CTNAHM: Butt-Kicking those Lazy Visionaries

A Guest Post by Aletha

Originally posted on Yllom Mormon

Created To Need A Help Meet, pp. 80—82

Last post, we read a letter from the wife of a Visionary. This Visionary didn’t have a job, and the family was living off of charity and the government.  Michael told him to pony up and get a job, and then called him a double-dog jerk.  Today, we are still talking about lazy Visionaries.

Nothing But the TRUTH

No able bodied man should be living off the generosity of friends, welfare, parents, wife, or widowed mother-in-law. The only excuse is complete disablement. If you can’t do anything else, cut grass, wash windows, or perish the thought, get a job. But don’t mooch, and don’t put your wife in the position where her side of the family feels sorry for the kids and “volunteers” to help out.

I agree 100% with this paragraph.  Though I will add a caveat. Sometimes people lose jobs, or disaster strikes, and they temporarily need assistance. I grew up (very) very poor, because my mom was a single parent. She worked 2 jobs and went to nursing school full time. We lived in government housing, and were on food stamps until she graduated and found a good job.  So I understand that it is sometimes necessary to accept aid. However, making a lifestyle of accepting handouts, instead of working, is not really the best option.

Any of the three types of men can be lazy or irresponsible, but the Visionary is most prone to dreaming and scheming without doing anything redeeming. And don’t hide behind your image type. God made you this way so you can rise above the animal instinct to do as you ought. You as a man have the power and duty to act wisely and responsibly rather than by pure instinct. Anyone can do what he feels like doing, what his natural drives dictate. A godly man does what he ought, and what you ought is to provide for your own family no matter how boring or unfulfilling the job.

Interesting. In a previous section, he tells men to let their wives know what type he is, that way she can better understand how to help him. He pretty much encouraged scapegoating based on type. Apparently it’s OK to do that with one’s wife, but not in one’s line of work. If I were taking the advice of this book, I would have a hard time figuring out when I should do what, where. Because it seems that often the line moves, doesn’t it?

I will agree that people (not just men) should rise above their animal instinct. But I don’t think it’s just “godly men” who does what he’s supposed to, even when it’s unpleasant. By the way, what’s a “godly man”? Is it a Christian? A certain brand of Christian? What about a hypocritical Christian? If they’re doing it for the wrong reason, are they still godly?

I’m amused at one thing. Michael said earlier that women should do their “job, even if it is not personally fulfilling”. I took issue with that. But apparently he holds that same advice for men. While I’m pleased to see even a small measure of equality from Michael, encouraging both parties to continue in activities in which they are unfulfilled doesn’t really strike me as great advice. I know from experience that when I was unfulfilled or hated my job, I was a total jerk in most other areas, simply because I was so unhappy.  I can’t imagine both parties feeling that way all of the time.

“All work is pain,” says a French philosopher. Maturity is learning to endure the pain of the work. Gainful employment can be painful in many ways: physical exertion, enduring heat and cold, mental stress, or the most painful of all, boring work-work that offers no personal satisfaction, repetitive work, monotonous, mentally numbing dumb work. It is worse than a headache.  So an immature, selfish man will forfeit his dignity and idle himself before he will endure the pain of boring work. It feels good to dream and imagine one’s self to be above the menial labor of the masses, to be destined to great success through some invention or brilliant idea that comes to fruition. But a man with a family has a duty that must be fulfilled regardless of his personal satisfaction. Hope of the future achievement cannot take the place of today’s dignity and duty.

OK. It really sounds to me like he’s advocating it’s fine to be miserable as long as you’re paying the bills. While I will agree that duty is important, I can’t stress enough how much hating a job affects every other aspect of your life. When we first got married, my husband had a job where he was the lowest man on the totem pole. He is a computer tech guy, but he was always the one that got sent out to fix copiers. If he had an idea, it was poached by the owner’s son. My husband would come home stressed, a bit upset, and needed a lot more reassurances from me than he did on weekends.  We were both stressed a lot of the time, simply because so much energy was spent trying to calm him down from a job he didn’t enjoy.
Again, I’m not saying don’t take a job unless you love it. Sometimes any job is better than none. I’m just saying that disliking a job is stressful for everyone.

Dummy Dumbed Down by the Devil

I heard a Visionary say “I can’t keep a job more than a few days they fire me for witnessing to everybody. I guess the devil just doesn’t want me working.” My answer is, “Well, it’s too bad the devil is winning; where is your armor to resist his fiery darts?” He is living rent-free in a friend’s house. He likes to define his state as “suffering for Christ.”

I’m wondering how many Visionaries Michael knows that live off the charity of friends. Because this guy sounds a lot like the letter writer’s husband. My advice to him would be “Duh. Maybe you should stop witnessing? Content yourself to pray for them (in quiet) on your breaks. The Lord works in mysterious ways, after all.”  But no. Once again, instead of solid advice, Michael is a fan of belittling the person, not correcting the behavior. Sigh. And people think he’s an expert.  I was in a relationship where his idea of “helping” was belittling. It’s called an abusive relationship, not helping.  I’m really amazed that Michael (and his legion of fans) don’t realize that this is abuse.

There are other men who cannot tolerate the moral corruption in the work place, so they quit and then spend months idly looking for another job while nursing the government and “trusting God” to meet their needs. God has made it abundantly clear that a man who doesn’t work shouldn’t be allowed to eat. A man of God honors what God says and continues to work to support his own family. If you are taking any sustenance from others without giving back equal or more, then you are a user. And users are losers depending on others who are willing to endure the pain of work.

Oh! Oh! Oh! The Quiverfull couple who introduced me to PearlWorld was like this! He couldn’t stand to be under a woman supervisor, so quit job after job. They had 6 kids (and always more on the way). She bragged to me about how much they got in food stamps ($1900/month).  I sometimes have half a mind to send them these pages.  Sorry. Minor tangent done now. This is one aspect of the Christian God that I agree with. If you can work, you should be. Though I don’t think calling people “losers” is really mature. Why do the Pearls resort to name-calling to illustrate their points?

Women were created as the weaker vessel to depend on their husbands for daily sustenance  Don’t expect a woman to understand and appreciate you if the family finds it difficult to keep food on the table and maintain a properly furnished home with functioning appliances and a loaded larder. Certainly don’t expect a woman to respect you if you are forcing her to depend on someone else to provide her daily bread. My wife will tell her to respect you regardless, as she should, but I am telling you that if she does she is becoming a super-Christian while you are becoming a super-cad.

Lalala. Women are the weaker vessel. They need you, mighty man, to provide for them. Same old song and dance.  I think it’s interesting, though, that he says “don’t expect respect” and then in the next breath says “my wife says your wife should respect you, regardless, and she’s right!”  So apparently you’re not supposed to expect respect, but you know you should get it anyway? What exactly is Michaels’ definition of expecting?

Also, I’m trying to figure out how a wife who “respects” (put in quotes because I don’t see how it’s possible to respect someone who does nothing to earn it) her husband is turning into a super-Christian. The way I see it, she’s either turning into a super-martyr, or a super-liar.  And again with the name calling? Really, Michael? You have no more tricks in your book than to call people names?

I think I’m learning a lot more about Michael as a person than I am about relationships. The more I read, the more he comes across as “God told me so! You’re a poopy-head! Nah nah nah!” Honestly, I’m amazed that people love these books. From what I’ve read (and I can’t find the link, sorry), the Pearl’s make at least a million a year from sales of their books.  It might be the “more I suffer, the holier I am” mentality that makes them so popular. But, really, if you count on suffering (or sacrificing) throughout your marriage to glorify your God, then why the necessity to always paste on a smile of Christian joy? If somebody understands this better, please explain.

Next post, we get to hear about idleness, and Michael sums up the David and Bathseheba story—with some modern parallels! I know I’m excited!

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.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X