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I have a vested interest in single adults because I spent so much of my life as a single woman. My name is Kristen Meredith McMain Oaks. I married President Dallin H. Oaks, now of the First Presidency and then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, when I was almost 53 years old.
I rejoiced during my single years, and I suffered through them too, while I was discovering what Heavenly Father wanted for me. He was blessing me with adequate time and experience to build a solid and sure testimony.
“To remain active, a single member has to develop a deep and abiding testimony of gospel truths rather than depending solely on Church programs for happiness,” wrote one Church member from Los Angeles, California.
When we are single, our Church associations become especially meaningful to us. We look to our wards to provide not only a place to worship but also a place to socialize and be part of a ward family. Single members hold high expectations that their wards will be places of refuge, of personal growth, and of spiritual renewal. The expectations for fellowship are high because we live in a world where social isolation is increasing. As Robert D. Putnam, a Harvard political scientist, sees it, “America is fraying as people spend more time alone and we are becoming a nation of loners” (Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, 212, 235).
There is no separate Church for singles. There may be wards, branches, or classes, but we are all part of the same Church. What the singles ward does provide is an environment to associate with others of similar interests and age, where being single is the norm. It is easy to feel accepted when our lives are so much like those around us. More importantly, in singles units, there are often increased opportunities for leadership, callings to teach, social activities, service projects, and spiritual guidance.
Singles faced with the necessity of returning to a residential ward may find the change uncomfortable and traumatic.
To read the full article on LDS.org, click here.