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.

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