I’ve loved reading memoirs for years. And for some reason, I’m drawn to books written by or about Mormons.
This week, actually only Sunday-Tuesday, I read “Confessions of a Latter Day Virgin” by Nicole Hardy, which I found to be one of the best, most moving memoirs I’ve read in a long time. I couldn’t put it down.
I’ve been in a place, for quite some time, of being frustrated with how the church responds to singles in their 30s, 40s, on up. I am speaking mostly about the divorced-with-no-kids or never-been-married-childless singles. Those that both want to be single and those that would give up a limb to find a partner or to have a child. We are an anomaly. We are what used to be a small minority and have, in probably the last 20 or so years, become not such a small group. And the church has not yet figured out what to do with us.
Generally speaking, I do not put the Church of Latter Day Saints in the same category as mainline Christian denominations (Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, etc). There are doctrinal and theological differences that put them into their own category. However, the struggles Nicole Hardy writes about as a single 30 something year old woman who has, for all of her life, been part of a devout faith community, are not unique to being Mormon. They are the same struggles of most every other single woman of that age who was raised in and remains part of a church, faith community, or religion, be it Mormon or otherwise. Maybe they are the same struggles of single men as well, but I can’t speak for them. I can speak for my own, and I am fairly certain I can speak at least a bit for quite a few other women I know in similar circumstances.
This book hurts. If you are at all feeling any ache of the loneliness that comes from being single, this book will speak to you, but it will be painful in the process. I can’t even count the number of times in these 295 pages that I had to put the book down, close my eyes and just sit for a while because she seemed to be pulling the feelings straight out of my heart. The details are different, some big and some small, but the emotional journey is remarkably similar. The depth in which she is able to put words to heartache is profound. To write this openly, this beautifully, with this much anguish requires a bravery that most cannot muster.