“14. Single Members,” General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2020).
“14. Single Members,” General Handbook.
The Savior invites all to come unto Him and belong to His Church (see 2 Nephi 26:24). Men and women who have not yet married or who are divorced or widowed make up a significant portion of Church membership. It is important for all to find hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (see Ether 12:4). The following eternal truths can help develop such hope:
Scriptures and latter-day prophets confirm that everyone who is faithful in keeping gospel covenants will have the opportunity for exaltation.
The precise time and manner in which the blessings of exaltation are bestowed have not all been revealed. But they are nonetheless assured (see Mosiah 2:41).
Waiting upon the Lord implies continued obedience and spiritual progress toward Him (see Isaiah 64:4).
God offers eternal life to all of His children. All who qualify for the Savior’s gracious gift of forgiveness and live His commandments will receive eternal life. (See Mosiah 26:30; Moroni 6:8.)
Confidence in these assurances is rooted in faith in Jesus Christ. By His grace, all things pertaining to mortality are set right (see Alma 7:11–13).
The Lord needs all members to help in the work of salvation in their wards and stakes (see 1 Corinthians 12:12–27). As directed by the Spirit, single members are called to leadership and teaching positions. Leadership callings may include serving in the following positions:
Ward and stake organization presidencies
Elders quorum presidencies
Stake presidency counselors
In this chapter:
“Single members” refers to all adult members of the Church who are not currently married.
“Young single adults” refers to those ages 18–30.
“Single adults” refers to those ages 31 and older.
Single Members in Geographic Units
Most single members attend a geographic unit with members of all ages. They have opportunities to serve, teach, lead, and associate with people in many circumstances.
The involvement of the stake presidency is particularly important in engaging single members in the work of salvation and exaltation.
The stake president may assign one of his counselors and a high councilor to support single adults. He may also assign a counselor and a high councilor to support young single adults. He may also ask the stake Relief Society president to assign a presidency member to support single adults and young single adults. The same leaders could be assigned to both groups.
The stake presidency pays particular attention to young single adults—as they do all members of the rising generation.
The stake presidency determines whether activities for young single adults should take place at the ward level, the stake level, or some combination of both. Activities for single adults take place at the stake and multistake level. (See chapter 20.)
When the number of single members in a location is sufficient, stake presidents may recommend organizing a young single adult ward or a single adult ward (see 14.3).
A stake (or a group of adjacent stakes) may not have enough single members to create a young single adult or single adult ward. In this situation, the Area Presidency may authorize a stake president to invite all of these members to be members of a designated geographic ward. This allows single adults or young single adults to serve and worship together. The Area Presidency counsels with their assigned member of the Presidency of the Seventy and the Quorum of the Twelve.
Stake Young Single Adult and Single Adult Committees
Single members serve God’s children by engaging in the work of salvation and exaltation (see 1.2 and 14.2). To help them do so, the stake presidency creates a young single adult committee. This committee is made up of the young single adult leaders from each ward.
A young single adult man and young single adult woman are called to lead the committee. They serve on the stake council.
If there are not enough young single adults to form a committee in a stake, a group of neighboring stakes may create a committee with the approval of the Area Presidency.
The stake presidency may also create a single adult committee. It is made up of a few single adults from each ward. A single adult man and single adult woman are called to lead the committee. They serve on the stake council.
If there are not enough single adults to form a committee in a stake, a group of neighboring stakes may create a committee with the approval of the Area Presidency.
Committees seek to support members through friendship and opportunities to participate in the work of salvation and exaltation (see 14.2). They plan opportunities for gospel learning and for service and activities.
The committees meet as needed. The assigned member of the stake presidency and stake Relief Society presidency and the assigned high councilor may attend these meetings to provide support.
Young single adult committees coordinate with campus institute programs, where available.
Normally the single adult and young single adult committees function separately from one another.
The bishopric is key to engaging single members in the work of salvation and exaltation. They work with the ward council to identify meaningful callings and assignments for single members. They recognize and strive to help meet the needs of single parents.
Generally, the bishopric supports single members as they support all members of the elders quorum and Relief Society. However, because of their foremost responsibility to the rising generation, the bishopric also does the following:
A member of the bishopric meets with each young single adult at least once a year.
The bishopric receives regular updates on the well-being of young single adults. The elders quorum president and Relief Society president discuss the needs of young single adults in ward council meeting. The leaders of the young single adult committee may be invited to attend.
The bishopric may organize a ward young single adult committee (see 184.108.40.206). (Single adult committees for those ages 31 and older are organized at the stake level.)
Elders Quorum and Relief Society Presidency Members Assigned to Young Single Adults
The elders quorum and Relief Society presidents may each assign a member of their presidencies to support young single adults. These presidency members learn of the strengths of young single adults and help meet their needs.
The elders quorum president and Relief Society president may report on these efforts in ward council meeting. If there is a ward young single adult committee, the leaders of this committee are invited to attend and report on their efforts.
These presidency members support the ward young single adult committee if one is organized (see 220.127.116.11).
Young Single Adult Leaders
In a ward with many young single adults, the bishopric may call a young single adult man and woman as young single adult leaders. Their responsibilities include:
Helping young single adults participate in the work of salvation and exaltation (see 14.2).
Serving on the stake young single adult committee.
Leading the ward young single adult committee if one is formed.
Meeting regularly with the elders quorum presidency and Relief Society presidency. In these meetings, they discuss the strengths of young single adults and how to help meet their needs. They also focus on ministering to young single adults.
Attending ward council meetings when invited.
Ward Young Single Adult Committee
Some wards have many young single adults. In these wards, the bishop may feel that the young single adult leaders could be assisted by a ward young single adult committee. (Single adult committees are organized at the stake level. See 18.104.22.168.)
Committee members include:
Ward young single adult leaders.
Additional young single adults invited by the bishopric.
The members of the elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies assigned to support young single adults.
Participating in the Work of Salvation and Exaltation
God invites all to come unto Christ and participate in the work of salvation and exaltation by:
Living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Caring for those in need.
Inviting all to receive the gospel.
Uniting families for eternity.
Single members engage in this work at home and at church. They participate in elders quorums and Relief Societies. They serve in callings and assignments, including ministering. Wards and stakes may plan optional activities that are specifically for single members who choose to participate (see 22.214.171.124).
Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Home Evening and Gospel Study
Leaders or members who desire to participate may organize one or more home evening groups for single adults and other groups for young single adults. Generally, those who participate do not have children at home. In stakes with few single members, home evening groups may cross ward boundaries.
In addition, single members may choose to gather virtually or in person for home gospel study. Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families may be a resource.
All young single adults are encouraged to enroll in institute (see 15.2).
Sunday School Classes
Under the direction of the bishop, the ward Sunday School president may organize a Sunday School class for young single adults (see 13.3.2).
Under the direction of ward or stake leaders, young single adults may plan and participate in activities specifically for them. These activities can take place at the ward or stake level. Examples could include:
Family history work.
Sharing the gospel.
Music and cultural events.
Under the direction of stake leaders, single adults may plan similar activities at the stake level.
Area Seventies may work with stake presidents to create committees to plan multistake activities for single members.
Funding for activities comes from stake or ward budgets. When multistake or area activities are held, leaders ensure a fair allocation of funding among stakes.
Funding for activities should be consistent with the policies in 20.2.6. As an exception, members may pay some costs when multistake or area events are held. Leaders ensure that all can participate.
For additional activity guidelines, see 20.2 and 20.3.
Caring for Those in Need
Like all disciples of Jesus Christ, single members have regular opportunities to serve others individually and as groups. Community service is among the foremost ways that young single adults are spiritually strengthened.
Service activities can focus on:
Welfare and self-reliance.
Sharing the gospel.
Strengthening new and returning members.
Humanitarian needs locally or elsewhere.
Where it is available, JustServe.org suggests service opportunities for both individuals and groups.
Each single brother is assigned ministering brothers. Each single sister is assigned ministering sisters and ministering brothers. Assignments are made to individuals, not to groups or apartments. (See chapter 21.)
Inviting All to Receive the Gospel
Single members have an opportunity to invite all to receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They do this by sharing the gospel, strengthening new and returning members, and reaching out to those who are not participating. (See chapter 23.)
Some young single adults move frequently. Young single adults may periodically organize activities to find and welcome other young single adults in the stake. These activities may also be done with neighboring stakes.
Young single adults may be particularly helpful in teaching with and supporting full-time missionaries.
Uniting Families for Eternity
As individuals and as groups, single members can help unite families for eternity. For example, they might:
Prepare to make covenants with God by receiving ordinances, including the temple endowment (see 27.2.2).
Serve as temple ordinance workers or volunteers (see 25.5).
Participate in ordinances for the deceased.
Learn about their extended families and ancestors (see My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together).
Identify ancestors who need temple ordinances (see FamilySearch.org).
Serve as temple and family history consultants (see 25.2.4).
Participate in indexing (see FamilySearch.org/indexing).
Young Single Adult Wards and Stakes and Single Adult Wards
Most single members attend geographic wards. As an exception, where many single members live in close proximity, priesthood leaders may recommend creating the following units. These units must meet the criteria in chapter 37.
A young single adult ward for those ages 18–30 (see 37.2)
A young single adult stake for those ages 18–30 (see 37.3)
A single adult ward for those ages 31–45 (see 37.5)
These units use the regular program of the Church as much as possible. They follow the instructions in this handbook.
Eligible members may choose to be members of the young single adult ward or the single adult ward, where available. Or they can choose to be members of their geographic ward.
Membership in a young single adult ward or a single adult ward is temporary:
When a single member marries, he or she becomes a member of a geographic ward.
When a member of a young single adult ward reaches age 31, he or she becomes a member of a single adult ward (if one exists where he or she lives) or a geographic ward.
When a member of a single adult ward reaches age 46, he or she becomes a member of a geographic ward.
When transitioning between wards, the member and his or her leaders communicate with the leaders of the geographic ward. Leaders of the new ward assign ministering brothers and sisters. They plan for a calling or assignment that helps the member feel welcome and engaged in the work of the ward.
Additional Guidelines and Policies
A gathering place is a designated location where young single adults and their friends can gather for fellowship and to participate in any of the following:
Gospel learning, including institute
Self-reliance courses, educational opportunities, and support groups
Service and activities
Sharing the gospel and community outreach
Temple and family history work
Other Church programs
All designated gathering places must be approved by the Area Presidency. Gathering places are overseen by stake presidents and bishops. They are established in existing Church facilities, such as a meetinghouse or institute building. Stake presidents who desire to establish a gathering place for young single adults should contact the Area Presidency.
As an exception, young single adult wards and single adult wards may hold activities on Monday nights, including in Church buildings (see 20.5.3).
Additional Elders Quorums and Relief Societies
With approval from the stake president, the bishop of a ward for single members may organize more than one Relief Society and elders quorum. (See 8.1.3 and 9.1.3.)
Members Called to Serve in Units for Single Members
Only the bishop and the stake president in units for single members need to be called from a geographic ward. As directed by the Spirit, many other callings can be filled by those in the unit for single members.
Those called away from their geographic ward to serve in a unit for single members usually serve no more than three to five years in these units. This time period includes cumulative service in different callings.
Leaders of geographic stakes should be supportive when members are considered to serve in units for single members. However, leaders counsel together to understand members’ circumstances.
Callings may be extended to individuals or to couples. In some cases, one spouse may need to remain in a geographic ward while the other serves in a ward for single members.
The membership records of bishops and their families normally remain in their geographic ward while they serve in wards for single members. The same is true for those who serve in the stake presidency or bishopric, on the high council, or in the stake Relief Society presidency if these members are called to serve outside of their geographic ward. These members and their families pay tithing and offerings in their geographic ward. They also go to their geographic ward and stake leaders for temple recommend interviews.
If possible, young single adult wards function during school breaks. Multiple young single adult wards may meet together if needed. In such cases, wards keep separate records, reports of attendance, and finances.
Interviews in Young Single Adult Wards and Stakes
In most cases, the stake president interviews members who are:
Receiving their own endowment.
Being sealed to a spouse.
Being recommended to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Being recommended to serve missions.
As an exception, the stake president of a young single adult stake may authorize his counselors to conduct some of these interviews.
In large young single adult wards, bishops may authorize counselors to conduct interviews for members who are:
Receiving their own endowment.
Being sealed to a spouse. (See 26.3.1.)
Participation in Activities for Single Members
A person who is separated from his or her spouse or is seeking a divorce participates in a geographic ward. He or she may attend a ward or activities for single members when his or her divorce decree is final.
Members and leaders recognize and strive to help meet the specific needs of single parents. Single parents with children at home normally attend their geographic ward. Doing so allows the children to be active in Primary and youth organizations. Single parents may attend the activities of a young single adult or single adult ward.