Recovery from Evangelical Purity movement explored by NPR

NPR has an article out (and a radio show) interviewing Linda Kay Klein and highlighting her new book and work in helping women “release shame and claim their whole selves.” While she points out it isn’t just a church effect, the focus of the article is specifically on women growing up in evangelical churches. She highlights the myth that sexual purity will equate to healthy marital sex, the role of gender, and acceptance of bodies and sexuality.

“You aren’t just supposed to be sexually pure, but you are supposed to be pure in your gender expression. So women and girls are expected to be hyper-feminine, supportive followers of men and boys who are expected to be hyper-masculine leaders, supportive and loving leaders, but leaders nonetheless.”

She covers a number of additional issues in greater depth in the FreshAir show discussing some interesting observations on how her church handled gender and sexuality. Interesting listen.

Linda also has a product called “Break Free Together” which includes:

  • The Talk: an interactive dinner experience
  • Share your Story: where individuals share their stories in social media
  • A Gathering: of individuals and experts in healing sexual shame

An interesting model many of us could adapt for our own practices and ministries.

Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free

Linda, like many others, was wounded by her upbringing and the purity movement. Unfortunately, if you do sex therapy in the church you see women like her and those she described. Even though I’m not a fan of how the teaching she received was presented, I wish she pointed out not everyone has the response she did to the teaching. I do appreciate she speaks honoringly about the Church and the person of Jesus Christ and the “radical love and acceptance” in the church. She reports leaving the Evangelical Church but maintains her Christian faith.
When Linda Kay Klein was 13, she joined an evangelical church that prized sexual “purity” and taught that men and boys were sexually weak. According to Klein’s faith, girls and women were responsible for keeping male sexual desire in check by wearing modest clothing, maintaining a sexless mind and body and taking a “purity pledge,” in which they promised to remain virgins until marriage.
Thumbnail image courtesy of
Listen to the Fresh Air show covering the “Evangelical Purity and Abstinence Movement and the impact it has on the women who were brought up in it”.

Fresh Air – September 18, 2018

Post in the comments if you are familiar with Linda’s work and what you think.



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