I was told to tell a "White Lie" in order to get into the Navy and eventually become a Jesuit Brother

Hello friends. I am in need of some serious guidance. I am going to talk with my priest about this later, but I would not mind some input from this forum. Please help me out.

Just letting you know, I plan on being a Jesuit Brother Dentist. I guess one could say I flirted with the idea for awhile, but I finally decided that that is what I want to do. However, I lack dental skills so I obviously need to go to Dental School. Dental school is expensive and I am of a middle-class family. So, my parents and I decided that we are going to let the Navy pay for my dental school. I have to serve some years in the Navy afterwards of course, but that was actually my original career choice. I did not need to make much adjustment in my studies or lifestyle. This is where I am faced with a dilemma.

My parents advised me that, when the recruiter comes to interview me and assess whether I am worthy of their Naval scholarship program for dental school, I should “sell myself” as best as possible. Most importantly, they said I had to tell the recruiter (or at least strongly imply) that I planned on serving more than one term in the Navy or perhaps have it as my lifelong career. I expressed disapproval of this. My parents then warned me that I am not going to get the scholarship if I do not do this (the Navy is probably more interested in candidates who will serve longer than one term). They said other candidates will tell “white lies” as well and drop out after serving one term so it only makes sense that I should do so as well. In addition, they said that because I plan on being a Jesuit Brother Dentist after my one term in the Navy, God will forgive me for telling a “white lie” to the Navy recruiter as long as I help thousands of people in my work with the Jesuits. They also reminded me that, because I majored primarily in biology/pre-dental (undergraduate), I will not be able to just switch careers at will. The Jesuit Brothers will not accept me if I lack skills.

I expressed disapproval of this because I felt like I was going to commit evil in the name of good. I consider such an evil to be the most scandalous and perverted. I do not want to live out the rest of my life as a Jesuit Brother Dentist knowing that I committed sin in order to even get to that point in my life. I do not want to tell my patients to good and not evil in the name of the Lord when I know I did it myself. Also, I am concerned about those other candidates who want the scholarship. What if they really wanted to have a lifelong career in the Navy and had not the finances to get into the proper schools? I would not mind being selected over them if I knew we were being fairly assessed, but not if I got selected as a result of lying. But, if I tell the truth (that I plan on serving only one term in the Navy and joining the Jesuits afterwards), the Navy may not pay for my Dental school and my parents would have to “foot the bill.” I love my parents and am thankful to them for raising me and giving me a luxurious life. I do not want to burden them needlessly. But I want to love the Lord as well.

First of all, would lying in this situation be morally permissible? Check out this link for some guidance. I checked it out too, but I would like to see other opinions.

catholic.com/magazine/articles/is-lying-ever-right

Also, what should I do? Should I lie to the recruiter in order to get into Dental School, join the Navy, and become a Jesuit Brother Dentist afterwards to make up for it? Or should I tell the truth and risk not getting into Dental School or the Navy; have my parents suffer financially; and perhaps become jobless for the rest of my life? Is there anything else you would like to suggest? I thank you all in advance for helping me to resolve this issue. If you want me to clarify anything, then please let me know.

Tell the recruiter that you are extremely motivated and have every intention in fulfilling your enlistment requirements, and if Navy life turns out to be the life for you, then you would consider re-enlisting beyond the requirement. Your parents are right, it will be extremely competitive in getting a scholarship from the Navy for dental school. The Navy is making a big investment and the recruiters know what they are looking for in the right candidate, career goals will just one thing they are considering. As I mentioned on another thread, my daughter’s ex-fiancé took out HUGE student loans to get through school and then joined the Air Force; he paid back the student loans in one enlistment and is getting ready to get out and start his own practice. He not only paid back the loans, but he gained experience in his field and I am looking forward to being his first patient when he is a civilian again!

Not to be a crepe-hanger, but…

… how do you know that, if you’re accepted into the Jesuits, you’ll be a dentist among them? After all, just like in the military… once you’re in, you’re at their beck and call, and must do what you’re ordered to do.

If you want to be a Naval officer serving as a dentist, then apply to the scholarship program. Let them know that you wish to be a dentist, and this option would allow you to meet your career goals while serving your country. Who knows… maybe God will show you that He wants you to serve His people as a dentist in the Navy…!

Hello Scrupulous Monk.

The call to religious life as a Jesuit is a very serious one. Take responsibility for yourself and quit trying to blame your parents for any bad mistakes you may be planning on making. The Navy is also pretty tough and if you plan on starting your “career” there with lies, then don’t. You honestly don’t seem very suitable for religious life. At least not without some major changes in outlook.

Glenda

As a retired Navy man who served a 3 year tour as a recruiter, I offer the following:

In assessing candidates for high cost program (with the possible exception of the academy, where the goal is to create admirals in the long run), recruiting command doesn’t care if you intend on a minimum obligation or a career…they have set a minimum obligation which is all they care about.

What does a young civilian know about the Navy to be able to claim before he even enters that he is going to stay past his contractual obligation, anyway?

If I were your recruiter, I would take such claims with a grain of salt, and focus only on your present qualifications and likelihood of meeting the minimum obligations.

I hope he listens to you and goes from there! God Bless, Memaw

Clearly you are young and you have a sense of conscious. I would not want to build the cornerstone of my religious career on a lie, white or otherwise.

You are young, so tell the recruiter you will serve more than 1 stint in the Navy and then serve 2. You still have plenty of time to join a Holy order after that. It does not matter what so ever that other recruits lie about their intentions. That has nothing to do with you. If you follow your parents misguided advice, well intended though it may be, you will carry the memory throughout your vocation, even if you are absolved. What good is that?

I have no doubts your parents want the best for you, but they do not have to live with your choices, you do. You sound like a wonderful Catholic, and I pray that you have an equally wonderful journey!

Remember this? “A house divided cannot stand.”

Going to the Navy because you want to be a dentist is the wrong reason to go to the Navy.
Thinking that you will get to be a dentist once a Jesuit is foolish, as you will do what you are told there and someone just may decide you are better suited to teaching, lecturing or running a Parish.

You need to make a clear choice about what you want to do in the future. If you want to be a dentist fine. But don’t use the Navy to get there. With the current situations in the world you could land up dead fighting some war someplace.

Agreed - I never encountered a recruiter who cared about whether you’ll serve more than one hitch, or make it a career… You just need to meet the requirements.

This is a little bit beside your point… but having been a young person myself and now having raised children to adulthood… don’t fall into the trap of overcommitting to one narrow goal at this stage of your planning and deciding. There is a saying that goes “How do you make God laugh? … tell Him your plans”.

From experience I think it is good to have a goal for your life, but to also live in the present. Who knows how you will find the Navy or what opportunities might arise as a result of your service. As the experts in recruiting practices have said, its not likely that you’d be asked to commit long term at a first interview. Employers also like to reserve the option to let go of someone who is not up to the job so they aren’t thinking that long term about complete strangers anyway.

Go into the Navy process without being too heavily invested in what *it *is going to do for you. Think about what you can do by your time there for the good of such noble service as the forces… in your own little way. That would be more honest and noble.

I chose “other” because, even though you have this particular plan, you can’t know God’s will for you. You might find that you end up being Called to an entirely different path.

Therefore, I don’t think that it is something that would (morally, legally, etc.) be necessary to reveal.

Quite frankly, you don’t know at this time whether you would “re-up” after your initial committment or not. Most people don’t know until they’re near the end of their enlistment period. Tell the recruiter the truth - you’re willing to enlist, and at the end of your enlistment period, you will consider whether you want to re-enlist or not.

You need to talk to a vocations director with the Jesuits.

Your scrupulosity must be dealt with first, it is likely to be an impediment to entering any order of priests or brothers.

It’s not the wrong reason, why do you think the Navy, or any other branch of the military, offers such things? He isn’t doing anything wrong to go for the education. Lots of young men and women have done the same thing. Some stay longer, some don’t but the fact is the military offers it, so do it. What you do with your life after your training is entirely up to you!!! I agree with the retired Navy officer. God Bless, Memaw

First of all, I’d like to echo those who say you can’t know for sure you are going to be a “Jesuit dentist” - not that I’m the know-all in these matters, but I personally have never heard of such a person. You can plan this all you want, but you can’t assume it’s going to happen. Nonetheless, I do agree with you that, if this does turn out to be exactly what your vocation is, I would not want it to be founded in a lie either. I wouldn’t tell him you have plans that actually aren’t your plans. I can’t tell you exactly what to tell him, because I don’t know anything about you, but you certainly should try to “sell yourself” (as it will be a competitive scholarship), but not by lying.

I don’t see any problem with “using” the Navy to go through Dental School, and especially since you said the Navy was your original career choice. I always assumed that one reason the military helps with education is to get people to serve, and I don’t see a problem with that. If one chooses to go that route, then obviously that person knows he has his duty toward the military to fulfill.

I’m repeating I know, but I think it needs repeating. If you’ve already made your career choices of Jesuit and Dentist, then, you’ve made up your mind and found a way to do it. That is very commendable in the world - goal oriented and determined. However, religious life is totally the opposite. IF you are called to the Religious life and it is indeed the Jesuits to which you are called by God, then the doors to that will open. The first thing you will need is a docile will. Your mind is made up. These two things aren’t compatible. They are opposites. Why is that? Because it is indeed God who decides who is called and where they end up. He is the Head of the Church and He decides who does what. All human plans are subordinate to that and this has to be appealing to those who are seriously considering Religious life. It is essential for solid formation in religious life for postulates to demonstrate docility. A person must become clay to be placed into the Potter’s Hands. If this docility isn’t seen by vocation directors, then forget it. The Jesuits take a forth vow of Obedience to the Pope, and in that vow they do whatever the Church wills for them. To attempt to enter religious life and present them with your career objections seems ludicrous in light of their calling. So, you may find it is God’s will that you peel potatoes in the kitchen for the first thirty years of your “career,” in the Jesuit Retreat House and if you’ve already made up your mind about what you’d like to do with your life, there will remain a mental reservation about any plans that are presented to you in opposition to them. You will either become embittered because you didn’t get what you came for, or you will eventually be disillusioned and leave them. (Like Jesus asked some, what is it that you came looking for?) The other thing is once you’ve crossed the threshold of the place you will be formed in, guess what? Your life is no longer your own. This too is a virtue necessary for success in Religious life. Total renunciation of one’s life as the means by which to find one’s life. Nothing short of total self-donation as a bridegroom to his bride. You’ve made up your mind who your bride should be and what is expected of her in return - to make of you a Dentist and a sailor and a Jesuit. Okie dokie. You’re talking pre-nuptial agreement here whether you’re aware of it or not. Do you catch my meaning? I hope so.

Now, back to your career path and the lies and manipulations you’re willing to tell and do in order to obtain your goals. As has already been said, lies aren’t the way into either the Navy nor the Religious life. In fact, they have no place at all in the life of a Christian. Period. You came here, CAF, to see if your deceptions would be condoned by us and some have done so. The first thing that jumped to my attention was the total lack of responsibility for the lies and manipulations you were claiming were your parent’s fault. Got new for ya, if you carry them out, you have no one to blame but yourself. Some can suggest I do something, but I’m the one who agrees to do it, so I’m the one who is accountable for the actions, not the person who suggested it. Perhaps if you did manage to succeed in furthering your plans and did get accepted not only into the Navy, but also into the Dental school and then into the Jesuits, you’d be following the same pattern - get THEM to be responsible for you and blame them for the bad that happens. It spells disaster to me. This is troubling to me in a person considering religious life. WHY? Because over all of this, you are accepting the call to sanctity. That is HOLINESS and to sin to get it and lack the ability to accept responsibility for one’s mistakes says, you can’t even be honest in the Confessional cause whatever goes wrong is your parents fault, your recruiter’s fault and eventually your religious superiors fault and then ultimately God’s fault. See what I mean? Tough stuff to undo. But if you ask me, you will remain unworthy of the Call until your whole outlook changes, and that is **IF **you even see the need for a change.

I apologize if this seems too harsh for you, but it needed saying and since you asked, I thought important to share my observations. I’ve probably made more than one person angry with these words, oh well.

Glenda

I’m repeating I know, but I think it needs repeating. If you’ve already made your career choices of Jesuit and Dentist, then, you’ve made up your mind and found a way to do it. That is very commendable in the world - goal oriented and determined. However, religious life is totally the opposite. IF you are called to the Religious life and it is indeed the Jesuits to which you are called by God, then the doors to that will open. The first thing you will need is a docile will. Your mind is made up. These two things aren’t compatible. They are opposites. Why is that? Because it is indeed God who decides who is called and where they end up. He is the Head of the Church and He decides who does what. All human plans are subordinate to that and this has to be appealing to those who are seriously considering Religious life. It is essential for solid formation in religious life for postulates to demonstrate docility. A person must become clay to be placed into the Potter’s Hands. If this docility isn’t seen by vocation directors, then forget it. The Jesuits take a forth vow of Obedience to the Pope, and in that vow they do whatever the Church wills for them. To attempt to enter religious life and present them with your career objectives seems ludicrous in light of their calling. So, you may find it is God’s will that you peel potatoes in the kitchen for the first thirty years of your “career,” in the Jesuit Retreat House and if you’ve already made up your mind about what you’d like to do with your life, there will remain a mental reservation about any plans that are presented to you in opposition to them. You will either become embittered because you didn’t get what you came for, or you will eventually be disillusioned and leave them. (Like Jesus asked some, what is it that you came looking for?) The other thing is once you’ve crossed the threshold of the place you will be formed in, guess what? Your life is no longer your own. This too is a virtue necessary for success in Religious life. Total renunciation of one’s life as the means by which to find one’s life. Nothing short of total self-donation as a bridegroom to his bride. You’ve made up your mind who your bride should be and what is expected of her in return - to make of you a Dentist and a sailor and a Jesuit. Okie dokie. You’re talking pre-nuptial agreement here whether you’re aware of it or not. Do you catch my meaning? I hope so.

Now, back to your career path and the lies and manipulations you’re willing to tell and do in order to obtain your goals. As has already been said, lies aren’t the way into either the Navy nor the Religious life. In fact, they have no place at all in the life of a Christian. Period. You came here, CAF, to see if your deceptions would be condoned by us and some have done so. The first thing that jumped to my attention was the total lack of responsibility for the lies and manipulations you were claiming were your parent’s fault. Got new for ya, if you carry them out, you have no one to blame but yourself. Some can suggest I do something, but I’m the one who agrees to do it, so I’m the one who is accountable for the actions, not the person who suggested it. Perhaps if you did manage to succeed in furthering your plans and did get accepted not only into the Navy, but also into the Dental school and then into the Jesuits, you’d be following the same pattern - get THEM to be responsible for you and blame them for the bad that happens. It spells disaster to me. This is troubling to me in a person considering religious life. WHY? Because over all of this, you are accepting the call to sanctity. That is HOLINESS and to sin to get it and lack the ability to accept responsibility for one’s mistakes says, you can’t even be honest in the Confessional cause whatever goes wrong is your parents fault, your recruiter’s fault and eventually your religious superiors fault and then ultimately God’s fault. See what I mean? Tough stuff to undo. But if you ask me, you will remain unworthy of the Call until your whole outlook changes, and that is **IF **you even see the need for a change.

I apologize if this seems too harsh for you, but it needed saying and since you asked, I thought important to share my observations. I’ve probably made more than one person angry with these words, oh well.

Glenda

Please let us know what your priest advised you to do, It will be interesting to see what he thinks. Your young and you’ve had some very harsh things thrown at you that probably didn’t help a bit. Prayers for you in your decision. God Bless, Memaw

It’s very clear to me about whether or not you should lie to the recruiter. God’s answer is “no”! If you want to be a jesuit dentist, you should be looking for God’s will in your life. If it is his will for you, then he will give you the means to get there, whether it’s through military service or by some other means. But you don’t start the pursuit of a vocation to serve God, by telling a lie. The advice to say that you would have to make a decision about “re-upping” after experiencing military life sounds like a good one to me. Meanwhile, you need to search out all options and stay close to God. If he is in line with what you are trying to accomplish, then he will ensure that you reach your goal. Trust in him and follow his will.

To ALL

First of all, I would like to thank all of you for providing me with moral support and guidance. I consider myself to be a very weak-willed person who easily gives into pressure. But hearing your advice and how it would be morally wrong to lie in these circumstances has provided me some comfort and strength. May God bless you all.

Also, many of you are right. It would be too presumptuous for me to assume that all the things I planned for are what the Lord has in mind. I might even serve more than one term in the Navy or perhaps I might find another calling not related to a religious order in the future. It could be even something completely unrelated to the Navy, Jesuits, or even dentistry. Only the Lord knows.

If I may share this with you, I wanted to become a Jesuit Brother Dentist because, like Ignatius Loyola himself, I felt like I have lived a very debauched, self-centered, and unholy life. As I said before, I originally planned on joining the Navy as a Naval Dental Officer and prepared for it for most of my young adult life (taking JROTC and ROTC courses; getting physically fit; learning military discipline; getting exposure to Navy life and experience; etc.). I have already spent most of education on studying Biology (Pre-Dental), so I am pretty much stuck with dentistry as being my planned primary skill (that is why I hope the Jesuits will have me as a dentist as well). I chose to be a Jesuit Brother specifically because they operate similarly to the military (“God’s Marines;” travel around the world; do what our Holy Commander-in-Chief the Pope orders). I have already spent considerable amount of time preparing for military life so I thought having the Jesuits as my choice of religious order was only logical. It also seemed a whole lot like fate to me, but I guess one can not presume to know what the Lord thinks at all times.

As for now, my plan is to tell the recruiter that I plan for serving one term but am open to serving for another. If the need arises (and if the Lord does not say otherwise), I will also say that I may join the Jesuit Brothers after my first/second term. I will also be sure to tell you all what my Priest says about this. Thank you all and God bless. Please continue to comment as you see fit.

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