Tuesday, May 04, 2010

14,000 minus 1

I went to a church meeting the other night where the speaker told us how a high level church official implored him to raise the number of single adults that attend activities. Apparently, there are over 14,000 single adults in the Las Vegas valley. Less than 300 regularly attend church activities. He wondered why so many single adults don't attend activities. I've got a few ideas about this.

1) We are adults, not kids. A YSA ward shouldn't be treated as if it is an extension of Mutual groups. Many of us went to college and even have advanced degrees. Many of us have professional jobs that have hefty requirements. Playing broom hockey in the church gym just isn't appealing after a 10+ hour day of work.

2) The pressure to date and get married is intense. I think most of us would like to date and get married. However, there is a definite "type" of gal that gets asked out. Twenty-nine year old women with masters degrees who don't look like Barbie generally do not get asked out. Its fine to not get asked out, but its stressful when the focus of the ward is on dating and getting married. Shouldn't Christ be the focus of church?

3) The focus on dating can be hurtful when the men get the idea that they don't even have to be nice to people they aren't physically attracted to. Once, I called my home teacher, who had never met me before even though he had been my home teacher for months. When I told him who I was, his first question was, "Soooo, are you hot?" (This was years ago. I now have an awesome home teacher). Another example was when I attended a church luncheon. I sat down, and the guy next to me immediately grabbed his plate, glared at me, and stood up and moved to sit next to a (younger and hotter) gal on the other side of the table. Gee, sorry for taking up space.

4) People act like inconsiderate fools, Part One. A church leader once asked me why I'm single at my age. He didn't really want to know, as he cut me off before I could give an explanation. He then proceeded to rattle off a list of other overweight, "undateable" (his words, not mine) women in my age range and suggested that I hang out with them. Never mind that I have nothing in common with these women other than the fact that we are not size zeros, older than most, and single. That would be like me rattling off a random list of other Caucasian senior citizens and suggesting that they all go play a round of golf.

5) People act like inconsiderate fools, Part Two. Case in point:

On more than one occasion, I've seen this and other cars parked in the handicapped parking spaces' unloading zones. This is totally obnoxious. There are only three or four handicapped spaces and about nine jillion regular parking spaces available. This is totally not acceptable. This just symbolizes the kind of entitlement and obnoxious/immature behavior that encountered at the YSA ward.

I can't speak for the other 14,000 single LDS adults in Las Vegas, but these are just a few reasons why I don't attend YSA activities. I'd rather stay home and read a book instead of being rejected by people who are a decade younger than I am. I'll go to church. I'll read scriptures. I'll pray and pay tithing. But I'm done playing broom hockey.


Shanny said...

I have never hated Relief Society except when I was in a singles ward (more specifically a singles ward focused on marriage, ie not my freshman ward). Everyone was just so. . . so. . . fake. Just a whole bunch of people wishing they weren't stuck for an hour with a group of fellow women, waiting to get back together with the men.

I'm sorry the YSA stuff sucks. I don't blame you for not going.

Cristy said...

I loved this post! I have 2 "older" single adult brothers who would probably really appreciate this too! I can just see it in my brother's eyes when they see me sitting at home night after night blissfully watching TV, and they sigh, as they have to go to some activity. Not fair.

Kristi H. said...

Can't say I miss the singles ward at all. Keep your head up! (and yeah, definitely most of the activities were completely lame)

PS I really enjoyed reading this!

KHodges said...

I can't argue with anything you've said. The most infuriating things you've encountered are included in points 3, 4, and 5. I'd most definitely not attend activities based on what you've had to deal with. If anyone wants to know why activities aren't being attended, they should go to the source - those who have stopped attending imho.

Wendy said...

Generally speaking, singles wards are like the church's version of purgatory.

I think you should find a way to contact the speaker and fill him in on your perspective- he probably has no idea about the real reasons people aren't coming. And while I'm giving out unsolicited advice, I think maybe you should give your home ward a try. You may find it better suited to where you are in your life.