Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published several times a month.

This is column is just one guy's opinion, and while he does his best to keep what he thinks, says and writes in-line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, "Dear Bro Jo" is not an LDS Church website. (And Sister Jo thinks you should know that he's sometimes wrong, and often way too opinionated for his own good.)

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Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Law of Chastity

Dear Readers,

While I've been asked about The Law of Chastity a lot in this column, I'm not sure that I've been as clear as I should have been about some things.

"Chastity" is a pretty weird word in modern English.  Outside the Church I'm not sure anyone uses it.  Not in a serious way at least.

And INSIDE The Church . . . well . . . it seems like it gets brought up All The Time!

But never really explained . . .  even though we've had lesson after lesson about it, often we're left with more questions than answers.

There are several reasons why that might be . . . but let's set those aside.


The 8 Things Bro Jo Thinks You Should Know about The Law of Chastity

  1.  Sex during marriage is awesome and wonderful and fun; sex before marriage is stressful, confusing, and can really mess up our perception of the relationship we're in.   With the exception of pornography, sex and those desires are Real, Natural, and Good; it's just the Timing that we need to be careful about.   
  2.  Satan is real and he uses our "natural desires" to pull us off track.  He wants us to feel miserable and worthless, that we don't deserve eternal happiness, and he's wrong.                                                                                                  
  3. When mature people talk about sexual intercourse and intimacy, they use the right words, not slang.  Maturity is not bound by age.       
  4.  Often people make the decision that they're willing to break the Law of Chastity long before they're actually in the moment.  The have justified the sin before the opportunity arises.  The opposite can be equally powerful:  we need to decide to be pure and to avoid tempting situations Before we find ourselves in them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  5.  Here are some Real World Truths about Relationships and Sex: 
    1. Couples who live together before they get married almost always end up splitting up
    2. It's less expensive to be married than to be single
    3. People who wait to have sex with only the person they are married to AFTER they get married tend to have stronger, healthier sex lives and marriages 
    4. Men and women are wired differently, and anyone who disagrees is lying or deluded or confused                                                                                         
  6.  Sex IS NOT love;.

    It Can Be an expression of love between two people who are married, but outside of marriage it has nothing to do with love.   
  7. "Breaking the Law of Chastity" means anything we do to intentionally sexually excite or gratify ourselves or someone else. 

    Is a quick kiss goodnight breaking the Law of Chastity?  Or a friendly hug?


    AS LONG AS those things don't betray a relationship. 

    It would be totally inappropriate for a married person to kiss someone (especially passionately kiss) who is not their spouse. 

    To be specific - nudity (yours or viewing someone else's) for the purpose of (or result in) sexual excitement, rubbing genitals (yours or someone else's), oral sex, masturbation, and viewing pornography are All breaking the Law of Chastity. 

    When we break the Law of Chastity we need to repent, and that means going to talk to our Bishop so that he can help us mend our relationship with The Savior.  AFTER we're married, activities with our spouse Are Not breaking the Law of Chastity.  Except viewing pornography. 

    That's always wrong. 

    Do you know why?

    Because it puts another person, who is not our spouse, in the position of sexually exciting or gratifying someone who is not their spouse, which includes us.

    If we have broken the Law of Chastity we are not Worthy to go to the Temple until we have repented.  The Bishop has the responsibility of helping us know when repentance has happened.  If you are Endowed or a Melchizedek Priesthood Holder and you have sex outside of marriage, you are putting your Church Membership in jeopardy.   If you are currently breaking the Law of Chastity you are not at this time worthy to get married in the Temple.

    That's a Very Big Deal, and you should meet with your Bishop RIGHT AWAY to get back on the right track.

    It's better to postpone a Sealing until after repentance than to bring condemnation upon ourselves because we've lied in a Temple Recommend Interview.  To do so puts worldly things ahead of spiritual things.

    The Lord LOVES YOU, and you CAN repent.  But to do so you'll need to take the proper steps.
  8.  A good answer to "where is the line" is "never do anything you wouldn't want someone else, like your little brother or sister, or your grandma, catch you doing.  By the way, Jesus knows. 

    When you think you are alone and "getting away with something" the Savior knows what you're doing.  The Savior loves us, will always love us, even when we mess up, but like Santa Claus (who is an analogy of the Savior, by the way) "he sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake; he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake".

    One thing that can help is the Alone-Time-Motion rule.

    Temptation for a couple to be "un-pure" happens when we violate all three of these concepts.

    It's like this Venn Diagram (I apologize for the crudeness of my drawing.)

    When we violate all three that's when we are most tempted.

    For example:  If we go on a hike, then the two of us are together for a long time, and it's just the two of us alone, but we're in motion, so we're okay.

    But, if we're just sitting alone in a car or on a sofa or in someone's room . . . especially for a long time . . . then the chance that we'll "mess up" is very high.  (So don't be in that situation!)

    Does that make sense?

    So . . . if we want to stay Temple Worthy, then the key is to make sure we're not violating all of those rules.

    Rather than sit home, go out and do something.

    Rather than be alone, watch that movie marathon with a bunch of friends.

    Rather than hang out all night (and into the morning), say goodbye at a descent hour.


Okay.  Lecture over.

Go be awesome!


- Bro Jo

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Checking In

December 10, 2019

Dear Readers,

I know I haven't posted anything new in a long time . . . and I apologize for that.  Life can get busy, our assignments can change, and (to be honest) after posting over 1500 responses (and answering thousands more emails) I haven't been sure that I have much to tell you that I haven't already said.

Hopefully the database is organized enough that you can find the answers you're looking for.

That said, as time has passed I have realized that there Are a Few Things that I may not have addressed, or perhaps have not addressed as well as I wish I had.  To that end I will, once in a while and rarely, add something to the column.  The First One will be post on Thursday, December 12th, 2019.

Know that I love you.  Know that God loves you.  Repentance is Real. 

Dating isn't as difficult as we often make it out to be.

And Temple Marriage is AWESOME!


- Bro Jo

Friday, October 5, 2018

Understanding a Breakup

Hi Bro Jo,

I need some advice on a break up and I couldn't figure out who to talk to about this, so I figured I'd send you an email to get an outside, unbiased opinion.

I was dating a guy for not too long and last night he decided to call me and tell me that he just wants to be friends. I told me that he was still attracted to me, was the most unique girl he'd ever met, and still liked me, felt connected to me emotionally and spiritually and physically, but he has liked girls more in past relationships. He told me that I was a girl that every guy was looking for and that when the right guy came along at the right time, that things will work out.

This guy also suffers from bipolar disorder and told me that he doesn't deserve to be happy and it wasn't in the cards for him to be happy. He also told me that he isn't ready for marriage for various reasons and knew that I wanted to be in a relationship that was progressing toward marriage and he didn't want me to waste my time waiting on him.

I guess I'm just trying to sort out why he really broke up with me. Was it because he really wasn't into me, or was it because he was scared of committing and couldn't bring himself to commit to a relationship?

I'm heartbroken obviously and I've done a lot of crying and replaying of everything that had happened. I feel like an idiot for trying to work things out with him despite him telling me beforehand that he didn't feel ready for marriage. Guess I thought I could change that.

Anyways, any advice or ideas about why he may have broken up with me and even advice on how to move on from this and not be scared of getting my hear broken again would be greatly appreciated.


- Name Withheld

Dear NW,

Lucky you!

My world is full of people who would love to have even been in a relationship at all . . . so I guess there's that.

I just read your email (keeping it anonymous) to my living room full of my YSA and Young Married Jo Kids.  They all said the same things I had planned to say to you.

1.  What a sad email!

2.  That guy is a total loser!

3.  She's lucky she got out of that relationship when she did!

I get that you like the guy . . . but he really does seem like he's not a very good guy.  What he said to you is awful, and if he doesn't want to stay in a relationship with you he can't be very bright.  Plus one needs to be . . . very . . . cautious . . . about getting into a relationship with someone who has major psychological problems . . . real OR imagined.

Time will heal this wound.

Be willing to go out with any non-murderer that asks (hoping that makes you smile), and as Sister Jo says, being of service helps us feel better.  So do that, too!

- Bro Jo

*** One Year Later ***

Dear Bro Jo,

It's been about a year and I never responded to your email! Figured I would thank you for your thoughts and update you on things.

That break up was difficult and it took a little time to get over it, but I did get over it. Once I got past feeling hurt, I realized how right you were. What he said was awful and I was lucky to get out of that relationship. I can see now why it was a huge blessing to not be in that relationship anymore.

I took your advice and tried doing more service and I went out with any non-murderer that asked (definitely got a big smile out of that one!). I went on several dates that never really went anywhere, but I had lots of fun.

One guy in particular asked me out and I wasn't really that interested, but I went anyways (I mean he was a non-murderer so I had to go!). We ended up hitting it off and spent hours and hours just talking on that first date. We are now engaged and getting married in the (Location Withheld) Temple in March!

If I had stayed in that past relationship, I know I would have been unhappy and I wouldn't have met my fiance. Because of that relationship, I learned what I wanted in a spouse and I found those things and more in my fiance. Thank you for your kind words and advice from almost a year ago.

Also as a side note,  your list of stuff you need to know before you get engaged was extremely helpful! It was a great resource to refer to when we wanted to talk about the big and important things. There was stuff on there we would not have thought of on our own.

Thanks again for your advice and for your blog!

- NW

Dear NW,

What a wonderful email to get to read today!

Very happy for you.  Thank you for your kind words and positive outlook.

Oh . . . and . . .CONGRATULATIONS!


- Bro Jo