Posted by: Miss Jones | March 2, 2009

Dear Miss Jones…What are the odds?

dearmissjones

Here’s me beginning to answer your questions…

David asked,

“Dear Miss Jones, I was wondering if you had any good statistics on the singles in the church. I know it is a large percentage, ~33% of total membership, but I have been hard pressed to come up with anything more recent then some unverified stats for 2004.

Is there anything more recent you can pass on?”

Dear David,

Let me be completely honest in saying…I make up most statistics I use here and in life in general.  (Made up statistics are easier to obtain and are better at proving my desired point.)  Or, if I don’t make them up I get them from googling things like “Single statistics in the LDS church,” which instead of giving me official LDS church sanctioned statistics, gives me a list of other blogs and websites with statistics that others may or may not have made up. 

Recently I googled “Single Statistics” and a link came up that said “Single statistics in The Church.”  And may I  just say, as a side note, that  I love that we are TheChurch even on the Internet.  I guess we aren’t shy about letting everyone know that we are THE Church.   I would post the statistics that I found here, but I don’t want to cause all of the wonderful Sisters of THE Church that read this blog to get depressed or anything and also, I don’t even know where that website got their stats from. 

But let me just say that if you are an active LDS male…things are good for you, really good.  But I think all anyone needs to do is go to a Singles’ Ward or other YSA or SA activity to know that being an active LDS guy is an awesome position to be in. 

Okay, okay, I guess I’ll post the stats.  But since they didn’t document where they got these statistics I feel no need to document where I got mine and I cannot vouch for the truth of these statistics.  Here they are…

40% of North American members of THE Church are single adults.

The ratio of ACTIVE single men to ACTIVE single women in the age group 18-29 is 89:100.

The ratio of ACTIVE single men to ACTIVE single women over 30 is supposedly a depressing 19:100.

Here’s another scientific fact for you…one time this one General Authority told my cousin who then in turn told me that…there are actually more single men 18-30 in the church than women.  BUT the men just don’t stay as active so the older you get the greater the divide is.  Sad, but most likely true. 

BUT girls before you go refilling your Prozac prescriptions, let’s look on the bright side.  Okay, so if that last statistic of 19:100 active LDS males to active LDS females over 30 is true, it makes me want to give up and go cry sob somewhere by myself…especially since I am nearing the big  3 0  myself. 

HOWEVER, the statistic says it is for OVER 30.  So I’m just going to go ahead and say that that includes EVERYONE over 30, which means that includes like the 70, 80, 90, & 100 year-old members.  And since men generally die at a younger age than women, there are a whole bunch of widows left single in the church (maybe even your grandma) that are throwing off that statistic, big time. 

I don’t know for sure what the stats are or how accurate those listed above are.  Sorry David, I don’t really know what to tell you if you are looking for the truth about singleness in the church.  Maybe contact The Church directly and be sure to let us know what you find. 

But here’s what I do know (and this is me actually being serious and deep now)…sometimes as a single LDS woman trying to do what is right and trying to stay hopeful that someday, somehow, somewhere, everything you’ve ever wanted and have been taught to want is going to be yours, is a difficult thing to do… especially when the numbers just don’t add up and LOGICALLY things don’t seem good.

But, maybe that’s our challenge…to stay hopeful even when the odds seem to be against us and to keep believing and knowing that our Heavenly Father knows who we are and knows what we need and when we need it and that sometime and in some way those who stay faithful and hopeful will be blessed more than we can even imagine. 

Like Red said on the Shawshank Redemption (edited version of course), “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.”

So there you have it. 

See, this is why I don’t post much…because I can’t just write a nice little short post.  I have to write a flipping novel.  Oh well, I guess that’s just how I roll.

Stay tuned for more wise words from Miss Jones…

Posted by: Miss Jones | March 2, 2009

I’m baaaaaaaaaaack!

I’m not even going to make up or tell you a bunch of excuses as to why it has been FOREVER since I’ve posted anything, but I am going to try to be better, I promise. 

I guess I didn’t even know very many people were reading this until I start to hear complaints through the grapevine as soon as I quit posting. 

So, I’m going to do a better job posting, but I need you all to do a better job commenting so that I’ll know:

1) who is reading my blog

2) which posts/types of posts are favorites

3) that people are actually reading the blog so I’ll be motivated to post and not think that I’m posting for nothing but rather that many people are reading and enjoying

 

If you’re a fan of The Single Mormon Girl’s Guide to Life then here’s a little blog button (made by our own Lula from London) for you to add to your blog and link it to the site.

spinster-button

 

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with WordPress but it is pretty cool in that it gives me a lot of blog stats.  For example, I know that on February 2nd, 128 people viewed the blog (even though NOBODY commented that day).  It also tells me what websites people are linking through.  And my favorite…it tells me what search words people are typing in that are leading them to this blog. 

Just yesterday someone typed in “left handed Mormon women.”  Now I don’t know if there are many differences between left-handed Mormon women and right-handed Mormon women (other than I hear that left-handers are more intelligent) but if I do ever come across any pertinent information about left-handed Mormons I’ll be sure to post it. 

Recently I also had someone search, “how to get a Mormon girl to make out with you.”  Haaaaaaaaaaa! I love it. 

Anyway, I’m going to try and get caught up in answering some of your questions in the next few months as well as filling in with any little random posts that come to mind. 

I’m glad to be back. 

Later Spinsters (and those who love or want to love us)!

With all the necessary holiday preparations this Christmas there is one extra preparation that only we singletons have to make…and that is to prepare ourselves for being single at Christmas.  This may mean facing your great-aunt Edna who ALWAYS asks you about your dating life.  Or maybe that middle-aged married man in your home ward who thinks it is HILARIOUS to grab your left hand every time he sees you to look for a shiny ring.  Or perhaps it is just the fact of being alone during the holidays, having to sit at the “kid table” for Christmas dinner at your grandma’s, or being around friends and cousins your age who have like a million kids already. 

Whatever your holiday challenges are, a little mental preparation will help things go more smoothly.  And although I, in my own busy holiday preparations, don’t have time to address all the extra challenges of being single during the holidays I did come across this post from my own personal blog last year that I thought I’d share.  Hope it helps a little or that you can at least relate and laugh.  The post is actually written with married people as the intended audience…so feel free to “accidentally” email a link to this post to all your relatives before Christmas day.  Good luck answering all the inappropriate questions you get asked this holiday season.  Have happy holidays! 

Love, Miss Jones

 

bridget_jones_diary1So a couple of days ago I got a chemical peel. Basically, a chemical peel consists of paying someone 100 bucks to pour acid on your face so that later your skin will peel off and you will look better or at least feel like you suffered trying to look your best.  My normal esthetician was out of town so some other girl, who will remain nameless to protect her lack of tact, did my chemical peel. Before I could even get onto the facial table she said to me,

“So are you married?”
I said, “no.”
She replied, “well do you have a boyfriend…are you dating anyone?”
And I replied, “not right now.”

Now, I’m not sure exactly why I said “not right now…” as if I had been dating someone a few minutes prior and had just gotten dumped or something. But if you ask me a dumb question you should expect a dumb answer…I mean, what was I supposed to say? And she didn’t quit.  She went on to ask

“Well, do you have any nieces or nephews?”
“No,” I said, “my only sibling that is married just got married a month ago”…and I thought to myself “and I haven’t gotten around to asking them yet when they are going to start making babies!”
Ok, and get this, the next thing she said to me was,
“Did they get married in the temple?”
And I thought to myself “Oh my heck am I wearing my ‘I AM A MORMON’ shirt again!?” So within two minutes of meeting me this girl, who was married with three kids, broke the CARDINAL RULE of talking to single people. Never, under any circumstance ask a single person (even if you know them) any of the following questions or any variation of the following questions UNLESS you are asking them because you have some RAD person that you want to set them up with and you want to make sure that they are available. And, as a side note, never ASSUME that someone is LDS. It just makes you look like a stupid Utard.
Here are some no no questions:
“So, how’s your love life?”
“Are you dating anybody?”
“Anything exciting/new going on in your life (wink, wink)?”

Now, this girl was probably just trying to be nice and make conversation (although I wish that she could have just shut-up and let me listen to the peaceful waterfall music), but HOW SAD is it that she was so un-rounded that the only thing that she could make reference to in life had to do with dating, marriage and kids! LAME! Needless to say, I did not give her a tip $$$$$$$. But let me give all of the tactless married people out there a tip…and I don’t think that all married people are tactless, but those of you who are… you know who you are, listen up. You should never talk to a single person about their dating life, or the lack thereof, unless they bring it up. Just as I shouldn’t ask you,

“So, how much money do you make?”
“When are you guys going to have another baby…it is about time, isn’t it?”
“How’s your LOVE life (wink, wink)?”
“When are you planning on starting a family?”
“Do you think you’ll go on a diet soon?”
“How much equity do you have in your home?”
“Are you planning on doing anything about your receding hairline?”
Etc!
Or, I might say, as Bridget Jones replied when asked, “So Bridge, how’s your love life?”…”Tell me, is it one in four marriages that ends in divorce now, or one in three?”
Posted by: Miss Jones | December 3, 2008

Submit Your Questions for Miss Jones

bridgetjones

Okay, okay fans of The Single Mormon Girl’s Guide to Life… I know I, Miss Jones, as new head Spinster have not posted much yet, but hold tight…I promise I will. 

So here’s the deal…while I am finishing up my final papers for this semester’s grad school courses (yes, Miss Jones doesn’t just sit around all day and blog…she is in graduate school and working full-time) will any of you who have questions you want me to answer or topics you want covered please go under the tab called “Submit Your Single Situation Questions” and submit your topic or question there? 

Then over Christmas break when I am free from school and work I will do my best to blog away and answer all your questions in the order they are received or in the order I feel like answering them in. 

Some people have already submitted questions either through the “Submit Your Single Situation Questions” tab or by leaving questions under the comment sections for various posts.   I will answer those questions just as soon as possible.  Just give me a couple of weeks to get school work done and Christmas planned and the rest of my life ironed out and I’ll answer your questions. 

Have happy holidays everyone!  All the best, Miss Jones

Posted by: Miss Jones | November 10, 2008

The Candy Drawer

banana-laffytaff

Ever since I can remember my family has had what we call “The Candy Drawer.”  What is “The Candy Drawer” you ask.  Well, in order to really explain you first need to know something about the family I grew up in.  You see, we are all big pigs.  Okay, okay, don’t get in your minds the image of a bunch of 600 pound people with fried chicken stuck in their fat rolls sitting around watching Judge Judy all day and sucking off the welfare system while you are at work…we aren’t that bad.  We probably aren’t even obese or anything, but we like food (particularly candy and sweets) just like most Mormons do.  No coffee, no tea, no alcohol, no cigs…but they didn’t say no SUGAR, although I’m sure the “everything in moderation” part should cover that one.  Mormons don’t have the luxury of having other addictions so we like candy.      

 

So treats don’t really last too long around my parents’ house.  At least not the good treats.  And that is where the candy drawer comes in.  The candy drawer is a small corner drawer in my parents’ kitchen.  It could just as well be called the reject candy drawer as it very rarely has anything good in it…at least not for long.  Growing up usually the candy drawer contained things like: banana flavored Laffy Taffy, grape Jolly Ranchers, sunflower seeds, broken candy canes from last Christmas, Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate (you know from those mixed bags of Hershey’s chocolates), etc.  You get the idea…basically only candy you’d eat when you are desperate. 

 

 

And that’s usually what happened.  There would be a stash of this normally undesirable candy that would build up.  But then something would change…usually it would be during a big snowstorm when we couldn’t get to the store, or a Fast Sunday when our blood sugar was all out of whack and all of a sudden that banana flavored Laffy Taffy didn’t look so horrible and it would get eaten. 

 

So this was how it always was with the candy drawer…mediocre candy getting eaten in times of desperation and sugar shortage.  But then something changed…my little brother got married and all of a sudden we had a new person in the mix.  And my new sister-in-law loved dark chocolate.  So that dark chocolate that in the past built up in the drawer only to be eaten in times of famine didn’t build up anymore.  And things that my sister-in-law didn’t necessarily prefer would get thrown into the drawer.  It was sort of weird at first.  We all didn’t know what to think and did not even realize what was going on at first.  I remember thinking, ‘Where is all that yucky dark chocolate and who in the heck was crazy enough to throw this Chick-O-Stick into the candy drawer?’

 

And then I realized…someone with new tastes came along and the whole balance of what the candy drawer had been for years changed.  Now you are probably thinking, ‘why in the heck is this new girl Miss Jones telling us all about her family’s addiction to candy, isn’t this a Single Mormon Girl Blog?’ 

 

Well, here’s the tie in.  I started thinking about that candy drawer a little differently when my sister-in-law came along and I started to get all deep and compare the reject candy drawer to myself, feeling like a reject Mormon, a left-over, a banana Laffy Taffy if you know what I mean.  And then I thought to myself, ‘I don’t want to get taken out of the reject drawer on a day of desperation…a snowstorm or Fast Sunday.  I don’t want to just have a guy like me because they are sick of looking, sick of people bugging them about not being married, or have finally realized that something better just isn’t going to come along.  I don’t want to be taken out of the drawer just to fill some guy’s need for a short term sugar fix…only to be forgotten about as soon as a better treat comes along.’

 

Instead, here is what I want.  I want someone new to come into my candy drawer ecosystem, open the drawer and see that banana flavored Laffy Taffy and say to themselves… ‘WOW. These are my FAVORITE!  How did this get left in here?  What dummy would leave a banana Laffy Taffy in the candy drawer?  I’m so glad my favorite candy is in this candy drawer…what a lucky guy I am!’

 

This post doesn’t contain any major advice or help on being a single woman…other than…let’s keep believing that someday, sometime, hopefully, the right guy is going to come along, open up that left-over candy drawer and be ecstatic that you are still there.  And that may only happen after hundreds of other guys open up that drawer, see you and say to themselves, “YUCK, that’s not my favorite, I’ll keep looking.”  But who cares about those guys anyway?  All we need to worry about is keeping ourselves ready and available so when finally some guy opens up the drawer and says, “YUM, my favorite!” we will be ready to go.  And we’ll be pumped to get out of that drawer and move on…especially since for some of us our expiration dates may be getting close!

 

Some girls are Snickers, Twixes or M&Ms…candy you can find in pretty much any part of the world and candy that pretty much everyone likes.  So of course they get taken out of the drawer quickly.  I like to think that all of us older single LDS women that are still left are specialty candies though.  Candy that people crave…candy that people miss when they are in foreign countries, candy that can’t be found just anywhere, maybe even candy that is an aquired taste.  But, we are somebody’s favorite candy…I am sure.  I mean, if no one liked Banana Laffy Taffies wouldn’t they just stop making them?  And if there wasn’t someday, in some part of our existance, going to be someone just perfect for us, then wouldn’t God stop making us special, rare, unique women?  I like to think so.

 

Posted by: Miss Jones | October 30, 2008

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3…

Hello Single Mormon Blog World!!! 

I’m Miss Jones and I’m the head Spinster of this website now. 

As you should all now know, I’ve inherited “The Single Mormon Girl’s Guide to Life” from my dear childhood friend Lula.  A few months ago she got married and her wise advice to single Mormon Women dried right up.  Funny how that happens…the second you move on to another stage of life it is hard to remember or relate with the past stage.  But we still love and will miss Lula here in the world of Singletons.  In fact we hopefully will have her back as a guest writer at times…bringing insights and helpful hints from the married side of life.  I would like her first article to be “Why married people say stupid things and ask stupid questions to Singletons…”  But for now she has passed on the torch to me, Miss Jones, so I’m what you get.    

So who am I?  I am a Mormon Spinster and have been since I turned 23.  I just had my 29th birthday recently (the real 29th  birthday, not the one you lie about later) so I have been a Spinster now for 6 long years. 

Spinsterhood usually comes later in life for most women, but not for me.  You see, as a Mormon woman I became a Spinster at 23 because a Spinster is “any unmarried woman beyond the normal age for marrying,” and in Mormondom the average age at which women marry is 22.  Yup, that’s right…22.

The purpose of this post is just to test out my ability to post a blog on WordPress.  You see, I’m more of a Blogspot girl, but with my new inheritance will come new learning so be patient with me.  I’m not as computer savvy as Lula…in fact I am pretty computer retarded.  So don’t expect fancy charts, graphs, and pictures like you had with Lula.  And I’m sure my writing style and attitudes are different too.  And I don’t really have as much advice as Lula.  She was a wise old Spinster when we lost her to marriage.  But I do have a lot of questions and ideas from which I hope you’ll find your own solutions.  Maybe sometimes I’ll throw in some advice if I’m feeling intelligent and wise.

Oh, and as a DISCLAIMER to everything I write….I, Miss Jones, did not come into this life installed with a pop-up blocker….meaning, most everything that I think, I say.  Or in this case I write.  I have no filtering system.  I’ll try my best to be PC and you all try your best not to be easily offended.  And just for the record I LOVE everyone…gay or straight, black or white, fat or skinny, tall or short, funny or boring, smart or dumb.  HOWEVER that doesn’t mean that I might never mention those differences as they are sometimes what makes life funny and interesting for a single person.   

Life as a Singleton has its ups and downs…

Sometimes being still single and 29 is fun…like when you are headed to Europe for the 7th time and your married friend is stuck at home pregnant. 

Sometimes being still single is funny…like when you have an eventful date or think of creative things to say back to married people who ask you dumb and inappropriate questions. 

Sometimes being single is annoying…like when people want to set you up with their Halo-playing, live at home, 32 year old, works at IHOP son (this actually happened to me). 

Sometimes being still single is sad and you think that your heart will break if you have to spend one more moment on earth or in The Church and feeling like you aren’t contributing or fulfilling your purpose in life. 

So being single can be tough but it can also be wonderful.  And no matter what stage of life we are in it is just our job do the very best to be happy wherever we are in life.  Because, guess what, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and if we don’t learn to be happy and content where we are now, we may never be. 

So whether it is the good, the bad or the ugly about being single…we’ll  cover it all.  I hope you all enjoy! 

Miss Jones

Oh, and P.S., I’m not a professional writer, so don’t judge my grammar, spelling, word usage, etc.  I don’t get paid for this so I don’t have to be perfect.  And…if you do like any of my ideas or the ideas of Lula or of any of the guest writers you can quote us and link to this blog but don’t use our writing in any professional or money making ways without our permission or you will probably go to Hell. In other words this blog is copyrighted by me! 

 

Posted by: Lula in London | September 22, 2008

World, Meet Miss Jones…

Dear Readers,

When I started this blog awhile ago, I would have never guessed it would be so popular. It was just a way for me to share some observations I found while being a single Mormon girl approaching 30, hoping that it would benefit someone else. It’s been a lot of fun, and there have been some really great comments. So thank you all for being cool.

But then, life happened: Dissertation. Illustrating a Children’s Book. Founding a Charity. Marriage. This blog became a lower priority than it deserved. And while a part of me will always be a “spinster”, I know that in the singleton world, a spinster’s advice expires the day she says, “I do.” (or “yes” or whatever)

So I’ve handed the reigns over to the very lovely and ever talented Miss Jones. Who a few years back hijacked a train with me in Germany using chocolate bribes and took over the announcement system.

This blog is in good hands. She’s funny and doesn’t sugar coat things. She’s been to over 40 countries. She’s not afraid to go to a movie by herself, and there really is no reason why she’s still single. Which is the case for a lot of single girls out there. So you can relate to her, because she’s just as cool as you, and has some great ideas on how to use “single time” to the fullest, as well as what to say to those folks who don’t get you at all.

So adieu. Until then, my pledge to you is to never ask you why you aren’t married, I won’t try to set you up with a hermit, and I will bail you out of that conversation with the ward member about your love life.

All the best,

Today I got to give a talk to a college relief society. In thinking what would be a good topic, I thought it would be great to give the talk I wish I had been given so many years ago. In a way this talk has taken me 11 years to write. So here is part of it for you:

Okay, so I’ve used this formula before:

birth -> baptism -> dating -> marriage/mission -> kids -> winner

This this the formula that we’ve all grown up with in the church. The problem is that sometimes we have the “winner” in the wrong spot. This is how it should look:

winner -> birth -> baptism -> dating -> marriage/mission -> kids

When we are able to see it in this order, we can focus on marrying the right person and not focused on marriage at the “right” age. It’s not a race to be a “winner” if you start out that way, now is it?

Okay, for my inspiration, I quoted Matthew 25. What better story to use than 10 virgins waiting for marriage?

1 aThen shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten bvirgins, which took their clamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all aslumbered and bslept.

6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the abridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their alamps.

8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps aare gone out.

9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were aready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was bshut.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I aknow you not.

13 aWatch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

It’s common to think about this parable as describing a testimony of the Gospel, and it does. But there was something new that I noticed about this parable, “the bridegroom tarried”. The man they were waiting for must have tarried for a while, because they got tired. Then at an unexpected hour, he arrives and they quickly prepared their lamps. (Who starts a marriage at midnight?) The ones that only had enough oil if the bridegroom didn’t tarry were left behind. I look at this parable as teaching us that we must fill our lamps, because the bridegroom may tarry a while.

The virgins who only had oil to last them until he came, didn’t make into the marriage. Why? Because you still need your lamps burning after you enter marriage, not until marriage.

This is where I think the culture aspect of the church sometimes confuses with the doctrines of the Church. All around me growing up were examples of people graduating from high school, going to college for a few years, getting married and having kids at a young age. This was the expectation, and when I didn’t meet this expectation, it was hard not to feel like a bit of a loser (and for others to not feel sorry for me).

This expectation is what I call the “Beehive Plan”. The “Beehive Plan” is the life schedule you make for yourself when you are 12. For me it was to graduate high school, go to a certain college, and get married my first or second year of college if I felt like being independent. Then, if by some bizarre chance I wasn’t married by the time I graduated, I would go to BYU. That was my Beehive Plan.

Well, I finished at my certain school, and bizarrely enough I was not married. By this time I realized BYU didn’t fit my academic goals so I applied to another school. I prayed about what to do, but no real answer came. It was a very strange feeling, almost like my Beehive Plan was a set of railroad tracks and suddenly the tracks were done and I had to find another mode of transportation.

There weren’t many people around me who had been through this end of the tracks phase. No one talks about what you should do between dating -> marriage. Especially when you don’t seem to be getting asked out on many dates. It’s just not in the Young Women’s manual.

I decided that to move on, I would go to graduate school. I needed to fill my lamp, and education seemed like one good way to do it. I remember debating it for a while, with this doubt in my mind:

“If you improve your education, you will intimidate the good men,
and you will never get married.”

Now, who do you think is the author of that? The Lord? Not a chance. This was the adversary. Funny enough, I’ve heard grandparents say this to their young eligible granddaughters, “If you get more education, you are just going to intimidate those young men.” This is so wrong in so many ways. The sentence should read more like this:

“If you improve your education, you will intimidate the dumb men that don’t want an educated wife, and your chances of marrying a loser will decrease automatically.”

With that said, bring on the education! Bring on traveling and seeing the world, experiencing new cultures and getting a different view of your place in the world! Bring on fitness, serving others, your unique sense of humor, your career, your interests your hobbies! There is no need to feel guilty for wanting that, here’s proof:

From President Hinckley:

“Relief Society stands for education. It is the obligation of every woman of this Church to get all the education she can. It will enlarge her life and increase her opportunities. It will provide her with marketable skills in case she needs them.” Gordon B. Hinckley, Oct 2006 General Conference

“Marketable skills in case she needs them” I think connects with the girl who if for not this fear of a dead husband and no way to feed the kids without an education to get a job, wouldn’t bother going to college at all. The first points he makes is enough for me.

The Lord wants all kinds of people, educated in all kinds of things:

“I want to tell you why I personally believe that, despite all odds, you should seek learning.

The Church of Jesus Christ, from the time of the Savior even until now, has been largely composed of working people, individuals who pursue honorable professions and trades common to the societies in which they live. Jesus commented on the diversity of people who would be gathered into the kingdom: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind” (Matt. 13:47). Unlike some other religions, the gospel of Jesus Christ does not grant special status to theologians, philosophers, or other academics. All are welcome to enjoy the bounteous blessings of the gospel, regardless of educational background or social status (see 2 Ne. 26:24-28). Those called by the Savior to serve in His kingdom represent this broad cross-section of humanity. Jesus Christ, raised by Mary and by Joseph the carpenter, first called as His disciples fishermen and others engaged in common professions. Paul noted this fact in his letter to the Corinthians: “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Cor. 1:26-27). Paul Alan Cox, “On Becoming a Disciple Scholar (H. Eyring) >> Journey to City Creek: Adding Scholarship to Discipleship (link may not work because it is a subscription service)

D&C 90
15 And set in order the churches, and astudy and blearn, and become acquainted with all good books, and with clanguages, tongues, and people.

D&C 88
78 Teach ye diligently and my agrace shall attend you, that you may be binstructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;

79 Of things both in aheaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must bshortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the cnations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a dknowledge also of countries and of kingdoms.” (travel!)

The better you make yourself, the better you make the person that will be attracted to you, so improve your bridegroom “magnet”:

Doctrine and Covenants 88
40 For aintelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; bwisdom receiveth wisdom; ctruth embraceth truth; dvirtue loveth virtue; elight cleaveth unto light; fmercy hath gcompassion on mercy and claimeth her own; hjustice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.

If the Lord thinks that “intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence” then that is enough evidence for me. I love this verse, it has helped me during those times when I wondered if I was waiting for a bridegroom that got hit by a donkey and may never show.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that because I went on to get more education, and moved to a foreign country that I met the right man for me.

So this time waiting can be frustrating, but it is not a curse. I had 11 years of waiting after high school, and I see those years as a gift and not wasted time. Even though I gradated with three degrees as a single person, I’ve been able to take so many opportunities that have helped me understand better who I am, and what I can bring to someone else.
I am so glad my Beehive Plan didn’t work out for me.
The Lord has another parable that relates to this, in fact it’s right after the 10 virgins parable which I think is a nice coincidence:
Matthew 25
14 ¶ For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

15 And unto one he agave five btalents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and areckoneth with them.

20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou adeliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful aservant: thou hast been bfaithful over a few things, I will make thee cruler over many things: enter thou into the djoy of thy lord.

22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and afaithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an ahard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

25 And I was aafraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and aslothful servant, thou knewest that I breap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with ausury.

28 Take therefore the atalent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be agiven, and he shall have babundance: but from him that hath not shall be ctaken away even that which he hath.
So, if the Lord gives you 5 years, take those 5 years and really turn them into something! It is such a unique time in your life to not have a husband or kids or responsibilities that can keep you from education and traveling and pursuing who you are. Don’t bury that time in the ground because you which you had something else.
Here is the Single Mormon Girl’s Guide according to Doctrine & Covenants 33:
12 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my agospel; and remember that they shall have faith in me or they can in nowise be saved;

13 And upon this arock I will build my church; yea, upon this rock ye are built, and if ye continue, the bgates of hell shall not prevail against you.

14 And ye shall remember the church aarticles and covenants to keep them.

15 And whoso having faith you shall aconfirm in my church, by the laying on of the bhands, and I will bestow the cgift of the Holy Ghost upon them.

16 And the Book of Mormon and the holy scriptures are given of me for your ainstruction; and the power of my bSpirit cquickeneth all things.

17 Wherefore, be faithful, praying always, having your alamps btrimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be cready at the coming of the dBridegroom
18 For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that I acome quickly. Even so. Amen.
It’s got it all right there, just keep working on doing the best you can, and be ready for the right person, because he’ll show up eventually.
No matter what, the Lord is in charge. This is what I ended my talk on:
Doctrine and Covenants 88

41 He acomprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.

42 And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a alaw unto all things, by which they move in their btimes and their seasons.

Amen to that! The right guy is out there, there is a plan for you. Have faith in that, trust the Lord, be as picky as you want. Make your life as intimidating as you can, and be willing to wait for the right person to come along no matter how many “talents” or years you’re given while tarrying for that slow bridegroom. It is a gift, use it!

Posted by: Lula in London | March 21, 2008

Singleton Situation: The Dreaded “Set-up”

A singleton writes:

Hey Lula!
Thanks for writing and I can’t wait to see the book! Perhaps you can give me tips on two situations. 1) When people think that because a guy is close to your age, attends church, and has a pulse, that you will just jump at the chance to date him. Not taking into account that he’s never been to school, has a low paying job, or better yet, almost 30 and still lives with his parents.
or 2) how to respond to the age old “Are you married yet?

Dear Set-up Sister,

You know it’s strange how well-meaning friends and loose acquaintances overlook key points when trying to set singles up on a date. After all, you at least pair up matching socks, and not just ones that haven’t had a companion for a while.

Perhaps if the well-intentioned could see how mis-matched their suggestions were for our goals of happiness this could be solved. Here are some practical and evil ways for pointing this fact out to them:

1. Invite them to double with you, and let them witness the aftermath of their meddling, live!

Let them listen to the conversations you have when you talk about your degree and he says, “Well, yeah, I would have gone to college, but after high school I was just sick of reading and learning. I’m just not into that kind of stuff, ya know?”

Or that time when you talk about your trip to Europe and he says, “Man, I’d never want to leave America! I mean why go somewhere else when you’ve got everything you need right here. I hate the French, I’ve never met one and I don’t want to. Besides, I spend all my money on my pickup truck.”

Or for that special time when 30 minutes goes by in total silence, because he feels uncomfortable eating outside of the house and having to think up conversation.

2. Let them walk around with you at church when he gives you creepy looks, letting you know that he has decided that you are the perfect girl to marry him and live with his mom. And, if you don’t respond in a favorable fashion, he will be devastated and it’s all your fault for…let’s all say it together now…”being too picky!

3. Show them the facebook profile that is a salute to his dark love for you and the torture he feels when girls keep rejecting him.

4. Give them a counter-offer.
After someone suggests your future spouse as the man who has been divorced twice, in debt for student loans he never got a degree with, and unable to use a “be” verb properly, give them a counter-offer. This is just like it is in the tv dramas where someone writes down a number on a piece of paper and they slide it across the table to see if it is accepted, and then the other person writes down another number slides it back across the table until both parties agree they are out of paper.

Your counter-offer would be suggesting they go out to dinner with the strange couple in the ward that has the wacko answers in Sunday School, and smells like old people. You can even use the same words to describe them as they used to describe your guy. It will probably fit perfectly. If they say no, then tell them to suggest a better option for you, and you will do the same. It might sound like this:

“Hey funny you mention this because I noticed that you and your husband don’t get out very much. I was thinking that it would be really good for you to go out with Brother and Sister Brown. They are married too, and live in the ward but don’t seem to be out much either. Perhaps you could find you have a lot in common? I think you’d really hit it off over dinner.”

5. Make up a fake boyfriend. 
Cut his photo out of a magazine to have on hand. Say he is in the war, and when a good man does come up, you can say your soldier ran off with a Sheik’s daughter. This way you are being patriotic for not dating while he’s gone.

6. Use a witty analogy to say no.
“Just because two socks are single, doesn’t mean they match.” Then wink and walk away. The key is quick wit and quick exit here.

7. Don’t thank them.
Although it’s tempting to be polite, if you thank them for thinking of you and suggesting a loser, this will likely be encouragement for them to think of other losers you may date. Answer quick, say no and leave. If you linger you will be subjected to a firing squad of questions to understand your type, in the hopes that they can point out to you that you are…oh now here it comes again…”Too picky!

8. Be as picky as you like.
And for that last question, how do I respond to “Are you married yet?”
Say, “No, but I will be.” Wink and walk away.

If you seem positive, it’s hard to feel bad enough to set you up with a hermit…for a few months anyway.

Posted by: Lula in London | February 7, 2008

How to Navigate a Single’s Ward

Single’s wards are a strange oddity in the Mormon world. Unlike most wards, there is no Primary, no Young Men’s or Young Women’s classes, but you do have the choice of usually 3 Sunday School classes to choose from. And most of the callings from the Relief Society manual, plus a few more are used up. I for one was given the task of ‘literacy coordinator’ in a university ward. A calling usually reserved for wards where members may not know how to read, or there is a need in the community. I got creative with that one. “If you can’t read this, please give me a call.”

My time in single’s wards was great. I liked being with people in my age group and my stage of life. People could relate to eachother and there were lots of opportunities to meet people at the additional church meetings, made just for wards of this nature: ward prayer, linger longer/break the fast/munch and mingle, and the almost weekly relief society enrichments, stake activities or ward events.

Why the additional meetings? To give the singles a chance to realize the marriage potential in eachother. There aren’t many opportunities to propose during Church, so there are activities to supplement this. This really is the main goal of a single’s ward…besides the whole spiritual strength part.

Ward Prayer
This is when after a few hours of being home from Church, you come back in the evening in your casual clothes and have a brief devotional. This usually includes introducing an apartment of girls and an apartment of boys, singing a hymn, having a prayer and sharing a spiritual thought. The ‘rebel’ people of the ward usually stay home or are on the prowl in their own way. But it can be a good laugh. You get out of this what you put into it.

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Staying after Church and eating free food
Much like they do to lure animals in the wild with raw meat so they can be more easily observed, the bishopric will assign a committee of single people to produce food to lure in the men. Food usually does the trick to help even out the male / female ratio, usually called the Linger Longer or the Munch and Mingle. If it is held on a fast Sunday, it’s called Break the Fast, and can be cruel when you smell potatoes and chili cooking during Sunday School. This can be a good opportunity to meet people. Try and mix up where you sit and don’t stay with the same crowd. It’s also easier to identify the new people in the ward this way, where you can all face eachother instead of see the back of their heads during church. Sometimes the Bishopric will take the opportunity to encourage dating and mention it in a speech while the animals are pacified eating their potato filled with toppings.

To show that the type of bait you use is important, I remember a Linger Longer where their was an assortment of cold cereals for people to eat. No one stayed very long for that. That is what we eat when there isn’t a Linger Longer.

Enrichment
These can vary as much as the personalities of the Relief Society Presidents. Some of them are their mothers in embryo, and will go to extremes to make a wonderful activity, while others are fine with the simple route. I worked with one girl that asked me to see if I could get Sheri Dew to come to a Book of Mormon Symposium (that I would organize and put on myself). I asked her if I should invite Donny Osmond to sing, but she thought it wouldn’t set the right mood. I don’t think she quite got my humor.

I also had another person drop off a block of cheese as long as my arm a few hours before the activity and asked if I could grate it. I accepted the challenge, went down to the cheese factory and traded in the block for a package of shredded cheese. Overall message: don’t wear yourself out for the details.

Stake events
These can vary from dances to relay races, to firesides (talks of a spiritual nature, usually focused on “hey I’ve got an idea! Why don’t you get married?). Sometimes I wonder if they make a deal with newly called Bishops that if all of the singles get married, they are done with their calling. 😉 But there are several events focused on service: putting together hygiene kits, painting toys for children, and decorating boys doors for Valentines.

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“Marriage, Why not?”
This topic is brought up whenever possible but not to a breaking point. Special Sunday School combined Relief Society talks, Sunday firesides and Ward activities. I went to an activity once that was the extreme of this experience, so I’ll share a story:

The fireside was announced as a “special event” with the topic not shared. They knew if people knew what it was about, we’d spot the fake bait and run. It was for the whole Stake to attend. An older couple who had been married for 40 years were the two speakers of the meeting. When they introduced themselves, they were highschool sweethearts, that married within months of the husband returning from his mission. They were now ready to begin their talk on how older singles can find love.

Now, these people were great, well intentioned and worked hard to prepare their message. A lot of it was universal, but it was hard for both parties to relate to eachother. Getting married at 18, you would have never been in a single’s ward, dated much, or had to put up with well intentioned people trying to get you married. After their polite but very directed talks, they opened the dividers behind us and fed us ice cream sandwiches. And then over the microphone told us that these talks and free food weren’t for nothing and asked the women to get on one side and the men on the other. And then commanded us to mix up and introduce ourselves to someone new. In protest most of us turned to our friends and faked not knowing the other until they let us go. Nobody likes being forced to get together. It’s almost like your parents putting you together with a boy you’ve never seen before and saying “Okay make-out now, in front of us.” For those of you who have experienced this, you know it can be at times, awkward.

And a last note, this time on this blog as a whole. This is a light-hearted look at the single situation. It’s meant to put some humor on a sometimes uncomfortable time of life, and maybe shed some light into the corners to help understand it better. It’s strange, but it’s not bad. You can survive anything with a little humor and this is definitely one of those times to use it as much as you can! So, don’t be depressed. With a few more activities and some food you too will find your eternal companion in a matter of weeks. Your married at 18 leaders are sure of it.

Photos: Found on Flickr.com

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