The Mormon church is like a Carnival cruise-line. All of your activities are planned for you. They tell you what to eat and drink. They tell you what shows to watch. You only see parts of the world they want you see. And everyone on the boat is your friend because you are all in it together. Then one day you do something bad. You study the church outside the approved LDS sites. All of a sudden the boat stops and the toilets are backing up. You want to stay on the ship because all your friends are there. You like the food. You wanted to play Charades on the Lido Deck. But it’s too late because everything stinks. I’m preparing to jump overboard but I don't know how to swim.
I’m so used to the church taking care of my every need. Protecting me from those hard decisions like who you are and what you want in life. Now I’m lost. What will I do without all my structured activities? How will I make friends? How will I ever fit in?
It’s astounding how different the world is outside the bubble. Luckily there are people in this world who will throw you a life-line. A few days ago I ran into an old high school friend. She invited me to go to dinner with her and her boyfriend and a single lady and a married couple she knew. At dinner I realized something funny. I was eating dinner with a married couple…like two people who got married but still stayed friends with people who were not married.
In Mormon culture, once your friends get married you never see them again. Most relationships are built for the purpose of finding your eternal companion. If you have found one then there is no need for other entanglements. I had a best friend for 2 years. I loved her and did everything with her. Once she got a boyfriend she stopped making time for me. She would only spend time with me if I had a date. Once she got engaged we had a complete falling-out. She no longer needed me and she made that clear. Funny thing is how common that is. People could not understand why I was upset. “oh that’s just normal. She is entering a new part of life and she needs to be friends with people she can relate to.” Just because I wasn’t having sex I couldn’t be her friend? They were right in many ways. We could not relate anymore.
The gap between those who are married and those who are still ( from the words of a prophet) “menace to society” is huge. You aren’t even allowed to attend the same church service anymore. The activities are different. The heaven she will go to is different. The commandments are different. Even your underwear is different. You really feel like a child. They get to sit at the big kid table while you still have to sit in church and learn the sin of masturbation.
When I was at dinner I realized that my friend Abigail had experienced all the same things her married friends had. She wasn’t different just because she was not married. And sitting with the, for once, I was not different. I WAS NOT DIFFERENT. I wasn't defined by my singleness. I don’t even think we talked about dating while I was there. Odd. In the church you can’t go a day without obsessing about marriage. We all beg, “for the love of God please let this date go well!” It is the focal point of everything. Especially at BYU. I’m no longer defined by my love-life. I know that I’m not immune from the pull to find someone. But when I do find someone it will be for the love of love and not “for the Love of God!”