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Hi gramps,
I was wondering how I am able to keep a commandment by the prophet about dating before we are 16, and well, I am 15 and I have been with this girl in a way of a relationship. I never want her to feel bad, yet I want to repent and keep the commandment by the prophets. How can I explain to her that I must not date or have a relationship before I am 16. She is a nonmember, but knows much about our doctrine and why we do and do not do certain things. We say we are not dating, but deep down we know we are, as does everybody else. I know it’s a silly
question, but how can I fulfill this commandment and not have her hurt or offended in any way?

Dear Al,
There may be a rather simple solution to your problem. You can go out together if you are in a group. The dictum of the Mormon Church is that young people under the age of 16 should not be alone together because of the temptation to violate the sacred commandments of God. It is difficult enough after the age of 16 to remain pure before the Lord.
First, you might explain to your girlfriend that you have made a serious and difficult decision to strictly obey the principles of your religion. She undoubtedly knows what they are. When you and she use the rationalization that there may be times when you are alone together that you are not dating, that may be true, but such rationalization is very much more dangerous that if you were on a formal date, so, believe me, you are skating on very thin ice.
Next, find opportunities to be together in groups. The Church provides many such opportunities and you can initiate others yourselves.
And finally, I would STRONGLY advise that, although you may want to maintain your present relationship, that you both date other people, and do so until you are ready to be engaged to be married–and that should not be until you are prepared to provide financially for a wife. In other words, BACK OFF! Don’t allow the emotions of a 16-year-old to dictate the future of a permanent relationship. It has been demonstrated time and time again that the degree of maturity of a 16-year-old is simply not up to the task! Enjoy your youth, don’t tie yourself down, leave your options open. Many things will happen in your young life that could alter the present circumstance, not the least of these would be the sacred privilege as serving for two years as a missionary for the Mormon Church. I count my two-year mission (in those days it was 2 ½ years) of greater value that my six years of college education in preparing me for a technical career–and that was the least of the benefits that I received from my mission.

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