THE MORMON CURTAIN
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THE SINGLE WARDS
Singles' Wards are Wards created by the Mormon Church to house those who have not yet married. The Wards are designed to stress the importance of marriage and to marry off singles as soon as possible. Mormons who are not married by the age of 22 are looked down upon.
| In Our Stake, The Singles Over 30 Were All "Kicked Out" Of The Singles' Ward |
Friday, May 26, 2006, at 01:01 AM
Original Author(s): Deenie, The Dreaded Single Adult
Topic: THE SINGLE WARDS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| In our stake, the singles over 30 were all 'kicked out' of the singles' ward ("because they were enjoying it too much"), and all over-30 singles activities were abruptly stopped. The leadership said they were going to "force us out of our complacency." This implied, of course, that we all had suitable companions lined up and waiting, and were just sitting around, staying single for the thrill of it all. One guy I knew tried to make up a singles' directory, so folks could keep in touch--and he was called in to his bishop and chewed out.
However, our stake did a quick 360° turn, when they realized that the singles were *not* giving in and marrying the first person they saw; instead, most of us just quit church activity altogether, and found other ways to fill our time.
After the "signles' activities" were re-instituted (occasional dinners, firesides, and one trip to a museum...yawn...and all under the 'watchful eye' of a married couple!!!), I got a phone call inviting me to a dinner and fireside. I said I wasn't interesed. The woman on the phone--married, BTW, but 'hosting' the event--got this shrill, shreiking tone to her voice, and said, "But you HAVE to come!! The church is putting on these activities for YOU, the SINGLES!! You HAVE to come! It's your DUTY!" I just sorta chuckled, and said, "No, I don't...I'm really not interested. I have other things I plan on doing that night..."
I'm not sure *exactly* when the tide turned, but, somewhere along the line, the church leadership started to think that single people were staying single on purpose--just because they "liked it." That has amused me from day one. No one, NO ONE, could possibly like being single in the mormon church.
You'd have to be a total fool. They treat you like slime.
Sometime after we were all thrown out of the singles' ward, though, they replaced all of the *unmarried* single adult reps with *married couples,* saying that the activities needed 'chaperones.' I was so angry that I could hardly see straight (I was well on my way out, by this time).
For adults 30+ years old?
For adults who were attending a church OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL??
For people who held down jobs, owned their own homes and cars, some of whom had children from previous marriages, etc.? CHAPERONES??
Observation that Dallin Oaks has told folks to get their butts out there and get married comes as no surprise to me. As long as you have the correctly corresponding body parts, the church is happy to marry you off. The situation in that area has not changed.
| It's little wonder that the church has started preaching again that young adults get married.
I think it's primarily their concern that young adults will have sex outside of marriage and drop out of the church.
This whole "hanging out" business is foreign to the church's operating mode. The institution wasn't set up to deal with what has happened to society. Singles wards were originally designed to get young people married, but that isn't working anymore.
The fact is, "single wards" have become an epidemic in the church. Even at BYU there are more and more singles wards and fewer couples wards. And the members in the singles wards aren't "graduating" to marriage as much as they used to. They like staying single and "hanging out" which probably leads to all kinds of morality problems for the church to deal with.
Members that have pre-marital sex are less likely to stay in the fold long-term.
Even two decades ago when they started, the church leadership viewed singles wards as a "necessary evil" to keep young people active in the church. They cause a host of problems but it's better than losing the young adults entirely.
The church system wasn't designed for what's been happening to our society. The modern church was designed for the 1950s when the youth got married during college (for females even sooner). Now there is this hole in the church system where members grow up and don't get married and therefore don't fit in home wards.
So what is the church to do? Either they relax the pre-marrital sex rules (which I think some local leaders have already done on their own) or they push people to get married younger and then assimilate into home wards.
As we see, the church is trying to make the members fit their old model. But for the church to continue to grow its going to have to adapt more to the situation. But how?
| I find the comments from Elder Ballard interesting to say the least. I am a YSA who will soon to be kicked out of my YSA ward due to the age restricton (18-30). In my case, my assigned ward is quite small with only 70 or so people attending. If I read between the lines, I am to find a marriage partner from such a small population pool. Forget the fact that many of them would be too young for me to marry in the first place.
As far as ward hopping, I will continue to do that at least twice a month. If I am to get married, then I need to find the right age bracket that works for me. A few people I have spoken to about ward hopping say they will continue to do the same thing. (Last time I looked most LDS buildings said "Vistors Welcome").
Now, If I am on Elder Ballard's radar screen for ward hopping, so be it. Perhaps, I could even meet with him to give my take for what is actually happening at the ground floor.
I am not sure how they can identify me in the first place unless they start asking for ID for every Church service one attends. :) It may have to come that if there serious about putting people on the radar screen :)
My biggest contention is the Church is not treating the root-cause for why so many YSAs go in-active, are not getting married, or those who are getting married why they are getting divorced in high numbers. If you do not treat the root-cause for the failure in the system, then you are simply re-arranging the chairs on the Titanic in false hopes the ship will not sink. In Quality Engineering, it a common saying that 80% of failures are systematic based. If that applies to religon, then 80% of failures (i.e., in-activity, divorce, lack of marriage, high depression rates, etc.) can be attributed to failure in the system (the Church). Ergo, the Church needs to really figure out the root-cause. Of course, such an undertaking, is never an easy thing for any Organization to do because you really have to address the facts and realities as they really are.
I have found greater mental wellness in learning to take charge in my life. I will not relinquish my right of agency to no one. After all, Agency is a gift from God so only God himself can take back that gift. If YSAs need to do some ward hopping to find a suitable marriage companion, than more power to those YSAs.
| Between wives I attended a Singles Ward in Mesa, Arizona. The bishop of the ward allowed almost any single person under 40 and some up to 50 to attend his ward. The chapel was always filled and they even had a primary for all the children that came.
One Sunday the bishop announced that it was important for everyone that was a parent to stay after for a very important meeting with the new SP. In the meeting the new SP said he had been inspired that EVERYONE with children were to start attending their assigned family ward and not the singles ward. The single ward was going to follow church policy and be for 18 to 30 year old's that had NEVER married and had NO children.
I was really surprised at the number of women that started crying and asking if they could continue to attend the singles ward. They said they were not welcomed in RS in the family wards and their children were mistreated by the married women in primary. Several of the women said they had no where else to go to worship. The SP left the meeting and the bishop was all alone to deal with the fallout. I was such a TBM at the time that I actually supported the SP until I witness the GREAT hurt and pain this man had caused so many people with his uninspired non christ like logic. I so much wanted someone to tell them they could attend.
There were other problems because of this policy. The primary had been staffed by older never married that had no kids females. For many of them, this was their only church calling and the only opportunity to associate with children. These women looked forward to being with the kids each Sunday and now they were not with them and had no opportunity to serve. The Elders Quorum dropped from 3 groups to almost 1. The chapel went from standing room only to almost half filled.
I know for a fact that many of the women and their children never attended their "family wards".
Looking backwards I believe those women and their children were lucky to have been forced out of TSCC but back then, it just seemed so cruel and not what Jesus would have done. TSCC has a long history of hurting the weak especially single women with children unless your a widow and TSM can HT you (alone).
Is there anything TSCC does that is Christ Like?
| Age 31 is the expiration date for unmarried Mormons. 30 and under are in the "Young Single Adult" program, and 31 and over are just "Single Adults." This includes the 31-year-olds who couldn't quite get it together and get married yet, as well as the 81-year-old widows. And all the divorcees/single parents (hence the part about kids) and other "misfits" in between. Unlike the YSA program, whose sole purpose is to get you married ASAP, the SA program is more like long-term care. It keeps them separated from the mainstream church, so it's easier for the "normal" TBMs to believe that literally everyone resides in a patriarchal, nuclear family.
If you're not married by 30, they're pretty much giving up on you. You obviously have some kind of problem, so they've made a program where you can get the attention you need from people who understand your "situation," because they sure as hell can't.
Being married is "normal," but it's the only "normal" they understand. Of course, in the real world, being single is also normal. So is cohabitating, being gay, or whatever.
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