Today we dive right into our review of Let Them Marry Vaughn Ohlman’s book on young marriage ‘What are you Doing?’ Warning, extreme levels of snark ahead. This book is so dreadful it’s impossible to do a serious analysis of the material.
Also, Von has updated his website and is now claiming he has been falsely accused of advocating pedophilia and child marriage. Was he ever accused of pedophilia? Not here. It was the selling of underage girls into common law marriages that most people are upset about. The possibility that he might be encouraging sex trafficking among his followers under the guise of it being somehow ‘Godly’ instead of what it actually would be – a crime.
Back to the book.
After reading the entire book it’s pretty obvious that instead of making the characters realistic to what you find in fundamentalist cult churches Von has made the bold decision to try and make it appear that many of the characters are the kinds of average folks you’d find anywhere in the country.
Which is an awful decision in the direction of the book. It’s equivalent of a insect attempting to describe the inner workings of a cat or dog. They might all be living breathing sentient beings, but there’s not much else in overlap. Vaughn Ohlman is assuming the actions and thought patterns of those not in his personal belief system and it reflects poorly on him.
Clearly he does not completely understand the culture of those not in an extreme conservative wackadoodle cult church. He seems to think that everyone out in the world is busy getting laid or scheming to get laid. *scoff* if that were actually true nothing would get done in the workaday world because everyone would be busy trying to get some. America would be a moaning, grinding pile up of an orgy in the street. The only people that have demonstrated that they constantly focused on sex are Christians toiling in the more repressive circles.
This chapter starts with the introduction of the two main characters, a feckless young man named Andrew Adamson frittering away his spare time in the park playing with his cell phone. He’ll be referred to as AA when his dialogue is quoted. As Adam is sitting there at a picnic table mashing the buttons on his phone a man described by Vaughn as ‘looking slightly Middle Eastern’ comes walking up. His name is Sakal Davidson. That’s some Anglo-Saxon name for a guy that is revealed as a foreigner later in the book. It’s only one of the many problems with some of the names in this book.
Okay, so the scene is set for the script. Andrew lollygagging playing with his cell phone and Sakal butting in. Insipid introductions abound followed by Andrew complaining he doesn’t know exactly who to call for a date on Friday night. He needs fun he says. But Sakal jumps in to buzzkill that.
SD: Perhaps you haven’t explored your purpose deeply enough. You say you ‘want a date’. What is your purpose for this ‘date’? What is it meant to accomplish?
AA: I know that, too. I want to have fun!
Fun, fun, fun till daddy takes his cell phone away. Is there really anything wrong with wanting to hang out with the opposite sex as a teen doing things like bowling or going to the movies, getting a pizza? Being a teenager is hard enough without having the pressure put on you that any female or male you might be interested in must be viewed with an eye towards marriage. It’s not that complex. Sometimes mindless fun, and that does not mean sex, is a necessary thing for your own mental health.
After Sakal tells Andrew that if his aim is fun he should just ask out the most ‘fun’ gal he knows, which leads Andrew to confess that he cannot do this because the most ‘fun’ girl he knows tried to date-rape him last week and he said no. Really. Von, this imaginary boy wants ‘fun’ but turns down certain types of ‘fun’? Sakal goes on to ask Andrew why he turned down an eager partner and he says this:
AA: But, it wouldn’t have been right! I know everyone is ‘doing it’ nowadays, but well… I don’t want to sound like a prude, but it isn’t right.
No, everyone is not ‘doing it’… I am beginning to think that Von’s getting his information on the behavior of most teens from MTV and that slew of teen movies like ‘American Pie.’
At this point Sakal suggests that his ultimate goal isn’t to have fun and Andrew comes back with this, managing to diss communism and break Godwin’s Law all at the same time. I love that fundamentalist Christians always trot out Hitler as the boogie man in many of their arguments, immediately invalidating them.
AA: Of course, everyone wants to do the right thing, don’t they? Except people like Hitler, and Stalin and them.
Like Stalin would have banged that poor girl before going on to convert everyone in the area to the other boogie man of Fundytown – COMMUNISM! Hee.
Sakal goes on to spout scriptures and question what the right thing to do is.
Oh Sakal, buzzkilling the entire idea of fun in dating as a set up to eventually condemning dating to this foolish teenage boy. Skipping a big page of more dialogue involving more scriptures, more pondering why Andrew didn’t have sex with Jessie and what Andrew’s primary goal in life according to the scriptures should be. All of that leads to Andrew’s final conclusion about dating.
SD: So, coming back to our subject: you were saying before that you wanted to do what was ‘fun’, and now you are talking about wanting to do what’s ‘right’. Are these two the same? Is the right thing always the ‘fun’ thing?
AA: If my goal is to glorify God with my date, then I need to ask a Christian girl out on a date; otherwise I will be trying to do one thing, and she will be trying to do something else. Hey, thanks! It’s been nice talking to you..
And they part.
I have to say I’m put off by the amount of slut-shaming of poor Jessie goes in the three short pages of Act 1 of this farce. There are four mentions of this failed encounter in three short pages, which seems obsessional. Teenagers are dealing with enough problems with raging hormones and figuring out the dynamics of their sexuality without being made to feel like sexual deviants for how they navigate natural urges. This slut-shaming Jessie theme reoccurs in later chapters. Sadly I can imagine Vaughn sitting behind his computer screen drooling and typing while he fantasizes about a horny date-raping-attempting teenage girl.
Plus, how many boys do you know that would be this open with a man they only once saw from a distance at church? The idea that Andrew would so suddenly spill the beans to a virtual stranger about his escape from the clutches of Jessie and his need to have ‘fun’ seems very unlikely to me. Now, if this scene was written with a peer he’s close to I could maybe see it happening. But we all know in CPM the isolation does weird things to people’s boundaries of what is and isn’t socially appropriate.
Main point of this blather – Dating is slutty and you should not be having fun.
Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin at No Longer Quivering. She’s been out of the Quiverfull Evangelical world for nine years now and lives in the beautiful Piedmont section of Virginia with her retired husband and assorted creatures. She blogs at Every Breaking Wave and True Love Doesn’t Rape
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