CTBHHM: You Only Think You’re Spiritual!

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 109-10

Women, in general, give the appearance of being more spiritual than men. They like to dabble in soulish thoughts. There are many ways of expressing spirituality, but most of them have nothing to do with the Spirit of Jesus Christ. We ladies are more inclined to trust in our feelings and intuition than are men, which makes us more subject to deception, just like sister Eve. Feelings and intuition are ever-changing. The Word of God is objective and dogmatic—unchanging. It is to religion what hard facts are to science.

Feelings/intuition = bad, untrustworthy

Bible = objective, dogmatic, unchanging

As an evangelical, I believed in two sources for inspiration: The Bible, and the Holy Spirit. I could read the Bible, and I might feel the spirit moving me. Debi appears to be arguing against this second mode of hearing from God.

Of course, Debi is ignoring that the Bible is something that has to be interpreted, and that there are numerous different interpretations, and that interpretations have changed over time. The Bible isn’t quite so objective, dogmatic, or unchanging as she seems to think it is, and she doesn’t realize that what she’s really endorsing here isn’t the Bible itself but rather her interpretation of it. You’re supposed to interpret the Bible like Debi, period and full stop.

You rarely hear a man say, “God told me to do this,” or, “God led me to go down there.” The few men I have known who talked that way did not demonstrate that they were any more led by the Spirit than other Christian men. I know that when God does speak to my husband and leads him in a supernatural way, he will not speak of it in public. He doesn’t feel the need to promote himself in that manner, and furthermore, he believes that if he has truly heard from heaven, God doesn’t need his publicity. God will vindicate himself. But many Christian women habitually attribute nearly every event to divine guidance. Experience proves that women are prone to claim God as their authority, when God had nothing at all to do with their “leading.” It really is quite appalling to see this shameful behavior still in action today.

Wait. Wait. Since when does Michael get a free pass on hearing directly from God while women who say they are hearing directly from God, or being moved by the spirit, are just listening to their “feelings” and “intuitions” and not actually hearing from God?! Suddenly being “led by the Spirit” is okay? But if you read on to the end of the above paragraph, it appears that being led by the spirit is only okay for men.

Note also that Debi never explains how to tell the difference between being led by God and mis-attributing things to God. This is a huge problem I saw growing up evangelical, actually. People talked quite frequently about being led by the spirit, but sometimes they contradicted each other. Because of this, I could understand if Debi were to write off all hearing from the spirit and say you can only use the Bible (though that still leaves the differing interpretations problem), but that’s not what Debi is doing. She’s saying being moved by the spirit is fine, so long as it’s a man who is being moved by the spirit. Women who think they’re moved by the spirit, she says, are just being silly and mistaking feelings for God. Double standard much?

God seems to be gracious to us “dimwits”—and that is what we are when we lightly use God’s name (a form of blasphemy) to give authority to our intuitive decisions. The bottom line is that women “enjoy” their own self-effusing spirituality. It is a feminine trait that few men share or understand. Men can, however, become totally absorbed in their own personal ambitions and, in the process, neglect their “spiritual” side altogether. Women often see this “carnality” in men and assume that women, being more “spiritually” minded, are closer to God—a completely false assumption.

And now I’m totally confused about what “spirituality” is and what being “close to God” is. Are women more spiritual, or do they just appear so? What exactly does “spiritual” mean as Debi is using it? If men who are become totally abosrbed in their own personal ambitions while their wives pray and read the Bible and listen to the spirit are no less close to God than are their wives, what in the world does “close to God” mean? I mean, I was taught that if you read the Bible, pray, etc., you draw closer to God, but if you don’t do those things you can drift away. But in Debi’s world, apparently men can do whatever they want and still be just as close to God as their more “spiritual” wives, whatever the heck “spiritual” actually means. Seriously, Debi needs to define her terms! And actually, strike that, Debi’s making it clear that women who think they’re close to God are just deluding themselves and confusing their feelings for the real deal.

The message here appears to be that men are close to God whether they are absorbed in their own ambitions or deep in God’s Word, but women who think they’re close to God or try to become “spiritual” or listen to God are actually confusing their feelings and intuitions for God’s leading. So basically: Men can’t lose, and women can’t win. Lovely.

Nearly all spiritualits, past and present, are women. Women are the palm readers, crystal ball gazers, fortune-tellers, and tarot card readers. Witches’ covens are headed by women. Mot mediums (those contacting the dead) are women, as was the witch of Endor whom King Saul consulted concerning the long-dead Samuel. When Jesus spoke a parable about the kingdom becoming corrupted with false doctrine, he illustrated it with a woman bringing in the corruption (Matt. 13:33). In the book of Revelation, it is a woman, typically called Jezebel, who deceives the church. We are told she did it through her teaching. Jon wrote to the church of Thyatira and warned them against allowing that a woman Jezebel to teach (Rev. 2:20). Women are either directly or indirectly responsible for most of the past and present cults in Christianity.

You know who was male? Jim Jones. Joseph Smith. Charles Manson. Claude Vorilhon. Sun Myung Moon. You really don’t have to be female to think you’re hearing from God and start your own group. In fact, I call bullshit on that last sentence—there is no way women were directly or indirectly responsible for most of the past and present religious movements within Christianity when it’s men who have by and large been the leaders and founders of Christian denominations and churches. I also call a double standard once again. When men feel themselves moved by God to plant churches and lead movements, that’s seen as a good thing in Debi’s view, but when women do it it’s wrong. Because, they’re women, duh.

The Bible makes a point of revealing the inherent nature of woman when it gives a reason why women should not teach men: “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Tim. 2:14).

That a man is less sensitive than a woman does not make him inferior to her, nor does her being more subject to deception than her husband make her inferior to him—just different natures. It is in recognizing that difference that wives should fear God and distrust their natural tendencies. Things that are not the same have different capacities and different offices.

Remember last week Debi talked about how women are tender and without armor while men are tough and have armor? That’s the whole sensitive and easily deceived v. not sensitive and not easily deceived thing going on here.

But here’s the key—this idea that wives should “distrust their natural tendencies.” Debi didn’t spend this time explaining to women how to tell the difference between their feelings and the movement of the spirit. Instead she basically told them that they can’t be moved by the spirit and that when they think they are it’s just their feelings and they have to ignore those. But the real problem is this idea that women are to distrust their intuition. Presumably, they’re instead to listen to their husbands, because their husbands can be moved by the spirit and hear directly from God. And personally, that sounds like a very dangerous idea.

The biggest theme of this entire section appears to be that women should give up this idea that they can be close to God or moved by the spirit, and instead realize that that’s just something only men can do. Women might appear to be more “spiritual,” Debi explains, but that is only a mirage and a deception. And to me, this just cements the extent to which Debi is working to erode and sabotage women’s trust in their own feelings, abilities, and thoughts.

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.

  • NeaDods

    I’m back to hearing Michael’s voice again. “you’re a dimwit, Debi.” “You only think you have a revelation from the Spirit, because NOTHING is more important than my orders.” “Deviating from what I tell you is the sin of Eve, Debi.” “I’ll tell you when you have a revelation from the spirit.” “Yeah, sure the Spirit told me to do this. Of course I didn’t tell you about it; why are you questioning me?” “I told you not to question me, Debi. When you do, you deny my connection to God and you’re own nature to obey me.” “You promised to love, honor, and obey before God, Debi! Are you breaking that vow now because of some stupid feeling you had?”

    • Lynn Grey

      That’s what I hear in her writing, too. Whenever I wonder where she gets such whacked-out theology, I figure she must have developed it through a combination of what her husband told her to think, and trying to compensate for how miserable her husband made her feel.

    • http://twitter.com/Lanahobbs Lana Marie Hobbs

      I switch between being angry at debi and really, really sad for debi. I do believe there’s still a chance she can get out of that, but she’s very entrenched and tied in to the whole mindset in so many ways, even to doubt would be very costly in several ways, much less to leave…

      • sylvia_rachel

        Me, too. Imagine how much nicer a person she could have turned into, had she not fatally mistaken Michael’s abuser-red-flag behaviour for a romantic whirlwind courtship! :(

        I guess, though, my being sad for her stops at the point where she starts putting so much effort into making other women’s lives as terrible as hers. (Also, I’ve been reading for many years about the terrible, appalling things she and Michael did to their kids, not to mention other people’s kids, and while I ultimately blame Michael for that, too, Debi’s apparently enthusiastic complicity does materially lessen my sympathy for her.)

      • NeaDods

        To doubt and stay leaves her at the mercy of someone who thinks whipping cures all. To doubt and leave is to give up all of the power she has gained in the movement. She’ll never go.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    The few men I have known who talked that way did not demonstrate that
    they were any more led by the Spirit than other Christian men.

    How can she tell? I mean, seriously? What are her criteria for assessing how much someone is being led by the Spirit?

    • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

      I’m only speculating, but I suspect “They sound just like Michael” is pretty high on the criteria list.

      • Sally

        Well, she claims Michael doesn’t talk this way.

      • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

        I think that kinda proves my point. Because she claims Michael does hear from God supernaturally. So her reasoning seems to be that because Michael doesn’t “talk that way,” anyone else who hears from God supernatural wouldn’t talk that way either. Just like Michael. They’d talk and act like he does instead.

      • Sally

        I see what you’re saying. I missed that “sound” meant “no sound” here. I’m with ya.

    • Sally

      Yeah, what does this even mean? Is she saying they talked like women so it’s better for a man not to talk this way since it doesn’t make you more spiritual anyway?

    • kecks

      Michael says so? Debbie surely can’t come to such conclusions on her own. Don’t forget she’s “too soulish” for that.

  • Mel

    Piggy-backing on NeaDods, Debi implies that men never state when their actions are directed by God. This ties in nicely with promoting women being unthinking automatons. I always figured guys make mistakes too. Thanks to Debi, I can avoid ever having to question ideas my husband has since God’s guidance on everything! Want to plant full-sun plants in the shade? Sure! God wills it! Let’s invest in this random penny stock. Great! It must be God’s will since my husband says so. *shudders* This is a bad marriage idea.

  • Baby_Raptor

    See, what I don’t get about the entire eating the apple thing is…Adam ate the fruit too. Eve didn’t force it down his throat. Eve may (possibly) have been the only one the snake talked to, but Adam still made the choice to willingly go against what god told them and chow down.

    So why isn’t he held accountable as well?

    Oh, right. Because he had a penis, and the people who made these myths up also had peni.

    • Mel

      And I love how Debi et al, glosses over the fact that Adam sells out Eve to God a few verses later. Nothing says protector and head like “I ate the apple, but it’s really Eve’s fault because Eve gave me some of the fruit of the tree you told me not to eat. “

      • dj_pomegranate

        It’s really important that men not get blamed for things that women do! I’m sure that’s in the Bible somewhere.

      • Guest

        I had a teacher that thought he wasn’t just blaming Eve, but God, since he said not just that it was “the woman” but “the woman you gave me.”

        I really couldn’t blame either of them for eating, though, since God was lying to them about it.

      • dj_pomegranate

        Yeah, I’ve heard that too. Usually when I heard it, the Adam-blaming-everyone-else part was emphasized more than the Adam-eating-the-fruit part, as in, “Eve’s sin was that she listened to the snake, disobeyed God, ate the fruit, and then tempted Adam as well. Adam’s sin was that he didn’t accept responsibility for his and his family’s sin and then tried to blame his wife and God.”

      • tatortotcassie

        If God really worked the way Debi (Michael) claims, then God have said to Adam, “yeah, you’re right, you’re totally not to blame. Behold, I shall cast of Eve into the world of dowdy, cold-bed apartments and give unto you Debi, whom I create from the sole of your foot as a reminder of her place compared to you.”

      • Leigha7

        And on the whatevereth day, God created the duplex, and Eve lived in it, in abject poverty, all the days of her life, while Adam was given a newer, prettier wife who catered to his every whim, and also a lifetime supply of cupcakes.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      We’re actually getting to that next week! Debi directly touches on WHY Adam at the apple, and what it teaches us. Hint: It’s the woman’s fault. It’s always the woman’s fault.

      • girlscientist

        Let me guess, Adam couldn’t resist Eve’s nekkid boobies?

      • Pauline

        Mm, if I remember rightly, you hit the nail on the head.

        Course I could be wrong. It’s been a while.

      • sceptinurse

        I wonder if it will be what I was subjected to. Adam ate the apple out of selfless love for Eve so she wouldn’t be punished alone. Gag.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597605006 Mary Driftwood

        That’s what my mom told me, too. Bleh.

    • Sally

      Hey what would have happened if Eve had eaten the fruit but Adam hadn’t? Maybe Adam would still be in the garden living forever and Eve’s body would be dead outside the gates of Eden to this day (well, I guess rather decomposed after, what, 6, 000 years.

      • Things1to3

        We got into that in one of my Sunday school classes many years ago. The general consensus was that God would have killed Eve on the spot and made Adam an Eve2 so he would still have his “help mate.”

        FWIW the conversation digressed from there and we ended up speculating on how many Garden of Eden “reboots” the world might have seen and if that might explain the discrepancies between carbon dating the earth and the young earth described by creationists.

      • AEve

        That is an AWESOME sci-fi story just waiting to happen. Adam is too naive to realize that his current Eve isn’t the first Eve, while Eve29 isn’t aware of the Eves that have come before. The snake, of course, knows. And when he tells Eve29 the truth, that is what sets a series of events in motion that will end this paradise on earth… if it was ever truly a paradise to begin with. Dun dun DUNNN

        Oh man, I would watch the heck out of this movie.

      • Niemand

        In this scenario, Adam spends his time in “paradise” watching one Eve after another die. Even if he doesn’t deeply love every Eve or any Eve, even if he only cares for her to the same extent that a normal, nonsociopathic person might care about a random person on the street or a one night stand partner…well, that doesn’t sound very much like a “paradise” to me. If I were trapped in a “garden” and introduced to a sequence of men that were then killed because they didn’t please my captor, I’d be eating the fruit to join them too, just to get away from the continual sequence of meeting and death. (Even moreso if I came to care more deeply for the man…)

      • tatortotcassie

        me too :D

      • Jayn

        I can’t help but think of Dogma, when they mention that it took five Adams to figure out that God’s voice was deadly to mortals.

      • Sally

        Perfect!

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

        So… God has a G.E.C.K.?

      • tatortotcassie

        The story of Lillith is sort of a prequel reboot along those lines. Lillith was created as Adam’s equal and refused to take the bottom position during sex, so either God cast her out or she left of her own accord and became a demon and mother of demons.
        And then God created Eve.

    • http://twitter.com/Lanahobbs Lana Marie Hobbs

      I have wondered, if eve was deceived…. Then Adam just chose to disobey without reason? And that’s better/what a leader should be like?

      • The_L1985

        Paradise Lost spins it as, “Eve, I don’t want to do this because it’s wrong, but I don’t want to live without you. So if you ate the death-fruit, then I’m going to do this so you don’t have to suffer alone.”

        Which is still stupid, but at least it’s kind of a reason?

      • sylvia_rachel

        I dunno, I think I like that version of Adam better than Debi’s version…

      • lollardheretic

        Well, in Paradise Lost Adam does have rockin’ “hycanthian locks.” I mean, who can resist manly hair? (And Milton does describe it as manly!) But, I will give Milton props for the awesome description of Death–the same one Tolkien picked up for the Lord of the Nazgul. Truly terrifying: amorphus, black void, with a crown. And he’s the daughter of Sin and Satan and Sin’s the (athena like) daughter of Satan. Yay inscest!

      • Pauline

        THAT’S where that came from!

        (I really should have paid more attention in Lit class.)

        If I had a dollar for every detail about God, Satan, Heaven, Hell, the Fall, etc that the average Christian accepts as part of Christian theology and vaguely assumes is in the Bible, *that is not in the Bible at all but comes from Paradise Lost*… well, I could at least go out to eat on the proceeds. But I forgot that bit about Adam and Eve was in there too. Sheesh. I mean yes, at least it’s a reason, but I think it’s sexist (and it’s fairly clear Milton *was* sexist) because it *both* makes Adam look self-sacrificial *and* makes it look like, Oh, he valued the sexy woman over God, those seductresses are always the downfall of godly men! I’m not saying that’s exactly what Milton meant but I have seen other writers get both of those themes out that interpretation, sometimes at the same time.

      • Cathy W

        …throw in the stuff about Hell that comes from Dante’s Inferno and there’s not a lot left there, is there?

    • kagekiri

      Standard ultra-fundy Christian response (or the one I’ve heard in sermons): “Both sinned, Eve by taking charge and Adam by not taking charge, so OBVIOUSLY, men have to always take charge!”

      So, while they acknowledge Adam’s failure, they claim it was really the incorrect gender roles that caused all evil in the world from the get go.

      • dj_pomegranate

        Yup. Definitely heard this before.

      • Pauline

        Yep. Which is not in the least in the Bible, and is contradicted by a close reading of the text. As The_L1985 points out in regard to the New Testament below. It also doesn’t fit with the details of the Genesis account either, not to mention the fact that it doesn’t seem to have occurred to these people that if this was the point of the story, *wouldn’t the story say so*?

      • kagekiri

        Uh, what’s not in the Bible?

        The gender roles…?? Or blaming all sin on the gender roles/women? Cause the first is definitely in there, and the second is pretty close to what Paul implies in the 1st Timothy 2.

        I don’t know what The_L1985 is citing, to be honest. The fundies aren’t that far off from just repeating the Bible’s more sexist commands without modification. The Bible’s words are not innocent of patriarchal junk.

      • Pauline

        We need to not excuse fundies when they add to the Bible things that aren’t there, or go around painting it as a more patriarchal book than it is–if we say “Bible = patriarchy” that is a perfect excuse for them. What, they’re going to stop believing in the Bible because patriarchy is bad?

        I do not like 1st Timothy 2. I’m a Christian who doesn’t see why an early Christian leader’s personal advice to churches and proteges ought to be taken as gospel when we also have *actual gospels*. BUT I do not see him saying here that women are the cause of sin. The specific interpretation that fits his point is “women are more easily deceived.” I don’t believe it, but I can see a kind of point in the cultural context, since women were probably less educated than men at the time & given that it’s a personal letter he may have had specific people in mind. I think he’s a jerk for generalizing it, honestly. But that’s another story.

        There’s patriarchy in the Bible–in the Old Testament, in some of Paul’s more culturally conditioned advice to churches–but there are also things that contradict patriarchy. As I mentioned, gender roles are not actually brought into the Genesis story, which is a bit odd if, as some fundies are saying, they are the point. (And really if the author had had this in mind, it would have been a great moment to say “And this is why you should never do what your wife tells you!”) Jesus rejects patriarchy every time he touches on it (though this is fairly seldom): “call no man father,” he says, & says we have to not fight for positions in a hierarchy but serve each other; he makes friends with women in ways his disciples find improper (he has a freakin’ *intellectual discussion* with “the woman at the well”); he praises Mary for taking on the (male) role of student instead of sending her back to the kitchen with Martha. Then we come to those letters and honestly, they have things that flat contradict each other on this topic. In one place the traditional “plain meaning” (what you get if read without thinking about it, ha) is that women should be totally silent in church; in another place Paul says that *when* women prophesy in church they should be sure to wear their headcoverings (culturally required for propriety).

        Sorry this is kind of long, but my point is that though the Bible, written in horribly patriarchal times, does have patriarchal elements, it doesn’t do to let fundamentalists get away with making those elements seem normative, and with adding to them and making them worse. When you place the Bible against the backdrop of the times it came from, it starts to look radical. This is what the fundies need to know.

      • kagekiri

        Uhm, where did my quote say women caused all sin? I didn’t say that was in there, nor did that crazy fundy sermon I’d heard say that. It blamed both Adam and Eve, but since Adam was put in charge by God, the fact Eve was taking charge and being deceived in front of him was a double failure on his part.

        Genesis 3:17, “To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ [list of curses for Adam].”

        As for your defense of the Bible: sorry, not buying it. “Relatively good for the time” standards are not good enough by half. Christ and the Church is the New Testament model for marriage, and it is NOT an equal relationship by any stretch of the word. I’m glad you’re not accepting the crap in there that definitely enforces patriarchy, but saying “well, it’s not all bad” isn’t good enough.

        Saying “well, the sexist stuff is God just conforming to cultures of the time” is entirely nonsensical, an utter abdication of morality and pretty silly considering God effectively wipes out humanity and kills Israelites en masse to keep them to his “perfect” standards.

        How could fundies possibly make “rape the women as long as they’re virgins” any worse? What cultural context makes that okay? How could killing children and pregnant women be made worse? How could God’s silence and lack of punishment in the face of pretty much every rape in the Bible be made worse, while nearly every time adultery or murder or idolatry or blasphemy is committed, God steps in and punishes or explicitly commands execution?

        Jesus pardons, what, one adulteress, several prostitutes? Did he say to stop stoning people for adultery, whose definition he expands to include lustful thoughts or remarriage? Nope. He came to fulfill the law, the law that claims women are unclean when menstruating, the law that says women are property, the law that puts men far above them in nearly every way.

        It’s weird that you think that the conservatives are gleaning extra messages and morals from their story, yet you claim your own morals that you take from other merely reported events in the Gospels are proof that Jesus was feminist and anti-patriarchy. “If he meant it, he’d have made it clear” indeed.

        As for Paul, God sure seemed to send him very specific dreams and messages when it came to unclean food, and who to minister to. God’s silence to Paul on sexism is deafening, especially with his supposed foreknowledge that Paul was going to be a huge influence on all Christian thought and apologetics.

        what you get if read without thinking about it, ha

        Yeah, and what you have is what you get when you’re starting from the assumption that anything in the Bible you think is good is from God, and the horrible stuff is just “cultural”, and rationalize everything in that light.

        It’s exactly what the fundies do, twisting the Biblical God to fit their own standards, except theirs are based on traditional conservative crud. I’m very glad your standards are superior to theirs’, but I don’t buy that yours is the one true interpretation and they’re just doing religion wrong. I think you’re both wrong to base things on the Bible: it’s a poor source of morality.

      • The_L1985

        The “Eve was deceived” passage in one of Paul’s epistles (don’t ask me which one, I was raised Catholic so I kinda fail Sword Drills). I want to say its near “Just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, through one man (Jesus) healing/redemption/something like that came into the world.”

    • The_L1985

      And honestly, Paul’s point was, “Eve didn’t know eating the fruit was wrong–she was deceived. Adam knew full well that eating the fruit was wrong, so HE is the one who is considered the first sinner.” In other words, the exact opposite of what so many “oh those gullible wimminz” patriarchal Christians like to claim.

  • Jurgan

    “The Word of God is objective and dogmatic—unchanging. It is to religion what hard facts are to science.”

    BWAHAHAHAHA! So- so you want us to respect “hard facts” in science? Yeah, tell me another one, Debi.

    • Sally

      Hard facts obtained from AnswersinGenisis.

    • dj_pomegranate

      Also, saying “you can’t have religion without objectivity” is pretty ridiculous. There are plenty of religions–there are even plenty of variations of Christianity — that aren’t objective and dogmatic, or that emphasize subjectivity and ethics over dogmatism. Even if that statement was true, the Word of God is arguably not objective at all (when did he change his mind about genocide? multiple wives? slavery?) so. Analysis problems here, Debi.

    • Alice

      LOL. “Well, of course there are hard facts in science, but almost all scientists are soooo blinded by their anti-God bias and love for Evil-lution that they can’t see what is right under their noses.”

  • Composer 99

    Quoth Debi:

    You rarely hear a man say, “God told me to do this,” or, “God led me to go down there.”

    Apart from way too many athletes (student & professional), politicians, and pundits…

    • Sally

      Oh, I know. This (Debi’s) is just a totally silly claim.

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

    Shorter Debi: Girls drool, boys rule.
    Also men don’t have feelings. Women have nothing but feelings. It’s like she went to a bad stand-up comedy act and took it seriously.

    • Sally

      “Shorter Debi: Girls drool, boys rule. ”
      Perfect!

  • Alison LeMay

    Ye gads and little fishes! This was the section that made me throw the book across not just the room but out into the hallway when I read it and scream “Bullshit!” at the top of my lungs.
    I didn’t understand then that va lot of pro-patriarchy Christian theology holds the idea of “Man as High Priest of the Home”, until I did some internet snooping and found it, in exactly that phrase. The idea that Debi is insidiously insinuating is that because women are so weak, they inherently need someone as a mediator between them and *God* (I realize that not everyone believes in *God*, hence the asterisks). Thus, according to this ideology, the man is responsible for maintaining the spiritual nurture of the household, and making sure that all in the household, especially wives and daughters, are in submission to their spiritual ideas.
    This enlightened me to the kind of insult Debi is fundamentally offering women in the name of religion: You are a crappy human being. The only way you will not be a crappy human being is to cravenly submit to your husband. Whatver he wants, he gets. Your thoughts, feelings, desires and needs have no place in this relationship, since after all, you are the crappy human being, not him.
    Uh, Debi, I hate to break it to you, but you’re a pretty crappy human being. So is Michael. So are all of us, in some way or another. But to insinuate that I as a woman have no spirituality apart from my husband is horseshit.

  • Red

    This is called crazy-making or gaslighting. You get someone to mistrust themselves and then YOU can tell them whatever YOU want, because they aren’t listening to their own rationality. They’ve lost all power of discernment.

    So if women are so easily deceived, and can’t trust themselves to actually hear from God and present good spiritual teaching, WHY ON EARTH IS DEBI WRITING A BOOK THAT PURPORTS TO CONVEY SPIRITUAL TEACHING?

    At several points in this book, I have seriously considered the possibility that Michael wrote this book and ordered Debi to attach her name to it.

    • Composer 99

      Debi’s strategy seems to be a variant of a very common strategy by would-be “gurus” of quackery, such as Gary Null or Mike Adams, who have recently branched out into socioeconomics and politics – or conspiracists such as Alex Jones:
      Break down your targets’ confidence in either themselves or in the (admittedly imperfect) body of experts. Then set yourself (or in Debi’s case, the male head of the family unit) up as the sole authority your targets can trust, on just about any subject.
      Null & Adams use this to great success to hawk all manner of crapola.

    • Scott_In_OH

      At several points in this book, I have seriously considered the possibility that Michael wrote this book and ordered Debi to attach her name to it.

      Either that or Nea’s hypothesis (if I understand you correctly, Nea) that Michael has beaten this stuff into her head so well that she spouts it on her own. Maybe it’s a little of both; after all, the Intro says Michael approved every word. The “dimwit” line–she literally called herself a dimwit in print–was the one that struck me this time.

      • Niemand

        Michael approved every word.

        It just struck me how very creepy this statement is. Even assuming she got these ideas on her own, that he didn’t beat them into her or write them and force her to put her name on the book, why didn’t he see this writing as deeply pathological? If my partner wrote something like practically any part of CTBHM, I’d say to him, “Sweetie, we need to talk. Your writing sounds deeply depressed and like you may be feeling inferior for no reason.” At the very least. How could a sane person “approve” this? Oh, right, we’re talking about the Pearls.

      • NeaDods

        Oh, Debi has a reason to feel inferior. I’m sure that Michael has told her at great length why he’s better than she is and he can replace her in a New York minute.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001411188910 Lucreza Borgia

        People with mental issues don’t have those brain filters that let them know that they are effed up.

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

        Agreed.

        To a point.

        I have what you’d call “mental issues”.

        I know I’m messed up.

      • Christine

        Ditto here. I sometimes think I’d be better off if I was less “high functioning”, because then I’d be missing a lot of the stress from knowing that I screw up all the time.

      • tsara

        +1000. There’s also a bit of an expectation I’ve noticed from people I’ve had to explain things to that once you know what the problem is, you can fix it and not screw up in a similar way a second time — especially when those people had the impression that I’m fairly intelligent.

      • Leigha7

        Oh please, like he actually read any of it. He probably just told her to write it, knowing that he’s beaten her into submission well enough that she’d write what he wanted her to, and then put his stamp of approval on it. Reading it would imply he places some value in something she did.

        I feel kind of icky writing that, but it wasn’t even meant to be sarcastic. I honestly think that’s what he did.

      • NeaDods

        You understand me exactly. I think Debi started out under educated and probably not that bright, and Michael took advantage of that to rewrite her world with a combination of “you’re my queen” and “how dare you ever question me” with an awful lot of reinforcing her own feeling that she’s not smart.

    • phantomreader42

      “So if women are so easily deceived, and can’t trust themselves to actually hear from God and present good spiritual teaching, WHY ON EARTH IS DEBI WRITING A BOOK THAT PURPORTS TO CONVEY SPIRITUAL TEACHING?”
      I think this is an example of something I see a lot. When an authoritarian says something, they intend their statement to be taken as the absolute and unquestionable truth…until the very INSTANT it becomes the slightest bit inconvenient, at which point they and their followers forget it was ever said, until it becomes useful again, when it magically reappears as if it never left.
      It’s like all the idolaters who claim to follow and believe the bible…but ignore anything in the bible that contradicts their preferred interpretation, without admitting they’re doing so.

      • Composer 99

        Either that or “it was not meant to be a factual statement”, or somesuch.

  • Sally

    Wow, I never thought in all my life I would hear a believer state that believers are “dimwits”—and that is what we are when we lightly use God’s name (a form of blasphemy) to give authority to our intuitive decisions.”

    Even I, a former evangelical, don’t go around calling believers dimwits for believing the holy spirit is guiding them. But Debi, someone who is somewhat of a spiritutal leader in her circle by virtue of the teaching she’s doing in her book, does!

    OK, sure, she’s saying it’s only 1/2 of the Christians (including herself!), not all of them. But that’s more than I expected any Christian to admit!

    I’m actually glad to read this because I have a fear that my neices will be given this book. But now that I know this is in it, I think both their mother AND father would reject this theology (even though they’re rather fundamental themselves).

    I know this book is highly criticized on the Chrisian homeschooling forum I frequent. The Pearls are criticized not only for their child-rearing methods but even more so for their weird theology.

  • Scott_In_OH

    Libby Anne, you start by saying you’re not sure if you understand this passage, but it looks to me like you’ve got everything right. It comes down to, as you say, “Men can’t lose, and women can’t win.”

    This is as stark a passage as I’ve seen from her in a while. Women are hopeless in her estimation.

  • JohnH2

    ” Joseph Smith … cults in Christianity”

    I see your Evangelical background is on full display.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Cult was Debi’s word, not mine. I prefer the term New Religious Movement.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Actually, I don’t think I use the word cult the way it is colloquially used. I have some background in religious studies where the legitimate religion/cult divide is dissected and rejected, and some experience with Catholicism where terms like “the cult of Mary” are used totally un ironically and in a positive sense. So “cult within Christianity” means something totally different to me than to the average American.

      • JohnH2

        I will be believe this as it is this way in other academic fields.

  • sylvia_rachel

    I’ve got it! I’ve finally figure it out!! Penises are ANTENNAS FOR DIVINE RADIO TRANSMISSIONS!!!

    Er.

    Seriously, though, this is some immensely messed-up, illogical, fallacious reasoning Debi has got going on here.

    • sylvia_rachel

      *figured

      ::sigh::

    • Jayn

      I know we finally got a ‘like’ button, but it doesn’t feel like enough right now, because this is the probably funniest damn thing anyone’s said about this book so far.

      • sylvia_rachel

        :)

      • sylvia_rachel

        Have you ever seen that really bad 80s movie called Real Genius? You know when they wire up Kent’s braces into a radio receiver and convince him that G-d is talking to him … ?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597605006 Mary Driftwood

        BEST MOVIE EVER.

    • Mr. Pantaloons

      I think you mean phallacious. :p

      • RowanVT

        You…. that….. arrrrrrrgh….

        *dies from terrible and awesome pun inflicted damage*

      • Fanraeth

        Here is a shiny new internet for you.

  • AnotherOne

    Wow. You at least gotta give her props for managing to cram all the misogynistic tropes of thousands of years of Judeo-Christendom into a few pithy lines. Seldom in the 21st century does you see women so unironically described as treacherous Jezebel Eve witches who are just a few tarot cards and palm readings away from destroying all the poor longsuffering hardworking godly menfolk.

    • AnotherOne

      *do* you see

  • grindstone

    You rarely hear a man say, “God told me to do this,” or, “God led me to go down there.”

    Of all the bullshittiest bullshit that Debi hath ever shat, this is the worst, most blatant lie I’ve heard. Holy crap, this is heard from almost every pulpit every week and in every prayer meeting and every evening service. I can’t begin to count the number of times men, always men because the women did not speak spoke of god leading him or laying something on his heart or telling them some such. It’s practically de riguer for a preacher’s testimony to have the obligatory resistance to god’s plan for their life until they finally gave in and followed god’s direct guidance. And the blatant fallacy that Michael doesn’t boast of this is utter crap…..give me a little time on the Internet and we should be able to clear that right up.

    • http://www.facebook.com/enodiaofthestar Lindsey Vaughn

      I know, right? Good grief, that is ALL I heard growing up, and not just in church by the pastor either. Then again my dad was Pentecostal…

    • Leiningen’s Ants

      New Real Men(c) appreciate New Women and their quite-justified Chip-on-Shoulder. Also, heck, us types’ll even fight and speak up about it and do everything in our power. I mean how dare those fuckers treat my sisters from different misters like that. They’re just dripping with hypocrisy and it sickens me. Once again, I wish I had a detachable metal boomerang for a dick that I could throw across the internet, just to thwack some dumb fucking males upside style.

    • Whirlwitch

      Apparently she has never heard an American male right-wing politician give a speech.

      • Gillianren

        Like the ones a certain recent President used to give all the time?

  • ako

    That a man is less sensitive than a woman does not make him inferior to
    her, nor does her being more subject to deception than her husband make
    her inferior to him—just different natures.

    There’s a distinct pattern with this “different natures” stuff: she keeps saying it doesn’t mean women are inferior and men are superior, but if you look at how she describes men’s and women’s nature, it doesn’t add up. Women’s nature is described as being not as smart as men, not as strong, not as genuinely spiritual, with worse judgement, incapable of doing great things, never being right, and being obligated to devote one’s entire life to obedience even when it’s humiliating, frightening, or painful. Men’s nature is supposed to be stronger, smarter, more spiritual, better at judging, always right, entitled to obedience, capable of greatness, and entitled to have a wife serve them with everything from freshly-scrubbed floors to sex whenever they want it.

    If someone came up to me and was all “I’m smart and you’re stupid, I’m strong and you’re weak, I’m always right and you’re always wrong, I’m capable of genuinely understanding what God wants and you’re easily deceived by Satan, and you’re obligated to obey me, clean my house, cook my dinner, spread your legs whenever I tell you to, not argue, and actively be pleasant to me at all times,” I’d think it’d be safe to say they considered me their inferior.

  • The_L1985

    “I know that when God does speak to my husband and leads him in a
    supernatural way, he will not speak of it in public. He doesn’t feel the
    need to promote himself in that manner, and furthermore, he believes
    that if he has truly heard from heaven, God doesn’t need his publicity.”

    Yet you and Michael both feel the need to tell people all about how godly you are in a bunch of books that you wrote. Pot, meet kettle.

  • dj_pomegranate

    Her description of this strange world in which men don’t talk about their spirituality (hahahahahhahaha!) and women can’t trust their intuition is also a prescription. Guess what happens when you tell people that they can’t think for themselves? They stop thinking for themselves.

  • http://plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/ mr_subjunctive

    [Women] like to dabble in soulish thoughts.

    I love how little sense this sentence makes.

    • dj_pomegranate

      lol right? I am trying to think of a way it could possibly make sense, but I can’t and the more I look at it the more hilarious it seems. “Do you study philosophy?” “No, but I do dabble in soulish thoughts on occasion!”

      Did anyone even edit this book? (besids Michael, I mean.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/karleanne.matthews Karleanne Matthews

    “We ladies are more inclined to trust in our feelings and intuition than are men, which makes us more subject to deception, just like sister Eve.”

    Am I the only one who feels that the way Debbie talks about women sounds EXACTLY like the parodies often used in feminist discussions to represent what is more frequently subtext? “I’m just a lady, with teh simple ladybrainz.” Fortunately for my health and well-being, my mother never got into CTBHHM, but I knew it was floating around in the Evangelical mommy sphere. If I didn’t KNOW that it’s real and serious, I would for sure think it was a big joke cooked up over a few too many glasses of wine.

  • BobaFuct

    “You know who was male?”

    How about Pharoah’s magicians…who, by the way, successfully turned their rods into snakes.

    Also, has she never heard of Aleister Crowley? Or things like the Rosicrucians? Jeebus, she just needs to open an encyclopedia to the word “occult” (although encyclopedias probably aren’t allowed in the Pearl household) to see that, historically, its major movements have been headed by men.

  • Alice

    Geez, Debi is so misogynistic! I always heard the “women are naturally more spiritual than men” but that was never described as a bad thing!

    The sentence about science is a hoot. Scientific knowledge has changed over time as scientists have gathered more evidence and formulated more complete theories. The facts themselves haven’t changed, but our awareness of the facts has. This is sort of similar to how a person’s view on what the Bible teaches can be changed if they study it more, learn some of the original languages, or learn about other interpretations (even though the Bible will always be subjective, while science is mostly objective.)

    I was really surprised Debi was calling science objective, because typically fundies make the ridiculous statement: “The Bible is objective and can only mean one thing, but science is completely subjective because people cannot look at the evidence without being biased.”

    • dj_pomegranate

      re: your last paragraph, that’s true, and I also think that fundies tend to bring in science only when it suits them. This is a perfect example: Debi needs some sort of outside credibility/legitimacy to bolster her ridiculous claims, so she uses “science!”, even though she might argue elsewhere that science is subjective. One thing I noticed from my experience is that many evangelicals pooh-pooh academia and higher education because those are but “worldly accolades” and Christians should focus on getting God’s approval, not man’s. But they then bolster their claims by citing those worldly accolades whenever they can (“Author and psychologist Dr. James Dobson…”)

    • Christine

      In addition to people’s views on the Bible changing as they learn more, the text of the different translations generally gets updated as more sources are discovered (e.g. the Dead Sea Scrolls). We already know that Debi is dead set against the latter, so I’m not surprised that she’d be against the former as well.

  • Pauline

    I think what she’s saying isn’t that hard to understand if you see where she’s coming from. She’s talking about two different kinds of people–I’ve met both and you may have too. Silly people whose every other word is “Well, the Lord laid it on my heart,” including about very trivial matters, and very reserved, rational people who carefully vet their spiritual experiences for authenticity and are reluctant to talk about them except to a few people they trust. These people really exist and this is a decent, though really uncharitable, account of the difference between them.

    The problem is she’s labeled the silly people “women” and the reserved people “men.” Gee, I had no idea my mom was a guy.

    • sylvia_rachel

      I had occasion this past week to watch Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc several times, after not having seen it for many years. One of the things that struck me this time (aside from my 10-year-old’s baffled and slightly incredulous questions, which included “Why was she on trial in the first place, anyway?” and “What kind of church* has a torture chamber?!”) was the fixation on gender roles. I get the distinct impression that what really pissed off her interrogators wasn’t that Joan had successfully led an army and claimed to have seen a vision of St Michael and been directed by G-d, it was that she had done these things while being a girl. (I say “girl” because she was only about 19 at the time of her trial.)

      *DD is not super clear on what a church is — she has experienced them primarily as venues for (a) weddings and (b) choral concerts — but she knows they are like synagogues for Christians.

      • guest

        Yes, one of the charges against her was specifically that she wore men’s clothes, and she was forced to wear women’s clothes during her imprisonment and trial.

      • Pauline

        Yes, I’ve always sort of thought this about her. Although of course it was mainly politically motivated, so it’s hard to know if the sexist overtones were just something the interrogators thought would *work*, or if that was their real instincts coming out. Both, I’d guess.

      • sylvia_rachel

        Yes, definitely the imptetus was political (from what I understand; Joan of Arc is not part of my religious tradition, so I know about her mainly from literature, film, and the Internet). It’s interesting that the church took up the cause so enthusiastically, though.

        Mind you, separation of church and state was not exactly a thing in the 15th century, so…

  • el

    “Feelings and intuition are ever-changing. The Word of God is objective
    and dogmatic—unchanging. It is to religion what hard facts are to
    science.”

    Somehow I don’t think Debbi’s actually trying to say that the Bible can be re-evaluated when new evidence turns up.

    • wanderer

      She seems to use the word “dogmatic” as if it’s a good thing.

  • wanderer

    So we can summarize the whole book easily… “women suck. Always have, always will.”

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

    This is a manual for abuse.

    I need to go punch something.

  • http://www.wideopenground.com/ Lana Hope

    I remember that part of the book. Made me madder than anything else in it. I don’t understand why she hates women so bad. Its kind of sad.

  • Leigha7

    Okay, I’ve been reading through all of these, and so far I’ve felt like I could more or less comprehend Debi’s “logic,” such as it is, but this one…I’ve got nothing. I think it broke my already fragile ladybrain. Is it just me, or is she just talking in circles here? “Men are just as spiritual as women, even if they don’t seem like it. In fact, women aren’t spiritual at all, they just think they are. That is, women are more spiritual than men, but men are just as good. But women are less spiritual than men, but totally not inferior. But…”


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