Chastity speaker visits diocese for family event

Jason Evert gives talks at St. John Neumann Church in Farragut on purity, gender, and sexuality    

By Gabrielle Nolan

Chastity speaker Jason Evert led a family-based event Oct. 22 at St. John Neumann Church in Farragut, where 300 youths and adults gathered for his presentations on purity, gender, and sexuality.

The presentations appropriately occurred on the feast day of St. Pope John Paul II, who is known for his teachings on the Theology of the Body.

Mr. Evert leads his ministry, Chastity Project, with his wife, Crystalina. Together, they present talks and create resources for teenagers, young adults, and parents in order to promote a culture of purity, chastity, and authentic love.

“Jesus, tonight we pray for the gift of purity so we can be free to love, and we entrust our time together to Our Lady,” Mr. Evert said in his opening prayer.


His first presentation, “Purified,” focused on topics such as dating, purity, and pornography.

Mr. Evert spoke about the pressure youth feel to get into a relationship at a young age, with the additional pressure of taking the relationship to a sexual level.

Man lifts boy over shoulder

Chastity speaker Jason Evert does a demonstration with a teenager named Miles at St. John Neumann Church. (Gabrielle Nolan)

Throughout the evening, Mr. Evert shared statistics and findings from a comprehensive study on sex.

Recent research suggests that currently 20 percent of high school students are sexually active, and 30 percent have had sex, meaning the majority of high school students in America are virgins.

“People who get married as virgins have a divorce rate that’s about 70 percent lower than those who won’t wait for marriage,” Mr. Evert said.

Mr. Evert encouraged the youth to imagine their future spouse out in the world and think about the kinds of activity they wouldn’t want them to engage in and set the same standards for themselves.

“Every guy here has these temptations to lust, but then there’s a deeper desire to sacrifice and love,” he said. “What I want you girls to realize is, the guys you’re sitting next to every day in your class, all of us have been lied to about what it means to be a man. We’re supposed to learn about manhood from our dads. But girls, think about it: some of us haven’t even seen our dads since we were 3. Even if you have a great dad, you still get lied to about manhood everywhere else. … You get some of the girls, you’re the man. Everything’s about sex. Basic message is if you’re still a virgin, something’s wrong with you. And if you’re not a virgin, it’s too late for you. This is all you ever hear, and it gets old.”

Mr. Evert shared that God offers love, pointing to Ephesians 5 in the Bible.

“St. Paul says to men, husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church, giving himself up for her,” Mr. Evert said, noting that Jesus entered into His passion and died for His bride, the Church, and men need to be ready to love a woman like that.

“I think porn is the best way to shoot your future marriage in the head,” Mr. Evert said. “It teaches girls are things to be used.”

Mr. Evert noted that the first time he saw porn was in the second grade.

“We’re not looking at some naked body; you’re looking at somebody’s daughter, who was probably abused as a little girl, but we just laugh it all off and call ourselves gentlemen,” he said. “Some of the girls in porn aren’t even alive. Porn stars have a huge mortality rate, death by drug overdose, murder, suicide. You could be lusting after a girl who’s in her grave right now. Some of the girls in porn aren’t even human beings. Maxim Magazine has paid computer companies more than $20,000 a pop to generate fake women.”

Mr. Evert discussed the danger of becoming addicted to porn and then getting married and trying to be faithful to one woman.

“You trash the porn now and forever, you are being faithful to your bride before you ever lay eyes upon her,” he said.

Teen boys sitting in church pews

The first half of the church was reserved for youth at St. John Neumann. (Gabrielle Nolan)

Mr. Evert also addressed that porn is not just an issue for males but also for females.

“Lust is not a guy problem—it’s a human problem,” he shared. “A lot of girls start looking out of curiosity—what do I need to look like, what do I need to do, what do I need to wear, who do I need to be. Women, you were never created to be porn. You’re created to be loved.”

He spoke about the pressure girls feel to have perfect bodies.

“But girls, think about it, the women in the world who have the most perfect bodies, do they have the most perfect relationships? No, they have the most dysfunctional ones. Think of the people you know who have the most perfect love, do they have perfect bodies? No, they’re like 80 years old and overweight and wrinkly. But they have love,” Mr. Evert said.

He spoke about the differences between girls and boys, how girls get seduced through their ears and boys get seduced through their eyes, contributing to why modesty is important.

“You deserve respect no matter what you choose to wear, but you have this God-given power to not only turn a guy’s head, but you have the power to change his heart,” Mr. Evert said to the girls in the audience. “You will never convince some boy of your dignity until you first convince yourself.”

Mr. Evert discouraged the youth from cohabitation and sex before marriage, sharing a research study that girls “always pay the biggest price.”

“She becomes more likely to have more breakups, STDs, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, become a single mom, live under the poverty level, divorce, have an abortion, be depressed, on and on. The longer a girl waits for sex, the happier she’s going to be,” he shared.

“Love can wait to give, but lust can’t wait to get,” Mr. Evert continued. “If you’re sexually active right now, doing sexual stuff, take it out, you’ll see what’s real love. … When it’s real love it will bring you closer to everyone who loves you: family, friends, God. When it’s not real love, you’ll walk away from all three.”

At the end of his presentation, Mr. Evert spoke about homosexual attractions and how they are not a person’s identity.

“If you experience homosexual attractions, your identity is that you’re a beloved son or daughter of God.”

He noted how products, identities, and friendships are becoming sexualized, and attractions are being over-sexualized.

“Not every human attraction is a sexual attraction,” Mr. Evert explained.

He encouraged all the youth to go to confession, go to Mass regularly, and be devoted to Our Lady for protection under her Miraculous Medal and the rosary.

Gender and the Theology of Your Body

Mr. Evert’s second presentation, “Gender and the Theology of Your Body,” focused on topics such as gender dysphoria and gender theory.

He discussed how many social-media platforms now offer numerous options for listing one’s gender.

“When most Catholics hear this, they tend to have one of two reactions: either to dismiss it or to debate it,” Mr. Evert said. “Now if you’re on the receiving end of that and you may experience gender dysphoria or you identify as trans, you probably feel that the Church has no room for you to understand what you might be going through. But if you’re like me, and you have friends in the trans community, if you’re like me and you actually have family members who identify as trans, you realize just debating and dismissing these individuals is not an adequate response. If you’re like me, you wrestle a little bit with this.”

Two women standing at table of books

Regnum Christi members Paola Toledo (left) and Lauren Hanson volunteered at the merchandise table where Chastity Project books were sold. (Gabrielle Nolan)

“What am I supposed to say?” he continued. “Am I supposed to use their preferred pronouns or do we not do that? Because I heard that if we don’t affirm their gender identity, they’re more likely to commit suicide, and I wouldn’t want to be part of that. What are we supposed to do? Or maybe you experience gender dysphoria and you’re wondering what does God think about me? I think we need to start there. What does God think about you if you struggle with this? The Bible says real clear, it’s out of the Old Testament, it says, ‘God, for you love all things that exist and you loathe none of the things that you’ve made, for you would not have made anything if you had hated it.’ And so God does love individuals who experience gender dysphoria. We got to get out of the gate with that. In fact, if you know them personally, you know they deserve love. They’ve been through a lot.”

Mr. Evert emphasized that these individuals deserve love and the truth.

“So how do we do this? How do we balance charity and clarity at the same time?” he asked. “I think step No. 1 is let’s distinguish gender theory, which is an ideology, from gender dysphoria, which is something that people are affected by. … [Gender theory] began in the ’50s with this idea that gender is just a social construct, masculinity, femininity, those aren’t real things.”

“What about when you have a person who is very clearly biologically male, but they feel that their internal sense of identity is female?” he continued. “This discord that what they experience and feel is known as gender dysphoria. … Think of the word euphoria; euphoria is bliss, being content. Dysphoria is the opposite of that, a deep sense of distress, a feeling of incongruence between your body and your identity.”

Mr. Evert shared that rigid gender stereotypes do not help the situation.

“I know I’m a man not because I feel so manly; I know I’m a man because I have the body of a man, and our bodies are not meaningless. They are meaningful,” he said. “Listen to Pope Francis. He said these rigid gender stereotypes can hinder the development of an individual’s abilities to the point of leading him or her to think, for example, that it’s not really masculine to cultivate art or dance, that it’s not very feminine to exercise leadership. These are bogus gender stereotypes.”

“Gender stereotypes try to get a person to conform their personality to match their body. Gender theory does the opposite—it tries to get a person to conform their body to match their personality. Neither one is the right approach,” he explained.

Mr. Evert shared a study that said when children experience gender dysphoria, about 90 percent come to identify with their own biological sex by the time they finish puberty, as long as gender-affirmative care does not intervene.

He gave an example of gender-affirmative care as gender-themed books being read to young students in schools across America.

“This is not promoting tolerance. This is actually promoting transgenderism,” Mr. Evert said. “Well, what’s the distinction? Transgenderism is this idea that my body cannot just be distinguished from my identity but can be divorced completely from my identity. And if you don’t feel at home in your body, your feelings aren’t a problem, your body is the problem. To be true to yourself, you don’t look at what your body is, you look at what your feelings tell you. And if you want to feel at home, then you need to transition because that’s your identity, is trans.”

Mr. Evert discussed the four steps of transitioning, which include social transitioning, using puberty blockers, using cross-sex hormones, and having surgeries.

“If you follow the individuals who do have the surgeries, about 10 years after the operation, the suicide rate climbs to 19 times higher than the general population,” he shared. “People will say, well, that’s because of all you transphobic bigots and because you don’t accept them, of course they’re going to kill themselves. This is not the full story. The full story is this: people who commit suicide, 90 percent of them have a diagnosable mental-health condition that needs clinical intervention. Anxiety, depression, in the case of the trans community, studies have shown that 42 percent of them actually meet the criteria for autism diagnosis. There’s a lot of other stuff going on here.”

Mr. Evert shared that the world puts people in two categories: those who accept the trans community and those who abandon them.

“So, who are you going to be? A compassionate person or a bigot?… Are these really our menu options, accept or abandon? Pope Francis says no, we’re called to accompaniment, which means walking with these people in truth and love. They deserve respect, and they deserve love, but they also deserve the truth. Because if you give someone love, but you don’t give someone the truth, it’s false compassion,” he said.

“This is not about permission, this is about possibility,” Mr. Evert continued. “Biology is not bigotry, this is why medicine is so sex-specific. … We’re susceptible to disease differently, we exhibit disease differently, we respond to prescription medicine differently. … Every cell of the human body that has a nucleus is sexed; that’s why we can’t change our sex: we’d have to change every cell.”

He asked the crowd two questions: Is the body trustworthy? Does it really reveal our identity?

Woman speaking into microphone

Margaret Merrill of Regnum Christi served as master of ceremonies for the Jason Evert Chastity Project event. (Gabrielle Nolan)

“The Church offers us the answer in something called the Theology of the Body. It was something given to us by St. John Paul II… John Paul II, yes, he was a celibate man, but this man’s gift that he was to the Church was extraordinary,” he said. “One of the things he taught us in his Theology of the Body is that the human body is the only creation of God that makes a person visible. Because think about it, animals have a body, but they’re not a personal being. Angels are personal beings, but they don’t have a body, and so the human body is the only creation of God that makes the mystery of a person visible.”

“If our culture untethers our identity from our bodies, what is your identity going to attach to if not your body?” he continued. “It will attach to your personality. But here’s the challenge: there are as many personalities as there are persons. You’ll end up in literally an endless spectrum of identities of genders, which to me is the endgame of this whole thing. Not to have many genders, the endgame is for sexual difference to be erased. The devil is not only the enemy of your soul, the devil is the enemy of human nature. What God has joined, the devil wants to rupture. If God joins body and soul, the devil wants to separate, death. God joins husband and wife, separate, divorce.

“If God has joined your body to who you are as a person, and the devil can separate that, you know what comes next, male means nothing. Man means nothing. Therefore, husband means nothing; father means nothing. Family, priests, nothing. Everything is now thrown up for grabs. And so this is why John Paul II said that you have been given right now a task to rediscover the meaning of your body. It is not meaningless; it is meaningful. Stamped into your body is not just your identity; it’s your calling.”

Mr. Evert concluded his presentation with words for those who may be experiencing gender dysphoria.

“What would God say to that person? I think what he would say is this: my beloved child, you were not born into the wrong body; you were born into the wrong culture, a culture that’s telling you you might have to hurt your body to be your authentic self. Your body does not need to be reconstructed. It’s our culture that needs to be reconstructed. And I created you for such a time as this to participate with me in the reconstruction of our broken culture,” he said.

Mr. Evert told the audience that God loves them.

“He has called you to love. And with all these questions we have faced tonight, with the body, our temptations, the body when it comes to dysphoria—the answer to all these questions is in only one place, the Blessed Sacrament, where He shows us the answer: this is My body given up for you.”

After the presentations, the youths in attendance received bags with an Immaculate medal, a purity commitment card, a list of faithful Catholic colleges, a copy of Mr. Evert’s book, Pure Love, and an additional book targeted for boys or girls. The boys received Pure Manhood by Mr. Evert, while the girls received Pure Womanhood by Mrs. Evert.

Additionally, parents received a copy of Raising Pure Teens by Mr. Evert and Chris Stefanick.

For more information on Jason Evert and his ministry, visit

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