About six years ago, I found myself in an unexpected position. My marriage ended in divorce, and I was single again. As I struggled with the loneliness and challenges of single motherhood, I found peace in clinging to my covenants and the principles of the gospel. These principles have provided and continue to provide me with the comfort and strength I so desperately need as I move forward in my single life. One of the things that have been a great strength to me has been maintaining my moral standards.
As I came to know other Latter-day Saint mid-single adults, I was sad to discover a pervasive feeling of loss and loneliness among some of my new friends. Some good and well-meaning individuals had slipped into compromising their standards and temple covenants as they dealt with the loneliness and disillusionment that resulted from their broken homes and marriages. The results of these compromises left them feeling even more lost and broken.
As I became aware of the challenges some of my single friends faced, I reviewed Church standards as they relate to sexual purity and found clear and specific instruction in the For the Strength of Youth booklet. The youth are promised that as they live these standards, they will be blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost and increased faith and happiness. This also applies to adults. As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, has said, “This little booklet is a gem for any age group. It contains standards which are sacred symbols representing our membership in the Church.”1
Although loneliness and deep desires for companionship can seem overwhelming, we single adults must never step away from the Lord’s standards of morality and our covenants. Our covenants provide spiritual protections and are very much a part of the “armour of God” described in the scriptures (see Ephesians 6:11–17; D&C 27:15–18). Neglecting our covenants during this difficult time is much like removing armor in the middle of a dangerous battle. We are left unprotected and vulnerable to the “fiery darts” of the adversary.
I’m incredibly grateful for clear and well-defined Church standards. As a single woman, they have provided me with safety and protection. In addition, by living the standards set forth in For the Strength of Youth, we can develop and maintain the kind of countenance and beauty of character that will help us attract others who share our standards and values. Elaine S. Dalton, former Young Women general president, described what she calls “deep beauty,” a beauty “that shines from the inside out. … Deep beauty springs from virtue. It is the beauty of being chaste and morally clean. … It is a beauty that is earned through faith, repentance, and honoring covenants.”2
I could not imagine traveling through this time as a single mother without the gospel in my life, and I am deeply grateful for the strength, understanding, and guidance it provides as I am able to move forward with peace and joy. More than anything else, I recognize my reliance on the Savior, who is truly my “light which shineth in darkness” (D&C 34:2).