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skippy740

Devout Yet Divorced LDS - A letter to Single Ward Bishops

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I'm unsure.

I've seen and spoken to people who have gone inactive, or were upset:

People having trouble conceiving or finding an eternal companion complained that all talks were about eternal families.

People who didn't want to give up 10% of their income bitterly complained about the number of talks about tithing.

People who had difficulty following the word of wisdom said every other talk was about the word of wisdom and they just didn't have a testimony of that.

And so on and so forth. We tend to become laser-focused on things that we don't like and often have a very biased cross-section of what we hear at church. It's not ideal, but people need to work through their issues in their own time.

The church isn't going to stop pushing marriage. The church isn't going to stop pushing tithing, or reading scriptures, or the celestial kingdom or the atonement. Pride often makes us see those things as 'bad' when in fact they are 'good'. We should be hearing about eternal marriage. We should be hearing about all aspects of the gospel.

I'm sorry people are hurt when they hear about eternal marriage, but the church shouldn't stop preaching about it.

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The church isn't going to stop pushing marriage. The church isn't going to stop pushing tithing, or reading scriptures, or the celestial kingdom or the atonement. Pride often makes us see those things as 'bad' when in fact they are 'good'. We should be hearing about eternal marriage. We should be hearing about all aspects of the gospel.

Yep. If people are making inappropriate comments about dating people and getting married the problem is not, "The church focuses too much on marriage and dating." it is, "People don't understand those comments are inappropriate, hurtful, and unproductive."

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I got married at 26 - hopefully that means I can speak on this thread without ticking anyone off because I happen to be married with kids now.

I was making chit chat with a reasonably attractive, nice young man when one of the counselors of the bishopric walked by and said, "Now remember, enjoy the food, but don't forget to look for your eternal companion!" The kid and I smiled at each other awkwardly, made some joke about how we should get married, made it through the lunch line, then never spoke again.

So, believe it or not, some of the most endearing and relationship-building moments I had with my girlfriend (who eventually became my wife), was that neither of us were hesitant about saying "stupid" when we saw stupid. I wonder what might have happened if either the author or the nice guy had shared what was obviously on both of their minds. That they'd just heard a stupid, useless, clueless, and unhelpful comment from someone who would be magnifying his calling if he could figure out a way to know better.

My wife made it through those years by figuring out that anyone can be stupid, and not taking it personally. "I trust God to act like God, and man to act like man" - sort of her catch phrase for why she could endure the mormons in her life and still stay mormon. I made it through those years by going inactive for 6 years, and being an absolute stone wall to anyone who tried to talk to me about such things.

I figure her way is better.

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I really liked this post. What I got from the post wasn't a prideful lashing out against people talking about marriage, but an appeal for help and the idea of working together as a ward family. There are effective and ineffective ways to encourage young adults to seek marriage, and starting off by assuming that you have to convince them that they want to get married isn't effective (this can be subtle, but I've heard "Make sure you've got your priorities straight" enough times to conclude that some leaders simply think I'm not married yet because I don't want to be married). Not only is it not true in most circumstances (I've met very few young single adults who don't want to get married), it also creates a scenario which can sometimes be mistaken for a "I've gotta teach these kids to grow up" mentality. A weekly refrain of "Why aren't you married yet?" only adds to the social pressure that young single adults already get from their married facebook friends. Some people can only listen to this for so long before concluding that either there's something fundamentally wrong with them or that their leaders don't like them very much.

Now, this is obviously an extreme scenario used for example purposes, and I'm not saying I've observed all of this in one ward (but I have observed some of it). What I liked most about this post is what the suggestion at the end was: help us work together. Taking about marriage isn't bad, but it's more effective when leaders and youth work together and treat each other like adults. I've seen how wonderful and spiritually uplifting a ward family attitude can be, and it's wonderful. My most spiritual experiences in YSA wards have come from wards where the leaders have the attitude of "you belong here" instead of "when are you going to leave (i.e. get married and move to a family ward)?"

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I agree with the post. I don’t' think the blogger was saying to stop discussing Eternal Marriage. At least I didn't get that from his talk.

Our new Bishop sat with our family a couple weeks back and when speaking to my son who will be attending BYUi, spent 5 minutes going over how girls at BYU won't even consider dating guys unless they are returned missionaries so not to waste his time asking them out because they are probably just going to refuse. I have to admit it kind of irritated me (also my wife, both of us returned missionaries). Our new Bishop is a Jewish convert who never served a mission and I'm pretty sure he's never set foot in any of our church schools (which in and of itself should no way should impair him being a Bishop, it could enhance it). I'm sure he's just parroting something he's heard about Mormon culture in an effort to encourage my son to serve a mission. We're just happy/relieved our son chose to go to a Church school. The next Sunday he mentioned my daughter commending her for some service she had done and then preceded to say that she is exactly what a young returned missionary would be looking for. ....Bishop...too much marriage talk..she's only 16.

My own opinion is that there are better ways to encourage people to do things. Marriage (especially if you've been burned) is something that should not be rushed and it should be between you and your Heavenly Father. Other than the experience I've mentioned, most of the leaders I've known, including my father who was a counselor in a young adult ward and my uncle who was a Stake President and very focused on the singles in his Stake, believed in great activities to build relationships within the ward.

BTW, I hope I'm not speaking "ill of the Lords anointed" here. I like and support our Bishop, I just think sometimes people, including Bishops, can go too far when encouragement becomes unnecessary social pressure.

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I really liked this post. What I got from the post wasn't a prideful lashing out against people talking about marriage, but an appeal for help and the idea of working together as a ward family. There are effective and ineffective ways to encourage young adults to seek marriage, and starting off by assuming that you have to convince them that they want to get married isn't effective (this can be subtle, but I've heard "Make sure you've got your priorities straight" enough times to conclude that some leaders simply think I'm not married yet because I don't want to be married). Not only is it not true in most circumstances (I've met very few young single adults who don't want to get married), it also creates a scenario which can sometimes be mistaken for a "I've gotta teach these kids to grow up" mentality.

Wyvern... When're you gonna stop breaking your Mom's heart and get married?

She stays up every night crying because of you.

(I'm pretty sure that was the right way of bringing it up.)

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Before I write my thoughts I want to openly state I think the article was well written, well worded, and sincerely given.

While on my mission Elder Scott spoke to us, and while speaking he said, "Elders and Sisters I do not know why the spirit wants me to address what I am about to say, because the topic should be the furthest from your minds at this moment. The spirit is impressing upon my mind to speak with you about marriage."

The Church leaders speak about marriage because they have seen a change in our young men and women (particularly young men). The Church leaders have noticed that young men, and now young women, are seeking to put off marriage until they finish school, until they find a good job, etc...

We shouldn't be surprised to here, or offended, to hear our leaders speak about the pinnacle of the gospel of Jesus Christ -- marriage. Elder Scott provided a statistic of what the Church has seen. The majority, or a larger percentage of young adults were married shortly after their missions. The statistic has now changed from 22, 23 years old and being married to the average of 25, 26, 27. Elder Scott mentioned how this has concerned the brethren. I won't go any further to what he directly said so as not to offend anyone, but needless to say he was direct and to the point as to be expected with Elder Scott.

Overall, I really like her sentiment regarding, "Teach us to be unselfish, to forget ourselves, and to focus on the good of the family, our ward family." Yet, according to Elder Scott and my experience at BYU, people are putting off marriage. Yes, they want to get married -- with the caveat -- but not until I have accomplished, "x, y, z."

Edited by Anddenex

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