Rexburg: More like ex-burg

Picnic Temple date during sunset time Photo credit: Eden Burke

Students enrolled at BYU-Idaho come from all walks of life with their own stories and backgrounds that make them the people they are today. As more people attend BYU-I, the dating pool increases. The dating culture under The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints guidelines appears to be rushed. How does this rushed process affect the dating scene here in Rexburg for converts?

There are several interpretations of what dating is or should be in society, but the Church’s stance is that people should date to marry.

According to the Church website, “As you enter your adult years, make dating and marriage a high priority.”

Lizzeth Macias Sarabia, a sophomore studying sociology, said that this has led many young couples within the Church to believe that when someone is dating, they are picking and choosing what they would like in their future spouse. She believes this is problematic when a person wants to develop strong relationships with others.

Temple shining underneath a rainbow.
Temple shining underneath a rainbow. Photo credit: Eden Burke

According to Psychology Today, developing strong relationships is a gradual process that often times takes hard work.

It is actually quite different here at campus. When interviewing converts to the Church, they shared similar responses. The students interviewed believe the dating culture is too extreme. They said it is non-committal dating where one person goes on multiple dates with different people as a way to cherry-pick who their future spouse may be. While the other extremity is people going on one date with another individual and getting engaged after two weeks of knowing each other. It appears to several coverts and non-members that there is no balance, that they have to choose between one extreme or the other.

Fun date idea: the aquarium
Fun date idea: the aquarium Photo credit: Eden Burke

“I think if the Church taught the youth about the law of chastity, marriage and dating more openly, then we could make it less of a taboo and when people actually enter marriage and those relationships, they can be better prepared,” Sarabia said.

She went on to explain that if there was less of a “pressure” on young adults to marry right away, especially after serving a mission, there could be better results with more happy and successful marriages.

Vanessa Perez, a sophomore studying communication, shared her thoughts on dating, and how different the culture of dating is within the Church and BYU-I as a whole.

“It is the pace and timing that is really different from what I was taught, it seems that everyone is in a rush to get married,” Perez said.

Porter Park is a common date idea for couples.
Porter Park is a common date idea for couples. Photo credit: Eden Burke

It can be difficult for converts due to their different backgrounds and their own teachings before being baptized.

Sarabia joined the church when she was 13 years old and talked about how members spoke about dating differently compared to her family. It has been difficult for her when people ask why she hasn’t been on a date at 22 years old, but she stated that she is in no rush and encourages people to do the same.

Perez joined the Church in 2019 and talked about the people being kind and inviting but said that it was definitely scary on campus because of the extreme dating lifestyle.

According to the Better Health Channel, dating possesses several different interpretations, but the most essential part of the dating experience is building connections with people and strengthening interpersonal communications with others.

Dating is a loose term and has several different interpretations, but overall, it is essential to developing more relationships with people. Some believe the dating culture on campus and within the Church is between two different extremities, and when a convert or a non-member enters that dynamic, it can become rather difficult to adjust to.