the General Conference addresses. I always have a hard time picking just one. Returning again and again to Conference is a great idea.
As I recently returned to Conference, Elder Dale G. Renlund’s remarks entitled “Through God’s Eyes” spoke to me again. Reading his words, I found a powerful message I wish many of our local leaders would receive when ministering to us LDS singles.
But seeing Chad’s parents as they saw their dead son shattered that emotional distance. Elder Renlund’s own words say it best.
Then Elder Renlund delivered the crux of his message:
How I wish our local leaders could see us LDS singles as God sees us! Too often no one mourns with us when we mourn or comforts us when we need comforting. It’s easy to say they do that because they’re so focused on family. As true as that may be, I think a larger reason for their inactivity in our lives is they simply don’t see us as God sees us.
Seeing as God sees
Too many leaders reduce singles committees to activity planning groups. They think all they need to do is provide a fireside, a dance, a conference, or some other activity. Then they can rest easy, having “done their duty.”
As wonderful as many of these activities are, not a single one helped me when my cat died, or when I needed a job, or when my girlfriend broke up with me. When the storms of life came to me, I needed support. I needed others to reach out to me and put their arm around me and help me to keep walking. Who was there for me? Not my ward or stake leaders. And neither were any of their agents.
My experiences in different parts of the country convince me that many other LDS singles have the same problem. And I think it’s because our local leaders see us more as numbers on a membership report rather than children of God trying to get back to the same heavenly home they are. And I think they see themselves more as activity sponsors than as ministers of the Good Shepherd to a beloved part of His flock.
Turning the tables
Pointing the finger of blame at others is really easy. But for every finger we point at others, there are three more pointed back at us.
So let’s turn this question around. What are we doing to see our leaders and other married friends in the Church as God sees them? Are we using the same lenses of compassion and concern we want them to use when viewing us? Our complaints about their failure to support us won’t go far if we aren’t supporting them.
Elder Renlund gives some good counsel in this regard. Said he,
I say we go one step further. We should pray that not only we ourselves be filled with this love but also our ward and stake leaders. We should plead with God to open their eyes to our situation and their hearts to our suffering. We should cry for heaven’s help in supporting them and call angels to incline our leaders in our direction. And we should plead with God every day for this.
The changes we want to see in our culture won’t happen unless we look within and change ourselves first. We have to start seeing our leaders as God sees them if we want them to see us as God sees us. And we LDS singles have to start seeing each other, our fellow LDS singles, as God sees all of us.
Only after we adopt that perspective will we see clearly the path we need to take to invite others to come together and live in Zion for real. I pray that we will all adopt this vision and continue to pray for the changes we need in ourselves so that the changes we need in others can come more readily.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce 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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