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, May 27, 2016

What If She's Pregnant?

Dear Bro Jo,

This is the most personal thing I could possible share!

It's so bad I can't sleep or eat or even relax! It's the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with, however it is all my own doing!

Basically, I did the deed this week.

I put it lightly because any other way it will make me want to cry!

Basically, I put myself in a situation I shouldn't of and I didn't make the right decisions!

However, to complicate things even more the guy didn't use protection and I didn't take the morning after pill!!

What do I do?

I've read so much on the Internet on Mormon hand books and things and I know marriage is not an option and I don't even know if I am pregnant and won't be able to for a few weeks!

All I see is about giving the baby up for adoption?!

This scares me so much!!

I'm so disappointed with myself, how I could be so stupid and careless!

I've only just started my university course 200 miles from home and I do something so unforgivable :(! What do I do?!

I can't stop thinking about it, I'm so confused!

What do I do?!

How am I supposed to feel?!

My mum said she is there for me, whatever!

A child with no proper family set up, me leaving university!

I have sooo many things going through my head!

I've never felt like this ever before! Please help!!!

So sorry to email such a personal thing, I just feel I need the opinion of somebody totally out of the situation who doesn't know me and won't protect my feels!

Only my mum and a friend know my predicament!!!

I just don't think I'm ready to be the single 19 year old parent Mormon!!!!!

I hope you get what I'm trying to say!

Thanks so much,

- Name Withheld

Dear NW,

First of all, the sin you're suffering from is not "unforgivable".

You can't go back and "undo" what's been done, but you can move forward.

The first thing you need to do, I think, is recognize what lead you to this situation and how it has made you feel so that you can avoid this in the future.  Learn from this so that you don't make the same mistake again.

Then I think you need to go meet with your Bishop so you can know how to properly mend things with Heavenly Father.

While this may seem like a scary or daunting thing, I promise you that having this conversation will go a long way towards helping you feel better.

Lastly, should you actually happen to be pregnant (which may or may not be - no need worrying about it too much until you know) then I implore you to talk to LDS Family Services (your Bishop can direct you should that be needed) and discuss adoption.

Where marriage is not a good choice, I believe that adoption is the only other good choice (and that includes the "morning after” pill).

You're a good person.

Heavenly Father still loves you.

Good people make mistakes.

All of us.

Some mistakes are bigger and harder to overcome than others, but the atonement is for all of us, Sister.

May you again soon know the joy that comes from having all things right with the Lord.

I'm here to help anyway I can.

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 23, 2016

Should He Pursue the RM Sister He Met While Serving?

Dear Bro Jo,

I am a recently returned missionary (most challenging but most rewarding two years of my life). I met this sister missionary on the mission and I had a huge crush on her.

We were two great missionaries, not to put myself up or anything like that, and our missions intertwined a lot because of it.

We trained new missionaries numerous times at the same time, so we saw each other a lot as a result of that. She was a Sister Training Leader at the same time I was a Zone Leader, so we saw each other often because of that.

We served in the same zone at one point.

We served in the same areas (me in Spanish; she in English, but in the same area).

We even taught some of the same investigators.

We talked a lot about a lot of the unusually difficult experiences that I had in my mission (my parents’ divorce and family members passing away).

She became a really good friend of mine.

About 8 months into the mission, I realized I had a crush on her. And I did everything I could to hide it.

I didn't tell anyone about it except for one of my good mission buddies who I really trusted.

I would avoid flirting with her.

Sometimes it would just come out, but then I'd really back off.

I did my best to not do or say anything that would get me in trouble . . . but I thought about her constantly, and I turned it into a motivation for me to work hard rather than a distraction.

Now I know that these mission crushes happen often (at least in my mission) but I know that the grand majority of them don't work out, and I at first thought that as soon as I went back to college, I'd find some other girl that I really liked and date her.

Well, I'm back at college . . .  surrounded by plenty of great women, but none of them strike me like this sister missionary did.

I haven't had an attraction to any of them like I did with her.

The biggest problem is, she is going to school 3 hours away, and I have no car (she does) and no money.

We've texted a bit, haven't talked on the phone at all since we've been home because of our schedules.

I've hinted to the fact that I like her, giving her a little comment about a pretty picture of her or telling her that we should go on a date.

She's coming here to a mission reunion in two weeks and she agreed to go on a date with me!

I'm just wondering what I should do beyond this . . .

Do I tell her I've liked her?

What should I say to her, if anything at all?

Basically, how can I make this work out, if possible?

Thanks so much.


- Name Withheld

Dear NW,

1. Start by getting a job.

One need not be wealthy to court a girl, but creativity only goes so far.

If you have a job and aren't making enough money to meet your needs (and dating is a need, brother), then work more or get a second job.

Or a third.

2. Next, figure out how to get around the 3-hour away thing.

- check out public transportation
- buy a cheap car that serves no other function than going to see her
- find out how to ride share
- look into one of those "share-a-car" services
- become a very fit cyclist
- find a guy willing to drive you up there (perhaps with the promise of going on blind dates with her friends)

. . . something.

You're going to have to Be Creative.

3.  Third, relax.

If you put too much pressure on you or her or this first date you may blow it before anything has a chance to start.

You know her, but now you're getting to know the non-mission her.

Take things slow.

No kissing until the third date.

4.  Fourth, be the one to initiate contact and make plans.

Don't come across as needy and desperate; find a way to be confident AND humble. 

She'll like that.

5.  Fifth, if things go well on this first date, make sure you conclude by telling her what a great time you had.

If she seems to agree, then WAIT - about three or four days (not more than that) - and ask her out again. (Actually, it doesn't hurt to go into this date with a plan for the next one. If the Spirit prompts, you can ask her to the next planned event at the end of this one.)

6. Sixth, treat her WELL.

You show her in what you say and by what you do that you think she deserves to be treated like a queen.

No, that doesn't mean that you fawn all over her, over compliment, or speak like Wesley from Princess Bride; it means that you open doors, stand when she stands, hold her chair, offer your arm. 

Be the perfect gentleman and escort.

There are no problems, only our willingness or lack thereof to solve them.

See the Net, not the Goalie.

Good luck!

And have fun!

Let me know how it goes.

- Bro Jo

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Reader Wants to Know: Is She Caring or Confused?

Dear Bro Jo,

I was dating a guy for 3 months earlier this year. We broke up about 6 months ago.

The basis of our relationship was friendship...

I'm a slow mover and he was my first boyfriend (it was a month before I was sure enough to officially date/kiss him).

The more I spent time with him, the more I found about him that I liked: we felt the same way about working hard in school, loved cooking together, liked the same quirky movies, and he got a long amazingly with my family.

Our first date as a couple, he told me that he was bisexual. I was totally surprised, but also impressed and grateful that he would be so honest with me.

I knew it would be difficult, but I had confidence that we could continue dating as long as we were both honest and open, and felt that it was right.

As we continued to date, I realized how very UN-attracted to me he was. Since it was my first relationship, I felt frustrated and humiliated when he pulled away from my physical signs of affection (hand holding, cuddling, kissing).

While I never wanted to take it too far, I also hated the single, hesitant peck at the doorstep after our dates.

As the weeks passed, I realized that there were other reasons we couldn't continue dating: avoiding clarifying conversations we needed to have, ignoring invitations to do things together, standing me up for dates. I waited for a week or so for things to change and attempted to be understanding, but then realized (with counsel from my parents and roommates) that a breakup was necessary.

I initiated it, but it was mutual and we parted as friends.

I was miserable for MONTHS, but am finally feeling ready to date other people again.

The incredible thing is that we've managed to stay friends.

We have a big group of mutual friends, stayed in the same ward, and spend time together (in groups) nearly every week comfortably.

But I have a problem. I'm a very caring person.

Once I decide to let my guard down with someone, I love them with my whole heart, and empathize with their experiences.

So while I was never IN love with this guy, I loved him a lot.

He is still struggling with many issues (more than I ever realized when we were dating), and he's at a difficult stage in his life.

I know that he needs friends, support, and most of all love from people he trusts.

Is there a way I can continue to support him and show how much I care for him (in a non-romantic way) without causing confusion?

I don't want to undo emotional progress I've made, or make things awkward/difficult for him as an ex-girlfriend.

However, he is still a big part of my life, a good friend, and someone I care for very much.

Sorry that was so long, but I'd be grateful for any advice you have to offer on the situation!

- Caring and Confused.

Dear Caring,

Let's be clear: "Bi-sexual" means that this man wants to have (and, if he's using the term correctly, HAS HAD) sex with both men and women. 

"Hetero-sexual" is how we're all born and designed, "Bi-sexual" and "Homosexual" are terms that define what some choose to do with the parts they're born with.

So I think Both Of You are confused.

But it's your email, not his, so let's talk about you.

There's nothing wrong with being caring, but it's also important to not let those you're trying to rescue drown you in the process.

That same principle that applies to basic lifesaving also applies to soul saving.

Listen:  Be a Good Friend and Disciple of Christ, but don't allow his recklessness and neediness drag you under.

Invite him to attend Church, but don't sacrifice your own quest for a good relationship to be bogged down in this bad one.  Even if you're "just friends".  (By the way, who the heck tells someone what their sexuality is on a first date???  That, my friend, is a Huge Red Flag.)

Encourage him to repent, but don't stay up all night texting and talking as he uses you as his confessor. Be loving, but realize that the love of your life needs to be someone else.

- Bro Jo

Dear Readers,

As most of you know, most emails I get don't post here, and those that do are often several years old.

Recently parts of what are discussed in this post have become quite the topic in the media and social media.  

(It seems like all day, every day, the last verse of "Follow the Prophet" keeps playing in my head.)

There's a lot of twisted meanings out there, and one thing is for sure:  more and more people seem to have confused words like "sex", "marriage", "love" and "gender"...

I do not believe that we necessarily control whom we're attracted to . . . (though I do think that culture and environment have a bigger impact on that than many people admit or realize) . . . 

HOWEVER, I know for a fact that we have Agency and Control what we do with our bodies and whom we do things with.  I also know who it is that doesn't like agency and who didn't want us to have it.

Just wanted to share those thoughts with you at this time.

God bless,

- Bro Jo