Be ye one
To understand D&C 38:27 more fully, let’s back up to verse 24.
And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practice virtue and holiness before me.
Now verse 25:
The Lord just repeated Himself twice in a row. You should hear bells and whistles screaming, “Wake up! This is important!”
Consider this idea of esteeming everyone as yourself while reading verse 26.
For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?
This perfectly describes many LDS wards everywhere. Marrieds can easily ostracize singles. Often marrieds do this simply because they live from habits based in the dominant ideal. Within the LDS subculture, that dominant ideal is marriage and family. Most do what they do without intending any harm or offense.
But the effect is still the same as if it were intentional. Here’s what singles often hear. “OK, you singles can go over there and have your activities and do whatever. When you get married, then you can come and join us here.”
Hello? Is this not the very situation the Lord describes in D&C 38:26? Now read verse 27.
Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.
We’ll never become one until we stop putting one another into pre-labeled boxes. That’s hard to do when you describe your church as being centered around something not had by at least a third of your congregants.
Please don’t misunderstand me. Marriage and family play absolutely vital roles in God’s plan. Everyone — married and single — should support and sustain the family. That can’t mean we support only those who have their own family. We need to come together and help one another in all of our unique situations. We need to become one.
So how do we do that? I have a very simple suggestion. And it has two parts.
Singles need to serve marrieds
The law of the harvest says you reap what you sow. You must sow before you can reap. For everything you could want, there’s a price you must pay in full and in advance. You get only after you first give.
So if we singles want marrieds to change their attitudes, we must first change ours. We must reach out to them with a sincere desire to support them. And by sincere, I mean without any expectation of ever getting anything back.
How many of us watch young parents struggle with their children in church? And how many of us then do nothing about it? Impromptu child care is just one example. If we were more involved in the lives of marrieds, we could see lots of ways in which we can help out.
Marrieds need to serve singles
When a married couple experiences a crisis or emergency, other married ward members are often quick to lend a hand. Whether that means baking a casserole or sharing a thoughtful complement, such timely acts of service lift many burdens.
I’ve seen many dark days when similar acts of service would have greatly lifted my burdens. But that service never came to my door. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only single adult with that experience.
Then again, I was never much involved with the lives of the marrieds in my wards. So why should they be involved with mine? Whether or not we singles serve, we silently but effectively grant permission for our married friends to adopt the same attitude.
It has to start with us singles. But then the marrieds need to close the circle. Relegating singles to a separate place “over there” and leaving them alone to figure it out doesn’t create the unity we need for the Lord to claim us as His.
So many of us singles could benefit greatly if the marrieds of our wards involve themselves more in our lives. I’m not talking matchmaking. I’m talking help to dig deep within ourselves, examine habits, and remove the obstacles that impede us from creating our own families.
Championing the family has to include creating new families as well as supporting existing ones. And you can’t help us create our own families if you keep relegating us to a separate place “over there.” We need to be together. We need to be one.
If you’re married, what can you do to help a single adult you know? If you’re single, what can you do to help a married couple you know? When we stop putting each other into boxes and start bridging the gap in love, we step closer to becoming one. We step closer to becoming Zion.
And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them. (Moses 7:18)
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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