Mormon Missionaries Falling In Love: What are the rules?

I used to be a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,  and saw many situations where people wondered if missionaries are allowed to fall in love or date.  For some odd reason, though, no one seemed to fall in love with me personally…. hm…. wonder why?  🙂

Mormon missionaries put their entire energy toward serving God during their missions, and do their work without the distractions of romantic love.  Missionaries are encouraged to date and marry when they complete their missions, but they are not permitted to date or have romantic relationships during their missions.

So in short, missionaries are not permitted to date while serving their missions;  they are encouraged, however, to date and marry after they return home.

If you have romantic feelings for a missionary, there’s no sin in that.  But you can show great respect for them by waiting until their mission is through before pursuing a relationship with them.

What Are the Mission Rules?

Missionaries live by a strict code of rules while serving missions.  Missionary service is voluntary and in most cases, the missionaries have saved up their own money for years before their missions to pay their own way.  Thus, missionaries voluntarily follow these rules so that they can serve to the best of their ability during this time of their lives.

When I was a missionary, I honestly didn’t feel that the rules were restrictive.  The rules simply helped me to see how I could best use my time in serving God during those two years without any distractions whatsoever.

Missionaries are given a handbook with the rules they are to follow while on their missions.  Pertinent to this discussion is the following section:

“Never be alone with, flirt with, or associate in any other inappropriate way with anyone of the opposite sex. Do not telephone, write, e-mail, or accept calls or letters from anyone of the opposite sex living within or near mission boundaries. The only exceptions are for communications between sister missionaries and their mission leaders, mission-related telephone calls (such as calls to confirm appointments), and letters of support and encouragement to converts. Report immediately to your mission president any situation that might cause you or your companion to violate this standard.

You and your companion should not visit or accept rides from individuals of the opposite sex unless another responsible adult of your own sex is also present. … Do not counsel members or non-members on personal problems. Refer members who need counseling or professional assistance to their bishop. If you feel a nonmember needs such assistance, talk with your mission president. Do not counsel missionaries of the opposite sex, even if you are serving in a leadership position. Such talk can lead to inappropriate feelings and relationships. Always refer such cases to your mission president.”

Why Don’t Missionaries Date While on Missions?

There is no celibacy requirement of preachers in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Adult leaders and teachers are most commonly married.  However, missionaries devote two years or 18-months of their lives to only teaching the gospel and do not date or endulge in romantic feelings during their service.

The purpose of this rule is really just to allow missionaries to focus on serving others.

The work of a missionary can change the life of many people as they come to know Jesus Christ and live by His teachings.  On my mission, I saw families and individuals whose lives were totally changed for the better as they learned the gospel that I was able to introduce to them.  I am glad that I chose to obey the mission rules so that I could focus on accomplishing that objective.

After I returned home from my mission, I met my wife, Emily, while we were both in college.  We dated for a short time and then got engaged.  We now have three little kids and have a wonderful life together.

What to Do If You Find Yourself Falling in Love With a Missionary

The best advice I have for you if you find yourself in this situation is to simply show respect for the missionary and their work by not becoming a distraction to them.  You may find yourself falling in love and that, perhaps, can’t be helped.  While you may not be able to choose how you feel, you can absolutely choose to not do anything to further a romantic relationship with that missionary until after they complete their mission.  You should not do anything to create a distraction for that missionary even if they feel the same way as you.  Allow them to accomplish the work they’ve sacrificed to perform.  After their mission is over, there wouldn’t be anything wrong with reaching out to them.

While I was on my mission, I was sometimes attracted to girls I met who were about my same age; however, those feelings were kept under the surface as it simply was not my focus.  I was spending my time doing the Lord’s work and not to seek my own desires.  I honestly just wasn’t interested in romantic relationships at the time because I was focused on missionary work.  Thus, it wasn’t honestly very difficult to keep focus.

Please respect the missionaries as servants of Jesus Christ and help them to stay focused while on their missions.  You can do this by not attempting to start a romantic relationship with a missionary.  Because deep emotions are part of the conversion process, often romantic feelings can be misinterpreted in teaching situations.  It is best to keep these feelings under the surface.  Instead, focus on the missionary’s message.

Do Missionaries Ever Marry People they Met on Their Mission?

Yes, sometimes they do.  There are many occasions when missionaries who served together on their missions will later marry, or where a missionary returns to where he or she served after their mission and begins dating or marries someone they met while serving a mission; however, this is rarely the case because missionaries are simply not focused on dating while on a mission, so it is difficult for these feelings to grow while serving.

Jim Harmer

I own an online company where I create websites which are read by millions of people. I'm a non-practicing lawyer, husband and a father of three little kiddos. My faith in Christ is the most important aspect of my life, and this blog is where I get to share my beliefs. The rest of the time, I'm riding dirt bikes or traveling the world taking pictures. I live in St George, Utah where I attend my local congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Each month, over 30,000 people come to this site to learn about the basic beliefs of my religion, and it's my privilege to share about it. The opinions expressed on this website are not necessarily those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as this blog is not an official source of church information. However, every effort is put into providing accurate information in support of the church.

21 thoughts on “Mormon Missionaries Falling In Love: What are the rules?

  1. What does it mean if you feel that Heavenly Father sent a certain missionary to your city to find you? (Missionary also feels that Heavenly Father sent him to my city to find me) And what does it mean to feel an electric type of “vibe” (for lack of a better word) whenever I see him or hear his voice?

    1. We feel human emotions, however I doubt our Heavenly Father would put yourself and the Missionary in that position willingly. I would really try to dive deeper into the scripture to see if your deep feelings are clouding judgement. If it’s meant to be, then it will be – do not even discuss it during missionary periods.

    2. I served my mission in South Carolina, where the church has a limited presence. Throughout my mission, I was told by numerous mothers, that us Elders must return to South Carolina after our mission to marry their daughters, and to grow the church in their area. I know of many couples who met while on their mission. I don’t see anything wrong with meeting “the one” while on a mission, as long as you are able to put it on “pause” until after the mission. I know this is easier said than done, especially as a flirty person myself. Just be careful.

      1. I secretly fell in love with a missionary before, after a long time he finally back home and had a girlfriend he just met here. I still happy for him. And what i’ve felt for him will be forever a secret..

        1. Same…

          I didn\’t want to accept my feelings, because it would make our meetings awkward, but I did, and it did… I messed myself up.

          But it\’s true, It\’ll forever be a secret. He\’s too good for me, and I\’m sure he has someone back home.

          hopefully one day I\’ll move on.

  2. I had the same question at first lol, but I would respect his choice and let him serve his mission first. You can always let him know how you feel and walk away as in keep your distance from him, not be anywhere close or around him to provoke any feelings. If your feelings are true, wait until he returns home and see if you can pursue him then.

  3. I’ve prayed to meet the right woman and a few days later this wonderful missionary came to my door. She invites me to church functions and bible studies several times a week. After spending so much time together I wish I could ask her out but after reading this page I realize I need to wait until her missions end.

  4. Yeah. I have a secret crush on one of the missionaries who came and knocked on my door a week ago. But I would rather show respect to him than to flirt with him. I’m not a flirty type of person and I’m not into romantic relationship b/c I have things to work on that are necessary. I put God first above everything. I don’t know if this man has a love back at home and he’s too good for me. I’m just a messed up person.

  5. I think I have fallen for an LDS missionary I only met 8 days ago. I don’t like feeling this way because I appreciate he is on a mission, but it has been a very difficult 8 days self-talking and reasoning my way through this feeling. The silly thing is, it wasn’t until he went ahead and expressed his opinion about life and Jesus Christ that I actually felt this way. Maybe I am just in love with Jesus, anyway. Fortunately, as I am not in his ward, he has found other missionaries in my ward for me to communicate with, and I am so glad about this. I wish him well, and like Anett, intend to keep this a secret.

    For anyone else who finds this page for the same reason as I did. If you really care about them, you will let them remain focused on their mission. If your feelings are reciprocated, they might come looking for you after they complete their mission : )

    1. Thank you so much that’s why I am in love with the missionarie of my ward and I can see it in his eyes that I fells the same but there no way to talk about it I’ll just leave him and act like there is nothing going on

  6. Odd as it is to say, I’m too scared to tell him how I feel.. He’s gone back home from his mission and I’m entirely way too chicken to say anything to him that even hints at my true feelings. When I said we both feel like he was sent here for me; I was at one point an underground hiphop recording artist and this Elder at one point was a DJ. There are tons of other examples just like that one that made it so very clear.. I still feel the same way about him, I just don’t know how to express that. And so, there we have it.. Now that I’ve updated a little bit, I’ll just wish you all a healthy year. God bless you ????????❣️

  7. I also fell for a missionary who also shared the same feelings. He has about 3-4 months left to serve. He is away right now, and I have been struggling to control my mental and emotional state. But at the same time, I have always thought to respect him and let him focus on himself and his work. Im glad I found this page and these comments. Im glad Im not the only one who feels this way. I feel much better and at ease. Im learning to be patient and trust in God to lead me. He will make my paths straight and He will direct me in the right way. Thank you for this page! Much love and blessings to you.

  8. I think I am starting to have a feelings for a LDS missionary. I don’t know how but I find him wonderful as he serves God with all his heart. His eyes and smiles gave me hope. I’m praying to God for someone who would help me save myself in these trying times since my father died. And then, I saw his name on my friend’s lists and got curious so I added him. I’m happy that I met him. I’m hoping that he’s the one who sent by the Almighty God to help me.
    After reading this, I realized that I should respect his mission thing and not bring him any distractions. Maybe I’ll just wait for him as he come home after his mission… I’ll keep this as a secret…

  9. I have found myself attracted to one of the missionaries (and from subconscious behavior, I believe they find themselves attracted to moi as well) in my ward and I do not find it to be a negative thing because whether he has someone back home or not, these are my personal feelings. Even before finding this page I had taken it upon myself to pray about it and to listen to the scriptures. I don’t find shame in anything I feel because I know that if we are meant to have anything more than a service-of-the-lord acquaintanceship, that it will happen in due time and probably be better in the long haul if we’re both patient and let the lord guide us to where/what we’re supposed to be/do.
    I do believe that there is a path for all of us and that sometimes that path seems cruel but in all honesty every thorn on our crown is a lesson. When I have butterflies or overjoy moments, even over the smallest of things, I go inside and thank heavenly father for giving me the gift of discretion. I have been gifted the lesson of patience and I’m waiting, happily, for the day to come to be able to confess how I feel, but in the meantime I encourage all positive behaviors in their mission and keep a healthy boundary as to not distract them too much.

  10. I was reassigned to serve temporarily in the San Diego, California Mission and had a crush on a Sister Missionary. I was, however, able to focus on my purpose for being there and kept these feelings to myself. Now, many years later, after being divorced for a number of years, and, as I serve in the Ward I’m in, my calling allows me to work with the Sister Missionaries. They bring back memories of my mission and I begin to secretly have feelings for them. So not right, but the natural man in me starts to kick in. I know how to keep my boundaries and don’t allow my thoughts to get carried away. I’m sure that some day I will find the right woman and be sealed to her and live a happy life.

  11. A few months ago I assumed one of my ward’s missionaries had a thing for me, and after a while I started falling for him too.
    After he left I debated emailing him and seriously prayed if it was ok to do, and I never felt like I shouldn’t, so I did and payed attention to how I felt while typing the email. I felt excited to reach out to him and as if I was simply reconnecting with an old friend, so I took that as a yes to the answer of my prayer. I asked him if it was ok if I had and if he wanted to stay in contact during or after his mission, and he responded and said yes. So we have been emailing for about a month now, except he hasn’t responded in two weeks which is definitely ok because I know he is very busy and I don’t want to make him feel like he has to email me back every week.
    But after reading this I’m scared I did something wrong, I’m wondering if maybe the rules have changed since then because I did my research and read that missionaries can email friends too, and everything is all good as long as the email can be read aloud to the mission president. All of our emails are completely ok for his mission president to read, I support him in the work he’s doing and he supports me in my activities. And I know that my brother who is also on his mission has added people’s emails to the group email he sends each week.
    So I am not 100% sure whether what I did was ok, I don’t know if it’s ok now and the rules have changed since this article was written? I just want to make sure I’m following the rules and hope to develop a good friendship with this missionary, even if that means I will have to wait another year 🙂

    1. @Prim V. – It sounds like you’re being very polite and respectful to help him focus on his mission, while still wanting to stay in contact. You didn’t do anything wrong. I’d just keep your conversation focused on the gospel and then once his mission is over, you could make your feelings known.

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