about those friends and your relationship with them? (Are these the things you are trying to find in dating/marriage partners? Are you trying to develop them in yourself?)What was there about you that made you such a good friend?(Is there anything we can learn from this relative to preparation for marriage?)What made the relationship last so long? (Is there anything we can learn from this relative to preparation for marriage?
13EIGHT QUALITIES OF GOOD FRIENDS A well known researcher by the name of Keith Davis identified eight qualities of good friends.1. Good Friends enjoy being with each other and feel good when they are together. They have fun together and bring out the best in each other in the process.Elder Hugh Pinnock said: “When a marriage loses its happiness, it becomes weak and vulnerable…Husbands and wives who no longer laugh and play together are losing their love for each other and their capacity to stay together” (For Husbands and Wives, Ensign, September 1981, 35).
143. Good Friends trust each other. 2. Good friends accept each other as they are.I once heard someone define a good friend as “Someone who knows all about you and likes you anyway.”3. Good Friends trust each other.President David O. McKay said “It is a greater compliment to be trusted than it is to be loved” (Gospel Ideals, 261).
154. Good Friends respect each other. 5. Good Friends help each other.6. Good Friends share with each other (experiences and feelings, thoughts and opinions).7. Good Friends understand each other.8. Good Friends are honest with each other.
16One reason we date is to develop friendship One reason we date is to develop friendship. A second reason for dating is to have fun. Dating should be fun and enjoyable. But, if our only purpose for dating is to have fun, relationships tend to be shallow. A third reason for dating is to develop our social skills, such as our ability to communicate. A fourth reason for dating is to choose a mate. Before missions, the emphasis in dating should be on the first three reasons. Afterward, the emphasis shifts more to the fourth reason, even though the first three are still very important.
17Why would the Lord counsel us, through his Prophets, to not date until the age 16? The average age to begin dating in this country is 13.What difference does it make if we start dating at age 13, 14, 15 or 16?In a recent study conducted by Terry Olson of Brigham Young University and Brent Miller of Utah State University among Latter-day Saint youth, they found that there was a strong relationship between premarital sex and the age at which dating began. They found that 56% of those who began dating at age 13 had premarital sex before they graduated from high school. 53% of those who began dating at 14 had premarital sex before they graduated from high school. 40% of those who began dating at age 14 had premarital sex before they graduated from high school. 20% of those who began dating at age 16 had premarital sex before they graduated from high school. In addition, they also found that those who started dating early were more likely to steady date than those who waited until age 16 and those who were less active were more likely to steady date.
18What about Dating Non-Members? President Kimball taught: “Clearly, right marriage begins with right dating… Therefore, this warning comes with great emphasis. Do not take the chance of dating nonmembers, or members who are untrained and faithless. [You] may say, ‘oh, I do not intend to marry this person. It is just a fun date.’ But one cannot afford to take a chance on falling love with someone who may never accept the gospel” (Miracle of Forgiveness ). At the time President Kimball gave that counsel, statistics showed that only about 15% of non-members ever joined the Church, while 50% of the members became inactive.
19President Benson taught: “If someone wants to marry you outside the temple, whom will you strive to please-God or a mortal? If you insist on a temple marriage, you will be pleasing the Lord and blessing the other party. Why? Because that person will either become worthy to go to the temple - which would be a blessing - or will leave - which could also be a blessing - because neither of you should want to be unequally yoked. You should qualify for the temple. Then you will know that there is no one good enough for you to marry outside the temple. If such individuals are that good, they will get themselves in a condition so that they too can be married in the temple” (Benson, CR, April 1988, 4-5).
20CELESTIAL DATING:David of old, choice in the sight of God, allowed his eternal soul to fall into the depths of hell. Can we say that God has been with us as much as He was with David in his youth? Can we claim the faith of God that David showed? Yet, David fell! We can fall too, no matter how choice we are! To fail to believe that it is possible to fall is to have fallen prey to one of Satan’s biggest lies. Why did David fall? He failed to obey his God. In doing this he physically placed himself in a position which allowed sin to strike. Had David turned away his head and not invited Bathsheba to his home, he likely would be exalted today.
21You can and must be the one to control your life in order to be free from sin. Where you are, who you are with, where you are going, what you are doing, what time you are doing it, are all controlled by you, to your good or to your detriment. To live these rules require spiritual strength added to a sincere desire to do what is right. Prayer, scripture study, attendance at church, and service are all necessary prerequisites to having the strength to follow these rules. The rules are strict, but so is the Lord! The rewards of a chaste life are far greater than the sacrifices necessary to follow his counsel. Nothing can be of greater assistance to you in obtaining the Celestial Kingdom than to be worthy to marry the right person at the proper time of your life in the Temple.
22Rules For Celestial Dating… NO DATING UNTIL AGE 16, NO SINGLE DATING UNTIL 18.President Kimball taught us, “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 selections and in the seriousness.” President Kimball counseled us that beginning the dating process too soon almost always brings young immature marriages or immorality and sin. He said that early dating is often done with parental approval, “yet it is near criminal to subject a tender child to the temptations of maturity.” Remember, no steady dating until at least the age of 18 (Ensign Feb. 75, 4; Miracle of Forgiveness 223).
232. MISSIONS BEFORE SERIOUS DATING: President Kimball advised us that “every boy should be saving money for his mission and be free from any and all entanglements. When he is returned from his mission at age 21, he should feel free to begin to get acquainted and to date.” “One can have all the blessings if he is in control and takes the experiences in proper turn: first some limited social get - acquainted contacts, then his mission, then his courting , then his temple marriage and his schooling and his family, then his life’s work. A word to you young ladies of the church: You should always encourage a young man to fulfill his mission. NEVER be the cause of a young man deciding to stay home for any reason, for you will be held accountable. Missions for young men of the church supersede marriage in importance from ages 19 to 25 (Ensign, Feb. 1975, 4).
243. DO NOT DATE NON-MEMBERS OR UNWORTHY MEMBERS, NOMISSIONARY WORK ONE-ON-ONE WITH THE OPPOSITE SEX. I do not believe that the Lord would expect the choice young people of His church to find their eternal mates among nonmembers! He would not ask us to go against both His counsel throughout the ages or against the counsel of his prophets. President Kimball taught us “clearly, right marriage begins with right dating….therefore, this warning comes with great emphasis. Do not take the chance of dating non-members, or members who are untrained and faithless.” Now, do not rationalize by saying that you are doing missionary work. The Lord does not instruct us to do missionary work one – on - one with members of the opposite sex. Fellowshipping should be done in groups. Missionary work needs to be done without hazard of emotional romantic involvement that could lead to conditions which confuse the potential candidate. Many potential members have been “turned off” by improper dating of LDS people. I am quite aware that we have faithful members of the church who have joined as a result of exposure to the church by his or her marriage partner. We are grateful for them. However, for every success story I have heard, I am aware of many many sad examples of both members and nonmembers being hurt by not following the counsel of the prophet in this matter (The Miracle of Forgiveness, 241).
254. DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN “KISSING-HUGGING” SESSIONS 4. DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN “KISSING-HUGGING” SESSIONS. I am not talking about the serious sin of “petting,” but the lengthy make-out sessions that many feel are “okay” as long as you don’t let it go too far. President Kimball taught us, “among the most common sexual sins our young people commit are necking and petting. 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…” Necking or making out, the kissing hugging session is wrong, not just because it may lead to something worse. I am not saying that there isn’t a proper time in a dating relationship to kiss. There is a proper time and place. President Kimball advised us, “kissing would be saved at least until these later hallowed courtship days when they could be free from sex and have holy meaning.” In an address delivered to returned missionaries, President Kimball said, a kiss is an evidence of affection. A kiss is an evidence of love, not an evidence of lust– but it can be.
26Don’t ever let a kiss in your courtship spell lust Don’t ever let a kiss in your courtship spell lust. Necking and petting are lustful; they are not love… I don’t mind your kissing each other after you have had several dates; but not the ‘Hollywood kiss,’ not the kiss of passion, but the kiss of affection and there won’t be any trouble. Now remember these things” (The Miracle of Forgiveness; 65 Ibid; 231; An address delivered by Elder Spencer W. Kimball, Jan. 2, 1959).
275. NO FRENCH KISSING.This type of conduct is far too intimate and is suggestive of the sex act itself. A French kiss does not meet the standards President Kimball has described.6. DO NOT PARK.Parking in an automobile has been the down fall of many choice young people. President Kimball, taught us that, “in interviewing repenting young people, as well as some older ones, I am frequently told that the couple met their defeat in the dark, at late hours, in secluded areas… the car was most often the confessed seat of the difficulty. It became their brothel.” Often I have found that a couple originally parked to discuss a problem or work out an argument—not to make out. However, after the problem was resolved, they kissed to make up and things developed from there. It does not matter the reason; do not park. After a date, go home. Once you get there, go into the house, alone!
287. NEVER, GO INTO A HOME OR AN APARTMENT ALONE. I estimate that 80 to 85% of the young people I have interviewed who were involved in sexual transgression of any sort, got involved in a home or an apartment alone. This was especially true with College age members who have their own apartment. If you would live just this one rule always, you would significantly reduce your chances of ever falling. If you are in a home and everyone leaves but you and your date, one of you should leave also!
298. NEVER GO INTO A BEDROOM .Bedrooms are not for entertaining friends of the opposite sex; not even to “just listen to records” watch T.V., etc. Don’t let a bedroom become a “familiar” place to be with members of the opposite sex.9. NO BACK RUBS.Becoming too familiar with each other physically offers liberties not entitled to single couples, and is wrong. Back rubs have too often led to more intimate acts.
3010. DO NOT LIE DOWN BY EACH OTHER OR ON TOP OF EACH OTHER. Lying down to watch T.V., lying down in the park, on the beach, or wherever, places you in a position that is spiritually unhealthy. When you watch T.V., SIT UP! When you go on a picnic, sit up! When you have a good night kiss, at the proper time in a relationship, don’t recline to do it.Never lie on top of each other! This is absolutely wrong. Remember, do not do anything you would not want your own son or daughter to do!
31It affects you whether you like it or not! 11. ATTEND WHOLESOME ACTIVITIES.Most movies are NOT appropriate to see on dates or any other time. President Kimball advised us that, “danger spots likely to have most appeal among the youth, and which should be shunned as one would shun a poisonous serpent, are undesirable movies and improper TV programs.”It affects you whether you like it or not!In fact, if you find that this kind of material does not offend you, then this is a possible sign that you have already been spiritually desensitized in your life. Avoid drive - in movies for dates.
3212. NO IMMODEST DRESS. Dress that is modest and becoming of an LDS young man or young lady is important at all times, especially when dating. Girls, immodest clothing includes two-piece swimming suits (or ones with low necklines) halter tops, short shorts, tight fitting clothes, low necklines, short skirts, etc. Boys, keep your shirts on and buttoned up! President Kimball taught us that those who do not actively resist the evil influence of immodesty will “absorb and foster it.” “ I see some of our LDS mothers, wives, and daughters wearing dresses extreme and suggestive in style. Even some fathers encourage it. I wonder if our sisters realize the temptations they are flaunting before men when they leave their bodies partly uncovered or dress in tight-fitting, body revealing, form- fitting sweaters…We cannot overemphasize immodesty as one of the pitfalls to be avoided if we would shun temptation and keep ourselves clean.” On occasion, I have found young ladies who wore things which were immodest and did not realize it. All looked well in the mirror as they stood there with shoulders back and standing up straight. What they did not realize is that they don’t stand straight all day– they sit, they stoop, they lean over, and their clothes become immodest. Make sure all of your clothing is modest for all occasions (The Miracle of Forgiveness, 226).
3313. DATE IN COUPLES OR GROUPS MOST OFTEN. Even after the age of 18, it is desirable to date in couples or groups. Dating in groups is not only safer, but you will find that it is much more enjoyable. You will also get to know things about your date that you could not find out any other way. As we get older, we tend to think that we are “above” group dating. This is a serious error. Do not make single dating the largest portion of your dating. Sometimes when we start to like someone we tend to single date almost exclusively…… this can be a mistake.
3414. NO LATE HOURS.We should be in from our dates by 12:30 or sooner. Most proper functions you attend will end by 12:00 or sooner. You then have 30 minutes to get home. If it does not take 30 minutes to get home, then get home sooner. Do not make it a habit to be out late or up late for that matter. Not all moral problems occur late at night, but many do! When we are tired and are familiar with each other it is easy to let down our guard. Resistance seems to be lower at night, so make it a habit to be in early from your dates.NOTE TO PARENTS:You would be shocked to know the number of young people that I have talked to that lost their virtue in their own house while their parents were home, but asleep in their bedroom. Parents, care enough to chaperon your children while in your home through the entire evening. Do not go to bed until the “party is over” and everyone has left! Do not let a young couple go to parts of the home isolated from others. Wait up until they are home from dates.
35Know what you are going to do on a date before you go. 15. EACH PARTNER SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OWN ACTIONS.Dating is a two-way arrangement. You are each responsible for your own actions. Never allow another person to control your actions. Never say to yourself, “this young man (or woman) is so good that they could never do anything wrong. Whatever they would do would be okay.” Anyone can make errors. You must have firmly planted in your mind right from wrong, and to not let anyone talk you into anything that would not meet the Savior’s approval.Know what you are going to do on a date before you go.
3616. DISCUSS DATING RULES WITH PARTNERS. As you date, especially with those you really like, discuss these rules and your standards so that you each understand what you expect from yourself and your relationship with each other. Set the “stops” while your minds are clear and unhampered by emotions. It’s too difficult to set them in the middle of a passion - filled night. If a dating partner is not willing to follow these rules or thinks they are too strict, drop them! Never let your standards relax…even for what may seem to be the best young man or woman you have ever known! If you want the help of the Lord and his blessing, follow this counsel.
3717. DO NOT THINK THAT YOU ARE THE EXCEPTION TO THESE RULES. The rules are for you! To think that it could never happen to you is an error. You are not so in control that you can afford to say to yourself, “Oh I would NEVER do that, therefore, I can go into an apartment alone with my date, or park, or whatever.”This is an open invitation to Satan to prove you wrong! The biggest error of all is to think that you are an exception to one of these rules.
38Do you see any potential dangers with that pattern? A phenomenon I have noticed that is occurring with greater frequency at BYU-Idaho is girls asking guys out on dates…What do you think about that?Are you in favor of it?Do you see any potential dangers with that pattern?
39I See Several Potential Dangers…. WHO HAS THE LORD DESIGNATED TO BE THE LEADER IN THE HOME?President Hunter said that a man’s most important and sacred responsibility is the leadership of the home. Does that principle only apply to marriage or should it also be true in dating? If the girls leads out in dating, then why would it change in marriage? I have seen many marriages where the husband is slow to lead out in the home because his wife is too quick to take over.It’s possible those patterns are often established in dating.
402. WHO HAS THE LORD FOREORDAINED TO BE THE PROVIDER IN THE HOME 2. WHO HAS THE LORD FOREORDAINED TO BE THE PROVIDER IN THE HOME? Men are primarily responsible to be providers.
413. A concern I have seen as a Bishop is the dramatic increase in the number of girls who are violating the law of chastity. And, it isn’t in many cases, the innocent, naïve victims I’ve seen in the past. It was the female who was initiating and pushing for intimacy. A few purposely planned a date that would include intimacy. Similarly, some guys do not feel that girls are even interested in them unless the girls ask them out.
42Another potential danger is that everyone is waiting for the other to do the asking. Many girls feel that it is more appropriate for the guy to do the asking. So they wait for the invitation. Yet, those same guys no longer feel the responsibility to do the asking. They have seen that so many girls are more than willing to take the responsibility. So the guys sit around and wait. They figure if she is interested she will ask.Some girls are “gun-shy” of returned missionaries. They have the impression that every returned missionary is interested in marriage on the first date. So, to avoid that problem, the girls simply ask out lots of pre-missionaries. It strikes me as an interesting irony that many of the girls who shout the loudest “I didn’t come here to get married,” are the same ones who are the most aggressive in asking guys out. It seems to be somewhat of a paradox.
43To the young men he taught: “The Lord wants every young man to serve a full-time mission. Currently, only a fifth of the eligible young men in the Church are serving full-time missions. This is not pleasing to the Lord. We can do better. We must do better. Not only should a mission be regarded as a priesthood duty, but every young man should look forward to this experience with great joy and anticipation… You can do nothing more important…School can wait. Scholarships can be deferred. Occupational goals can be postponed. Yes, even temple marriage should wait until after a young man has served an honorable full-time mission for the Lord. And I would admonish you to date only faithful young women who also believe this and give you that encouragement” (Ensign, May 1986, 44).
44To Returned Missionaries, President Hinckley said: “I do not worry about you young men who have recently returned from the mission field. You know as well as I what you ought to do. It is your responsibility and opportunity, under the natural process of dating and courting, to find a wonderful companion and marry in the house of the Lord. Don’t rush it unduly and don’t delay it unduly…But do not dally along in a fruitless, frustrating, and frivolous dating game that only raises hopes and brings disappointment and in some cases heartache” (Ensign, June 1989, 72-75).
45Steady Dating Before A Mission To the young women of the Church, President Benson said, “You can have a positive influence in motivating young men to serve full-time missions. Let the young men of your acquaintance know that you expect them to assume their missionary responsibilities, that you personally want them to serve in the mission field, because you know that is where the Lord wants them. Avoid steady dating with a young man prior to his mission call. If your relationship with him is more casual, then he can make that decision to serve more easily and also can concentrate his full energies on his missionary work instead of the girlfriend back home. And after he returns honorably from his mission, he will be a better husband and father and priesthood holder, having first served a full-time mission” (Ensign, Nov. 1986, 82-83).
46As to how we should date, consider the following counsel: “Plan positive and constructive activities when you are together. Do things that help you get to know each other. Be careful to go to places where there is a good environment, where you won’t be faced with temptations.”Are there any places or circumstances that you would recommend students avoid because of the temptations they pose?What kinds of activities or date have you found work well in getting to know each other?
47DATING NON-MEMBERS“We hear complaints that in high schools where Latter-day Saints are in the majority, those not of our faith feel discriminated against. Most of you will go on missions, we hope all of you. You will learn the importance of friendshipping and fellowshipping. Now is the time to practice these principles, to reach out with appreciation and kindness to others. Many a young man has come into this Church because of the friendship of a high school associate. I earnestly hope that no boy within the sound of my voice will ever do anything to prejudice an associate against the church or its people…[We must] develop an outreaching attitude to help those who are not of us, to encourage them, to lead them in a gracious and kindly way toward those associations which could expose them to the wonderful programs of the Church.
48“Now, in saying this I am not suggesting that LDS boys date non-LDS girls, or vice versa. Your chances for a happy and lasting marriage will be far greater if you will date those who are active and faithful in the Church. Such dating is most likely to lead to marriage in the House of the Lord (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1981, 41).