Quote of the Week

"I assure you that if you have to wait even until the next life to be blessed with a choice companion, God will surely compensate you."
President Ezra T. Benson, To the Single Adult Sisters of the Church, 1988.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

My Top 10 List: Best LDS Fiction

            I love a good story. My collection of LDS fiction fills an entire oak bookcase. Three more house young adult and adult fiction. The fifth is dedicated to children’s picture books. I’m a closet librarian; a proud bookworm. At the sight of all these books, my ten-year-old nephew called me a nerd. I smiled and thanked him for the compliment!
            So, for all who love to curl up with a good page turner, I thought it would be fun to share my Top Ten List of the Best LDS Fiction I’ve come across, so far.

  1.  First Love and Forever,” Anita Stansfield, Covenant Communications, softcover, 1994, 235 pages. I call her the “Jane Austin” of LDS Romance. From 1994 to 2000 nobody could touch Anita Stansfield for clean romance. While her latest writings haven’t been as up-to-par in storytelling and characterization, I highly recommend her early work which all began with this book-Emily is stuck in an unhappy marriage until her old nonmember boyfriend from BYU comes back into her life to turn everything upside down!
Please check out my book blog where I’m currently summarizing all of her work: http://anitastansfieldfan.blogspot.com/2015/08/introduction-and-complete-book-list.html
2.      “Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites,” Chris Heimerdinger, Covenant Communications, softcover, 1989, 229 pages. Has it really been that long since the first book in this exciting time-traveling series captured our imaginations? Two boys and a pesky little sister discover a cave taking them on the trip of their lives. Over the years Heimerdinger’s series has expanded to include Old and New Testament adventures with a large cast of characters. Please don’t keep us waiting too long for the next installment, Chris!
3.      “Counting Stars,” Michele Paige Holmes, Covenant Communications, softcover, 2007, 388 pages. A lonely LDS single adult in the Seattle, Washington area takes an unusual path in creating for herself an eternal family, starting with an orphaned set of infant twins. This sweet, old-fashioned yet modern day romance is now my favorite re-read.
4.      The Work and the Glory, Vol 6, “Praise to the Man,” Gerald N. Lund, Bookcraft, hardcover, 1995, 732 pages.  Not many authors out there could create such a phenomenal series and this particular volume was Gerald Lund's magnum opus to Joseph Smith. The fictional Steed family, their life changing journey in joining the church became so real to us; these great figures from church history became our closest friends too. Testimonies were strengthened and Gerald Lund took his place as a respected and groundbreaking author in LDS literature. (I’m enjoying his latest Fire and Steel series)
I created a book blog dedicated to Lund’s work as well, please check it out: http://workandthegloryfan.blogspot.com/2014/06/intoduction-to-this-blog-welcome.html
5.      Children of the Promise, Vol 1, “Rumors of War,” Dean Hughes, Deseret Book, hardcover, 1997, 500 pages. Another “must-read” historical fiction series. The children of the Thomas family are caught in the outbreak of the most famous war in history. Alex is currently serving a mission in Germany. His sister will leave her studies at the University of Utah to volunteer as a nurse in the south pacific while mischievous and wild Wally doesn’t care where the war takes him, as long as it’s exciting! Will they all make it home safely? After reading this initial volume, you won’t be able to stop.
6.      Out of Jerusalem, Vol 1, “Of Goodly Parents,” H. B. Moore, Covenant Communications, hardcover, 2004, 279 pages. Currently my favorite LDS author, (I can hardly put down her latest series, The Moses Chronicles) Heather B. Moore did her research and gave us a wonderful account of what Lehi and Nephi’s journey to the promised land might have been like. You’ll never read first and second Nephi the same way again!
7.      “Beauty and the Clockwork Beast,” Nancy Campbell Allen, Shadow Mountain, softcover, 2016, 313 pages. Part of Shadow Mountain’s “Proper Romance” line, N.C. Allen took a break from historical fiction (Faith of our Fathers) to pen the first LDS steampunk where Victorian Era meets science fiction in an unusual world that runs on steam powered machines and electrical devices, including ray guns. Add a few werewolves and vampires and get ready for some high strung adventure. Since this is a fantasy, none of the characters are LDS. As a conservative reader, I tend to avoid these racy genres, until I read this one. Congrats to this author for making a “proper” romance feel so…sexy!
8.      “The Orphan Keeper,” Cameron Wright, Shadow Mountain, hardcover, 2016, 432 pages. Nominated for a 2016 Whitney award recognizing novels by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Cameron Wright’s second novel (I also recommend “The Rent Collector”) about a boy kidnapped in India in the 1970’s and brought to the United States is hard to put down.
9.      “Sarah,” Orson Scott Card, Shadow Mountain, hardcover, 2000, 390 pages. Better known for his science fiction books, if Mr. Card ever decides to ditch that genre he could still make a pretty decent living writing historical fiction. This is the first book in a series focusing on the wives of the Patriarchs-tough, smart and unique in their own ways.
10.  “Austenland,” Shannon Hale, Bloomsbury, softcover, 2007, 208 pages. After reading the book, I had the very great pleasure of seeing the film at Sundance. Jane lives in New York, obsessed with all things Jane Austin, dreaming of finding her very own Mr. Darcy. When the opportunity comes to visit a resort and live the Regency lifestyle, Jane makes the trip where Mr. Darcy turns out to be very different than what she expected. Light, fun, but mostly eye-rolling story, I recommend reading the book first, then seeing the movie. None of the characters are of any religion but both the book and movie are clean and family friendly.

So what LDS fiction titles would make your list?

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Day Without Women should include children too

On March 8 thousands of women took to the streets in peaceful protest, but for the wrong reasons. For all the signs demanding equality in everything from equal pay to gender rights, not one sign could be found demanding equal treatment for women-for the sake of her children. Somehow, amidst all the yelling and screaming of self actualization, the need to put a woman and her happiness first, the children were conveniently forgotten.  

The most common collocation in the English language is women AND children, not women and their paychecks. For decades, paychecks were the man's responsibility for a reason. Odd, nobody was protesting that. 

Imagine a protest of thousands of women carrying signs urging men to "step up" and "put our children's welfare first." All women deserve the choice to either stay home or bring home the bacon. 1960's feminism may have liberated us from our pots and pans and floor waxers but the fallout was losing two decades of men to the divorce culture that followed. Today's hard working women are feeling more stressed out than ever. Let's address the real reason for this-a day (make that many days) without men. 

Once upon a time, it was men who dominated the low-wage food service and retail industries. It was men who stood in the soup lines during the Great Depression. In the 1960's men dominated the workforce so wives and mothers (even childless ones) could stay home. That's not the case today. It is a subject worth protesting.

A day without women is a great idea. Men would be living on cereal and Top Ramen, washing their shirts in Fabreeze and drowning in their own dirty dishes if not for women. And when men refuse to "step up" and take responsibility for the families they create, women have no choice but to take action. And our children are suffering for it. Just ask any elementary grade school teacher. A job no man wants.

The world needs more necks turning the patriarchal heads, more hands to rock the cradle and keep the hearth fire burning. Who else's shoulders would the responsibility fall in training up a child in the way they should go? If women want to be equal with men in everything, women must first acknowledge and celebrate their own special ability to create and nurture life.

The world would be a desolate and barren place without women. Think about that for a moment.

So, the next time there's a Day Without a Woman march, let's remind the public of the equal importance of men stepping up. Women should not be expected to do everything. Give women the freedom to choose but let it be done for the sake of the children.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

How Do I Survive "Single Awareness Day?" With A Little Help From My Friends!

I know many amazing, single, never married women like myself here in Utah who aren't dating. Two simple reasons being-single men don't ask and the numbers are skewed against us. Be it Valentine's Day or any other day, there is no dating amongst singles in the Salt Lake City area. That's why my single, heterosexual girlfriends and I get together every year and have our own fun.
Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.

Forget Coffee Meets Bagel, Tinder or even LDSPlanet this Valentine's Day. I tried all those dating sites years ago, paid the thirty-plus dollar yearly fees so my Prince Charming could message me back on ldssingles. We'd meet up, fall madly in love and live happily ever after. Right?
While I made the effort and sent many messages to potential single fellas, many of whom looked very promising (even if their profile pics looked just a little TOO perfect) no Valentine's date emerged.

I got nothing but radio silence.

Fear not. Text messages from my best girlfriends soon made up for my disappointing attempts at online dating.

That's why my advice for all singles without a date this Valentine's Day is to round up fellow singles like yourself and have your own (heterosexual) group date. I'm not sure how all those eligible bachelors here in Salt Lake spend their Valentine's Day, but for my four best single girlfriends and myself (all of us never married and not currently dating anyone) we’ve managed to create a fun tradition all our own.

Over the years "the fabulous five" have gotten together for some memorable Valentine's Day fun. Going out to a production of Ballet West's "Cinderella." A Downton Abbey tea party three years ago at Whitney’s. Last year it was a home-cooked meal from scratch (because we totally ROCK in the kitchen, you single men have no idea what you're missing out on!) with an estrogen-packed chick flick at Luci's apartment. And, yes, we remembered the popcorn-popped fresh in Whitney's Wirlypop stovetop popper with gourmet root beer. When we throw a party, we do it right.

This year we're going out to dinner at City Creek then to a performance of Ballet West's "Sleeping Beauty." An expensive date, yes, which no single guy is going to spend that much on. So, why spend so much of our hard-earned on our amazing, single-selves? Well, like the old L'Orel commercial remind us,

Because we're worth it!

So, get out there ladies, and have some fun this Valentine's Day. Who knows? Maybe we'll all get lucky next year...

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Cat Videos Anyone?

Social networking, video consumption, and music/podcasts are especially popular with younger smartphone owners
Three-quarters of younger smartphone owners (75%) indicated using their phone to watch videos at least once over the study period, compared with 31% of those 50 and older (a difference of 44 percentage points). And 64% of younger adults used their phones at one time or another to listen to music or podcasts — a 43-point difference compared with the 21% of older users who did so.

Young users are particularly likely to use a smartphone to avoid boredom — and ignore other people (Pew Research Center, April 2015 http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015/).

Those closest to me know I don't own a smartphone. Not yet. I'm not against them. I just haven't gotten around to updating my old flip-phone. A friend at my new job did her best to sell me on the idea of upgrading before Christmas. Pulled up all the great deals out there, displayed them on her phone. This is a great time of year to buy, she said. Free phones with purchase of a plan. Do it! 

I smiled at her enthusiasm. She should be working for Sprint or Verizon, not this call center where half the members we talk to about their Humana prescriptions are part of that age group for whom the word "app" is decidedly NOT in their vocabulary. We're encouraged to tell them about our company's app. Most of them, bless their hearts, don't even have an email address.  

My youngest brother, Rusty, was in town over the New Years weekend to visit. All of us went to see the new Star Wars movie. (Loved it!) Rusty's "special friend" Rondi came too. After the movie, I remembered one of the previews (not another Wolverine movie!) hearing that Nine Inch Nails song covered by...what was his name?

If only I had a smartphone so I could Google it while we waited for the rest of our party outside the movie theater restrooms. Because I'm still living in the desktop age, I would have to wait I got home to research this query (Johnny Cash). With a mental sigh, I glanced over at my youngest brother and Rondi, both fixed on their smartphones. All this information at our fingertips, and they're using it to share cat videos.

Instead of talking to each other, Rusty and Rondie were using some new app called Mutual to post funny pics to each other and all their common friends. Both insisted this wasn't a date, yet I wondered if this is how young folks, like my brother and his friends, view dating these days-using their smartphones to avoid boredom.

I know this has been written and lemented about before but come on people! Let's make a New Year's Resolution not only to spend more face to face time with those we love, but to use our smartphones to improve our minds. There are so many cool facts and new things to learn and discover.

Take the movie we just saw. Peter Cushing is DEAD! How did they resurrect him to play Governor Tarkin? And what about Carrie Fisher? And where can I find a copy of New Hope on Blu-ray?

Don't worry, I looked all this up when I got home. But I really should upgrade one of these days. Perhaps while I'm on my next date!

Now for your homework assignment. President Nelson is going to speak at a Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults. This includes singles. President Nelson has asked we all read D&C 84:43-45. Perhaps he'll have some earth shattering advice for us. Now pull up your scripture app and get started!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wait For It

(Singleness) doesn't discriminate between the sinners and the saints.
It takes and it takes and it takes
And we keep living anyway,
...I am lying in wait.

This is what the character Aaron Burr sings in the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton. His frenemy, Alexander, is relentless in his drive to succeed in life. Burr prefers to keep all his cards to his chest. He's willing to wait for his opportunities to come, while his friend seems to get everything he wants with very little effort. 

Never married women in the church can relate to Burr, it's frustrating watching the coach put others in the game while you're still stuck on the bench. With 150 Mormon women to every 100 Mormon men, it’s hard to be a single college-educated woman in Utah. To make mattes worse, women are held to a double standard: virtuously waiting for the other person to express interest, yet, if we aren't relentlessly competing for the attention of the few eligibles left in the rapidly shrinking dating pool, we face the very real possibility of ending up alone. The world tells us unless we become more marketable by objectifying ourselves, we will end up alone. Our only consolation is knowing that someday, our turn for temple marriage and eternal families will come.

If we continue to wait for it.

So, how do we get everything we want without lowering our standards? Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf in his General Women's Session talk, Fourth Floor, Last Door was all about faith. That is the key.

What is faith? Is it simply trusting in God that if we jump through all the right hoops, all our dreams will come true and we'll get everything we ever wanted?

Elder Uchtdorf referenced Hebrews 11:1 for the best definition of faith: Despite having no evidence, we continue to hope for the things we cannot physically see, hear or touch.

To hope is to wish for something, look forward to it with confidence and expectation, trusting that it will, eventually, come to pass.

Does this mean we wait for it? To wait is to remain in rest, in expectation, until what we want catches up to us. If we are simply lying in wait, doing nothing, how can we expect anything to happen? At the same time, we may feel we're already doing everything we can. Our desperation grows to make it happen because we want to be in the (temple sealing) room where it happens.

Life doesn't discriminate, it takes and takes, leaving us exhausted, wondering why we even bother to choose the right, increase our education, plug away at a job and stay true to our values despite opposition and ridicule. We may even convince ourselves that God has forgotten us. We justify our choice not to exercise faith and works. Having faith is the key.

Elder Uchtdorf said, "(Many of us) don't need a sea to part or a mountain to move." We just need better health, a loved one to come back to the fold, that perfect job offer or perfect dating opportunity to materialize, "an eternal companion to appear on my doorstep with a bouquet of flowers in one hand and an engagement ring in the other."

You may be the perfect candidate for that dream job or would make mister tall, dark and handsome in your singles ward the perfect date, God will never compel an employer to hire you or Mr. Right to ask you out on a simple date. You can fast and pray for those blessings till the cows come home, God does not force anybody to do anything.

Instead, we are invited to come unto Him.

Perhaps you, like me, tried to make all that happen-graduating from college, pounding the pavement with interviews, emulating Great Aunt Rose as insurance against ending up alone when the girl's choice dances and dating you initiated were all to no avail. I'm not twenty-four years old anymore. Young, scrappy and hungry was a long time ago for me.

The fact is, I'm in my Fourth decade and I've reached the Last Door.

I cannot force God to comply with my desires for the dream job I want or the temple marriage I long for either. I get that. I know the routine: I do all I can then trust in God to make up the rest. Trust that He hasn't forgotten me. That my life does matter to Him. That if I come unto Him, I will be blessed.

Trust and Faith. Just keep knocking, seeking, and it shall be opened keeping in mind that all the blessings may not come until the Millennium. In the meantime, there's bills to pay, married people and family members to serve, friendships to tend, hobbies and talents to develop.

The opportunity to be a married wife and mother, to bear children of my own is all I've ever wanted. That's probably not going to happen in this life, but 

I'm willing to wait for it.

Here are the links to my book blogs:

All (well, eventually) the Anita Stansfield books summarized here, it's a work in progress!

All the books in Gerald Lund's Work and the Glory series. Finished!

All the books in Ron Carter's Prelude to Glory series, Alexander Hamilton references included!

Sweet Valley High author, Francine Pascal's side project, Caitlin, a teen romance series.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Singles: Telling a New Story

I recently came across three powerful and uplifting articles "Dear Single Members," "Why Chastity Only Gets Harder," and "Singles at the Temple"  as part of an Exponent II blog series entitled "Single and Married in the LDS Church." Written by this regularly featured author, Suzette's heartfelt essays on staying active in the church as a never married mid-single and the challenges we face really struck home for me. I encourage everyone to go to these links and read all of the articles in this series.

In her first article, Suzette gives singles a challenge to "Tell a New Story" and share it with other members that everyone might be strengthened in their testimonies of Christ. As single members who struggle to remain active in a church that celebrates eternal marriage and family, we are painfully aware of our label as the "square pegs" who just don't fit into those perfectly round (eternal) holes. No one takes us seriously. We are the outliers, the single points distant or separated from a main group for various reasons. Yet, singles should not let the condescending remarks and attitudes of "the marrieds" bother them. This is not an "Us against Them" debate. Our unique positions and lifestyles in the church give never-married singles the opportunity to grow and increase in wisdom; especially in our unique relationship with God, our family, friends and with ourselves.

Singles in the church who are active yet never-married have a unique understanding of loneliness. Living the chaste, wholesome life required by the gospel is not easy. Everything we do, every choice we make, (including abstaining from pre-marital sex which the world scoffs at,) is done without fanfare and without supervision. Gone is the cute, naive teenager, we stand on our own testimonies now, survivors, living life as best we can as fully grown adults, entirely on our own.We face solitary daily work and household chores, yet find time to serve and socialize with our friends. Most of us returning home every night to an empty residence. We worship on Sundays, often sitting alone, yet find joy in fulfilling our church callings, traveling, spending time with friends and family, pursuing new interests and hobbies, obtaining all the education we can.

This is not the life we would've chosen for ourselves. Or even our worst enemies. It wasn't supposed to be this way. Everywhere we go in the church, after all the individual ordinances have been met: baptism, gift of the holy ghost, and temple ordinances (up to a point) we are reminded that those who lack the final crowning achievement in our eternal progression-temple marriage-remain incomplete. This puts us in a very unique situation that isn't always acknowledged by church leaders and teachers or even family members.

According to Kristine Haglund, we live in "The Borderlands," a lonely place in the church where individual outcasts wander all by themselves. It's not as depressing as it sounds. Our solitary confinement gives us the unique opportunity for greater understanding of what Suzette calls, "Peaceful or Sacred Holiness" finding wholeness in our incomplete state. We are not "broken," and just because we lack spouses doesn't mean we are unlovable. "In our lonely places, we reach out to God and come to know His love, peace and virtues more intimately. We are made whole by this close connection." (Suzette, "Dear Single Members," Exponent II, May, 2016) By our example and teaching, by telling our story, we can help others come closer to God.

In my mind, I'm suddenly picturing never-married singles in the church as these awesome robed and hooded Obi-Wan Kenobis: medieval and wise Holy Men and Women of the desert, to whom all the Luke Skywalkers seek out for wisdom and advice. Those who have found peace and wholeness in their solitary confinement need to share this information with the world.

Singles should own their borderland spaces. We can tell a New Story of how our testimonies and understanding of the nature of God has been increased through the "peaceful holiness" we've achieved through our years of learning how live happy and fulfilling lives-without being married.  

While I have seen more acceptance and understanding toward singles in the church, singles still need to claim our "Borderland" spaces, making them our own by telling our stories; for "Zion's borders must be enlarged," (D&C 82:14).

As an unmarried single with no children, loneliness is an adjective I am all too familiar with. The challenge of how to endure loneliness without becoming increasingly bitter, especially towards God, is a personal trial and challenge I face daily. Peaceful Holiness is a nirvana I have yet to achieve. I'm no Obi-Wan, but I'm trying. I acknowledge the unique blessings that come from living the law of chastity but temple attendance for me is hard. I find myself challenging Elder Holland's reassurance in the recent Face to Face event that young single adults in the church are loved.

We are not loved, Elder Holland. That's why we're single.

It is then I must pause and reflect. As the spirit reminds me of the many people in my life who mean so much to me and I to them. I realize, I am loved. My nephews tell me this all the time, as well as close friends and family members. I am grateful for the many opportunities I have to serve others. Since quitting my food service job, which required working Sundays, moving back in with my mom and step-dad and finding part-time work, I would have no reason to keep attending church if I wasn't allowed to keep my records and continue to attend my old ward with my married sister's family. For me, church attendance is just too painful when you have to sit alone so I am grateful I have people to share a pew with. I still don't know why I was never blessed with a career that would allow me to use my two bachelors degrees so I could live more independently or why I was never asked to my high school prom. I still don't know the reason why I was born or where my place is in this world but I'll continue to pay my tithing, sing in the ward choir and spend time with my nephews who bring me such joy.

What I have learned being single is this: when we stop to count our blessings, we don't feel so alone and ostracized after all. That is the only cure I know for combating loneliness-keeping busy with work and hobbies and spending time with those we love.

I continue to wait upon the Lord.
That is my story.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Face to Face for YSA with Elder Holland

On March 8, 2016 a rare opportunity was given to all young single adult (YSA) members of the church (generally in the 18-31 age range) to post, tweet and Facebook specific thoughts, stories and questions which would be personally addressed and responded to in a live event by three prominent church leaders, including an apostle of the Lord.

Who wouldn't be excited?  It was like an exclusive general conference session. Just for us!
Three previous Face to Face events had featured minor LDS celebrities answering questions: Piano Guys, Lindsey Sterling, David Archuleta. On January 20 of this year, a special Face to Face for LDS Youth was held.
Now, at long last, it was our turn. We were finally being acknowledged.

Over three-thousand (Three-THOUSAND!) thoughts and questions were posted. Some were more youth-related, "How can I strengthen my testimony, get more out of my scripture study, help less active friends and family come unto Christ, put down my phone to prepare for a mission or date with God's plan for me in mind?"

The real "meaty" ones addressed issues pertaining to church doctrine. Was Jesus married? How can we have kids in the next life? If my temple-married parents divorced, who am I sealed to if one parent remarries in the temple? Same-sex attraction, pornography addiction, aging-out of the YSA program and feeling like a failure for not being married with a family.

Some of the more interesting ones which should've been addressed (but weren't) included:
A woman has reached a "certain age" who never felt the need to serve a mission, she feels stuck in a singles ward with no marriage prospects thanks to skewed numbers. When should she take out her own temple endowments?
Should a man struggling with addictions even bother to keep looking for a worthy temple companion when he feels so inadequate?
A woman is frustrated by the "dating crisis," she feels all the men in her singles ward (RMs especially) don't want to date, they just want NCMO, (non-committal-make-out) any advice?

Regarding the "dating crisis" among YSA, the real issue no one wants to address is that in most first-world countries, 21st century dating now equals premarital sex. Young adults of the world don't "date." They don't even have "boy/girlfriends" anymore. Instead, couples refer to themselves as, "We're seeing each other." or "We're together." Meaning they're having sex with maybe an occasional date on the side. Hopefully, one day, they will move in together and that will, hopefully, lead to marriage.
As a result, Mormon youth are returning from their missions and not dating. Not because they lack financial resources, because sex is such a big part of the picture now, taking over every aspect of the idea.
The wholesome 1960's era dating Elder Holland and Sister Stephens know has literally disappeared from our current culture. Sex has replaced dating. Because the church does not condone this, YSA women know they must wait while the men feel ridiculous asking a girl to the local malt shop. What if they turn him down? The horror! Instead they can take their time and play the field, browse the buffet, hanging out, be as choosy as they want while the growing number of single never-married sisters just want to give up and die. To every thing there is a season and the season of the malt-shop date ended sometime after 1989.

The best answers regarding the "crisis" Elder Holland and Sister Stephens' could come up with?
Here they are:

  • We're married and so can you!
  • God will bless you in the next life.
  • Keep living for the ideal which is temple marriage.
  • Find ways to serve others (especially "the marrieds" because you have so much more free time than they do!)
  • You are not defined by your marital status. (Um, yes we are, Sister Stephens. What part of "single" don't you understand?)

I felt patronized. I felt that, once again, church leaders wanted to avoid the most important issues plaguing the fastest growing minority in the church.
All they wanted to talk about was marriage but what about dating?
What about the LACK of dating?
Even the words "date" and "dating" were only mentioned in context to when these church leaders met and married their spouses.
When you're sixteen, it's okay if you still haven't been asked out on a date. It'll happen. It'll come
Age twenty-six? Not so cute anymore.
To be the ONLY ONE in your family ward still patiently waiting to be asked.
Feeling like one ruby among hundreds every Sunday at your singles ward.
Is it any wonder church attendance among this age group is falling fast?

In return, Elder Holland had a question for us.
"What do you do as a YSA to find peace and happiness during times of trial?"

A fair question.

Here's my answer:
"When I'm feeling most down and discouraged, I think about my two favorite nephews. How they make me laugh and feel good about myself. How much I enjoy spending time with them. Anticipating the next time we'll be together. This helps me forget, for a while, that I will not experience the joy of eternal families for myself until the next life. Not until after I'm dead. Yet, somehow, with God's help, I must learn to be accepting and happy with my life, such as it is. Right now."

Overall, it was a good broadcast. Elder Holland had many inspiring words for the YSA of the church. He made sure we knew we are loved, needed, appreciated.

I was especially pleased with his answer addressing the issue of same-sex attraction. Less attention on attraction, more on chastity. That really is what it all boils down to.

He left his blessing on the men who hold the Melchizedek priesthood: to be worthy of it and continue to use it; for good.

His blessing on the women was to stay active, work hard, endure despite the fact we outnumber men in so many areas of the church yet we are equally important in building up the kingdom of God. Our sacrifice (which includes continuing to live the law of chastity) will not go unrewarded.

You will be happy again.