Friday, February 19, 2010

Adaptation to Survival--the church needs to cater to single adults in their 30s if it wants to keep them

Society is changing. Many people, including members of the church, don't get married until they're in their 30s. From what I've seen, the vast majority of single church members in their 30s would like to be married.
I'm turning 30 pretty soon. I guess I shouldn't be surprised when a song that came out during my mission gets airplay on the classic rock station. And while single adults (should) get kicked out of the young single adult ward when they turn 31, 31's not too far off for me. I'm happily married, but many of my friends are not, and when they turn 31, they have two or three options. First, they can enter a regular family ward. Second, they can enter an older singles ward, if there's one in the area. Third, they can go inactive.
The regular family ward is great for regular families and for older people, but for single people in their 30s and 40s? I'm trying to think of single people (active) between 30 and 45 in our ward, and I honestly don't think there are any. They don't really stick around. Older singles? Sure. Midsingles? Not so much.
Older singles wards don't exist in many areas, and where they do exist, they're attended mainly by those in their 50s. Hardly a great place for a 31-year-old man who's looking for an eternal companion.
So, most often, singles in their 30s go less active. The church largely ignores them, doesn't provide opportunities for a decent social life, so they leave.
Enter the "Midsingles" group.
The Midsingles group is for singles between 31 and 45. Every single in this age group in a stake (or a group of two or three stakes) can attend one specific family ward--so all of the active midsingles in a specific geographic area can meet and socialize together. If they can meet in the same building as the young single adults, so much the better--many of them will be friends with the YSA, and a man that just turned 31 will still be able to interact with his largest dating pool--young women between the ages of 27 and 30. The singles can receive regular callings in the family ward, but then participate in activities just for themselves (FHE, etc.) The family ward provides a primary, so those midsingles with children can still attend as a family.
Like with regular YSA wards, midsingles can choose to stay in their home ward or go here; less active midsingles stay with their home ward.
This program is currently going on--most of it seems to be in California. See for more details.
I'm wondering if there are enough midsingles in Cincinnati to warrant this program--our ward, as small as it is (average attendance of 80) and in the same building as the YSA branch, would be the perfect place. Would this work where you are? Do you see any downsides?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Most miserable cities

A full 25% of the 20 most miserable cities in the US are in Ohio. Ouch. Yet somehow Cincinnati isn't on the list? Not sure how that happened...

Monday, February 15, 2010


You hear the one about some wacko Utah politicians who were criticized by 18 BYU scientists for their (mis)understanding of global warming? Or the law professor who is the grandfather of "Intelligent Design"? If only they understood this cartoon...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

Congrats to my brother and his new wife, who got married yesterday in Idaho Falls. We didn't get to spend as much time out west as we would have liked, but the trip was worth it to see my brother/friend/old roommate get married.
It's also, like always, impressive to see a pair of uncles/aunts take the long haul from Bluffdale to Idaho Falls for the wedding. They did the same for my wedding, and it meant the world to me.
Wish we could make it out here more often--there are other things we've missed because we can't afford to take a few days and the $600 to travel back. We probably won't consider coming back until the next wedding (or until I'm earning a good paycheck).
But hey, you're welcome to come visit us...
It's kind of between Nauvoo and Kirtland (it adds just two hours to the drive), so if you want to do the church history tour, you can visit us and have a free place to crash...

Monday, February 08, 2010

Criticism at Church

April is in charge of singing time in Primary, so I watch Peter during Sunday School. There are a grand total of two children under the age of 18 months in our ward, and both Peter and his friend were in the Sunday School class yesterday.
Peter was being a bit squirmy and a little loud; I tried settling him down, and then took him out. Fifteen minutes later he'd settled down a bit so I took him back in; he again insisted on being noisy, so I again took him out. I'm not sure how long we spent in the classroom, but it wasn't more than 10 or 15 minutes, and it's not like he was yelling and screaming. Just complaining a bit.
After class, a member I don't know very well, came up to me and said,
"Brother Jones, I know I don't know you all that well, but could you take your child out of the class a bit earlier? (The teacher) said it sounded like a bus station in there."
Now, average attendance in this ward is 80. We've been there for 18 months. We've been very active in the ward and gotten to know most of the active members fairly well (partly because of the small size of the ward, and partly because of the nature of my calling). I know everyone in the EQ, and all of the ward leadership--I know at least 75% of the active adult men fairly well. I don't know this man (and honestly, I don't really want to). I don't know the Sunday School teacher either. They are both the type who don't reach out to new members and don't really participate in the ward (as far as I know) beyond their callings.
I reacted politely to his criticism, (and now somehow need to balance it with criticism from others that I take Peter out of the classroom too quickly). Inside, though, I was angry.
How do you (and should you) react to child-raising criticism from ward members? Does the source of this criticism matter?