Beverly LaHaye (’48) is a nationally recognized advocate, author, and spokesperson on women’s issues and rights that affect traditional Judeo-Christian values of individuals and of the family.
She is the founder and president of Concerned Women for America (CWA). She founded the organization in 1979 in San Diego, CA. In a speech at Taylors First Baptist Church recently. Mrs. LaHaye shared how this organization was begun. “My husband and I were at church in San Diego. The Lord began to deal with me about Christian women in America. I began to think of ways to make a difference and consulted women in my church. I was surprised at how few knew what NOW and ERA were all about. I was so concerned about the decay of American society. After meeting with several women in my church, we decided to organize a country-wide meeting of women and have a speaker to address women’s issues. We consulted the local civic auditorium and were told that they did not rent to private groups. It was at that time that I decided to name the group Concerned Women for America. Upon presenting this name to the civic center, we were able to rent the space and had a successful meeting with over 1,200 women in attendance. The ideas was born to help concerned women and homes to wake up to what is going on in American and the destruction of family values.” CWA now has chapters in all 50 states and its national headquarters has been located in Washington, DC since 1985.
The purpose of CWA is to preserve, protect, and promote traditional and Judeo-Christian values through education, legislative programs, community involvement, and related activities which represent the concerns of men and women who believe in these values.
Mrs. LaHaye served as a pastor’s wife for 33 years with her husband, Dr. Tim LaHaye (‘48). She served as the College Registrar for Christian Heritage College for five years and was a founding member of the board for the Institute for Creation Research under Dr. Henry Morris.
For 17 years, Mrs. LaHaye was a co-speaker with her husband for Family Life Seminars. She and her husband conducted over 350 seminars together, sharing with thousands of couples the Biblical principles for marriage harmony. From 1977 to 1978, they traveled to 46 countries to minister their family living principles to one-sixth of the English-speaking missionaries in the world.
Mrs. LaHaye has written several books, some of which include the best seller, The Spirit-Controlled Woman, How to Develop Your Child’s Temperament, A Woman By God’s Design, and Prayer: God’s Comfort for Today’s Families. Her recent book, The Desires of a Woman’s Heart published by Tyndale House Publishers, was release in July of 1993. She has also co-authored several books with her husband, Spirit Controlled Family, Living Against the Tide, The Act of Marriage which sold over 2.4 million copies, and their latest, A National Without a Conscience.
As President of CWA, Mrs LaHaye has appeared on numerous television talk shows and on Good Morning America, CBS News This Morning, The MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour, and CNN’s Crier & Co., in addition to the NBC, ABC, and CBS evening news broadcasts. She testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of Justice Scalia’s, Judge Bork’s, and Justice Thomas’ nominations to the Supreme Court.
In 1992, Liberty University awarded Mrs. LaHaye an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities for her lifetime achievements in protecting the rights of the family. In 1991, she received the Southern Baptist Convention’s “Religious Freedom Award.” Mrs. LaHaye currently serves on the Board of Liberty University.
Mrs. LaHaye hosts her own live, nationally syndicated, daily radio talk program, Beverly LaHaye Live and a growing weekly broadcast call This Week with Beverly LaHaye which reaches thousands of Americans from the nation’s capital with the latest updates on issues affecting the family. Mrs. LaHaye was honored with the National Religious Broadcaster’ 1993 “Talk Show of the Year” award for Beverly LaHaye Live.
She fondly remembers her roots in the Greenville, SC, area when she and her husband were students at North Greenville College and just getting started in their ministry. She shared how she and her husband were in the same biology class at NGC and she made an “A” in the class and Tim teased her about being the teacher’s pet because he was not lucky enough to get an “A.”
After Tim graduated from North Greenville Junior College, they enrolled at Bob Jones University. She relates how their first child was born in Greenville and Tim’s first pastorate was at Oolenoy Baptist Church in Pumpkintown of the Pickens, SC, area. Mrs. LaHaye is quick to add that they had a wonderful beginning in the Greenville area.
They moved to Minneapolis, MN, when Tim was called to a church in that area. They had a big adjustment with the long winters and extreme cold and snowy weather. While living in Minneapolis, two sons were born.
Later Tim was called to San Diego to serve an area church. They stayed in San Diego for 28 years and had a daughter born during this time. It was during this time in San Diego that Beverly founded CWA.
In an interview with Mrs. LaHaye, I asked, “You are a well-known author, can you tell me how you got in the writing field?” Mrs. LaHaye responded, “I began by assisting my husband with the research for his books. After several years of doing this, the publisher approached me about writing a book of my own. The publisher said, you have something to say, you’ve been assisting your husband in seminars and writing. I was reluctant at first but when he asked, how many student do you counsel each year and I responded. He said, ‘Well, if you write this book, you will be counseling one on one with over 100,000 women.’ It was then that I agreed. My first book was Spirit Controlled Woman which I wrote in 1973. I am currently working to revise this book.”
I asked her, “Of the books you have written, which is your favorite and why?” She responded, “My first book, Spirit Controlled Woman, is the book I am most fond of. The reason it is my favorite is because I gave so much of myself in writing this book. The first book was the hardest. I love to write books to help women and possibly turn their lives around.”
When asked what she sees as the primary struggles of families today, she stated, “Young people are struggling because so many want to have one foot in the secular world and one foot in the church because they feel that in order to be ‘cool’ they must be secularized. It is very difficult to make a choice because of the influence of school, entertainment, and the media.”
I inquired about how churches can be more effective in ministering to families and she commented, “Churches can be more sensitive to the struggles of the family and homes and the need for Dad to take the spiritual leadership. I am so encouraged with the renewal of so many homes with Dad as the spiritual head of the home. If the church can keep the fire going in the hearts of the fathers, then the home is going to be different.”
When asked how institutions such as North Greenville can better prepare young people for the responsibility of marriage and family Mrs. LaHaye added, “I speak at a Liberty College chapel program each year and the students often ask that I speak on what type of partner they should look for in marriage. Even in a Christian school, you have to very selective. Kids come from varied backgrounds, different training at home, and have different goals in life. Schools, colleges, and universities must train students to focus on obeying the commandments of the Bible, and they must be taught that commitment in a relationship is for a lifetime. With this type of training, we will see a decline in the divorce rate.”
Mrs. LaHaye estimates that she has 55-60 speaking engagements per year, in addition to her daily radio show which reaches 750,000 people weekly. She also publishes the Family Voice Magazine monthly and in writing her books she feels she is able to minister to many women.
I commented on Mrs. LaHaye’s many accomplishments in life, appearing on national television talk shows, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and especially watching CWA grow in its importance to American women. I asked, “What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment?” Mrs. LaHayes responded, “When all is said and done, I think the greatest thing the Lord will rate me on is what kind of wife, mother, and grandmother I have been.
Photo: From left, Ruth Greenwood Hamilton (’63), Beverly Ratcliffe LaHaye (’48), and Beverly Carlton (’70).
Story written by Beverly Carlton (’70) and printed in the April 1995 issue of the North Greenville College Alumni Newsletter.