Josh Harris, Lori Alexander and Troubling Ideas About Purity

Josh Harris, Lori Alexander and Troubling Ideas About Purity October 26, 2018
Josh Harris screen cap from the YouTube video TedTalks ‘Strong Enough to be Wrong’

It’s interesting that The Transformed Wife author Lori Alexander is attemping yet again to go viral. She’s repackaging her post on being a tattoo-free, debt-free, uneducated, sexually naive, stay at home daughter virgin once more.  I think it’s safe to say that she’s been triggered into doing so because of Josh Harris, author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”

Last week news broke via JoshHarris.com that he reexamined much of his book and was pulling it off the shelves. He’s soon to release a documentary on his journey of self-examination. Good for him because the book is filled with rape culture ideas. Purity culture is rape culture.

Harris spoke over two years ago about his suspicions that his book had hurt people.

While Harris still preaches no sex before marriage it’s interesting that he is able to see how his theology at 21 could be harmful to others and apologize. It’s rare in the world of Evangelical Christianity to publicly admit faults.

We’ve talked many times here about the dangers of believing the purity culture/rape culture duality that insists on modesty. Modesty harms women by making them responsible for the sexual behavior of men. It hurts men because it reduces them to toddlers/beasts, unable to control their biological urges and wants.

What does Ms. Alexander do when Josh said he was rethinking his ideas? She doubles down on the toxic. Here’s a meme she shared on Facebook:

Here’s the thing. If an author says that they’ve rethought their original conclusions it might benefit you to reread the book and see if he might have a point instead of coming out with your cyber arms flailing and demanding that others still follow that theology.

Nice that Harris can admit he was wrong. We all know that Lori Alexander cannot do that. It’s too hard, it requires critical thinking skills and the humility to realize you are not flawless. None of which Lori excels at.


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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jcoelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon

About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping ithe plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. You can read more about the author here.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Saraquill

    “I’m sure many…” Lori can’t even prove her foaming at the mouth is based in fact. I’m not surprised.

  • HailieJade

    Lori: It is never a woman’s place to contradict a man. Women are to be meek and humble and defer to the men in our lives at all times.

    Also Lori: This man said something I don’t like and therefore he is wrong and you should all listen to me, a woman, instead.

  • Nea

    “How dare one of the people I’ve founded my extraBiblical authority on recant his views after I’ve preached them! Doesn’t he know he owes me for my support?”

  • Nea

    To be fair, if Lori looked up the facts on anything she preaches, she’d be up Reality Creek without a paddle… and she knows it.

  • Nightshade

    Lori is saying that a man is wrong? But…but…he has a penis! Surely he’s better qualified to make these decisions, right? Lori’s poor, silly little girl-brain can’t possibly wrap itself around such complex issues. She should leave it to the oh-so-smart menfolk! /sarc

  • Tawreos

    “Lori Alexander is attempting yet again to go viral.”

    Lori is already a virus, infecting so many people with hurtful and wrong ideas. I am sure she will double down so that she can be more viral.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Hahahah!!!! I never even picked up on the fact that Lori was, *gasp!!* disagreeing with a man

  • We have always been at war with Eastasia.

  • SAO

    Purity as a value is toxic. Once a woman has lost her ‘purity’, she’s worthless and doesn’t have to be respected. One of the consequences is for women to not report sexual assault. Parents are also likely to protect innocent kids by not reporting molestation. In the 40s, someone I know was molested. She was 4 years old. Her mother wanted the perpetrator caught, so no other child would be hurt (He wasn’t because the word of a 4 year old was not considered worth much and surprise! surprise! the molester lured the child to a place where there would be no witnesses) The girl was shunned out of most of her playgroup for having ‘carnal knowledge’. You know, a slutty, ‘impure’ pre-schooler might corrupt all her ‘pure’ peers. In hindsight, I think if she could do it over, the mother would have kept her mouth shut and not tried to flag a child molester and protected the reputation of her daughter.

  • Jen (*.*)

    What concerns me most about the Christian knee-jerk reaction to “double down” are the young followers and church members still trapped in it. They see and hear people like Josh and many more rethinking and apologizing, but are being convinced that the old way is still the right way. It’s so toxic. Probably much more toxic than I had to deal with.

  • Sunshine

    Kevin I was literally thinking that exact same thing ! Our former Fundy church used to discourage teenagers from dating but after we left, things have slowly become more liberal .Now teenagers are allowed to date and women are allowed to wear pants but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who is still swimming in the Kool aid who will admit that it wasnt always that way.

  • Nea

    Elizabeth Smart didn’t try to escape even when she had opportunities because she had been raped and therefore believed – as she had been taught by her own family and church – that she was worthless and unwanted now.

  • frostysnowman

    I think of this exact thing every time I read about purity culture.

  • AFo

    Lori’s panicking. If people stop buying into purity culture, her whole “teaching ministry” comes crumbling down.

  • bekabot

    I don’t believe the thing about women riding on men’s coattails; IRL, it’s easier said than done. Most of the time a man won’t let you ride on his coattails. However, I’ve never seen any woman try harder to ride on men’s coattails than Lori Alexander does. (She’s also an excellent illustration of why it doesn’t work.)

  • Ruthitchka

    That stinks. How horrible. As if a preschooler were capable of being “slutty”.

  • persephone

    Lori reads?

  • Nightshade

    It’s horrifying that a child could be considered impure because of something done to her, not anything that she did, and about which she had no choice, but even worse that the concept of ‘purity’ could make a mother think that keeping quiet might have been the better option for her daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I can understand why in retrospect a mother might feel that way (since speaking up did no good at at all), but it’s a horrible way of thinking that leads that way.

  • Mary Hannah bates

    Those damn Mormons ared hard on the virgin shit. They even go so far as thinking that a girl would rather kill herself than live with herself even if raped.

  • paganheart

    I had no idea Josh Harris was only 21 when he wrote his book; that explains a lot. With all due respect to the young people out there, no one should be taking life advice from 21-year-olds, especially when they are as naiive and uneducated as he was. (And the fact that many did, and that many older than Harris held his book up as some sort of sage advice, says a lot about the emotional maturity level of many fundie Christians…and none of it positive.)

    At least Harris is intelligent and open-minded enough to realize that his ideas were terribly wrong. As he continues to grow, and continues to hear from more and more people who were harmed by his book, and terribly harmed by the purity myth in general, I wonder what he will be preaching ten years from now…or if he will be preaching at all….

  • paganheart

    Imagine a discussion or debate between Josh Harris and Elizabeth Smart….

  • SAO

    It used to be known as “a fate worse than death.”

  • SAO

    This was in the 40s, so I don’t think they called it “purity” or being “pure” or “impure” but the underlying idea was the same.

    The bottom line is, if virginity matters, then it matters, not just in some cases. The higher a value placed on virginity, the harder it is for people to see that women who are not virgins, through no fault of their own, are not lesser for not being virgins.

  • Mel

    You made me snort. Thank you!

  • Mel

    The saddest bit is that she doesn’t have a teaching ministry. Her blog is toxic blaming of everyone else who doesn’t believe what she does – but outside of that she gives no added value for her blog. Most CP/QF bloggers at least try to branch out into cooking (generally badly), homeschooling, organizational tips, gardening or child-rearing. Lori’s never done any of those things so she’s just stuck complaining loudly.

  • Mel

    I always feel worse for the young followers. People who are in the first generation who joins CP/QF at least has outside reference and often disregards at least some portion of the crazy because they simply know better. (Libby Anne over at Love, Joy, Feminism wrote about how this worked in her family around the magazine “Beyond Rubies” or whatever Nancy Campbell’s magazine is.) But the kids are younger and don’t have the life experience to recognize even the most extreme crazy.

    I read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” when I was in my early twenties and while I liked about two minor points -“You don’t have to date before you are ready for marriage” and “Women shouldn’t be pressured by society to marry” – the entire rest of it was clearly bonkers including “You shouldn’t date before marriage” and anything involving “pieces of your heart”.

    But I was a decade or more older than the target audience and had already dated before so I could recognize the bonkers.

  • HailieJade

    Not just any man either- the pastor of a church! The audacity of this simple woman overstepping her bounds and daring to contradict a Man of God is truly astounding…