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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Provo, UT

RE: Johnathan Eddy, I think she was being facetious, or one can only hope.

Omaha, NE

To JNA: Every change in the church is not a prophetic announcement. Many are cultural changes. Out in the mission field we combined these two groups a long time ago into one ward. we had part time students, in between semester students, those who graduated, those waiting for a mission etc. this change is really only another Utah, Idaho change. It is great to have leaders who adapt to changes in society but this is not waiting to be printed in the next addition of the D&C.

Layton, UT

I was involved in the initial change in the Ogden area and I support the decision of the brethren fully. When the changes were made I chose to go back to my home ward, and I love it! Do I agree 100% with the requirement to attend the single's ward where you live, no, but I am sustaining the leadership of the Church by either attending my geographically assigned home ward or geographically assigned single's ward.
As for the 30+ single's (I'll be one in a few months) I think they should be in a regular, home ward. From my experience, most of the 30+ single's that attend a 30+ single's ward are socially awkward and don't want to grow up and move on with life. Get to a regular ward and take on a calling and responsibility other than door greeter for sacrament meeting.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: Esquire | 6:44 a.m. April 15, 2011
"especially as it is a church that marginalizes anyone who is not in a traditional family unit."

The LDS Church places great emphasis on the traditional family unit, and in several recent conference talks the young men were counseled to start taking their responsibility to start a traditional family unit more seriously.

Orem, UT

As I understand it, the change in the YSA wards will happen to the Young Married Student wards. They will be told soon to attend their neighborhood wards and not Married Student wards except in the case of Married Student housing such as BYU. In that case, they will also attend their neighborhood ward but they will not notice much of a change. If they live in Orem, however, they will attend their neighborhood ward.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Let me explain my original post. As a member of a Univ ward, I think the changes are great! Boundaries have been a mess for a while, so a regional realignment will be a welcome thing. It will help wards who only got 50 people, as well as eliminate the wards who drew 500+, it will make the whole program more balanced for the 18-30 group.

terra nova
Park City, UT

About twenty-five years ago the church shortened all missions to 18-months for a short while. After implementation, they found the observed results were not what they hoped for and went back to what most of us now consider "the traditional approach."

Institutional memory is a function of life experience. And "traditional" is not what it seems. In earlier days, missions were much longer than most people now remember. What we now accept as "traditional" was once a significant departure from the norm. If you look back far enough in church history, married men were often called to leave their families and serve missions. That practice was once normal. Thankfully, it changed.

When policy and procedures are altered, it is ALWAYS because the brethren recognise a problem they are seeking to remedy.

The problem comes when some people mistake administration and procedure for revelation. Administration is like a glass. Revelation is the juice you pour into the glass. Don't eat the glass. Use it to get to the juice. Expect a new glass now and then. It all works out.

Salt Lake City, Utah

I agree I think a 26-36 ward needs to happen. Fact is, many people including women are getting married older. I have a dozen friends in my ward freaking out for the upcoming changes, as we are all 31-32, both guys and girls. The trend seems to be going to school and getting a little more settled in life rather than before where a 21 yr old guy married an 18 yr old girl. Just look at the Willow Creek 8th ward, aka 90210 ward. It drew up to 500 people each week with an average age of 33. Outside of Utah, marriage over 30 is more of the normal anyway. When you turn 31 you do have limited options of where to go, and for those who have just accelerated their professional career sooner than others and delayed marriage a few years, it poses a real problem. 50% of those over 30 go inactive. I think that's a big enough number to warrant some change to help start a ward like that and help the older groups get married, and not just throw them in 31-45. You have my vote!

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

JNA said -

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.

I am not trying to criticize JNA. But the comment reminded me how difficult it can be to distinguish revelation from adminstrative decisions, opinions, tradition, culture, etc. I recently read Rough Stone Rolling and it seems from the very origins of the church it has not always been clear when leaders speak or act via revelation versus their own opinion/initiative. I know many do not struggle with this but I do.

Blackshear, GA

Experience in dealing with change through life has taught me that, before complaining, there is much wisdom in the old adage: "Try it, you just might like it!" (Or even love it!)

At least, with this program, Young Singles will have a ward where their membership is assigned and will have Home & Visiting Teachers assigned to visit them. They will also have opportunities to be called to serve in their home ward.

That being said: I doubt anything will stop "ward hopping", or visiting other wards, looking for that special person, if you haven't found him or her in your assigned ward; but you CAN do both: you can be active in your assigned ward, and visit others as well.

With this plan, young singles have a place where they can feel they belong, have the support of a home ward, with a Bishop who cares, opportunities to hold callings, and still engage in the "hunt", wherever that takes them.

As I said: "Try it, you just might like it!"

Mesa, AZ

The YSA age is an exciting, yet frustrating time when you are trying to get an education, a career, and a marriage. Most of us are out in the world on our own, standing on our own testimony, for the very first time.

Sure Church is for us to congregate to worship the Saviour and serve each other, but the singles ward sure feels like a meat-market to almost everyone. Not only is there pressure to succeed in school and career, but to also find an eternal companion. The competition is fierce, but you don't want to offend anyone, so hanging-out becomes the easier option.

Frustrations increase with every immature or fickle relationship you encounter. Everyone wants to fit in and be accepted, yet everyone has a list of ideals, albeit a secret list in their heart, of who they are seeking in a potential eternal companion, but are too often disappointed and impatient, so ward-hopping ensues to look for the one.

The answer is to stop looking for the right one, and BE the right one. If you let go of your list, you just might see the potential in those around you.

Provo, UT

To those who say go to "home wards"... When the church did away with the older singles wards in New York City the activity went for %90+ to mostly inactive. Those single wards were these members family units! My sister is a prime example. When she went to the "home" ward in her area of Manhattan she was treated like a leper. The married women treated he as if she was out to get their husbands and the few single guys were treated as if they were sinners. She went from being Gospel doctrine teacher and ward chorister to no calling and no friends.

For all you who say "it's her fault", remember the Lord said to remove the beam from your own eye first - who are you NOT including in your wards? do you even think about the singles? Friends in ANY ward setting make a world or difference in activity. If one is treated poorly he/she stops seeing the point in attending - it's spiritual abuse. I think these new wards are great and I wish they'd bring back the older single wards. Single does not equal sin.

Plano, TX

This seems a really good idea - removes the "student" terminology and seems more inclusive of those not in schools (of whatever sort). Peers are a lot more important when you're under 30... I'm single and 54, and have no desire to be in other than a regular family ward (eg. not a Single Adult ward). Times of life change emphasis, so keeping the interaction together for the YSA space makes a lot of sense.

Layton, UT

RED33: I had to comment on one of your points; YSA usually CAN'T get a calling other than a "door greeter" in a family ward because they are not married. Can you actually imagine it if they called a 25 year old unmarried woman to be Relief Society President? There would be outcry from the older ladies. It never would happen. That is what makes YSA Wards great. You can actually be given responsibilites and callings you never would get there. Just because you aren't married and 30 doesn't you are socially awkward. You just haven't met the right one. I do not want to go to a family ward as a 30+ single woman. I can take only so many Relief Society meeting dealing with mothering and good marriages (in family wards it is always assumed everyone is married).

Murtoa Australia, Victoria

Since when did the Church become a social club and that it's the only criteria for attending was to meet others? Some of you need a real think about why you are members and why you attend Church in the first place. Bishops have been telling 30 and over it is time to move on when they reach that age forever, this is not new and that is only fair that they do so. What is this fear of being part of a home ward?

Layton, UT

I agree - they just don't know what to do with singles. We are an anomaly. General Authorities don't understand, you can tell they don't remember a time when they were NOT blissfully married. A lot of us would like nothing more that to settle down (I have seen tears regarding this), but they tell us to get married like we can just wake up and get married.

@SLMG Here is the fear of home wards: you get to sit in church and hear talks and lessons about having a good marriage and being a good mom. No one cares you do not fit in that category. If you want to go to a Relief Society activity, surprise, it will be on homemaking! Then there will be activities where "husbands" are invited. What are you supposed to do if you aren't married and you want to go to the activity? I don't want to sit through church week after week being reminded about what I do not have and feeling like a menace to society just because I wasn't one of the lucky ones who have been married since they were 20.

Murtoa Australia, Victoria

@gem2477 I have attended home wards all over the world, though there have been talks and lessons on good marriages, being good parents but in small measure compared to other subjects. There have been plenty of Conference talks and articles written about living the single life, these are always positive. Being single is not a sin. As for Relief Society, it is hard to believe that the only activities are homemaking and invitations to "husbands" in any Ward. Besides most singles probably need homemaking tips more than most.
What I am hearing in these posts is "poor me" and wanting everything your way. We learn from our older members if we would only take the time to listen, try it, I know it works because I have been single and it has not been that long ago.

Clearfield, UT

History Freak what a sad commment you made. I am 55 divorced and single. I would come home from church in a resident ward and literally cry I felt so lonely and left out. Everything in a resident ward is oriented towards married couples with children. Father son outings, date nights, daddy daughter outings. I never fit in. I started attending a single adult ward in SLC. I feel a love and acceptance I did not feel in a family ward. In our zeal to promote marriage and family we are forgetting the individual. Singles need to fellowship with other singles. It is not fun to attend church and sit alone and watch everyone else holds and show affection. I know what I am sharing is hard for married couples to understand because you have never experienced what I have. A closing thought I would love to be married and have a family and yes I do date and have tried to find a suitable companion

Utes, Jazz, and RSL Forever
Taylorsville, UT

I have to respectfully disagree with RED23 regarding over 30 singles, I think a 31+ singles ward can provide opportunities for those people to grow much like the YSA ward does. I don't think a person who is single is ever going to be called to be an elders quorum or relief society president in the home ward, my experience is that it is rare for a single person to even be in the presidency in a home ward. I think in that respect those who attend YSA or 31+ singles wards are actually taking on more responsibility than they would in a home ward.

I should also mention that the 31-45 wards in Salt Lake don't take anyone as members of the ward unlike the YSA wards, there is a process you have to go through in order to become a member or even a regular visitor. They are actually pretty serious about making sure you are making the effort to get married and move on with life, if they feel you aren't they may tell you not to come. You can't be socially awkward and expect to survive there.

Dallas, TX

It would be interesting to hear all you married people's take when in 5 years you find yourself over 30 and divorced. The first week you went to your home ward and heard a lesson on eternal families, you would all freak out!!!!

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