I am writing this letter via my blog in the hopes that somehow you might see it. You probably won’t but I am going to pretend that you can and say what I want to say.
For the first time in my life today I didn’t go to church. It was the wrong decision but I just couldn’t take it. Let me fill you in on my life story. I’m 32 single adult, RM, BYU grad member. I attended YSA wards for 15 years of my life. While these had there challenges, I was always able to make it work. I benefited from a large amount of money and resources spent to ensure I was taken care of and spiritually nourished.
With all its faults, it was the only way I have worshiped in my adult life. The only thing I knew. My last singles ward was particularly great. I had a bishop who really loved me and we had a mentoring relationship. He cared about my life, followed my swims, and met with me on a regular basis. As someone who does not have much gospel family support, aside from parents, this meant a lot to me.
In that ward we had a daily scripture reading, service and prayer challenge which we reported on regularly. We had lessons that I could relate to each week and activities that helped me to feel included and make friends. While the emphasis on dating sometimes drove me crazy, at least I felt important and taken care of.
And then I turned 31…
Like a guillotine I was told I had one month to transition to either a midsingles or family ward. It didn’t help that the same week I was transitioning I had a blow in my personal life I had to absorb mostly alone. Nevertheless, I tried to be obedient and attend the family ward.
I’ll never forget walking in to my first family ward that had 3 other single adults. I sat on a row in the back but I tried and bore my testimony, introduced myself. (I can’t even imagine if you were shy how you’d get through it).
Then I met with the bishop and told him I did not want to be in primary. Not because I don’t like kids but because I knew it would make it near impossible for me to make friends and feel a part of the ward. Lo and behold I got called into primary and I did my best to make it work. I was also called as activity day director, a calling I loved.
I was pretty vocal and active in that ward and I actually was able to make a friend or two (my co-teacher was great and we became friends). Still, I felt spiritually stymied and cut off from the ward experience I was used to. I attended some ysa activities and that was fine but its hard when you are cut off from the Sunday social environment to feel a part of things. I went to midsingles activities but the challenge there is the numbers are so massive that you can’t get to know anyone because the next month there is an entirely new group at the activities.
So I lost activities, spiritual nourishment, friends and a sense of being part of a ward family (It really feels like sometimes they are prepared to invest so much in people and then boom its over). I met with the bishop before moving out and told him ‘I haven’t been asked to speak. Haven’t given a prayer or anything’ . He said ‘It looks like you fell through the cracks’.
Not exactly comforting…
So a new ward came with a new house. At first I was called into the Relief Society presidency which helped a lot to give me something to do, feel needed. However, it really hurt when I was seeking help with my move and told ‘we don’t do moves’. It kind of broke my heart. I was left to figure it out on my own, as a single woman with no immediate family to help.
But I plowed forward. I worked hard. Tried to contribute, gave a talk in church, taught several lessons, but still missed the inclusive experience of my singles ward. This new ward has more singles but most are divorced with kids which is a different set of circumstances. We have only had Relief Society activities so its hard to get to know families, to even know who is part of what family. We also don’t have ward directories any more so if I wasn’t in RS Presidency I’d have nobody to call for help or to get acquainted.
They have a monthly activity for FHE for singles that I appreciate, even though I’m the only one from my ward that attends. The problem is that the group seems different each time and the interactions are so seldom that even learning people’s names is difficult. So I am left alone. The same problem is true for midsingles activities in general. The midsingles ward is about 30 minutes from my house (an hour driving is a lot if you don’t have to) and it is massive, 750+ members.
As far as spiritual nourishment goes I tried to tag onto the singles ward as long as I could. For example, they did a scripture challenge on the atonement before Christmas that I found very rewarding. Those kinds of things never happen in family wards.
There are also other issues I won’t get into but suffice it to say any spiritual nourishment I was getting was not from my Sunday meetings. These are attended only out of obedience and a chance to renew covenants. One Sunday we had talks on girls camp, a lesson in Sunday School about the big bang theory and a RS lesson about ‘keeping the love alive in your marriage’ where we learned the steps for writing love notes, cards passed around and all…
In May I was feeling down and wanted to talk with the bishop. The waiting list was over a month out. I said ‘forget it’ and moved on, dealt with my problems by myself and with this blog (thank you!). The whole time I felt very sad and truly grieved for the life I was allowed to live for so long that was ripped out from under me through no choice of my own.
Then this week the ties in my YSA were weakened all the more. At this point I only know 3 people there and the bishopric. I felt very depressed about it. My bishop called yesterday and I told him as much. His response was ‘ok’ and hung up. I am sure he has way too much on his plate but it hurt.
I just couldn’t do it today. I couldn’t pretend today. Next week I will be back because I know it is true and that’s more important than anything else but you brethren should know that there is a reason inactivity among midsingles is 80% or more. It is so hard to make that change.
In other parts of the country they are implementing a system of magnet wards for midsingles. This is a great idea. Instead of the 2 choices I have of midsingles ward or family, you have a ward in each stake that the midsingles are assigned to attend. You could even have 2 for stakes with more midsinges. This gives the advantages of friendship and fellowship of a ysa with the grownup feel of a family ward. Please! Bring this to Utah!
These singles are great people. They are strong. Strong enough to forge ahead with all of this. They know they are not living the ideal Mormon life. They can’t work on the celestial concept of marriage. They don’t have anyone to nudge them forward or to correct them when they are getting off the path. It is all on them. This should be more of a reason to fellowship and provide solutions that help them.
I honestly think the transition from singles to family wards (even if through marriage) needs to be treated like welcoming in a new convert. It’s that different and that unsettling. Like President Hinckley says, any convert needs “a friend, a calling and nourishment of the good word of God”. That’s what is needed and I’m convinced if it was tackled from that perspective attrition rate wouldn’t be nearly so high.
The fact is when you are a midsingle you are living in a world that isn’t designed for you, even outside the church. It is assumed by your 30s that you have at least one marriage under your belt and that most people have kids or are starting to have kids because most people are doing just that. And it only gets worse, I’m told, the older you get.
But where does that leave the group left behind, outside the norm?
Well, on this Sunday she stayed home and cried but she’ll be back and will try again.
63 thoughts on “Midsingles: A Letter”
Amen. I’m in the EXACT same boat. Literally, I’m a 32 yr old Single female I’m Utah whose missed quite a few Sundays since leaving the ysa environment.
Thanks Deb. Please share this letter. Maybe if enough people comment with similar experiences the brethren really will take note? It’s a huge problem. I’ve been very grateful for the twitterstake and online community where I can find people like you who are going through similar experiences. Hugs.
Oh, Rachel, i wish we lived closer to each other. This spoke to me very much, not because i am a midsingle but because i too have fallen through a wards cracks. You, my friend are far stronger than I.
Thanks Mary. Love you
Rachel, first off, I am so sorry that this has been your experience and that you spent your day crying! I have had similar moments since moving on to a family ward. Here in Vegas there is a magnet ward but if you don’t live within the boundaries, you can’t have a calling, pay tithing, etc. frankly, I think this is dumb! To me it is more important that people go to church! That being said, I firmly believe that Heavenly Father is mindful of midsingles and that He loves you, so hang in there Rachel!
Thanks Amber. I’m so grateful for the support. That really is dumb about the magnet ward. I don’t know why we cant just let people chose and accept it
I understand where you’re coming from even if most of the time, I don’t feel it. I was really blessed to have a family ward that is great to go into when I turned 31, and the reason I don’t know more people is my own fault–I’m always out of town or ill. I also have my head in the clouds, so I look at my life and how full it is and don’t often get frustrated with dating. Or I suppose I do, but the way I deal with it is to turn away and do other things that are far more happiness-inducing. I will say, however, that I did attend a ward for two years that I felt completely out of sync with. It was a YSA ward and was really difficult, especially when the bishopric seemed like they couldn’t be bothered. It’s incredibly hard, so virtual hugs for you today, girl. I shall be praying for you to have peace and strength. My professor is in a bishopric, and he’s been telling me about the magnet wards and that they’re working on more midsingles’ wards, so I do think it’s happening, just more slowly than some of us would like. The biggest thing I would say? Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not measuring up. I’ve listened to plenty of stupid talks in which statistics were thrown around that never did anyone any good, but I know that Heavenly Father is aware of each of us, and as such, delights in our progress and place on the path no matter where it is. Your life has much meaning and affect being a single sister.
I’m certainly glad not everyone has my experience. That’s very encouraging.
Thank you for sharing
I love this… being in college as an Older single and not allowed to even take an insititue class makes this really hard. quite honsellty I havent been to church in over a year… I just can’t do it. . It means a lot that you worte this
Well said… I’m a single dad raising daughters full time in a home ward.. and you nailed it. I wish they would set up wards based upon stage of life. Once you hit 45.. you are thrown under the bus a second time.
This is a challenge for old singles too. When I became an empty nester and moved into a new ward, it took me at least 3 years to feel welcome. There were people in my ward that I spoke to every week more 2-3 years before they even acknowledged me. My bishop, was a sweet kind man who was clueless about what I was going through and when he asked me if I thought we had a friendly ward, I told him no and I told him why and he was shocked! He’s grown and so have I. I feel your struggle Rachel. Hang in there my friend. Be determined to keep your covenants even when it’s hard. You’re not alone and there are those who really do get it.
Would you ever date a nonmember?
I’m not going to say never but I really want to get married in the temple so probably no.
I enjoyed reading your article and I’m had many of the same experiences. When I was 33 I was told to go to the family ward and it was so hard and then I lost my job. I felt so awkward being unemployed and in a new ward. I have since moved to another town and found good employment. I went to the mid singles ward for a couple of years but it was huge and I found that most other mid singles tended to have there own set of friends and it was hard to forge good friendships. Then I moved 30 minutes across town and decided to give the family ward a try. Yes it was hard. I have since moved to another ward and currently teach primary. I love it… and it’s not that the people in my ward are any different then in another ward. It’s that I have chosen to have a strong testimony and love of my Heavenly Father and Savior that I go to church even when it’s hard because when it’s hard is when I need church the most. I don’t have family support but I’ve come to find the members of my ward can be family if I let them.
I agree with you that it’s hard to be mid single in the church. It’s hard to be different. However I know there are so many blessings that can be ours because we all can do difficult hard things. It is those things that are going to refine us so we can be more like the Savior.
Thank you Ginger. That gives me hope that things will get better. I will adjust. I’ve been very heartened by the response. Feel very loved.
I know its true and will be back next week. 🙂
You are right about church. I think sometimes God wants to test will you be obedient when that is the only reason. I fell short today but if anything I feel encouraged and have regrouped for the future.
It was very cathartic for me to write this. Thank you to all of you for your feedback and support.
Vaughn C. Armstrong I read the post, and it makes me feel sad that any midsingles feel this way. Keep in mind, tens of thousands of midsingles in Utah have been through similar experiences, and tens of thousands more will also if nothing changes. When the timing is right, maybe there will be some sort of unified approach to midsingles in Utah, but how many will feel lost in the meantime? Let’s also keep in mind that some family wards and stakes are AMAZING, and some midsingles prefer family wards while others don’t. Don’t give up on your ability to thrive wherever the Lord needs you now. Also please don’t just expect things to change if you don’t communicate this through proper channels. Posting this online won’t help as much as actually sending this letter to your current bishop and stake president. Then if they don’t meet with you about it, find out who the area authority is and send it to them too. Continue to actively seek and create the life you want.
Well said. I agree with all you said. So I emailed the post to Ruth Todd, lds spokesperson. I’ve never done anything like this so how would you recommend. I certainly don’t want to burn any bridges or offend anyone. Just want to make things better
Vaughn C. Armstrong
At least get it to your current Priesthood channels! Start with your ward’s high priest group leader, who should be organizing your hometeachers. He can get it to the stake president for you, and you should ask that the stake president pass a copy of it on to the area authority.
Ok. Thanks. I really tried to write it in a way that was honest and more a systematic problem than a ward problem. My ward has been fine and there are many loving, giving people.
Vaughn C. Armstrong
Check with your stake singles rep too. They should have a list of all the single adults in the stake, and they should also be able to get a list of them by age. I’m guessing about half of the singles are between age 31 and 45, and I’m also guessing that only 1 out of 7 are active. But I’m guessing that there are quite a few who would be happy to have other active midsingle friends, and then it may be easier if you can combine forces to go out and find social activities.
the problem a lot people 31-45 is are inactive… Its not that we don’t care.. we dont like we belong… (or at least i dont)
I think a lot of people feel that way. It’s not that anyone has done anything we are offended or hurt by. It’s a systematic problem of how we are taught to live the gospel for 15 years and then harpooned into another style as if it is nothing.
I know how you felt , but i got that kinda feeling earlier than you, about 5 years ago hahaha and yep, I am still single, …, so you are not alone, and just want you to know that my case might be tougher, cos I am the only member of my family, RM In S’pore Mission, and some Sundays I have to do my work too. However, Lds friends never let me go, they hold my hands tight to walk in this path.
Thanks for sharing me that, i wish i could write things out ,like you do here. thanks again
Thank you for your comment Riam. I am so inspired by stories like yours. Please keep in touch and let me know how things are going. I know if we are all honest and communicate we can make things better. The gospel is the greatest thing in our lives. We have to make it work. 🙂
Remember “The Island of Misfit Toys,” from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”? Maybe we need an online gathering place where those of us who have passed our pull dates can drop in to celebrate our faith together. Anybody know of any such site? If not, is anyone else interested in participating in an “Island of Misfit Mormons” blog?
Ha! I love it. There are lots of midsingles Facebook groups but we need a venting forum…
Over 4,000 Midsingles use the first and largest Midsingles Facebook Group as a place to vent… 🙂 LDS Midsingles of the World Facebook Group http://bit.ly/midsingles
Also if you are looking for the direct link about the Midsingles Magnet Ward approach more areas area doing, feel free check out the Midsingles Magnet Ward Outline on the LDS Midsingles Blog http://midsingles.wordpress.com/midsingles-magnet-ward-outline
Thank you Matt for those resources. I believe it was your blog that I first heard about the magnet ward concept. I think it has so much potential to help us. I wish they could do it in Utah. I wonder why they haven’t?
I just took the domain name. Right now it’s private. Look for an invitation….
I love it! 🙂
I just want to add that I hope nobody was offended by my post. Its really a systematic thought not a personal one. There hasn’t been anyone that has been unkind to me. I just want things to be better.
Thanks for putting your experience and thoughts into words. This is a very good summation. It’s helpful to know you’re not the only one who feels this.way.
Thanks for the courage it took to write this post. I’ve been following your blog for a while, even though I don’t comment often.
I’m fortunate in that I’m married. I was a single adult for a while (divorced) with two kids, and it was challenging, to say the least.
One thing I found interesting is the parallels that I find in my life, right now, even though I’m married with kids. It has been hard for me to feel like I’m a part of my ward. I’ve lived here for a year now, but was promptly put into Sunbeams. I loved the calling, but haven’t really gotten to know anyone. Church is rarely a spiritually fulfilling experience, and I’m really grateful for the online stuff I do.
Interestingly enough, I have talked to people here and there, and have noticed that they feel the same way. I’m not sure what it all means, but I’ve been surprised to see that so many people feel like they don’t really have close connections or friends. It made me wonder how much of this is a product of the fast paced society we live in these days.
I wish I knew what the answer was because I’m still struggling. Obviously, I go to church, and I have a strong testimony, but the thought has crossed my mind, if I stopped coming, I doubt that anyone would notice. I’ve never experienced this in my life!
While I attend my ward’s Book Club, it really only scratches the surface of the kind of connection I’m looking for. I long for institute or institute style classes-for older adults (and not necessarily single). But, again, it is hard…we’re all so busy. This seems like a circular problem–with no real end or beginning in sight.
Perhaps the real answer is stewardship? Not sure.
Anyways–thanks for sharing your thoughts. I know that there are many “midsingles” who feel this way. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there are others (married or not) who feel similarly.
Thank you for reading and commenting. This reminds me of a conversation I had with someone the other day. I was sharing about my frustrations at not being able to meet with the bishop Mothers Day week when I was feeling pretty low. They said
“Well, he’s busy with the youth”
I said “Well, I used to be a youth and only a few years ago”
Maybe that is part of the problem? We were raised until 31 or whatever age with our understanding of what a ward does and what the gospel is each week and then we become ‘adults’ and are left to our own devices?
I know it is harder to make friends as an adult. Everyone is just so busy but I do think it is particularly hard when you don’t have children as a natural bonding tool.
What made me write this post is I know we can make things better. I don’t want to just rant and rave. I want to make the transition easier for the next group and not have to go through what I went through, and I feel like if the brethren could hear from some of us maybe it might make a difference.
I will not give up on my church and faith. I will continue to try and make it better.
I definitely did not take your letter as a rant/rave. You are honest, and though no solution is obvious right now, it seems like you want some kind of solution…not like you’re trying to complain…
I agree…the transition needs to be easier. I had a tough time with being a single mom, and honestly, if I didn’t have so much on my plate with my kids, I don’t know how I would have handled it.
It just makes me think–perhaps the solution you are looking for is a solution so many people in the church need. I think that the problem you address is much bigger than we might realize right now.
Thank you. I think you are right. Just the responses I’ve gotten have proven many feel in the same boat. I’ve had hundreds of hits and the comments have really touched my heart.
I can’t even imagine how tough it is for you single Moms. Some of my friends outside of the church encourage me to adopt on my own and I’ve considered it prayerfully but I know I’d be a lousy parent alone. The anxiety and stress would be difficult for me to deal with. I admire you that do it, and do it so well, very much.
Everyone is needed in the church and its an unpaid clergy so people are going to be all too imperfect but its only through communicating and having these discussions that progress is made. I’m overwhelmed by the response by my little cry for help. Thank you
I know just how you feel I am in my 53 all the kids are grown gone and married with busy lives just how it should be . I work ,and go out with a few friends however there are many hours spent alone . I have friends hand full of friends in the ward there sweet but do not really understand what is like being single in a the lds church .
Thank you Nancy. I totally understand what you are saying. It can be very lonely.
If you could change one thing what would it be? What do you wish people were doing more?
I know for me I would encourage ward members to have singles at their homes, or at the least have more activities so that the ward feels united. I’m not sure why they got rid of activities.
I would also love for there to be better communication between single and family wards. I think this could make the transition easier.
I think the magnet wards are a great idea. I hope the church is seriously looking into that. The set up for the midsingles wards out here is nuts.
I had a similar experience, but not in Utah. When I turned 32 I went to the family ward that was in inner city Atlanta that had 33% activity rate, so they really needed help. I tried to be outgoing and pitch in to bring people to church, etc., but it wasn’t reciprocated except by a great hometeacher. My well was going dry and I knew I would become inactive so I got another job and moved to Colorado. I jumped in and wanted to help at RS activities, but the ladies sat in friend groups and talked about their kids and husbands. I know it wasn’t their intention to push me away, but their conversations were so exclusive, I felt like an alien. RS lessons were about parenting. I thought I was strong, and I do have a strong testimony which carried me through the depression that hit me when I didn’t feel like I fit in ANYWHERE! Some Sundays I couldn’t go to church. I wanted so badly to be there, but it hurt so badly feeling like an alien to go.
I eventually dug myself out and am in a very good family ward now in Utah. I make friends with people like me who need friends, widows, neighbors, etc. I have enjoyed getting to know the parents of the kids in my primary and YW classes. But I find that I still can’t go to RS or ward activities because of the exclusive conversations and the wounds I still carry from feeling so out of place. But, I serve faithfully, and have figured out where I fit, which will never be mainstream, but I’m OK with that.
Perhaps there could be a better bishop to bishop hand-off with singles? Maybe there could be a better framing of expectations, where at one point you are the focus (big fish/little pond), and gradually changing my expectations that I’m a little fish in a big ocean where I’m no longer in a school of fish. Abruptly throwing someone in the deep end of the ocean has disastrous effects!
I can say that this experience shaped me and through trials strengthened me even more. I have been grateful for these trials because they help me empathize more with my brothers and sisters.
There is so much right about what you said. I related to every word. Thank you for sharing.
I think most of us midsingles feel wounded and certainly disappointed by our lot in life. To not admit so is disingenuous. However, I think you are right. If taken rightly it can help us to empathize with others that feel alone, isolated or scared.
‘throwing someone in the deep end of the ocean has disastrous effects’. So true. You should read some of the stories I’ve gotten since posting my thoughts yesterday. It’s been heart breaking and very encouraging at the same time.
I didn’t put the pieces together to realize it was your blog! It was a great, heartfelt, honest, with a good attitude post. I appreciated your feelings very much. I read some of the stories, but will read all of them.
I am now 47, so this is a ways back, and I’ve recovered mostly. What a great conversation. I think it is a complicated issue. Often, I feel that the family wards have more of their fair share of issues that don’t exist in singles wards, and they are so strapped with resources, like my Atlanta ward, that they can’t reach out, and they need us singles. Yet, we are often our own support and there’s no one to refill our cup, except of course, through the Atonement.
What do you think should happen? I think it is a shared issue. I think the singles own part of it, because I’ve seen many that don’t get involved and don’t take ownership to jump in and help – they just want to be a “floater” or a “partaker”, looking for that hot chick or hot man.
I often think I should start a “cup-filler” fun activity group, but in the past, I’ve felt little support from most who just want to float and not get engaged. It was draining.
I totally agree. It’s kind of a catch 22. The activities seem unhelpful so we don’t attend which makes them more unhelpful. I know some singles also don’t want to be treated as a special case or treated with kid gloves.
I think a little more access to the bishopric would help me a lot. Also the magnet wards is a great idea. I just think we should look at the transition to family ward to be like a convert adjusting.
I want to say thank you for sharing. I am a mother of 3 and wife in a family ward. I have never heard this point of view and I appreciate all the heartache that you have been through. Now that I have a better understanding I hope to reach out a little better if the opportunity arises. I have been out of the young adult portion of my life for so long I forgot what it is like. Good luck and I hope many people read this and learn from your experience.
Thank you for reading and being teachable. We can all be more empathetic of those around us, myself most of all.
I would just add that singlehood in your 20’s is so different than in your 30’s and I’m told onward. With each year the prospects seem slimmer and hope gets more diminished. It can feel like everyone else is progressing and you are staying the same. In your 20s it feels like you are at the same level as your peers.
Please feel free to share this letter with anyone in your community that might find it helpful. I know if we can get more people reaching out and looking at things through new eyes our communal faith will be raised and so many that are not coming to church will be encouraged to do so. The inactivity rate among midsingles is abysmal and we need to do better. I’d love to keep in touch and hear of your experiences.
I’m so grateful for the gospel.
After reading this post, I empathize with you and know how you feel. I’m in my late thirties and I’ve been kicked out of two singles wards (which was brutal) plus there is not a mid-singles ward in my boundaries. What keeps me faithfully attending my family ward for the last 5 years (where I pretty much have no friends) is a realization I had not too long ago: I go to church to worship the Lord and renew my covenants. I don’t go because every other person in my ward is JUST like me and every teacher provides the exact kind of lesson I want to hear every Sunday. Another difficult realization was when I realized that the church is definitely not obligated to provide me with a social life. I’m not saying I would not rather attend a mid-singles ward if one were available to me, but I also think about how much we miss out on by only thinking of ourselves and only interacting with people who are just like us. I have to be brave and get out of my comfort zone every single time I step through the doors, but that’s how life is supposed to be approached so that’s what I do. I really, truly hope you find the strength to keep going and keep trying to reach out to others and make a place for yourself (in every type of circumstance). I am sorry for the way you feel (since I feel that way pretty much every Sunday too!), but I don’t think the church is obligated to create interest group type wards – doesn’t that defeat the purpose of worshiping the gospel together as children of God? But I’m still working on my attitude and my understanding of what will help us mid-singles stay true to the covenants we have made. It’s kind of up to us to remain faithful, no one else should be held responsible. This is the pep-talk I give myself all the time and it helps get me thinking outside of just my own pain and issues. It’s been a huge benefit to adjusting myself to my unwanted circumstances.
Thank you for your comment. “It’s kind of up to us to remain faithful, no one else should be held responsible.” very true. I think there are ways we could make the change over from singles to family a little bit easier but I’ll make it through.
CocoGirl you nailed it. Thanks. I am in my upper 30’s (almost 40, never married) and have experienced everything smilingldsgirl experienced; however, most of it happened in some of my singles wards (cliques, exclusiveness, etc). I’ve had fantastic singles ward and felt super close, etc and then others I have felt very disconnected, lost in the cracks, etc. Yes, I will admit that the institute classes drop instantly when you leave YSA wards but if you look you can find religion classes, you just have to dig deep and it takes a lot more effort. I also finally realized it is what I do or my actions that makes the difference. No one is responsible for my happiness but me. I dump everything on the Lord and sometimes I call on the bishop for help but never ceasing to remember the Lord is my Savior. Bishop’s are human too and I have to remind myself not to expect perfection from them when I should be expecting this from Heavenly Father. They make mistakes like me and I can’t hold them or any other singles group, friends, bishop, RS president, etc. responsible for my progression and happiness. I no longer want to be the wall flower. I’ve been in a family ward twice now since I was kicked out and I have made life long friend connections even after changing wards. I have attended church alone every week for the past five years, I sit behind the families where the husbands have their arm around their wife reminding me I have no arm around me at church and I long for it. There are the exclusive groups in every ward I have found, and it takes extra work but I wiggle my way in somehow and have been surprised if not shocked at what some of the married sisters have gone through. Makes me appreciate my single life sometimes. For the first time recently I have to admit I wished I could slip through the cracks. AND I SO want to be in Primary but alas I still have never been in primary. Sometimes I hear rumors that they won’t stick singles in primary because it may be too insulting that we don’t have kids and almost 40. Then I remember that these are rumors and only that! I still long for such a calling, kids are the cutest. They are so honest! I’ve been in young womens’ for over five years and with anything I have my ups and downs, but I won’t trade anything in this world for some of the spiritual experiences and friendships I have forged. If I have to wait a few months for these spiritual experiences I wait because they are so worth it. Sometimes that is how life rolls. Attending the temple helps when I have a dry spell and don’t feel spiritually close. And sometimes you kind of have to go alone to the temple in order to truly feel his spirit. When you need someone to go with you to the temple the ward nights are great. I am surprised how friendly some of my ward family members are to me even when I have never met them before. Sometimes they are not friendly but I’m not going to fester over it when I can’t control that part but I can control what my actions are and what I do in my life. In YW you miss the RS activities a lot and so I feel disconnected sometimes but again I remind myself to plow forward and step out of my comfort zone and introduce myself to members both men and women including older sisters and the youth too. I’ve surprised myself by a mere introduction and what friendships happen through a few words like hi or I’m new and I haven’t met you. I say this even though I’ve been in the ward for over 3 years… It’s an easy ice breaker. I fear the day when the Lord says to me after I give him my long list of “this is what happened to me….. and he replies “Yes, but what did you do about it.” It keeps me going, even though it is super hard sometimes. I wish smilingldsgirl were in my ward. I would love to be your friend! Take care and keep standing strong, and know that I’m standing alongside the Lord as your biggest fan for your success and happiness in this life! Hugs to you!
Thank you Clare. I think there is a lot of truth to everything you said. I’ve never been one to shy away from meeting people (as you might guess from this blog I am a total Type A personality, wear my heart on my sleeve). I did have singles wards that I had challenges with. They weren’t all cupcakes and waterfalls. I suppose part of this is just adjusting to life in 30s has been tough. It can feel like everyone is progressing but you?
Please keep in touch. This is only the beginning of my journey. If anything I feel encouraged to press forward.
I’m jealous that you are in young women’s. I’d love to help the youth. I’m much better with teens than children. I’m now young women’s sports director which is a great calling.
Interesting, in my experience they almost always call singles to primary. I think because a lot of single women are teachers they think it is a good place for them. I guess it just depends on time and place. In my old ward in California as soon as you turned 18 they called you into nursery. Good birth control I think… 😉
At the very least I hope we can keep this discussion going and as I grow and learn we can all grow and learn.
Thanks! I loved your comments! They made me smile! It is odd how I am on the other side of the lack of a primary calling. Oh well, like you said, time and place vary and sometimes for reasons I will never understand in this life I suppose. Yes, keep in touch and you are very brave to blog about this. Congrats to you. That is a huge step. I hope YW sports is fun and works out well for you. I’m sure it will be challenging too at times but send me a note and we can compare challenges, maybe you will solve some of my problems I run into with the youth! =) I’m all for growing and learning too (discussion)…keep it up!
Oh, Sister. I love you. I admire your strength and great faith. I want to extend my arms to Utah from the Philippines to give you a hug. I am happy to see you get up from being down. Keep the faith Sister!
Please everyone read this. http://smilingldsgirl.com/2013/10/21/all-wrung-out/ . More thoughts.
I admire you for being able to express yourself thus. I have been trying to write out an analysis of what is wrong with the Singles’ program, how singles are treated, etc, and ways that changes can be made – beginning with how the Apostles look at things/talk about them…in order to reshape the culture of the Church…I keep having to stop as I end up getting so mad at the culture, and the various influences (including things past prophets have said)…
Thank you. Admittedly, as I am 46 and now beyond even the mid-sngles range, I may not not benefit from creating new wards (I go to activities)…but the issues are all tied together: how to get the 80% inactive singles reactivated? (knowing that many also leave because of doctrinal issues, gay marriage, immorality, atheism, etc) – how do we reclaim those who are STILL believing, WANT to be active and fulfilled? In my project, I am also including the plight of divorced people, how we deal with sexuality, how we deal with porn addictions vs Word of Wisdom issues, economic issues, financial expectations, and which gender has the better chance of being employed, geographic distribution of mid-singles/magnet wards, etc…. No small endeavour….
I’m very interested in all of the things that have been posted. As a member of a RS presidency in a family ward, I really appreciate all the suggestions, and I would like to be part of the solution, at least in this ward. One thing I wondered about is that some have said it’s hard to be single in the LDS church. Is it easier in other denominations? If so, why? Is there something they are doing better that we could learn about?
Thank you so much Diane. I think this is the beginning of the discussion.
It would go a long way if the singles wards would give home wards a list of members turning 31. That way wards could be aware of who is going to be making the transition over. We could be more proactive in searching them out, making them feel welcome, having someone for them to sit by etc. That seems an easy step that would do a lot of good.
As far as our church vs other churches- I think it is hard to be 30+ single anywhere. As I said in my post the world doesn’t feel designed for you,even outside of the church. I remember in my 20s having all these things that I was going to do and when I turned 30 I felt like I had nothing that was coming up. All the ‘to list’ for a typical 30 something involved family and kids.
That said, I don’t if other denominations have as big an emphasis on marriage=exaltation as we do. That’s a true principle but it can be hard to feel like a failure at the most basic part of the gospel and there is nothing you can do about it. You know there are covenants you can’t make alone and that is hard. I don’t know other churches where it is such a fundamental part of the faith and where singles cannot be exalted alone.
Also, a hard thing about the family ward vs singles ward is the lack of activities, FHE, etc. All of that is cut off and it can be very difficult to meet anyone, even know who belongs to who, to feel a part.
I think that is true for new married couples too as they transition to a family ward. I’ve heard from many that find it difficult until they have kids.
This is just a personal thing with me is that sometimes motherhood is set on equal with the priesthood and this can be tough for me. As someone who is not ooey goey, isn’t a teacher and doesn’t really have children in my life it can feel like I’m not as worthy as some of the mothers with the chance to embrace motherhood have.
Those are just some initial thoughts but we need to keep the discussion going. Please share my letter with your organization. I will be happy to write more, and do whatever I can to help make the transition easier for others. That is my new mission. 🙂
I am so glad you wrote this post. I am a 30 year old woman who recently went through a divorce. I did all those things you are suppose to as an LDS member: grew up in the church, very active in young womens, seminary, went to & graduated from BYU-Idaho, got married in the temple, had a child…
then one day found out my spouse was cheating on me. Now what? I have to be strong for my child & try to give him the love he deserves and try to provide everything he needs emotionally & physically.
So where does that leave me? I have to move to a new ward whose members are not welcoming in the least, a bishop who has no interest in reaching out, but mostly, a world that I do not fit in anymore. As much as I hate to say this, emotionally, I can’t go to church to hear about all those things I don’t have anymore due to the choice my former spouse made. I no doubt believe the church is true, but I can not sit through meetings where all these topics are discussed that is no longer my life.
Thank you for sharing your story. I can’t even imagine what you are going through. I would encourage you to find your way back to the chapel in the timeframe you feel comfortable with. Remember Satan strives to distract us with the fears of the mocking and taunting at the Great and Spacious building. Sometimes that mocking and taunting can come from within the church, or it can certainly feel that way. The only way we will make things better for those that come after us, facing similar heartbreak is if we press forward and are honest with our experiences.
That said, I get it. I’ve had my mornings when it just feels like too much and I haven’t had near your heartache. Hang in there.
So exciting news today friends. My friend in the stake presidency has been sharing my letter with area authorities and gotten some good discussion going. He even went to a meeting where Elder Cook and Scott were doing a q&a and for his question he asked about midsingles. I met with my bishop and he is going to bring up the idea of ysa wards providing lists of people turning 31 so we can help with transition. I’m overwhelmed and excited to do my part in building the kingdom. Thank you to all who have read and responded. I feel great!
This is a great topic and I’m glad I read through it. I’m married with children in a family ward. I serve in the High Priests group where we’re often asked to reach out in meaningful ways to single sisters. Thank you all for your comments, thoughts, and feelings. I’ve gained a better appreciation for your situations and an increased desire to help you. Let’s all keep growing in our testimonies as we do our best to serve and follow the example of Christ.
I’m so glad and thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. I don’t know if you saw but they created a midsingles ward this week where I live! I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s been challenging but as long as we all keep trying that’s what matters most.
I got baptized in the church at 30.5 years old. It was wonderful and a blessing because they gave me 3 callings and I was very active. Then they kicked me out of my YSA ward and into the family ward. It was an awful experience. After going to the family ward for a few years, I went inactive. The church emphasizes so much on getting married and starting families but they make it difficult to reach that goal. It wasn’t right. I prayed about it, knew it was time to leave the church and go inactive. Although I am inactive, I still volunteer at the YM and YM camp every year to help out the youth.
Sorry to hear that but cant say I dont relate and empathize. It’s such a hard transition