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.)

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Will Her Non-member Boyfriend Be Serious About Chastity?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hey Bro Jo, I like this boy a bunch...

He's not a member. We started dating last summer.

When I started liking him after a few dates I tried to keep my feelings to myself so that it could remain "casual."

But it came to a point when I was invited over to his place and I chose to share my feelings.

Not verbally like normal LDS people would do, but sexually - not all the way, but definitely farther than recommended.

Immediately after that I told my Bishop what happened and the boy went back to school in another town.

I forgave him cause he didn't know any better.

I had a priesthood blessing which said I was forgiven.

And I eventually forgave myself.

I got over him assuming I'd never see him again.

He came back!

We got in touch.

The first date we held hands and the second date we held hands and kissed.

Now I have these feelings all over again.

What am I doing here?

I know it could be a horrible repeat of last year.

I think this boy I like is generally a good guy.

He's okay with me not drinking, will he be alright with me not having sex?

I'm afraid that if I bring up the law of chastity it will mean certain rejection and that scares me.

Especially if I've already broken it, will he ever take it seriously?

I know there are good LDS alternatives to date here but none have shown interest besides premies and guys with special needs.

Members I have dated since joining the church haven't treated me well and chastity-breaking has been a theme in all of those "relationships" as well.

Dang it!

Anyway, I hope you have time to answer this because I would appreciate it a lot !!

If you have any other questions please let me know.

Thank you,

- Concerned

Dear Concerned,

I'm less worried about him taking chastity seriously and more worried about you taking it seriously. 

You need to learn that no man will ever love a woman he doesn't respect, and you can't respect someone who doesn't respect themselves.

Going "farther than recommended" is not exactly having self-respect or seeing yourself as a virtuous and valuable daughter of God.

Know this: for guys sex and love are two different things, kept in two different compartments of our brains.

Yes, we kiss the woman we love, but kissing her doesn't mean that we love her; it means we like kissing her AND we happen to love her.

Two of the things you wrote that give me the most concern, and frankly are very telling, are: "I'm afraid that bringing up the law of chastity it will mean certain rejection and that scares me" and "chastity breaking has been a theme in all" of your other relationships, too.

First of all, any guy who dumps you because you want to stay morally pure, chose the path that God has recommended for you, or because you won't give in to his advances is NOT A GOOD GUY.

I don't care how attractive he is or how nice you THINK he is, the dude is a slime ball.

He has no respect for you or your beliefs, doesn't care for you nearly as much as he cares about himself, and honestly, if he's not getting what he wants from you he has no issues going and getting it from any other random girl.

To him, you're not special, you're just willing.

And it doesn't matter if he's a member of the LDS Church or not.

There are Good Guys that will respect you who are not members of the Church, and Bad Guys who only care about getting as far as they can with you who pretend to be good and worthy priesthood holders.

Secondly, the notion that losing a guy who doesn't respect you scares you is a HUGE concern.

You're a smart, talented, wonderful young woman! 

If he can't see that, that's his problem, not yours.

Just because you've been unlucky in love so far, that doesn't mean you should give up looking for the Good Guy you deserve.

And I'm going to be "extra honest" here:  if every "relationship" you've had has a "chastity breaking" component, you're probably scaring the Good Guys away.

So don't blame them for not dating you; instead accept responsibility and start dating Good Guys exclusively.

Stay away from situations where chastity breaking is a possibility.

Be more patient.

Widen your circle of friends and associates.

And STOP "going over to his place".

And, no, I don't think this guy will ever take you seriously or stop wanting to use you.

Nor do I think he "didn't know any better".

That's ridiculous.

He may bide his time for a while, but that will only be because he thinks he can eventually get you to give in.

And if you do he'll likely lose all respect for you and that will be that.

And you'll have given in for nothing.

You're worth more than that.

Stick to your standards.

You'll always be glad you did.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Will They Still Be In Love When the Missions Are Done?

Dear Bro Jo,

I normally wouldn't do anything like this but I've reached a very confusing point and a man's insight would be great.

There's a guy I know who just left on his mission.

He's a bit older than most missionaries because he's a fairly new member to the Church.

We met at school through an organization where he was an advisor type of a person to me.

My first year we went on one date and it was terribly awkward, but a crush started to form.

My second year we became practically inseparable.

We spent about 85 % of our time not in classes together.

This summer I moved back home and I began preparing for my own mission.

We received our calls pretty much at the same time and we still remained in almost constant contact through it all.

I know he's serving The Lord, and that I will be soon.

I'm not too worried about marriage, but I've got to know if there's some chance we might end up together.

I'd love for that to happen.

I've tried asking what he thinks and he's said things like "look forward to what will be" but he just won't tell me any straight answers.

So, my question is:  does it sound like there's a chance?

And how do I keep that going while remaining completely appropriate in my letters and not allowing him to distract myself, or becoming a distraction to him?

You're awesome!


- Called to Serve and a Bit Confused

Dear Called,

The answer is: you DON'T keep it going.

Focus on your mission and let him focus on his.

That's it.

Whether or not there's a chance you two could end up married is a topic that no one should worry about until you come home.

- Bro Jo

Monday, December 15, 2014

Three Quick Questions

Dear Bro Jo,

I really need help with a few things (actually 3 things) but I don't want to ask my mum.

First before I start, I think I should tell you I'm a fifteen year old girl who lives in Australia (I thought I should say that to explain the different spelling) and I'm LDS.

Ok, here's what I need help with:

Firstly, I like a non-member boy who is the same age as me and he's been in the same form class as me for the past 2 years and is again.
He seems to like me but I don't really know (I know that I shouldn't date until I'm sixteen and I don't really want to date right now).
He seems really sweet and nice but he's a non-member and he has very foul language. I would like to get to know him (yes Know that you say boys and girls can't just be friends) before I turn sixteen, just in case I do want to date. I really care about him but I don't know if he would.
 How can I get to know him?
(By the way there isn't a Tri-Stake dance until April, so I can't get him to go to a Church dance with me)

Secondly, a new school year started recently and there is a new boy who's in my class.
He knows some people at my school and one of those people just happens to be my best friend (a non-member), that wouldn't be a problem if they both like each other and my best friend asked him out (he was going to ask her out but he got really nervous and didn't but my best friend doesn't know that).
I'm afraid that my best friend will be upset if they stop going out which I think might in a few weeks and they've only been going out two days.
She's thirteen and he's fourteen which is a bit too young to be dating as boyfriend and girlfriend.
The thing is how can I tell my best friend that they're too young?

The Last thing hasn't got to with love or dating.
I feel left out in Sunday School and Young Women’s because I'm the only (and I'm not trying be to racist) white girl in my Ward.
Can you tell me how I can try to fit in? 

- From a Little Aussie Sister

Dear LAS,

(That's "Little Aussie Sister", get it?)

Okay . . .

First, I don't say that guys and girls shouldn't be friends, I say that guys can't STAY "just close friends" with a girl and that guys don't become close friends with girls they don't find attractive.
Getting to know a guy better before you date him can be a really good idea, especially as a teen. You'll get to know him better by being nice and asking him sincere questions about himself, just like you would if you were dancing (there's a suggested list of questions in "Bro Jo's Guide to Casual Group Dating" ).
As for the foul language, there's nothing wrong with asking him to tone it down when he's speaking to you. Just be sincere, sweet (maybe even bat your eyes a little) and don't do it in front of his friends.

Secondly, you can't lecture your friend unless she asks your opinion.
Friends almost always chose romantic possibilities over their friends, if you lecture her she may see it as an attack, pick him over you, and then you'll not be able to help at all.
What you can do is, in subtle but not condescending ways, casually mention how and why you're choosing to wait until you're older.

Third, you're going to have to become color blind.
We're all God's children.
Even you.
And learn from these feelings.
Your experience is opening your eyes to what it must be like for others.
Make friends by being a good friend. 
Understand that there may be cultural differences that you can't necessarily relate to or overcome, but do your best to be understanding.
We all need the Gospel, and we all need each other.
Try selecting one or two particularly nice young women in your ward and get to know them better.
Kindness knows no color.

Usually the first part of the bridge needs to be built by those that want to cross it.


- Bro Jo