Families Eternal (For the Single?)

After I broke up with my ex-fiancé (as I mentioned in Age-Old Argument, and How They Changed My Life), I was a hot mess of Mormon-old-maid-never-gonna-marry doubt. I was in my mid-twenties, and by Mormon standards, that’s getting pretty old to still be single.

I remember asking my mom if I was ever going to find someone. I got the oh-so-comforting answer of “I don’t know.” There were empty platitudes and sympathies thrown at me from all sides. Well meant, I’m sure, but from those who got married young and already had multiple children, it stung because they had no idea how it felt to be in my situation.

“Have you prayed about it?”

“Have you asked the Lord to send you your eternal companion?”

“Have you fasted?”

“Are you going to church every week? How about activities?”

Even now I can remember the pain and helplessness and frustration that these questions brought. I grew up having my role as a woman in the Church drilled into my head. Go on a mission and get married, then start popping out kids. As a single woman who was fast approaching the dreaded 3-0, I had an ever increasing feeling of failure.

I wasn’t humble enough, or didn’t read my scriptures enough. Or maybe it’s because I worked on Sundays. I didn’t pay a full tithe. I spent too much time playing computer games. I drank caffeine-laden energy drinks. (*gasp* Noooo!! Not caffeine!!) I was sure there were any number of things that I was doing wrong that prevented me from being “blessed” with a husband.

Because of this, I had feelings of inadequacy. I suffered from undiagnosed depression. I stayed home, in the dark. I didn’t want to see people. I cried a lot. A friend I talked to online was constantly begging me to see a doctor about it, but I was in denial, and insisted I was fine. Just a little sad.

As with everything else, the Church had their B.S. solution to my problem. If I never get married in this life, it’s okay. I’ll find someone in the afterlife, and I’ll get my family then. Once Jesus returns and everyone is resurrected, then I can have kids.

….what?

I’m not making this up either. In one of my frustrated and angry moments, I vented this to my father. It’s crap. How can they say that during the Millennium (the word the Mormons use for the thousand years of peace following Christ’s “second coming” and the resurrection of mankind) I can have a family when they said before that the Second Coming wasn’t going to happen until after all the spirits in the “pre-Mortal Life” are born?

He insisted that I had it wrong, but I still see this explanation as a cop out. It’s just an empty reassurance to give, after they already made all the single women feel worthless because they didn’t fill their proper Molly Mormon duties by going to the temple early.


Like my blog? Follow me on Facebook and Twitter

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Families Eternal (For the Single?)

  1. It’s the same dialogue in Baptist churches – as if there are ump-teen hoops God requires of some believers to jump through that He didn’t require of others. Somehow, some have to be more faithful, more prayerful, more giving, more etc. than others who were somehow “ready” when they were far less faithful, prayerful, giving, etc.
    Perhaps it’s all a grave misreading through, I don’t see it promised in the text that the whole point is marriage and children – if it were, then Paul himself wouldn’t be qualified in a religion he helped create.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s quite an unhealthy emphasis, if I do say so myself. And it continues to brainwash women into thinking that’s the only thing they’re meant for. I’m absolutely certain I’m not the only one who was emotionally damaged by this rhetoric.

      Like

      1. I’m not a fan of it either – because it goes with the submission of a wife to her husband; she’s treated as an inferior whose eternal salvation depends upon her superior’s ability to obey the teaching. Singles have to question their salvation in that framework.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s a whole slew of anger in this post. That’s a good thing. It’s okay to be angry. If you’re depressed, it simply repressed anger. So get ANGRY! You have a lot to be angry about. Only, don’t get angry in front of others. Close your bedroom door and punch your pillows or the mattress. Maybe even exhaust yourself and then take a nap. After the nap, get up and go about living a full, happy life. Remember, it’s okay to do this every day until you don’t need to do it any more. Life is beautiful when the blindfolds come off.

    One other thing: every woman I know who longs to have children and either hasn’t gotten pregnant or gotten married by the time they are approaching the big 3-0 feels the same way you do. That “feeling of failure” is not just a Mormon thing. I think it’s something women in our culture feel having been brought up to believe that is why they are here. Well, let me be the first (that is if no one else has told you) to tell you that you are here to be a happy, healthy, productive part of society. If that means never having children, then that’s what it means. I always thought I’d have a dozen kids (cheaper by the dozen), and I have none. Oh, and I’m happy and productive – at my age my health could be better. We make the best with what we have.

    Go to the mirror and look at youreself. Then repeat after me: “I love me!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There has definitely been a lot of anger over this topic for me. My aunt used to ask as well when I was going to get married etc, which constantly irritated. This has become my outlet for my anger and frustration. I love getting these comments from you, as they’re always so insightful, kind, and make me smile. Thank you so much, James.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The last time I happened to run into some old lady from church, her first order of business was to interrogate me as to my lack of being married, then she grilled me as to whether or not my siblings were married. People like that make it hard to be happy about being where I’m at – I constantly get the feeling that whatever I do won’t be enough to earn their approval unless I’m married. I know, it shouldn’t matter, but it’s built deep into our DNA that we’re social creatures who have a deep need to belong – and when we can’t do that because we’re single and we’re rejected because we’re single, that just hurts all the more.

        Like

  3. As James said above I think it’s normal for women to feel like a failure at a certain point for not getting married/having kids at the “right” time, but I imagine it’s got to be EXTRA hard to not feel this way as a Mormon! From what you’ve written, and the general feel I get from studying the LDS church is that, as you said, you must be doing something wrong. However, the fact is you are doing NOTHING wrong here, and even by society’s standards it’s become normal for young people to wait til their 30s to start a family. I think that’s really smart because it takes some time to discover oneself much less find a person that you are going to be compatible with as a life partner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The external pressures are astronomical. At least once a month (often more) the lessons in Young Women’s was about the Law of Chastity and Temple Marriage. I had family on all sides asking what I was doing to find a husband. After so many years, it feels like that is literally your only purpose of being, and it becomes that open wound that everyone pokes at. I’m still angry that because of this, they were able to make me feel inferior, broken, and altogether less. No one should have been able to do that, but it’s ingrained in the Church culture.

      Like

      1. Ugh- You have every right to be angry! You have value that has NOTHING to do with your marital status and you should have been treated with respect. Is your family still “poking” at you over this?

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s