Youth in the Mormon Church are taught to wait until at least the age of 16 to begin dating and to date only those who have high moral standards. On a date, each is responsible to help each other preserve their standards and to protect each other's honor and virtue. Mormon Prophet Spencer W. Kimball stated it this way: "In proper [dating] the partners must recognize that their first responsibilities are to encourage each other in righteous behavior and to sustain and support each other in righteous desires and ambitions. The young man will do anything to protect the young lady’s purity. Each partner will unselfishly seek the best for the other while they learn to know each other well."1
"For the Strength of Youth", a Church publication for young men and women ages 12-18, it states: "Do not date until you are at least 16 years old. Dating before then can lead to immorality, limit the number of other young people you meet and deprive you experiences that will help you choose an eternal partner."
Continuing on with President Kimball's statement: "If young people [date] one another without being sexually involved, they can more objectively determine whether they should proceed further or whether they should part and seek other more compatible companions. Tragically, [dating] is often misused today by those who either live together for sexual privileges or by those who [date] hastily and marry foolishly. In either situation the purposes of [dating] are not realized and the couple’s morality is corrupted. The world may countenance premarital sex experiences, but the Lord and [the Mormon] church condemn in no uncertain terms any and every sex relationship outside of marriage, and even indecent and uncontrolled ones within marriage.” 1
Youth have been counseled that dating should not be without supervision. Sometimes dating can be a barrier between youth and their parents. However, the involvement of parents is vital; in that communication and setting boundaries needs to be understood by both parents and youth. Parents do not come with a parenting handbook, which tells them what to say and how to act in every situation, especially when their children begin dating. It is mainly a do-it-yourself project, which takes communication and understanding from parents and youth alike. Each side requires patience and knowledge that each will make mistakes. Praying as a family before a teen leaves on a date brings the spirit and love, as well as recognition that each other's thoughts and prayers will be with the other while apart.
1 "Faith Precedes the Miracle", Kimball, 1972, pg.175