Single in a Family Church

“Rachel, I’ve been told by a bishop in a singles ward several times that if I just open my mind and pray a spouse will find me. It’s easy he said. Ok. I’ve been single 5 years now.”

A friend on the singles forum told me this yesterday and I just couldn’t believe it.  First of all, who in their right mind thinks that being single is easy and secondly how dare you judge me as being ‘closed minded’ and not prayerful enough just because I am not lucky enough to find a mate.  It wasn’t even me and I am angry.

“Begging friends for setups, dealing with creeps online, having scores of crushes unmet, constantly dealing with being treated like a child by idiots, hearing the clock tick for a family while attending a family church. So easy!” (my response)

And unfortunately this experience is not in a vacuum. You ask any single person and they have experienced such attitudes.  The problem is for many people it has been so long since they have been in the dating rat race that they remember the process with rose-colored glasses.

Also, the whole idea of dating has just changed since they were in the dating scene.  Here’s the deal to those that don’t remember- nobody I know casually dates.  If you get asked on a date whether you are 14 or 44 you assume that person likes you and is seriously interested.  The only exception is if a person needs a date for an office party or wedding.

It is very rare for someone, man or woman, to date different girls on a weekly or even monthly basis.  Now you could argue that this change is unhealthy or needs to be fixed but at a certain point you would be denying the new reality  and living in a fantasy world.

Eventually the leadership of the church just needs to say ‘ok, This is the new way people date and court.  How do we help people?’

To prove my point.  Here are some answers to my survey about dating:

“I would love to go on dates more then once every 5 years. Lol. But if you don’t get asked out, or there is no one to ask out…how do you!”

“Dating? Futile
Online Dating? Funny Farm
Being set up? “Is that really what you think of me?”

“Dating is hard. Online is way less effective.”

“I hate dating. everyone I like likes someone else. everyone that likes me I think is pretty repulsive”

Anyway, gives you an idea.  I also think this problem exists outside of the church.  Its just not a requirement to marry for exaltation outside of the church.

In the end, I agree and know from the bottom of my heart that the highest degree of exaltation does require getting married and finding that person to be with forever BUT what about that sentence screams ‘easy’?  Living truth has never been easy.  Even if you do find him or her its still not easy.

We all have our struggles and claiming that someone needs to be more open minded and isn’t praying enough when you don’t know FOR SURE is just wrong. It’s outrageous.

Just love people guys.  Please.  Laugh with people.  Tell a joke.  Share doctrine that can apply to everyone’s life with gentle encouragement where appropriate.  My experience is most people have something to contribute, even if minimal on almost any topic.  Why not listen? Heavenly Father loves His children, married or not.  Let’s try to be a little bit less free with our advice and a little bit more loving.


PS.  There is a popular blog going around my married friends circles that says that those without children should ‘shut up’ and that their opinions about parenting are ‘worthless’.  If I have to keep my mouth shut about your life than the same goes for those that haven’t experienced being single in their 30’s +.  How would you like it if you went to church and heard about how your job being a parent was easy and that you just needed to pray more for your children to behave? Urgh….

Let’s all try to be nice and admit that neither of us have it easy…

There I said it.

I also have to add that my parents are a single girl’s dream.  No pressure at all.  No guilt.  Thank you!

130929-172753PPS.  If you think it is really that easy try finding someone for the single in your life to go on a date with.  I bet you will find it is tough.

PPPS.  Forgive me for ranting and raving.  The Church is still so true even if I get frustrated with the people every now and then.  I think people need to hear that someone in the world is experiencing the same thing as them.  Its hard to be single in a family church.  I hope at the least I let someone know they are heard and not alone.


37 thoughts on “Single in a Family Church

      1. But sometimes individuals feel the need for more concrete comfort – they may believe that counsel about the efficacy of prayer, and the will and power of God, must be true, but it’s too fuzzy to make them feel better about whatever trial they’re wrestling with. And writing being a therapeutic thing (as well as being direct counsel in my patriarchal blessing), I suppose that’s why I had the investigator in my novel ask, “but HOW does He decide WHOSE prayers to answer?”

        1. I agree with that. That’s where faith comes in. Writing is a real blessing at those moments for me too. I relied on it on my mission. My journals saved me. I am no stranger from anxiety or depression. Faith doesn’t save you from those things but it helps me survive. But like I said I agree coping mechanisms are essential. I’ve had 3 panic attacks and it was my friends, swimming, writing, this blog that saved me at those moments. (Even more than family, friends saved me). And faith of course.

        2. You’re right, there are times when friendship can be more efficacious than family. You’re fortunate to have different kinds of support for the different challenges you face, to supplement your faith.

        3. that is so true. I have always been incredibly fortunate with great friends. I am very grateful.

        4. I think I’m more dependent on my friends than my married friends. I’ve noticed that at least

  1. I don’t know you, but I was touched by your post. My parents both remarried last year after a rough divorce, and they have VERY different opinions about dating in their fifties. My dad thought it was great–he had women bringing him cookies and flirting with him all the time. My mom hated it. She had dates hitting on her, telling her that the law of chastity is optional if you’re divorced, and felt extremely judged and disliked in her singles wards. I think it’s much better for men because there are a lot more great LDS women than there are men. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Praying can help comfort you, and the spirit may nudge you in certain directions, but of course people have their agency. Good luck and hang in there!

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. I have heard that post-divorce/50s dating is brutal. Something to look forward to I guess. Congrats on your parents remarrying. I think you have to stay hopeful but I also think it is important to be real when you are feeling sad or frustrated. Prayer and the spirit are key. I’ve not lost hope.

        1. I bet. More adult language is probably appropriate for divorce. So rough. I guess its better that I have not loved than loved and lost. 🙂

        2. This family-oriented church may not “do single” very well, but it “does divorced” even worse. I seem to recall an Ensign article that came out oh, maybe 11 or 12 years ago, that said something to the effect that if both parties had the best interests of the children in mind, then sharing custody would be a piece of cake. Excuse me?! If one of the parties in several marriages of my acquaintance had had the best interests of the children in mind, those parties wouldn’t have chosen to be adulterers to begin with. It took a while before anybody could get me out of the rafters, after that one.

        3. I am sure there is a lot of truth to what you say. That’s awful. I hope that in sharing my experience we can be a better less judgemental people. I love my church as flawed as the people are sometimes.

        4. For real. Lately I’ve noticed the ensign being a little more open minded with articles on overcoming addiction, pornography etc. I guess thats why we have to serve God first and the church second. What church do you attend?

        5. No way! I served my mission in Indiana. I was in Angola, Lafayette, Bloomington and White River (Indianapolis). Went to Ft Wayne for district meetings. Love the hoosiers!

        6. I’ve been to Angola a few times. Until very recently we’ve only had elders assigned to our ward. Now we have sisters, too. Cool mission stories, thanks for sharing.

        7. Thank you for reading and sharing. My mission was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but of course most rewarding.

        8. Unpaid clergy can be a real challenge sometimes. 🙂 I am sure there are moments where I frustrate and befuddle people.

        9. LOL, I know I’ve been on both ends of the frustrated-and-befuddled continuum, sometimes at the same time! So, it was an eye opener a few years ago, when I re-read my patriarchal blessing and suddenly I understood that everything that had been foretold had come to pass, except for the writing I had been counseled to do, and that was why The Book (it didn’t have a title yet) had eaten my brain.

        10. and congrats on writing a book . That’s a huge accomplishment. I’ve done nanowrimo last year and it was a fulfillment of a dream. Ready to do it this year. Have a great idea. So excited!

        11. I was a NaNoWriMo winner last November, starting on the next book (it actually goes back in time, although I have a sequel started, too). And I got another 50k done during the July Camp NaNoWriMo, this year. The first book took two weeks shy of three years to write, and then 9 months to revise, and another 6 months to edit. Don’t know when I’ll get the next two finished; they’re pretty ambitious projects.

        12. It’s in the national and international distribution catalogs, so I hope it gets into some libraries, soon, where more people can access it. I’m on a small fixed income, but I’m like Erasmus, who said, “When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.” (When you’re ready to get a copy, see my blog for ordering tips.)

        13. Mine too. I grew up in a house like that: my father didn’t like to read, but my mother must have owned more than a thousand books and none of them were light-weight reading material. Ma is over 80, now, and although she had her cataracts removed she can’t read any more because of macular degeneration, so I’m working on an audiobook edition. Hope I can get it done before she dies.

  2. Rachel, I just love you. I am always inspired that you are such an amazing woman doing what you want to do! Thank you for your comments!

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