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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How Do You Get Your Kids to Go to a Church School?

Dear Bro Jo-

My daughter will be a high school junior this year so we talk about careers and colleges a lot.

She has never really wanted to attend a Church school but has been more willing to consider it now that the decision must be made.

I attended BYU when I was married so I don't think I can say how the school is socially.

I enjoyed my married wards but I don't know what the current spiritual and social climates are like.

The students attending BYU right now from our home ward are not giving BYU glowing reviews.

They were disappointed.

My daughter has been disappointed that some of our strongest young women are not posting things they never did here and were so strongly opposed to.

My only desire is that she attend a university with a strong single adult ward and good institute program.

We are looking at New York City, Boston, San Antonio, and Jacksonville Florida.

Is BYU still better than other universities when it comes to spiritual and social environments?

Are the singles wards outside of Utah getting bigger and stronger?

Perhaps you and your readers can give me on the ground analysis:)


- A Confused Parent

Dear Confused Parent,

School, like Church, is one of those things that you get out of it what you put in.

And no one magically becomes a different person just because they went off to school.

When someone goes to a positive place filled with Spiritual opportunities and they have a lousy experience its because if what they brought to the experience.

Wherever she considers going to school, visiting the student ward there, meeting the Bishopric, Institute Director and some of the students is crucial before she commits to a decision.

This is a tough transition time for parents, too.

Give her encouragement and support, but the choice will have to be hers.

Hang in there, mom!

If it helps, yes I think there are benefits to attending a Church school (or Church-based, like Southern Virginia University), but there are also many, many amazing University Wards and Institutes of Religion outside the Zion Curtain.

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

Concerned Mom-
I am from a not state with a large LDS population, and did not go to school in a church school. But I did and do go to a school with great singles wards, and those wards were made up of great, beautiful, kind, loving people, all of whom, including me, face the challenges of school in general and of life. They were and are my family away from my family. What you get out of school comes from what you put into it. Love them, share what you believe, let them choose where they feel is right. Prayers, and faith go a long way!

Bro Jo said...


Check out the followup to this post Wednesday, August 13th!

- Bro Jo

Anonymous said...

I did some apartment/ward/stake hopping when I was at BYU-I so I'll say this about church school wards, perspective is everything.

In some wards I had a better time than others. This was largely due to my own development and growth, how I chose to spend my time, and the attitude I chose to have, not who was actually there with me.

If you want to find the kids who live on the edge, you'll find them. If you want to find the super fun nice guys, you'll find them. If you want to live with either won't have much of a choice until you actually start making friends and plan out room settings.

I had a bully for a roommate my first semester and it nearly broke me, but every semester after that I was very lucky to have awesome uplifting people for my roommates and friends. I lived with one of the most inspiring women I've ever met for my last two years and she and I will probably be friends for life.

The good news about church schools is that they are largely devoid of open sex, drugs, harassment and pornography. I'm not saying it doesn't happen and kids aren't regularly kicked out for it, but the rate is greatly reduced at church schools. In Rexburg, the campus crime reports are typically below five counts. Considering the population size, this is un-heard of. People feel so dangerously safe on these campus's that they have to remind us to lock our apartment doors on Sunday as things do still get stolen.

The environment is awesome. At BYU-I, the campus classes are kept small so your professors actually know who you are and most are great at working with you. Everyone is typically respectful and polite. However you do get the occasional zealous types who snub their noses at you when you fail the perfect meter. These are the kind of people who managed to get Naked juice banned from campus vending machines.

As for the dating, to be frank, it stinks for some and its awesome for others. Most people are on edge a lot about the whole dating thing, (as most of Bro Jo's fans can attest) but there are those who are really cool about it like my cousin who is a regular Casanova. Marriage does happen, just not as much as it used to in the grand old days.

She's going to have a lot of awesome and terrifying moments during the next few years and this would be true no matter where your daughter goes to school. I know education tends to lead people into thinking they can plan for and control every little thing and create a perfect experience, but it's not reality. Life will still happen no matter where we chose to live.

The trick, is to keep a personal positive perspective.