21) COURTSHIP: What is the responsibility of the father regarding courtship? What are the responsibilities of parents to children during their single years?

Prophetic Statements

John Taylor


It is usual in other countries, before a man can be received into society, that he must bring with him a reputation from reputable men; he is expected to have introductory letters before he can be introduced to them and associate with them, and not because he is in the shape of a man and walks on two legs. Why, baboons do that. Before I should allow strangers to come into my family and mix with my wives and daughters, I should want to know who they were, where they came from, what their instincts were, and what was their moral and religious character. As a head of a family, I have a right to know these things; I have a right to know what influences are brought in and around my house, what spirits predominate there, and I have a right to know what a man’s religion is.

“But do you not allow liberty of conscience?” Yes. You can worship what you please—a donkey or a red dog—but you must not bring that worship into my house; I do not believe in your gods, I believe in the God of Israel, in the Holy Ghost, in the spirit of truth and intelligence, and all good principles; and if you want to worship your gods, worship them somewhere else, and if anybody else wants to worship them, they can do so: you can go on to one of those mountains and worship your gods, or if you are living in a house here, you can be a worshipper of Buddha if you please; but I do not want it in my house, and I do not want the spirit that you have—the spirit of those gods, visible or invisible; I do not want their teachings, spirit, nor influences.

. . . You may see people come here smiling and bowing, and very polite, and “won’t you let me take your daughter to a party?” No, nor yourself either, not unless I have a mind to; I will have a say in that, for I want to know who dances with my wives and daughters, and whether they have a reputation or not, and if they have a reputation, what kind of people they are. This I have a right to do in a social capacity, independent of all religion, and I mean to do it. 1

Supporting Statements

George Q. Cannon

“There have been a few instances of men marrying strange women, losing the faith and becoming alienated from the Church of God, but it has not been of such frequent occurrence among us with men as it has been with women. The alliances which our daughters, our sisters or our female relatives have formed of this character have been attended with the worst results, and it is a matter that should receive attention from us as a people; our minds should be directed to this. It should be the aim of every father in Israel to have his daughters married to those who are of the right lineage, who have a claim upon the blessings of God, through their descent, added to their own faithfulness in keeping the commandments of God. I deem it of great importance to us as a people, that we should look to this. . . .

“Our daughters should be taught to control their feelings and affections, and not let them go out without any regard to these circumstances to which I have alluded. A woman should be exceedingly careful, a girl should be exceedingly careful, and parents should be exceedingly careful in instilling into her mind the principles that must be observed by her and by her husband to obtain exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom of God. . . .

“At the same time I would not preclude any “non-Mormon,” or Gentile as they are called, from marrying; but let such marry their own class and among their own people. I say we have no right to allow them to marry our daughters, and we should use every influence against it. It is not right to allow apostates to marry our daughters, nor for our sons to marry apostates. This is all wrong, and we should guard against it, and use all the influence in our power to prevent it.” 2

  1. John Taylor, “Divine Government, Etc.”, Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, pp. 51-59, January 18, 1865.
  2. George Q. Cannon, “The Latter-day Saints a Peculiar and Distinct People“, Journal of Discourses, vol. 25, pp. 360-371, November 16, 1884.
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