Integrity Ball Encourages Young Men to Raise the Standard
BY BOB ELLIS
The First Annual Northern Hills Integrity Ball was held in Spearfish Saturday night. It was organized by the Northern Hills Pregnancy Care Center and “Stop and Think” of Spearfish.
The event provided an evening of fun and fine dining for young men and their mothers, and encouraged young men to make a commitment to abstinence until marriage. It has its origins in last years purity ball held by the same organizations. The purity ball was a success for fathers and their daughters, and afterward many people encouraged organizers to create an event for mothers and their sons.
Alisha Vincent, Program Director for Stop and Think, says this is the first event of its kind that she’s heard of.
The evening was a classy, coat-and-tie affair that began with catered dining for about 90 attendees, some coming as far away as Sundance, Wyoming and Bison, South Dakota.
After the meal, Jackie Detweiller spoke to the gathering about her experiences. Detweiller is an attractive 19-year-old young woman who is practicing abstinence. She told the tale of a person who had waited a long time to buy the car of their dreams, but when the day arrived to drive it home, the dealer told them that the steering had problems, that it had a lot of mileage on it, and had been in a few wrecks. She likened this word picture to sexual purity and the hopes for a future spouse.
Detweiller told another story about a man and woman coming to the altar, about to be married, when another guy comes up from the audience and holds the bride’s hand as the ceremony is performed. More guys come forward, until six are holding onto the bride. When the groom asks her what is going on, she replies, “These are guys from my past. They don’t matter to me now, but I gave them a piece of my heart. What’s left of my heart is yours.”
There are consequences to the actions we choose, according to Detweiller. She mentioned the risks of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy, but also spoke of the sacrifice of principles and our need for obedience to God.
Detweiller defined integrity as “the harmony of beliefs and actions,” and encouraged the young men present to turn from what the popular culture is offering and walk in integrity.
The featured speaker for the evening was Luke Baker, Youth Pastor at South Canyon Baptist Church in Rapid City. Baker also spoke of integrity, defining it as what you do when no one else is looking, or as Dwight L. Moody said of character, “what you do in the dark.” Baker contrasted our culture’s definition of integrity as being “a good person” or “not doing a lot of bad things.” “I don’t care what you do in the dark,” is the message of our culture, Baker said.
Baker told the young men that the women they had come with, their mothers, were somebody’s daughters, and they meant the world to those parents. He further told them that when they date a girl, she is somebody’s daughter, and they care deeply for her.
Baker also told them that while they might not believe it at the time, the girl they may date in high school is probably not going to be the one they will marry. “So you’re dating someone else’s future wife,” he told them. He also told them that someone else may be dating their future wife.
“If you knew somebody was with your future wife,” Baker asked them, “touching her in ways you wouldn’t like, pressuring her, how would that make you feel?”
Baker said that love isn’t just an emotion or experience that you “fall into,” but is a commitment and process that involves selflessly and sacrificially meeting the needs of someone else.
Speaking of self-control and the meaning of sex, Baker told the young men, “Having sex doesn’t make you a man. Dogs have sex, but it doesn’t make them a man. Guys, separate yourselves from the animal kingdom.”
Baker encouraged the mothers to teach their sons and inspire them to greatness, telling them that despite the iPods and blank stares, research has proven again and again that parents remain the single greatest influence over the values adopted by their children.
A study published in 2005 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine indicates that teen girls who believe their parents' disapprove of their having sex are 16% less likely to have a sexually transmitted disease.
At the end of Baker’s speech, the young men were encouraged to sign pledges of abstinence, but it was stressed that they should only do so if they were firmly committed to carrying out that pledge.
The pledge said the following:
I, _________________________, choose before God to remain pure in my lifestyle, as I grow toward the goal of manhood, and until such a time that I marry.
I will be a young man of integrity and accountability as I strive to be an example to those around me. I will be bold and courageous, no matter what.
Today, I choose to seek after the high calling of God in every area of my life.
The young men and their mothers were then treated to a clean comedian from Newcastle, Wyoming named Chad Sheehan. Sheehan’s routine was funny and entertaining, while actually reinforcing what the previous speakers had said about integrity and raising the standard.
Mothers and sons then had an opportunity to get out on the dance floor together, enjoying songs such as “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers, “Old Time Rock & Roll” by Bob Seger and others.
Vincent said this year’s Purity Ball for fathers and their daughters will be coming up on March 24, with over 300 expected to attend. As word spreads and the Integrity Ball is held again next year, participation in this encouraging event for young men is sure to rival that of the Purity Ball.
Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health released in 2004 indicates that teens who make a virginity pledge are less likely to experience teen pregnancy, less likely to be sexually active, and will have fewer sexual partners.