A Leap of Doubt

#038: Escaping Religious Purity Culture (w/ Linda Kay Klein)

July 8, 2019

On this episode, we cover the evangelical Christian “purity movement” that emerged primarily as an American phenomenon in the 1990s. This movement built an entire industry out of the concept of purity and abstinence from any and all sexual expression. The resulting subculture saw the marketing of purity rings, purity pledges, and purity balls. But the message this movement offered was a dangerous one that has devastated many lives, especially girls and women but also for men as well.

My special guest for this episode, Linda Kay Klein, has an insider’s perspective on the purity culture and why it’s so devastating to psychological and physical wellbeing. She is the founder of Break Free Together. A storyteller and social innovator, Linda has spent over a decade working at the intersection of faith, gender, sexuality, and social change. She earned an interdisciplinary master’s degree from New York University focusing on American evangelical Christian gender and sexuality messaging, and she is the author of the book Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free, available from Touchstone Publishers.


Linda Kay Klein website: https://lindakayklein.com/

Follow Linda Kay Klein on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaKayKlein

Buy Linda’s book: https://tinyurl.com/y69b49f3

Tina Schermer Sellers, “A Biblical Scholar and Clinical Sexologist Debate Christian Sexual Purity,” June 22, 2012, https://tinyurl.com/y4euqre6.


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The opening intro and closing outro was written by Nathan Dickey, produced and edited by Rich Lyons and read by Deanna Joy Lyons.

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