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Friday, February 3, 2012

He Asked Her for Naked Pictures

Dear Bro Jo,

I have come to you in the past for advice and even though it was hard to hear, it was very helpful! The issue I'm having is something I'm sure you have answered a dozen, if not more, e-mails about. I'm 17 years old, and my boyfriend is as well, he turns 18 in [a few months].

We met [last fall]. He and I met at a Stake Conference; he told me his dad was the stake president! (No pressure right?)

After making the 2 hour car ride back to my home town, he and I started talking. He asked me on a date for whenever the next time I was out there. About 2 months later, my sister in law and I went to his town for a weekend. I met his parents and we had almost a perfect day! We were alone for about 30 minutes... which was enough for it to go too far. Once we started kissing, we didn't stop until his hand was in my pants.

Brother Johnston, please know he and I both felt horrible after. We both went and talked to our bishops.

I love my bishop and this wasn't my first time seeing him for something like this. He listened as I sobbed through the story. He advised me to not take the sacrament for 2 weeks. Watching the sacrament go by you and not partaking of it is the WORST feeling in the world. My bishop also told me no more being alone with him and no making out.

The last time I saw my boyfriend I made sure we weren't alone!

We made cookies, played board games, played Wii, went outside and we had a great time talking and getting to know each other! We kissed, but didn't make out. Unfortunately, being a teenager means hormones. And lots of them! There have been several nights where he and I just want to do "stuff". He has asked for pictures and I sent. The worst I ever did was completely topless. He deleted the pictures but I know they're still out there somewhere.

Brother Johnston, I want this behavior to stop. And so does he. We are both active members in the church, he holds the priesthood and I have a calling in Young Women. I don't want to stop seeing him, but I'm scared that may be the only solution. What can he and I do, individually and together, to stop these bad habits?

And do I have to go to my bishop about the pictures or can I just take that up with the Lord? This is a good young man Brother Johnston. He respects me and is a good member of the church.

What do I do?

-Addiction or just bad habits?



Dear Neither,

Well . . . I don't think I'd classify this behavior as either an "addiction" or "just bad habits".

But before I go on, I want to remind you that a large part of what I do, why I say what I say and the way I say it, is because I care enough about my readers to be straight with them. The world is full of people who coddle, excuse behavior, and soften things to an extent where the point gets lost. Somehow, when we water down the truth too much, we're actually hurting people more than helping them.

That's my take on things, anyway.

But, having written before, you probably already know that.

Just promise me you'll read all the way through to the end.

Promise?

Okay.

Here we go.

Let me start with this: I see that you wrote this letter during the time when I was running the series on Sexting on Saturdays in December, and I can't help but wonder if that's what motivated you to write . . . because the truth is, little sister, that's what you've been doing. Plus, given your age, you've also been creating and distributing child pornography. And it sounds like he has, too.

We used to call sexually suggestive talk over the phone "phone sex" because, well, that's what it was. Just because two people weren't physically touching each other doesn't mean that they're being morally pure. Phone Sex is still sexual. What you've hinted at sounds like that to me. So, yes, if you want to make things right with God you're going to need to go talk to the Bishop again. I don't know what he's going to tell you, but believe me, whatever you need to do to make things right with God is better than . . . not.

You know how it felt when you couldn't take the Sacrament for a while? That's not fun, but better to do that (or whatever) now than put off repentance, have things get worse, and then have to face the reality later that you can't get sealed to the man of your dreams because you procrastinated the day of you repentance.

The dividing line between whether or not we can "keep it between us and the Lord" or confess to priesthood authority is whether or not our temple worthiness might possibly be in question, and the key there is whether or not the transgression relates to a Temple interview question. In my opinion, Sexting crosses the chastity line.

As for the boy . . .

Your Bishop will know what's best for you, but I think the two of you are too immature to keep seeing each other. I think your parents need to take away your phone (or at least turn off your texting service) and limit your computer use to only in their presence.

And, frankly, I don't agree that he's a "good young man". Good Guys don't put their hands in girl's pants. Good Guys don't talk dirty to girls over the phone, not caring about whether or not their virtue is intact. Good Guys don't behave or speak to a girl in any manner that would encourage or entice her to send him naked pictures of herself.

And you are right about those pictures (as well as everything you wrote) - they're out there. I don't believe for one second that he deleted them; why would he? He can now look at you naked any time he wants . . . AND when he wants to abuse himself or show off to his friends at school, or if he feels betrayed by you . . . well, he's got the pictures. On his phone, transferred to his computer, forwarded to kids at school . . .

"Oh, but Bro Jo, he would never do that!"

Really? I wouldn't be so sure unless someone like your parents (if they're computer experts) went through all of his electronics.

Look, I don't mean to freak you out, but you need to understand how serious this is. Get someone you trust to go through his stuff (no, he doesn't count) and Never Never do anything like that again.

Don't even send sexy pictures of yourself electronically to your husband. Texts and emails don't just magically go from your phone to his; they make stops and transfers along the way. (Doesn't anybody's school teach them how the internet works?)

You're absolutely kidding yourself if you think thid guy respects you. As I've said often, "you can't respect someone who doesn't respect themselves, and no man will ever love a woman he doesn't respect"; you respect someone who holds true to high standards.

You two need to break up. You're clearly not capable of having a non-sexual committed relationship with each other right now, and neither of you is old enough, or mature enough, to marry, so I think its in both of your best interests to quit cold turkey, and focus individually on getting back on track.

(This is part of why I advise against the Boyfriend-Girlfriend thing at your age; it doesn't make sense until you're old enough that marriage is an immediate possibility.)

Now, look, I know I've been blunt in calling you on the carpet here; you've done some dumb stuff, but you're not stupid. You are still a Daughter of our Heavenly Father who will always love you. You're not an addict, but you've made some bad choices and now you have to be accountable. You still have Devine Nature and Individual Worth!

You're valuable! Not because of some guy, but because of who you are! So get things set right.
You deserve all the blessings that Father in Heaven has in store for you.

You deserve better than this guy; maybe one day he'll become better, but that's for him to fix, not you.

Go call your Bishop. Set the appointment. Get on the path that you know will bring you eternal joy.

You deserve that kind of happiness!

Know that I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is True, and that through His love and sacrifice we can be made whole. Nothing feels as good as knowing we've set things right with the Lord.

If I can help in anyway, let me know. I'm always here.

Godspeed,

Bro Jo

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