Tag Archives: single adults

Introducing Paul Green, Advice Columnist for LDS Single Friends

We’re pleased to introduce Paul Green, our new advice columnist for LDS Single Friends. Paul has been well prepared by the Lord to take on this role and we hope that the LDS single adult community will take advantage of his insights and expertise. Here’s his bio below:

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Paul Green

Paul Green

Paul Green is a renaissance man in every sense of the word, he is an entrepreneur, actor, comedian, musician, athlete, humanitarian, writer and much more. He served a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in Cleveland Ohio and upon returning noticed a cultural shift in the church regarding marriage, divorce, dating, relationships, and parenting. Through his experience serving in the LDS church, he had the opportunity to meet and associate with many single adults from a variety of circumstances. Many of these singles would confide and open up to him, helping Paul gain a greater and deeper sympathy for the tremendous and heart wrenching challenges associated with being single parents and divorcees and the struggles of trying to date again after having extremely traumatizing experiences in their first marriages.    

As he learned how to listen with his whole heart to the challenges of others, Paul was also facing his own challenges as a single man in the LDS church. At the age of 33, Paul has never been married and has faced his own set of challenges as a single man, striving to live the gospel and serve in the kingdom of God while lacking one of the most significant pieces of a truly gospel centered life, a spouse and children. After struggling with dating and relationships after returning from his mission, he spent several years in intense study of relationships, communication, and human interaction to better understand why dating is such a challenge for so many, while it seems so natural for others. After many personal discoveries he began blogging some of his discoveries in a blog entitled, “dating difficulties.” This was his first attempt at writing for the benefit of others. Many expressed positive appreciation for his insights and comments, and one reader even offered to help him write and publish a book!

At about the same time that Paul began his quest to understand dating, he also discovered he had a natural gift and talent for improvisational comedy and performance. He started performing with a local improv troupe that performed regularly. As an improviser, he began to learn and utilize principles of leadership, communication, team building and creative thinking in his personal and professional relationships. He was also given the opportunity to teach workshops to help others find greater success in their own personal and professional lives. These opportunities, coupled with his life experiences, helped him discover his great passion for helping others find more creative and effective solutions to overcome the many challenges and trials that all of us face in mortality. 

Paul was put on this world to serve and love others with his whole heart, full of compassion, sympathy and understanding of any challenge that anyone can face in life. Whatever you are struggling with at this point in your life, whether it be illness, loneliness, depression, trials of faith, doubt, fear, apprehension, family concerns, divorce, singleness, financial, spiritual, emotional, struggles with same-gender attraction etc., his only desire is to help! Feel free to write in and see if Paul has any advice that will help you push through your current trial to receive the blessing that awaits all after the trial of faith!

Top 7 Ways That The Hunger Games Applies to LDS Youth and Single Adults

Featured image courtesy of http://hungergamesdwtc.net

Set in a dystopian future, the Hunger Games series have captivated millions through its portrayal of how courage, compassion, and selflessness can endure in the face of heartbreaking cruelty. With the new Hunger Games movie in theatres, I felt it would be appropriate to pay tribute to the series through this blog post (You saw what I did there).  Here are seven ways that lessons from the Hunger Games apply to LDS youth and single adults.

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1. You can beat the odds

“The odds are against me, but I have something in my favor—desire and faith.” – Cliff Cushman, a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic team.

Dating at BYU

Picture courtesy of Mormon Memes

We all have our own trials in life and for many LDS single adults, one of the most common challenges is finding their eternal companion. It’s sometimes easy to be discouraged and feel that we have a better chance of winning the Hunger Games compared to finding a spouse. However, discouraged LDS singles can benefit from the example of Katniss.

One of the defining characteristics of Katniss is that she never gives up. Despite being faced with fierce opposition, her courage, tenacity, and determination give her the strength to defy the odds and win the Hunger Games. Likewise, despite our personal challenges that may cause the odds to be against us, we can also triumph if we persevere and trust in the Lord.

2. Just like Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, we need to let our convictions shine forth to inspire others

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. “ – Matthew 5:16

LDS Girl on Fire

Picture courtesy of Mormon Memes

From the very beginning, Katniss distinguishes herself from the other tributes. Although her grand entrance as the “Girl on Fire” turns heads, what ultimately makes Katniss stand out is how her convictions influence the way she competes in the Hunger Games. In the midst of human brutality, Katniss shows compassion when she sings to her dying ally, Rue, before she buries her with flowers. By refusing to turn on Peeta at the end of the first Hunger Games, Katniss inspires thousands of people through her act of love and defiance.  

Because Katniss allows her courage, faith, and personal convictions to shine through to the people around her, she becomes the Mockingjay – a symbol of hope to the oppressed people of Panem. As Latter-day Saints, we can follow Katniss’ example through living in a way that allows the light of Christ to shine forth and inspire those around us. If we have the courage to stand for truth and righteousness, like Katniss, we can light a flame for others to follow. 

3. Love is unselfish and requires sacrifice

 “True love is based on personal unselfishness, but our modern world does not seem to understand this.”-Elder Theodore M. Burton

Katniss volunteers as tribute

Image courtesy of http://hungergamesdwtc.net/

Throughout the series, Katniss demonstrates an unselfish, Christ-like love for the people she cares about. Katniss volunteers for the Hunger Games to protect her sister Prim, she shields Gale when he’s being whipped, and during her second Hunger Games, she decides to sacrifice herself to save Peeta. This unselfish love is also demonstrated by Peeta, who tries to persuade Katniss to save herself during their second Hunger Games. After Peeta’s confession, it is only then that Katniss starts to realize her feelings for him. This love demonstrated in the Hunger Games is a stark contrast to the love often demonstrated in our society. 

Sadly, all too often, the type of so-called love we see is based on personal gratification and selfishness. But that’s not what true love really is – it’s about being unselfish and making personal sacrifices. As demonstrated by Katniss, if we develop this type of love, we can build a relationship strong enough to withstand any trial that threatens to tear us apart from the people we care for.

4. Katniss maintains her standards under pressure

“I do not believe there is a double standard of morality.” – President James E. Faust

Katniss maintains her composure

Image courtesy of http://hungergamesdwtc.net/

Throughout the series, Katniss is under a great deal of pressure to compromise her personal standards to survive. In the second Hunger Games, the tyrannical leaders of the Capitol hope that Katniss will compete mercilessly, and by doing so, discredit herself in the eyes of her supporters. Despite their cunning plan, Katniss refuses to play by the rules of someone else’s game. Although Katniss competes in the Hunger Games, she retains her humanity. She declines teaming up with bloodthirsty Career tributes, never kills anyone in cold blood, and refuses to betray her allies, even when it might be expedient to do so.

Katniss’ example is relevant to LDS youth and single adults, who are encouraged to maintain high standards in an increasingly wicked world. Because of the pressures we face, we might feel tempted to disregard our standards for the sake of worldly success or personal gratification. But as Katniss demonstrates, we don’t have to compromise who we are and what we stand for in order to win.  

5. Never underestimate the power of your influence

“One virtuous young woman, led by the spirit, can change the world.” – Sister Elaine Dalton, former General President of the Young Women’s organization.

Katniss Girl on Fire

Picture from Nonvieta, originally from http://nonvieta.deviantart.com/art/Burning-293063361

When Katniss first volunteered for the Hunger Games, she had no way of knowing how her actions would shape the lives of thousands of people. Ironically, Katniss doesn’t see herself as a role model to anyone – she has a stoic personality and feels that she has a hard time fitting in and making friends. Yet despite her perceived shortcomings, Katniss impresses the Gamemakers, wins the support of sponsors, and inspires thousands of people across the country. The courage, compassion, and humanity that Katniss demonstrates ultimately start a revolution that leads to the downfall of the Capitol.     

Like Katniss, we may not fully realize how our actions can influence the people around us for good. Although we probably won’t be responsible for starting an uprising, our personal influence should never be underestimated. That’s why it’s important to live each day as a courageous disciple of Christ. Just like Katniss, our actions can bless the lives of others in ways we may not anticipate.

6. Surround yourself with the right type of people

 “Choose friends who share your values so you can strengthen and encourage each other in living high standards.” – From the Strength of Youth

Katniss and tributes

Image courtesy of http://hungergamesdwtc.net/

In the second Hunger Games, Katniss impresses the other tributes with her archery skills, leading half of the tributes to request Katniss as an ally. Although Katniss has a wide selection to choose from, she chooses not to ally with the “cool kids” – the lethal Careers. Instead, Katniss decides to ally herself with people she deems trustworthy. This decision pays off, as throughout the second Hunger Games, her allies make personal sacrifices to protect Katniss and Peeta.  

Often, it can be easy to find ourselves attracted to the wrong type of people simply because they seem cool, popular, or charismatic. However, it’s critical for us to choose friends who are loyal and have our best interests at heart. Katniss survived the Hunger Games because she put her trust in the right people. Likewise, we need to be selective in choosing friends who are trustworthy and will support us in making good decisions.

7. It’s critical to act, rather than to be acted upon

 “As you and I come to understand and employ the enabling power of the Atonement in our personal lives, we will pray and seek for strength to change our circumstances rather than praying for our circumstances to be changed.” – Elder David A. Bednar

I volunteer for the opening prayer

Picture courtesy of Mormon Memes

Elder Bednar once explained that choosing to act, rather than to be acted upon, means we use our agency to impact our circumstances. We see this clearly demonstrated in the Hunger Games, as despite her personal trials, Katniss refuses to allow herself to be victimized. After her father dies, Katniss takes up hunting to provide for her family. When selected for the second Hunger Games, she does everything she can to prepare herself for the arena. Despite the destruction of District 12, Katniss presses forward through inspiring the rebellion against the Capitol.

Like Katniss, we need to be equally courageous in using our agency to make good life decisions. We need to keep moving forward, work hard, and be willing to make personal sacrifices to reach our goals. Regardless of your life circumstances, be like Katniss and find a way to win.  

Do you want the (marital) odds to be ever in your favor?  

In closing, I’d like to encourage my readers to keep working towards the ultimate goal of every LDS single adult – marriage in the House of the Lord. A temple marriage will make your love last throughout the eternities, make you eligible to receive a fullness of blessings, and make it more likely that your marriage will endure the trials and tribulations of life.

For example, the Ensign reports, “Nontemple marriages are about five times more likely to end in divorce than temple marriages. About 5.4 percent of LDS males who married in the temple were later divorced, and about 6.5 percent of the females. By comparison, some 27.8 percent of nontemple LDS marriages ended in divorce for men, and about 32.7 percent for women.”

Although a temple marriage is no guarantee you’ll stay married, it certainly makes a big impact on your relationship. It seems that couples who marry in the temple are more committed because they recognize that their marriage can endure throughout eternity. Clearly, if you get married in the temple, it’s safe to say that the odds will be ever in your favor.

Despite whatever changes or personal sacrifices you may need to make for a temple marriage, don’t give up on this goal. It’s worth fighting for. So as you get out there and look for your eternal companion, may the odds be for time and eternally in your favor:

Katniss and Peeta Temple Wedding

Picture courtesy of Mormon Memes, credit to Megan Rene Delizo

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A huge thank you to Mormon Memes for allowing me to repost their images for this blog post! (https://www.facebook.com/mormonxmemes

Highlights of the 2013 Boise Institute Luau and Shaun Canon Concert

The Boise Institute kicked off the 2013 fall semester by organizing a luau and a concert with Mormon artist Shaun Canon. As a native Hawaiian, I had high expectations for the luau and I’m happy to report that the Institute activity was a fun evening that represented the island traditions.

2013 Boise Institute Luau

I picked up my photographer, Marc, and lent him one of my Hawaiian shirts.  We arrived at Ann Morrison park and it was already packed full of excited single adults. There were about 400 people and I was pleased to see many dressed appropriately for a luau, including President Phillips and President Vail from the Stake Presidency.

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Feasting and Friendship  at the Luau

True to form, the dinner was a roasted pig that was carved up for the feast. The dinner tables around the park shelter were completely packed with happy and excited single adults. One of the greatest strengths about the Institute program is that it provides opportunities to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

Nik and Donovan

Nik and Donovan

During dinner, I had the chance to meet up with two of my friends, Donovan and Nik. My buddy Nik had just finished his vendor business at the Western Idaho Fair, “Bacon on a Stick,” and was still in the process of readjusting to a normal schedule after working an insane 150+ hour week at the fair.

It was also great to see Donovan. Because he’s had family in town for the last month, I hadn’t been able to meet up with him for a while. Donovan has been a good friend to me over the last few years and I was glad we got to hang out.

Kachina at the 2013 Boise Institute Luau


I also had the pleasure of meeting a new friend during dinner, Kachina, who has just moved to Boise to take on a new job. I learned that before coming to Boise, she was studying anthropology at the University of Utah. She needed to take a break from school to save money before transferring to another university, so when a job opened up in Boise, she was quick to take advantage of the opportunity.   

Brother Thompson Has Sweet Skills

After dinner, Boise Institute faculty member Brother Thompson entertained the crowd with his epic juggling skills. If you’ve ever watched the movie Napoleon Dynamite, I’m sure you remember the scene where Napoleon talks to his friend Pedro about the importance of having useful skills. I don’t know if Brother Thompson has nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills, or computer hacking skills, but when it comes to juggling, Brother Thompson has some flipping sweet skills. Check out the embedded video below:

2013 Boise Institute Luau

Brother Thompson teaches juggling

After his performance, Brother Thompson was kind enough to teach juggling to a few Institute students who were amazed by his performance. Thankfully, Brother Thompson started them off with balls, rather than with sharp knives or flaming torches.


Volleyball, Slacking Off, and Dance Off

Trent slacklining at the 2013 Boise Institute Luau

Trent demonstrates slacklining

There were several games of volleyball going on and we also had a slackline set up. Slacklining is similar to tightrope walking, only the line’s tension allows it to bounce like a trampoline. This allows different stunts to be performed. At my request, Trent, one of the members in my ward, jumped on the slack line and demonstrated a few cool tricks.

Laura, one of the students that helps run the Boise Institute, was the MC for the event and organized a limbo contest and a hula dance off! The initial pool of dancers was narrowed down to the top four people. Laura then had the crowd choose the final winner.

Rusty wins the dance off at the 2013 Boise Institute Luau

Rusty wins the dance off!

Rusty, a former member of the Boise Institute leadership team, won the dance off. Acen, last year’s President of the Boise Institute, and Earl, one of the members in my ward, celebrated by putting Rusty on their shoulders as the crowd went wild! After the luau ended around 8 pm, we left the park to meet up at Boise State’s amphitheater on campus for the Shaun Canon concert.

A Round of Bad Jokes

I was extremely grateful for Marc coming with me and taking pictures during the event. Marc recently took on another part-time job and he had been awake since 4:30 am that morning, without having time to rest before coming to the Institute activity. I could tell that Marc was getting tired, so to keep him awake, I tried to make him laugh while we were waiting for Shaun to finish setting up for the concert. I asked Marc if he had heard any good jokes lately, and when he couldn’t think of any, I resorted to a few tried and true bar jokes.

I started off by saying, “A horse walks into the bar, and the bartender says, why the long face?

Marc chuckled politely, but as it turned out, he had heard that joke before. So I told him another bar joke: “A termite walks into a bar, and says, is the bar tender here?” Marc hadn’t heard that before and got a good laugh from that one.

Donovan followed that up saying, “A man walks into a bar, and says, ouch!” Immediately afterwards, Donovan seemed chagrined and said, “I guess that was a bad joke.”

I dryly responded, “Well Donovan, I think that for these jokes, we need to set the bar higher.” Thankfully, Laura from the Boise Institute got up to make opening announcements before we could go for another round of bar jokes. (Yeah, we’re hilarious.) 

 Laura tosses out candy at the 2013 Boise Institute Luau

Laura tosses out candy to the crowd

Laura started off by choosing names for a random drawing of prizes sponsored by the Boise Institute. There were some great prizes given away, including restaurant gift certificates and movie tickets. Following the drawing, Laura tossed out candy to the crowd of excited single adults before turning the time over to Shaun Canon.


Concert with Shaun Canon: I knew he was treble when he walked in

If you’re not familiar with Shaun Canon, he was a top contestant on American Idol, Season 7. Since American Idol, Shaun has stayed active pursuing his dreams. A few of Shaun’s achievements include receiving a Platinum AVA award, opening for major acts such as Brian McKnight and Janelle Monae, and winning a UK Music Contest called “Slice the Pie.”

Shaun Canon at the 2013 Boise Institute Luau

Shaun Canon

Shaun Canon spoke briefly about his music career and how he wanted to use his talents to make a difference in the world. That’s why he started the ambitious “Live for Music,” tour which raises money for high school music programs around the country. At each fundraising event, Shaun donates 50% of what they make back to the school, and to date, Shaun has raised more than $100,000 for high school music programs.  

Shaun Canon proved to be quite talented and I felt his music was a refreshing change from the typical genre of bubblegum love songs. I enjoyed Shaun’s music and thought his songs had more depth than the catchy, but often hollow tunes often played over and over again on the radio. I particularly enjoyed his songs, “A More Meaningful Life” and “You’re All My Reasons,” a duet that he performed with local artist Christy Davis.

Shaun dedicated the last song, “When I Take Your Hand,” to his wife, Molly Canon. He said that they were just married in the Manti temple two months ago and the audience cheered when he made the announcement. I was happy for him, but I had to fight the urge to make an ill-advised joke about marrying a “Molly Mormon.” After the performance, we ended the activity with a closing prayer. If you’d like to hear Shaun Canon’s music, check out his Reverbnation profile.

Mahalo to the Boise Institute!

As always, the Boise Institute did a great job organizing and executing the kick-off activity. If you’re new in town or just need someone to go with to Institute activities, feel free to contact me and I’ll gladly meet up with you. For more pictures of the luau and concert, check out the gallery below. Thanks again to my buddy Marc for contributing his pictures!

Aloha Oi’ to my dear readers until next time.  

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Single, but not singled out

Single, but not singled out: Why a gospel-centered life is the best choice for a single adult

As an active Mormon, being single is not the lifestyle I would have chosen for myself. Having been taught about family relationships at an early age, I never doubted the importance of marriage. Yet despite choosing to follow the path laid out to me through the church – a mission, education, and career – I’ve found myself alone in a family-oriented religion.

My situation is hardly unique. Single adults are a growing demographic in the United States, and about half of American adults, or 100 million, are single. Even within the Mormon Church, it’s estimated that at least one-third of its adult members are single.

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Single adults have many challenges during these formative years as they prepare for careers, marriage, and family life. It’s easy to be distracted by the temptations of the world, to take the seemingly easy route through life that leads to instant gratification. Being a Mormon single adult also creates unique expectations and challenges to overcome.

Being Mormon and Single

Because of the culture of the Mormon Church, it’s sometimes easy to feel alone and isolated simply because of your marital status. In a church that highly values marriage and family, people are often critical of singles because they assume that something must be “wrong” with us. It’s tough to remain single while you see people around you marry and settle down, especially when you can’t figure out exactly what makes them better marriage material than you. It hurts to feel that despite doing everything you can to be eligible for the Lord’s blessings, you have not yet received the earnest desire of your heart.   

As a Mormon single adult, I also have fears I have to live with:

The fear of not being able to find an eternal companion and having to face life alone.

The fear of being ostracized by other church members and not fitting in because of the shallow judgments of others. 

Or worst of all, the fear that perhaps the problem is me and that I’m still single because there’s something wrong with me I haven’t yet recognized.

It’s easy to lose faith, to question if God really does have a plan for you, to wonder if you’ll fit in as an active single Mormon. Perhaps in part for these reasons, it’s estimated that half of the Mormon single adult population is not active in the church. But although I have these fears, they’ve become manageable through knowing and living gospel principles.

Despite the challenges that face Mormon single adults, I choose to remain active in the gospel for three specific reasons.

First, I choose to be active because the gospel is true for everyone, married or single. Because of the teachings of the gospel, I understand that being married or single doesn’t change your value in the eyes of the Lord. Being a single adult in the church does not make you a second class citizen; it simply means that you have not yet had the opportunity of finding a companion.

Everyone’s path in life is different and we all have unique challenges to overcome as we work towards becoming like our Heavenly Father. What really matters is how we choose to face these challenges. When I feel discouraged, I remind myself of a story told by Elder Anderson about a convert who sacrificed everything – his family relationships, his career, and other opportunities in life – just so he could be baptized. When questioned about why he made his decision, with tears in his eyes, he said, “It’s true, isn’t it? Then what else matters?”

My personal testimony has helped sustain me as a Mormon single adult. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “When [an individual] is motivated by great and powerful convictions of truth, he disciplines himself, not because of the demands made by the church but because of the knowledge within his heart.” Because I know the gospel is true, it helps me stay active in the church – no matter how difficult or lonely the path might be.

Second, I choose to be active in the gospel because it creates the best possible lifestyle for a single adult. The teachings of Jesus Christ allow me to anchor my life to something that stays constant in a world of change. It’s given me the guidance and support to make the best possible life decisions. It’s given me the ability to go through life and make choices that will bring lasting happiness, rather than be satisfied with short-term, temporary pleasure.

It’s true that living the gospel doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a life free of pain, loneliness, or trials. Being an active Mormon single adult can be difficult sometimes. But it’s worth it. Living the gospel has brought purpose to my life as a single adult and it’s brought me lasting happiness that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s allowed me to experience sacred moments of pure joy that only come through obeying gospel principles.  

It’s brought me joy from knowing about my divine potential and that I can become more like my Heavenly Father.

It’s allowed me to feel peace from knowing that although my life may not have turned out the way I envisioned, it’s still acceptable to God.

It’s helped me obtain serenity when my heartfelt prayers are answered, even when it’s not necessarily in the way and timeframe I would have liked.

When I have these sacred experiences, it gives me a brief taste of the eternal joy that awaits me if I’m faithful in this life. The gospel is called the plan of happiness for good reason and I wouldn’t trade these blessings for anything else.

Third, I choose to be active in the gospel because it gives me an eternal perspective. This means that I make choices in life that will bring me happiness for eternity, not just for the relatively short timeframe of mortality. Ten years, twenty years, even a hundred years is less than a blink of an eye compared to eternity.

Because whatever choices we make in this life will determine our destiny for eternity, we have so much to lose if we allow our focus to hang on our marital status. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen from single adults is losing sight of our place in God’s kingdom simply because we haven’t yet found an eternal companion. We are a chosen generation and we should act accordingly – single or not, married or not.

Having an eternal perspective means that we’re willing to accept the Lord’s timetable for our lives. If we recognize that the Lord wants to bless us in His own time, we earnestly strive to prepare ourselves for eternal marriage, keep a positive attitude, and make the most of our available opportunities.

The Lord's blessings will come

Image courtesy of www.creativeldsquotes.com/‎

It’s challenging to keep an eternal perspective when faced with disappointment, heartache, and a sense of loss. But we need to remind ourselves that this life is a test, an opportunity to prove ourselves. If we live faithfully, whatever blessings go unfulfilled in this life will be made up for in the next. Because of my perspective, each year that goes by isn’t viewed as another year being single – it’s viewed as another year in keeping myself worthy to receive the Lord’s blessings, regardless of whether these blessings happen in this life or the next.


I know that regardless of our marital status, the gospel is worth living. I truly believe that despite the challenges we face as single adults, we are on a path that leads to eternal joy. The gospel has given me a purpose in life, the strength to persevere, and the ability to stay optimistic about my future. As a great man once said, “the future is as bright as your faith.”

Image courtesy of www.creativeldsquotes.com

Image courtesy of www.creativeldsquotes.com

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