December 4, 2020

Follow-up Post: “Quivering Daughters”

By Chaplain Mike

Consider this a follow-up to last week’s discussion on Bill Gothard and the related topics that were brought up in the comment thread, such as patriarchy, homeschooling, courtship, separatism, rules-based spirituality, and so on.

It seems the post uncovered a lot of hurt, confusion, and questions. In our comments we heard from several folks who had grown up under one form or another of patriarchal teaching and others who wondered about these movements and what they involve.

For example, the following words came from Donna (who also blogs at The View from My Window):

To make a super long story just a little shorter, my parents bought into Bill Gothard’s teachings, pulled us out of school, and homeschooled us in his cultic homeschool program (ATI). I missed out on getting a high school diploma and was forbidden to attend college. I even wanted to go to an ultra-conservative Bible College and they refused to allow me to go. I went with the organization on several missions trips and then served time at the Indianapolis Training Center. During my time a way from home, my eyes were open to the religious noose I’d been experiencing for so many years. I ended up meeting a man “on the outside” that scared my parents to death. We tried to do the courtship thing as they wished, but it turned into an absolute mess. At the age of 24, after physical threats and complete suffocation, (my mom asked me to commit to remain single for life and stay under their authority at home) a pastor in Indianapolis encouraged me to move out.

Fast forwarding over the past 14 years… I am married with three gorgeous children and I’m experiencing freedom in Jesus and am learning that my Heavenly Father loves me and has only the best intentions for me.

There were many, many others who added their own stories about themselves, their families, friends, and churches who have been caught up in these movements and who found them spiritually deadening and in some cases abusive.

Today, on my customary look at Christianity Today, I saw they have posted a book review of Quivering Daughters, by Hillary McFarland. I have not read this book yet, but after our recent discussion, my own reflections on some of the folks I have known in the past who have been taken in by these teachings, and the content of the review, I’m going to get it soon.

In the meantime, I’d like to use the CT review as an opportunity for further discussion on this matter. We welcome your stories, reflections, and perspectives. How pervasive are these movements? What are you seeing of their influence where you live? Perhaps you are even an advocate of one form or another of patriarchy as it is practiced in some of these groups. State your case.

For preparation, you can go read the review for yourself, but I will also summarize its points here to prompt our conversation. As you will see below, I’ve also included a link to a blog that exists to answer and debunk McFarland’s point of view. Feel free to read the counter-arguments too.

The review of Quivering Daughters by Gina Dalfonzo, begins with this provocative question: “Many of us tend to react with righteous indignation when we read stories of women in foreign countries denied higher education, the chance to support themselves, and the freedom to live independently and make their own decisions. How do we react when women are denied those same freedoms here in America—by some of our fellow Christians?”

She then describes “Christian Patriarchy,” a loosely organized movement consisting of several different groups. She cites blogger Karen Campbell, who has written on this subject and is an advocate of an alternate approach that she calls “Relationship Homeschooling.” Campbell uses the term “patriocentric” to capture the heart of the these patriarchal movements. The word means “father-centered,” and she defines it this way—“God gives a ‘calling’ in life to only men, specifically fathers, and … the purpose of the wife and children is to fulfill the father’s calling.”

Dalfonzo then turns to Quivering Daughters as a critique that arises from one who grew up in such an environment, under these teachings and practices. McFarland sees the root problem of the patriarchy movements as idolatry—

  • Idolatry of the past: separating oneself from the modern world as much as possible and glorifying the simpler and supposedly wiser past as the only way to live “frugally and biblically.”
  • Idolatry of the parents, especially the father: believing that God will not lead children personally but only through the father, even with regard to the smallest details of dress and behavior.
  • Idolatry of religion: teaching a form of perfectionism that stresses constant obedience and not grace and love.

All this led to “cognitive dissonance” for McFarland, she reports. While children are often emphasized as “blessings” when quiverfull types like the family she grew up in want to stress having lots of children, the children, she says, grow up feeling like anything but blessings, for they can never measure up. As she puts it, “I am only a blessing when I’m useful, helpful, obedient, cheerful, kind, unselfish, submissive, compliant, and responsible.”

Finally, the reviewer notes that Hillary McFarland has garnered criticism for her exposé on patriarchy. A book and a blog have been published specifically for the purpose of countering her claims. The website’s byline says, “Welcome to the home of Steadfast Daughters in a Quivering World, a biblical response to the “quivering daughters” (QD) movement that originated from Hillary McFarland’s book (and blog), Quivering Daughters: Hope and Healing for the Daughters of Patriarchy.” The site leaves no place for comments.

Gina Dalfonzo ends her CT review with a challenge to the church: “For patriocentricity isn’t just another quaint evangelical fad. Whenever legalism and idolatry are taught in Christ’s name—and Quivering Daughters makes a strong case that this is what’s happening—Christians need to call it what it is: bad theology leading to harmful beliefs and practices. If our calling, as Christ told us, is to serve ‘the least of these my brethren,’ then we must speak for those who have been rendered voiceless, not only by members of other religions, but by members of our own as well.”


NOTE: Here is the link to Hillary McFarland’s blog, Quivering Daughters.


  1. It is heartening to see Hillary’s book, “Quivering Daughters” reviewed so favorably at Christianity Today. We have a collection of stories from Quiverfull walkaways at No Longer Quivering ~ including a series written by former Quiverfull moms in response to Stacey MacDonald’s website “Steadfast Daughters in a Quivering World” which is a pathetic attempt to discredit Hillary’s book:

    Thank you for raising awareness of the Quiverfull movement here at Internet Monk.

    Vyckie D. Garrison

  2. Reading Hillary McFarland’s blog was the first time that I considered the religious dysfunction of my childhood as abusive. There was no physical or sexual abuse in my family but we had all the hallmarks of an abusive and addictive family–I’d known that since my college days studying psychology. But I’d never heard of spiritual abuse nor known what identified cultic behavior if it didn’t look like Jim Jones. We were a pretty “normal” fundamentalist evangelical preacher’s family. So why did I have so many issues that looked and felt like an abuse survivor? When I read Hillary’s checklist of a spiritually abusive family, the penny dropped. We had made a cult out of being the preacher’s family. Hillary gave a name to our dysfunction and, with than name, the first step in healing. I will always be grateful for Hillary’s courage to call a spade a spade, and awed that she can do it so graciously–never once saying that everyone who practices XYZ or holds PQR doctrines is necessarily, always saying instead that wherever you are, God is there. Let him find you.

    • Well put.

    • Exhibit A as to how the word “abuse” has been shorn of all meaning in our postmodern society.

      • Come again?

      • Donalbain says

        Damn it. I just spent 20 minutes writing a response to your horrible, vile, evil comment and I had to delete it because it did not scome close to expressing the hate I feel for you right now.

        • Thanks for spreading God’s love!

        • I just started reading these comments and only get this far before I become very confused. Is this a joke? Are you saying that Sandra’s comment really pissed you of in some way? If so, you certainly lost me. I suspect she is spot on for what she has experienced in her life and I certainly wasn’t there, in her shoes, to question it.

        • Really? One comment by an anonymous commentor on a blog has the power to make you that upset? Really?

      • You seem to be the one defining truth as what you say it is, defining sin as good because that’s the way you want it to be and then retrofitting scripture in order to justify that sin. I never thought of the quiverful movement as being post-modern but you’ve taught me something. Thanks.

    • I kinda see Cunnudda’s point–post-modernism is so existentially individualistic that everything becomes about ME, how has this affected ME, “my hurt trumps your hurt, okay so let’s all just be identify together as victim’s” (I extrapolate broadly from the comment). Our cultural trend to be all “up with the individual” means that abuse, and many other conditions, become almost little more than PR terms for the self.

      And, especially since I came from a family what was very normal-looking, conservative Christian for at least three generations, all the men and some of the women prominent in their communities, and I admit freely that there was absolutely no physical or sexual abuse and little emotional abuse beyond what is common to humans living in dysfunction.

      HOWEVER, the quality of abuse is not diminished simply because the quantity of my experience is less than some. I’m still pretty fucked up as a child of religious addiction and performance idolatry. In fact, being from so “normal” and “admired” a family made me sure that what ongoing problems I have stemmed from my own intrinsic character flaws. It wasn’t until Hillary’s blog provided me with a checklist on a spiritually abusive family that I could name my problems for what they were–NOT ME–and start the journey to a soul deep healing.

  3. I came out of a church that exhibited so much of what Hillary described, although they would never claim to be patriocentric. The thing that I went through was a double whammy of pastor, then dad, then unless the pastor put his stamp of approval on something, the husbands didn’t move forward. If they tried, they were labeled as being “rebellious”. Gossip would spread and before you could blink, the group was putting on pressure to make the husband and his family conform and if he didn’t..the kids weren’t allowed to speak to the other kids anymore, the wives stopped inviting the women over for coffee…very much a cult minded group. I read Hillary’s book and it helped my daughters and I with our own healing. I highly recommend it for any homeschool and fundamentalist families. Hillary filled her book with beautiful scripture passages, in full context, to reveal that Christ is the center of the home. It’s so easy to fall into a cult mindset, but when we take the time to see the truth for what it is, it can save a family from being brought into bondage to this patriocentric movement.

  4. Martin Romero says

    I have just read the review and I will say that, in my opinion, this movement does carry a strong smell of ‘cult’. From the expected total obedience to the ‘leader’ (i.e. the father, in this case), to the reaction that those who stay in the movement have to those who leave and dare to proclaim their disagreements (e.g. You’re just a bitter person. Why don’t you just move on?), many of the characteristic of a cult can be ticked off.

    Unfortunately, as the writer of the review mentions, the little knowledge there can be in the general Christian world about this and other movements can make it tough for the persons who leave to relate with and be understood by many. I think it is good that people are coming out, talking about it, and creating communities within the larger church where those who were harmed can come together and support each other. And very often even people who never were affected by those movements can be called to be a part of it.

    Let’s remember we are all part of the same body, and when a part of the body is hurt, we all suffer with it. And when it is honored, we all share in its joy.

  5. Louis du Plessis says

    Never heard of some these things before I read it here.Not from that background , but can imagine it.The problems I can see is the unquestioning obedience,the preverting of things that might actualy have some good to it, and blaming all our fallen human troubles on parents as a reaction to any kind of authority etc.(I am a bit of an ex- half anarchist, if there is such a thing so not always fond of authority )
    Like I said , not from this background , have had my own struggles.Think religious manipulation / spiritual abuse is the worst kind because of its powerful hold on people. My one and a half cents worth .

  6. I am so glad this movement is being scrutinized. I’m a veteran homeschool mom who came dangerously close to swallowing some of this garbage. Now my kids are grown but I did a ton of research on various streams of the movement when I wrote a novel about it. (“When Sparrows Fall,” Random House/Multnomah.) The deeper you dig, the worse the movement looks.

    I recommend Lewis Wells’s blog, “The Commandments of Men” and Cindy Kunsman’s blog, “Under Much Grace,” for hard-hitting truths about patriarchy and Quiverfull, and I’m glad to see Vyckie Garrison is here to give her perspective too. There’s a world of hurt in the homeschool community and it needs to be exposed.

    • There’s a world of hurt in the homeschool community and it needs to be exposed.

      As I’ve read these articles and jposts , I’ve wondered about the hurt done to the men who try to “measure up”, ;but of course never will. What a tremendous millstone to be carrying around to be GOD’s spokesperson and right hand man for the entire family. How tiring that must be. I don’t know too many guys personally in this boat, maybe one. I think he copes by working a LOT, by building things at his house, and maybe a beer or two (literally, he’s not drain a sixpack kind of guy). And he’s not much into church for fear of hearing (again) what a total failure he is as “the head of the house”.

      Any thoughts out there about this slice of the smashed jpie ??

      Interesting call tag for one of the main writers at the pr0-quiverfull blog: christendombuilder; he wrote that he oh so wishes for Constatine to come back and make things better………. riiiiiiiiiiggggghhhhhht.

      • I’ve thought the same thing, Greg, that the men enmeshed in patriarchy must be desperately lonely, not to mention anxious about the load of responsibility put on them — and with no helpmeet at his side, just the exterior of a woman whom he can never really know as she can never really reveal herself to him. Shame on both women and men for allowing this to happen and denying each other a true, Christ-like relationship.

        • Lonely and anxious pretty much nails it. Meanwhile, the wife of my friend is working herself to an early grave trying to raise her three girls “biblically”. The good news is they are starting to ease up a bit as the girls hit their teens, I just hope all five of them (nine of them if you count the three dogs and Danny the cat) make it thru this somewhat intact emotionally and spiritually. I think the reason that Jesus was so hard on the religious rulers of HIS day (and ours) is that false teaching (even if shy of outright heresy) brings with it huge suffering that is very human and very real.

          GOD help us to help others, today.

          • One more Mike says

            “I think the reason that Jesus was so hard on the religious rulers of HIS day (and ours) is that false teaching (even if shy of outright heresy) brings with it huge suffering that is very human and very real.”

            Now that’s good stuff. Well spoken Greg.

  7. I, too, was pleased to see my friend Hillary’s book get such a favorable review in Christianity Today.

  8. I am so glad that more mainstream sources are picking up on this movement with in the church (especially the homeschooling community) and the potential harm it can cause. I have spoken with many people about my concerns with these “patriocentric” groups and have been patronized with “oh that is just a very fringe group of people”. It isn’t it is extremely pervasive and growing. Thank you for posting this.

    • Even if the group is “fringe” does that mean we shouldn’t be concerned about those who are hurt by it? Also, today’s fringe is tomorrow’s fad!

  9. This article in CT really captured the spiit of Hillary’s excellent book as well as that of her critics. Her tremendous compassion for those who are hurting is truly an inspiration!

    Thanks for the hat tip to relationship homeschooling….sorry my blog server is having issues this am! I have really grieved over how broken so many homeschooling families are because of the promotion of this ungodly paradigm. I keep coming back to this verse: “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” Jonah 2:8

    For those who are interested in peeling back the layers of patriocentricity, I have recorded two series of podcasts addressing the basic beliefs and key players within this movement. They are available for free download on iTunes and my blog.

  10. And, Amie, it is certainly making its way into many churches via people like Voddie Baucham and into the Tea
    Party movement via Doug Phillips.

    • I wondered if there was a connection to the Tea Party. Why am I not surprised?

      • PLEASE…be careful about associating the Tea Party with Doug Phillips. Doug Phillips does NOT represent the majority of Tea Party people any more than he represents the majority of home schoolers. There is no one home school organization and there is no one Tea Party organization. They both consist of autonomous groups of people across the nation working toward a common goal…educating our own children as we (as their parents) deem fit and fighting for the restoration of our country.

        I home school and a Tea Partier. I do NOT fall in step with Doug Phillips. What I see most in my fellow Tea Partiers is the desire to see the government toe the line once again to The Constitution and to see the corrupt leaders removed from office. That is a totally separate issue from patriocentricity or home schooling, etc.

        Just wanted to point that out. 🙂

        • So true Abigail! If anything, Doug Phillips has “hijacked” portions of the tea party for his own movement, but I’m sure a vast majority of people in the tea party (myself included) wouldn’t have anything to do with him.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Listen to the guy who’s posting this from a Furry convention’s Internet Room:

          Loud Crazies have a way of defining a movement. Since they “have no life” (i.e. 1000% for The Cause 24/7/365), they are able to put more into The Cause and keep a higher (and LOUDER) profile than the rest of us with jobs and/or lives. At the very least, they can turn themselves into the public face of a movement just by out-shouting everyone else.

          And once that happens, there is only so much you can do to distance yourself from the Loud Crazies who LOUDLY Proclaim every chance they get that They Are One Of You and You’re Just Like Them.

        • Isn’t this just the point – some people, some fairly famous/powerful within certain groups people, get involved with something that really has nothing to do with them and co-op it and then all of a sudden anyone that does that one thing is associated with those people that do that same thing.

          UGG, I don’t think that made any sense but a perfect example is that I like to wear long flowy skirts and I have 4 children, if I had a quarter for every time someone said something about the Duggers to me I would be rich. It is so frustrating.

          I think that is why it is important for blogs like Internet monk and Christianity today to be talking about these things. To bring to light that this is not what all Christians think or all homeschoolers think or all Tea Party people think, sure their might be threads of similarity but we are not the same. And for people to be Berans (like ThatMom is always telling us) to not just buy into every next new fad that comes through the “christian marketing machine”, to line things up with scripture.

    • This stuff was around WAY before the Tea Party. In the earlier days, it was called the “Heavy Shepherding Movement”. I was involved with a group like this for 10 years. It broke up my marriage to leave it, which happened to many families. My particular group (and they’re still around, and scattered around the world) was made up of mostly Catholics and Lutherans, though there was a smattering of Methodists in the mix. What made it painful as a wife and mother was not just the heavy-handed misogyny(sp?), but the abusive female sub-culture which put so much pressure on you to be the perfect suzy-homemaker breeding machine. I was deeply depressed, constantly sick, and thought I was the most horrible Christian/wife/mother ever. Getting out of that situation cost me my marriage (he wanted to stay- it’s a great place for men. They’re pandered to constantly). My children are still scarred by the experience as adults, and my son rebelled so much as a teen he almost lost his life several times. God has been faithful and brought us through (miraculously, my children have come back to God), but I cannot bring myself to commit to any church. Other Christians simply don’t get it when I try to explain this, and there is no healing available in the local churches for this type of thing. They look at you like you’re from Mars. I even described this on this very blog a couple of years ago, and got no response whatsoever. I don’t trust Christians, and I can’t bring myself to date a Christian man. Some of the kids from these families didn’t survive at all; there were suicides, some became witches, and many divorces resulted from this. This started in the 1970’s, and is still going on. My concern is that these groups will become the perfect excuse for a government crackdown on legitimate homeschooling and religious activity.

      • I hear you Therese. I spent 3 years in a Christian cult called The Children of God/Family of Love in the early 70’s which featured many of the same authoritarian strictures as you have experienced. Most who left the group also left their faith, with some, like me, who eventually returned to grace.

        After leaving I then gravitated to the Shepherding movement with Bob Mumford and Derek Prince and it’s patriarchal hierarchy. Pure poison! More destroyed families and shipwrecked lives followed.

        As a man I never seemed to be able to line up with all of the expectations so I just quit trying, wandering in the wilderness of, if not unbelief then, non-belief.

        The whole experience has colored my take on ANY authority so that I will NEVER serve on a church board, not invest my spiritual life to any mere man.

      • Hi Therese,
        I’m not an often commentor, but I just want to thank you for sharing. Though I have no way to relate to your experience, I do understand your wariness of Christians and churches. I had a personal marital crises that led to a spiritual one. After finding God real in all of that, I no longer fit on so well. And I can’t see to put anyone, literally, on a pedestal. We are all sinners. Every one. No matter how “together” one seems to be, there is nothing to make him/her more loved, more worthy, or less a sinner. Christians often seem to look at others as less, worse, and more messy. Anyway, thanks for sharing. Peace and love,

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I was involved in a Heavy Shepherding type of Christian Fellowship (TM) in the Seventies. Tailor-made for Control Freaks in the Name of Gawd, puppeting their “disciples”, where the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (where you finally are Saved and Fully In God’s Will) is no different than the “snapping” phenomenon of brainwashing. The damage is still there.

        (he wanted to stay- it’s a great place for men. They’re pandered to constantly).

        “Me Man! Me Want fill-in-the-blank! You Woman! You Shut Up! God Saith!”

        “What is Thy will, My Lord Husband? How might I better Submit?”

        Do you have any idea how attractive that is to a guy like me, whose experience with women has been one of unbroken rejection after rejection after Rejection? Just like Shari’a, She Can’t Reject Me Then.

        Yet what holds me back from QF/P (besides my inablility to doubleplusbellyfeel The Party Line, any Party Line) is the desire for a co-equal partner, emotionally bonded. You can’t bond that way with a piece of animate property. You can’t respect the doormat you wipe your feet on every day., the dirty washcloth you masturbate with every night. (Even if it’s all By God’s Command.) I know I’m not wrapped all that tight; I know that in the absence of that respect I’d throw my weight around HARD; I know I can’t be 100% on top all the time; I know there’ll be times when I’m down and I’d have to lean on her strength instead of her leaning on mine, and a doormat has no strength to lean on. Yet the pull (“She CAN’T Reject You! She CAN’T Refuse You!”) is still there.

  11. Hillary McFarland’s website is how I came to find IMonk quite a few months back. Someone had commented with a link to an article Jeff wrote on grace. It was astounding (Thanks Jeff) and I’ve been here ever since.

    I never experienced the religious abuses that so many had visited her blog and/or read her book, it was the freedom and grace articles, both her and Eric would write that my soul so desperately needed having been stuck in the legalism/fundamentalism that I ran from as an early teen.

    I will share a quote I heard this week on what grace is:

    Undeserved, unmerited, unforced favor gained by Christ’s death and resurrection for us allowing God to be completely, unequivocally and eternally FOR US!

    That’s the Good News! Hallelujiah!

    • Rebekah! Amen! I enjoy your comments. Methinks we would get along! So, I got really pissed off this week, ( my sister wants my Mom in nursing home, I am trying to get Mom back in her home with lots of care) We are in a little war over this. So, while I was steaming, I was saying some bad words in my mind, not out loud, well, honestly one slipped out, and wham, the law kicked in, and I was damning myself to hell for not being Christ like…
      I was in church that scolded us relentlessly for not being “the best advertisement for Christ” I once made the boo-boo of telling my pastor that I thought I might be mad at God, because life just kept bringing it on, and I was no-where that shiny perky gal… I was told: “How dare you strive with your maker” I said, gee, doesn’t He already know that I am disappointed in Him, well, blow me away pop-eye, I was told I needed to submit myself to authority blah blah blah. The good news of God’s grace seems just to good to be true, O, Lord I want to believe, help my unbelief!
      I wish all that fundy teaching that got downloaded in my brain had an expiration date…

      • Oh Gail……keep pressing through the muck and the mire…..He’s there, with outstretched Hands awaiting your arrival to His, as Jeff wrote yesterday, sea of mercy and grace.

        Sorry about the situation with your mom and your sister…..I’ve never said a bad word in my life, so I don’t understand your anger, your bad words, allowing one to slip or the onslaught of condemnation afterwards.

        ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! I joke. I understand. I once was a sailer with this mouth of mine. Old habits die hard. He helps me, I slip. He helps me again, I slip…..AGAIN. And He just keeps on keepin’ on….it’s so cool! Maybe one day the “f” word won’t be in my vocabulary when I get really peeved…….maybe.

        • Ha, ha… You tickle my funny bone! I love the verse, when we see Him, Then we will be like Him… Gives this ole gal a lot of hope. Meanwhile, I fall and get back up over & over…

        • Oh… say you are FINE also…..??????
          (to folks that are asking but not really asking…)


          • Yeah, sure, I’m fine. Whatever you want to think my “f” word is works for me. Doesn’t AA have an acronym for FINE? My mind is drawing a blank!

      • “…had an expiration date.” That stuff does have an expiration date. Just hang on.

        • “That stuff does have an expiration date” Thanks! (Hopefully before I die…) hangin in there

      • Gail – looking forward to the summer study on Ruth in this blog – I wonder how your old pastor would’ve responded to Naomi / Mara in Ruth 1:20-21.

        • Steve, O my lands… I didn’t know that was in the BIBLE. Thanks for pointing that out. How refreshing! (I mean her honesty.)

  12. Christian Patriarchy seems to be another example of taking truth, mixing in error, and serving it up as an idolatrous and religious “quick fix” to the very real problems we see around us in society. Let’s identify it and work to correct it.

    However, in most cases I would disagree with calling it “abuse.” I’m sure it can be a dysfunction that causes real problems later in life and I don’t want to dismiss the pain of those who are in the process of outgrowing the associated problems. But I believe the term “abuse” in reference to a relationship should be reserved for only higher levels of deliberate inflicted harm. Interact with people who have suffered severe deliberate harm and the difference will be noticeable.

    According to the dictionary definition of abuse we are all abused in one way or another by Satan’s manipulation of this fallen world (through parents, churches, government, spouses, bosses, etc.). But I am uncomfortable in how the term is more and more broadly used nowadays as a diagnosis and often a self-diagnosis.

    • How is this abuse not deliberate? Abuse based on thinking you are doing the will of God is far more deliberate than, say, losing one’s temper and beating your wife. This is premeditated, ongoing, willful hurting of people.

      • Fish, no it isn’t. look up the definition of “deliberate.” Or, if we need to get technical then look up the legal definition of “intent to harm.”

        • I find the “didn’t intend to do it” argument sketchy to say the least. When I caught our pasture on fire when playing with matches after being told not to, that argument bought me nothing with my dad. Driveby shooters don’t intend to kill innocent children but they are convicted of murder for it. When you act recklessly to fulfill your own needs in disregard of the foreseeable consequences of your actions, you cannot argue that it was “just an accident.”

    • For a great response to your criticism here, I would suggest reading the “Abusing Abuse” articles (pt. 1 & 2) at the quivering daughters blog. While you’re there you might read some more biographies of young women who grew up this way.

      While you sit there trying to limit your definition of abuse, young girls and boys are suffering real pain.

    • According to Merriam-Webster, “abuse” covers cases of misuse, corruption, injustice, or maltreatment. From everything I’ve seen, that’s a fair characterization of the doctrine on all counts. It’s a corrupted version of Christian theology that is misused as a pretext to physically and emotionally maltreat people, especially women and children.

      That said, I have seen some people get unduly hung up on the term “spiritual abuse” when the important thing is not the term but the characteristics. So if “abuse” makes you uncomfortable, just find an appropriate synonym– “cruelty in the name of religion,” maybe. What it does is more significant than what we call it.

    • Dan…Unless you know, specifically, the things that go on within the P/QF paradigm, you do those suffering within it a disservice by failing to acknowledge it as EXTREMELY damaging, and yes, as abuse. I’m with Eric on this – if “abuse” doesn’t work, use cruelty, oppression, destruction, but the word needs to be a strong one, because what’s happening is significant.

    • I’m not dismissing the pain of a real wrong. And, yes, according to a dictionary definition this may be abuse. But it is out of respect for some of the truly “Abused” people I have met along the way and worked with that I make this distinction. My argument is simple this:

      Once a category is so broad that it includes everyone, it is no longer a category. Everyone may not have been abused in this particular manner, but most people I know (myself included) have stories of abuse in their life. I’ll bet that I can come up with three from my past that are worse than most. But if we all wear the label “Abused” then the label means nothing other than normal.

      So, yes P/QF may be wounding, yes it requires genuine growth and healing. And I’m sure that there are those who grew up in this movement who deserve the label “Abused.” But it is out of respect for those most wounded among us that we should be careful about applying the “Abused” label so that it still has some meaning.

      • I get letters, regularly, from the wounded. It’s ugly, and it’s definitely abuse. These people haven’t had booboos and their feelings hurt. We’re talking about young women, brought up to have no resources of their own but instead to be utterly reliant on their fathers – spiritually, physically, emotionally, intellectually – suddenly condemned and shunned from everyone and everything they’ve ever known and loved.

        Imagine a set of parents kicking a 10 year old girl (these girls, as adults, are usually waaaaay behind emotionally – the paradigm creates the deficit) out of the house – with no money, no resources, no training in anything of use, no contacts, with all who know her having been told to shun her. She’s left as nothing more than an innocent piece of human debris. She’s lost EVERYthing, and now has to learn to live in a world she’s been indoctrinated to fear.

        We haven’t even gotten to the issues of coercive persuasion, thought reform, learned helplessness, and other psychological baggage carried with them.

        All of this for merely daring to have an independent thought rather than accept the “vision” of the father and family.

        • And I have ministered to a man who as a child saw his mother murdered by his step-father. The step-father was never prosecuted for the crime because white policemen didn’t investigate when a black woman died in “that” part of town. They just took step-dads word for it that she died in her sleep. He was raised by that man and beaten regularly when he didn’t do everything the man told him (and even when he did). This isn’t a unique story. I know MANY others are nearly as bad. When it comes to women; sexual abuse stories at the hands of family members that will curl your hair. And like I said, these stories aren’t unique.

          OK, so you want the term “Abused.” So are these people “Uber Abused?” I know I’m getting harsh here, but your sheltered existence translates into a very limited perspective. I’m not dismissing the pain and hardship of people hurt by the movement under discussion here. But it seems that an adjusted perspective is required.

          • Both of the stories you presented give equal accounts of abuse. One physical, the other is a degrading abuse that makes the woman into a piece of property.

          • By all means, use a different term if you prefer; I’m a copyeditor so I can appreciate precision in usage. I could go with “extreme abuse” for the story above.

            The problem is, to say “That isn’t really abuse” will be (not could be, will be) interpreted to mean “That isn’t really hurtful or wrong of them to do.” That identical argument is often made by those who are deliberately trying to dismiss the pain of the victims of false religious doctrine– go peruse the “Steadfast Daughters” website to see it in full display. That’s why your comments are (I hope inadvertently) pushing a lot of people’s emotional buttons.

            I’m glad to see that you agree with us that this doctrine is wounding and hurtful. So, what term do you propose for it?

          • Wow, you clearly have no idea what it’s like to be a woman raised in this kind of movement. There’s something about spiritual and emotional abuse that messes with your head like nothing else can. I have absolutely no idea why you are so afraid of calling it what it is? Some of the most destructive forms of abuse that exists.

          • Dan, I appreciate your work in dealing in very messy, tangible evil (I work in the medical field, I see it as well) and I know you are participating with Christ in His redemptive work. Lewis is as well, and has his own scars to prove it.

            My thoughts are these… There is no need to put qualifiers on evil, it is just that… evil. Whether it destroys mind, body, soul or all of the above, it destroys things that are precious to God. One of the things I needed to be taught was that there is no need for score keeping, and that trying to quantify destruction in a persons life relative to others ends up being a zero-sum gain. Brokenness is universal and the healing work of Christ is powerful and awe inspiring across the entire spectrum of “how bad it is…” He delights in redeeming all of it.

          • Marie – Fear doesn’t play any part in my opinion in this matter. And I have nowhere denied that it can be destructive or that you or others have been hurt.

          • I would like to interject something here for everyone. I am a survivor of Satanic Ritual Abuse who has read Hillary’s book and portions of her blog along with posts on the subject of patriocentricity, Quiverful, methods of education, etc. on others’ blogs …like Karen Campbell, Under Much Grace, The Commandments of Men and others that are mentioned here. I have even read some posts from the “other side” of this issue. I home school and I have diligently sought out what might be good, as well as bad, from within all these “movements”.

            I and others I know who have been through SRA and RA could share things that would make you sick…literally. I am very familiar with several aspects of abuse…from “mild” to “severe”…from physical and sexual to spiritual to mental to emotional. I have seen the manipulation (more subtle) side of things and I have seen the blatant (albeit hidden and private) side of things.

            I do my best to minister to others who have been abused…regardless of the types of abuse…as I work hard on allowing the Holy Spirit to heal me. Even within the SRA and RA realm there are different kinds and levels of abuse. I cannot count the number of times I have heard someone say that they really do not feel that what they have gone through is as bad as what others have. I have even had those thoughts myself.

            What many of us have taken away from those experiences of “comparing” abuse is that pain is pain. Abuse is abuse. What one person can handle…another cannot. What one person sees as a “challenge” to push through and overcome…another breaks under. What is merely an “inconvenience” or “uncomfortableness” for one…is an insurmountable, overwhelming and deeply wounding experience for another.

            I believe there ARE levels of abuse and the word “abuse” might not be the best word in ALL cases because, for some, it might not feel like “abuse”. In fact, I thought what I went through was “normal”, for the most part…until I learned differently.

            I think the single most important thing is the behaviours and how they affect others. It is easy to get caught up in labels instead of focusing on the acts themselves. If the term “abuse” keeps a person from seeing the very real harmful effects of something, then by all means…use another term! In fact, I do not believe we should ever limit ourselves to one term because different people are touched by different terminology. In fact, because “abuse” is such a blanket term, I think we need to make it more personal…use words that cause people to know what, exactly, is going on.

            Control, manipulation, coercion, beating, double binding, isolation, incest, molestation, pornography, rape, neglect, crushing of the spirit, removal of basic choices…even as an adult, confusion, mixed messages, demands for perfection, stripping of dreams, being locked in a room/closet, being shunned, not being allowed to marry for love, not being allowed to get a driver’s license, not being allowed to get and education, not being allowed to get a job. I could go on, but I am sure that each person will bring to the table something from their own experiences or from the experiences of others they know. While many of those things might seem abusive…especially when dealing with a minor…they would be when dealing with an adult. The context…the people involved, including their ages…are all very important.

            I think talking about effects is also very important. The same experiences can cause one person to grow stronger as they rise above it, while another person may find themselves crippled emotional and mentally. One may need a minor level of support, while another may need some major help…even including hospitalization. One may walk away and run into freedom. Another may feel stuck. One can recognize their value and creativity as a person…in spite of their experiences, while another may feel worthless and stupid and see no reason to keep on living.

            To sum up:
            **I am not sure we can really define what is “abuse” for another person as each person is different.
            **What a person defines as “abuse” will change as a person learns and heals.
            **We need to use ANY and ALL words that will give a very real picture of what is happening/has happened and of the effects on the person.
            **Talking about the effects is very important…especially if we want to educate others.

          • It isn’t a competition, Dan. Abuse is abuse. And btw, I haven’t lived a sheltered existence.

          • I think prophetic understanding is needed in discussions such as this one. The reason being is that when it comes to some (but definitely no where near all) of what goes on in the minds of young women or men who are “Christianized” by some of this doctrinal teaching, it cannot even be understood on a physical level. It is because so much of the teaching and lifestyle choices look really nice. Matter of fact, I still am making some of the lifestyle choices appropriate to the movements (but for way different reasons than what are taught). I’ve never been abused in my life. My husband and father are the best of Christian men. My parents nor my husband have ever been within any of those movements. I will spare you the details of how I was influenced. It still makes me weep inside to think about it. My book outlines the testimony of the horror of it all. You would have never known. You definitely would have not thought I was abused. It is why there is silence amongst my acquaintances about my writing, but that doesn’t explain the outright judgment of some of my friends or the fact that my husband had to move us out of a church because of my writing.

            I am STILL coming out of dealing with issues of motherhood and womanhood with “guilt” in my thoughts attached to it all. Just had to talk to my husband today about how guilty I was feeling about………

            Abuse was not the right word for my life, it is not the right word for others’ lives either. So I propose that we do use a different term. Something like “demonically tormented” would be appropriate, I can tell you that. Oy. I can certainly tell you that. And this is why I say people tend to need discretionary and prophetic gifting used by the Holy Spirit within Christian people for some of this……it is so unseen but so very, very real. ~Cara

          • I meant to say that we use a different term for some cases…..there is abuse, most definitely, within Christianity and it needs to be called that plain and simple.

            “Steadfast Daughters” writers took the word “abuse” and discredited Hillary’s book. From that one little word and their “interpretation” of it.

            I am sick of interpretations. Even my own. When you are down in a valley of the shadow of death the only thing you hear is the love of Jesus Christ as He takes you to portions of the Bible without the doctrinal slants…..and He sets you free. That is my testimony and I think I can safely say it is Hillary’s, at least by what I felt she said in her book over and over again when she shared how the Bible touched her wounded spirit and soul.

          • One Survivor…thank you.

          • Fred Reed says

            OneSurvivor, would you be willing to share details of the Satanic cult that abused you? Some of my colleagues don’t believe that there is such a thing (you may know the book “Satanic Panic,” which sees the whole idea as hysteria), and say that there are no such large-scale Satanic groups. Are there? What kind of tradition do they follow? (For example, what country is it from? What are their main practices, laws, and holidays?) How are they organized? What is the group’s history? Why have they been more successful (seemingly) than known Satanic groups, and how have they managed to stay “under the radar”?

          • @ Ray:

            One of the things I needed to be taught was that there is no need for score keeping, and that trying to quantify destruction in a persons life relative to others ends up being a zero-sum gain. Brokenness is universal and the healing work of Christ is powerful and awe inspiring across the entire spectrum of “how bad it is…” He delights in redeeming all of it.

            what is one person’s bad experience can be another person’s traumatic & damaging situation.

            some people are more resilient & the same situation cannot be quanitfied simply as “almost abuse” or “extreme abuse” based on the frame-of-mind of those either cluelessly or deliberately doing the negative action on an innocent recipient…

            the degree of harm incurred is what should always be addressed by those sensitive to the one suffering. i suffered from a lack of emotional investment from my father. nothing physically abusive or even mean-spirited in the vacuum i grew up in. it messed me up because of the degree of sensitivity God created me to be. i know the damage it caused. it crippled me internally. nobody would say it was ‘abuse’, but ‘dysfunctional’. i use the term emotional dysfunction to explain the situation, but i suffered extreme self-loathing, suicidal tendencies, emotional paralysis (my term). what someone else easily could have weathered i was damaged by in a very real way. thanx for the perspective you provided…

          • @ OneSurvivor:

            I and others I know who have been through SRA and RA could share things that would make you sick…literally. I am very familiar with several aspects of abuse…

            as one who is close to someone that claims SRA, but only thru Recovered Memory Therapy, i have real doubts to the sensationalist/sordid details regarding such claims.

            i do believe the woman was subject to real sexual abuse by her father and/or others that took advantage of her. however, the level of detail she shared (not even the worst of the worst) took on a Mike Warnke sized story that could not have been kept secret or without any physical evidence. the degree of involvement in such satanic rituals simply over-the-top & so vast in its community conspiracy (church, law enforcement, civic) as to defy all common sense.

            i believe the traumas experienced are real, but those that identify it as SRA going to the extreme in defining it as such. maybe iMonk can address this more in a separate article. no need to super-sensationalize the sordid satanic rituals when there is no real evidence or the details recovered thru memory therapy. please don’t think i am being insensitive, but i am a real skeptic as i looked into the history of my dear friend’s wife & how her story of SRA did not make sense. being credible is where the one dealing with an abusive past is best handled. attempts at reconstructing a past without any collaborating evidence a very serious issue all by itself.

            anyway, i think the SRA issue best dealt with in a separate post.

          • @Fred Reed I will not get into the details of cult like that in this thread. I believe it would take the focus away from the purpose and subject of this post…which is that there is abuse within the body of Yeshua. I only mentioned my history so that others could have some understanding of where I am coming from.

            There is plenty of information out there if you want to do the research. You do have to read with discernment. As in anything, there will be information and disinformation.

          • @ Joseph…I only brought up my history to give others an understanding of my perspective…of where I am coming from. As I wrote to Fred, I have no intention of getting into it here. That is not the purpose of this post and would be inappropriate. I will say, though, that I did not have any Recovered Memory Therapy (or hypnosis or psychotropic drugs). There is a lot of evidence for SRA out there…even within the court system. I know of reputable people in law enforcement who have seen the evidence. Do the research and read with discernment.

            Also…be careful about saying that it does not happen. Invalidating what someone knows they have experienced is about as helpful as saying that what is going on in patriocentric circles is not really abuse. 🙂

          • @ OneSurvivor:

            thanx for the response. i am still skeptical having done much research. seems what is deemed research or proof different for whatever perspective is being taken? i did not find much substantiated evidence for it, but then trying to be objective without any real reference point hard to deal with when looking up such evidence for or against…

            you have a far different perspective than mine, so i will not try to be one thinking myself a well educated resource or arm-chair expert…

            i am not going to give any automatic acceptance of claims that do not have any way to be validated. i will agree something of severe trauma the core reason for the issues of spiritual bondage many exhibit. but it does not take SRA or anything remotely that horrendous to cause such severe emotional/physchological damage.

            i do have a problem with the Christianization of SRA approaches that makes satan & the grand secretive conspiracies so extensive no law enforcement agency can or has had any impact in stopping it. SRA is supposedly so evil it is always cloaked with secrecy & conspiracy so no hard evidence is ever found or simply dismissed by a judicial system part of the satanic group.

            anyway, the claims of this one woman (only one recounting what she used to particpate in) multiplied by the ‘hundreds’ of people attending the very secretive rituals she said she participated in seem so contrived a rational person should question such claims. multiply this one account by the hundreds which supposedly go on regularly & one seems to get a sense of exaggeration ala Mike Warnke.

            i do agree sexual abuse happened. i do not believe it was SRA or anything ritualistic at all. i think her recovery severely hindered by dealing with a make-believe scenario instead of the sad but less dramatic abuse not at all SRA related. there is a big difference between invalidating something horrific that happened vs. remaining skeptical it was SRA. but that is a topic+discussion for another time+day…

          • @ Joseph There are many rapes that cannot be substantiated…yet they really happened. A lot of mental and emotional abuse of both children and adults cannot be substantiated or “proved”…yet it happened. A lot of the abuse in patriocentric families cannot be substantiated because the other members of the family refuse to speak out and everything is done behind closed doors. That is one reason it is so hard for these people who DO come out of that movement!

            I have read some of the supposed “rebuttals” to the things Hillary wrote about. Her own sister disagrees with her and sees things differently. Does that mean we should dismiss what Hillary has shared? NO! Why? Because there are others who have had similar experiences who have come out saying that they have experienced the same kind of abuse.

            I would never dismiss out of hand what someone tells me about simply because they cannot “prove” it to my satisfaction. I give it time and just be as supportive of the person as possible without passing judgment.

          • @ OneSurvivor:

            i think you are missing my point entirely. however, i do find much agreement that what happened as in the cases of unproven rape, that yes, indeed, they did happen… 🙁

            but not in a supra-spooky-spiritual SRA setting…

            the simple logistics of the settings my friend’s wife couched her abuse simply mind-boggling that an entire community complicit to such detailed, horrific rituals. she, of course, being groomed for a high-priestess/witch position of crazy proportions…

            you know, i was thinking about my past & some memories i have of my house out on 40 acres. today i could not tell you how many steps were on the back porch to the kitchen, or if the pipe railings were painted or not. no trauma associated with such memories, but the level of detail of even pleasant memories not something i could ever claim to be 100% accurate…

            the level of detail of recovered memories so incredible it is a wonder any trauma could have happened the way it did. please, you will not mistake my skepticism for disbelief regarding something awful that happened. i just do not believe it was SRA on anything remotely related. and making it out to be this big scary conspiracy of immense proportion unbelievable really…

            all this detail recovered never submitted to criminal authorities. no follow-up from this poor woman. no desire to stop such horrific abuse on other poor girls that seemed powerless to stop the demonic influence. why is that?

            it would have been very easy to substantiate the stories in the small community it supposedly happened in. i think the credibility factor still the main reason most law enforcement cannot make any sense of such sensationalistic claims…

            if her real father were still alive i would hope she would press charges. her foster care families? why the hesitation. the real issue is her situation & history of abuse is not uncommon. and the addition of supposed SRA issues only masking the real issues.

            i will remain a skeptical individual when it comes to the nth degree of horrific ritual abuse claimed by SRA survivors. no need to make it out to be so extreme if it were not that way. all issues should be dealt with as the evidence warrants it. no doubt sexual abuse happened in my dear friend’s wife’s case. the SRA claims way too freaky & i think a distraction to the actual abuse that did happen. that’s was my conclusion years ago after looking into the claims she made & many conversations with her husband about it…

    • Thanks for sharing Dan. I think it’s important that when dealing with real issues (like the patriarchy movement) we don’t become so sensationalist in our terminology that we literally create a sub-culture where everyone is a “victim” simply because their dad was a little authoritarian, or they weren’t allowed to go to movies as a small child. Not only does that undermine and cheapen the experience of those who were truly abused, but it creates a host of middle-aged adults who have created their own emotional prison by dwelling on things from the past. God is bigger than any of our pasts.

      • SaraM. For you to compare the emotional trauma of the victims of heartless doctrines to something as glib as people who “weren’t allowed to go to movies as a small child” is simply insulting, and shows an astonishing lack of empathy. I can only hope you are saying that without having heard any stories from people who have been victimized by the patriarchy movement. I highly recommend you do.

        The false doctrine is what creates the emotional prison. Truth sets them free. Truth includes the fact that the doctrine is truly abusive. And I mean that in a completely non-sensationalist sense.

        • Agreed, Eric.

          • SaraM… deal with prisons from the past you must turn and face them with the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

            Yes…God is bigger than our past. No…you cannot just walk off of it and underestimate it. You won’t walk out until you do look at it no matter how big or small.

            Some of us (those of us not obviously abused sexually, mentally, or physically and particularly as children) generally have some repenting to do to get out of our past. But what is equally and most compellingly important: We have a LOT of forgiving to do within Christianity due to doctrinal leanings gone terribly wrong, worldliness in some cases, and other things. When you are highly trained as a Christian woman to obey and submit, then I speak from experience when I tell you that you will not allow yourself to look at the authority in your life. I happen to have a very humble husband who encouraged me to take the look and who asked forgiveness numerous times for what he had done (I did the same). I think in 2010 there was a 20/20 news story about those leaving Christianity. This is why.

            It is very obvious to me after hearing of other people’s stories and living through my own that those who have been “persecuted” one way or another, many times, are very willing to repent their part. The hardest thing to do is forgive people, such as yourself, who marginalize it and do not listen.

            I forgive you. I also agree with you in one way: It would be wrong to make too big of an issue of one’s parents not allowing you to watch movies but who spent their entire life loving you in Christ. I seriously doubt you would say what you are saying if you take the time to interview people who have been through what many for whom Hillary writes have been through. Their lives do not mirror such a small thing.

            I was not allowed many things. I was spanked in a healthy way. I did not “date”. My life was “Christian perfect”. And I still had to forgive my dad of some things though he never would have thought to abuse me in any way. I have a lovely husband. He is a godly man. And he had to be forgiven also. Had I not been willing to take a look at the sin of others’ lives at they pertained to me and the sin of my life as it pertained to God, I wouldn’t be here typing. I’d be insane. If I’d paid attention to others’ responses to my situation, I wouldn’t be here. Some of those who have been terribly abused…..if you say marginalizing things like that….they will know they cannot trust you. It is shocking to me how Christianity cannot trust the work of Christ in one another. Let us be careful for the sake of the young people and their mothers and fathers. ~Cara

      • Am I misunderstanding this exchange? I hear Sara saying that the word “abuse” is occasionally used — and shouldn’t be — by people who weren’t allowed to go to the movies. She says that the misuse of the word weakens it when people try to use it to express genuine abuse. I don’t see that she is equating not going to the movies with real physical, psychological, or spiritual oppression.

        There are two things going on in this whole exchange, both legitimate but perhaps not both being allowed by the participants. First, some are wanting to agree on terminology in order to communicate more effectively; second, some are wanting to be sure that genuine suffering is recognized and responded to as such. I haven’t seen any comments that imply a truly heartless attitude, and I suspect everyone here has suffered sufficiently to have some empathy with others’ troubles, even if their experience has been different. Maybe those who want to clarify word use — and I’m among them — will find another time and place to do that without coming across to the people in the second group as unintentionally uncaring.

        • Well said.

        • Where has the word “abuse” ever been used to describe people who weren’t allowed to go to the movies? Not here, and definitely not in the “Quivering Daughters” book or blog. So to bring it into the discussion is to belittle the experiences of abuse that many of the victims feel is an entirely accurate term for it. Not to mention being a straw man. It does them a disservice to imply they’re using the word glibly or for mere hyperbolic effect.

          I’m all for clarifying word use (I’m a copyeditor!), which is why I’m in favor of using the word “abuse” when we are talking about instances of abuse. That, as I see it, is exactly what we are talking about.

          As I’ve said, if you find the word “abuse” that unhelpful, it would be helpful if you proposed a better term to use instead. That would be a welcome clarification for those of us who are picky about usage. If the question is one of degree, perhaps “somewhat abusive,” “abuse” and “extreme abuse” might serve. Otherwise, there are lots of strong synonyms: cruelty, oppression, authoritarianism, hurt, wounding, ill-treatment, severity, harshness…

          As long as we’re on fallacies, though, I think being picky about the term is becoming a red herring. Who cares what you call it? People are being severely hurt in the name of Jesus and that’s wrong, wrong, wrong. How can we help them and prevent others from suffering?

          • Gentlemen….oh that others would say what you do.

            But they don’t. I am not so sure it is a red herring to actually call some of what is going on something different than abuse. I just don’t know. You must be so careful. There is no balance, and we American Christians are very good at “words”. Very good.

            What I do know is the pain of silence on the part of others because they don’t believe you. It is why I wonder… do you communicate about these issues which, as you say, are “wrong, wrong, wrong” since it is done in the Name of Jesus but so obviously does not bear His fruit? Thus we write, we pray, we discuss.

            I can say I do not use the word “abuse” overly much. Perhaps it is because of my situation.

          • Cara – I think you’re exactly right. My own approach in writing about the subject has rarely been to arrive at the conclusion “See, that’s abuse!” but rather, “Jesus wouldn’t do that.”

            That’s why I think finagling over the precise definition of the word “abuse (n.)” is likely to serve as a red herring. Personally, I find the term “spiritual abuse” helpful because it combines the idea of misuse (as in “drug abuse”) with the idea of cruelty (as in “verbal abuse”). Other people, not so much, it appears. Whether we decide it fits our definition or not, though, it’s still out there hurting people, whatever we call it. (As you pointed out above, one of the annoying qualities of the “Steadfast” writers is that they’re too eager to cry, “See, that’s not abuse, therefore it must be perfectly fine!”)

            The issue is that it’s going against the way Jesus wants people to be treated. Writing about Jesus is a lot more worthwhile than writing about semantics.

            What I’ve tried to do in my writings — obviously I can’t speak for Hillary here, though I doubt she’d disagree much — is to find the idea or action that’s causing pain, and then hold it up next to Jesus and the Scriptures. Where do we need to see God’s grace? What do we need to un-learn? How is the Scripture being twisted? Who needs Christ’s compassion and empathy? And lo and behold, we’ve gotten somewhere.

            Hopefully that illuminates my frustration with the semantic rabbit-trails. (Sorry if I came off as snappy anywhere above, by the way; I’m commenting from the hip more than usual.)

  13. This is what happens when we abuse the Bible by treating it like a textbook for raising children. I get so sick when I hear of these sorts of socieities. My wife and I were friends with a foreign exchange student from Saudi Arabia. She must wear a covering on her head at all time, she may not touch a man even to shake his hand and say hello, and she was not even allowed to leave her home country (as a 21 year old) without her fathers permission.

    I am sure that these “Quiverfull” people rail against Islam. But they prove by their lifestyles that they are the same.

    • I made an easy transition from the patriocentric Christian world into the Shia Islamic world because they are so similar. Islam was easier because there was not discussion of Jesus’ love. It was singularly focused on obedience alone. It was not, and I guess I should say still isn’t always, an easy transition back to a “balanced” Christian life. Hence why I stop by here on a daily basis.

      • Wow! Thank you for sharing that!

        Transitioning into a “balanced” Christian life is something I can really relate to!

      • Fred Reed says

        My good friend is a Shi’a Muslim, and nothing like what you are describing. He is a good man, tolerant and idealistic.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          The Shia Islam EV has related is probably the kind you find in the Islamic Republic of Iran, enforced by the Holy State on pain of death. The X-TREME version.

          Absolute Power plus Utter Righteousness is a VERY ugly combination.

    • Let’s not misrepresent them. I’m sure there is a lot of overlap between quiverfulls and people who rail against Islam, but that is by no means a central tenet of the movement. The only core belief of the quiverfulls is that they should be open to as many children as God provides, whether that be 0 or 20. That’s not really the most bizarre of beliefs and while I disagree with them the only thing I think is really wrong about the movement is the misplaced focus on this one small issue.

      There are clearly some other beliefs that are frequently seen in quiverfulls and Patriocentricy of some sort is clearly very common. But it should not necessarily be assumed and it certainly doesn’t always reach the dictatorial levels seen here and frequently isn’t any more severe than that commonly seen in most conservative denominations.

      • I’m sure you are right. Then my comment applies to those “quiverfulls” that do reach the dictatorial levels seen here. My own dear grandpa had 17 brothers and sisters. But his family was not a dictatorship.

      • There’s little difference in the aim of the dominionist themes upon which QF is built and Sharia Law. The actual undergirdings of QF are a lot different than the facade the movement presents. You should look into “multi-generational faithfulness” and the “200 year plan”. It’s a lot bigger idea than just “God controlling the womb”. The guys at the top have far reaching goals.

        They want to outbreed the cultural opposition and create a Christian utopia bounded by “biblical law”.

        • Scary, man.

        • The leaders of a movement frequently don’t actually represent the members. Most Muslims don’t support the imposition of Sharia Law and most everyday Republicans disagree with what Governors like Scott Walker (WI) and Rick Scott (FL) have been doing. With any movement (including Christianity as a whole) it’s easy to let it be defined by it’s most extreme members, which benefits those extremists because they then appear to have more followers than they really do.

          I guess I’m reaching for some kind of “oppose the doctrine, not the group” message, but that sounds an awful lot like “hate the sin, not the sinner”, which almost never works.

          • No, I understand what you are saying, Ken. I did not properly phrase my comment. I didn’t want to generalize an entire group of people

        • The Singular Observer says

          There are strong undertones of the same in Doug Wilson’s movements (CREC, C/A, and all that), and other associated phenomena.

      • Ken…the problem is not that they allow themselves to have as many children as G-d wants to provide. The problem is when they are told that they MUST have as many children as they can have…even to the point of weaning early (which is not all that healthy for the baby) just so the woman can be fertile. They ignore the drain on the woman’s body (and, in essence, her health). They even look with disapproval upon women who either do not or cannot have a lot of children…or even any children.

        As Lewis points out, there is an agenda. Just as Islam hopes to conquer by sheer numbers what they cannot conquer by might, the Quiverful/dominionist movement hopes to conquer by numbers. It is working against them, though, because so many of the girls have already raised a family by the time they get married. Many of them want a break. This causes friction between them and others in the movement. If they leave home or don’t follow the SOP, they are often shunned. This also tends to result in them leaving Christianity altogether because they falsely equate their experiences with truth and G-d’s ways.

        With both of my husbands, I never used birth control. I prayed and allowed G-d to determine my family size. I have only three living children and the spacing was such that it would have been physically impossible to have also had the three that did not make it. I NEVER tried to have a big family. I allowed G-d to make that decision. He was very wise in not giving me more. I have never been “Quiverful” or “dominionist”.

  14. Hillary’s book and blog have been a huge help to me in my journey to healing. I love her graciousness in speaking the truth.

    Dan, I understand what you are saying. Please do remember, though, that spiritual and emotional wounds don’t show on the outside. It can be really hard to know the extent of the damage.

    • Eliza,
      I understand that. It isn’t that I deny the harmful impact; it is that once something becomes common it becomes “normal” and therefore losses distinct meaning. Let me illustrate with a couple examples from my own life:

      As a child I was, on multiple occasions, sexually molested by older kids in the neighborhood. I don’t dismiss the reality of what happened to me or deny the impact of it on my development. But mine is such a common story and what was done to me was so comparatively mild that I wouldn’t say I was “abused.”

      As an adult I was misled and manipulated by my pastor in a way that hurt my whole family and actually precipitate us moving out of town. I don’t dismiss the reality of what happened to us or deny the emotional impact of it. But, again, it is not an unheard of story and it was comparatively mild in terms of “abuse.” I had the power to make it stop simply by leaving.

      My point is: We have ALL been abused in one way or another. If we all wear the label of “Abused” then the label actually becomes “Normal” and has lost all meaning. So let’s admit that s*it happens, it hurts, and allow God to deal with it. But let’s reserve the label of “Abuse” for only the deliberate and severe forms so that it still retains some meaning.

      • many, many men beat their wives…does it follow that we should not call that abuse as well?

        • No, malicious beatings and the inherent emotional damage that goes along with it certainly mark someone who has been abused.

          • What about non-malicious beatings…as happened to the Schatz girl? Her parents were not being malicious. They were deceived into thinking that they were doing what is best for children. The results are the same…regardless of intent.

          • Abigail…non-malicious? Did you not read the report on the damage done to the child’s body? I know this family..they totally overstepped. Yes, they were deceived…but there comes a time when the Spirit says “ENOUGH!” and a person doesn’t listen to Him.

  15. Chalk up more evil to misuse and misreading of the Bible and elevating Paul from saint to Jesus Jr. If I were a woman it would be a lot harder for me to be Christian simply because the men who wrote the Bible believed themselves to be superior to women, and we’ve projected that viewpoint onto God. God did not put men in charge; men did.

    • Actually, Fish, Paul elevated women. A careful study of the Greek wording along with the cultural context and looking at many of the manuscripts shows that there have been misunderstandings, misrepresentation and a coverups over the years. For example, many people do not know that there was a woman apostle…not one of the original 12, but a woman apostle nonetheless. It is there in scripture, but the translators and commentators have covered it up.

      • Tell that to the “women shall not hold authority” crowd. I agree with you, but we’re in the minority.

        • Fish…was is important is what G-d says…not what men and women say! Besides, what you wrote seemed to indicate (unless I understood it incorrectly) that PAUL believed himself to be superior to women. He did not. The reason the lies keep going on is because people keep repeating them. The more we explain the truth (and I can recommend some good scholarly books to back this truth up), the more people will start to realize (as my husband and I now do) that what we have been taught is inaccurate. This is not necessarily because we have been lied to. Oftentimes, our teachers don’t know the truth. Yet, oftentimes…they do!

          • We will have to differ on Paul the man. I think God worked through Paul in spite of Paul, but Paul was a pharisee and a product of his patriarchial environment. A sinner like us all, not perfect like God. As I told my pastor, if you need a bookshelf of books to explain why Paul meant something different than what he seems to have said, there’s a problem there 🙂

          • Fish…the books are to explain the difficulties of using translations…not to explain Paul. There are some problems with all the English translations. No one translation perfectly relays what what originally written. It is not that Paul needs to be explained…it is what the original writings say that needs to be explained. 🙂 Plus…it only takes one or two books…not a bookshelf full. Also…if you really understand patriarchy…the society was not patriarchal. G-d in His word only identifies a few men as patriarchs. They are heads of tribes…not merely heads of families. The patriarchal movement has it wrong in SO many ways!

  16. We all remember that our childhood, as lived, was immeasurably different from what our elders saw. Hence Sir Michael Sadler, when I asked his opinion about a certain new experimental school, replied, ‘I never give an opinion on any of those experiments till the children have grown up and can tell us what really happened.’
    —C. S. Lewis, “On Three Ways of Writing for Children”

    Which is exactly what we have here. I’m delighted to see this book and its topic getting so much needed attention. (Full disclosure, I’m a regular contributor to the QD blog and was honored to have one of my articles included as a chapter in Hillary’s book. It’s the one about the love of Jesus. Well, one of them.)

    Doctrinally, the Patriarchy/Quiverfull movement is characterized by an unhealthy emphasis on “authority,” which quickly works out to authoritarianism in practice. Putting it next to the teachings of Jesus — “The leaders of the Gentiles lord it over them; not so with you!” — can be eye-popping. How did we ever get from one to the other?

    The most obvious difference between Quivering and “Steadfast Daughters” is that SD is written by doctrinaires trying to persuade us to accept their views, while QD is written by children who lived with those views, grown up and telling us what really happened. It’s striking, especially when those who’ve come out of the movement show grace and mercy to those who perpetrate graceless doctrines. Hope and healing is exactly what’s needed.

  17. No one should ever underestimate the damage the P/QF system of belief can and does do to young women – and to young men. Lots of these young people will struggle to find genuine healing this side of eternity. Never underestimate it. The patterns of dysfunction in the P/QF dynamic and alcoholic homes are practically twins, and the abuses and dysfunction can go deep. “Bondage” is too soft a word to apply to the spiritual, emotional, and sometimes physical dynamics of it. It’s a bastardization of the simple gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Hillary has been a lifeline to a lot of people – through her writing, as a true friend to the wounded, and as a reflection of the love of Christ.

    • It reminds me of an episode of 20/20 I saw recently where several young women escaped from the bondage of certain Fundamental Independent Baptist “churches” (cults) and shared their stories. In their case, the pastor and the father of the household were to be obeyed… basically as God. The women had no rights, no voice, no hope in the system. I went to bed depressed that night.

      There was also physical and sexual abuse happening. It was being kept quiet because the Pastor intimidated the women into not speaking.

      • My mother was raised by a strict, cold and unable to show love kind of man who was a Baptist preacher. She was one of 3 daughters. None of them were to have an argument or an opinion, with him or each other. As soon as some kind of disagreement was begining all he had to do was, “Shh!” And it was over. My mother learned at a very young age to “Shhh!” And, in my opinion married the right man for her to continue in it, as we ALL do. She was submissive, obedient, quiet and reserved.

        And then I was born. Through a wrench in her religiousness and submissiveness. She has told me she learned a lot from me, the prodigal rebel born the good Christian woman who got life handed to her on a platter when dad was asked to leave the church after he had had an affair.

        I’m not one to be shushed. It’s a double edges sword. I blessing and a curse. I need God’s mercy and grace to know when to shut up. Like now. ha ha

  18. This is all very depressing to me. I started running across these types a number of years ago working in a public library. We usually referred to them as the “pastie-white nervous homeschoolers” because so many of them were homeschooling to keep their kids away from the evils of the world. Even the parochial schools were too worldly. Now, I definitely see this mentality creeping into the mainstream in many conservative leaning main-line churches.

  19. Patriocentric parachurch organizations, such as the National Center for Family-Integrated churches, which sees age-segregated church programs as a pernicious evil; Vision Forum, which sells its legalistic and idolatrous version of man-worship through slick catalogues and marketing campaigns; and Above Rubies, which is an anti-feminist organization run by Nancy Campbell all have similar ideas about how to “reform” Christianity. (In other words, Bill Gothard’s ATI organization isn’t even close to the only one.)

    Most of these parachurch organizations are also either interconnected or at least on friendly terms, such that they trade media and sell each other’s products.

    The first two organizations I’ve mentioned are also Christian Reconstructionist, and so they’re not shy about grooming boys for the purpose of infiltrating secular government and using stealth tactics to erode the wall of separation between church and state (with the ultimate goal of developing what they call a “theonomy”). And if they can’t achieve their theonomy here, yet, then they’re perfectly happy to influence laws in more tractable nations such as Uganda.

    It all sounds so far-fetched, and yet it’s not: Katheryne Joyce, the freelance journalist who wrote “Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement,” has seen developed several well-researched articles – e.g., at Slate and AlterNet – on the phenomenon as well.

    These organizations encourage an insular, anti-intellectual, fear-based worldview that causes some families to eschew not only higher education but modern medicine as well, which has led to the frightening (and very real) phenomenon of what Fox 59 dubbed “Unassisted Bathtub Birth.” (I’m not just talking about home birth, here, but about unassisted home birth where some adherents won’t even work with midwives.)

    Yes, that’s dangerous, but women’s lives just aren’t that important in the grant scheme of things: For example, Doug Phillips, the president of Vision Forum, has spoken out against ending *ectopic* pregnancies and refer s to the life-saving procedure as ‘elective abortion.’ (Saving the lives of women isn’t nearly as important as hoping for a statistically impossible miracle birth.)

    The entire movement (often embraced by the supposedly Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches) is one big, interconnected, incestuous, nepotic, money-hungry mess that talks about ‘family autonomy’ as a reason for homeschooling even while encouraging the use of membership oaths in some affiliated churches that require heads-of-house to recognize the higher authority of pastors and elders. (And yet when it comes to reporting abuse and militating against it, these elders don’t often use that authority to punish men. This was the case when 15-year old Tina Anderson was impregnated by an older, married man named Ernest Willis. Anderson was made to apologize for getting pregnant and was then exiled, while Willis stayed on at church. Charges of statutory rape weren’t even considered by the pastor or governing body at her IFB church.)

    These cults have a body count, as well, in large part because some of the leading parachurch organizations (and their IFB followers) promote books – e.g., “To Train Up a Child,” by Michael and Debi Pearl – that suggest hitting even infants with a rod. (That’s how eight-year-old Lydia Schatz died: Her adoptive parents used the recommended PVC pipe on her with such vigor that her organs failed. They nearly killed her 11-year-old sister, Zoriah, in the same fashion.)

    What I wrote above is merely a really abridged, capsule view of this sub-culture. I’m glad to see more people finally taking it seriously. It’s a real evil, and needs to be brought into the light.

    • “Above Rubies, which is an anti-feminist organization run by Nancy Campbell”

      There’s a very rich irony. It’s a bit like Phyllis Schlafly advocating traditional roles for women while she is one of the most influential figures on the political Right.

    • shadowspring says

      So well explained. Thank you.

  20. Dan, just curious, have you ever known anyone who spent extended time in a religious cult or who came out of the patriocentric movement? I’ve experienced both. Spiritual abuse is very real, even though it isn’t always visible from the outside.

    What I find is that most patriocentric families have been warned and pleaded with by concerned friends or relatives who watch them going down a path of greater and greater bondage, and they refuse to listen. Furthermore, with articles like this one from CT, awareness grows about the damage these beliefs cause. Parents in the movement are well aware of the criticism on the outside. So yes, I’d say in many if not most cases, they have been told that their actions are damaging, and they have chosen to reject those warnings–so yes, it is deliberate. Some of the damage that’s done is not a result of “abuse,” but much of it is. I don’t think that anyone is trying to make “everyone” abused. Sure, probably all people have experienced incidences of abuse in their lifetimes, but an ongoing mistreatment of someone in a way that deeply damages their hearts (and often their bodies) for life is abuse, whether the abuser “meant” to do it or not, whether they were well-meaning or not. It’s hard enough for these profoundly harmed young women to admit to themselves how badly they were hurt, without people saying “Well, you weren’t really abused because I know someone who had it worse than you.”

    The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by Jeff VanVonderen (I think?) addresses this topic well.

    • I was raised in a church where we couldn’t fellowship with Christians outside our church since we didn’t know if they were “real” Christians because of their “corrupt” beliefs (i.e. they didn’t hold EXACTLY to our doctrine). We were the only ones with the Truth and we had to guard it by withdrawing from the world. We cared so much about doctrinal purity that our denomination split over the question of, if and how much facial hair a man should have. (NOT sure what the heck that has to do with the bible. Actually I think that argument started over someone not wanting to give someone else the Holy Kiss when they had food in their beard.) You get the point; it just goes to show how much they cared about doctrinal purity. Cut off your relatives, cut off your brother because he doesn’t agree with your “facial hair” interpretation of scripture. I left that church when I was 22, so yes I am familiar with all the crap associated with the controlling and legalistic religion that passes itself off as Christianity.

      • being a man who is warned against talking to people outside his church is a far cry from being a woman who has been purposfully kept from developing any sense of self, any skills, any independent thought since childhood, who has been taught (and forced to live out) that her father is the ultimate authority on everything and experienced creepy ritualistic discipline training exercises. Both situations are regretable, but one is actually abuse and messes with your head in ways you can’t just get over.

        • I’m not making any claims of wrongs done to me. I’m simply answering a question posed to me regarding my level of familarity with a topic.

    • “It’s hard enough for these profoundly harmed young women to admit to themselves how badly they were hurt, without people saying “Well, you weren’t really abused because I know someone who had it worse than you.” ”

      Thank you

  21. Paul said it best:

    You foolish Galatians [or Patriocentric followers]! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced[b] so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

    Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

    For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:1-14)

    Can it really be that simple? by faith??? But these rules and religious addiction and powerful control of weaker ones just sounds so enticing! Scripture says that the law IS glorious and somehow, enticing. But Paul says, if the law is glorious, “will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?” (2 Cor. 3:6-8)

    The shadows may appeal, but I’d much rather look at the real deal (Hebrews 10), and spur others on to the same. Thank you, Hillary, Gina, Chaplain Mike, Eric, Lewis, and many of you influential commenters here, for encouraging us all OUT of the shadows and towards the Son.

    Resting in Him,

  22. Just how pervasive is the fringe stuff?

    In the USA, in conservative Christian homeschooling circles, there are two main magazines published independently. The Old Schoolhouse actively evangelizes for Michael Pearl’s methods. Homeschooling Today used to be owned by James and Stacy MacDonald, who now run the QD-pseudo-refutation blog, and was at the time an open forum for Dominionist ideas.

    As a writer who got a start in HS publications, there are lovely people working for these magazines–friends and colleagues whom I value. I genuinely do not think they really grasp the serious implications of what they support. I believe others simply reserve their personal opinions in order not to “cause conflict.” But playing nice within our own circles is no absolution: anytime a culture of don’t-talk-don’t-tell is created, we are still responsible for the silence and its consequences.

    My husband and I had never heard much about the Pearls’ teaching, though we have witnessed negative impact on the Canadian homeschooling community caused by Dominionism/Reconstructionism. When we heard about the Schatz case, we began researching and writing on what the Pearls actually teach and how it percolates through their parenting method.

    What we see is a division between two general camps. One leans more toward Reconstructionism, and the other toward isolationism and repudiating all involvement with society and its nasty bag of evil. Both involve a level of insularity that causes people’s thinking to quickly develop a sort of “inbred” quality–there’s no challenge or accountability from differing views, all is filtered by the movement’s leader(s), and so there are no checks and balances for ideology as it develops.

    It is very difficult to be both a participating conservative Christian homeschooler and a healthy Christian homeschooler, to the extent that I no longer try to stay involved in the mom-fellowship of conservative religious homeschooling.

    • The Singular Observer says

      Absolutely. We homeschooled for a short while while we lived in SA – and it is so true. Most homeschoolers were just one sandwich short of a picnic (Most, not all.)

      • “Most homeschoolers were just one sandwich short of a picnic (Most, not all.)”

        If I read you right, SO, you’re referring to the disconnect between ultraconservative Christian homeschoolers and society, yes? I find that most Christian homeschoolers are not so short on sandwiches, but there’s this ideology being shoved down the pipeline at them. Moms in particular have a really hard time with it.

        But then, as a kid, I was homeschooled in an atheist/agnostic family, so I also don’t feel constrained to one particular group of homeschoolers. I just like people who do some thinking, and I tend to avoid those who want others to do it for them. I was raised counterculture, so I see excessive conformity for its own sake as an unhealthy thing…totally a weird homeschooler myself, I guess. 🙂

        • The Singular Observer says

          CL Dyck – yes, and most of them swallow the ideology hook, line and sinker, which induces unhealthy mental states. Hence my comment.

    • cermak_rd says

      Wouldn’t that describe the Amish though? They’re definitely insular and keep apart from the world. Interestingly, in my hometown area in central IL, they don’t homeschool, instead using the public schools up to grade 8.

      True, they do have Rumpspringa where the young adults can sample the world and make a decision. Most (90%) choose to be Amish. Choosing not to remain Amish does cause shunning.

      It does seem similar.

      • Sure. This isn’t a particularly popular view, but I had many Amish friends growing up, and I’d consider the Amish a spiritually abusive religious organization that doesn’t teach the gospel. One of the main reasons 90% of children return to the Amish faith from Rumpspringa is because they don’t want to lose their families, or they fear God’s punishment (loss of their works-based salvation) or the culture shock is just too big of a change and they gravitate back to what is safe and familiar.

        • Having grown up surrounded by Amish, I would say that they are one of the few exceptions. Though they do live a Patriarchal lifestyle, it makes sense based upon the fact that they survive off the land as farmers.

          True, they do force their women to wear long dresses and head coverings, but the men also wear plain outfits and hats. Both genders are all in when it comes to the Amish. The lifestyle is not particularly harsh upon the women, as far as I have seen. The men work incredibly hard.

          • Oh, I agree. I believe they are fair in their similar expectations of men and women. But their spiritual teachings are based on being good enough to earn one’s salvation. Those who have left the Amish faith tell of how they lived in fear for their souls, and the control is maintained largely by submission to the authority of the church. Those who question are punished (excommunicated and shunned). Spiritually, it’s a very toxic system and that’s where I see similarities to patriocentricity or any cultic movement.

          • I recently watched a youtube documentary of two Amish men who were shunned because they began to go against the Elders of their movements. Why? They began to have Bible study together as other normal Christian people would do.

            One of the men testifies he was not saved. After he became saved is when he began to change and was consequently shunned. However, his daughter suffered through cancer, and therefore the old parish actually helped them. It was a loose shunning. Interesting indeed.


          • I know it also depends upon the regional group themselves. Some sects are far more strict and “hardline” than others.

        • cermak_rd says

          I don’t know if I would say the Amish don’t preach the Gospel. Their theology is big into grace and forgiveness. One reason they shun is so that the individual can examine their life and go through remediation and once the individual goes through the public confession part, I believe they are welcomed fully back into the life and it is never spoken of again.

          Remember a few years ago when the Amish attended the funeral of the man that had killed and harmed so many of their children, forgiving him for his harm. That was the most inspiring action I have ever witnessed anyone do.

          • Their belief on work is simple: Idle hands are the devil’s tool. I can say that from my own experiences, that is a true statement. They aren’t saying that work is what gets them to heaven.

          • I do remember how touching their grace toward the murderer was. I have no doubt that there are Amish who are Christians, for I’ve known some.

            However, their official church teaching (their theology) is that their salvation comes by following religious rules. I used the term “works-based salvation” earlier, meaning religious works or rule-following, not actual hard physical work. There’s actually an organization called Mission to the Amish which seeks to bring the Good News of God’s forgiveness. It was started by a former Amishman. Otherwise, most Amish are stuck in an endless cycle of trying to earn their salvation by being good enough for God.

            This is an important differentiation to me, because I find that a lot of people in patriocentric circles long to return to “simpler times” and they often hold out the Amish as an ideal in that direction. My family lived a very “simple, plain” life within a patriocentric-type framework for many years because my mother was obsessed with the Amish and viewed their lifestyle as desirable. That interest was our gateway to a very rigid, legalistic way of life as she patterned our home after the Amish (and Mennonites). I’ll add, as in many patriocentric families, we were father-led in name only. Mom made most of the spiritual decisions.

      • A side note on the Amish and Mennonites. I highly respect them, even if I wouldn’t choose to live the way they do. I love many of the things I see in them – taking care of each other in case of disaster, etc.

        So it came as a huge surprise to me when a friend who is Mennonite told me that incest is rampant among both Amish and Mennonite. It almost never gets reported because it is more important to them to maintain their image in the community. It is unthinkable to them to have one of their number in jail. Therefore, the silence prevails. Anyone who breaks that silence is shunned. The victims are blamed and the abusers protected.

        That broke my heart. Who will stand up and defend the children, the victims? Who will tell the abusers they have to stop and will be held accountable? Who will act like Jesus in these situations?

        • “incest is rampant among both Amish and Mennonite”

          That may be true in the subculture of your friend, but “Mennonite” is actually a loosely-connected globe-wide ethnicity with many, many subgroups and at least 18 low German dialects that I’ve heard of here in North America. I can’t and won’t dispute the allegation as it pertains to your friend’s community, because it’s a serious one which deserves to be treated as such.

          However, it’s simply not applicable to the Mennonite world as a whole. Here in Canada, it ranges from strict German observance and traditional lifestyle to extreme postmodernist and community leadership in the emergent movement. As a migratory, missions-minded and humanitarian-oriented population, it’s one of the most multicultural people groups I’ve encountered, and there is no pigeonholing it.

        • I was raised in one of the 1001 mennonite splinter groups. There were many problems, but incest was not one of them. I can’t speak for other groups but I would tend to agree with CL that the problem you are refering to most likely doesn’t represent the movements as a whole.

  23. My late Husband and I first became aware of the Gothard “Basic Life Principles” in the early 80s through a home group study in a PCA church plant. We read through it and had great objections to it. “Basic Youth Conflicts” seemed very cult-like to us, especially as we had been exposed to another cult-like organisation during our sojourns in Arizona and California. God had been grace-full to us in these experiences; by the time we were living here and in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, we were so very sensitive to these things, we refused to submit to them.

    In my time with the OPC, we read a lot of dominionist/reconstructionist and patriarchal books (Greg Bahnsen, Douglas Wilson, Rousas Rushdoony). We had discussions about male headship, complementarianism, courtship, homeschooling and so on. Since my Daughters were already in high school, we decided to forego courship with the elder Daughter as it was too much like changing the rules in mid-stream for her, but we did a modified courtship with the younger; she celebrated her tenth anniversary last week.

    But the main issue we saw in the Church at this time was on the homeschooling front. One of the Elders, a military Colonel with a PhD, homeschooled his four children. Yet his eldest Son was unable to get into college because he was so poorly educated. Also, because of his having a GED, he was ineligible for all but the Marines or the Army. Pretty sad, really, when you consider how successful his Dad is. Most of the homeschooled young men suffered the same fate. (I contrast this with another Christian homeschooling Family I know whose Son is currently attending University, double majoring in pre-med and music. Mom has a grad degree in education; Dad is a physician.)

    Most of the young women, friends of my Daughters (who are now in their 30s) were married early, between 17-21. They married young men older than them, and now have their own “quiverfulls”. Most never finished their high-school curriculum. One or two have their GEDs…and they are expected to educate their own children! They are worn out, frazzled, and older than their years. Our Daughters did not follow this path because my late Husband and I so very much disagreed with these teachings… One young Woman, a missionary’s Wife, has had numerous miscarriages and is in very ill health with chronic malaria.

    Please…pray for her.

    In my own case, I was expected to submit, but was allowed to speak, ask questions, and so forth if I did this in a quiet, submissive, respectful way…and only after my Husband becamse unable to “teach me”. When we were interviewing for a new Pastor, it came out that one of the criteria was that this new Pastor understood that all teaching was to be pitched to the Heads of the Households, so that they, in turn, taught their Families. Since I was widowed by then, I asked the question if the new Pastor would also pitch his teaching to me, since I was now the Head of my Household. The reply: “No. We, the Elders, will be responsible for teaching you.”

    After 13 years, I left that Church within the year, not because I couldn’t “get” the teaching; I am more than capable of understanding theology! But because I, as a Woman, was so summarily dismissed.

    The “heroes” of these dogmas have taken reformed, Calvinistic, presbyterian, Puritan, and so on teachings and twisted them to become a sort of “hyper-Calvinism” that goes way beyond that which is also happening amongst the Independent Baptists in my area. ( I have a friend who was an IFB Preacher. He once commented how all the IFB Women were overweight; that’s because that’s the only thing they are allowed to do…eat whatever they want, whenever they want…). Their surety that God has granted them, alone, to be the keepers of the “true faith”, and has granted them America as the “Land of Promise” to be taken over and used for His Glory, has created a theology of place whereby all “True Christians” are these sorts of Christians, wrapped in the flag as well. It has become a complete interweaving of faith and patriotism akin to LDS theology that makes America the Promised Land and Only Perfect Churchmen God’s anointed to rule. So it’s not just patriocentric. It’s ethnocentric as well.

    Seriously. I remember sitting around the Sunday dinner table discussing these things…

    Lord, have mercy on these folk and especially on these Children…

    • “Their surety that God has granted them, alone, to be the keepers of the “true faith”, and has granted them America as the “Land of Promise” to be taken over and used for His Glory, has created a theology of place whereby all “True Christians” are these sorts of Christians, wrapped in the flag as well.”

      As a non-American, believe me, this only adds to the disturbing aspects of the patriocentric/Reconstructionist movement and its tendency to travel in the baggage of Christian homeschooling speakers from the USA. It is very much a political proselytism movement as well, and it is *not* *welcome* north of the 49th parallel.

    • The Singular Observer says

      I had a taste, and a flirtation with Doug Wilson’s ideas, Reconstructionism and all that. It is poison, dressed up in pseudo-intellectual garb, with a veneeer of tradition added. It destroys.

      CLD – you are right, and I have often commented that I can see the similarities between these movements and some of the ideas coming from the politcal rightwing in SA, where I grew up.

  24. I am a first time author as Hillary McFarland is. We had our paths cross in an unexpected way; therefore, I have written about her book in mine which is titled, “Uncovered No More, clothed by God”.

    I have read “Quivering Daughters: Hope and Healing for the Daughters of Patriarchy” and indeed, her book helped me re-write mine because I did not know that issues of control and religious expectations were so prominent in other women’s lives. The Lord used her book to help me see I wasn’t the only one suffering. It equally helped me write about more than what my story initially was centered upon which was freemasonry within Christianity. I was almost driven insane in 2008 as a direct result of having my mother-in-law, whose father and husbands had been freemasons (and the father was an active deacon in the Methodist church) live with me for 12 years.

    But the side issue? I had read and been influenced by some of the teachings outlined within Hillary’s book. I give similar testimony as Hillary does about the devastation. I can tell you that the slants of teachings in many of these ministries are unbalanced. What is more, I watched in horror as my own mental life disintegrated due to freemasonry plus the religious spirit wreaking havoc within my mind. I am becoming free now; volume 2 of my book is being written and I delve into what I think are underlying issues with attitudes as a whole concerning women which run deeply throughout Christianity. It is no mistake that the home culture of churches is in a shambles. Of course it is. When you read Hillary’s book then you read the persecution, torment, and degradation of the mothers of tomorrow and today…..the Devil is a master war maker.

    My memoir is slightly different; however, I want to say that you do not have to be in those movements (Quiverfull/Patriarchy/HomeSchooling) in order to experience what Hillary has written. Those daughters (and sons too I would suspect) within all three movements together have been hit hard, and the torment they have experienced at the hands of “Christianity” is grave indeed.

    I call Christianity to repent. The faithful Christian woman in your midst is being tormented, and it is only Christianity that will free us from it. Jesus Christ already has freed women, but we are not at this time in this country living in that freedom. How very shocking. This is America. It is no mistake that there are women testifying as Hillary has bravely and gracefully done. God’s anger is burning at the sin, and we need to take note and repent.

    I am personally at point non plus with Christianity. I am a home schooling mother of ten children who used to be dresses only (to the point of wearing head coverings because of teaching I received from David Bercot and his book, “Common Sense”) to being a completely different, but no less Christian, woman today. I do not identify with any movement, and even some who have suffered as Hillary testifies have misunderstood me. The atmosphere across Christian borders is grave indeed, grave indeed. There is a very compelling yet simple reason why this is so. “Status quo” Christianity is not about repentance. You are about everything else but repentance. The overall picture of American Christian ministry is too well funded; it is too successful. Well, I have cried out as is said in Psalm 74. There are those of us who are the turtledoves. We are the nobodies within Christianity. God is merciful, and He is hearing our cry. I am so thankful “Christianity Today” reviewed “Quivering Daughters”. What a blessed relief to me that Hillary is being heard.

    ~Cara Coffey, author, “Uncovered No More, clothed by God” Check out my book for free right now by signing up for my newsletter.

    • Cara:

      FYI – When I went to your blog link and filled in the information for “Sign up for a FREE COPY of Uncovered No More!” the return email it sent me said

      “Welcome to Cara’s newsletter! For a limited time only, my book is available to subscribers at Cokesbury Christian Bookstore at a 20% discount! Just Click Here to get your copy.”

      instead of a free copy.

      • She was not offering a free copy of the book. =)
        She stated: “ Check out my book for free right now by signing up for my newsletter.”

  25. I was raised in a Quiverfull/Patriarchal family, and I know how damaging it has been to my siblings and myself. The most frustrating part is that the parents believe they are in the right, even when everything points to the opposite.

    I get frustrated when people try to nitpick about the word “abuse”. Abuse was a helpful term for me to define what happened to me and differentiate myself from the parents I had been told to always “honor and obey” no matter what. Defining abuse gets tricky right away, and I think it is more about the persons experience than a specific definition.

    I wasn’t locked up in a dark basement, but I was hardly allowed to leave the house for 5 years straight (meaning no church, no school, no friends, no outings). I wasn’t bleeding after a spanking, but I did have bruises, and I remember siblings being spanked/beaten for more than an hour. I wasn’t sexually abused, but I was made to feel ashamed of my body and made to dress in baggy cover-up clothes and told to diet again and again. Was I abused? Maybe not by some peoples definition, but I was not allowed to live my own life or make any descisions, I was denied education and independance. Me and my adult siblings (the ones who will talk about it) have had the whole range of dysfunction, including depression, suicidal thoughts and attempts, eating disorders, cutting, sibling incest, achoholism, drug use and promiscuity. Were we abused? I don’t think anyone really has the right to say but us.

    • “Abuse was a helpful term for me to define what happened to me and differentiate myself from the parents I had been told to always “honor and obey” no matter what.”

      Exactly. Being able to call it what it is is necessary to be able to move forward in an uncertain life when you’ve been taught to see every bad thing that happens to you as a direct result of your decision to go against your parents and what you’ve been taught your whole life. Calling it abuse allows you the strength to actually move on rather than constantly second guessing your every decision and wondering if they were right, and you really should just go back.

  26. I’m going to go a different way with this. First, the problem is not in a program or method, but in the human heart. Second, evil people have been taking even good programs and methods and twisting them to their own destruction (e.g. the Pharisees). Three, some movements, including that highlighted here, more easily empower our evil hearts. Four, one of the reasons for this empowerment is the nature of the movement: essentially “far away”, parachurch structure that gives guidance without shepherding. I don’t think swapping QF for some other structure will necessarily end the evil; rather, I think Christians need a close community of God-lovers who will walk with them and shepherd them.

    Or at least, that’s one perspective.

    • People who get caught up in this movement are immature Christians who are easily deceived by the appealing exterior. Churches that truly disciple their young members to maturity would certainly cut down on the number of people who embrace aberrant religious beliefs.

  27. Well, gee. Not ALL homeschoolers are psychologically damaged, socially maladjusted people. I have encountered some of the above, yes, but I was homeschooled until the beginning of high school and am now (I hope!) a fairly well-adjusted and moral person. I’m pretty darn sure I would have been very psychologically screwy had I attended public school from Day One. Homeschooling may be done badly sometimes, but I’ve known many homeschoolers who greatly benefited from it.

  28. I have read this book and have gotten to know Hillary somewhat. I have seen her heart and am honored to know that some of what I have written to her has blessed her as much as she has blessed me.

    This topic is SO important. My husband and I started to lean toward patriocentricity…what we called patriarchy…because there were things that “seemed” to be so biblical. Thankfully, we never really got that far as we are very cautious about things. Like the Proverb that talks about how a person seems right until you hear the other person’s story, we came to see the truth through reading things like Hillary’s book.

    This subject NEEDS to be discussed! I appreciate how Hillary has done so with much love and humility. We need to keep talking about it…to keep letting the world know the truth!

  29. I am happy I have raised a daughter to never be in submission to any man and to always question authority, although it is certainly making these teenage years rough,ha. She is a counsellor at church camp and working her way through reading the entire Bible, but shows no signs of adopting 1st century morality.

    • Fish, that is very encouraging (the way you’ve raised your daughter). Sexism is so rampant and systemic in evangelical Christianity, though, that it wears one down after years and years. Hopefully, she has more fortitude than I and many other women I know who are leaving/have left the church (although not necessarily their faith).

      • That’s why we are Methodists, not evangelicals. Having a woman for a pastor shaped my daughter’s faith, for sure.

  30. Idolatry is always a sin, including patriolatry.

  31. Paul Davis says

    Kate makes a good point in that not all homeschooling is bad, in many cases the alternative public schooling is just as atrocious. My wife and I home schooled our boys while we lived in California, and even sent them to private and public school for a time. To be perfectly honest, the private school did terrible damage to my oldest sons sense of self worth. To the point of them creating a special chair in the hallway for him to sit in, because he didn’t fit into their system. They humiliated him because he was frustrated by their inability to understand his needs.

    It all came to a head when he kicked out a window in the classroom, it was then we learned how they had been treating him. There are numerous reasons why it happened, and I deeply regret sending them there, if I only knew then what I know now 🙁 Public school turned out to be no better, and in many ways their no tolerance for aberrant behavior was worse than the private school. When he protected his younger brother from another student intent on stabbing him, my oldest was punished for being a hero. In desperation my wife finally stayed home and schooled them for a time to get them back on track, but the damage was done and it’s something we all live with daily.

    But I also have family and friends who bought into this separation nonsense, my uncle in fact moved to the middle of nowhere to remove his kids from the ‘evils’ of the world. Trust me, if he only knew how much stuff they pulled behind his back, while putting on a show when he was around, he would be floored.

    By the time our daughter came along our lives had changed, we sent her to a private ‘Christian’ school and then onto public school here in Idaho, and it’s worked out very well for us. I have actually found the public school here better in many ways than the private christian school (although it was not bad at all).

    So before you take your parents to task, put yourselves in their shoes. Even our best plans sometimes go awry, and all we really want is what we think is best.


    • Paul Davis says

      For you (I should have ended that differently)…


      As parents we want what we think is best for our kids, and sometimes we screw that up.



  32. Christiane says

    This is the kind of teaching in the patriarchal world that scares me to death for young women who are trapped in it:

    ““A lot of men are leaving their wives for younger women because they yearn for attention from younger women. And God gave them a daughter who can give them that.”” (Voddie Baucham)

    I think that this is sickening . . . if I have ‘misunderstood’ the quote, I am at fault . . . but at face-value, the quote sickens me.

    • Ewwwwww! I’m with you, Christiane — maybe she means something other than what it sounds like, but as the father of a 9-year-old daughter … ewwwwww!

    • I really doubt the first statement in Baucham’s quote is true. I think men leave their wives for younger women because they flat out find them sexier, and have grown bored with their spouse. And while there are certainly a host of ways to address this problem, and I doubt getting the needed attention from your daughter is one of them. That’s a really weird quote. Really weird…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      ““A lot of men are leaving their wives for younger women because they yearn for attention from younger women. And God gave them a daughter who can give them that.”” (Voddie Baucham)

      First impression when I read that was the punch line of a forgotten sick joke:

      “Incest Is Best!”

  33. Dana Ames says

    One of the reasons I am grateful for having grown up in a devout Catholic home is that I never heard any sort of patriarchy in the home proclaimed from the pulpit, or taught by Bishop Sheen or anyone else “in authority”. Husbands and wives were enjoined to love and respect one another, without having to have a thousand narrow guidelines, and that’s what my parents did every day to the best of their ability.

    I was sometimes on the outskirts of these sorts of programs or movements; never got very involved. But what was very tempting for me was that the proponents seemed to have studied the bible much more carefully and for longer than I had. That “bible knowledge” gave them a lot of credibility. As someone who wanted to do what God put forth in the bible, live “biblically”, it was easy for me to temporarily get taken in. This is one of the things that happens when the bible becomes a handbook, when all bible verses are taken to be equal, and when ecclesiology is approached from a certain direction. It’s the same for QF or the Shepherding Movement, or anything else. It’s not an issue of “spiritual maturity”; it’s an issue of human maturity, period.

    I do think programs and movements should be subject to evaluation. What is expressed as values and aspirations in them come from the hearts of their proponents, so it’s not realistic to simply dismiss the programs. Perhaps the followers should not be judged as harshly as the proponents, but the followers signed on to those values and aspirations, at least to some extent, for whatever reasons.

    As regards this issue in particular, I have been glad for the last 12 years to belong to churches whose values and aspirations are female-friendly, and welcome and hold up to thoughtful evaluation, and that are bigger in size and in theological understanding than “me and my group”. Bad theology can sometimes get a good run, but under those conditions it won’t last forever. There are patriarchal attitudes in my church in various places in the world, but at least I can point to the expressed doctrine and say, “That’s a cultural issue; it’s not the teaching of the church.” Can’t do that with QF and their ilk.


  34. Late to the discussion, but thought I would throw my two cents’ worth in, as someone who was homeschooled during his middle school years. When our family was involved with homeschooling, our homeschool “group” contained everyone from extremely conservative Catholics who would only attend Latin Mass, to Pentecostal Holiness types who lived on farms and whose women all wore long skirts, to more mainstream evangelical, suburban Protestants.

    Did some of the folks in this group exhibit extreme, holier-than-thou tendencies at times? Yes. But I think as someone stated above, evil looks in every human heart. ANY movement, no matter how balanced or biblical in the beginning, can be compromised by those seeking power and control.

    I guess my main concern is not to paint with a broad brush. (“Every homeschooling family is a backward, anti-intellectual mini-cult intent on abusing women and children.” “Every mainline Protestant church is nothing but a Christ-denying, heretical institution”. “Every Pentecostal church is a money-grubbing, Word of Faith, name-it-and-claim-it cult.”) Look at each individual and group for yourself and use the discernment God gave you.

    • That is to say, LURKS in every human heart…

    • This isnt anything of the sort.
      Hillary is very specific in how she defines quiverfull and she SPECIFICALLY notes that while not all homeschoolers are like this, or have these problems, ALL of the families with problems are homeschooling, patriarchal, quiverfullers. The fact that so many problems are rampant in the center where these circles overlap does not “broad brush” all of them.

      Hillary also never names names of a specific group or accuses any specific facet so she is not defaming anyone, or causing people to blame one group or ideology over another.

  35. I agree to a large extent with Dan. To label all men in patriocentric movements as “abusers”, ascribing to them ill intent towards their own family members, is counterproductive. There may be many fathers who thought they were being loving towards their wife and children by providing them with the “umbrella of protection” (or whatever it’s called).

    Furthermore, by automatically ascribing ill intent in their motivations, we miss a valuable lesson here for ourselves: just because we love someone, and want what’s best for them, it’s no guarantee that good things will result in their lives… our own ignorance can cause them great harm, even though our intentions are good. Calling it “abuse” does not tell the entire story.

    To be clear, I’m not defending QF. I’m saying that all-encompassing labels that automatically ascribe intentions will not be accurate and can blind us to the extent of the problem.

    • It’s a very valid observation that much of this suffering is inflicted by people who sincerely believe they’re doing the right thing, following “God’s plan for the family” or what-have-you. And nobody has said “all men” in these movements are abusers.

      However, I’m not sure how good intentions prove it isn’t abuse. If a husband beats his wife believing it will save her soul from hell, isn’t he still a domestic abuser? If a new age guru takes LSD believing it will put him in contact with the divine, isn’t he still a drug abuser? “Abuse” defines the actions, not the intentions.

      As I’ve commented a few times now, though, the word “abuse” is completely not the issue at hand, so if you can come up with a better term for it you’re welcome to use it.

  36. Two thoughts:

    1) I have zero personal experience with Mormonism, but in my reading on the subject it seems very patriarchal, and reportedly very abusive to women and children (albeit behind closed doors, lest the squeaky-clean LDS image be tarnished). Has anyone here any experience with the LDS, and is that the case, or have I been getting bad intel?

    2) The overwhelming response to this subject, here and in previous posts, brought to mind something Gene Edwards said in the preface to the second edition of his book A Tale of Three Kings (required reading when I was studying for a ministerial license back in the ’90s): “I utterly underestimated the number of devastated Christians out there. The book was intended for a rather small audience, Christians damaged by the authoritarian [shepherding] movement. A far broader audience has taken up this book, though.” Likewise, I think that perhaps we’ve underestimated how many people have been wounded, not just by Bill Gothard’s teachings, but by all forms of authoritarianism in the American church. Regardless, thank you, CM and all of the iFaithful for sharing your stories and bringing this to light.

    • It is interesting that I was a big fan of Gene Edwards for a while. Then I started to listening to his lectures on tape and it was a big scary, like the kettle calling the pot black. He was calling himself one of five prophets of God (or true Church planters) in the world today. Then I went and spent a week in one of his house church plants. I left with a very bad feeling. There was no deep, rational theological teaching but like the brainless creatures from A Brave New World who walked around like zombies saying “soma.” They couldn’t make any decision without getting him on the phone for an authoritative instruction from Gene.

    • MStephens says

      “I have zero personal experience with Mormonism, but in my reading on the subject it seems very patriarchal, and reportedly very abusive to women and children (albeit behind closed doors, lest the squeaky-clean LDS image be tarnished). Has anyone here any experience with the LDS, and is that the case, or have I been getting bad intel?”

      Having grown up with Mormon patriarchy teaching and practice, I saw it as a good thing and when I started reading other Christian denomination blogs to broaden my perspective, I thought it was very interesting that there was also this term “patriarchy” that was thrown around and I thought it meant and was practiced the same as Mormon patriarchy. It isn’t.

      Granted, there are as many different flavors of patriarchy as there are fathers, since each father has to try to implement it the best he can. But this is the Mormon flavor of patriarchy:

      Fathers must guide their home in love and righteousness.
      Fathers preside in the home (final decision-making authority), but are expected to counsel with mothers about decisions that will affect the couple. Family counsels involving the children are also encouraged. (Fathers are supposed to get “buy-in” on the decisions they make.)
      Parents must help their children develop their ability make good choices by teaching them correct principles, allowing them to govern themselves, and then allowing them to experience the consequences of their actions.

      The biggest principle that is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS hammered on in our church to leaders, fathers, mothers, and anyone who teaches is this:

      No power and influence should be maintained simply by virtue holding the priesthood or office. (This means that no one gets the privilege of commanding obedience simply because of their office in the church) (Likewise, power isn’t supposed to be maintained simply because one is the father or mother.)
      Power and influence is only to be maintained by persuasion (requiring strong reasons), long-suffering (requiring much patience if one’s authority is flouted), gentleness and meekness (so that laying down the law doesn’t become an attack), love unfeigned (so that direction given is in the best interest of all concerned), kindness, pure knowledge (which enlarges the soul of both led and leader as everyone gets to learn the holy principles and which filters out hypocritical “knowledge” that feels wrong deep down), without guile (straight forward, transparent, and nothing to hide).
      Reproving has to be done immediately, but then an increase of love has to be shown so that the reproof doesn’t drive a wedge in the relationship and make someone an enemy.

      I may be forgetting something, but these are the main principles.

  37. Kathy hickey says

    Since reading the earlier article here about Bill Gothard, I have spent many hours researching the movement, and I have “deprogrammed” myself with the help of my worship pastor, a fellow Gothardite who “escaped” (his words). Now I’m going through the painful process of deciding what the TRUTH is about many concepts I’ve lived with for 40 years (chain of authority, umbrella of protection, no borrowing, no rights, women don’t work outside the home, etc.). Nearly every day something pops into my head that I have to question. I not only went down that path but I took many people with me, and I deeply regret it.

    • Bless you Kathy. I encourage you to process all thoughts, even the regrets, through this:
      “It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
      Galatians 5:1

    • Kathy Hickey,
      Your post was exciting for me to read! I would like to invite you to wander over to my blog in your spare time:
      I grew up in Bill Gothard’s program and have only recently come to grips with all that comes from being taught under him for so long. I’m learning what grace really is and that I have incredible value to Jesus!!! Imagine that!!! =)
      For a rundown on the errors of IBLP, you can read an overview at There, I tried to uncover the glaring errors and replace them with truth. If you have questions or find any discrepencies in what I have written, I would be very open to discuss them. I am growing and excited about learning more and more about the richness of God’s simple grace.

  38. “blessings” or whatever, these (children) are people being treated as objects, not as real persons