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.

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 dearbrojo@gmail.com.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Well . . . There's Always THIS Way to Find Out if He Likes Her . . .

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi. I found your blog today and I can't say thank you enough to the help you are giving YM/YW and YSA, especially for giving them (us) a place to calm our fears and anxieties, and gush a bit when necessary.

I am 25 and have been in singledom for a very long time.

I am sure you get emails every day and likely do not have the ability to respond to them all, but I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping you will be able to give me some much needed advice.

Let me start by telling you that I am a researcher by nature. If I have an issue with something, whether it be a home appliance, my phone, or a social situation, I research it. I read thoughts and opinions from others, see what has worked and not worked in the past, and my own thinking about how I can apply the "fixes" to my situation.

I have spent too much time "researching" dating advice that doesn't exist.

All the dating advice out there is all about sex, and that is obviously not very helpful for me.

Your blog gives me hope that somehow, someway, I can get the advice I am so desperately searching for.

So.. As I said, I am 25.

I work for a university and have finished my Master’s Degree.

I have never had a steady boyfriend and did not get my first kiss until I was 23 (I was pretty overweight, and although I DO think that played a role in it, I think my self-confidence being so low was the biggest issue).

I am quite shy when it comes to dating and I typically do not do any of the pursuing.

He is 24 and the Elders Quorum President in my ward.

He is pursuing a Master’s Degree and applying to medical school. He has been the EQP for about a year, but I really didn't pay him any attention until about 4 months ago.

I don't know if I can call him shy, but he definitely does not pursue girls regularly.

I know of two girls he has been on dates with in the last 18 months, I believe he went on two dates with each girl.

I told him we should do something sometime, then later (same day) that he should give me a call sometime. I gave it a week and he did not follow up with me.

The following weekend was a ward temple trip and I was hoping he would come, but he was not there.

That Sunday at church I talked to him about his weekend (he had a work issue that prevented him from attending) and told him that I would love the opportunity to get to know him better and that we could do something one on one or plan a group activity that he would want to come to, etc..

He took that as an opportunity to plan something, but our schedules conflicted.

He ended up asking me to accompany him to see a movie he promised he would see with his cousin and his fiancé, then said that he knew that movies aren't a great way to get to know people.

I told him he was right, they're not, so if this worked out, it didn't count.

We went to the movie and had about an hour long conversation beforehand (we got there very early) which made me all the more interested in him. I felt like the date went well, but two weeks later, he hadn't followed up.

So, I took the opportunity at a Church event to tell him that a few weeks before that I told him I wanted to get to know him better and the movie didn't count, and he said "correct, that didn't count, so I was thinking about my schedule this week...".

He took it from there and planned a date.

We went to dinner, a comedy show, and then got frozen yogurt. I had fun and loved talking to him.

The next day I told him I had fun and we should do it again sometime and he immediately told me that the only issue that week was his schedule and the RS President had just taken his only free day, so it would probably have to be on the weekend (he also made sure I knew that the free day she took was for presidency stuff).

I then got hailed by the Stake President and told said boy to give me a call.

He didn't call.

This weekend my stake is having a "girls ask guys" movie in the park.

So, I asked him, and he seemed genuinely happy to come with me. So, we have a date on Saturday night.


Okay, now you are all caught up.


He rarely texts and twice I have texted him without a response (though, to be fair, the texts did not necessarily require a response).

He doesn't seem to like calling at all. This means that the only interaction I have with him is in person, and as he is EQP, pursuing a masters, applying to med school, and has a lot of family responsibilities, combined with my schedule, this really only happens on Sundays or during scheduled events (like the dates).


I cannot tell if he is interested.


I feel confident saying he is not disinterested, but I need that reassurance from him.

My heart is starting to get involved and this is the point that I would typically shut it all down and back away, but I don't want to do that.

This is the first time that I have felt like the guy is worth any heartbreak that could result in pursuing a relationship.

And logically.... we would work!

My head and my heart have to agree, and this is the first time they do, I just don't know how he feels. So, Saturday is technically our third date.

Should I ask him if he is interested?

Should I ask him about what he is looking for?

He seems to be a really slow mover, and I'm afraid of trying to take things too fast and pushing him away.

By this weekend it will have been 6 weeks since our first date, so I have given it time. But, in that time, we haven't had much interaction.

It's that last part that I want to change.

How can I know if there is the potential for more if I only see him outside of a church a few times a month?

I just don't know where to go from here.

I'm sorry this is so long, but if you made it this far, I would be so incredibly grateful for a response.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Third date . . . you're 25 and he's 24 . . . I think there should be some kissing.

You could go about it a couple different ways.

The most common is at the end of the date. He walks you to the door, you hint . . . linger . . . play with your keys . . . flat out tell him "hey, this is the point where you kiss me good night" . . . whatever.

Could be fun!

Could be romantic. 

Could fill the evening with pressure and expectation . . . which isn't always bad.

Another option is to hit him with it at the start of the date!

Unorthodox, I know, but can be very effective.

He's at your door picking you up and after you hug him hello (and before you completely let go) you say something like "I know there's a lot of pressure and expectation to kiss at the end of the third date, and I think you should kiss me now so neither of us has to spend all night waiting, wondering, and hoping".

It certainly changes the tone of the date!

Believe me, not only will the kissing tell you whether or not he's interested, barriers will be dropped, and this guy will get some much needed encouragement and training.

Will he be scared? Yeah . . . but kissing will fix that.

Seriously.

And if he balks . . . well, then you'll know where he stands.

'Cause, let's be honest, you shouldn't be wasting any more time on a guy that has no interest or clue. 

And, whichever option you go with, ramp up the connection with at least some hand holding.

Let me know how it goes!

- Bro Jo

Friday, October 28, 2016

What If Her Boyfriend Chooses a Mission Over Her? - Part 3 of 3

Dear NW,

I was re-reading an email you sent to me a few years ago.

(It's posting on the blog site, anonymously of course, soon) and I thought I'd reach out to you, see how you're doing, and ask how things turned out with the boy, his mission, and your potential Church membership?

All the best,

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Wow!

I completely forgot about all of that.

I don't remember what all I wrote to you, but a lot has changed since then!

I joined the Church a year and a half ago and it has been the best decision I've ever made!

My family is not at all supportive but things have improved somewhat over time.

The boy and I got back together for awhile, and I was waiting and writing him for a little over a year into his mission.

We eventually decided to end things and see what happened when he got back.

We haven't talked in a quite awhile, and I've since started dating someone else, but his mission is just about over and he'll be coming home next soon!

So I guess we'll see what happens.

It's been a crazy journey with a lot of ups and downs, but I wouldn't change any of it. I'm happier than ever!

Thank you for checking in!

- NW




Dear NW,

Thank you for responding!

I appreciate the update.  Keep us posted!

Cheers,

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What If Her Boyfriend Chooses a Mission Over Her? - Part 2 of 3

Bro Jo,

Thank you for responding!

I am in Oklahoma, so "all ya'll" applies here too!

The reason I said that I am a potential convert is because I am probably a little further down that path than many other people (at least any people that I know).


First I will address your first concern.

I know and am fully aware that my conversion to the Church has to be for me and only for me.

That makes perfect sense.

It would be pointless to do it for any other reason.

At this point I can't count on much from my ex-boyfriend, so any further steps I take are solely for me...

And I have taken a few.

I am continuing to read the Book of Mormon (which has always brought me a sense of peace and comfort) and pray about it.

When I wrote to you, I also wrote to Voices for Virtue (an LDS non-profit organization with a Facebook page that offers advice and encouragement to youth) and they (I'm not entirely sure how it works) were going to try to get me in contact with local missionaries and possibly a Bishop.

The woman that receives the referrals called me last night and we talked for awhile. She is going to continue calling me, talking to me, and teaching me things, and then set me up with the local missionaries when I go back to school.

Also, a bit more background information--I never really realized that there was anything wrong with my faith or spiritual life until I met my ex-boyfriend.

I had always gone to church out of habit, never getting anything out of it, and that's it. My family is close, but we don't pray together, we don't have family scripture study, we don't talk about anything religious, none of that.

So he kind of helped me to realize through his example that my faith can be so much more than sitting in church on Sunday not paying any attention.


And now, the relationship.

I don't blame his parents for everything, but I do blame them for some of it...

I don't think he was hiding me from them.

I met them each on different occasions, both of which were very brief.

He called home and talked to one of his parents every night (usually his dad) and sometimes I was present.

He would often talk about me, or how he had spent time with my family and I, or our friends.

They were well aware that I was in his life, and he had told them on more than one occasion how serious we were.

I just don't think they liked me from the beginning, simply because I am not a member of the LDS Church.

I still find this frustrating, because he dated several non-members in high school and they never had an issue with it before.


With that said, I'm not defending him.

He did put everyone in a difficult position, and he does need to man up. I completely agree.

And the possible outcomes of our relationship...I don't see him not going on a mission.

If he sets his mind to do something, he's going to do it. He's just that kind of person.

He's very determined.

He wants to go, his parents want him to go, his friends want him to go.

He may have gotten off track and it may be postponed, but he will go.

 (He had a situation with a similar outcome during his young teenage years--he was addicted to pornography. All of that has long since blown over and he's been clean for several years, but he tried and failed multiple times before succeeding.)


So option one seems unlikely to me.


He has also stated (more towards the end of our relationship) that he is unwilling to marry outside of the Temple for any reason.

So we can also mark option two off.


Based on what I said above, option three seems less likely too.


I'm with you, hoping for option four or five.

I honestly cannot see myself with anyone else (though I'm sure every other girl whose boyfriend went on a mission probably said the same thing).


So I'm much more hoping for four than five.


As for the coming school year, he told me before he stopped communicating with me that we cannot be anything more than friends before he leaves for his mission.

I understand that and respect that, and that honestly seems like the best way to make sure that nothing else happens.

I think he will come back to school strengthened and motivated like never before, which will be exactly what he needs in order to stay focused on his mission. So anyway, we will not be in a relationship again before he leaves.


In answer to your final question--am I willing to more seriously consider the Church?

Yes, yes I am, and I plan to.

Again, thank you so much for responding.

I will think about everything you've said, and hopefully you can understand a little better now that I've provided more information.

- NW




Dear NW,

Thanks for filling in some of the blanks.

The only thing I have to add at this point is that, slightly in his parents' defense, they can't not like you if they don't know you, so I'll bet it was more that they were worried about the situation, and it was the situation that gave them something to fear and not like.

And, between us, it's not like they were totally wrong (about his being with you keeping him from being worthy to serve a mission). . . right?


Anyway, it sounds like both you and he are on Good Paths . . . keep it up!

Always here if I can help in any way.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I guess that's true.

I never really thought about it that way.

Thanks again for your advice!

- NW

Monday, October 24, 2016

What If Her Boyfriend Chooses a Mission Over Her? - Part 1 of 3

Dear Bro Jo,

I just recently discovered your blog and I've found your posts incredibly informational and comforting. I've skimmed through some of them, but none of them exactly pinpoint my problem...

I am nineteen and I am not a member of the LDS Church, but my ex-boyfriend is.

We began dating during our freshman year of college, and our relationship was absolutely wonderful. We were close friends before we started dating, and things between us only got better with time. We fell in love and began to talk about and plan a future together (after he returned from his mission).

However, along the way, we had a few problems with chastity, and each incident became worse than the previous.

He talked to his Bishop and we talked to his parents about everything, and his mission was delayed six months for him to have time to become worthy.

However, he went home for the summer and had to tell everyone that despite our efforts, we had messed up again.

We broke up about a month ago, and his parents took away both his phone and his computer to keep him from talking to me.

(His mission has now been postponed at least a year.)

We have been able to communicate since then, but he recently wrote to me saying that he decided he can no longer have any contact with me in any way so that he can focus on his mission.

I understand why we had to break up, and I understand his need to focus on his mission, but he ended everything in an email and I have so many questions and absolutely no closure.

I was raised in a Protestant church and have always sort of questioned my own faith, but I visited Church with him and I'm about halfway through the Book of Mormon, both of which I enjoyed.

I've also done lots of research and some extensive reading on Mormonism. I think it's safe to say that you could classify me as a potential convert.

I guess I just don't really know what to do, and I don't know what to expect from him.

We had talked about getting married, and had created this whole future together, but now I don't even know what he's thinking because he won't talk to me due to his need to stay focused.

We will still attend the same college (which is on the small side), have some mutual friends, and possibly have two classes together, so I don't think that he will be able to ignore me forever. But who knows?

His parents have never really liked me (they also made no effort to learn anything about me in the six months that I dated their son) and they seem to have an extreme amount of control over his life considering he's nineteen. (I say this with full understanding of the importance and closeness of LDS families.)

I also feel that they had a very heavy influence in his decision to cut contact with me. So it would not be surprising if they try to keep him away from me for a long time.

They say that when you've found the person you're meant to be with, you just know, and I have that feeling about him.

I haven't given up on him or on us, and I am more than willing to wait for him for another three years.

I am excited for him to get to go on a mission because I know how much it means to him. But what do I do now?

Trying to get answers from him is not going to work any time soon, so the earliest I can get any sense of closure will be when school starts. And that's if he agrees to talk to me then.

I don't think I can just give up, walk away, and never look back, because I've never loved or cared about anyone this much.

So should I just be patient?

Pray that he comes around?

I don't know what to do.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Hi!

First off, thank you for the kind words. Between you and me, I see (as they say in Texas) "all y'all" as potential converts.


There are several things here ... I'm going to address the one I see as most important first ... and that's your possible conversion to the Church.

If you decide to be baptized LDS it needs to be for you, and entirely separate from your relationship with him.

Would you please read that last paragraph again?

I really mean it.

If you're going to do it ... do it for you.

Do it forever.

Do it because you feel it's the right thing to do.

Don't do it for him.

Your relationship with God is more personal, and may last longer, than your relationship with this guy.


That brings me to the second part of your email: your relationship.

I think it's interesting that you blame his parents for everything but don't give him much responsibility. ..

Consider: whose fault is it that his parents didn't get to know you?

You imply that they made no effort, but isn't it also possible that he was hiding you from them?

You talk about how they control his life and he needs to (my words) Man Up and act like an adult.

I don’t disagree.

I see where they can be a little controlling, but it's not like he's taking control either.

I can understand them being worried that his relationship with you has pulled him off track because ... well... it has.

But in my opinion that's your boyfriend's fault more than anyone else's.

Out of all of you ... you, his parents.... he's the only one who had all of the information.

He knew he shouldn't be doing what he was doing, he knew he needed to be focused on going on a mission, and he knew that he was keeping you away from his parents.

Do you see what I'm talking about?

He knew his parents, fairly or not, would have negative feelings towards you; he knew that they would see you as keeping him from a mission. I think he put you, and them, in a very difficult position.

That doesn't sound very manly or mature to me.


So ... that said, I see this relationship going one of the following ways:

1. He bails on the mission, struggles with his relationship with God, and you don't end up together 
2. No mission and you do get married, not in the Temple for Time and All Eternity, and it takes a long time for his parents to like you; if you join the Church someday (you're sincere when you do and you do it for you) and eventually get sealed in the Temple that will help them come around if they haven't already 
3. He goes on the mission, can't handle it (or shouldn't have gone - likely because he didn't come clean in the interviews) and we're back to 1 or 2. In this scenario if he comes back to you it will be to use you ... and that makes this one the worst. 
4. He goes, serves God honorably, comes home ready to get married in the Temple, you're ready to go there too, you two REALLY fall in love and it's Happily Ever After 
5. He goes. You join the Church while he's gone. Because you both wisely promised each other that all bets are off, and that you're going to date other people while he's gone, you find someone else and marry the new guy instead. 


Of those five scenarios, the only ones I like are 4 & 5 (no surprise) because they're the ones that end with you Eternally married. Statistically speaking, 1 and 5 are the most likely. Give that some serious thought. Clearly you two are so strongly (forgive me) "attracted" to each other that you're not going to be able to keep your hands off each other when you're alone together.

If he's trying to go on a mission then Satan will work on making the temptations even stronger.

That means that for him to go on a mission you two have to be chaperoned or apart. And apart has the better chance of success.

Let me give you one more truth to ponder: when a guy does something he knows he shouldn't do and the end result is that he has sex, you can be assured that was exactly why he did it.

Not because he was "in love".

So the best thing for you is to get out of this relationship.

(Sister Jo agrees. She also says, btw, that she thinks he either won't go or he'll get sent home. Neither of which, she says, is good for you.)

Beyond that ... I guess the next thing for you to think about is: are you ready to more seriously consider the Church?

I'm sorry if this wasn't what you wanted to hear, but I care for and respect you too much not to tell you straight how what I honestly think.

Good luck.

Keep me posted.

And feel free to email any time about anything.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Are They "Just Friends"?

Dear Bro Jo,

I don’t know how relatable this letter will be to your normal audience, but I need some advice on the predicament I am currently in.

In sophomore year, my interest was sparked by a boy who was quite different to the others at my school, he was kind, courteous and had respect for people, like I had never seen.

We became close friends, and ended up being partners for a math assignment, after extended periods of time working on the assignment together, he invited me to a Church dance.

I was overwhelmed when there, but wanted to find out more (he was the only member at my school).

I ended up going to Church with him, and he dumped his current LDS ‘girlfriend’ in preparation for asking me out. I met his family and they took me in instantly (I have become like an older sister to his nieces whom he lives with).

I continually went to Church, and Church activities and started meeting with the missionaries.

Much to their dismay, being a 15 year old, I wasn't looking to commit to a religion, however through learning the truthfulness of the gospel, my heart softened. However, the missionaries’ jobs did not become easier, I was determined to know of the truthfulness for myself, and did not want to be known as the girl who converted because of her boyfriend, considering my family were not interested in the gospel.

As I learnt of the Church I realized that my relationship was contrary to the teachings of the prophets and as my testimony was strengthened concerning the need to follow their counsel, I broke it off with my friend, using the excuse that school was too much (we were seniors at the time).

So after nearly two years of attending Church and being taught by missionaries, I was baptized and was fortunate enough to be baptized by my friend.

Our friendship was as strong as ever, most people didn't even realize our status had changed.

We even referred to each other as bestest friends (this I am extremely confused about after reading your articles on Men and Women Can’t be Friends).

He continued to date other people, and outwardly I said that I didn't mind and was in fact happy for him, however I did wish we could rekindle what we had previously had, only after he had returned from an honourable mission.

Whilst preparing to serve a mission, my friend became serious with one girl. His family was (and still is) angry about the situation, and up until now they had not been openly adverse to his relationships until this particular this girl.

However they have stayed a couple and she is waiting for him.

Meanwhile, we still call each other best friends, and at first I didn't realize that was code word for “we’re not dating but I’m waiting for him” until his girlfriend pulled me up whilst saying it.

I was there at his call opening, farewell, setting apart and at the airport, when his girlfriend wasn’t.

He includes me in his family emails as well as sending me a personalized email each week.

I have tried to say to him save the time to email more important people, but I continue to get the personalized emails.

He is now 10 months through his mission.

I don’t know what his intentions are… Does he have a sense of obligation because he was the one that introduced me to the Church?

Have I become like a family member to him?

Does he want something more?

Or am I the fall back option if everything doesn’t go to plan?

I never thought I would be the person to email into an advice blog, but your truthful, sincere advice is definitely what I need right now.

Whatever your take on the situation, any advice on my future actions would be appreciated.

Sincerely,

- Confused




Dear Confused,

I'm with you!

I have no idea what he wants.

Are you a backup?

A safety net?

Is he just being nice?

Does he feel guilty?

Is he "in love"?

Is he afraid that you don't feel the same way?

Here's the thing: since we don't know, and it shouldn't be asked, brought up or considered until he comes home . . . we have to focus on you. And now is a great time for you to grow personally. 

Perhaps that means school . . .

Certainly you'll want to continue your path as a disciple of Christ . . .

And I think you need to be going on dates with other guys.

You've got 14 months.

That's a long time.

Be Free!

If, when he comes back, you're single and you're both interested in each other, then you can ask for answers to all of those questions.

Until then, I say write about it in your journal, and let it go.

- Bro Jo

Monday, October 17, 2016

She's Uncomfortable Talking to Her Bishop

Dear Bro Jo,

I am in great need of your help.

When people think porn they think boys, but reality is that not just boys struggle with it, girls can too, and that’s my case.

Although I went to the Bishop and spoke to him about it there was more I wanted to say, but I couldn't because my Bishop is a very serious man and I often feel very uncomfortable talking to him.

I was unable to tell my bishop the whole truth including the fact that I have masturbated, is there a way that I can recover from this although it’s been a long time that I've done it?

I also don’t want to talk to my Bishop again because I just can’t speak to him; he is someone that makes uncomfortable.

Also because my Aunt is the only other member of the Church in my family it isn't enforced on me and I often become inactive and then fall into a pattern of bad behavior, which is what has lead me to commit these sins multiple times and “repent” for them, but it wasn't until recently that I truly repented.

I didn't love the gospel before but then I turned 17 and everything changed and I want to belong but because of my sins I often want to quit church and forget. I don’t know how to move on from my past?

I don’t want to be a quitter and hide from something I love so much.

Please help me.

- Name Withheld




Dear Sister,

It isn't his seriousness that is making you uncomfortable when talking to your Bishop, nor is your Aunt being the only member the reason why you've occasionally fallen into bad behavior.

The "uncomfortable" feelings you have are the influence of Satan trying to keep you from feeling the love of the Savior.

The "pattern of bad behavior" is because you made some choices you shouldn't have.

To move on from your past you need to leave that bad behavior behind.

No one lives life mistake free, but as our love for the Gospel grows and our choices reflect that love then we'll more regularly know the joy that Heavenly Father has for us, more often know the blessings that are in store.

Be Strong!

Never give up. Never surrender!

- Bro Jo

Friday, October 14, 2016

How Do You Know You're In Love?

Dear Bro Jo,

How do you know you're in love?

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

When the other person's needs and happiness are more important than your own and you know that they feel the same way about you.

When you don't care about their imperfections enough to keep you from being with them and caring about them.

When you realize that they love you despite your imperfections.

Find that, and don't ever let it go!

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Should They Go on Dates to the Temple?

Dear Bro Jo,

My missionary comes home in a transfer (yippee)!

He recently wrote me how excited he is to go to the Temple when he gets home (there isn't one in his mission) and how excited he is to go with me (we are both endowed, and served missions),

My question is: do you think it's appropriate that a boyfriend and girlfriend attend the temple together?

I can see pro's and con's to it, but I usually just over think everything-ha

Spiritual feelings can often be confused as love. However, I think attending the Temple a great habit it get into as a couple.

Maybe it’s something to wait for until you're engaged?

Just wondering what your thoughts are on it?

- Just Wondering




Dear Wondering,

I generally frown on non-married people going to the Temple as a date.

I agree that it confuses things.

On a personal level I think it's weird.

Two RMs who are Serious Single Dating bothers me less than when a guy takes his non-endowed girl to do Baptisms for the dead ... that's just bizarre inside of the Zion Curtain wackiness.

Please understand, until he's back and you two have been exclusively dating for a couple months you're not a couple.

Right now you're two people who imagine that you might be great together ... and you might be ... but right now we just don't know.

Both of you should be going to the Temple oft, just not alone together and not as a couple.

Not yet anyway.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Totally understood, and I agree.

Thanks!

- Wondering

Monday, October 10, 2016

Can We Receive Promptings that Contradict the Gospel?

Dear Bro Jo,

I’ve been a big reader of the blog for a while now.

Just some background I'm a 15 year old guy, Active, and I'm Teachers Quorum President.

I need some help.

Or rather I need help helping a friend.

A good friend of mine in my Stake has paired off with another good friend of mine in the Stake. I know them both pretty well.

So here's the story.

About a month ago he (we'll call him Jeff) went out with her (we'll call her Marisa) on a single date to an amusement park.  Some of my other friends were there and caught them holding hands while they were walking around.

So when I heard this I talked to him about it (and to my mom because she likes to keep up on what’s happening in the Stake and she’s friends with the girl).

After that he kinda convinced me that it was all innocent (I should’ve known better).

Then about a week ago they posted to Facebook that they were in a relationship. (I didn't see this post until yesterday).

When I saw it I messaged him about it. After a little bit of conversation he said this:

"Oh haha I gotcha, I was confused. Honestly (my name)? I have not jumped into this in any sense. We've prayed about it. Fasted about it. The prophets as a general rule don't encourage it but she and I have been thinking about this for... 4 months? We think we're smart enough to not make those mistakes that many young couples make. And we both after many months have gotten separate answers from God that this is right at this time. No offense (my name), but I'll take my counsel from God not Bro Jo. Sorry if that seems harsh but Marisa's been getting some flak from her parents and I'm just a little frustrated. I appreciate your concern" 

(I already changed the names and withheld my name)

So he said he wasn’t going to take counsel from you because earlier in our conversation I sent him to two of your posts.


These ones in particular are: Good Guy's Dilemma  and Why Can't We Be Friends?.


What really annoys me about this is she is a great girl and he’s a great guy but in the message he sent me he said

"We've prayed about it. Fasted about it. The prophets as a general rule don't encourage it but Marisa and I have been thinking about this for... 4 months? We think we're smart enough to not make those mistakes that many young couples make. And we both after many months have gotten" 

HOW CAN GOD GIVE YOU AN ANSWER CONTRADICTORY TO HIS APOSTLES WORDS!!!!!

IT'S AN IMPOSSIBILITY!!!

That really annoys me to no end. I haven’t said that to him but i need some more advice.

I've already read up a ton on all the Church's things on dating I have the New Era April 2010 edition that is a special issue on dating and I've marked it up like my scriptures and I've gone through conference talks and teachings of the Prophets and consulted my parents ( they are both huge on dating rules).

As you can see I've done my HW I'm praying about it and pondering.

Would you tell me if I'm over reacting?

I just really care about them both. Any help on how to deal with this would be great. I've seen other youth in my older brothers' age groups have failed marriages (even one of Jeff's sisters) and people fall away from the Church all because they didn't date properly.

I really don't want this to happen to them.

- Help Please




Dear Help,

Can a person receive Personal Revelation that's contrary to the Gospel and teachings of the Church?

Absolutely not.

And yet some members make claims like this all the time.

Why?

Because we have a tendency to look for ways to justify doing what we want even if we know it's wrong.

As you get older, as you serve a mission and in Church leadership, you likely will see this more and more.

The thing is that unless they ask our advice there's nothing you or I can say or do that will change their minds.  They're already closed to the words of Heavenly Father, Jesus, The Spirit, Prophets and Apostles.

Just be a good pal, and don't say "I told you so" when they turn out to be wrong.

Unsolicited rebuking by us non-Prophets is usually just used as a further excuse for someone to stray.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo, 

Darn really wanted to do something about it.

Well I guess all that's left to do is pray.

Anyway thanks

- Help




Dear Help.

Prayer is powerful  As is the love and friendship we show.

Set an example of what we're supposed to do, and don't come across as judgmental.

- Bro Jo

Friday, October 7, 2016

Should She Have Fought for Him?

Dear Bro Jo.

Almost four years ago I wrote you about a boyfriend I had (we were broken up at the time), and you wrote me back, and you told me it wasn't a good idea to be with him.

Coincidentally (or not) , that email came to me while we were eating dinner together on our second back together date.

Well, fast forward through that and you would see we were quite happy together. We were very much in love, and to this day I have never cared for anyone more than him.

But, here's the clincher....I always noticed red flags (choosing football over me, his dad was a jerk to his mom, and he followed suit, he had a brother that was not nice at all) and you see, these red flags are what drove us apart.

I was sixteen and a week away from being seventeen when he left for his mission.

Almost a year into his mission we started considering setting a marriage, until, one day I asked him, if that's what he saw himself doing and he replied, "I don't know".

That's where the problem comes in.

Every doubt or red flag I ever saw came rushing back to me.

I decided then that I would not be that girl who waits around for someone who never loved her.

I was after the world and no man was going to stop me.

I quit writing and I started going on dates, and I was so angry I honestly didn't care anymore.


Fast forward to the day he came home from his mission.

I was working the night shift at a local huddle house, when I received a strange call.

I did not pick up.

The next morning I got a call from his dad:  "come eat breakfast with us".

I declined.


Then, I get a knock at my front door, it was him, his mom, and my mom.

I just hugged the mess out of him!

I just couldn't believe he was home!


All of the anger melted away, but right off the bat as we started hanging out again and trying to fix things, he would make comments like "pull your shirt up" or "are you drinking coffee at work, because you shouldn't do that it's wrong"

And just little comments like that.

And then suddenly he just have up on me.

He seemed disinterested.

He would STILL rather go to the football game than spend time with me. The old red flags were back.

So, I took the reins.

We lived in a small town, and there was nothing there for me so I decided to move to (Location Withheld).

I had planned on doing that for many years, I just hoped it never came down to a choice...but it did.

I know it seems silly to have "broken up" only two weeks after he got home, but I felt unimportant and he passed very harsh judgement on me that I refused to repeat.

I didn't do it because I WANTED to, I did it because I had to.


Well, here I am, a little over a year later, and I'm still missing him, like I have been everyday.

Except now he's engaged (as of yesterday) and I'm distraught.

I left home in May of this year, and it was the hardest goodbye.

I felt like it was what Heavenly Father wanted. And I still believe that.

I believe he wanted a small town life and I am on my way to law school.

I just don't know if I did anything right anymore.


If I made the right choice, if I listened correctly to my promptings, I just DON'T KNOW.

I hate that he is getting married, and I'm so frustrated that it's really, truly over now.

I know that I'm supposed to be here, in (Location Withheld), but I just don't know if I should've stayed a little longer and gone back and said lets work this out.


This is unreal.


- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

I went on a job interview once where I was asked whether or not I had any regrets.

I was young and confident and I said that I had no regrets.

While there were things I wish I hadn't done, I was grateful for where my life was at that moment and I figured all things, even the bad, had led to that point.

All of that, on some level, is true of course, but now that I'm older, while I wouldn't risk giving up what my life is now (it's not perfect, but I am grateful for the good stuff), I would certainly chose to do something differently had I the chance.

It's never a good idea, IMHO, to marry someone who ranks so many things as more important than you. So, in that regard, despite how much you like him, I think you're better off.

We can know if our promptings are from Heavenly Father by knowing whether or not what we feel prompted to do will help someone other than ourselves. I'm not sure how that applies here.


I think there's a lot you're not telling me.


But I also think that what you do say contains some valuable information.


All of the sadness and frustration that you feel isn't unreal, it's very normal.

Could you have held onto this relationship had you stayed?  Maybe, but I don't see how that would have been a good thing.

No amount of time would have changed who he is or who you are.

I think all sticking around would have done is prolonged the inevitable.

I know it's difficult, but it's past time to move on.

That will be easier as you work being of service to others.

Eventually you'll find someone who treats you the way you should be treated, who loves you for who you are, and in that moment you'll now that all of this has been for the best.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Should She Feel Guilty Going Out with a Guy that Just Broke Off a Year-long Relationship?

Dear Bro Jo,

Who would have thought I would still be emailing you at 20!

haha! Not me!

Anyway, my dilemma is I met a guy this weekend and he's soo sweet and all that jazz and we've spoken a lot this weekend!

The problem is just broke up with his girlfriend about a month ago; it's still a bit sore for her and she's still upset but it's definitely over and they won't get back together.  So I know the guys ex-girlfriend, not very well but I know who she is and she'll know who I am because we were in the same EFY group (as counselors).

I've been thinking this morning "do I stop talking to this guy and leave it a while to settle or do I just carry on speaking to him?"

We've been talking about going out sometime this week on a date which is cool but I don't know if I want to get caught up in it?

They were together for a year so it's not like it was a little fling.  I've never really dated somebody who's got that hanging over them.  What should I do?!

Thanks,

Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Of course you keep talking to him!

And . . . worry less.

Yes, I think she'll hurt when she realizes he's moved on and is dating other people, but that's what happens after a break up.  Honestly?  I think finding out about his other dates will help her move on (not that you should be the one to tell her).

Have fun,

- Bro Jo

Monday, October 3, 2016

Three Great Dating Questions

Dear Bro Jo,

I'd like to first start off by saying I really enjoy reading your blog.

I'm 17 and I have just recently come upon The Church (I'm getting baptized this weekend).

So being at this age and this stage in joining the Church, and without much guidance on the topic of relationships from the Church's view (not only relationships but the social dynamics in the Church as well), your blog really helps to give insight and help me understand these things and these views, as I don't have any family or close friends that are members to really observe or learn from, so thank you for that!

After reading your blog for a while I had a few questions.

On the right hand side of the website in the "dating rules for teens" section it says "date in groups of 2 or more couples" and "no dating the same person twice in a row."


These two statements stood out to me and were confusing and odd to me.

So my first question was: I could understand for a young teen to need to date in a group, but as teens get older and more mature it seems like they would be okay with dating on their own (however this may just be me being used to the normal dating and relationship ways of most teenagers today), so what age (if any) would you say was acceptable for a 1on1 date?


Secondly, how would you pursue a relationship with a person if you were simply dating different people every time and were unable to continually date someone?

I guess my only guess of the answer to these questions are maybe how you define "dating" and "in a relationship."


And my last question is that in a recent post you responded to a girl who was waiting for a missionary, and you stated that she should continue dating other people while he was gone and then maybe try to purse something once he returned.

You also said that someone should not wait for a missionary unless some serious guarantee is in place. What would you constitute as a reasonable situation to wait for a missionary?


Thank you very much for your time and response!

- New Member




Dear NM,

Congratulations on your baptism!

The purpose of Serious Single Dating is to find a spouse, more specifically in the Church, an Eternal Companion.

Until we're at the age where we should be doing that, we should Casual Group Date.

Getting in "relationships" while we're in our teens invites drama, temptation, heart ache and limits our fun and opportunities.

One-on-one dates, IMHO, are something a young man should save for after his mission, and a young woman should save at least until she's graduated high school (or the local cultural equivalent).

I think you've identified the issue well. People often say they are "dating" but they never actually go out on dates.

A date needs a Plan, the guys to Pick Up their dates (that's what a proper escort does), and to Pay for anything that you've invited your date to do.

(That does not mean that a Date needs to be expensive. Some of the best dates the Jo Boys have gone on involved a hike and a picnic. )

As for missionaries ... in my opinion there are no circumstances where a young woman (or young man, even with all of the sisters out there) should "wait" for a missionary.  It's not a fair or realistic thing for either person.

Sure, sometimes the couple works out, but most of the time they don't.  And I believe most mission presidents will tell you that many a missionary is better at sharing the Gospel when they don't have (or no longer have) someone they're pining over that is occupying their thoughts and time.

Great questions!

- Bro Jo