A Loveletter to BCC’s Single Readers

Last weekend, Sister Bonnie Oscarson spoke at women’s conference and made, what I assume she knew would be, a controversial statement.  “We fail to teach our young women that preparing to be a mother is of utmost importance because we don’t want to offend those who aren’t married, those who can’t have children, or to be seen as stifling future choices.”  A longtime reader contacted me and wondered whether BCC would address this line.  I asked her what she would say, and her response broke a little piece of my heart.  “I’m not exactly sure how to articulate how much that hurt and why, exactly.  Maybe the gist of it is that *I* feel like I’m part of the “us” but keep getting reminded that no, I’m not.  Since I don’t have children, the thing of utmost importance in the Church, I went from being less valuable to my community to some kind of enemy to my community.”

Here is the sermon I wish our reader had heard:

My dear, beloved single sisters in the gospel.  I see you.  I see you going to church every week, serving in your callings.  I see you volunteering to do service projects, and helping out your fellow ward members.  I hear your competent and thoughtful contributions to lesson discussions.  I am so glad that we can sit together in church and outside of church and that I can be strengthened by your friendship and love.  Like me, and many other married sisters, I know that you have dedicated a good portion of your life to service in the kingdom—and that service has blessed many.

I also see that many of the things we do and say in church cause you pain.  I’m sorry.  I know that you faithfully attended young women’s classes hearing all the time about the importance of temple marriage and family life.  I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you to have such great faith and loyalty in the church, and not have your life go along the lines of the “ideal life” picture we painted.  Because of the way we taught you, your vision of what was possible didn’t include singleness—not really.  But you found yourself living that life anyways.  You had to learn a very lonely lesson without much support.

And we have not stood by you like we should have.  It has been easier to ignore you, to cutely relegate you to matchmaking singles activities with married chaperones much younger than yourself, and then assume that either you weren’t trying hard enough—or perhaps you are just unmarriageable.  We have failed to call you to very visible and responsible positions.  Many of us have found it easier to limit our friendships to other families with children.  And of course, the men in the ward have socially ostracized you as well.  This leaves you attending and serving and trying…and being consistently left out of the narrative and on the edges of the ward family.

And I see that your personal life has suffered as well.  As fewer and fewer dating opportunities have come your way after years of being single, you are left without much hope of changing your marital status—particularly if you still hope to marry in the church.  If you live far from family or close friends, you may go for days or weeks without social interaction outside work or the benefit of simple human touch—the embraces of people who love you.  I see that it is alienating and painful and so very, very unnecessary.  I see that you may have decided to forego educational opportunities in favor of leaving yourself available for marriage, and you are now in financial risk and unable to deal with financing your eventual retirement.  I see that you may be seeking mental health care to deal with the stress and alienation of your total commitment to the church juxtaposed with your church’s less than total commitment to you.

I see you.  And now I’m asking you, my sister:  please help me repent.  Please help me be more like our savior who said “come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  As God loves me, I will love you.  And I will rejoice in the love you show to me and the rest of our congregation.  You are not my enemy.  You are not an obstacle in my efforts to teach my children.  You are a daughter of God.  And I see you.


  1. Even a small change of ““We fail to teach our young women that preparing to be a mother is of utmost importance because we don’t want to offend those of us who aren’t married, those of us who can’t have children, or to be seen as stifling future choice” would have made it more inclusive.

  2. Great point, EmJen. We shouldn’t make anybody an offender for a word, but we should all be careful with our words to not cause unnecessary hurt, and even little things can make a big difference.

  3. The part that hit me was the lack of human touch. Thanks for pointing to a reality I’d thought too little about.

  4. Many of us have found it easier to limit our friendships to other families with children.

    While the rest of us have had the children suck all time and resources out of us ever possibly having friends.

  5. I have a daughter who will likely be one of those single sisters. I cringed as those words moved forward. My daughter is a dedicated church member. Deeply virtuous. Smart, hard working, driven. She also dreams of being a disciple of Christ like women in the New Testament. I wish both she and I had heard BCC’s version.

  6. I left BYU single, got married while in a singles ward, and have since served in a few singles ward bishoprics. Many of the friends I made in those wards and callings are still single. Statistically, there are going to be lots of faithful, wonderful sisters who won’t marry due to the imbalance of faithful men and women. To pretend that’s not a reality is a huge disservice to them and the church body as so many are under utilized, under appreciated, and under loved because they’re single and nothing else. I’m surprised and saddened to see this comment coming from our leaders.

  7. I’m sensitive to language that marginalizes single, childless women, since I’m one of those myself. But it never occurred to me to be offended by Sister Oscarson’s statement. I don’t feel she was portraying me as an “enemy” at all; in fact, I agree with the point she was making. And as for this post–hmm. I’m sure it is heartfelt, but it also seems full of pity for my single sisters and me. Personally, that’s not what I need, but maybe that’s just me.

  8. A few more thoughts, as I’ve had more time to think about this: It is always a good idea to be mindful of more inclusive language. At one conference session a year or two ago, when it seemed all the talks focused on marriage and family, I felt hit over the head with that doctrine and was demoralized and discouraged. Balance is so important. But are we singles so fragile that even mentioning the importance of marriage or motherhood sends us crumpling to the floor? (And isn’t the OP, ironically, an illustration of Sister Oscarson’s very point?) Motherhood *is* of utmost importance. It doesn’t mean my efforts to serve and love and live a more Christlike life aren’t of utmost importance too.

    Yes, it would have sounded better if she’d used EmJen’s wording. But can’t we be a little more thick-skinned? I could choose to be offended by the suggestion in the OP that we singles likely need mental health treatment. But I recognize that the post was born of a sincere desire to be kind. Perhaps we should try to give others, including our leaders, the benefit of the doubt.

  9. “Preparing to be a mother is of utmost importance…”

    Wait. Utmost as in greatest? Highest? Most?

    Wait. I thought knowing Jesus Christ and trying to be like him, learning about him, his mercy, his grace–I thought that was the most important. I thought teaching our Young Women about Jesus was our highest priority. I thought that knowing that Jesus loves you unconditionally–regardless of marriage or children or sin or wealth or education– loves you always and forever and that he can be your strength and courage and joy–I thought that was the greatest of our goals.

    “We fail to teach our Young Women that knowing Jesus Christ as a friend and a savior is the only thing that matters because we are trying desperately to differentiate ourselves from other religions.”

    “We fail to teach our Young Women that Jesus loves all of us unconditionally because we want to intentionally marginalize members of our community.”

    “We fail to teach our Young Women about Jesus because we prefer to worship the false idol that is THE FAMILY.”

    Dear Lord, forgive us. Forgive us this idolatry. Forgive us for the pointless pain we are offering to our sisters who need relief. Forgive us our pride.

  10. Amen Amy.

  11. Hi Rivkah, I totally appreciate that my thoughts here aren’t representative of everyone. They can’t be. And I appreciate your thoughtful responses. I will say that I’ve been a single adult Mormon for almost 25 years. I’m not being condescending or pandering. I’m talking about a life I know. I said “may” in my examples on purpose because they don’t apply to everyone. But I think there may be some readers unaware of some specific pains of single life. Obviously these are composite experiences, not specifically descriptive of everyone. But they are real occurrences.

    As to the concern about taking offense. I hear you. But I don’t love the narrative of “choosing” to be offended. That can be a cop out for people to try and escape the consequences of real and hurtful speech. We had a loyal reader who was hurt. I thought it was important to bring that to this forum. I also think it’s fair to examine this unfortunate quote by Sister Oscarson in light of that pain.

  12. I agree with the single commenters here that much of the OP doesn’t reflect my own experience at all, but I do recognize that it will be balm for some.

    And if you’re married and care about inclusion of singles, I recommend inviting a single Ward member to join you when you double date to dinner and a movie, or go to a ball game with a few other couples. Or to come by for FHE. Just engage. Seek to know them as people. I’m not talking about being invited to Sunday dinner. That is nice and kind but we know that’s when the strays get invited.

  13. Sister Oscarson’s words are why I left. Because I was done with being ignored and belittled, for not being seen as a complete human in my singleness. The church sees us as other, as a problem to be solved, rather than as family to be embraced.

    Saturday night’s talk confirmed why I won’t be returning.

  14. I am not aware that anyone is holding back, and limiting themselves from teling their ideal. I think she might be creating a straw man about how caring and carefull they are of offending a whole list of people, who they in fact regularly offend, especially the gays.
    I have a daughter in her 40s, who is quite attractive, but perhaps intimidating to men who might think they would be in charge. She is a federal police officer, a bomb officer, and in her spare time a rural fire officer, in charge of training others, and in charge of fire scenes. She is active in Church, and never expresses hurt by what is said, but must occasionally feelsome.

  15. I’m so glad the feminist are belittling and complaining against the teachings of our female church leaders as well. Equality is wonderful and uplifting.

  16. I disagree that we are failing to teach our YW the importance of marriage and motherhood. Sometimes it feels like we never teach them anything ELSE.

  17. A Happy Hubby says:


    I recently asked a question on a small forum, “what would get you excited about going to church”. A sermon like this! There is such humility and love instead of preaching and telling people what to do. That humility is soooo lacking.

  18. Mignonne Jeppson says:

    I agree with Rivkah.

  19. Why is it a problem to acknowledge the diverse realities of our membership? There is literally NO danger of our kids, youth or mature membership not getting the message about the importance of family. You cannot get away from it most Sundays- entire months of Sundays dedicated to The Family from Primary on. The message is clear, worry not. So the reality is, most of the members of the church do not find themselves in the idealized situation; the gospel is for EVERYONE. Acknowledging that fact isn’t coddling, nor is it requiring anyone to have a thicker skin. It’s simply caring for all of us, not just as select few.

  20. Kevin Barney says:

    It’s true that many of our single sisters are not marrying, having children, building families. Do she has correctly identified a problem. But she couldn’t be more wrong about the source of the problem. It’s not that we’re failing to teach our girls and women the importance of these things. We teach these things in overwhelming fashion throughout a woman’s entire church life. And I don’t see the Church pulling any punches out of a concern for offending singles. The problem is largely a demographic one. Teaching more lessons isn’t going to help or matter. Mormon women are already highly motivated to marry, but one cannot marry what doesn’t exist. I

  21. seripanther says:

    Thank you for this.

    My LDS education didn’t prepare me for the life I ended up with. I got prepped for NOTHING but marriage and motherhood. Remaining single was never mentioned, because it was unthinkable. And it left me bewildered, spending years trying to figure out what I did wrong. Then trying to carve my own meaning out of my life. And creating my own theories for what will happen to me after I die.

    The church supplies none of that. I’m in a religion that doesn’t provide context for my life or a narrative of the afterlife, just the occasional “It’ll work out” platitude when it can be bothered. Why am I in this religion again?

  22. I think Kevin is exactly correct. By the way Kevin we met at a wedding in Buffalo Grove about 16 years ago and you held my first born while my wife and I danced. We lose more males then females. I have theories but dont want to threadjack There is unfortunatly also a marriage market. The most eligible males go young 22 to 25 andare married and taken off the market and head of to dental school as young marrieds for example. If women wait to long they have fewer choices.

    One thing I have learned about public speaking is that you will no matter how hard you try you will offend somebody. You need to try and phrase things correctly.

  23. Great post.

    I recommend the splendid novel Excellent Women by Barbara Pym.

  24. This seems so out character for Pres. Oscarson. I can’t belive she thinks that there isn’t enough emphasis is on marriage and child rearing in our young women’s program or that the reason for it is the powerful, oppressive presence of single sisters or those living with fertility difficulties. Yet that is what she said plain as day. That is just bizarre. The sisters and brothers that I know in these situations are some of the most forebearing, kind and patient people in the church. They have to be to show up week after week to a centralized curriculum and culture for whom their very existence is treated as something that throws a monkey wrench into our gospel of the family. It all just screams “This lesson would be so much easier if you weren’t here.” Who wants that?

  25. And yet you commit the same sin you accuse Sister Oscarson of committing, casually dismissing a huge cohort of faithful members by your unthinking remarks. The title of your post says “A Loveletter to BCCs *Single* Readers” but all you talk about is women. Are there no single men who read BCC? Once again it’s the single sisters who get our concern, compassion, sympathy and focus while single men are left out of the conversation. If you think being an active single woman is hard in the church try doing it as a man. And yes, I speak from years of experience, I didn’t get married until I was almost 38. Single women get our heartfelt sympathy when we are prodded by conference talks to remember them. Single men, at best, get totally forgotten, at worst they get our scorn.

  26. Deborah Christensen says:

    As a single sister I agree with Joni when she said “I disagree that we are failing to teach our YW the importance of marriage and motherhood. Sometimes it feels like we never teach them anything ELSE.”
    I was never taught anything about a career. I had to figure that part out on my own. I have few women in the church that I can relate too.

  27. Lady Didymus says:

    A beautiful post in response to an insensitive, tone deaf comment. I’m still wrapping my head around the fact Oscarson actually said this to the women of the church. FWIW, I was lucky to find someone and have one child (A hysterectomy due to endometriosis ended my child bearing days. There’s no womb in the inn!) …. and I find myself lost every day. My best friend (also a 30-something mother) and I often sit and say to each other, “Why did we do this to ourselves?” We got married super young (I turned 19 one month before I married my 22 year old groom) and had our kids before 30. Because we married so young (and graduated just as the economy tanked), our families struggle with money (we finally got our own place recently after living with my parents for a decade). Illness prevents me from gainful employment but even if I could work, I only have a bachelor’s degree and haven’t worked since 2006. My best friend and I have checked off the Mormon Girl To-Do List and we both feel lost and empty. We fell for the pattern taught to us in our youth and it does not empower us: it drains us. I’m incredibly grateful for my little family. I love them more than anything. But as an individual, I suffer because of the decisions I made based on the church’s teachings. I’m not “quite” a mother because I “only have one.” I still feel guilt and face judgement from others even though I can’t physically have another child and I’m too ill and too poor to adopt. And yet still, my single friends face so much more judgement, pity and exclusion than I do. My struggles don’t even compare. The majority of my single female friends are inactive. It’s too painful for them to attend church.

  28. KLC–I thought a lot about the gender issue before writing the post. I decided to focus on sisters for a couple of reasons: (1) The talk was at women’s conference and addressed to women; (2) I don’t have as much insight into the experience of single Mormon men. We would welcome hearing about your experiences from your own viewpoint. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  29. Deborah, Lady Didymus, and other sisters who have commented on their own struggles. Thank you for your input. I’m glad you are willing to put your stories out there. I think it’s important for our community to hear them.

  30. I’ll third what Joni and Deborah say. The idea that we “fail to teach our young women that preparing to be a mother is of utmost importance” is utter malarky and a strawman attack that creates yet more aggression in perpetuating the status quo in that regard. It’s sad to see leaders so warrentlessly defensive and so exclusive at the same time.

  31. I don’t know. This version seems both patronizing and depressing. It just seems to punch, with great detail, many of the things that can be painful to single women in the Church, with the occasional apology interspersed. After all that, it turns inward, “help -me- repent”, “I will in rejoice in the love you show (us)” (emphasis added).

    This desperately lacks what most talks that mention singles lack; hope. Tell them how their offerings bless the kingdom. Give more ways they can use their talents to lead and bless others by removing the many limitations placed on the service of singles. More importantly, tell so many of these things to the people who are doing the hurting: the parents with 6 kids looking down on those who have fewer or even none, the leaders not even thinking of singles as they look for Presidents and Counselors, the members avoiding even getting to know singles for fear of the “appearance of evil”.

    We’re in this together. We -all- need to do better in this. We need to erase the divides between “families”, singles, and the childless, not patronize those who “have not” as some special group, to be only occasionally thought of by those who “have”.

    I deeply understand the need, but this love letter comes across like an abuser begging the abused to come back. The greatest thing we can do to help those who are being hurt is to change those who are doing the hurting. At this point, a simple apology, no matter how heartfelt, is nothing more than words.

  32. Thanks for the eye-opening post Karen. It’s undeniable that you feel different at church as a single. Even now as a married man, if I attend without my wife for whatever reason, I feel the difference. When you talk about going a week or more without the warmth of human physical contact, I thought it’s unfortunate our U.S. culture or church culture seems to discourage a simple hug from a married man to a single sister. Not so in latino and other cultures. I remember on our inner-city mission in Kansas, the mission president said the most important thing we can do for the fledgling members and investigators is be “huggers.” Also a reminder to me that why don’t I and my wife and other couples involve single sisters, and for that matter, KLC, single brothers in our social circles.

  33. it's a series of tubes says:

    While the rest of us have had the children suck all time and resources out of us ever possibly having friends.

    Ain’t that the truth. To twist a phrase: don’t ascribe to malice that which can be explained by exhaustion.

  34. What exactly does “preparing to be a mother mean”? I was single until 31, then married and had kids and now single again at age 40 and having seen it from all sides, I still don’t understand this piece of instruction. The things that matter as a mother… be patient, be kind, have faith … are the same things that matter as a non-mother disciple of Christ. I’ve been in Young Women’s on and off for the last 15 years and I have yet to see one specific piece of information that I was supposed to teach the young women other than “be sure to prepare to be a good mother.” If we prepare your youth to be faithful and honest disciples, they will be good parents. It isn’t some magic formula.

  35. Thank you for writing this. I’m very troubled by Sister Oscarson’s remark. If you are failing to say something because you don’t want to offend, that is a good thing.

    I have two daughters–one who has left the church, and one who attends physically. Both are bright and have high academic goals. They know that marriage and motherhood exist. Should they plan their lives around a “what-if” or should they move forward in areas they have some control over?

  36. Thank you, Karen. As a 59-year old single women still active in the Church, I have experienced all the things you describe. I didn’t feel pity or condescension from what you wrote but rather empathy and honest acknowledgement. I happen to feel valued in my Orem ward at the moment because I’m a Relief Society president, but social inclusion is a different matter.

    It’s hard to imagine how Sister Oscarson thinks we’re failing to teach about motherhood. I agree with her that motherhood is important (as is fatherhood), and I also agree with those who have commented that teaching about motherhood seems to trump teaching about Jesus Christ way too often.

    To KLC, I want you to know that I have beloved single male friends who are active in the Church and in every bit as much pain as single women over many of the issues Karen describes. Single women get pity and indirect shaming created by the cultural milieu. Single men get blame and direct shaming. None of it is acceptable in the Body of Christ.

  37. Karen, your rationalizations sound reasonable to me, but they don’t change the obvious blindspot you showed in the OP. This isn’t a loveletter to single BCC readers, it’s a loveletter to single female BCC readers. Maybe that’s a trivial distinction, but I’m sure many faithful LDS readers will find the outrage over Sister Oscarson’s casual comment found on several LDS blogs to be just as trivial. Will people extend the same benefit of the doubt to her that they will extend to you for overlooking half of LDS singles?

    As for my experiences as a single man in the church, I have to shake my head over the innocuousness of this small slight and the tsunami of sympathy it is generating. I’ve been married almost 25 years, that means I’m old, it also means that I was an active single man in his 30s sitting in Priesthood session of general conference in April of 1988 when President Benson gave this talk:


    Here is a complete talk that repeatedly calls to repentance all older single men for being single, that shows no sympathy for their situation and in fact blames them for being lazy, selfish and unrighteous. And then to finish the talk President Benson quotes Lehi and tells all of us losers to “Arise from the dust and be men.” You haven’t lived until you sit in general conference and hear the prophet of god call you a wuss.

  38. I appreciate Karen’s inclusiveness, and that of some commenters, such as EmJen. Somebody has to play angel’s advocate among the bitterness of other comments, though.

    Consider that Sister Oscarson was speaking to leaders of young women about their responsibilities to young women, and not to adult single women. When you’re talking about life circumstances, the life circumstances of the intended audience may well be distinct from the life circumstances of the peripheral audience.

    I hear commenters complain that their daughters get nothing but marriage talk at Church. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s an exaggeration, maybe it depends on local conditions. I don’t know. It’s been a long time since I’ve even lived in a ward with a YW program, so all I have to go by is the bloggernacle which *ahem* occasionally has been known to exaggerate in the interest of a good rant.

    But I do know what young women are getting from some sources: Children are a lifestyle choice, not a blessing or obligation or source of joy. Education and young adult experiences are vital to the lives of young women; children can wait. You don’t need to prepare for motherhood even to the extent of considering whether or not you want children – there’s plenty of time for that after you’ve finished school, traveled, established a career. You come first.

    There’s nowhere but the Church to teach young people about the importance of eternal decisions (think how often here at BCC somebody says it isn’t all that important to make wise choices the first time around, because Atonement). Nobody else is concerned about spirits waiting to come to this earth, or the desirability of their coming to homes where they can grow in the gospel. Nobody else teaches the eternity of relationships, with all the consequences of that eternity.

    If – and you may not believe the if is real, but what if it is? – some young women leaders are hesitating to teach the full purpose of mortality, or are diluting that message because of the relative attractiveness of other choices or because they don’t want to offend those who are not within their stewardship, then that’s a problem within the Church. Sister Oscarson is in a position to be more widely informed of conditions throughout the Church than is the collective experience of any number of commenters. For that and other reasons, she wins the benefit of any doubt from me, as she speaks in her role as Young Women leader.

    If she had been speaking to and about single adult women, my response would be different. But she wasn’t.

  39. KLC, and don’t think that even studs like Steve Young didn’t feel that wrath.

  40. Dearest Sister Oscarson,
    I found your talk the other night very compelling. I’m drowning in the Provo dating pool at the moment, but your assurance that I will not be accepted unless I’m successful was a pleasant kick to the surface. We’ll see what happens in ten to fifteen years. If I, not smiley enough to be a BYU Magazine cover girl and not buxom enough to make men comfortable, continue to be passed over, I’ll think of you. I’ll think of you and become a Catholic.

  41. Thank you, Karen. It is amazing that two people watching the same talk can come away with such divergent impressions of what the speaker actually said – especially given the context and history surrounding the talk itself. I watched the presidential debate last night and had the same thoughts as I listen to the pundits this morning dissect the things Trump and Clinton said as I did after I read this post. Do words really matter? I’m starting to wonder. It seems like our opinions are formed by our emotional reactions and then words are given new meanings to them. Real dialogue on these issues is increasingly rare without people retreating into platitudes and triuthiness.

  42. The idea that we “fail to teach our young women that preparing to be a mother is of utmost importance” is of course untrue, as many others have pointed out here. It is constantly taught to the young women. In fact, they are never taught that it is fine for them to have strong career ambitions and that they can both have a career and become mothers. President Oscarson knows this. So why did she say this? It’s because it’s on message in the culture wars drum beat against “political correctness” — that supposedly we are being intimidated by secular society (which is evil) and therefore shut our mouths instead of teaching truths like this thing about being a mother is of utmost importance. Of course we absolutely *are not* shutting up about that or about gay people or anything else — that is why so many people are leaving our ranks. We are much, much worse off without them. Some day the Church actually will realize that.

    Very surprising this came from President Oscarson who I had thought does not subscribe to this fear-mongering around “political correctness.” You learn something every day, I guess.

  43. I greatly appreciate this article and the love it gives. However, I do feel that it kind of adds to single women being sad and something to be pitied. Quoting “come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” implies that we are sad and constantly burdened by our singleness and need the church for comfort. Although there is an element of truth to that, for a lot of the reasons mentioned in the article, I do not feel that our burden is more than other members of the ward. Yes, my singleness makes for some lonely times, but I don’t see that as more of a burden than the various types of heartbreak we all experience throughout life. I am relatively happy and fulfilled in my life as a single women. I have a happy and healthy social life, a family who loves me, and many opportunities to feel intelligent and respected in my work life. For me, the problem isn’t that the church is rejecting and neglecting my sadness, the problem is that it is kind of creating it. I feel normal and accepted until I go to church meetings, or listen to talks on womanhood in the gospel. It is there that I am constantly reminded that no matter what I do, or who I am, or how much I contribute I am seen as less valuable to my community and yes, sometimes, as an enemy of it.

  44. You owe her at least a moment’s consideration of what might have impelled her statement, and to allow that you might not know quite as much about everything as you think you do. But that of course is just crazytalk.

  45. I wanted to agree with Ardis. The culture sends a message that family and children are nice but not very important. The church teaches the opposite.

  46. >>The culture sends a message that family and children are nice but not very important.<<

    I don't know about that. Seems like there are plenty of non-Mormons (and even atheists) in my life who love and value their children just as much as I love and value mine. But maybe my experience is non-typical.

  47. Justagirl, I had the same reaction. Honestly, though I know many people may find the words of the OP resonant and comforting, there is something about it that doesn’t quite fit for me either (as a 37-year old single woman). The thing is, my life is really wonderful. I have amazing parents and siblings, and nieces and nephews that are the light of my life. I’ve been able to maintain strong friendships, travel to interesting places, and I have a career that is extraordinarily challenging and fulfilling. I’m lucky, yeah, but I’ve also worked hard for all of it. I guess the thing about being single in the church is that so much of the talk around it seems to set single members up to be either feared, shamed, or pitied (mostly pitied, I think, at least if you’re a woman), and all approaches just feel utterly irrelevant to me or my experience of life. I don’t attend church much anymore, though I still retain much of my faith, partly for this reason–I have one life, and I don’t want to spend anymore of it than I already have constantly having people feel sad for me or assuming that my life is one of loneliness and despair. Sometimes I feel lonely, sure, but who doesn’t? I don’t really need apologies or comfort. I just need to be seen as an individual, on her own path with God.

  48. I believe single members have varied experiences of being single according to where they live, who they associate with, type of ward they go to and so on. I am from the UK and knew there was a good chance I would not marry. So at the end of my mission the mission president gave me ‘the talk’ about going home and getting married-I tried to explain the reality to him but he stuck to his script….either the reality was too difficult for him to understand or it was too far outside his comfort zone.
    And as a single sister I have often found it more difficult being single outside church often being asked why I wasn’t married etc and people not really getting it. At least at church people understood it for the most part.
    As others have said I have had friends when I was young who dropped the friendship when they married and notice that marrieds often don’t involve singles in their lives other than in assignments. I do wonder at times if we are so busy at church that we don’t have time to be friends with each other.
    There have been times I have felt ignored or not listened too in ward council – but that was not because I was single and rather feel it was because I was female-but that is a a discussion for another day!!

  49. Her literal next sentence was, “On the other hand, we may also fail to emphasize the importance of education because we don’t want to send the message that it is more important than marriage.” Basically telling us we should also be bold in teaching that education goals (which goes hand in hand with career goals) is vital for YW as well, even if stay at home moms or people who weren’t able to get an education might be offended. The point she was making ultimately boiled down to teaching true doctrine boldly, but she also said with sensitivity and common sense.

  50. I spent the majority of my life in adult singles wards. A friend there commented that the singles ward was the one place in the Church she felt she was not single. She was just a ward member and her contributions were valued.
    I strongly remember giving a talk in my new family ward after our older singles ward was ‘repurposed’ to be for mid-singles only. People seemed shocked that I knew what I was talking about.
    I do not know what beliefs married people have about the adult unmarried, but for years we taught, led, served and ran our own programs. And for women who want Church leadership positions, you will never get the opportunities you get in mid-singles wards. There are not enough men, so the women run almost everything.
    We learned to serve our members who suffered from problems that were only whispered about when I was in a family ward. And we became experts on some of those issues, something I seldom saw in my family wards.
    The truth is the Church does itself a great disservice by limiting its single women, sometimes giving them special praise for serving in leadership, like the other leaders are surprised to see competence, sometimes marginalizing them by shoving them into Primary. And the patronizing statements we sometimes hear do me no good. Gag!
    Did the conference talk bother me? It did not even register as critical. But then I spent my life in wards where it was not an issue.

  51. I love the OP and I love the last part of justagirls comment: “For me, the problem isn’t that the church is rejecting and neglecting my sadness, the problem is that it is kind of creating it. I feel normal and accepted until I go to church meetings, or listen to talks on womanhood in the gospel. It is there that I am constantly reminded that no matter what I do, or who I am, or how much I contribute I am seen as less valuable to my community and yes, sometimes, as an enemy of it.”

    Yes, everyone needs to decide, at some point, if they are in or they’re out. It just seems clear that many wards are not open to a kind of culture where many kinds of people on many different paths are welcome and loved. For example, there are 120 single adults in my ward and over 100 of them are inactive; they simply don’t feel like anyone wants them at church. (Unintentional) cliquishness can’t be what God wants for his children. And it seems that most people don’t recognize what is happening so I really appreciate Karen’s OP that shines a little light on how others might be feeling so they *do* know and can reach out to everyone with kindness, non-judgement, and love. Having previously been part of a loving ward family, I can attest to that making all the difference and I’d love to have that again, for all the members of the ward. Thank you for sharing!

  52. BlueRidgeMormon says:

    Honestly, I suspect that in preparing their remarks, many of these angles are simply overlooked. In the end, I think all that’s going on is: Defend the Family. This is how Sis. Oscarson chose to do it, with respect to women, young women, and girls in the audience. End of story. The leaders feel compelled to incessantly beat the “defend the family” drum at every opportunity.

    And if we think we (as general members) are getting inundated with “defend the family” as a message from the pulpit, those in the leadership class are surely getting buried even deeper. I think in the end, many of the leadership have worked themselves into a frenzy over a perceived need to “defend” something that – as others have more eloquently pointed out elsewhere – either needs no defending, or if it did, it’s unclear how to actually defend it in the first place.

    But I kinda think that’s all that’s going on here: it’s a form of “defend the family”.

  53. Ardis, did I miss Sister Oscarson state she was specifically addressing Young Women leaders? I actually saw it applying more to what mothers teach their daughters.
    What the girls are going to hear depends so much more on their personal inclinations and the families they come from than any thing taught at Church. At least it was that way with me when I was young. I was in my mid-twenties before I even understood some of the things taught in church. (For some things, in my mid-fifties!) The lessons went completely over my head and had no effect whatsoever on the choices I made. Yet I was there for every meeting and was trying hard to live every thing I was taught.
    I have felt for years conference talks tend to skew the teaching of the gospel. In reaction to current trends, the pendulum swings too far, people get discouraged, some leave, some browbeat others into submission. We are experts at using the statements of the general authorities to guilt each other. Bishops seem particularly adept at this.
    I have come to see these talks as responses to problems that we need to be aware of but not overreact to. The gospel is a middle path of common sense. When read in its entirety, I feel Sister Oscarson’s talk did this.

  54. BlueRidgeMormon, your comment got me thinking of Dürrenmatt’s Winter War in Tibet. In that story, the only firm law that remains during the apocalyptic, all-out total war to end all civilization is “never doubt the existence of the enemy.” One way to commit this crime was to question whether the “other” soldiers who could be seen crawling through the tunnels deep under Tibet’s mountains were really the enemy or just more people following orders ultimately given by the same “Administration” (Verwaltung). Committing this crime was punishable by death because if too many troops asked this question, they might stop fighting altogether, and then the Administration would not have any reason to exist.

  55. Ditto to michelleL and justagirl. I’m not lonely or burdened by my singleness. I know married women who are lonely in their marriage. I get tired of the “don’t worry, you’ll get married someday.” And I’m like, dude I don’t want to get married. I’m happy where I’m at!

  56. Thank you. For me this post was like the scene in Inside Out where Bing Bing’s rocket has been s not to the memory dump. Joy tries to distract him but It’s Sadness going over to sit with him and acknowledge his feelings that actually made him feel better. For me I’m 34 and most of the things that people say to try and make me feel better or hopeful have the opposite effect.

  57. Ardis Parshall: AMEN.

  58. As a divorced man in the Church I agree with Bro. Barney’s comment about demographics. Where I live in Canada there aren’t any women remotely my age. My PB talks about kids and marriage and providing for my family and all this stuff but I am like almost 40 and looking around…………..so where is this family?. I’ve learned though in the Church to disregard counsel from people who don’t live with the consequences of their own advice. It’s easy to tell a chapel full of singles to keep the law of chastity when they themselves can have sex that night and every night if they want to or online date when they haven’t dated someone other than their spouse in years. I get passed over for callings because i’m divorced but guys who are emotionally abusive, lazy , no testimony are called on. In the Manitoba Stake there is a High Councilor who attends the Catholic Church with his wife, who sometimes attends our Church. That’s acceptable but being single apparently is not

  59. Elizabeth St Dunstan says:

    As a single veteran of a few family wards, I can attest to the “you’re not part of our club” problem. My first family ward called me to the young women because being single meant I could relate. It turns out that this was to be my best treatment. My second ward asked me to be a girls camp director the same day they met me. When I explained that neither health nor vacation days permitted a week long camping trip, I was told not to expect another calling because “primary teacher is a couples calling and everything else is full.” When I offered my services as a musician and willing substitute for RS or other classes, I was told thanks but no thanks. I was not assigned home teachers. My current ward emailed me to tell me how great it is to see my face lately (I haven’t attended in few months) and asked in that same email if I “consider [your]self worthy to be a visiting teacher.” I’m done. I’m done foisting myself on people who don’t want me. These days I’m much more likely to spend a Sunday morning at the pool catching up with friends who care, cleaning my home, or taking in the views on a hike through God’s creation. These things edify me, reduce my stress, and prepare me to lift and serve others throughout the week.

  60. Lady Didymus, thank you for your comment. My story is very similar to yours, got married, was lucky to have one child and then had multiple surgeries for endometriosis and a hysterectomy for adenomyosis. Now I feel lost, just like you. Trying to find out who I am when the typical “YW plan of get married and have lots of babies” didn’t work out for me. And I agree about the guilt and judgement from others. My new ward is much better about it, but the ward I was in before was awful. I was not “enough” because I only had one child and obviously it was based on something wrong with me. I was not spiritual enough, righteous enough or was just making bad selfish decisions. It is this judgement that is detrimental to so many in the church. Our culture says that we should all have the perfect typical family with 2.5 kids and a picket fence. But that its not the reality for most members. And if we really understood our own doctrine, we would not be perpetuating this. We would be striving to come close to Christ and show his love to everyone around us, without judgement.

  61. Single Sister says:

    I am a 58 year old single (never married), childless (good thing if I never married according to the church) woman. Somewhere around 28 (after breaking up with a loser – ahem, “Honourable Priesthood Holder” for a year just because I was desperate to get married and have kids), I realized that I was not going to get married. And sometimes it’s HELL going to church. I actually refuse to go to Women’s Conference and haven’t gone for years just because of talks like this. I actually also don’t listen to the Conference Talks until after the fact so that I can peruse the titles of the talks and try to avoid collapsing in a weeping heap (although the weeping has gotten better with age – now I just mostly curse). I know (with every fibre of my being that the church is true. No doubts. None. But honestly sometimes I just want to grab the leadership and chuggle them until their brains fly out.

  62. I don’t understand the conservative war on political correctness. To me, it seems like political correctness is a good thing. I don’t think we cease to teach correct principles as a result, but if our “correct principles” are shaming people or making generalizations about an entire class of people, then we really should be reining in those tendencies. Frankly, telling women that motherhood is noble (and so is fatherhood) doesn’t mean we have to exclude women who aren’t mothers. Women are capable of doing MANY noble things. Why do we not simply speak about all the great things women accomplish?

    It’s because someone in the culture wars decided that women (unlike men) can’t walk and chew gum. If we do anything other than motherhood or even in addition to motherhood, somehow it erases the motherhood. I wish that worked with eating cake and drinking diet coke, but apparently it only works with motherhood.

  63. To Single Sister and others of you who are commenting without having heard Sister Oscarson’s talk: Please listen to the talk. The whole thing. You are getting a very skewed perspective by focusing on one sentence without context or by relying on the comments here.

    I’m sure it feels cathartic to vent and to know that others have had similarly negative experiences. On the whole, though, this kind of discussion is why I tend to stay away from the Bloggernacle. It just doesn’t seem productive.

  64. tulgeywood24 says:

    Katie Lauritzen Miyake–I’m sorry. Endometriosis is a bitch. I’m sending you a friend request on Facebook. :)

    Single Sister–loved your comment and totally feel your last sentence. I’m there too!

  65. Lady Didymus says:

    Oops. That comment from tulgeywood24 was actually me (Lady Didymus). Did it from a different account.

  66. Rivkah, I understand what you are saying, but I think the point is that the sentence didn’t need to be in there at all. It didn’t do anything to further the overall point of her talk. She would have been successful without it. Why include something hurtful when it wasn’t needed? My OP was intended to give a little comfort to people who felt the jab. Because being single in the church can mean a lot of little jabs. It really was a loveletter.

  67. “we don’t want to offend those who aren’t married, those who can’t have children”

    1) I’ve never sensed that people around (single) me even thought they were offending me, much less holding back because they were afraid of doing so. If this is the good life, I’d hate to see what happens if they don’t hold back. I am blessedly given the invitation to be offended many times an hour on a good Sunday and much more than that on other Sunday’s. (or weekdays or….)
    2) I sense that this might perhaps be more of a resentment expressed by the (at least one of the) higher ups because they DO have to think before they speak and are bothered by it. I get that. It isn’t easy to talk with the language she grew up in when addressing a much different, diverse, global population. It can’t be easy. I feel for her.
    3) I don’t think most people really understand when they are talking to singles that most of us would love to be happily engaged in family ties. It isn’t that we don’t support her sentiment.
    But for heaven’s sake, don’t alienate the troops that fight on your own side. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t blame them for causing you to have to rethink how you convey the message that all of us believe to be true. Most of us are saying the same thing. I just have to say it single.

  68. Karen H., thank you for this. I’m no longer a member of record, but I would have found this post very helpful if I still was.

    “I see that you may have decided to forego educational opportunities in favor of leaving yourself available for marriage, and you are now in financial risk and unable to deal with financing your eventual retirement.”

    This was a punch in the gut, and the truth of it brought me to tears. Thanks for understanding.

  69. Single Sister says:

    Rivkah – I understand what you are saying. However, please don’t assume that I haven’t read/heard the talk. I listen/read them afterwards as I said. And as Karen H. said, the line absolutely did not need to be in the talk. The talk would have stood on it’s own without it and – perhaps – may have not have ruffled so many feathers (some of which I have heard first hand, not just on the “bloggernacle”). Cheers!

  70. Elizabeth St Dunstan says:

    Ella Bee – amen and amen!

    Rivkah – I see your point. The line between being heard and venting is a tough one to walk, and for me this thread was a meaningful space to be heard. I’m sorry it hasn’t been a positive experience for you, genuinely. I did watch the talk (live), and my SIL and I turned to each other in astonishment when this line came out. It hurt me to be painted as adversarial other, more so than it usually does as the passive circumstantial other.

  71. Karen H., one last question before I check out of this conversation. You wrote a sermon you wished Sister Oscarson had given instead of the talk she actually gave. So, based on your last paragraph–“please help me repent”–were you calling Sister Oscarson to repentance? Is that what you intended?

  72. …And Karen, I do appreciate your kind tone in your responses, so thank you for that. I didn’t want my last post to sound combative; I’m honestly wondering what your intent in the OP final paragraph was. The “repent” sentence was startling to me.

  73. I’m glad to know that I don’t have to rewrite the conference talks given by prophets, apostles, and church leaders, or even lament about them. I know without a doubt that they are chosen servants of the Lord, Jesus Christ and are inspired by His spirit in what to teach us and what we need to hear. Maybe the lamentation should really be something to the effect of “if everyone were truly living the doctrine of Christ, we wouldn’t have to have so many reminders about why we need to live it.” We all have burdens to bear and it’s not a contest on whose is heavier. It’s merely between us and Christ and whether we choose him, daily, or not. And that includes choosing his servants and choosing not to criticize what they say. Sister Oscarson is my heroine. She declares boldly the true doctrine of Christ and does it with so much love. Please, can we just show more respect for Christ by showing more respect for his chosen servants?

  74. Yeah.

    Wait. “Becoming Cream”? Seriously what is up with that moniker, that’s gotta be the weirdest one I have ever read. What does that even mean? I’ve been trying to figure out what it means and every version is either ridiculous, racist or filthy. Help a brother out. Thanks for the passive aggressive testimony-as-condemnation though, that was cool.

  75. “Sister Oscarson is my heroine.” Your own personal brand of heroin, Sister Cullen?

  76. Where did this idea come from that we cannot question our leaders? Where did the notion arise that our leaders might not also sometimes be in need of repentance? They err. They are human, too. And when we hear something that strikes us as wrong, it’s actually part of our latter-day tradition that we may ask, we may question. I needn’t take everything I hear as the gospel truth- what I need to do is ask God, and use my own discernment. It’s part of what makes us different and legitimizes our claim to an individual, personal relationship with God.

  77. I don’t think Karen intended in the slightest to disrespect Sister Oscarson. Her concern was providing comfort to somebody (actually, a whole group of somebodies) who were unintentionally hurt by a line from Sister Oscarson’s talk, which was very good overall, and aside from that line, not hurtful or insensitive. (That’s why I think it is clear that any hurt was unintentional.)

  78. Amen, Tracy M.

    Brigham Young on Obedience

    “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are being led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders
    with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give their leaders if they know for themselves by the revelations of Jesus Christ that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know
    by the whisperings of the Spirit of God to themselves whether their leaders are walking in the way the Lord dictates or not.”

  79. Rivkah, I appreciate our exchange to. I realize that we have a fundamental disagreement, but I enjoy learning through your respectful comments. I did intend to call Sister Oscarson to repentance, but not just her. This was a sermon that I wanted to hear–that I’ve never heard before. I think our entire culture, including me, has a responsibility to repent for the divisiveness that we create, and that has marginalized very faithful and loyal members of the church. I think in general, as part of the mandate of being part of the body of Christ, we have a responsibility to do a lot less dividing and a lot more apologizing. I have tremendous respect for Sister Oscarson. She has brought a refreshing and honest voice to our people. She is clearly a kind and thoughtful person. I think that’s why her comment was so hurtful to some. They weren’t bracing themselves to feel hurt when she spoke. Like I said before, it was an unnecessary throw away line that did not help the overall talk. I think it was a mistake to include it.

    I think that we as a people and culture are stronger when we reject passivity and obsequiessness in favor of gentle advocacy. I know that isn’t everyone’s style, but it’s mine. Because of my background, it’s something I feel strongly about. I also feel strongly about being emotionally honest about hard issues. This post wasn’t daylight hours, correlated, member missionary-ready Mormonism. It was messy 2 a.m. grieving for those you love Mormonism. We need that kind too.

  80. Wow. Calling Sister Oscarson to repentance is NOT your job.

  81. Cream, read my comment up about four spots, and the quote by Brigham Young from Pete. We absolutely can and should question our leaders. Just like you can question Karen here. It’s all okay. We cannot break the gospel. It’s bigger than any of us.

  82. I know what Sheri Dew would say and it wouldn’t be appreciated here either. I’m sure she wasn’t offended by Sister Oscarson.

  83. I know what Sheri Dew would say, because I am Sheri Dew. And I say: you are a terrible person. The worst.

  84. Cream, I’ll see your Sheri Dew and raise you a J. Reuben Clark. I’m sure he wouldn’t like you much.

  85. Brb, making a bunch of ‘WWSDS?’ bracelets.

  86. Welcome to the Dew Drops Inn.

  87. On Ardis’s comment way back from two days ago about how the intended audience was young women’s leaders and not single sisters:

    The thing is, those aren’t (or shouldn’t be) mutually exclusive groups. So I sort of hope she is talking to at least some single and/or childless sisters because being in one of those categories shouldn’t disqualify a person from being called as a young women’s leader. I think that a lot of single sisters, or married sisters with no kids, or women whose husbands aren’t members of the church would be fantastic young women’s leaders. Many of us who find ourselves in those categories would probably be really good at demonstrating an enthusiasm for living and studying the gospel and for building a relationship with the Savior – and we can demonstrate that a life of discipleship doesn’t always have to look the same, which I think is a worthwhile message. I think some of us would be really great role models for young women. But statements like Sister Oscarson’s might send the message that I would actually be a bad role model. And I just disagree with that.

    Going way back to the OP, the issue here is we’re describing single women as “them” rather than as part of “us.”

  88. “But statements like Sister Oscarson’s might send the message that I would actually be a bad role model. And I just disagree with that.”

    This was such a good and succinct explanation of the problem with the statements! Thank you!

  89. Carole Turley Voulgaris – “Going way back to the OP, the issue here is we’re describing single women as “them” rather than as part of “us.””

    Unfortunately, the post just deepens the divide.

    I do wish more posts work toward the formula of what can “we” do, rather than what should “they” do.

  90. Kathryn Clifford says:

    Thank you @justagirl for saying just what I wanted to say. I appreciate much of this piece and the intention behind it, but until married Mormons stop seeing singledom as a lonely, sad, almost pathetic way to live, we’ll never feel like we fit. Married sisters, don’t pity me, don’t see my life as a plan B, see my life as a happy, fulfilling, normal up and down life-just like yours.

  91. To Becoming Cream: That’s kinda the problem – we aren’t teaching the Doctrine of Christ, we have turned into a fertility cult.

  92. My favorite part of this thread is when Sheri Dew showed up like Marshall McLuhan in Annie Hall.

  93. Sheri Dew drops the mic.

    I don’t know if it’s “calling to repentance” to point out the casualties of friendly fire. It’s not like Karen called down fire from heaven to consume the priests of Baal. Sis. Oscarson isn’t a special snowflake who will disintegrate if she’s breathed upon. I imagine she wears big girl panties like the rest of us.

  94. I’m single, and I’m generally not offended by lessons about the importance of family, especially if they are done with even a little bit of sensitivity. Now, in my personal opinion we spend too much time talking about how important family is and not nearly enough time talking about the complex realities of making families work and the role of agency and the atonement in all sorts of relationships. But talking about family is usually fine with me. For most people, that IS the most difficult and consuming work they are engaged in.

    What’s not fine is painting singles as the reason you can’t talk about families as much as you want. “Ugh, if only Great Aunt Rose weren’t here today to get her feelings hurt, we could really talk about the important stuff.” In other words, Great Aunt Rose isn’t actually one of us. She’s a fifth column. Is that how you really feel, Sister Oscarson? It was just so gratuitous. I didn’t even have a chance to brace myself for it.

    On the topic of families, there are really only three things that I, as a single woman, would like to hear to not be offended. I could sit through many, many lessons on marriage and family if this were the implied or explicit context. 1) God’s plan for people is sometimes unpredictable and God works in mysterious ways. When we’re working closely with the Spirit to follow his individualized plan for us, we are a healthy part of the body of Christ–and not just the appendix or tonsils. 2) Marriage and motherhood are not goals that are fully in our control to achieve. Acting as if they are can lead to unhealthy attitudes and behaviors. 3) Marriage and motherhood are not THE ONLY goals that women should have. I appreciated that Sister Oscarson mentioned education. Being an interesting and productive and curious and thoughtful and virtuous INDIVIDUAL with our unique talents and personalities is important. People are more than roles.

  95. So I sort of hope she is talking to at least some single and/or childless sisters because being in one of those categories shouldn’t disqualify a person from being called as a young women’s leader.

    Not too long ago our ward’s YW’s presidency was comprised of single or divorced women with not a child among them. Then a large family moved in with several young women, whose mother expressed concerns about the lack of role models. It had never occurred to me that that would be the case, and I got a little bent out of shape at the suggestion, but to no avail. They were soon released and this mother called as president. I have no idea what the young women themselves thought about the role model issue.

  96. Alpineglow, I love your guidelines. They should be in the preface to the RS manual. Peterllc, that is a heck of an illustration of the OP….

  97. Indeed; your concerns are not merely rhetorical.

  98. hawleyberry says:

    Alpineglow – I loved the 3 points – they were really lovely.

    When I was preparing to adopt my first daughter, I was the YW president – single – 35. I owned my home and had a good career going just no dating prospects let alone marriage ones. I was in a quirky little ward which really needed strong people and that was my saving grace for activity. They needed my work far more than they cared about me not checking all of the non-essential boxes. However, during a temple recommend interview, I experienced one of only two truly negative conversations about my family. The member of the stake presidency took it upon himself to lecture me about being a terrible role model for my YW because I was pursuing motherhood by myself. I remember just shaking with indignation and actually a little fear at his gross overstep of responsibilities. I remember asking him (through gritted teeth) if there was a question on the list that I had failed to respond to and then saying that if that was the case, I would take my (signed) recommend and leave.

    A greater focus on all of us becoming good disciples of Christ rather than on our family units would go a long way for inclusiveness and love.

  99. hawleyberry, that is why we can’t have nice things. Truly terrible.

  100. I was talking with a single sister in my ward just this week. She was attending a YSA ward, but finally switched to a “regular” ward because in the singles ward, everyone talked as if they were waiting for their life to start, and they were viewed like they were defective or weird for even existing. She has a strong testimony. She’s not looking to avoid marriage, but it hasn’t happened, and she’s got no immediate prospects. She’s not the church’s enemy or a poor example. She’s doing the best she can. Why can’t we accept that she’s living her life, doing her best to live the gospel? Why can’t we help her to feel good about herself and the person she is?

  101. She’s not the church’s enemy or a poor example. She’s doing the best she can. Why can’t we accept that she’s living her life, doing her best to live the gospel? Why can’t we help her to feel good about herself and the person she is?

    So true and such good questions, Angela. Too bad there truly are not answers. We can trace what has made our current culture this way but it won’t change the status quo, unfortunately.

  102. When did anyone ever say these sisters were enemies to the Church? Sister Oscarson didn’t say that. This blog post author did. In the words of Neal A. Maxwell, “no one can stir up a crowd like the adversary.” That is all this is, stirring up the crowd, clamoring for attention. It makes me sad because enemy was never what these women were called. Please don’t put words in the mouths of our Church leaders.

  103. you’re stirring up the crowd — the OP seeks to make peace with very problematic assertions made by President Oscarson.

  104. Re the mother with several YW complaining about a lack of role models – it’s too bad this didn’t happen in my ward or stake, because that mother would have been laughed at into moving to a new stake.

  105. seripanther–‘why am I in this religion?’ Because this is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and you are a Latter-day Saint regardless of marital status. You belong. We’re not the Church of Marriage. The focus is Him.

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