Mallory Everton: Single in the Church Pt. 1
Last week, we heard two young single adult women discuss their experience as Latter-day Saints but this week, we get the male perspective as “All In” host Erin Hallstrom sits down with two single Latter-day Saint men.
MORGAN JONES: Being young, single, adult members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presents a unique circumstance. And while we are all different, there seem to be some common themes in the perspective of what it's like to be a young single adult in 2019. I'm Morgan Jones, a 29-year-old single member of the church and I recently sat down with Mallory Everton, another 29-year-old single member of the church to discuss being single in the church.
Mallory Everton gained recognition as part of the original cast of the wildly popular BYU TV sketch comedy show, Studio C. Along with her fellow original cast members, she is now working to develop and create content for JK studios, a family-friendly comedy network. You're listening to All In, an LDS Living podcast where we ask the question, what does it mean to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I'm Morgan Jones, and I'm so excited to have this conversation with Mallory today. Mallory, thanks so much for being here with us.
MALLORY EVERTON: Hi, thanks for having me.
MJ: Well, I am excited to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart, because I'm living it, which is being a young single adult in the church. I think that this is something where people have, they think of like two extremes. So one is this very glamorous, like, "I do what I want, I don't care about anybody else," which I think is an extreme. And then on the flip side, you have Mary Bailey, and "It's a Wonderful Life," like the lonely librarian walking out and she just looks like her life is miserable. So for you, what does your life look like as a young single adult in the church?
ME: Um, yeah, I think that you're kind of nailing it. It's so interesting, people make a lot of assumptions about single people. Obviously, you know, people are always trying to figure out why you're single and what's going on there and all of that, but—
MJ: What is wrong with you?
ME: Exactly, "What's wrong with you?" Like some people coming up and point-blank asking, "Why aren't you married?" Which is such a complicated question to answer.
MJ: And very personal like, you wouldn't ask people that about other things.
ME: I know, I know. It's very interesting, like, but I think my life is basically just like everyone else's. Which is, I think one thing that I would love people to take away from this podcast. You know, my life is complicated, and sometimes exhausting, and sometimes lonely. I think just like anybody, and sometimes super fulfilled, and sometimes super overwhelming. I think there's this misconception that single people, if they're not married and if you don't have children, then you don't have anything. And that's really not how it works. I think everybody has emotional needs and like human connection needs, and when those doors closed, other doors open. So I fill that time, like those human connection times, with my siblings, or my nieces and nephews, or my friends. And so you get to be closer to people in your life. So your life isn't, isn't like--
MJ: It's like a trade-off.
ME: It's a trade-off. And I think a lot of people just picture all those doors slamming shut and you're alone by yourself in a room. That's not true at all, at least hopefully not true. I hope that people aren't sectioning themselves off in that way. What really happens is that other doors open instead, and you get to know your parents better, and you get to know your coworkers better and you get to do these different social human connection things. But they're not that different from the experiences that married people have, I don't think so at least.
MJ: Yeah, no, I totally agree with you. I think it's interesting because I think, just like everything else in life, we tend to create these like artificial barriers and think that we're all so different and we can't relate. But in reality, it's like, if you would take the time to talk to me about something other than like-- over Christmas, I got frustrated because every holiday party that my family went to, people would say, how's your job? And I'm like, you're all talking to each other about all these different things. I could talk about those things, too, you know. So I think that we do ourselves a disservice when we focus on where we're different, rather than where we're the same and where we can relate.
ME: The thing too, I feel like we never really, that the people aren't really thinking about is that there are just seasons in people's lives and being single is something that I think people, I don't know, people think it's a state that lasts forever. And maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but people think the same thing about marriage, maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. We're all in flux, all of us, all the time.
MJ: Everything could change.
ME: Yeah, everything could always change. So I'm, I'm just intrigued by all of it, that's all.
MJ: Yeah, same. Well, and I think too, part of them, you know, focusing on the fact that we feel like a minority is the result of like, in primary, we never think about the possibility that we could not get married and have kids when we're in our early 20s. Because that's what we are taught to want. And so I think it's, there's got to be some kind of balance there. I think we maybe as a culture can do a better job of preparing people for that possibility.
ME: Yeah, I feel pretty lucky because I felt like I had a few really powerful single, female examples in my church life in Portland. So I felt really lucky because I think that I, hopefully, haven't struggled with being single as much as I could have if I didn't have them in my life. I had a Beehive leader who was also a teacher when I was a Laurel, who was single, and it was always just, she was like, writing a book and she had all these like, really cool exotic pets. And she would like take us on drives, and we would get Jones soda and she was just so cool. And she was really good at relating to us and talking to us and I just remember thinking like, that is an option. Not that it's, you know, that you can live your life happily, even if you don't fit the kind of "Mormon mold." And I also had a sister, well she's my brother-in-law's sister, but she was just kind of your, you know, beautiful, talented, hilarious, and very smart. You know, she, she went to medical school, she just kind of kept living her life and kept getting better and better and I think people kept thinking, "This girl's amazing, what wrong with everyone?"
MJ: "Why isn't she married?"
ME: Yes, exactly. And growing up with somebody like that in my life and just thinking like, well, "Katie Garvin is amazing so that that must mean that it doesn't have anything to do with whether or not you're amazing." So I think examples like that are super, super helpful. And yeah, I don't know, on my good days, I hope I can be an example like that. And not just for young girls, but also for like, all people. Just remember that being single doesn't mean that you're pathetic, or that there's something wrong with it.
MJ: Yeah. Well, I feel like I've recently-- I don't feel like I grew up with a ton of people that were in that life situation. But in the past few years, there have been people that are kind of, like just a little bit older than me and I've admired them so much and the way that they, like you said, continue to live your life and become better and progress. And I've often thought like, I'd like to be like them. Another thought that I've had, though, is that I hope, like if, I should say when— for the power of positive thinking, right? Like when I get married and move from this single-stage, I hope that I remember what this felt like. Because I think that so many people like it's like, they get married and they forget, like that they were ever single and what that felt like, and so that's another thought that I've had,
ME: I do feel like there is a thing where it's like, "Oh, I remember what that was like." And the funny thing too is that a lot of people in our community were single for, you know, like two or three years, like or maybe five. And, you know, I'm going on like 11 years. Snd I'm talking from 18 on, like eligible for marriage on. And a lot of people don't spend that much time in that phase so they're like, "Oh, yeah, I went on four dates before I met my husband and it was awful." I get it, I don't ever want to dismiss anyone's experience because everybody's is valid, but it's so interesting how people forget. And I also feel like this thing happens where they start setting you up with guys that they would never date.
MJ: Yes, yeah.
ME: Would you have dated this person? Well, it's just that they're single and you're single and you have that in common.
MJ: You're nice and he's nice, so I think you'd be a match.
ME: I go on so many blind dates. I have been set up so many times, I would say it's like the majority of my experience.
MJ: I thought you were gonna say the majority of your existence.
ME: The majority of my existence, definitely not. But the majority of my dating experience has come out of blind dates, which is exhausting. But it's because of that thing where it's like, you're single, how is this possible? I know someone else who's single. That's your defining characteristic, which I pray is not true. I would pray that before people think single, they're thinking other things like fun, smart.
MJ: I heard once where somebody said, you know, "Nobody wants to be defined by something that they're not." So you don't want to be defined as being not married, you know, like, define me as the things that I am, not by the things that I'm not. Well and I think one thing that I always appreciate, going back to what you said before, about how long people are single is, I always appreciate anybody's effort to be empathetic and to try to understand that. I think, in my family, I hate to throw my dad under the bus because he is the greatest, like, he is so great. But he got married when he was 21. And so a lot of times, I feel like he just cannot relate. And my mom recently said, she's like, "well, he can't relate. You know, he never was even close to that situation. He got married right off his mission."
ME: Well, and with our parents, there's a new phase of life now. And it's not just in the church, it's obviously everywhere. Like, you used to go from being a daughter to a wife very quickly. And, you know, if you were lucky, you were a student in there for a second. But now there's a whole section where it's like you're a young adult, and being a young adult means you're basically like, it's like the puberty of your adulthood. It's a new thing that's happening.
MJ: Well and I think we need to do a better job at like, preparing people for that and helping them embrace that period. Because I do think you're right, I think it's like a new thing that people aren't-- they're not used to. And the generation before us doesn't even know how to prepare us for it, because they didn't experience it.
ME: Well, I think we would be like, the thing is that dating is changing. And people are changing. I mean, some of it is technology, some of its culture, but people are not dating the same way they used to. It's very clear that people are not dating the way they did in the 70s, for example. And people aren't settling down at the same age. And then also, like, technology isolates us from each other in a lot of ways. We're less connected, even though we think we're connected, it's this weird, like hollow connection and a lot of ways. You know, people meet people on apps all the time, or they like, catch up with someone on Facebook that they haven't seen for 10 years, that's great. But for every story like that, there's a person who, like goes to work, and goes home and never sees anybody. And how are you supposed to meet people when that's your life, you know, where do you meet people? Anyway, I think I would be very surprised if there weren't more single millennials in like, 20-30 years than there were of any previous generation. It just seems like more and more being like, the numbers are climbing. And there are more single people, I have so many single friends who are extremely eligible people.
MJ: Well and I think that's another thing that's interesting is, I feel like I sometimes think that people think, "Oh like you only look out for yourselves." And I think I was guilty of thinking that about some people that were a little bit older than me and single when I was in like my early 20s. But that has not been my experience at all like my experience is we take care of each other. And it's remarkable, like it's a neat thing to be a part of, and to see how when you need something, you're sick, somebody brings you soup, you need a ride somewhere, somebody gives you-- like you all give each other rides to the airport, because you don't have a spouse to do that. And I think that it's kind of this interesting experience and something that I've been grateful for, to see how many great single people there are.
ME: Well, yeah, and that's the thing like I was saying before if you don't create it with a husband and with kids, you create it with other people. You create a family elsewhere, or whatever it is, like a close unit of--basically a support system, you know. You don't have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving. Welcome, Friendsgiving. It's a whole new thing and it's happening everywhere in the world, well in America where they celebrate Thanksgiving. International Friendsgiving in Dubai, in Manchester, England, whatever.
MJ: It's a beautiful thing. And I think going back again, to like, people's effort to understand, I've had two friends recently. One was my college roommate, and she got married right out of college, and we were having a conversation and she said, she like, stopped in the middle of the conversation and just said, "I'm trying to be empathetic." And she's like, "I know that I don't understand." And she's like, "but I really am trying." And like, for me, I was like, thank you, you know, that means so much to me in a situation where sometimes I'm like, I don't think anybody understands outside of the people that are in it, you know. And then another recent conversation, I was going home for Christmas and I was talking to a friend that's married and has kids and everything in the airport on the phone, and she said, "I hope you enjoy this time with your family." She's like, "I know that I probably don't understand what it's like to be in your situation. But I also think like what a cool blessing to be able to go home and spend time with your siblings," you know, and I was like, thanks. I really, really appreciated it. And so I think sometimes like we give people a bad rap for their inability to relate, but in reality, like there are people that are trying so hard.
ME: Yes. And I think I think you gotta give a shout out to those people and be grateful. And honestly, be as understanding as possible always. I mean, I think we're definitely in our current American culture, getting a little trigger happy about like hoisting people up for every single mistake they make. So I think--
MJ: Looking for every reason to be offended.
ME: Yes, absolutely every reason to say that this person is somehow like marginalizing single people, or single women, or whatever it is. But I think most people are trying their best. And always, I feel like I have grown more resilient from a lot of the things that people ask and say, about things that are very personal. I mean, all that stuff, I think helps with building resilience. But I think it also helps you build understanding, you know, everybody is just trying to do their best. And when you're kind of like the person who's in this seat, who could potentially get offended, you have all this power to be actually just to have some compassion. And remember that everyone, their situation is different from yours, just the way like you can't totally relate to all of their, like grief and pain and problems and joy and you know, we're just trying to relate to each other.
MJ: Well that's something too that I've thought about recently, like, how can I better try to understand like my young mother friends?
ME: I know. I feel like I try so hard, the closest I can get is that I know what it's like to be super sleep deprived.
ME: And need to do-- need to function at all right. Or to try and take care of yourself like when you've got too many things that you're juggling. But yeah, it is a stretch, like I don't totally understand. I know nursing is awful. Like, I know, it's awful. I know that pumping is a very painful thing. You know, like all these things I'm learning about motherhood. Sleep training-- you gotta Ferber-ize. I feel like I have been around my sisters and girlfriends for long enough to like, by osmosis learn some stuff, but man alive.
MJ: Yeah, I've tried to just pick up as much as I can from like watching my little sister become a mom, because I'm like, this is an advantage. I'll have learned some things by just watching her. So one thing that I often think about, Mallory, is how I used to, and we've kind of touched on this earlier, but I used to look at people, and I remember this, in their mid-20s. And I would think she is not married and I feel so sorry for her, like so sorry. You know, and I think back on that and I'm like, I didn't even know what I was feeling sorry for. I had no idea, like, it's not that I'm not married, it's like these other things that are attached to that. And so I don't like, I don't think I had any idea what it would actually be like, do you feel that?
ME: Yeah, I mean, I feel like I remember that too. And, you know, so much of that has to do with belonging to such a family-centered church, that just, it makes a ton of sense. We love and appreciate families, that is a completely positive thing, but I think every positive thing can be like, you know, balance and all things, and every positive thing can be taken to an extreme that causes an unhealthy paradigm. And I think that's kind of what happens, right? You get to this ideal in your mind, which is-- I mean, and I was the youngest of six. So I watched a bunch of my siblings gets married and pretty young, like my sisters both married their high school sweethearts. As they should have, too, they're the best guys in the world, I love them so much. And they just happened to meet them when they were like 13 and that's great. I'm never jealous. But I feel like you get the idea that there is this ideal and that anyone outside of that ideal must be sad, you know because they don't have the ideal. And to a certain extent, sure, like loneliness is a thing. And when you're living on your own maybe that is, I mean, that is something obviously that I deal with, that I feel lonely sometimes. Sometimes I wish I had someone to come home to and complain to, other than like a body pillow. My roommates great too, but we just have really different schedules. But I think it's all really just about perception and I think that that it's in our power to change. I think that it's within our power to change the perception that any life is ideal because everyone is having a hard time. And I think that's one of the dangers, right? When you say marriage is the ideal, when I'm married, I'll finally be happy, you are setting yourself up for disaster.
MJ: For disappointment.
ME: Like, I just, I'm so grateful for a lot of the things that I had been learning as just an adult woman who has just had to do things on her own. But also had to learn like, wow, I really think that if I got married when I was 20, I would have been getting married because I needed someone to think I was great because I didn't think I was great. And that would have been the reason and so they're all these unhealthy things that you can kind of weed out as you start to-- and I think you can do that while you're married too, you can work through your personal baggage and everything while you're married too. But that "I'll be happy when I'm married," that is the end, that is the big successful accomplishment. I think that is one of my biggest pet peeves in the church culture, it's that marriage is treated like an accomplishment, like you won a race, or graduated, Yeah, you got a Peabody Award or something like that. But it's not really necessarily an accomplishment, I think of really like having a healthy marriage, that's a huge accomplishment, it takes a ton of work. A lot of communication, a lot of like humility and getting over stuff and communicating about things that are awkward to communicate about, great. That's an accomplishment. But just getting married, like just being like, "I did it, I met someone in a bookstore, and that means I'm more together than you are." That's not true. That's not true. It's not an accomplishment. It's just a circumstance, hopefully, a happy one. But it could be an unhappy one too, just the way being single is. It's a circumstance, it's really not anything about you, it is the path you're on. And I think the more that we can kind of speak up in the culture and try and kind of work those kinds of things. And people who have felt outside of the norm, which I think most people do. I don't care if you fit like the perfect Mormon standard, you probably feel outside the norm in one way, if not 100 ways. And we need to continue to be genuine and authentic about that stuff as we talk together in our community.
MJ: Yeah, I'm with you 100%, I think it's interesting. One thing that I was talking yesterday, so my boss here at LDS Living is also single, and we were having a conversation about how this idea of like, this is a necessary experience for you like this is something that maybe you needed it to be ready for marriage. And she's like, I firmly reject that and I decided that's true. Because I look at like my little sister just got married, she's 21 and she just got married and I'm like, you cannot tell me that she was more ready for marriage than I am. But, I will say this, I am a much different person now than I was at 21. And so am I grateful for that time? Do I think that it will make me a better person in the end? Yes. But do I think like it was a necessary thing for me to be ready for marriage? Probably not. Do you have any thoughts on that?
ME: So many thoughts, just because that is a thing that happens quite a bit. And I think it's so unhealthy. Because basically what it sets single people up for is, when you finally learned the lesson, then he or she will come into your life, you'll finally have earned them or whatever. First of all, it's a human being, it's not like a blue ribbon, or whatever. And that's really, really not how it works. I think it's pretty clear that this life is chaos and I think that making sense of stuff like that by saying, "Oh, I didn't learn the lesson that I needed to learn, and it's my fault," is so unhealthy, you know.
MJ: And so much of it is at the mercy of someone else's agency.
ME: You can't do that, you're giving up all of the power and control you have to be happy with your life. And instead just saying, have I learned it yet, have I learned it yet, like every single day. But I completely agree with you. Being grateful for the experiences that I've had as a single person is not the same thing as thinking, "Oh, maybe that's why. Maybe that's why I'm still alone because I had to learn those lessons. And I wasn't as good as everybody else who got married young, because I hadn't learned that yet." Like it's just not true. It's just not the way it is. I think the most important and healthiest thing you can do is just embrace your own path. Like the path is different, everyone's path is different. Stop trying to make it look like someone else's. Because a weird cobbled together version of your next-door neighbor's path will be so much less fun than your own path. Do your own path. And it's not your fault. Nothing is your fault. There's nothing wrong with it, I can't say that enough. Just because I feel like there is so much, "Oh, I can tell why this person single," or, "Yeah, I mean, if she could just learn to not be so picky." But is it really that? Is it really, really that? Like, how often is someone alone because they are just such a mess? Because I know hundreds of messes who are married and they are happy, or it's working or whatever. It doesn't really have anything to do with you. Just embrace your life, embrace the experiences you feel good about, forget about all that other stuff and stop blaming yourself.
MJ: Yeah, well I'm over here like, "Preach!" No, but it's true. And I had an interesting thing happen like a year ago, I had gone through a tough breakup and I was working in the temple at the time. And in Salt Lake they have like a million temple workers, right? And they have like certain spots where you're really not doing anything. Like your job is to say "hello," when people walk past. So I was in one of those spots and it's a lot of thinking time. And I had this very distinct impression that like my grandma was like talking, which sounds nuts. But my grandma and I were really, really close and I've had several experiences like this. But one of the things that came to my mind, and maybe it was just me who knows? But I had been feeling like I was doing something wrong, that there was something wrong with me and that's why that relationship didn't work out, which now you know, like you get a year out and you're like, oh, there were tons of reasons that didn't work out and thank goodness. But I was sitting there, and all of a sudden this thought came to me and it was like, "you're not doing anything wrong. You're doing everything right." And I was just like, thank you. And I've relied on that a lot. Like just that thought you're not doing anything wrong, you're doing everything right, and just keep trying to do those things. Because those will benefit you, whether in a marriage or just in your life, like your efforts to be good or not, in hopes that you'll receive some blessing. I think sometimes we take that scripture and Doctrine and Covenants very literally where it talks about like, there's a blessing attached to every commandment. And we think that we know what that blessing is, right? What the blessing tied to the commandment is and in reality, we don't. So the blessing may be very different. But I know for me, and I'm curious about what you feel like you've learned, but like one thing that I was telling my boss the other day, when we were having this conversation is I said, you know, "I feel like I care about other people. Like sometimes I'll just break down crying for other people." And I'm like, what is wrong with me because 19-year-old Morgan would not have done that. 19-year-old Morgan was like, in her own little world and kind of self-consumed and still sometimes am. But I think now I feel things for other people a lot more. I'm a lot more compassionate than I used to be and that's one thing that I know has come as a result of this time in my life. Are there things that you feel like you've specifically learned as a result of being single?
ME: Oh man, I mean, I feel like there have been a lot of things that I've learned. Some of it, I don't know if it's necessarily just being single, some of it is just getting older and having hard experiences and everything. But I think that there's something, man I'm like nervous about using the word lonely too much, because I'm afraid of walking-- like this is so funny, but I'm afraid of walking away from this podcast and having people think of me as a lonely spinster. You know, is always covered in cat hair or whatever, and like having a cat doesn't make you a spinster, I don't have one, I'm just saying people are allowed to have cats and still be people. And even the fact that spinster is a term like, Is there a term like that for men? No. Eligible bachelor, maybe? I mean, I guess in the church, it's "menace to society," which is so unhealthy. Like, I cannot talk about that enough. Like, how could we possibly do that to our men, I feel terrible. But that gets thrown around, hopefully, less and less. Yeah, that like after 25, a man is a menace to society, that's insane, to me. But I feel like loneliness is a great teacher because loneliness is what I think we all feel when we're going through a trial that we don't know whether or not other people can relate to. So if at some point on this road, being single has taught me something about loneliness, which of course it has, I'm grateful for it. Not to say like, bring on the loneliness, I hope I'm lonely, always. But I do think that that is a very, very relatable human emotion that people experience regularly and when they're married too. And I think that when you're-- the loneliness that you experience, when you're married, in some ways, must be harder, like you're sitting with this person that you've picked, and they don't understand everything about you. And that's hard, you know. So I think the same thing, I think that that being in this experience has made it easier to relate to people. And I think that it's taught me a lot about trusting, trusting God, trusting my own path and I guess trusting myself, too. And I feel like you said earlier that you're grateful for the lessons you've learned, not that they were the reason why you're still single. But I do feel like 29-year-old Mallory is a better catch than 21-year-old Mallory. That I'm confident about. And I think that that should be encouraging to everyone who is still on their own and would like to be with someone or is hoping to at least like find someone to date. That you're you're turning into a better and better catch. So just like, keep going.
MJ: Yeah, yeah, I love that. I think that one thing that we should probably just clear the air and say this is not intended to be a pity party, you know, and I don't feel sorry for myself. Most of the time I don't, sometimes I do, you know, sometimes I'm guilty of that. But I think sometimes when we like post things on social media, or we try to be open and have this conversation, people think that they need to chime in and be like, "You'll find somebody," you know, and it's like, no, that's not the reason that I posted this. I posted this so that other people will know that they're not alone in it, you know. I posted this, so maybe you can better understand how I'm feeling and I hope you'll post what you feel so I can better understand how you're feeling, or we can have a conversation about it. And so full disclosure, this conversation is not intended to be a pity party.
ME: My like, main reason for wanting to talk about this subject at all, partially is for that purpose. Like I think sometimes when you want to talk about like, yeah, I mean, this is an interesting thing about being single, you kind of seem like, "Oh, I'm single, like, I have to go to the zoo by myself," or whatever, which is not really the point. I think you're just, "Hey, this is my circumstance and I'm talking about it." And if I could achieve anything with this discussion that we're having, it would just be to make somebody feel better about it, like, it doesn't really need to be as much of a trial, as it might feel like sometimes, or potentially. And, you know, I'm not trying to be too hard on like, the culture, but the culture creates a paradigm that makes it seem like more of a trial than it really needs to be. Like our lives are just stocked full of opportunity every single day and if we feel like we're not lucky to be living in like middle-class circumstances, or middle class or around there, or whatever, like able to take care of yourself, able-bodied, able to use all of your senses, and you feel like being single is like the main like giant trial that will never get off your back. I understand, sometimes it feels like a huge weight on me too. Like, am I ever gonna-- am I always going to do I have to do all of this by myself is a question I have definitely asked and would love an answer to. But at the same time, like if I don't take advantage of every single day that I have, I think that I'm going to regret that. I think in 10 years, I'm going to think man, I was so young and I had all of this like energy and potential and I had all those great friends and I spent some of my days really sad because I was alone. And that is such a waste.
ME: It's such a waste.
MJ: My cousin got married in her late 20's and she said that it was so interesting because she's like the moment that her now-husband proposed, the first thought that went through her mind was I wish that I had enjoyed more being single and that I hadn't been stressed out.
ME: That's haunting.
MJ: Yeah. It's like, that's your first thought? You know, like, obviously, she's super happy and like her husband's fantastic but like that was her first thought. And so often I've thought about that, like am I appreciating it for what it is? Am I embracing, like the opportunities that I have? Like you said, opportunities are there every day and if we're there feeling sorry for ourselves, we're going to miss them. What do you think, Mallory, we could do as members of the church to better prepare people for a life that they might not, or a situation where we're not going to act like this is going to last forever, for a situation that they may not have imagined growing up and is part of it helping people to imagine different possibilities?
ME: Yes. I mean, one thing for sure is kind of what I spoke to before, about being more conclusive about people who are living on different paths in our wards and in our communities. So like, more single, divorced, widowed, LGBTQ people in visible callings in the ward. I think that really helps. But honestly, and I think that that is extremely valuable but I think probably the most valuable thing that every individual can do, is being very genuine and honest about your experience that you're having. Be genuine, say what's hard for you, you know, when you're talking, when you're sharing a comment or when you're teaching or when you're you're speaking, don't assume that everyone else is living an ideal and that they don't feel the way you feel. Just talk about your experience, I think you'll be shocked by how many people come up, and they feel just like you do. Even if you are single and they're married, or whatever, you'll discover those similarities between each other. And I think that's the greatest gift you can give every community you're in is just your true and honest vulnerability. I know it's uncomfortable, but the more that we do that, the more that we're going to know, yeah, there is no norm, there is no norm. There's no like you can be married, but you could be really unhappily married, you can be married and he can die after two years. You could be married, and then it doesn't work out after 10 and then you're divorced and it's been 10 years and you feel like a failure, whatever it is. You know what I mean? Like, there are so many different ways that your life can twist and turn and there is no normal. And I think whatever we can do to just get rid of all of those labels. And the idea that some people are in the norm, and some people are out of it is like, that is huge. And that will happen as we continue to be just more honest about our experiences.
MJ: Yeah. I mentioned before that we're, did I mentioned this before? That we're in the same young single adults stake. And I wondered what your experience in a young single adult word has been like. And one thing that I heard somebody say, and this was right after I got home from my mission, and at that point, I thought, like, I'm going to get married in six months, this is going to be great. So I don't know why this stuck out to me and has stuck with me since then, but somebody said it takes a lot of work to be happy about being somewhere everyone says you shouldn't be. How do you feel about that statement?
ME: It makes me deeply sad. I think things are changing. I think people are dating differently. And the only reason I don't go to a family ward right now is because it's a wonderful place to make friends. And I'm interested in having peers and like-minded friends and it's a great opportunity. Like I said, it's super hard to meet people and meeting people at church is great. It's hard not to feel like you're sort of corralled into a community that you're allowed to, quote-unquote, graduate from once you once you've quote succeeded unless you turn 31 and then we give up on you because we assume that you failed. To me, it's like that is there are so many things about that. I'm 29, so I have like a year and a half left, for example. So it's like I'm expiring as a woman. And there's something really, really unfortunate about that and I don't think anyone is intending that, but that is happening. I would love for that to be one of President Nelson's many changes. Just because it is one of those things that I feel like is communicating so many unhealthy things, it's really not helping our single community. Like I went to a mid-singles ward a couple months ago because I went with a friend who is a little older and she's amazing. And she brought me to this ward and there were like 700 people in there. Like it was like a huge, giant, like, room full of single people. And I just thought, one part of me was like, this is amazing. All of these people are wanting to find somebody, But at the same time, I was like all of these people are just shoved into this giant room to like--
MJ: How much could they be contributing?
ME: And how much could they be contributing on people like you and I who are going to grow up and be single? We need more single people in our, we need like more people reminding everyone that there's not just one way to live.
MJ: Why do you think that personal revelation is important? That's something I think it's interesting how President Nelson has taught so much about that, about the importance of receiving personal revelation. And I have felt like that is particularly important for me as a young single adult to recognize how the Lord communicates with me. How have you seen that?
ME: Um, you know, I think it's valuable for absolutely everyone. You know, and I think that I mean, I've definitely been in situations before where people I have trusted have said, like, really nice hopeful things about, I'm sure you can relate to this. But you know, "Mallory, you're so beautiful, or you're so talented, and you're still fun like you're doing definitely going to get married, I'm not worried about you. I'm worried about other people, but I don't worry about you," or whatever. I've had people say things like that to me. And the thing is, that they might be wrong. And so as far as personal revelation goes, like, you're really the only person who can figure out your own path. And there are people who are like, that girl, so great, she deserves marriage, or whatever. It's like, that's great. But there are a lot of amazing women throughout history and men throughout history, who had partners for a brief time but spent a lot of their lives alone. And we don't need to be sad about it, we can enjoy it, there's a lot to enjoy. And so I feel like you need to be kind of the master of your own plan, you and God. And if you don't believe in God, then it's you and whatever you do believe in. And I feel like you've got to, you've got to figure out that that out yourself because everyone else is just, they're just like kind of guessing. And you're the only person who really has the reins. And so I think it's important to just take that responsibility on yourself. I don't think it needs to be too much pressure, It's actually I think, a wonderful, wonderful thing at the end of the day that you can learn to trust yourself, trust your path, and you can hear things like that from other people and still think you know what, I feel good about my life, I feel good about what I'm doing, I feel like validated by God in the path that I'm on. And it just, it helps with all that resilience we've been talking about with all the different things that people say.
MJ: Yeah. Well, when you were talking, I was thinking about how the only thing that I feel like we really can say that we deserve or don't deserve is God's love. And God's love is there for us, regardless of whether or not we deserve it. And so that, just thinking about that takes pressure off of us. Like, just be yourself, like God is going to love you regardless and that's, that's the most important thing. Mallory, how would you say that the gospel has blessed your life through this experience, and just in your life in general?
ME: Oh, man it's a big question. I would just say that I feel that the gospel has blessed my life, because it's given me a place to go. And I know that maybe doesn't sound super warm and fuzzy. But I think often about that passage where Christ asks the disciples if they're going to leave also, and they're like, "Where else would we go?" And I feel like, faith feels like that a lot of the time where you're like, I don't know where else I would go. And I feel really grateful for the gospel because it has given me a place to go. And even when I'm not positive about absolutely every aspect of the church or about the gospel, I have a place to go and find peace. And I think that that has been extremely valuable in my life, just to be able to go somewhere, to go to church to go to my scriptures, to get on my knees, and be able to find peace, and kind of find that, like, faithful center, where I can feel like everything is going to be okay. And I think I mean, it's a very, like, basic, basic way of talking about faith. But I feel like that is at the root of it for me, that it's the place that I go for peace. And peace is the only way to get through the day for me. And so I feel like I'm grateful for the gospel because it has gotten me through the worst days of my life.
MJ: Yeah. You mentioned before, how 31 is the end of young, single adult, and it's fast approaching. And sometimes there's this tendency to feel like you're expiring. And I don't know about you, but I've had several friends leave the church right around that age because they feel that. And it's so much pressure and you feel like the walls are closing in around you. And I can, yeah, I can imagine that, you know, I'm to the point where it makes sense, I get it. But I also think that there are so many people that make a conscious decision in that space, to embrace the gospel for what it is, and maybe let go of some of that cultural pressure that they feel and instead focus on what the gospel is at its root. Mallory, we ask this question at the end of each one of these podcasts, and it is just what does it mean to you, personally, to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
ME: I think that for me being all in in the Gospel just has a lot with has a lot to do with just choosing to be a person of faith. And there are a lot of days where that can be a hard choice, because there are, well, religion is like, dying out in the world in so many ways. And it's not very in vogue to be a person who gets through the day with faith. But I just think that for me, being all in is making the choice to do that anyway. And being able to say, I'm a person who today is going to choose to find meaning in the things in my life, the trials in my life, and the things I don't understand, instead of not finding meaning. And so when you break it down like that, I feel like it's a pretty logical decision, actually, that having faith provides you with an opportunity to find meaning where there wouldn't be any otherwise. And I think that's what it's all about for me. It's just I would like to be able to, when I'm in a hard situation, or I'm having a difficult time, choose that there's a reason and choose that there is someone who understands, that God is with me that he understands, instead of just saying this is crummy, I'm unhappy, and yeah. I hope that you know, I don't know, I'm just gonna like, flameout here at the end.
MJ: Just fade out.
ME: Can you just like, I'm going to keep talking, I'm going to ramble and you just like slowly turned down the audio.
MJ: Thank you so much. I think that was beautiful. And I think that you have provided so many great thoughts. So thank you so much for being here with us.
A big shout out to Mallory for joining us on this week's episode of All In. Don't forget to check out JK Studios on YouTube for the latest and what Mallory's working on and for more episodes of All In, visit www.LDSliving.com/allin. Lastly, if you have enjoyed this podcast thus far, please leave us a rating or review on iTunes and don't forget to subscribe. Thank you.