I'm in an elephant graveyard

Remember how a couple of weeks ago I talked about singles wards? Well now there's an entirely new thing to report, namely my new singles ward, about which I'm not sure what to think or feel.

Jenny & Ed's bishop turned up last week to say Hi and I asked him about the singles wards. He said there's a BYU ward for for the students & younger kiddies and a really big stake singles ward that seems to be populated by the 25+ crowd--a couple hundred of them.

This, to me, was good news. He said this ward must be good, because it had people driving down from SLC to be in it, which confused me a little bit. Usually it's only the really tiny wards who are so desperate for members that they'll fudge on the boundaries.

So on Sunday I got all dolled up in my cute brown Wal-Mart skirt and my light-pink boat-neck 3/4-sleeved tee and my hot brown shoes. I planned to get there early but didn't actually sit down in the chapel until the opening hymn had started. Hate that. Now my family will heap scorn upon me.

The ward choir (2 boys, 12 girls, 2 tone-deaf loud boys, bless them) sang and people gave talks and all that normal stuff. The chapel was packed with people. But as I looked around I saw a lot of people who did not seem to be in their 20s so much. More like 30s. And possibly older. When the bishop got up to make announcements he welcomed the visitors and new people and told us all to fill out a new member sheet to determine if we're "eligible" for membership in the ward. Kind of like it was a country club or something.

So. While I was out in the hall getting my picture taken for the ward directory, I asked a few not-so-subtle questions and figured out what was going on here in CrazyWardVilleLand. This ward is a special ward, with special rules. The age limit has been increased to 40, and, in some circumstances, 45. Which explains why a grey-haired man came up and introduced himself to me. Some people don't even join the ward--they just get their name in the directory and they come to all the social events, of which there are many (4 this week). These people are called "permanent visitors." One girl I talked to lives in Springville and attends a ward there in the mornings and then comes up to this one in the afternoons. Another girl said she tried the family wards for a few years but got sick of being put into Primary so she started coming here.

One cool thing about this ward, though, is that there are a LOT of international members. The girl who taught the Relief Society lesson is either from Brazil or Portugal, there are Korean and Chinese members, and I talked to a couple of guys and a girl from Latin America. I think I heard a South African accent during Gospel Doctrine. I'm not sure why that is, but that's fun.

It was kind of disorienting, I must say. Of course I've only met a few people so far, but it's just funny. My standards for how young I'll go have totally fallen by the wayside--I'll date a 21-yr-old if he's smart & mature & with it. I just didn't think I would end up needing to decide how old I'll go. Because it turns out I still have some rules there. And 45 is a bit high. Because you just know that's how Michael Douglas gets out of stuff.

"Sorry, Catherine, my hip is acting up again. If I change a diaper the whole thing might just pop right out!"


noelle feather said... [reply]

Hum. That kind of sounds like something I found near Sandy last year. Sure wish they had stuff like that here in CA.

amyjane said... [reply]

WHAT? Now, I may be mistaken but...aren't there rules about things like that? Is this ward an exception? Like a legal and SLC endorsed exception? I mean, yay, if there are good, normal people there and it's still church in every sense of the word, but if it's just a physical manifestation of HotSaints.com then I may take exception. What do you make of it?

Nemesis said... [reply]

Amy, I'm assuming that this ward is approved, otherwise I don't see how they could get away with it on such a huge scale. So someone must feel there's a need to have this option for the 30-40s. But I don't know if it's an experiment or a pilot program or something that's going to be shut down. No idea.

Nemesis said... [reply]

I personally don't feel like I would want to be in a singles ward at 38, but that's me talking as a 27-yr-old.

kristen said... [reply]

Dude, I think I know which ward that is. Do you meet at a chapel by the temple? I went once when I moved back to Provo and felt like it was too 'loose' for me; as in they let anyone come and go as they please, one of the speakers decided not to show up, and some of the people were wierd. In fact it had a bad rap in the ward I ended up going to because it was so wierd.
Watch out for the older ones.

stupidramblings said... [reply]

Eeeeesh. Having spent many single years and then going to a regular ward, I pick the regular ward every time. No matter what's available.

When my wife Limpy and I got married, I attended the family ward once, and said to myself, why wasn't I doing this before--I better give it one more week. The next week was better.

Go to the family ward.

I'm just saying.

Scully said... [reply]

My new dating rule is that he must have been born in the 1970s (there is the George Clooney exception, but I have a feeling I'll never have to invoke that clause)and I even got into an argument with my dad about it, because he wanted me to think about dating a guy from my home stake who was born in 1980. And he couldn't see how December 1979 could be that different from February of 1980. But it is. Especially when you knew each other as kids. And you possibly baby-sat for said boy.

CoolMom said... [reply]

Maybe I'm off base here, but I was just struck with the thought that in singles wards it's every man/woman for him/herself. But in family wards there is way less competition and if you are cute, have a testimony, dress nice, and are educated (which you my precious Nemmy excel at all of the above) then everyone will be trying to fix you up with every brother, sister, cousin, neice, nephew, friend, or rommate coming and going. All you need to do is show up and let the match-making begin.

Cicada said... [reply]

Coolmom might have a point, and remember, she was right about looking vulnerable in pink...

I say settle for whatever comes your way, Nem. Marriage to anything must be better than eternity in the singles ward.

blackjazz said... [reply]

I have temporary loan of the new book 1. I happen to have it with me! I've had a quick look to see what it says about this. "Most young single adults are best served as members of conventional wards." However, if the circumstances are exceptional, a unit for young single adults (21 to 30) may be created. "In the exceptional circumstances that a stake includes 150 or more single adults ages 31 and older who want to be members of a single adult ward, the stake president may recommend that such a ward be created." I can't see any provision for singles wards which include both YSAs and SAs. Also of interest - "Single members with children at home normally remain in their conventional ward so the children have the benefit of Primary and youth programmes."

From what you've described, I think one or more of the following is probably true:
1. The policy has changed to the one I've summarised above, and it used to be permitted.
2. This is a special case or experiment specifically authorised by church leadership in SLC.
3. It's really a YSA ward but the local leaders have relaxed the rules without permission or because they haven't read the handbook.

Sadly I'm inclined to think that number 3 is the most likely.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Noelle, what is the singles scene like where you live?

Kristen, I'm pretty sure we're talking about the same one. Pretty sure.

Stupid, I will take your recommendations into consideration.

Scully, you are a stronger woman than I. Because I will totally go into the 80s. WR was born in Jan 1980. He was only 4 months younger than me.

Mom, you raise an intriguing concept. I must think more about this. Jenny thinks you have a point.

Cicada, you're right. I should really have been giving those LDS Linkup guys a chance. Speaking of, I think some of those older Latin American men are actually in my ward now.

Cool, blackjazz is here with The Book! I SO wish I could have a copy of that thing. Is there a black market way to get one? Then people wouldn't need to worry about me shooting off my mouth when I don't know the official stance. But that's really interesting that you can create a Single Adult ward--I had never heard of that until yesterday but some other friends say they do exist. Mine seems to be some sort of hybrid.

Scully said... [reply]

Well, not so much strong as born in 1978. And I think I did baby-sit for families whose oldest was born in 1980, so it would just be weird. Maybe my rule would be less offensive it was "Won't date a guy who is the same age as someone for whom I once baby-sat."

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