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Single but Not Alone: Sister Oaks Opens Up About the Highs and Lows of Being Single in the Church for 52 Years

As a friend of Sister Oaks noted: "Nursery children do not look to see if you have a ring on your finger as you wipe away their tears. It doesn’t take a wedding license to feed hungry Scouts or missionaries or shut-ins. Nowhere on the tithing slip do you indicate marital status as you contribute to the Church’s humanitarian service or Perpetual Education Fund. And they don’t have two doors at the temple — one for couples and one for singles. We are a Church that needs faithful workers. I’ve been blessed because I had priesthood leaders who knew this."

I have a vested interest in single adults because I spent so much of my life as a single woman. My name is Kristen Meredith McMain Oaks. I married President Dallin H. Oaks, now of the First Presidency and then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, when I was almost 53 years old. I rejoiced during my single years, and I suffered through them too, while I was discovering what Heavenly Father wanted for me. He was blessing me with adequate time and experience to build a solid and sure testimony.

“To remain active, a single member has to develop a deep and abiding testimony of gospel truths rather than depending solely on Church programs for happiness,” wrote one Church member from Los Angeles, California.

When we are single, our Church associations become especially meaningful to us. We look to our wards to provide not only a place to worship but also a place to socialize and be part of a ward family. Single members hold high expectations that their wards will be places of refuge, of personal growth and of spiritual renewal. The expectations for fellowship are high because we live in a world where social isolation is increasing. As Robert D. Putman, a Harvard political scientist, stated in his book, “America is fraying as people spend more time alone and we are becoming a nation of loners."

Lead image from Church News
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