It’s biological, it’s spiritual and when you feel like you’re not moving ahead in that, your victories in life start to feel very empty.” Finlayson-Fife said many places outside of Utah County have more “latitude” for the ages at which Mormons get married.
BYU graduate Rebekah Arnesen, 26, said she agrees the pressure to marry young is much lower in places outside of the “BYU bubble.” She said people outside the Provo area are usually more open to people who are older and dating, divorced and dating again, or people who have made mistakes and are trying to get back into dating other members of the church and living church standards.
However, he said he doesn’t always feel this courtesy from other members of the church and the church culture in Utah.
“I’m in a ward that’s kind of a weird hybrid YSA mid-singles ward, and so everyone there is kind of in the same boat.
When Vandagriff first came home from his mission, he said “failure was being unmarried by age 27.” Now that he’s 30, Vandagriff reevaluates and questions the cultural norms that influenced his definition of failure.
BYU assistant professor Justin Dyer said part of the reason people feel judgment or pressure if they are not married during their undergraduate years comes from the idea of on-time and off-time transitions, where people in a particular culture believe “certain things should happen in a certain order.” He said every culture develops timelines, and that they are not unique to Mormons.Editor’s note: Members of the LDS Church embrace a theology that includes a daily quest for personal perfection, if not in this life, then in the afterlife.That quest can become toxic if it morphs into self-righteousness and judgment of how well others meet one’s own internal standard.I do feel a bit judged, but it’s not overwhelming,” Vandagriff said.“It’s mostly just hard when you go to a workplace where there’s a lot of LDS people and many of them are younger than you, and they’re all married and you’re the sole single person there.This is the third in a series of stories about the impact such judgments can have on individuals, families and the church as a whole.