(x-posted in LiveJournal)
First of all, I want you to know that I'm not questioning my testimony of the gospel. I will continue to be an upstanding member of the LDS Church and do everything that is in harmony with my deeply held beliefs. That being said, if I ever had to question something in the church, it would be this: Family Home Evening groups in single wards.
I hate them. With a passion unbridled.
This topic comes as a result of a comment made at an Institute activity tonight. The subject of church callings was brought up and how people seem to get the callings that require you to do something that you haven't exactly been involved in (example - you haven't been to an Enrichment activity, you'll probably get called to be the Enrichment committee leader). I made the comment that I dodged the bullet - I thought that I would be called as an FHE "Mom" because I hate FHE, but instead I was called as a Gospel Doctrine teacher.
(for those not versed in LDS terminology: LDS families are encouraged to set aside one night a week (usually Monday) to get together as a family and have some kind of family activity - anything from a spiritual lesson to a board game or even a night at Chuck-E-Cheese's. This is known as "Family Home Evening" or FHE for short. Those of us single people who are living on our own are not left out - our leaders put us in "FHE" groups with other single people. Each group is overseen by two group leaders - one male, one female - who are affectionately known as the "FHE Mom" and "FHE Dad." The official idea is that we can be social and make new friends in our single state of life. The unofficial idea is to put single men and single women in an environment that lends itself to getting them married. That's the basic rundown - this knowledge is crucial to my post).
The girl making the comment seemed shocked that anyone would hate FHE! She and another guy who was listening in asked me how I expected to get to know people in my ward and make friends with them. I just glared at them and said that I don't want to get to know anyone in my ward beyond seeing them on Sunday. I failed to mention - and I wish I would have had the presence of mind to say this - that if I met a small handful of people that I could get along with, that's another story. But I do NOT enjoy being put with a bunch of random strangers and being compelled to be their bestest-best friends.
I have a disconnect about FHE. It may be the fact that, growing up, whenever a new couple moved into the ward where I lived (again, for the benefit of non-LDS - where you go to church is determined by where you live. Everywhere is divided up into geographical boundaries called "wards" that are led by leaders who are from the area. Several wards put together is called a stake - which is also led by local people). Anyway - whenever a new couple moved into my ward, more often than not their introduction talks would be include something along the lines of "We met in a Family Home Evening group in the BYU 494.3rd ward." After 18 of hearing this in my home ward, you tend to think that singles FHE groups are purely meant to be meat markets. And I am totally anti-meat market.
(I'm sorry if any of you married peeps met your spouse at an FHE group in the BYU 494.3rd ward. No really, I'm sorry).
Nothing in my life is normal (I can enumerate the reasons why later, if you really want to know). If I am going to meet that "somebody special" it is going to be a completely organic, out-of-the-ordinary experience. It's not going to be the way that everyone else and their goldfish meets their spouse. It's unoriginal and it's boring. I'm actually a fan of how my sister met her husband: our family dentist set them up. That's the short version, but how's that for a story? Not to mention the fact that they can get killer discounts on dental work (my parents have a cool story too - involves a wheelbarrow and a bag of Weed-n-Feed).
I am a homebody anyway. I do not enjoy hanging out with large groups of people. I hate being in large groups of people, especially when a significant portion of them are strangers that I will likely never see after this year/semester (I find it interesting that they put us in "Family" Home Evening groups. None of us are related and likely never will be. Obviously, there are exceptions). I don't have fun in groups of people. Period. Trust me, I've tried. Hasn't worked in 24 years and it will likely never work. And that's okay. If FHE groups are your cup of tea, I'm not raining on your parade. This is my perspective and I think it will be beneficial to see another opinion out there. If you're having fun at these deals, don't let what I say stop you (unless you really want to).
It's kind of like Ultimate Frisbee. I don't particularly enjoy Ultimate Frisbee. It's great if you do, but don't expect me to wet myself over the prospect of playing. Ultimate Frisbee is for people who want to play football but can't throw or catch a football. So, they play with something that will mask their inability to catch. But I digress - I was trying to draw a parallel.
Bottom line: I want to have fun - but with people that I am extremely comfortable around and that I know for a fact that I can be myself around (those are hard to come by - even within my own family). I'm an odd duck. My preferred relaxing evening is a movie or TV show that I've seen probably a hundred times and will probably watch a hundred times more. Or a book that I'm re-reading. Or writing. Or watching whatever football game is on. I will from time to time go out and wander around Borders or Wal-Mart or Hastings (that last one's only in Logan) - if I'm feeling adventurous, I will order some KFC or Chipotle or Panda Express and bring it home. I don't socialize for the sake of socializing - there has to be a discernible purpose. Which the vast majority of FHE groups lack.
Besides, how many Book of Mormon Pictionary games can you play in college?