Vision Forum Builds “Manhood” in the Wilderness

Vision Forum Builds “Manhood” in the Wilderness October 30, 2012

I talked just the other day about the strict emphasis leading Christian Patriarchy organization Vision Forum places on gender roles. One thing I mentioned briefly was the Hazardous Journeys Society. This organization was formed in order to help boys learn to be men in a society Vision Forum views as increasingly feminized.

To be perfectly honest, the Hazardous Journeys Society makes me think of the Boy Scouts, founded during the age of British Imperialism out of concerns that civilized society was resulting in weak and sissified boys.

The Hazardous Journeys Society takes fathers and sons into the wilderness on, well, hazardous journeys. Here is the announcement of the launching of this society earlier this year. Each section – Dominion, Risk, and Manhood – is accompanied by a video staring Doug Phillips and his sons.


Christians have lost a passion for the dominion mandate. We no longer love to explore, to investigate and to wisely subdue the earth for the glory of God. We have lost our vision to “be fruitful” and we have lost our vision for the very commission for work that God first gave us. This film short DOMINION, is a dramatic presentation we hope will kindle a fire in you to see the blessing of reclaiming our exciting duties before the Lord with creation.

Leaders Must Take Risks!

True leadership requires risk taking. Men who fear taking risks will not succeed as leaders. Of course there are wise risks, and foolish risks; necessary risks and imprudent risks. Knowing the difference between the two requires wisdom. In this film short, we present the story of a father who must take calculated risks for the good of members of his family. Take a moment and watch it. It is the 2nd of the HJS Trilogy.

Maturity and Courage Comes to Those Who Seek It

How does a boy become a man? Can we expect great things from, for example, a seven year old?

My thesis is that boys are capable of much—that even a young boy can evidence the signs of manhood when he honors his father, takes responsibility and is about the business of men.

Once you remove the video game distractions, fantasy escapism, negative peer influences and other “manhood” destroyers, and you replace them with books that inculcate nobility, meaningful work, opportunities for adventure, and significant and fatherly discipleship, you will discover that the passion of most boys is to be about the business of men.

Boys are future men. And they are capable of far more than most of us are willing to give them credit.

The Hazardous Journey Society took a group into the Amazon earlier this year. They’re turning the trip into a movie, and also a virtual tour and online study course. Here is the trailer for the movie:

There are more trailers for Into the Amazon here.

One reader said this in a comment on my post about Vision Forum and gender roles:

It saddens me though, that for the most part, VF encourages boys to step outside of their box, to push themselves to fill more space, to expand their minds, while it simultaneously encourages girls to limit themselves, reducing their box to a neat homemaker role.

This comment remembers an important point: Vision Forum is pushing boys to step outside the box. I like the idea of wilderness adventures, of learning and growing and experiencing new things. But in Vision Forum’s world, these sort of adventures are only for boys. And also, Vision Forum only encourages boys to step outside of the box if the direction in which they are stepping is one that fits under words like “leadership” and “manhood.” A boy being girly or artistic? Not so much.

You may of course be wondering what Beall and the Phillips girls were doing while Doug took Justice and Honor into the wilderness. Funny you should ask! That information is behind a paywall on the website, but the main page does offer a blurb:

Beall’s Adventures for the Ladies

While you are journeying with Doug and team into the jungle, make sure to also follow Beall Phillips and her daughters Liberty, Jubilee, and Faith as they share their adventures in ancient Peruvian clothing and textile-making from the heart of the old Inca empire—Cusco. Read their exciting reports and watch their on-the-ground videos about food, local customs, and clothing.

I’m glad that Beall and the girls were at least allowed to go to South America rather than simply left at home, but I’m not surprised that their “adventures” revolved around clothing and food. Not surprised in the slightest. (Although given that Providence does not appear in the films and Virginia is left off the list for the ladies’ adventure, those two must have been left back in the U.S.)

Vision Forum’s Hazardous Journeys Society is just one more way the organization reaches backwards to imperialist narratives to build manhood in the present, and draws a strong line between men and women, and between boys and girls, as it does so. If gender roles were natural, you wouldn’t think they would have to work so hard to make them stick.


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