Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published several times a month.

This is column is just one guy's opinion, and while he does his best to keep what he thinks, says and writes in-line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, "Dear Bro Jo" is not an LDS Church website. (And Sister Jo thinks you should know that he's sometimes wrong, and often way too opinionated for his own good.)

Nothing here is meant to take the place of talking with parents, leaders, or Church authorities. Please, if you need serious help, talk to a trusted adult, leader, and / or professional counselor.

Please like our Facebook page, and check it often for Discussions, Notes, Events and just General Good Stuff!

Everything here is copyrighted. If you're going to quote any part of anything here, please get Bro Jo's written permission. You can reach him at

Monday, October 2, 2017

When Do You Confess Past Sins to a New Boyfriend or Girlfriend?

Dear Bro Jo,

A couple years ago I broke the Law of Chastity.  I went to see my Bishop and went through the repentance process.  It was hard, but since then I have completely changed my life.  I eventually was able to go through the temple. My testimony of the Savior and the Atonement is rock solid.  I am a completely different person.

Today: I have a boyfriend. We've been together for 6 months.  I feel like maybe I should tell him, but at the same time we haven't even said the L word yet (and I do, I love him, but honestly it scares me because my last boyfriend used that word only for sex). At the same time, it's been 6 months and I wonder if he would be upset I waited so long to tell him.  He isn't just "any guy" and I'm pretty confident that he's the one I'm going to go to the Temple with.  I'm just not sure what to say, how to bring it up, or how many details I am supposed to share.

Your advice would be so appreciated!


Chaste Forever!

Dear Forever,

It's not good for couples to keep secrets, especially big ones, from each other, but that doesn't mean that we should divulge too much too soon.

The Spirit will prompt you as far as the right moment.

Be honest, but not graphic.

Perhaps something like:

"When you're ready, I'd like to share something very personal with you.  I'm nervous because, I really care for you and I don't want you to think less of me.  I want you to know that I've repented and I have a testimony that Heavenly Father has forgiven me."

And then wait to see how he responds.

He may not be ready yet, and that's fine.

Be patient.

When he is ready, especially if a bit of time has passed, repeat the opening from before.

And perhaps add what you've told me above.

"I don't think of you as 'just any guy', you're very important to me.  I care for you and, perhaps more importantly, I feel like I can trust you with things that are very personal and private."

And then . . .

"When I was younger I had sex."

Repeat that you've gone through the repentance process, that it was difficult, and that while you wish you had not sinned in that way, your testimony of the atonement is all the stronger for having seen how it has worked in your own life and that the love of the Savior has helped you become a different and better person.

And then wait.

This may indeed be a make or break moment.  It may be the time when you discover that he does indeed love and care for you.

Or it may be the moment that you, sadly (but fortunately) discover that he's not the man for you.

The knowledge will be worth the risk.

Remember:  you've needed time to get up the courage to tell him; he may need time to process the information.

And don't let yourself be pressured into sharing more than you're ready.  As I said in the beginning, there's no need to "over-share".

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you so much for the advice!

We had that talk and everything was okay.  It felt really good to get it off my chest.

Thanks again,

- Forever

Dear Forever,

Sounds like you found a keeper!

- Bro Jo

Friday, September 29, 2017

Should She Let Him Kiss Her?

Dear Bro Jo,

My friend shared your blog with me and it has been quite interesting to read.

It was also my friend's idea to write in for advice, which obviously I am taking.

Let me share my situation with you. I am 16 years old.

My story begins when I met this boy who for privacy sake, I will call Johny.

I met Johny at EFY. I had a mild interest in him when we finished off the week. We stayed in contact and our friendship grew, along with our feelings for each other.

Almost a year passed by and we had gone on a couple of dates. We were hanging out and he held my hand. That was about 8 months ago.

We have continued to hangout, go on dates, he has introduced me to his friends, and I have introduced him to mine. Our families have met, and had dinner together. Even our siblings hangout now.

We have gone to stake dances and have just been growing as friends, all the while holding hands on verily often. Needless to say, I enjoy being around him very much. He has become one of my very closest friends, and has helped me become a better person.

But then I think to myself of the Prophet's council to people of my age. I want the best for Johny and I want to be able to serve a mission, and not have issues before that time comes. We are both trying to do what we think is best for us, but it is hard when our feelings get in the way.

We have not kissed, but I do believe Johny has gotten the idea he wants to. I personally can only see myself being comfortable with a kiss on the cheek. So this is where I would very much appreciate your advice.

Should I let Johny kiss me?

Or should I be okay with Johny kissing me on the cheek?

Thank you very much for your time and your advice,

- Sally (Not my real name)

Dear Sally,

You should never kiss anyone, or let them kiss you, if you're uncomfortable with the idea.  Moreover, you should never kiss (or do anything else) with anyone because you feel obligated.

If you want to kiss him, and he wants to kiss you, that can be okay, but keep it simple (no make out sessions).  You may want to check out "Bro Jo's GUIDE to KISSING", specifically the section for teens your age.

(You can also search "kissing" on the Dear Bro Jo website, or click HERE.)

The other thing I think you need to do to keep this "relationship" from becoming too serious too soon (and to make sure both of you stay worthy) is to cut out your alone time together.  Still date and talk and treat each other nicely, but keep all of your dates Casual Group Dates.

And date other guys, too, and don't get jealous when he takes other girls on Casual Group Dates.

Which means that you'll need to talk to him about all of this.  Tell him everything you've told me.  Tell him you're not ready to kiss yet (if that's the case), tell him you really like him, and tell him that you're worried that the two of you are getting too serious too young.  Tell him you still want to date him, but that it's best for you two to keep things Casual.

The sooner you have the talk, the better you'll feel.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you so very much for your advice. I appreciate what you do for youth everywhere.

- Sally

Dear Sally,

Thank you for the kind words!

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

She Doesn't Want Him to Like Her "In That Way" Now That He's a Missionary

Dear Bro Jo,

    It's me again! I might not use my usual pseudonym for this issue, since many of my friends know who I am now... But anyway, I want to get your insights on this issue.

    I think you know this, but I'll give brief background information anyway. I'm an 18-turning-19-year-old female freshman at BYU-Provo. I'm about to submit my mission papers with plans to leave right after this semester.

   Well, this is slightly unrelated, but maybe some of my younger sisters out there in the LDS universe could use this message of hope- college dating is FANTASTIC! I've been asked out and gone on fun dates with guys from my ward, guys from classes and old friends in just the couple of semesters I've been here. I think I went on a grand total of two dates the year I turned 16, so the 5-10 guys I've gone on dates with, and multiple dates with some of them, has been quite the dramatic contrast! I love the atmosphere here. I never could have imagined in high school how much more awesome college is.

   That being said, if you had asked in high school which was worse, liking someone who didn't like you back or being liked by someone you don't like, I'd have answered the former every time. However, now I'm not so sure.

    Towards the end of winter semester, literally within the last month of it, I started going on dates with a guy a friend from my home stake introduced me too... Let's call him "Clarence." Apparently he had asked her to set us up after seeing me talking to her sometime. That's pretty flattering! So we went on an initial date and it went really well. He's nice, smart, attractive, pretty funny and a total gentleman (he always followed the plan, pick-up and pay rules). After that, he contacted me to set up more dates pretty frequently. Like, getting lunch together multiple times a week.

      Sounds great right? Here's the thing. He had his mission call and report date, and was leaving right at the end of the winter semester. We talked about missions on our very first date, so I knew that, and assumed we had the mutual understanding that given how briefly we'd be interacting, no serious ties or feelings would be developed. Dates would just be two people enjoying one another's company and getting to know each other better, nothing more. I guess it was a mistake to *assume* anything.

     Anyway, Clarence continued to ask me out on dates, and I continued to accept. Why not? I enjoyed them, I liked talking to him, I didn't see any problems with continuing to go on the dates, which were still for the most part pretty fun, creative and casual (although they weren't casual group dates- which I guess for a couple of pre-missionaries would have been smarter). It became clear somewhat quickly though that he was developing stronger feelings for me than I had for him. He started waiting for me after work and eventually asked me in an elaborate (and adorable) way to the Christmas dance his dorms were having. Then he was holding my hand... and giving me goodnight kisses... we had basically turned into a couple without my being fully aware of it. And we went to the Christmas dance, and it was great, and I didn't mind continuing to date him for a couple more weeks, I did like him though not as much as he liked me and figured there was no compelling reason to break things off in an untidy way when our relationship would sever of natural causes within a couple of weeks anyway.

   Ah. I feel dumb, and mean, and callous now though... He got really emotional when we said goodbye before we parted ways and called and e-mailed me over winter break, which I did my best to answer in as platonic a way as possible. I hoped that once he got out in the mission field he would totally forget me and get into the work and everything would be fine. He requested that I write him letters and I have been... He hasn't forgotten me. Last week he hinted that he'd be sending me a Valentine's Day package and I straight up told him not to, that he's a missionary and should be allocating his limited resources for his own purposes. In the response I got back he said he'd respect my wishes but asked if he could send chocolates as an early birthday present next week instead, before he leaves the MTC for the country he's serving in, where sending packages would be much more difficult. I don't want him to send me anything! Not that I don't love the concept of receiving chocolates in general, that sounds great, but I really don't think he should be focusing on anything but missionary work! The other troubling thing is that he has referenced a couple of times in his letters things he's planning on us doing in two years when we're both back. I do not consider myself a missionary girlfriend, and I hope he doesn't consider me that. I'm not planning on waiting, or counting on dating anyone after my mission.

   So here is the real point of this e-mail, after all that back story (which you can feel free to condense for the sake of the blog. Sorry it's so long). What is the kindest way for me to communicate to Elder Clarence that I'm not his girlfriend and get him to focus on being a missionary? I don't think a "Dear John" would do it because we were never officially dating and that seems pretty harsh. Should I casually mention dates with other guys in my letters- would that kind of subtle hinting do the trick? I know you favor being direct and forthcoming and I wish I had been more like that earlier... But what is the nicest way to get him to stop thinking about me? I didn't mean to be a distraction or something but I'm worried that I am. I should definitely *not* let him send me anything right?

Your thoughts would be much appreciated.


- Kicking Herself

Dear KH,

I think the easiest, and in this case the best, thing to do is to back your communication with this Elder WAY down.  If he did send you a Valentine, say thank you, nonchalantly as part of a letter . . . sometime in mid-March.

Like writing any other missionary, help him to focus on the work by that being all that you talk about in your letters.  When (and if) he sends letters whining about home or missing you or stuff like that, you can begin to craft your response right away if it helps, but keep your responses to mission life.

For example:

If he writes "I can't stop thinking about you" you ignore that in your letter and instead ask "what are the people like where you're serving?"

If he says "I hope you'll still be available for me to date when I get back" in your letter you write "what is your companion like, and who are you teaching right now?"

And, again, keep the letters infrequent.  Regardless of how much he writes you.  Monthly is about as often as you should write anyway, and it doesn't matter how many letters he sends.  And if you feel that less than monthly is appropriate, there's nothing wrong with that.

There's great power, future missionary, in answering the questions we hope someone had asked instead of what they say.  It applies to teaching the Gospel, too, you know.

- Bro Jo