January 14, 2011

Happy Weekend to You

Though we usually try to keep the Friday post light and weekendy, this weekend we thought we'd address the recently published article in the NY Times, Single, Female, Mormon, Alone. We debated whether or not to post on the article at all. But since it's spreading like wildfire and we sort of promised to address being single and Mormon we thought it made sense.

There's been a vigorous email session going on in the back rooms of this blog, as there may be in your cyberworld as well, about this article. Many insightful and interesting comments were made, comments like:

-Anybody can find temporary happiness doing almost anything; anybody can say almost anything is the answer, and it will seem true to some people, for some time. But happiness that resonates to the core - that coincides with who we really are, our deepest identity - that is only found through obedience. Happiness is a revelatory process. In other words, Lehi's vision clearly indicates obedience is what leads to happiness, and Joseph Smith succinctly, and compellingly, taught that there is a PATH to happiness, that if followed leads to happiness. We don't seek happiness (per-say) itself; we pursue the PATH of happiness, which leads us to the fruit. ("Happiness is the object and design of our existence, and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it.") - Erin, 29 & single

- First, if needing a man for material possessions inclines a man to marriage and makes a woman more attractive I ought to have suitors lining up outside my door. - Sarah, 28 & single

-Wow...I think it is sad. Nothing negates the commandment of chastity, whether you are 15 or 50. Of course I can commiserate about the alone part, and I for sure would love to have a man in my life, to experience that passion and love. - Tressa, 32 (that is) & single

- I can't speak to being single. I was single for such a short period (I mean, I felt so old at 21 when I got married, but who was I kidding?) that I can't possibly relate to the pain or anxiety. But I will say this... I had very physical relationships with a couple of boyfriends before I got married. . . In that moment I didn't care, I was caught up in passion and feeling good and it wasn't in the forefront of my mind... but after I got married, and I experienced physicality in marriage, my paradigm shifted. I felt safe, loved, vulnerable (in a good way) and I felt like my physical and spiritual satisfaction increased exponentially because I had the blessings of commitment and love and eternity to it. But it was still difficult to overcome the guilt of physical affection before marriage. It created blocks that wouldn't have been there had I made some better choices. So my point is yes, physical affection can be gratifying. It can feel great. But unless you are married it's only for a short time. And then comes the cycle of looking for that gratification over and over again to fill a void that can only be filled by having a sanctified sexual relationship and a companion to accompany you through life's trials. - Married, 28 years old

- I just want to add that an IUD would not equal freedom (has she heard of STDs?) and that an uncommitted relationship like she would have sounds hellish to me. Being single until I was 29 was frustrating but worth it. Being single until 39 would have been more trying, and my whole life single, well, I hope just eventually find the "key" or answer to it all more clearly and it would be okay. :) Marriage is equally as trying for me as being single was, but holds a specific and great fulfillment for what it is. I'm incalculably grateful for the opportunity. Doing what she did isn't and could not be a path to happiness. - Marie, 32 & married

-Oh geez, that's super depressing. I know how she feels. I think we'll see more single women in the church marrying non-members (through direction of the Spirit) and adopting children who need homes in the future. The Bible prophesies that this won't be just an LDS problem. In the last days women will be begging for guys to marry them in and out of the church. Men won't be marrying (partially thanks to the stores she references). I don't know if she'll find what's she's looking for more easily just because she's willing to take less in the short run. I don't think giving up and accepting less than full, committed love is an answer that will bring much happiness, certainly not lasting happiness. Life isn't that long and I've made it this far. I'd rather wait. - Me, 34 & single

- "Those who have not found their true wealth, which is the radiant joy of Being and the deep, unshakable peace that comes with it, are beggars, even if they have great material wealth. They are looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love, while they have a treasure within that not only includes all those things but is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer..." - Kaydence, quoting Eckhart Tolle

After several days of sending responses back and forth a friend on the email chain sent the article to her mother for comment. Her mother's response seemed to sort of transcend anything that had been said in our discussion. I can't put my finger on it quite but it seemed to bring us all back to the heart of things. It reminded me how powerful it is to have the wisdom of different generations and perspectives. I've added the link to the letter above. Thanks again, Carrie's mom, for your heartfelt response.

Certainly the pain of being single is real and I'm grateful for the validation of some of that pain by this article, but as my dear friend, a convert and single woman, said to me yesterday, "I enjoyed my sexual relationships before I joined the church, and one day I will have both, but what I've gained in terms of peace and understanding of who I am because of the gospel is far more precious to me."

much love, Liz

5 comments:

  1. Hmm, I like being 28 instead of 32. :)

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  2. I can't get over that response from "Carrie's Mom". I have sent it all over the place to married and single women alike. I have been a reader of your blog since day 1, and my gratitude for the things you post here grows with each post. Please continue to be bold in your insights and trust your instincts for what you should post... because there are not many places where I can go to feel like the writers have "been there" and are wonderful examples of the type of person I can hope to be. The church is great and our leaders give inspired lessons, but unfortunately there is not much of a "road map" for how to navigate, or the steps we should be taking, if we don't hit that "marriage" mile marker by 25. I have learned much from your examples already, and at 26 I know I have a lot to learn still. Thank you, and keep it up!

    Katelin
    (Elle's husband's dad's brother's daughter ;)

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  3. Kate, thank you so much for your sweet and thoughtful comments! It means really so much to hear from you. You've made our day :). Thank you for taking the time to write them. Liz

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  4. I don't know if anybody's still checking this post, but I'm part of a blog that's commenting on the same article this week (we're a little behind the times. You can check it out at mormonperspectives.com

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  5. Thanks, Linds! There has been an interesting response to this article all over the LDS world.

    Heather sent the full versions of our responses above to Nicole Hardy, the author of the article. She replied with more about her position but it was mostly the same information. I think it's sad that she left a religion she believed in due to one doctrine that, though incredibly difficult to live, is one that will lead us to more happiness and protect us from real harm. I'm grateful for that, especially in a world that almost totally denies the deep damage promiscuity is causing.

    Sorry, more of the same from me, as well, but thank you for letting us know! Great to hear other voices in the discussion!

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