I also have moved around a few times. Living in Utah or elsewhere makes no
difference. For some reason it also doesn't matter where you go, there
seems to be this attitude of those from Utah compared with those from anywhere
else. Why is that?
For those without children, many of us try many different things we can think of
to look beyond ourselves and to be useful to others. Those with young children
who would like our help, it is you who needs to ask us. Sometimes we might try
to help a family with young children only to have this family feel uncomfortable
with us because sadly we live in society which makes people fearful of
everybody. At the same time those of us without children have our own concerns
and comfort level when it comes to other people's kids. We might then
choose to help the widows in the ward, but then there are those who subtly
express the attitude that they have raised their children and don't
particularly care to be bothered tending to others. One might say get a job, go
to school or volunteer somewhere. Chances are many are already doing these
things. More than once where I have sought to find joy in serving others I have
been basically told I need to get a life and have some fun. So, yes, where are
those of us without children supposed to be of help to others?
This challenge is a result of not much diversity here in Utah...not just ethnic
diversity, but other types as well.When my husband and I lived on
the east coast recently, we found that this wasn't as much a problem
because there were people from everywhere in our ward. They were so excited to
see each other it didn't matter much what race you were, your age, or your
experience--whether you had children or were married or not. And these people
were very busy. They worked 10-11 hour days in high profile jobs, or they were
lower income people with several jobs, just surviving. Any new
situation takes some getting used to. Just keep at it. You don't have to
change yourself to fit in. People will accept you. Amazingly, we had a similar
experience in our own ward upon returning even though we've lived here for
18 years. Extend yourself to be friendly and others will respond. You don't
have to set up social things--just be friendly.
Dear Detroit Lady,You have it way too easy in your Relief Society.
I am a 40+ something year old, returned to school, single adult, and I am trying
to learn Spanish. At 30+ something, I returned to school to study what I
wanted. To improve my Spanish speaking skills, I changed wards to a local ward
that conducts church in Spanish for the Latin Americans Mormons that have come
to the U.S. Talk about not fitting in! It is hard to connect because of
language problems, that never seem to end; culture problems of differences
between Mexican Americans and Americans; and I am a single adult without
children. I don't fit in well, but,I have learned to give of myself, even
if I am a busy student. If I see a sister freezing in church, I share my
sweater. If I see a sister that hot, I share a fan. I also share my love of
music and direct the R.S. choir. Yes, it is hard, but they give me hugs and a
kiss on the cheek every week. I am sharing in their culture and our love of the
To "hamletfan8" but Jesus may say to Detroit Lady to "quit whining
and get over it".Think of the story of Mary and Martha. In Luke
10:38-40 we read " 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came
to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve
alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and
said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many
things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath achosen that good
part, which shall not be taken away from her."In other words he
said, quit whining and enjoy the gospel.Yes we should follow
Christ's example, but where have we ever seen Christ fretting about fitting
in with the popular crowd? When was Christ every concerned that the Apostles
liked him? The fact is Christ was more concerned with his salvation and the
salvation of man more than he was about himself. Can "Detroit Lady" get
over herself and become more concerned with salvation than with having buddies
RedShirt (and others)- This is going to sound VERY cliche, but would
Christ tell Detroit Lady to basically quit whining and get over it??? I think
he would not. He would probably put his arm around her and try to understand
what she is feeling. The scriptures tell us to "mourn with those that
mourn" and I don't think many of the comments on here reflect that
sentiment. Many people seem to think that it is her fault if she
feels different, it's her problem and they have no further obligation in
this. But I think we have a responsibility (ALL of us) to follow Christ's
example and reach out to the one. Not tell them to get over it.
Those who say look inward for the problem do not understand or are blind to what
is really happening. I am not one who needs to have friends in my branch I just
want to be accepted for who I am and that is something that I have never felt.
It seems like in the Relief Society if you are not married between 18 and 23,
have multiple children by 30 and are a stay at home mom there is something
wrong with you. This is not an issue with the person who feels like they are an
outcast, it is an issue with those who are excluding those who do not fit into
the neat little box that all LDS women are suppose to fit into.
To "Detroit Lady" what are you expecting at church? Yes you want to
bond with the other women, but face it, your life situation is different than
theirs. For example, you and your husband could wake up on a Friday morning and
decide to take the day off and go on a road trip. The women with the kids
can't do that so easily. They have children and the needs of their kids to
consider.If you just want somebody nice to sit next to during RS,
have you considered finding somebody else in need of a friend?You
sound like the girl wanting to sit at the luch table with cheerleaders. I hate
to break it to you, but there are other groups and people that would welcome
you. Find them, you don't need to join the "cool" mommie bunch.
Maybe you would enjoy hanging with the widows, or volunteering for Primary or
Nursery.If you really want to have fun at church, tell your Bishop
that you would love to teach Sunbeams.
My children are all grown and I'm in a ward which is mostly made up of
married students with lots of children. I've found my own ward is very open
to anyone in any situation. When they have play days at the park, they invite
everyone, even those without children, to come join them. My visiting teachers
are young, but I love having them visit. I never feel left out.When I was in a
ward where I felt left out, many years ago, my visiting teacher taught me how to
find my place in the ward. First, she decided that in an overly large ward,
there must be others who felt left out. She asked me to help identify who they
were and then she invited us all to her house to hang out. She grabbed a large
table at activities and rounded up everyone who was alone. Eventually, the
others noticed we were having more fun at our table than they were at theirs and
they started including us. There was nothing wrong with us--we were just
newcomers in a large and close ward.
I was single for a LONG time! I found a wonderful man to marry! WE DO NOT HAVE
CHILDREN!!! And yet, I love Relief Society! I am constantly asked, "How
many children do you have?" I answer, "None, that part of life
hasn't work out for us yet." I HAVE FOUND THAT IT ALL HAS TO DO WITH
HOW COMFORTABLE YOU ARE WITH YOURSELF AND YOUR UNIQUE SITUATION! We all have
our own story to tell. I AM NOT A BABY HOLDER THOUGH...past that point in my
life! We sometimes forget that there is more to this life than this life. I am
counting on eternity to have some of MY promised blessings. In the meantime ask
yourself, Would you want to get to know you? Nothing is ever gained by being
negative. We are all in this together!
For all the people feeling bad about themselves or their situations, think about
this, how many people have you mistreated, ignored brushed off, didn't talk
to, overlooked, didn't help, didn't recognize, missed visiting
teaching, rebelled against, talked bad about, or just plain didn't know
they existed? I bet there are a few, maby a lot. So you are not unique. It all
starts with you, so stop crying.
While I agree that this woman should do her part to reach out, I think it is a
big cop out to just tell her she needs to reach out without acknowledging there
is a bigger issue. I'm also married but don't have any kids. I am a
very friendly and outgoing and consistently try to sit by new people. Everyone
is always really nice but they almost stop listening once they find out I work
full-time. But while everyone is really friendly and I have lots of
acquaintances, I don't get invited to lots of things because most
everything happens during the day and I work during the day. Many
"official" Relief Society activities even are scheduled during the day
which completely leaves me out. It makes it hard to feel included when you are
being left out just because you aren't available during the day. There
needs to be a big change in the culture that RS isn't just for stay at home
moms. I agree with many of the comments that I do not understand why we
have to be defined by our family situation, whether kids, no kids, single.
Seems like people like to whine a lot and blame religion and other people. You
may need to examine your own self first.
Having been in different wards at different phases in my life, I am aware of
this problem. The best group to deal with this is our Visiting Teachers. Even
if its just a phone call, they can help us feel included. I will say that women
with a child (children) have less time. They usually set up play groups for the
children. The older single sisters, usually want a group their age to talk to,
they have more in common. The younger single and married sisters should attend
functions, (my goal each time is to meet someone I don't know) Ask if
there is an investigator that you can befriend and help them. Volunteer to help
during group activities. Our church presents a lot of opportunities for
fellowshipping. But we have to do our part!
I think this in a bit of an American problem. I attended a Relief Society dinner
here in Sweden where a couple of American sisters were present. There were about
25 of us there, and we each took turns telling the others a little about
ourselves. The Swedish women all talked about their hobbies, their talents and
things they had accomplished in their lives, while the Americans just told us
how many children and grandchildren they had. Maybe you could strike
up a conversation with someone and ask about their interests and hobbies. That
way, you focus on who you are as individuals - not on whether you have children
- and can find someone with similar interests. As a young mother, so much of
what you do centers around taking care of your children that your own hobbies
and interests (and what defines you as an individual) ends up being put aside.
When someone helps you bring that back into focus, she becomes a friend for
life. This will make for a real and lasting friendship - not just a situational
friendship, which ends when you're no longer in the same situation. Good
Second attempt since I fail to see how pointing out that the LDS church touts
the fact that it places a premium upon "child-centric" relationships is
not relevant to a discussion about a childless LDS woman feeling less accepted.
Again, this is the crux of her problem.
I believe that while our society has progressed technologically, we're
falling behind socially. I can call 10 people in my neighborhood who all have
voice-mail messages promising to call me back if I leave a message--but I'm
lucky if 1 in 10 will actually do that. I also see a lot of what looks like
paranoia in ecclesiastical settings, where if you're friendly or jovial
with someone, many will wonder what you're up to or what you want. Many
people obviously have a very hard time "relating" to or
"identifying" with people who are dissimilar in various ways. I can
understand that many people grow up being shy and uncomfortable in social
settings, but they also aren't born with the ability to write or perform at
arithmetic. The interpersonal facet of life is one where most people could
stand to grow and improve significantly. Get away from the standardized
program, the screen, and the monitor once in awhile and actually communicate
I was never able to have children so I've either gone to church by myself
or with my husband.It's always been hard for me to see these
wonderful families and not have one of my own but I've tried to get better
acquainted with my neighbors who attend church and their children and that way
if I run into them the kids always remember me. But never have I felt that I was
not a part of the group...you are a part as much as you allow yourself to be.
I've shed my share of tears in yearning to be a Mother but over time
I've spent those times with friends children, playing with them, teaching
them and doing crafts. Megan is a young Mother of 2 and we have become very
close friends..I love her children as if they were my own and she is wonderful
to share them with me. I believe any situation can be good, happy and fulfilling
but it depends on what we allow it to be.
Has a PR program of the 1970s has become the doctrinal foundation with the
effect of marginalizing those who don't fit the stereotype? Don't know
how this will be resolved as long as the path remains the same.
Oftentimes young mothers with small children are very stressed and have very
short attention spans themselves for obvious reasons. It's easy for them
to gravitate to others in similar situations because they know they'll be
understood for not being able to hold a conversation longer than 3 seconds
without interruption. It isn't so much that they don't want to get to
know you. Everyone, at one time or another, has felt like an "outsider"
in church. Just be persistently friendly and you'll find that in between
chasing children, you'll be able to have those conversations to see what
more you have in common.
How big is your town. Some towns are friendlier than others that will look at ya
in wonder when you say hi.
I personally love having friends without children because then I can get
together with them more easily (i.e. come over for games after my kids are
sleeping) or for conversations about anything besides kids (I mean, come on! We
all had lives and interests before children too!) or for helping me at church
with my kids, especially when my husband is working (medical profession).
Sometimes people don't think about who may be feeling left out, but just as
often they honestly might not think you would want to be their friend since they
might perceive you as having different interests, but you can change that by
being interested and finding common ground.
"If everyone (kind of a huge expectation) could focus and visualize his
brother and sister as being Christlike some day, then the person standing in
front of them has all the same qualities, which families now seem to
have."You are over thinking this. And it shouldn't even
take thought.People are people. What difference does it make what
church they go to? Or if they are single, or divorced or have children or
not?I know my neighbors. They are good people. Some I know well,
some not so well. I have no idea where or if they go to church. I don't
treat my childless neighbors or divorced neighbors any different then anyone
else. Why would I? Why should I?Do you really need
guidance in how to treat others? What fosters that mindset?This is
just so foreign to me.
Every complainer on here seems to have overlooked comments like Pack's. The
first comment on here was funny, I'm sure it wasn't a solution to
everyone's problems. However, with the amount of diversity in the church in
terms of relationships, culture, family, and other factors... friends can surely
be found. Sometimes it's a ward change, sometimes it's a personal
change. Prayer is a tool to be used here. No prayer goes unanswered when we put
ourselves to work, having faith and patience. It's not a popular answer to
those without one of those 3 traits, but it's still true.
@ NeilTMany folks in church who have what they got would critisize
you for complaining.But here is a thought that is not often spoken of:As time passes on, and soon everyone will see himself next life, there
is a possibility that all may reach the final stage of being married and having
children for eternity.In fact becoming Christ like for the final reward,
it would be impossible without the tempel sealings and children. But we read not
of such in the Bible, as we would expect of Christ to fullfil the law. He was
preaching most the time in terms of the individual one.If everyone
(kind of a huge expectation) could focus and visualize his brother and sister as
being Christlike some day, then the person standing in front of them has all the
same qualities, which families now seem to have.It would make it
natural to treat everyone as a father and a mother or child despite the
circumstances now. Family is not the form you see, but the willingsness one has
to follow Christ. To follow Christ means family now or some day. Very simple but
need to connect the dots.
Simple answer: We look for those with whom we have superficial things in common,
and we find them. However, after the kids grow up, or start becoming their own
people, much of what we had in common disappears. Like one of the other
commenters said, look for activities that you enjoy doing and find a group that
enjoys that. Hiking? Biking? Reading? Quilting? Not all the activities we do
must center around our children. Another suggestion is to approach individuals,
@Sasha, We did 10 years of infertility treatments and it would have been
extremely painful for me to help you with your children in order to be your
friend, when I couldn't have my own. We have value in simply
just being a person. The truth is...(in my opinion) we get too wrapped up in
ourselves that sometimes we forget to connect to each other. Sometimes that
connection only takes a couple minutes and all of us, no matter how busy, have a
couple minutes to ask a couple questions and really try to get to know someone.
"you will make more friends in 2 minutes being interested in other people
than you will make in two years by trying to make others interested in you."
I am a single sister serving in our Ward Relief Society in California. I just
taught a lesson at the beginning of the month about "Not Fitting in."
As we discussed the issue, there are so many reasons we might feel we don't
fit in. In our discussion, the common thing to do was reach beyond ourselves.
It may be hard when you feel you don't have things in common, but in the
Gospel we all have things in common. Seek for those things you might have in
common. Be the friend first to reach out and you will find friends.
I am LDS, divorced, no children of my own. I can relate to your situation. In
Priesthood meeting we had a new member. The quorum president suggested
everyone introduce themselves. Everyone had something to say about their spouse
or children. When it was my turn I didn't know what to say. I felt
embarrassed and humiliated in front of my priesthood peers. The LDS church
places so much emphasis on marriage and family that single adults and childless
couples are often shunned. It's as if the church doesn't know what to
do with us. To add insult to injury the church decided to disband all singe
adult wards for members over forty five. There are women who won't date me
because I have never had children even though I have been a step-dad to a
teenager and took his best friend into our home. Being single has been a trial
for me. I often wish that church members would be more sensitive and more
inclusive, not exclusive.
We live in a fast growing area -- at least two new families every month. Our
wise R. S. president once asked everyone to stand up who had only lived in our
Ward for 18 months or less. Two-thirds of the room stood up. The new people
standing were almost surprised that there were that many and didn't know
that many of the others were new as well. It opened their eyes! It made for
many saying, "I didn't know" and immediately got them talking to
the people in the chair next to them! It makes for a different dynamic when
everyone knows what their "time in the Ward" element is. Also, if you want someone to smile at you, be the first one to smile. The
same is true with introducing yourself to people -- be the first one!!
From these comments, it appears that the only way to fit in is to make other
people's children the center of your life if you don't have any of
your own. Is that really the only way?
Having been on both sides of the issue (kids and no kids), if you don’t
approach people you will likely never make friends no matter what your kid
status. The fact is now that we have kids it’s hard to find time to spend
with the few remaining friends we already have much less make new ones.
@ BlowI kind of like your question, Why is that ?I
don't think I can find the right answer for every neighborhood in Utah, but
I get your point. For Mormons many things are so much easier to have
in Utah. What I mean is, that being in Utah makes it so easy and available to
everybody, that only the small Christians in that small chapel out in the lonely
mountains work harder on being your neighbor, and they could be more nice
because of that. Utahn are known to take things for granted.But
Mormons are not Mormons. Being a member of the church is nice and difficult at
the same time. Because Mormons are unborn Christians sometimes, other times they
step outside to look for others to make friends with.Moroni 7 :
...Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for
charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the
greatest of all, for all things must fail.But charity is the pure
love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at
the last day, it shall be well with him.
I think the suggestion to help with others children is a bit insensitive. My
daughter can't have children because of illness that took away her ability.
Helping with babies or small children is a painful reminder to her of what she
has lost. She will always feel a little bit of an outsider in a family centered
religion and yet she holds her head up high and continues to go anyway.
There is no exclusive club in Relief Society. I have moved around a lot and
have felt left out and I love Relief Society. Here is what I found out after
moving all over every 1-3 years and starting over: I am the happiest and feel
most satisfied with my relationships at church when I am reaching out instead of
waiting for an invitation from others. The funny thing is, others might
feel the same about you as you do about them. I know there are some ladies in
my ward that don't have kids yet that I would love to be friends with but I
assume they don't want to hang out with me and my kids. But if they ever
came and hung out, I would love it! I know I need to just reach out better.
So, just put those feelings aside and reach out. Church won't be
where you form deep relationships - there just isn't time there. You have
to do it out of church. But no one is thinking they don't want to be your
friend because you don't have kids. They may just be as intimidated as you
As with all perceived problems, the key is usually looking inward instead of
outward. Forget yourself and be responsible for reaching out to others and you
will be surprised how many friends you will make along the way.
“I’m a widow, so people seem to be uncomfortable talking to
me,” or “I’m the only single one, so people seem uncomfortable
talking to me” and “I’m a new convert, so people seem
uncomfortable talking to me,” etc., etc.Here is a question.
What is it about Relief Society (or is it Mormonism) that makes you
"uncomfortable" any of these "conditions" ?What
makes one so rigid in their thoughts or expectations that interacting with
someone who doesn't "fit the mold" is difficult or
uncomfortable?Is it really that tough?I am not LDS, but
it is very difficult to understand how anyone, let alone extremely religious
people, have such an issue merely "accepting" others who don't
conform to their narrowly defined expectations.I lived in Utah for
10 years and it was clear that I was an "outsider". I am not suggesting
that most of my neighbors were not nice to me. But, generally, their
interactions with me were awkward. Why is that?
I was super happy when some neighbors without kids suggested we combine families
to do Family Home Eavening together. It has been a huge help to my family!!
Plus it helps for my kids to hear from other adults their view of gospel
topics.Look around and see if you can find someone with a similar
hobby. Offer to be the organizer of a book group, cooking group, etc. Speaking as a single mother of 2 elementary school kids (1 who is
special needs) sometime I just sit in Sunday School and Relief Society and just
enjoy the peace and quiet. Not that I mean to be exclusive or ignore anyone.
However I can see how someone not knowing the particulars of my situation would
mis-interpret my actions as being uninviting.
Sometimes I think people envision everyone but themselves having nonstop social
gatherings. Most people don't get together with friends on a weekly or
even monthly basis. It's not that some are excluded, it's that life
is just busy. If you have a social need, reach out and plan something. Invite
who you want to invite and they will probably be grateful you took the
initiative. There are times I need to take this advice as well. I've
found that some of the people I connect with the most are in a completely
different age group and stage in life. That's what makes it all
interesting and wonderful.
One must be a Nanny at Church to be accepted or make friends?
I'm really glad someone asked this question because I wanted to ask it! My
husband and I have been married 2 years and have been in our ward since we got
married. We tried really hard in the beginning to make friends in our new ward.
However, we rent our home in an "old money" area and most people are
established business people and are going on child 3+. We don't have any
kids, I work and my husband is a student, and I feel super alienated in my ward
because of it. I have voiced my concern in the past to various church officials,
but even when I tried to reach out to others, it never went far. I tend to skip
Relief Society now due to the lack of connectivity between myself and the other
women -- I'd rather go to Sunday School and Sacrament where I can sit next
to my husband. I work a bunch of Sundays too, so I can't exactly be
consistent going anyways, so I understand what this reader is going through!
I think that most women aren't deliberately excluding you. Scheduling
mismatch could be a problem at times. Also, conversations constantly interrupted
by children's needs. However, I think you could made a lot of headway by
actively trying to make friends.Here are some ideas: -Pick a
family with young kids and arrange to sit with them at church every week, to
help out the parents. -Invite a family over for dinner. -Go to RS
activities outside of sunday meetings. You can even go to ones planned for moms.
For example, in my ward we go on fun outings with our playgroup but other people
are welcome to come meet us at the park (or wherever) and hang out. We also take
turns babysitting for sisters to attend the temple and are happy to have sisters
without kids come, just to have a friend to go to the temple with.
Being invited to other churches of different believes, I often wonder how is it
that some of them are so "touchy" in relating to everyone ?I have
seen people there of different problems being treated like they are the very
best that Christ has given them. Why ?In my search for answers, I
have found that Mormonism is time troubled, stress related and priority related.
That puts most families on a let us go "to church as quick as it can be"
get out again. Some pleasure along will be treated with kindness, since we
don't want to go without having any fun, so may be other mothers with kids
can be positioned to be fun with.Something they can relate to.Something to
fill that 5 MIN space in church.My suggestion to the question here
:Break away from standard attitudes people have, and be active in
missionary work first, with missionaries, neigbors or friends just for being
social to others, then learn to adopt new feelings and bring them back into the
church. You will see, you will like it.
If you offer to help with the kids you will make friends very fast.