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, October 25, 2011

The Single Mormon Girl's Guide to Life

   Seems I'm not alone out there in the blogosphere. I started reading the older posts on this site today, the first one dating all the way back to November 2007. This really needs to be a book because I just couldn't stop reading. A gold mine of ideas about being single that I intend to steal and use here in my own blog. Miss Jones, who posts on this blog, must've gotten married because she hasn't posted anything new since December of last year. Perhaps it's time for someone new to take up the baton...
   Anyway go check it out here's the link http://singlemormongirl.wordpress.com/2008/01/
Sorry, gotta run now. I'm gonna do more research for my next post and I have an English midterm I really need to be studying for right now and my creative writing piece needs to be ready to post by next week for that class and I haven't seen my favorite nephew since my birthday. 
   Life is pretty good right now. I just finished reading "Bad Guys of the Book of Mormon" and yes, it's just as fun to read as it sounds, everyone should go pick it up.
   I started praying again, I'd kinda given it up since being alone is so discouraging but every once in a awhile I can think of a good reason to kneel down, give the Lord an update on my life and acknowledge His hand in all things. I've started attending Sunday worship service again but only because there's lots of little toddlers in my family ward who like to wander over to the pew I share with my sister and her family. I cuddle them on my lap (Calvin's getting too big!), let them dig through my purse, draw pictures for them on the program, look at story books and play cat's cradle with the older kids. Occasionally we might glance up to hear what the speaker is saying! I really like my family ward.
   So, advice for the day: keep busy, pray always and read your scriptures, that's the only way to beat loneliness.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ten Years Ago

    That was me ten years ago. The other girls are Mindy (last name I forget) in white and I'm leaning on Marcie Hastings. These two were my roomates at Southen Utah University, Fall semester 2001. Mindy is married but Marcie's living it up with all the single ladies in San Fransisco. Don't ask me how she does it.
    Ever wish you could go back in time? I was 27 years old in that picture. Cedar City, Utah was, and still is, a small town with an even smaller ratio of active, ambitious, single Mormon guys who were also pursuing an education at SUU. Dating consisted of competing with ten other apartments of six girls each for the time and attention of the 20 males (give or take) in our complex-inviting them over for movies, dinner, card games and just hanging out. Young men like Scott (shaken not stirred) Bond who is now married and Mark Willey, now divorced, who had the sexiest blue eyes that made my heart skip a beat every time he smiled at me. Both young men were highly sought after by the ladies but skittish about making any formal dating invitations or commitments to any one girl. "Why date one when you can have them all?" seemed to be their motto. I was never the competitive-type when it came to staking a claim in the Sexual Market of Utah. Don't be fooled by my pleasant demeanor in that picture, I tried very hard not to be discouraged at my lack of dating opportunites back in those days.
   Like any unmarried 27 year old, I was scared to death of actually having to go out into the world soon and begin a career. Like the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" our "cultural timeline" decreed that while remaining chaste and virtuous was very important, nevertheless, if I didn't start getting some action in the bedroom soon, I was already an old maid at 27, I might as well be a pumpkin. It was a Mormon double standard back then and, by golly, some things just never change!
   The student body at SUU ten years ago was, and probably still is, mainly women majoring in pink collar areas like nursing, psychology, English and (like me) Elementary Education so I knew I wasn't alone in the majority of dateless women. I knew I wasn't the only single white female panicking at the thought that everyone else was getting more action than I was. I'd remind myself how fortunate I was to have a job filling orders at the Wal-Mart warehouse 40 miles south in Hurricane that paid $14/hr. The work wasn't too hard but I longed for something more challenging. I was grateful I could afford the commute (remember when gas was dirt cheap at $1.25/gallon?) but the drive was long and lonely. My weeks were filled with classes in the morning and home from work by 10:30 every night. Weekends I studied, read books by my favorite LDS authors, did laundry, and cleaned house. Sunday was church meetings, potluck dinners, singing at a local nursing home with other young single adults and practicing the piano whenever I could. I was grateful I earned enough to pay my own tuition with enough left over to put something away every month. I was grateful to enjoy so many hobbies and develop talents and hang out with fun groups of people, yet, I remember going to my male spiritual leaders, sitting in their offices and weeping bitterly. I would gladly trade it all for the opportunity to be a wife and mother. I was so tired of this single life. I just got another wedding announcement from another old friend or missionary companion. "When's it gonna be my turn?" I'd wail. Accepting the box of Kleenex I was handed along with some sympathy (I feel bad now for putting those good men in such an uncomfortable situation of female hysteria) there was nothing they could say except to counsel me to keep being patient and that God loved me and was aware of my anxiety. Someone was going to come along, they promised.
    Ten years later and I'm still waiting for someone to come along. Oh well. At least I don't cry as much as I did back then. Time really does heal some wounds. But, if I could somehow have the opportunity to reach back in time and talk to that young woman-this is the advice I'd give her, along with the name to remember-"Facebook. Buy up stock, trust me it's gonna be big..."
    First, I'd tell myself, "Get thee out of this one horse town and to the big city of Salt Lake and the U of U or Provo and BYU. Drop out of SUU, take all that Wal-Mart money you've been saving and enroll thyself in another institute of higher learning." I'd warn myself that while marriage prospects in the city probably weren't any better, at least I'd have the pride of graduating from a decent school with a higher percentage of career opportunities.
   Second, "You know those foreboding feelings you keep having of "is this what I REALLY want to do?" well, follow those promptings and change your major from Elementary Education to...something else." How I wish I could've warned myself that going forward to graduate from SUU with a degree in Elem Ed would lead to nothing but more heartache and very little job opportunity. I was never meant to be a teacher of small children. There was never a classroom with my name on it out there, anywhere. By changing schools, moving to an area with more people (and one awesome Salt Lake County Library system) perhaps I would've found my niche sooner or met someone who would've touched my life in a significant way.
   Ten years later...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Work and the Glory 20th Anniversary

    Some books are like old friends, every once in a while you have to go back and see how they’re doing. Perhaps that’s what inspired me to go my bookcase and retrieve the first volume in a much loved bestselling series I hadn’t read in several years. Glancing at the publication date I was surprised to note it had been over twenty years since this book hit the shelves with no commemoration of its birth. How could that be?

    I remember the first time I read Gerald N. Lund’s Work and the Glory series as a college student in 1994. Word of mouth introduced me to the first volume, Pillar of Light, which I found so enchanting, I longed to step into the pages of the book and live the church history saga right along with the fictional Steed family. When Joseph Smith confided to Nathan his encounter in the Sacred Grove, the burning in my twenty year-old bosom took me completely by surprise. Being a lifelong member, I knew about the First Vision and the Book of Mormon yet reading about it in a fictional setting suddenly made it all come alive. Through Lund’s miraculous storytelling, Joseph Smith had been transformed from an obscure “founding father” into a real human being. As the centuries between 1820 and 1994 melted away, I became caught up in the joys and sorrows of the Steed family. I didn’t just know anymore, I KNEW that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon was true. Like millions of other readers, I was re-converted to my own faith right along with those early saints.

     When Christmas of 1994 came that year, I was like Laura Ingalls and her new doll in Little House in the Big Woods. For the entire day my arms cradled that copy of A Season of Joy while I snuck quick peeks between activities in happy anticipation of the reading experience to come. I had the Work and the Glory Calendar, the CDs, and packed the theater with other fans for the 2004 movie adaptation.

    This was before Harry Potter and Twilight; the Internet was still in its infancy, never before had a series of books captured the LDS market like Gerald Lund’s which went on to sell millions of copies for Bookcraft and to inspire other LDS writers such as Ron Carter and Dean Hughes to create their own bestselling historical series. Who would’ve thought after twenty years this remarkable fictional family, the Steeds, who converted us to the church would become as obsolete as the idea of family itself? We’ve had plenty of stories from the white, Caucasian, British descendants of the church. I wonder who will be the next young, promising writer, perhaps South American or Asian, to pick up the baton and share their own country’s story of the restoration of the gospel of Christ?    

    Now, here we are, over twenty years later: LDS missionaries sing and dance on Broadway, two Mormon hopefuls run for president, youth of the world plug themselves into yet another electronic device, cohabitation runs rampant among single adults and while 137 temples dot the earth you’d be hard pressed to find even that many temple marriages in just one typical LDS ward. What a remarkably simplistic world those 1800's-era Steeds enjoyed! So, here we have this antiquated book series, this remarkable missionary tool, sitting all but forgotten. I think a wake-up call is in order and here’s one avid reader who hasn’t forgotten the series that reminded her just how great and glorious this work was and still is.

Happy 21st birthday Work and the Glory.

Here is my Work and the Glory Book Blog with a chapter by chapter summary of all ten volumes. Happy Reading!