Worthwhile Reads: Letter to 18 Year Old Self

The Huffington Post recently published an article by a young woman who grew up in the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements and left at age 18. The article is called Christian Woman Writes Letter to 18 Year Old Self. In this article, Lauren Dubinsky seeks to give advice to other young people facing the same situations and choices she did.

Something you may have noticed if you are following the Raised Quiverfull project is that young people who leave the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements tend to make one of two main choices when it comes to religion. They either embrace a much gentler and less literal form of Christianity or spirituality in general (see, for example, Latebloomer, Mattie, or Tricia) or they question religion altogether and move toward atheism or agnosticism (see, for example, Melissa, Joe, or myself).

This difference can make things interesting as the CP/QF survivor who remains Christian or simply spiritual looks in confusion at the CP/QF survivor who questions God’s existence entirely, and vice versa. Fortunately, I have so far seen a great deal of cooperation and understanding between the two groups. My point in saying all this here, though, is simply to point out that Lauren’s article above is an excellent representative of the journeys of CP/QF survivors who remain Christian or simply spiritual.

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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.

  • http://thaliasmusingsnovels.com/ Amethyst

    I’m one who ended up as a progressive Christian. My religious views are basically Unitarian/Universalist. I don’t know whether God exists and don’t believe I ever can. For personal, subjective reasons that I’ll probably never be able to fully explain, I made a conscious decision to continue believing he (she? ze?) does, anyway.

    That said, I can understand why someone at that crossroads would make the opposite decision. While I might disagree with their conclusion, I can see that they came by it as honestly as I came by mine. I really appreciate people like Libby Anne who state their beliefs in a firm, uncompromising way, yet still foster a spirit of cooperation and acceptance toward those who don’t share them.

    • shadowspring

      Agree . And well put!

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      Agree. Libby Anne is great at that =)

  • AnotherOne

    I’m also thankful for the cooperation between people who’ve left QF/CP, despite differences in the way we’ve left. I honestly think the cooperation speaks volumes about the level of trauma involved in living and leaving QF/CP. Once you go through that, it’s pretty fucking hard to care about the niceties of whether a person with whom you share such tremendous experiential common ground identifies as a liberal Christian, an agnostic, an atheist, or whatever else. At least that’s the case for me.

    Thanks for the link, Libby. Despite the fact that I still identify as Christian, I don’t share any of Lauren’s confidence about God. Nonetheless, it was moving to hear her story, and this sentence took my breath away. It sums up my leaving home like no sentence I’ve ever been able to string together myself: “Much of leaving was a clean break, but much of it was a slow, brutal tearing apart.”

  • Karen

    I wonder if it’s better to leave the trappings of patriarchical training slowly or quickly? I took my own sweet time about jettisoning the teachings my mother instilled in me from an early age… even though I know in my head that they were ridiculous, I knew my father didn’t condone them, I knew my husband didn’t condone them… I was supposed to be an equal partner in everything, but with this dragon in the back of my mind shouting, “But you’re just a woman!” I suspect you who have gone quickly have done yourselves a favor, though you’ll probably have a small dragon whispering in your ear “pssst. You’re only a woman” for awhile. Deny that dragon! Be yourselves! I lost a lot of years of my life thinking that I shouldn’t be myself. Don’t buy it!!!!

  • Karen

    For the “dragon” references, check out Professor Diggins’ Dragons
    my favorite young adult book. Find it used or beg the publisher to reissue it; it has a lot of positive and encouraging things to say about fighting one’s own dragons.