Dating Advice from Prophets and Apostles


What do the General Authorities have to say about dating?

Dating Advice from Prophets and Apostles

You know there is wise and wonderful counsel on dating standards in For the Strength of Youth. This inspired pamphlet from the First Presidency is a great resource as you prepare for and begin dating. Below you will find additional insights from prophets and apostles about whom, why, when, and how you should date.

Choosing Whom to Date

“You young people … have an important responsibility in choosing not only whom you will date but also whom you will marry. President Gordon B. Hinckley admonished: ‘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.’” (“Four B’s for Boys,” Ensign, Nov. 1981, 41.)

President Thomas S. Monson, “Whom Shall I Marry?” New Era, Oct 2004, 4–6.

“While you should be friendly with all people, select with great care those whom you wish to have close to you. They will be your safeguards in situations where you may vacillate between choices, and you in turn may save them.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), “A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” New Era, Jan. 2001, 11.

“In a dating and courtship relationship, I would not have you spend five minutes with someone who belittles you, who is constantly critical of you, who is cruel at your expense and may even call it humor.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “How Do I Love Thee?” New Era, Oct. 2003, 6.

Good Reasons to Date

“Simple and more frequent dates allow both men and women to ‘shop around’ in a way that allows extensive evaluation of the prospects. The old-fashioned date was a wonderful way to get acquainted with a member of the opposite sex. It encouraged conversation. It allowed you to see how you treat others and how you are treated in a one-on-one situation. It gave opportunities to learn how to initiate and sustain a mature relationship. None of that happens in hanging out.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Dating versus Hanging Out,” Ensign, June 2006, 13.

General Counsel on Dating

“When you are old enough, you ought to start dating. It is good for young men and young women to learn to know and to appreciate one another. It is good for you to go to games and dances and picnics, to do all of the young things. We encourage our young people to date. We encourage you to set high standards of dating.

“When are you old enough? Maturity may vary from individual to individual, but we are convinced that dating should not even begin until you are 16. And then, ideal dating is on a group basis. Stay in group activities; don’t pair off. Avoid steady dating. Steady dating is courtship, and surely the beginning of courtship ought to be delayed until you have emerged from your teens.”

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “You’re in the Driver’s Seat,” New Era, June 2004, 8.

“The Lord has made us attractive one to another for a great purpose. But this very attraction becomes as a powder keg unless it is kept under control. It is beautiful when handled in the right way. It is deadly if it gets out of hand.

“It is for this reason that the Church counsels against early dating. This rule is not designed to hurt you in any way. It is designed to help you, and it will do so if you will observe it.

“Steady dating at an early age leads so often to tragedy. Studies have shown that the longer a boy and girl date one another, the more likely they are to get into trouble.

“It is better, my friends, to date a variety of companions until you are ready to marry. Have a wonderful time, but stay away from familiarity. Keep your hands to yourself. It may not be easy, but it is possible.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), “A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” New Era, Jan. 2001, 13.

Be Careful

“Be careful to go to places where there is a good environment, where you won’t be faced with temptation. …

“… Because sexual intimacy is so sacred, the Lord requires self-control and purity before marriage, as well as full fidelity after marriage. In dating, treat your date with respect, and expect your date to show that same respect for you.”

President Thomas S. Monson, “That We May Touch Heaven,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 45, 47.

“Kissing has … degenerated to develop and express lust instead of affection, honor, and admiration. To kiss in casual dating is asking for trouble. What do kisses mean when given out like pretzels and robbed of sacredness?”

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985), The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball (1982), 281.

“In dating relationships with the opposite sex, making a wrong choice early may limit making the right choice later.”

President James E. Faust (1920–2007), Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “Where Do I Make My Stand?” Ensign, Nov. 2004, 21.

“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 still be much judgment used in selections and in the seriousness. Young people should still limit the close contacts for several years, since the boy will be going on his mission when he is 19 years old.

“Dating and especially steady dating in the early teens is most hazardous. It distorts the whole picture of life. It deprives the youth of worthwhile and rich experiences; it limits friendships; it reduces the acquaintance which can be so valuable in selecting a partner for time and eternity.”

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985), “President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 96.

Safety in Standards

“How foolish is the youth who feels that the Church is a fence around love to keep him out. Oh, youth, if you could know! The requirements of the Church are the highway to love and to happiness, with guardrails securely in place, with guideposts plainly marked, and with help along the way.

“How unfortunate to resent counsel and restraint. How fortunate are you who follow the standards of the Church, even if just from sheer obedience or habit. You will find a rapture and a joy fulfilled.”

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “You’re in the Driver’s Seat,” New Era, June 2004, 6.

The Culmination of Dating

“Do you want capability, safety, and security in dating and romance, in married life and eternity? Be a true disciple of Jesus. Be a genuine, committed, word-and-deed Latter-day Saint. Believe that your faith has everything to do with your romance, because it does. You separate dating from discipleship at your peril. Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, is the only lamp by which you can successfully see the path of love and happiness. How should I love thee? As He does, for that way ‘never faileth.’”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “How Do I Love Thee?” New Era, Oct. 2003, 8.

“I would admonish you to maintain an eternal perspective. Make certain that the marriage in your future is a temple marriage. There is no scene so sweet, no time so sacred as that very special day of your marriage. Then and there you glimpse celestial joy. Be alert; do not permit temptation to rob you of this blessing.”

President Thomas S. Monson, “Whom Shall I Marry?” New Era, Oct 2004, 6.

A Kiss before the First Date?

The first day I saw Frances, I knew I’d found the right one. The Lord brought us together later, and I asked her to go out with me. I went to her home to call on her. She introduced me, and her father said, “‘Monson’—that’s a Swedish name, isn’t it?”

I said, “Yes.”

He said, “Good.”

Then he went into another room and brought out a picture of two missionaries with their top hats and their copies of the Book of Mormon.

“Are you related to this Monson,” he said, “Elias Monson?”

I said, “Yes, he’s my grandfather’s brother. He too was a missionary in Sweden.”

Her father wept. He wept easily. He said, “He and his companion were the missionaries who taught the gospel to my mother and my father and all of my brothers and sisters and to me.” He kissed me on the cheek. And then her mother cried, and she kissed me on the other cheek. And then I looked around for Frances. She said, “I’ll go get my coat.”

President Thomas S. Monson, “Abundantly Blessed,” Ensign, May 2008, 111.

Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh