As I read his address, I began to see more of the profundity behind the simple truth that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father. Elder Hallstrom repeatedly proclaims throughout his remarks that this identity should be the preeminent one in our lives. And that caught my attention, because often I’m not convinced it really is, especially for LDS singles.
Remember the true center
The culture of the Church centers on family. I wish it centered on Christ. After all, everything else about the Church does. The doctrine, the scriptures, the priesthood, the ordinances — everything about the Church centers on Christ except for the family-centered culture.
That’s why the mark of belonging is being married with kids. And you need both elements to belong, hence the struggles of childless married couples as well as singles to feel like they really fit in.
If the culture centered on Christ, then the mark of belonging would be discipleship of the Savior. That’s one reason why Elder Hallstrom’s address resonated with me.
What if we saw each other not through the lens of martial status but rather that of divine lineage? What unity could we develop with that perspective? How much better prepared would we as a people be to receive the Lord when He comes again? Our Lord has said, “If ye are not one, ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27). I don’t know about you, but I want to be the Lord’s.
Remember your divine heritage
Early in his remarks, Elder Hallstrom shares, “A correct understanding of our heavenly heritage is essential to our exaltation.” Why is that? Let me answer with another question. How do we really understand our purpose here in mortality unless we understand where we came from? Knowing we’re children of God promotes faith in Him that our existence here is part of a much grander plan to make us glorious beyond description.
That perspective can help us face the storms of life. Elder Hallstrom referenced many of those storms when he said,
In real life, we face actual, not imagined, hardships. There is pain—physical, emotional, and spiritual. There are heartbreaks when circumstances are very different from what we had anticipated. There is injustice when we do not seem to deserve our situation. There are disappointments when someone we trusted failed us. There are health and financial setbacks that can be disorienting. There may be times of question when a matter of doctrine or history is beyond our current understanding.
Certainly that list of trials describes life for many LDS singles. And so the questions Elder Hallstrom poses are just as pertinent. What is our response when confronting difficulty? Do we forget our divine heritage and cower in fear before the very experiences that we need to grow and claim the glory that is our birthright? Or do we remember our divine heritage and embrace the challenges before us, looking for the opportunities in the experiences that form part of the plan our Heavenly Father has instigated for our eternal destiny?
Elder Hallstrom shares a remark made by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland while teaching about this principle. Said Elder Holland, “You can have what you want, or you can have something better.” What a perspective!
We live in a world that can cause us to forget who we really are. The more distractions that surround us, the easier it is to treat casually, then ignore, and then forget our connection with God.
Unfortunately, for many LDS singles the family-centered culture of the Church can be a part of that world causing them to forget who they really are. We LDS singles can focus so much on the marital status we don’t have that we forget the much more meaningful identity we do have. Remembering that identity can help us better access our Lord’s Atonement, which can strengthen us as we encounter the pains, the heartbreaks, the injustices, and the disappointments that come to us in mortality.
And here’s the best part. If we LDS singles would focus more on our discipleship than on our marital status, we could change the culture that presents us with one of our greatest challenges. We could influence its center to move towards Christ. We could all — single and married — come together and truly be one. We could increase our power as a people to stand firm in support of our covenants and the truths of the gospel, including the institution of the family.
So remember who you are. That divine heritage can help you to reach for the light and have more joy in your journey.
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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