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Everything posted by Obolus

  1. Myalternate, if you decide to confess, I suggest you confess to her first. It will work against you if she feels you confessed to her under the duress of a bishop or stake president. And my friend, I suggest you ignore the advice to wait for the children to grow up before confessing. I understand how this option appears to be self-sacrificing, but it really just lets the lie live on like a cancer. Thus you pass on a sham as an inheritance instead of a covenant. All the good acts you pile on top of this one lie will be recontextualized as lies themselves: blessings, testimonies, talks, graduations, gifts, ordinances, advice, and your private relationship with your wife. This is the essential difference between Abel's sacrifice and Cain's. If the body is a temple, then all action is temple work. One can only sew the sacred or the profane. Please choose the sacred. As others have stated, you may lose your marriage and subsequent events may harm your kids. But both of those are more real than a lie. They can be dealt with and healed from by way of the Atonement. For some in your family, a five or ten or twenty year lie may turn out to be an abstraction that is far too difficult to transcend.
  2. This is the best answer. If you want to investigate Mormonism, read the Book of Mormon and confront the Lord in faith & humility. If a religion has a unique scriptural text that is widely available, that is the place to start. Everything else is really just beating around the bush.
  3. CNN reported that "from 200 to 300 bodies have been found in the coastal city of Sendai alone". The death toll is likely to climb past 1000.
  4. Such social fragmentation of society is already widespread. The current of the world is towards tribal communities. YSA wards unintentionally follow suit by overemphasizing the social aspect of church and removing local families from view. We should be giving these people more examples of their goal. They should be able to observe far more marriages from the periphery. You should have more faith in YSAs. They are a capable and talented bunch. Employing a system of "special" wards to gather them up doesn't really speak to their intelligence and capabilities. They know that they are marriageable without a specialized program that relegates them to 'kids table' wards until they are married. Being single is not a disease. But the current system treats singles as if they are infected with some sort of social leprosy. To whom did Christ go when he walked the earth? Our programs should reflect his example. The alienation of singles has been caused by the separation into YSA wards, not the emphasis on families in traditional wards. If they were attending with the rest of the Mormons they would be better integrated. The proactive go-getters you cited in earlier posts would lead the way. The curriculum would have to be altered to account for YSAs, but we're not talking about rocket science here. Our culture has been trained for 40 years now to think of this demographic as separate, and they have been trained well. Unifying the herd would mean a huge overhaul on our collective expectations. But other than slight adjustments in attitudes towards singles, family should absolutely be the primary focus of every ward. Because that's the goal. From the symbols of the sacrament to the order of the New and Everlasting Covenant to genealogy to the Proclamation. This whole thing is about making a family. Not the "ward family", or your group of close friends, or activities. Those things are all fine secondary communities, but YSA wards unfortunately make them the priority by not having enough parents & kids around for YSAs to see. I certainly don't subscribe to the infrequent guilt trip rants that leaders sometimes employ to coerce singles to date more. But going to church with families should be a part of a YSA's culture and spiritual development every step of the way. A social scene is always where it is. YSAs always find it if they are looking. If it's activities or institute, they will adjust their schedules accordingly. The church could achieve the same social results they currently get by simply having firesides/potlucks/socials every Sunday instead of a specialized sacrament meeting. Some wards/branches will always have a shortfall of one demographic or another. That's not a good enough reason to divide the herd. Perhaps they have. I noticed you ignored the scriptures I cited. I'd like to know your thoughts on them or any others regarding the subject.
  5. According to the baby boomers I've spoken to (seriously, try it some time), most of their activities were on the stake or multi-stake level. Meaning that these were huge events. Singles wards effectively replaced these activities with what we have now, which eschews more large events for more ward level activities. So it could be argued that current YSAs are exposed to their larger YSA community less than their parents were. I'm not sure why they were more comfortable with larger wards back in the day, but they were. Particularly in UT and CA according to my findings. But I suspect that it may have somewhat to do with Home Teaching, which was a program pushed by Harold B. Lee during the McKay years. The current goals of home teaching (see to the needs of the members, be the eyes/ears of the bishop) were accomplished in a somewhat less formal manner prior to the late '60s. Lee also changed the Sunday School program, and affected all of the auxiliaries with his Correlation efforts. This changed everything related to the 'block'. The current logistics seem to cater to the programs we've adopted in the decades since. Not according to Paul in 1 Cor 12: 21. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary. Which is echoed in D&C 84:110 by the Lord: 110. Also the body hath need of every member, that all may be edified together, that the system may be kept perfect.” Everything in scripture that has to do with the body of Christ suggests that we should simply be unified. Jesus even prayed to that effect in the Intercessory Prayer on both hemispheres. Learn the skills necessary to be a socialite. Push yourself so that your culture doesn't feel the need to push for you. If you're a guy, learn how to talk to women. If you're a woman, be open and inviting to men. Learn to utilize these skills at activities, institute, CES firesides, and go on dates instead of what happens currently: the same 50 dudes jockeying for the same 5 girls while 200 others simply watch the drama and gossip about it like it's a reality show. In traditional wards, families are the focus. Thus the Light of Christ is emphasized over the Natural Man. YSA wards are essentially carnal security. These kids don't have to learn these vital skills because they know that even if they play World of Warcraft all week they'll still get to take the Sacrament with 100 members of the opposite sex on Sunday anyway. Singles certainly have a responsibility to date no matter where they live, but YSA wards don't necessarily encourage dating do they? For many, these wards put too much pressure on these kids. Which is why they generally just 'hang out' while previous generations went on dates. Punk ethic has a lot of sway with the current generation, meaning that they prefer to do the opposite of what they are encouraged to do. To many, YSA wards end up being a thinly veiled coercion by the church, and thus it makes sense that less than half of the available members are served. No matter what programs we utilize, people are always more important than processes. And what happens to the YSA? They are effectively segregated from the married population of our culture, the people who would be the best mentors for them. Simultaneously they are separated from teens and kids, those who would naturally look up to them as mentors. Thus YSAs are extracted from their dual role as sheep and shepherds at precisely the time that is most critical to their long term membership in the church. They are called to follow and mentor each other while in implicit competition with each other for mates. It is antithetical. They are encouraged to emphasize the social aspects of church, and many of them after a two-year mission of self-less Christ like work. Without most of the married folk around to lead them, they are exposed to the mores of the examples available to them in their fields of study, or in media. A traditional ward would provide YSAs with the best of both worlds: stake activities with the same cohorts plus a diverse religious community that allows them to lead the young & interact with examples of their righteous goals. Caveat: It only works if there are no YSA wards available. I agree that their peers are more important. But they are not the only group of importance. It is the same for every demographic in the church. Old folks mostly stick together but they also need YSAs to complete their own full, diverse religious community. Current logistics leave these two groups segregated and alienated. As for young married couples, why uproot them from their group of single friends on the ward level? They should simply have the option of staying in the same ward where their roots are established instead of forcing them into the 'newly wed nearly dead' situation. There will indeed always be individuals like you describe. The difference in the program I am suggesting is that those who are antisocial in this way would have more peers in their local ward, and thus they would have a better chance at making friends with those who are more proactive and attending activities. You certainly can't push a rope. But if our communities were simply united instead of the current fragmentation, the expectations of all would be altered dramatically. I think it would be as successful for our current generation as the M-Men & Gleaners program was for the previous generation. Especially not if some of them were peeved at having their YSA removed in the first place. But really, this is about changing the expectations for the rising generation and having a more inclusive, unified community for them to interact with. Our entire culture would have to be re-trained on how to view YSAs, and it would take time. If things are "dead" in a local ward, it's because these individuals haven't been trained to lose themselves in service. There is literally mountains of work to do in them, especially with inactives and missionary work. In truth, many of the married folk who fulfill callings in traditional wards are overburdened because they are trying to raise kids on top of everything else. YSAs would share the workload and lighten the burden for all. Elders quorums may not split, but they would be larger and more capable simply because the available elders in any locale would no longer be fragmented into two separate quorums in two separate wards. The system would be more balanced, and retention in all demographics would be higher. Increased responsibility rarely goes over well. YSA wards are convenient because they aleiviate most YSAs of the heavy responsibilities of local wards. Everyone in both groups has to go to school and work, so we're really talking about the sacrifice of free time that's left over. The difference is that singles fill their time while parents are forced to sacrifice their time to their kids. Do you know any YSAs that aren't up on their pop culture? That don't have time to surf the net, watch their favorite shows, go to concerts, Etc.? Neither do I. According to the recent Harris poll the demographic we're talking about averages between 14 and 17 hours per week online (scroll to the middle to see the mean). That's outside of traditional entertainment. Around 60 hours per month... plenty of time to see to church duties. The truth is that we give much of our time and life to entertainments that do not fulfill the four purposes of the church. Divide and conquer is the basic tactic in warfare. We have been needlessly divided into 'family' and 'YSA' factions. Screen interface with media (pornographic or otherwise) is how we will likely be conquered. It's not Orwell's 'big brother' of 1984 that is doing us in. It's the apathetic & pleasure-seeking dystopia of Huxley's Brave New World that is proving to be our undoing. Democracies aren't the only governments that allow individuals to have a voice. In fact, I have written papers and submitted them to local leadership on this issue. One got to an area authority just below the Twelve. They had no answer for my critiques, or even my questions. For two years I submitted and re-submitted papers. They came back with nothing. They didn't tell me to stop or be quiet, either. Until they do, I will continue to educate on the history and discuss the issue. I will be preparing further documents for submission to leadership also. Regardless of what you may think of me, I do not seek to undermine or blame our current leadership. I am trying to help them see something that they can't because they never went through the YSA system themselves. You're right. It would be different. But for now I'm just an insignificant near-casualty of the system, and I have something to say. If I get exed, so be it. The Lord knows my heart. You should definitely read the history on McKay I suggested so that you can own this stuff a little better and be able to respond adequately to investigators who ask. It was a matter of politics more than logistics. It was Lee and Joseph F. Smith that pressured an enfeebled McKay not to give the priesthood to blacks back when there were 6000 Nigerians begging for missionaries to come baptize them. Lee went so far as to promise one of his relatives that there would never be a black Priesthood holder walking the campus of BYU while he lived. Which turned out to be true, but he was only the prophet for 17 months, and this after Smith died barely 2 1/2 years into his Presidency. Whoever gave you the tidy version you heard probably didn't tell you that Kimball had Bruce R. McConkie give the press conference that announced the church's change in policy, the same guy who had written Mormon Doctrine and published it without permission of the First Presidency. During the press conference, he apologized for what he wrote on the issue in that book. They also probably skipped the part where Ezra Taft Benson repeatedly accused the Civil Rights Movement of being a front for communist infiltration cells. He did this in multiple General Conferences. The truth is that our church was simply established within a community that upheld the common racist views of their fellow Americans in the 19th century, and the Lord did the best he could with what he had until Kimball came along in the 20th century and was willing to do what should have been done in the '60s or earlier. It was McKay, after all, that first said that the priesthood issue for blacks was a 'policy' and not a 'doctrine'. He was simply too feeble and convalescent in his final years to stand up to Smith & Lee. As a result, the Nigerians (and everyone else with any common sense) had to wait for an extra decade.
  6. I appreciate your frankness, LM. If you think that this is about how I didn't get served, you simply didn't read the blog.
  7. If you're just here to argue in the first place, which you first post seems to indicate, then I question if any stat would convince you anyway. So I'll simply offer a quote from Alvin R Dyer as less tangible evidence of the success of the church's prior program that seemed to provide friends and mates for that generation's YSAs.: "I served in a bishopric in two wards, and as a bishop where the membership reached 1600 members. This of course was a large ward. We had 114 Aaronic Priesthood boys and nearly 100 girls of the same age. Attendance at sacrament meeting was 56 percent, and we had no marriages outside of the temple in 4 1/2 years, and we lost no boys to the Senior Aaronic Priesthood during that period. Everyone was ordained as he came of age, every young man filled a mission. There was not a single boy who did not fill a mission." (BYU Studies vol. 10, #1, 1969) So was this just hyperbole by Dyer? Is it because the times were different? Or was there in fact something valuable about the old program which kept the "body of Christ" all together in traditional wards? Your points are better stated here, but they actually support my argument. Separating YSAs from the rest of the herd at this critical stage of their lives is a mistake. It does not protect the testimonies of the weak. Instead it exposes the weak to outside influences before many of them are ready to stand on their own. So your stance seems to be to let the weak fall. You've mentioned a few times that the ambitious "go-getters" are more successful, and that will certainly always be true. But doesn't reason suggest that a more inclusive, unified religious community will fair better in assisting the less ambitious? Or do you feel fine about them falling through the cracks? Well, that's basically exactly what I am saying. YSAs are comparatively abandoned by the married demographic of our culture. Especially when compared to our youth program. All YSAs should be able to refer to a dozen married couples outside of their own family when they run into real world questions about life and the church. But if they arrive into the YSA program without stable marriages in their own families, who are they supposed to turn to? What about single converts who have no one in their families that are married in the temple? Shall we just throw up our hands and say, "too bad for you", or should we baptize them into traditional wards that are literally filled with examples of The Proclamation right off the bat? The married membership of our culture could and should be a resource that is readily accessible to all guidance-seeking YSAs in our culture. As it stands, they are needlessly separated from our YSAs on the ward level. So... how does this refute my argument? Is this where I'm supposed to shrug my shoulders and let these people go without entertaining thoughts of a more effective program? No thanks. Or is what you are really inferring is that single people only need single friends? Please explain. To judge the new set up by the current results is not logical. It's like saying that you don't trust your new iPad because your old laptop crashed. They would meet all of the same people because singles activities would become vital, whereas now those same activities are overkill because all of these kids' socializing is done at church. An inclusive set up would change the expectations of all involved. YSAs would expect to meet most other YSAs at FHE, activities & institute instead of their ward. Church would regain it's emphasis on Jesus. It worked for the baby boomers, and I have yet to see an argument as to why it wouldn't work for the current generation. In fact, it would probably encourage more dating, and thereby result in more marriages. As it stands, dating within one's ward is avoided because of the potential for social fallout after a breakup. The problem with this example is that it only happened in one area/stake. The YSAs involved could simply move to a stake where there was a YSA ward, or attend a singles ward as ward-hoppers elsewhere. Full inclusion will only work if it is church-wide. The only places with singles wards should be places where the saturation is too high, like the dorms in Provo. And even in Provo, there is no reason to separate married and single students. Your analogy only works if the rest of the ward members (children, elderly, married folk) are understood as worthless as combustibles. We're talking about the spirit here, right? We're not talking about the natural man. But you bring up an important point about seeing the full scope of the demographic we are talking about. There is a pervading attitude in our culture that they are only viable in a "family" ward if they are married. And on the other hand, there is an attitude about traditional wards amongst our singles that tends to be dismissive & unfavorable. Meeting together would go far in uniting these alienated groups. It's in the history books. Check out Brigham Young University: A School of Destiny for the student ward history, and David O McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism for a better understanding of why Wilkinsen had McKay's ear and why Brown didn't. Yeah. Nobody's perfect. The church has had its course corrected in the past, so who knows what the future will hold. A distinction that means little on an individual level when the vast majority of your peer group agree to follow suit. No one wants to be separated from their peers. The real question is whether there should be two options in the first place. Comparatively speaking, traditional wards have far more opportunities to serve because they have more auxiliaries (which would increase even further with the inclusion of YSAs) and a more diverse membership that includes children, teens, and the elderly. Young single adults have the most time, energy, spiritual vitality, and much of it is essentially wasted on an overemphasis on the social aspects of church. The math seems very simple to me. We preach about marriage, parenting, family and the Proclamation, but we essentially segregate YSAs from all of the examples... we turn those terms into abstractions that are talked about instead of witnessed on a weekly basis. What benefits are there to separating singles from examples of their goal? The midsingles transition is not a separate problem. It is directly caused by the YSA program. If there were no YSA wards, there would be no midsingles transition. The result of unifying the body of Christ would be that more midsingles maintain a sense of belonging, and would be retained. Thereby more of them would be married in the temple. Why? Because they would be allowed to keep going to church with their peers. There isn't a single transition in the church for this age group (18-31) that isn't directly affected by the existence of YSA wards, so I couldn't disagree with you more. This is a logistical issue that affects the retention of millions of LDS people. I'm one of those people just like you, and I see no reason why I shouldn't be heard. If I was arguing a doctrinal issue, I might see your point. But this is not a doctrinal issue. This is simply the set up and execution of church meetings, which has undergone many changes over the course of our history. If a member sees a problem, has a suggestion for better retention, and a criticism of the current logistics, why exactly should they keep their mouth shut? Wilkinson wasn't a GA. Yet he is the one who suggested and instituted student wards and stakes at BYU with McKay's permission. This is the same guy who caused a scandal by hiring students to spy on liberal professors at BYU for Ezra Taft Benson's friends at the Birch Society, and who undermined several general authorities by lobbying McKay for more money to build BYU when the church was financially strapped for cash during the building crisis of the '60s. Now was he wrong for suggesting student wards and stakes? Definitely not. BYU is a special situation, and the concentration of single students is far to high to avoid singles wards. But my point is that you don't have to be a prophet to make a case for different logistical set ups. You only have to be right at the right time. So if I was doing a sub-par job, it'd be fine. Right? Would blacks have received the Priesthood without the open lobbying of many Mormons, including apostle Hugh B. Brown? We may never know.
  8. Nobody's Fool, thank you for responding. First of all, I think you are correct to be suspicious of any and all stats. My challenge is for you or anyone to find evidence or stats to the contrary of my own findings. Simply schedule a meeting with either your bishop, stake president, or stake RS president and see what you come up with as far as transition stats for your stake. Then bring it back here to compare. And by all means, feel free to correct me if you find anything I have offered to be extravagantly erroneous. I have issued this challenge before, but so far no one cares enough about the program, or the people at stake, to gather their own data. Which is fine, of course. Being the only person who gathers data & who actually cracks open history books and graduate studies on the topic gives me an advantage in the argument. But at this point, I'd much rather be getting my can kicked by an expert who has all the facts than win arguments. Internet victories don't necessarily help the Church with retention, and that is my interest here. I certainly agree. But staying on top of membership records is an issue in almost every ward/branch, YSA or traditional. Pointing to ambiguities created by those who are MIA might be a bit of consolation for a frustrated ward clerk who'd like clearer records, but it is not even the beginning of a solution. Jesus edict is to leave the 99 and go after the 1. In my experience, YSA wards have got it backwards. If all the YSAs were attending traditional wards, they would still meet and have activities with all the same people they meet in YSA wards. The social club would shift from Sacrament meeting to FHE, institute, and stake activities... much more appropriate venues than Sacrament meeting. This would simply be a return to the old M-Men and Gleaners program (pre 1970) that successfully married off most of the baby boomers that now run the church. The reason why we have singles wards at all is because BYU started having student wards, and YSAs not headed to Provo wanted to have a "BYU-like" experience on the local level. But the problem is that student wards were never introduced or revealed by prophets. Student wards were recommended for BYU by then school president Earnest L Wilkinson in 1955 as a logistical solution to the large concentration of singles attending school in "the zoo" as you call it. Before that there were sundry singles branches in various places beginning (according to the Church History Library) in Alamosa, CO in 1929. All of them were experiments by local leaders. The first time a prophet got involved was in 1955, when David O McKay first rejected the recommendation by Hugh B Brown, but then approved it after hearing the pitch from Wilkinson. Then a few years after, Harold B Lee approved what later turned into the current YSA Program in 1972. There is literally no need to separate YSAs from the rest of the mormons outside of BYU and BYU-I (and perhaps Hawaii). The UofU, UVU, Weber State, and Utah State are all commuter schools with spread out single students that could readily attend local wards and partake in those communities. We simply do it because a) it is easier logistically, and b) we somehow believe that it actually encourages more marriages. Yes, I understand the scenario. What I don't understand is the alleged solution: 1. Treat the entire country as if it is all Provo. 2. Abandon these YSAs at the most critical time of their lives to specialized wards that separate them from the rest of what is supposed to be their local religious community (no kids, no grandmas, and essentially no birth/death). 3. Expect them to sink or swim in social clubs populated by a narrow demographic that are all understood to be competing for mates. 4. Remove them from their role as mentors to local children and teens. 5. Supply a limited number of mentors (the bishopric & perhaps one older couple) who are too overburdened to attend to everyone that is active (much less the entire ward list). Do this instead of including them in traditional wards where utilizing local married couples (of all ages) as mentors would make perfect sense. 6. Give a dozen of them challenging callings, but then bore the majority of the ward members to tears with lightweight callings that don't really challenge them. 6a. Expect them to refrain from ward hopping in response. 7. After a decade of YSA life, demand that those who fail to get married by the time they are 31 transition again into traditional wards that separate them from their friends and roots long established in their YSA ward. Watch as they go inactive, and place the blame on them.
  9. The best replacement for video games is temple work. The body is a temple... at least according to Jesus... right? Genealogy and temple attendance can take up all the time and $ that you otherwise give to TV, movies, sports, the internet, and everything else that you watch on a screen. So why not give it to God rather than WoW? Thinking about video games in the context of temple work offers some eye-openers, if you're willing to recognize them. Anyone who has eyes to see can see that in both the temple and a video game you ascend from world to world (or level), you need "tokens" to advance, and there is always a "dragon" defeated during the performance. When you complete a game, the end is often an equivalent to a "Celestial room" and the game's approximation of that "glory". The real difference between a temple and a video game is who the proxy is. In the House of the Lord, you actually participate in the salvation of a dead person as a proxy for them. In a video game you give your time, energy and money to an avatar that would otherwise be dead without you. In the one, you submit your will to give someone salvation. In the other, the avatar submits to your will so you can glorify yourself. Can it be an addiction? Only if ego massage is addictive. And do the dead take on a life of their own? Of course they do. As an example, everyone knows who Mario and Luigi are. Those two characters aren't alive in our consciousness because those games were programmed, mass produced and distributed. They are pop culture icons because we actually "played" those games and gave them life... our life. Consequently, the avatars of millions of people are "alive" in the virtual world while billions of real dead people wait aghast in the hereafter for their ordinances to be performed. So the time-suck of many games (including the scheduled gatherings) does indeed have eternal ramifications if we prioritize it over the Lord's work. I certainly don't think that games are evil. They're just another tool in the tool shed like anything else. Can they be used reasonably for occasional recreation? Of course they can. But if you're looking to "escape", then you're probably putting your relationships with all in peril instead of engaging your problems responsibly. The best escape, IMO, is to lose yourself in service to others.
  10. While I agree with much of what has been said, that you should find your own path, I would offer that you should eventually find some way of reminding your mom of her divine identity. She's afraid of losing her role as a mother in the here and now, but in truth she will never be removed from that role because it is infinite & eternal. Motherhood doesn't end just because the kids are gone. It just enters a different stage. This is a fact that she of course knows in her heart, but life often has a harsh way of reminding us about facts. As much as you must set out on your own, she also must pass through her own test.
  11. I doubt anyone is interested in letting friendships override any marriage relationships. It's just as hard on married couples to be uprooted from their friends and forced to establish new roots in traditional wards as it is for singles to watch their married friends disappear from their immediate religious community. The segregation is needless. People should have the option of returning home from their honeymoons and maintaining the same friendships in their same congregations. It is a culture of compartmentalization that has caused our faith to establish all of these unnecessary transitions.
  12. Belonging comes from unity. What should we be unified in? Christ-like service. But we are not unified. We are separated into factions (YSA wards & traditional wards) that remove the people with the most time & vitality (YSAs) from the wards with the most service opportunities (traditional wards). As long as there is separation, there is going to be alienation. That's the main problem in a nutshell. You don't unify a religious culture by creating one special needs group and separating them away from the rest of the fold. 1. Eliminate all singles wards. This will remove the transitions of midsingles, RMs to YSA wards, converts to local wards, & young marrieds to local wards. Hence, when two people get married, they can choose to stay in their ward and retain their roots and their comfort zone. And those who don't get married in their 20s? They experience no transition unless they move. And converts? They are socialized into wards that have grandmas and loud kids from the start. 2. Call singles to cover most of the heavy duty callings in traditional wards. You want to really train YSAs to be our future leaders, mothers & fathers? Then let them do the heavy lifting. Elders Quorum, Relief Society, YM/YW, Sunday School, Primary, Scouting, Geneology, Temple, Activities, Etc. Call married adults & old timers to assist and mentor them as they go. Seeing your role in a religious community necessarily creates belonging. 3. Call all RMs into the local ward mission upon their return home. Their testimonies are sharp and ready to go, and their experiences mean a lot to future missionaries. 4. Reduce all Primary callings to 6 months. This will give more members a chance to teach children, relieve those who are burned out, and provide a greater appreciation for the other auxiliaries. 5. Hold stake-level singles activities. This along with FHE & institute will provide singles to still meet and interact with all the same singles they would have encountered at a YSA ward. That's how I would achieve more belonging for our culture.
  13. I think what most midsingles want is belonging within their religious culture. IMO, that is achieved through Christ-like service. Most of us aren't making the transition, though. My stake in SLC has about 10% activity among midsingles on record.
  14. Flutterbee, Thank-you for commenting. I think your frustrations with Stake leadership is common, but you have to remember who you are dealing with (they probably married young, and they are probably afraid to look bad to Stake leadership) and find a way to teach them to better understand the people that they are serving. I realize it is frustrating, but even giving the priesthood to blacks was a war of attrition that couldn't happen until certain members of the Twelve passed away. These are humans with weaknesses, and the Lord is doing the best he can with imperfect men. So proceed with compassion. I would continue to focus on service projects even if the stake leaders continue to refuse. This is an opportunity for you to show some patience & to show that you have a spine. Present with a smile, and accept rejection with a smile. Eventually, you will wear them down and have a successful service project. When people lose themselves in service, Christ claims that they will find their lives and themselves. It is in this state of mind that many people become more open to relationships. I think at least half of all singles dances (at every age level) should be replaced with service projects. It would show prospective mates a different side of those that participate. As for Relief Society, I think you should go and not worry about the foibles of certain bishops. Forgive them, and make serious contributions to the RS in your ward. If you consult the Lord & still feel that you have been in Primary for long enough, then ask to be released and continue with your singles calling. If the bishop ends up getting perturbed with you over it, that's ok. He'll eventually get over it, and life will go on. There are plenty of people who could stand to take their turn in Primary, and most of them are male. Bishops are exposed to the ugly things that happen to married couples, so their reaction to singles is colored by that knowledge. They often think of them as religious transients with potential problems for the ward (in many cases they are right). Much work must be done to change this expectation, and it will take the work and willingness of faithful singles to do this. But if you are feeling the need to participate in RS, you should do so. The fact that you are single, 35, and active means that you are a rarity. Most singles our age have abandoned church activity completely. You owe it to yourself to be proactive about your activity and to fully expect to be marginalized and offended. Forgive ignorant people in advance, and your path will be much clearer.
  15. Matthew, thank-you for commenting. I have been in YSA wards & "magnet" wards in Logan (1 year), Orange County, CA (5 years), Seattle (3 years), Provo (2 years) and in Salt Lake (1 year). From the time I was 21 to 31, I remained active and involved in YSA wards. During that time I served in quorum presidencies three times, FHE, executive sec, and in the ward mission. At 31, I went inactive for about a year, but my desire to renew my temple recommend helped to change my attitude. I currently serve in the ward mission of a local ward in SLC. My main intent is helping the church with retention. I started out hoping to stem the tide of singles that fall into inactivity once they turn 31, but the more I investigate the logistics of the church, the more I realize how linked many of the demographics are to the decision in 1968 to begin fragmenting the community into local wards and YSA wards. It affects all transitions for young people in the church. Just as an example to illustrate, teens in the Young Women program do not have opening exercises with the Relief Society like you and I did in Priesthood from the time we were 12 (I'm assuming you are a lifer, please forgive me if I am wrong). They also do not participate in Visiting Teaching with the RS, whereas Aaronic Priesthood holders do participate in Home Teaching with the Elders. The result is that half of the Young Women in the church go inactive when they turn 18 and are encouraged to go to Relief Society. If you ever have a discussion with a Stake Relief Society president, it will become clear to you that the reason for the large losses is because these two auxiliaries are separate entities that rarely associate. In my experience, it is not difficult to switch quorums for guys. Why? Because Young Men meet with men of all ages the entire time they hold the Priesthood. So why then do we not offer the same privilege and benefits to teenage girls? Doesn't this logistical choice instead lead to alienation? To be clear, I do not blame current leadership for the mess created by past leaders. They have inherited the system in place, and are doing the best they can with it. But I also do not feel the need to remain silent on these issues. My experience has led me to this cultural discussion, and no one else is really addressing it. I am in open discussion on this and other forums, and I invite all dissenting arguments to the contrary. So far, there have been no strong arguments to that effect. I have sent papers to leadership through local authorities for the past two years with no response, and until I get a definitive answer I see little reason to let it go. On the contrary, I see ample reason to continue as there is a large contingent of singles in their late 20s that are about to go through the transition. Most of them will never make it to their local wards. In Seattle, there are 500+ midsingles, and fewer than 40 are active. In my stake in SLC, 300 midsingles are on record. About 30 attend. If you want proof, then ask your Stake President for those numbers in your current stake. I'd be interested in any evidence that refutes my own findings.
  16. Latest concerning singles dances: Proactive Transition.: Hiding in the Lion's Mane.
  17. Dunn & Milluw, Thank-you both for your astute thoughts. I'm curious, Dunn, about the part of the country you live in and what the logistics are like. I attended a wedding reception last night, and there was dancing. My friends and I had a blast dancing with all the little kids, lots of the old folks and just everybody. I couldn't help but think about how boring singles dances are by comparison. Dances used to involve the whole community back in the old days, but now it's just the singles trying hard to look cool and attractive. In the states, our religious community is divided.
  18. Wingnut, thank-you for the thoughtful response. Totally agree. The gap between transition and the 21-year mission option is an abstraction that doesn't give them as clear a religious role as is given to their male counterparts. We lose a lot of YW in that gap, and it may very well be a matter of logistics. I know the policy. What I don't understand is the need within our culture to separate YW from duties (assisting with Visiting Teaching) that could help them envision themselves serving in the auxiliary that awaits them. I think opening exercises could go a long way in that department also. From the outside, it would seem that the program in place is constructed more for the success and integration of YM than YW. My numbers are from the Stake Relief Society Presidents of Laguna Niguel, CA, and Sugarhouse Stake in SLC. I also spoke with the Stake President of the Seattle North Stake. None claimed better than 50% of YW, and all were distraught with the topic, seeming to be unsure as to what could be done to stem the exodus. Reality is a matter of perception, and perception can be changed with attitude. Little more than opening exercises and participation with visiting teaching could do wonders to dissipate the alienation between these groups if given the chance. YW leaders could also be closer associated with Relief Society leadership. Small and simple things are the means of much good. All the current leadership has already been socialized by the current program. They should be retrained as to what to do with singles. The singles who do choose to go local bear the most responsibility, though. They should seek out callings and service opportunities wherever they reside. The problem with the YSA program is that it has trained the current generation to think of church as more of a social club than of a service organization. Thank-you for sharing your singles experience. I think it confirms a lot of my feelings towards the YSA system. If you remove the meat market from Sacrament meeting, then Institute and activities will naturally become vital and well attended. All the same singles will have the opportunity to meet and interact, it's just the venue that will change.
  19. Proactive Transition. Interested in opinions.
  20. It's between them and God. Mental illness & chemical imbalances will of course be taken into account, but for those that ate themselves into the situation because of a complete lack of self control it will probably be difficult to defend their stewardship up to that decision. Disregarding the self is the same as disregarding Christ (Matt 25:40).
  21. John Doe, I also don't feel that God will judge too harshly those who make such decisions. The world is a tough place, and the pressure to be beautiful is immense. But I question the veracity of these procedures "truly" making anyone feel better about themselves when they don't involve holy covenant & atonement. On the contrary, it seems they set up the participant to be a living justification of the practice. Exercise, diet and grooming, to me, fall under the bracket of maintenance. This is not the same thing as the topic. Staying fit is good stewardship. I don't see how cosmetic surgery, outside of reconstructive purposes, falls under that stewardship.
  22. The comparison isn't fair unless you're comparing a temple at the time of dedication to an unaltered human being. So then the question becomes, "Why would the Salt lake Temple replace its current Moroni, after years at its current size, with one that is three times as large?" All human beings are beautiful as is. It is the consensus of a media saturated society, promoting certain standards of beauty over others, that dictates otherwise. So when people think they are "ugly" or somehow inadequate they are just buying into what the magazines, supermodels, actresses, photographers, advertisers, photoshop-ers, filmmakers and an army of department store mannequins are asserting. All who agree and participate are a part of the same cult of idol worship. Christ's assertion is that the body is a temple, that it is the house of the Lord. He cleanses and blesses the body with sacred ritual. With regards to women, he asserts that all have the potential to be queens and priestesses as is. It's the rest of us that refuse to catch his vision of true beauty and instead agree with the world's version instead. Does implant enhancement suggest a divine identity? I suppose there is no other choice but to be "happy" after going through with breast enlargement or any other cosmetic surgery. The cost and recovery process demand a positive result, and entire relationships are founded upon such illusions. But is that happiness equivalent to the happiness that is derived from accessing Jesus' atonement through prayer, fasting and ordinance? It seems more like supplication to the ego/natural man, which is why I referenced the Tower of Babel. If power and glory are attained by earthly means (I.E., not by his Priesthood and not in his name), then the covenant isn't cut with the Father. It is cut with the establishment, which is just a contemporary version of Baal. The New and Everlasting Covenant is enough to endow us with all the power and glory we will ever need. If it's not enough, then it is not understood (or remembered) for what it is. John 4 seems appropriate: 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Until a woman performs such a drastic atonement upon her body with the world's doctrine of self-image, there is still time for her to attain the healing she needs from the Lord through magnifying that relationship, and through participating in the three-fold mission of the church. There is also time for those that love her to make her feel like she belongs and is loved and desired without ever needing to alter her body. If we love the Lord, we will feed his lambs.
  23. Isn't the issue with breast implants really about power? To achieve community, belonging, esteem, gratification, control, Etc? If power is purchased and implanted into the body instead of being acquired from the Lord through spiritual means, then isn't it possible that implants change the body from a "temple" to a "tower of Babel"?