- Many Church members have never married or are divorced or widowed. These members comprise two groups: young single adults (ages 18 through 30) and single adults (ages 31 and older).
- There is not a Churchwide program for young single adults and single adults. Instead, when enough single members live in an area, local priesthood leaders are encouraged to call single-member representatives, who work under their direction. Single-member representatives plan activities such as dances, service projects, and firesides. These activities give single members opportunities to meet with and strengthen one another. Single members are also encouraged to meet regularly with their priesthood leaders to discuss their needs and their opportunities for spiritual growth and service (Gospel Topics:Administration).
There are, however, wards and branches within stakes, which are called "singles' wards" or "singles' branches." Many of these are clustered around colleges and universities where there is a large population of single Latter-day Saints. These wards and branches are mostly for "young single adults."
A Family-Oriented Church
Because the family unit is central to the doctrinal and social structure of the Church, single members may sometimes feel deprived or uncomfortable.
- The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have taught that "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children" ("The Family: A Proclamation to the World," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). While this family unit is the ideal, many Church members find themselves in a variety of other circumstances. Some are not married, but have good support from their parents or siblings. Others may not have support from an extended family. The gospel of Jesus Christ was given by God to bless all His children, without exception, regardless of the family situations in which they find themselves. The gospel provides a brotherhood and sisterhood to strengthen and help all God's children (Gospel Topics:Single Members of the Church).
President Gordon B. Hinckley said the following:
- "Because you do not happen to be married does not make you essentially different from others. All of us are very much alike in appearance and emotional responses, in our capacity to think, to reason, to be miserable, to be happy, to love and be loved.
- "You are just as important as any others in the scheme of our Father in Heaven, and under His mercy no blessing to which you otherwise might be entitled will forever be withheld from you.
- "You are precious and important to Him. You are precious and important to the Church. You are precious and important to all of us" ("To Single Adults," Ensign, June 1989, 72).
Elder John K. Carmack of the First Quorum of the Seventy met his wife at a single adult social gathering. He offered some advice to those who are single members of the Church.
- The Church’s primary mission is not to dictate individual decisions or to provide a matchmaking service or organization. Nevertheless, the marvelous environment of the Church can be a great help to you in pursuing your quest.
- Marriage is more likely achieved as a by-product of pursuing other useful activities and goals. while temple marriage and family life would be my ultimate goal, whether in this life or beyond, I would be careful not to make it my central focus. Marriage is more likely to come naturally, from living life fully, than by a direct and pointed campaign to achieve that long-range goal.
- The second major point is to keep a spiritual perspective on life. Paul wrote: “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12.) He also said: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Corinthians 15:19.) Judging by surface appearances only, we may sometimes see life as cruel and unfair. I do not find complete fairness in my life or in the lives of those around me. It would be easy to become angry and bitter if I took a short-sighted or temporal view of these things. But I know by inspiration and by scriptural authority that God is both merciful and just. (See, for example, Alma 42.) We just need to see things from his perspective.
- Maintain a loving, tolerant mortal perspective, too. Remember that even spiritual giants begin in embryo. If you are not careful, the ideal—what you hope your spouse will be—can blind you to the numerous good qualities in potential partners. Many eligible Latter-day Saint singles who now might not measure up to your checklist will someday be fine fathers and mothers and respected Church and community leaders.
- If it begins to appear that you will not have the opportunity to marry, continue to be active in good causes, to develop your talents, to improve your mind, to love and serve your friends, and to stay strong and secure in your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Be active in the Church.
- Look outward and away from yourself. Many of us develop the habit of constantly thinking about ourselves, about how we feel and look, or about how we are perceived by others. Constantly looking inward and talking about ourselves is as dangerous as it is boring for those who spend time with us.
- Achieve and maintain self-esteem. It is common to find low self-esteem in the lives of single adults—but it is common among married adults as well. The ineptness of parents, thoughtlessness of friends and associates, and habits we have acquired all contribute to this problem (John K. Carmack, “To My Single Friends,” Ensign, Mar 1989, 27).