'Pure' Sheds Light On Sexual Shaming In Evangelical Purity Movement

Linda Kay Klein grew up a devout Evangelical Christian. She broke up with her high school boyfriend after being convinced the joy she felt around him made her impure.
"Pure," by Linda Kay Klein. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Linda Kay Klein grew up a devout Evangelical Christian in the Midwest. She broke up with her high school boyfriend after being convinced the joy and excitement she felt around him made her impure and dirty. She and her friends were taught that girls were not only responsible for maintaining their own purity, but also that of the boys and men they interacted with.

As an adult, Klein interviewed hundreds of women who had similar experiences — some still suffering from anxiety, depression and an inability to have normal romantic and sexual relationships.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks with Klein (@LindaKayKlein) about her book “Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free,” which shares those interviews and explores research around sexual shaming.

Book Excerpt: ‘Pure’

by Linda Kay Klein

Growing up, my mom and I were an evangelical Christian community of two. Though we were technically Episcopalian, everything Mom learned about evangelical Christianity from her friends or the Christian radio station, In the process, I formed a very real, albeit roughly made, relationship with God, and a deep love for the Christian faith.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min readPolitics
Who In The House Is Calling For Impeachment?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry after months of expressing caution. Here are all the members who have come out on the record in support of the move.
NPR2 min read
The NPR Student Podcast Challenge Is Back!
Once again, NPR is challenging teachers to turn their classrooms into studios and their lessons into podcasts. Last year's contest drew nearly 6,000 entries from around the country.
NPR3 min readSociety
Where You're Born Even Within A Country Still Matters
Fewer children are dying globally, but a new study finds geographic disparities still exist within many countries.