The Standard of Liberty Voice
A publication of The Standard of Liberty Foundation
Augist 4, 2006, #24
Arming Prince Charming
Probably my favorite Disney animated film is Sleeping Beauty which came out in 1959. Interestingly, everything in this story, including the evil Maleficent’s impossible forest of thorns and her fire-breathing dragon transformation that materialized to block the prince’s path to love, marriage and family, is symbolic of the world in which we now live. Our own princes are in danger and must be armed for what may well be the fight of their lives.
Michael Medved on his radio show the other day said it right: one of the terrible ideas we got from the 1960s is that men and women are interchangeable. It is a terrible idea and none of us have escaped being influenced by it to some degree. It’s ingrained in our culture and public policies. Even though the Equal Rights Amendment was defeated in 1973, the feminist push for androgyny (to blend the sexes beyond recognition) was picked up by the gay movement and pressed on in the media, in the academy, in the legislatures, and in the courts.
In the heat of the cultural battle we’ve talked a lot about how to preserve women’s traditional role as stay-at-home mom. We’ve talked about cohabitaion, the high divorce rate, and homosexuality. Right now we’re talking a lot about gay marriage and the danger it poses to marriage and families. But I believe we’ve been merely trying to apply Band-aids instead of finding out the root causes of these ills and controversies. For one thing, we have not paid enough attention to how the sexual revolution particularly affects the male version of the species from boyhood up, which in turn affects marriage and family.
For the past fifty years our culture has steadily confused, defused, and abused maleness and traditional male role. Society, through sexual revolutionist-driven and virtually uncontested new public policies, along with cultural sexual liberation, has effectively and systematically emasculated malehood, leaving our small boys, teenage boys, and young men practically defenseless. Their armor, helmets, shields and swords, if we ever gave them any, have been reduced to spoils of war in the misguided squabble for so-called rights and freedoms, power and political correctness.
I’ve just read The Iliad and it’s true – armor is one of the spoils of war. The ancient Greeks customarily stripped slain enemies of their extensive and expensive armor. It also struck me that warriors perished of wounds in strange-sounding spots – the mouth, the eyes, the throat, the underarm, the side – I suppose because these were the only bits of flesh exposed. Homer describes many fatal wounds in morbid detail and I only recall a few to the chest which was obviously guarded by breastplate and shield. The most famous of all fatal wounds in Greek lore was, of course, to a heel. Today’s boys may look tough on the outside, but are in reality just as vulnerable as the great Achilles, with secret little places in their psyches that can be pricked and bled to death on lonely mental battlefields.
In order to arm our sons, we must first understand why. Before we talk about current, anti-male social conditions, it would be well to point out a few fundamental biological and social realities. The truth is, Prince Charming’s maleness is much more fragile than Sleeping Beauty’s femaleness, suggests celebrated writer George Gilder in Men and Marriage.
Think about this. Generally, girls are confident of their femaleness from an early age. At puberty more obvious changes happen sooner to girls than to boys. Girls’ sexual identity is neatly and concretely laid out; every month they are reminded that they have the amazing potential to conceive babies, carry them for nine months, breast-feed them, dress them, bathe them, feed them, teach them. They are all set to spend the majority of their time and energy being mothers, and then grandmothers, all their lives if they so choose. It’s a ready-made, permanent, and indispensable career, safely apart from any elective occupation(s) that may come and go. All societies place profound value in the innate female ability to produce and nurture babies.
What do males have? They have the drive and equipment for one brief act that fertilizes the woman’s egg; she takes it from there. He is out in the cold, that is unless men are assigned a really big, long-term role equal in social importance to bearing and rearing children. Historically, men have mated, sired children, gone out into the wild and brought home the mastodon. In the modern vernacular we call it a job. Within marriage, men are committed to provide for wife and children while women make a home and nurture the children. It’s a trade-off that works beautifully with both male and female physiology and is in perfect accordance with God’s plan.
Marriage, as a public institution, exists for reasons so obvious they have gone unspoken and may now be forgotten. Some of these reasons are: to safely channel male sexuality, to protect the father-child bond, and to keep the biological family intact as the primary check on government power. Stephen Baskerville has discussed this at length in a brilliant but sobering article, “The Real Danger of Same-Sex Marriage.” (See end notes.)
My 81-year-old dad, a World War II veteran, gave a talk in church this past Mother’s Day. He said, “When my wife and I were married there were no such phrases in common use such as ‘women’s lib’ and ‘politically correct’. There was no premarital agreement whereby I was required to do half of the housework. We instinctively knew what we wanted – a home and a family in which I would be the breadwinner and she would be the homemaker. When children came along they were cherished and welcomed. We are quite different yet have meshed well in providing a good home. I’ve been blessed to have a mate who has fulfilled her traditional role well and continues to be a source of friendship, support, and happiness to me.” I call that a man who was confident in the traditional male role.
But alas, my parents raised their six children in a golden era when men fought in cold, muddy trenches for freedom while women kept the home fires burning, when traditional gender roles were reinforced on TV, when wives cleverly made do with what bacon their husbands were able to bring home. Contrary to the feminist propaganda we’ve been force-fed for decades, it was a time when our culture and public policies supported the idea that wives be treated like queens and husbands act like the noblest of kings, when a man’s house, no matter how humble, was his castle. Not everything was right about that era, but there is much that was essentially good about it that has since been turned upside down.
Here’s something strange Gilder points out. Incredibly, some rare primitive tribes do not make the connection between the sex act and a woman having a baby – they think reproduction has nothing to do with men. You can imagine how insecure such males might feel unless they embrace a role equal in importance to childbearing. In these and other tribal communities men and boys perform elaborate rituals to solidify and celebrate their exclusively male function to be strong hunters and good providers.
It strikes me that, like these primitives, small children even in civilized societies (whose innocence is protected) do not instinctively know that men have any role in procreation either. It follows that little boys grow up seeing how women have babies and men go out into the world to work, understanding that this is what men and women do. But if that male provider role is usurped or even significantly shared by a working mother, and the father is more or less relegated to domestic tasks, the child may grow up thinking women can do everything and men have no distinct value. So much for princes, kings, and castles. Imagine the effect all of this has on young boys.
Feminist furor in particular has drowned out the particular needs and qualities of males. We have neglected them (along with religion and morality) at our collective peril. Males with little or no behavioral guidelines and no well-defined tasks or social identity exclusively theirs may become – as we jokingly quote Brigham Young first saying of unmarried men over 27 – a menace to society. It’s no joke. They tend to get bored, angry, reckless, dangerous. On a societal scale, culture-wide anti-maleness has reared its malevolent head in the form of great increases in broken families, government entitlements, pornography and drug addictions, gangs, violence, crime, overcrowded prisons, homosexuality, diseases, etc.
Specific present-day cultural trends and institutions are actively undermining masculinity, and consequently marriage and family, and there’s plenty we must understand and do about it. Elder Bednar tells us “understanding the intent of an enemy is a key prerequisite to effective preparation. We likewise should consider the intent of our enemy in this latter-day war [against marriage and family].”As Sleeping Beauty’s good fairy Flora says to Prince Phillip in his extremity, “Arm thyself with this enchanted shield of virtue and this mighty sword of truth. For these weapons of righteousness will triumph over evil. Now, come, we must hurry . . .”
Arming Prince Charming
According to George Gilder in Men and Marriage, one destructive influence to boys’ sense of masculinity is coeducation. The relatively new American idea “that boys and girls should be thrown together whenever possible” has proven harmful to both sexes. Given that “adolescent boys are radically different from adolescent girls,” both are hurt when lumped together in unisex classrooms. Boys and girls mature at different rates, have many different strengths and interests, and must grow up to fulfill different roles if society is to benefit and continue. On the adolescent boys’ side, boys need more and firmer discipline than girls, boys are excelled academically by girls, and boys are highly distracted sexually by girls. In short, coeducation tends to neglect and demoralize boys and their needs.
This is true for all kinds of boys. For instance, those boys who are what Gilder calls more “verbal” (expressive, brainy) are further alienated from their masculine natures and roles when they do well in the coeducation system. They are called names and harassed by the more “mechanical” (physical, more masculine-appearing) boys who are struggling to survive the system, and feminized by the girls who nowadays too-eagerly accept them into their circle. Says Gilder, “ . . . the educational system does not know how to deal with masculinity.” He says “homosexuality is rare at most one-sex prep schools and academies.” In all-boy schools “boys with masculinity problems are reinforced by an all-male environment, while less intellectually competent though virile students are not so estranged from education by their failures.”
However, Gilder wrote this in 1986 and I don’t know if his statement about homosexuality still holds true today given our cultural celebration of “alternate sexual orientations” and modern technology spreading notions of unrestrained sexuality like wildfire. I don’t think there is any completely safe place for boys anymore. But in a safe environment all this would make a great deal of sense. Healthy developing maleness is greatly affirmed by association with other healthy males.
Evidently, liberals and feminists are not happy about the numbers of boys who still manage to make it through school confident in their masculinity. Hence, indoctrination is targeting younger and younger children. Think pamphlets diagraming homosexual sex acts handed out to adolescents; it’s called the "Little Black Book" and it was given to middle and high school students in Brookline, Massachusetts in 2005. Think homosexual parents portrayed in picture books read aloud to public school kindergarteners, books like Heather has Two Mommies and King and King. Think strong opposition to parental opt-out rights.
For decades the National Education Association has pushed a militantly feminist agenda, making policies that undermine and sexually confuse boys (whatever that has to do with reading, writing and arithmetic). Most recently the NEA passed changes to its handbook which had the effect of endorsing homosexuality, gay marriage, and the like. Wrote Gilder of the NEA 20 years ago, rather prophetically, “They should realize the terrible damage that sexual confusions can cause in young boys.”
How about policies that include girls in boys’ team sports? I must admit I am not a sports fan. I think the whole sports world has gotten completely out of hand. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t begin as something good. I have just begun to learn that team sports, especially for young boys, are worth preserving and encouraging in a healthy setting. Gilder says. “Sports are possibly the single most important male rite in modern society,” sort of like the male rituals in tribal communities. Sports give boys a special place all their own. Besides that, team sports teach values such as cooperation, loyalty, endurance, sacrifice, and nobility. Growing boys learn to channel and regulate their adolescent, hormone-charged aggressiveness toward something relatively safe, healthy, and productive. Team sports prepare boys for the good-natured competitive spirit they’ll need when they enter the workplace and must begin to provide for a wife and children. In arming young boys in the fight for their masculinity, a “sword” may actually take the form of a simple baseball bat.
I remember my dad coming home from work in the evenings and playing catch with my younger brother. They threw hard, the ball smacking into their mitts. How I wanted to play! I pleaded and begged – but they acted like I was invisible. Now I see why. This was their own sort of male ritual. On a societal scale, there’s a time and a place for girls to play sports: with other girls. Allowing girls to intrude into boys’ sports is a shame. The fact that girls mature faster and may outperform some boys, especially the slow developers, is disastrous for fragile developing maleness. Also, boys will tend to be distracted by girls and their natural competitiveness compromised. (There was some truth to Mick’s warning to Rocky, “Women weaken legs.”) Young boys need male-only experiences which tend to secure their masculinity in preparation for later taking on the awesome responsibilities of husband and father.
Let’s not forget the halls of higher learning and the workplace. The percentage of women going to college has exploded during the reign of radical feminism. Granted, many woman are capable of succeeding in what were once considered male professions and make a wonderful contribution. But the bigger point is that women as a group are here again encroaching on male territory, psychologically if not practically also. The real danger to the male identity lies not so much in women working (as is necessary and beneficial to society) but in societal encouragement of women working instead of staying home to raise children. It lies in cultural denigration of the exclusively male role to provide for the family.
Many factors have contributed to this shift. Our laws and public policies no longer single out and support males as the primary family wage earners. Divorce and single parenting is supported, while the nuclear family is not. Government too eagerly steps in to fill the role of provider. Here I refer you again to Stephen Baskerville’s article which explains how many of our public policies such as no-fault divorce and child support have undermined marriage, and paternity in particular, and how these policies threaten the family, social stability, and civil freedom.
Another factor which dilutes the male provider role is how our culture stresses materialism. It is common today for husbands to pressure their wives to work, or for wives to insist on working for self-fulfillment or to escape the rigors of motherhood. It didn’t used to be this way. My dad in his Mother’s Day talk also mentioned that my mom was the most unmaterialistic person he ever knew. A full-time homemaker, she supported my dad in his adventurous law career pursuits that required her to sacrifice many comforts and luxuries. We moved across the globe between California and Guam more than once during my childhood, leaving behind our belongings and large, comfortable home in the temperate San Francisco Bay Area for a tiny quonset hut or cement block house among bugs and boonies on a small, humid, isolated island. I never heard my mom complain. On the contrary, she loved our stints on Guam, remarking to us kids how wonderful it was to have a chance to live more simply.
And then there’s the problem of women on the battlefield. This is a bad idea, not only for the obvious reasons, but because men need jobs they can call their own. Amidst all the rhetoric about equality, the idea of women trespassing into conspicuously male territory seems to trickle down to something like Annie Oakley’s silly boast, “I can do anything better than you.”
On a more culturally specific point, what about the LDS practice of full time missionary service when it comes to affirming males? I grew up thinking a mission was a priesthood obligation, but over the years women have claimed an equal privilege. President Hinckley has specifically addressed this issue. In 1997 he said, “The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve are united in saying to our young sisters that they are not under obligation to go on missions. Young women should not feel that they have a duty comparable to that of young men . . . We do not ask the young women to consider a mission as an essential part of their life’s program . . . I simply say that a mission is not necessary as a part of their lives.”
Of course there are exceptions – some girls may genuinely feel a spiritual calling – but we must think of them as exceptions. President Hinckley goes on to express the hope that the number of sister missionaries in the future will be relatively small. That prophetic counsel should cause our young women to at least think twice. But are they? My former BYU student daughter says girls who weren’t engaged by the time they turned 21 were automatically asked, both before and after President Hinckley’s statement, when they would be turning in their mission papers, As far as I can see, there has been no difference in the attitude of girls serving missions since this counsel was given. The lack of reaction to this prophetic statement is evidence of the feminist movement having that insidious effect I mentioned earlier on us all.
President Hinckley has obviously seen some negative results of this phenomenon. I think the president of our Church is pleading with all of our wonderful, smart, spiritually-minded young women to stick to their job and let the young men do theirs. We’re talking traditional gender roles. I wonder, would girls step back if they knew what was at stake for their future husbands and sons?
Speaking of girls and their choices, the traditional male role has probably been most dramatically, systematically, and noticeably drummed out of existence by government welfare programs. Gilder dedicates an entire chapter in Men and Marriage to the desperate plight of the black male in the inner city whose lifelong job as family provider has become obsolete with the destructive generational practice of unmarried mothers receiving full government support. Teenage girls know that they can escape a bad situation at home (where their unmarried mother entertains a series of strange men) by becoming pregnant at 16, whereupon they can apply for their own apartment and are given hand-outs to fill their every need, all of which sets them up to follow in their mothers’ footsteps.
In these situations males are virtually unnecessary and they know it. When male sexuality is given no defined channel through which to flow it floods the whole field. Thus we see the deluge of sexual promiscuity and deviance, drug addiction, and violent crime today in the inner cities. But it’s not just there anymore. It’s everywhere. According to Gilder, no amount of policing, laws, punishments, or government programs will significantly turn this tide. It is only when young men are once again valued and utilized in their traditional roles by women and by society that sexual promiscuity and crime will be significantly controlled.
But the emasulinization of boys is taking place in polite teen society also, including among Latter-day Saints. One problem may be that we have made our youth so scared of sexual sin that they do more “hanging out” than dating. Given adolescent male insecurity, it’s much easier for boys to socialize in a big group than try to carry on an awkward one-on-one conversation with a mystifying member of the opposite sex. Dating – what used to be a tender male and female ritual – has become one big androgynous party. Even high school dances, with all their fancy invitations and acceptances, prom dresses and tuxedos, have turned into group affairs. Elder Oaks recently addressed this development in an article called “Dating Versus Hanging Out.”
Another problem is that in Utah high schools there are as many girls’ choice dances as boys’. The kids like it that way – girls don’t have to endure anxious weeks waiting to be asked and risk sitting at home every dance, and boys are under less pressure to ask at all. But in making it more “equal” and comfy we’ve taken away the male prerogative. On this score it would be well for us to return to less comfortable times; it’s generally the boy’s job to bonk the girl on the head and drag her by the hair into the dance, not the other way around.
Yet another phenomenon even among Church members is how young women are actually encouraging homosexuality.“Gay guys are some of my best friends,” they say. I’ve heard them say it. They like to dress them and do lunch with them as if they’re playing with some life size Ken doll. Worst of all, they selfishly vent their boyfriend problems on them. Imagine how being treated like more of a substitute girl than a guy would make a male feel. What such a girl may actually be doing is emasculating someone who may have turned out to be her own perfectly virile Prince Charming.
It’s obvious that females, inescapably influenced by radical feminism, do not see the damage they are doing to their counterparts. It’s happening in classrooms, ballfields, battlefields, mission fields, universities, the workplace, government projects, and in social settings. There’s something to be said for the duty of every Sleeping Beauty. It’s time they woke up.
Arming Prince Charming
There are more emasculating factors in our culture that perhaps do not appear so on the surface. Our country is currently abuzz over government funding of stem cell research using human embryos, which wouldn’t even be an issue if it weren’t for in vitro fertilization. It’s a mess, and it gets even messier.
It had never occurred to me until I read Men and Marriage that reproductive technology such as birth control, abortion, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, cloning, etc., could have a negative effect on males’ sense of usefulness. Get this. The common use of many easy birth control methods and the legalization of abortion have given women sole control over reproduction. The male half of a couple may not know anything about a woman’s attempt to prevent or destroy his offspring. Reproductive technology has separated the sex act – the one totally sexually defining thing males can accomplish – from procreation. It has reduced sexuality to something totally selfish, taking away the only wholesome, productive channel for male sexuality, that is marriage and family. Add artificial insemination and men are now practically dispensable when it comes to making and providing for babies. (Only a few men would be needed to impregnate a great number of women.) In other words, men’s intimate participation in the most important human task, that of giving and sustaining of life, can now be nearly nil.
I like Gilder’s insight that even when heterosexual couples are not trying to, or cannot, conceive a child, sexual intimacy nevertheless holds within it that lofty, unspoken, unselfish purpose. Sexual liberation, gay marriage, and reproductive technology have all but abolished the transcendent meaning of sexual relations.
Baskerville’s article shows how paternity and the once private and protected family unit are being threatened by government intrusion and control. If I understand correctly, with no-fault divorce (championed by the feminist movement), mothers can easily criminalize their children’s innocent, involuntarily-divorced father. False accusations of domestic abuse are used to keep fathers out of the home. Social service agencies can take children away from their biological parents without any sort of trial. Male homosexual couples wanting children become foster or adoptive parents to those children. Activists, lawyers, courts, and government agencies act as home-wreckers and child brokers, making billions of dollars in the process. These travesties, and more, are happening now. Again, imagine the psychological effect on maleness.
Now we come to our sex-saturated mainstream media and internet pornography. I believe we do not realize how dramatically all forms of techo-sex add to early masculinity problems and the misdirection of male sexual behaviors. LaNae Valentine in Confronting Pornography suggests that the sex-saturated media has several effects. It conditions us to objectivefy people, overemphasizes the visual, develops distorted perceptions of gender roles, overemphasizes sex, and leads us to expect instant solutions and instant gratification. The same is exponentially true of hard-core porn.
I read in the Herald Journal, “Pornography [addiction] has become a huge, huge issue . . . most often [for] males from the ages of 11 on up . . . [spanning] all cultures, religions, and classes. With the advent of the Internet . . . the average age of initially viewing pornography is 5 years old.” The article quotes Dr. Matthew Hedelius who said, “We tell people that if you don’t get this problem taken care of, it’ll kill you.”
In less complicated times C. S. Lewis said that when a young man falls in love he “really hasn’t the leisure to think of sex. He is too busy thinking of a person.” And, “Sexual desire, without Eros, wants it, the thing in itself; Eros wants the Beloved.” Tragically, free, unlimited, and easily available pornography does much to sabotage such artless and unselfish passion. Many young men today, including LDS, who may seem perfectly pious outwardly, are addicted to cyber-sex and as a result see the young women around them as mere objects that can be used “to get the job done.” Such damaged boys don’t have a clue how to, like we used to say, court a girl. With no idea of princely concepts such as patience, gentleness, nobility, and honor, how can a young man be a nice girl’s knight in shining armor? On the contrary, too many have become, in varying degrees, more like sexual predators. Gilder reminds us that girls need to learn how to say no to premarital sex. But then he wrote his book pre-internet. Pornography is a poison and we as a society are allowing it to make Mr. Hydes of our Dr. Jekyls. Sad to say, addicts will do whatever it takes to get what they want, and smart boys can easily manipulate innocent young girls.
Let’s not forget that pornography is the mainstay of the homosexual lifestyle. When you add it all up – the creep of radical feminism, state denigration of marriage, unprincipled reproductive technology, internet pornography – the resulting GLBTQ movement becomes much less of a shock.
Ever seen a gay pride parade? These events showcase a lewd, aggressive, twisted, aimless male sexuality. These are males who have psychologically and in all practicality given up their exclusive paternal and provider roles for something much worse than a mess of pottage. And yet we can hardly blame them given the beating they are taking.
I submit that many homosexuals, no matter what they say, are particularly vulnerable males who have been wounded deep down in their psyches. Society has reduced their masculine identity to that one brief sex act and then taken away sexuality’s transcendent purpose and meaning: procreation. Still, they are driven to make the most of their strong sexual feelings, channeling them somewhere, anywhere, desperate for a significant place in the society they are rebelling against.
Society itself is also a big loser where public acceptance of homosexuality is concerned. We all pay for this error, from our tax money being used for AIDS research and care to the sexual confusion and recruitment tactics aimed at our children through our infiltrated educational systems.
Here I cannot help but share some of the latest news from Florida. Please note that this is not something out of the National Enquirer but from our public education system. The more “progressive” Broward County school district has decided to admit a little boy named Nicholas Anderson into kindergarten as a girl. Professionals (in one session) determined his “gender identity disorder” to be a permanent condition at the ripe old age of three. (If it’s a disorder shouldn’t we try to help him get well?) He will be wearing girls clothes to school and called a gender-neutral name. Luckily, his elementary school has single-stall bathrooms attached to each classroom's. But what will happen in junior high and high school?
This child somehow got the idea he’s not a boy at all but a girl and his parents have encouraged this whim ever since he was one year old and wanted his fingernails painted. At home he gets to be all girl including his name. They buy him whatever he wants in the way of girls’ clothes and toys and let him wear his hair long. His parents even take him to meet “successful” adult transexuals. At summer camp he was allowed to wear a girl’s bathing suit (is that what they mean by sexual fluidity? I’m sorry but I have to find some humor in this or I’ll go crazy) and now he will be allowed to act out in public school. The school says they can keep the boy’s male identity a secret from the other kids with the cooperation of the teachers, but I doubt that. Media circus aside, is it possible for a little boy, especially such a determined little boy, to keep such a secret from his classmates? Will all the other children have to go through “diversity training?”
According to his mother, this child announced at the age of two that he wanted female parts instead of male parts, using the anatomically-correct terms. Evidently he also used the words, “cut off.” To me, this is a real red flag. What toddler even knows or cares to make such distinctions? What toddler could imagine such things? Still, as far as I know, nobody is wondering if the child is seriously disturbed. Nobody has asked if he has ever been exposed to anything inappropriate or has been sexually abused. Nobody seems to care that he’ll grow up pretending to be a girl despite the reality of his DNA identifying him as irrefutably male. Nobody seems to care if this could lead to the physical mutilation of a healthy person. Nobody seems to care that he’ll have to suffer through multiple surgeries and lifelong hormone treatments and training if he wants to continue to disguise his maleness. You’d think it would be much easier, especially at such a tender age, to fix his little head than mess with a whole, grown-up body. Most obviously, nobody is gently and consistently confirming his maleness – even if it’s an uphill climb, it’s the right thing to do.
It’s seems to be a case of a bunch of irresponsible adults giving a headstrong tyke all the candy he wants, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then cheerfully paying for his horrific dental decay and malnutrition. Where is Child Social Services when you need them? (In the past they have intervened in such cases and actually taken children away from their transgender-affirming parents on the premise that most children will probably outgrow gender confusion and must identify with their biological sex until adulthood when they can make their own decisions.) For that matter, where is childhood? Evidently, pockets of our society are not only ignoring masculinity problems, but encouraging them. Again I quote Gilder, “They should realize the terrible damage that sexual confusions can cause in young boys.”
Obviously, some boys, although normal biological males, are more vulnerable to masculinity problems than others, whether those problems are gender nonconformity or identity disorder, homosexual tendencies, bisexuality, or transgenderism. But whatever the cause, we mustn’t give in like the parents of the confused little boy. Sad to say, I’ve met with this same attitude in the LDS community. “We’re pretty sure he’s gay,” said one woman matter-of-factly about her little nephew whose interests and mannerisms appear to tend toward the feminine. These are those who have bought the alternative sexuality hype, hook, line and sinker, and would give up even a healthy little boys’ God-given maleness without a ripple. With adults like these, who needs wicked fairies?
What’s important to realize is that particularly vulnerable boys, all the more so because of today’s constant sexual propaganda, must be doubly armed and affirmed. These are boys who to some degree may be highly verbal, expressive, artistic, musical, creative, introspective, oversensitive, curious, intelligent. But even naturally boyish boys, the ones who constantly make car crash noises and wear out their shoes faster than you can buy them, are now vulnerable. (Think cowboys in Brokeback Mountain.) Wrote Gilder all those years ago, “ . . . an enormous number of homosexuals have clearly been recruited from the ranks of the physically normal. In the course of initiation they have undergone a passionate experience of discovery and conversion. This experience is entirely possible for ordinary men with fully remediable sexual problems.”
Once involved in homosexuality, young people may not wish to choose the more difficult path out. Scott Lively, in his excellent book, Seven Ways to Recruit-Proof Your Child, A parent’s guide to protecting children from homosexuality and the “gay” movement, gives these guidelines: get serious, take authority, inform yourself, strengthen your family, improve your parenting skills, clean house, and become active in your community. (The book has an interesting layout. All the left-hand pages contain articles, quotes, and photos which speak for themselves as an amazing sampling of irrefutable evidence of the gay youth recruitment movement.)
In the chapter on parenting Lively quotes an article, “How to Raise a Heterosexual Child,” by Alan Medinger, a leader in the homosexual recovery movement, which lists ways parents can arm their children against homosexual recruitment: “Both mother and father have clearly defined roles. The father affirms his son in his maleness, and his daughter in her femininity. The father is involved in the life of the family and exercises [leadership.] The father loves the mother. The mother shows esteem for the father. The parents respect the dignity and individuality of each child. Both parents acknowledge [traditional] moral values.”
About affirming maleness, Mediger says, “We have all seen how the little boy bends his arm to show his dad his muscle. Implied is the plea, ‘Tell me I’m a man.’ Confidence in manhood is a fragile thing in most men . . . but in the little boy in his formative years, the need to be affirmed in his manhood by the one who is his symbol of manhood is vital. . . Affirmation is expressed in daily life when the parents show the expectation that the son . . . will one day fulfill the defined male role modeled by [his father].” This could be as simple as saying, “Gee, son, I can see you are going to grow up to be a fine man, a fine husband, a fine father.” As Natalie Sleeth’s song says, “How will they know unless we teach them so?”
To Lively’s suggestions I would also add teaching how to apply the first principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ: faith, baptism, repentance and the Holy Ghost. In fact, that is where I would start. Sad to say, there is no more hope of preventing our children from being exposed to twisted ideas about sexuality. In our extreme conditions we must turn to Christ, and this is actually a good thing. Here is our chance to actually apply the gospel.
Gospel-wise, perhaps because of the Boy Scout program, boys have been neglected. Since 1985 our LDS young women have been reciting their theme rife with fundamentals such as “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love him.” But what about our boys? When have we emphasized their “divine nature?” When have we talked about their exclusive male identity, purpose and destiny? Thank goodness the Church came out with “Purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood” in 2004. The declaration affirms the exclusively male priesthood, husband and father roles. Today more than ever our boys need to internalize the truth of their immeasurable worth and identity as sons of God. They need to know how to turn to the Spirit of the Lord for guidance and confirmation. In a morally-relative society where there is no right or wrong they need to know there is such a thing as sin and such a thing as repentance.
Scholars tell us that America’s rescue from degradation can only come about through a public resurgence of traditional morality, state support of traditional male and female roles, marriage, and family, and a revival of religion and true religious applications. Evidently, the academy, media, and government have left this job up to homey types like us. Gilder thinks so. “Even to some conservatives,” he says, some of these conservative family and religious “forces seem crude: too passionate, too fundamental, too cultic, too lower middle class,” etc. He mentions Mormons in a list of such groups, assuring us that however unsophisticated we appear, the spiritual and moral capital we possess is essential.
Strange as it sounds, it will be a daunting task to preserve and defend the stronger sex in our particular cultural and political environment. Congratulations to the media and academic elite, politically correct politicians, sexual liberationists, radical feminists, and homosexualists for finding effective ways to psychologically and emotionally demean the male place in society. A great number of young men are being reduced to pathetic sex addicts because they lack an understanding of agency and repentance. Many are simply losing the confidence and will to pursue the daunting traditional role of husband, father, and provider. In desperation, some are finding a doubtful place for themselves by adopting unhealthy “alternative sexual identities.” But aside from the health, happiness, and posterity of individual boys and men, we cannot neglect the effect of emasculinization on society as a whole. We can also congratulate these entities for the devastating widespread effects they have begun to have on our safety, family sovereignty, and freedoms.
Morally speaking, it becomes one of our primary obligations to arm our Prince Charmings – our little boys, adolescent boys, and young men – with a firm and appropriate sense of their masculinity and the basic principles of the gospel so they can defend themselves against our ill-conceived, androgynous culture and properly fulfill their noble and exalting adult male role to the benefit of us all and future generations.
As Prince Philip’s ability to withstand evil profoundly affected the whole fairy tale kingdom, so will our sons’ triumph save society. Says the fairy Flora to the newly-armed prince, “Oh, sword of truth fly swift and sure, that evil die and good endure.”
– Janice Graham
Homer, The Iliad, translated by W.H.D. Rouse, Penguin Books.
Stephen Baskerville, “The Real Danger of Same-Sex Marriage,” May/June 2006, The Family in America, a publication of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society. See www.profam.org under Publications.
George Gilder, Men and Marriage, Pelican, 1986. The first version of this book was titled Sexual Suicide, 1973.
David A. Bednar, “Marriage is Essential is to His Eternal Plan,” Ensign, June 2006, 85.
See www.massresistance.org for information on the Little Black Book.
Learn about the NEA at www.nea.org.
President Hinckley spoke on young women serving missions in the priesthood session of October 1997 General Conference. See www.lds.org .
Dallin H. Oaks, “Dating Versus Hanging Out,” Ensign, June, 2006,10.
Confronting Pornography, A Guide to Prevention and Recovery for Individuals, Loved Ones, and Leaders, edited by Chamberlain, Gray, and Reid, Deseret Book, 2005.
Lexie Kite, The Harold Journal, 2006.
C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, Harcourt, 1960.
For more on Broward County’s Nicholas Anderson story, see www.newtimesbpb.com, “See Dick Be Jane.”
Scott Lively, 7 Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child, Lively Communications, Inc., 1998.
Natalie Sleeth’s song “How Will They Know?” is published by Sonos, 1985.
The LDS Young Women’s Theme (1985)and The Purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood (2004) are available on www.lds.org.
Copyright 2006 by Standard of Liberty Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.
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