Dear Bro Jo,
Thanks for replying so soon. There's a few more things you need to know that might change things:
He's actually been clean for nearly 4 months and has been to the temple with me in May to do baptisms for the dead with my ward. I was talking to him yesterday, and the only thing that makes him not ready to marry is that he hasn't yet gotten an answer from Heavenly Father. I specifically asked what is keeping him from being ready or making the decision. He's been praying and he wants to get revelation for himself if this is the right thing to do instead of just jumping into it because he wants to marry me.
How long in your opinion would he need to be clean to be sealed to me, if we decide to marry? We both want to, but are waiting for a confirmation from Heavenly Father before deciding to be formally engaged.
My first response to this email was to write to you and say how wonderful it is that I'm wrong and that he's on the right track! But to be honest, and I apologize if this sounds pessimistic, but something still doesn't feel right . . .
And the "new" information doesn't change anything for me.
It's the timing.
The dude has been home from his mission for several years now. He "relapsed" into his porn addiction but has been "clean" for four months . . . see, what I'm seeing looks like this:
- Pre-mission - struggled with porn
- Mission - hopefully clean
- Post-mission - "relapsed" into his porn addiction for several years (please note: in terms of repentance we don't call it "relapse", we call it "not yet repented of" - you can't fully repent until you "turn forever away")
- Started Dating You 5+ months ago
- Two months later stopped viewing porn
- One or two months after that (and here's where I have the biggest problem) was cleared by his Bishop AND given a baptismal recommend (after being "clean" for a very short period of time) and allowed by your Bishop to go and do Baptisms for the Dead in the Temple
Forgive me, but . . . no way.
There's no way a guy has a life-long history of porn addiction, confesses everything to his Bishop and is given clearance to go to the Temple one month later.
Look, I'm not the guy's Bishop, and his repentance process is certainly none of my business - that's between he, the Bishop, and the Lord - but I find it very difficult to believe that a guy started dating a girl seriously (by the way, I hope you noticed that, based on what I've been told, his porn problem overlapped a large chunk of the time you've been dating), went and told his Bishop "hey, I've been a pornography addict for over 10 years, but I stopped a month ago" and the Bishop said "that sounds like true repentance to me! Here's a Temple recommend, son. Go with whatever ward you like."
I pray that I'm wrong; and as Sister Jo will tell you (as well as several of the "Dear Bro Jo" readers) I'm wrong all the time.
But something just doesn't fit.
Perhaps I'm being dumb.
Wouldn't be the first time.
Or the last.
There's no set timetable when it comes to returning to full fellowship with the Lord. Depending on the transgression and the efforts of the individual, six months to a year might be realistic.
But whatever you do, don't agree to a marriage until the repenting is over.
- Bro Jo