Comments about ‘Ask Angela: Dear LDS Relief Society, I don't have kids, but I'd still like to be friends’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 10 2014 11:55 a.m. MST

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desert
Potsdam, 00

@ NeilT

Many 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.

I know it. I Live it. I Love it.
Provo, UT

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.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"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.

EW
HENRIETTA, NY

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.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

How big is your town. Some towns are friendlier than others that will look at ya in wonder when you say hi.

Lilalips
Attleboro, MA

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.

Esquire
Springville, UT

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.

suzyk#1
Mount Pleasant, UT

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.

JayTee
Sandy, UT

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 with people.

Owen
Heber City, UT

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.

Swedish reader
Stockholm, Sweden

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 luck!

LittleStream
Carson City, NV

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!

U-tar
Woodland Hills, UT

Seems like people like to whine a lot and blame religion and other people. You may need to examine your own self first.

hamletfan8
Bentonville, AR

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. Whatever.

U-tar
Woodland Hills, UT

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.

Wellhellothere
Idaho Falls, ID

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!

Terrie Bittner
Warminster, PA

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.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

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.

caldwemj
Montrose, IA

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.

hamletfan8
Bentonville, AR

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.

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