It is expected that LDS youth will not begin dating until the age of sixteen.Serious, steady dating and marriage-oriented courtship are expected to be delayed longer, perhaps until after a mission for males and after completing high school for females.Within that struggle, inevitably the question comes up: Can a Christian date a non-Christian?The Bible addresses the hardships that come with marrying a nonbeliever, so that's rather clear.A chaste courtship is expected to lead to a temple marriage, in which a couple make binding commitments to each other for all time and eternity.Two doctrinally based principles guide the dating and courtship of LDS youth: first, because of the religious significance of marriage, virtually everyone who can is expected to marry; second, because of the spiritual and social importance of chastity, sexual relations must wait until after marriage.
However, although courtship patterns change and vary across cultures, there is quite a conservative pattern for dating and courtship among Latter-day Saints in Western nations.
Latter-day Saints place an unusually strong emphasis on marriage, believing that marriage is ordained of God (D&C ) and is a prerequisite for obtaining the highest heavenly state after mortality (D&C 131:1-4; see Exaltation).
by Scott Croft Before continuing with this column, please review the preamble included at the beginning of Scott's first article in this series, "Biblical Dating: An Introduction." * * * A promise is a promise.
Judging from both frequency and "passion," the most pressing questions arising from the last piece involve physical involvement — which I'm about to cover, initiation of relationships (especially the bit about involving the woman's father), and the practical details of how one of these relationships works.
All of these topics will, Lord willing, be covered in future columns.