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Monday, June 4, 2012

Do Not Procrastinate the Day

Dear Bro Jo,

Someone told me you were good at giving advice, and right now I need all the advice I can get because I honestly don't know what to do at this point anymore.

I'm almost 19, and serving a mission is my focus right now, but I'm absolutely terrified that given behavioral patterns of mine, I won't be able to do that. I won't go into specifics, but I'm sure you can figure it out.

I honestly feel like it's too late right now or that I'm too far gone to do anything about it. I've come to know and realize that it's an addiction that I've been struggling with for almost 7 years. I know I need to change what I'm doing. But I'm also embarrassed, terrified, humiliated to talk to anyone about what I've been doing, because what I've done I'm certainly not proud of. It's ruined relationship that I've had, namely a girl and myself doing a lot of things I knew at the time I shouldn't have been doing but did nothing to stop it.

This thing I've been going through has let to chastity issues, which I know is absolutely NOT okay. I've looked online for ways to help me fix the situation I find myself in, and nothing seems to work at all. I feel like if I tell me parents about it, they'll just feel disappointed or ashamed or something. I feel like I can't talk to any of my friends about it because they'll judge me and they'll stop being my friends. But most of all I'm afraid of talking to my bishop about what's been going on because of the consequences.

I'm petrified that if I tell him everything it'll either keep me from going on a mission, which everyone expects me to do because no one has any idea of what's been going on, or worse, I'll be ex-communicated. I feel like it'll cost too much to talk to anyone about anything. But it's worse and worse the more I think about it. I've lied in interviews, gone to the temple or taken the sacrament when I know I shouldn't have, and I just feel lost and hopeless. And I realize that's just Satan getting in my head, but honestly I feel like sometimes he's right and I have no business or right to go to Church or socialize with members.

I know this is a lot to take in for a first email, but I took what little comfort I could in knowing that you are a complete and total stranger, so for some reason the thought of telling you about everything seemed a lot easier to bear then someone I knew. Please, please, please help me out. I've prayed countless times to help resist Satan's advances and I know the Lord is trying His best to help me, which makes me realize it's me that's not getting the job done. And I know He's never going to give me anything beyond my capacity to handle, but still, this stuff I've been keeping inside of me is getting to be to hard to hold in anymore because I know time is running out.

I turn 19 in 7 months and I fear a complete and total repentance process, while every single bit necessary, would postpone my mission departure or knock it out completely. I'm scared that if it does get pushed back, people will wonder why and the reason will eventually come out and ruin any relationships I have within the church. At this point I'm willing to do anything to stop this and move past it, because right now I honestly feel like a complete and total failure with everything I do.

I feel like my lack of ambition for life in general is attributed to this, and I'm just sluggish and don't have that peppy, bright, happy countenance that I see other people have. I pretend like everything is fine and fake my way through the days, but I'm tired of that. It's time to make a change, and I know that, I just don't know where to start, or if it's even possible at this point.

Any shred of help or insight I will gladly take. And I apologize for the nature of this email and for just dropping it on you out of nowhere, but I need help, and I need it now.

- Name Withheld

Dear NW,

One thing at a time, my brother.

You need to put your pride aside and get some help. Not the generic, pointless, non-personal kind of help you find on the internet, but the kind of help that will help you mend things with your Savior and your God.

Stop worrying about the consequences, and start thinking in eternal terms. Stop fearing man (your parents, your Bishop, others) and set things right with He who loves you most.

Those feelings you have (not going to Church, not socializing with members) and fears you have (missionary service, excommunication, the need to cover your sins with lies) are absolutely from Satan.

I'm going to be blunt with you brother because that's what I do and that's how much I care.

Stop making excuses! Stop allowing Satan to rule your life and make you feel miserable!

The time has come for you to stop procrastinating the day of your repentance.

Call your Bishop, and call him now.

Do it.

No excuses.

That's where you start.

And you start now.


Stop everything you're doing the instant you get this email. Make the call. Tell your Bishop that you have a serious need to talk to him right away. Tonight, if possible.

If you can't reach him by phone, go to his home.

If he's not there, go see his first counselor or a member of your stake presidency.

No kidding.

Go now.

When the appointment has been set (or concluded if you can see him right away), then please send me an email letting me know that you've done that which you know you ought to do.

And when you do meet, pray first, and spill your guts. Get it all out. I promise you will feel better when you do, even if it means your road to repentance seems long and difficult. Better to be moving in the right direction than continuing to slip the wrong way.

Pornography is a dangerous thing, my brother. Stop and get help now.

- Bro Jo

Dear NW,

It's been nearly a month. I've been thinking about you and your email; how are you doing?

- Bro Jo

[Readers - I got no response for several months, then I got this email.]

Dear Bro Jo,

I don't know if you remember me or not, but I sent you an email about some struggles I was dealing with and asking for help and a way out. And now I realize the only way out was to do the right thing.

It wasn't until this morning I finally did that right thing. I'm disappointed in myself that it took this long, I know I should have done this months sooner. And, in all honesty, it took someone else to call me on it. I had an interview with my Bishop about the progress of my mission papers and one thing led to another. but I've got everything out on the table now. he knows what's happened, I've talked to my parents about it, and I know now what I have to do to correct my path. I don’t know why I was so afraid to do this. I can't even begin to say how relieved and happy I am knowing I did the right thing. all parties involved were so so so so supportive and helpful, and I felt so much better afterwards. now that I've told the people that need telling, I honestly feel like a weight has been lifted and I can smile and genuinely mean it now.

I'm sorry for not taking your advice sooner, but you were 1000% right about this.

I went in ashamed, spilled my guts, and came out with my head held high knowing I did the right thing and I can work through this. it'll take some time, it'll probably be a little rough, but I'm so exceed for a clean, fresh future.

- NW

Dear NW,

Thank you for sharing this with me today. I certainly remember you, and I'm proud of you and happy for you!

May the Lord continue to bless you as you continue your journey.

As you've alluded, it may not be easy . . . but it will certainly be worth it.

And I believe your testimony of repentance will inspire others.

- Bro Jo

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