Last week I discussed a June 2016 Ensign article entitled “Taking the Bus to Kolob” in which author John Barney describes his road to marriage at age 43. I also mentioned the wealth of discussion topics for singles in this one article.
Last week I focused on how John’s thinking helped keep him single. This week I focus on another aspect of John’s article: the Proclamation on the Family.
Like John did initially, many LDS singles tune out when they hear mention of the Proclamation. They think it doesn’t apply to them. After all, the Proclamation is about something singles by definition don’t have, right?
Not really. This prophetic declaration applies greatly to LDS singles. But you need eyes to see before you can see.
Learning to see
I decided long ago I wasn’t going to let my single status prevent me from living as much of the gospel as I could. That’s how FHE became Family History Evening. When I approached the Proclamation on the Family with that attitude, my appreciation for this wonderful revelation increased substantially.
Let’s start with my favorite part, a sentence towards the very end of the document.
Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation.
Certainly being single qualifies as “other circumstances.” So what individual adaptation can I make? I started reading with new eyes.
The beginning of the proclamation very clearly declares God loves me.
All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.
Not only am I loved, my existence has purpose. I’m destined for greatness because God has decreed it. And I fail only when I quit. So long as I keep trying, the full measure of my eternal potential will always be within my reach.
The next paragraph takes those ideas one step farther.
In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.
My ultimate destiny is to live God’s life. This mortal existence is a step towards preparing me to achieve that potential. The experience I gain here — including the crazy roller coaster ride called LDS singles life — is preparing me for that glorious future.
This was the plan from the start — not necessarily that I’d be single for 20+ years but that I’d gain experience in mortality. This is God’s plan for all His children.
Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
We tend to focus on that last part. No surprise there, given our family-centered culture.
Yet the Proclamation says the temple makes two things possible. The first is that the temple helps “individuals return to the presence of God.” I may not be married, but I have made covenants in the temple. If I stay true to those covenants, I will one day return to my Heavenly Father. And He will be so happy to see me.
This is what the temple itself teaches. Once I pass through the veil and enter the celestial room, I’ve arrived. I’m in the room representing the place where God dwells. There’s no special anteroom where only the marrieds go. We really are on the same journey, and we really are in this together.
Coming together through family
I’ve just brushed the tip of the iceberg. There’s more in this document — much more — but I’m leaving you to find it. So often LDS singles view this document as divisive because they think it doesn’t apply to them. And quite frankly, many marrieds take the same view.
Yet nothing could be further from the truth. John eventually realized “what a dumb thing” that was to think. Hopefully all of us have that realization, if we haven’t had it already. As we seriously search and ponder the Proclamation on the Family, we all — singles and marrieds — will begin to see how this document unifies us in the faith.
My circumstances might prevent me from living some parts of the gospel. Clearly, as a single adult, many aspects of married life are not mine to enjoy right now. But I’m not going to allow my circumstances to prevent me from living the rest of the gospel, the parts I can live today. Looking at the Proclamation on the Family through the lens of what I can do provides perspective that encourages faith and optimism.
The Proclamation on the Family really is for everyone. May we all begin to see the unity proclaimed in this revelation so that we all, singles and marrieds, can come together, be one, and get busy building Zion for real.
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 Internet 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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