Most readers who responded to my Manifesto said something like, "the spiritual needs of single people are not different from those of married people," and "church is not about meeting one's social needs, it's about the atonement," so, basically, I should get over myself. But I will not. It is true. I need something from the church that married people do not.
The life of a single person can get very lonely. (I know being married can be lonely too, but that is a different story). Sometimes, single life is not lonely at all, but when it is, it can be devastating.
Now, imagine living through a fairly lonely period--of about 2 years. After work, you go home to an empty apartment to fix a quick dinner. Maybe make a few phone calls to friends and family. Feed the cats. Clean the kitchen. Then end the evening with a book or by watching tv. The next day, you do the same thing. You can go weeks without any physical contact with another human being. Sometimes, you can't reach anyone on the phone and you can go days without having a personal conversation with another human being. No one needs you. No one misses you or looks forward to seeing you. No one can help you make those major life-changing decisions that crop up from time to time. No one notices if you have been working out, or gained 10 pounds...
Then, Sunday morning you go to church, where, you feel even lonelier than you did before. But maybe you made it through sacrament meeting without crying this time, so you feel proud of yourself for that. But, you feel like you don't belong. The married men, aka 'priesthood holders and leaders' are afraid to talk to you, because you are a single woman. And the married women look at you with either suspicion, envy or pity. Some kind souls do notice you, and say hello. They smile at you with warmth and shake your hand. And that's when you start crying. These lovely people don't have time for you, they have children and husbands. But they mean well. They are true Christians.
Then you go home and fall asleep on the bed. When you wake up from your nap, you have to find a way to fill the rest of the day without breaking the sabbath. The easiest thing to do is try to sleep the day away, then watch awful TV all night. On a good Sunday, you might take a walk to watch the sunset reflecting off of Manhattan and the Hudson River.
So, what? So, what happens when a real flesh and blood man comes along in this scenario and he wants to love you? He wants to comfort you and take away the loneliness and empty nights. But, you'd have to give up your beliefs and covenants. How long can your spirit hold out against this? And if you do manage to resist, how can you do it without anger and bitterness for the church which not only makes you feel lonely, but now seems to be the cause of your loneliness as well?*
This struggle could be much easier if church were a place of fellowship and comfort. If I could fill my empty nights with church things and people. Single people need more friends than married people. They need more social support. They need to be needed by someone. They need to be noticed and missed. They need to be given responsibilities for others, so they can exercise charity and avoid becoming too selfish. They need to be part of a family. Married people are part of a family, so, ideally, they don't need as much from the church in terms of social support--I understand that this may not be true for all married people, but in an ideal world it would be.
Single people need family. Eventually, if they do not find this at church, they will find it elsewhere. I suspect that most singles do not find family at church. Hence, the huge rate of apostasy.
*I know that I am responsible for my own choices and the covenants I have made with God. I am the cause of my loneliness. However, at weak moments, this is extremely hard to remember.