Five Awful/Hilarious Books by Left Behind Creator Tim LaHaye
Since 2008, your Crap Archivist has brought you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.
Perhaps the most amusing and dispiriting of that crap has been Tim LaHaye's ridiculous guides to sex, family, and how to hate gay people. LaHaye, of course, is the apocalypse-profiteer whose Left Behind books and movies have inspired millions to fantasize about all the awesome adventures they're sure to have when God any-day-now decides to destroy Creation.
Here's the choicest of his lesser-known terribleness.
How to Be Happy Though Married Publisher: Tyndale House of Wheaton, Illinois Date: 1968
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The Cover Promises: Hot hand-holding action! And 180,000 copies sold! And that marriage is a state generally incompatible with happiness!
Page 63: "The difference between the reproductive system of the husband and wife should stand as a symbol of the beautiful difference in their emotional make-up."
Page 77: "Under such circumstances, she is often twenty-two or twenty-three by the time she is ready for children, and surprisingly enough, that is past the ideal childbearing age."
"Marriage can be the most happy, mediocre, or unhappy of life's experiences," Tim LaHaye tells us on page one of his guide to good Christian matrimony. How exactly mediocrity can be measured in the superlative degree, he doesn't explain. Still, he aims for happiness, and believes you can, too. His advice:
- Select a "missionary-minded" church.
- "Recently, a woman told me that after eight years of marriage she had never undressed in front of her husband. This is false modesty."
- "Don't be alarmed if you do not experience an orgasm during each sexual union with your husband."
- Remember, ladies: "Subjection is not slavery."
- "The third key that guarantees a happy marriage is love."
LaHaye includes helpful illustrations of the "reproductive organs," sometimes labeled as such:
And sometimes not!
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company, New Jersey Date: 1977
The Cover Promises: With some clever shaving, you can create a face out of chest hair.
"A large percentage of women's and children's attire is designed by homosexuals, who can hardly be expected to highlight the differences between the sexes. Because the mother is so feminine, what she considers 'darling' or 'cute' may really be harmful for a boy."
Quick, America! Gather your sons and inspect their pants! Are they wearing manly Wranglers or flouncy Pajamajeans? Is that a Boy Scout kerchief or some kind of ascot? Can you confirm that your boy is wearing Hanes His Way?
Threads of insufficient manliness are a serious problem, according to LaHaye, who is, of course, an expert on masculine clothing, as we can see from the back cover of Understanding the Male Temperament:
As in all the volumes LaHaye has pumped slick and fetid from his book-secreting sac, Understanding the Male Temperament purports to instruct middle America in all the ways that it can fight against godlessness, especially within the bedroom.
LaHaye indulges much "Are today's men manly enough?" nonsense and also sentence after sentence that suggests, hilariously, the homosexuality he fears so much. Consider:
LaHaye believes a boy bobs like a cork in the folds of all men?
LaHaye encourages his readers to shun contemporary standards in favor of his best guess at the meaning of vague general principles set down thousands of years ago. In a chapter titled "Special Note — To Men Only!" he writes:
"Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be placed in submission to another human being on a 24-hour basis, 365 days a year — for life? That is exactly what God demands of your wife."
His suggestion: Make her submit without being, like, a dick about it. He's even open-minded enough to trust his wife, Beverly, with entire areas of decisionmaking:
"Frankly, I have found that my wife is a perceptive judge of colors and has better taste in clothes, furnishings, music, and many other areas than I."
LaHaye offers a practical solution to the problem of making a wife submit. The husband should run the family as if it is a company and he is the president; the wife and the older children can be vice presidents whose input is considered when the president selects a course of action. The principle behind such husbandry is exactly like the one behind giving kids Fisher-Price steering wheels in the car: something for them to fuss with so that they feel like they're driving.
Author: Tim and Beverly LaHaye Publisher: Zondervan Publishing Date: 1976
The Cover Promises: When a married couple makes clean Christian love, they dissolve into beings of pure honeyed light.
"Once inside the husband should try to remain motionless or he may ejaculate in a matter of seconds, abruptly terminating the lovemaking."
"She should be very careful not to put pressure on the testicles located in the scrotal sac as this can be quite uncomfortable."
Perhaps LaHaye's least noxious book, this his-and-her Christian sex guide lavishes attention on both his-and-her orgasms and argues that mutually fulfilling sex is foundational to a successful marriage.
It's certainly the only book in your church library to include a chart to track your Kegel progress:
Still, there are some curiosities to making love LaHaye style: While the wife's orgasm matters, it is her duty to respond to the husband, which is why he must master the art of foreplay. More pressingly, LaHaye insists "there are only four positions used frequently enough to consider":
1. The husband above. 2. The wife above. 3. Both on their sides. 4. Husband seated.
Another LaHaye list:
"A man's sex drive can be relieved only by ejaculation. This can be achieved by (1) intercourse, (2) masturbation, (3) nocturnal emission, or (4) homosexuality."
LaHaye encourages newlyweds to arm themselves with knowledge and then climb Mount Arousal...
...or milk the upside-down udders of feminine pleasure.
The LaHayes attempt to be direct — even explicit — about the ins and outs of ins and outs, but they can't quite tamp down their Evangelical discomfort with what goes on in the bikini area. Here's what those Kegels are for:
That sketch offers LaHaye's best evidence for his insistence that marriage is essential for holy lovemaking. Remember: It only snaps to attention when it knows the ring is near.
Publisher: Tyndale House Date: 1978
The Cover Promises: Gayness is a rusty, wormy chain.
"Homosexuals are regularly disinterested in gainful employment — their interest is sex, not work. Besides, when a man overindulges his sex glands, he doesn't have much energy left." (page 35)
"The lenient attitude of many college administrators is appalling. They often make no attempt to fire known homosexuals from their faculty." (page 198)
In the first pages of this moronic howl of a book, apocalypse profiteer and disdainer of lady-stink Tim LaHaye explains that "the homosexual epidemic" of the late 1970s is in some ways all his fault.
"Something strange is going on in America! My wife and I had been out of the country only nine months, holding family life seminars in forty-two countries around the world, but we noticed it immediately. Arriving in San Diego on a Sunday, I looked through my mail and found two letters from lesbians and four from homosexuals."
Yes, denied his masculine example, America went gay.
That's from the first chapter, which LaHaye — always eager to help your Crap Archivist out — titles "The Homosexual Explosion."
Just a page later, he explains how his editor talked him into taking on a book like this: "Wendell Hawley of Tyndale House remarked, 'The Christian community needs a penetrating book on homosexuality.' "
The strangest thing about this "penetrating" work? These days LaHaye leaves it off the long list of books he has authored. Perhaps that's because in The Unhappy Gays LaHaye:
- Outs DaVinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Auden, and Whitman, sniffing that "many of them [are] considered to be artistic geniuses"
- Muses, in the ruins of a Pompeian bathhouse, "Shades of New York City, San Francisco, and San Diego"
- Puts love in sarcastic quotation marks when writing "homosexual 'love' "
Generally speaking, LaHaye exaggerates his numbers.
"Fifty per cent of the suicides in America can be attributed to homosexuality."
And loves an insult:
"When one takes into account all the heartache and suffering homosexuals cause other innocent people, particularly those who love them the most, it becomes quite clear that homosexuals are usually very selfish people."
And demonstrates little marketing sense.
"A better title than gay rights would be 'abomination of desolations.' "
And lacks the critical capacity to understand that the following two sentences have no business appearing in the same book:
- "We do not wish to persecute homosexuals."
- "Let us hope that straights will wake up to the fact that the homosexual community, by militancy and secret political maneuvering, is designing a program to increase the tidal wave of homosexuality that will drown our children in a polluted sea of sexual perversion — and will eventually destroy America as it did Rome, Greece, Pompeii, and Sodom."
Remember, here is what LaHaye thinks all marriages should look like:
That's from the back cover of The Act of Love. Note that there is a man and a woman, that neither is wearing homosexual clothes, and that the wife, knowing her role, at all times has her hands on wood.
Author: Tim & Bev LaHaye Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey Date: 1978
The Cover Promises: "When Tim and Bev LaHaye discovered the joy of living under the direction of God's spirit, they transformed their mediocre marriage into a rich and fulfilling family life." Also, family life has a low pixel rate.
"In fact, Bev and I have come to the conclusion that the most common mistake Christian parents of teenagers make is letting them pick their own friends. It is fatal!"
"Even though the secular world of psychology commonly suggests that sexual fantasies are normal (the everyone's doing it routine), they are wrong."
This time, LaHaye argues that woman was fashioned to be man's "helpmeet," a term that I always had thought referred to knock-off Hamburger Helper or a very polite handjob. He and helpmeet Bev illustrate the wife's duties with this Vitruvian pie chart:
Break me off a slice of that Helpmeet Pie!
Note that "Ideal of Feminine Beauty" is right smack in the crotch. Also, note that a healthy black line descends from the husband's:
Most of the book is the typical LaHaye silliness. As always, there's accidental dirtiness:
"Show me a little girl of five or six who can run into her daddy's heart, sit on his lap, and kiss him any time she likes, and in fifteen or twenty years I will show you a young woman who is emotionally prepared to be a sexually responsive wife."
The LaHayes complain about humanism — both secular and sexular — as well as the ERA and the failure of many wives to "submit" to their husbands' decisions on all matters. Bev takes over the submission chapter — almost certainly of her own free will. She says,
"Because Tim has allowed me to develop my own thoughts and feelings, thus retaining my uniqueness, he listens respectfully to my counsel and considers it carefully before making the final decision. Occasionally, I have unduly influenced him and he has made an incorrect decision."
The LaHayes also remind husbands to stick with the decisions they make, even if they're wrong and wife-influenced:
"Once the decision is made, do not give in under pressure (pouting, temper, frigidity, or any other manifestations of carnality.)"
But in this book the LaHayes display startling hubris. LaHaye, who often gasses on about "biblical infallibility," took it upon himself to rewrite Proverbs for the '70s.
There's a famous chunk of Proverbs that calculates the worth of the "virtuous woman" as somewhere "above rubies" and then itemizes her best value-added traits: She seeks wool and flax, she wears purple linens, she buys a field and plants a vineyard. The usual stuff. LaHaye updates that list. See if you can spot what wasn't in the King James:
The Twentieth-Century Woman of Proverbs:
31:11: Her husband trusts her with all of his possessions. He is not concerned that she will drain the checkbook or run up the charge account for her own whims.
31:12: She is a devoted helpmeet for his good, a 'responder' to his love, one who lives for his fulfillment.
31:13: She decorates the home, keeps the house tidy, and even mops the floor with a song in her heart and praise on her lips.
31:16: She holds home Tupperware parties. From the money she earns, she pays her children's tuition for a Christian education.
31:19: She picks up her needlepoint when she sits down, and keeps her hands busy.
31:22: She is not seen outside with curlers in her hair, nor does she dress to gain attention.
31:24: She operates a laides' boutique from her home some might term it a 'garage sale'), selling some of the lovely articles she has created.
We can see the proper relationship between man and wife on the front page of my Goodwill copy of Spirit Controlled Family Living. Note how Bev's signature is pretty, confident, but as un-showy as an endorsement on a paycheck. Tim's, though:
That's the grand, sweeping signature of a man who would write Tupperware parties into the Bible!
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