Single Mormon men who are postponing marriage should get to it right away, LDS President Thomas S. Monson said Saturday night at an all-male priesthood session of the church’s 181st Semi-Annual General Conference … “Brethren, there is a point at which it’s time to think seriously about marriage and seek a companion with whom you want to spend eternity.”
—The Salt Lake Tribune, April 2, 2011
I want to be the first person to come to the defense of the Prophet, who has been catching holy heck since exhorting every young man of Zion to hurry up and pick some gal to be a goddess to his god throughout eternity.
The usual nitpickers have come out of the woodwork to point out the disconnect in the Prophet’s logic: What’s the hurry when you’ve got all eternity lying before you like a vast desert? Don’t you want to take your own sweet time instead of rushing off to the temple, like some sweaty square dancer twirling the first corner gal who comes do-si-do-ing your way?
The Prophet sweeps such arguments away with an impatient flick of his large hand. “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with,” the Prophet counseled during a pre-Conference brainstorming session in his spacious office overlooking Temple Square and the Salt Lake Valley beyond.
It was clear to me (I was flattered to be asked to participate) that the Prophet had studied up on the epidemic of slacker reluctance to enter the bonds of connubial bliss. That, or he is more hip than I thought. In his analysis of the growing church problem of aging boys who refuse to man up and get with the key element of the plan of salvation, which is to provide Earthly bodies for spirits in the pre-existence, the Prophet displayed an impressive command of expert opinion.
For example, the Prophet quoted from memory such canonical texts as Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay,” in which a no-account youth wastes time watching the tide roll away, as well as the Rolling Stones’ “Sittin’ On a Fence,” in which Mr. Jagger sings the praise of the unmarried state, remarking, “All of my friends at school grew up and settled down/ And they mortgaged up their lives/ One thing’s not said too much, but I think it’s true/ They just get married ’cause there’s nothing else to do.”
In his Conference speech on Saturday night (during which many in the all-male audience were heard humming “Another Saturday night, and I ain’t got nobody” by the legendary Sam Cooke), I doubt that many in attendance picked up on his reference to the Beatles’ song “We Can Work it Out,” in which the argument is put forward that because life is very short, there is no time for fussing and fighting. Similarly, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, “The 83-year-old LDS leader assured them that if they found a compatible woman and exercised their faith, then “almost anything can be worked out.”
The commitment phobia on the part of young brethren of the church is particularly glaring among returned missionaries, who in the old days couldn’t wait to get hitched and begin their celestial journey. Everyone I knew, myself included, tied the eternal knot within days or weeks of being released from their mission. We came quickly to the sacred endowment—so quickly that some of the Brethren of the day warned against the dangers of premature conjugation, in contradistinction to today’s matrimonial retardation.
Some of the more broadminded Brethren wonder if the church has been too successful in impressing upon missionaries the necessity of suppressing and sublimating their carnal inclinations. So squelched is the generative sap that it may never again rise to the propagative occasion. One General Authority confided to me that “everything is on the table, including re-thinking the prohibition against missionary elders absenting themselves to spank the monkey.”
Meanwhile, the Prophet will soon address the female components of the matrimonial equation, exhorting them to follow the time-tested recommendations of pop legend Dusty Springfield: “Show him that you care just for him, and do the things he likes to do. Wear your hair just for him, ’cause you won’t get him thinkin’ and a-prayin’, wishin’ and a-hopin’. My dear young sisters, all you gotta do is hold him and kiss him and squeeze and love him. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”