Tim Tebow, Provo and the truth about the ‘hookup’ culture

A story in Thursday’s Deseret News reminded me of what a complete cultural change this nation has undergone over the last half-century or so.

The story combined recent media reports on where Tim Tebow might go to seek companionship in New York City, where he now will quarterback the Jets in the NFL. Tebow is what might be termed “famously Christian.” Some would say he wears his religion on his sleeve, but that’s not the point I want to make.

His commitment toward chastity seems to have some in the media viewing him the way they might an aboriginal tribe with limited contact with the outside world.

The New York Times suggested he would find plenty of company among Christians in the Big Apple, but added that, “the city is a far cry from Provo, Utah.”

The comparison is apt. Provo is home to Brigham Young University, one of the few campuses left that emphasizes, and even demands, old-fashioned virtue and chastity.

Remember how things used to be? If not, let me quote from a New York Times story from June 18, 1952. The subject is a new booklet on marriage that was to be distributed by the social hygiene division of the New York Tuberculosis and Health Association.

Titled, “Preparing for Marriage,” it was intended for girls and boys in their late teens — college age, in other words.

“The importance of a wise choice of marriage partner both to the individual and to society is stressed in the new booklet,” the article said. “A happy choice, it says, strengthens the entire community. But a poor one may send society through the courts, hospitals or children’s institutions ‘to correct the end results of a mistake which might have been avoided.’

“’Love at first sight’ comes in for the de-emphasis usual in such pamphlets for young people. The booklet says, too much emphasis on emotional attraction may be a sign of immaturity and a hindrance in helping to establish a happy and permanent marriage.”

It sounds quaint and old-fashioned today, much like those old films on dating and hygiene that teachers threaded through projectors and showed to students in the black-and-white era.

But it’s hard to argue with the truth of those words, just as it’s painful to note that they take for granted the goal of marriage and family.

We don’t have pamphlets like these today from public entities. Instead, we have popular media that sell a very different set of unspoken assumptions.

As a result, places like Provo and people like Tebow are treated as oddballs, even though they stand for values with obvious benefits.

Click the link below to watch a video. It’s from an MSNBC broadcast last spring of an interview with The New York Times‘ Frank Bruni concerning pornography and the hookup culture.

We may not want to reclaim everything about 1952, but shouldn’t we be telling kids the truth?


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About the Author

Jay Evensen

Jay Evensen is the Senior Editorial Columnist for the Deseret News. He has 32 years of journalism experience covering politics and a variety of other assignments at news organizations ranging from United Press International in New York City to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Deseret News, where he has worked since 1986. During that time, he has won numerous local, regional and national awards. Most recently, he was given the Cameron Duncan Media Award, given annually in Washington, D.C., by the advocacy group RESULTS, to the journalist judged to have done the most to further the cause of the world's poorest people.


  1. Joe

    Jay Evensen is exactly right. I applaud him and would add that in a nation chiefly comprised of people without morals, it’s the majority who are the ones who have regressed over the last 50 or 60 years to become aboriginies. Tim Tebow represents the minority who are the only ones who are actually still civilized.

    With that said, I have a prediction, not a revelation from God, but simply a prediction from wisdom and seeing the “handwriting on the wall.” Over the next one to two generations we will see the morals of America declilne even more until the family unit is completely unrecognizable. At the same time, the Muslim immigration of the US will turn into something that looks more like a colonization. Eventually, they will push people out of neighborhoods and cities, and even whole regions and states. There will be clashes of violence and quiet regigeously motiveated murders. Muslims, who cannot stand the primitive morality of the west, will eventually push the post-Christian society out west in a way that will be reminiscent of the removal of the primitive American Indian in the 1880’s. Eventually, morality will return to north America. Unfortunately, it will not be under the mild and kind, freeing culture that the Gospel of Jesus Christ produces, but under the violent and enslaving sword of Muhammad. And why? Because the current Americans have turned from God in pride and have become hostile to Him, and in response, God has allowed them to go their own way and has turned them over to their enemies.

  2. Rich


    I just had to comment. Are you crazy? Your thoughts about the Muslim take-over of the United States is absolutely insane. I am LDS. I believe in and strive to follow Jesus Christ. But we differ greatly in our views regarding global affairs. You obviously fear the world and those who are different than you. I don’t think I will change your view point, but I wanted to at least reply and provide some sanity.

    Muslims are not out to get you or your country. They don’t hate our freedom. God has not turned his back on us. There is so much good around us, and it is found across different cultures, religions, ethnicities, and nations. You believe in God, don’t you think there is something that unites all of us and that there is a purpose to every human life? Or are they just useless fodder unless they adopt your political and social views?

  3. John Kriesel

    Thanks for a very insightful commentary from an experienced journalist. This is why I subscribe to this newspaper.

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