[There is] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.I attended a mid-singles conference this weekend in the Bay Area. It spanned three days, with social activities on Friday night, spiritual/educational lectures on Saturday, and a church service on Sunday. Saturday was fantastic, and my report on that can be found here. Today's church service, however, wounded my soul deeply.
The keynote speaker for today's service was Julie Beck, the general president of the Relief Society. When President Beck got up to speak, I was hoping that what had been a wonderful Christ centered conference would be concluded with yet another message focusing on the Savior. Sadly, this was not the case.
She began by sharing a story about how she and her husband don't have much in common in the way of interests or entertainment choices, but they're both devoted to the Gospel, so their marriage has a strong foundation. Then she said that the general authorities prayed for the singles regularly and that it is their hope that instead of dwelling on our singleness, we grow firmer in our faith in Christ. So far, so good.
Then the talk took a nosedive. She shared her belief that as long as a man and a woman are committed to the gospel, they can make a marriage work. Then she lectured us on the plan of salvation, told us that our unborn children were waiting to be born and that we're letting Satan delay the Second Coming by not marrying and having those children, and said that we need to go to the temple and pray, and then we'll be able to get married.
As harsh and unkind as that all sounded, I could tell that she was speaking with the utmost concern, so I was able to brush all of that off as someone who married young and doesn't quite understand that it takes more than two temple recommends and some prayer to have a marriage. (I was reminded of Sister Dew's quote to the effect that if all it took to find a husband was prayer, fasting, and temple attendance, she would have Nephis lined up at her door.)
But the talk got worse. In her exhortation for us to all just get with the program and get married already, she mentioned that she didn't want the single people to be like (some group in the Book of Mormon, but I didn't catch who), and be a separate church. So we need to get married already so we won't be a separate church.
That's right. The general president of the Relief Society just said that single people aren't a part of her church.  If you want to know why the singles are leaving the church in droves, I can tell you. It's because of remarks like that. It's because we're told that there's something fundamentally wrong with us and that marriage is the only thing that can make us worthy to worship with the rest of the saints.
God doesn't put those qualifications on His fellowship, though.
Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely. Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.So, it doesn't matter if you're single, married, old, young, gay, straight, black, white, etc., as long as you come to Christ, you're a part of His church. And you're absolutely welcome in mine.
Doctrine and Covenants 10:66-67
 I recognize that President Beck isn't the most gifted public speaker and that she probably meant it another way (though I can't fathom what she could have meant that wouldn't be so deeply hurtful). But I still left the meeting in tears.