What’s In A Singles Ward?

I’ve had this argument with a few family and friends and so I need to put my strong opinion out in the open to get some feedback and arguments – both opposing and supportive.

I feel that if you are single and looking for a mate, you’re more likely to find your mate while attending the home ward in which you live rather than attending a singles ward.

First of all, I understand the desire to want to go where there are more singles to choose from to increase your odds of finding your mate. This logic makes sense but it is flawed. I was going to launch in to a parable about dogs and such but I changed my mind.

Instead, I think I’ll just put it out there… This is my feelings about singles wards from my experiences. Keep in mind that this was 8 years ago and things may have changed since then, but I doubt it.

First and foremost, if you are going to college and live in a dorm or apartment filled with college students, you don’t have much choice. A singles ward is most likely your ward and is the best place for you.

On the other hand, if you are not going to college, or have graduated from college and you are not living in a singles apartment or such, but rather living in an area with a “normal” home ward, I think this is your place – even if you are living with your parents. You may feel that you have more options of finding “the one” in a singles ward. This may or may not be true, but let me tell you the benefits of attending a “home ward”.

  • The Church is all about service. There are not nearly as many callings to go around in singles wards, and home wards would love to have more people to fill callings. Often young men and women are called to teach Sunday School or Primary. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone as there is no greater calling in the church that that of a teacher. To some, such a call may sound scary, but it will provide some of your greatest memories and experiences in life.
  • On the above note, take this example. Suppose you are a young man and you want to find a young woman who likes children. Would you be more apt to dating a girl who says how much she loves kids, or would you rather date a girl who is preparing lessons and teaching children every week. Saturday night dates will be much cheaper as it often involds laminating cardstock at Kinkos and cutting out object lessons 😉
  • All bishops are busy men, but bishops of singles wards seem even more busy than most – often dealing with common young adult issues such as word of wisdom issues, immorality and pornography. You may get more time and attention in a home ward.
  • Relief Society women just love to play match-maker. It’s in their blood. When they notice a nice young man or woman in their ward that is actively serving, they immediately start thinking who else they know or are related to that they could set you up with. Sometimes it even works out.
  • Now while there may be a lot more options for you in a singles ward, there is even more competition! This is probably the most overlooked fact when someone chooses to attend a singles ward. Just as you have so many more options, so do the opposite sex you are looking at. On the other hand, in a home ward, you may have one or two potentials to consider dating. Your odds of actually being noticed by that person are greatly increased!
  • I’m sorry but I just have to make an observation on this last point. To me, singles wards were spiritually shallow. While you find that there is always a long line of people waiting to bear their testimony in fast and testimony meeting, it seems most are speaking to be heard and noticed by the opposite sex. Whether this is conscious or subconscious I don’t know, nor do I care. Lessons tend to go the same way. I don’t think it is so much pride that makes a young person want to be heard and noticed, but rather the longing for companionship – and it just tends to show in a singles ward.

So now it’s your turn. Bring on the arguments. Share your success stories. Tell me I’m wrong!

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9 thoughts on “What’s In A Singles Ward?”

  1. Tell me I’m wrong!

    You’re wrong! 🙂

    Some singles wards are indeed spiritually shallow and turn into a fashion show of sorts. The singles ward I’m currently in, however, is great. The Bishop deemphasizes marriage and really focuses on brining the ward members to Christ. It’s great. Marriages naturally happen as people intermingle and get to know each other, but it’s so hands off that it makes it a great singles ward to be in.

    I also love sacrament meetings in singles wards. Family wards can be pretty loud at times with rambunctious children coloring and eating cheerios, but the sacrament service in a singles ward is nearly noiseless. One can easily feel the spirit in such an environment, and numerous visitors to our ward have commented to that effect. I love kids, but sometimes it’s nice to enjoy that peace and quiet in a church situation.

    I do agree with your point about there being extra competition. Whenever I see a girl I might be interested in asking out, three other guys swoop in for the kill first. I’m so noncompetitive (when it comes to dating) that I back off and let things take their course. I find that when guys are competing for a girl they put on a mask and act differently in order to impress her. And if she falls for that guy, she’s not realizing what he’s really like because he’s made an exerted effort to be on his best behavior.

    They definitely have their ups and downs, but I think that I’ll be staying in my singles ward for the time being. Especially in my area, the wards are comprised mostly of young families. There aren’t many daughters “of age”, though I suppose that the brides my age would have sisters or friends that are single.

    It’s hard to kick against the pricks.

  2. Family wards can be pretty loud at times with rambunctious children coloring and eating cheerios, but the sacrament service in a singles ward is nearly noiseless.

    There’s a good argument! Our kids are probably the worst as far as noise. It seems they are trying to be the loudest at times. I think I spend more time listening to Sacrament meeting in the foyer and wrestling with my 2 year boy than I do in the chapel.

    I was pretty concerned when we moved into our ward because unlike our last ward it seemed we were the only ones with small kids. The members were so kind though. They kept telling us how nice it was to hear kids in sacrament meeting again. I wonder if they still feel that way two years later with an even louder child …

    One can easily feel the spirit in such an environment, and numerous visitors to our ward have commented to that effect. I love kids, but sometimes it’s nice to enjoy that peace and quiet in a church situation.

    I’m thankful for temples! 😀

  3. When I read your post the first thing that pop into my mind is that different people see different things when looking at the same thing. Ironically, although I agree with much of what you said, I came to a different conclusion than you. Not that it makes how you feel about singles wards bad, just different.

    For example, you said, “Relief Society women just love to play match-maker”. Yes, that is true, but for me I found that extremely annoying. I dated those I wanted to and when I found out that someone was trying to “set him up with my daughter”, it bugged the fire out of me. However, that is just my feeling. I am sure others would not find it annoying.

    You also talked about not having as many calling to go around. Although you are correct that there is no YM and YW for Singles to teach, I am not sure if I agree with you when you say there is less calling, just different calling. However, assuming you are actually correct (that there are less), I found that my calling meant more to me in the singles ward because they were callings I would never had the opportunity to do in a Family Ward. For example, I was called as the first councilor in the Elders quorum and Ward Mission Leader. When was the last time you heard of a 19-year-old Elders Quam Councilor in a Family Ward. I cherish the testimony I developed serving in these calling. Yes! Teaching is a wonderful calling, and I loved teaching in the Primary and the Elders quorum later (after I was married). Due to an auto accident, I was not able to serve a mission, so at that time in my life my testimony was wavering. The experiences I had serving in those positions saved me. The callings I had in the Singles Ward were what I needed when I needed them, so I would not trade those experiences for anything.

    As for more or less options in dating, you are assuming that everyone is attending because you are looking for a mate. I went because I related better to those around me. I felt more welcomed. I was not the most popular person in high school and after my accident and time it took to recover and learning to walk again, I was not even looking at all. HOWEVER, I am not under some kind of delusion that a large percent of people in singles wards are looking for a mate, however, I never felt that this was main reason that most of them were there. It seemed to me that most were there so they could be around those that they could relate too.

    Lastly, you said, “To me, singles wards were spiritually shallow”. Again, this comes to a personal experience and why people are in the singles ward. My singles ward was exactly the opposites. I have never since then found a ward that I felt the sprit more in a sacrament meeting then in my singles wards. Yes, noise and kids was part of it, and yes there were those that “got up just to be seen”, but again, I related more to those around me. When an elderly woman got up and talks about the years she spent with her husband or a parent about the healing of a child (in a family ward), I could not related to that. NOW as a husband and a parent, I can, but not then. However, in a singles ward when a Single got up and was truly baring his or her testimony and talked about how hard a class was, or how wonderful the first time going to the temple was, or getting ready to leave on a mission ( I had my calling just prier to my accident), I could relate to that.

    O and one last “last thing”, Bishops are extremely busy in family ward also, and they are just as busy with the same issues (word of wisdom issues, immorality and pornography). I am an Assistant Stake Clerk and I attend High Councils where members are facing excommunication for immorality quite often. Those sins are not exclusive to Single Adults.


  4. O’ and just so you know, I did NOT meet my wife in the singles ward. I meet he online 8 1/2 wonderful years ago.

  5. I love my home ward… however its full of married people, young married people. There are no singles there. So I went to the singles ward. I found my soon to be wife there, ironically she lived about 1 mile away from me. As close to each other as we were I never would have met her without the singles ward. I love the singles ward too, I’ve seen people there who have incredibly strong testimonies and they’ve helped me. Its all a matter of perspective. They both have their place and they are both great.

  6. Dustin,

    Having served in the bishopric of both a family ward and a singles ward, I could’t disagree with you more if I tried. Allow me to make a few comments.

    If you are 18 – 31 years of age, and you live in an area that has a singles ward, then that IS your ward, period. That IS where you belong. The church handbook says, “if the young, single adult chooses to go”, but I cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance that bishops in family wards encourage their young single adults to go to the singles ward.


    The only thing you need to bear in mind is that the creation of the Singles Ward was inspired revelation given to the First Presidency. That alone should settle the argument. But, the creation of the Singles Ward was not designed with the intetion of getting the singles of the church married.

    Let me explain ( incidentally, this is the data the First Presidency used several years ago in their analysis leading up to the creation of the Singles Ward) :

    Church statistics show that 77% of members who stop going to church do so at the age of 18. In other words, there is only a 23% retention rate for members who turn 18. This is completely independent of whether they move out, stay at home, go to college, or find work. When asked why, 94% said it was because there was no one at church that they could relate to. Elders Quorums and Relief Societies are filled with parents and married working adults. Whether you choose to accept it or not, there is a clearly defined division line between singles and marrieds. Be it intentional or not, married couples and singles do not mix socially, and that line is drawn the moment the couple says, “I do.” (Because this applies to members not of our faith as well.)

    Another reason for the HUGE drop in retention at the age of 18: “I don’t want to socialize with thirty-something dads at the Elders quorum bbq.” Activities are the lifeblood of a Singles Ward. Where a family ward might, and I put a strong empahasis on MIGHT, have an activity once every quarter, a typical Singles Ward might have 2 or 3 activities per week, not to mention FHE and institute classes. When young single adults have oportunites to socialize and mingle with like-minded, similarly aged friends, retention in the church shoots sky high. Instead of a 77% drop, there is only a 37% drop. Also, many of the activities are service oriented, and the church further found that participation in a service project will increase if the participants are similarly aged.

    Many, not all, but many young single adults have done things that require them to speak with a bishop. Those young single adults are 77% less likely to confess to the bishop of their family ward; research confirms that those young adults would rather stop going to church and live with those burdens rather than confess to the bishop they grew up with. On the other hand, the church has found that young single adults are 81% more likely to sort out their transgressions in a Singles Ward than in a Family Ward.

    There are a few other reasons, but the at the end of the list, and I mean that out of say 10 reasons to go to the singles ward, the 10th reason to go would be marriage. And it’s last on the list, just because there are so many other, better reasons to go to a Singles Ward. However, let’s say that marriage happens to be a priority for you, can you think of a better place to find a spouse than in a ward filled with people your own age, in a ward whose membership is made up of at least the members of an entire stake, and in many cases 2 stakes?? Why would you not go to a ward where you could interact in others 3 or 4 times a week if you choose to do so?

    Let me address a few of your arguments:

    I can assure you that there are no shortages of callings in a Singles Ward. Oportunities to serve abound, just abundantly there as in a family ward. It would be a mistake and a disservice to say that teaching in the primary or serving in the nursury is “better” than serving as a ward missionary or on the activities commitee in a singles ward. But you are mistaken also: the oportunity to serve in a leadership role for a young single adult is greater in the Singles Ward than in the Family Ward. In your example about the young man wanting to marry a young woman that wants kids: a sister that serves in the nursury or primary is no indication of her personal desire to have children of her own. And a date on Saturday night at kinkos is no date at all; and you are sadly mistaken, if by tragic coincidence you happen to consider that any form of courtship…that or some frantic sister happend to hoodwink you into helping her out in some last minute preparations. At any rate, no girl would ever consider that an acceptable date…and no man should either, for that matter.

    You question a bishop’s availability in a singles ward…I believe this issue has already been addressed, but you have already said it best: “All bishops are busy.” Period, end of argument. One of the Bishop’s primary jobs is to administer to the lords flock, and he does this by making himself available to those that need to meet with him. Family Ward or Singles Ward, it doesn’t matter. Bishop availability is a non-issue.

    Relief Society women playing match maker, competition in a singles ward, and spiritual depth…YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

    I will grant to you that I have only ever been involved in 2 singles wards; once as a student, and currently as a member of the bishopric. However, in my experience I have never, ever felt that the singles ward I was a member of, of the singles wards that I now serve was anything near a meat market. If you are single and looking to get married then any ward you go to, be it a singles ward or a family ward is a “meat market.” The young single adult age group, 18-31, happens to coincide with the period of life where tremendous spiritual and personal growth take place. It’s a time when young adults take chances and risks with their careers, consider further education, leave and come home from missions, get married, repent, and so many other things; these youth turn to the Lord, they go to the Temple, they turn to their bishop or his counselors…I am more than honored, indeed, I am spiritually edified at the oportunity I have to serve these young single adults who are going through some of the greatest spiritual growth you could imagine.

    I will not allow you to call these saints “shallow.” Nor will sit idly by and let you attribute the church’s woes to the singles wards. Any deficiencies you find in a singles ward you will also find in a family ward. In no greater or lesser quatities. The Singles Ward was created precisely because of the oportunites for service, activites, personal and spiritual growth, repentance, membership retention, social interaction, and yes, love. Regarding love, the First Presidency recommends that young single adults date around, play the field, go on lots of dates with lots of girls, they also recommend long courtships, and short engagements. No where is the oportunity more available for young single adults than in the Singles Ward.

    1. Wow you’re an asshole I can’t believe you’re a bishop. you obviously haven’t been to other singles wards yet you’re getting up on you’re high horse about justin’s opinion even though he’s spot on. “I will not allow you to call these saints “shallow.” Nor will sit idly by and let you attribute the church’s woes to the singles wards”? Really? what are gonna do about it you’re on internet so nothing. What makes you think that you’re so high and mighty? You’re just as imperfect as he is or anyone else on this planet. Stop being so immature!

  7. Doing a good job of choosing the person you will marry is hands down the biggest Staying in your home ward just hoping that someone else will wander in and not be married to someone else is just a crapshoot. Attending a single’s ward opens you up to a lot of possibilities.
    For the record, I attended BYU, but lived off campus and attended a neighborhood ward in Orem. I have many times thought to myself that my single’s ward experience would have been enriched even further by attending an on-campus ward.

    I was on the track team at BYU and I met my husband at a track meet in Idaho, which took the whole single’s ward meat market issue off of the ballot for me since I was in a relationship and not worried about reeling in a great catch from the shallows of my dating pond.

    My best advice is to attend a ward that enriches you culturally and spiritually with the focus of living your best life and not landing the biggest rock on your finger and the blondest hair sitting at your side.

    PS – Single’s Wards are Awesome

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