Within and outside the LDS church, there seems to be a subtle expectation that every LDS single adult woman ought to be a perfect Mormon girl— someone who is never angry or frustrated, always full of compassion and hope, follows all the commandments with exactness, magnifies her calling in the family, church and community with pure devotion, goes on a mission, dates only returned missionaries, marries “the one” in the temple, raises a perfect family in the Church, etc. Many of us, due to different circumstances, do not fit this criteria of a perfect Mormon girl—and it is okay.
I’m often asked, “Where did you serve your mission?” and I don’t know if I should feel flattered because many people think I served a full-time mission. But then I tell them I did not serve and they have sometimes responded with a shocked, “WHY NOT?” I then would relate why I did not serve. Some would give me a nod of understanding, and some would give me an icy, “you should have” response. I know that young single adult women in the church are encouraged to serve full-time missions, but not serving does not mean we are not committed enough to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. It also does not mean that we are not putting God first. Not serving a mission does not mean that our love for the Savior is any less.
Some of us also feel this pressure when it comes to dating and starting a family of our own. It is not surprising that Mormons start their own families at a young age. But to all of us who have not reached this goal yet, let’s continue in our efforts and diligence towards reaching this goal. Not starting a family at an age range when most people get married can be frustrating sometimes, and but let’s not despair. Let’s not beat ourselves up thinking that we are not doing enough or we are not good enough.
There will be times when we feel as though we do not fit in a church where family is the primary focus. But we must remember that the Plan of Salvation is in full effect for single adults as well, and that exaltation will not be withheld from us if we are worthy and endure faithfully.
Some expect us to make ourselves available to everyone ALWAYS, since we do not have little kids to care for at home. It is a great feeling to serve other people as much as we can, but we should not push ourselves so much that we forget to take care of ourselves. We must make sure that we are not running faster than we have strength. It is okay to take a break and take some time to breathe.
There will be moments when we feel we are not at our best— we might succumb to creeping negative feelings, cut our scripture study to a half hour, minister through a phone call instead of doing an actual visit, not join the ward choir for a season, or come to church late sometimes. These and many other things might make us feel that we do not fit the criteria of a perfect Mormon girl. We may sometimes feel a little short of what is expected of us. But aren’t we all falling, not only a little, short of perfection?
Perfect Mormon girls do not exist in this world. But Mormon girls who desire increased righteousness do. Let’s not beat ourselves up because of our shortcomings but focus instead on improving steadily towards perfection—perfection that we cannot earn on our own, but can only receive through the grace of God. Our faithful efforts, however small, will be sanctified by the Lord if we continue trying to become more like Him.