SMM: Chapter 4—Dominion and Helping Our Fathers

A Guest Post by Kate

Originally posted Time To Live, Friend

Thought the nightmarish Chapter 4 was over? Nope, there’s so much more (pun intended).

The Botkins have established (albeit, unconvincingly) that a woman, whether married or single, is to be a helpmeet. Now, they begin discussing Dominionism, God’s plan for the world, and how girls are to help their fathers in their vision. Girls are not to have their own visions. They are simply to accept their father’s vision.

And how are girls to do this? According to the Botkins:  

“We show our fathers that we love them by giving them our hearts. A girl turns her heart to her father by caring about what he loves, learning about what is important to him, desiring and seeking his counsel and approval, caring more for his opinion than that of her peers, serving him, helping him, sharing his vision, letting him know her heart” (40).

Okay, so first, get it into your head that your heart doesn’t belong to you. Secondly, forget about learning to love what God loves and forget learning about to love Jesus because you must only care about your earthly father. Thirdly, your peers are kind of useless and will probably just lead you astray so you shouldn’t really care too much what they think. (Might I add that it’s probably safer to just not have friends anyways).

In other words, let’s raise a whole generation of women who don’t have to think for themselves, tell them their only worth is in serving a man, and then tell them that their only purpose is to have as many children as possible to further the “Kingdom.”

Am I making this s*** up? I only wish I were.

One girl says,

“I thought I loved my father before, but it was for selfish reasons. He was just my dad. But now he is my father, my friend, my guardian, my priest, and my knight in shining armor” (40).

Loving your father just because he’s your dad isn’t enough now? And fathers our are priests? I don’t have a problem a “priest,” but there’s a big difference between someone who has been trained and studied theology, versus a father who does not have to have said training and then has absolute power over his daughter. In a church setting, you do not have to follow a priest if you feel God is telling you something different or if you decide the priest is a bit wonky. In the Botkins setting, your father IS God to you and you have no such options.

Like I said before, the Botkins are simply replacing the approval of one man in a girls life (for instance a boyfriend or a friend) for another—her father. A girl is always dependent on this, they say. A girl cannot have worth apart from a man, because she was made FOR man.

“As we stated before, every woman is, by nature, a man’s helper. You are a helper, no matter what your age or marital status. The choice before you and ever other young woman isn’t ‘to help or not to help?’ It’s whom to help” (42).

So the choice is before you: are you going to be a good, godly daughter and be a helpmeet to your father?

Rebekah says,

“It is my duty as a girl and as a daughter to seek out what pleases him [her father], and what makes him strong in his vision, so that I too can embrace his vision and make his passions my passions. My position as a daughter is to be feminine and content with whatever my father does, and in being feminine, I can help my father in his masculinity and can give him confidence by being confident in whatever he says or does”  (42).

Rebekah feels that if she doesn’t embrace her father’s vision and agree with him 100%, he will feel less masculine. What, exactly, does that say about a person’s confidence and ego complex that people can’t even disagree with them without making them feel inferior?

The Botkins spend the rest of the chapter talking about Dominism, and daughters helping advance their father’s vision by asking them what they need help with and other things. For a good overview of Dominism, I’d suggest reading this post. In short, Dominism is kind of scary.

The Botkins continue the chapter by talking about how girls are their daddies’ helpmeets. It’s pretty disturbing.

But not as disturbing as this quote.

Ready?

“The job of Christians is to teach all the nations and peoples to obey God, to bring all the earth into complete subjection to Christ. This means that Christians have to do more than just evangelize all nations, but teach them all to observe all that God commands and to live in complete, perfect conformity to His pattern for mankind. And we’re not only to convert natives and savages to this, but also kings, fashion designers, film makers, newspaper reporters, businessmen—all mankind!” (45)

Gee, that’s not racist at all.

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.

  • ako

    My position as a daughter is to be feminine and content with whatever my
    father does, and in being feminine, I can help my father in his
    masculinity and can give him confidence by being confident in whatever
    he says or does

    Funny, my father would be tremendously disappointed if I forced myself to be intensely feminine*, never questions or challenged him, and was so unwilling to engage my critical thinking skills that I was confident in everything he said or did regardless of whether it was a good idea. He doesn’t like to see people waste their potential to be fully human in favor of conformity, and neither do I.

    *He’s never disappointed with any feminine traits I want to display, but this Botkin stuff has very little do with people recognizing it’s okay to like wearing dresses or watching romantic comedies or eating really fancy cupcakes, and everything to do with demanding women put aside their personal inclinations in favor of being what the Botkins would consider feminine enough.

    • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

      Dang. If feminine meant eating fancy cupcakes, I’d have been more submissive!

  • The_L1985

    Every time I think it can’t get worse, I’m proven wrong.

    Also, I’m getting twitchy over the use of “helpmeet” as a single noun. The KJV says, “I will make a help [that is] meet (i.e., suitable) for him.” It’s “help meet for him.” Two separate words. If you’re going to rely on the KJV, you should also read a bit of Shakespeare or other contemporaries from the late 16th and early 17th centuries, because English was different back then.

  • Jayn

    “A girl turns her heart to her father by caring about what he loves”

    Anyone else wondering what they’d say if this turned into the girl caring and learning about, say, cars or carpentry?

    • badgerchild

      Or mechanical engineering? I pissed off my father by asking to leave a perfectly feminine course of study in classical piano, at which I happen to be gifted, in order to follow in his footsteps as a mechanical engineer and industrial designer, something I would also have been gifted at (according to the engineers for whom I work). He was angry because neither of his SONS wanted to be engineers. He told me I wasn’t enough of a bitch to be an engineer (in the woman-hostile atmosphere of the 1980s, OK, I understand, but did he need to add to the hostility?). I suppose I wasn’t to turn my heart that particular direction.

    • Newbie

      I also imagine some of those fathers’ response would be “great, that means you’ll marry someone just like me”

    • Amtep

      But what if the father loves his daughter? She would have to care about herself! Inconceivable!

  • Richter_DL

    So the christian equivalent to Salafism is called Dominionism. You learn something new every day. Funny how that’s coming from the same people who want to install anti-Sharia laws in America. Then again, better keep the competition out of business, I guess.

    That ideology isn’t just scary, it is very dangerous.

  • Jackie

    This seems like it’s setting up daughters as competition with Mom for Daddy’s time and attention. Just feels icky.

    • ZeldasCrown

      I agree. The whole describing the father-daughter relationship in the same way (even using the same words) as the mother-father relationship is just creepy to me. There should be fairly substantial differences in the nature of these two different relationships. There are things that are ok to do with one’s wife, but very much not ok with one’s daughter. Likewise, there are things one might do with their daughter (depending upon her age) that would infantilize a wife.

    • http://aztecqueen2000.blogspot.com/ AztecQueen2000

      Glad I’m not the only one who picked up on that vibe. Every line felt like a set-up for emotional incest.

    • grindstone

      The wife is flat on her back on pregnancy bed rest or recovering from delivery, or busy with babies and toddlers. Stay with the tour. :-)

      • tulips

        It has that “How to get around the social faux pas of polygamy without actually limiting yourself to one wife” sort of vibe to it. Exponential yuck infinity.

      • Jackie

        There are deficits to not being part of this culture – I miss all the little pieces that feed together into the big picture!

        When you consider though that a common complaint of men with new babies in the house is that they don’t get the attention from their wives that they used to get, you can see where this mindset starts. Wife doesn’t have the time or energy to adore me (or maybe is smart enough now not to); therefore, I must have someone else to tell me how wonderful and smart I am and to listen to my advice and obey.

        Are there wives in this culture who actually advocate this? They’ve replaced the classic middle-aged businessman’s young secretary who thinks he’s adorable with daughters. Daddy has needs. Icky.

  • MyOwnPerson

    Every time I read what they have to say it just makes me want to cry. They are real, human people and they are sacrificing their lives on the altar their father built.

    • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

      I’m sure they ceased to be “people” to their father when the money started rolling in…can’t have that $$ marrying off and all.

      • Whirlwitch

        I would contend they ceased to be people to him when he learned they had vaginas.

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        Good point.

    • wanderer

      I think any sane father would have read the draft of the book these girls were writing (long before publishing) and been horrified that THIS is the takeaway they have about what family life should be like.

      • MyOwnPerson

        It’d take a special kind of egomaniac to be pleased with this situation.

  • TLC

    “Secondly, forget about learning to love what God loves and forget learning about to love Jesus because you must only care about your earthly father. ”

    Yes and amen to this! These earthly men are being set up as false gods to worship. These women should be focusing on doing what their Savior wants them to do — not their sire, especially if they’re adults.

    “What, exactly, does that say about a person’s confidence and ego complex that people can’t even disagree with them without making them feel inferior?”

    Exactly. The men in this culture are portrayed as being “strong”, but yet they can’t handle the challenge of a simple question, let alone an intellectual disagreement. Sounds to me like a bunch of spineless wimps, not strong, Godly men.

  • Mel

    I’ve been wondering why the Botkins didn’t include examples from their lives instead of vague testimonials from other women. This bothered me until I realized that they wrote this book at 15 and 17.

    I’m also enjoying the deep irony involved in this book. You practice your wifely skills for your husband on your father. The Botkin girls, then, should be highly prized wife material snatched by some amazing man years ago. Instead, they’ve become the picture of stay-at-home daughters. Since Botkin trots out the tired old saw about him praying over one of the girls’ ovaries when she was born so that she could be the mother of multitudes, I’m wondering how this fits in with his family’s long term plan. I suspect it has something to do with cash flow.

    • Jackie

      Or they know it’s all complete bs and they’re too smart to marry one of their own. A guy I knew in high school showed up at the 20th class reunion not married. Gorgeous, psychologist, funny. When someone asked him why he didn’t marry, he pointed to another guy who was part of his religious culture and said, “See John’s wife? That’s the kind of woman I would have to marry or there would be hell to pay in my family. No way am I doing that.”

      I hope the Botkin women go out to bars and have secret boyfriends when away from their father.

      • https://www.facebook.com/jean.hoehn/info?collection_token=1524166867%3A2327158227%3A35 Phatchick

        Truth. And how many fundy guys (or adult males in general) would be willing to try (operative word here) to run the gauntlet of Daddy’s wants, needs and preferences. Considering what just saying “Good Evening” to one of the girls would entail, I can’t see any guy actually trying for the big W. (and let’s not even get into having Mr. B as a daddy-in-law {shudder}.)

    • That Other Jean

      “. . . they wrote this book at 15 and 17.”

      And that, of course, is a huge problem. I cannot imagine taking advice on how to live life from children who haven’t begun to live it. As adults, if it is possible to call stay-at-home daughters totally focused on their father actual adults, they don’t seem to be particularly successful in anything but promoting the same learned helplessness they advocated as teenagers. Ugh.

  • Composer 99

    My position as a daughter is to be feminine and content with whatever my father does,

    This clause here pretty much grants abusive, manipulative, or domineering fathers carte blanche.

    It’s the diametric opposite of good advice for real daughters.

    • wanderer

      also the poor girl never gets to be a kid, it’s forcing her to be a grown-up from the beginning. She’s responsible for making her father feel masculine???? This crap is horrifying.

  • kitana

    This book must be so offensive to girls who have lost their fathers. Do unmarried girls without fathers have lives completely devoid of meaning and purpose?

    • Gillianren

      We must, because I have yet to see real acknowledgement that we even exist.

  • Rilian Sharp

    I think my comment didn’t post. it doesn’t matter what god meant women to do. if you create something that then has its own mind and its own purposes, then it has no moral obligation to follow you. so why should we care what god intended? because it’ll send us to hell? that’s not morality, its a threat.

    • Conuly

      Gotta give credit where it’s due, when you’re right you are DAMN right.

  • sylvia_rachel

    Wow. That is the squickiest thing I have read in quite a long time (and since I’ve been following this review series as well as those on CTBHHM, CTNAHM, and TTUAC, that’s saying something). Yuck, yuck, yuck.

  • Cassiopeia

    This kind of makes me want to travel back in time to give these kids a hug.

    ‘My position as a daughter is to be feminine and content with whatever my father does, and in being feminine, I can help my father in his masculinity and can give him confidence by being confident in whatever he says or does.’

    No. No it isn’t. Your position as a daughter is to go and explore the huge, amazing world that we have (which, according to their beliefs, was given to them). To find things you love, friends you care about, to challenge your beliefs and perceptions, to have fun. Because you’ve only got a little bit of time to be a kid.

    Your father’s position is a parent. As a parent they need to teach you not to stick a fork into electrical sockets or get hit by a car, how to ride a bike or a horse or drive a car, how to change a tire or manage your money. How to be an adult in this world.

    Children should not have to take care of their parents. Children certainly should not have to take care of their parents egos.

    Your father is an adult, if his ego is that fragile that it needs his children constantly telling him he’s awesome and all his decisions are amazing then I think he needs some professional help, not more encouragement.

  • Saraquill

    So us women shouldn’t listen to our peers, only our dads. Like them, I’m an unmarried woman. My dad never indicated that I should hang on to his every word, and be his cheerleader. He’s all for me being my own person.

    By this logic, I”m following their advice nicely.

  • j.lup

    From the picture on the ‘Daughter Training’ DVD case, it seems to me that dominion-orientation for daughters is all about doing laundry. Perhaps should be retitled, ‘Training Dominion-Oriented Drudges.’

    • Kristen Brennan

      Word. I’m sure it’s supposed to be cute, but I find that picture so disturbing. How old is that little girl? 7? 5? And she’s holding so much laundry that it almost completely obscures her face. And this is the carefully-designed message that they want to send to potential customers? That “Training Dominion-Oriented Daughters” is all about literally burying your little girls in chores?
      What really troubles me about this, is the possible reasoning behind it. Their audience, after all, is people who’ve already accepted dominionism and are trying to figure out how to do it better. They *know* that life for daughters in these circles ends up as a mind-numbing cycle of diapers, dishes, and laundry. They’re not even contesting it. They’re just trying to cute-ify it.

      • j.lup

        Yep, and by burying girls in chores you’re liberating her from the horrible worldly demands of thinking, opinion-forming, and earning her own income.

        Your comment about cute-ifying chores made me notice something else about the picture: It’s a little girl with a lovely (though large) pile of clean, folded laundry…they don’t show the little girl surrounded with piles of dirty laundry, which is really what her future is all about.

      • sylvia_rachel

        That’s interesting — I found the photo the least disturbing thing about this post. To me, it just looks like when I hand my offspring a big pile of clean clothes to put away in her dresser.

        But yes, it could also be a small child doing a huge big pile of other people’s laundry, which is significantly less cute.

      • Kristen Brennan

        Yeah, I wouldn’t have given the photo a second thought if I’d seen it on a friend’s facebook (and the first thought might have been “aww!”). I think it’s the connection with that word “training” that’s giving me the Bad Feels. Like they could have illustrated it with little girls playing or loving on their parents (either of which would have communicated “look at your little girl! Isn’t she precious? Don’t you want the best for her?”) or even (gasp) reading the Bible if they wanted to get crazy with it. But instead they picked . . . laundry. It feels like they’re saying “You know you’ll have to teach her this, right? Let us tell you how!”

  • KarenJo12

    Here is a nausea-inducing example!

    • sylvia_rachel

      Nausea-inducing and kind of incoherent.

      Eww.

  • c

    How can they justify being so unbiblical? HOW??

  • Hilary

    All I can see is literally silencing a girls voice under an overwhelming load of chores. That laundry covers her mouth, visually cutting off any voice she had. Subtle, guys, very subtle. Not.

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

        Libby, I’m not sure that link works. Where exactly did you re-post my comment? I don’t mind, I’m just curious where it went.
        Also, I hope my comment on your parenting skills helped, during the Saga of Sally, the Scissors and the Couch. You seemed caught up in an emotional blogstorm for a day or two, and I wanted to let you know that I really respect how you are parenting your children, with an angle I didn’t see anybody else commenting on.

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

        Thanks. I didn’t re-post your comment, I just responded to someone else’s comment and wanted to say the same in reply to yours, but was typing on my phone and didn’t want to retype the whole thing so I just posted the link. This is what I had said: “The Pearls say a girl that age (i.e. 7 to 10) should be doing 2 hours of chores a day. Is that anywhere near normal, do you know? I suspect not, but I didn’t exactly grow up in a normal household when it comes to chores. Still, I think that’s more than my siblings or I did at that age, depending I suppose on what you count as chores .”

  • stacey

    The pic on the cover says it ALL. Erasing a girl with a stack of laundry, pretty symbolic, to say the least.
    You cannot see her expression, household drudgery has taken over.

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

      The Pearls say a girl that age (i.e. 7 to 10) should be doing 2 hours of chores a day. Is that anywhere near normal, do you know? I suspect not, but I didn’t exactly grow up in a normal household when it comes to chores. Still, I think that’s more than my siblings or I did at that age, depending I suppose on what you count as chores . . .

      • Hilary

        Normal is a setting on the washing machine. I can see a ten year old girl doing up to two hours cumulative a day helping out around the house without it being abusive, but not sure about seven

      • sylvia_rachel

        That seems like a lot to me. But then, I’m a very bad housekeeper and live in an 800-square-foot apartment. I don’t do 2 hours of chores every day, never mind my kid.

        I can for sure document that I wasn’t spending that much time on chores when I was 7. My chores at that age — I remember this very clearly because we were on sabbatical in Spain at the time — were washing dishes every day and mopping the living-room floor whenever I felt like it (I was fascinated by the concept of mopping, for some reason. My 11-year-old loves to clean toilets, but refuses to make her bed. Kids are weird). This did not take 2 hours of each day.

  • Rachel Heston-Davis

    “I thought I loved my father before, but it was for selfish reasons. He
    was just my dad. But now he is my father, my friend, my guardian, my
    priest, and my knight in shining armor” (40).

    I’m…so confused right now.

    So there’s a difference between loving your parent because he’s your parent, vs. loving your parent because he’s fulfilling the roles that parents fulfill. And the first one is selfish, but the second one isn’t.

    What?

    (Also I agree with you about the priest thing, that’s just weird.)

    So the interesting part here: Looking up to your dad, adoring your dad, being able to confide in him and feel like he’s a friend in addition to being a parent…that’s pretty much exactly the relationship I had/have with my father. But that relationship had nothing to do with him being in control of me, or mediating God to me, or deciding my vision. It had to do with him being a good person, loving me, and leaving me free to make my own choices.

    I feel like these super-conservative books take genuinely good things that all people can experience, but pretend that those good things can only be found if you do things their particular way. And it’s so not true.


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