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Monday, May 30, 2016

Military, Mission, and Serious Single Dating

Dear Bro Jo,

I’ve been reading through your blog, and I’ve found a lot of what seems like good advice, though I don’t think my specific situation is on your blog, and I think that perhaps the peculiarities of it might make things different, but if not, reassurance from someone who is not my Bishop that I’m not going to be someone’s absolute waste of time would be awesome and be enough to get me to try, or instruction from someone other than myself and a depressed friend of mine to not date, if that is better advice, would be exceedingly helpful and help me focus on my job and studies.

All this said, I understand if you’re busy and can’t respond or are delayed, and I thank you very much for the help you’ve already given me and others like me. So before I start down the rabbit hole, my actual question is this:

Being a Marine for the next five years, do I put off dating with a purpose until I can leave on my mission and start dating at 26-27?  Wait for the girl I don’t think I should go out with that everyone else does?  Or settle for serving a mission in the military and later in life and date with a purpose now?

I’m known for going really deep into detail and being very thorough in my explanations, and I apologize for the length.

My parents are awkward and got divorced and married other awkward people.

Eventually, my family got sort of fixed, but I’m still weird.

I moved 24 times before high school and have moved another three times since, my family is not military. I am the only member so far for the past four generations, and though I’ve met distant cousins, I’ve never seen them in person.

I was born to a catholic mother and a man searching for Christ’s people by the spirit.

He raised me to think critically about everything and that reason was king, save a prayers’ answer contradicted it. He and my mother divorced seven years after I was born, having only stayed together and made it work to keep me from having a broken home. I had moved a half dozen or more times by then and would move a dozen or so more, sometimes back and forth, before my father would remarry who is now as much my mother as the one who gave birth to me.

My mother remarried as well and I now have 1.5 sisters (3 half-sisters) all young enough to be my own children in the world outside the Church. I joined the Church senior year in high school which was a year and a half ago, and gained a best friend out of it. She and her parents helped me turn my life around and repent for a lot of things that I’m not proud of. I thought I was going to serve a mission. I joined the Church when I was 18 after meeting someone (calling her Renee) who I resented at first and then, after following promptings to ask two questions, found hope in which brought me more promptings which led to baptism six months later and being ordained to the Aaronic priesthood under her fathers hand a while after that.

All this changed my life entirely, me having been secretly suicidal, sadistic and publicly hateful to a world in a condition that didn’t make sense before the Church. She is my best friend, a sister to me now in every meaning of the word. Six months after being baptized, Renee and I had a conversation, and she was under the impression I wanted to go out with her.

This was and is not the case.

She was worried I’d joined a Church for her and again this was and is not the case.

She asked if I had asked anyone about a mission. Renee said that she really wasn’t dating anybody seriously until she came home from hers, and regardless of if it was a line or not, I know her well enough to know that she’s focused on preparing for that mission. I worried about money, having not even a college fund, car, or even a bike that was reliable enough to keep me from having to walk to work every so often, and then talked to the Bishop who said to pray about it and when I received an answer a way would be provided for me to Go and Do, and I did.

After praying and not (yet) receiving an answer, I took Bishop's word as an answer and asked what he meant. He said he had, as did many other members, prepared an account for the expenses of one or two who would go serve the Lord if only they had the money to fund their service. He was excited thinking that I’d received an answer and told me about mission prep classes at the YSA and told me to talk to a few of the brethren who wanted to support me if I chose to go.

I told Renee about all of this and started to think it was the right choice, though I had a bad feeling about it. She misunderstood my brotherly love for her and admiration for her as romantic love and worried that it would interfere with our missions.

We agreed to not go out until after we left and came home, though I only superficially considered that we could, being extremely confused.

As the months went on, our conversations (she was my ride to seminary every morning) grew deeper and deeper, and she expressed that she feelings for me and that they worried her and I told her that I loved her, though I didn’t want to go out, at least not until both of us returned from our missions, and then only if it felt right, which reinforced the idea in both of our minds. I received promptings to join the military before, or possibly instead of going on a mission.

This hurt her feelings and that hurt me. She told me she loved me, but we got into an argument because of the miscommunication with her thinking that I wanted to go out with her or do some long distance relationship. This ended in a quiet game that itself ended last night. I tried explaining to her that I love her like a sister and don’t want to go out with her, but she didn’t understand.

Then I finally received the answer to the prayer I offered around christmas time, and I fought it with everything I could. I continued acting and thinking as if I hadn’t received the prompting, but they were strong and unavoidable and undeniably from God, and I eventually obeyed and joined the Marine Corp in a job that has given me skills I am certain would transfer well into missionary work and the civilian world. I had never had the desire to join the military, and while I was thankful for their service, I never saw myself in those uniforms doing those things. Least of all did I see myself as a Marine, and capable of the things I’d, only through the Aid of the Spirit and the Priesthood of God, accomplished in boot camp and combat training and beyond, which is a longer story. When I told Renee that I had joined, I think she felt betrayed and I felt like I was betraying her though no promises were made. When I returned three months after going to boot camp, she told me she loved me and we went to institute together and had hours of conversation, just us, after dinner with friends and Renee said she was proud of me and scared for me, and a little bit of me, but that she missed me and didn’t want me to go again. We didn’t really talk until after combat training and then we got into an argument that had us not talking for months. We we did talk, we both came back saying the silence hurt worse than the argument. All of this, though, we’ve done as friends, her being my best friend and like a sister to me. Renee hasn’t left for her mission yet due to complications with school and money, but I know nothing will stop her. I know my own feeling, and I know I don’t want to go out with her. I want to go on a mission, but haven’t received an answer about it, though it is possible. The problem with that is that it puts me at 27 trying to learn how to date. There is a girl now that I like, but I don’t know if it’s wise to date anyone before my mission, or if I’ll even leave for my two year.

As for me, I’m lost. I don’t want to go out with Renee, not from California (she’s in Texas) and not in lieu of her going on her mission.

I want to go on a 2 year mission, and I could.

By God's hand I got a contract that allows me to do this job which requires an extended 6 to seven year commitment (being nineteen) with a reduced length of five years, which gets me out at 24 and back home from the Mission field at 26 or 27.

This, however, feels rather late to start dating.

I’ve not dated anyone since joining the Church, and I’ve not really dated with intentions beyond carnal relationships in my life, and I feel very shy about the culture, though I’ve looked for it all my life since I was six church hunting with my dad.

There are girls in the local YSA that I like, one in particular (calling her Alexis) who’ve I’ve asked to study with without really planning anything, but getting a number out of asking it has been a while, and I have a test on Tuesday, and was planning to ask if she wanted to help me prepare on Tuesday.

I am concerned that any girl I go out with might be intimidated by my friendship with Renee. She is my Best Friend, and I’m pretty unwilling to give her up as that. I don’t know what I should do to be honest. I’m calling Alexis and probably going to study with her for real, but I don’t know if I’m going to make a date out of anything.

So My question is this: Being a Marine for the next five years, do I put off dating with a purpose until I can leave on my mission?  Wait for the girl I don’t think I should go out with that everyone else does?  Or settle for serving a mission in the military and later in life and date with a purpose now?

- Private First Class Confused

PS:  My Bishop has mentioned that it wouldn’t be inappropriate for me to go to the Temple for my endowment even though I haven’t and won’t soon serve a Mission, being in the Military. He’s even encouraged me to do so, though I need to get a temple recommend in January or so since my temporary one expired. I don’t know if that will help or is really relevant.

Dear PFCC,

I can't tell you what to do, but I have a testimony that the Spirit can help you.

And, frankly, it sounds to me like he has.

Go to the Temple.

Take out your endowments.

As you make and keep eternal covenants and as you serve others in the Temple you'll receive revelation, better understand what the Lord's will is for you, and be more at peace during those times when you're still uncertain.

I also think that you should not date the woman you have no interest in. I see no point in that.

She sounds wonderful, but clearly she should be dating someone who loves her in a way that you do not.

Because you've chosen military service (which I respect, admire and am grateful for, thank you) and committed to a contract that postpones full-time missionary service for as long as it does, I think now is the time for you to be Serious Single Dating.

Should you find and fall in love with a woman for whom you will be a great Eternal Companion and who will be great for you, I think you should postpone full-time missionary service until you and she can serve together as a married couple.

It's too bad you don't have romantic feelings for the woman you're calling your best friend, but that's the way it is.

The woman you choose to marry will and should be your best friend.

Since this woman won't be the wife, your friendship for her will and must eventually fade.

Failure to let that happen will be a disservice to all parties.

Good Luck and God Bless,

- Bro Jo

Friday, May 27, 2016

What If She's Pregnant?

Dear Bro Jo,

This is the most personal thing I could possible share!

It's so bad I can't sleep or eat or even relax! It's the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with, however it is all my own doing!

Basically, I did the deed this week.

I put it lightly because any other way it will make me want to cry!

Basically, I put myself in a situation I shouldn't of and I didn't make the right decisions!

However, to complicate things even more the guy didn't use protection and I didn't take the morning after pill!!

What do I do?

I've read so much on the Internet on Mormon hand books and things and I know marriage is not an option and I don't even know if I am pregnant and won't be able to for a few weeks!

All I see is about giving the baby up for adoption?!

This scares me so much!!

I'm so disappointed with myself, how I could be so stupid and careless!

I've only just started my university course 200 miles from home and I do something so unforgivable :(! What do I do?!

I can't stop thinking about it, I'm so confused!

What do I do?!

How am I supposed to feel?!

My mum said she is there for me, whatever!

A child with no proper family set up, me leaving university!

I have sooo many things going through my head!

I've never felt like this ever before! Please help!!!

So sorry to email such a personal thing, I just feel I need the opinion of somebody totally out of the situation who doesn't know me and won't protect my feels!

Only my mum and a friend know my predicament!!!

I just don't think I'm ready to be the single 19 year old parent Mormon!!!!!

I hope you get what I'm trying to say!

Thanks so much,

- Name Withheld

Dear NW,

First of all, the sin you're suffering from is not "unforgivable".

You can't go back and "undo" what's been done, but you can move forward.

The first thing you need to do, I think, is recognize what lead you to this situation and how it has made you feel so that you can avoid this in the future.  Learn from this so that you don't make the same mistake again.

Then I think you need to go meet with your Bishop so you can know how to properly mend things with Heavenly Father.

While this may seem like a scary or daunting thing, I promise you that having this conversation will go a long way towards helping you feel better.

Lastly, should you actually happen to be pregnant (which may or may not be - no need worrying about it too much until you know) then I implore you to talk to LDS Family Services (your Bishop can direct you should that be needed) and discuss adoption.

Where marriage is not a good choice, I believe that adoption is the only other good choice (and that includes the "morning after” pill).

You're a good person.

Heavenly Father still loves you.

Good people make mistakes.

All of us.

Some mistakes are bigger and harder to overcome than others, but the atonement is for all of us, Sister.

May you again soon know the joy that comes from having all things right with the Lord.

I'm here to help anyway I can.

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 23, 2016

Should He Pursue the RM Sister He Met While Serving?

Dear Bro Jo,

I am a recently returned missionary (most challenging but most rewarding two years of my life). I met this sister missionary on the mission and I had a huge crush on her.

We were two great missionaries, not to put myself up or anything like that, and our missions intertwined a lot because of it.

We trained new missionaries numerous times at the same time, so we saw each other a lot as a result of that. She was a Sister Training Leader at the same time I was a Zone Leader, so we saw each other often because of that.

We served in the same zone at one point.

We served in the same areas (me in Spanish; she in English, but in the same area).

We even taught some of the same investigators.

We talked a lot about a lot of the unusually difficult experiences that I had in my mission (my parents’ divorce and family members passing away).

She became a really good friend of mine.

About 8 months into the mission, I realized I had a crush on her. And I did everything I could to hide it.

I didn't tell anyone about it except for one of my good mission buddies who I really trusted.

I would avoid flirting with her.

Sometimes it would just come out, but then I'd really back off.

I did my best to not do or say anything that would get me in trouble . . . but I thought about her constantly, and I turned it into a motivation for me to work hard rather than a distraction.

Now I know that these mission crushes happen often (at least in my mission) but I know that the grand majority of them don't work out, and I at first thought that as soon as I went back to college, I'd find some other girl that I really liked and date her.

Well, I'm back at college . . .  surrounded by plenty of great women, but none of them strike me like this sister missionary did.

I haven't had an attraction to any of them like I did with her.

The biggest problem is, she is going to school 3 hours away, and I have no car (she does) and no money.

We've texted a bit, haven't talked on the phone at all since we've been home because of our schedules.

I've hinted to the fact that I like her, giving her a little comment about a pretty picture of her or telling her that we should go on a date.

She's coming here to a mission reunion in two weeks and she agreed to go on a date with me!

I'm just wondering what I should do beyond this . . .

Do I tell her I've liked her?

What should I say to her, if anything at all?

Basically, how can I make this work out, if possible?

Thanks so much.


- Name Withheld

Dear NW,

1. Start by getting a job.

One need not be wealthy to court a girl, but creativity only goes so far.

If you have a job and aren't making enough money to meet your needs (and dating is a need, brother), then work more or get a second job.

Or a third.

2. Next, figure out how to get around the 3-hour away thing.

- check out public transportation
- buy a cheap car that serves no other function than going to see her
- find out how to ride share
- look into one of those "share-a-car" services
- become a very fit cyclist
- find a guy willing to drive you up there (perhaps with the promise of going on blind dates with her friends)

. . . something.

You're going to have to Be Creative.

3.  Third, relax.

If you put too much pressure on you or her or this first date you may blow it before anything has a chance to start.

You know her, but now you're getting to know the non-mission her.

Take things slow.

No kissing until the third date.

4.  Fourth, be the one to initiate contact and make plans.

Don't come across as needy and desperate; find a way to be confident AND humble. 

She'll like that.

5.  Fifth, if things go well on this first date, make sure you conclude by telling her what a great time you had.

If she seems to agree, then WAIT - about three or four days (not more than that) - and ask her out again. (Actually, it doesn't hurt to go into this date with a plan for the next one. If the Spirit prompts, you can ask her to the next planned event at the end of this one.)

6. Sixth, treat her WELL.

You show her in what you say and by what you do that you think she deserves to be treated like a queen.

No, that doesn't mean that you fawn all over her, over compliment, or speak like Wesley from Princess Bride; it means that you open doors, stand when she stands, hold her chair, offer your arm. 

Be the perfect gentleman and escort.

There are no problems, only our willingness or lack thereof to solve them.

See the Net, not the Goalie.

Good luck!

And have fun!

Let me know how it goes.

- Bro Jo

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Reader Wants to Know: Is She Caring or Confused?

Dear Bro Jo,

I was dating a guy for 3 months earlier this year. We broke up about 6 months ago.

The basis of our relationship was friendship...

I'm a slow mover and he was my first boyfriend (it was a month before I was sure enough to officially date/kiss him).

The more I spent time with him, the more I found about him that I liked: we felt the same way about working hard in school, loved cooking together, liked the same quirky movies, and he got a long amazingly with my family.

Our first date as a couple, he told me that he was bisexual. I was totally surprised, but also impressed and grateful that he would be so honest with me.

I knew it would be difficult, but I had confidence that we could continue dating as long as we were both honest and open, and felt that it was right.

As we continued to date, I realized how very UN-attracted to me he was. Since it was my first relationship, I felt frustrated and humiliated when he pulled away from my physical signs of affection (hand holding, cuddling, kissing).

While I never wanted to take it too far, I also hated the single, hesitant peck at the doorstep after our dates.

As the weeks passed, I realized that there were other reasons we couldn't continue dating: avoiding clarifying conversations we needed to have, ignoring invitations to do things together, standing me up for dates. I waited for a week or so for things to change and attempted to be understanding, but then realized (with counsel from my parents and roommates) that a breakup was necessary.

I initiated it, but it was mutual and we parted as friends.

I was miserable for MONTHS, but am finally feeling ready to date other people again.

The incredible thing is that we've managed to stay friends.

We have a big group of mutual friends, stayed in the same ward, and spend time together (in groups) nearly every week comfortably.

But I have a problem. I'm a very caring person.

Once I decide to let my guard down with someone, I love them with my whole heart, and empathize with their experiences.

So while I was never IN love with this guy, I loved him a lot.

He is still struggling with many issues (more than I ever realized when we were dating), and he's at a difficult stage in his life.

I know that he needs friends, support, and most of all love from people he trusts.

Is there a way I can continue to support him and show how much I care for him (in a non-romantic way) without causing confusion?

I don't want to undo emotional progress I've made, or make things awkward/difficult for him as an ex-girlfriend.

However, he is still a big part of my life, a good friend, and someone I care for very much.

Sorry that was so long, but I'd be grateful for any advice you have to offer on the situation!

- Caring and Confused.

Dear Caring,

Let's be clear: "Bi-sexual" means that this man wants to have (and, if he's using the term correctly, HAS HAD) sex with both men and women. 

"Hetero-sexual" is how we're all born and designed, "Bi-sexual" and "Homosexual" are terms that define what some choose to do with the parts they're born with.

So I think Both Of You are confused.

But it's your email, not his, so let's talk about you.

There's nothing wrong with being caring, but it's also important to not let those you're trying to rescue drown you in the process.

That same principle that applies to basic lifesaving also applies to soul saving.

Listen:  Be a Good Friend and Disciple of Christ, but don't allow his recklessness and neediness drag you under.

Invite him to attend Church, but don't sacrifice your own quest for a good relationship to be bogged down in this bad one.  Even if you're "just friends".  (By the way, who the heck tells someone what their sexuality is on a first date???  That, my friend, is a Huge Red Flag.)

Encourage him to repent, but don't stay up all night texting and talking as he uses you as his confessor. Be loving, but realize that the love of your life needs to be someone else.

- Bro Jo

Dear Readers,

As most of you know, most emails I get don't post here, and those that do are often several years old.

Recently parts of what are discussed in this post have become quite the topic in the media and social media.  

(It seems like all day, every day, the last verse of "Follow the Prophet" keeps playing in my head.)

There's a lot of twisted meanings out there, and one thing is for sure:  more and more people seem to have confused words like "sex", "marriage", "love" and "gender"...

I do not believe that we necessarily control whom we're attracted to . . . (though I do think that culture and environment have a bigger impact on that than many people admit or realize) . . . 

HOWEVER, I know for a fact that we have Agency and Control what we do with our bodies and whom we do things with.  I also know who it is that doesn't like agency and who didn't want us to have it.

Just wanted to share those thoughts with you at this time.

God bless,

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Feeling Guilty About Past Sins

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro Jo!

So I have a question for you.

I got into some things about 6 years ago that I needed to repent for with my Bishop.

It took a while to repent of them but I haven't done the said things since.

I went to my Bishop again today because I am planning on going on a mission and I'm having guilty feelings of the things from before, again I haven't done these things since, but I'm feeling so guilty and inadequate about them . . .like I haven't really repented of them...

I don't know what to do about these feelings.

Any advice..?

- Worried

Dear Worried,

Yes:  Trust the Savior and the Atonement.

You repented, including having turned away from the sinful behavior.

That's it.

You're done.

Now, look, I think guilt (or rather, "remembering what we did wrong") can be a helpful and powerful thing if it reminds us not to do those things again.

Be still. The Lord is with thee.

Be not afraid.

- Bro Jo

Dear Readers,

Satan works very hard to make us feel like we're not good enough to do good things.  Don't fall for that trap!

Whenever you feel like you can't or shouldn't do the things that Heavenly Father wants you to do, those thoughts and feelings are from the adversary.

Remember that, please.

By the way . . . I'm fairly certain that this original letter writer not only served a good a faithful mission, but is now Married for Time and All Eternity.

Perhaps that will inspire . . .

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 16, 2016

Is the Girl Off-limits?

Dear Bro Jo,

I recently became active again in the Church after 6 years.

Upon getting back into Church, I've met some great friends, learned many things, and have begun to gain a testimony.

My issue is this: my new friend is absolutely the most amazing young lady I have ever met, she is so much fun to be around, and helps me to better myself in my faith. She is mature, lively, and we always are flirting, but the problem is that she is writing a missionary in the field.

I like her, a lot, but I respect her more and want her to be happy even if it means that she stays with him.

I worry about talking to her about it because I don't want to ruin a friendship or make things worse. 

Do I pursue or respectfully back away?

Do I concentrate on my faith and just allow The Lord to do his will?

The more I write this, the more I feel like an idiot for falling for a taken girl. 

Very Respectfully,

- Willing to Wait

Dear Willing, 

I don't believe that a girl "waiting" for a missionary is as "taken" as either of them may think that she is. 

I'm constantly warning young people that once a young man, or young woman, leaves on a mission that should they be "involved with" anyone both parties consider that "all bets are off". 

Two years of no-romantic contact with someone you can't date or even talk to during that time does not a solid relationship make. 

That and, as Sister Jo often says, "all's fair in love and war" adds up to my belief that you should give it a shot. 

Now, I also think you should never hang your activity or testimony on your relationship with another person. 

Your own eternal joy is your priority, with your spouse and children immediately following. 

It's like I posted on the Facebook page the other day: just like saving someone who is drowning, you need to keep yourself alive to do it. 

No man is an idiot that falls for a great woman; but we can question his sanity of a single man fails to pursue a possible great eternal relationship with a great single woman. 

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo, 

I sincerely thank you for your advice. 

I talked with her about the situation and she stated to me that she has the same feelings that I have for her. 

We have both decided to casually date, nothing serious (i.e. not a boyfriend girlfriend type thing), and focus more on our scripture studies. 

We even have nights where we get together and just study a subject in the scriptures. 

I believe this will be more rewarding of a relationship than I had anticipated and this only encourages me to pursue her more. 

Obviously, I must be wary of the fact that she may still go back to him, but the honestly, the worst that could possibly come from this is that I gain a stronger testimony and still have a great friend who encourages me to do my best. 

It’s kind of a win-win scenario. 

Like you and Sister Jo said, “all’s fair in love and war,” who knows what could come of this situation. 

I look forward to the coming months. 

I regret nothing. 

 I admire all the work you do Brother and I plan to come to you should I have any further questions. 

As my grandfather would quote, “Keep buggerin’ on” -Winston Churchill. 

Very Respectfully,

- Willing 

Dear Willing, 

Good for you. 

Excellent quote! 


- Bro Jo

Monday, May 9, 2016

When Your Spouse is Addicted to Pornography

Dear Bro Jo,

I am married (for about a year and a half now) but I remember asking for dating advice from you when I was younger and figured I could come to you now!

I'm still a young adult and am not quite versed in this new marriage world.

My husband confided in me before we were married that he has a problem with pornography. It was hard to swallow but I felt confident that we could get through this issue together. We all sin, after all! 

He confesses to me when he gives in to temptation and we work through the issue together. We share electronic devices and I have now found out that he has been searching his ex-girlfriends Facebook profiles, through my Facebook profile.

There has not been any contact with these girls but it still doesn't sit right with me.

I am not sure if I should confront him about this or wait for him to come to me, like he almost always seems to do. It's killing me inside and I feel like it's just eating at me.

My mind is going crazy as to the reasons he could be doing this.

I also forgot to mention that I am 5 months pregnant with our first child.

Maybe it's my hormones making my mind run wild with crazy thoughts but regardless, this issue in our marriage should be addressed.


Dear Distressed, 

The things you're feeling is part of why I advise people not to marry those who are currently suffering from an addiction. 

This does not mean that I think you should leave him. Not if he's willing to get help anyway. 

I find it troublesome that both of you are making excuses for his behavior. 

Yes, we all sin, but that doesn't make it okay. Nor does it mean that the sins we commit have no effect on those around us. 

And yes, while we don't discuss the relativity of sin, you must admit that some things (say, perhaps, forgetting to take out the garbage when one promises to) are not the same as others (like committing adultery), right? 

I'm going to be candid with you because I care: your husband is unrepentant and you are enabling his transgressions. 

Confessing to you is not repentance. 

If anything, your reaction (or lack thereof) is as if you're giving him permission. 

Remember, to repent is to turn away and not do it again. What reason does he have to do that? 

And why isn't it happening? 

He needs to talk to Priesthood Authority and, in my non-professional opinion, he needs to seek out the Church's Addictive Recovery program. 

Anytime the person who is supposed to love and cherish you does something that hurts or harms you they need to know. 

And you need to know whether or not they care enough to change the behavior. 

That's where I'm concerned the most. His behavior is hurting you. 

You haven't told him (how many times have you heard me say "communication is the key"?). 

I see no indication that things are improving. 

All hope is not lost! 

I think you're wise to be aware of how the pregnancy may be affecting your emotions. But I also think it's past time that you two had a very frank talk. 

Make sure that he knows that you love him. But also tell him how the things he's doing makes you feel. 

Be Honest. 

And don't use the word "you". (That makes people defensive and won't help you resolve anything.) For example, instead of saying "when you do check out your ex-girlfriends you make me feel this way", say "when I see that ex-girlfriend photos have been viewed I feel this". (See the difference?) 

One last, and I believe very important thing: pray before you talk to him. On your own. 

Then pray as a couple. 

In fact that's exactly how I think you should start. Go pray. 

Then tell him you need to talk to him about something very important and ask him if you two could pray together first. 

If he calls on you (which I expect), then be sure in your prayer to thank Heavenly Father for this man in your life; let him know that you love and appreciate him. 

I'll be praying for you from here, and I'm standing by to help in any way I can. God bless, 

- Bro Jo 

Dear Distressed, 

Pondering your email this morning . . . and I felt like my initial response may have come across as too harsh. 

I'm sure your husband is a Good Man. 

And there are things that you can do to help him overcome his addiction. 

You may want to read through some of my previous posts about pornography. 

One of the most important things he can do is to identify his triggers. 

Is it staying up late? 

Being super tired? 

Being alone? 

Is the computer in a secluded place? 

Is he drawn to pornography when he's depressed about something? 

And then he can identify alternate activities that he can do when temptation seems it's strongest. 

Things like: 

  - Go for a run (or a walk with you!) 
  - Listen to Church music 
  - Call a friend or family member 
  - Go help a neighbor (or any kind of service, really) 

I do think he should talk to his Bishop. 

And I do think he may want to strongly consider the Addiction Recovery Program. 

Through the love and Atonement of the Savior we are all redeemable. 

Please let me know if I can be of any more help. 

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you very much for your words of advice and kindness. 

Your initial email was not too harsh. 

It was the push I needed to get this handled. 

I do realize that I have been standing by watching and letting this happen and it is very clear that it is harming our marriage. 

I'll keep you updated. 

Thank you for your prayers.

- Distressed

Friday, May 6, 2016

Does He Still Love His Ex?

Dear Bro Jo,

I am so glad I found this blog!  Thank You.

I am just finishing my second semester here at college and I have met a wonderful man who makes me laugh and when I’m around him I can be myself and that is rare. He is kind, sweet, funny, outgoing, and when I’m around him my heart skips a beat all that cheesy stuff.

I am a recent convert to the Church and really am trying to find the guy to be with for eternity. But here is the catch, he is my roommate's friend from back home were she lives, and she told me that he once had a crush on her back then and he told me that she had a crush on him.

I was worried and asked them if they still had feelings for each other, but both said no.

She said "I’m sure he doesn't like me I mean I think he likes you". and he tells me "I don't think she’s over me".

My roommate is on her phone and is always telling me what he texts her and a lot is confusing me.

He asks her “hey tell me you love me” or “hey I missed you did you miss me”, and so forth. I even asked her if she still has feelings for him she says no that her missionary is coming home and she really likes him.

I ask him and he's like "no I don’t I’m just teasing her".

He never tells me what he tells her.  I mean I don’t want to go to the "I love you thing" yet since were still getting to know each other and I am headed home until Fall, but I’m not convinced.

Am I over reacting?  What should I do?

It bothers me when he texts her those things, and it irritates me when she tells me and asks me how do you feel when he says that.

What can I do?

I don't like getting mad or starting things . . .  I mean I’m headed home soon and a lot can change here on out . . . but . . . my feelings for him. . .

I really like him and feel deep down he is the one.

- Confused and Feel Like I’m Overreacting

Dear Friend,

Please help me help you.

Are you dating this man?

- Bro Jo 

Dear Bro Jo,

Currently yes we are dating.

- Friend

Dear Friend,

So . . . you're in a relationship with a guy who keeps talking about how he's sure a girl that's from his home town still likes him and he keeps flirting with her, texting her, and trying to get her to confess that she still likes him?

Have you confronted him?

- Bro Jo 

Dear Bro Jo,

Yes I have and he keeps telling me that there just friends and nothings going on between them that he is just teasing her.

That he likes me and I have asked him if he would please stop but it hasn’t.

He told me not to worry that he likes me and only me.

- Friend,

Dear Friend,

I'm sorry to have to say this, but I think you need to break up with this guy.

Whether he calls it "teasing" or not, he's clearly flirting with her, and he may say that he's not leading her on . . . but he is.

And more than that, his exhibiting behavior that is hurting you, you've asked him to stop, and he says no . . . and THAT, little sister, is a Huge Red Flag.

See, he cares more about his selfish behavior and getting attention from her than he does about you; that level of immaturity is a recipe for disaster.

I wouldn't burn the bridge here, but I think you need to tell him that it's over.

Keep your talk with him simple and short.

"I am looking for a man who's only interested in me, who puts my feeling above his desires, and as much as I like you . . . and as much as you say you like me . . . you're clearly not ready for that yet. You're a great guy, I've really enjoyed our time together, and I wish our relationship was the kind that could progress to the next level . . . but it's not. As hard as this is for me, I think it's best for both of us if we stop seeing each other." 

And then, I suggest, you just be quiet.

No further explanations.

Don't give in to his begging, or arguments or protests.

(If you're worried that he might be violent or scary, have a friend nearby or talk to him in a public place. Definitely do not have this talk when you're alone at his home or yours.) 

Have the talk soon.

Perhaps the pain of losing you will inspire him to be a better person.

Perhaps he'll one day come back to you more of a man and less of a boy . . . one who's ready for a real commitment.

And maybe, just maybe you'll care to give it another shot.

But, until then my friend, you owe it to yourself to be free to find a guy that will put you before himself, that will put you before another woman.

A guy who will do that will respect you.

This guy does not.

And the adage is true: "no one loves anyone they don't respect".

Let me know how it goes.

- Bro Jo 

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you!

And I will let you know soon.

This helped a lot.

Thank you,

- Friend

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Dear Bro Jo,

What does it mean when a guy calls you Kiddo pretty much all of the time ?


Dear Kiddo,

It either means that he's trying to establish some distance but still be friendly because you and he should not, for whatever reason (perhaps he's too old or too not-single)  . . .

Or that he's nick-naming you as a term of endearment.

Maybe he likes you.

Maybe he doesn't.

Either way, if you don't like the nick-name, tell him.

If it doesn't bother you, then don't worry about it.

Communication is the Key!


- Bro Jo

Monday, May 2, 2016

Does He Need to Talk to His Bishop?

Dear Bro Jo,

I haven't been sexually pure for the past couple of months.

I haven't done anything with anyone, however I have been viewing pornography and masturbating.

This is a little awkward.

I'm so sorry for what I have done and have prayed to God not only for repentance but also for help in dealing with this.

However I want to know how grave of a sin is this and do I need to see the Bishop?

I have read many of your post regarding this topic, yet I didn't feel like they really answered my question (if you have it would be awesome if you could direct me to it).

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and answer my question.


P.S. I don't know if this helps but when ever I do masturbate it is when I'm feeling lonely and vulnerable

Dear Unsure,

Yes, go see the Bishop.

Whenever we're unsure it's always better to have the talk than to not.

And, brother, you're headed down a dark path from which no joy will come if you don't make some changes.

Knowing your triggers helps avoid the situation.

The next step is to have a plan of action when those feelings come.

Get away from the computer.

Go out in public.

Take a run in the park.

Go outside.

Get fresh air and exercise.

Call a friend.

Go be of service to someone.

You're not a bad guy, you just need a little help right now.  That's nothing to be ashamed of.

So go make the appointment.

Avoiding pornography . . . controlling the natural man . . . will help you to feel the Spirit; and when we feel the Spirit it's easier to deal with loneliness and vulnerability.

- Bro Jo