When I joined the Church back in 1999, I was a single mom in her mid or late 20s. Exactly one year later, I received my endowment in the Los Angeles temple and learned a little more about exhaltation. I wont say I was disappointed, but I felt like I had a long way to go if I hoped to reach the highest level. Finding a compatible mate is a lot of work.
I wasn’t really in the market for a partner back then. I was still healing from my divorce in ’96 and really enjoying life as a single person in South Orange County (geography matters). Getting married or even seriously committed was NOT on my mind in the late ’90s. But being a new convert and wanting to be a good Mormon girl/woman, I felt the pressure to find a mate. My only problem was the adorable 60 pounds of tanned skinned, brown hair, doe-eyed cuteness that kept me company. Plus I was old and had a career and way overqualified for the young men in my singles ward.
Being the curious type, I inquired about my chances of being exalted and got an earful. I learned that women, not having as many opportunities to find a companion, will have a chance to marry and have a family in the next life but men aren’t so lucky. I was told it’s because they’re the ones doing the picking.
I think I snorted under my breath at the absurdity of it.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the first or last time I heard such nonsense. I heard it several times by well-intentioned married folk in my family ward. I even heard some of the older single sisters say it. Most memorable was a long discussion in a church parking lot with a 42-year-old single man who lived with a lot of guilt because he hadn’t picked someone yet. (Did these people feel sorry for me because they knew I was going to have a rough go in the dating department?)
It’s been over 10 years since I heard the idea but it came up recently in a conversation. Later that day I read Ardis’ fantastic post reminding me of those first (and awkward) years as a single member and thought y’all might have something to say about what I was told.
Do we really believe that single women will have the opportunity to marry and have families in the next life but single men won’t?
Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of being able to marry and have a family (If I wanted one) after I’m dead, but I don’t like that men are denied the same blessing because they’re the ones with the power /more opportunities to choose a companion . It suggests that women are just waiting to be chosen.