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.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Marriage is not the Reward for Righteousness

We (I) have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, (but mostly women) as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion (D&C 121:39).

            I’m not sure about other single females, but over the years I’ve noticed that in my family, and in many church talks and lessons I’ve endured on dating and temple marriage, the majority of those advice givers-pushing me to get married, find a boyfriend, spend more time on my physical appearance-all came from women.

When was the last time a guy came up and waved his wedding ring in your face? Or your best guy friend took you aside and told you he’d love to take you out on a date sometime-if you’d just update your makeup case. How often in a group of unmarried co-eds do the young men tap each other on the shoulder and say, “Um, excuse me, but, back off…SHE’S MINE!”

            There seems to be a prevailing attitude among female Mormons that if you live righteously-go to church, read your scriptures, say your prayers, pay your tithing-yet remain stuck in single mode, the Lord must be punishing you. If you don’t have ten guys chasing you, something’s wrong. So, you get pushed aside, labeled “Old Maid” and denied acceptance into the club until you conform and lose your virginity or at least find someone to take you to the temple.

            The world, on the other hand, is only waiting for you to cross that sex line. Give in to the pressure, lose your virginity, and be like everyone else. Only then will you find acceptance. Only then will you be happy. Sorry, temple marriage not included.

This is called a catch-22 and it is a lie women are putting pressure on each other to follow. I’m not just talking about Mormons, there’s pressure from all sides, especially for girls and young women that if they don’t follow the life script of the world and have a boyfriend by a certain age, they will be labeled “loser” for the rest of her life and I can’t help but notice the majority of those doing the labeling are women.

            Boys kill each other. Girls make you wish you were dead.

            Ladies, if this is you, this really needs to stop. When Satan managed to turn the world’s greatest crusaders for peace, virtue, and moral standards, against each other in such vindictive behavior-we are letting him win. We are judging each other by the world’s false standard of what it means to be a liberated woman as we put so much pressure on each other to either get yourself a partner (or to the temple) or die trying. This is not righteous living. We should be more concerned with our character and how we treat each other. The children both living and not yet born are counting on us to set a good example. Let the men kill each other. We can’t let it happen. Let us return to the sweetness of femininity. We can’t let Satan win!

            In “The Uses of Adversity” by Carlfred Broderick he tells of going to a Young Women’s activity back in the 80’s where a take-off on The Wizard of Oz was presented by “Barbie-with-a-testimony” leaders who stressed temple marriage as the quintessential end to following a yellow brick road-type life script.

             After the presentation, President Broderick gently corrected them, “I do not want you to believe for one minute that if you keep all the commandments and live as close to the Lord as you can and do everything right and fight off the entire priests quorum one by one and wait chastely for your missionary to return…and have a temple marriage, I do not want you to believe that bad things will not happen to you."

 When things don’t go our way, when we discover marriage is not all it’s cracked up to be. In the end, it’s more than just having a current temple recommend, it’s the Savior’s atonement that will ultimately get us into the Celestial Kingdom.


It really worries me, the condescending treatment us singles get, just because we don’t have partners. We’re treated as lepers, yet, we don’t view ourselves that way. We know in our hearts there is more to life than having a boyfriend. We say in our hearts: Haven’t I paid my dues, served others without complaint, pray morning and night, keep the commandments? Why, then, am I not married? Why am I living alone in this too-small house? Must I endure another Thanksgiving stuck at the kids table? Where is the reward for my righteousness?  

How frustrating it is when righteous living doesn’t yield the same rewards those I view around me in their happily married state of bliss appear to be enjoying. Yet, it is times like these, thinking I’m the only one who feels this way, as I find myself sinking into a downward melancholy spiral of despair, that’s when I remember a favorite quote I heard once in a talk by Elder Faust:

When fretted by this single life, which seems to be my lot. I think of all the many men whose wife I’m glad I’m not.

Thank goodness God does not judge us on our marital status. In the end, how we treated each other during our lives on this earth is all that matters. Thank goodness those stuck in a degrading or abusive marriage can find comfort knowing Joseph Smith once said those men who don’t honor and cherish their wives in this life will not be privileged to have them in the next.

Married or not. Divorced or single. If our hearts are pure, we as oldmaidmormons-and I include anyone else out there who yearns for marriage and can’t seem to find it-can all take comfort in one of my favorite scriptures from Isaiah on what to do when feeling down and lonely because we are not yet married and filling the measure of our creation.

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, thou that didst not travial with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 54:1).

So, to all my single sisters, get out there and even if you’re not much of a singer, have a song in your heart as you count your blessings, smile bravely through the abuse of those well-meaning relatives this holiday season who will inevitably ask: “My goodness, aren’t you married yet?” and remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. We CAN live righteous lives and, with the help of our Savior, be welcomed into the Kingdom of the Blissfully Married-even if we don’t have that ring yet.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Single Ones

Sing it with me, “One is the loneliest number”

Three Dog Night had it right. Being A Single One is lonely, it’s sad, it’s hard, it sucks and as the lyrics go, “It’s just no good anymore since she went away,” many readers of this blog are probably thinking, “It’s just no good anymore since HE NEVER SHOWED UP,”

Today’s date (11/11/11) makes this a good day to celebrate singles, emphasize how being single is not our fault and to offer some hope for a bright future for all The Single Ones out there. I’ll try to include single men in this post but I think we all know what single men are doing right now. This is for all the single people…forget it, I’ve never cared for that America song either.

            I’ve been doing my homework over the last few weeks. I spent hours surfing the web and reading books about the changing attitudes towards marriage and dating in America and how it relates to us singles. I found blogs where hooking up, cohabitation or what to do after the divorce are common themes-little too much chutzpah for me. I found Mormon blogs celebrating the zaniness of single life, navigating the “meat market” while waiting for a priesthood holder to come sweep you off your feet while the rest were all ads for online dating for both Mormons and Non, of which I’ve never been a fan. If it works for you, meeting new people online, good for you-you have my utmost admiration. Trying online dating once was enough for me.

As for the books, it was an eye-opener to find so much self-destructive behavior out there in the world of quick hook ups, rampant cohabitation, pornography and oral sex. Here’s my booklist.

1.    Your Kids at Risk: How Teen Sex is Killing our Sons and Daughters. Meeker, Margaret J.

2.    So Sexy so Soon.  Levin, Diane E.

3.    Queen Bees and Wannabes. Wiseman, Rosalind.

4.    The Beauty Myth. Wolf, Naomi.

5.    Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying. Regerus, Mark.

6.    Glory Goes and Gets Some. Carter, Emily.

7.    A Room of One’s Own. Woolf, Virginia

8.    Marriage and Caste in America. Hymowitz, Kay.

Yes, I know that’s a LOT of books and, yes, I really did read them all because reading is one of my favorite hobbies. I really enjoyed researching what I was going to write for this post and being single means being blessed with LOTS of free time. As the titles concur, the focus is mostly on women but I’m assuming most of my readers are women anyway. Don’t feel any pressure to read all eight, if any titles listed above inspire you to go pick up a book, wonderful, my work as closet librarian is done. Closet Librarians: We read so you don’t have to! (there’s a blog for that btw- http://closetlibrarian.blogspot.com/)

The main topic of today’s post is life scripts. In “The Single Mormon Girl’s Guide to Life” Lula from London blogs about life scripts in a 2007 post, “A Date is a Commitment”. Lula calls it the “Beehive Plan” and to any girl who grew up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints it should look familiar:

16 > date > college > date > mission > career > date > temple marriage > kids

Then there’s the “Life Script of the Lone and Dreary World” or the world in which we are all living in right now.  According to my research, there’s really no set life script that young single adults and teens of the world are following today. Once upon a time, motherhood was what you groomed and prepared your daughter for. Being a responsible husband and provider was the life script all young men used to follow. Today, a life script “just happens” and it looks something like this:

16 > oral sex > college > date > cohabitation > job > kids > marriage-if-you-get-lucky

Now, I’m not saying everyone follows these life scripts or that everyone should. Dr. Phil calls life scripts constrictive for those who try to follow them and depressing for those when certain life events don’t happen “according to the script” and they feel like failures.

Wise religious leaders of all faiths promote a life script that steers clear of self-destructive behaviors such as pornography and laziness, remaining pure and chaste while getting all the education we can. The leaders of the Mormon faith promote these same goals, promising us that even when certain life events, such as temple marriage, don’t happen “according to the script” we can rest assured temple marriage WILL come. This advice applies to all good Christians trying to live right. Marriage is a worthy goal that all male and female Single Ones should aspire to.

So, what to do in the meantime? The “Beehive Plan” offers no alternative escape route to the endless cycle of dating while waiting for temple marriage and, as you’ve probably noticed, the “Life Script of the World” has no scruples about jumping right into sex before marriage which all good girls understand is to be avoided like pornography, so following that life script is out.

As the years of my single life have passed, after I stopped crying over my failure to make “The Beehive Plan” happen the way I’d always dreamed it would, I’ve had to re-invent myself and re-write my life script-because sometimes life doesn’t always go according to plan.  

In Slavoj Zizek’s, “The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema” he demands “a third pill” and since I’ve had no choice but to remain single I would also like to demand “A THRID LIFE SCRIPT” for all good women to follow when dating, courtship and marriage just isn’t happening because the guys just aren’t asking.

So, here is my “Life Script for The Single Ones” and, yes, it’s geared pretty much for the ladies:

16 > date > college > date > mission > career > new hobbies > buy house > temple marriage-if-you-get-lucky 

 I’m 37 now and ever since “The Beehive Plan” blew up in my face this is pretty much the script I’ve been following and, so far, I have no regrets. I think everyone should adopt this life script, yet, I can hear the protests starting already: “But I don’t want to buy a house and live alone! Only losers with no sex in their lives do that. Don’t you know that a woman is nothing nothing nothing without a man? This life script says growing up to be a 40 year old virgin is better than never having sex or kids and that’s just CRAZY!”

Yes, I know, unless legions of single young men start buying their own homes and living alone, as many of the single ladies are doing, we really have no choice but to follow this life script. We must settle for the unglamorous life of living alone, traveling alone, and pursuing hobbies and activities alone without the companionship of a boyfriend. Yes, the thought of such a life is discouraging, if not downright sickening, but I promise it’s not as bad as you think.

So, before you decide to settle for “Joe Six-pack” and his failure to commit; before you give in to the degrading demands of oral sex, just stop for a minute and consider the benefits of following my “Life Script for the Single Ones”. To begin with, you’ll never have to worry about STDs and single parenthood. If we wait for the young men to initiate the dating and not give into the pressures of having oral sex, we can raise the value of the woman in the sexual marketplace. Maybe if we start drawing some firm boundaries-demanding a ring from the men before we give them sex-the men will realize they have no choice but to re-write their own life scripts!

So, yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying- it IS possible to live a happy and fulfilling life without sex or at least to live a happy and fulfilling life before you meet a man who respects you and the children you plan to bring into this world together to initiate the creation of a family.

Please don’t think I’m diminishing the role of women either. As the Mom in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” said, “The man is the head but the woman is the neck and she can turn the head any way she wants.” Women still have that power and we need to be reminding each other to use it. We should be encouraging each other to live chaste and moral lives, not tearing each other down in jealousy and competition over the nearest alpha male. Let’s face it; the sex ratio proves there just aren’t enough in the marketplace to go around. We need to learn to live with that and I’m confident The Single Ones like us can and are currently doing so right now.
“Oldmaidmormons Rule!” We’ll make it our battle cry.

I’m not preaching that mine is the only life script you have to follow. Invent your own chaste alternatives to this life script. For example, I’m not promoting lesbianism, but there’s nothing wrong with finding other single women who share the same values as you do and, if you both don’t mind sharing a kitchen and living space, going in on a house together sure beats the solitude and loneliness of living alone! I’ll bet you can name quite a few single, never married women right now who’ve taken to living together-sleeping in the same bedroom but not in the same bed-just to have someone to share the single life with. You probably also know many single women who just prefer to live alone and are quite content with this lifestyle.

I’ve done both-sharing a house with another single woman and then moving out again to be on my own. I’m not deliriously happy with my current situation, but I’ll admit it, I’m content most of the time. I have my work, my small group of friends and my family. I look forward to welcoming a new nephew soon. If I keep my dance card filled with fun activities to look forward to, as the upcoming holidays will provide, then I think I’m doing pretty good living a happy and fulfilling life without ever having had sex. Not to mention unlimited use of the TV remote. 

 Ladies, the millennium is coming. I’ll not try and predict an exact number of years but I’m watching the signs and I’m hopeful that we WILL have the opportunity to marry and raise children in that future thousand year period. I’m not just talking to fellow Mormon sisters; this promise is for ALL faithful, chaste, honest virtuous women who desire to be wives and mothers. Yes, I hear you. It sucks to be the oldest living virgin on the planet. It’s hard to forsake the sex and companionship that comes with cohabitation just so you can keep that V-card which may look obsolete now but I’m telling you, HANG ONTO IT and let’s encourage our fellow sisters to do the same. Yes, I know, it’s sickening to not be on the pill and have to put up with that monthly reminder with never a nine month break year after year after year from age 14 to 40. It’s not fair and it makes no sense having to wait but we must have faith that when the millennium comes we can shout for joy that keeping our virginity was indeed worth it.

So, I know it’s a long shot, but let’s call for an end to cohabitation. Let’s stand up against pornography and encourage men to do their share of the work in asking us out while holding fast to our moral boundaries. If they want the sex let’s demand they show us that ring first. If they want to just hang out, let’s demand they ask us out on individual dates and forget the oral sex. If we do this, I predict these demands will prove just too hard for men to resist. They'll cave in and start dating, courting and marrying us in the biggest turn-around the world has ever seen.

For the rest of us, I envision a legion of Single Ones, desiring marriage to good men we just can’t seem to find, being the first group to approach the Savoir at his Second Coming when He arrives to usher in the millennium. When that day comes, I envision thousands upon thousands of virtuous women cresting the horizon. We will approach and kneel at His feet and humbly remind Him of his promise in Matthew, “The first shall be last and the last (that’s all of us who’ve had to wait so long!) shall be first,” and together we will partake of all the rich blessings we have been so long denied.

That’s it. Have a great day. Now get out there and celebrate being a Single One, no longer the loneliest number but a woman worth waiting for whose price is far greater than rubies. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to find some Midol.