Comments about ‘LDS Church drops 'student' wards, stakes for 'YSA' units’

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Published: Thursday, June 2 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

For LDS singles of any age there are many more social activities than just church. FHE, dances and firesides are not restricted to geographic boundaries and are probably better places to meet people than trying to get a number during Sacrament Meeting.

However, I do not envy our LDS singles over age 31. It kinda seems like they are the lost and forgotten segment in the church. I'm not sure the church knows what to do with them. Families make up the sole of every ward, youth have more activities than they know what to do with, and YSA under 31 have an extensive organizational marriage machine in place. But there really is little in place for single LDS over 31.

South Jordan, UT

Agree that the >30+ singles crowd gets left out here..

Club 30 CEO
Salt Lake City, Utah

A transition ward of ages 26-36 seems to be a great idea of how to help deal with the 31 year olds being kicked out. They need to stay in a similar social circle, not thrown in with a mix of way older people. Question is, how do you get leaders to listen or give it a try?

Layton, UT

I read some of these comments and I am perplexed....do we not teach the doctrine of prophetic revelation? I could have sworn we did, but maybe I am wrong. This was a change brought about by those called to lead and direct the work here on Earth. I remember raising my hand to sustain them, I guess I misunderstood that too. After reading some of these comments, many of you are acting like this was some sort of business decision that you can agree with or disagree with. Either you sustain our leaders or you don't. This is the direction they are taking the work and I will sustain their decision.

Jonathan Eddy
Payson, UT

All opinions so far have pointed to one issue; the social aspects of the YSA and how important it is to be around like minded people. I get that. It is important. Social circles can certainly enhance personal testimony and conviction. But the one thing that everyone has failed to mention is the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Isn't that the essence of membership in His church? Shouldn't this transcend who shows up at church or the ward with the "coolest" YSA Bishop?

Truly this is a very intimate subject and one not to be trifled with. But if we lose sight of the very reason why we worship, YSA or not, it may not matter who we pal around with, who we date, who we marry or which ward happens to be in our boundaries. If we are not good at serving Christ, regardless of our age, if we are not careful, going to a YSA ward may end up not being any more spiritually fulfilling than going to a gym. If you can't find a YSA ward that doesn't meet your social needs, should that be your reason for inactivity?

Topeno, Finland

Sour grapes... (for some)
But make the best of it.

This is an absolutely great development.
BUT here's what it is ALL about... No matter where you are - alone on an island, or in the midst of BYU - it is about YOU and the GOSPEL. Nothing NOTHING else matters.

Topeno, Finland

Sour grapes... (for some)
But make the best of it.

This is an absolutely great development.

BUT here's what it is ALL about... No matter where you are - alone on an island, or in the midst of BYU - it is about YOU and the GOSPEL. Nothing NOTHING else matters.

You can be assured that the Lord loves you! The Brethren are aware and work with this issue constantly. Seems like this change mostly will open the door to all in an area... Not just the students. GREAT.

Miamisburg, OH

So now High School dropouts will be in the same dating pool as my BYU student daughter? The only reason I sent her to BYU is to find a husband with a college degree.

Brigham City, UT

I'll never forget what a high councilor said in my singles ward I attended in Ogden in the 1990's : most of you will never marry and those of you who do will probably divorce. I only wish I had written down his name because that man did not sugar coat anything, just a straight up "I'll tell you how it is" kind of man.

Jonathan Eddy
Payson, UT

"So now High School dropouts will be in the same dating pool as my BYU student daughter? The only reason I sent her to BYU is to find a husband with a college degree."

Wow. You can't be serious. Which child of God qualifies for your daughter's hand? With your assessment, President Joseph Smith would not have been worthy of your approval. I hope your daughter is not so narrow minded.

Utes, Jazz, and RSL Forever
Taylorsville, UT

I think this is a much needed change since before we had YSA and student wards competing against each other. Now it will just be one YSA ward that will be part of a YSA stake with other YSA wards, where before the YSA wards were part of a home stake and the student wards were part of a stake with other student wards. That makes a huge difference in the kind of activities you can have, the student wards had a stake activity once a month where they could meet other singles from other wards. By contrast the only activity my YSA ward had where you could meet people from other wards was the YSA summit, and you had to pay to attend that. Not surprisingly the University wards were quickly growing while a lot of the YSA wards quit enforcing the age limit so they could have enough people to function. Something clearly had to be done, and this was the best solution. In regards to the over 30 singles, there are 31-45 wards but there's quite a bit of red tape to go through in order to get your records there.

Happy Valley Hillbilly
Alpine, UT

This initially sounds like a positive move, though time will tell. When I lived in CA a number of years back, there were a few organized 31+ wards going that were fairly successful. Although some activities were all-age 31+, there were three separate age categories as well for many other functions. The first segment was for ages 26-39 which encompassed the older YSA's who were more mature than some younger YSA's and then the thirty-somethings. This group generally comprised those still seeking marriage and family and with similar interests. The second group comprised the 40's and 50's folks who were divorced with older/grown children or those who had not married. Finally there were the senior singles over 60 with their specific needs and interests. This formula was quite popular and as far as I know is still implemented in certain CA areas.

OC Surfer
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Here in Southern California and increasingly in other areas (outside of Utah) we have 30-something Midsingles (31-early40s) Magnet Wards or Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards, where all 30-something Midsingles within the stake, all attend the same existing family ward together. Plus we have "decade" group activities for each decade 30s Midsingles, 40s, 50s, 60+ with occasional regional all-age 31+ activities too. Plus 30s Midsingles and YSAs have joint activities too. So different approaches all working together so age ranges are more of the continuum. Google "Midsingles Program Outline" for how this is laid out. As a result, we are experiencing better retention and activity rates and higher marriage rates to singles over 30.

Draper, UT

Well what about the 80 year olds that have never been married? Is the church forgetting about them? A ward for 80 to 100 should be created.

Some on here need to toughen up and be grateful for the many opportunities that you have. Isn't one in five marriages the result of people meeting on the internet? Give it a try. The church cannot cater to every niche and situation. What other religious denominations out there offer "single wards?" Consider yourself lucky.

Joe Schmoe
Orem, UT

A whole lot of whining going on in the comments section.

Maybe that has a lot to do with the whole situation.

Maybe not.

Whatever your situation is, base your testimony on the gospel, not the people around you.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: Kevin30 | 8:23 p.m. April 14, 2011
"nobody has any FRIENDs in the new wards"

Yes, there are people who become inactive every time LDS ward boundaries are changed. People who attend church because that's where their friends go may be going for the wrong reasons. It's like a tree with no roots when a wind storm hits.

Layton, UT

They made similar changes last Summer in Logan/USU areas. I also believe they abolished the Married Student wards altogether, making them just Wards by regions. The change was welcome for many members because now they don't have dorms where one floor is going to one ward and another floor goes to another ward, they just all go to the same ones if you're in a certain boundary. Certainly makes hometeaching easier to have tight local regions.

YSA's have serious challenges with inactivity, though much of that is selfimposed. They fail to understand how important it is to hold a calling until they become spiritually soft and often get into trouble. Priesthood leadership had its own challenges. Often home wards are told their young adults are going to a student ward, while the student wards are told they're going to their homeward. There are a lot of students who would change apartments confess serious sins and then before having time to really put those sins behind them, they move on to another ward, thinking that confession was all that was required for significant change. This has resulted in some rather trying difficulties of soul.

Springville, UT

This is nothing more than an administrative effort to address a situation about which the Church does not know what to do. A public relations effort in the 1970s became a fundamental doctrine, and the singles were left behind. There is much that could be said about this issue, but suffice it to say, I really don't think the re-designation of these wards will make that much difference, especially as it is a church that marginalizes anyone who is not in a traditional family unit.

Atlanta, GA

There will be no more married student wards, from what I understand. Though married students who live in student-majority areas will essentially be in married student wards.

These changes are larger than this article points out, and reflects a renewed emphasis on church as a community, and not as a social club.

Athens, GA

I'm guessing this has been a problem in predominately LDS areas? We have had a YSA branch here where I live in GA for at least 38 years that functions just as this article describes. It has always been open for all within the 18-30 yr age regardless of student status. If someone in that age group turns 31 they haven't been "kicked out". Some have continued attending for a few years and some have moved over to one of our home wards. And honestly, most have moved out of the area anyway. Get married? Some have moved to a more traditional ward some have continued in this branch which has been a blessing to the singles. This branch is a fluid transitional unit because it serves a area with 4 colleges or tech schools so every year many move out and many move in. But regardless of student or non student, 30 or 31 these young vibrant members have been a blessing in our stake and have held unit and stake callings that have built up our stake members and themselves.

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