It’s Conference time again, and I can hardly wait!
Church in my ward has turned into a real trial. So many people, all married, have talked from the pulpit week after week about how wonderful the ward is because others were there to help when the needed them.
I really am happy about that. But when the storms of life came crashing on my door, who was there to help me?
It’s not just occasionally; it’s a consistent pattern of neglect spanning over three years. From where I sit, it seems like my ward is just a club for married people. The last time I talked with my bishop about my feelings, he told me, and I quote, "I don't know what to do with you."
Hey, I love the honesty. What I don't love is that he left it at that. He's shown no interest in looking for the answer, or even an answer.
That's why I reached out to my stake president. And that's where things got really trying.
Where my efforts got me
I explained my circumstance to my stake president via email. Initially he asked for some time before replying, and that’s fair. After all, stake presidents are busy men.
When I finally got my reply, he told me my "singleness" was all in my head and that in the next life everything would be put right. He then claimed I needed more scriptures and service in my life. He also encouraged me to look to Moroni as an example of a faithful single before sharing with me his desires that I stay faithful also, as though I'm in danger of going inactive any moment now.
But that's not the biggest kick in the pants. He said the stake was giving the responsibility for ministering to singles to the wards because that's "more effective."
That means when I need help to weather life's storms, I’m left with the man who’s already told me he doesn’t know what to do with me and leaves me to figure things out on my own. And in some twist of logic I still can't wrap my head around, that arrangement is "more effective" at meeting my needs.
No disrespect to the mantle my leaders carry on their shoulders, but I've never before felt like they’re so disconnected.
Where the rubber hits the road
Let’s be very clear here. I’m not declaring my leaders have fallen or anything like that because I don’t believe that. I simply believe they’re good men who are also ignorant. They’re babes in sacrament meeting. Meanwhile, I’m still sitting in church suffering the injustice of my situation while those who carry “more effectively” the responsibility of helping me do nothing.
This is where the rubber hits the road. This is where I need Conference.
Of course, I own my life. But I’m also tired. Tired of doing life alone. Tired of reaching out only to be told trite phrases and left to my own devices. Tired of constantly hearing how marrieds get help while single me doesn’t.
I need the uplift from Conference. I need the renewed perspective from Conference. I need the spiritual regeneration from Conference. I need the burning hope from Conference. Simply put, I need Conference. I’m so ready for it.
What to do next
I know I need to practice what I preach. And I will. That’s why I’m going to educate my local leaders.
If my local leaders really are babes in sacrament meeting, then like babies they do what they do because they don’t know any better. They need someone to educate them. And if I who know so much about how to approach LDS singles issues don’t do it, then who will? If I keep silent, my local leaders will continue to endorse the current approach which produces no meaningful results. Nothing will change if I stay silent.
I need Conference to show me how to approach that, though. How would the Lord have me do it? As I pray and search the scriptures, I can feel God’s love for me. But as far as any specific answers go, I’m clueless.
Of course, I’ll also be alert for the usual promptings of how to chart the course of my life for the next six months. What changes do I need to make in me so that I become more of what the Lord wants me to become?
Yes, I’m glad it’s Conference time again. I need everything it offers right now. And despite my love for Tigger, I’m sure, as I think about the vast population of LDS singles I’ve been serving for many years, that I’m not the only one.
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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