Consider the following:
- Full-time missionaries aren’t allowed into the homes of single women* (which means that, say, a 70-year-old woman can’t serve lunch to the missionaries in her own home unless she goes through the trouble of getting a chaperone).
- Mixed-gender couples who are married but not to each other, as well as mixed-gender couples where one is married and the other is single, aren’t allowed to ride in the same car to and from church events or meetings. (And this one’s even enshrined into church policy in the Handbook!)
- A home teacher isn’t supposed to go into the home of a single sister he home teaches until the other home teacher is there, leading to the absurdity of guys waiting in their cars in the cold or stifling heat instead of going inside and being able to fellowship with the saints (and, in fact, the particular saint they’re assigned to fellowship as a priesthood responsibility).
- There is a strong social pressure on romantically involved couples to get engaged quickly, and to have a very short engagement, rather than taking time to get to know each other a bit better.
- Relatedly, there is pretty strong pressure brought onto young Mormons to get married pretty young (for the men, very soon after their return from a full-time mission), even to the point of being taught in general conferences.
- There is a strong social stigma attached to the sight of perfectly sexually innocent patches of skin, such as bare shoulders on women. (Or even prepubescent girls!)
- …And so on.
Basically, many (maybe most, but even i'm not that cynical most days) faithful Mormons seem to believe that nonmarital sex is something that human beings have no ability to resist, and therefore we have to build fences around the law—really, really horrible fences, in some cases.
I don't really get it, myself, but it's there—and i find it remarkably unhealthy. Not sure what to do about it, though. Thoughts?
* This rule wasn’t enforced in my mission when i was a full-time missionary twenty or so years ago, or at least all or most of us full-time missionaries in that mission weren’t aware of the rule. I’ve met others who served around the same time who report that it was an incredibly firm rule for them, though, and it’s been a pretty intensely-taught rule for the full-time missionaries in every mission i’ve lived in since then, too.