Hardy has a strong faith in God, but fellow Mormons’ condescension toward single women rankles.She gets the feeling from leaders and members that nothing she’s done with her life so far is worthwhile in itself; it is all just biding time until her “real” life begins at marriage. When Hardy lights up with pleasure at a Relief Society party, one sister swoops down with congratulations, thinking that—finally! When Hardy reveals instead her delight at having her first poem published, the Relief Society sister is thrown off-kilter, not quite knowing how to respond. ‘It’s good you have something to keep you occupied.’” Over time, the sense Hardy has of being valued and respected just as she is by her writing colleagues and non-member friends begins to win out over the relentless pastel disparagement she encounters at church.Hardy loves her goodly parents and her people, but eventually decides she can’t be Mormon anymore.
I would have stood around, because let’s face it, I no reason to be there.
Yes, I could have vicariously enjoyed the fun of someone else’s family, but it would have been just that- vicarious.
She takes up hobbies that require her to be fully present in her own body: salsa dancing, scuba diving.
She quits her safe, buttoned-up teaching job for an MFA program that will allow her to follow her literary dreams, and she travels. And she begins to feel out of place in a religion that so heavily emphasizes marriage as the end-all of human experience – even tying marital status to eternal worth – and that praises motherhood as the default goal of every human with a uterus.
Her patriarchal blessing, in fact, explicitly states it; in addition, her loving mother has a portentous dream in which she sees Hardy as the future mother of four.
But the husband, and therefore the children, do not appear.
Most of these “mid-singles” (those who have grown too old for the Young Single Adult wards that boot out all over-30s, Logan’s Run-style) are faithful, active, interesting, beautiful women. I just finished reading the memoir of one such woman, a BYU graduate.
Nicole Hardy has a happy and stable Mormon childhood and always expects to get married.
I have lived in approximately six family wards in five different stakes over the last ten years.