Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Are LDS singles going against their leaders counsel unknowingly?

Thousands of Latter Day saint singles may be defying church leaders advice and not be aware of it. The top 3 LDS singles online dating sites LDS Singles.com, LDSplanet.com, and LDSmingle.com promote superficial practices that go against the basic fundamentals taught to singles of the LDS church. These sites gather “profile information” (i.e. height, body type, hair color) that promotes an emphasis on physical attributes in written and picture form.

President Ezra Taft Benson who served as the thirteenth president of the LDS church from 1985-1994 counseled single members to look for the inner beauty of a mate. “Now, brethren, do not expect perfection in your choice of a mate. Do not be so particular that you overlook her most important qualities of having a strong testimony, living the principles of the gospel, loving home, wanting to be a mother in Zion, and supporting you in your priesthood responsibilities. Of course, she should be attractive to you, but do not just date one girl after another for the sole pleasure of dating without seeking the Lord’s confirmation in your choice of your eternal companion. (Eternal Marriage pg 51)

Breanne Bassett, a 25 year old LDS single from Sandy, feels like online dating websites are not natural. “How can you really get to know about a person when you are not face to face with them?” Bassett has never registered with any of the LDS sites but has friends who have participated. “I don’t have a problem with it, it’s just not for me, not quite yet.” Bassett agrees that these LDS online dating sites allow people to pick and choose the kind of people that they are interested in dating and not actually get to know the person behind the profile.

Stacey Taggert, a 26 year old LDS single from Murray, has a problem with all of the information that is presented at online dating sites. “People aren’t truthful at all. I think they are shady. I know people who represent themselves as LDS members when they actually are not.”
The dishonesty and misrepresentation apparent in online LDS dating disagrees with the church’s guidelines for seeking a companion. The church has guidelines for selecting a mate found in “For the strength of Youth,” a pamphlet distributed to single church members. “In cultures where dating or courtship is acceptable, dating can help you develop lasting friendships and eventually find an eternal companion. Date only those who have high standards and in whose company you can maintain your standards. A young man and a young woman on a date are responsible to help each other maintain their standards and to protect each other’s honor and virtue.” (Eternal Marriage pg 55)

Jaley Stinson, a 27 year old mother of 3 and recent divorcee found herself a victim of the dishonesty that occurs with online dating. Stinson registered for LDSLinkup.com, another online LDS dating service, where she found her temple-sealed husband of six years registered as a single person. “You can be anyone you want to be online.” Said Stinson. “I don’t trust people enough to invest any sort of time into something that isn’t real.”

Real or not real, Stinson has other reasons she feels that internet dating sites are not in congruence with LDS church principles. “Online people say things they wouldn’t say to a person if they were live there with them. It’s almost a non-reality when it is just words on a screen.”
Despite the many negative perceptions there are those who hold true to their usefulness.

Courtney Redd, a 23 year old single in Boston Massachussetts, thinks that the dishonest stigma surrounding online dating sites is dissolving. “People are more open and honest in online dating sites now due to the popularity of other social networking sites like Facebook or Myspace.”

Though not a user of online LDS dating sites Lyonel Gammon, a 22 year old return missionary from Logan, couldn’t agree more. “I have a buddy who met his wife online. I don’t think it’s weird at all. I think it is up for each person decide for themselves.”

Gammons comments echo the words of Joseph Smith, prophet and founder of the LDS church, who said “Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves.”

There is no official doctrine put forth from leaders of the LDS church in regards to online dating.

*Source. http://institute.lds.org/content/manuals/inst-234-235-student-marriage.pdf

No comments:

Post a Comment