• Wed, May 18 2011

A Chaste Spring Break: It Exists

Reporter McKay Coppins at the Daily Beast has a piece up about a trend among young Mormons: taking a spring break, but of the chaste variety. Youthful Mormons looking to party apparently head to Duck Beach in North Carolina the same way many other kids gravitate towards Fort Lauderdale. And Duck Beach looks a lot like any other spring break, says Coppins, but minus a few key details:

“Every year on Memorial Day weekend, about 1,000 young Mormons [flock] from across the country…What ensues is a four-day exercise in flirtation and temptation, as participants strive to party without sinning—which means no booze, bongs, or bed-hopping.”

Curious, eh? I can tell you that 19-year-old me would not have had any part of this, trying, as I believe I was, to sleep with as many people as possible during spring break and indeed, the rest of the year.

But then again, I follow no doctrine when it comes to my way of life (except the doctrine of love, man), and I bet that I’ve spent many more a terrified two weeks awaiting the results of an HIV test than these kids have, so it’s really hard to say who wins in the end. What I find particularly interesting about the Duck Beach phenom, though, is that not only are these kids not looking to hook up, a number of them are actually looking for true and lasting love out there on the sand:

Instead of well-muscled guidos on the hunt for one-night stands, the shores will be teeming with Mormons searching for their future spouses…[This year,] the stakes will be higher than usual, as Latter-Day Saint prophet Thomas S. Monson recently urged single members of the church to stop postponing marriage.

The piece aims to point out the similarities between this group of kids and their less-religious spring break-ingpeers, but soberly looking for marriage during what’s come to be known as an alcohol-fueled orgy really kind of sets Duck Beach completely apart.

Not to say that it’s all for naught, though, because it sounds like the kids are having some success. And when they do, they’re not wasting any time before heading down the alter. As Bryan Hall, a young man who met his future wife at Duck Beach and married her nine months later, notes with admirable frankness:

…short courtships are common in Mormon circles, and Hall has no qualms about spelling out the rationale: “I don’t think it belittles our commitment to say that if you want to obey the law of chastity, it makes the timeline a lot shorter.”

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