In the most recent Ensign, Elder Oaks told an analogy that perfectly relates how many single Saints feel as members of the Church. It's a good reminder to all of us that every Saint is important to the work, right now, exactly where they are at. They are members and deserve the same instruction, recognition, and respect as any other.
Along with Elder Oaks' comments, Sister Oaks shared her experience of being a single Saint for 53 years.
Elder Oaks: I am very concerned about the singles in the Church. I love them. I address some of their needs by quoting from a valuable article published in the Ensign some years ago. Leaders and members in residential stakes, this is about singles, but the message is for you:
“The situation of a Church member who is single can be illustrated by a simple analogy. Imagine that your favorite hobby is stargazing and you’ve just joined a stargazing club. You come to your first club activity eager to participate. It’s a cold night, but you’re not concerned: most of the club members are wearing club jackets, and you’ve been told you should be able to get one as well. But there is no jacket for you. You ask about it, and you are told to keep looking and that if you do your best, you will find a jacket when the time is right.
“Meanwhile, you are getting pretty cold and a little worried. And you notice that most of the other club members are talking about how nice and warm their jackets are. In fact, throughout the evening the topic surfaces continually in various forms: how to wash and dry your jacket, how to add extra pockets, how to mend it, and so forth. Some of the club members notice you don’t have a jacket. ‘You really need a jacket for these activities,’ they tell you. ‘Why don’t you have one yet?’
“… This analogy … serve[s] to show how awkward it can sometimes feel to be a single member of a conventional ward.”1
Fortunately, there are family wards in which single members feel included and know that their contributions are valued. I hope this is true in all of our residential stakes.
My favorite former single is my wife, Kristen. I have asked her to share some remarks.
For more insights from Kristen M. Oaks and her 53 years of experience being a single member in the Church, check out A Single Voice.
In a Church that is focused on family, singles can feel somewhat discounted and discouraged. Oftentimes the very resources meant to support people can inadvertently cause pain. A Single Voice addresses these concerns and offers valuable insights, personal reflections (including the story of the author's courtship and marriage to Elder Oaks), and rich advice for living life to the fullest as a single member.