- 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!
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Friday, March 10, 2017
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Social networking, video consumption, and music/podcasts are especially popular with younger smartphone owners
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/).
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
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
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
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.