Dating young men
When Elefant attended Jewish high school 30 years ago, “there were maybe three girls that didn’t get married by the time they were twenty or twenty-one,” she said.
She shared stories of devout Mormon women who wound up marrying outside the religion—officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—simply because they had no other options. ”—who gave up on finding a husband and decided to have children on their own.
Said Hunt, “My heartstrings are pulled daily.” wo thousand miles away in New York City, Lisa Elefant knows exactly what Hunt is feeling.
But lurking beneath the Census data is a demographic anomaly that makes Utah a textbook example of how shifting gender ratios alter behavior.
The LDS church actually has one of the most lopsided gender ratios of any religion in the United States.
“Wow,” he said, “that sounds a lot like the Shidduch Crisis.” I had never heard of it, but the Shidduch Crisis turned out to be a marriage crisis among Orthodox Jews remarkably similar to the one afflicting Mormons.
And just as I predicted, lopsided gender ratios affect conservative religious communities in much the same way they affect secular ones.
Overall, there are thousands of unmarried girls in their late twenties.Shidduch is the Hebrew word for a marriage match, and Orthodox Jews (including the more assimilated Modern Orthodox) now refer to the excess supply of unmarried women in their communities as the Shidduch Crisis. Or maybe it’s the women who are holding out for the Mormon or Jewish George Clooney?Mormon and Orthodox Jewish leaders alike fear that their respective marriage crises reflect some failure to instill proper values in young people. In fact, the root causes of both the Shidduch Crisis and the Mormon marriage crisis have little to do with culture or religion. The fact is that there are more marriage-age women than men both in the Orthodox Jewish community and in the Utah LDS church.On a lark, I emailed my friend Cynthia Bowman,* a devout Mormon who grew up in Salt Lake City and returns there often, and asked her whether Mormon sex ratios are as lopsided as the ARIS study claimed.[Editor’s note: “Cynthia Bowman” is a pseudonym, as are other names denoted with an asterisk.The shadchan’s job has been made exceedingly difficult, she said, by a mysterious increase in the number of unmarried women within the Orthodox community.