Since I can't write headquarters, and my local leadership either doesn't have the power to do anything, or doesn't listen, I'm going to vent my feelings here. Not that it does any good, but at least I got my thoughts out, eh? Blogging at its best.
As someone newly into the midsingles scene, I am finding a ever-flowing source of irritation at the current setup.
As they "graduate" from a YSA ward, most active LDS singles have a lamentable choice to make. They can join a singles ward, fade into a family ward or if they live in the right area, they can attend a midsingles ward.
The first choice, going to a regular 30+ singles ward, is Creepy with a capital "C", especially for women. What 30-year old wants to be hit on by 50+ men, unless they're gold diggers? And, quite frankly, most 50+ year old men in the LDS church aren't really the typical target of your average gold digger, get what I'm saying?
The second choice is lonely. Activities are family-oriented. Comments in church are inevitably unconsciously hurtful and condescending. And you are definitely cut off from chances to meet other LDS mid-singles in a real-life environment.
The last choice has its own plethora of issues. Firstly, midsingles wards and activities tend to be older versions of YSA activities. Well-adjusted midsingles, those with careers, houses, and possibly children of their own, are not as likely to be interested in a wash of dances and volleyball games. They have responsibilities, things that need doing. Being involved in thinly-clad excuses for flirtation games is not really that fun, once you've grown up. Would you, a married adult, like to have all your activities structured that way? Well neither do we.
The sort of midsingles who ARE attracted to those types of activities are not the type of people that well-adjusted midsingles are interested in dating or marrying, particularly those who have been in a serious relationship before. Qualities that make good marriage partners do not include playing volleyball or the ability to act like a fool on the dance floor. Those activities aren't bad, but they should not make up 99% of available activities. If I'm going to spend precious time away from my responsibilities to try to meet other singles, I want to be doing something real and productive, or at the very least interesting.
Secondly, a typical midsingle who attends these childish midsingles wards tends to see people of the opposite sex as a list to check on or off. Like internet dating, the focus is on quantity and speed. Are they active/financially stable/slender/unattached to children/tall enough/etc, etc, etc? Rather than getting to know a person for themselves, potential dates are all too easily checked off the desirable list by some quality they often can't help. (To be honest, I suspect this plays into why some LDS marriages fail, but that is a topic for another day.)
Treat us like people, not like marriageable objects. Do activities that married people would do. Set up kid-friendly potlucks or game nights. Coordinate community service projects. Hold mini-classes on various interesting topics like gardening, home improvement or gospel discussions. Throw in some fun and creative ideas to throw people together who wouldn't otherwise get to know each other, like occasionally offering babysitting for stake couples functions or organizing dating auctions for families in need. And schedule some things for earlier in the evening, or on Saturdays. Many of us have real jobs and have to get up early in the morning on weekdays.
And for our sakes, STOP telling us we need to be married. We know that. We know that more deeply and personally than you do. But we are people, outside of our unmarried state.
As President Hinckley said nearly 15 years ago, "Though you are so diverse in your backgrounds, we have put a badge on you as if you were all alike. That badge reads S-I-N-G-L-E-S. I do not like that. I do not like to categorize people. We are all individuals living together, hopefully with respect for one another, notwithstanding some of our personal situations."
Help us become worthy, contributing people regardless if we find a marriage partner. And know that for some, there are good reasons not to marry again, from same-sex attraction to emotional issues. Marriage is not an answer for life's problems. For some of us, not being married any more is an IMPROVEMENT on our previously married state.
And if we're going to marry, it will be because it is right, not because it is dutiful or convenient, and it will be to someone who is well-adjusted enough to have a life beyond flirting.
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