Raised Quiverfull: Advice for Others

What advice do you have for other young adults currently questioning or leaving Christian Patriarchy/Quiverfull ideology?

Joe:

Coming soon.

Latebloomer:

Your questions are there, deep down: be honest with God and yourself and acknowledge them.  God is big enough to handle your questions.  Then try to find answers for those questions with the mind that God gave you.  It can be a scary journey but life is much richer and more interesting when you venture out of the box that you were raised in.

If you are not sure where to start, I’d recommend choosing a college and/or just getting out on your own.  Give yourself some time and space to figure out who you are apart from your family.

Libby Anne:

It gets better. Honestly, that’s the biggest thing I would say. You’re going to go through a lot of pain and heartache, but it does get better. I would also say that being able to form your own beliefs and views is important, and that if someone is trying to stop you from doing so, it’s their problem, not your problem. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and become your own person. Don’t conform to someone’s mold just to please them. Oh, and get friends who accept you for who you are and don’t place expectations on you or judge you. And, if you can, get therapy. I resisted that last one for the longest time, but it was extremely helpful.

Lisa:

When it comes to questioning, I can only tell you to trust your heart for once, but still use your brain. If something appears to be wrong, try to find out why. You might be the one who’s right in the matter. Just because certain things work for your parents or people in your environment doesn’t mean they’ll work for you. At the end of your life, you’ll be the one responsible for everything you did. Not your Mom and Dad, not your siblings, not your pastor or friends. You’ll have to answer to yourself why you handled things that way. If you feel like you can’t do things the way your parents tell you to do, do what’s right for yourself. It’s hard to disappoint people you love, I know that.

If you feel it’s not necessary to wear skirts all day, you’re probably right. If you feel it’s wrong to have one kid after the other, you’re probably right. If you feel like you’re in the process of marrying the wrong person, you’re most likely right. Remember that you will hurt people when you question their beliefs, but you will hurt even more if you just keep going along with something that isn’t 100% your own conviction.

Mattie:

Be kind with yourself. Do what works, and don’t agonize over feeling disloyal or like a bad Christian. Processing takes time. Find someone safe you can talk to as you process these things. It’s okay to grieve and be angry, but do look forward and enjoy where you are now.

Melissa:

Know that it’s OK. You are a valuable person with many things to contribute to this world and the people in your life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a counselor or therapist. Try out new things and let yourself figure out who you are and what you like. No one has it all figured out, so hang in there. Life gets a whole lot better.

Sarah:

Do not be afraid to ask questions of people outside your group. People within the PF/QF lifestyle will have a cookie cutter answer for every question, try branching out a little, you might be surprised at what you hear! If you’re just questioning the system, it can’t hurt to hear another perspective. If you’re leaving the system, you NEED to hear from other people. People make a huge effort to drag you back when you start to leave, hearing from sane people on the outside can make all the difference.

Sierra:

Trust yourself. You know what’s right and wrong, and it’s not what people are telling you. Who you are is not evil. You will not become a heroin-addicted psychopath if you leave your church. You can be whoever you feel like you are underneath it all. It’s your choice. It’s your life. Start living it as soon as you can. (And no, that doesn’t make you “selfish.”)

Tricia:

I’d advise them not to neglect examining the emotional and psychological effects of their experience. It can be so easy, when one starts on this journey, to intellectualize it all, to think it’s simply a matter of critiquing a faulty ideology and switching to a better one. While that is an important part of the process (and one that will take time and certainly look different for different people), I believe to truly reclaim your life and sense of freedom you have to do the harder work of addressing any underlying wounds and abuse that may have occurred. You don’t want to spend your life in bondage to the past as one of the walking wounded if healing is available.

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Raised Quiverfull Introduction — Helping Others Summary

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • AnotherOne

    I would add that once you realize that your family’s/community’s beliefs aren’t for you, you should be proactive in loosening your practical and emotional dependencies on them by forging financial independence and supportive relationships outside fundamentalist circles. Also, you don’t owe it to anyone to explain yourself–you can think through things on your own, and you can say that things aren’t up for discussion. Especially in the beginning stages of questioning and leaving, silence can give you power in situations where you’re vulnerable. Avoid fraught, lopsided conversations where you’re alone against multiple people who have a lot of emotional and practical power over you. And give yourself space to have fun without second guessing everything about it. Do “normal” things that you’ve always wanted to do but felt guilty about.

  • Karen

    I was not raised CP/QF, but I did grow up an only child with an obsessive mother who tried to mold me into her image of a perfect daughter: quiet, unadventurous, hard-working, subservient to men and elders, and willing to produce as many grandchildren as possible. This was what “ladylike” behavior was, and her only daughter was going to be “ladylike”. Anything I wanted that was outside the mold was SELFISH. And it was a SIN to be selfish.

    With that background in mind, let me put in a good word for proper selfishness. Everyone was born with gifts unique to each individual person. Whether you believe they come from God, or whether you got them by the luck of the genetic draw, it seems only properly selfish to use them, in any ethical way. If you have the skills and inclination for any particular profession, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t go in that direction because you’re the wrong gender, shape, color, sexual orientation, etc. Developing you by developing your gifts puts you in a position to help make the rest of the world a better place for your family, your friends, and the world at large. I firmly believe in proper selfishness.

    Likewise taking good care of yourself by eating right, sleeping, keeping up with medical care, taking time off to play (whatever that works out to in your adult life) makes you able to be a better supporter of the people you love and helps keep the bigger picture of life in perspective. That’s also proper selfishness.

    Also don’t let anyone tell you that pursuing X will make you a bad parent, either now or sometime in the future. There are LOTS of counterexamples out in the world, not matter what X is, as long as it is ethical. That doesn’t mean that balancing work/school/family is easy — it isn’t. (And if you’re sure it is, you’re not doing enough of something — guys, especially, are you reading this?) Just about everyone I know raises or raised a family with both spouses working, and there were as many ways to sort out the priorities of doing that as there were parents. And there are those like me who chose not to raise a family. Yes, it was selfish, but given the personal circumstances it was proper selfishness.


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