SMM: Introducing a Review Series on So Much More

A Guest Post by Kate

Kate and I were friends growing up, until my step outside of our conservative Christian homeschooling community tore us apart. When Kate began to step outside herself, she found my blog and reestablished contact. Kate is now starting a blog of her own, which she has named Time To Live, Friend. Inspired by my reviews of Created To Be His Help Meet, she has decided to review So Much More, by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin. With her permission, I will be reposting this series here as she posts it, and I encourage you to have a look around her blog as she adds additional content and gets her feet wet blogging. This post, the series introduction, was originally posted here.

When my parents took me and my siblings to homeschool conventions, they usually gave us some money to buy something for ourselves. There were a lot of booths that sold entertaining sciencey doo-hinkys or fun board games, but most of the time I spent my money on a new book.

I think I first came across So Much More in the Vision Forum magazine, because I remember going to the homeschool convention with the intention of buying it. I couldn’t wait to read the book that promised to help me “Discover the practical, biblical solutions for the young woman who wants to do so much more than just ‘survive’.” Finally, a book that would empower me as a woman, stop giving me pat answers, and actually challenge me intellectually!

My expectation, however, was woefully misled. Instead of finding challenging things to think about, the book focused on developing a relationship with your father and the evils of college. I found it boring and idiotic—even though I might have agreed with parts of it at the time, I certainly didn’t see anything wrong with pursuing a higher education.

I finished the book, decided it was a waste of time and money, and promptly forgot about it on my bookshelf for the next 5 years of my life.

Since going to college and rejecting the fundamentalist beliefs about men, women, and relationships I grew up with, however, I have decided to rereadSo Much More because I think a rebuttal needs to be made. I find the ideas in this book so wrong and repugnant, I really can’t stay silent.

As I reread it now, I’m even more disturbed not just by the parts urging daughters that they shouldn’t pursue a higher education and go to college, but by the strange relationship the Botkin sisters encourage between daughters and fathers.

It is my hope that this series encourages those who have already rejected the beliefs and also sparks some questions in those who might still be holding onto these beliefs.

I want daughters raised in this kind of environment to be free to think, question, and leave. To not base their self-worth on guys, to learn that higher education is good and important, and that they can in fact trust themselves.

In my own life journey, I have personally experienced the damage of these kinds of beliefs that told me my entire self-worth was dependent on being a “helpmeet” for a man—either my father or future husband.

It’s because I know how damaging books like So Much More can be, that I want to speak out against it.

I will be blogging through So Much More every Monday. Make sure you come back on Monday to read Part 1: Daughters of the Eternal Father.

Sometimes All I Can Say Is UGH
SMM: Chapter 4—Dominion and Helping Our Fathers
SMM: Chapter 4—Why Your Daddy Needs You
Lesbian Duplex 14: An Open Thread
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.

  • Sally

    Thanks for letting us know about this, Libby Anne. I think I will go to Kate’s blog and comment there, especially since she’s just getting started.

    So far so good. :)

  • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

    What could be wrong with a philosophy that stops working if the person gets educated? (sarcasm)

    • Sally

      Well said. I’ve had that unformed thought floating around in my head. The way you put it says it all.

  • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

    Thanks for posting this – I’m curious about the Bots. The modern world has presented some dilemna to authoritarian, patriarchial systems. The Taliban, for instance, don’t feel the need to have their women make speeches about how great life with no medical care, no education, forced young marriage and constant threat of beatings is. The Taliban have no expectations that their women will be in a glow about how fulfilling it all is. Westerners, on the other hand, thanks to movements like feminism, civil rights, ect, have expectations that systems will actually serve all the people in them, not just the authority figures. It puts them in a bit of an interesting bind really.

    • Nancy Shrew

      What an apt abbreviation.

  • Melody Jones

    Thanks for the notice, Libby! I’ve been hoping for someone to go through one of the Botkins’ books for a while now in a this-is-going-to-hurt-but-I-really-don’t-want-to-read-that-thing-myself sort of way. I am off to Kate’s blog now!

    • Kate

      Oh trust me, it’s painful! I have to stop myself from banging my head on the table about every single sentence. It’s so bad, it’s just laughable, except for fact that people actually believe the crap :/

      • Melody Jones

        *offers hugs* I knoooow. My best friend’s sister just had a baby and lately her FB feed has been one never ending stream of things on family and the importance of family roles to help children grow “in the Lord” from the Pearl’s and the Botkins’ and absolutely none of it is ironic or smashing. I could only last like a week. :/ She wanted exactly no saving.

      • Feminerd

        Is it bad that if/when I have a baby, I’m tempted to inundate Facebook with sciency facts about human development? Not because anyone will care (they won’t), but as an antidote to all the religiously saccharine posts that are actually really horrifying when you think about them that I see?

      • The_L1985

        Just things like “My baby has developed a 3rd chamber in her heart!” or “He’s starting to grow fingernails now!” would be a lot better than that saccharine stuff. I want to gag when I see people laying it on so thick.

      • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

        I would personally like to read stuff like that. Human development is fascinating. Post away.

      • Melody Jones

        NO. THAT IS WONDERFUL. PLEASE DO THAT. o.o Science is wonderful! If we were friends and you put that on my feed, you would be my favorite friend, hand to god. *nods*

      • Lucreza Borgia

        …and to think I was looking forward to posting a sonogram photo with the baby labeled as “the thing” :D

  • Mr. Pantaloons

    I keep seeing these people’s surname and wondering if it was purposely changed to Botkin as a play on the word “bodkin,” which is a specific type of arrowhead. It would certainly fit into their Quiverfull teachings.

    But yes, I’m looking forward to seeing these degenerate teachings dissected. I’ve been trying to compose my thoughts recently in regards to how antagonistic a Biblically “pure” life is to the notion of education, not least because of how many verses there are that refer to the wisdom of the world as “foolish” and “sinful.”

    • The_L1985

      And, of course, there’s the question of how well you should really trust a lot of self-proclaimed spinsters on the matter of how to get a good husband.

    • NKB

      Why not go all the way? My husband’s last name is actually Bodkin. The family was actually one of the original Twelve Tribes of Galway, Ireland and dates back to the 1300′s. (I’m not sure if the name of the type of arrowhead is etymologically related or not)

      (I’m not too unhappy it’s Botkin instead, I’d rather they’re not related.)

  • lana hobbs

    I cut the couch once when I was about four or five because it felt good to cut things and lost my scissors for a long time and couldn’t make Christmas cards. Damn authoritarian parenting. But I never cut the couch again.