Jessica Johnson works in leadership development with the RBL Group. She holds an MBA from Brigham Young University and previously worked in management and marketing consulting, and in television sports.
2:14 “Tell us about your journey as a single member inside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”
4:21 What defines your journey as a single member of the church?
- I’ve been able and willing to serve in any capacity.
- Not being categorized by others.
8:01 Describe the Focus Group work that has been happening in relation to this Single Saints Summit: It’s non-scientific data gathering from single adults across the United States.
9:35 How do we help single member feel more welcome or more like they belong? Use President Hinckley’s advice about things all converts/members need:
- A friend (10:47) If someone is sitting alone, it’s ok to ask if they’d like someone to sit by them. But it’s also ok if they want to sit alone. Inviting them is more important. Are there things that you only invite other families to? Or other couples? Single people usually want to be included in those things too. This builds deeper connections. It’s important to know as a single member that someone thinks of you and is concerned for your welfare (especially in a pandemic) Also If you are a single member and feeling overlooked it’s important to speak up! Story of no ministering priesthood assigned.
- Responsibilities: What calling should a single person have? Any calling! Get to the individual! Story of New Member Meetings. “Callings are an anchor to the ward.”
- Nurturing with the good word of God: Home-Centered Church Supported…. Singles may love to be invited to participate in family study on occasion. If you are preparing a lesson stop to consider multiple demographics. Single, divorced, widowed etc. do you prepare broadly so all feel included?
26:45 Do Single Adults in the church prefer a single ward over a neighborhood ward?
- Globally single wards not available
- It’s up to the individuals in the areas that have them. It’s also important that they be allowed to choose, not told where to attend.
30:00 Story of “You’re NOT welcome here”; figure out the “warm hand-off”
32:00 What do good-intentioned people say to singles in the church, that they should stop saying?
- Check your blind spots: do you have biases or superficial relationships?
- The single members don’t want to be labeled or lumped into groups. Get rid of the “ites.”
- Men will often refuse to meet with single women, especially in their homes. It’s smart to be cautious, but it’s also important to be thoughtful and kind.
- Sometimes there’s a hierarchy that is referenced that single lives are “less than or less celestial” than married lives. They don’t need pity or assumptions that they don’t live up to their covenants.
- Read Elder Gong’s GC talk “Room in the Inn.”
37:28 Have you noticed improvements in the way Single Adults are treated over the last few years?
- In GC talks, for sure!
- It’s cultural to have “menace to society talks” that needs to stop.
- Most people engage in the self-similarity principle: we need to step out of that.
- “Can’t we just treat all people like they are individuals?”
40:17 Are the needs of the single/divorced/widowed etc. treated differently?
- In short yes. It’s important to remember that we will never become one in Christ if we keep defining people by their differences.
- People don’t want to be known by their marital statuses.
42:00 Final Thoughts?
- Get to know individuals
- Take time to know or understand what it is like to walk in others’ shoes.
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