Single Experiences: More Welcome as Half

[Note: This is one of a series of posts about being single in the Mormon church.  Here's a link to the guest post invitation  Here's a link to the archive for this series.]

I’m a convert and have divorced twice (both LDS men who were raised in the church); the second was finalized earlier this year. Also, I no longer attend LDS services and was excommunicated a few months after I stopped going to church. (Explanation: I had sex with a guy I was dating. I know I broke a promise but I suppose the “punishment” is a bit tough to choke down since both of my exes had affairs and neither has had any formal action taken against him.  I do not wish to justify my actions in any way other than to simply own it and carry on. My bishop and SP raked me over the coals for it so, yeah, I’m done.)

I have something of a strange story since I’ve been single, married, divorced, married, twice-divorced, and have experienced the church in a variety of ways: good, bad, and ugly. I suppose what I’m getting at is that while I have experience as a single Latter-Day Saint, my story is a bit convoluted; I’m really not sure under what category to file much of my time in the LDS church.

It was made pretty clear to me, over the course of my time in the church, however, that I was more welcome as half of a couple than otherwise. In fact, as a fully-fledged single adult woman, I found it very difficult to make friends with women who were my age and married. This became clear when invitations to social functions popped up all of a sudden once I married my second husband. Before that, as a teen convert (I was 18), finding someone for me to marry seemed to be a top priority of many of the members of my ward. As the only Young Single Adult, I stood out and painfully so. My friends who were involved in my conversion instructed me after my baptism that, as a member of the church, I need to obey the rules and attend my own ward. I knew no one.

My sealing to my first ex was cancelled so that I could be sealed to my second. I fought with my bishop for that for some time before the paperwork was sent off to SLC. I knew it the moment it happened and received the official letter a few days later. Scared out of my mind (it felt like I’d been freed from hell), I didn’t want to re-enter into that commitment lightly. My husband was upset but understood. When his affair came to light later on, I was thankful that I stood my ground.

As my second divorce loomed and was then finalized, my bishop would bear testimony to me that he knew there was a worthy priesthood holder who would love me and my kids the way we deserved. When I explained that I wasn’t sure I’d want to marry an active LDS man, he said, “Well, then you’ll just have to convert him then, won’t you?” After watching two outwardly stalwart LDS men crumble then wander from my marriages to them, I’m not interested in converting anyone. I’m also not interested in de-converting anyone either. I’m just there for those who believe and others who struggle.

So, that’s part of my story for you.  I’m happy where I am and feel closer to my God than ever before in my life. I’m still trying to understand how I missed God in the church where I’d hoped to meet Them. But, it is what it is.

–anonymous

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