On Gratitude; Or, I Love My Parents

I've been thinking recently about my feelings toward my parents. Several readers have interpreted my criticism of Christian Patriarchy/Quiverfull and fundamentalist religion in general as anger or bitterness toward my parents, and have said this in their comments or on their blogs. This bothers me not so much because it's inaccurate as because if that's the impression I'm giving I'm failing to effectively communicate what I'm trying to say. I've never said my parents are the problem here. … [Read more...]

Conversion Stories, Social Conformity, and the Problem of Memory

Have you ever noticed the way conversion narratives are created? If you've ever been a fundamentalist or an evangelical, you know the pressure there to "tell your testimony." Yet weirdly, these testimonies all seem to conform to the same pattern. It's like someone handed in an outline and they just filled in the details. What happens when fundamentalists or evangelicals - or anyone, for that matter - swap stories with each other is that these stories change. They become shaped over time to … [Read more...]

Frozen Promises; Or, Life is NOT a Journey

I was reading No Longer Quivering this morning, and the latest entry was especially poignant and thought provoking.I spent hours trying to decide on a purity ring. I wanted one with meaning, and I wanted it to be pretty. Besides, the more time I spent there, the more likely I was to convince my parents that I really wanted the newest Ludy book. After we picked up the purity ring, my dad and I had a talk about what it meant. I told him what I wanted, and I promised to remain pure until marr … [Read more...]

On “Passing” and Sticking Out

When I first left home for college, I wasn't afraid to stick out. I still shared my parents' beliefs, and there was something satisfying about the shock on a person's face when she learned that I had twelve siblings. I don't think anyone could have known me for five minutes without knowing that I was homeschooled K-12, because I let them know proudly. I gladly defended creationism in class, and the incredulous stares didn't bother me, because I knew I was right and they were wrong. I had been … [Read more...]

Marrying Before Thinking

The Quiverfull system pushes daughters into marriage before ever giving them a chance to figure out who they are. Given the admonition against having "teenagers" and the interpretation of any difference in thought or practice as "rebellion," Quiverfull daughters have no chance to grow up or mature. Then they marry. Then what happens?A growing number of Quiverfull daughters are being kept at home. They practice homemaking and help raise and homeschool their siblings. They learn to … [Read more...]

Me? Obey Him? Wifely Submission Laid on Strong

I grew up in the era before Debi Pearl's Created to be His Helpmeet came out. This means that even though my mother now keeps her copy of Created by her Bible, this wasn't a book she read while I was growing up. Instead, the book on wifely submission that I saw her reading most frequently - and crying over - was Elizabeth Rice Hanford's “Me? Obey Him?” Until yesterday, I had hoped that Handford's work was, well, a less extreme version of wifely submission than Pearl's work was. Yesterday I came u … [Read more...]

The Republican Primary: A Race to the Extreme

There's something rather scary going on in the Republican presidential primary. It's as though the candidates are having a contest to see who can be the most extreme. One area where this competition is on in full force involves sex, abortion, and birth control.Rick Santorum has decided that it's not enough to be against abortion. He is now against birth control, and not just in his private life - if he were elected president, he would do what he could to use public policy to decrease the … [Read more...]