The recent media frenzy around a statement made by Hilary Rosen about Ann Romney (which she has since apologized for; this post is not to address the statement directly) relates to some questions recently asked by one of our Mormon Women commenters.
How does LDS view women who remain single all their lives? Is it seen less than a married woman? Are there Mormon women who excel in the workplace instead of remaining a homemaker?
How can I meet a Mormon woman of my age? Is there an activity that non-members can go & meet Mormon women? Can non-members be involved with development activities of the Mormon faith?
I’ll answer the questions in order.
How does [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] view women who remain single all their lives? Is it seen less than a married woman?
One of the things that I think is helpful in understanding Mormonism is to understand both the ideal (the doctrine we are taught) and then the practical facet of living in a fallen, mortal world. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, marriage and family have a significant place in our doctrine. We believe marriage between a man and woman to be a critical part of God’s plan for His children and His purposes for this earth. But we also realize that not everyone will have a chance to be married and that some marriages fail, leaving many people without a spouse. Our leaders remind us that we need to be sensitive to the single adults in our Church even as we uphold the doctrine of the family. They should not be seen as “less than” (although admittedly sometimes we don’t do as well as we should there — hence the reasons sometimes our leaders remind us of what we should be doing!).
But perhaps this question is best answered by women who are currently single and Mormon, found in a previous post: Is there a place in the LDS Church for single/divorced women? I encourage you to read through the post and the comments for the insights and responses of single Mormon women.
– – –
As to whether there are Mormon women who work outside the home, the answer is yes. Brenda answered a similar question about whether all Mormon women stay home after having children. The mormon.org campaign has featured some married moms who also work. Many women do also choose to stay at home (such as the Mormon woman recently featured on our site).
I think the following quote sums up Mormon beliefs well — both underscoring the doctrine of marriage/motherhood/family but also acknowledging that each woman is invited to prayerfully make decisions regarding her choices regarding family and career:
“One of the questions that I get frequently is, “Is is okay if I work outside of my home or I don’t work outside of my home?” You have to know that as an international, global, Relief Society president, that question isn’t always appropriate in all the world’s countries. There are many, many places where if our women don’t work, they don’t eat. So of course they have to work. The question of whether or not to work is the wrong question. The question is, “Am I aligned with the Lord’s vision of me and what He needs me to become, and the roles and responsibilities he gave me in heaven that are not negotiable? Am I aligned with that, or am I trying to escape my duties?” Those are the kinds of things we need to understand. Our Heavenly Father loves His daughters, and because He loves us and the reward at the end is so glorious, we do not get a pass from the responsibilities we were given. We cannot give them way. They are our sacred duties and we fulfill them under covenant.” – Julie B. Beck, former president of the Relief Society, the women’s organization in the Church
– – –
Now, on to the second cluster of questions. I’m assuming from your questions that you are female, so I will answer according to that assumption. (If I’m wrong, please let me know!)
Q: How can I meet a Mormon woman of my age? Is there an activity that non-members can go & meet Mormon women? Can non-members be involved with development activities of the Mormon faith?
A: There are many ways you can meet Mormon women and engage with them (us!) in our activities. One of the best ways would probably be to find out where your local LDS congregation meets. You can do this by going to the LDS Meetinghouse Locator. This would allow you to connect with people in your local area, where you could find out about activities of the women of the Relief Society and/or the activities of the Mormon single adult groups. You could also find out about service opportunities (if that is what you mean by development activities…again, if that isn’t what you meant, please let me know).
An unofficial way to connect with single Mormons who are your age is through a website called The LDS Singles Site. On this site, they are creating a central location where you can find out about Mormon singles’ activities in the U.S. and Canada. I think there is another such site in the works. I also found this Facebook page for LDS singles where you could connect and ‘meet’ others virtually and find out about events and activities that might be in your area.
I hope this helps answers some of your questions. Please feel free to comment or email if you have more questions, if you want clarification, etc.