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Monday, January 11, 2016

What Do You Do When You Get on the Wrong Path? (Part 1 of 2)

Dear Bro Jo,


I'm sorry for not replying to your other email, but I do need to talk to you about something.

Recently (for about 2 months) I've been hanging out with the "wrong" crowd, AKA the druggies,

I don't judge them because they do drugs, but it's just easier to call them that.

One has been my best friend since 4th grade, she tried it once but didn't like it so she doesn't do drugs, but she'll smoke and drink sometimes (I never would have taken her for that kind of girl...)

Okay so what happened when everything first began was, I was at my friend M’s house and we went over to her friend C’s house( the major druggie)

C was smoking some weed, but I told him to stay away from me because I didn't want to be around that kind of stuff, but then later they were smoking an E-cig, and at first I said no, but then I was curious to what it was like.

I'm in my freshman year of high school and I was trying to find out who I am supposed to be, or just who I am.

I know that stuff is wrong but I gave into my high standards.

I only smoke the E-cig when I'm with M’s friends.

I only do it because it's there I guess.

A couple hours later I was spending the night at my best friend L's house (She's a goody two shoes.)

I told her what I did, and she got very mad at me,

I was already Upset with myself, but then she went and turned on me because of that one mistake, after that things weren't the same, we didn't talk, we didn't text, and we never hung out.

Now because she's been pushing me away I go and hang out with M and her friends every weekend, so I'm around that influence and bad things even more.

Then just last weekend, I did something even worse.

I tried Vodka (only a sip) then later that night tried whiskey and had about 5 drinks of that.

My friend M was drinking, our friend S and his friend T were drinking and it was bad, luckily I was the only one who didn't get drunk or have a hang over the next day.

I was so upset with myself, I couldn't even handle being at my friend’s house and I just wanted to go home, but I ended up staying.

I was so ashamed, and I felt that now nobody in the Church will want to marry me because of my mistakes, it may sound like I don't have a strong testimony in the Church but I do,

I love the Church,

I love having the elders over for dinner, and I love going to Church and mutual, but especially love going to the Temple,

I love everybody at Church, and I have such great friends there,

(You may be thinking why don't you hang out with them at school then, well I can't; I'm the only Mormon besides my brother that's active that goes to my school, I live 30 minutes away from Church, so I go to a different school then everybody else which is also hard.)

Anyways, I guess what I'm trying to say is how do I get out of this?

I don't like it.

I told my #1 best friend at Church what I did, and she told me she'll always love me no matter what (I wish I had friends like her at school)

I was crying the whole time I was telling her what happened, If I leave my group of "friends" then I won't really have anyone at school to go too, I only have 2 weeks left, so it will be hard to find new friends, L and I sort of talked today about everything going on, and she told me she wants what's best for me and the last thing she wants is for me to be with that group, but me and her still have a lot to work through.

So my questions are

     1.) What do I need to do to be temple worthy again if I'm not already?

     2.) Will members still want to marry me even with my mistakes?

     3.) Can I still go to live with Heavenly father and Jesus in the celestial kingdom? Or have I screwed that up.

     4.) How do I tell my friends that I don't want to do that stuff anymore, and if they still want to be friends with me then don't do that stuff around me?

     5.) Is the mistakes you make when you're younger, have a huge impact on who will want to marry you?

Because for as long as I can remember I've wanted to get married in the temple, and have a husband that's strong in his faith as a Mormon.

Please help me, I'm so confused about this right now.

- On the Wrong Path

Dear Little Sister,

I'm going to give you some Tough Love here . . . I think you need it, and I think you're mature enough to take it.

Two axioms that you need to know:

     1. We are who our friends are.

     2. We marry whom we spend time with.

You can't hang out all the time with people who drink and smoke and do drugs without becoming like them. THAT'S why your friend was so upset!

She saw coming what you did not.

She was more worried about you than you were about yourself, that made her scared, and rightfully so. (You see that now, don't you?)

First we justify in our heads that "well, they're good people, and they're nice to me, so I'm not going to "judge" them . . .

[ RELATED TANGENT: I am SICK of how common it's become in our world to misuse the word "judgement". "Don't judge me", "I don't want to judge them" . . . and on and on and on. 

People take what the Lord said about judgement being His totally out of context. 

He was talking about condemnation and damnation, and talking about holding grudges against people. 

It's His job to help us to understand the eternal consequences of our behavior, and grudges harbor our own repentance and bring bitterness into our lives. 

He WAS NOT saying "treat everyone as if their behavior choices have no consequence". 

That's ridiculous! 

It's Not Good for them, and it's horrible for us.]

Just look at what your acceptance and dismissal of the bad behaviors of those around you has led to! 

OF COURSE your "friends" are druggies!

And drunkards and . . . quite frankly, idiots.

And unless you make some changes in your life, that's exactly the type of person you're going to marry.

Let me tell you what's really "hard": not obeying the commandments.

Think about it.

Obeying the Commandments (and I include in that The Advice of the Prophets) makes our lives EASIER.

It's when we're disobedient that our lives become more difficult. And I think you're gaining a testimony of that.

And that's why I have hope!

You've done some dumb stuff. 

That doesn't make you a bad person, and you're certainly not un-redeemable.

But you have got to make some changes.

The Savior is your way out, and your Bishop can show you the path, and the Spirit will be your guide. 

(Go check out Hymn 143)

It's better to have no friends at school than to only have bad friends at school.

Plus I believe that if you tell your "friends" that you're going to make a change in your life, if any of them are True and Good Friends they'll support you in that.

Perhaps one or two of them will join you in leaving this dangerous lifestyle behind . . .

And you do need to leave it behind.

No more parties.

No more hanging out where temptation and trouble are.

Start by confiding in your desire to change to one or two of your closest friends in that group.

If they support you, great!

If they don't, then they were never the good friends you thought they were, and it's time for you to leave them behind and make some new ones.

And, all drama aside, I'm sure there are Good Kids who don't do what these kids are doing at your school.

Yeah, they may not be members of the Church, but so what!

Some of the Jo Kids Best Good Friends are non-members. Some are Christian, and some are not. 

When we surround ourselves with Good People it helps us to Be Good People.

So here's what you do next:

     1. Change your social circle. Now.

     2. Stop hanging out with people who are doing things you ought not be doing. Period.

     3. Make an appointment to talk to your Bishop right away. He will help you mend your relationship with the Gospel. Trust him.

Yes! You can become Temple Worthy again.

Yes! You can marry a Good and Honorable Priesthood holder.

And YES, you can return to live with our Heavenly Father!

The only mistake we make when it comes to repentance is failing to do it.

So go call and make the appointment with your Bishop right now.

Know that despite our mistakes our Savior always loves us.

He will help you!

Of this I have no doubts,

You can do it!

God bless,

- Bro Jo


Part 2 of this post will publish Monday, January 18th.


- Bro Jo]

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