Finally, now that we’re on chapter 5, the Botkins admit that there will be exceptions to their way of life. What’s a girl to do if she has a bad father or if her father is not onboard with the whole stay-at-home daughter thing? What if she doesn’t have a father? Unfortunately, the Botkins have answers for you.
“All fathers are less than perfect. So are all daughters. We can’t wait for our fathers to be perfect before we become the perfect daughters. We must begin finding ways to honor and value our fathers where they are, as God’s law commands us. Even the worst father is worthy of respect from his daughter, simply because he is her father.” (53).
It doesn’t matter how bad your father is—he’s just less than perfect and you shouldn’t hold him to perfect standards. But you should hold yourself to those standards and reach for perfection.
“Even the worst father is worth of respect…”
Hm, what if your father is abusive?
“…we believe that most fathers, if not criminally wicked, do have at least some admirable qualities somewhere. Be quick to see these qualities. When you think of your father, you shouldn’t think of his weaknesses that spring to your mind, but of how much you love and appreciate his good qualities” (54).
The Botkins are pulling a Debi Pearl by telling daughters to always focus on the positive qualities of their horrible father, which isn’t very good advice to give girls if their father is bad and they need to get help. Instead they might find themselves thinking they just need to endure their suffering for the sake of not disrespecting their father. I’m not sure if the Botkins just really had no understanding of how abuse and manipulation works when they wrote this book or if their own upbringing is just so twisted that it seems perfectly normal to them.
So what do they mean by “criminally wicked”? Abusive fathers are not really discussed, but they are mentioned in a footnote (which shows you just how seriously the Botkins take this):
“We understand there are some fathers who are abusive, exploitive, and engaged in ongoing criminal activity, as defined by Scripture. In such cases, girls can only help their fathers long-distance by praying for them after being geographically separated from them. If church officers are unwilling to intervene in such circumstances on behalf of the victim, direct state intervention may be necessary” (54).
I admit I was surprised that the Botkins actually had this footnote and acknowledge that some girls need to LEAVE HOME in the case of abuse, but then I did a double take. First just pray for your abusive father? Then go to the church about it?
If your father is being criminally “wicked”, why on earth would you go to the church first? The word “criminal” implies that it’s in the state’s jurisdiction to take care of it. Furthermore, the church has not exactly been setting a very good track record for dealing with abuse. After all, people in the church are saying things like this: *warning, discussion and rationalization of abuse*
. . .
I have no words except: WTF.
Furthermore, if you’re telling a daughter to only say good things about her father and only focus on the good things about her father, is she really going to go the state, let alone the church for help?
Especially when she’s told that she can’t make decisions for herself— who is going to believe her if she accuses her father of abuse? [Especially if her father can just annul her own words].
Despite the fact that they say:
“True women have a kind of power that our society knows nothing about…When husbands are struggling with obedience to God, it is in a wife’s ability to “win” her husband over by her respectful behavior. In many cases, even the most stubborn men, when they observe their wives submitting humbly to them, will feel ashamed and repentant, and their conscience s will compel them to submit again to God.”
Once again, they’re talking about husbands and wives. But what they mean (doing some exegetical gymnastics here) is that as a daughter you can “win” your father to Christ by being submissive and respectful. He’ll be so blown away by your attitude that of course he’s going to turn around. Unless, he’s abusive and your submission just makes it easier for him.
So remember, fathers are NOT perfect. But they are still worthy of your respect. However, are you worthy of protection?
“Before you can accuse your father of being unprotective, ask yourself: do you make it clear to him that you are a woman of virtue, worthy of his special protection? If your behavior was more gentle, feminie, respectful, and lovely, would he be more inclined to feel protective of you?” (57).
Whatever your father is not doing, it’s obviously your fault. Excuse me, but what?
So a girl has to show unconditional respect to her father, but she’s not worthy of unconditional protection? She has to “prove” herself?
“If a father continues to be indifferent, you could appeal to him with Scripture, showing him that God has ordained him to be the authority in your life.” (57).
Isn’t that taking a little too much leadership by telling someone else (your father no less!) what they’re supposed to do?
If your father still doesn’t take charge:
“Until you’re married, alternative authority figures would include your mother, a responsible brother, and/or a group of godly older men like the elders of a church, preferably those who fit the qualifications for a bishop…” (61).
(WOW, they acknowledge the mother! I’m shocked that she’s on the list.)
Finally, I’ll leave you with this: “Our first duty is always to God and not man. Because all earthly authority is limited, there are biblical grounds for disobedience to an authority who’s trying to play God.” (59).