A new dating app seeks to fill the gap for former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints looking for relationships.
“It is not a place meant to pull people away from their beliefs,” said Zac Taylor, the app’s creator. “It is a place where people with like-minded, safe journeys can find a community.”
NEW, an app aimed at ex-Latter-day Saints, launched about two months ago and is available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.
Users create a profile using either Facebook or Gmail, choose their affiliation regarding the church, create settings based on their gender and sexual identities and either tap “wow” or “nope” on profiles.
The app has gained more than 3,200 users and 76,500 swipes since it launched.
Taylor got the idea for the app after he had difficulty dating in Provo as a former member looking for someone who had been through a similar experience.
“I wouldn’t wish a faith crisis on anybody,” Taylor said. “It’s difficult to navigate, you lose friends and family members, and everything you thought was one way turns out to be different. It is really hard.”
He said former members don’t want to use Mutual — a dating app marketed toward believing members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where users swipe up if they like a profile and down if they don’t — but also aren’t always willing to turn to Tinder, either.
“Tinder can be a cesspool of thirst traps and other trolls,” Taylor said, referring to photos used to attract sexual attention.
The Latter-day Saint faith believes that members must marry other active members in one of the religion’s temples in order to qualify for the highest degrees of heaven and be with their family in the afterlife. The religion also disapproves of the consumption of alcohol, tattoos and premarital sex.
Taylor said his dating pool collapsed after he left the church. He now lives in Salt Lake City.
Through NEW, Taylor said users can date others without having to explain their history and position with the church. He’d like to see the app expand to include features for people looking for friends.
Taylor said the app isn’t meant to be anti-Latter-day Saint and isn’t trying to compete with larger dating apps like Tinder and Bumble.
“Mine is just for a like-minded community of people who get why you might feel a little awkward at Starbucks not knowing what to order as a 35-year-old because you’ve never drank coffee or never ordered coffee,” he said.
The app is free to download. A $2.99 a month premium version gives users unlimited “wows,” shows them statistics about their profiles and bumps their profile to be featured at the top of their area.