Culled from New Era, Apr. 2010, 2–5


What do the General Authorities have to say about dating?

We know there are 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 are compiled insights from prophets and apostles about whom, why, when, and how we 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.

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