Ask a Mormon Woman: Does it make sense for me to join the Church?

Oct 21, 2011 by

Editor’s note: We recently received this question from Jo on our Ask a Mormon Woman page, and wanted to post it so more readers can see it and respond.

I’m a female in my mid 20s and not a member of LDS but am looking into the idea of joining. What I’m trying to figure out is….I guess, would there be a point in my life outside the church? I’ve been a typical young woman shall we say, and do not want kids. Have a degree, a job, etc. I’ve read elsewhere these sorts of thing could mean that if I were to join, I’d basically end up alone for life. Not that I’d join looking for a husband, but if it came down to the only way I marry someday (which I do want to) is to marry a non member, that seems a bit silly to join in the first place. I understand this might make me sound like a horrible person, but I’m only now really pursuing the idea of being active in a religion for the first time in my life. Only I feel like I might be too old for it in some ways. Any thoughts?
Thanks!

15 Comments

  1. anita

    You’re not too old! Joining the LDS church is different from other commitments: it involves your entire heart and soul, and will change your future life. You’re wise to be considering this carefully and thinking about what is important to you. That said, what’s important to you now might be different later, being a church member. These sorts of reasons are not the most vital questions to be considering, though–the real question is whether you believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God. If so, you should follow that belief and be baptized, and let the Lord guide your future path. If not, don’t worry about joining the church.

  2. Scott

    Hi, I’m not completely clear on your question so if I’m totally off the mark and misunderstood you then please accept my apologies.

    It appears to me that your question has the following assumption: something about me makes marriage to a mormon man highly unlikely. It appears to come from something you’ve read.

    I see three possible values for “something”: 1) “I’ve been a typical young woman shall we say” 2) “do not want kids” 3) “have a degree, a job”.

    Let’s deal with the easiest two first.

    There are tons of married mormon women in your age group that have degrees and jobs. Tons. Probably even a higher percentage of mormon women in your age group have degrees and a job than mormon men. I don’t see this being a significant deterrent to marriage.

    Now, #1 looks like a euphemism for non-virgin, sorry if I misread that. If that is the case, I don’t see that being an significant issue since there are mormon women married every day in the temples who are non-virgins, including many in your age group. Not an issue.

    Now, #2, not wanting kids, appears on the face of it to be the biggest issue with marrying a mormon man but I think there are many cases where it is not an issue. Here are some off the top of my head:
    1) at some future date you change your mind and decide you do want kids. Perhaps this is more an emotional thing that you cannot predict than an intellectual decision.
    2) you meet a mormon man who also does not want to have kids. I haven’t spoken to many about this so I don’t know how common that may be, but I’m sure they’re among us.
    3) you marry a mormon man who is sterile and does not want to or is unable to adopt
    4) you marry a mormon man who already has kids from a previous relationship, that he perhaps has for the weekend twice a month.
    5) you marry an older mormon man (perhaps when you are older) who for whatever reason doesn’t have kids or plan to.

    I’m sure there are many scenarios that I haven’t thought of.

    I haven’t addressed your concern about being too old but suffice it to say that many women much older than you have happily joined the church and many women in your age group are recently married or soon will be (but yes, some also are still single and some of them will remain so perhaps until after this life).

  3. rosemary rivest

    hello there! I am a convert to Mormonism. Let me just say that the decision to join or not join the church is very personal and you are not only right but absolutely right to step back and ask yourself some very serious questions. However you are putting the horse before the cart. The most important question is do I believe there is a Father in Heaven. Then, do I believe Jesus Christ is His Son. Do I believe he died for me….suffered for all my pain and sorrows? Do I believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God? All other life questions will fall into place once you find these answers.

  4. Jo – whether or not you join has little to do with your desires for marriage or children. The decision must be based 100% on whether or not you believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. If you pray about that and gain a testimony of that, that is why you should be baptized. You need to understand the basic doctrines of the church and have a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel.

    That being said, there are members of all different flavors. Some believe that we all fit the same mold, but that could not be further from the truth. Our church is filled with a wonderful diversity (with more members outside the US than inside) and you will not be alone. You make your decisions for you, praying for guidance along the way, and don’t fear that you won’t fit in.

  5. Jo, you’re not too old. The thing about the Gospel is that it changes you from the inside out. If you really try to live the gospel with sincere purpose, you’ll find that your priorities shift – but not before you’re ready.

    I didn’t grow up in the church, and the Gospel is the best thing that ever happened to me. I went from being an angry, bitter person to having an assurance that Heavenly Father is looking out for me and that my life has a definite purpose.

  6. c

    The gospel and really this life are about progressing. If you want to do that as an individual and that’s not just progressing in what you know you want now but progressing in ways you’ll look back on and realize you never would have imagined you look forward to then the church would be a great source of strength and inspiration to you IMHO.

  7. rebecca

    I think it depends on what you expect (or would like) to get out of church. It also depends on your local LDS church culture. The only way to really find out if it’s a good fit is to study the religion and attend church. Also, it sounds like it is important to you that your future spouse share your religious faith. I can tell you that a person (male or female) who doesn’t want kids is going to have a difficult time finding an LDS spouse who also doesn’t want kids. Of course, the kids issue is bound to come up regardless of what religion you are. You’re still young, and you may very well change your mind about kids at some point–but you may not. The church is very family-oriented. That may become a source of pain (or at least irritation) if you continue to be single and/or child-free, or if you choose to marry outside the church. But it seems like you have already figured that much out.

    Again, the only way to know if this is the right path for you is to start down the path and see what happens. Becoming a member of the church is a big commitment. You should probably hold off on that step until you feel a strong conviction that it is right for you. I don’t know if you are currently attending a ward or have LDS friends, but I encourage you to keep learning and keep asking questions. Base your decision on your personal experience with the church and don’t be afraid to take your time.

  8. Lilly

    Hello,
    well first off I would like to share my experience, I was raised in a strong family who was brought up catholic, I knew and felt in my heart since I was young that this church was not for me. Now, I joined the LDS church in 2004 and I am also in my mid twenties. I was first introduced to the book of mormon by a non-active member, who is now my fiance and happy to say very active. when I read the book of mormon I felt the holy spirit which is something I’ve never felt before. I believe the book of mormon to be another testament of christ. I also believe in all the principals this church has. The best suggestion I can give you coming from someone being raised catholic is to pray about it, open your heart, and ask questions and see if you believe. I would also concentrate and ask yourself about your true intention of being apart of the church of Jesus Christ of ladder day saints.

  9. That’s a great question, and one that a lot of members grapple with regardless of the details of their conversion or their age. Marrying outside your faith is similar to other “odd couplings,” such as partners from different racial or even economic or educational backgrounds. Some will worry that they are doomed, others will say those things have nothing to do with mutual respect and commitment. Most LDS people will tell you they know of couples who do not share the same faith, who have done a great job of respecting each other’s viewpoints and living joyfully. Others will tell you it’s the worst imaginable mistake. The great thing about religious faith is that it’s possible to feel inspired, or prompted, or guided in these important decisions. I think you will find yourself seeking and receiving answers to this sort of thing as you pursue this decision sincerely.

  10. Ambie

    About joining the church…. My advice is to take it one step at a time. We believe that the spirit works in miraculous ways. You don’t know, with your spiritual growth, how you will feel later on. Listen to your heart and just take the first step. Best wishes and God Bless!!

  11. Christa-Ann Godsdaughter

    First of all congratulations for listening to the still small voice of the Holy Ghost that has prompted you to seek out the truth. Second, remember this is a relationship with God, the creator, and the Savior, Jesus Christ, and with the Holy Ghost and their love and knowledge of you has no bounds. You will be placing yourself in the great master’s hand.
    You will have bumps and joys along the way and he will be with you. People, being people, will do well and will do poorly but if you commit to knowing God and his will for you and remember that you are worthy of his love and guidance because you are his child you will be given more than you can imagine and whether your hopes and dreams are met in this world you will come to a time when you will understand that you would change no challenge for the opportunity to know God that way.
    This is the outline of my journey in the gospel. I was 27, married, with my fourth child having just been born. It has not been easy but I am so grateful for the gospel and, yes, for this church in my life. Its doctrines have given me the tools and the hope that I needed. It gave me something I could do to change my situation if I had the faith to act one day at a time. Now things have not turned out exactly the way I would have wished but I would not have it be any other way because of my testimony. It is my greatest treasure. He is my Rock and my Salvation and I rejoice in him mercy. Please believe in yourself enough to keep seeking Him…you will not be sorry, best wishes and God bless.

  12. Jo

    Wow! Thanks to everyone for all the help and ideas. I realized my concerns in this area add up to would I be semi shunned once I joined the church. I’m still doing my research and waiting to be contacted by local missionaries, but I think I’ve also figured out that if I did join and for whatever reason ended up single (which may happen to me regardless of the church or anything), I’d still have my faith? After all, that’s why I’d be joining in the first place!

    Aside from the marriage aspect, I am beginning to struggle with figuring out having a religion….I can’t really describe it. On the one hand, I’ve never done anything related to religion so I worry I wouldn’t be able to if I commit to a religion. On the other hand, I think about it positively quite a bit and am excited at the possibility of belonging to one, especially the more I read about Mormonism and its beliefs. I’ve also begun asking for guidance/direction/signs but am not used to doing so, so there’s that too.

    I know I have a long road ahead of me, but it is one I am excited (albeit nervous) for!

  13. Jo – being worried about whether you’ll fit in or whether you’ll be up to the task is a common concern for all of us. We each come from different backgrounds and have different strengths and weaknesses – it makes church far more interesting that way. ;)

    The fact that you’re even asking Heavenly Father for guidance means you’re on the right track. Keep going!

  14. Christa-Ann Godsdaughter

    Jo, walking with God is like any other relationship in that it is built a bit at a time. First, recognizing that you are worthy of the love of a Heavenly Father and accepting his love shown most vividly in the atoning sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ. Second, repenting and seeking with all your might to come unto him day by day. Consistency in daily small steps will do you better than great spurts of action for short periods of time. Third, listen to the whisperings and promptings of the Holy Ghost along the way that testify that what you are doing is right. Know your scriptures so that you will know when you are guided by his will for their are wicked and foolish people, even in the Church. Fourth, forgive yourself and others along the way and look to God in all you do. We will fall short, that is to be expected, not that this justifies to doing wrong, but keep reaching to God, even in your weakness and he will reach out to you and help you through it. I can say this because he has done so for me. There will always be challenges and their will always be pain, if not for self then for others, but God shows us how to carry it and not be overwhelmed by it. This is one of the great beauties of the gospel that I have found. His is the way of life and truth and light. And that nervousness is a healthy thing for it will keep you cautious and alert. A favorite scripture of mine is Ephesians 6:11-18. It is in God that we want to to rely. Take care, may God be with you. Christa-Ann

  15. Jo,
    You ask a great question. My immediate thought is that people are sometimes single for a variety of reasons—some choose to be so and others don’t. Some would love to be married but for whatever reason cannot make it happen. Some are single from the choice of another individual whose consequences have reached beyond themselves. Whatever the reason and whatever your ‘status,’ I think it’s important to keep an eternal perspective. God loves you, married or not, and the gospel and Church are truth. What I love about God’s truth is that it does not adapt to us but that we learn to adapt to it. Whatever I am, it doesn’t matter to anyone else. I have a personal relationship with Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. That faith means that if I’m living how I know I am supposed to live on the straight and narrow path, whatever God wants for me will happen and I’ll be all the better for it.

    As an LDS missionary in England in 2004, I was able to be part of the conversion of a 70 year old single, English man who never before had been very religious. Still single, he enjoys serving others in the local congregation and lives his life according to the commandments to receive the blessings that are in store for him—constant companionship from the Holy Spirit to teach him, guide him and comfort him, blessings of friendship through the local congregation, not to mention many eternal blessings that come along with living the gospel. I admire your humility and honest desire in seeking the truth. I urge you to act on the good feelings and promptings you feel so you can continue to receive them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with some of us. I hope we’ve helped somehow.

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