Life makes it easy to go with the flow, but living your best life requires occasional reflection on where you’ve been and where you’re going.
I’ve meant to do so much to advance this program towards the vision I see with my mind’s eye. Yet life seems to find a way to get in the way, convincing me to spend my time in other directions. Truly the challenge in life is not choosing between good and bad but choosing between good and better and between better and best.
What exactly is my vision for the program? I’ve stated previously my intention to create a community that supports LDS singles of all ages and social condition — support they should receive from their local wards and stakes but very often aren’t.
Yet the total end game I envision is the larger Latter-day Saint community coming together and being one. We need to build Zion for real. And that means changing the culture from one centered on family to one centered on Christ.
Be ye one
I can just hear the cringing cries of my many married LDS friends. “Don’t you know the family is under attack? How can you be anti-family?”
For the record, I’m not anti-family. Like many LDS singles, I very much want my own family. And like many LDS singles, I’ve often felt ostracized by a culture centered around what I very much want but don’t have.
Adopting a culture in which we truly accept everyone who desires to make and keep sacred covenants doesn’t in any way diminish the importance of the family or its role in God’s plan. You can be pro-family and not pro-Christ. But you can’t be pro-Christ and not be pro-family.
We’re all — married and single — journeying together through mortality. Helping each other in that journey was the plan from the very beginning. In fact, helping each other still is the plan.
Unfortunately, helping each other very often translates into marrieds helping marrieds while we singles get the short end of the stick, assuming we get a stick at all. That’s because it’s human nature to feel most comfortable around those most like ourselves. But “if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? . . . And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” (Matthew 5:46–47). Helping each other should mean everyone, marrieds and singles, helping everyone.
Be the change
As a broader LDS community, we need to start conversing honestly about our culture. And we need to start thinking in new and different ways.
Very often we embrace binary thinking. Everything’s either black or white with no in between. And sometimes, that’s appropriate.
But that’s not always so. In terms of our culture, we don’t have to choose between supporting the family on one hand and being more inclusive of those without complete families on the other. We can have both.
Now, how do we do that?
Christ gave us the answer when He taught, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12). We need to demonstrate the example toward others we want them to demonstrate towards us.
And that first step towards positive change belongs to us LDS singles. Our culture will never be more inclusive of singles if all we do is wish others would act first. Many of our leaders and other married friends have the natural habit of thinking only about others who are married like them. So the probability they will act first is really low. If we LDS singles want them to be true friends to us, we need to be true friends to them first. And we must make it clear we want to live in Zion for real.
Making the first move isn’t usually an easy choice. But the sometimes difficult path of true discipleship always leads to higher ground offering higher perspectives and higher rewards.
Centering our culture on Christ offers the higher perspective of simultaneously supporting families and those who don’t yet have complete families of their own. Centering our culture on Christ offers the higher reward of becoming a truly united community of covenant makers and keepers — Zion for real. And centering our culture on Christ prepares us Latter-day Saints as a people to receive the Lord when He comes again.
We can come together. We can build bridges of understanding. We all can be members in reality and not just members of record, united in building Zion for real. And it all starts when we LDS singles take the first step by following the Savior and living the Golden Rule.
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 and podcast 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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