Mormon Church leaders worry that young LDS men and women aren’t dating and marrying. Since it the current year church leaders assume that it’s the men’s fault and lecture them on not doing their duty. They don’t really ask men why aren’t they dating and marrying and what can Mormon Church leaders do to help young men out. Most Mormons who’ve worked with the single adults know that the single adult scene is a train wreck but they don’t look at why the Mormon single adult scene is a big mess. Arguably the Number 1 reason why the LDS single adult scene is a mess is because of gossip.
In the Mormon single adult community there are a wide-variety of reasons why dating is dying. Some of these reasons are: infantilization of millennials, Beta orbiting, the obesity epidemic but the biggest killer is gossip. I’ve had major run ins with the gossip monster that demonstrate how gossip ruins people’s dating lives.
I was in a long term relationship with a girl. She and I were discussing getting married. However after about 8 months our relationship broke down. She broke up with me but after 2 weeks of being separated she decided that she wanted to be with me again. In the time we were separated I realized that she would make a bad wife so when she decided she wanted back with me, I rejected her. She didn’t take the rejection well. She went around her ward and told all her friends all kinds of horrible things about me, which either were extremely out of context or out-right lies. She even went so far as to come to my ward and gossip to my bishop about me. After she got done with me my relationship with my bishop was in tatters and I couldn’t go to her ward to meet new people without having to suffer the evil eye from girls who heard the nasty gossip about me.
Recently I was on a first date with a girl and while we were out we bumped into her roommates. The date went very well and she and I hit things off pretty well. After the date, the girl I went out with, her roommates got all the details of our date. The roommates then went and attacked our whole date. During the date the girl I went out with told me how much she liked the date and how much she was into me. However a few days later the girl started messaging me and criticizing me for the date. I asked her what happened and she told me that her roommates said that I was a total “douche” and my date was pathetic. Needless to say I never got her out on a date again.
A few years ago there was a fat girl in my ward who decided that she wanted to date me. Of course this was impossible because I don’t date fat girls. After she realized that I had no interest in dating her, she got bitter and angry. She went around and told the ward all about what an awful man I was. One night she even went so far as to tell my roommate that I said horrible things about him the night before, except the night before I was at home with him binge watching a whole season of Game of Thrones. Needless to say my roommate didn’t believe her gossip, but lots of others did. My reputation in my ward was ruined by her words.
After the fat girl ruined my reputation, I had to find a new ward. I decided to attend a different local single adult ward. In my new ward I was very careful to make sure to avoid doing anything to offend anybody. However that didn’t mean that the gossip monster wasn’t interested in me. One day one of my friends told me that David in our ward was going around saying I was a bad man and people should avoid me. I was hurt. I had never done anything to hurt him or anybody in that ward, but still I was being attacked for no reason.
One of the things I’ve learned about life is I am not special. What happens to me happens to others. The general trend of gossip in the Mormon single adult community follows general trends. The first trend is the jilted ex, when people date and break up there always is at least 1 unhappy party. When people break up they tend to try to destroy each other. The second trend of gossip is the social group who tries to keep everybody in the group. For example with the girl I went out with, her friends were not nearly as pretty as she is. They can’t get a man as interesting as me to ask them out. They also know that if their prettier friend gets into a relationship then men won’t even pretend to like them and won’t pretend to want to socialize with them. These kinds of men and women use gossip to keep everybody from dating, forming relationships and leaving the group.
The third type of gossips are the envious. These are the people who don’t want increased competition. For example David in the new ward didn’t want a desirable man to show up. He knew that any pretty girls would want to date me before they would ever consider going out with him. He wanted to destroy the reputation of all his competition without having to make himself better than other men.
In the Mormon single adult scene gossip is a very powerful weapon. Everybody gets gossiped about. You know that if you ask a girl out and she says no, she will tell all her friends that you asked her out and she said no. You know that girls don’t want to date men who other women rejected. If you ask a girl out and she says No, then you can expect that you won’t be able to date any other girls in that ward or nearby wards ever again. You know that if you go on a date and she doesn’t like you, everybody will hear about it. You know that if a girl likes you the rest of the ward will create a false narrative about you in an attempt to ruin your reputation.
Gossip is a big plague in Mormon single adult wards. It makes girls hesitant to accept dates because they know that if they go out with a man other women rejected they lose status in the ward. Unattractive girls use gossip to make sure that their pretty friends don’t get into relationships because if their pretty friends get into relationships then the unattractive girls will not be invited to an social events and men won’t even pretend to like them. Beta orbiters use gossip because they believe if they can keep the pretty girls they want from dating better men, eventually they will have to settle for them.
The gossip epidemic plaguing the Mormon single adult community makes dating stakes very high. As a man you only get to ask one girl in your ward out. If she rejects you, then no other girl in your ward will be willing to go out with you. It is a case of success or death. This is why men in single adult wards will only try to date the prettiest girls because if you only get to take one swing, you might as well go for the homerun. It is why most men are willing to accept being Beta orbiters because they know that if they fail on their attempt it is the end of their dating life in the ward. They figure they better put in a lot of work before they ask a girl out in an attempt to increase their chances of success. Gossip makes it so that Mormon single adults can’t trust each other. They don’t know who is a friend or who is going behind their backs starting rumors.
If Mormon Church leaders want to improve the YSA program then they need to address the gossip monster. Gossip is destroying dating in the Mormon community. We have to get gossip out of our church before it destroys us. If gossip is causing so much damage in the single adult community just imagine how much damage it causes in family wards and the general Mormon community.