CTBHHM: Adam Knew (But It’s Eve’s Fault)

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 110-111

Debi has previously said that God creates men with armor and women without, so that mean can use their reason to stand against Satan’s temptations and make sound decisions while women use their feelings to tenderly care for their children and keep the home. Women, Debi says, are to stand behind the armor of their men, and thus be protected. The reason Eve at the apple, Debi says, is that she stepped out from Adam’s armor and was thus vulnerable. Some of you readers raised a question: If this is so, why did Adam also eat the apple? Why didn’t his armor protect him and keep him from doing so? In this section, Debi answers that question.

God had instructed Adam, and Adam had instructed Eve. Adam clearly understood that Satan’s promise of spiritual enlightenment was a diabolical lie against God. The natural armor God had given Adam granted him enough understanding to doubt the Devil and resist his lies. But Adam’s armor had one small weak spot.

I bet you all know what’s coming next.

He was not ruled by his feelings except where it concerned his woman.

Yep. We get to blame Adam’s sin on eve. Surprise surprise.

Adam’s soul was exposed and vulnerable to the woman he loved. He wanted her happy, even if it meant disobeying God and going against his natural understanding of truth. He was willing to set aside reason for his woman. Even’s influence over Adam changed the course of history.

All the evil in the world is a result of women’s innate influence over men, apparently. As I read this, I kept asking myself where I’d heard this before. And then I realized. The idea that when men are around women, their natural reason disappears—the idea that women need to cover up and not show skin because otherwise men won’t be able to restrain themselves. This idea that women are men’s downfall is pervasive in this subculture. Indeed, I sometimes wonder if the patriarchal insistence on controlling women stems from some sort of deep fear of women’s supposed power over men.

We need to be aware of the power we have to seduce our husbands into following us into disregarding the clear, objective works of God. Adam, the first man, Samson, the strongest man, Solomon, the wisest man, and even David, the man listed as being after God’s own heart, were all brought down by the woman they loved. When a man loves a woman and wants to make her happy, he will often acquiesce in spiritual matters because of the affection he holds for her in his heart. Your husband may set aside reason and good judgement if you pressure him and let him feel your displeasure and unhappiness.

Wait. Wait. Adam ate the fruit after Eve simply offered it to him, no seduction involved. Delilah was indeed a seductress and did indeed portray Samson, but that was central to her character as a person, not something that stemmed from her identity as a woman. Solomon married 700 wives and took 300 concubine, cementing alliances right and left. This is women’s fault how? Solomon choose to marry those women, they didn’t come dance naked in front of him demanding a marriage certificate. I’m seriously not seeing this as an example of women seducing their husbands. Finally, all Bathsheba did was take a bath on her roof. David is the one who was looking at her and he is the one who summoned her and he is the one who had Uriah killed. Apparently women seduce men by, like, existing—which ties pretty well into my previous paragraph.

Do you know what I’m seeing here? I’m seeing an inability to assign any form of personal responsibility to men. And once again, I was wondering where I’d seen this before and then I remembered. There’s this idea within fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism that if a man cheats on his wife, it’s probably partially or even totally his wife’s fault. In fact, sometimes this is so extreme that everything—and I do mean everything—is blamed on the wife. The husband is failing in business? His wife must not be supporting him. The husband isn’t being a good spiritual leader? His wife must be tearing him down at home. The husband leaves his wife and children? His wife must have been a nag. And this isn’t done the other way around. If a wife is a nag, no one says her husband must be so slow to do household repairs that her only recourse is to nag him. When are held personally responsible; men get off the hook.

In a man’s heart, the place a woman holds will lead him into great strength or great weakness, depending on the woman and the man. It is there that men rise to great glory with their women, or they are dragged into shame and disgrace by them, or worse yet, are left unused by God.

Here we go again.

Remember the crazy lady who drove her family to financial ruin because she felt led of God to move and change her husband’s business? Her husband KNEW it would not work, but he could not stand against her constant pleading and her spiritual intensity.

So the husband knew that the financial plan the wife was urging him to follow would end up being an utter failure, but he followed it anyway and it’s all his wife’s fault because he couldn’t help it? I mean, really?

Let’s imagine for a moment that there are two investment bankers, partners in business. Their names are Judy and Bob. Judy pushes for a daring business plan that Bob knows for certain—and it’s not just a hunch—can only end in failure, utter ruin, and the lost of all of their clients funds. But Judy just keeps pushing, so Bob finally just gives in and all of the money is lost. Who would we blame for losing the clients’ funds? I’m thinking that we would put the blame on both of them, but perhaps especially Bob since Bob knew that the actions he took would result in losing all of his clients funds while Judy honestly thought it would work out. But Debi doesn’t see things that way. In Debi’s world, Bob would be absolved of all blame because Judy had boobs, which clearly made it so that Bob couldn’t do anything but give in. A man cannot, apparently, stand up under a woman’s constant nagging. Because, boobs. Or something.

Look, if a wife is advising her husband to follow an unwise financial plan and won’t listen to the facts or look at the data or consider that she might be wrong about it, that’s obviously wrong. But that does not absolve her husband from any responsibility for choosing, of his own volition, to heed her urging and follow her bad financial plan. We are all responsible for our own actions, including men, yes, even when women are present and involved. Once again I’m hearkening back to the idea that women need to dress modestly because men just can’t help themselves.

Men are still allowing women to take the spiritual lead, and women are confidently leading just as Eve did. They believe they are doing what is good for the family. It is not an act of carnal lust. It is a religious act driven by rebellion. Women are simply deceived.

This whole time Debi has been granting women agency while removing it from men, but now she appears to take that agency away from women too—women are simply deceived when they step out as spiritual leaders, but they honestly think that what they are doing is right and good. So, apparently, it goes like this: Satan deceives woman, woman is weak spot in man’s armor, bringing man down as well. This sounds to me like a colossally bad setup. Why would you, if you were God, create women without armor and thus fully susceptible to temptation and deception, and create men such that anything concerning women is a weak spot in their armor? Who thought that was a good idea?

This is why God has so carefully taught us ladies to observe and maintain our roles as help meets. It is why we must implicitly trust God’s judgement as to our duties, regardless of how we “feel.”

Note, once again, the gaslighting and poisoning of the well going on here. Debi is telling women, for the millionth time, that they must not pay any mind to how they “feel.” Instead, they have to just trust what God has said in his Word (aka what Debi has said in her book). This strikes me as similar to telling the manager of a nuclear power plant to ignore the readers that tell things like the different chambers heat or pressure levels and instead to always keep the switches locked a certain way, because that’s what is illustrated on the front of the manual. Temperature readings? Come on! The front of the manual clearly shows the switches positioned just so! Ignore those silly temperature readings. Somehow, I don’t see that ending well.

God gave us a careful and stern warning as to what women would become in the last days. The prophetic picture of this woman is now in full array. It is the spiritual Jezebel, who is the exact opposite of a help meet, that is the death knell of the most noble institution on the earth—the family.

And this is why I generally distrust any organization that has the word “family” in the title. I’m pretty sure the Family Research Council and the American Family Association mean something very different when they say the word “family” than I mean when I say the word “family”—and I’m pretty sure that’s the case here too. See, in my book, a woman who displays leadership characteristics or takes her place as the spiritual leader of the family does absolutely nothing to threaten “the family.” So clearly, when Debi says “the family” she actually means “the traditional, patriarchal family.”

The next sections deal with Jezebel and then Ruth, Esther, and the Proverbs 31 woman. But for now, I just want to finish this post by emphasizing the extent to which Debi’s writing is anti-man in addition to being anti-woman. Debi doesn’t just erase women’s agency, she erases men’s agency as well. In Debi’s world, men can’t help but acquiesce to women’s doe eyed looks, are “ruled by their feelings” when it comes to women, and literally lose control of their own actions when faced with an attractive and endearing woman. Honestly, to me Debi’s entire book reads like an attempt to ruin relationship by giving such twisted advice that husbands and wives will be rendered incapable of actually sitting down face to face and communicating and unable to discuss issues and make plans like two competent adults.

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.

  • Christine

    Forgive me for stating the obvious, but this argument (how men will always listen to what their wives say, no matter how bad an idea it is) seems to be an excellent argument against men having leadership positions. If they are this incapable of making good decisions when faced with the least bit of resistance, they should not be allowed to make decisions.

    • David S.

      According to Debi, women would just be worse. I suppose a logical conclusion from Debi’s claims is that we should have gay men in all the leadership positions; no susceptibility to irrational women.

      • Kellen Connor

        Ha-ha-ha, I swear before I die I’m going to find the opportunity to say that to Debi Pearl’s face.

      • persephone

        Please promise to post the video to YouTube.

      • http://www.facebook.com/melody.marie Melody Jones

        I second Persephone–you HAVE to put it up on YT! That would be the best thing ever!

      • forgedimagination

        Totally just tweeted @NGJMinistries with this. Wonder if they’ll respond?

      • Hat Stealer

        Human beings: terrible at everything.

        Thanks God!

      • lyricalpolyphony

        YES. That is a wonderful idea.

  • Cathy W


    Remember the crazy lady who drove her family to financial ruin because she felt led of God to move and change her husband’s business? Her husband KNEW it would not work, but he could not stand against her constant pleading and her spiritual intensity.

    Double standart alert!: if the husband feels “led of God” to move and change businesses and the wife KNOWS it’ll lead the family to ruin, she’s supposed to shut up and let the family be ruined.

    • grindstone

      My first thought was: oh, the guy who wanted to start a dairy? But no, his plan was stellar, it was the woman’s plan that was evil. Of course. Because vagina.

      • persephone

        Those darn lady bits screwing up the world.

      • Cathy W

        I wonder: is there a safe radius? Do I need to keep my “parts” more than 5 feet away from my husband while he’s planning our lives? Ten? Not in the same room? We’re safe as long as I stay in the kitchen?

      • Kate Monster

        That’s up to him, obviously. “Your” parts. Silly, worldly woman–they’re your husband’s parts, and he gets to decide what you do with them at all times.

      • Donsie

        I think those calico skirts and dresses (plus apron/pinafore) that are so popular among certain American Fundamentalist Christians help shield the womanly influence of said parts somewhat.

      • Kate Monster

        EXACTLY! I thought, “Yes, I remember that made-up story you told us from earlier, except it was the other way around, wasn’t it?” Oh, and I think when it was the MAN’s ridiculous idea, everything worked out for the best despite that horrible, nagging Eve who tried to stand in his righteous, manly way.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Wait, where does the bible say that Adam loved Eve? Where does the bible say anything at all about Adam and Eve knowing what love is? They were the first two human beings to exist, and this was before sin was introduced, so there would be no horrible, misguiding emotions. All they had was God’s notion of companionship.

    • Sally

      Yes, Eve had to step out from behind Adam’s armor in order to be available for the snake to deceive. It seems that Debi’s whole point is that it is sinful for a woman to do so. So Eve sinned before she even heard the snake. Sounds to me like sin was already in the world before the snake even talked, let alone before Eve bit of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.

      • sylvia_rachel

        Funny how complicated this “literal” reading of the story gets, isn’t it … o_O

  • Kellen Connor

    I kind of want Libby to publish a book of these reviews, along with all the best comments. I know I’d buy a copy. This is some of the best reading I’ve had in years.

    • Kate Monster

      I will also buy this book. And possibly give some choice relatives their own copies.

    • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

      I get so frustrated I cant read all the posts, but I LOVE the comments sections :) I would buy this book too. Self-publishing on Kindle shouldn’t be too hard?

  • dj_pomegranate

    Sooooo ok. God made men logical and women emotional. But women’s emotions can’t be trusted (ever, apparently), and men are only logical when not being tempted by a woman. Women can’t lead, can’t trust their intuition, even though that’s their one God-given characteristic, and aren’t good at logic or decision-making. So…the only thing women are good for, apparently, is…having sex with their husbands? Seriously, in DebiLand, what else can they do?

    • Cathy W

      Cooking and cleaning, as long as she doesn’t contradict her husband if he tells her what groceries to buy or expect him to take out the trash.

      • dj_pomegranate

        Right? Why did God bother creating us to be “emotional” if the only things our emotions are good for is seduction and sin? What kind of God does that, Debi? (Hint: A TERRIBLE ONE.)

    • Cathy W

      Oh, and also providing constant reassurance that he’s wonderful.

    • kagekiri

      Making babies, raising kids, writing books to make sure other women don’t ever try to lead…

      • Sally

        Raising kids with methods from a booka written by a non-emotional man. AS we’ve said in a previous thread, why does she even need her emotions for child-rearing? She’s not even trusted to do that right.

    • http://twitter.com/TrollfaceMcFart Trollface McGee

      See it’s like this:
      God was given 7 days to create the world. So over the days he created the sky and clouds and animals and it was all going great but he was kinda burned out after he made man so he only made the guy and then decided to take a break.
      Then Buddha comes along and is all like “God, you know your universe is due like tomorrow.”
      And God was like “Dude, I’m going to pull an all-nighter” but when he gets back to his plan for man only to find that the dog he created ate the designs. So God asked for an extension but was denied so he had to put woman together at the last minute and all he had to work with was spare ribs which is why women are bad at everything.
      (though I’m sure that Debi could rewrite this better to put more fault on women for existing or something)

  • MyOwnPerson

    ‘This is why God has so carefully taught us ladies to observe and maintain our roles as help meets. It is why we must implicitly trust God’s judgement as to our duties, regardless of how we “feel.”’

    Did she really say “help meets”? Wouldn’t it be “helps meet”? Now it sounds even more like the woman is just a piece of meat purposed to please her husband.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1069731366 Karen Cox

      That phrasing made me think of “track meet” or “swim meet,” as though wives get together occasionally to have contests in helping, I suppose with our husbands as judges.

      • Sally

        LOL! Let’s do it.

    • Sally

      It’s such a weird term, it’s hard to say. Isn’t “meet” the noun and “help” the adjective modifying it? In that case, you would pluralize the noun (meet). Whereas with something like “mother-in-law,” the noun is “mother,” so we say “mothers-in-law” because the mothers are plural, not the law. But the whole expression is stupid in the first place in the 21 century (on so many levels!)

      • sylvia_rachel

        Actually “help” is the noun and “meet” is the adjective — except the *actual* text is something like “a help meet for him”, where “help” is the noun and “meet for him” is an adjectival phrase (disclaimer: I do know what I’m talking about, but my metalanguage may not be 100% kosher). We don’t really use “help” in this sense anymore (although I guess “the help” would be a somewhat more contemporary usage); when we want to describe someone whose function is to help someone else, we usually call him/her a “helper”.

        An idiomatic modern English translation of the Hebrew עזר כנגדו (ezer kenegdo) would, I believe, be more like “suitable helper” or “appropriate helper” … although כנגדו is actually a preposition meaning something like* “against” or “opposite” or “contrary to” or, by extension I guess, “facing / face to face with”. Which makes you think…

        *Note that my Hebrew is not super fluent, and I am working with a dictionary.

      • Alix

        I’ve seen “help” used this way (as a noun meaning, essentially, helper) quite a bit. It’s “meet” in this usage that’s fallen out of use, at least in the dialect of English I use.

      • sylvia_rachel

        I think that use of “help” may now be regional/dialectal — it’s certainly not common around here (Ontario) or where I grew up (Alberta). The degree to which English usage varies geographically is incredible and fascinating!

        Agree on “meet”, though. I think I have heard that usage from a living person exactly never.

      • Alix

        I’ve heard “meet” used that way by people hamming it up at renfairs, but that … kind of doesn’t count.

        The degree to which English usage varies geographically is incredible and fascinating!

        Agreed!

      • Sally

        Very interesting. Thank you for the explanation.

    • Alice

      It’s from the King James Bible so it’s old English.

      • Conuly

        No, actually, it’s Early Modern English. Old English would be pretty darn incomprehensible. Think Beowulf in the original.

        http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/beowulf-oe.asp

      • Sally

        Yes, think “Elizabethan English,” not “Old English.” Old English is the language spoken when the Anglos and the Saxons first invaded Britain.

      • Alice

        Sorry, I didn’t pay much attention when I took the Linguistics class. :)

    • Conuly

      Meet in that sense more likely means something like “proper” or “acceptable”. It’s a very archaic word.

      • MyOwnPerson

        Yeah, it means suitable. So she said “help suitables” as a plural noun.

      • Alix

        “Fitting” with strong connotations of good or natural right is another way to gloss it, but yeah.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=576560262 Desley Noneofyerbiz

    Holy crap. For years I had used all my persuasive abilities to try and get my husband to stop abusing my kid. My womanood must be broken, Debi. :(

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=576560262 Desley Noneofyerbiz

      Or maybe I’m just not trying hard enough to be a woman.

      • http://lanahobbs.wordpress.com/ lana hobbs

        I think womanly wiles only push men to sin. If you want to manipulate him into doing better you do it by submitting to abuse with a smile and wait for god to work. :/

  • Ahab

    Maybe she thinks that if everyone is as miserable in their relationships as she is, her life won’t seem so bad.

    • persephone

      That’s the true evil. Everyone has to be just like them, even though they’re miserable and unhappy.

  • persephone

    That’s some pretty crap armor there. I’ve never, ever understood why it was Eve’s fault. The snake fooled her, but Adam knowingly made a choice.

  • Donsie

    Huh, I thought David’s weakness was Jonathan.

  • Lisa

    I never saw it this way, but I’m seriously starting to believe that Debi is a victim of serious emotional and spiritual abuse. Sort of a Stockholm-Syndrome, you know? Now she’s trying to convince everyone that what happened (happens) to her is ok, and that it’s a wonderful life once you accept it.
    Oh and by the way, I think if the serpent had just convinced Eve to convince Adam to jump off the cliff into oblivion (which he certainly would’ve done!), we would have been spared with a lot of annoying problems.

    • Mary C

      I agree. I think the entire book is Debi rationalizing what her life became after hastily marrying someone who turned out to be not all that nice. I might have some sympathy for her if she wasn’t doing real harm to so many people.

    • Alix

      I’m seriously starting to believe that Debi is a victim of serious emotional and spiritual abuse.

      I am pretty damn sure you’re right.

      But – and here I out myself as a coldhearted bitch – there’s a part of me that doesn’t. fucking. care. It … is really damn hard for me to even pity someone like Debi Pearl, who’s decided to start propagating abuse onto others. I mean, I get why I should pity her, but there’s a huge part of me that just balks at sympathizing with someone who’s hurting so many others, regardless of their reasons for it.

      …I realize this is a problem, and it’s something I really struggle with. I’ve got a considerable misanthropic streak, and it’s not exactly something I’m proud of. I guess I’m writing this because I really wonder how others square sympathy or pity for Debi with any anger over what she’s doing or sympathy towards victims of her teachings?

      • tsara

        I haven’t actually seen many people come out and say that they pity her, or say that we should lay off criticizing her because of it.

        But there is some value in recognizing how she can believe the things she believes and do the things she does — she’s an excellent case study in how Patriarchy works, obvious enough that even people who don’t believe in Patriarchy notice it. (the people who believe that patriarchy is a good thing, on the other hand…)

        You don’t have to pity or sympathize with her. Anger or disgust or (in my case) icky skeeved-out feelings — or, actually, any emotions — are perfectly legitimate.

      • Alix

        I haven’t actually seen many people . . . say that we should lay off criticizing her because of it.

        I haven’t seen that, either.

        I can see how it’s valuable to recognize how she came to believe this crap, and I see what you’re saying about Debi being a good case study.

        You don’t have to pity or sympathize with her. Anger or disgust or (in my case) icky skeeved-out feelings — or, actually, any emotions — are perfectly legitimate.

        That’s … actually kind of reassuring.

        I guess my whole thing is that, to me, sympathy and empathy are sort of zero-sum, at least in situations like this. Like, I feel like if I do sympathize with or pity Debi I’m not just taking away sympathy from her victims, but somehow disdaining (not quite the right word…) them. But – and this is probably just me – it tends to feel like expressions of how abused Debi must be (which, I reiterate, I agree with) are asking for some sympathy/pity/kindness towards her, and … yeah, I don’t know. :/ I don’t navigate questions of empathy/sympathy/pity well, and that’s not even getting into my issues with how those things intersect (or fail to intersect) with pragmatism.

      • tsara

        I tend to go with emotions being things that bodies/brains do that can be good heuristics, but can just as often be unhelpful.

        Harm should be recognized, the mechanisms by which it happens investigated, and it should be minimized. Feelings should definitely be consulted in that process — they will often tell people things that they didn’t consciously notice — but they should not be a substitute for rational analysis.

        (Excellent book on the subject: ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow,’ by Daniel Kahneman.)

        All feelings are valid. Recognize them, examine them, examine the situation, and do what you think is best.

        (And I’m really glad you found that reassuring. I have my own problems with emotions, empathy, and reality, and I’ve done a lot of thinking on how they should fit together because of that. And I don’t want to overstep, but I thought it might help.)

      • Alix

        Harm should be recognized, the mechanisms by which it happens investigated, and it should be minimized. Feelings should definitely be consulted in that process — they will often tell people things that they didn’t consciously notice — but they should not be a substitute for rational analysis.

        I agree with all that.

        I think, for me, part of the problem is that I grew up around people – and am still around a lot of people – who do the whole “you should love everybody, even/especially your enemies”-type thing. Which is … not necessarily a bad philosophy, but has the unfortunate side effect of demonizing those of us who … don’t love our enemies, or feel remotely kindly towards them, and it’s often hard for me to suss out a good balance between emotions and practical ethical responses. The fact that an awful lot of people – regardless of their particular religion or philosophy – still tend to frame moral and ethical issues in terms of emotional responses … really, really doesn’t help.

        Thank you for the book recommendation! I’ll definitely be checking that out.

      • tsara

        I grew up… basically idealizing Spock, and thinking that things like emotion and empathy and liking people were for the weak and stupid. (That idea wasn’t everywhere around me, it’s just the one that I latched on to most strongly.)

        I have a lot of trouble recognizing and acknowledging my feelings, and even more trouble not hating myself for them. Combined with my other issues, this leads to fun things like crying or panicking over tiny little things (example: my family decided to get hamburgers. I wanted subs. The poor Licks employee who tried to take my order was visibly very uncomfortable when my response was to start crying) because I didn’t realize that I was stressed or upset about something, and those fun things tend to interact with my reactions to them and other people’s reactions to them and my reactions to other people’s reactions in feedback loops that can last for hours, and… yeah.

        I haven’t really noticed any general societal tendencies to frame moral and ethical issues in terms of emotional responses (excluding anti-gay and pro-life activists and politicians), but that’s probably partly attributable to my issues above, and partly attributable to the crowds I run in.

        I do think that any ought statements telling people how to feel should be examined pretty critically before being accepted, because they (very nearly universally, in my experience) lack any sort of nuance, balance, or consideration for whether or not having those feelings — or trying to have those feelings — would, practically speaking, be… helpful, I guess.

        I mean, there’s nothing wrong with having the moral opinion that we should all love everyone, even/especially our enemies, just like there’s nothing wrong with having the moral position that we shouldn’t have abortions after all of the fetus’s brain structures exist.

        Where it goes wrong is in turning personal moral opinions and/or judgments that are basically ideals or judgments based on ideals and turning them into prescriptions to hurl at people and/or expect people to live by, rather than making them goals to work towards in practical ways…
        (while also recognizing that other people may not agree with you — someone who has strong moral feelings against abortion can find common ground with someone who doesn’t particularly by:
        -advocating for sensible regulations and oversight for providers [for the anti-abortion pro-choicer: recognizing harm (to fetuses) and investigating mechanisms; for the other: recognizing harm (to pregnant people), investigating mechanisms, and doing some minimizing of harm];
        -working and advocating for policies that reduce unplanned pregnancies [for the AAPC: minimizing harm (to fetuses); for the other: minimizing harm (to pregnant people [both harm from abortion procedures themselves and from the emotional/psychological train wreck I imagine an unplanned pregnancy could be, whether or not the person in question ultimately decides to go through with it])];
        -working and advocating for more research and funding for ways to recognize fetal abnormalities earlier in pregnancies, and for improving fetal and maternal care so that problems that currently lead to the medical abortions of many wanted fetuses; short, painful lives for the babies; and/or to physical and/or emotional trauma [or, y'know, death] for people who intended to give birth [again: minimizing harm.])

        I… lost track of where I was going with this. I’ll probably be back to fix it or add to it in a little while.

      • Kelly

        I always see that kind of “love” as an affirmation that they are human and not faceless, nameless monsters. Love as in, they deserve to have basic human care as any other human being. Not as in liking or even respecting the person. This vague “love” helps me remember that the monsters — the abusers, the rapists, the con men, the dictators etc all have history. If we declare them all as “other” than we are misled into believing that they are a singular, unusual example. We are then unprepared when we encounter other similarly dangerous people. This vague “love” also helps me avoid ever becoming one of them since so much of their harm comes from a lack of empathy and care.

      • Alix

        Interesting. And I agree with the sentiment and the guideline – I guess my problem might be that “love” used as a term for a moral guideline has too much baggage for me? Or maybe is too easily confused with other things, like the emotion? Not that I know what other term to use for what you describe.

        (Words are hard. :/ Dammit.)

      • sylvia_rachel

        I’ve said at least once before in this space that I feel sorry for Debi. I really do — I never used to, when I knew her only through her writing about beating the hell out of raising children, but the more I read Libby Anne’s posts explicating this book, the more I feel sorry for Debi. Her life since she married Michael must have been decade after decade of awfulness, and it needn’t have been like that; I feel bad for the life she could have had if she hadn’t married a sociopath.

        But.

        As I think I’ve also said before, my feeling sorry for Debi has a very definite limit. Because although much of CTBHHM reads like a memoir of spousal abuse and a cry for help, that is not what Debi is consciously doing; what she is consciously doing, or at least claiming loudly to be doing, is teach other (young, vulnerable, sheltered) women (who don’t know any better) how to end up, and stay stuck in, the same appalling kind of non-relationship relationship. And that is NOT OKAY.

        I don’t think sympathy and compassion need be zero-sum, and I think it’s entirely possible to be sorry for Debi and at the same time incensed at her for pushing this kind of garbage as “helpful advice” (to teenagers yet — because there’s a whole other book for young girls who aren’t married yet ::hurl::). The fact that she has clearly had a horrible life and been abused does not excuse her writing this book, but I think it does help explain it.

      • Alix

        The fact that she has clearly had a horrible life and been abused does not excuse her writing this book, but I think it does help explain it.

        That is actually really helpful for me. Thank you.

  • http://ripeningreason.com/ Rachel Marcy (Bix)

    There’s something really extraordinary about blaming followers for a leader’s poor capabilities. “I’d be a great leader if only everyone followed me exactly like I want them to!” Not how it works.

    • sylvia_rachel

      Yeah. Show me a leader who explains his/her failures that way and I’ll show you a person who is not, in fact, a good leader. (See also: loyalty goes both ways. There’s a good Vorkosigan quote about that, but I can’t call it to mind just at the moment.)

    • NeaDods

      She has no idea what a real leader is, just as she has no idea what an adult man is like. She lives with a violent, narcissistic overgrown child who can’t tolerate the slightest question… Something else true leaders have to know how to do.

      • Kate Monster

        A real leader is like Michael. An adult man is like Michael. Michael is the archetype by which all other (less Godly) men must be measured. There is nothing else but Michael–the final and true arbiter of all that is moral and right-thinking.

    • http://www.facebook.com/melody.marie Melody Jones

      My father actually said that exact thing when I finally took my parents in to counseling. o_o *shudders*

      • http://ripeningreason.com/ Rachel Marcy (Bix)

        Oh goodness.

      • Kagi Soracia

        Mine too. My father believes all of the things in this book, and my poor mother has struggled for decades to a) figure out what the hell he wants from her, and b) try to do it without losing her identity. Since she had no idea when she married him that he thought women and marriage were supposed to be like this, and he assumed she knew because ‘that’s just the right way to do things’, and never explained anything even when she asked, because a wife questioning her husband is rebelling, and she should just do things because he says so without ever questioning or thinking for herself. They’ve been miserable for thirty years, and he finally ended up having an affair, and now they are trying to fix things but of course, in his opinion it’s all her fault. He wouldn’t have ‘made mistakes’ if she was just submitted and respecting him properly. I think she needs to cut her losses and get out of there, but she thinks it’s her duty to ‘put up with him’.

      • http://www.facebook.com/melody.marie Melody Jones

        I am so, so, so sorry that your dad did that. I hope your mom is okay in the end, but cutting her losses really does seem like the most healthy solution…

  • http://www.facebook.com/melody.marie Melody Jones

    God gave us a careful and stern warning as to what women would become in the last days. The prophetic picture of this woman is now in full array. It is the spiritual Jezebel, who is the exact opposite of a help meet, that is the death knell of the most noble institution on the earth—the family.

    And this is why I generally distrust any organization that has the word “family” in the title. I’m pretty sure the Family Research Council and the American Family Association mean something very different when they say the word “family” than I mean when I say the word “family”—and I’m pretty sure that’s the case here too.

    Same goes for organizations with the word “heritage” in the title. Christian patriarchy seems to enjoy hijacking terms and using them to support oppression in the name of Goodness and I really, really, really don’t appreciate that.

    How on earth does Debi function with this level of self-hatred and lack of agency? Like, I don’t understand how this doesn’t bother her on a fundamental level. Believing that you are contributing to the destruction of all that is good and holy in the world by existing, and that the only way to make up for it is to ignore everything that makes you unique, that you appreciate, that you want, that you might even need—how does that not cause hugely massive cognitive dissonance issues that scream out for help? :/

    • Stev84

      It’s Christian fundamentalists in general who enjoy that. They have become masters at doublespeak. “Religious freedom” is another favorite.

      • http://www.facebook.com/melody.marie Melody Jones

        Iiiii am not a fan!

    • NeaDods

      But she gets to have sex with Michael, and occasionally he gives her a compliment, so it’s totally worth it! /gag

      • http://www.facebook.com/melody.marie Melody Jones

        No sex is worth the total subjugation of self. o.o

  • sylvia_rachel

    I feel like Debi is really painting herself into a corner here — nobody seems to really have any viable options. Women have no power but all the responsibility, and men have all the power and none of the responsibility, EXCEPT women actually have all this power over men, but they mustn’t try to actually exert any of it, because [reasons], AND ALSO TOO men are actually putty in women’s hands, so…

    Well, I guess it all just circles back to “It’s always the woman’s fault.” So there we go. ::sigh::

  • BobaFuct

    “This is why God has so carefully taught us ladies to observe and maintain our roles as help meets. It is why we must implicitly trust God’s judgement as to our duties, regardless of how we “feel.””

    Really? Cuz according the story, he did a pretty shitty job teaching Eve to be a help meet, despite the whole “made in his image” thing….

    • http://www.facebook.com/melody.marie Melody Jones

      Don’t forget the literal walking in the garden every night, communing with them thing. Yet Eve was still so curious and full of questions that she ended up doing the one thing that she had been told not to do? I feel like it isn’t even a case of a screw or two being loose–all of the screws are in a heap on the table.

  • Scott_In_OH

    Libby Anne writes:

    Indeed, I sometimes wonder if the patriarchal insistence on controlling women stems from some sort of deep fear of women’s supposed power over men.

    Yes, this is exactly what I mean when I say I think they (I usually mean the Church fathers, both then and now) fear and loathe both sex and women.

    D. Pearl writes:

    [Eve’s] influence over Adam changed the course of history.

    Not the topic of this post, but this is a stark reminder of why a literal Eden is so important to some Christians. A slowly evolving species that doesn’t become human at any particular instant can’t commit a first sin and “change the course of history” in the sense she means (i.e., set up an eternal barrier between humanity and God).

    • Alix

      I’ve actually seen people try to square a literal Eden with evolution by claiming that eating the apple was symbolic of our hominid ancestors finally becoming what we would recognize as human.

      Pointing out that they’re still taking the Genesis account metaphorically doesn’t go over well.

    • Mary C

      Yes, so true. Once I realized that if there was no literal Adam and Eve, and no Eden, then there could be no original sin. And if there was no original sin, then there was no need for god to sacrifice his son to save the human race. The whole thing just falls apart without an actual Adam and Eve.

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    Wow… Debi completely made all this up. This is so wacky. I hope no one actually reads this and takes it seriously.

  • Alice

    It makes me angry when fundies criticize Bathsheba for being immodest and adulterous. She was bathing in the middle of the night, not broad daylight, and the palace roof was taller than all the other roofs. She was bathing to complete the law’s cleansing ritual, not to be seductive. Besides, it doesn’t MATTER what she did or didn’t do; David’s the one who sent for her. He essentially raped her. She could not give real consent because his position gave him absolute power over her.

    • tatortotcassie

      The story of Susannah makes it VERY clear that Susannah was an innocent, and the men who spied on her while she was privately bathing were the wicked ones, and doubly wicked for accusing her of seducing them.
      . . . maybe that’s why the story of Susannah is excluded from all but the Catholic Bibles?

      • Monala

        Heck, Protestant Bibles make it clear David was at fault in the incident with Bathsheba. God sends a prophet to condemn him and most certainly metes out punishment to David.

      • Alix

        Yeah, but they don’t read that part. :/

    • ako

      If someone criticizes Bathsheba for temping David, that tells me how relentless their dedication to victim-blaming is. I mean seriously, who hears about a peeping Tom spying on a woman while she was having a bath, and doesn’t get that the one doing the peeping is at fault?

  • Katherine

    Just one little quibble: the “traditional family” as folks like The American Family Association didn’t exist until the 1930s and 1940s… which is the modern era, which means that it is actually the modern family, NOT the traditional family. Not saying there wasn’t messed up patriarchy before then, but the stuff these people are championing is by NO MEANS traditional.

  • Daniel Copeland

    I’ve never yet found a theist who could give a satisfactory answer to “Why does God allow people to do bad things?” The reasonable ones are the ones who say they’ll think about it and get back to you. Because any theory that explains it always ends up making God look like an idiot — including “Oh, I’ll design women without a faculty of judgement that can be trusted, and then make them men’s one weakness.”

    • Alix

      This is why polytheism makes more sense…

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Design by committee… yep.

  • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

    I’m still not completely clear how this part relates to dingy duplex homes. Can anybody help me out?

    • Alix

      Eve and Adam ate the apple, and it opened their eyes to wonderful architectural possibilities, as well as allowing them to understand evil – that is, how insufferable the other was, and how good privacy might be, which is like unto God. And lo, they began to build a duplex, which is the true gloss of “and they sewed together fig leaves, for they realized they were naked” – fig leaves, as we all know, are euphemisms for sturdy walls, and “coverings” are of course houses.

      But God was displeased to find architecture in his garden, because Eden was not zoned for housing, and Frank Lloyd Wright had not yet been born. And so when the man was quick to blame the woman, as is only proper for a True Leader, God cursed the woman and told her that for her transgressions, should she not cleave to the flesh from which He had created her, she would be forced to live out all her days in a leaky rundown duplex with only other sad, sorry women for company, and that would show her. And thus disobedient women were cursed with the Duplex for all eternity.

      A later tradition insists that Lilith was quite pleased with her new digs when the first couple got the boot, and this of course is proof that she is an evil demon, and by “demon” we mean “feminist”.

      (…I have no idea where this came from. It probably means I really ought to go to bed. XD)

      • Sally

        :)

      • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

        Because you have done this for me, if we ever meet in real life, you may ask of me one favor, and this I will accomplish for you or die in the attempt.
        Thank you, my friend.


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