Concerning the recent buzz about marriage among young single adults, I wish to affirm my position that YSA wards exist primarily to help us come unto Christ.
While the sealing ordinance is an important way we do so, it is only one of many stepping-stones, a position affirmed by the new church handbook (see §16.2). As Elder M. Russell Ballard recently stated, we live in “a very different world from the one in which [our parents] grew up.”
We have been inundated with far more information at an earlier age. Technology is central rather than supplemental to our lives.
Even though we affirm fixed principles, we are the first generation for which multiculturalism, relativism, feminism and postmodernism permeated our upbringing.
Ideas like the superiority of Western culture or women not playing sports or finishing college strike us as bizarre. Divorce and homosexuality are now openly discussed subjects.
We are also the first generation raised by soccer moms, which increased the perception of achievement as godliness. At the same time, we are the first generation reared on the importance of both the Book of Mormon and the family, which emphases took root only in the past 30 years.
With far more ambiguity yet far greater expectations, is it any surprise that many of us linger longer in adolescence and struggle with perfectionism, eating disorders and self-worth; and, regarding marriage, the stakes in dating have been raised far beyond our parents’ experience?
Now, more than ever, we must transcend the transmission of tired assumptions.
As Elder Richard G. Scott declared in 2009, “For many years it’s been possible for members of the church to follow the examples of prior generations. … The youth that live in today’s world don’t have that privilege for many things.” For our challenges, we must anxiously seek “answers from the Lord through the Holy Ghost.”
If we as wards want marriage, our paramount focus must rather be in Christ.