Dating apps and websites have grown in popularity across the nation and have likewise been embraced by many BYU students and LDS singles. BYU graduate Cooper Boice has put a new spin on the industry with the creation of Mutual, a dating app created for LDS singles looking to make romantic connections.
Apps like Mutual or Tinder are designed to allow users the opportunity to see other nearby singles. Many young single adults are probably familiar with Tinder’s swiping action to signal interest or rejection. Matches are made when two users express mutual interest. Conversation is only possible once two users have matched.
Mutual is similar in concept, but is unique in its approach as it is designed specifically for LDS singles.
Boice came up with the idea for Mutual after graduating from BYU in 2014 and relocating to Arizona. Where other dating services may lack, Mutual excels, according to Boice.
“It is really hard to find LDS people on other dating apps,” Boice said. “There are some LDS dating websites, but they are somewhat old-school and cost a lot of money.”
Mutual is free and available to LDS singles across the nation. Interested parties must have a Facebook account in order to establish a profile on Mutual. Boice said each profile is then manually evaluated to ensure that users stay within the appropriate guidelines.
Bob Carroll is Mutual’s chief technology officer and one of the three co-founders. Carroll explained that reviewing each profile, in addition to Mutual’s other policies, is a proactive approach to creating the right type of online dating environment.
“I believe that we can create a strong online community that upholds the LDS values,” Carroll said.
Lauren Call is a BYU student getting her masters in public health administration. Call is familiar with several dating apps and websites, including Mutual. She agreed that it can be difficult to identify LDS singles through other dating services. Call explained it can take an entire afternoon of looking through profiles for potential matches to find just a few that could work out.
Comparable apps and dating sites also seem to attract more vulgarity and crudeness as they grow in popularity, according to Call.
“I feel like the quality of men on (apps like) Tinder, in my opinion, is less,” Call said. “I see more vulgarity and crudeness than I do when I first got it a few years ago.”
The creators of Mutual agree with Call’s critique and hope to create an online dating environment that respects LDS Church standards. Boice believes Mutual stands above the competition thanks to the caliber of people using the app.
“The biggest value to Mutual is the really great quality of LDS singles using it,” Boice said.
The app first became available in April of 2016 for beta testing and attracted a healthy group of participants who have provided feedback to help make Mutual the ideal dating app for LDS singles, Boice said.
Call also commented on the opportunity to offer feedback for potential improvement.
“It seems like the people who have developed the app are interested in a lot of feedback,” Call said. “I like that they want feedback; it makes me want to support their product more.”