Recently I attended a multi-day religious retreat with over 1,000 other members of a traditional, simple, old fashioned religious organization. Personally I do not believe in the spiritual, but understand the importance of the institution of religion, and am able to learn insights and experience stimulating thought and discussion from certain such groups, not to mention the possibility of doing a little unicorn hunting on the side.

The Setting

Similar College Setting

The event was held in a small town college, and with classes out of session, we were housed in the dormitories. My building was constructed several decades ago, and was named after a woman, and I examined the plaque dedicating this multi-story institutional structure to her, which towered over anything else for miles around, and was pleased to see she was honored for being a “devoted wife, mother, teacher, active in church and community.” This was at a public university, and I cannot imagine any such woman being similarly honored today.

American Gothic

Typical older attendee

The attendees were a mix of traditional, plain spoken and plain dressed people, with lots of knitting and crocheting by the women, traditional folk music, shape note singing (quite an amazing experience), a plethora of board games, traditional dance, lots of homemade items, which one could either learn how to make, or purchase, and good old fashioned fun.

There were attendees from all around the nation, and I was exposed to a wide range of people from different backgrounds. The bookstore offered a great variety of selections, and one title which caught my eye was “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle,” written by Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges about the depravity of our current society.

One of many interesting titles from the fantastic bookstore

The Positives

Overall, the experience was positive, and in particular I would single out the shape note singing as an amazing spiritual and emotional experience. About 30 people gathered in a room, and would sing in four-part harmony a cappella, beautiful pieces of music, much of which dates back to the 1700s.

Shape Note Singing

Not only is the music beautiful, but the words instill a sense of simplicity, focus, sacrifice, and meaning. It is also amazing to think that shape note singing today sounds basically the same as it would have in the 1700s. I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see that almost all of the singers were several decades older than me, with the exception of one college age guy I had met earlier. Later, a couple of younger women joined us. I moved over to the first and began a conversation with her between songs.

1. The First Woman

She was thin, feminine with shoulder length hair, wore a dress, and had an interest in the traditional art of singing, plus she seemed very receptive to my conversation with her. We talked for a bit between songs, until eventually she reached across me and grabbed her cell phone, as I had lost out to the endless supply of Facebook clowns in entertaining her.

She then told me that her “partner” was at a shape note singing class right now in another state. At this point I dropped her and moved on to the last remaining possibility in the room. What “partner” meant did not matter to me: either she was a good, traditional, woman, as she appeared, in which case her partner was someone with whom she was in a committed dedicated long term relationship, or she had a girlfriend. Either way, she was no longer an option.

2. The Second Woman

The other female was a little old for me, appeared to be in her 30s, but still friendly and feminine, and I began chatting her up. She was nice enough, until a guy from across the room said “Honey, you should pick the next song”—she had a husband (incidentally, this group is unlikely to wear much jewelry, including wedding rings, and often skips the government marriage, so it’s not always easy to tell who’s available).

I was only slightly disappointed, as women were not the focus for me— the shape note singing was for me the highlight of the retreat, with one of the songs so beautiful and lyrics so moving that it brought tears to me eyes. It was also nice to see a group of various ages and backgrounds coming together to practice an ancient art and creating something beautiful together.

The Millennials

Typical younger attendee

The younger generation, however, are not following the same path as their elders. One of my first premonitions was upon leaving the dining hall on the first day, hearing a bunch of young teens say “Yeah, I hate that fucking song…” and my heart immediately sank, fearing that this group would be not that different from the typical American millennial.

My suspicions were soon reinforced when I attended an introductory meeting of young twenty and thirty-year-olds. The group numbered approximately 80, and out of these I counted exactly 8 women who were thin and cute enough to have ANY level of attraction. Out of these 8, almost all of them had unnatural hair coloration, multiple piercings, or tattoos, which are typically deal-killers for me.

A Scary Sight

The millennial generation has been deeply infected with social doctrine that normalizes the abnormal, and I soon learned that traditional religious millennials are no exception. We went around the room introducing ourselves, and were instructed to give our name, where we were from, and our Preferred Gender Pronoun.

At this point, I was tempted to get up and leave. But I would be around these people for the next several days, so I decided to sit through this exercise in silliness. When my turn came around, I said my name is Mr. Roscoe and I prefer to be referred to by the “Royal We.” There were a couple of quiet snickers, but I have to imagine most were shocked that I would make light of such a serious, important question.

Out of everyone in the room, I counted at most three masculine men: One answered “I prefer to be called Brian,” another “I am masculine.” Everyone else was somehow able to keep a straight face and say things like “I’m Tom and I prefer he/him/his”.

Much confusion in this group

I was wondering if there was even a point to this ridiculous exercise when finally one guy did give his birth name followed by his new female name and said he preferred “she/her/hers.” So basically we wasted 10 minutes of time just so everyone knew one dude who saw Bruce Jenner’s photo shoot and now thinks he’s a chick.

TransJenner Has Infiltrated The Church

Trans-What?

Now, the silly exercise in pronoun choice was not only disturbing, but it was also completely out of place. Recently, I was attending a philosophy group with some friends, and an out of town visitor joined in, and kept injecting things about his sexuality that were completely irrelevant such as “Well, since I’m bi, I have a different view of agricultural policy…”

Of course, no one knew or cared where he liked to stick his penis, and this was completely inappropriate, but he continued several times offending us with inferences to his sexual adventures. I did not offer a countering opinion by stating “Well, since I typically prefer to bang thin Latinas with long hair, I think we should remove farm subsidies,” because everyone would have realized that was absurd and inappropriate, but signaling that you are bi or gay communicates that you are a good, trendy, progressive person, that should be listened to, and so no one objected.

The retreat exercise in Preferred Gender Pronouns was similarly out of place. It would have been only slightly less appropriate for us to give our name, age, and which other person in the room we wanted to bang.

Rejection Of Sex Roles

Indeed, the millennials no longer have any idea of traditional sex roles. During one of the evening dances, a fun activity and great way to meet new people, an elder came over to correct a couple dancing opposite to me—we were dancing French Contra style, where four people will dance in groups of two couples together in a circle.

The millennial couple dancing with me had swapped the male and female spots, and were instructed to correct them to match everyone else in the room. Their response was “Does it really matter? It doesn’t matter. We’re gender neutral here.” I don’t think they could comprehend that the dance has different moves that the men do together, the women do together, or the couple does together, and they are all planned for a reason and have different effects. Mixing up your location and letting anybody do anything ruins the whole idea of a planned group dance.

Contra Dancing—created for two sex roles

Out of the remaining women, the only option worth pursuing was a long-haired, thin blonde girl from the northeast who wore ankle length skirts and enjoyed traditional dance, but colored the tips of her long blonde hair blue. I suppose this was not quite as bad as dying one’s entire head purple (I saw that) or shaving one’s head like Miley Cyrus (as several younger girls had done), so I reluctantly accepted her as the only option that remained for me.

The only female with some unicorn ancestry

Four Lessons

“You haven’t had a good night until you’ve had a Mennonite” — It’s gotten this bad.

What are the lessons to be learned here?

First, out of a traditional, religious population of 1,500, if the only real option is one woman who has partially died her hair a neon color, then unicorns must be declared extinct in North America.

Second, men are to blame for allowing things to get where they are today. While there are certainly cases of extreme hateful feminists, I think the source of the movement of acceptance and inclusiveness comes from a good place. Caring, loving people, especially women who naturally have a nurturing side, want to include and love others, and not make them feel uncomfortable.

And indeed, Jesus welcomed whores and thieves alike, and did not judge them. But he didn’t hold slutwalks and pretend that what they were doing was a “brave independent lifestyle.” I honestly believe many of the people here, including the women who hosted the “Check Your White Privilege” workshop (NB: I did not attend), are coming from a good place, but are severely misguided. Women certainly can contribute to society in a positive way but they need to be led and have their actions directed by men towards productive goals.

Third, I do not see what can save the future society in America. I know a lot of talk on ROK is negative, but after seeing how a traditional conservative upbringing failed to counter the negative effects of societal corruption on these youth, how can one have hope? Even if the movement for Neomasculinity succeeds in creating more masculine, strong, leaders, we will have no good local women to choose from.

Fourth, there are some good role models among the elderly in these types of communities, so consider seeking them out for your own personal betterment. But don’t expect their granddaughter to be of value.

And while it was refreshing to be around strangers who would smile at you, and women who were never sarcastic or condescending, it’s nothing you can’t find on any street in South America, with far more attractive and higher quality women. In the end, the retreat felt like taking a trip in a time machine back about 15 years ago, when fat girls were super friendly and had great personalities, people were more social and happy, and approaching strangers was easier.

But 15 years is simply not far enough back in US history to find quality women.

Read More: Feminism Is On The Retreat