Raised Quiverfull: How Many Remained?

Among those you grew up around who were also raised with Christian Patriarchy/Quiverfull ideology, what proportion has remained in the movement and what proportion has left?


The majority have left the movement and still cling to the religion.  I relate more to my new friends.


I am not really in contact with any of the parents of the movement; however, of the teens, I don’t know of anyone who remained in the movement in adulthood.  Today, they cover a wide range of beliefs from conservative Christian through liberal atheist.  But a common theme among all of them is that they believe they were damaged by the CP/Q culture and teachings at Reb Bradley’s church Hope Chapel.

Libby Anne:

It’s hard to say because I was one of the oldest in my community, and also because I’ve lost touch with a lot of those I grew up with since leaving and starting my own life elsewhere. Honestly, not many left. Most of the girls I grew up closest to are still living with their parents, even as they are now in their early- to mid-twenties. Some went to college, but then moved back home. Only one is married. Thinking about it, while there is some variation in current belief I honestly can’t find a single girl from my circle of close friends growing up who has actually straight out rejected Christian Patriarchy/Quiverfull ideology.


I know of some young people who have left, but it’s a rather small percentage. I don’t have any contacts with those people anymore so I’m not up to date on how many more have left since I left. Most are just too afraid to sacrifice their families. I think they hide the fact that they think differently and hope to God they’ll find a spouse who thinks the same way, so they can hide it together. It’s all about keeping up that image.


The proportion of my peers from CP/QF (and SGM) leaving the movement grows every few months or so. Honestly, it’s almost too early to really say how many will leave and how many will stay—my peer group is either still in college or just finishing up and only a few have gotten married and settled down. I expect as more go through adult life transitions, more will realize that strict complementarianism doesn’t work well in marriage, that courtship can still leave them brokenhearted, and that they need to make adult decisions independently from their parents. Right now, about half of my peers have either accepted that SGM isn’t the “only good church” out there, and have moved beyond the idealism of courtship. Others are still in SGM or similar churches, and don’t realize that the Church is much bigger than their limited experience, and that there are happy, healthy families whose guiding principles defy all their current assumptions.


Many of the family friends are still heavily involved. So far all of my adult siblings have questioned a lot and are on their own journeys out of the mindset. I did not have that many personal friends, but the few I did have are still in the mindset.


Most have stayed. Almost all of them actually. Except my sisters and I. My parents have also stepped away from most of their previous ideology, but not my friends. I have even seen my friend and cousin walk straight into the ideology right before my eyes. She has given up all her dreams to be with a boy who controls her and her relationships in the name of God.


I am the only one of my circle of friends who left.


Sometimes defining the “ins and outs” of things can be a bit tricky, since a lot of this is about a mindset more than one particular defining characteristic. But. . . I would say about 75% have stayed Christian, although many have taken their faith in different directions than their parents outlined, about 50% still plan to homeschool their children, and only a very small percentage still speak of Phillips, Gothard, and their ilk with anything other than amusement, irritation, or disdain. I doubt that adulation for these speakers is going to continue into the second generation, although some of the trends they started may or may not be perpetuated. A lot of us still don’t know for sure where we’re going in many areas. At least, this is my perception.

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Raised Quiverfull Introduction — Questioning Summary

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Fifty Shades of Disagreement: Evangelicals and Feminists on Fifty Shades of Grey
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.

  • shadowspring

    Thanks, grads, for sharing your stories.

    I hope more and more of your peers make it out.

  • Karen

    I’m fascinated, but not surprised, that people’s observations here vary a lot. But family can mean a LOT, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time with them.

    When I was sorting out my non-Catholicism (atheism didn’t come until much later) I offended my Catholic mother, though not my Lutheran father, by choosing a non-Catholic, Christian-but-questioning, college classmate as a husband. Best Beloved was smart, ready to take on any argument in which he felt he was right (and he was big on evidence, so he was mostly right!) and *gasp* he rode a motorcycle. All that meant he was not *respectful* enough. Truth was, Mama felt her only child should be “properly courted”. Best Beloved and I hadn’t dated much. We did study a lot together, and we really did study, not fool around; I struggled with things he found easy and vice-versa. We announced our engagement a year before our marriage, and though we kept separate households in the same apartment complex, most nights found us together in his bed. Mama could’ve interpolated that, but she was sure her Only Child would be a Virgin on her Marriage Bed. Whatever.

    It took a few years before Mama warmed up to him, and that was only because he treated me so well. She harassed me constantly to start a family, but by that time I knew I suffered from depression and probably couldn’t parent well. She basically refused to be there for me during the years when I struggled mightily with depression, and the doc tried medicine after medicine until we finally found a combination that worked. Her attitude: you have a fine husband, you live in a nice house, you aren’t physically suffering… you have nothing to be depressed about! And I want grandchildren!!!!!

    Mama and I finally, in her last years, found amicable ground to relate on… but we were never close. So it doesn’t take a CP/QF household to abuse you; one benighted parent, absolutely sure that his or her scheme is right for you, can do the job handily.

    Oh, and what was Dad doing during all this? Staying out of it, of course! But we became fast friends after Mama passed on.

  • Karen

    Oh, and Best Beloved and I celebrate our 32nd anniversary this month.

  • mostlylurking

    I can’t help but wonder what these stay-at-home daughters will do when they reach their mid-thirties and realize that Prince Charming won’t arrive and the dozen kids just aren’t going to happen. That “the highest calling” may never come to them, and life is passing them by. What will happen then?