September 23rd, 2019

Pigpen

I Hope Purity Culture Is As Dead As They Say It Is

Purity culture was a twisted mess of ungrace-producing, fear-based teaching on love and relationships. It was destined to produce damaged individuals and marriages. Naturally, UBF twisted it further by adding its own brand of legalism, hyper-control and, of course, disregard for ethics

Young author, Joshua Harris, became the posterboy of purity culture with his book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye". I remember his book being passed around in UBF because it seemed to be validation for UBF's no-dating policy (no-dating-and-marry-the-one-that-God's-Servant-chooses-for-you-sight-unseen-obey-obey-obey policy). Of course, the courtship models that came out of the purity movement bore no resemblance to UBF's marriage=mission program, which produced so much impurity in the forms of abuse and control.

As he matured, Harris began to rethink his prescriptions against dating. He heard from people whose lives had been damaged by the movement and teachings that his book had helped launch. In recent years, he pretty much disavowed "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" and pulled it from circulation. He went on an apology tour of sorts. Then, his own courtship-initiated marriage dissolved, as well as his seemingly well-grounded faith; if repentance means turning your life around, a thorough repentance it has been.

An article in the aftermath of Harris' "deconstruction" begins:

"As we culturally deconstruct the dreadfully misguided marketing effort of purity culture, it’s important to recognize that isn't the truth of Christianity. As happens too often, fallible humans completely garbled the message."