Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (with occasional additional posts, too).

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, Bro Jo is not a spokesman or authority for the LDS Church. (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.

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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 dearbrojo@gmail.com.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Scared and Alone - Part 5 of 15: Making the Call

Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks for making me cry!

I guess you are right though, and I should probably listen.

There have been a few times that I've felt those things, but I guess it didn't register in my mind what it really was.

I'm not the most spiritual person and I don't have the strongest testimony.

Talking to them would probably help me clear my mind and be able to listen to the Spirit more, but again it comes back to me being too scared to do anything.

I grew up not telling people how I feel and keeping everything to myself, even things like this.

It's something I just can't bring myself to do.

Thanks!

 - Scared




Dear Scared

You can do it!

Of all the things in life there are to fear, talking to people who love us and have our best interests at heart should never be one of them. 

Look . . . you're talking to me . . . and you don't even know me!

Allow yourself to be whole and happy!

Allow yourself to feel unburdened.

Allow yourself to know that you are loved.

Make the call.

I promise that you'll be glad you did.

Go ahead.

I'll wait right here.

- Bro Jo

Friday, June 26, 2015

Dating Again After a Bad Marriage

Dear Bro Jo,

I had a friend tell me about your blog and if I had a problem I could send you an email.

Well I’m kind of in a weird situation and need advice so here goes.

I feel as if my dating life is an oxymoron I haven’t had a lot of dating experiences yet I have been married and divorced.

He was a friend of a friend and come out of nowhere (I had been on dates before but not very many and never with the same person more then once).

I was 19 at the time and we dated exclusively (the only reason that we were exclusive is because there was really no one else asking me and I honestly didn’t know what I was doing because the whole dating thing was completely new to me) for eight or nine months and I guess he took it more seriously then I did and it wasn’t long before the subject of marriage came up.

I was never the kind of person to get married just to get married, but had grown up in a home where marriage is considered the right thing to do and a commandment nonetheless as do most of us. I considered the marriage discussion and what he thought and agreed to marry him because it was the ‘right thing to do’.

We were married I was 20 he was 23. (I forgot to mention I came from a very sheltered family and sex was rarely discussed. I knew the basic mechanics of it but not much and I didn’t know I was supposed to discuss that with my husband.)

He became frustrated that I didn’t know anything about sex and he started yelling at me on our honeymoon and asking me to tell him what my expectations were regarding sex.

I began to have panic attacks whenever he tried to become sexual with me this lasted for almost two years.

He also became - I’m not sure what to call it -he was upset over most everything I did wrong, would become frustrated when I couldn’t figure things out on my own and would ask for his help, would yell at me when I would forget to tell him important things, etc.

We did go to counseling, but he didn’t agree with what the counselor advised and wasn’t willing to do what was advised.

He said too much time had passed and that I was the one giving him the ultimatum if he agreed to see the counselor.

He begin drinking and left the Church and told me that he didn’t love me anymore and for me to leave his house, but he wouldn’t file divorce and wouldn’t let me file either.

Finally after talking with the counselor I went ahead any filed anyway and miraculously he signed.

It’s been a couple years and now I don’t know where to begin knowing that I’m old and the experience that I’ve had doesn’t give a positive light.

I know I shouldn’t judge everything based off of one experience, but this is the only thing I really have had to compare to.

I know marriage shouldn’t be about sex but I know it is somewhat expected especially if you want to have a family, but knowing that I can’t eventually give people what they need (I don’t think I’ll be able to give sex to my future spouse because of my panic attacks and also my only experience with it has been horrible) and how do I explain that to somebody?

I have a hard time dating also because it eventually leads to marriage.

I feel as if starting over from square one at age 25 I feel as if I’m behind and don’t know to catch up.

I’m OK with the idea of dating again it’s not that I’m not ready.

I feel ready its just that I don’t know how to discuss this situation with someone, especially to explain why I am so skittish.

I need to know what I can do to put myself out there again and maybe where and how to start.

Sorry this has been so long but hopefully you'll be able to come up with something

Thanks,

- Need Help




Dear Help,

An "oxymoron" being a phrase that contradicts itself, "dating life" sure doesn't qualify as one, even if your current dating life could be called "DOA".

At any age, you increase your dating opportunities by:

1. Getting to know more people

2. Making it known that you're available for dating

3. Doing your best to be positive and happy


You may also want to check out:

Bro Jo’s TEN WAYS a GIRL CAN GET a GUY to CALL

Bro Jo's "HOW a GIRL CAN GET a GUY to ASK HER on a DATE"


That said, you have every right to feel worried. 

You've been through some pretty difficult things . . .

But I certainly don't think your hopes for marriage and happiness are over.

No, not even at the "old" age of 25!

I recommend that, if you're ready to date, you just focus on having fun; there's no need to talk about your sexual worries until you're serious enough about someone that marriage and sex (in that order, of course) is a possibility.

I believe that there's a man out there that will love you and be understanding and tender and patient. 

Heck, I'll bet there's more than one!

But for now, worry not.

Allow yourself to be wooed, allow yourself to have fun.

Trust me: not every man is an abusive jerk.

And if you need to take a step back, to take a break from dating for a while, that's fine, too!

Sometimes the best thing we can do is not rush; rather than push to date, let dates happen.

May you find the joy the Lord has planned for you,

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Holding Hands and Cuddling: What's Right and What's Wrong?

Dear Bro Jo,

So there's this boy I like.

I’m 16, he’s 17.

He took me on a date about 3 weeks ago and we doubled with two others and watched a movie at someone’s house.

He held my hand and put his arm around me.

We pretty much acknowledged that we like each other a little bit after that.

He knows I do not want to steady date or get into anything serious right now, and neither does he.

We just like each other, and I don’t want it to be anything more.

So, was it wrong to hold hands?

I don't mean to sound like I'm over-thinking everything (which I probably am) but I just really really want to do what’s right, but I really did like holding his hand!

Tomorrow we are going as a group of friends to a movie.

Should I let him hold my hand or..what?

I am so new to this so I am just curious about what I should do, thanks SO much!!

- I




Dear I,

I don't see anything wrong with you two holding hands while you're on a Casual Group Date (but remember that The Dating Rules say that you shouldn't date the same person twice in a row).

At someone's house watching a movie?

That might cross a line.

Videos at someone's house is not a date, it's a hangout, whether there are even numbers paired off or not.

Plus, in that setting, holding hands is very close to cuddling, and that you shouldn't do.

The other thing you need to understand is that holding hands makes everyone else think you're a couple; start doing that too much or in non-date situations, and regardless of what you both say, everyone will be right; you will be.

Holding hands is pretty cool, though!

Sister Jo and I hold hands whenever we go out, unless she's holding my arm, which she seems to like better and does more often.

She says it makes her feel like I'm escorting her.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

On our date we had gone out and then came back to watch a movie.

What exactly defines 'cuddling' and why is it wrong?

- I




Dear I,

Going back to someone's house to watch a movie is classic a "let's go somewhere and cuddle and make out" set up.  It's still "hanging out" because the date is, technically, over when you're no longer "out".

Cuddling is like a hug, but not as brief. Any prolonged holding could be called cuddling, but typically I think of it as sitting close and holding each other.  I think heads on laps, shoulders, and leaning on each other also qualifies as cuddling.

It's not "wrong" . . . if you're married . . . or close to it.  Cuddling is affectionate and intimate . . . and that's good . . . when you're at that point in life.

The other thing you need to know is that the distance between cuddling and petting (that's the touching of each other - specifically the parts that garments cover - with the point of arousing ourselves and each other) is a very, very short distance.

People tell themselves all the time that they can do one and avoid the other . . . but it's not really that simple.

That's why it's not good for young people to cuddle.

 - Bro Jo

Monday, June 22, 2015

Scared and Alone: Part 4 of 15: Hearing the Spirit More Clearly

Dear Bro Jo,

I guess your right about him not being a very good friend.

He doesn't always beg for sex, but he only seems to want to talk to me when we talk about that or he's getting pictures.

For me talking to someone is so hard, because I hate expressing my feelings and my thoughts.

I tend to keep things to myself and never let it out.

Over all I've never really done anything that wrong and not exactly growing up in the Church.

I'm not used to having to talk to the Bishop or anyone else.

I guess I’m just afraid people being disappointed or upset.

I can't stand people being upset with me.

I have thought about talking to my Young Women’s Leader first, just because she is a second mom to me and I can talk to her about anything.

My only fear there is I know she loves me and again I would hate to see her disappointment or whatever she may feel.

- Scared




Dear Scared,

People who truly love us, who are our real friends, continue to love us even though they're sad or disappointed.

And that, dear sister, is a Similitude of the Savior.

His love is unconditional.

All the time.

Forever.

Does He ever wish that we didn't do what we did?

Of course!

But he never stops loving. 

I suspect that your YW Leader and your Bishop are exactly the same way.

You said before that you're not sure what the Spirit feels like . . . well, I'm going to tell you!

You know that thought you get that you should talk to your YW Leader?

That's the Spirit. You know that feeling you have when you've helped someone, told the truth, or something good has gone right?

Yup!

That's the Spirit.

You know how sometimes you're going along and you think "hey, I should call this person / drive slower / be careful here / remember to grab that thing I need"?

The Spirit Every Single Time.

See, those are Good Things, and All Good Things come from God, and the say he sends them to us is . . . Right!

The Spirit.

So, even though you may not feel the Spirit all the time (and no one that I know personally does, by the way) you do feel it . . . perhaps more often than you realize.

The other thing I can tell you for certain is that when you listen to the Spirit, when you do those things you need to do, you feel it more often, you hear it more clearly.

True story.

- Bro Jo

Friday, June 19, 2015

Wanting a Relationship in High School

Dear Bro Jo,

I really want to try having a relationship in high school.

I have been flirting with some boys and trying to get the ball rolling...

But both of my best friends in the whole world without effort are now both dating people.

Most of my LDS friends are dating too.

I really want to just try dating.

Because no boy has ever been interested and the boys I told a long time of go that I liked him and he said I don't want to be in a relationship then he got in a relationship with someone else, I feel as though I am worthless and that I don't mean anything to anyone.

I also by nature am someone who really cares about people and everyone cries on my shoulder but I am really going through a hard time with this and I have to shoulder to cry on I have my parents but I need someone my age.

I feel like no boy will ever care about me.

I know I have worth but I feel like I am worthless right now and that no boy will ever care about me. Let me know what you thing.

- Hopeless Times




Dear Hope,

(No one is "hopeless"!)

Don't do it.

Look, I'm old, but I'm not dumb.

I get the appeal of pre- high school graduation relationships.

For one thing, as you've alluded to, it gives a sense of validation.

A false one, but still . . .

You're still at an age where you use melodramatic phrases like "no boy will ever care about me" - which of course isn't true - but that's just the thing: these early relationships bring a lot of drama and hormones and emotional baggage that I frankly just don't recommend.

Yes, all of the Jo Kids (so far) have been in relationships at one point or another in their teens.

And once they got old enough they all have commented on the drama and pressure and about it being more trouble than it was worth.

Not that they didn't like who they were in a relationship with. Some of them still do.

But, I'm telling you, Casual Group Dating is by far the better way to go.

All of the fun.  None of the drama!

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fear of Marriage

Dear Bro Jo,

I am currently attending BYU-Idaho.

I am 19, but I have been independent since I was 17.

For those who know BYUI (Or BYU-I Do), marriage seems to come up fairly often in Church, class, devotionals, and common talk.

I love the idea of marriage. I am with a boy who I can see myself marrying. I love him for who he is and who he helps me to be. He is the type of boy that will put God before me- this is of great importance to me.

This all being said, I am a child of an abusive father.

Once a member, he started to drink again and become more and more abusive to my mother- part of the reason I left was to escape him.

I want to be married, but I am scared to have my marriage crumble into what my parents have.

I know the boy I love would never do what my father has done and continues to do, but that example has scarred me for future relationships.

How can I fear something, that I want so badly?

This may sound like a strange question, but how do I let people in?

How can I get over the fear of marrying a person like my father?

How does the child of an abusive parent let someone in and create the happy family they greatly crave?

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

If you're struggling with the scars of abuse you may need more specific and personal counseling than I can give here.

If you're not sure where to go, talk to your Bishop.

He has access to local numbers and resources.


In more general terms, marriage can be scary.

And that is a good thing.

A little fear can show that we respect the importance of something.

Having the desire to do so is the first step towards creating the family life you're hoping for.

You've clearly got that.


The second step is to do your due diligence.

That means to date with a purpose; yes, dating should be fun, and yes you shouldn't take those first few dates too seriously, but you also need to keep your goal of a happy eternal family in mind.

No sense getting serious with someone who can't help that happen.

Another part of due diligence is to do your research.

That can include things like Bro Jo's Five A's of Why Not to Marry That Person and Bro Jo's Things You Need to Know Before You Get Engaged, but the bottom line is that there needs to be an understanding that marriage is not just a box you check off of your bucket list.

As marriage becomes a possibility you'll want to share your fears and concerns with the young man in question.

As your relationship grows you'll feel more open and confident.


And that brings us to the third thing: work.

No marriage is blissful every moment of every day.

You both need to be willing to work on your marriage constantly and trust that the other person is willing to work, too.

A good friend of mine says "everyone thinks that Love is at the top of the list to make a marriage successful, but that's not true; love is great, but no honest person loves their spouse every minute of every day; the key to a long and successful marriage is TRUST".

And that's 100% true.


You'll know things will be okay when you Trust that this man won't abuse you or your children.

And when he can trust that you trust him.

And you each understand that people make mistakes, that they can trust you to give them a chance to make it right, and you can trust that they will make it right.


Lastly, remember that Fear is the opposite of Faith.  As we grow in our Faith and Testimony of the Savior, we'll fear less.

- Bro Jo

Monday, June 15, 2015

Scared and Alone - Part 3 of 15: What Kind of Friend Does That?

Dear Bro Jo,

It is hard being the "lone person in the wilderness" as you described it, but I know that I shouldn't let that get me down.

I do miss the comforting feeling we get, but at the same time I don't think I truly know how it feels or how to recognize it.

I had no contact with the Church until I was seven and ended up being baptized at eight, but for most of my life after that my whole family was inactive.

I've only been truly active for these past three years.

I do need to start praying more and reading my scriptures daily, but I just don't have the drive to do it.

I'm sure if I just started doing it, eventually it would become something I want to do daily, but that first step is hard.

About the guy situation, I should probably quit talking to him. It would suck losing the friendship, but I don't need the distraction of him always asking for sex an inappropriate pictures.

Talking to the Bishop about it would probably help me take the steps I need to get out of the situation and to help me repent for the things that I have done in the past with him.

We've never done anything sexual, but he has sent inappropriate text messages and asked for pictures.
Also talking to him would probably help with my problems of keeping The Word of Wisdom.

I"m just too scared. .

Thanks!

- Scared




Dear Scared,

It's always hard to start doing what's good for us.

I certainly know that!

As a guy who needs to constantly work on keeping his weight in check . . . well, right now I can't stop thinking about doughnuts!

I don't mean to make light of your situation, but I do think there are some similarities.

Can I tell you that I don't think friends beg for sex and send (and ask for) inappropriate pictures?

I mean, what kind of "friend" does that?!?

Certainly not one that's thinking about your well-being . . .

I understand that talking to someone can be scary . . . that's Satan working on you.

Seriously, what is there to be afraid of?

It just seems like you've got so much to gain and nothing to lose.

- Bro Jo

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cutting the Cord . . . at 26

Dear Bro Jo,

I don't like when my Mom makes decisions without my permission.

I'm almost 26 years old and sometimes she still treats me like a little girl and I don't like it at all.

My Mom is making me got some testing done because she is worried that I have something wrong with me.  Today I had to get blood drawn.  Then she wants me to get an ultrasound done on my tummy and I don't want to have it done because I'm afraid something will be found and my life will be different and I will have to have surgery and I don't want to be different than the way I already am.

Please give me some advice I how to deal with all of these.

Please give me any advice you have on how to handle all of things?

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

At 26 your mom can't MAKE you do anything (unless, of course, for some reason you haven't disclosed here, she has custodial authority).

She only has power over you because you give her that power.

If you don't want to do something, tell her no.

In a nice way, of course.

Now, if she wants to suggest that you get some tests done, and you agree that's a good idea, get the tests done.

That's your decision, not hers.

AND it may be a very good one.

Refusing to get tests done because it wasn't your idea, or because you’re afraid of the results ... well, frankly that's just you acting like a big ol' baby.

If you want to be treated like an adult, you need to act like one.

Consider this: just exactly how does Anyone make an Adult do anything?

Unless there's the threat of violence, then what you're agreeing to do is your decision not hers.

Good luck on your tests,

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Age Differences: 20 and 26 (one graduated and one still in college)

Aloha Bro Jo!

I hope you will have some insight on my predicament… I have been dating an RM for the past five months and I'll be completely honest I've fallen head over heals for him.

The only problem is that we're at two different stages in our lives:  he is 26 and graduated and currently working and I just recently turned 20 and am currently still attending college.

We absolutely love spending all the time we can together when I come home from school on the weekends and I wouldn't want to be with anyone else.

The only problem is that not only he but also my parents hate the age difference.

I try to over look it since it is only 6 years…

Should I worry?

And is it going to get harder since we are at two different places in our lives?

Or am I over thinking the whole situation?

Help??

Mahalo,

- Confused College Girl




Dear College,

I'm sorry, I just don't see any problem with him being 26 and you 20, or him being out of college and you still working on your education.

Couples, regardless of age, are often "at different places in their lives"; that's much less important than how you deal with those types of things.

At your age 26 is not too old, nor at his age is 20 too young.

And in college or out, we should all always be trying to learn new things.

He me iki ia.

Ke Akua pu a hui hou,

- Bro Jo

Monday, June 8, 2015

Scared and Alone: Part 2 of 15: The Lone Person in the Wilderness

Dear Bro Jo,

I kind of realized that after sitting back and thinking about your last email.

By then it was too late though, because I had already responded.

My relationship to the Gospel and the Savior are probably not the best right now.

I attend church every Sunday, but I don't pray and read the scriptures as much as I could.

There have been a lot of people around me including most of my family and a recently baptized friend who have been slowly falling away from the Church and also not following the word of wisdom. Watching them do so has been hard, and I've ended up partially falling with them.

I'm not trying to use them as an excuse, because I know my doings are my own fault, but I guess after thinking about it, I haven't taken the steps that I needed to stay confident in the Church and follow the standards.

So I guess you could say my relationship with the Gospel and the Savior are not the best right now. 

Thanks!

- Scared




Dear Scared,

I think it's hard to be the "lone person in the wilderness" . . .

And I think loneliness is one of Satan's most powerful tools.

It sounds like you miss feeling the Spirit often . . . like you miss that comforting feeling we get when we know that, while we're not perfect, we're doing our best to be our best.

I think you're right: twice-daily prayer, daily scripture study, and attending all of our Church meetings helps a lot with that.

I don't think you're making excuses . . . but I think you know what you need to do.

For one: what should you do to help with this boy?

And what do you think would be the advantage, even though it's scary, in talking with your Bishop?

- Bro Jo

Friday, June 5, 2015

Texting too much or not enough?

Dear Bro Jo,

I just came across your blog and it's fantastic!

Tons of great advice.

I had a quick question.

I'm a 22 year old woman and just had 'the talk' with this guy I've been dating for the past month.

Usually, I get a text from him in the morning and we text consistently throughout the day.

Today was different.

He hasn't really talked to me at all which is ok, I just didn't know what to think.

I'm probably being ridiculous.

What is your view on texting when you're in a new relationship?

Should I wait for him to text like I usually do?

I feel like I'm playing a game here.. Is that still necessary?

Or am I freaking out over nothing?

- Confused YSA




Dear YSA,

I'm not much of a texter . . . can't get my hands to move fast enough . . . (which is weird because I type about 100 wpm) . . .

And I think texting is bad thing to make the center piece of communication in a relationship.

It's just so impersonal . . .

In order, from best to worst, I list it this way:

1. Talking in person
2. Flirting across the room
3. Talking on the phone
4. Writing a hand-written letter
5. Postcard or other kind of card
6. Email
7. Video Conference Skype
8. Chatting on line (like Facebook or Google Chat)
9. Smoke Signals
10. Telepathy
11. Texting 

Actually, Sister Jo and I have a telepathy thing going . . . so I might bump Telepathy to somewhere in the top three . . . and it CAN be like flirting across the room . . .


To your other questions, given the little information I have, I think:

1. You're probably being a little ridiculous.
2. Yes, you should wait for him to text you first.
3. It IS a game, and it IS necessary. But games are much more fun and easier to understand when you TALK IN PERSON.
4. Yes, for now I think you're freaking out over nothing. 

Text less. Talk more.

It's much more revealing and intimate.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dealing with a Critical Parent

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro Jo, So this question doesn't have to do with dating, but I thought you could be of some help in this tricky situation.

Basically, my mother is very critical and judgmental and I just don't know how to properly deal with it.

She feels the need to point out every flaw or problem going on in mine and my siblings' lives, and often makes judgmental and frankly rude comments about others. It bothers me that she always seems to see the glass as half-empty, feeling pessimistic and cynical about people.

I am 19 years old, and while I was off at school this past year, it continued.

I know she is having trouble letting go of her children as she and my father will have an "empty nest" in a few short years and my older brothers have started their own families. I understand how hard this must be, and that she is having a hard time letting go of control.

Nonetheless, I still feel like she really does need to let us go, allow us to live our own lives, make our own decisions, and even mistakes sometimes.

I do go to my mom for advice sometimes and I think her experience is a good source for guidance. I just wish she would stop meddling in my life unasked.

I try to tell her that while she has the right to her own opinion about decisions I make, I still am a financially independent 19 year old young woman who has her own agency.

I pay for all my college and other expenses, and feel like this should warrant some respect from her as I make my own decisions. It also just hurts me to see her be so critical of people who love and care for her.

She always reads into people's words and actions as being backhanded or "just being polite" and she doesn't feel that anyone at church cares to truly be her friend.

I know that people really do want to be kind to her and help her, but I'm afraid she pushes them away with her negative attitude and pessimistic perspective.

I would love nothing more to be able to instill some faith in my mom somehow. I wish she would have more hope and more unconditional love towards others.

It saddens me that she feels the need to be a perfectionist, and I think this behavior stems from her overly critical parents.

I want to help her, but I don't know how to react. It hurts to feel constantly like you aren't good enough or meeting her expectations.

I remind myself that I am good enough, that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me, and that I have divine potential. I have fantastic friends, coworkers, and siblings who are supportive, build me up, encourage me, and even give constructive criticism.

But, my mother rarely ever praises me for what I do right. I don't need her approval to know that I am making good decisions.

I am doing well in school, working hard to pay for it, have good friendships, am preparing to serve a mission, and do my best to be a righteous person.

But I never hear anything from her about these accomplishments.

Like I said, I still feel confident in myself, but it would be nice to know that my own MOTHER feels proud of me.

Her criticisms are typically about insignificant matters to me, such as how messy my hair looks today, or how wrinkled my shirt is, or how acne-spotted my face has become and that I should take care of it better. She exaggerates a lot and just makes a big deal out of small matters.

Sorry for the long rambling message, but I guess my question is, how do I show Christlike love towards my mom when she is acting so petty, critical, and mean?

How do I respond when she criticizes me that is respectful, but still firm, without causing an argument?

I want to have a good relationship with my mother, but her negative spirit makes me want to run to the more positive people in my life.

I want to be able to spend time with her without getting angry, offended, or feeling put down.

Help?

- Criticized




Dear Criticized,

What would Jesus do?

Sorry. I don't mean to be cliché or flippant; I'm serious.

How did Christ respond when people were unfairly critical?

Or when they didn't show him the appreciation he deserved?

I read your email, I thought: this girl is in denial, clearly conflicted, and could perhaps benefit from re-reading her own email.

Try this exercise: go back through your email and separate each sentence / idea into two columns. 

One column is positive stuff.

The other column is negative stuff.

Some sentences might be split in two (your use of the words "and" and "but" will help you see where).

It might help you better see what's going on.

Because, I'm afraid Little Sister, your problem isn't your mother; your problem is you.

Oh, she's critical and bossy and negative and judges you unfairly; she holds you to standards that she doesn't hold others to (including herself); and she's just not the person you wish she was . . . I get it. 

And I believe all of that.

But you need to remember that we need to treat people the way we want to be treated.

Yes, in an ideal world everyone else would treat us wonderfully first, without any effort on our part, but life just doesn't work that way.

No, you don't have to change to suit her.

Not change who you are.

Just change your attitude.

Change the way you take what she's saying to you.

You want your mom to be supportive and make an effort to understand you?

You want her to be kind and loving and forgiving of your faults and shortcomings?

Then you're going to have to go first.

And not just once.

Not just today.

But all the time.

Every day.

Maybe she'll pick up on that and soften . . . maybe she won't.

But by being "the bigger person" you'll feel better, even if she never softens or you never understand how and why it is she's the way she is.

See . . . you can change you, but you can't change someone else.

You can only seek to love and understand them . . . show them kindness, even when they don't deserve it.

Love them even though they may not be showing love and respect for you.

THAT"S what Jesus would do.

And He does.

Everyday.

- Bro Jo

Monday, June 1, 2015

Scared and Alone - Part 1 of 15: The Word of Wisdom and . . .

Dear Bro Jo,

I have read through most of your blog, and have really enjoyed it.

However, I am having a few struggles at the moment and was hoping for some advice. My first question is about The Word of Wisdom. . .

I am kind of having a problem with drinking sweat tea right now.

My parents were inactive members of the church when I was younger, and we used to drink it like it was water.

After learning of the Church when I was seven and my brother was eleven, we both decided to give up the tea and be baptized into the Church.

We went for about two years after we were both baptized, but then became inactive.

During the years that my family and I were inactive in the Church, we did begin drinking sweat tea again.

Luckily, three years ago when my family moved to our current location, we all became active again . . .  except for my dad.

We have been fully active since then.

Recently though, my brother and dad have began drinking tea once again.

I tried to keep away from it and continue to follow the Church's standards, but I ended up falling for the temptation. Here's my question:

What can I do to stop myself from continuing down this path and is this something that I need to talk to the Bishop about?

I've been drinking it for about two months now. I thought about talking to my Young Women's Leader, because she is a second mom to me and would do anything she could to help.

My only hold up is i'm so scared of disappointing her.

Should I talk to her or the Bishop?


Here is my second question: (It's more of a situation, sorry!!) I met this guy a little over three years ago when I was a freshman in high school and he was a senior.

Throughout the year we became a little more friendly with each other and did some things we shouldn't have.

After he graduated that year we lost contact, but have begun to text again.

Since we have started texting again, we have talked about many inappropriate topics and have sent many pictures back and forth.

He has asked me many times to "do him" and "have his babies," but I always refuse.

We have sent several pictures back and forth and some were not the best.

That leads me to my question about this situation:

I know I shouldn't have done sent the pictures and just ignored him when he asked for sex, but I didn't.

Do I need to talk to someone such as the bishop or a leader about this situation?

I know they would be highly disappointed and this scares me so much.

Thank you so much for reading this and offering any advice you can. I truly love your blog and I'm so glad that my friend suggested this site.

Thanks,

- Scared




Dear Scared,

Do you see these two issues as connected?

- Bro Jo




Dear bro Jo,

Sorry if the email wasn't very clear!!

The second situation with the guy all started about 6 months ago and I started drinking tea about 2 months ago.

I guess to answer your question they could be?

I'm not sure.

Thanks!

- Scared




Dear Scared,

I'm kind of hinting here . . . I'd like you to ask yourself what is it about you and your relationship to the Gospel, your relationship to the Savior, that's got these trials happening right now?

What do you think?

- Bro Jo