Latter-day Saint Life

3 Book of Mormon verses that changed my perspective on dating

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My friend was glowing. And I was excited to see her glowing. She was filling me in on how excited she was about a guy she’d been going out with for a while. There was hope and energy in her voice—could this guy be the one? I left our hangout feeling so happy for her and couldn’t wait for more updates on the relationship.

But then, a few weeks later, I got a text from her about a hiccup in the relationship that was causing her stress. And then another hiccup. Soon enough, what had started with a very magical beginning came to a disappointing ending. My friend chose to end the relationship and now felt let down and a little hopeless. As her friend, I felt eager to try to comfort her or offer help but was a little unsure of the right thing to say.

Sound like a familiar situation?

Whether you’re currently in the dating scene or are a friend to someone who is, it can be tricky to know where to turn for guidance. And while there are many wonderful resources out there to learn about dating and relationships, there is one special source I think we forget to turn to for this kind of advice: the Book of Mormon.

But in my experience, the Book of Mormon is full of insightful, comforting counsel for the dating game—you just need to know where to look. Here are three verses that helped me during my own dating days and that I turn to when I’m trying to support my friends.

Offer Your Stones: Ether 3:4

I bet you never thought about dating while reading the story of the brother of Jared. But there is a great principle for us in here.

As a quick refresher, the brother of Jared must help his people cross the ocean. The prophet has instructions from the Lord about how to build barges they can cross in, but the vessels are so tight no light can get in. Rather than telling the prophet how to solve the problem, the Lord asks what he thinks should be done.

So the brother of Jared creates small stones and asks the Lord to touch them so that they will glow in the dark barges. He says: “I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, … that they may shine forth in darkness.”

The Lord does touch the stones, and voilà! The brother of Jared has light.

So what does this have to do with dating? A few things. First, the Lord is not going to tell you exactly what to do all the time. You are going to have to make decisions in dating—not float around aimlessly hoping something will happen to you. While sometimes I think we all wish we had a guidebook telling us exactly who to date or what to do, our agency here is actually empowering. Essentially, we get to partner with God to help write our stories—which is a profound gift!

And second, even though God expects you to make your decisions, that doesn’t mean He just drops you off at the curb to figure this out alone. He can help give your decisions light, the way He did for the brother of Jared.

To further explain what I mean, consider your dates and relationships as stones offered to the Lord as you read this amazing quote from Amy Tanner (a professor at Brigham Young University):

“In embracing the uncertainties of life and moving forward in spite of knowing that all might not turn out as we would hope or like, we create our own stones for the Lord to touch and turn to light. Maybe something good will happen when we move forward in darkness. Maybe something bad will happen. Probably it will be a little of both. But God can touch all of those stones. If we make our decision and offer our decision up to the Lord, He can turn all of our stones to light. He can give us opportunities to do good, build relationships, find faith, change, and grow, even with the stoniest of stones that we offer Him.”

So keep offering your stones (aka your dating efforts), to the Lord, trusting that He can guide you and make all things work together for your good.

Remember, You Don’t Know What’s Coming: Alma 26:1

I think we’ve all been there: after a breakup or disappointing date, you let your mind wander to the idea that dating isn’t worth it or that nothing will ever work out. And while it’s OK to be frustrated or sad, don’t get swallowed by it! With God, you never know what’s coming around the corner.

Think of the great missionary Ammon in the Book of Mormon. He and his buddies set off to share the gospel to the Lamanites. I’m sure they had hopes and dreams for what would happen on their missions. And while they went through a lot of difficulties (see Alma 21 through 26), what happened in the end blew their minds.

When Ammon and his friends meet back up after their experiences, Ammon says, “How great reason we have to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started . . . that God would have granted unto us such great blessings.”

I love how Ammon says that—could we have supposed? Could we ever have imagined what was going to happen? Ammon’s life teaches me that when we do our best to follow God’s commandments, even our humblest beginning can turn out much better than we thought.

President Russell M. Nelson once said to young adults:

“I bless you to have the desire and strength to keep your covenants.

“As you do, I promise that you will experience spiritual growth, freedom from fear, and a confidence that you can scarcely imagine now. You will have the strength to have a positive influence far beyond your natural capacity. And I promise that your future will be more exhilarating than anything you can presently believe.”

So when disappointments in dating get you down, try and remember—you don’t know all the good that lies ahead.

Take it One Day (or Date) at a Time: Alma 37:40

In this chapter, Alma is giving his son Helaman some life advice, and I think we’d be smart to listen in.

Alma reminds Helaman about the Liahona that helped Lehi and his family find their way in the wilderness. And he highlights an important aspect of how the Liahona works:

“And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day” (Alma 37:40, emphasis added).

The Liahona didn’t show Lehi’s family the whole map. They learned to move along with just enough direction, just enough miracles, to make it one day at a time.

I think we have to do that in dating, too. We risk feeling overly frustrated if we demand that God tell us now if this relationship will work. In my experience, He isn’t going to show us how it will all pan out. But I do believe He lovingly gives us what we need, day by day. A moment of peace here, and a moment of clarity there.

I am not saying it’s easy, but taking a deep breath and being grateful for the miracles of today, trusting God to take care of tomorrow, can make dating a much more pleasant experience.

I hope those three verses inspire you to go and look for more! I believe the Lord is eager to speak to us through the scriptures, even about dating. And with Him by our side, all of our experiences will be for our good. As Sister Tamara Runia said:

“I bear my testimony that this—all of this—is going to turn out so much better than we could ever imagine! With an eye of faith on Jesus Christ, may we see that everything will be all right in the end and feel that it will be all right now.”

▶ You may also like: Love is meant to change: 4 questions to help you find (or save) your happily ever after

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