One important difference between the FLDS and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) is that Mormons, more often known for short as Latter-day Saints or LDS, select their own spouses. This means they date.
The Church has guidelines designed to help teens stay morally safe during the dating years and to prevent marriage from happening too soon. One way they help teens is through a booklet called “For the Strength of Youth.” Each teen receives a copy, as well as a wallet card that summarizes important points.
The pamphlet instructs teens to avoid dating until they are at least sixteen years old. It warns:
“Dating before then can lead to immorality, limit the number of other young people you meet, and deprive you of experiences that will help you choose an eternal partner.
Not all teenagers need to date or even want to. Many young people do not date during their teen years because they are not yet interested, do not have opportunities, or simply want to delay forming serious relationships. However, good friendships can and should be developed at every age.
When you begin dating, go in groups or on double dates. Avoid going on frequent dates with the same person. Make sure your parents meet those you date. You may want to invite your dates to activities with your family. Plan dating activities that are positive and inexpensive and that will help you get to know each other. Do things that will help you and your companions maintain your self-respect and remain close to the Spirit of the Lord.”
Dating any one person steadily is strongly discouraged until youth finish high school and are adults. At that time, they can begin to explore more serious relationships, but still holding themselves to very high standards. Young men are encouraged to avoid romantic relationships until they return from their two-year missions, and girls to avoid serious relationships with men who haven’t left yet. Men traditionally leave for their missions when they are nineteen years old. For this reason, most Latter-day Saints don’t marry until they’re in their early twenties.
Both male and female members of the Church are held to the same high standards of morality in their dating relationships, reserving intimacy only for marriage. Couples are instructed to help each other uphold these standards, and each are equally responsible for their behavior.
For more on teens, go to Mormon Youth.org.