Pro Reading List

We’ve carefully curated this list of readings and videos to encourage great discussions in your reading group—pulling together up-to-date academic research and inspiring stories from the front lines of real life. If you have any trouble accessing any essays or videos, please let us know.

Session 1

The Public Meaning & Benefits of Marriage

Ryan Anderson, “Men, Women, and Children: The Truth About Marriage” (Ch. 1 of Truth Overruled. This reading may be found behind the leader login. Leaders, please download and email this reading as an attachment to your reading group.)

Alliance Defending Freedom, Katy Faust’s Story (7-min video)

CanaVox, “Handout on the Meaning of Marriage” (3-page summary) (This reading may be found behind the leader login. Leaders, please download and email this reading as an attachment to your reading group.)

Marriage Equals.org, Making Sense of Marriage (9-min video)

Optional:

Ryan Anderson for Focus, What is Marriage? (21-min video)

Session 2

The Personal Meaning & Benefits of Marriage Updated!

Humanum, The Destiny of Humanity: On the Meaning of Marriage (16-min video; choose English subtitles)

The Witherspoon Institute, Marriage and the Public Good (Excerpts), Analysis from Philosophy: The Intrinsic Goods of Marriage, and Evidence from the Sciences: The Well-Being of Adults  (12-min read) 

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, “The Love that Brings New Life Into the World 

The former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom traces seven key moments in the world’s history of marriage. (31-min video. Written transcript available at the same link)

Optional:

Doug Mainwaring, “Your Marriage: You Have No Idea of the Good You Are Doing” 

Session 3

Friendship and Marriage

New York Times, A Marriage to Remember Story about Alzheimer’s in marriage (8-min video)

Angela McKay Knobel, “Aristotle, True Friendship, and the ‘Soulmate’ View of Marriage”

Eli Finkel, “The All-or-Nothing Marriage”  (5-min read; web-archive link takes longer to load) and “The History of Marriage” (4-min video)

Pick One:

Kate Lee, “I didn’t marry my soul mate.” Personal story of the joys of having married a good person–even when there were no fireworks in the beginning

Mandy Len Catron, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This.” How friendship arises from conversational intimacy and can give rise to love. (note: this is a web-archive link and takes longer to load)

Session 4

Same-Sex Attraction

Katy Faust and Ana Samuel, “Understanding Same-Sex Attraction” (This reading may be found behind the leader login.)

D.C. McAllister, “How to Stop Sexualizing Everything”

Reintegrative Therapy, Free to Love Movie (start at minute 2:48; 35 mins total)

Optional 2nd Session on Same-Sex Attraction:

CanaVox, “Expert Answers to the Hardest Questions about Same-Sex Attraction” (This reading may be found behind the leader login.)

Ron Belgau, “My Alternative Lifestyle”

Session 5

Loving Those with Same-Sex Attractions Updated!

NPR Staff, “Attracted To Men, Pastor Feels Called To Marriage With A Woman.”

Richard Evans, “Befriending Those With Same-Sex Attraction: One Celibate Man’s View”

CanaVox,  Leah’s Story New!

Dear Katy, Loving Family Despite Lifestyle Differences (3-min video)

Optional:

Katherine Adams, Voices of Hope Story from a woman with a gay brother and gay husband in the LDS community (video)

Blackstone Films, The Third Way: Homosexuality and the Catholic Church Personal stories of individuals with same-sex attraction who are Catholic (38-min video)

Session 6

Divorce

Humanum, A Hidden Sweetness: The Power of Marriage Amid Hardship (12-min video; choose English subtitles)

W. Bradford Wilcox, “The Evolution of Divorce”

Ryan at The Marriage Ecosystem, “Divorce Never Ends For Children” (web archive link; slower to load)

Katy Faust, “Happily Divorced vs. Unhappily Married – Which is Better for Kids?”

Dear Katy, Breaking the Divorce Cycle (3-min video)

Pick One:

Huffington Post/BuzzFeed, When My Parents Got Divorced (3-min video)

Pía Orellana G, “Back Together After a Breakup” A Chilean couple tells the story of why they divorced and then got back together again.

Session 7

The Hook-Up Culture

The Austin Institute, The Economics of Sex (10-min video)

Jennifer Joyner, “I thought Casual Sex Would be Empowering, but it was the Opposite.” Heads Up: Some of this material is sexually graphic.

John Prather, “Waiting for Sex: An Honest Look at the Price of Patience” (website archive, will take longer to load)

Dear Katy, Know Your Worth (3-min video)

Pick One:

D.C. McAllister, “Stop Pretending Sex Never Hurts”

Anonymous, “Pregnant at Harvard?”

Session 8

Dating Updated!

The Atlantic, Why Dating is Hard for Millennials (4:28 min video)

The Dating Project, The Issue With Modern Dating (9 min video)

The Dating Project, Rules of the First Date (2 min read)

For Men/Women – Pick Two:

CanaVox, Dating Roadmap for Women (20 min read. This reading may be found behind the leader login.)

CanaVox, Dating Roadmap for Men (20 min read. This reading may be found behind the leader login.)

Maria Walley, How to Break Up and Keep Your Dignity Intact (6 min read for women) New!

Schaefer, How to End a Relationship Like a Man (5 min read for men) New!

Optional:

CanaVox, Strategic Plan for Dating & Strategic Plan For Dating: Make Your Own!  (These infographics can be found behind the leader login.)

Session 9

Cohabitation

PrepMedia, Relationship DUI: Are you Sure You’re in Love? (4-min video)

Galena Rhoades, “How Moving In Together Makes It Harder To Know If He’s The One” (6-minute read)

Dan McLaughlin, “Study: Marry Young, Marry Your First, Stay Married”  (2-minute read on the latest social science research.)

Theresa DiDonato, “Are Couples That Live Together Before Marriage More Likely to Divorce?” (3-minute read on the persistent “cohabitation effect.”)

W. Bradford Wilcox, “A Shaky Foundation for Families”

John Sedarati, “Jordan Peterson On Cohabitation Versus Marriage” (4-minute read on the main reason most couples cohabit.)

Optional:

Katrina Fernandez, “Cohabitation is a Smack in the Face.”

Alysse Elhage, “Why I Never Considered Living With My Husband Before Marriage”

Dear Katy, Sister’s Boyfriend Wants to Move In (3-min video)

Session 10

Marital Fidelity Updated!

Ana Samuel, “On Marital Fidelity: Its Personal and Public Benefits” NEW!

Esther Perel, Rethinking Infidelity: A Talk for Anyone Who Ever Loved (20-min TED talk)

C. S. Lewis, Excerpts from Mere Christianity, “On Marriage” (This reading may be found behind the leader login. Leaders, please download and email this reading as an attachment to your reading group.)

Judith, S, “Mexican Marriage Heroes” Story about fidelity in marriage amid bipolar depression

Session 11

Communication in Marriage

Eric Barker, “The 4 Most Common Relationship Problems — And How To Fix Them” (10-min read)

Matthew Fray, “She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink.” (9-min read)

MissFranJanSan via Jason W. Stevens, “Woman Realizes That She’s Been Accidentally Abusing Her Husband This Whole Time.” (11-min read)

Richard Paul Evans, “How I Saved My Marriage” (6-min read)

Jason Headly, “It’s Not About The Nail” (1.5 minute funny video)

Optional:

Emily Esfahani Smith, “Science Says Lasting Relationships Come Down to 2 Basic Traits” (14-min read)

Kerri Christopher, “Let’s Talk About The Mental Load” (10-min read)

Session 12

The Importance of Fatherhood

Alyssa Elhage, “How Marriage Makes Men Better Fathers”

Brett and Kate McKay, “The Importance of Fathers”

Meg Meeker, “What Dads Can Learn from Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Acceptance Speech”

WeKnowMemes, A Kid in the Air as the Father Sees It​ (Photo)

Dear Katy, Dad Hates My Boyfriend (3-min video)

Optional:

Jonathan Last, “A Dad’s Life”

Correctional Officer Calvin Williams, The Importance of Fathers (5-min video)

Session 13

The Beauty of Motherhood

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, “Just A Mom”

Rachel Bock, “Why I Left Feminism” (web-archive link)

Erica Komisar, “Just Be There: Why Moms Should Stay with Children in Their Early Years” (web archive link; will take longer to load)

Cecilia Royals, “Educating Youth to Champion the Family”

Elizabeth Schlueter, Motherhood: A Great Work”

 

Optional:

 

Session 14

Same-Sex Marriage Updated!

CanaVox, “Note to Participants Regarding the Same Sex Marriage Session NEW!

Humanum, Marriage, Culture and Civil Society (17-min video; choose English subtitles)

Ryan Anderson, “Marriage Matters, and Redefining It has Social Costs.”

Dear Katy, Invited to a Same-Sex Wedding (3-min video)

Pick One:

Katy Faust, “Dear Justice Kennedy: An Open Letter from the Child of a Loving Gay Parent”

Janna Darnelle, “Breaking the Silence: Redefining Marriage Hurts Women Like Me.” A woman’s husband comes out as gay and leaves her

Dr. Jacqueline C. Rivers, Marriage and the Black Family On the importance of one-man-one-woman marriage for the Black American community and its children (14-min video)

Session 15

Same-Sex Parenting

Humanum, The Cradle of Life and Love: A Mother and Father for the World’s Children The unique gifts of mothers and fathers (14-min video; choose English subtitles)

Bobby Lopez, “Growing Up with Two Moms: The Untold Children’s View”

Katy Faust and Stacy Manning, “Same-Sex Parents: What Say the Kids?” (Excerpts from Them Before Us).

Pick One:

Ana Samuel, “The Kids Aren’t All Right: New Family Structures and the ‘No Differences’ Claim”

Paul Sullins, “It’s Time to Promote Good Social Science on Same-Sex Parenting”

Further Resources:  

The Witherspoon Institute, “Marriage and the Public Good (2022)” Excerpts. Gives a brief footnoted overview of current studies on same-sex parenting. (This reading is available behind the leader login.)

Session 16

Donor-Conceived Children

Alana Newman, “What are the Rights of Donor-Conceived People?”

California Cryobank, Kids of Donor 5114 (9-min video)

Natasha Pyper, “An Open Letter to a Father, from the Daughter You Left Behind”

Dear Katy, Sperm Bank Daddy (3-min video)

Optional:

Institute for American Values, “My Daddy’s Name is Donor: 15 conclusions from the Social Sciences” Pp. 7-14.

Anonymous Us Personal testimonies of donor-conceived kids

Session 17

Sex Ed in the Family

CanaVox Moms, “Tips for Talking to Your Child about Sex: The Elementary School YearsThe Middle School Years and The High School Years.” Also available on Amazon 

Dear Katy, Tough Conversations with Kids (3-min video)

Optional: 

Miriam Grossman, M.D., You’re Teaching My Child What? Ch.3 (Downloadable behind the leader login.)

Session 18

Sex Ed in the Schools

Family Watch International, The War on Children: Comprehensive Sexuality Education (10-min video)

Valerie Huber, “Sex Ed in America: How Yesterday’s Extremists Shaped Today’s Sex-Ed”

The CanaVox State and International Leaders, “Sex and Gender Ideology in New Jersey’s K-12 Curriculum”

Optional: What Can Parents Do?

Dear Katy, Evaluating Sex Ed Curricula (3-min video)

Ana Samuel, “Rebel Parenting in an Age of LGBTQ Overreach”

Family Research Council, Cathy Ruse, “Sex Education in Public Schools: Sexualization of Children and LGBT Indoctrination.” (Focus on pages 18-28, “Sex Politics In The Halls, In History Class, On The Calendar, In The Library,” and pages 31-39, “Protect Your Children – And Your Rights!”)

Further Resources

Infographic on Differences between Sexual Risk Avoidance vs Sexual Risk Reduction Curricula (Leaders may consider printing this one-page summary to distribute at the meeting.)

Minnesota Family Council, “Responding to the Transgender Issue: Parent Resource Guide.”

Child and Parental Rights Campaign, “Navigating the Transgender Landscape School Resource Guide: Free Download.”

Session 19

Pornography

Morgan Bennett, “The New Narcotic” Documents the addictive effects of pornography on the brain

Ran Gavrieli, Why I Stopped Watching Porn (15-minute TED talk video) Heads up: some of the material is explicit, especially from min 2:50-4:30.

Anonymous, “If You Don’t Believe that Porn Hurts Relationships, You Need to Read My Story.”

For Parents:

Ethics and Public Policy Center, Raising a Family in the Digital Age: A Technology Guide for Parents (Comprehensive guide to the current threats to children on today’s social media apps and digital technologies, as well as practical tools and filtering resources for parents.)

Abby Moore, “The Day My Kid Found Hardcore Porn on His Phone”

LDS365, What Should I Do When I See Pornography? For child audiences; to help teach them to be on the lookout for bad pictures and know how to protect themselves (5-min video)

Dear Katy, My Son Found Porn (3-min video)

Further Resources:

Fight The New Drug, “Get Help: Don’t Fight This Alone” (Resources to fight porn; articles and videos based on personal stories and scientific research that show the harmful effects of porn on individuals, relationships, and society.)

Session 20

Transgender Identity

Paul McHugh, “Transgenderism: A Pathogenic Meme” A Johns Hopkins psychiatrist explains why it was a mistake to allow sex reassignment surgery at his hospital.

Lindsay Leigh Bentley, “I am Ryland: The Story of a Male-Identifying little Girl who Didn’t Transition”

American College of Pediatricians, “Gender Ideology Harms Children”

Walt Heyer, “Here’s What Parents of Transgender Kids Need to Know”

Dear Katy, Transgender Talking Points for Kids (3-min video)

Optional:

Dr. Ana Samuel, Sex, Gender and Identity (38-min video; can be screened during reading group)

Session 21

Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria Updated!

VCPA, Sydney Wright Testimony (10-min video. Could be screened at the meeting.)

Riittakerttu Kaltiala, Gender-Affirming Care Is Dangerous. I Know Because I Helped Pioneer It.” (16-min read) New!

Abigail Shrier, “Gender Ideology Run Amok” (14-min read)

Optional:

Jaime Reed, “I Thought I Was Saving Trans Kids. Now I’m Blowing the Whistle.” (16-min read) New!

Helena Kerschner, “By Any Other Name: The Story of My Transition and Detransition (Highlighted shorter version; 30-min read)

Further Resources: 

Helena Kerschner, “Parent Question: Communicating With Someone Who Is Indoctrinated” (6-min read)

Abigail Shrier, “Irreversible Damage” Excerpts, (10-min read; Suggestions for parents to respond to the phenomenon of rising ROGD in teen girls)

 

Session 22

Compassionate Responses to Infertility

BuzzFeed, Women Openly Share What It Feels Like to be Told You Can’t Have Kids (4-min video)

CanaVox, “Ethical Dilemmas of Assisted Reproductive Technology”

Garance Dore, “Late Bloomer” (Heads up: This essay has one unfortunate use of foul language.)

Dr. Gavin Puthoff, Mercy Clinic Fertility Services, NaPro Technology Benefits (2-min video explaining the NaPro Technology approach to infertility)

Mary Beth Cormier, “How Our Marriage Overcame our Struggle With Infertility”

Optional:

Dear Katy, Risks of IVF (4-min video)

Rachel Gurevich, “What Not To Do When Supporting an Infertile Friend”

Session 23

Surrogacy

Google Baby (3.5-min video) This trailer shows the reality of the global surrogacy industry. India has since made its laws more restrictive, but this is a picture of how the industry operates in other poor countries.

Adeline Allen, “Surrogacy, Love, and Flourishing” (11-min read)

Linzie Janis and Chris Murphy, “I Felt Like Someone Who Sold My Child: When Women Regret Being Surrogates” (3-min read) Personal testimony of a surrogate with commentary

Katy Faust, “The Pro-Life, Conservative Case Against Surrogacy” Highlights the issues from the perspective of the child. (6-min read)

Pick One:

Kajsa Ekis Ekman, “All surrogacy is exploitation – the world should follow Sweden’s ban.” Explanation of the reasons why Sweden banned surrogacy and a discussion of so-called altruistic surrogacy

Ross Douthat, “The Handmaids of Capitalism” (web-archive link)

For Further Information:

Center for Bioethics and Culture, State-by-State Surrogacy Laws  (Inform yourself of your state’s position on surrogacy.)

Center for Bioethics and Culture, “Three Things You Should Know About Surrogacy Facts about risks to mother, costs to children, cost to society, all in one page with footnotes (like the fine print of a medical procedure)

Session 24

Communication in Marriage: Sexual Intimacy!

CanaVox, “CanaVox, Conversation Guidelines for Communication in Marriage Sexual Intimacy (2022)” (This reading may be found behind the leader login.)

Michele Weiner-Davis, The Sex-Starved Marriage (17-min video)

CanaVox, “CanaVox, The Art of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage (2022)” (This reading may be found behind the leader login.)

Pick One:

Dear Katy, Too Tired (3-min video)

Project Manhood, Sexual Intimacy in Marriage (3-min video)

 

Session 25

Adoption

Christopher Tollefsen, “Couples Who Adopt are ‘Real Parents'” (Excerpts)

Lesli Johnson, “10 Things Adoptees Want You to Know”

Katy Faust, “Third Party Reproduction vs. Adoption: There’s a Big Difference” (text) or Audio Recording (14-min podcast)

Pick One:

I Lived on Parker Avenue (30-min video)

Sarah Spain, “Runs in the Family” (15-min reading) and How a Biological Son Found his Family (5-min video)

Session 26

Religious Liberty

Ryan Anderson, What is Religious Freedom? (2-min video)

The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, “Religious Freedom: A Conversation with Rick Warren, Robert P. George and John DiIulio” (Excerpts)

The Heritage Foundation, “What You Need to Know About Religious Freedom: Questions & Answers Driving the Debate”

Pick One:

Alliance Defending Freedom, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran

Alliance Defending Freedom, Jack Phillips, Masterpiece Cake Shop 

Alliance Defending Freedom, New Hope Family Services Adoption Agency

Optional:

The Witherspoon Institute Task Force on International Religious Freedom, Religious Freedom: Why Now? Defending an Embattled Human Right, Ch.1 (Text) or Audio Recording (min. 31:32 – 54:39)

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