As I have put together [a] series [of articles] on singles [in the Church], a theme has emerged. This theme has run through all articles and all experiences; it is the same theme I hear in conversation with single friends: condescension. Single members feel a sense of pity, shunning, and lower status in the church. Leaders and married members may or may not feel disregard for or disappointment in their single brothers and sisters, but they do communicate the message.
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The feeling of being weak, bad, or less-than is not new for any of us. From the very beginning – when Satan told Adam and Eve “they were naked” – the great deceiver whispers that we are naked, wrong, un-lovable. Single members receive this message in double portion from a church that values family and sealed couples above all else. . . .
Educating the majority population (the married members) about single members will do great good in opening spaces to integrate us, but I also believe that much of the integration work needs to come from the single side.
Expand the Image of Family
Another way to incorporate the single and married separation is to expand the image of family. It is natural (even, engrained) for Mormons to speak of family in terms of small sealed units: parents and children. Singles can raise the consciousness of this habitual behavior. We can speak up – and talk openly of our inclusion in all kinds of families: our biological family, our ward family, our chosen clan as family, our human family, and, most of all, God’s Family!