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.

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 dearbrojo@gmail.com.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Excommunication's Value Questioned

[Readers - Recently, while trolling the internet, I ran across an article in Mormon Matters from July 19, 2009. In it author Aaron R. questions the practice of excommunication and its effectiveness. I was initially a bit surprised with his lack of understanding of some basic gospel principles, and disappointed in the tone he took. But then it occurred to me, that he's probably just a decent guy with some legitimate questions and honestly lacking in knowledge. So I posted a comment. (No surprise, right?) My response to his questions are posted here below. I have added some additional thoughts that have occurred to me since originally posting the comment. - Bro Jo]



Dear Author,


Let me see if I can help . . .

Having been a part of Church disciplinary councils, and given my other experience, here's my take.

1. Should the LDS Church retain the power to excommunicate and if so why, and if not why?

Absolutely. For two reasons: to disassociate itself from those that are harmful to others or to the Church in general; and to help those that are harming themselves spiritually make things right with God.  Further, there's a fundamental principle of freedom here:  if we restrict any organization from setting its own membership criteria, then we as a state have interfered with its right to exist as it deems appropriate.  In America, not only would this violate a very basic tenant of the constitution, but its common practice within most all private organizations and companies.

As an employer I have the right to remove from my organization any employee who does not meet our hygiene standards, and as such their uncleanliness (and foul odor) reflects poorly upon my company.  We would give that valued employee the opportunity to get clean, but if they refuse its better for them and us if they're no longer associated with my firm.

Surely you can see how that analogy applies to the Church.


2. Upon what criteria should Disciplinary Councils judge the appropriate response to a particular ‘sin’?

The criteria is very clear, is based upon priesthood keys and authority, and is outlined in the Church Handbook of Instructions given to appropriate Church leadership. Authority and Keys pertaining to these things are discussed in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Ultimately the goal in any and every disciplinary council is repentance and full fellowship with Christ, regardless of the outcome or decision of the council.

Things that councils are instructed to consider include: confession, honesty, true repentance, age and accountability of the individual, damage done to oneself and others, covenants made, harm done or potentially done to the Church and her membership, and the individual's desire to make things right with God (to name a few).


3. Is Excommunication necessary for the repentance process?

Some times its required. Sometimes not.

When the Lord does require, it's taken very seriously.  This action is never seen as the end, but a necessary step in the beginning of an individual's return to full fellowship with Christ.


4. What could be improved in the process or outcomes of Disciplinary Councils?

The process and it's outcomes, as I have personally witnessed it, works pretty well.

As you mentioned, a Disciplinary Council can be a very sweet spiritual experience . . . or quite sad. That depends more on the attitude of the individual being counseled than anything else. Those present who are part of the council consistently are filled with genuine love and concern for the person called before them. Every time.What could be "improved", if you will, is for each of us to gain a stronger testimony of Christ and the Power of the Atonement in each of our lives. That, and perhaps us being less rebellious against the commandments of God in the first place . . .

Of course, if we were great at that as a whole we wouldn't need Disciplinary Councils . . .

My admonishment to anyone who in reading this has been hesitant to meet with their Bishop because they "fear the punishment" is to make the call and set the appointment right away. Fear is one of Satan's most powerful tools, and as the Scripture Mastery teaches, the longer we procrastinate the day of our repentance, the harder it will be to repent. Fear not the judgment of man, but the judgment of God. We must all do all that we can, everyday, to be better than we were the day before. Repentance is something we all must do, and do regularly. And there are few feelings as wonderful as that which comes from the Love of Christ and setting things right.



If you're not sure if you should talk to your Bishop, or Stake President, error on the safe side. Make the call. Right away. You'll be glad that you did. Repentance may not always be easy, but it's always worth it.

Even though you may be fearful, or lonely, or frustrated, or bitter, everyone is worthy of and entitled to the Love of God.

Endure 'til the end!

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Age Differences: 16 and 21 and . . .

Dear Bro Jo,

So, here's the story:

There was once this girl who made the mistake of having a boyfriend at the age fifteen who wasn't a Mormon. To make the story short the guy broke her heart and she was unable to trust any guy for a long time. Then, a missionary was transferred to her home area.

Again, to make the story shorter, although he was four years her senior, she came to like him ... a lot. He seemed to understand her, and because she was not very active at the time he made '' subtle '' attempts to show her the fact that she really needed the church to help make the pain go away.

He really changed her life around and because of this she Liked him even more. At times it even seemed that he liked her back. But she knew that he would never pay attention to it because he was on his mission and besides she wasn't even certain he did like her anyway, but still, she respected it completely. This all happened in the time of about a year and a half. He was transferred out of her area after six months service there.

As I know you've already guessed I am talking about myself. I am now sixteen. The point to this message is: I knew that it was completely futile thinking that he might still possibly like me if he ever did after not seeing me for so long. I am also putting into consideration, the age difference as a huge factor to my doubts and I had until recently convinced myself that I didn't like him anymore and that I had moved on. His mission is now coming to a close and to my surprise (and horror) he came and visited all the youth from my area at seminary when he was passing through going to his next and last mission area. Seeing him again in person has made me all confused about my feelings, but I know I can't really do anything about it anyway.

So really, all I'm asking is your opinion on this situation ... If you have one that is.

Thank you for your time and advise sincerely,

- Wondering


Dear Wondering,

Me? Have an opinion?

Possibly . . .

Let it go. He's a great guy, gave some good and needed spiritual advice, but nothing good could happen between you any time soon.

A 21 year old man should never date a 16 year old girl, a 22 year old should not date a 17 year old, and even 23 and 18 is pushing the boundaries of appropriate behavior.

That leaves you with 19 and 24, which isn't bad, but that's three years away. Three years when you're supposed to be going on Casual Group Dates (don't know how? Check out "Bro Jo's Guide to Casual Group Dating") and he's supposed to be finding a wife.

It's phenomenally unlikely that anything will ever happen. You have a crush an a nice guy, and that's where it stops. Write it in your journal and enjoy the memory.

Every crush does not have to turn into something. Sometimes it's nice just to sit back and admire someone. And at your age, that's the best way to go.

- Bro Jo



Bro Jo,

Thank you so much for your advice !

I am almost one hundred percent certain that I knew all of it already, I mean my friends all say the same things. I guess I really just needed to hear it from someone else that wasn't there to see the whole thing unfold. because there were those who said he liked me back and those who said he didn't. And they all knew him so I guess I needed some outside advise.

Just another quick question, what in your opinion is an appropriate age difference? I mean I know people personally that have a 10 year age difference between them and are happily married (they are also Mormons, just for the record). So, what is the appropriate age difference? I suppose to clarify the question a bit ... what is an appropriate age difference for a sixteen year old while dating? Oh, and also do guys always make fun of you when they like or are attracted to you? And do they ever grow out of it ?

Thanks for responding so quickly

-Satisfied



Dear Satisfied,

Age difference appropriateness changes with . . . well . . . age. And the things that are going on in life.

For example: a 16-year old could date an 18-year old if they’re both still in school, or a 17-year old could go out with a 19-year old if they're both out of high school; but, IMHO, a 16-year old shouldn't date a 19-year old.

Now that's only three years, but that changes once graduation happens.

I don't personally see a problem with an 18-year old college girl dating a 21 or 22-year old return missionary; I'd say that 24 is a stretch though.

That said, I don't think it's bad for a 19-year old girl to go out with a guy that's 26 or 27.

Can a 21-year old return missionary guy date a 27-year old woman? Sure.

How about 25 and 35? Or 35 and 50? Or 65 and 85? I don't think any of those raise red flags.

But all of this is ultimately conjecture, and depends on lots of variables: maturity, life experience, expectations . . . so many things need to be considered. In High School I knew a guy that as an 17-year old senior dated a 14-year old freshman and a 20-year old woman (not at the same time, I think). In both cases the age difference was too much.

Some guys are mature enough that they can like you and not make fun of you; most guys who make fun of you out loud your age have a crush on you. The rare few are just mean. I don't know that any of us ever entirely outgrow it (I still tease Sister Jo from time to time, and she me), but it does hopefully back way down and never takes a personal or hurtful tone. Even at 16, teasing can be mean and abusive, whether it's meant to be or not.

- Bro Jo

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sometimes When Things Don't Work Out . . . They Do

[Readers - The following correspondence is a followup to a column I posted called "A Poem for an RM". You can read it HERE. - Bro Jo]


Dear Bro Jo,

Hey there.

So I have another question for you, how long was it before you really came to fall in love with your wife? Were there initial sparks from date one, or did they develop gradually? Reason I ask is because there's girls that I'm really attracted to because of their outward appearance, but there's another girl I know that I'm not particularly attracted to, but really enjoy being around. I want to keep on dating her to see if anything develops, but part of me thinks that I'm just wanting something unrealistic to happen. I've learned that you can't really make yourself fall in love with someone, no matter how hard you try.

Thanks!

- RM

Dear RM,

Love and attraction are two different things, but eventually you realize that they don't have to be disparate.

Keep dating, you'll figure it out.

- Bro Jo



. . . eleven days later . . .



Dear Bro Jo,

Hi again.

Just wanted to say thanks again for your advice. Even though I actually haven't been able to go out with that girl I originally intended, it led me to a girl that I believe will be much better. Funny how life works. Some events we can predict, but what sends those events into motion sometimes are completely unpredictable. :)

- RM


Dear RM,

Amen.

- Bro Jo

Friday, July 22, 2011

Battling Pornography and Masturbation

[Readers – Occasionally I share with you a letter that covers a very serious subject. I do so because I think the bravery of the writer and their desire to set things right with God is inspirational.

This issue affects many, regardless of gender, culture, or circumstance. If you find yourself in the same situation, I urge you to follow the same counsel and seek the Savior's redeeming love. Talk to your Bishop right away. None of us is perfect, but through Him we can become perfect. Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance!

If at any point the Spirit directs you that this material is something you don’t need in your life at this time, close the blog and return in a two weeks when it’s no longer part of the main page.

Know that I love you all, and Testify of the Power of the Atonement. - Bro Jo
]



Dear Bro Jo,

I am a sixteen year old girl. I've been self-stimulating off and on for three years, just about. I feel horrible every time I do it, and it makes me want to cry I know I choose to do it even though I don't really want to and my logic tells me that doing that is stupid and WRONG. I have confessed to the Bishop about it, but I always feel so uncomfortable telling him! I mean, it’s really disgusting! I think I'm addicted.

The first time I went out for my temple recommend he wouldn't give it to me because I had broken the Law of Chastity, which I understood and at that moment chose never to do anything like that again.

But I have.

A lot.

I'm really starting to hate myself, and I most of all DO NOT want to tell my folks because when I had a...er...dry spell?...for about a year I told them it had stopped. But now the temptation is almost always too hard for me to resist. And I don't want to disappoint them and I want to repent on my own without relying on my parent's testimony.

It’s not just the self-pleasuring either.

I had a boyfriend last year (bad decision, I know) and I let him kiss me and touch me and be alone with me, sometimes for hours. It got really really bad, because even though he told me he was going to be chaste until marriage, he was a nonmember so he said the other stuff was ok in his faith, and it got to the point that I began feeling uncomfortable and became distant. We are broken up now, and I stopped for a while but now...

I've also been watching pornography.

It starts out with "I can watch this without doing that, can't I?" But it turns out I can't. And I know this, and I still do it.

I take the sacrament every week, and should be seeing the Bishop every other week, but our boundaries were changed so everything is all messed up. I go to seminary every morning and Church almost every week, and I love the Church. I love being LDS, and I know it’s true and all, but I just can't get over this Temptation.

I've read your blog, and my situation is almost like "Lost in Idaho's" [Readers:  part 1 HERE, part 2 HERE, part 3 HERE] but I have the urge to ask you myself. Not just because I want some sort of guidance from someone I know has helped so many people. I just feel so alone, and lost, and afraid that what I'm doing will shut me out of heave (because it’s the third worst sin, the first is Denying the Holy Spirit and the second is murder).

I'm abusing myself and I honestly don't know why. It started off as experimental curiosity, but now it’s not. I really want to stop, badly.

I've read some Church stuff on the subject but it almost exclusively applies to guys, and although I've followed their advice it slips through. I've prayed and prayed and sometimes it works so I don't for a month or two, but then I fall again.

Should I go to my Bishop and my Parents?

Get a blessing?

Help me please?

-Distressed and Confused.



Dear Distressed,

Satan works on each of us in so many ways that we can forget that the most important thing is to repent of our sins and make things with Heavenly Father. We do that through Jesus Christ and His redeeming love.

You have a couple things to overcome (I'll explain why they're bad in a moment), and I think you can see how your inability to do that has put you in a downward spiral with possible huge mistakes along the way (like . . . the touchy moments with the previous boyfriend).

You have an addiction.

Two actually, and like any addictions, they're: A) things you will likely battle all of your life, and B) nearly impossible to overcome without outside help.

But don't despair! Not only can you overcome them, the Spiritual rewards of self mastery and addiction recovery are great and wonderful!

First of all, let me correct the record: masturbation is NOT one of the "three deadliest sins". What the scriptures mention is actually "adultery" (having sex with someone when at least one of you is married to someone else; which is not to be confused with "fornication", which is sex between two people who are not married to each other nor anyone else.). The reason adultery is so grievous is because it involves breaking vows that have been made before God, and the consequences of breaking those vows affects more than just the sinner, but also their families.


[Now, if you'll allow me a side tangent: Bro Jo doesn't like the "ranking" of sinful behavior; you know, saying one sin is better or worse than another. We all sin, it's all bad, and we all need to repent.

As long as you're not killing innocent people (like a terrorist or serial killer, not like a soldier on orders) or going around preaching against Christ despite your personal testimony of the truth (we can argue that Saul/Paul and Alma the Younger didn't actually have a testimony until their personal witness), then you have a shot at redemption, regardless of what you've done. (Not that it matters, but in case people want to know, your fore-knowledge plays a factor as well.)

All of you know it's wrong to steal, so you're "more" accountable before God, if you will, than the 10-year old street orphan who steals to eat. I hope that makes sense. Think of "with greater light comes greater responsibility"
.]


Pornography and self-stimulation are addictive because they cause the brain to release chemicals that . . . frankly, make our bodies . . . "feel good".  The Lord has designed our bodies to do this so that when two married people have sex (which I think the world needs to re-label as "make babies") they'll say "hey, this is a great and wonderful way to express our love for each other and create bodies for the other spirits that need them; let's do it again!"  Within a marriage, those feelings and actions can be good and wonderful; there's something very special and very important when eternal love is added to the mix.

The reasons pornography and masturbation are bad are:

1) They give us false ideas of how things are supposed to be between two people, often creating unrealistic sexual expectations and a fantasy world where we ponder fornication and adultery

2) They demonstrate a lack of control over the "natural man"; they're the sexual equivalent of eating nothing but sweets, damaging our spirit the way that unhealthy eating ruins our bodies

3) Their addictive nature, just like any typical "drug", lead us to seek more dangerous images, fantasies and actions (and frequency) to get the same "high" as before; as you've discovered, porn is a gateway drug; it starts small, but leads to other things, and eventually the "softer porn" isn't enough, and just like marijuana leads to coke or meth or whatever, staring at pictures of naked people (or reading about sex in books) can lead to watching videos on the internet or seeking out more hardcore pornographic materials, which can lead to us trying to act out those images with others (as you know)

4) Even though we justify our sinful behavior - which you've done, and which, I need to add, is EXTREMELY easy with pornography and masturbation since: a) with the internet it's readily accessible in the "privacy" of your own home, and b) the world at large sees both as socially acceptable - we feel ourselves pulling away from the Spirit (you've noticed that too, and are smart enough to have noticed how awful that feels)


So the bottom line, Little Sister, is that you need help. You need help with your addiction and mending things with Heavenly Father.

You're not a bad person!

You're a kid who got mixed up in some dangerous stuff when you were very young. Yes, you shouldn't have done it, but it happened. We should never sin with the idea that we can "always repent later". The scriptures aren't wrong when they warn us against procrastinating our repentance. You've tried to quit on your own, and it hasn't worked (rarely does, by the way). So call and make the appointment with your Bishop.

Do it now.

Please.

You can come back and read the rest of this letter when you've made the call.

I'll wait.

Go ahead.

Did you call? If not, go back to "do it now".

I'm serious.

Go on.

If you did, then read on.

(You're not cheating are you?)

Okay.

I'm not gonna lie: it may not be easy for you to have the conversation. But it will be SOOOOO worth it. I promise.

It will help your Bishop to help you if you're completely open and honest. You don't have to give the graphic details, but be forthcoming about how and why and how often and the last time and anything that triggers the behavior. Discovering the triggers, the things that lead to the behavior (loneliness, up late at night, using the computer in a private place, hunger, depression, access, all kinds of things) will help you recognize when danger is near.

In the same way that you know pornography leads to self-stimulation (and let's be honest, deep down you know that, and the addiction has you turning to porn because you "want" to self-stimulate and you know that the porn leads to that), there are other triggers that lead to the porn. Cut the triggers out of your life, and the other is much easier to control.

And don't worry about being embarrassed or embarrassing the old guy in the room. The Spirit of the Lord will be there to help you both. And yes, it might be a good idea to put your parents in the loop. When overcoming addiction we need a strong support network, and no one has stronger interest in your Spiritual salvation than your parents. In AA it's called "having a sponsor", and you'll likely need the equivalent. Talk to your Bishop about that, too.

I'm a big fan of blessings. Bring it up with your Bishop. A blessing from he and/or your dad could help a great deal.

So call and make the appointment with the Bishop. (Of course, if you haven't already.) Meet with him today if you can.

I'll be here if you need me along the way. I promise.

Whatever it takes to get to the point where you know all is right Spiritually and you're once again able to feel good and worthy partaking of the Sacrament and going to the Temple . . . well, little sister, those are the best feelings in the world!

Keep praying. Keep going to Church and Seminary. Whenever you're tempted to look at porn or do stuff you ought not do, say a prayer and pick up your scriptures. If it helps (and for many it does) realize that Heavenly Father can see everything you're doing, and imagine him watching you when you're tempted to sin. 

(Let's face it, there's a lot of stuff we wouldn't do if we realized someone else was in the room.  It's not just young people:  there are too many adult, active, Latter-day Saints that don't get the "can't hide from God" concept, either.)

This is a battle you absolutely can win!

May the Lord bless you and strengthen you as you fight this addiction.

Remember:  you are a choice Daughter of God, and you deserve His love.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dating Someone at Work

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm back again! Sorry if you are getting sick of me...

I have another question though.

I just got a casual job and on my first day I met this guy who goes to my school. Since that training we have talked a bit on Facebook and whenever I see him at work. Any way the fact is I like him. And he's really sweet, but he's not a member of the Church. I don't think he likes me yet, but I want to know what I can do if he does. What can I do if he asks me out? I like him so I wouldn't want to say no, but he's not a member so my conscience wouldn't want me to say yes.

Is there any way I can explain to him that I'd love to group date? Or is it best just to forget all about it?

Thanks,

Indecisive in Australia.


Dear Indecisive,

Please remind me how old you are.

- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo,

I'm sixteen and a half :)

- Indecisive


Dear Indecisive,

Thank you! Very relevant.

There's nothing wrong with going on Casual Group Dates with non-members, and you're right: you're probably going to have to explain to him what that means. You could wait around for him to ask you out, if he does, and then explain that because of your age and the standards you're trying to keep, that you only Casually Group Date (get the book if you haven't already!), but that you'd love to go out with him in that setting.

Or (and I like this one better), depending on how much chitchat is okay at work; you introduce the topic (and perhaps even gain a missionary experience). You could start with the leading "so, do you go out on dates?", or perhaps the less forward "have you ever heard of Casual Group Dating", or even "so what's your philosophy on dating?"

Hopefully one of those will open up the discussion. If you try a few times and he never takes the bait, he's terminally shy, Very Inexperienced, or just not interested.

Either way, at least then you'll know!

- Bro Jo

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dating without Becoming a Boyfriend

Dear Bro Jo,

I've looked at your advice a few times and found it in theory to be helpful but then I tried it.

I live in the UK and because we have fewer members, it's hard to date girls in Church because there aren't as many and they all know each other. I tried to do the ABC thing with some non-member girls and after going on one date with one girl, she couldn't understand why I wasn't then "in a relationship".

I told her I wasn't looking for a relationship and didn't want to get too close to any girl anyway as to uphold my standards, but I can already see that this problem will happen again and again with any girl here as relationships move quicker and mean less in my country among teenagers.

She tells me she is okay with it now but sometimes gets upset and brings up these points again and again but I can handle that and talk her down but her best friend is the one that gives me the most trouble and tries to bully me at this point, I try to ignore it but its tough.

The fact that she's in my school makes things awkward too, if the girls I can date mainly come from Church and school, this ABC thing will give me a bad reputation because the girls will expect a relationship after the date and if they don't get that, they will spread the word, which will give me a horrible reputation as a user when that is in no way my intention.

I just want to date people, make relationships and enjoy being 16, I don't want to slow everything down and get close to one or two girls and make situations where it would be easy to slip.

What do I do?

Commitment Shy


Dear Shy,

Your problem isn't just a UK thing . . . take some comfort in knowing that the same thing you're dealing with is going on around the world. The world teaches girls that having a "boyfriend" comes with a great deal of social benefits, not the least of which is that it's an affirmation of their beauty and value. Nothing could be further from the truth, but it's so engraved in our world-wide boy-girl culture that it's tough to fight (as you're finding out).

To be honest, you're exacerbating the problem. You say you don't want a relationship, but you're focusing on just one girl, and I get the sense that you: a) failed to be upfront with her BEFORE the date, and b) aren't making your dates Casual Group Dates. When you take a girl out one-on-one she's more inclined to think that you want to be in a relationship because you're spending time with just her. It's confusing. Going out with several couples makes it much more clear that everyone is out on more of a Group Activity (kind of like a priest-Laurel activity without leaders) instead of a Romantic Evening.

What you need to do is find a group of guys and girls that feel as you do. Trust me, as you explain what you want to do (Casual Group Dates) and why (because it's fun and there's no socially complicated attachments) you'll find that there are others who feel exactly like you do. Some of those people may be members of the Church who, like you, are trying to date in the way the Church suggests, some will be other not-Church-member kids you know.

If you're upfront with people, keep your hands (and lips) to yourself, and go out in groups, anyone who knows you and your standards will not label you (as we say here in the states) "a player".

It may be difficult, but it will be worth it. Not just the fun dating and valuable social skills building parts, but when you're able to leave on a mission knowing that you didn't do anything that would have placed strong temptations in your way.

Try to be understanding of how those girls feel, but don't let go of what's right.

Good luck!

- Bro Jo



Dear Bro Jo,

That actually makes a lot of sense, thanks for your help :)

- Shy



Dear Shy,

Any time, brother, any time.

- Bro Jo

Monday, July 18, 2011

She Wants a Boyfriend

Dear Bro Jo,

This may be more than one question . . . (sorry) but here it goes . . .

I’m 14, I’m going to my first stake dance. I met this boy..He had tons in common with me and basically we just hit it off...we weren’t dating at all..(cause we were 14) but we liked each other and by the end of the night that was established. we talked for the next 2 years, saw whenever we could...at 14 it was just getting to know each other but by the time we were 15 1/2 ish it became flirty and we planned for when we were 16.

Now throughout this time I found out he liked other people and of course was kinda sad,...but we both kind of flirted with other people,...just there was a common understanding we liked each other. Now this all worked fine, we were planning out our first dates and I was happy as a clam, Until a stake activity (16). He completely ignore me and such. He was all over another girl, and by this point it had gone to "saying" we loved each other.. (RED FLAG...stupid) so than turns out he didn’t want to date at all...he didn’t want a relationship at all..."with anyone" (but I knew the girl he was flirting with and haha that’s not what he said to her (15) so I called him out...he said sorry and we ended up going on the date we planned...I hadn’t herd from him in a while and we were going to go to a carnival for the date.

Carnival came around and he texts me saying "hi do you still want to go". I said yes, (hoping to be able to talk about what happened) and once we got there he was JUST (if not more) flirty as ever...holding my hand, cuddling, exact. and this was right after HE told me get didn’t want a relationship.

So what this comes down to,...is we have both moved on Sorta...I want to be friends but it’s not awkward for me but it’s like he tries to pretend I’m not alive or important. he goes so far to distract our friends (yes,...through this time we became great friends and our circles melded...so see him about twice a week) how do I stay nice to him, be friends and not have him run away?!?

Why is he doing that?!?



sKater girl-


Dear Skater Girl,

If you question is "why is he running away?", the answer is "because he doesn't want to be your boyfriend".

That doesn't mean you don't have value, aren't pretty, or aren't wonderful; I'm sure you're all of those things (boys, boyfriends, guys and men do not define the value of a girl; God does).

Save yourself some drama and heartache over the next couple years: go on Casual Group Dates and stop focusing on having a boyfriend.

I know you young sisters don’t believe me, and I’m sorry it’s become such a huge part of our culture, but your value and attractiveness don’t come from having a boyfriend (regardless of what the other girls think, how they feel, or what they say); your Divine Nature and Individual Worth come from God.

- Bro Jo

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Long Courtships and Short Engagements

Readers,

I received the following comment on a column I posted called "Bro Jo's List of Stuff You Need to Know Before You Get Engaged".

Anonymous said...


I have a question. In your opinion, how long is a long courtship? And how short is a short engagement?


Dear Annon,

What a great question!

This is going to vary a lot because of the people involved and the circumstance, and I think those two things are proportionally linked.

For example: one of my favorite couples was engaged for over two years (post mission, mind you) before they got married. They were attending colleges on scholarship in two different states. Once that need for separation was over they got married right away.

That worked great for them, but my general feeling (and this is very general), is that once a decision to get married is made, pull the trigger.  Until then, date long enough that you know the answers to those important questions I mentioned before.

Don't sit around WAITING for answers; once you're exclusive, be active in getting the information.  Too many couples become Boyfriend-Girlfriend and then they coast indefinitely, completely losing site of what the whole purpose of being exclusive is.  This is the time to focus on this one person and see if they've got what it takes to put up with you for . . . well, forever.

As for specifics, I break it down like this:

A "long courtship" is 6-18 months, with 9 months being ideal and 15 to 24 months being too long. If you’re marrying age, and you’ve been dating for over a year with no commitments being made, then it’s time to move on.

Even a "short engagement" should still be at least 6 weeks in my opinion. Once a couple has formally agreed to marry, I think (particularly for a Temple-minded LDS couple) that 6 months is too long; I prefer 3 months as a maximum.

But even those numbers can be adjusted.

For example:  two people who know each other really well before he leaves on a mission, could find that dating for six weeks when he comes home is enough to become formally engaged, with a Sealing happening just a few weeks after that.

So long, of course, that they're being rational and not just hormonal or trying to check an ordinance off the list.  Even if you think you know someone really well, if you can't answer the questions, you don't know them well enough.

And, I can't plead for this enough:  knowing the answers is just part of your quest.  You also need to be able to live with the answers they've given you.

- Bro Jo

Friday, July 15, 2011

Age Differences: Should She Tell Her Age?

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm heading off to BYU-I in the fall but I will be a little different from most of the young women entering. I'm graduating a year early from high school. I'm trying to figure out how this will affect my future. I'll be 17 when I enter college. There are only two young men in my ward and my stakes spreads so far away that dating people in other wards is kind of impossible. The two young men aren't ones I would consider dating. One is dating my non member friend and the others.

Well...not what I'm seeking for.

So I plan to make up the lost dating time at BYU-I. I don't plan on mentioning I'm a year younger then I should be. I don't want to be seen differently or as 'immature' or a snobby smart person. Which, I'm not. I'm just so done with High School. Is not mentioning my age to those I date dishonest?

If an older guy asks me out, post mission would be 23, is that too far of an age stretch?

At this point in time I'd feel strange about dating a 22 yr old and yet, that’s the same difference it will be once I'm at BYU-I.

Also, I have a non member friend who has this crush on me(I know, I know, girls and guys can't be 'just' friends. I disagree with that.) . And, while I don't 'like' him in that way I don't want to lose him as a friend. I'd rather date him then lose him as a friend. Would it be wrong to go on a date with someone that I don't actually like, but don't want to lose? Isn't this devious? And, it's also not really fair to him. He should be liked as much as he likes me.

Thanks!

Ponderous Patty.




Dear Ponderous Patty,

No, I don't think mentioning that you're only 17 when you start dating at BYU-I is critical. If a guy asks I think you should be honest, in fact I think that if he only goes so far as to ask when you're birth day is you may want to consider volunteering that you'll be turning 18 on your next birthday; and I think you need to be prepared for your youth to freak them out. If I was a 23-year old return missionary the revelation that I was on a date with a girl not-yet-an-adult would bring a quick end to an otherwise pleasant evening. In his young 20's an LDS man should be thinking of marriage, and he's likely expecting to marry a woman that's at least 19, at least in the US.

I'm not saying don't date, and I'm not saying wear an "I'm only 17" sign around your neck; I'm just saying that you need to be honest and aware.

Now, regarding your non-member friend, you may not believe that "Men Can't Stay Just Close Friends with Women", but your realization that this guy has a crush on you proves that it's true. You don't believe it because . . . to be candid, you're a 17-year old girl who doesn't understand that men, even young men, don't spend large quantities of close personal friend time with women they're not attracted to, whether the girl feels the same or not (again, as is the case in your situation).

Should you date him just to not lose him as a friend?

Absolutely not! And shame on you!!!

Not only is it devious, it's dishonest. I can't think of a worse thing you could do to this guy.

I don't care how much it boosts your ego to keep a guy in close proximity who's attracted to you, to lead him on simply to gratify your own ego is wrong. And, little sister, based on that information I'm not sure that you're a mature enough 17 to be dating college guys.

That may be harsh, but I care too much about my readers not to give it to them straight.

- Bro Jo

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Which Guy Should She Choose? - Part 4

Dear Bro Jo,

Well I don’t think I love them. that one takes a while to develop for me. and thank you so much you did help me a lot.

- Unsure


Dear Unsure,

No problem.

Just let me say, that if you don't love either, then the decent thing to do would be to tell them.

Whether you do or not, you certainly need to keep dating others, too.

Good luck!

- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo,

I know they are both aware.

- Unsure


Dear Unsure,

Good.

But weird.  I mean, I don't care how great you are, if I found out you were making out with my former mission companion I'd drop you like a hot rock.

In fact, I think this whole thing is weird.  Not a big fan of guys dating girls that they met on their mission, let alone one they taught the Gospel to.  I think it confuses everything.

I can't even fathom the future family discussions.


"Yes, children, I met your father when he was on his mission.  He's the one that taught me the Gospel.  Well, he and his companion.  After the two of them were released I followed them home.  Sure, it was a bit stalker-ish, but they were both so cute!  I dated both of them for a while, but decided to marry your father because he was the better kisser.  Who was the other guy?  Oh, you know him; he was here last Thanksgiving.  That's right; I used to make out with you father's friend Peter."


I hope they're both dating other people, too.

You don't have a problem with that, right?

- Bro Jo



Dear Bro Jo,

Yeah I have no problem with that.

- Unsure



Dear Unsure,

Then clearly you shouldn't be with either of them.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Which Guy Should She Choose? - Part 3

Dear Bro Jo,

They don’t really have anything different besides the way they look and its confusing the spirit has whenever I’m with both of them I feel the same warm feeling. and the same feeling of comfort.

- Unsure


Dear Unsure,

OK. What about passion?

I don't mean to be too forward here, but you are coming across as a little lukewarm - do either of them excite you? Who's the better kisser?

How about this: which is more passionate about you?

(So far, you've made them both sound indifferent. If I was in love with a woman and learned that she may be in love with someone else, I'd either work my tail off trying to woo her, or I'd be so crushed I'd just move on)

- Bro Jo



Dear Bro Jo,

They don’t really have anything different besides the way they look and its confusing the spirit has whenever I’m with both of them I feel the same warm feeling. and the same feeling of comfort.

In all honesty "John" is a better kisser.  They both have been trying very hard to woo me.  That’s why it’s a little confusing.  Yes, they both excite me but "John" is a better kisser!

- Unsure


Dear Unsure,

You know, Little Sister, perhaps at this point you should probably just sit back and allow yourself to be wooed. Sure you run the risk of losing both of them (frankly, I was never that understanding or patient - I'd have been long gone by now), but unless you're prepared to answer the question "if you could only pick one or be forced to give up both, whom would you pick?", then you're not yet ready to decide.

To be honest, I have my doubts that you're in love with either. I think you may be flattered by the attention and more than a bit confused, mixing up the Spirit of your conversion and the goodness of those that taught you the Gospel with romance. If I'm right about that, then the best thing is for all three of you to break it off and go your separate ways.

- Bro Jo

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Which Guy Should She Choose? - Part 2

Dear Bro Jo,

There is another guy who I don’t like who will not leave me alone unless I have a boyfriend and I told both the guys about and "Peter" doesn’t have a face book so he suggested "John" do that so I don’t have to deal with him.

- Unsure


Dear Unsure,

well you're life is just full of drama, isn't it?

So, OK, you've got these two guys you're dating, and you feel the need to pick between them, is that right?

I guess my first question is: why?

More specifically, why do you need to choose right now?

- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo,

I want to choose between them now cause I know they are holding out for me to make a decision, and I don’t think it’s fair.. I care for them both deeply and want them to be happy but I know I can’t have both.

- Unsure


Dear Unsure,

So you've told me about all the things they have in common . . . how are they different?

And, it has to be asked, what does the Spirit tell you?

- Bro Jo

Monday, July 11, 2011

Which Guy Should She Choose? - Part 1

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm 20 and I know I should have most things in life figured out, but when I met the missionaries that introduced me to the church "John" and "Paul" they were just ending their mission and when they did they both started talking to me in great amounts.

I thought it was just to make sure I was going to Church on a regular basis but then they both asked me on a date because I moved to (location withheld) which is where they live.

One is 20 minutes away, the other is 30. I have been on four dates with them both and honestly they seem exactly identical. They wanted to do the same things on each date (though yes it was all in a different order).

"John" called me up one night and asked if I wanted to go to the movies and I said yes (at the time I didn’t know either of them liked me). When we went to the movies and he put an arm around me and started to hold my hand as well. He was a gentleman about the whole thing though and asked if I felt comfortable. (yes I did of course) Then he walked me home because we wanted to go for a walk to talk.

He told me that when he got off his mission he felt the great need to talk to me and spent hours looking for a way to do so. When we got to my house my head was spinning cause I have been developing feelings for him for about 2 months now.

Well when I got home that night "Paul" had left me a text message confession how he felt about me. Well . . . me and him went to the movies as well me and him have clicked really well since we met. The second third and fourth date went the same way.

Both guys seem almost identical. They are sweet, caring, they listen, they share the same likes and dislikes, and they are both apart of the Church. They were the ones who gave me my first Book of Mormon. They make me laugh and are easy to talk to. I love hanging out with them and they are both gentlemen.

I’m not sure what to do. I have very strong feelings for both of them. The same kind of feelings. They know that I have feelings for both of them and I told them about each other and the feelings I have and they are okay with it they just want me to be happy and will support my decision.

- Unsure



Dear Unsure,

Hi!

Glad you found my email address.

So it sounds like your question is "which boy do I pick?" - is that right?

You know . . . your Facebook page says you're in a relationship with "John" . . .

What does that mean?

- Bro Jo

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Readers Note: This Week's Posts

Readers -

All this week I'll be posting a series of letters from the same girl, "Unsure". She's got two guys she's pretty interested in, and can't seem to chose between them. Who do you think she should pick?

Oh, and just wait until you find out how she meet each guy.

Looking forward to your comments,

- Bro Jo

Friday, July 8, 2011

Marriage . . . Its About . . . Time

Dear Bro Jo,

I just read your 'Boyfriend Pressure' column, and I'm in a completely opposite situation! I was wondering if maybe you could help me out, or give me some peace of mind.

Let me give you a little back story.

I met this guy a year ago as an Elder serving in my ward. I thought he was really cool, funny, and we gung-ho about sharing the gospel, but I was in no way interested in him romantically (he was busy serving the Lord!). I would chat with him and his companion in the hallways, and when they came over for dinner, but it was always strictly friendly chatting. After awhile I figured I'd keep in contact when he got off his mission and we'd stay friends. We parted ways, he was transferred, I went out to BYU, but I still wrote him occasionally. When he got off his mission three months ago, he came out to Provo to finish school, and we ended up hanging out... a lot. One thing lead to another and a month and a half ago we started dating one another exclusively.

I've been casual dating in High School and now in college, but I really felt different about him. I'm totally fine with where I am, and I'm in no hurry to tie the knot (I've set a personal standard that I'd like to date a guy for AT LEAST 6 months before accepting an engagement). Regardless of his RM status, he isn't either, but my parents will not drop the subject of marriage; however, they're not encouraging it, they're strongly discouraging it (even though they absolutely ADORE him).

I understand they don't want me to rush into anything, and they want me to make sure I know what I'm getting into, etc., but I've only been dating this guy for a month and half- we're still getting to know each other. We're both pretty sensible kids, and we wouldn't do anything we didn't talk about, and bother feel comfortable about first.

Sometimes, I wish my parents were forcing marriage at me instead of making me promise things like having a yearlong engagement if I get engaged before 20 (no thank you), and bringing up the subject with every mother in my home ward. It's like I can't go ANYWHERE without SOMEONE saying SOMETHING about it!

He knows about all of this, and is really supportive about it. He agrees that we shouldn't rush into anything at all, but he also agrees that I should make my own decisions, especially when they're this important.

I really like this guy, or at least what I know of him so far. I wish they could just be happy that I'm happy and accept whatever decision I make in the future, whether it's this guy, or another.

Is it just my parents being afraid to let go of their little girl, or am I doing something seriously wrong? I just want them to be happy with me.

-Sincerely Hopeful.


Dear Sincerely,

We Mormons love to gossip WAY more than we should (we shouldn't gossip at all); to many of us think it elevates our personal worth and importance if we know something before everyone else. Because of that we're always trying to get information out of people. Now some of that is because we honestly care how someone is doing, and some of it is because we're a close-knit people.

Rather than think the worst of others, it's always better to think the best. So endure the barrage of inquires with the idea that at least those that are asking about your relationship status care about you.

Yes, your parents are afraid. Even within the Church the divorce rate is increasing, and while your parents likely trust you and your judgment, they also don't want you to have to endure the pain of a failed marriage. They've likely seen some sisters (and brothers) suffer because they jumped into marriage unprepared and uninformed.

The truth is, while there are certain things everyone should know about a possible eternal companion (see "Bro Jo's 5 A's of Why Not to Marry THAT Person" and "Bro Jo's List of Questions You Need Answers to BEFORE You Get Engaged") marriage is by definition a leap of faith. You can't really know what it's like until you live it (even living together doesn't help - in fact the divorce and breakup rate among couples who've previously shacked up is so high that living together is practically a guarantee of relationship failure).

Your decision to get married, and by that I hope "Sealed for Time and All Eternity", will be between you, your future spouse, and the Lord.

Some may say it's too soon, some may say it's about time . . .

All I can say is "don't put it off for worldly things", and don't make blanket statements or promises you may not be able to keep.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Sudden Break Up

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm not really sure how this works . . . but at this point.. I am pretty desperate for advice, so if I am doing this wrong then I am sorry. But here it goes... I am a 22 years old up until a few days ago I was in a very serious relationship with another member of the church. We had been together about 7 months, and marriage was frequently discussed and even planned for. Trust me when I say, I wasn't being a crazy girl... he was just as into it, if not more, than I was. We had discussed marriage at length, and everyone thought it was going to happen soon, especially me, until.. to my surprise, he broke up with me out of nowhere, saying he received an answer to his prayer that it just "wasn't right". So here are my questions:

1 - How can someone go from being head over heels in love to receiving an answer that says it "isn't right" in a matter of days?.. Aren't we taught by the prophets that there is no "one" person for us, and if we both have the same eternal goals and priorities that it can work? (Sorry if this is a dumb question, I am a recent convert and am slightly new to all of this!)

2 - How is it that he got a way different answer than I did when I prayed? And how do I move on from this... because as of right now I feel like my whole world has come crashing down.

Thanks!

ps.. can you withhold my name?



Dear Sister,

(Of course I can withhold your name!)

1. Not just the Prophets, but everyone with common sense. It's a nice romantic idea (and, to be honest, I used the "we're destined to be together" line on Sister Jo - which worked out great for me, by the way), but totally untrue and unrealistic. Put together two unselfish people with similar goals and dreams who can find each other attractive on some level and you can make a marriage work. Plus, think of it this way, if there was only one person, no one would get married after their spouse died and all the single people would have to scour the world forever to find that mysterious "soul mate". The "just one person" line always masks something else. (For me it was that I was desperately in love with her and thought I needed to convince her that she shouldn't look elsewhere.)

2. I don't know how recent this whole thing was (I suspect very recent), but something has happened. No one just wakes up one day and drastically changes the course of their life. They may make a decision that seems to the rest of us to be totally random and sudden, but they've been mulling it over for quite a while. Unless there was some catastrophic event, like a natural disaster, a heavenly visitation . . . or an attack by another love interest (like an ex-girl friend that one hasn't gotten over or a new and very attractive competitor; either of which means he didn't really love you anyway). The latter can actually be seen as a combination of the other two.

It very may well have been right for you two to be together, that's why it's so normal to feel the way you do. I was dating a girl once that I was certain I'd marry . . . then she broke up with me . . . twice in 24 hours! (There's a Discussion on the Facebook Page, no one's actually participated in a while, but it's called "Breakup Stories"  - you might find it therapeutic.)

I know it hurts so bad right now, but I promise it will get better with time. Do yourself a favor: go out with every decent guy that asks you; let your friends advertise that you're single again. Don't let the pain of this situation keep you from finding future love.

And keep praying for the comfort of the Spirit. It will help.

Now, as for this guy, I really do think he's been thinking about this for a while. And unless there's some new skeleton in your closet that he just discovered, it's something he's been hiding from you. If it was your skeleton I think you'd know about it and I think he'd have brought it up. Since he didn't say anything, it's his issue, and he's clearly afraid to tell you what it is.

I think you have a right to know, and after seven months of serious dating I think he's obliged to tell you (the coward). Now, I'm clearly an opinionated and aggressive person, but I think you should confront the guy and demand an answer. That doesn't mean he'll tell you, but I think it's worth a shot.

Here are my top four guesses as to what the issue is:

1. There's someone else.
2. He's been using you as a safety net and is finally ready to let you go.
3. He's immature and panicked about how serious you two have gotten.
4. He's unworthy and not ready to confess to you or anyone else, including himself.

Statistically speaking, number four is most likely. And sadly, that probably means he has a porn addiction.

I'm not saying that's what his deal is, just that it's the most likely.

Whatever the reason, while it doesn't feel that way right now, you're actually better off to be rid of him.

If he gets his act together and begs you to come back, only do so on the conditions that:
• he has confessed to you what the issue was
• that you're confident he's resolved ("resolved" NOT "resolving") the issue
• you've given every other guy around you who has expressed sincere interest in you a chance
• and, most importantly, you actually want him back in your life.

Let me know how it all goes, would you?

Hang in there,

- Bro Jo

Monday, July 4, 2011

He's Desperate for a Second Date - Part 6

[Readers - What follows is the next letter in a series of emails between myself and "Desperate".  He's frustrated that his dating life isn't going the way he hopes it will.  If you'd like to read the previous letters, I posted parts 1-5 starting on June 20, 2011.  Click HERE to jump there.  I'll post a new letter in this series the first Monday of each month.  Please feel free to comment; I only ask that you be sensitive and sincere.  - Bro Jo]




Dear D -

Three plus months later . . .

How's it going?

- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo

How interesting that you should e-mail me at the time that you did. I was reading over your last letter LITERALLY minutes before you asked how I was going? I think you might have been inspired! :)

Anyway, no happy news to report I'm afraid. Still trying, still asking, and still no girls with the courage to give me a shot.

What I have noticed lately - which has me deeply concerned - is the number of girls I have asked out who have then married the next guy they have dated. Later this week, one of my old girlfriends is going to be married in the Temple (and I'm absolutely thrilled for her). The guy she is marrying is the very next guy she dated after me.

Also, another girl I have dated recently, broke up with me because "I was too nice". I've just learned the other day that she got a mission call. Now, I could take that as a slap in the face, but I'm choosing to see it as that she wasn't ready to commit.

But one experience I'm going through is really on my mind. This particular girl I have wanted to get to know for a long time. In fact, her granddad suggested that I consider her. So, I took the initiative to talk to her and ask her out - just so that we could get to know each other (after all, a first date is precisely that). I even found out where she lived and wrote a couple of cards to her, nothing creepy or clingy, just sincere compliments. A few days ago, she sent me a text thanking me for my lovely cards. She then said that while she was extremely flattered, she was interested in someone. But she also said that she would be happy to go out to dinner with me. I took that as a positive, and then tried to call her. She didn't answer any of my calls, but then texted back a while later to apologize. She then said she would call ME - and of course, she never did. I tried contacting her again, but no response. That was on Monday just passed. I might see her at a YSA fireside this week, but I don't think it's worth trying her again until then.

I know I have been rambling/venting here today, but I am simply at my wits end. I don't know what else to do.

A major weakness of mine is to compare myself unfavorably with others. I know someone whom I met just after I finished my mission. At that time, he was about to go on his. He has now served a mission, is married (to another RM) and has 2 kids. And I can't begin to count the number of RMs who have come home in the past year and who are already married. What do they have that I don't?

Also, in reference to your previous advice regarding obtaining feedback from girls I have dated, that is like trying to extract blood from a stone. They either feign compliments, get defensive, or dismiss me.

General Conference emphasized in several ways the importance of getting on with things. I am surely not slacking - the Lord and I both know that I'm doing my best, but the blessings haven't come (I'm on the verge of breaking down as I write this). I'm not going to give up - no sacrifice is too great for these blessings - but it's SO, SO HARD.

What else can I do?

Regards

D



Dear D,

When the Lord commands us to do something, sometimes he's more interested in our obedience than our success.

I'm sure you're a great guy, and if the girls won't tell you what you're doing wrong, maybe your married buddies will. Never hurts to ask. Well . . . criticism CAN be painful, but you know what I mean.

I don't know, maybe you're trying to hard or coming on too strong. Sending cards to someone you've never dated seems a bit much to me. Did I ever suggest that you check out "Bro Jo's Things Guys Can Do to Make Themselves More Attractive to the Opposite Sex"? We all have room in our lives for improvement . . .

And, don't take this the wrong way, but maybe you're being too picky about whom you ask out. What I mean by that is, lots of great women who have the important qualities to make a great spouse get missed. You know who I'm talking about. Girls that are sweet and fun and interesting, but they don't date much. Add asking them out to your repertoire.

- Bro Jo


To add: maybe you need to be less "desperate to find love" and more "out to have a nice time".


- Bro Jo


And, remember, as Sister Jo says, the best thing to do when you're feeling down is to be of Sincere Service to someone else. Works every time.

- Bro Jo

Friday, July 1, 2011

Only Four Kinds of Boys?

Dear Bro Mojojo,

Why are boys SO lame?!

Seriously we have four types of Mormon boys to choose from:

1. First your creepy awkward desperate men. These are the ones who stare at you from a far counting how many breaths you take and planning things he wants to do with you in his mind. The awkward/desperate man is usually one that only a mother can love... if she's blind. They will also get down on one knee and propose to you in a heartbeat if you try to be nice to them. They have the right idea to get a woman to the temple with the wrong approach of using creepiness. These guys are usually but in the same category as the guys "with a great personality" but they usually don’t have that either.

2. Secondly, you have the missionaries. You cannot have anything to do with the missionaries because they are serving the lord and it's wrong. These boys make you think you want them because of their great Mormon-ness but then you either have to wait TWO years for something that can never be possible or they finally come home and they change right back into that teenage boy weirdness.

3. Third you have your age difference boys where you get into that stage in life where they are either waaay to young or way too old. This is a problem because you try to find anyone close to your age hot or not and there is no one in the ward or stake or city.

4. And finally you have those perfect Adonis like creatures who can sing and play instruments’ that are nice and hot and read scriptures and go to church and are just perfect. Those are the worse because you know you will never have a chance with them; they are just way too good for you.

So then this leaves girls with NO boys... they just have to go through life lonely and listen to all the old women’s questions of "when are you going to get married?"....never...."do you have a bf?.....no...... and on Sundays you get to hear all about eternal life with your soul mate........ that you don’t have.

So what are we suppose to do your looked down upon for having no Mormon boy and you have to have a MORMON one because dating a non-member is like sticking your sacrament bread in peanut butter before you eat it. So to quote one of my favorite songs... "Where have all the good men gone?"

Honestly I am not superficial, I just want a NORMAL boy who knows the church is true.

Sincerely,

Too Old for YW's and Too Young for Singles Ward



Dear Impatient,

Seriously, given your pseudonym you have to be 18 but not yet out of high school, and therein little sister, is your problem.

I'm sorry the guys you like (I'm guessing you're thinking of at least one missionary and at least one "Adonis" - and are probably inside the Zion Curtain, which is the only place where the mythological "beautiful man" is described first and foremost as a musician . . . not that there's anything wrong with that) don't like you in the same way, but you need to be a little more patient.

You also need to let go of the drama and grow up a little.

That's not meant to insult you, it comes from an old guy who cares enough about you to want you to be happy, so he'll tell you the truth even if it’s a little painful to hear.

Clearly you haven't lived nearly long enough or met enough people. When you have you'll realize four things:

1) The difference between "creepy" and "wonderful" is whether or not you find them attractive

2) The ladies at Church who are prying into your personal life either are gossipy know-it-alls you should ignore or sincerely caring friends that you should open up to, and you'll be greatly benefited by learning the difference

3) Anyone who has to state that he or she is NOT superficial . . . IS

And 4) there's another type of guy out there: the Good Guy. The Good Guy loves you for who you are because he recognizes your Divine Nature and Individual Worth; loves you not just in spite of your flaws, but because of them; loves you and wants to do all in his power to make you happy; and loves you so much that he can't imagine life, or eternity, without you. Sure, he'll be attracted to you, but that won't go away ever because he loves YOU, not just the way you look.

Now, fortunately you've written me and been told the above information. If you receive it with the right attitude your growing up might start right now.

As for the creepy guys, I'll readily admit that what they need is some courting education. I'm trying my best to fix that (its one of the top reasons I started "Dear Bro Jo"), you may want to email all the creepy guys you've ever met and recommend that they check out my column.

[Tangent Quote: "You brethren who are 26+ and creeping around the YSA ward - you've spent 5 years post-mission screwing around, leave the 18 and 19 year old girls alone and focus on girls that are your own age. They're wonderful sisters, and you need to become one of the men who's smart enough and lucky enough to take one to the Temple" - Bro Jo]

Your best chance at finding one of the Good Guys is to be sweet, happy, spiritual, fun, in a place where they exist, available for dating, and willing to go out with every non-scary (meaning honestly frightening, not socially awkward or not-good-looking) guy that asks.
Oh, and sincere. You have to be genuine. Good guys hate fake. You can't just put on the above while you're man hunting; you have to become that.

And I believe that you can, and probably already are. If you're not, fix it.

And be just a little more patient.

- Bro Jo

PS: When you meet some Good Guys, let us know, please.  I'll give you a hint:  we call them "men", not "boys".

PSS:  You can tell who the Good Guys are because they're very frustrated with you and the many other sisters just like you.  Every time they hear you whine about not being asked out, they realize that your complaint is really that you're not being asked out by the guys you want to be asked out by, regardless of whether they're Good Guys or not, AND they're more than just a little tired of you being so superficial while accusing them of the same.  They're easy to spot:  they roll their eyes a lot and glance towards Heaven whenever you and your friends vent your dating frustrations.