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Monday, January 2, 2012

Inspired by Previous Columns to Repent, but Still Hesitant

Dear Bro Jo,

If you combine both of those stories (Readers, the writer is referring to "Battling Pornography and Masturbation" and "Do Not Procrastinate"), you've pretty much got my situation. With a few added things though.

I am 19. I have been struggling with the same problems as these two other girls, and I know what I need to do to fix them, but the thing is, I'm scared. And I don't want people to know.

I don't want to tell my parents. I feel like my parents would go berserk. (I know they love me and just want to help me and would try to be supportive and understanding, but they haven't been very good at that with other, smaller things in the past.)

What I am wondering is if I am likely to be released from my callings if I tell my Bishop?

I don't think I can handle that. My calling is one of the few things providing me with strength to try and be better. I do much better at resisting the temptations when I am at school and fulfilling my calling.

The other thing is that if I am released from my calling, my sister will know because (specifics removed) we serve closely together. So if I am released, she will definitely know.
Even if I have to tell my parents, I absolutely do not want my sister to know.

So, what do I do?

I think I can handle telling my bishop, not having a temple recommend, and even not taking the sacrament, but I can't handle losing my calling.

I know you'll tell me that even if I do lose my calling, repenting is more important. But that calling is one of my major sources of strength.

So I guess my question is, do you think I would lose my calling if I admit everything to my Bishop?

- Name Withheld


Dear NW,

I'm not certain how long you've been reading "Dear Bro Jo", but one thing that I always promise my readers is that I love them too much not to give it to them straight . . . so here goes . . .

I have no idea if you'll be released from your calling or not. You very well may be. You need to trust your Bishop to know what the Lord needs you to do, calling or not. When you meet with him, tell him how you feel. Tell him everything you've told me. Trust him to be inspired to know what to do. And, frankly - and please understand this - it doesn't matter.

I know you love what you're doing, and I'm proud of you for being eager to serve, but right now in your life your service, should you need to be released, just isn't as important as making things right with God.

I totally understand that a release may lead to murmuring and questions and stuff. And I understand that it could be hard to live through. But that doesn't matter either.

Not in the grand scheme of things.

Because right now, my friend, you're living a lie. And that lie is hurting you more than you've admitted to yourself. Sure, you feel guilt and remorse and regret, but look at what you're NOT feeling. What are you going to do when the next Temple Recommend interview comes up? Lie to your Bishop, your Stake President and your God?

You're not feeling the Spirit like you should. You're clinging to the calling because it helps you to feel better; I totally get that. But how much longer do you want to deny yourself the blessings of constantly feeling the Spirit? How much longer are you going to put off doing what you know will ultimately make you feel better?

Six months from now, if a young man comes into your life and wants to take you to the Temple to be sealed for Time and All Eternity, do you want to put that off, perhaps missing the chance forever, because you failed to make things right now, when you're prompted to do so?

If you'll forgive the Titanic reference: you're refusing to leave the sinking ship because as long as you're on board then you don't have to feel the sting of the icy water. But if you don't jump in the ocean and head for the lifeboat you're going to drown. The ship is going down, and all the excuses you make are just that . . . excuses.

You're worried about your mom and your sister, and maybe even your Bishop a little . . .

Again, I hear you.

But you're missing the point. The one you need to worry about not being happy with you is the one who loves you most, the one who already knows your struggles, your pains, your fears . . . the one who knows everything you're suffering . . . and yet all you need to do to be back in full fellowship with Him is to put Him first. Before your mom. Before your sister. Before your Bishop. And before yourself.

Any conversation you have with your Bishop will be confidential unless you give permission otherwise. (Contrary to popular Church myth, Good Bishops don't even tell their wives. True story.) He may suggest to you that you tell your mom or sister so they can be a support network for you, but he won't force you to do anything.

Please call and make an appointment with your Bishop right away.

Right now, while you feel the Spirit telling you to do so.

When you meet with him, be honest and complete. Pray before your meeting that you'll have the courage to come forth with everything that he needs to hear so he can help you.

Don't worry about the calling. Focus on making things right with the Lord.

However difficult it may be, it will be SO worth it to have all of this behind you.

The water may be cold, but it's much better than going down with the ship.

Emily, I love the Lord, and I have a testimony of the Power of the Atonement!

Don't put off allowing the Lord's blessings in your life any longer.

Please make the call.


- Bro Jo


PS: If I can help you at any time, in any way . . . I'm always here for you. Let me know how it goes.

1 comment:

Danielle said...

It's very tough to finally go and see your Bishop, BUT the weight that is lifted off your shoulders is not comparable to anything. You will feel relief and loved.

It will seem very trivial once you have started the repentance process.

As for your family finding out, I promise as the daughter of a Bishop, the only way they will know is if you tell them. A Bishop can not break the confidentiality of the Bishops office.

Pray, fast, read your scriptures, you will gain the strength you need to overcome this hurdle in life.