Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (with occasional additional posts, too).

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, Bro Jo is not a spokesman or authority for the LDS Church. (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.

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Friday, July 3, 2015

When a Family Member has a Chastity Problem

Dear Bro Jo,

I have a cousin who decided it would be okay to break the law of chastity.

She has done it once before, and repented of it, but I guess she didn't feel bad enough not to do it again with a different guy.

First, you should know her situation.

She lives in a wonderful LDS family in (location withheld) where many of her friends do not share her standards.

Her older brother has decided that the Church isn't for him and that he doesn't need it, and I think this is a big part of her problem.

She has one LDS friend, and this young girl worships the ground my cousin walks on and feels like she couldn't do anything wrong.

The only people who really hold her to her standards are her parents, but as hard as they try their influence cannot be everywhere.

She told me she loves this boy, and because she loves him it was okay to commit the sin she did, but I know that's not right.

Her parents, when they figured out, brought her out here to Utah to stay away from the boy and to be near family.

She has no way of communicating with this boy and feels like her parents are overreacting.

She doesn't feel a need to repent because she doesn't feel like what she did was a mistake.

How can I make her see that there are better things out there for her if she waits?

Now she might end up doing her senior year of high school here with me, which I would be glad to surround her with positive and uplifting people.

What scares me the most is that I think she's leaving God behind, and I don't want her to make that mistake.

How can I help her see that true happiness comes from the gospel and living in a way that makes our Heavenly Father proud?

I want her to meet other nice guys that share her standards, but I think she's so stuck on being "in love" with this one boy that she won't want to meet anyone else. Or even worse end up with a guy who isn't looking out for her.

I've never been in a situation like this before, and really I'm just looking for someway to help my cousin and keep her close to the things that truly matter.

If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them!

Thanks Much,

- Hoping to Help




Dear Hoping,

I feel sad for your cousin.

She's totally wrong, and being . . . well, stupid . . . but there's nothing you, I, or anyone else can "make her" do.

And even if we did, it wouldn't take. 

She's going to have to discover the things you know for herself.

On her own.

And until then all we can do is love her, help her to feel welcome and give her opportunities to learn the Gospel, grow her testimony, and be around good people.

So, without insulting her or getting frustrated or putting down her boyfriend, simply invite her (with no pressure) to do the things you're doing: Mutual, Group Activities, Game Nights, Movie Parties . . . all of that.

At some point she'll feel the weight of her sin, and that little sister, is when she'll need to be loved and understood the most.

Be Kind.

She'll follow.

And don't get frustrated if she turns down your invitations, especially at first.

Be Patient.

- Bro Jo

Monday, June 29, 2015

Scared and Alone - Part 5 of 15: Making the Call

Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks for making me cry!

I guess you are right though, and I should probably listen.

There have been a few times that I've felt those things, but I guess it didn't register in my mind what it really was.

I'm not the most spiritual person and I don't have the strongest testimony.

Talking to them would probably help me clear my mind and be able to listen to the Spirit more, but again it comes back to me being too scared to do anything.

I grew up not telling people how I feel and keeping everything to myself, even things like this.

It's something I just can't bring myself to do.

Thanks!

 - Scared




Dear Scared

You can do it!

Of all the things in life there are to fear, talking to people who love us and have our best interests at heart should never be one of them. 

Look . . . you're talking to me . . . and you don't even know me!

Allow yourself to be whole and happy!

Allow yourself to feel unburdened.

Allow yourself to know that you are loved.

Make the call.

I promise that you'll be glad you did.

Go ahead.

I'll wait right here.

- Bro Jo

Friday, June 26, 2015

Dating Again After a Bad Marriage

Dear Bro Jo,

I had a friend tell me about your blog and if I had a problem I could send you an email.

Well I’m kind of in a weird situation and need advice so here goes.

I feel as if my dating life is an oxymoron I haven’t had a lot of dating experiences yet I have been married and divorced.

He was a friend of a friend and come out of nowhere (I had been on dates before but not very many and never with the same person more then once).

I was 19 at the time and we dated exclusively (the only reason that we were exclusive is because there was really no one else asking me and I honestly didn’t know what I was doing because the whole dating thing was completely new to me) for eight or nine months and I guess he took it more seriously then I did and it wasn’t long before the subject of marriage came up.

I was never the kind of person to get married just to get married, but had grown up in a home where marriage is considered the right thing to do and a commandment nonetheless as do most of us. I considered the marriage discussion and what he thought and agreed to marry him because it was the ‘right thing to do’.

We were married I was 20 he was 23. (I forgot to mention I came from a very sheltered family and sex was rarely discussed. I knew the basic mechanics of it but not much and I didn’t know I was supposed to discuss that with my husband.)

He became frustrated that I didn’t know anything about sex and he started yelling at me on our honeymoon and asking me to tell him what my expectations were regarding sex.

I began to have panic attacks whenever he tried to become sexual with me this lasted for almost two years.

He also became - I’m not sure what to call it -he was upset over most everything I did wrong, would become frustrated when I couldn’t figure things out on my own and would ask for his help, would yell at me when I would forget to tell him important things, etc.

We did go to counseling, but he didn’t agree with what the counselor advised and wasn’t willing to do what was advised.

He said too much time had passed and that I was the one giving him the ultimatum if he agreed to see the counselor.

He begin drinking and left the Church and told me that he didn’t love me anymore and for me to leave his house, but he wouldn’t file divorce and wouldn’t let me file either.

Finally after talking with the counselor I went ahead any filed anyway and miraculously he signed.

It’s been a couple years and now I don’t know where to begin knowing that I’m old and the experience that I’ve had doesn’t give a positive light.

I know I shouldn’t judge everything based off of one experience, but this is the only thing I really have had to compare to.

I know marriage shouldn’t be about sex but I know it is somewhat expected especially if you want to have a family, but knowing that I can’t eventually give people what they need (I don’t think I’ll be able to give sex to my future spouse because of my panic attacks and also my only experience with it has been horrible) and how do I explain that to somebody?

I have a hard time dating also because it eventually leads to marriage.

I feel as if starting over from square one at age 25 I feel as if I’m behind and don’t know to catch up.

I’m OK with the idea of dating again it’s not that I’m not ready.

I feel ready its just that I don’t know how to discuss this situation with someone, especially to explain why I am so skittish.

I need to know what I can do to put myself out there again and maybe where and how to start.

Sorry this has been so long but hopefully you'll be able to come up with something

Thanks,

- Need Help




Dear Help,

An "oxymoron" being a phrase that contradicts itself, "dating life" sure doesn't qualify as one, even if your current dating life could be called "DOA".

At any age, you increase your dating opportunities by:

1. Getting to know more people

2. Making it known that you're available for dating

3. Doing your best to be positive and happy


You may also want to check out:

Bro Jo’s TEN WAYS a GIRL CAN GET a GUY to CALL

Bro Jo's "HOW a GIRL CAN GET a GUY to ASK HER on a DATE"


That said, you have every right to feel worried. 

You've been through some pretty difficult things . . .

But I certainly don't think your hopes for marriage and happiness are over.

No, not even at the "old" age of 25!

I recommend that, if you're ready to date, you just focus on having fun; there's no need to talk about your sexual worries until you're serious enough about someone that marriage and sex (in that order, of course) is a possibility.

I believe that there's a man out there that will love you and be understanding and tender and patient. 

Heck, I'll bet there's more than one!

But for now, worry not.

Allow yourself to be wooed, allow yourself to have fun.

Trust me: not every man is an abusive jerk.

And if you need to take a step back, to take a break from dating for a while, that's fine, too!

Sometimes the best thing we can do is not rush; rather than push to date, let dates happen.

May you find the joy the Lord has planned for you,

- Bro Jo