Two Cultural Shifts Regarding Single Members of the LDS Church

church buildingby SJH

When the topic of singles in the LDS Church arises, I’ve found that most every church member seems to know or be close to someone who is single, and many people have strong feelings or views surrounding the topic. Without trying to enumerate all those different experiences, both positive and less so, I’d like to discuss two ways we could significantly improve LDS singles’ experiences within the church. Collectively we need to

  1. Recognize how many members are single (do not currently have a living spouse).
  2. Make age and experience rather than marriage the definition of adulthood.

Ultimately we could make a lot of headway in both of these shifts by rethinking the structure of singles wards, and I’ll say more about how that works in a bit. But for now, I’ll talk about why these two cultural shifts. For the first one, take a minute to guess: what percentage of church members are single?

Recognizing how many single members are in the church

Many members of the church seem to think that there are far fewer single members than there actually are. If single members comprise only a small part of the church, then it may seem easier to ignore them altogether. A perception of numeric invisibility can contribute to cultural invisibility. We all need to become more aware of how many single members there are in the church at large and in our local congregations.

It’s difficult to get reliable numbers since the church doesn’t release this specific demographic data. That said, it seems reasonable to estimate that about a third of the adult church membership is single; that number may be higher in some places, especially in non-U.S. congregations.[1] (See the note below for sources for this estimate.) That’s a lot of single members, more than many of us realize.[2]

Merely recognizing how many church members are single can help singles and the rest of the church. It can help us

  • find capable people to fill callings.
  • teach more effective Young Women lessons on preparing young women for the future given that statistically one third of them will not marry in the temple before the end of their childbearing years.[3]
  • give more effective talks and lessons on family as we remember the wide variety of families and home situations that are represented in our membership.
  • tap the huge resource that single adults can be through their life experiences, service, expertise, examples, and (in some cases) discretionary time.

The more we recognize the singles among us and recognize how we need them, the better their experience among us will be, and the church as a whole will benefit from greater participation from all its members.

Marriage and the definition of adulthood

Now for the second recommendation: we can work to make age and experience rather than marriage the cultural definition of adulthood in the church.

Marriage and marriage covenants are a big deal in Mormonism and appropriately so. Prophets have repeatedly and emphatically taught about the importance of marriage, the need to nurture existing marriages, and the spiritual obligation, in many cases, for the unmarried to prepare for and seek marriage. Many—probably most—singles in the church treasure marriage just as the prophets have taught them. Mormon singles generally respect marriage and recognize that there are experiences and growth available in marriage that are very difficult or impossible to obtain as an unmarried person. Many have strong spiritual convictions about it and desire to make that commitment and covenant.

Within the church, however, some institutional and cultural pressures tend to overlay doctrines of marriage and family with the idea that one isn’t fully an “adult” until he or she is married. A common and commonly commented upon illustration of this is the singles’ activity that requires the presence of advisors or supervisors who are younger and less-experienced but are married. The implication seems to be that returned-missionary, military-veteran, graduate-degree-holding, formerly-married people who aren’t married are not “adult” enough to manage their own activities but that a husband-and-wife team of twenty-three year-olds is. These kinds of messages make it difficult for singles to feel that they are on equal footing in the church. Disconnecting marriage from the measure of adulthood need not and should not de-emphasize the importance of marriage, but it can help non-married members feel much more connected to the body of Christ.

So, to review, recognizing how many singles there are in the church and recognizing that they are adults could go a long way to improving single members’ experience in the church and the church’s experience with single members. But how to do this? As with any complex issue, any policy solution will help some who are affected and challenge or inconvenience others. Policy is a blunt instrument, but it can also communicate values and expectations. For that reason, I think that changing the age policy for singles wards could, over time, help to implement both of these cultural shifts.

Change the YSA ward age limit

Young single adult (YSA) wards can better serve non-married members if the age designation is changed to 18 to 25 years old instead of the current 18 to 30 age range. (Note that this would be a return to the age ranges for young singles groups prior to the 1980s.) Around age 25, whether married or not, many people undergo many transitions such as completing higher education, beginning a career, taking on greater financial independence, assuming greater independence in their living situations, embarking on additional professional training or graduate school, etc. Moving from a young single adult ward to a conventional ward at this time would parallel many members’ life changes in other respects and could help signal readiness for adulthood independent of marital status. Shorter age-span YSA wards could still help in the transition from youth programs and returned missionary experiences to adult church programs, could still provide opportunities for leadership service, and could still be a forum to help single members get to know one another, but they would be less likely than the current wards to outlast their usefulness.

Changing the age of YSA wards to 18-25 could also help singles be better integrated in the church. Many more members are single at age 25 than at age 35. Moving at this earlier age destigmatizes the transition to a conventional ward so that entering a conventional ward while still single would be less likely to be seen as a failure. Part of what can make the transition to conventional wards challenging is the feeling that singles are very alone in that switch. But moving at the earlier age makes it more likely that conventional wards will each have their own critical mass of singles and therefore less likely that singles will be as alone in their transition. A higher number of singles in conventional wards would also, over time, increase singles’ visibility and make it more likely that they would be used in a variety of church service.

Some might protest that moving singles on earlier would diminish their chances for marriage, but this isn’t a necessary or a foregone outcome. Singles could still enjoy a robust activity arm for gathering and socializing, but they would know that their worship services and congregations were not determined by whether or not they are married. For many single members it may ease the transition to marriage if they can regularly interact and serve with ward members and friends who are married. For those who don’t marry at all or who don’t marry for many more years, they will be blessed by associating with families and will be able to bless those families in return.

Contrary to popular opinion, singles wards were not started to promote marriage. They were a practical necessity in the college enrollment boom that followed World War II. Later, when singles wards became an option nationwide in the 1980s and were no longer limited to student wards on college campuses, the church handbook explicitly said, “Membership in such wards should be temporary.”

Some will argue that YSA wards are elective anyway, that single members can leave at age 25 if they choose. But for most single members, this feels like swimming upstream. It can be difficult to voluntarily leave one’s peers and familiar programs and surroundings. Changing the age policy for YSA wards can normalize the transition.

Under the current age designations, if singles remain active and single through age 30, by the time they leave a young single adult ward, they will have spent 40% of their lives in a singles ward. Is this what we want? As much as we emphasize marriage and family, it seems that we would not want to acclimate singles exclusively or even primarily to a singles lifestyle. And yet if singles stay active in the church, the singles classes, congregations, wards, family home evening groups, etc., that they attend will be much of their church experience for all of their adult lives up to age 30 (with the possible exception of mission service).

The current popularity and practice of YSA wards siphons single members away from the rest of the church during their early and highly formative adult years. They do not see as many married members of the church, and married members of the church do not see them. As the age of first marriages has risen nationwide over the past few decades, this separation from the rest of the church has lengthened still more. Single members in their early years of adulthood are statistically at the highest risk for becoming inactive in the church. (As an example, while working with various stake leaders in the northeastern United States, Clayton Christensen found that 17% of single women were active or semi-active—compared to 68% of married women—and 8% of single men were active or semi-active.)[4] Because of these high inactivity rates, some people may worry that by entering conventional wards earlier, still more single members will get lost in the transition. Once again, we can learn from our history: some decades ago one of the responsibilities of now-defunct Ward Education Committees was to contact leadership of the wards that single members and students would move in to and help ensure a smooth changeover and continued activity.[5] This attention to ward transition seems needful regardless of the age at which it happens.

We must find ways to better see and recognize the reality of the singles among us. As members are integrated and serve together, whether single or married, friendships will form. Fewer single members will fall through proverbial cracks into very real spiritual and ecclesiastical inactivity. Imagine that the one-third of adults in the church who are single were visible and integrated participants with the rest of the church community. Imagine married and non-married citizens of Zion worshiping and working together to build strong ward families and strong nuclear families. I believe that integrating single adults into conventional wards earlier would boost both church activity rates and marriage rates among single adults. Besides that, it would weaken an unhealthy division within the body of Christ. I look forward to when we better integrate our single members and consequently strengthen the entire church body.

Footnotes

[1] A 2014 Pew forum study (http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/religious-tradition/mormon/) found that approximately 31% of Mormons were never-married, divorced, or widowed. At various singles conferences Clayton Christensen and other speakers have said that 1 in 3 LDS women will not be able to marry an active LDS man. Additionally, to give some anecdotal population figures, in 2015 singles in a major east coast city comprised 67% of the stake. In a rural southern Idaho stake, singles made up 28% of the stake. Of course urban areas tend to have higher proportions of single members, but even in a rural Idaho stake, singles made up nearly 30% of the stake population. From these numbers, and reading between the lines in conversations with church leaders and employees, the estimate of singles making up one-third of church membership seems about right.

[2] Even single members themselves underestimate how many of us make up church membership. In an informal 2015 survey where 72% of the respondents were single, 40% believed that single members made up less than 30% of the church population. This trend of underestimating how many singles are in the church seems to be stronger still among those who are married. The survey cited here was released in connection with the 2015 symposium in New York City, Of One Body: The State of Mormon Singledom. Approximately 1100 responses drawn primarily from the United States and Canada were professionally analyzed.

[3] I don’t have correlated figures available for young men, but the numbers may be comparable; we may simply be less aware of instances of men not marrying before age 40-45 because a higher proportion of these men do not actively participate in their church communities. Inactivity rates for all single adults are quite high, but activity rates for single women are more favorable than for single men. In surveying stakes in the northeastern United States while serving as a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, Clayton Christensen found that 17% of single women were active or semi-active, compared to 68% of women who were married. For single men, 8% were active or semi-active.

[4] Brother Christensen attributes these high rates of inactivity to single members not feeling needed in their wards. He found that single members who held prominent callings were the only circumstance where these numbers differed. Few to no single men held prominent callings. See the recording of this talk by Brother Christensen at Of One Body: The State of Mormon Singledom here, timestamp 20:50: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDOHPx5K4fk.

[5] For this and many other references to the history of singles wards, see the paper presented at the 2014 Neal A. Maxwell Institute Summer Seminar conference: “Shifting Boundaries and Redefining Adulthood: LDS Singles and Their Wards,” available in the Maxwell Institute archives later this year or at the Church History Library.

 

SJH is working on her doctoral dissertation in English literature and divides her time between Utah, Idaho, New York, and, more recently, London. Two summers ago she participated in the Neal A. Maxwell Institute Summer Seminar on The History of the Family in Mormon Culture led by Richard and Claudia Bushman. Having been single for half her life, she wondered where singles wards came from and researched their institutional history. SJH has also participated in the Mormon Theology Seminar and hopes that more and more women will apply in future years.

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27 Responses

  1. Lily Darais says:

    I find this argument very compelling. Singles wards can exacerbate the divide between married and single members of the church. It seems doctrinally unjustifiable to segregate members according to marital status, and perpetuating the idea that adulthood only begins with marriage feels not only unjustifiable, but unnecessarily hurtful. Let’s decide we are truly one church body and create policies accordingly.

  2. Kim says:

    I am a single adult, never married and have been through my years in YSA wards. Fortunately I have never experienced having any YSA or SA activities presided over by a young married couple–I wonder if that’s a thing of the past? In fact most activities do not have a chaperone at all. We do have presiding authorities at conferences or fire sides occasionally, but we are left to govern ourselves most of the time.

    I love the idea of lowering the top age limit for YSA wards, I think this is a great idea. There is a YSA ward in my stake, currently most of the people attending it are well into their 30’s, the stake seems powerless to tell these good people that it’s time to move to a regular ward. In fact many of these people hold leadership positions in the ward, which just encourages them to keep attending.

    As a single person in the church, I feel welcomed and at home in almost every instance. I think the transitions are very hard, every one of us needs to reach out and help singles who are taking steps through these tough transitions.

  3. Charity says:

    Excellent thoughts. While I’ve long felt singles wards should be disbanded, these ideas are excellent and important if members married and single want the gospel to move forward in an inclusive, productive way.

  4. Brennus says:

    Good to see this in print and I am glad to see one of the clearest statements I can recall about the inactivity rates of single men. Clayton Christensen’s statistic of 8% (or less) has been floated around without context for years. One question that remains with me at this stage is what to do about all those who have suffered and all those we have lost in the wake of dysfunctional policy on singles for what has been decades now. The proposal here is great for moving forward, but will positive vibes from this policy be enough to bring back those we have lost? It seems to me only the start of a very long and difficult road that intersects with questions of gender and sexuality that will be one of the defining issues of our generation in the church.

    • SJH says:

      I think you’re absolutely right, Brennus. There’s a generation (or two?) of lost singles, and we don’t have great ideas for what to do about that. At the very least, we can think about policies that will improve the circumstances for singles going forward (and I think the recent changes to the age of mission service help as well), but what about those who are trying to find a place right now? I don’t know a good answer. I do think visibility helps, as I’ve said here. I think it’s the first step to recognizing that there’s a need and thinking about what we can do.

      • Brennus says:

        It is concerns about the present and “lost generations” which leave me reticent in concluding that a shift to the proposed policy would work. Will those who are 25 ever really buy into this when there are decades of precedent that have developed well established, perhaps even set-in-stone, social structures? In order for this to work, there needs to be a rigorous “political plan” so to speak that will persuade the masses to dispense with the de facto reality of being a single member today.

        It may be a controversial suggestion, but I wonder what we might learn from what the LGBTQ community has done in the US to shift public will in its favor. What they have accomplished since the Stonewall riots in 1969 and especially within the last decade is nothing shy of a miracle. Have the justice and equality they have rightly gained for themselves been merely a function of luck and policy change? I think not – there is something that they did which shifted the conscience and mind of the American public (very much in the right way if you ask me). If we could put our finger on the elements they tapped into to effect this change, and then develop a “political plan” to couple the proposed policy, we may very well see not only a brighter future, but greater retention and reactivation in the present.

  5. Stephanie says:

    I transitioned out of my YSA ward at 29 due to the fact that my needs were not being met in that type of environment. I went to a family ward where I met the most wonderful people- and I hadn’t met them because they just happened to be married. I can’t imagine my life without the service that I was able to give and receive in a conventional ward. I agree that the age limit should be lowered at the very least- you just don’t have the same type of service or growth opportunities in a singles ward. And I dated significantly more once I left the singles ward and had to go at it on my own.

  6. Bev says:

    As an “older” single (I am 50, but look 30). I find that I am getting lumped in with the 80 year old singles… But I have more in common with the 30 year old singles..
    I think that dividing the program by age is silly… I see no reason that as adults we cannot “play well with others”. I mean come on.. if someone asks you to dance and you don’t want to dance then so no.. and just because you dance it does not mean you have to get married. In my real life, I hang out with 30 year olds and we have a lot in common, and have a lot of fun.
    My other issue is why do we have to jump into marriage so fast? I mean really… I have only known you for a couple of months.. and yes you are cool and yes we do seam to have a lot in common, but it has only been 3 months.. do we have to now get married? Can’t we date for a year and then see where we are at? I know way to many people in the singles program that date people in person or on line for only a couple of months and then jump into a marriage, only to regret the decision they made…
    There is a lot to be said about the singles program in the church.. some of it is good.. some of it sucks. But really, we are adults.. lets start treating us like it.. and lets start acting like it…

  7. Iuliana Blakely says:

    Coming from a country where we didn’t have a singles ward, but a strong YSA program and activities, this makes so much sense to me. Then when I first went to a YSA ward here in the US, it was exciting, mostly to see that many cute boys that were members all in one place. It was hard to focus on church, because every girl was prettier than the next and I felt the pressure to try as much as they did. It took away from the spirit and what church was supposed to be. I did get married a year later, but I met my husband at institute and I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with the singles ward for longer than that. Of course, that was just me. The nranch precidency was amazing, the teachers knowledgeable, the talks inapirrd and the music moving. It was me who was prese ted with that environment and got overwhelemed with the choices of men so to speak. I loved my branch in my country – singles and families learnin and growing in the gospel together and definitely alsee the value of that kind of structure for all members.

  8. Liz C says:

    My life is blessed by singles, and I want them in my ward. As a ysa, I missed families and older sisters. I like to think that family wards can meet the needs of singles and agree with the comment that mentioned that single wards can be distracting from our purpose at church and our service to others. College wards are necessary sometimes, and I would never want ysa s who are persuing a career or vocational training to feel unnecessarily separated from those who are in school, but making the length of time spent out of makes sense to me.

  9. JPL says:

    Thank for the insights and research. I spent 25 years in YSA and mid singles wards. There are benefits and down sides. Because so many singles do not feel welcome or comfortable (especially single men) in a conventional ward, the singles ward is a relatively safe place to find community and continue to come to church. I like the idea of the 18-25 yr old YSA ward, and a transition to conventional after that, but in my experience that is a theory that doesn’t play out well in real life. I would argue that too many singles after age 25 would simply drop out of the church all together. Of late, in the SLC area, the mid-singles wards have been splitting and with each new ward hundreds of single people return to church. We need not only look to the future, but also address some of the deep prejudices and discriminations that are alive and well now which have,a new continue to drive so many of our single people away. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Autumn Meadow says:

      I agree. I spent nine years attending conventional wards as a single adult before I got married in my late 30s. Two of the wards were welcoming and wonderful. Two were pretty awful. If you happen to live in ward boundaries for a wonderful ward, it is a much better option than a singles ward in my opinion. But if the conventional ward is full of people with “deep prejudices and discriminations,” it is difficult to want to be a member of that community. I hope that we as a Church can fix this problem. The segregation drives me nuts even now that I am married.

  10. SJH says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts. Those who question whether or not singles could really feel welcome in conventional wards, raise very valid and real problems. In talking through this with multiple people, I’ve especially heard single men voice concern about whether or not they could find a place in conventional wards, and generally the pressure and judgment they face is probably the most acute. (See Suzette’s article on single Mormon men earlier in this series.)

    The only thing I have to say to that is that these misunderstandings and judgments of singles and perhaps especially single men probably won’t diminish or improve as long as singles are separated from the rest of the church in singles wards (for several years at a time). It’s easier to make generalizations and snap judgments about people and groups that you don’t personally work with. And so changing the age limit would probably be very difficult for the first 5-10 years or so while we as a church body get used to having more single members in conventional wards. It would be very difficult and definitely imperfect, and some people might likely be very hurt in the transition.

    But over time, leaders and ward councils would go through their ward lists and recognize more singles than they do now (because many singles are not in their wards but are in conventional wards). People would give talks, go on visits together, teach lessons, help people move, etc. — all the ways we serve in the church — and we’d get to know one another and, my hope is, that the discrimination would start to fade. But how do we survive the transition until those mindsets start to change? That’s an important question, and if the age limits were changed, it’s quite possible that we could totally botch it.

    Brennus is right that there is a lot of precedent to overcome. I think an even stronger church precedent than some of the struggles singles face is the precedent of trying to look after those in our flock. But first we have to get in the same congregational flocks.

    • SJH says:

      ** Oops, in the third paragraph it should read: “…because many singles are not in conventional wards but are in singles wards…”

    • Brennus says:

      A good response, but is it fair or reasonable to ask a generation to socially sacrifice themselves in a way that would be close to unprecedented in church history (at least recently)? Also, are we sure in an age of increasing division and polarization that putting people in the same space will be enough to foment change? Precedent has developed to such an extent that the chance of increasing division is just as great if not greater by disbanding singles wards for those over 25 as there is for creating unity. As I have suggested above, policy change will be meaningless without an accompanying plan to bring about a genuine change in “public will” or the Mormon equivalent thereof.

      • SJH says:

        I think this really is a key question here: Is it worth it? And another question I think is equally important: What are the alternatives? I also think changes in general sentiment can/usually do happen a little differently in the church than in, say U. S. political policy, but it would definitely need to happen. And that raises the question of how.

  11. SJH says:

    I think this really is a key question here: Is it worth it? And another question I think is equally important: What are the alternatives? I also think changes in general sentiment can/usually do happen a little differently in the church than in, say U. S. political policy, but it would definitely need to happen. And that raises the question of how.

  12. Dave says:

    Amen, sister.

    The more I consider singles issues, the more I realize how blessed I am to have been involved with such enlightened – perhaps progressive – wards and stakes through most of my single years.. For more than a decade, I attended a ward that was over 50% single – a fact not lost on the bishop, the stake president, the members. Some of my most meaningful callings, greatest memories, and lasting spiritual experiences happened while attending that ward. Sadly, I’ve also realized recently that those experiences are not the norm. It would be great if more people (married and single) could experience what we experienced in that ward. Your proposals are right on target.

  13. Sabra says:

    This post brings up some interesting points. When I graduated from high school and started attending my local YSA ward, I went along fairly unnoticed and missed the intimacy and attention I received in Young Women’s growing up. I very much wanted to return to a family ward but when I did, I found that there was no place for me. People all sat with their families; so I sat alone or at the end of a pew. The meetings I attended were all loud, distracting and unsatisfying from all of the laughing, wailing, and running around of children (many of the women with babies bring them to RS with them) and I went many weeks without being looked at or spoken to once. So YSA wards have been imperfect havens from family wards that ignored or sometimes patronized me during the few times that I was noticed. At one point, I attended a family ward with a YSA sunday school and activities which I really liked. However I was 19 and people probably thought I was a high school student in Young Women’s; so they didn’t need to marginalize me. I’ve also attended family wards in countries where they don’t have YSA wards; there were more people my age there (unlike family wards with YSA wards nearby) and I didn’t think I stuck out like a sore thumb. Having family wards that include all kinds of people, families and marital statuses could make it easier for me to find people in my stage of life, make friends, have a sense of belonging and not fear the scary idea of returning to a family ward by myself where the only other women my age are married.

  14. Sterling Goodwin says:

    The number of singles may be around a third, but the percentage of people who never marry is much lower than that. So I wouldn’t go around saying that 1/3rd of you will never marry to young women, or to anyone. Most people still will. 80% or more, if we believe that marriage is more popular in the church than outside it.

    According to this article: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/09/24/record-share-of-americans-have-never-married/
    83% of them still will.

    • SJH says:

      Right. Most people will marry. It just may not be in the temple and/or may not be before childbearing years are over. Those, I think, are the expectations to manage when teaching Young Women.

  15. Juli says:

    This makes so much sense to me! To all those who are saying that such a change would increase inactivity rates, I’ve seen a number of single members, women especially, who start to feel very out-of-place in the YSA ward once they graduate from college and start their careers. They feel uncomfortable with the younger crowd and often they are dissatisfied with their dating experiences, but to move to the family ward feels like a death sentence, so instead they just “fall away.” It’s true that some people may fall through the cracks by lowering the age of singles wards, but people are falling through the cracks anyway, which is why something needs to change. If something like this were to happen, hopefully single adults would be able to see the shift to a “family ward” (we should probably throw out that term) as a shift to adulthood, rather than the shift to eternal spinsterhood.

    • SJH says:

      I think you’ve nailed a really important point: “It’s true that some people may fall through the cracks by lowering the age of singles wards, but people are falling through the cracks anyway, which is why something needs to change.”

      Yep. If the current rates of singles’ activity in at least one part of the United States are 17% for women and 8% for men, it’s already so low that probably hopefully the only direction we can go is up.

  16. Kay says:

    I’ve fallen through the cracks quite deliberately. I’m 41 and single and I absolutely hate going to church. I have felt like I don’t fit in since age 30, when they dissolved our “older” singles ward (NYC). An enormous percentage of people went inactive, because the message seemed to be, “Well, we’ve spent plenty of time on you and it didn’t work, so go away so we can focus on people who still have potential.” They reinstated a midsingles branch now, but I find it completely depressing. I can’t stand it. My conventional ward has plenty of members who would welcome me and are kind, but at the end of the day they are involved with their kids, spouses, and everything that entails, and that’s got to be their priority. I understand that, but the stark differences between my life and theirs hurt. I am much, much happier spending a Sunday doing other things. I know Sunday church isn’t supposed to be about me, but I’d rather avoid something that makes me miserable every week.

    • SJH says:

      Sadly, I think a lot of people feel the way you do, Kay. Do you think it would have helped or made a difference if you and several others in your position assimilated to the conventional ward all together and several years earlier? Not fishing for a particular answer here — I’m genuinely curious.

  17. LaRae Wilson says:

    I’m in my mid-50’s. When I was in my 20’s in a conventional ward, I was called to serve as Primary president. There was no YSA ward in our stake north of Seattle. There was an active Young Adult group. A single sister a couple of years older than me served in our presidency and was such a boon. A few years later I served in the Stake Primary with a single mother of 3 who was under 40. My point is that there is not a multi-generational YSA ward culture to overcome for most of us. I grew up in the church in the West, but outside of Utah. I’ve missed the YSA people in my ward. I’d love to see them return.

  18. Fael says:

    One of the dumbest ideas ever. For one single reason, after reaching the age limit the percentage of Mid singles that still in the church is something close to 11%. Sisters and Brothers that reach the age limit in a YSA prefer to leave the church because they feel dislocated in a Family Ward.

    You can argue with me that they were not faithful or something like that but it’s not affordable for the LDS church to lose members at the rate that it is losing.

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