A Call to Arms

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Due to popular demand… here’s Meghann Pricer’s amazing talk “A Call to Arms” given at this year’s 2014 Huntington Beach Midsingles Conference.


What would you want to say if you had a mega phone, and had an opportunity to say anything to 1200 of your peers? It is an interesting question, one that is typically rhetorical, but in this case, I actually get to execute what I would like to say.

So every year it is a tradition for the conference chair to get up and speak on the conference theme. When I was first told that we had to choose a theme and a scripture I kind of blew it off and thought…com’n does anyone really ever pay attention to the theme? Or even read the scripture? I thought it was a corny formality that really did’t really make a difference. Then I realized that I had a choice as to if it was going to be cheesy and typical, or if it was going to be bold and make an impact.

I believe the Lord prepared in a few ways to lead this conference, and I have been quite humbled. One way he prepared me, is he gave me insight and perspective into all the different circumstances and life stories that may be in this room today. Often times in the “Mormon Culture” we all get thrown into one bucket because we are “single.” Oh, well they are not married, so they all must be in the same boat, with the same problems, let’s tag them as single and have them hang out together until they find someone.

Well, we are all very different and come here today with different needs and a different story. And many of us feel differently about these singles events. Let me share with you where I was 3 years ago.

Three years ago I broke off an engagement to a non-member that I had dated for three years. I came to the realization that I could not be happy with someone that didn’t share my faith and that I needed to break it off. It just happened to be 3 weeks before the famous Huntington Beach Midsingles Conference. I had been out of the “dating game” for quite a while, I had no friends and was completely out of the social loop. The thought of returning to the singles scene made my stomach churn, I did not want to jump back in. But I game myself a pep talk and talked myself into going, not to meet anyone in a romantic sense, but just to make some new friends.

So, the Friday night event was at Angeles Stadium. I went alone, and parked about a mile from the stadium. As I walked towards the registration table I had quite a spell of social anxiety, this was hard for me. I am in sales for a living, I am a professional prospector and get rejected all day, but the thought of going into this singles event was terrifying. I kept telling my self, baby steps from the parking lot, baby steps to the registration table. I even started telling myself to be open and that maybe there would be a cute new guy there, perhaps someone I have never met, “be open.”

Now it is really important that you pay attention to the next few details, please do not take what I am about to share out of context. So, I approach the registration table, and I see this guy that looks kind of cute, someone I have never seen before. I kind of saw the back/side profile view of him, and he had a hat on and was looking down. I kind of got excited and hoped that he would check me in…..low and behold he did. He looked up from underneath his hat…It was was my BISHOP! I wanted to crawl in a hole! I was so glad no one could read my mind. I wanted to turn myself around and take GIANT steps back to my car. (Bishop, please know that I have no inappropriate thoughts about you.)

I share that story with you not only to have a chuckle with you and embarrass my Bishop, but to let you know, that I know and the Lord knows that each one of us has come here today with a different need and circumstance. Perhaps some of you are fresh off a broken engagement like I was, or maybe fresh off a divorce, maybe you are an introvert or have social anxiety and it took a lot of courage just to show up and stand against the wall and hope someone will talk to you. There are some of us barely hanging onto a testimony and are on the verge of going in-active, or perhaps you have been inactive and this is the first time you have come to church in a long time. And some of us even live for the parties and events, you can’t wait to mix and mingle, and walk into a room full of people you don’t know. For you, it is an adventure.

As my team and I planned this this conference, we tried to keep as many of those vast needs in mind as we could. We hope and pray that through the Lord’s work, we have made an impact for each if you.

So, What inspired the theme, A Call to Arms?

Back in November, I had to attend a business conference in Dallas for my firm. There was nothing that was out of the ordinary about this business trip, it was an event I had to go to every year, but there was some distinct situations that I was undergoing in my personal life that I was trying to navigate through. A couple of days before as I was preparing for this trip, I received a strong warning from the spirit: “Meghann, be prepared, you are going to get hit hard in Dallas.” My mom even called and gave me the same warning. Now I was feeling particuarly strong in my faith and testimony at that time, things were going great and I couldn’t imagine anything that could come my way that would rock me. Boy did I underestimate the adversary. During this trip I became eerily aware of how personally intimate the adversary knows me and my weaknesses. Every insecurity I have was played on, every appetite I have was tempted, and every weakness I have was exploited. What was really interesting about it, is that it was very subtle, I am not susceptible to sex drugs and rock n roll. No, the adversary knew what would entice me in very subtle ways, emotionally, and mentally, he knew exactly where to hit me, how, where, and when. It was a rough three days…and I made it, barely. I wish I would have heeded the warning a little more seriously and strapped on a little more armor.

Through that experience I came to the reality that the WAR in heaven never ended,it is still going on, it has transferred here on this earth, same battle, different field.I came to the reality that there is a war out for my soul. And if there is a war for my soul, there is a war for each one of my brother and sisters, each and every one of you. Literally, we are in a spiritual warfare, and Satan is a brilliant and tactical adversary, he knows us very well.

It is comforting and hopeful that our Savior knows us even better. That he has provided us “spiritual armor” if we will but take it upon ourselves. And so, I thought it appropriate for our theme to be “A CALL TO ARMS.”I feel inspired to speak about something very specific to our group today. This topic has really been impressed upon my mind and my heart and there is part of me that is reluctant to say it out of fear of how I may come off or that it wont be popular, but I am going to take the jump, and speak by the spirit and hope the Lord’s message will reach you.

I want to preface that each one of these examples I point out I am guilty of myself, the only way I am familiar with them is because I have lived it in one form or another. So, please don’t take this as me standing on a soap box, I am actually calling myself higher.

So, here is the big question:

Is the singles scene a Fortress? Or, another Battlefield? Is it a place of rest and safety? A place of peace and protection? Or, is a another field where we allow the adversary in to do his subtle yet destructive work?

Why is the Mormon “single scene” such a tough deal sometimes? Is it because we are apart of a faith and a culture that is based on family and eternal marriage? If we are not married, we feel like we are just not quite up to snuff, or that we just don’t cut it in the Mormon program?

Why in the 800 records in my singles ward, 600 people are inactive? Why do so many of our brother and sisters that once had testimonies stray? Why is what the world is providing a better alternative than the environment we are providing as their family in the gospel? What are some of the things that we do as a “culture,” that create distance and barriers between one another and deflect a feeling of peace and protection? I don’t think our cultural flaws are responsible for all the struggling testimonies and all that fall away, but I do think that the adversary is using our human weaknesses to destroy our fortress.

I would like to offer a few examples of how our cultural flaws destroy a feeling of peace and protection.

1. Gossip:
We live in a culture where the hottest thing is reality T.V., we thrive off of the drama and tragedies of real people’s lives. Its interesting, enticing, and captivating, and for years the human spirit has been drawn to it. For some reason we all love to hear about the he said, she said gossip and reasons why “it didn’t work out.” This gossip addiction is one of the adversary’s greatest tools of destruction. And it is so subtle, we don’t even know we are doing it.

The most often used and lethal form of gossip is when we have conversations about one another’s romantic relationships. When we date someone, we get to know some pretty personal details of their life, we get to know the bad and the good. And when we break up for what ever reason, it becomes the latest news. People just have to know who broke up with whom, or who wanted the divorce.

We don’t only do this in our romantic relationships, we do this with any kind of relationship. How often do we walk into a party and say, “Hey, whats the scoop with that guy?” Or, what is the story with that girl?” Instead of taking the time to get to know that person for ourselves and get our own perspective. Most of the time gossip is never intended to hurt anyone, and yet it is a subtle weapon of the adversary. It drives barriers between us. That is how Satan works, we read about Satan’s subtle nature in Alma 12 vs. 4&6:

“4 And thou seest that we know that thy plan was a very subtle plan, as to the subtlety of the devil, for to lie and to deceive this people that thou mightest set them against us, to revile us and to cast us out. And this is the plan he has for each one of us:
“6 And behold I say unto you all that this was a snare of the adversary, which he has laid to catch this people, that he might bring you into subjection unto him, that he might encircle you about with his chains, that he might chain you down to everlasting destruction, according to the power of his captivity.”

The reason gossip is so destructive is because most of the time it is a one sided story, the facts are inaccurate, and we don’t have a complete story. Yet, we walk around with completely inaccurate perceptions and stories about one another, and never does it provide a feeling of safety and peace.

2. Judgement:
Another subtle tactic of the Satan is Judgement. How often do we judge? Do we even know when we judge? We all judge different things, and typically judgement comes from a personal insecurity we have and we judge others to make ourselves feel better.

I don’t have time to go into all the different ways we judge, each of you know your thoughts and insecurities. Judgement is destructive to our fortress because the human spirit is very sensitive towards judgement, you can feel it. When people feel judged or compared, it is so easy to feel like you don’t belong or your not cutting it. We have lost many of our brothers and sisters to judgement.

Elder Uchtdorf’s touched on this topic last October in general conference:

“The Church is designed to nourish the imperfect, the struggling, and the exhausted. It is filled with people who desire with all their heart to keep the commandments, even if they haven’t mastered them yet.

“If you define hypocrite as someone who fails to live up perfectly to what he or she believes, then we are all hypocrites. None of us is quite as Christlike as we know we should be. But we earnestly desire to overcome our faults and the tendency to sin. With our heart and soul we yearn to become better with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

3. Assumptions:
Another tactic of the adversary is having us “make assumptions.” We all assume a lot about each other. We assume that someone has it all together, that someone has a lot of friends, or is really confident. We assume that someone has a strong testimony and would never fall, never question their faith. We assume someone has a friend, and always has something to do on a Saturday night, or maybe we assume that someone is well off based on the kind of car they drive or that they may come from a perfect family. We assume a lot and much of the time we are off mark.

To demonstrate this point, I would like to do a little exercise to demonstrate my next point. Everyone stand up, and if you can’t stand, please hold your hand up.

Have a seat if:
You have it all together. All your ducks are in a row.
Your life is going exactly as you hoped and planned.
You have never questioned your faith or testimony?
You have never asked yourself, “I don’t know if I can do this Mormon thing anymore?”
You have never felt alone.
The adversary and his force have not personally attacked you.

Take a look around, these are your brother and sisters, we are all fighting the same battle, in the same war, just on different fields. Each one of us is a prime target for the adversary and his forces, we are the generation that will create eternal marriages and families to carry on the work in these last days. If he can get you doubting your faith, fearing to engage in relationships and creating barriers between us, he is winning. Each one of us is a priority to him. Assumptions are destructive because they desensitize us to one another’s needs. We all walk around with so many needs and rarely are in tune with what someone else maybe needing. Rarely are our assumptions accurate about one another.

So, how can we protect each other?
1. I know that many of these personal conversations need to happen, it is good and therapeutic to share our experiences. But when we do, and when it involves someone we have personal insight and intimate details about, be sure to ask yourself what is your intent in sharing. You can ask yourself, by sharing this story or detail, am I exposing this person? Or protecting this person? Is this detail necessary to share? If you ask the question, it is typically black and white and answer, and the Holy Ghost will help you.

2. As for judgement, try to recognize when you are judging, typically it is tied to your own insecurity. So, the next time you catch yourself judging, ask yourself why you are judging and remember the words of Elder Uchtdorf, “we are all hypocrites” and we are all falling short.

3. And for assumptions, stop assuming, don’t take someone else’s word for it. Get to know someone yourself, give them a shot. Lets become re-sensitized to each others lives and needs. Don’t assume that they have it all together, most of us don’t. I am not under the illusion that I can get up here and give a one time speech on changing our cultural flaws. But I pray that one thing I have said today may have resonated with you, and that you will go home and try to do a few things to create a fortress in your home ward. If each one of us did at least one thing to work on it, we could really make an impact, eliminate the adversaries ability to play in our fortress and even win some battles!

If you are a conference chair or called to the committee, or if you have a pair of dog tags, please stand up. This is a team of your brothers and sisters that have loved and served you for the last 6 months. They have put in countless hours and thought into serving you and loving you and how they could make a difference for you. And there are many more under them as well. Please give them some love. If you see one of them wearing dog tags please shake their hand, let them know if they have made an impact on you, give them a hug.

I also would like to thank my family for being here today to support me. You have been the troop that has been fighting with me and protecting me my whole life. And I am so grateful that I have a shot at being with you forever.

In closing, I would like to share one more thought:
I have spoken to several Veterans over the last few months, and I have taken a little survey on one question. I asked each one of them, “When you were on the front lines, when you were actually exchanging fire in battle, what were you think about?” Each and everyone of them had the same answer. “ I am fighting for the guy next me, I am fighting for my friend, my buddy.” Not one of them said they were fighting for their own life.

Our Savior has taught:
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his brother.” I have a testimony of the adversary, I don’t know if anyone has got up and bore their testimony about Satan, but he is real for me and he is real for you. I also bare testimony of my Savior, I know that He is real, and he knows me better and is much more powerful than Satan. I put my trust in him, and his power. Satan may have power to bruise my heel, but with my Savior and taking upon his armor I have the power to crush his skull.

I pray that this may not only be a call to armor to protect one another, but that it is a call to HIS ARMS, as Alma exclaims in 2 Nephi, that we too many be “encircled about eternally in the ARMS of HIS LOVE.”

Quick Heads Up About this Blog…

Just a quick heads up, fellow Midsingles… This LDS Midsingles Blog may appear a little stagnant on the posts… but do know the Midisngles Wards List, Midsingles Conferences, (and as much as possible) local Midsingles Facebook Groups list and links ARE being updated constantly. 

So don’t be a stranger, and check back often for the latest developments on LDS Midsingles here at https://midsingles.wordpress.com 

Elders will be Sisters…

Saw this personally at the Los Angeles YSA + Midsingles Film Festival, July 27, 2013, thought it’s too good not to share… Are our Relief Societies and Priesthood lessons really like that? Is that a good or bad thing? And if so, how can we make RS and EQ more relevant in our lives as Midsingles?

Midsingles Magnet Ward Outline

Midsingles Magnet Ward Outline

With a growing number of 30-something Singles in the LDS Church, many areas are responding by having specific Midsingles activities (and wards) to better meet the needs of 30-something Midsingles. Currently, over 50% of singles who were once active at age 30 in a YSA Ward go inactive in the Church by the time they turn 34, if there’s not an established Midsingles Program/activities and/or ward in their area.  In each stake on the stake rolls there are , on average, 250-600 30-something Midsingles. Yet often only a handful or dozen 30-something Midsingles are active, many times sitting alone in a family ward.

So they try to attend an all-age Single Adult 31+ activity or dance, and see no one in their age  range in attendance, instead seeing primarily people who could be their parents or grandparents attend. Currently in many areas, less than 5% of active 30-something Midsingles attend all-age 31+ Single Adult activities.

As a result, many 30-something Midsingles feel kicked to the curb after leaving the YSA Ward and feel the Church has no place for them. To better reach out to 30-something Midsingles and ensure YSAs stay active in the church after they turn 31, some stakes, under approval of their local Area Seventy, have created a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward or Midsingles Magnet Ward.

The first such Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward was created in Huntington Beach, California, the Huntington Beach 1st Ward Midsingles, in January 2004. There are now 20+ such wards across the country.  These Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards that already exist (as shown in the outline) are family wards for ALL AGES.  However in addition to regular ward boundaries for all families of all ages, Midsingles within the stake can also attend the ward as well. Like a magnet school, this is a magnet ward for Midsingles. This allows the benefits of serving in the church with people of all ages, yet at the same time, you have a core group of 30-something Midsingles for social support as well in the ward. It’s the best of both worlds.  Below is an outline of how such a ward works and describes how there are other approaches that can better serve singles of all ages in addition to the existing all-age 31+ Single Adult format.

Overall Characteristics of a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward (Midsingles Magnet Ward)

1)      A Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward is a magnet ward where all 30-something Midsingles in the stake, attend the same existing family ward together. So there are family ward boundaries for families of all ages, and then Midsingles (and their children if they are single parents) living within the stake can also attend that ward as well.

2)      Typically, a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward is done only on a stake level (or 2 stakes if they have the same feeder YSA Ward) meaning only Midsingles (and their children if they are single parents) within the stake boundaries can have their records in the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward. For 2 stakes using the Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards concept , an example would be the new Oak Marr Ward in Oakton Virginia Stake which covers Midsingles in both Oakton and McLean VA Stakes with the same boundary as the Langley YSA Ward which cover both stakes.

3)      However, Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward boundaries do not cover the entire region of stakes or entire Metro Area (i.e. like one Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward to serve all of Las Vegas). Each stake is ideally to have their own Midsingles/Family Ward.

4)      Just like the YSAs, Midsingles are encouraged (but not required) to attend the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward. However, it should be said that the Midsingles who “love their family ward” should consider attending the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward instead to help other Midsingles who need their example and support.

5)      Attending the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward is considered a privilege, so less active records of Midsingles are to remain in their home family ward. All less active Midsingles records in the stake are not meant to be transferred over to the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward.

6)      Typically, Midsingles home teach and visit teach each other in the ward. This allows Midsingles to better support and fellowship each other, and is not viewed as being restrictive or reclusive from other ward members. In addition to Midsingles home teaching and visit teaching each other, Midsingles may be given additional assignments to home teach or visit teach other families in the ward.  Generally home teaching assignments to Midsingles falls under the stewardship of the Elders Quorum, while home teaching assignments to older Single Adults falls under the stewardship of the High Priests.

7)      Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards should ideally be located in the same building in the same YSA Ward that feeds into it, to help with transition from the YSAs into the Midsingles. YSAs number one concern, when turning 31, is that they will never see their YSA friends again.  Having both the YSA Ward and Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward in the same building  seems to work best since it allows them to “rub shoulders” with each other even though they are meeting at different times on Sunday. It also makes it easier to plan any joint YSA/Midsingles activities. This also encourages the YSAs to actually transition over to attend the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward when they turn 31. There is no more ambiguity with Midsingles floating around in the early 30s, since now everyone knows what ward they will be attending when they turn 31. More importantly, having the YSA Ward in the same building as the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward, helps single guys in their early 30s the most, since often the dating pool of men in their early 30s are often women in their mid to late 20s attending the YSA Ward.

8)      Midsingles, like any other ward member, can hold regular “family ward” callings, like serving in EQ, YM/YW, Relief Society, and other ward level callings. Many Midsingles/Family Wards have Midsingles called in Elder Quorum and Relief Society Presidencies, Ward Clerks, and YM/YW Advisors, etc.  Most Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards encourage Midsingles not to have a Primary or Nursery calling which allows Midsingles to attend the Midsingles Sunday School Class, and not feel stuck having no opportunity to fellowship with other Midsingles during the entire 3-hour block of meetings.

9)      Midsingles can also have specific Midsingles callings as well. There is much more involvement and commitment by the Midsingles if these are “set apart” callings, as opposed to approaching Midsingles duties as assignments on some sign-up sheet.

Different Phases of a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward

Phase I Approach (with 10-30 active Midsingles in the stake)

Here are some examples of current Phase I Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards:

Oak Marr Ward Midsingles, Oakton Virginia Stake

Atherton Ward Midsingles, Long Beach California East Stake

Ann Harbor 2nd Midsingles, Ann Harbor Michigan Stake

1)      Midsingles meet with other families together in the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward during Sacrament Meeting and  Priesthood/Relief Society.

2)      Midsingles have a separate Midsingles Gospel Doctrine Class (using the same manual and lesson as the regular Gospel Doctrine Class) taught by a Midsingle. This allows gospel principles taught with a Midsingles point of view. Midsingles can better support each other and learn better to apply the gospel principles in their lives, and know there are not alone.

3)      Midsingles also hold a weekly (or biweekly or monthly) Midsingles FHE. Depending on the demographics of the Midsingles in the stake, Midsingles hold FHE on Monday Night. If however, most Midsingles are single parents, then at the discretion of local leaders, Midsingles FHE can be held on a Sunday Night (or another night) to allow single parents to be with their families on Monday Night, or Midsingles FHE on Monday Night with single parents having FHE with their children on another night. Some areas where Midsingles meet in the same building as the YSA Ward, have a joint YSA/Midsingles FHE once a month in addition to weekly Midsingles FHE on the other weeks of the month. Keeping YSAs and Midsingles completely separate and isolated from each other, means YSAs will develop a negative and often “creepy” view of Midsingles, which makes them hesitant to transition over when they turn 31. Therefore, consistent yet occasional interaction, between the YSAs and Midsingles, develops a much smoother and successful transition since they are friends and more familiar with each other.

4)      A Midsingles Advisory Couple is called from the family ward (or within the stake) to help assist the Midsingles. They are considered to be like the “Mom and Dad” to the Midsingles, and help in supporting and attending Midsingles activities. They may oversee and support different Midsingles committees to lighten the load of the Bishopric. But their role is more of a supportive role, and not a role to dictate what Midsingles activities can or can not be done. Leadership for Midsingles activities is decided on the Midsingles Committee and Bishopric level.

5)      Monthly Midsingles Correlation Meeting is held usually once a month where all Midsingles, Midsingles Committee Chairs, Midsingles Advisory Couple(s), and Bishop (and wife) and member of the Bishopric attends. There they plan, schedule upcoming activities, address concerns, and report back on previous activities and/or assignments.

This is a different meeting than the Stake Single Adult 31+ Correlation Meeting. Typically, a Stake Midsingles Liaison or Rep is called to attend the monthly Stake Single Adult Correlation Meeting to report back to the Stake about activities of the Midsingles and coordinate between the Midsingles and older Single Adults. Likewise this Midsingles Correlation Meeting is also different from Ward Council. Ward Council focuses on ward-level correlation (both Midsingles and Families) between the different auxiliaries in the ward, whereas the monthly Midsingles Correlation Meeting focuses on strictly Midsingles related activities and committees.

Phase II Approach (with 30-100 active Midsingles in the stake)

Here are some examples of current Phase II Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards:

Chevy Chase Ward Midsingles, Washington DC Stake

Newport Beach 1st Ward Midsingles, Newport Beach California Stake

1)      Same 5 points apply from Phase I in Phase II Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards

2)      Now with more active Midsingles attending, more Midsingles Committees can be organized with chair and committee members as “set apart” callings. Here are some examples: Midsingles Temple Committee (to plan a monthly or quarterly Midsingles Temple Trip), Midsingles Fireside Committee (to plan a monthly or quarterly Midsingles Fireside), Midsingles FHE Committee, Midsingles Dance Committee (to plan a monthly or quarterly Midsingles Dance. This can also be planned on a regional or cluster level too), Midsingles Institute Committee (to plan, attend, or promote a local or regional Midsingles Institute Class), Midsingles Dinner Groups Committee, Midsingles Linger Longer Committee, etc, etc, according to local need.

3)      An additional Midsingles Advisory Couple may be called to assist the Midsingles.

Phase III Approach (with 100+ active Midsingles in the stake)

Here is an example of a Phase III Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward:

Huntington Beach 1st Ward Midsingles, Huntington Beach California Stake

1)      Applying the same points in both Phase I and Phase II Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards. However, with the ward approaching half Midsingles/half Families, the need for a separate Midsingles Sunday School Class may or may not be needed, since there are already multiple Gospel Doctrine Classes being taught. Most attending these Gospel Doctrine Classes will be Midsingle.

2)      In addition to the Midsingles Committees mentioned in Phase II, additional Midsingles Committees can be added according to local need. Here are some examples. Midsingles Transition Committee (newly minted Midsingles in their early and mid 30s called to identify and befriend older YSAs in their late 20s in the stake to help them make the transition over to the Midsingles when they turn 31), Midsingles Reactivation Committee (supports and helps less active Midsingles in their 30s to become active again), Midsingles Sports Committee, Midsingles Culture Committee (plan to attend community culture events), Midsingles Super Date Committee (plan Midsingles Dating activities on a ward level), Midsingles Family History Committee, Midsingles “Girls Night Out” Committee, Midsingles “Menrichment” Committee, etc.

3)      A third Midsingles Advisory Couple may be called to assist the Midsingles.

Edited to add: In November 2013, since there are over 150 active Midsingles that attended the Huntington Beach 1st Ward Midsingles (as a Midsingles Magnet Ward), the decision was made to create a separate tradtional Midisngles Ward — Huntington Beach Midsingles (SA) Ward, following the guidelines in the Church Handbook 2, Section 16.1.1.

Benefits of a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward Over a Traditional Midsingles Ward (ages 31-45)

1)     Single parents in their 30s and their children in the stake can attend the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward together, whereas only never been married Midsingles, Midsingles without children,  and/or Midsingles who don’t have full-time custody of their children can only have their records in a traditional Midsingles Ward.

2)      Plus the mixed Midsingles/Family Ward allows for never been married Midsingles, divorced Midsingles,  and single parents in their 30s to all fellowship together (along with the rest of the family ward).

3)      Midsingles do in fact move on and get married in the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward. The Huntington Beach 1st Ward Midsingles, for example, averages 9-10 marriages per year.

4)      Traditional Midsingles Wards (ages 31-45) especially in Utah skew older over time into a late 30s/40s crowd with many singles in their 50s attending, which deters early 30-somethings from attending the ward.

5)      Traditional Midsingles Wards (ages 31-45) especially in Utah are often overwhelmed with ward hoppers and constant visitors, which makes it difficult to identify the needs of Midsingles within the ward, and creates an atmosphere where everyone gets lost in the shuffle.

6)      Focusing on Midsingles only within the stake (and with every stake having their own Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward) means Stake and Ward Leaders can look after Midsingles in a manageable size rather than being overwhelmed by constant Sunday visitors and ward hoppers.

7)      Traditional Midsingles Ward often covers one Metro Area or Region leaving Midsingles spread out and not connected with each other.

8)      Also it’s worth mentioning sometimes the dynamics of a regional traditional Midsingles Ward (31-45) or Single Adult Ward (31+) leaves a higher percentage of singles who lack emotional awareness and boundaries, or invade personal space that often deter more well-adjusted singles to attend the ward. However in a mixed Midsingles/Family Ward setting, the percentage of such singles is less of a factor, so more local well-adjusted Midsingles in the stake will attend the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward.

Benefits of a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward over an all-age Traditional Single Adult 31+ Ward

1)      With the focus of Midsingles being mainly 30-something Singles (31-early40s) allows for joint activities, so that the YSAs and Midsingles can socialize together from time-to-time to help with transition and encourage more dating. However having an all-age Single Adult Ward 31+ limits such crossover social opportunities.

2)      While in some Metro Areas, where there are a large percentage of singles over 30, it may still make sense to have a regional all-age Single Adult 31+ Ward. But know that despite good intentions to include everyone, within a year or two of creation of the ward, most 30-something Midsingles will eventually leave the ward feeling uncomfortable attending the all-age Single Adult Ward with those old enough to be their parents in the same ward. So you end up mainly with singles in their 40s and 50s on up in attendance.

3)      As such, having an all-age Single Adult 31+ Ward may not be the best option to help 30-something Midsingles make the transition from the YSAs. In addition to an all-age Single Adult 31+ Ward, the stake should also consider a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward as well to help 30-something Midsingles.

Benefits of Midsingles being 31-early40s over a 31-45 (or 31-50) approach

1)      In some areas, Midsingles are defined as singles 31-45 (or 31-50) . However there are some drawbacks to that approach.

2)      With Midsingles being 31-45, it creates a 31-45, 46+ split which cuts the 40s in half. So you have a 44-year-old not being to talk to a 46-year-old or forced to attend different activities. This also is perceived by some as there are only 2 Groups,  “Us vs Them” or “Midsingles vs Older Singles”, so singles in their late 40s feeling stuck as outcasts only allowed to socialize with singles that are older than them, and feeling they are now in the “oldest” Singles group.

3)      Over time the 31-45  (or 31-50) group tends to skew older into a late30s/40s crowd which leaves the early 30-somethings feeling left out and out of place.

4)      Single men in their early 30s often go inactive or don’t participate in 31-45 activities (let alone 31+ SA activities) if they know there’s no opportunity for them to meet women in their late 20s at these activities. Having occasional YSA/Midsingles activites help ensure these men stay active and are able to acclimate to attending strictly Midsingles (and eventual 31+ SA) activities.

5)      Even it’s only a few years difference, the dynamic of Midsingles being defined as more 30s-focused (31-early40s) means the Midsingles are more focused on 30-something Singles. This is in contrast sometimes to 31-45 activities which can focus on 40-something Singles in some areas since in reality the real age range is often 3 years or so older than the stated age range (meaning people up to 47-48 will continue to attend 31-45 activities).

6)  A better and smoother approach, since singles in each decade (30s, 40s, 50s, 60+) have different social needs, would be to have to a separate 40-something Singles activities group (late30s-50) on top of the 30-something Midsingles (31-early40s).  This allows for overlap between the two groups so people in their late30s-early 40s have a transition period  to attend both 30s Midsingles activities and the 40s Group activities too. So a never been married guy at age 39 may align himself more with the 30s Midsingles, but a divorced Mom of 5 kids at age 39 may feel more comfortable with the 40s Group. Transition between groups is considered more as a continuum than an abrupt 31-45, 46+ split. If you are on facebook, check out our stake’s 40-something activities group https://www.facebook.com/groups/75157305418/ and 50-something activities group https://www.facebook.com/groups/111888565196/ as examples of something you can do in your area.

7) Of course, 30-something Midsingles and 40-something Singles can still socialize with each other at all-age 31+ Single Adult activities.

Social Needs to Each “Decade” are Different

Here’s the breakdown by decades:
30-something Midsingles — increasingly never been married. With bio clock ticking, looking to find someone of a similar age to get married and start a family
40-something Singles — on average, divorced with teenage kids. Looking to remarry and have a blended family with someone else.
50-something Singles — on average, divorced with grown kids. Some men in their 50s want to remarry, but increasingly more single women in 50s are content remaining single, and prefer activities that are not focused on finding a dating partner.
60-something Singles — widowed or sometimes divorced. Most not interested in remarrying. Most are uncomfortable attending 31+ SA activities. Prefer activities earlier in the day.

That is why there’s the rationale for “decade” singles groups which works much better instead of a 31-45, 46+ split  you see in some stakes, which splits the 40s in half. So each decade (30s Midsingles, 40s, 50s, 60+) each have their own activities.  In the Southern California area, here is our breakdown:

30-something Midsingles/Family Ward (31-early 40s) with occasional joint activities with the older YSAs to help with transition.
40-something Singles activities group (late30s/40s)
50-something Singles activities group (late40s/50s)
Elite Singles (60+)

There’s also overlap so people on the cusp can double dip and attend both groups (like someone age 39 attending both the 30s and 40s Groups or someone 28 can attend both YSA and 30-something Midsingles activities) to help with transition. Singles from the region attend our “decade” groups too. Now in addition to these groups, other nearby stakes for the region, still have all-age 31+ Single Adult activities, with the idea that singles can attend BOTH — their peer “decade” group for their core support AND venture out to an all-age 31+ activity too.

Consider it similar with other auxiliaries in the Church like Enrichment with the smaller groups and then everyone coming together too. Same approach! So, it’s not Midsingles vs. Older Singles, or all-age vs. Midsingles — it’s BOTH.

As a result, we are getting a much better turnout of singles (as a whole) from the less actives, newly divorced, single parents, non-members, or active Singles who usually never attend SA activities,  who are attending these decade groups. Many of these people would never initially attend a regular 31+ SA activity let alone set foot inside an all-age 31+ Single Adult Ward.

Once people feel secure with their own decade group activities, THEN they are willing to venture out to all-age 31+ activity occasionally. This is because it’s no longer “the end of the world” creepy experience at an older SA activity with Midsingles lowering expectations and can just support the cause since there’s already a local 30s Midsingles scene for their main social support. Same concept applies to the 40s Singles, 50s Singles, and Senior Singles 60+ who all love attending their own decade group activities that supplement all-age 31+ activities too.

So the end result is a Midsingles Program (along with having “Decade” Groups) that actually builds and supports the 31+ Single Adult Program.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Is this Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward concept currently being done and approved , or is this something that’s just being purposed?

A. All wards listed in this outline are all approved to have this format and are currently operating as Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards. Approval of such wards is left to the discretion and approval of the local Stake President and then Area Seventy (and then First Presidency).

Q. In the recent addition of the Church Handbook, only designates singles in two categories – Young Single Adults (18-30) and Single Adults (31+). In fact the term “Midsingles” is not even mentioned. If so, where do Midsingles fit in then?

A: As stated in the Midsingles Program Outline above, Midsingles, along with other potential decade groups, are subsets of the all-age (31+) Single Adult Program.  Repeatedly Church Leaders including members of the Twelve and Seventy have recognized the Singles Program is NOT an one-size-fits-all approach.

Also as of July 2013, an update was added to the Church Handbook 2, Section 16.1.1 explicitly mentions the approval to create “Single Adult Wards for ages 31 to 45” (aka Midsingles)

If not just for the creation of Midsingles Wards, the Church gives local leaders flexibility to adapt their Singles and Midsingles Program according to local need as inferred in Section 17.2 of the Church Handbook 2 which states, “Stake presidents, bishops, and branch presidents have discretion to make simple adaptations to certain Church programs”  and that “leaders should always seek the guidance of the Spirit in making adaptations.”

Increasingly in many areas to better serve 30-something Midsingles, local leaders are seeing a need to have specific Midsingles activities and/or Midsingles Wards that supplement the all-age Single Adult Program.

Q. This sounds overwhelming and a lot of work. How can we start slow?

A. If you have a handful of active Midsingles in your stake, you start with using the Phase I Model (by having the 5-10 active Midsingles in the stake, all attending the same family ward together with their own Midsingles Sunday School Class) and then grow from there. The Stake (or Region) can still have all-age 31+ activities in addition to 30-something Midsingles activities too (and then eventual “decade” group activities). The next step in the decade approach would be to have simple monthly activities for the 40-somethings for the region and then add additional decade groups (50s and Elite Singles 60+ ) according to local need.

Q. Doesn’t having a Midsingles Program (or decade groups) “discriminate” or “take away” from the Single Adult program?

A.  Actually, our experience has been the opposite. Having a 30-something Midsingles Program along with separate Decade Group activities (40s, 50s, 60+) in the long run has actually increased attendance at all-age 31+ SA Activities. The reason being is certain segments of singles respond better and appreciate activities with singles in the same age range, while other singles like all-age activities. By providing both approaches,  more singles (as a whole) are attending singles activities and staying active in the Church and have more opportunities to date and eventually marry.

Q. We have so few active singles attending already. How do the new categories help?

A. It sounds counter-intuitive, but if all you have are 31+ SA activities (since it doesn’t meet the needs of all singles) by including everyone, then few people attend. If you have more narrow age range activities along with all age activities too, then a lot more singles attend and participate in activities.

Q. Will having a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward overwhelm Bishops and the family ward?

A. If every stake had their own Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward, there wouldn’t be the need for Midsingles to ward hop and overwhelm the ward. Having Midsingles in the family ward is an asset and not a liability.

Q. Why not just have Midsingles activities instead of the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward?

A.  While having Midsingles activities are a good start, in many areas, Midsingles activities are only done once a month, which means there’s no momentum in Midsingles getting to know each other better. Many Midsingles comment how they feel they are back at square one at a monthly activity, feeling like they are always “new” at the activity. However in a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward setting, Midsingles see each other on average 2-4 times a week between church on Sunday, FHE on Monday, Institute during the week, maybe a weekend activity, so Midsingles in a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward setting feel more close and connected to each other. Activity and retention rates are much higher in a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward than just having Midsingles activities.

Of course, on a stake level, there can be smaller Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards (with as little as 5-10 active Midsingles in the stake attending the same family ward together), and then regionally,  larger 30-something Midsingles activities can still be planned to achieve a critical mass as well. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. You can have both approaches. By having Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards on a stake level allows more stake involvement in identifying, reaching out, and fellowshipping local Midsingles as opposed to only having regional Midsingles activities or committees which can miss or not identify local Midsingles in need.

Q.  So, how does this work internationally?

A.  Obviously, a Midsingles Program (let alone a decade group approach) may not work or make sense where the Church is still young and developing in some areas of the world. However, there are at least unofficially, or sometimes official Midsingles activities, held throughout Europe, Canada, the UK, Russia, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. A Midsingles (and decade group approach) could also work in established areas in Latin America, the Philippines,  Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan as well.

Q. How does a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward concept work in an urban stake where the majority of members are already single?

A. A Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward could work in an urban stake. If the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward becomes a Midsingles majority ward, it could become a strictly Midsingles Ward or two separate Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards can be formed on both ends of the stake to create the right mix of having no more than half Midsingles/half families attending each ward.

Q. How does a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward concept work in a rural stake with outlying wards and branches?

A. If there are at least 10 active Midsingles in the stake, and they tend to live in the center of the stake, a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward could work. Midsingles in outlying areas can stay in their home ward or branch, and if able, can attend Stake (or Regional) Midsingles activities.

Q. What about single parents who have teenage kids with busy schedules? Wouldn’t it be difficult to attend a Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward?

A. A Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward is geared primarily for 30-something Midsingles with primary aged children and Midsingles without children. If single parents live on the other end of the stake with teenage kids, it makes sense to remain in their home ward and just attend Midsingles activities.

Q. Can YSA aged single parents attend the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward?

A. At the approval of the Stake President, Bishop of the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward, and Bishop of the home ward, a YSA aged single parent may transfer their record over to the Mixed Midsingles/Family Ward.

Q. Why not just have all the singles 31+ attend the same family ward together?

A. While the concept may seem it would appeal to all ages, the reality is a stake in Southern California tried that approach, and with different singles in different ages having different social needs, activities were poorly attended, most 30-something Midsingles stopped attending within a year, leaving only a handful a 50-something Singles attending the ward.

It should also be noted recently as of January 2013, a few stakes in addition to having a Midsingles Magnet Ward for their stake (or region), they also have also designated a different family host ward to be the Magnet Ward for Singe Adults, mainly for singles 45 and up. So a Magnet Ward works best either serving narrower age ranges (Midsingles OR Older Singles) than trying to serve all singles 31-101 in the same magnet ward together.

If you have any questions with this outline, feel free to contact me, Matt Campbell at campbellmfendt@hotmail.com

As of November 2014, here are the current list of known Mixed Midsingles/Family Wards (aka Midsingles Magnet Wards):

Midsingles Magnet Wards
Newport Beach 1st Ward Midsingles, Newport Beach California Stake
Atherton Ward Midsingles, Long Beach California East Stake
Elliott Bay Ward Midsingles, Seattle Washington North Stake
Chevy Chase Ward Midsingles, Washington DC Stake
Carrollton Ward Midsingles, Silver Spring Maryland Stake
Oak Marr Ward Midsingles, Oakton Virginia Stake
Simi 4th Ward Midsingles, Simi Valley California Stake
Boulder Creek Ward Midsingles, Mesa Arizona Boulder Creek Stake
Long Beach 4th Ward Midsingles, Long Beach California Stake
Atherton Ward Midsingles, Long Beach California East Stake
Sunset Ward Midsingles, San Francisco California West Stake
Tiger Mountain Ward Midsingles, Bellevue Washington South Stake
Hickory Hills Ward Midsingles, Lenexa Kansas Stake
Broomall Ward Midsingles, Valley Forge Pennsylvania Stake
Saratoga Ward Midsingles, Saratoga California Stake
Green Hills Ward Midsingles, Nashville Tennessee Stake
Republic Ward Midsingles, Springfield Missouri South Stake
Coppell 3rd Ward Midsingles, Carrollton Texas Stake
Ann Arbor 2nd Ward Midsingles, Ann Arbor Michigan Stake
Desert Hills Ward Midsingles, Scottsdale Arizona North Stake
Glen Allen Ward Midsingles, Richmond Virginia Stake
Kearney 1st Ward Midsingles, Liberty Missouri Stake
Little Flock Ward Midsingles, Rogers Arkansas Stake

Magnet Wards for 45+ Singles
As an FYI, similar to Midsingles Magnet Wards (see list above), there are also now Magnet Wards for 45+ Singles as well — where all 45+ Singles in the same stake (or region) can attend the same existing family ward together. And then have a separate 45+ Singles Sunday School Class and other activities.

Woodland Park Ward, Los Altos California Stake
Red Hill Ward, Orange California Stake

For a listing for all the other Midsingles Wards, please to refer the Midsingles Wards List Page

For a listing of all Midsingles Conferences, and local Midsingles facebook groups which will have more info on local Midsingles activities, located now on this LDS Midsingles Blog. And also, feel free to join the LDS Midsingles of the World facebook group to connect with other 30-something Midsingles from around the world. http://bit.ly/midsingles

Midsingles Top TEN List

Here is the TOP TEN list Bishop Lang spoke at the Huntington Beach California Midsingles Conference, April 25, 2010. No word yet on if there will be a version for the women…stay tuned:

Top 10 Reasons Why I’m Not Married Yet

For the Men:

Number 10 – I haven’t met a Spiritual Angelina Jolie look alike with a trust fund…YET

Advice: when you get home tonight take your shirt off, sit on the bed, and look in the mirror. Show me your bank statement.

Number 9 – Married life will most likely cut into my World of Warcraft time…

Advice: GO outside, GO to the Temple, Do your Home teaching, and GO out on Dates, Serve others.

Number 8 – I can hardly support myself; plus I’m still not sure what I’m going to be when I grow up….

Advice: “A rolling stone gathers no Moss” do what you know and know what you do… WORK

Number 7 – My One True Love is married to a dentist, living in Orem, and has 2.3 children…

Advice: Move on, get a life; realize she’s not coming back… forget yourself…

Number 6 – I have already been married, as soon as the reception was over she turned into the Wicked Witch of the West… Now I’m scared … it will take an Act of Congress before I get married again…

Advice: there are 3 parts of the sealing ceremony… If you didn’t break yours that’s the best you can do… 2nd Article of Faith: We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adams transgression…

Number 5 – None of the women I’m interested in will date with me…

Advice: when you get home tonight take your shirt off, sit on the bed, and look in the mirror…

Number 4 – I will never be able to have a successful marriage. I have accumulated some baggage… I’ve made mistakes that leave me feeling unworthy… I have developed a dark habit…

Advice: John 8…

Number 3 – My parents are divorced. It scared me. I’m stuck in between them. I don’t ever want my children to go thru what I have…

Advice: So what? If your dad jumps off a bridge does that mean you have to do it also??? 2nd Article of Faith.

Number 2 – My siblings are married and struggle… Their kids are brats… They have financial trouble… Every time they argue my sister calls me and gives me way too much information…

Advice: you’re not your sibling, there is absolutely no reason that you have to repeat anything your sibling does… or doesn’t do… watch and learn.

The Number One reason I’m not married yet is: I don’t want to make a mistake… I’m scared… I wonder if it’s my lot in life to be single…

Advice: Maybe it is your lot in life… WRONG. You can do it… who wants you to be happy? And who wants you to be single?… President James E. Faust – said “… don’t take too much counsel from your fears…”

Top Ten Reasons Why I Shouldn’t Give Up and /or What To Do About It …

For the Men:

Number 10 – I just haven’t met Mrs. Right yet… Maybe she’s here (at the HB Midsingles Conference)…. Will the real Mrs. Right please raise your hand…

Advice: Men, these women have non-member men asking them out constantly… but they WANT a righteous Priesthood holder; don’t under estimate yourselves… Don’t underestimate Mrs. Right here…

Number 9 – The longer I’m single the weirder I’m getting…

Advice: self explanatory… You guys are like beautiful Ferraris’ driving around stuck in 2nd gear… when you become a family it’s like sliding that puppy into 5th gear and fulfilling your potential… everything becomes a purpose in raising your family…

Number 8 – I don’t feel worthy… I’m discouraged…

Advice: Moses 1:39 for behold this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of YOU…

Number 7 – You need to propagate your seed…

Advice: Abrahamic covenant…see Addendum below

Number 6 – You hold the Priesthood of God… (Most of you) You have been ordained and for ordained to be a Husband and father and to become like our Heavenly Father…

Advice: D&C 84:34-41 Oath and Covenant of The Priesthood…

Number 5 – Nothing worthwhile is easy… This life is a test…

Advice: When Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden they were commanded to earn their sustenance by working 6 days a week, by the sweat of their face shalt they eat their bread… Genesis 3:16-19

Number 4 – True Joy comes from giving… When we become a Family… We become like our Heavenly Father and his Son…

Advice: There are 3 phases to Mans life … Phase 1… we believe in Santa Claus… Phase 2 we don’t… Phase 3 ….You are Santa Claus… Phase 4 …you look like Santa Claus… (When you get home tonight take your shirt off, sit on the bed, and look in the mirror…)

Number 3 – Nothing you ever do will please your Heavenly Father, Savior, Earthly Parents, Future In laws, future spouse and most importantly yourself… than becoming a Family…

Advice: Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh…”

Number 2 – It’s not good for man to be alone… The first conversation God and the Savior had regarding us after they had created Adam was… “Is it good for man to be alone? NOPE.”

The Number One reason is… We are exalted as Families… Moses 1:39… D&C 132: 19 The new and everlasting covenant…

Addendum – Abrahamic Covenant

Abraham received the gospel and was ordained a high priest (D&C 84:14; Abraham 1:2). He later entered into celestial marriage, which is the covenant of exaltation (D&C 131:1-4; 132:19, 29). In connection with the covenants he made, he received great promises from the Lord concerning his family. Among these promises were the following:

  • His posterity would be numerous
  • His seed or descendants would receive the gospel and bear the priesthood.
  • Through the ministry of his seed “all the families of the earth would be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.”

Together, all the covenants and promises that Abraham received from the Lord are called the Abrahamic covenant, even if he or she is not a literal descendant of Abraham.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you are a child of the covenant. You have received the everlasting gospel and inherited the same promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You have the right to the blessings of the priesthood and to eternal life, according to your faithfulness in receiving the ordinances of salvation and keeping the associated covenants. Nations of the earth will be blessed by your efforts and the labors of your posterity.