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A Living Sacrifice, Part II

By Kathyrn Lynard

A few years ago I read a poignant personal essay in Exponent II’s special issue, “Being Single in a Married Church.” The author, a single LDS woman, wrote candidly about the challenges of single life: the intrusive comments made by others, the indignities that sometimes came from “playing the field,” the uncertainty and loneliness that often crept into her heart. Her tone was not whiny or bitter, just honest about the “behind the scenes” difficulties of single life.

One of her points has remained in the forefront of my memory ever since I read the essay. She remarked how seldomly she was touched by others. As a single adult woman, she had nobody to hold her hand, or scratch her back, or stroke her hair. Her only relief came during occasional visits with her young nieces and nephews, who would climb on her lap and kiss her.

I’d often considered that single women practicing the law of chastity must forego a central aspect of their womanhood–their sexuality. But I had never before realized that they also must face limitations in a central aspect of their very humanity: being touched. My days are so full with physical closeness. I can only imagine how lonely it would be to have a shortage of hugs and kisses in my life.

Back in November, I received many wonderful responses to Part I of this post. Women spoke openly about the body-related consecration and sacrifice that comes with pregnancy and childbearing. This week I’d like to focus on the unique offerings made by single LDS women. I’d especially like to hear from single women themselves, so, those of you who are single, or who lived a single life longer than you wanted to, please share your perspectives! And the rest of you, please encourage your friends and family members who might have thoughts on this topic to read and comment on this post.

Tell us, what are the blessings and challenges of being a single LDS woman?

How is your need for physical closeness fulfilled–or is it?

What are the demands and rewards of living a chaste life?

What other body-related sacrifices must you make, and what benefits from these sacrifices do you enjoy now or look forward to?

As before, I might want to use your comments in the article I’m writing about women’s consecration of the body. Anonymous comments are welcome. Thank you for offering your insights.

About Kathyrn Lynard

(Founding Editor) is the author of the memoir The Year My Son and I Were Born (Globe Pequot Press, 2009) and the editor of four published anthologies. She contributes to Mormon forums from Meridian Magazine to Sunstone on a variety of topics including gender issues, disability, mental health, sexuality, family life, and spirituality.

45 thoughts on “A Living Sacrifice, Part II”

  1. It's strange: physical closeness is something I sort of forget about until it thrusts itself upon me. At my present point in life, being single, it comes in spurts of my nieces and nephew or another child at church climbing onto my lap or grabbing my leg. Or a friend touching my arm or playing with my hair. And then I realize how much I miss–and love–touch.

    I believe touch is a cultural thing–but that it transcends bounds we generally set to protect ourselves. I served my mission in southern Italy, and at first I struggled with kissing people on the cheek and linking arms with my companions while we tromped the streets. Halfway through my mission, I grew to love it. One moment of pure physical charity occurred at the close of my mission. It had been rough those last six months–my parents had divorced back at home and I struggled with trying to throw myself into the work at the same time that I sought healing. When I offered to help my mission president's wife prepare dinner, she sat me down in her kitchen and simply brushed my hair. I still remember–not a word was said, but tears streamed down my cheeks as sweet Sorella Ascione loved me and administered to me in a very intimate way.

    When I lived in New York City, my single LDS girlfriends and I would joke that the only physical contact we had was on the subway during rush hour. Hopefully it was next to a dashing Wall Streeter rather than a stinky crack head. I've found myself shrinking back from physical touch to avoid the creepy city hands and the unwanted gestures.

    And yet I sense a great need for intimacy. I have learned to negotiate being single and finding fulfillment and contentment, and I can fill my hours with very important activity and success. I cling to testimony and the Atonement and the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and I'm immeasurably grateful for dear, close friends. I've learned to stretch my body in yoga and running, and I enjoy the physical sensation of blood racing through my veins and muscles flexing to their utmost. But I yearn for the connection, the human tie, the sharing of existence. I'm learning to love my body, to take good care of it, to water and feed and rest it and to use it well, rather than to question and worry and fear it. I need to also remember to reach out and touch others, to hug and pat and remind.

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  2. I'm single, turning 48 in a couple of weeks. I've lived alone since returning from my mission in 1983.

    I realized early on how much I missed touch. I came from a family that hugged a lot, and I was just starting to get nieces and nephews old enough to play with when I landed in the MTC. I realized after a few weeks that I was staring at one of the language teachers who had his arm around an elder's neck, pretending to throtle him. I was so envious — nobody ever played with the sisters that way. We sisters were instructed in the MTC never to give backrubs to each other.

    Then I landed in France and Switzerland. Although the mission work and people were okay, the physical conditions were very trying. I had to stay out working until 10:00 when my natural bedtime was 9:00; I still woke up at my natural waking hour of 5:00. That meant I was always seriously sleep deprived. My feet were constantly wet. I was cold in the winter (we went through a winter in Grenoble with no heat and inadequate blankets — we slept in layers of clothes with our coats spread over the beds). And still, nobody touched us except for the rare handshake. I put on some weight as a missionary, which I think was because eating was the sole physical pleasure allowed.

    Now I find that I must go month after month without touch of any kind, except perhaps a single handshake once in three or four weeks (supplemented by the same public transportation contacts as Jenny, yuck!)

    I have a cat. He is on my lap all the time. He often won't let me type, unless I put on a large t-shirt and tuck him inside it like a pouch. I couldn't get by without him. I pet him all the time, and hug him at night like a little girl hugging a doll. When I have to move, my first requirement is that the new landlord allow me to have a pet. In the place where I live now, I have paid a $900 deposit in order to have my cat.

    I accepted a calling not long ago, not because I particularly believed that the calling was appropriate, but because I knew I would be set apart and I could feel someone's hands on my head for a few moments. Really. I'm that starved for touch. I haven't had any other priesthood blessing except for settings-apart since June 1983.

    I fantasize a lot, making up for the lack of touch. Nothing especially lascivious, but I imagine holding hands with a man, interlacing our fingers, stroking one finger up and down the length of one of his fingers. Hugs, too. Nothing much beyond that because I think I would lose my mind.

    I miss my mother, who has been gone seven years this month. The last time I had a hug, it was from her. I wonder sometimes if I will ever get another hug in all the rest of my years.

    There are no children in our innercity ward, and I know nobody with a child. I haven't seen my nieces and nephews since my parents died, except at the funerals.

    The problem isn't that people avoid touching me, or that I pull away from touch. It's just that there is no opportunity for touch — it just doesn't come up, ever. Without my cat, I wouldn't have any regular opportunity for touching a living creature. I would lose my mind without that little animal.

    You can contact me off-list if you want, at the address I've used on this form.

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  3. Sorry, I realize that I didn't comment on any of your questions, really. I just confirmed the lack of touch. I didn't realize that anybody ever recognized that, or that I wasn't alone, and it all just came out, disjointed and jerky, but as something of a relief. Thanks for asking.

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  4. I have learned something today from reading these comments, and intend to go and give my two single sister-in-laws meaningful hugs to share how much I love them.

    Thank you.

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  5. Jenny and Evelyn, I read your thoughts before going to bed last night. I wanted to comment but I didn't know what to say, other than thank you. I still don't know what to say, so I will just stick with that: thank you. Thank you for sharing your experiences, your thoughts and feelings.

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  6. I wish I could somehow send a hug. Thank you for sharing such personal feelings. I am also going to watch for single sisters I can put my arm around.

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  7. Thank you Jenny and Evelyn. I'd give both of you hugs if I knew who you were. Given that we don't know which people are desperate for touch and hugs, how would you recommend people (probably different for men, women and children) respond to singles generally? Is there anything we could do to help? How do *you* respond to other singles?

    All of the single women in our ward are assigned to the HP quorum. I home teach three of them. A few weeks ago our quorum spent the whole class period talking about our responsibility to these sisters and ensuring their needs are met. It was obvious from our discussion that while we knew most of the women wished they weren't single and had real needs, we were unsure how, exactly, to help. Add to that uncertainty all of our worries about real or imagined improprieties, and concerns about appearing condescending, and it was hard to know the way forward. We did resolve to do a few concrete things, like learn their names and be mindful of them at church and church functions, but the quorum was very willing to do more if only we knew what to do.

    Here's an idea: if a single sister (or multiple single sisters) would prepare a lesson for priesthood, even if it's just an outline, focused on what the priesthood quorumns could do for singles, or what they should know about single sisters, I'll teach the lesson to my HP group. I'll also post the lesson at Times & Seasons, and encourage other brethren to teach it to their quorums.

    Email me at matt *at* createdequal.org.

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  8. Being single, I would say that one way to help is to just love us and try and get to know us for who we are, not our status. I love the quote in January's Visiting Teaching message by Bonnie D. Parkin, "Ask a young single adult about what she likes to do rather than why she's not married." I am a person, not a project. I have been blessed with a fabulous ward that embraces me and makes me feel needed in the ward. I think that is very important- make a single sister feel like she is an important part of the ward, that she can contribute, that she is needed. Just because a sister isn't married or doesn't have kids doesn't mean she has nothing to give, and I'm glad that I have a ward that recognizes that. If you see her sitting alone, sit by her. I go to church by myself (my parents serve at the MTC) and usually try and find someone to sit by, and people are very welcoming to me and offer to have me sit with them, but I end up alone sometimes. It gets lonely walking through those doors and not knowing who I will sit with that day. If you know a sister who usually sits alone, invite her to sit with you and your family. That can mean so much. One Sunday I walked in a bit late and was standing by the door, not knowing where to go, when a friend of mine caught my eye (it looked like she had been waiting for me) and motioned for me to come and sit with her and her family. It was so touching and meant so much just to have somewhere to sit. It's really simple, probably not something those sitting with their families would think about, but for someone who's single, it means a lot.

    I do not speak for all single sisters, and I am at the young end of the spectrum, so I don't know what it's like for other sisters. And like I said, I have a really great ward and haven't run into too many problems. From talking with friends and a few of my experiences, I would say also to be sensitive in what you say. I think that there are two questions that unless you are in a position of leadership over the sister, or are really close with her, that you shouldn't ask- "Are you dating anyone?" and "Are you going on a mission?" Those are two very personal questions that probably aren't your business. If the sister wanted you to know, she would probably tell you. Even worse is when a sister responds no, that she isn't dating anyone, and the person asks, "Why not?" Uh, how are you supposed to answer that? That's probably something she asks herself all the time and worries about, and she doesn't need to be reminded by others that she isn't seeing anyone. As for going on a mission, that is a very personal decision that a sister needs to make between herself and God. It takes a lot of soul searching, prayer, pondering, etc., and it's her decision. Despite best intentions, that question often comes across sounding judgemental. Unless you are her family, really close friend, or leader, it's not really your business. If she wants you to know she will tell you. Because of physical problems and chronic illness, I can't go on mission right now. Everytime I'm asked that, it just rubs it in that it's something I can't do, that I can't go serve like my friends are. Other friends I have know that it's not right for them at this time, and I'm sure it's hard for them to be asked about it as well. Likewise, if you a know a sister who is planning on a mission, don't tell her that she's wrong, that she should be getting married. It's a very personal decision, one that no one can make but her. It's not your place to ask (unless of course you are a leader, etc).

    Basically, just love the single sisters, and get to know them for who they are. Let them know that you care, that they are needed and have something to give. Focus on them as a person, not their status. Ask them about their hobbies, work, schooling, whatever they are doing in their life; don't focus on their love life. As Evelyn and Jenny talked about, touch is so important as well. A hug and a "How are you?" can mean so much, especially compared to a "Hey- are you dating anyone?" Look past "Single" and get to know me. Let me know I'm needed. Give me love, not judgement.

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  9. Hmmm.

    Blessings and Challenges — the optimistic Pollyanna-ish part of me wants to say something like "I've learned to be more sensitive to the needs of those that are different!" I think mostly I've gotten really sick of being different (which was something I was really quite happy about as a teenager.) I've had opportunities to do things that I wouldn't have had if I'd gotten married right out of high school or early in college — but they were mostly things that I could have done without, fun things that don't matter much in the long run. I'm glad I didn't get into a "starter" marriage (I'm beginning to think that part of my deliberate avoidance of marriage opportunities — attending a family ward rather than the singles' ward, for instance — are in part a method of avoiding some of the really dumb decisions my parents made. I'm three years younger than my mother was on the day her second divorce was finalized.) One of the hard parts about being LDS and single is that all of my "worldly" friends are still single, but at church, everyone my age has kids. There are children in the Primary class I teach who have mothers my age. Meanwhile, if I knew more people in the ward well, I'd be a lot more willing to go to High Priests' group events. All the young single adults in my ward serve in Primary; my friends are all under the age of 10.

    Don't ask about physical closeness. Seriously, it's better if you don't think about it. I agree about the cats, though. My sisters' cats are very people-focused; they love to sit on your lap. I've never been, historically, a huge touching-and-hugging sort (I have to like you a WHOLE LOT before I'm comfortable doing more than shaking hands; it really unnerves me when random RS people want to give me a hug) but both times I've had a proper boyfriend, I was a complete hand-holding freak. And though I'm really careful with my Primary kids (mostly because I don't want them to start holding hands and hugging people they really shouldn't be), I enjoy it when they want to hold my hand on the way to the Primary room (the best part about second-graders is that they think holding your hand is the coolest thing ever, and fight over who gets to sit next to the teacher.) The thing I really miss when I'm not in a relationship is the touch of someone who really likes me: cats and other peoples' children are an okay, but not really great, substitute.

    I think the biggest demand of chastity (which really is a function of singlehood, but I suspect it'd be a pretty big problem in a marriage with no possibility of intimacy) is not having the ability to share your burdens completely with someone: even the stuff that creates more burdens (like kids) ends out helping you grow stronger together, as long as you work at it. It's total speculation, since I've never had sex, but that's my impression. There's just stuff there (even between people who had something and then broke up) that doesn't exist between the closest of girlfriends, between sisters, etc.

    Rewards? I am ridiculously independent emotionally/socially. That's a function of personality, though — I can go days without actually speaking to a live person without feeling seriously deprived. Being an only/oldest (depending on which house I was in) kid helped with that. If I were extroverted and needy, I'd have quit being Mormon a long time ago, I bet. If I were married, I'd probably have gotten all soft and need to talk to people all the time.

    The biggest body-related sacrifice I can think of is feeling like your body was made for one thing, and that it might not ever get used for that. It can seriously drive a person mad. Even dumb stuff — every time I go to a public restroom I think about things like "I haven't changed a diaper since my youngest sister was a baby" (she's 12 now.) Most of that stuff would torment me if I were married but infertile, and some could be solved by my crazy "if I'm not married by thirty I'm going to become a foster parent" notion, but that's what I think of when you ask that question.

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  10. Matt, here's my lesson:

    I'm a person. Talk to me. Do not pity me, make me a service project, or treat me differently than you do the other women in the ward, unless I ask you for help. Let me contribute; don't assume that my life is consumed by singleness or single motherhood. Give me interesting assignments and let me tell you if they're too much–don't call me as assistant greeter just because you don't want to stress me out. Being friends with me is just like being friends with half of a couple, except that you don't have to make quite as much food when you invite me to dinner. You *will* invite me to dinner, right? Ok, that's it then…

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  11. I've got two great high priest home teachers who take their calling seriously — they schedule an appointment on the 3rd Sunday of every month, come prepared to discuss the lesson briefly, and then talk with me about whatever occurs to us. They're talks about serious subjects, as equals — they never talk down to me or treat me like "you poor single sister." Of course, neither of them is married either, so maybe that helps.

    The lack of touch is difficult. Correcting that might be even more difficult — nobody wants anybody to start grabbing at them. But Matt, and anybody else who cares, I wish everyone, man and woman, would remember that touch isn't necessarily sexual. Don't pull away like I've tasered you if I accidently brush against your arm in the hall. Don't scoot over as if I had cooties when I share your bench in the chapel. If it suits your personality, offer an arm (even in exaggerated gallantry) when I'm crossing an icy parking lot. Help me on with my coat. Don't make jokes about old maids who live alone with cats. If you're the bishop's counsellor passing out tickets to attend sessions of General Conference, don't pass them all out in priesthood meeting. When you plan a Valentine's dinner for the ward, don't ask me to work in the kitchen by saying "Since you don't have anything better to do that night …"

    And for heaven's sake, let Mother's Day be about each of us honoring our mothers. Don't make it Every Woman Over 18 Day, and don't patronize me by pretending to honor me for something I haven't earned.

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  12. I'm so glad this is being discussed. I didn't grow up in a touchy-feely family, but I've come to understand that I do have a need to touch and be touched. I wrote the following a while ago, and it's how I deal …

    The room is dimly lit, soft instrumental jazz playing in the background, as I disrobe and slip between the sheets. A light knock at the door, and as I answer yes, someone slips in. I smile, raise myself up slightly and say, "I'm so glad to see you. I'm really going to need a lot of attention on my neck, shoulder and calves." I settle back down, my face in the donut, as Lisa, smoothing the massage oil over my back, begins my one hour of lovely deep tissue massage.

    I didn't always like massage like I do now. I had my first backrub in college. MickeyBlueEyes was just a charming friend of a friend of a friend. Back then I was so ticklish that his first attempt didn't really relax me at all. Even now, a light brush on a special spot on my side is enough to reduce me to shivers. I used to have a variety of friends who would "spell" me when I needed it, a quick neck rub on the way to some fun activity. However, they're now mostly happily married or involved, and it just seems inappropriate to ask. My one fallback is sweet Cherry at work … everyone rejoices when she's on because she delights in spreading the love.

    Lisa is now attacking wih ruthless precision the knots that lay just under my shoulder blades, one on each side. I tend to tense my shoulders when I'm stressed; sometimes I can relieve the tension by cracking my neck, but it's not a foolproof solution. Lisa continues with her strong fingers. The crunching and popping feels a little painful, but after a few minutes, the knot is gone, and my shoulders collapse in relief.

    The best massage I ever had was at Wat Po in Bangkok, Thailand. They dressed us in thin, karate-type gi's, and alternated between traditional Thai massage and kneading us with heated herbal packs. Thai massage is fascinating because it's so much more active than Western massage. We didn't lay on our stomachs like we were dead, oh no. The masseuse manuevered us into a variety of positions … sitting up, lying down with legs in the air, on our sides, even laying across their backs … almost like assisted yoga. It was magnificent.

    And there is definitely something exquisite and requisite about being touched. In the movie Crash, Cheadle's character says something to the effect that Angelenos are so starved for touch that some create destructive scenarios just so that they can connect with other human beings. Certainly in my nursing practice, I find that touch can sometimes soothe where drugs can not. And I know that sometimes I just crave it … not always in a sexual way, although I sometimes crave that too … but just to feel the warmth of another person's hand intersecting with mine.

    So, when my knots rudely make their presence known, or my craving gets too much, I make an appointment at the facility down the road and let myself be pampered. It's not a spa … there are no plush terry robes, scented oils, beating with palm fronds or wrapping in fragrant steaming towels. It's just a simple, no-frills business that offers massage at a price that I can pay to get the relief I need.

    And so, I long to be touched. By friends and family when they're available, in a neutral environment when they're not, all the while still dreaming of things to come.

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  13. How about adding women married to non-members too?
    They're often treated as though they're single. Men don't know their names, etc. Members in part-member families need to feel acceptance too.

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  14. I guess no one took my last post seriously, so let me reiterate that I would like to know if it is okay for single men (like me) to answer these same questions. Don't want to intrude if this is a no boys zone…

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  15. Ardis' comments on Mother's Day and Valentine's Day are perfect.

    I married almost 3 years ago, after dating for 3 years, and I was pretty much on my own from 17 to 33. I too felt like I was in cold storage, on a shelf, waiting to begin my life as a part of a family. I had (still have) a great career, busy athletic calendar, plenty of girlfriends, but something was still missing. I would forget about it for long periods of time, but every now and then I would be reminded again.

    "Touch" was a huge hole in my life–another sister in one ward had been single for a long time as well, and we both started dating again around the same time. We were laughing over how wonderful it was to be in love with someone and comparing notes. She'd been married before, I hadn't even been in love before, but we were both in agreement that we were STARVED for touch. She compared it to being hungry, and having someone waving a full plate of food past her, and all she wanted to do was grab on and gorge herself. I've since married the wonderful man I started dating back then, and we remain very touchy-feely. My parents remain very surprised at how snuggly DH and I are together, because I was always so independent and hands-off.

    But I think I was just always waiting for the right touch, from the right person. There were substitute: friends or children of friends who would play with my hair, hug me, hold my hand. And one glorious Family Home Evening in a singles ward where one of my "little brothers", (i.e. not a dating prospect) gave me a fabulous hand massage during the lesson, and had me reconsidering whether I should change by opinion about dating younger, shorter men…

    However, a hand on the shoulder, a warm and better-than-perfunctory handshake, an inquiry about what the latest project is and how it's going, may be the limit of what you can do as a brother…I sometimes got queasy hugging guys that I wasn't interested in, who were just friends. I finally resorted to the "A-frame hug", touching only at the shoulders, because I didn't want that much body contact with most people. I'm fairly flat, as gals go, so it's not like guys were always angling for hugs as a chance to touch me, but for a while I was honestly creeped out by the idea that hugging one of my workout partners would mean my chest was touching him. So touch isn't always the answer–sometimes it's not welcome!

    What I enjoyed the most were families who included me in everything–I sat with them at church, came over for dinner, for Family Home Evening, or after work just to hang out. Their kids called me "auntie", and no-one made a fuss about the fact that I was single. I wasn't made to feel like I was an outsider or "handicapped". My home teachers didn't constantly harp on it, they presented lessons just as they would if there had been 7 people in my house instead of 1, and the lessons weren't slanted towards "fixing" my life. One gave me tapes and CDs recorded by his daughter whenever she released an album.

    I agree that asking about someone's love life (or lack thereof) is snoopy and unproductive. If a sister or brother wants to talk about, they'll find a way to bring it up. If you slip, and do ask someone whether they're dating, or why they're not, the best recovery I ever saw was along the lines of "that's a shame–those guys don't know what they're missing". Being told I was too picky was a non-starter, and lowered my opinion of any future advice from the speaker on other topics as well. If someone didn't appeal to me, I wasn't going to waste my time or theirs trying to ignite a spark that wasn't there. Besides, this is eternity we're planning for–don't tell anyone it's ok to lower your expectations in order to get to the temple.

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  16. This post hits home for me very strongly. I actually had this conversation with a group of rl friends in my own blog just a few weeks ago. I am married, but my husband is currently struggling with serious mental illness. Because of this he is sometimes unable to meet my emotional needs. I cannot (duh) go on dates with other people, I have no children, my family is emotionally and physically distant, I have no nieces or nephews, and no female roomates like I did when I was single. Personally I find I actually have fewer resources for satisfying my need for human touch than I did when I was single. When I was single I had no reservations about hugging friends of either gender. The law of chastity is that we don't have sexual relations with anyone who is not our spouse. I was never one to kiss casually, and I don't think that two friends hugging or cuddling on the couch to watch a movie – when both know that there is no interest in a relationship – is necessarily wrong. Now, as a married woman, I obviously think it is wrong
    to cuddle with a male friend. This cuts in half the number of people/friends with whom I can share physical touch. Despite what our religious *culture* might say to the contrary, I don't think it's wrong to hug or cuddle casually, but I think that growing up, the sheer amount of pressure that is put on you regarding chastity and 'omgboys!' can make innocent
    physical touch feel like something to feel guilty about. People need to touch. Those of us who cannot find a way to meet that need have a part of us that dies.

    When I was single I felt the same loneliness but I felt I had other options to meet it. We have recently moved to a new area and I am hoping that some of the (female) friendships I am slowly developing here will evolve into the kind where we are comfortable touching. It is a difficult thing to do as an adult, making new friends.

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  17. Asking someone, man or woman, why they are not married is one of the most offensive and hurtful questions I've encountered in the church. NEVER ask that question of anyone! Not even if you are also single. Not even if you are a priesthood leader or RS leader or a home-teacher or a visiting teacher. Never ever ask that question.

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  18. First let me say that, like many, I have mixed emotions about this topic. Being 32, single, and LDS has not been the easiest thing in the world for me.

    I understand that in regards to doctrine, marriage and family take center stage (as they should). And for the most part, lesson after lesson, talk after talk, song after song, etc. on these topics are fine with me. I've taught myself over the years to focus on the principles and let go of the pain that this sometimes creates in my life.

    For me, when I think about the "challenges" of my singleness, Relief Society/Enrichment is the main one. I wouldn't say that I feel like a second-class citizen, but I definitely don't feel like I have the secret-decoder ring, if you know what I mean.

    I've learned to not let comments from other members upset me. Most people only ever mean well. Unless you've been single long past the "designated time" for marriage, you just can't understand. Being single under 25 and being single over 25 are two different things, in my opinion.

    Over the years, I've received comments of quasi-support and condescending compassion to down right pity. And what hurts the most is that the majority of these comments are from women! My "sisters in the gospel" who think that I'm not married because my standards are "too high" or I've focused "too much" on my career, or something else that I've place ahead of what I'm "supposed" to be doing with my life.

    The way I respond to these types of comments is to ask them two simple questions: "Do you believe that Heavenly Father has a plan for everyone?" And "Do you believe that Heavenly Father knows what is best for everyone?" They answer "yes" of course. And then I say something like, "So do I. And I have faith that that includes me and my life as well."

    I try to get them to understand that what they are doing, in essence, is making a moral judgment on my life (that I’m purposely not following His plan for me), and that they are assuming that the right plan for everyone is marriage and family—anything else must be due to a mistake on the part of the unmarried person.

    My challenge has never been with the gospel, only with the culture. For years I wasn't able to separate the two, and it led to inactivity and bitterness.

    As for physical closeness, some of the basic touching needs are met by friends and family. I have a friend who moved across the country and her physical isolation has been harder then anything else. This is one of the reasons I’ve never moved too far away.

    “Other” types of physical closeness are harder to deal with. There is such a deep desire to increase mental intimacy with physical intimacy that dating helps and hinders all at the same time. It is quite a tricky balance to walk.

    I’ve been dating for 16 years and remaining chaste has been very hard at times. I think it was harder when I was younger, though. The older I get, the more I come to realize that I might never have the kind of physical relationship I want. So, I focus on it less. It makes me sad, in a way. But it also gives me piece of mind.

    When I speak with my friends who don’t share my belief in abstinence, I’m always thankful that I never have to deal with the things they go through. I’ve never had pregnancy scares or an HIV test. I’ve never had the embarrassment of an STD, etc. Yes, I have felt lonely, but I’ve never felt used.

    I’m still formulating my ideas about the blessings of being a single LDS woman. If anyone is interested, I might post it later. But this response has gone on WAY too long as it is, so I’ll stop here.

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  19. Whether it's a woman or a man attending church alone,
    they should be recognized and not overlooked. We need to treat others the way we'd want to be treated.
    I've noticed that when new couples move into our ward, they're asked to speak and introduce themselves within a month at Sacrament Meeting. If a single sister moves in or a sister married to a non-member, she'd better be an extrovert with a strong testimony because without that Priesthood holder on her arm, she'll be invisible.
    And it can take a few years before anyone gets around to asking her to speak in Sacrament. I don't know how it is for men attending alone.

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  20. Here in Indianapolis, single women get to speak in sacrament. I remember serveral talks by single women shortly after they moved in.

    A year ago, a very faithful 30-something single sister spoke at the Saturday night (grown-ups) session of our stake conference. Many of us singles wanted to give her a standing ovation. Here's a link to her talk.

    As a single, I've never felt out-of-place in Elders Quorum. And no one has turned down my help when I show up to load/unload their moving truck, or visit them in the hospital or nursing home.

    The only times I've felt awkward were at ward functions that were advertised as "family." I always thought that "family" meant "kids allowed" as opposed to "grown-ups only." So I've always gone to ward dinners and picnics that were advertised as family functions or ward functions. However, it's rare that other singles, other than the widows, go to these functions. Their absence was noticeable, and at times I did feel invisible. My conclusion is that outside of the EQ, there is a self-enforced segregation of singles and marrieds in some wards, each side afraid to interact with the other.

    I think there are regional cultural differences in the US church regarding the singles-versus-marrieds interaction. When I lived in Kentucky, there seemed to be more interaction between singles and marrieds than here in Indiana. And a 30-something professional brother from Utah, wondered why, during his year in Indianapolis, no one asked him why he was still single. He thought that was a normal or expected question. It seemed "news" to him when I suggested that it was an impolite question and really none of anyone else's business.

    There's an extremely high inactivity rate among single adults (those over 30) in our stake, something like 85 to 90%.

    As far as the touch/hugging goes, I'm not big on physical contact with strangers, but among the regulars who participate in our stake singles activities, those of us who know each other usually greet each other with handshakes (men), and hugs (women or woman/man).

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  21. My boss, Suzette, wrote that essay discussing the uncomfortable parts of being single in a married church. Suzette is a kind, generous, direct, funny, sassy, professional woman who knows who she is and what she wants. Her mind is clear and her heart is devout.

    Her friends and I are very proud to have her in our circle of friendship. And she still is writing great essays and articles.

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  22. How single sisters are treated may be a cultural thing. There are probably more converts farther away from Utah or Idaho and they might be more sensitive and aware that not everyone's life follows a set path even when they implore Heavenly Father that it would.
    There will be single people in the Church who through no fault of their own (as if it's a fault) remain so.
    Just because one desires something righteous doesn't make it happen in THIS life. For everyone that went to BYU and got married, there are those who went there and didn't. And it isn't always because there's something wrong with them. Life doesn't always go the way we plan it. So, when someone single or married to a non-member comes to Church, remember that they're just trying to be faithful and make their life work and be acceptable before God in keeping their covenants with Him. They're not "different" or not as devout because their situation is not the Mormon norm. That's what I'd want people to know.

    I could tell lots of stories about women I've known over the years. One I just have to share. I apologize in advance if I sound irate–but this just cuts me to the core. And more to the point, it should not happen in the Lord's Church. A faithful sister in our ward, happily married to a non-member and had a child. Her husband was supportive of her and raising their child in the Church. She came every Sunday and sat with her child on the second row and that kid is as devout as they come. Their hometeacher, from Utah, was a HP assigned to them and he and his wife were close to the whole family for a few years when this had happened: She and her child are sitting together alone in Sacrament Meeting. The meeting is about to start and he comes in without his wife (she's out of town). He and his wife usually sit with them every Sunday and so the child sees him and greets him happily and scoots over to make room for him next to her. He sits briefly, shakes their hands, and then gets up and moves to the pew in front of them, nodding to her mother and making a "knowing" comment of "what people behind them might think." The little girl was surprised. She didn't understand and asked why Br. So and So moved away from them. Her mother, surprised, said "Oh honey, he just needs more room." This man is some 25 to 30 years OLDER than this young mother. And both that man and that mother are known as fine upstanding members–no one "back there" should have thought ANYTHING. And if they did, shame on them.
    Instead, I watched as that woman was reminded that she was "different" right in front of her own child. She covered the embarrassment of the incident in front of her daughter quite graciously I thought, so that the little girl wouldn't feel "different" or have an inkling of what her "Ward family" might be thinking.

    So any HP's out there who think so highly of themselves that they think they have to guard themselves against women their daughter's age in a public Sacrament Meeting, think again. Or better yet, go look in the mirror for a reality check. And start being a genuine support and friend to those who could use it regardless of their gender and marital status.

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  23. So, it's been a busy week, but I am finally back to put in my two cents. (Thank you, Kathryn. And thanks, too, to Bookslinger, for speaking up for the fellas.)

    >> Tell us, what are the blessings and challenges of being a single LDS man?

    One blessing is that I have no one but myself to worry about, so I feel relatively free to travel, to take risky career moves, etc. I was in a PhD program that I hated, and took a chance this year to take a break and go do something else for a year or two. Packing up myself to move across the country was hassle enough– can't imagine what it would have been like with wife and kids.

    I also don't have to worry about compromising to suit someone else. If I want to stay up until 4 in the morning watching Battlestar Galactica, I can. I wear what I want, eat what I want, do what I want. But this is a pretty thin silver lining on a big dark cloud.

    Mostly, though, I worry that I am getting too used to this, and getting more selfish and rigid as I push through my thirties as a bachelor. And that's probably all I should say about the challenges.

    >> How is your need for physical closeness fulfilled–or is it?

    It's not. Men may be generally less touchy than women, but sometimes I feel like one of those Romanian orphanage babies, dying for lack of human contact.

    One more comment on this. Lots of the sisters here have said they are glad to be able to at least hug children. I suspect that it's not the same as having one's own, but I'll agree that it is nice. As a single man, though, I sometimes feel that when I pick up someone's kids, they're wondering if I just like kids or if I, you know… *like kids*. Maybe it's all in my mind. I don't know. But it's a terribly dehumanizing feeling.

    >> What are the demands and rewards of living a chaste life?

    Hard to think of anything to say here that hasn't already been said better. So I'll just say that even though sometimes I have wondered what would have happened had I taken a different path, I still believe that chastity is the right choice.

    >> What other body-related sacrifices must you make, and what benefits from these sacrifices do you enjoy now or look forward to?

    Perhaps because I am a man or perhaps because I am dense, I am not sure what kinds of sacrifices we are taling about. I don't think it's chastity, because this was in a previous question. So what are we talking about? Dieting? Exercise? I don't make those kinds of body-related sacrifices. (Probably among the leading causes of my continuing single-ness.)

    Anyway, let me end by saying this: keep smiling; life goes on. God loves us all, single or whatever. And Yoplait sells chocolate mousse-style yogurt whips for less than fifty cents each. So there's plenty to be happy about.

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  24. John, judging from the commercials, I thought those yogurt whips were for women only.

    But seriously folks… Mary and Heather, thank you for commenting. Heather, thank Suzette for me.

    Big thanks to John and Bookslinger for piping up with some male pov.

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  25. Mary (#27), There is a protocol in the church, perhaps unwritten if it's not in the CHI, that married people shouldn't socialize with members of the opposite sex when neither of their spouses are present.

    I would imagine that when the HP and his wife were sitting with the young mother, that the HP's wife was sitting next to the young mother, between her and the HP. It's my understanding that that is just the protocol, not only in church, but among most of our society.

    If I had been in the HP's shoes, I would not have sat directly beside the young mother that day either. Though I probably would have sat next to the young girl, opposite her mother, if I had already established a friendly relationship the young girl.

    Perhaps his verbalization over what others would think was a little constrained, but that wasn't really the point. I think it was more about protocol and diplomacy. There just needs to be some kind of "buffer," and absent both of their spouses, sitting on the opposite side of the daughter from her mother, or moving to the adjacent pew seems to me what a proper gentleman would do in that situation.

    That situation illustrates (correctly, I think) one of the limitations I have a single man. Without a spouse as my buffer, and without her spouse present, I would be limited in how I could fellowship that sister. In fact, my fellowshipping of them would be limited to them as a couple, not the sister as an individual. Though I could probably take another single sister as a date or companion and fellowship the young mother that way.

    From another viewpoint: If I were to put myself in the non-member husband's shoes, and was not attending church with her, I would not want my wife sitting with single men in church, or with married men in the absence of their wives. So the HP was also respecting the husband in his action that day.

    The opposite side of the coin is as a single man, I, in some ways, have more freedom to fellowship single women than a married couple would. But even that can have a drawback, because if there is not enough age difference, that fellowship could be seen as romantic interest by the sister, or by others.

    The familiarity and trust we have with fellow members in the ward does not completely over-ride those unwritten social conventions about people interacting with members of the opposite sex.

    So maybe the HP in your story was not smooth about it, but I think he did the right thing in altering the seating arrangment when his wife wasn't there.

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  26. Their spouses weren't present but everyone elses' were! Having been a lifetime married member I do know all that. My point is that the daughter was obviously the "buffer"as she had moved closer to her mother to make room for him to sit at the end by her (the girl), not her mother. And this was a public church meeting, not a HT visit at her home without her husband being there. And he's of age to be that child's grandfather and hardly a threat to the woman's husband–in fact he had a good laugh when she told him about it. And she's right, you do have to have a sense of humor about these things or you'd go nuts second guessing whether it's okay to do something that most normal people wouldn't think twice about.

    I should say that there are men and women, divorced, married, single, in our ward who freely sit with one another and think nothing of it. Many of these people have come to know one another by serving together in callings or through HTing so when they see an empty seat next to that person it's just normal to feel comfortable and sit with them.

    Men and women who are out in the workplace sit next to one another and interact daily. Most married people are not looking at every member of the opposite sex as a potential spouse. People meet a lot of members of the opposite sex before they marry and they weren't interested in most of those people that way. My husband and I were just glad to have found ONE in each other. So when you get married, you might not feel insecure about one of you sitting next to a member of the opposite sex, especially in church where we all know what the rules and commandments are. The majority of people you meet, you're not interested in them that way.
    In fact, I would venture to say that if someone is having a second thought about whether they should sit with someone, it's probably because they're having an
    attraction to them or it wouldn't occur to them.

    Another way of stating my point is this: My visiting teacher and I always hug each other hello and goodbye on my front porch. Should we not because in this day and age someone driving by or a neighbor might assume we're gay? No, it's just normal for us to do that and we don't think about it.

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  27. Ok. I was unclear on where the young girl was expecting the HP to sit. But I still want to give the HP the benefit of the doubt and assume he just wanted to be a proper gentleman and adhere to propriety and protocol.

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  28. I agree that he wanted to do the right thing and I respect that sentiment. How it was done is just a bit overboard–that's all I'm saying. People are doing the best they can. And in the Church, most mean to do no harm. We are all "where we are" until we have an experience or an "ah-ha" moment and then we progress and can look back and see the growth.
    And if we don't all share and get different perspectives, we can remain stuck. I appreciate your thoughtful comments Bookslinger.

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  29. I have loved reading this discussion. I can just say "ditto" to most of comments on physical touch. It is exactly what I tried to describe in my essay that was published in Exponent II.

    The other comments about singles hit the nail too …. ie: loving the person, invites for dinner, hugs, appriciation, respect.

    Thanks for enjoying my essay and for adding so much with your comments and sincere thoughts.

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  30. A tangential item on social interaction between single men and single women, and perhaps married men and single women.

    One of the things that hinders friendships and fellowshiping between male and female singles is misreading each other's intentions in terms of the "need for closeness" described in the original post.

    As someone half-heartedly trying to emulate Christ, I feel obligated to offer social, emotional, and spiritual kindness to all, without any sort of discrimination. And perhaps it is even more incumbent upon men to be uplifting and supportive because we have that official injunction to "be with, watch over, and strengthen" others.

    I used to think that whenever you saw a need that was easy for you to fill, you should be of service. But by doing so, I got hurt by some women who interpreted my attempts at kindness as romantic interest. It got to the point where I sometimes had to say "get lost, you creep", and even that didn't always work.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I was led to believe that the singles in a ward are sort of a collective "family." That other singles are a single person's substitute family. But it turns out there are so many dysfunctional people among the single adults (that's not always, but quite often why someone is single), that those singles who are not dysfunctional give a wide berth to all singles activities. The non-dysfunctional single members then form private friendships among non-members and other non-dysfunctional members, and that might be how cliques form in the church.

    Just for the sake of agrument, let's assume I'm non-dysfunctional (I can usually hide my dysfunctionality when I'm on my good behavior in public). When I (or another non-dysfunctional) go to a church-sponsored singles event, ahd try to be a positive and uplifting person, I often feel drained and outweighed by all the negative people, and don't want to return. That's how I assume many other lifter-upper types feel too, outweighed by the negative.

    But when I go to stake conference, people point out many other positive lifter-upper type single members in the stake, and I wonder why the heck they never go to singles functions to balance out the energy. They probably got scared off too.

    But what if a bunch of the positive lifter-uppers showed up at once? What if we could get a critial mass and just outweigh the negative, desperate, clingy, dragger-downers?

    The dysfunctional (desperate, clingy, needy, negative, or however you want to say it) people alone, generally speaking, don't have the energy or social skills to sustain a social group among singles. A few lifter-upper type people who can add organization and energy are needed. In my experience, those lifter-upper type people generally burn out quickly unless they have other lifter-upper types to help them recharge their batteries.

    So I think the social needs of singles, both the dysfunctional and the non-dysfunctional, might well be served if the singles programs in the church could actually fulfill its potential by having _all_ singles (negatives/positives, draggers/lifters, etc) attend so that a critical mass of positive energy can be created to sustain all the participants.

    There seems to be strength in three's. So if you're a lifter-upper type single adult, I'd suggest recruiting two people similar to yourself, and try to attend single adult functions as a group and do what you can to add energy.

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  31. I'm 32 and currently in a YSA ward where the age limit is not being enforced. However, I'm beginning to feel like many of the activities are a getting too young for me and I've been checking out the family ward and the single adult scene.

    I strongly identify with Bookslinger's analysis of the dysfunctional and non-dysfunctional dynamic of the single adult scene. I hope that I fall into the non-dysfunctional category, but then I guess everyone assumes they're among the normal!

    I went to my first regional SA activity when I turned 31 and was so rattled by the experience that I haven't gone back since. I had been hoping to find a group of people like me who would become friends and familiar faces as I transitioned out of my YSA ward. I was unprepared for being hit on by creepy men my father's age and older, or for the hostility from women who seemed to resent my youth and the attention I was getting from the men. Who can blame them? I resent the 19-year-olds that the men my age are pursuing.

    The event was poorly planned and organized, so that may account for much of my negative experience; however, it seems strange to me to throw together a bunch of people between the ages of 31 and dead and expect that their celibacy provides sufficient common ground.

    It was clear that the influence of stable, normal, non-dysfunctional people was desparately needed in this group of single adults, but it was also clear that if a solitary normal person entered this group that it would be an extremely frightening and draining experience for that person. I intend to give it another go this year, but I absolutely refuse to go without reinforcements.

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  32. Living in the southwest, I guardedly watched a 3 month old member in her 30's be invited by an excited bishop to attend her first Single's activity. I was careful to remain nuetral and without being in her stake, hoped I was wrong about what she would encounter. She reported that the group of people she met seemed "broken to death". I want that to be heard compassionantly. She meant it that way. She expressed no interest in going back to the group and asked if "she had to". I explained that it wasn't a mandatory meeting.
    As a stake single rep, I've worried and prayed about the needs of some of Heavenly Father's children. Needs and issues are varied and complex and should be addressed and explored as such. It's difficult to learn to be married, to learn to be a breadwinner successfully, or to learn to feel like a "good" mother. It's difficult to learn to be unmarried successfully and faithfully. Sometimes that is treated as though it's a simple issue, or as though I were a 21 year old readying for marriage. I'm twice 21 and the whole approach is different.
    If I could articulate that well, I'd have a doozy of a lesson to offer. Meanwhile I try to learn, to do the Lord's bidding while single and to be humble and repent constantly, just in case it is my fault, my sin or my pride that keeps me single.

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  33. tas, I remember when I was in singles (special interest then)and I attended a YSI conference in Vegas. I was just musing as the sacrament was passed, then I noticed someone didn't take it. I wasn't watching for that, but it piqued my interest. I swear, every other person declined the sacrament.

    It was sad, but it also helped me realize that being single is hard and even the very elite can fall.

    I made some very good friends there, but I met my husband out of YSI, he never attended.

    I firmly believe that the church should avoid social programs, because it consistently falls short of the mark.

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  34. annegb: For many singles in the church, the singles social programs provide their only opportunity for socializing with other members.

    Even though I get frustrated, and even though the social programs fall far short of the mark, they do provide something that some people need. Some people just need some kind, any kind, of brotherly or sisterly kindness. They need to be acknowledged. Many others need to be of service. They need to be needed.

    The magic of trying to offer Christ-like service is that almost any attempt, no matter how awkward or imcomplete, can be that little something that makes someone else's day.

    Eliza R:
    Let me know how it goes with reinforcements. Please leave me a private email-feedback at: http://indymormon.tripod.com/

    Don't be too down on us old geezers. Maybe check out the 31+ crowd at other events in addition to the conferences. I know those can be awkward. My favorite events are the weekly singles Family Home Evenings, and our monthly game nights. I've gotten to know some cool little-old-ladies in our stake. They are fun, humorous, and best of all, wonderful cooks.

    We have five types of singles events in our stake and surrounding stakes:

    1. Weekly singles Family Home Evening on Mondays.
    These are usually divided up into one per chapel, and the singles who attend the 2 (or 3) wards in that chapel attend, or combine from neighboring ward. One group here does a pot-luck dinner every Monday night followed by a lesson. Another group does just a lesson followed by games/refreshments.

    2. Monthly Firesides on a Sunday evening. Stake level.
    Speaker followed by refreshments.

    3. Dances, 3 or 4 times per year.

    4. Conferences with dances, once per year per stake. Sometimes combining neighboring stakes. Here in Indianapolis, we are within driving distance of 4 different good singles conferences each year.

    5. Monthly game night, with pitch-in (pot luck) dinner. Ours is first friday. Dinner starts at 7pm.
    Table/board games start at 8pm. Totally secular except for opening prayer. Good for inactive or semi-active people to go to. People can bring their own games, organizers usually bring a few games to get things going. Also good is a mixer/group-activity to start. "Uno Attack" is great for 5 to 9 people sitting around a round table in the cultural hall.

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  35. Bookslinger
    Thank you for the multitude of ideas. Some of those will be put to good use.

    "For many singles in the church, the singles social programs provide their only opportunity for socializing with other members."

    I sense that is true but I don't understand why. Why can't we be a body of saints, united socially and spiritually on a westward pioneer trek to Christ.

    There are a few TV shows (This is not a recommendation for the shows. I only hear people at work talk about them) that throw culturally different people into the same pot. (I.E. Wife Swap seems to put a conservative religous family with an atheistic, rock and roll family etc. Beauty and the Geek seems to pair an airhead model with a socially backward brainy male.) The end of these shows have people talking about how much they have learned about the other person and how much they respect them now as opposed to when they began the show.

    Do we need a gameshow that pairs Families Forever (FF) and Not Forever Yet (NFY) in a competition so that they can learn about each other? Why don't wards perform that function or better "How could wards perform that function so that singles could socialize within the ward?"
    And peripherally:
    Would that dilute the uppers/downers ratio you speak of?

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  36. tas, One of the reasons singles don't go to ward functions and mix with the marrieds is the vocabulary used to describe a ward function. Ward functions (parties, dinners, picnics, etc.) are often described as "family", and that causes singles to think they aren't invited.

    I've always thought that the "family" description of a church event meant "kids allowed", not "no singles allowed" so I always go to all ward functions that I can. But I'm usually the only single, other than some of the retired/widowed sisters or singles who have a calling that requires them to go.

    I ask other singles (never-marrieds) about it, and they usually reply "They said it was for families, so I didn't go." That kind of thinking really frustrates me.

    The segregation works both ways. Sometimes when I have showed up at ward parties and picnics it was like I was totally invisible.

    I'm glad Eliza R. picked up on the idea of reinforcements. I like that word to describe it.

    I'm going to approach our stake preseidency and see if they can issue callings, or at least try to "sell the idea" to some of the lifter-type successful single people in the stake to attend single adult stake events as a group and go in as reinforcements.

    There are small social groups of singles in our stake that socialize completely separately from the church sponsored singles events, and from my viewpoint, they look like cliques. They seem to be drawn on socio-economic lines too, and I have a real problem with that.

    Other factors are good home-teachers and visiting-teachers. If they can be consistent, and be real friends, instead of just perfunctory visits, it goes a long way to integrating people into a ward.

    Another hurdle, on the part of us singles ourselves, is that we often go to these things thinking "What's in it for me?" If enough people would just participate with the attitude of contributing, instead of being entertained/fed/etc, that would also turn the tide of negativity.

    Another negative attitude is that singles events are for the sole purpose of scouting for a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. It's prevalent among both the lifter-upper types and the desperate types. They use the excuse that "there's no spouse material there" as their reason for not going. They don't realize that the social events are for building up everyone, including themselves. I've even had people tell me "I have a girlfriend now, so I don't need to go," as if people who are dating can't bring their gf/bf to a singles event. They think the sole purpose is to be a meet-market.

    Another reason why singles should go to church sponsored singles events is to learn social skills. Group activities are the safest place where singles lacking in social skills can learn them. But for learning to occur, there needs to be a core of "normal" people who can be good examples. Otherwise, we'll just feed off of each others' dysfunctionality.

    I would also suggest that the lifter-uppers run interference for any single sister being hit on in an unwelcome manner, and that single men who are coming on too strong be gently reminded to hold back.

    There's a lot that can be done within the framework that already exists in the church. Methods of communication are there: the weekly bulletin, the bulletin board, flyers, home teachers and visiting teachers, a male rep in priesthood, a female rep in RS. There's supposed to be a ward level singles committee in each ward, and a stake level singles committee in each stake. Wards and stakes are supposed to have budgets for single adults for dances, conferences, dinners, etc. The challenge is to use all those things as tools to build up the singles so they can be happy and have their social needs met, and so that the single adults can also participate in building up the kingdom.

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  37. Bookslinger, you're right and your suggestions are right on.

    I had a good attitude toward participation in singles and I made some wonderful friends. But I was younger than the average. It would be harder for me now.

    Will you e-mail me? I thought I'd sent you an e-mail about my sister and LDS singles, but maybe I got you wrong. I need to talk to you.

    Pardon that digression. I also had a good attitude towards participation in the church and had a lot of good friends in my ward.

    But it is really really hard, was even for me when I was young and thin, with silky tendrils.

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  38. Well, I guess I am a little late in coming to the thread. As far as touch, I guess that I have never been one for hugging other than my mom after getting past childhood. Of course, I would love it if a man I were attracted were to hug me and a safe setting. 🙂 I had a friend who gave a talk once at Church and afterwards someone said to the congregration…"You know what singles need? Answer hugs." She said everyone started hugging her as she left. It was horrible according to her to be hugged as an assignment!

    I think sometimes people think that single people do not want to hear about children. I like hearing about children. My best LDS friend is married with two girls that are such a delight! I am sorry that I am not able to seem them very often due to my condition.

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  39. Matt Evans, I like hearing of your concern for any special needs single sisters may have.

    I often crave intellectual conversations and friendships with intelligent people who are very versed in doctrine or other areas where I have an interest. It is hard when I have to only draw from a pool of women and single men to meet my social needs. If I were married, I could socialize as a couple and thereby get to know more from such gifted people. Well, I know that being married would not necessarily mean that a given couple would socialize with me and my hypothetical husband. Although I do not like to eat in public or go in public as a rule, perhaps a dinner clubs might be a good idea where people rotate who they eat dinner with and there could be slots for marrieds and singles at the same home. I know my ward had a dinner club years ago, but am not sure if any provition was made for singles as I was not looking for that type of social stimulation then. I do appreciate blogs where I at least get to learn a little from some of the married men. I know that a Church, you get some opportunities as well. I say all of this knowing that one must be very careful in relationships. It is just too bad we can't all be friends.

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  40. […] This is the third in a series of posts about women’s bodies and consecration. Part I was about pregnancy, and part II about single sisterhood. I am using the information gathered in these posts to write an article called “A Living Sacrifice,” which will be published in the fall/winter 2007 issue of Segullah. Comments posted may be quoted in the article. (I will use first names only, or quote anonymously.)   […]

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