I am a single unwed mother who is newly baptized into the LDS church. As well as looking for a church that practiced what it preached, and actually believed in teaching the gospel. I was also looking for a family to raise my little girl up in. Although she has a lack of a father figure right now, she may be around upstanding and God fearing men in the church to look up to for a male role model or father figure. I find great comfort in the members of the ward, especially those in the Relief Society. However I am the only unwed mother in my ward. Although no one treats me differently nor my child, I would still like to be able to not feel so anxious about this fact. Are there any scriptures geared towards women like myself that I could benefit from reading? I would really appreciate any suggestions. Thank you
You just might be the only unwed mother in your ward, but I assure you with confidence that you are far from the only unwed mother in the LDS Church. In 1996 October General Conference, President Gordon B. Hinkley, then the Prophet of the Church, gave a talk called Women of the Church. Here’s a link to the talk itself, and I encourage you to read it through. More specifically, I’d like to share a part of that talk with you right here that pertains to your question.
Included among the women of the Church are those who have lost their husbands through abandonment, divorce, and death. Great is our obligation to you. As the scriptures declare, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
I received a letter from one who counts herself fortunate, and indeed fortunate she is. She writes:
“Although I have been raising our four boys as a single parent, … I am not alone. I have a wonderful ‘ward family’ that has rallied around us. …
“My Relief Society president has been there for me through my greatest hardships, encouraging my spiritual growth, personal prayer, and temple attendance.
“Our bishop has been generous in providing needed food and clothing and has helped send two of the boys to camp. He has had interviews with all of us and given each of us blessings and needed encouragement. He has helped me to budget and do what I can to help my family.
“Our home teachers have come regularly and even gave the boys blessings as they started the new school year.
“Our stake president and his counselors have checked in on us on a regular basis by taking time to visit with us at church, on the phone, or visiting our home.
“This Church is true, and my boys and I are living proof that God loves us and that a ‘ward family’ can make all the difference.
“Our priesthood leaders have been instrumental in keeping the boys active in church and in the Scouting program. [One] is an Eagle Scout and is receiving his fourth palm this week. [Another] is an Eagle with three palms. And [a third] has just turned in his Eagle papers this week. The youngest is a Webelos and loves Cub Scouts.
“We are always met with loving hearts and warm handshakes. The Christlike attitude of the stake and our ward has helped us through trials we never imagined possible.
“Life has been hard, … but we put on the whole armor of God as we kneel in family prayer … , asking for help and guidance and sharing thanks for the blessings we have received. I pray daily for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost to guide me as I raise these boys to be missionaries and encourage them to be true to the gospel and the priesthood they hold.
“I am proud to say I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know this Church is true. I sustain my Church leaders. We are doing well, and I thank everyone for their love, and prayers, and acceptance.”
What a great letter that is! How much it says about the way this Church functions and should function throughout the world. I hope that every woman who finds herself in the kind of circumstances in which this woman lives is similarly blessed with an understanding and helpful bishop, with a Relief Society president who knows how to assist her, with home teachers who know where their duty lies and how to fulfill it, and with a host of ward members who are helpful without being intrusive.
I can assure you, as President Hinkley has said, that it surely will be hard to raise a family on your own. However the Lord will be there to help you along the way. He will use the members of your ward to do much of the sharing of the load. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Your Home and Visiting Teachers are a valuable resource in this situation.
Finally, I also know that when the time presents itself, there may well be a man willing and eager to become your husband and take on the challenges of raising your family together as a couple, sealed in the temple. Continue in your great faith. Trust in the Lord and His promises as delivered through His servants the prophets. He knows your situation and He cannot wait to help you along.
May God be with you always.