I will call Local Unit Support to resolve this problem.
aebrown wrote:But it really shouldn't be confusing. In our ward and stake we have all sorts of nonmember spouses who are happy to be listed. After all, they are a spouse. I could easily see how it could be confusing if the spouse were not listed, prompting conversations like "I thought she was married...." "But if she's married, why is no spouse listed?" "Uhhhh ... good question." We even have one nonmember who is more active than his member wife!
But in any case, we need to have both options to respect the wishes of the people involved -- but other members really shouldn't be confused either way.
I completely agree that an option to include or not include non-member spouses in the online directory should be included. This option would solve the problems related to this issue.
The problem with the online ward directory is that it is a member
directory. I wonder how many members know that non-members are listed in the online member directory. I don't think that many realize that outside of some clerks and leaders. Also the online directory does not provide a good way of determining the member status of those listed. You said that confusion may arise if a non-member spouse is not listed because other members may see that think that the member (married to a non-member) is single. True this scenario can occur, but it would only arise if the fact that the online member directory includes non-members is known. I am not convinced that this fact is known by the majority of members.
Also I think that it is necessary to know who in the directory is a member. It can save awkward experiences from assuming everyone in the directory can create.
In the case of my ward, the members that do not want their non-member spouses listed on the online directory are active and their spouses are either semi-participatory in the church or at least on good terms with the church. These non-member spouses want their decision to remain outside of the church to be respected by their member spouses and the church. Their member spouses are concerned that listing their names will appear to be breech on this trust/respect. In other words, the concern is that listing non-member spouses will hamper missionary work with these non-members. Unfortunately I have several couples that have come to me with this predicament.