When I was on my mission to Colorado in the late 70s, I recall the local bishop showing me a letter he had just received. It was from a man who lived on the other side of the state, a widower with a 10-year old son, and included a picture of them standing by the man’s Cessna plane. It was basically in letter form a personal ad. The bishop posted the letter and picture on the ward bulletin board.
Later, I saw the same letter and picture posted on a meetinghouse bulletin board a substantial distance away. And I decided I really admired that guy for trying so hard. He must have put together at least dozens, if not hundreds, of snail mail letters (the only kind that existed at the time) and sent them all over the Rocky Mountains, looking for love.
In the first ward where I saw this letter, there was a single woman we were good friends with, and I encouraged her to respond. (He looked like a decent guy and, while I’m no judge, he seemed good looking. At least he wasn’t short, fat or bald.) She was intrigued and thought about it, but ultimately never pulled the trigger on a response. I think she thought it would be beneath her to respond to such a letter.
Well, that was all a long time ago. We have now gone through the era of print personal ads (I remember Sunstone tried that out for awhile, but they never had more than about four ads and the idea never gained any traction there) to internet dating websites.
It seems to me that such websites have the potential to help resolve the main impediment to Mormon dating, which is geographical distance. And with pictures and greater detail, they strike me as a big advance over print personal ads. But while in theory it seems like they ought to be a boon to older LDS singles looking for love, we all know that theory often runs headlong into practice.
I have no experience with internet dating to offer, and I’ve never seen a blog post on the subject. So here’s your chance to enlighten the rest of us. Does internet dating work in the Mormon context? Do you know people that have married through that means? Do you have horror stories? Any cautions or warnings you would care to share? What are your experiences?