In an era where there are more single adults now than any time in history, there’s a surprisingly large amount of misperceptions and stereotypes about single adults that still persist. One of the most common myths about single adults is the general belief that because someone is single, there must be something wrong with that person. In this article, I’ll address how this perception is emphasized among single adult members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon) and explain why this attitude is misplaced, inaccurate, and damaging.
There are few other religions in which marriage and family life are as highly prized as the LDS church. Consequently, the church is supportive of its single adults and wants them to reach their full potential. There are many church programs that are designed to help single adults make progress in their lives, which naturally includes finding a spouse and starting a family. These programs are to be commended, however, because of the heavy focus on marriage, it’s easy for unhealthy stereotypes of single adults to grow within the church culture.
For instance, I once had a friend tell me that when she was attending college, one of the church leaders in her congregation said over the pulpit, “If you’re still single when you graduate, ask someone you trust what’s wrong with you.” This tactless statement doesn’t represent church doctrine and certainly doesn’t represent the general attitude from church leaders to single adults. However, because it came from one of my friend’s local leaders, she took those words to heart and when she graduated from school as a singleton, she slipped into depression for a time.
Thankfully, her story has a happy ending: She stayed faithful in the gospel, married one of my best friends, and I was one of the groomsmen at her wedding. Nonetheless, her story is hardly an isolated experience. Through my role as a blogger and administrator of the Facebook Page LDS Single Friends, I’ve spoken with many other LDS single adults who have similar stories to tell about how single adults are perceived in the church culture.