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Friday, March 28, 2014

Sleep Overs

Dear Bro Jo,


I've got a mate in YSA who I've pretty much grown up with.

We're both 19 and both of us have our mission calls, so we're just waiting to leave :) A month or so ago (before his call arrived), he asked me a question I wasn't expecting during a road trip to a neighbouring stake.

He's a very social chap, this friend of mine.

He told me that he often goes over to the homes of other YSA in our stake (normally female) when they hold small social gatherings with guys and girls and talk until the wee hours of the morning about all sorts of things- life, church, the guys and girls in YSA, etc.

I knew all this, but that's not where the question lay.

As he's not licensed, he often is dropped off by his parents or catches a ride with other YSA to these things, but then goes on to stay the night being the only male in the house with two girls.

He went on to ask me if I thought that was inappropriate.

To tell you the truth, I didn't know what to answer.

I said that if it had been just him and a female in the house, then it would have been an outright 'yes, that's wildly inappropriate' but since there was another female I said it wasn't as bad, but still not entirely ideal. 

Even then though, to me it still doesn't seem right.

I don't suspect him of doing anything wrong (and nor should I- it's not my place to judge), but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Should I be more vocal in my concern?


- Missionary-in-waiting

Dear Missionary,

His actions are SO INAPPROPRIATE my head is swimming with where to start!

First let me address the topic that seems to never go away: y'all play too fast and loose with the word "judgment".

When Christ says that Judgment is the Lord's and warns not to cast stones at others, what he's teaching is that it's not our place to Spiritually Condemn a Soul, nor is it our place to decide if a Soul has been forgiven BECAUSE, and this is very important, we are neither the Savior nor his Appointed Judges.

For the record:  Bishops, Stake Presidents, and Apostles ARE appointed to be judges here on earth. Not to condemn, but to verify sinful behavior, act on behalf of the individual and the Church in regards to determining a person's worthiness and, most importantly, help with repentance.

Those responsibilities, the scriptures teach us, don't end with their death, either.

While serving as a Judge in Israel may have an Earthly timeout, those same people are told to be expected to serve again in that capacity when they're in the Spirit World.

This is also not to say that we are not to 'judge" behavior.

In fact, we're required to.

How else will we keep ourselves on the straight and narrow path?

We must be able to say "those people over there in the Great and Spacious Building are doing wicked things; my goal is to return to my Heavenly Father and I know that those actions will keep me from getting where I want to go, therefore I will not do those bad things like those people are doing".

Recognizing that does not mean that we're condemning them, but rather that we see that their actions, especially if not repented of, will lead to their condemnation.

We can see friends and relatives, people we know, people we hear of, people we love, people in our lives or that we observe (even in the media or on social networking), doing dumb stuff and righteously say "that's a dumb thing to do", and in their so doing lose respect for them, sorrow for them, worry about them, or dismiss their actions as stupid; AND we have a responsibility to do so.

If we can't tell the difference between right and wrong, how then Future Elder, can we help others to see the error of their ways and help them unto repentance, thus mending their relationship with God and growing closer unto their Savior?

Does witnessing that behavior, recognizing that it's bad, labeling it as such, give us the right to act as if we're better than someone else?

No way!

Does seeing the sin in others make us above reproach?

Not in the least!

Simply saying "wow, that's a dumb thing to do" does not mean that I'm never dumb; in fact, I must be careful that in my judgment of situations or behavior I not allow myself to think that I, a lowly sinner, am better than anyone else for that is the very sin that Christ was speaking of.


I hope that all makes sense.

Item 2: Your buddy staying the night at the home of single women.

Heck yeah that's bad!

While they may not be fooling around, the temptation to do so is huge, plus (and I think this is the bigger deal) the Appearance of Evil is unmistakable.

A Good Man will protect a woman's virtue and reputation by never letting her be placed in a situation where either could be doubted or questioned.

I think Too Many People don't get that; too many "guys" are not Gentlemen.

Gentlemen respect and Honor Women.

Whether they want or think they deserve to be honored.

Shame on him.

And shame on the girls that let him stay over.

I hope your friend gains some insight and perspective Before he reports to the MTC . . .

Congratulations to both of you on your Mission Calls,

 - Bro Jo


Josh said...

In life there are going to be many times that we have to judge for ourselves whether something is right or wrong to do. Generally a good litmus test to use for these personal decisions is whether or not you have a question about the activity. If you are unsure and need to ask advice from a friend, it is typically a good sign that it is not something that you should be doing.

My guess is that most people do not recognize the confused state as being the spirit trying to direct you and instead decide that if they can find someone to tell them that the activity is OK, then they can stop worrying about it.

Asking Brother Jo is a great way to check to make sure that you are on the right path and help others to learn from your experience before they find themselves in the same experience, but the spirit is also more than willing to help out.

Hutch said...

I agree that he shouldn't be staying with single women. There are plenty of other young men and other good friends of these young women that he could stay with. While I agree with Bro Jo on the judgment spectrum to a certain degree, I still think that there is a misconception. If you're on the other side of the line (which you have been). Say you have a family member who did something very wrong and is ashamed...or you, yourself, have done something you are truly humiliated about it, and someone finds out about it and avoids you because of it to save themselves and stay away from the "great and spacious building", that just does not sound very Christ-like to me. Gossiping about people who are doing wrong things is not okay either. You don't know where they are in the repentance process. You don't know anything and so rather than judging them, make sure you're always keeping yourself in check, but love them as the Savior would and don't ignore them or make them feel like a bad person. Unless he deliberately asks you if you THINK it's okay, I don't think you need to go out of your way to chastise the kid. In a situation like this, it's okay to tell your friend that you wouldn't do it yourself and you think it's inappropriate, but don't jump to the conclusion that he's a bad person or that he's having sex with these girls because he's staying the night. Maybe the parents of the home are very close to him and have a room set aside for him and are very aware. You do not know and if you think you do and you cast a stone, you ARE being judgmental regardless of what anyone says.