By design conference

Helping students understand sexual identity accurately.

A conference designed for 6th-12th graders, parents, and anyone that works with youth. Everyone is welcome. (Please no children under the age of 10.) 

By Design will be Saturday, January 28, 2023 from 9 AM-5 PM (doors open at 8:15 AM) with a 1.5 hour lunch break. (Lunch is on your own.)

Morning sessions will be foundational and age appropriate for middle and high school students. 

Afternoon sessions will cover subjects that contain more mature ideas and parents should use discretion.

Ready to register? Click here.

Breakout sessions

  • We study friendship (philia) and learn about the different levels of emotional intimacy according to modern psychology; why friendship is connected to self-worth, and how it’s connected to healthy dating and a thriving life. Some classes also study the Greeks’ seven forms of love and how they correspond to various relationships throughout our lives. 

  • Students learn about the two rival forms of marriage, the natural law definition and the progressive definition, and evaluate which definition is more just towards children. This requires studying why children deserve to be raised by their biological mother and father, including research on the distinctiveness of mothering and fathering and advantages experienced by children raised by their biological parents. We explain why adoption is oriented toward the needs of children in contrast to polyamorous parenting, same-sex parenting and third party reproduction (3PR), which are oriented toward the desires of adults. 

    There is no graphic discussion of sex in the marriage class. However, we present melancholic first-hand testimonies of children who have been raised outside of the intact mother-father home, which may be difficult for some students, especially those who have either personally experienced divorce or other kinds of family breakdown or feel protective of a friend who has. Students will look to empathize with the pain that children usually experience when their family breaks down and better appreciate how the natural law definition of marriage honors the needs of children.

  • We explain what the term “hook up” means, and how its widespread acceptance has hurt all of society, especially women and children. We also explain basic

    economics of sex modeling. We teach students how supply and demand for sex has changed over the decades. In particular, we discuss how contraception, feminism, and pornography drastically changed the “price” of sex. We conclude with how important it is for women and men to “price themselves high” and refuse to settle for cheap sex. We speak about some of the realities of extramarital sex.

  • We enter the debate over the causes of same-sex attraction: are “gays born that way?” or do they “choose to be gay”? Students learn why the “born that way” slogan is unsupported by science, and learn about the stronger scientific, though complex, environmental hypotheses for causes of same-sex attraction. This session mentions child sexual abuse and pornography as possible pathways towards same-sex experimentation. Footnotes include references to the traumas girl experience from sexual assault, medical harms of gay sex, and HIV statistics. 

    This class also considers the topic of sexual identity. What defines a human person? We challenge students to think about whether we should define ourselves according to our sexual feelings or not—and we offer an alternative. Drawing from the natural law tradition, we critique the dominant cultural message, which we call The Gay Script, and contrast it with The Natural Law Script, so students can understand a better way to process their sexual feelings vis-a-vis their identity.

  • Students will watch the video testimony of a 14-year-old biological boy who identifies as female. We model for students how to listen compassionately to his story and then evaluate the harms of the “treatments” he has been offered. What does “trans” mean? What is “gender dysphoria”? We discuss how gender confusion can be the result of trauma, other underlying psychological struggles, and/or social contagion. We also examine the major medical risks that chest binding, penis taping, hormonal and surgical treatments entail for young people and adults. 

    Some students have asked for clarification about what transgender surgeries involve, and the instructors have permission to answer with prudence and honesty. The ultimate message is that all of our body parts serve necessary and irreplaceable functions.

  • The pornography curriculum is directed at high school men. However, some of our young women’s high school groups have benefited from reading the guy’s material. Students learn why pornography is like a drug. They study the neuroscience behind porn addiction, why it's “highs'' leave the user feeling empty, and how casual usage can lead to watching harder and more disturbing material. Pornography fuels the traffic of sexual victims (including children) and makes it difficult for men to form healthy relationships with women, even within marriage. The material also briefs them on how to successfully quit pornography. 


The cost is $10 per person. 


"By Design" Conference Overview

What will it cover? By Design will offer foundational human design and relationships principles from a natural law perspective. That is, the conference will make the case for biblical truth by arguing primarily from God’s World which reinforces God’s Word. The content will draw heavily from CanaVox curriculum.

What is CanaVox? CanaVox organizes reading groups around the world to study the truth about marriage, relationships and sexual integrity. Reading groups draw on natural law, social science, history, economics, philosophy and psychology to help participants articulate challenging truths with clarity, conviction and compassion. Think of CanaVox as the why behind what God says.

What’s the schedule? By Design morning session will cover the topics of love, friendship, marriage and sex through plenary and breakout sessions. We welcome all parents and students to join us in the morning.  Afternoon sessions will be geared toward High School students and will cover identity, same-sex attraction, transgenderism, and pornography. Generous Q&A will be offered throughout the conference. While presenters will not share explicit content, they will answer student questions honestly, thus afternoon sessions will be more suited for older teens. 

What’s the result? Many Christian teens know what the Bible says about marriage and sexuality. By Design helps them understand why those teachings are so good. Teens become proficient in spotting damaging lies in class, in conversations, and online, and become undercover agents for the good.  

Who should come? Any teen who:

  • is curious about scientific, non-religious responses to LGBTQ issues

  • feels unequipped to respond to cultural ideas about relationships, sex, gender and marriage. 

  • has unanswered questions about God's design for sex and marriage

We encourage teens to attend with their parents to encourage child-parent communication on these sensitive topics. We also encourage youth pastors to bring their youth groups. 

When/where/cost? Willamette Community Church, Saturday January 28, 9:00-5:00pm. $10/person