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I Name (and Blame) the Patriarchs, Part 2: Fallacies About the Full Quiver Movement

 The Rod-- A Full Quiver Family's Home Business

I’m writing this post mostly in response to this post and the comments thread.  There seems to be a lot of interest in the Full Quiver movement right now; aggravatingly, there doesn’t seem to be as much interest in what is really true about it.   That’s unfortunate because it’s a movement in which women and children are routinely and systematically subordinated and subjugated by the men in their lives — fathers, husbands, older sons, sons, period, pastors, elders, leaders —  as a matter of biblical principle.  If we don’t get to what’s true about this and how it all works, then what is happening to women and children in these families will be missed, and they won’t get the understanding, help and support they need to get out, get free.

So here are some responses to erroneous information in Amanda’s post (and elsewhere on the internet) and in her  comments section.   I’m not intending to be hard on Amanda here — I think it’s great that she’s talking about this movement.  It’s very difficult for outsiders to gather information about what actually goes on in full quiver families.

Fallacy 1:  The Full Quiver Movement is Racist

In my experience, the movement is no more racist than rank and file white people in the United States are racist (meaning, yes, the movement is racist, as the U.S. population, in general, is racist; again, no more, no less).    It has its share of horrifying racists and white supremacists; it also has its share of anti-racists and people who are committed to ending racism.  Remember, “conservative Christian”, by a long shot,  does not equal “white”.  Gazillions of conservative Christians are people of color, and some of them are part of the Full Quiver movement. 

The Full Quiver Movement is a White Folks’ Movement

Not really.  There is an increasing number of families of color who are part of the Quiverfull movement– biracial families, too. There are also quite a few white Quiverfull types who adopt children of color (a thread all its own; it’s coming soon). 

Children in Full  Quiver Families are Ornaments; They Aren’t Expected to Work Like Children in Large Families Did in Days Gone By

Completely untrue.  Children in full quiver families work– they work, in some cases, really, really hard, much harder, in fact, than children, particularly young children, should ever be expected to work.  A full quiver distinctive is the goal of families being debt free, and preferably off the grid and self-sufficient.  That means, many times, moving out to rural areas,  living  in difficult conditions (trailers, combinations of trailers/school buses/lean-tos), building houses a few boards and a bag of concrete at a time as funds allow, meaning the whole family lives in first one small unheated, uninsulated room with an outhouse, then they add insulation, a bathroom, another room, and so on.  This means primitive, difficult living conditions in which the kids’ help is essential– to do things like clear land, remove and burn brush, help with building the house and outbuildings, plant and maintain gardens and harvest food, then can, dry, freeze, or smoke it.  Families often heat with fireplaces or woodstoves so there is wood that needs cut and hauled in, or they use alternative power, hydros in streams, wind power, combined with generators.  This means that quite a few families spend quite a bit of time without power, without running water.

Another emphasis of the full quiver movement is home business (one element of the goal of self-sufficiency).  Not only do parents  create, run and operate their home businesses, the kids work for those businesses, too,  meaning, when they’re not chopping wood or clearing brush or cleaning up after themselves and their many siblings, or folding laundry for 14 people, several of whom are in diapers, or cooking dinner for 14-plus, they are doing things like entering data into databases, filling orders for whatever they sell, collating publications and mailing them out, fixing things, depending on the business.  These families need every one of their kids and all the more, the more kids they have.  Especially difficult are the lives of older daughters,who usually bear a lot of the caregiving/babysitting/housecleaning/cooking/laundry responsibilities for everybody (including elderly parents and relatives which full quiver families take in as a matter of religious obligation.)  Boys work hard, too. They hunt, fish, learn to fix motors, cars, farm equipment, care for farm animals, rototill, plow, weed, haul in wood.  The boys do everything that is gendered male; the girls do what is gendered female.

Full Quiver Types Are A Burden on School Systems

Full Quiver types are not a burden to local school systems.  These families reject government help (generally speaking; there might be 3.5 families per 100 who will accept some sort of government help, but as a matter of biblical principle, they rely on one another, the church, and God.) They don’t trust schools and usually steer clear of them.  They buy their own curriculum and school supplies, organize their own activities, support groups, and events,  pool their resources, organize their own conferences and curriculum fairs, and pay for all of their children’s home education themselves, while continuing to support public schools with their tax dollars although they reap none of the benefits (other than the benefits all of us reap when the nation’s children are educated.)  They don’t get any sort of tax breaks for this; they pay for it all themselves.

Full Quiver Families Have Babies to Populate the World With White People and Take Over

Not really.    Especially not the women.  Full Quiver women  aren’t having babies to take over the world (although dominionist men speak in those terms).   They are having the babies because they believe babies are a blessing, and that it would be wrong to say no to God’s blessings.  The full quiver/arrows stuff, when you get right down to it, is just patriarchy’s justification for co-opting and taking ownership of women’s bodies and reproductive capacities.   The women in the movement are sincere; they want to “obey God.”  An example Mary Pride has used is, health and prosperity are listed as blessings in the Bible, and we don’t hear anybody complaining about too much of these, so why would women complain about  children, which God also calls a blessing?    Remember, these are Bible literalists.  In fact,  also, and again, Full Quiver families need their children, because their lives are very difficult most of the time, and there is far more work that needs to be done than two adults could ever do. Anybody want to be responsible for laundry and meals for 9-15 in your 1500-foot (or smaller), three-bedroom, double-wide in which all of you spend all of your time (read:  crayons, books, pencils, paper, toys, homeschool projects, meals, cribs, walkers, crawling babies, piles of laundry,  etc.)?  This is work and lots of it.  Parents need plenty of kids to help with this work.

Rousas Rushdoony, a Holocaust denier, was the father of the Full Quiver movement; this proves it is a racist movement

No.  Rousas Rushdoony was indeed a Holocaust denier (and also believed slavery was biblical and interracial marriage was a crime against communities), but he isn’t really responsible for the Full Quiver movement.  The Full Quiver movement really began with the Hesses’ book Full Quiver and with Mary Pride (The Way Home), then was developed and institutionalized by Bill Gothard’s ATI/IBLP organization (which is a series of blog posts in and of itself; I’ll get to them.)  Pride was something of a disciple of Rushdoony, but the Hesses weren’t and neither was Bill Gothard, and Rushdoony wanted nothing to do with Gothard.  The Full Quiver crowd is not at all monolithic; the men fight like cats and dogs amongst themselves and disagree about everything under the sun, with some spectacular fallout at times.  Some of them are dominionists, but most are not.  Some are racists, some are anti-racists, some are people of color, some are converted Jews (often “Messianic Jews”).  Only  a very, very few disciples of Rushdoony (a small number of people anyway, and  the Reconstructionists are noted for how often and intensely and bitterly they fight with each other, dis one another, hold grudges against one another, etc.) deny the Holocaust.

Full Quiver Families are All Rich, Well-Fed, Well-Dressed White People with Lace Curtains in their Windows and Huge Homes with Shiny Hardwood Floors

Totally and absolutely false!  You shouldn’t make any sort of judgment about these folks based on people like the ones in documentaries or television shows about them.  These shows generally feature wealthy people, often Republican politicians, who can afford to build mansions, have two or three washers and dryers, and pay homeschooled teenage girls to help with the babies, kids, homeschooling, housework, cooking.  They can buy anything they want.   The media spotlights this tiny number of people. They are not remotely representative of the movement.

A Truth:  Life is Hard for Full Quiver Women and Children

The lives of Full Quiver women and children are often really, really HARD.  Especially, the women’s and children’s lives are hard.  To the very low incomes (these are by and large one- income families), and the often primitive living arrangements of many, and to the hard work involved in caring for many babies and children, add the very brutal discipline many of these families practice, not only of children, but sometimes of the wife and mother.  These children are frequently severely beaten for any and all “disobedience” with “rods” (which some families make and sell as a family business, see ad at the top.)  The children are abused, the women are abused; the women work as though they are machines; the children often do, too.  The men though?  Well, too often, they are kings on their little thrones, pontificating on with one another about winning the world for Christ, sitting “in the gate” with the other men, gossiping about what’s going on in their “fellowships,” splitting doctrinal and theological hairs beyond all reason, requiring sex from their wives as their wives biblical duty, often abusing and neglecting their wives and kids, sitting around reading their Bibles and books and magazines and whatever, as their wives and children knock themselves out to be “obedient” and a good “testimony” to how “godly” and “righteous” their fathers are. 

If there is anyone to criticize in this movement, anyone to blame, let it be these men, who so, so benefit in ways their wives and daughters don’t and never can or will.

Heart

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Discussion

47 thoughts on “I Name (and Blame) the Patriarchs, Part 2: Fallacies About the Full Quiver Movement

  1. Interesting post. Nice you focus on the who is victim, who benficiary. I lived through 20 yrs of something similar. We were “back to landers” minus the religion. All the hard work, primitive conditions, homeschool, many babies. The kids and I worked very hard. I had to struggle with my husband to allow the children time for their schoolwork. It was very fun in alot of ways, I loved my babies, they liked each other, we all liked the farm, were used to the work. The lack of running water, cold house, firewood, hanging diapers on the line in winter etc were hard times but when I was young were fun in a challenging sort of way. Ironically my husband never worked like we did (I am sure he would disagree) and he got all the “credit”. The cows were his cows, the farm his farm, the dairy was his business, even the kids were his kids. I certainly didn’t exist. The kids only existed as a labor force. He was very surprised when we got tired of it and moved off the farm and became a single parent family. We have our own small farm now, we still work hard but the living conditions are more comfortable. Most importantly we do not have to answer to anyone, noone walks on eggshells in our house.
    My point is you don’t have to have religion in the equation, although it probably helps to have the Bible backing your every domineering move.

    Posted by peonista | November 29, 2006, 4:15 am
  2. So true, peonista, the way whether farming families are religious or not, the father ends up with all of the credit for everything. That’s not only true here but throughout the world, including in areas where women are not allowed to own land but are always the ones who actually farm the land owned by their husbands.
    I think a lot of full quiver types would recognize themselves in your story, including me. This movement appealed to me because the 60 back to the land movement was far in the past and I had really wanted to be part of it– this was sort of close enough. So true the way all the difficult things seem challenging and like an adventure when you’re young, but become like a prison when your marriage turns abusive.
    The bad thing about the full quiver movement is,not only does the Bible back every domineering move, pastors, homeschooling and church organizations do, as well, so that if children and women are found to be “disobedient,” they can be subjected to “church discipline” to get them back in line. Just the threat of this actually keeps everyone in line.
    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 29, 2006, 8:20 am
  3. Here are excerpts from an article on women farmers– observe how it’s the same story, all over the world, regardless what religious group we’re talking about.
    ****
    SUNS #4301 Wednesday 14 October 1998
    AGRICULTURE: WOMEN FARMERS, INVISIBLE ACTORS IN HUNGER DRAMA

    Rome, Oct 11 (IPS) — Women shoulder more and more of the burden of providing food in many parts of the world as they plant, plough, harvest and fish, gather fuelwood, fetch water, cook, breastfeed, and sell foodstuff.

    But although they are the main actors in feeding the world and fighting hunger and malnutrition, most of their work is unpaid or grossly underpaid and they have little or no access to land, credit, training and technology.

    Far too little attention is paid to alleviating women’s drudgery in rural areas, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on the occasion of World Food Day, 16 October 1998.

    On a global scale, women cultivate more than half of all the food that is grown. In sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, they produce up to 80 percent of basic foodstuffs. In Asia, they account for around 50 percent of food production. In Latin America, they are mainly engaged in subsistence farming, horticulture, poultry and raising small livestock.

    In countries in transition, the proportion of rural women working in agriculture ranges from about a third in Bosnia and Herzegovina to more than half in Poland.

    In some parts of the world the role of women in agriculture has become increasingly dominant as men are forced to leave their homes in search of jobs and income in towns and cities. This new trend, called the ‘feminization of agriculture’, is most accentuated in sub-Saharan Africa where the male population in rural areas is falling rapidly and women are now forming the majority of smallholder farmers. Women head approximately one third of rural households today, according to the FAO.

    While the dominance of women in rural areas is evident, policy-makers, planners and extension officials often behave as if women did not exist, as if the situation and needs of all farmers were the same, whether they are men or women.

    “Development policymakers are becoming increasingly aware of the crucial contribution of women farmers to food security,” said Sissel Ekaas, Director of the FAO Women and Population Division.

    “Nevertheless ‘gender blindness’ prevails and agricultural policies on the whole still do not address the needs of women farmers adequately.”

    Studies have shown that when women farmers have access to resources such as land, credit, technology training and marketing, they are more productive than men farmers. But the world’s primary food producers have generally less access to resources than men. Ms. Ekaas listed the reasons for this: ‘gender-blind’ development policies, discriminatory legislation, traditions and attitudes, lack of access of women to decision-making processes.
    Without secure land rights, women are often denied access to credit or the benefits of membership in co-operatives and farmers associations.

    Land ownership titles, however, are mostly given to the male head of household. For example, less than 10 percent of women farmers in India, Nepal and Thailand own land. Similarly, in Latin America agrarian reform programmes tend to give land titles to men.

    Without secure land rights, women farmers find it difficult to obtain financial support from banks. Land is usually required as collateral for loans and credit schemes, and loans are often channelled through rural organizations to their members. Membership is often limited to the head of household. “This is a serious obstacle to women farmers and their productivity,” Ekaas said.

    Without credit, women farmers cannot buy inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and better technology, or hire workers. An analysis of credit schemes in Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Zimbabwe found that women received less than 10 percent of the credit awarded to smallholders and one percent of the total amount of the credit directed to agriculture. In Jamaica, women account for only five percent of loans granted by the Agricultural Credit Bank.

    Ironically, numerous studies have suggested that women may be more reliable than men in repaying their debts.

    “Where they are the main food producers, women should also be a priority target of extension and training initiatives,” Ekaas said. However, it is common practice to direct extension and training services primarily to men in most places.

    An FAO study showed that female farmers receive only five percent of all agricultural extension services worldwide and that only around 15 percent of the extension agents are women. In Egypt, women account for 53 percent of agricultural labour but only one percent of Egyptian extension officers are women. In addition, extension services usually focus on cash crops rather than subsistence crops, which are the key to local food security.

    “At the World Food Summit in 1996 governments committed themselves to promote women’s full and equal participation in the economy, including giving women equal access to and control over credit, land and water,” said Ekaas. “The battle against hunger and malnutrition can only be won

    if the situation of women is placed at the heart of policy-making and planning in all areas of development.

    “Rural women must become visible partners in development and their voice must be heard on an equal level to men’s when policies are elaborated. Investing in women farmers is not a matter of charity, it’s an economic imperative, in particular in low-income food-deficit countries.”
    http://www.sunsonline.org/trade/process/followup/1998/10140498.htm

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 29, 2006, 8:48 am
  4. My experience differs – though I do not even slightly claim to have the intimate knowledge of the movement that you clearly do have. I have meet some remarkably racist people from the movement that claim theirs is a position held throughout it. Which is not to suggest these people are to be believed, but they must get that idea from somewhere. The verbage used belies an ulterior motivation behind simply allowing god to plan their families. Their own website rails against us evil horrible feminsts, and non-Christians and suggests that breeding is the only way to combat our evil ways. If we can’t call them racist, can we at least admit they’re intolerant of non-Christians and non-subservient women?

    “Especially not the women. Full Quiver women aren’t having babies to take over the world (although dominionist men speak in those terms).”

    Isn’t this a contradiction? If the movement is based on male supremacy isn’t what the *men* say they are doing this for the actual reason? Since when do they care what the women want/think?

    Posted by Lya Kahlo | November 29, 2006, 1:55 pm
  5. Yes, I would think it is the *men’s* reasons for doing what they are doing which is the actual purpose of the movement. In the men’s calculus, the women are only there to be “obedient”, supply the men with “arrows” and work themselves to death for “God” (read: men).

    Anyway, even if this movement is not entirely comprised of racists, it certainly is entirely comprised of sexists. As a matter of fact, the movement *is* sexism itself, specifically misogyny. The back to the land, self sufficiency and being off the grid stuff is tempting however, I am very attracted to that (but without men to turn it into a women’s detention center).

    Those figures on the sex of the world’s food producers as opposed to who has money, influence and access to resources confirms again what Sonia Johnson said years ago – this is a slave economy from pole to pole.

    Posted by Branjor | November 29, 2006, 3:16 pm
  6. Lya Kahlo, yeah, if they actually are racists, by all means, call them racists! I definitely agree there are racists in the movement, for sure. That was an issue in my lawsuit. At one point when I was publishing, I got a call from a magazine editor who was publishing my speaking engagements (her thing, she wanted to do it, I never asked her to because I never trusted her). She said she had gotten a call from a head of a homeschooling organization in New York who had received calls from conference sponsors complaining that my then-husband was black and that I had a duty to disclose that he was black before I accepted an invitation to speak; matter of fact, I should be including photos of my family in my materials, so people knew ahead of time they were dealing with the likes of me. We had some really heated discussions and I told her I wasn’t going to do any such thing, that she, her friend, and everybody involved were racists. She said if I didn’t agree to disclose my ex’s race, she wouldn’t publish my speaking engagements anymore. I said, “Fine with me!” I never asked her to and never trusted her reasons for doing it (which is yet ANOTHER post I will be writing soon, the way these organizations are borgs which are tireless in their attempts to assimilate anybody who threatens them). Anyway, she later backed down and sent me a really skeezy letter which obviously resulted from discussions with an attorney and which made zero reference to the actual issue of the race of my family members.
    So yeah. There are racists in the movement. There are white supremacists, there are Aryan Nations/Church of the Creator types, too. What I was saying was, there are no MORE of these in the movement than in the U.S. in general. There are all of these kinds of people just in the general public– I don’t think they are concentrated in the full quiver movement (although neonazis do have a thing about white people reproducing and maybe some of them call themselves “full quiver” — are these the people you are talking about, Lya Kahlo?) In general, I think the rank and file “full quiver” type people would definitely distance themselves from Neonazis, white supremacist groups, militia people, etc. They would not understand these people to be any kind of Christian (even if they said they were) and being a fundamentalist/literalist/”bible-believing” Christian is central to the Full Quiver movement. They’d say these guys were threats to the movement (as they are). Though otoh, they WOULD tolerate lesser kinds of racists, but still egregious racists, would believe they were Christians and would call them Christians (people like Bob Jones University types who forbid interracial dating on their campus, or did until a few years ago, not sure if anything has changed).
    I think you’re both right, Lya Kahlo and branjor, that the *men* determine the purpose of the movement. When I said the women aren’t having the babies just to reproduce warriors, I was really thinking about how the men, via the creation of this movement and similar movements, co-opt the processes of reproduction and women’s bodies just in general. In other words, as I wrote before, and as Rebecca wrote, a lot of women in the FQ movement just enjoy having babies and have found a context in which they are supported and affirmed in that (as they aren’t elsewhere). The men are able to harness women’s desires to be pregnant and have babies and all of that, to their own theological/political agenda, effectively taking what belongs to women and making it all about them, all about men, and war, and their plans for conquest (as men generally always have and do). I think, I guess I’m saying, that the FQ movement is a variation on an ancient theme, going back to the beginnings of patriarchy, when men’s interest, or one of them, was in controlling and dominating those who could bring forth life from their bodies, because men couldn’t and were hence disposable.
    My experience is that the women in the movement don’t sit around saying, “I’m having babies for the cause!” Or “I’m having babies to increase the numbers of white people in the world!” Especially not if they are of color or are adopting children of color (which many do). They just like the whole rap, the whole shebang, the babies, the homeschooling, pregnancy, earth mother, back to the land, and that’s the only way they can get it right now. Where else are they going to go to get that kind of life? (Though once they get it, it becomes a prison for most of them.) It’s an exchange: men get arrows, quivers full, dynasties, power, control, and women get protection in doing some things they want to do in life. Same old same old, really, just a new name, a new face.
    But again, you are right — the movement is the men’s deal. Maybe it’s hard for feminists to envision that there are a lot of women who like this kind of life. It’s hard for me to envision at the moment, and I lived it! And once wanted it very much. But women do and find it difficult to find the support they need for it. This is my eternal song and dance. So long as women get the support they need to do this kind of thing on the RR, and nowhere else, well, that’s the deal they will cut. If they could get it elsewhere, in progressive, even woman-only communities, they’d cut that deal in a heartbeat, I believe. For us as women, it’s about cutting the best deal we can cut in a world that doesn’t offer us many good options.
    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 29, 2006, 5:23 pm
  7. As a matter of fact, the movement *is* sexism itself, specifically misogyny.

    YES! That’s why it’s so interesting to look at it, and talk about it: it is the picture of misogyny. It is the embodiment of sexism without apology. That’s also why when women and girls leave that world, they tend to become radical feminists. We have lived in open, unapologetic, misogyny and radical feminism hence makes total sense to us.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 29, 2006, 5:25 pm
  8. “(although neonazis do have a thing about white people reproducing and maybe some of them call themselves “full quiver” — are these the people you are talking about, Lya Kahlo?)”

    I was just talking to another woman who volunteers at the same shelter I do who just asked me almost the exact same question. I can only say that it is possible – for at least a few of them. They do call themselves “Quiverfulls” but that may just be a coincidence.

    ~~

    Concering that other part of this – I don’t have any trouble imaging that there are women who do like having gigantic families. I have a very hard time understanding women that “want” to be subservient, or who are willing to serve a “god” that demands such a thing.

    Posted by lyazkahlo | November 29, 2006, 5:36 pm
  9. I wanted to say that one thing I have a real interest in doing is outing the reasons women become part of this world. It’s not fashionable, or even understandable, to most people that there are quite a few women who really like barefoot/pregnant/in the kitchen/back-to-the-land. This appeals to them, like some of it — the back to the land part — appeals to you, branjor. Women are embarrassed to be so drawn to this, though. So they find some ideological or political reason to do what they do, because of course, just wanting to do it, if you’re a woman, is never good enough. Sometimes, as Rebecca said, they are the ones to lead the way into the FQ life; their husbands just sort of go along at first. Men are simple that way sometimes. If their needs are met, they go along with the program. The really creepy thing is what happens once men get IN. This movement regularly turns regular guys into horrifying tyrants and abusers over time by the way it exalts the masculine and appeals to their impulses in the direction of power and control over their wife and family, by the way it sets them in competition with other men, too, for things like leadership in the church or in full quiver-type organizations, homeschool organizations, etc, or in the businesses the families begin. There are restraints to male dominance, at least somewhat, in mainstream culture, mostly because of feminism. Men know it’s not going to work to be openly sexist, sexually harrassing, etc. Give them a context in which being a sexist is revered and equated with godliness and they rise to that occasion pronto, most of them. (A very few don’t, to their credit; they are more conscious than most men– they just can’t go there. It’s sad, because then everyone feels sorry for the wife of the guy who can’t go there who has to put up with him not being a “spiritual leader,” and they all pray for her, and she gets busy being more and more obedient and chaste and submissive hoping he will respond by becoming more of a “spiritual leader,” and so on. In this world you are respected to the degree that you present as the strong, priestly man with the submissive wife and kids. Women who are too outspoken or who appear to be “leading” in the family or church are regularly criticized for it and their husbands urged to rise to their “priestly calling.”)
    This is a movement that pretty much *feeds* on and reproduces misogyny, but calls it “godliness” and “obedience” and “bible-believing.”
    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 29, 2006, 5:37 pm
  10. If you would like to read more about a misogynist in this movement and his form of church discipline, I think you would be especially interested in this story of Doug Phillips calling another woman a “Jezebel.”

    Posted by Susie | November 29, 2006, 5:41 pm
  11. Ohmygod, Susie! Still reading but:

    Doug Phillips’ wife, Beall, carries her cell phone around with her at home in case Doug Phillips calls from the next room and wants a cup of coffee.

    YES. This is what I mean when I say these guys turn into tyrants and abusers (although Phillips may always have been this way, who knows). My ex and the men in my old world expected this kind of slavery and servitude, too. Although we had nine kids, my ex never changed a diaper, never boiled water, never made coffee, never lifted a finger around the house. It was hideous because as the girls got older, they had to do his every bidding. As was true of the other families in my old world. Thank God, three of us divorced our husbands finally– and they were elders, leaders, everybody thought they walked on water.

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | November 29, 2006, 6:00 pm
  12. Or if one were to ask any of the single young ladies at Boerne Christian Assembly what they do with their time, their answer will always be the same, “I serve my father.” This degree of literally single-minded personal service of daughters to their fathers is taught at Boerne Christian Assembly as practice for such service to future husbands.

    :”””””””””””””””(

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | November 29, 2006, 6:01 pm
  13. DEAR GOD, these men. I swear to the Goddess on high, this stuff makes me sick, reading it, it brings it all back. “Oh, but you don’t know the WHOLE STORY. There was GOOD REASON to publicly call this woman a “whore” and a “jezebel,” just like there was GOOD REASON for Phillips to publicly call me a “jezebel” at a conference! Hell, yeah, I’m a Jezebel– you say that like it’s a bad thing!
    Here’s what makes me happy (and excuse me for my intensity here) — they can’t hurt me anymore. They can’t “discipline” me or present me with some list of “proofs of repentance.” They can’t touch me. I am completely free, of them, of their abuse, of the way they terrorize women.
    The woman in this story? She was terrorized. And yet you have guys coming in there unconcerned about that, wanting only to prove that Doug Phillips isn’t “really” “Reformed,” as though that is the issue! They are out of their freaking minds.
    Still reading.
    Heart

    Posted by Heart | November 29, 2006, 6:11 pm
  14. I think this comment is a cheap shot. Anyone who has been to the Phillips’ home knows it is quite large; they even have an indoor swimming pool. So it’s not unreasonable for Mrs. Phillips to prefer a cell phone summons to a loud bellow from the other side of the house.
    HA!!!
    There he sits. The king on his throne, huh.
    He also has black art from slavery days in his dining room. I should find that photo. There he sits, with the arrows around the table and all the artifacts of white, male heterosupremacist power circled around him.
    Btw, Doug Phillips father is Howard Phillips who ran for President a while back on the Heritage Party ticket.
    Heart

    Posted by Heart | November 29, 2006, 6:13 pm
  15. So, at the meeting, I asked her how she could possibly manage taking care of 5600 square feet and 7 children, doing all that she detailed. She replied with something about God providing for every need. Now, I realize that God does provide for our every need, but what she left out was the Hispanic mother/daughter team that does most of the house cleaning and child care for her, or the long list of other unpaid “help” from church and various other Doug-ites who were happy to help out just to be with the Phillips family. What an honor to work for free for the Phillips! I think they get paid sometimes by getting to go to Hawaii for free with the Phillips family so they can take care of the children in Hawaii as well. I guess that’s one of the benefits of running a not-for-profit ministry, isn’t it, Ministry Watchman?

    Dang. Exhibit A of everything I’ve posted here, huh. Just — Exhibit A.

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | November 29, 2006, 6:24 pm
  16. My mother had relatively few children compared to these people (only 6) but some of my sisters have started walking down a path that seems worryingly close to that of the Full Quiver movement (one even said she wanted to move to a farm…).

    Any advice on gently helping these women realize their situation?

    Posted by Miko | November 29, 2006, 6:32 pm
  17. Miko– only 6! Wow. That is how that world is though, huh. Six. Geez. Kinda small. :/

    I think you just speak the truth about what they are getting themselves into, Miko. Tell them that in that world, women are property, children are property, animals, and the earth– they are all men’s domain, to be mistreated, dominated, killed, conquered. Tell them that it isn’t beautiful, the smiling faces lie, the fancy and lofty words lie, that if they enter that world, they lose their ability to speak for themselves, speak up on their own behalf, make decisions. Tell them if they enter that world, their lives will be regulated not only by their husbands but by all sorts of other men– pastors, elders, “brothers” in the meetings, and that if they disagree with something, or make some mistake, they will be called up, called out, “disciplined”, shunned, barred from communion. Tell them it isn’t beautiful or worthy or wonderful, it is a world of terror for women or children and they should run, run, run far away.

    And yeah, they won’t believe you, if they’re drawn to that world. But if they go there, they will remember you spoke the truth to them, and they will know where to get help.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 29, 2006, 6:46 pm
  18. Lya Kahlo: I don’t have any trouble imaging that there are women who do like having gigantic families. I have a very hard time understanding women that “want” to be subservient, or who are willing to serve a “god” that demands such a thing.
    Lya, I think this wanting to be subservient to men and to a “god” who demands this kind of thing from women is of a piece — not to open a can of worms, but I do believe this — with what makes sadomasochism, and heterosexual relationships, period, attractive to many women. Under male heterosupremacy, sexual violence, including in the form of dominance and submission of whatever kind, whether religiously based or just sex-based, are, in fact, “sex.” We all grow up with these messages, all of us, we are affected by them, and our sexuality is formed in the crucible, for women, which they create. To me, there is no material difference between saying, “I really like SM sex,” and “I really want to be a submissive wife.”
    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 29, 2006, 6:52 pm
  19. Thank you for sharing your experiences and your thoughts.

    Posted by Deep Thought | November 29, 2006, 6:54 pm
  20. Heart: “Lya, I think this wanting to be subservient to men and to a “god” who demands this kind of thing from women is of a piece — not to open a can of worms, but I do believe this — with what makes sadomasochism, and heterosexual relationships, period, attractive to many women.”

    Yeah, it’s called “Now everything is OK”; no more struggling, dissonance, conflict when the woman’s independant will is erased. Like a shot of morphine, everything is so mellow when you finally capitulate.

    Posted by saltyC | November 29, 2006, 7:13 pm
  21. Salty, so true. Honestly, when as women, we capitulate, we do feel this weird relief, I think– it’s not weird, really, though, it makes sense. If we capitulate, we’re comparatively safe. I think just agreeing with male heterosupremacists that we are what they say we are, whatever it might be, can carry kind of a “kick” with it, however momentary. It’s like, “wow, I’m exactly what I’m supposed to be.” And, of course, there are fleeting, but real, rewards for complicity. I think it’s possible to get addicted to or obsessed with these feelings of relief, and the kick of complicity, and to confuse them with chemistry or desire or wanting, longing, and to keep seeking those feelings, like an addict, not realizing there’s anything more for us as women.
    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 29, 2006, 7:21 pm
  22. or to confuse it with “now I’m at peace with my true nature”

    Posted by saltyC | November 29, 2006, 8:09 pm
  23. Exactly.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 29, 2006, 8:15 pm
  24. “Cushioned vinyl grip”.

    {speechless}

    Posted by Pony | November 29, 2006, 9:38 pm
  25. :D
    Huh. Watchman preached me a sermon over there. It’s unfortunate, because he’s got all sorts of stuff wrong, which doesn’t bode well. If he’s going to post stuff like that, he needs to be careful about his facts.
    Well, here’s my response. I don’t know if it will make it out of moderation, so I’ll post it right heah.
    Be careful, Watchman. You’re getting all sorts of things wrong (about me, my lawsuit, my life, my history, my beliefs– all sorts of things!) It’s okay– people can sort things out for themselves where I am concerned by reading my own writings elsewhere. But I think you do have to be careful to post only what is true and accurate and err on the side of caution, just in general. Otherwise, people won’t take what you’ve posted here seriously.
    My comment here wasn’t about me. I am very proud of my family, my life, my accomplishments, my herstory– but, that’s not what’s at issue here. My comment here was about this woman who was terrorized by a very visible member of the Patriarchy Movement. I’m glad you told her story– no matter how deeply my perspectives and ideas about things and yours, and others’ here, might diverge. It was the right thing to do, regardless. I hope many more women will be encouraged to tell their own stories, because she has told hers, and I have told mine.
    Peace.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 29, 2006, 9:47 pm
  26. That :D was to Pony, gripping the cushioned vinyl.

    Posted by womensspace | November 29, 2006, 10:02 pm
  27. These guys. The arrogance boggles. Some things never change.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 29, 2006, 10:11 pm
  28. Miko, can I echo what Heart says here “they will know where to get help.” Make that very clear to your sisters, if they join this movement you will still be there if they ever need somewhere to go, somewhere to escape.

    Heart, SaltyC

    “there are fleeting, but real, rewards for complicity.” “or to confuse it with “now I’m at peace with my true nature””

    so true. Which makes it so hard to change the system. So many women do not want to lose the security or relative safety of subservience.

    Posted by anon99 | November 29, 2006, 10:23 pm
  29. It is weird how this whole full quiver thing demeans women who have several children and live and work on farms. In many ways women and children are more powerful in farm life, especially subsistance farm life. Women and kids are under no illusions that the man is providing the food, shelter and clothing. Farm women and kids cut wood, fill the stove, and heat their own house. Farm women and kids till, plant, weed and harvest their own gardens to provide food. Farm women and children know how to milk the cows, make the cheese, harness the horse, run the tractor, dig a ditch. They are in many ways more equals and partners with their male overlords.
    Maybe this is why the men turn into monsters. Maybe they feel their fragile male ego threatened by the underlings that get more opinionated and uppity by the day as they labor together on the farm.
    In some ways I think having many children and laboring on the farm fosters a kind of power in women that makes them hard to live with for men. The men know, the children know, and the women know just how indispensable they are.
    I want to avoid demonizing farm life and having babies. It is the men that are the problem, not the lifestyle.

    Posted by peonista | November 29, 2006, 11:44 pm
  30. You know, it wasn’t very long ago that a farm woman in Canada was given a pittance on dissolution of her marriage. She was in her 60s I believe, and had worked on the farm as a hand all her life. She had to take her case to the Supreme Court to get justice. But it was ‘given’ to her. She had to fucking prove that she had worked equally with him, toe to toe, all those years. Bloody unbelievable. You see, they had wanted her to contribute financially, and I am sorry to say that is the case in many long marriage divorces these days; the wife must PROVE she contributed. The judge decides if she gave up enough for him and the children, and if she wouldn’t have been a physician or lawyer if he hadn’t married, well then, she’s shit out of luck.

    Posted by Pony | November 30, 2006, 12:12 am
  31. Meant to say it was “not given” to her.

    Posted by Pony | November 30, 2006, 12:12 am
  32. ***This movement regularly turns regular guys into horrifying tyrants and abusers over time by the way it exalts the masculine and appeals to their impulses in the direction of power and control over their wife and family***

    Imagine a woman who gave birth to children and then was the head of her family, making decisions for herself, her children and her family as a whole, but with her husband still in control of his own life. Would she be “corrupted” by the power? No. The reason men are so “corrupted by power” is that their power is illegitimate. It is natural for women to take charge of the young ‘uns they birth until those young ‘uns grow up and take charge of themselves, but men have no such natural authority. So their (unnatural) power and authority has to be imposed by force, by violence, and it therefore corrupts them. Women, on the other hand are not “corrupted” by taking up natural authority.

    Posted by Branjor | November 30, 2006, 1:59 pm
  33. When I was little various family members of mine had thick wooden paddles hanging on the wall on which would be painted “amusing” slogans about “the rod of discipline” or the “seat of authority”. Adults would also joke about beating their kids, one of them telling the others once about how he made a paddle of pine wood and drilled holes through it to cut down on wind resistance as he swung it because that would make it hurt more.

    Posted by Amananta | November 30, 2006, 6:21 pm
  34. Branjor – you just rocked my world with that last paragraph. That is a angle I’ve never looked at before.

    Posted by Lya Kahlo | November 30, 2006, 6:22 pm
  35. “To me, there is no material difference between saying, “I really like SM sex,” and “I really want to be a submissive wife.”

    I agree 100%. And this is something that our pro-porn sisters don’t seem to agree with. I’ve tried explaining that I feel that being a stripper/porn star is on par with being a submissive housewife. Opposite ends of the “decency” spectrum, maybe, but right in line with the Madonna/Whore complex that patriarchy so depends on.

    Posted by Lya Kahlo | November 30, 2006, 6:25 pm
  36. To the above comenter who wanted to know how to gently tell these women this movement is a bad idea – I’m afraid it is more complex than that. These women are convinced this is what God wants of them and that they will go to hell if they don’t do what God wants. The brainwashing doesn’t start with this movement, but starts with every girl raised in a home and society which mainly teaches a patriarchal religion. Even a girl raised in a secular home who isn’t specifically inoculated against this viral religious conditioning can get sucked into such movements when she is an adult, because the dominant culture believes and teaches through tv, radio, books, churches, and politics that God is male, God is good, God’s rule is absolute, and God says women should be submissive and concerned with home/children/appearance, and men should be the head of a family, and men DEFINE a family. To break through this conditioning takes a lot of effort. You can’t just tell a woman “this life would be hard on you” and have it be effective if she believes God WANTS her to work hard for a reward she will only get after she dies. And many, many people literally believe this.

    Posted by Amananta | November 30, 2006, 6:31 pm
  37. Lya: :)

    Posted by Branjor | December 1, 2006, 5:38 pm
  38. Lya your posting name is relatively new to me, but every time I’ve read you , here and there, I’ve wanted to say

    Lya; :)

    Posted by Pony | December 1, 2006, 7:40 pm
  39. Heart, Anon99: thank you (didn’t check back here for a while, sorry if I’m late). I have to admit that it’s hard to speak up. In this family I’m the radical one since I don’t have kids. But I will try. And hopefully the sadness behind their eyes will some day go away.

    Posted by Miko | December 5, 2006, 7:46 pm
  40. This is compellingly written, Heart. Both what you wrote about the life of the woman and children, and also this:

    “..The men though? Well, too often, they are kings on their little thrones, pontificating on with one another about winning the world for Christ, sitting “in the gate” with the other men, gossiping about what’s going on in their “fellowships,” splitting doctrinal and theological hairs beyond all reason, requiring sex from their wives as their wives biblical duty, often abusing and neglecting their wives and kids, sitting around reading their Bibles and books and magazines and whatever, as their wives and children knock themselves out to be “obedient” and a good “testimony” to how “godly” and “righteous” their fathers are…”

    You really have struck a cord with the truth here, and painted a most true portrait.

    I was Evangelical a long time, and I wanted babies (but my husband preferred my paycheck, and he was the “head”). So I observed and I envied these “quiver families”. I longed for the goodness of birthing and mothering and large families. Yet, I could see: something was not quite right. Here you have explained EXACTLY what was not right. You did that so well. You have vision.

    You say, in an above comment, that

    [Some woman]…”just like the whole rap, the whole shebang, the babies, the homeschooling, pregnancy, earth mother, back to the land, and that’s the only way they can get it right now. Where else are they going to go to get that kind of life? …Its an exchange, men get …power, control, [etc.]…. and women get protection in doing some things they want to do in life. … Maybe it’s hard for feminists to envision that there are a lot of women who like this kind of life. …. But women do and find it difficult to find the support they need for it.”

    This is a great summary. Yes, many woman want children, and they need protection, and this is what they take, to get what they want.

    I would like to think, and I hope its true, that feminism is really about women getting what they want, whenever it is true and right and does not take fom others unfairly or immorally. And that it would be true whether its what we typically think of as feminism – gaining a place in the world previously reserved for men only – or whether its for the protection and dignity of a woman as she raises and cares for her children as she sees fit.

    I am glad to see your strong and clear voice for the lost dignity of these woman.

    “… So long as women get the support they need to do this kind of thing on the RR, and nowhere else, well, that’s the deal they will cut. If they could get it elsewhere, in progressive, even woman-only communities, they’d cut that deal in a heartbeat, I believe.”

    It has been interesting to me to observe now, as a Catholic convert, how differently large religious Catholic families function in contrast to the Evangelical model I observed, and which you described better than I ever could. Because its very different! It is more dignified.

    Central to the Catholic large family model is Natural Family Planning – this is encouraged in the formal way with Couple-to-Couple League teaching workshops to the couple, and the result is these couples’ marital satisfaction is extremely high. This is said to be because using this method formally involves teaching the husband sensitivity and respect for his wife and enhances their communication.

    Practising Catholics are marked by great reverence and respect for Mary. This is in contrast to how I saw Mary as an Evangelical — it was like she was only a body that God “used” for the purpose of getting his Son here. We only thought of her at Christmas – silent and passive in her blue dress at Nativity pagents. It was offensive to us to think of her as a person who mattered outside of this role as a one-time vessel.

    But Catholics instead revere Mary as “Mother of God” and “Spouse of the Holy Spirit”. These are eternal roles, and active today. God also so esteemed her that He honored by crowning her “Queen of Heaven”.

    In practicality, we see her as a giving Mother who desire to give to us, and can, tradition tells us, because all she has to do is “sigh” and the Blessed Trinity (because of ardent love for her), rushes to do her bidding! (And in this, I see an eternal dimension to the submitting Christ honored his Mother with for the first 30 years of his life on earth).

    Most people don’t know this. I didn’t. That why I am sharing it.

    The way I see it playing out for Catholics with large families is that the family is seen as a “little church”, or a little “Holy Family”, with the mother being like Mary, and the father serving, honoring, and supporting, like Joseph. So I see happier couples, working side by side for each other and for the children.

    That is what I see. So, when you say, “Where else are they going to go to get that kind of life?” and, “…If they could get it elsewhere…” I just want to say – commited Catholicism is an existing “place” where some woman do get that, in a good and right way. I realize that many see only the theological hurdles of Catholicism – and I respect that. And thats for another forum.

    But I just wanted to point out this exisitng “other place” where women do “get that”. Where the family has their shared religion, and the dignity of the wife and mother is intact, and the woman who so desires recieves the protection she needs to have children and to raise a large family.

    Posted by Eliza | December 7, 2006, 7:11 pm
  41. I live in Northern Virginia and my husband and I are part of an evangelical church with many families who do not use birth control of any kind. No one uses the word “Quiverfull,” though we have many, many families with 5, 6, 7, or 8 children. Most, but not all, homeschool.

    I’d like to thank Heart for correcting several inaccuracies, particularly the accusations that large Christian families are necessarily racist or a burden on the government.

    Heart’s writing is based on her negative experiences, so I’d like to share my positive perspective:

    I don’t know a single large Christian family that is living without electricity, running water, or in trailers or other temporary living shelters. Nor do I know anyone who has a home businesss (other than a few women who sell Discovery Toys, Mary Kay, or Pampered Chef — as you’ll find in any suburban neighborhood.) The mothers in my church are educated. Most have Master’s degrees, and all have a B.A. or B.S. They had a large variety of professions before motherhood — caterer, professional snowboarder, ballet dancer, singer, chemist, nutritionist, mechanical engineer, recording artist, CPA, private school administrator, and navy sailor, to name a few. They love children. Their homes are attractive. Their children are extrodinarily bright, inquisitive, loving, and polite. I recently ran in a local 5k with four of these homeschooling mothers, and can attest to their good health.

    I don’t doubt that Heart’s critique and concerns are sincere — but I’d like to suggest that her observation of Quiverfull families was localized, and could be an unusual perversity. A huge number of Catholic, Orthodox, Reformed, Jewish, and Evangelical families believe children are a God-given blessing — but those who live in squalor and opression are surely a tiny minority. At least, I’ve spent my entire life among such families and have never seen such poverty or abuse (or anything remotely close to it). Heart’s description simply isn’t true of the large Christian families I know and love.

    Posted by aggregatefascinate | December 11, 2006, 7:06 pm
  42. aggregate fascinate, where in this thread did I suggest that the families I have been describing lived in “squalor”? Poverty, or simplicity of lifestyle, do not equal “squalor.” Living without electricity, running water, or in trailers also do not equal “squalor.” The women I knew and their children worked very hard to keep order in their homes– which was often a very tall order for them, given the circumstances they were living in.

    Neither did I make any sort of statement about the mothers in these families being uneducated or undereducated. Thinking back now on the families in my home church/intentional community days, many of whom either lived as I described or were headed to the land and simplicity of lifestyle, one was an R.N., several had bachelor’s degrees, one had been an elementary school teacher, one had been in the Marines, one had been a congressional intern, one had been a fashion designer, one had been a musician, and so on, I could go on and on.

    I also did not make any statements, in any of my writings, which would suggest that the mothers in my old world did not love their children or had unattractive homes– they worked very hard to do both, including as a matter of obedience to the Bible.

    Nor did I suggest that the quiverfull mothers I knew were not in good health. Most of the women I was closest to or knew as columnists, advertisers or subscribers to my magazine were not in any poorer physical health than women in the general population. They were, however, often exhausted, either all the time, or most of the time, by the demands of keeping a clean and attractive home in difficult circumstances and by the demands of caring for many children, being frequently pregnant, and breastfeeding for many years at a time.

    My observation of quiverfull families was not at all localized. I published an international magazine between 1989 and 1995, then resumed publishing in 1998 continuing through 2000. At its height, my magazine reached 30,000-50,000 people, depending on the way one calculates such things. I have in my office hundreds and hundreds of letters sent to me from across the country from women who lived as I described and wrote to me about it. I often published articles from these women describing their home businesses, how they were managing to fit their large families into very humble trailers and homes they were building, and describing living without running water and electricity. Leaders in the full quiver movement — Mary Pride, Bill Gothard’s ATI program, Gregg Harris, Phil Lancaster, and others — emphasized the importance of home businesses for full quiver families. This effort often meant that women and children ran the businesses until they made enough income that fathers could quit their jobs. It’s possible that this focus has changed, and is even likely given the increasing oppression of women in the movement. I know that during the time of my own “discipline,” there was much talk among the discipliners (most of which I uncovered during discovery in my lawsuit through notes taken during phone calls which were produced by the defendants) about the problems inherent in women operating home businesses and the way this led us to “usurp our husband’s authority.”

    I think that all women and children — whomever they are, whatever their beliefs — who are taught that they must, by virtue of having been born female or being small and young, submit to men: husbands, fathers, elders, male church leaders, priests, or a male God, are, in fact, living in oppression (though again, not squalor!). I and others have written much about this in this particular thread, and I will be writing much more about it in the future, I am very very sure. People get used to living in situations in which they are oppressed; women and children find ways to be happy anyway. This is especially true when all of the families in their lives are living just as they are. That doesn’t make the oppression any less oppressive to those who live in it, experience it.

    I am not disputing that what you say about your own life and loved ones is true– I am very sure that it is. I am saying, though, that I have written extensively about a phenomena I lived and knew, not only first hand, but through hundreds and thousands of women who subscribed to and wrote for my publication and whom I met at the conferences I spoke at across the country.

    I want to restate that never once did I suggest full quiver families lived in any sort of “squalor” or that the moms were any more unhealthy than mothers in the general population. I certainly can agree that children in full quiver families are often bright, loving, and so on. Mine were and still are. As you’ll recall, I am the mother of 11 children, and have been homeschooling since 1983. The youngest two are still homeschooled today. Two of my grandchildren are being homeschooled by my homeschooled son and his homeschooled wife. But having homeschooled over all those years, I have also seen what too often happens in the lives of these bright, inquisitive, beautiful children-become-adults because of their experiences at the hands of the “authorities” in their lives. That’s another post for another day, however.

    As to racism, remember– I said that I did not find full quiver families to be more racist than the general community is racist. There is plenty, plenty of racism in full quiver families, just as there is racism everywhere in the U.S.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 11, 2006, 8:10 pm
  43. “It has its share of horrifying racists and white supremacists; it also has its share of anti-racists and people who are committed to ending racism.”

    I think your writing about this is fair and balanced. From my own impression most full quiver families are anti-racist. We know some full quiver families and none of them are racists. They’re very put off with racism. Part of what I can’t understand about all this though is how so many of them support Doug Phillips, a man who IS a racist. Do they just not see it? I’ve suspected it for a long time but none of the full quiver families we know seem to suspect it in the least.

    Thankfully some others do see it and they’ve been giving Doug Phillips’ racism some public exposure. I think men like Doug Phillips are dangerous and they need to have some light shone on their dangerous beliefs.

    Doug Phillips Exposed As A Racist
    Doug Phillips Exposed as Racist on WorldMagBlog
    Doug Phillips “Hails Dabney, Defender Of The South,” defender of slavery

    Posted by Melissa Cooper | April 2, 2007, 5:51 pm
  44. I guess I can’t post an image in comments, so I’ll post a separate post– it’s worth it!

    I’ll check out your links, Melissa.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | April 2, 2007, 6:01 pm
  45. don’t you think this is all a function of who you marry rather than the path you choose as a couple to follow regarding your reproductive life?
    i’ve got six children, live in town (i’d like to be on a farm so the boys have more room to run, though!), have a lot of responsibility, but also have a husband who cooks often, who appreciates everything i do, who is an active partner with me in homeschooling, and who is sacrificial not only toward me, but toward his children…
    it’s the man, and his heart, and his relationship with God that makes the difference.
    i don’t believe you can truly be a Christian and be racist…

    Posted by stephanie | May 20, 2007, 4:56 am
  46. Thank you for being quite fair in representing the QF movement. I remember reading about some of your conflicts with The Powers That Be, oh. . . 9 years ago or so? I was still firmly established in the QF movement, and didn’t understand a lot of what you were saying at the time.

    I read Mary Pride’s books as an older teenager. . . you can just imagine the influence that had on me. As a child, I had I read Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys, Cheaper By the Dozen–so I was set up to desire a large family. I really like being pregnant. I love childbirth. Breastfeeding and infant care is wonderful. Postpartum depression. . . that’s another story.

    And as a conservative, Christian young woman on the fringes of the homeschool movement, even with sane and not QF or legalistic parents, I bought into the whole QF philosophy. For us, our years in a trailer were limited ;) , but staying out of debt meant 10+ years for my husband to finish his degree, and we’ve never been “rich.” Though now that I’m working outside the home, our income is at the highest it has ever been.

    Thankfully, our family wasn’t at the heart of the QF or patriarchal movement. That probably spared us a lot of heartache. My husband made the decision (because I couldn’t, and because I trusted him as the leader of our family) for him to have a vasectomy after having several children in same number of years, and me going bat-crazy with PPD. Thank God. I mean, I totally understood Andrea Yates’ motivation. When I was in the worst of the PPD, I felt like I was messing up my kids so much, that if I got “help” then they would be taken away from me, would be abused by the foster care system, etc, etc, that the sort of screwy thinking that Yates had could have made sense to me. (But for the grace of God, go I. . .) I’m just surprised we haven’t had more QF moms reach that extreme.

    I do value mothers mothering, being home with children especially as they are young. It’s quite a change now, though, that I’m working full time outside the home (gasp!) and my husband is the primary caregiver and homeschool dad. Who makes dinner and greets me with a glass of wine. On his good days. I’m still a conservative Christian. . . But I’m honest about my struggles. I don’t feel like I need to hide them anymore. I accept I’m an imperfect mom. And while part of me would do anything to have another baby, another part of me realizes that I’m struggling with the houseful of kids I have now.

    I know a lot of people, specifically Christians and those within the QF movement, will dismiss your warnings. You’re outside the fold, with your goddess references. Your views are “skewed” by feminist ideology. Whatever. Reality is, you are presenting a very real and balanced view of being in the QF lifestyle and mindset. Well intentioned women with heartfelt desires. Likely initially well intentioned me who become more domineering and controlling. Families motivated by ideology, and neglecting the reality of caring for themselves, their families, and losing sight of the Gospel of the God they want to serve, by following this ideology of man and fertility.

    Posted by Former QFer | May 28, 2007, 1:19 am

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