My family used to watch a show called What Would You Do? In it, host John Quiñones and his team used hidden cameras and staged scenes in order to see how everyday people would react if they faced an unusual situation. For example, in one episode, I recall a little boy who was up against some school-aged bullies. Strangers would either walk past him or help manage the situation. When they would choose the latter, Quiñones would pop out from behind the scenes and ask them why they did what they did.
I was reminded about this show after I had the opportunity to hear Mark Nichols’ story. As the first installment in the American Family Studios’ Impact series, the Nichols’ family story presents just one of the many brave men and women who have courageously taken a stand against culture. Only, unlike What Would You Do?, these scenarios are not staged. Rather, they show the reality of what happens when believers faithfully combat the darkness.
For Mark, his story began when “Drag Queen Story Hour” appeared at his local Arkansas library. Following that event, he was asked to serve on the library board. After prayerfully considering, he accepted, knowing that there would be some hard choices he would have to make.
In June 2021, those thoughts became a reality as he was faced with something incredibly dark and dangerous – a 33-book display.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. What’s the big deal with a book display? How is that dangerous? Number one, it contained graphic LGBTQ material. And number two, it was placed within the children’s section.
When Mark heard about the display via a local mom’s Facebook post, he became concerned and started praying about what he should do. Mark’s wife Stephanie decided to check the books for herself and see what was hidden within the pages. What she found, shook her to her core. The books on the shelf were for all ages, starting at 2-5. But their content was absolutely vile.
Projecting nothing but radical LGBTQ agenda, they contained awful images and messages. But there was something especially gruesome about the book, It’s Perfectly Normal, that was marketed to ages 10 and up. Within the pages, she was bombarded with graphic cartoons that depicted nude images of straight, lesbian, and gay couples involved in sexual intercourse. In later pages, cartoons of children masturbating were shown. And Stephanie found it placed next to child-friendly stories about dinosaurs.
Yep, you read that right. A public-funded library displayed a book that aims to teach children how to masturbate and used images aka child pornography to get the point across. But for the left, the LGBTQ+ lifestyle has nothing to do with teaching kids about sex, right? Wrong.
That was all it took for the Nicholses.
“I knew that I had to speak truth and to interject the truth of God’s Word into the situation,” Mark told American Family Studios. “But I had to do it in a loving manner.”
Mark chose to stand up against the insanity and raised a motion to move the material to the adult section to protect young eyes. That way, if some parents wanted to check it out for their child, they would have that choice. But alas, that simple suggestion sent the town of Jonesboro into disarray.
Mark’s name was dragged through the mud. Not only was he called every name in the book, but he even had “Letters to the editor” written about him and his family. A simple board meeting turned into shouting matches as he was berated and maligned. Nevertheless, he stood firm and chose to honor God through it all.
“If the price of your peace is bought with silence,” Stephanie continued, “it is too high of a price to pay. … It would’ve been so much easier for Mark to be silent and not share the gospel. But he cares about souls.”
To this day, Mark continues to speak up and be a voice for the innocent by proposing polices to protect children. Although none have passed, he remains steadfast in serving the Lord through his role.
“As a board member, I feel a sense of responsibility for the hearts and minds of the children that frequent our library,” said Nichols. “I am convinced exposing children to sexual content and planting seeds of gender confusion to them at ages as young as five years old is not the loving thing to do. Out of love for them, I will continue to stand.”
In a recent interview with The Stand, Mark also offered some encouragement to anyone fighting the culture battle. He said:
“We as Christians have to become culture makers and seek the welfare of our communities. Someone’s worldview will be the foundation for our libraries, schools, and local government policies. Unless we get involved, it will be an unbiblical worldview that gets promoted. Culture-making, through involvement and stewardship, is a biblical model given to us in God’s Word. Jeremiah 29:7 says, ‘But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.’ And if we seek the welfare of our city, through prayer, service, and sharing a biblical world view, it will encourage others to seek God also.”
On August 20, The Mark Nichols Story DVD will be available to purchase at resources.afa.net.