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Why is it important to follow the Church’s standards regarding dating?

Latter-day prophets have given us standards about dating to protect us from spiritual danger and help us prepare to one day find a worthy eternal companion. These standards include not dating before age 16, avoiding frequent dates with the same person, and dating only those who have high moral standards.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study the following scriptures and resources. What do you feel best applies to the young women as they begin interacting with young men?

Deuteronomy 7:3–4 (Do not marry outside the covenant)

Doctrine and Covenants 46:33 (Practice virtue and holiness before the Lord)

Articles of Faith 1:13 (Qualities we should develop in ourselves as we look for an eternal companion)

Thomas S. Monson, “Preparation Brings Blessings,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 64–67

Elaine S. Dalton, “Guardians of Virtue,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 121–24

Dating,” For the Strength of Youth (2011), 4–5

Video: “Brand New Year 2010: Dating”

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Ask the young women what questions they have about dating and write them on the board. Invite them to look for answers to their questions throughout the lesson.
  • Ask the young women to list on the board what they know about the Church’s standards regarding dating. Add to the list as they learn more about these standards throughout the lesson.

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the young women learn about the Church’s standards regarding dating. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best in your class:

  • Invite each young woman to write a personal list of qualities that she wants her future husband to have. Invite the young women to share their lists, as appropriate, with the class. Ask one of the young women to read the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales: “If you want to marry a wholesome, attractive, honest, happy, hardworking, spiritual person, be that kind of person” (“Meeting the Challenges of Today’s World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 46). As the young women review the lists that they made, you might ask them how they would feel if their future husband had a comparable list about them. What are they doing now to be the kind of person that their future husband would want to marry? Invite the young women to discuss how they can personally develop these qualities now and how these qualities will affect the kind of people they date.
  • Ask each young woman to select a word or phrase from the thirteenth article of faith and explain how her word or phrase relates to the standards in the “Dating” section in For the Strength of Youth. Ask the young women to share how the principles in the thirteenth article of faith should influence their interactions with young men.
  • Read the paragraph of Sister Elaine S. Dalton’s talk “Guardians of Virtue” that begins with the question “What can each of you do to be a guardian of virtue?” Ask the young women to discuss how Sister Dalton’s counsel relates to dating. Invite the young women to read Alma 46:11–14, and discuss how the title of liberty helped inspire the Nephites to guard their freedoms. To follow Sister Dalton’s challenge, invite the young women to make a list of things they should and should not do to guard their virtue. The young women could include in their list what they will do to be guardians of virtue as they date (see “Dating” in For the Strength of Youth, pages 4–5).
  • Show portions of “Brand New Year 2010: Dating,” and pause the video to allow the young women time to identify standards of dating mentioned by the people in the video. Ask the young women to review “Dating” in For the Strength of Youth and look for additional standards that were not discussed in the video. Invite them to answer questions such as the following: “What are the Church’s standards regarding dating?” “Why is it important for you to follow these standards?” and “What is the purpose of dating?” Invite the young women to discuss ways they can respond when they feel pressured to do something that contradicts the Church’s standards regarding dating. Consider sharing examples of how you were blessed by keeping the Church’s standards of dating, and invite others to share similar experiences. Invite them to share what they will do to keep these standards.
  • Invite the young women to review the “Dating” section in For the Strength of Youth and write down any questions they have about dating. Invite a panel of older young men and young women to answer their questions and discuss the standards of dating. Encourage the panel members to include examples of how they have lived the standards as they have dated, such as dressing modestly, choosing appropriate activities, and dating those with high standards.

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand the Church’s standards regarding dating? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be helpful to spend more time on this doctrine?

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live by what they have learned today. For example, they could:

  • Talk to someone who has set a good example by following the Lord’s dating standards, and find out what he or she did to resist the temptation to follow the world's standards for dating.
  • Set a goal to obey the Lord’s standards regarding dating.