Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published several times a month.

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, "Dear Bro Jo" is not an LDS Church website. (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

Friday, June 8, 2012

When a Guy Gets Engaged Instead of Going on a Mission - Part 1

Dear Bro Jo,

Just to start off, I love your blog and greatly appreciate the advice and tips you give to the youth and YSA's like myself.

I guess I'll just jump right into it.

I am a college student, just finishing up my Freshman year. When I went home for Christmas, I saw a good friend of mine from high school who's in my ward and had been away at basic training for the Army while I was at school. We had become very close friends during our senior year of high school and we had been in the same ward for many years, so we knew each other well.

He's a strong young man, a worthy priesthood holder, and an excellent LDS member. We kept in touch while he was in training, and when we were both home for Christmas, I saw him at Church, but he wasn't alone. Apparently, sometime between graduation and basic training, or even during basic training, he started dating another one of our good friends from high school in a different ward.

I had no idea they were dating, so it surprised me, but they are both wonderful people. He and I had talked a lot about his mission as we kept in touch, and how he planned to finish training and then serve a mission, and we were both excited.

But then I got a phone call.

It wasn't from this friend, but from another good friend who's practically my brother who is very close with the girlfriend of our Army friend.

As we were talking, he explained to me that our Army friend had decided to forego serving a mission and marry his girlfriend in June instead. Though they are still getting married in the Temple, as they are still both wonderful, incredible people, it has hurt many to see him make this decision.

In high school, we had a group of strong LDS members, and none of us would have ever expected him, of all people, to pass up on one of his most important priesthood responsibilities of serving a mission.

I am happy for the two of them, especially that they're still getting married in the Temple and that they are both still faithful members, but it's brought so much pain to both of their families, to me and other close friends, and I'm sure, to the Lord.

Do you have any advice as to what I, or any of us, could do that might help him to ponder the decision he's made in hopes of making him realize the importance of serving a mission?

I've prayed so hard, and I don't think anything I do would end up changing his mind, and I'm just at a loss of what to do. I still respect him and love him like my own brother, but can you think of anything that I could do?


Desperate to Rescue

Dear Desperate,

Not only is there nothing you CAN do, there's nothing you SHOULD do.

Let's be honest, here: your real issue is that he's decided to marry Her Now, instead of possibly marrying You Later. (If you don't know let me teach you now that when a person is speaking - or writing - and they use the word "but", everything before that word is a cover, and everything after that word is how they truly feel. That certainly enlightens one when reading your email.)

Should he have chosen to go on a mission? Yeah, he probably should have.

Is there anything you can say to change his mind now? As the Lord has told you, very doubtful.

Even if you went for broke, pulling him aside, confessing your feelings, telling him that you've always hoped he would serve and then come home and date (perhaps even marry) you, it's not likely to change anything. (Unless of course he's not as Good a Guy everyone thinks he is, meaning that a simple confession from you would prompt him to drop another girl he's already committed to making temple covenants with.

I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but think it through: if he really liked you, why pick her?

If in that scenario he picked the mission and/or you, you would likely just be an excuse to get out of the other relationship, and you couldn't necessarily trust that he would then commit to you for the long term.)

He's afraid to go.

I'm not calling him a coward, please understand, by any means, but he is afraid.

What he probably fears is that he'll lose this girl to someone else.

And he's probably right. (When you're 18, 19, it's difficult to understand that there's more than one great person out there for you, even if you're convinced that several people out there would love to steal the person you like.)

And let's be clear here: it's not like he's a big jerk and a spiritual loser. The dude is getting married in the Temple for Time and All Eternity; like you said, while we wish the timing were a little different, we can't help but be happy for them.

He likely would have been a great missionary, and someday he'll look back and regret not going (at least a little), but those types of decisions and the consequences for them are between the person and Heavenly Father.

As much as it may be difficult to write (and read), not everyone who should serve, and CAN serve, will. That doesn't make them bad people.

And don't worry, you'll find another Good Guy to fall for.

- Bro Jo

[Readers -

What do you think?

Does she like him?

Should she say something?

Part 2 will post on Monday.

- Bro Jo]


Anonymous said...

I don't think she should say anything, despite her feelings for him. There is a lot of social pressure connected to the choice to serve a mission, but it's ultimately his decision whether to serve a mission or not and really none of her business.

If his family and girlfriend can't convince him to serve a mission, some girl who has a thing for him isn't either.

Anonymous said...

You could be right, but I don't think she's interested in him like that. Even if she has some lingering feelings from high school, I truly don't believe jealousy is the root of the issue. I have a group of guys I've been friends with since late Primary (so nearly eight years). I love them dearly, and look up to them in an older brother type fashion. I would NEVER marry any of them, though we wish nothing but the best for each other. They are wonderful young men, spiritual powerhouses. If any of them even considered forgoing a mission, I would be heartbroken. I think that same concept is exactly what's going on with Desperate here. If I were in her shoes, I would be fasting and praying very hard for him to make the right decision. I'd probably make a minute indication of my opinion, but I wouldn't put up a big stink because it isn't my place. It's his life, and no matter how badly she wants him to open himself up to the blessings of a mission, that is a choice only he can make. He has to want it.

Jdawg said...

Okay, I seriously think she's over-reacting about this. I'm not advocating men not serving, but whether or not a man served a mission has a limited impact eternally. He is getting married in the temple for crying out loud! I now how much a mission fosters life-long learning, and is is a great way to draw close to the Lord, but it's not the only way. My dad had to make that choice, and he knew that the Lord wanted him to get married. His EQP didn't like that and tried to talk him out of it, but 37 years later, he hasn't regretted it, even now as a bishop.