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.Missionaries leave romantic relationships behind and are counseled not to worry about or telephone girlfriends or boyfriends.
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.
Presumably, the value placed on marriage makes LDS youth less likely to postpone marriage for education and career advancement; they are certainly less likely to cohabit instead of marrying, and the customary pattern is to continue courting until the time of marriage (see Single Adults).
LDS prophets have consistently instructed young Mormon men that it is wrong to delay marriage unnecessarily (Benson; Kimball, 1975).
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.