YSAs or “Young Single Adults” often feel they are in a difficult situation in the church. Why is that? Let’s see.
Constant pressure and subliminal messages that being single is not OK.
What people think singles are like.
Internet dating can be nerve wracking.
Who you hope to meet at the stake dance.
Who you actually meet at the stake dance.
Socially awkward peers at YSA gatherings.
Looks of pity from your married friends.
Pep talks that aren’t always so peppy.
Mormons don’t drink. Drinking might help.
People are full of “helpful” advice.
Some people have unrealistic expectations.
LDS Planet is indeed like another planet.
It’s easy to feel isolated.
There’s a fine line between cool and creepy.
Biological clocks are ticking. Audibly.
Church dances often don’t increase sexual attraction.
Disney themes are not really age appropriate for adult dances or parties.
Fighting over the only decent guy in your singles ward sucks.
But on the upside . . .
You know you’re fine just the way you are.
You don’t have to share your money.
You can still have fun with your friends, unlike the marrieds.
You can live wherever you want, unlike the marrieds.
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Once again, a boatload of intersting GIFs….
It’s the provberbial “fish out of water” situation in what for the US Navy should be Norfolk, or Portsmouth, Coronado, or Kings Bay (for you Limeys across the pond, Scapa Flow; for Deustches Mormonen, Kiel; Polski, Gydinia, Nippon, Yokosuka…you get the idea, your “home” waters). Especially if you were once married but no longer (and not old enough to be a “seasoned” citizen for widows/widowers), you don’t feel as if there’s a place for you, or “WHATSSAMATTA, U?”
At least the Church has addressed this situation with the creation of Young Singles Adult branches/wards/stakes. Methinks they need to go further with the “Middle Singles” (ages 30-45), or even extend single adult activities more proactively to those above age 45. You might think the ultimate goal is “self-dissolution”, i.e., marry ‘em all off and there’s no more singles programs, but social dynamics being what they are (conversions, re-activation, divorce, delay of the first marriage, etc.), it seems that a proactive singles “program” will always be needed. The trouble with those that “get it right in the first place” (and I’ve no resentment that they have, there’s no room for Schadenfreude in my life) is that often they tend to get judgemental towards those who’ve either never married or never could keep one going (e.g., Whattasmatta U?).
Still, no use in bemoaning social slights on account of being a single in the most family-oriented Church. It’s still the vehicle for which the Gospel is promulgated, no less for singles than marrieds. Rather, a polite form of self-assertion. Easier said than done, but what else can one do that is useful?
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I think you forgot:
“And you are almost always available for assignments.”
jspector106, of course. Single people obviously don’t have jobs or lives so we’re always available! Only people who are married and/or have children have responsibilities.
This is precisely the married-privilege attitude that is so damaging to singles in The Church. In addition to not having to share our money (otherwise known as having to pay all of our bills ourselves) we’re also free to be treated like infants and further marginalized. Hooray!
I’m disappointed in this post.
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Douglas, if memory serves, don’t you live in California? I have attended a few singles wards in SLC that were 30-45, so they do exist, but I think the prevalence of such wards depends on the size of the Mormon population. I’m not surprised these wards don’t exist outside of Utah.
Mormon Heretic, they do exist outside of Utah. My husband is bishop of a SA ward in Cambridge, MA for ages 31+ (it’s supposed to be capped at 45, but there are probably close to a dozen ward members approaching or in their 50’s).
EOR: I can’t speak for Jeff, but the post is intended to poke fun at the YSA culture because it is difficult and because in our family-focused church singles are often treated weirdly. Definitely not the intention to make it worse. I suspect Jeff was joking, but not sure. I certainly was.
This post made me laugh– but only because I recently left the church and am extremely relieved to be out of the singles program (which, I am convinced, is actual hell on earth). If I was still in it, I think this would’ve made me cry.
I do love my freedom, I have a great job, and many interests and friends. But the years of emotional and physical isolation, plus a very real feeling of being stuck in perpetual adolescence became too much. I am not sorry I left.
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I think I was going along with the spirit of the post. Heck, have we gotten that sensitive?
#5 – Heretic, as I’m almost 55 I’m even too aged for the “middle singles”…like one of my Tull albums, “Too Old to Rock-n-Roll, too young to die”. During the period 1996-2000, when I was between marriages and of a middle singles age, our local stakes in the Sacramento area did EVERYTHING to discourage formation of separate congregations for singles, young or middle or whatever. For awhile, I dated a young lady from Elk Grove who attended a young adult branch that the SP there reluctantly allowed to be formed, PROVIDED that it met after 4 pm so that its members could still attend their “home” wards. According to her, it was a rousing success. I did go once with her but being in my late 30’s at the time, felt definitely out of place. That branch was dissolved via SP fiat, in spite of significant activation and strong attendance. Supposedly it was “distracting” the young adults from “activity” in their home wards.
#7 – our singles, regardless of age, ARE at times treated “wierdly”. Or, more accurately, many of our “normal” members, leaders included, just don’t have a clue as to how to relate to members that don’t fit their mold. So if a young woman doesn’t go “Molly”, get married by 20, crank out eight kids by age 30, and think of nothing but how to be a better Stepford wife, bake whole wheat bread, and sing Primary Songs, then either she’s gone apostate or has something wrong upstairs. Sheesh.
It’s almost as hilarious for my No. 2 son in his ward in downstate Illinois. He’s 28, and there’s maybe ten active YSAs in town (two wards). He has to go to Champaign (U. Ill), Chicago, or St.Louis for YSA stuff. Already the lad has been getting needled about being a “menance to Society”, never mind that he’s heeded the old man’s advice which is similiar to what Merlin (Nicol Williamson) gave Arthur Pendragon (Nigel Terry) in “Excalibur” (1981)..”You have a land to quell…before you can start all this hair-pulling and jumping about!” He’ll get married when he’s darned good and ready.
Douglas, I hear you on the singles wards. I was single for a very long time, and attended MANY singles wards. In my stake in Davis County, we had a huge singles ward, lots of temple attendance, and it was fantastic. But the stake president decided to shut down the ward because he didn’t like it. It sucked. I attended my home ward for about 6 months, and was called to teach Sunday School for the 3 active YSAs in my ward. We met in the kitchen. It was ridiculous. I told my bishop that I just didn’t fit in with the family ward and told him I was going to attend some other singles wards out of my town. My bishop was cool and supported my decision, and stunned me a bit when he said he really didn’t know what to do with me. Rumor had it that the stake president never had authority from SLC to shut down the ward, and the bishopric never got released for 6 months.
Being in my late 20s at the time, I attended both 18-30 and 31-45 singles wards. (I remember going on a date with a 28-year old relief society president, and she remarked that she didn’t think she would be called in a 31-45 ward….) I did meet my wife while ward-hopping. Neither one of us lived in the ward boundaries of an SLC singles ward, but they had a ward campout in Moab. So, I have a testimony that ward-hopping works! I know we have many more wards to choose from here in the Wasatch Front, so I count my blessings.
I’ve been in family wards for over a decade, and I miss the generally better prepared lessons of the singles wards….and there are no babies screaming. I’d love to get called into a singles ward bishopric, but I don’t see that happening. Living in Utah County, I know many men that have been called to UVU or BYU ward bishoprics, and they have all stated that it was one of their favorite callings. I like being married, but I miss the quiet sacrament meetings of the singles wards. (Having said that, one bishopric member said that singles can be flaky with callings and the move constantly, so there are some challenges, but he also loved the calling.)
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