Spiritual Messages and Teachings for LDS Youth and Youth Leaders

Is There Life Before Sixteen? On Your Mark, Get Ready, Get Set, Date PART 3

By: Michael Allred

From the book: Serving With Strength Throughout the World

Let’s do some reasoning. If Satan has been hanging around the earth for more than six thousand years, and we’ve been hanging around for fewer than twenty, who do you think knows the most about temptation? I think you can probably figure that one out. Satan probably knows all about temptation—what works best and what doesn’t. One of his most successful strategies for getting youth to fall into transgression is to persuade them to date at an early age—before they have learned to exercise good judgment or control their emotions or recognize all the dangers. Satan has also been successful in destroying young couples who have begun to go steady in their teens. Therefore, the Lord has told us through his servants, the prophets, to not date until we are sixteen, and then to avoid going steady. “If Satan can bring about his purposes and win over a person before marriage, he has gone a long way toward putting the fate of at least one future family ‘in the bag’ . . . He will not wait until you have entered marriage to begin that challenge” (Achieving a Celestial Marriage [pamphlet, 1976], p. 10). Satan is the master of deception and sin, and you can be sure he will use his best tactics on us.

David O. McKay said that going steady limits our opportunities to become acquainted with a broad range of people, and it also creates a distorted sense of familiarity or ownership (Youth of the Noble Birthright [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1960], pp. 21-22). There are many sad examples of young people who have ignored the counsel of our leaders and who have learned by bitter experience the wisdom of the advice we have been given. Our prophets have been right all along. But still sometimes we don’t understand. In those circumstances we need to exercise faith and accept that the prophets of God understand more than we do (see Isaiah 55:8-9).

Because not everyone believes in the same dating standards that you do, it might be helpful to arm yourself with some great comebacks to use when the pressure is on. Imagine you are asked to go steady. What do you say? Here are a few comebacks that I’ve thought up or borrowed to help out while you are developing your own:

I didn’t know you were an isolationist.

I have too many friends of the opposite sex, and you might get jealous.

I like you too well to tie you down.

Comparison makes the heart grow fonder.

It’s against my “word of wisdom.”

Would we have a joint checking account?

Sure, as long as we can date whomever we want.

My dad said I can’t.

Can we just say that we “used” to go steady?


Here is another exercise that really helps: Take a sheet of paper and make a large “T” (for temple) on the paper. On one side of the paper write down the standards you must keep if you are to be worthy and prepared for the temple. On the other side, write down the things you must not do if you are to be ready for the temple. Put the list somewhere where you can see it often. There is something more you might put on this chart. Make a heading called “specifics” under each list of standards. Then write down the specific things you will need to do or to avoid in order to keep the standards. Look at those areas where you know you are weak or vulnerable. All of us have things we need to work on, so don’t be afraid to identify the work you need to do. Be honest with yourself. Then review your lists frequently and evaluate yourself. Keeping such a set of goals in front of you will help you get to the place you want to go—the temple (see example on page 11).

Is there life before sixteen? Yes! And it is during those years before we are sixteen, when we prepare ourselves socially and spiritually for the great experience of dating.

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