Ask Angela: A Mormon YSA responds to 'Dating in your ward' conversation

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  • ShmittyWitty Maple Valley, WA
    Sept. 4, 2013 10:38 p.m.

    How about this: start the YSA wards at the age of 24 and get rid of the age limit. If a person is single, they are single whether they be 25 or 60. Also, many are claiming that men are putting of marriage in higher numbers, I think that may be due to the fact that the women in the church are increasingly entitled and nitpicky. They simply cannot appreciate a good man. The pressures, and culture that the church and its people push on single people can do alot of psychological damage, especially to those who aren't able to get married to someone they would like to be with.

  • JP71 Ogden, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 9:16 a.m.


    I understand the temptation to want to just have fun when dating, but just having fun is the reason why so many young adults are now having a problem finding a companion. It seems like the popularity of just having fun and hanging out started about 12 years ago. The purpose of dating when your a young adult is to get married, period. My sister went to a Church college and did a lot of hanging out and having fun. She turned down a fine young man who proposed to her. She liked him a lot but felt like she wanted to be single longer. She went 7 more years before she found someone she wanted to marry. She admits in retrospect that she should have married this young man when he asked. General Authorities have commented on this and have warned young men that they have a duty to be serious when dating.

  • JP71 Ogden, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    Not dating someone in your ward is utterly ridiculous and misses the whole point of the gospel. If you were to ask a General Authority about this they would say, YES! date everyone in your ward. Date them all twice just to be sure. Date the friends and family of people in your ward. Date people who use to be and will be in your ward. Just get out and date. Again, the young man who said this was just trying to say no to this young woman nicely. If a young man is really interested there is no "rule" that will stop him.

  • glennsmith Sweet Grass, MT
    Sept. 2, 2013 10:51 p.m.

    Whatever happened to just social dating for fun in the LDS community. Why do the first dates always have to be about Mr. or Mrs. Right. When my sons and daughters were part of the Southern Alberta singles wards, one date, and BAM!!, your were going steady, practically engaged. Very frustrating. Both men and women in singles wards need to lighten up and enjoy life. Have fun with each other. Put a limit on the number of dates with a person, if you want. Surely, you are smart enough to determine by date three or five or ten, that you either want to get serious, or not. One young lady told my son her number was three dates. After date three, they both knew there was not going to be a fourth and parted amicably.

    No wonder so many men are putting off marriage.

    Sept. 2, 2013 6:22 p.m.

    Wrong rule--If you are casually dating then don't kiss, don't hold hands, don't spend all of your time together. When you date like this there is no physical commitment and you can feel good about dating more than one person at a time. If, after a few dates you aren't feeling like taking things further, there should be no embarrassment. When you are going steady (I believe BYU speak calls this DTR-Define the Relationship), that is the time to hold hands and have some brief kissing. Even then, don't go into the passionate stuff and if you break up, there's room for respect without embarrassment. And finally, the most important rule is to be kind. Generally, if you are kind and also honest, there is very little need for drama, embarrassment, or "messiness". And if your jilted X does try to create drama, take the high road. Smile and be nice to everyone. Your future spouse will notice.

    Sept. 2, 2013 6:21 p.m.

    "I don't date in my ward." Dumbest rule ever. I lived in the mission field. Our college ward was made up of YSA's, SA's, and families, mostly people who worked/taught at the University. At one point or another I went out with every YSA male in the ward. Eventually I married one of them. This guy is both dishonest and has the wrong rules.

    Dishonest--He clearly didn't want to date this girl or he would have broken his "rule". He didn't "let her down gently" by saying this. He lied. A more honest answer would have been something along the lines of, "you are really nice and I'm super flattered to be asked out by you, but I'm not really interested in you and think it would be dishonest of me to waste your time (and possibly money)". Better would be to say yes and then if he didn't enjoy the date, to say something kind at the end of the date that indicates this is a one time thing. I agree with previous posters that he could be missing a great friendship/future spouse.

  • Remmy Upton Portland, OR
    Sept. 2, 2013 5:50 p.m.

    Las Vegas Aggie's comment about dating within one's ward for the purpose of marrying sooner being a priesthood responsibility seems to miss the point of church - which if I remember is to worship Jesus Christ and serve our fellow man. We are not livestock for you to tend. Each of us is a person of worth, whether or not we choose to marry.

    In the United States the only way for most working-age adults and families to avoid poverty is to work. While it is true that children born into single mother households will be far more likely to be poor than if they had been born into a two-parent household, those who are born into a two-parent household, postponing education to raise a family will likely result in your children to be just as poor (refer to the June 5, 2012 testimony before Congress from the Brookings Institution).

    The lesson to be learned is this: if your belief system requires you to force human beings into marriage, please wait until they are mature and experienced enough to make an educated decision about their future. Early marriage = poverty.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Sept. 2, 2013 1:06 p.m.

    If the idea of not dating anyone in a single's ward becomes commonplace, expect the church to disband single's wards and send you back to your home wards.

  • MrNirom1 Aloha, OR
    Sept. 2, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    What person hasn't seen the dating couple who come to church and sit with each other.. holding hands. Two weeks later.. they are no longer sitting together and are on opposite sides of the chapel. How often does that have to happen before you have the guy on one side..and all the girls he has dated on the other... to say.. hmmmm I don't think I will date anyone from my ward. I could not imagine having to attend the same sacrament meeting and Sunday school class with all my ex's. Now.. if it works out with the first one you date.. hey.. no problemo. But life is not always that smooth.

    So.. I can see why someone might want to impose that rule for themselves. Even dating can be an emotional roller-coaster. Some people get more "attached" than others and if your feelings for that other person are not the same, some get real hurt and emotionally respond in turn. If one looks at dating as just doing something with someone else.. going to a movie, etc.. then fine. But there is always someone who wants to "take it to the next level".

  • Las Vegas Aggie Logan, Utah
    Sept. 2, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    As a former YSA Bishop, I find that not dating inside the ward is and was a lame excuse, and is a further delay tactic in fulfilling Priesthood responsibilities. I had many marriages within in my ward and had several young men that would not date sisters within the ward. The interesting correlation is young men that dated within the ward seems to have married sooner, I part because they were not putting boundaries on the sprit.

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    Sept. 1, 2013 11:35 p.m.

    The original article did NOT specify that this was a young adult ward/singles ward. As has been pointed, this is the primary purpose of forming such wards. Gossiping and bad mouthing those within a ward you have unsuccessfully dated is grounds for church discipline; so, the rule would be ill advised.

    As to youth... while they don't "date" until age 16, the reality is some do anyway and it is pretty normal to begin pairing off at age 12 or even sooner. Within the same ward, be it Primary or the YM/YW program, it's a bad idea to get in relationships within your own ward as you have 6+ years of dealing with the fallout.

  • Remmy Upton Portland, OR
    Sept. 1, 2013 5:52 p.m.

    MG: "Church isn’t a company, and that particular rule (no dating within the congregation)is not put in place by some church “HR manager.” So it shouldn’t be enforced through social pressures."

    Two points to make. 1) Mormon Guy, all rules are enforced through social pressures, even the ones published by the Correlation Committee and vetted by General Authorities.

    Second point. 2) Let church worship be about church worship. You were perfectly happy until the Church said you were not, and it said you were not (and could not) be happy until you were married. And, of course, the Church has convinced you that the only place to find such a spouse is within its walls. How about instead of trying to fill a void in your life that was not there until the Church created it, you simply attend church to worship Jesus Christ. He never taught a sermon on "Oh, my heck! I'm not married!"

  • Jazzsmack Holladay, UT
    Sept. 1, 2013 5:45 p.m.

    Get over yourselves people. Life is messy, deal with it.

    No good and no growth comes from living in bubble of protection.

    Without misery there can be no joy.

    Without bad there can be no good.

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Sept. 1, 2013 5:17 p.m.

    I can't imagine why anyone would have even dreamed up a "rule" about not dating people in their own ward. The thing that is messy (or messed up) is that too many people are accepting the wider US society's notion of what constitutes dating. Dating in the form of either mixed gender socializing or courtship shouldn't get messy. No more so than would attending a ward social. If a courtship doesn't workout, then adults ought to both be able to move on.

    Would anyone consider a "rule" about not dating someone in the same zip code, or town, to be reasonable? I certainly hope not. That is really the same thing as this notion of not dating someone from the same ward.

  • Jim Hippen Palmyra, NY
    Sept. 1, 2013 10:39 a.m.

    Anyone who uses the excuse that they do not date within their ward is creating a problem. Suppose someone moves into the ward whom they are attracted to and really want to date. That would be messy.

  • t702 Las Vegas, NV
    Sept. 1, 2013 8:06 a.m.

    Relationship conflict is part of life and it happens when dating as well as when married. If you can't deal with conflicts among you and your ward members, how are you going to deal with it when you live with the person under the same roof?

  • onceuponatime Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 31, 2013 9:10 p.m.

    People should stop worrying about what their peers think and go have fun. It doesn't kill anyone to get to know someone who isn't "hot". When someone makes a lame excuse it's because they aren't attracted to you and they don't want to get to know someone they aren't attracted to because what would happen if your friends and family see you with someone who isn't a trophy to parade around with and you end up actually liking them. Both men and women lose out on a lot of great people because we are so fixated on our hormones and egos.

  • DrGroovey Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 31, 2013 8:22 p.m.

    One part of the equation that can not be ignored is the drama created by other people in the ward that you have no control over. Years ago I dated a girl in my singles ward a few times and it didn't go anywhere. I thought we were still friends, but her friends started gossiping about me and giving me the stink eye in sacrament meeting. I found out later that the girl had felt hurt so her friends decided to attack me. Yes, I know they were just being immature and they weren't worth worrying about. But it is a real drag having to put up with that kind of behavior when you go to a church meeting. The only way you can control such immature drama is to simple not date people in your own ward. Unfortunately, most singles wards have quite a few people, men and women, who are immature and act like they are still in junior high school.

  • Born in Bountiful Provo, Utah
    Aug. 31, 2013 1:37 p.m.

    We had 44 members of our ward get married to members of our ward, just in the last year. The fear of rejection will always be there. Fear not and ask. If they say no, move on. But don't stop asking.

  • Shane333 Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 31, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    Also, the purpose for adult singles congregations is to establish the most favorable environment possible for finding prospects for courtship. To attend a singles ward with a personal policy of not dating other ward members would be like going to a restaurant, being seated, and then refusing to even look at the menu or place an order.

  • Shane333 Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 31, 2013 11:14 a.m.


    You are correct that there are terrific people of other faiths and some who may not claim any religious affiliation at all. The reason for dating within the LDS community goes beyond that, though.

    Dating is courtship, and ultimately courtship is for a achieving and then nurturing a marriage relationship. First, marriages benefit from couples sharing mutual standards, goals, beliefs, etc. Marriage can at times be complicated enough without adding the strain of conflicting religious views.

    Second, LDS members believe in eternal families, and that can only be attained by having the marriage relationship sealed in a temple ordinance. This, of course, requires both the bride and groom be active LDS members.

    Thus the focus of LDS members dating other members.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Aug. 31, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    It seem to me that if your going to church, your trying to turn your life over to God. Why not let Him have a say in the matter. Love is more than a conclusion it's the ability to get into the spirit of things.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Aug. 31, 2013 8:42 a.m.

    Would it be so bad to date people that are not mormon? There are great people out there who belong to other faiths and who have no faith at all.

  • caf Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 31, 2013 8:02 a.m.

    GREAT point! The idea that dating within a ward could be messy is probably good advice for the youth under 18. Single adults are probably a little weird if they go to a singles ward instead of a family ward and then refuse to date those in their ward. Why are they there in the first place? Either the "I don't date those in my own ward" response is a cowardly cop-out for "I don't want to go out with you" OR the person who feels that way doesn't realize what singles wards are for.

  • Yorkshire City, Ut
    Aug. 31, 2013 7:30 a.m.

    Loved his comments and agree. Especially liked this: 'Why not, instead, focus on ways to date without making a big mess?"

    People who are mature, adjusted and faithful should be able to causally date til they know if a possible combination of people may lead to something more serious.

    If it does, great.

    If not, it should not lead to 'messiness" That just sounds like a lot of real immaturity.