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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.

It is expected that LDS youth will not begin dating until the age of sixteen.

And let parents know where you are, with whom, doing what, and when you will return. Age twelve is a line of demarcation in the life of a young member of the Church.

At this age LDS boys and girls leave primary, the Church's organization for children, and enter the young women and young men organizations.

Although many boyfriend-girlfriend relationships do not last through the mission separation, the mission experience frequently brings a maturity that better prepares young men and women for eventual marriage. "Marriage and Divorce." In 1976 Speeches of the Year.

Despite the postponing effect of missions on dating activities, LDS men tend to marry at an age younger than national averages, while LDS women marry at about the norm.

The males are expected to leave home for a two-year Church mission.

LDS prophets have consistently instructed young Mormon men that it is wrong to delay marriage unnecessarily (Benson; Kimball, 1975). Because of the belief that people should be married and the doctrine that they can maintain marital ties throughout eternity, Latter-day Saints take dating and courtship more seriously than those for whom marriage has less religious significance.Latter-day Saints believe that premarital chastity is a scriptural commandment reaffirmed by current revelation. He that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body" (1 Cor. From a modern Church leader: "Chastity should be the dominant virtue among young people" (Mc Kay, p. LDS youth are also taught that they should not participate in sexual activities that often precede sexual intercourse: "Among the most common sexual sins our young people commit are necking and petting.Not only do these improper relations often lead to fornication, pregnancy, and abortions-all ugly sins-but in and of themselves they are pernicious evils, and it is often difficult for youth to distinguish where one ends and another begins" (Kimball, 1969, p. Although Latter-day Saints consider sexual relationships outside of marriage to be sinful, sexual relations within marriage are not only right and proper but are considered sacred and beautiful (see Sexuality).

Like most of their non-Mormon peers in dating cultures, LDS youth date to have fun as they participate in social activities with other boys and girls.

Missionaries leave romantic relationships behind and are counseled not to worry about or telephone girlfriends or boyfriends.