LDS Church drops 'student' wards, stakes for 'YSA' units

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  • ShmittyWitty Maple Valley, WA
    Dec. 13, 2013 5:31 p.m.

    To me, this arbitrary age limit of 31 and the lack of priority given to unmarried over 31 to give them opportunity to find a spouse,has lead me to honestly believe (or atleast doubt) that "the brethren" are inspired prophets, if anything I've taken it as a sign of the opposite. Which is rather disappointing.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    April 17, 2011 9:06 a.m.

    Latter Day Saints of all people should be examples of love, charity, and service to others regardless of marital status. I am LDS, divorced and currently single. I know the struggles singles face in the church. I have seen many LDS singles serve faithfully and well in various church calling in single and family wards. I have served in my 40-50s in Elders quorum and Sunday School presidencies. I have witnessed members with emotional problems and disabilities serve faithfully in the church. I attend a single adult ward in SLC. There is love and acceptance there. If there is one issue that I struggle with it is to many LDS are to quick to judge and slow to forgive. We don't know the burdens other carry. I am offended when we label others as socially awkward or misfits. What is the worth of souls to Heavenly Father.

  • David P. Livermore, CA
    April 17, 2011 12:25 a.m.

    The "31" number is fairly recent.

    It used to be 27. That's because of Brigham Young's famous statement
    that any man over 27 and not married is "a Menace to Society".
    Steve Young even mentioned that phrase of "his" gr-grandfather on a
    "60 Minutes" program.

    Be grateful they added 4 more years to the number in recent years.

    Personally, all the emphasis on Age is artificial, especially in light of
    the fact that everyone's number is always getting bigger, the concept of
    "eternal perspective", and the belief that 1,000 years of man IS only one day to the Lord.

    Jesus loves us no matter what our age. People should be able to go where
    they feel most accepted and respected. Age groupings with "hard" defining boundaries are not really good for all. There should be some flexability.

    The goal of Church should be to give a Positive Spiritual experience to those who attend. This way they will come back. Hard rules are for criminals and people who are out of line. Hard rules are Not for the Good and those who want to mix with Good people who love and worship the Lord.

  • It's What I think Denton, TX
    April 16, 2011 5:11 p.m.

    What I'm hear is a lot of people feeling left out and out of place. That's very sad because church is the one place we should feel welcome. Perhaps that why we often don't; because we have such high expectations?

    At any rate, I have served in several Relief Society presidencies and I can tell you that the number one complaint is not feeling like they are a part of the "group". People feel that way for many reasons. Single, unhappily-married, childless, wayward spouse/child, working, non-working, rich, poor, etc. I have found that the reason we feel left out is almost always irrelevent to the solution. I have never seen anyone feel left out who reached out to others, smiled, participated, attended regularly, etc. Everyone is sitting there waiting for others to come to them and each is feeling bad about the other's lack of outreach. Wards are so much better when there is diversity and unity.

    That said, I do believe though that there is a unique need for YSA wards due to age, maturity, and social needs.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    "The only reason I sent her to BYU is to find a husband with a college degree. "

    So what is her tuition if not for an education... a dowry?

  • JDMAC Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    A great change for these adult members.

    They face so many negative stories and reports about marriage and families.

    Certainly appreciative when the Deseret News includes positive information about the families of people.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    April 16, 2011 10:21 a.m.

    An important decision we members must make is if we believe the Brethren are inspired in making the changes about YSA wards. Here is how I feel about the matter.

    I don't believe the church leaders are inspired in EVERYTHING they do. If they were, they would be robots, automatically doing what the Lord told them. I believe the Lord expects us to use our own wisdom, and then to ask Him if we made correct decisions. Through faith, I've chosen to have Mormonism be my way of life, and I've chosen to follow the church leaders. Because of my faith, I trust the judgment of the leaders, and I follow them.

    As a parent, I try to let my children make decisions about their life, realizing, of course, that some decisions should be made by parents. If my children make unwise decisions and in my judgement those decisions won't seriously hurt the children, I let the decisions stand so the kids can learn from that experience. So it is, I believe, with our church leaders. I don't believe they are inspired in all things. I believe they learn from their experience.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    April 16, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    Here is some history. My wife and I attended student wards at USAC/USU just a few years after the student wards were created. As far as I know, only single students attended those wards. Married students had their own wards. Non-students went to their family wards.

    Later, the Brethren felt Single Adults needed their own wards, and the YSA wards were created. The Brethren decided to keep the student SA separate from the non-student SA, and to keep singles separate from marrieds. SA range in age from 18 to 99+, and the Brethren felt the younger SA should be separated from the older SA. They choose age 31 as the separation point between young and adult SA. Of course, not everyone likes that age for the change. I think that there will always be people complaining about the change-age, regardless of what that age is.

    With the changes being made in the near future, the student and non-students and married people will no longer be separated. The SA will be able to choose if they want to attend a SA ward or a family ward. The separation age is still 31.

  • R.Burgandy Cedar Hills, UT
    April 16, 2011 9:22 a.m.

    To the person from Ohio reguarding your precious daughter finding a man with a degree from BYU: I don't have a formal "degree" from a University but with my business ventures, I really don't have to work another day in my life. I tell my daughter finding a hard working guy with honesty and a testimony of Jesus Christ and you can't go wrong, degree or no degree. I just hope you are not serious with your comments as many members of the church do not have a degree, especially out of our country.

  • gem2477 Layton, UT
    April 15, 2011 11:17 p.m.

    @SLMG you'd be surprised at how many relief society lessons/activities are about mothering, being good spouses, and homemaking; and if they aren't, are brought back to those topics. I am really dreading RS if I have to retire from a singles ward and go to a home ward.

    Anyway, I hope these changes work out and are good. I look forward to meeting new people because of the changes. I don't know if it was "revelation" ; my take is they felt YSAs have too many options for ward hopping with the student wards and YSA wards whose boundries overlap. The easiest way was to get rid of student wards to force YSAs to go where they should. Where you live is where you go to church, period. I wonder how YSAs are going to take it. Should be interesting,to say the least.

  • Anon 64 Oahu, HI
    April 15, 2011 9:06 p.m.

    In the end this will workout for the Best. Change takes awhile. But I do kind of agree with CJ.

    In my Stake in Hawaii for awhile we diden't have Singles, before that we had a Singles Twig.

    Now we have a Triveing Singles Branch and Singles Family Home Evening, RM's and Adults for leadership. She comes to Church with US then goes to Singles and then Relief Society. The Singles Groups meet and have partys often. They go to Zippys after Insituate and Singles Events. Her Brother does the same thing but is Not as Active. My Daughter being a part of that has in part kept her busy and active. She is getting ready for her Mission.

    Her best friend is on his Mission Downunder. He will be back in June I think but it may have only been a year so I need to check. We hear from him Now and Again. So how it works out we don't know and if she has a chance to get Married before she goes, then I would perfer that.

    This has been all her and Not Her Mom or me.

  • Marsh Valley Mom Downey, Idaho
    April 15, 2011 8:04 p.m.

    They created 2 new stakes in SE Idaho too. Now my children have to drive over 30 miles to go to church in the YSA ward. One of their friends lives in the next ward south of us, so add another 20 miles. Our home ward is 1/2 mile away. Their stake center is almost 40 miles away. With the cost of gas, this is crazy. I know they want the singles to get married, but I don't think there are that many more girls in the two branches they combined (from 2 different stakes).

    As to singles of any age, I never felt comfortable being "singled" out as being unmarried. My home ward was very supportive and I served in every organization. I was friends with everyone, married and single. I think single adults of every age need to work at feeling comfortable with their status. I never felt like I was being lectured to get married. It is, after all, a main tenet of the church. I was 31 when I got married.

  • Houdini Dallas, TX
    April 15, 2011 7:16 p.m.

    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!!!!

  • Utes, Jazz, and RSL Forever Taylorsville, UT
    April 15, 2011 7:06 p.m.

    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.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    April 15, 2011 4:28 p.m.

    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

  • SLMG Murtoa Australia, Victoria
    April 15, 2011 3:55 p.m.

    @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.

  • gem2477 Layton, UT
    April 15, 2011 3:28 p.m.

    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.

  • SLMG Murtoa Australia, Victoria
    April 15, 2011 2:48 p.m.

    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?

  • gem2477 Layton, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:43 p.m.

    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).

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    April 15, 2011 12:24 p.m.

    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.

  • readAbook Provo, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:22 p.m.

    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.

  • SpanishImmersed Mesa, AZ
    April 15, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    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.

  • Moracle Blackshear, GA
    April 15, 2011 11:35 a.m.

    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!"

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    April 15, 2011 9:45 a.m.

    JNA said -

    I read some of these comments and I am 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.

  • 757flyer Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 15, 2011 9:23 a.m.

    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!

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    April 15, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    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.

  • Asphaltman Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 15, 2011 8:44 a.m.

    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.

  • coleman51 Orem, UT
    April 15, 2011 8:30 a.m.

    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.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 15, 2011 7:52 a.m.

    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.

  • RED23 Layton, UT
    April 15, 2011 7:50 a.m.

    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.

  • flatlander Omaha, NE
    April 15, 2011 7:14 a.m.

    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.

  • Dauly Provo, UT
    April 15, 2011 7:14 a.m.

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

  • GAmom Athens, GA
    April 15, 2011 6:58 a.m.

    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.

  • milhouse Atlanta, GA
    April 15, 2011 6:54 a.m.

    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.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 15, 2011 6:44 a.m.

    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.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    April 15, 2011 5:58 a.m.

    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.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 15, 2011 5:57 a.m.

    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.

  • Joe Schmoe Orem, UT
    April 15, 2011 3:23 a.m.

    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.

  • Scott1 Draper, UT
    April 15, 2011 1:52 a.m.

    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.

  • OC Surfer Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
    April 15, 2011 12:54 a.m.

    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.

  • Happy Valley Hillbilly Alpine, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:46 a.m.

    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.

  • Utes, Jazz, and RSL Forever Taylorsville, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:34 a.m.

    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.

  • Jonathan Eddy Payson, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:23 a.m.

    "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.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:05 a.m.

    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.

  • EyeDeeTenTee Miamisburg, OH
    April 14, 2011 11:49 p.m.

    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.

  • Europe Topeno, Finland
    April 14, 2011 11:36 p.m.

    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.

  • Europe Topeno, Finland
    April 14, 2011 11:32 p.m.

    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.

  • Jonathan Eddy Payson, UT
    April 14, 2011 11:15 p.m.

    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?

  • JNA Layton, UT
    April 14, 2011 9:59 p.m.

    I read some of these comments and I am 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.

  • Club 30 CEO Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 14, 2011 9:49 p.m.

    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?

  • Timp South Jordan, UT
    April 14, 2011 9:36 p.m.

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

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    April 14, 2011 9:31 p.m.

    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.

  • TexasMom Flower Mound, TX
    April 14, 2011 9:14 p.m.

    Jonathan Eddy, a couple of years ago I would have wholeheartedly agreed with you. Now that I have a child who I feel will benefit from this I see it differently and with more compassion. It would be great if everyone were strong enough to "bloom where they're planted" and serve and worship in any ward they happen to be in.

    Unfortunatley, the YSA's are in in a critical time of their lives. This is the point where many lose their way. Sometimes all it takes is somewhere to go where they feel more comfortable for them to begin the "blooming" process.

  • Jeanie b. Orem, UT
    April 14, 2011 9:10 p.m.

    Kevin30 - out of the 3 things President Hinckley said were needed to maintain activity you all had at least two of them.

    If you don't have a friend in your geographic ward - stop whining and make one.

    When my husband and I moved into our current ward the only member who went out of their way to be welcoming was a woman who had moved in just six weeks before we did. No-one else seemed to care.

    At first I was offended - but that never makes a situation better. I didn't have the luxury of "ward hopping" so I decided to make myself welcome. I went out of my way to get to know people. We have now been in this ward for 12 years and we have grown to love it. I have made some priceless friends.

    Wherever you end up going to church don't wait to feel comfortable through others efforts. Control your own destiny and jump in!

  • CJ Miles Dallas, TX
    April 14, 2011 9:04 p.m.

    Why does the church "single out" singles? If you are going to classify people, why don't you have a ward for the following:

    Married and blissfully happy
    Married and Not really feeling it
    Married and miserable
    Married and not getting it
    Married without kids
    Married with kids

    Shouldn't everyone just go to the ward in which they live and stop all the segregating of people. Treat everyone as an equal.

    And don't get me started with the over 30 single's program in the church. What a joke. If I turned 30, I would pretend I was 25. I wouldn't move on.

  • Asphaltman Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 14, 2011 8:53 p.m.

    There are 2 issues here, one are the changes taking place May 1. I personally think they will be a good, EXCEPT there is no plan or place for those unmarried over 31 except for the 31-45 wards, and thats the other issue. Now, like I said before the 31-45 program has been going for a while, and many people I talk to fear them immensely. Why? Biggest reason, they are usually way older people less inclined to get married..I don't know, how do you describe it nice? Its just that it doesn't seem to appeal to many. I'm just saying the church needs to create or even just try a 26-36 transition ward. You'll still have 18-30, and 31-45, but this fits in the middle and gives an option for those just turning 31 to still be with their social age group. The church already has a few of these outside of Utah. It is near impossible to get anyone to listen to the idea..I have tried Bishops, Stake Pres, 70... If you are 31, your out. I guess if you're 31+ and single,nobody cares.

  • justcap Provo, UT
    April 14, 2011 8:52 p.m.

    Two things for the naysayers:

    1) If you go inactive, don't blame the ward setup or any other people. It's on yourself.

    2) Young singles ward is NOT the only place that you can find people to date. Just because you're 31 and get "kicked out" of a ward of recent high school grads doesn't mean you can't find people to date. Get out and associate with people in other contexts too! No one is saying you have to settle for a 45 year old divorced guy.

  • MotherofFour Springville, UT
    April 14, 2011 8:45 p.m.

    I think it is a very good thing! When I was 19 years old I was very uncomfortable with the 30 year old men in my student ward, there has to be a cut-off age and 30 is generous enough.

  • Kevin30 Layton, UT
    April 14, 2011 8:23 p.m.

    BAD IDEA so far.

    Remember the 3 things that Pres. Hinckley says are needed to maintain activity in the church? 1) FRIEND 2) calling 3) nurturing word of God?

    A group of 6 friends and myself were going to an open student ward. When they dissolved our ward (about 6 months ago) they sent our records to the ward where we are supposed to be for our geographical location, and the new rule is that we cannot go where we want, but must stay there. Of the 7 of us, nobody has any FRIENDs in the new wards and feels socially out of place. All but 1 of us is now inactive.
    My friends have tried ward hopping, but that is against the rules i guess.

    This change has resulted in inactivity for 6 of my friends.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    April 14, 2011 8:16 p.m.

    In Rexburg and Twin Falls I attended STudent wards when I was not a student as did many people. There were letters telling people to go to home wards if they were not students or to ysa wards. Any case go were your records are so you can serve.

    Seems like as a Single Rexburg resident and Twin Falls area the bulk of single people that did not go to there home ward went to student wards. People did before what the church is doing now.

  • T.F. Clearfield, UT
    April 14, 2011 7:56 p.m.

    I was a part of the reorganization in Ogden. It has been a really successful tthing in the Ogden area. As for one person's question about inactivity it's actually quite the opposite. With college wards, young single adults wards, etc. there was a lot of ward hopping and nobody knew what happened to the people. Last year when general authorities they told us we had two basic options. They told us we were to be in our geographic home ward or we were invited to be in the YSA wards. The YSA wards have the responsibility of tracking and possibly reactivating the young single adults that live within the YSA ward boundaries. About six months ago I got sent back from the Ogden stake to wards in my area. I didn't grow up in this area and didn't have a lot of friends. It has been a struggle getting to know people, but overall it has been a good change.

  • Laci Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 14, 2011 7:54 p.m.

    What about those of us who just turned 31? Do we all of a sudden relate better to that 45 year old divorced guy in a 31-45 ward than the 27 year old in our (now former) student ward? Um, really?

    As if being single isn't hard enough, now we get kicked out for being "too old." Awesome.

  • Asphaltman Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 14, 2011 7:28 p.m.

    Another huge problem is the 31+ age with no where to go. Like an above post said, people are getting married older then ever before. With this new program 31+ will be have to go to the 31-45 wards, well I dont know many guys who want to date older girls, hence all the ward hopping or the 500 plus member Willow Creek 8th (90210 ward). The church needs a 26-36 transition ward. Its been purposed but shot down many times. That would give everyone a chance to date younger. 18-30 YSA, 26-36 MSA(mid single adults), and 31-45 MSA. They have these wards out of state, but for some reason refuse to do it here. Its already been said 50% of the 30+ unmarried age goes inactive, I hate to even think of the new numbers once age limits are enforced. Sad nobody listens.

  • History Freak Somewhere in Time, UT
    April 14, 2011 7:10 p.m.

    "over thirty" wards come and go. I personally think they are really sick environments, BUT they need to exist. There need to be wards where single people can go and feel like they fit in. It's true that many who don't feel comfortable in their home wards become inactive. The "30" age limit is partly intended to keep the pressue up on those (mainly men) who are getting comfortable being single and get them to get their act together and get married. But, they are really depressing environments.

    Thank goodness I don't have to attend one. They're not a fun place to be.

  • Kevin30 Layton, UT
    April 14, 2011 6:53 p.m.

    BAD IDEA so far.

    Remember the 3 things that Pres. Hinckley says are needed to maintain activity in the church? 1) FRIEND 2) calling 3) nurturing word of God?

    A group of 6 friends and myself were going to an open student ward. When they dissolved our ward (about 6 months ago) they sent our records to the ward where we are supposed to be for our geographical location, and the new rule is that we cannot go where we want, but must stay there. Of the 7 of us, nobody has any FRIENDs in the new wards and feels socially out of place. All but 1 of us is now inactive.
    My friends have tried ward hopping, but that is against the rules i guess.

    This change has resulted in inactivity for 6 of my friends.

  • Habib Assi Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 14, 2011 6:34 p.m.


    I live in a ward where young adults are encouraged to attend their home wards and have callings, and have seen the results of this policy first hand. My obversation is that they become home bodies and don't get out and socialize the way they should because church really is a great way to meet young adults of the opposite gender. The answer is strong YSA wards wtih strong leadership, with a Bishop who is committed to keeping track of these young adults and take an interest in their lives. The church (especially in the SL valley) is teeming with layers of strong leadership who are "under serving" in their wards and who will make this program go. In our ward could call 25 men and their wives to serve as bishops and they would all do a fantasic job.

  • Brad Smith San Francisco, CA
    April 14, 2011 6:29 p.m.

    Anything or any Policy that deals with "Dating" (Age) has its Negative side.

    Example: What happens when one gets to that "magical" 30 years of age, and one
    still is not married?? Are they then a "throw away" person? Age ranging is a form of Discrimination, Judgementalism, and/or other forms of EXCLUSION.

    Groupings such as YSA should have More flexibility in the way things are handled. Not everyone gets married before 30 and Not everyone matures at the some spot on their individual time lines. Not everyone meets that "Right" person at the Same Age.

    In-activity starts when people feel that they don't fit in, and as a result the experience of "going" to Church becomes Un-comfortable. It's OK to start All kids in Kindergarten at age 5, but it's Another Thing to EXPECT them all to be married by age 30.

    Not All People were born the same with same talents.

    They are Not just "cookies" from the same cookie cutter!!!

    BADD Decision to tie people to specific "date" ranging!!!

  • Skippy West Jordan, UT
    April 14, 2011 6:23 p.m.

    The people in this age group will still "drift"

  • justcap Provo, UT
    April 14, 2011 6:14 p.m.

    Does anybody know what will happen with "MARRIED Student Wards?" Or will there be no change to those?

  • Jonathan Eddy Payson, UT
    April 14, 2011 6:02 p.m.

    Isn't a YSA ward really a class distinction and could it actually lead to a preponderance of inactivity? I see young adults flocking to the YSA ward of their choice; like choosing a desert at a buffet table; answering to no Priesthood authority as if they were an island unto themselves. How healthy is that? Why don't all single young adults just report to their own wards and serve where they live? This would afford them the opportunity to serve their peers, children, youth and the elderly and truly prepare themselves better for marriage, parenthood, church activity and a life of unselfishness.

  • TexasMom Flower Mound, TX
    April 14, 2011 6:00 p.m.

    I think this will be a good change. There are many 18-30 YSA's who are not students for one reason or another and feel left out.

    While it's true that the main purpose for attending church is to worship, there is also an important part of associating with others in fellowship and support. YSA's are at a critical time in their lives and I'm glad they will have a chance to be together with other's in similar situations if they choose.

  • fanUVU Orem, UT
    April 14, 2011 4:41 p.m.

    I am excited to see this inspired change. More YSA will be activated and have opportunities to serve.