In the Raised Quiverfull project, young adults from families influenced by the Quiverfull movement have come together to answer questions about their upbringing. While all of the participants have questioned and rejected the quiverfull ideology they were raised with, their current beliefs and positions vary.
The Raised Quiverfull project is in survey format, with participants answering a series of questions on nine different topics, including gender, purity, and homeschooling. For more, see the Raised Quiverfull Panel, which consists of a panel of nine young adults responding to a these same questions.
If you would like to participate in this project, please send an email to lovejoyfeminism (at) gmail (dot) com.
When I was seven, my parents divorced. This was 1987, the sort of peak to the “ministry” of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), run by the Christian guru, Bill Gothard (Billy Boy G.). Over the years, I attended many Basic seminars and later, the Advanced Seminar. We had all of Billy Boy G’s textbooks and manuals in our house, and many other publications that put forth a worldview that Christians were persecuted and needed to rise up and take back the world.
My parents have always been fairly traditional and conservative, but their participation in the local homeschooling community helped them develop more extreme beliefs. Through homeschooling conferences and other Christian homeschooling families, they were exposed to materials from Vision Forum, Reb Bradley, and Focus on the Family. They also borrowed some ideas from Bill Gothard’s Basic Life Principles.
My parents were originally fairly ordinary evangelicals, but after they started homeschooling me (for practical, not religious, reasons) they came in contact with the literature of the Christian homeschool movement, made new friends, and attending Christian homeschool conventions. Little by little they adopted the essential beliefs of the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements. My parents were most influenced by Michael and Debi Pearl, Above Rubies, and Vision Forum.
Both my parents grew up in moderate Christian families. They first got involved with the P/QF teachings shortly after they married. Back in the 1980s my Mom found out about Mary Pride’s teachings (The Way Home) and both my mom and dad were quickly fascinated by her teachings and approaches to family structure. Among their favorite “leaders,” if you can call them that, are Mary Pride and the Pearls, and especially the Gothard teachings. My parents took several trips to meetings and seminars hosted by Gothard’s IBLP.
My parents consider themselves to be first-generation Christians. They were heavily influenced by Mary Pride during their engagement, and always planned to homeschool and have their children court, rather than date. They were involved in both Vineyard and Sovereign Grace Ministries churches, and subscribed to WORLD Magazine and Above Rubies (and later I would be subscribed to The King’s Daughter Magazine). For school, we used Sonlight Curriculum, Rod & Staff, Beautiful Feet, Gileskirk, Apologia Science, and Alpha Omega LifePacs, and we were involved in AWANA.
When I was 5 my parents decided to homeschool me. At around age 8 some things started to change, my dad told us that all the girls would have to dress modestly from now on, because it wouldn’t be fair for him to “spring that on us when we hit our teens” and we might as well get used to it now. When I was 10 we quit going to church and began “homechurching”. I remember my dad subscribed to “Patriarch Magazine” and “Quit You Like Men” magazines. My mother started to get “Gentle Spirit” and eventually “Above Rubies.”
My parents were already slipping into PF/QF teachings by the time I was born. They both came from chaotic backgrounds and were looking for a way to ensure that their children would never experience the things they had to go through. My older sisters had to watch things go from normal to terrible, but I have no memories from before. My earliest memories involve skirts and braids and spanking spoons. We had every book and magazine ever published by Vision Forum, Michael Pearl, Debbi Pearl, David Wilkerson, Above Rubies, Answers in Genesis, The Harris’s, The Farris’s, and the Botkins. I’m sure there were more.
I was not born into fundamentalism. My mother was an ordinary evangelical and my extended family was made up of lapsed Catholics. We went to various non-denominational Bible churches as my mother searched for her spiritual home. When I was 7, my mother had a miscarriage. She fell deep into mourning and leaned on one of her homeschool friends for support. That friend was a fundamentalist. We were rapidly sucked down the rabbit hole of Christian patriarchy and quiverfull as my mother began attending a church that followed the charismatic fundamentalist preacher William Branham.
At the first homeschool convention my parents attended, they heard one of the “big names” in the movement speak and were dazzled. They actively pursued more of the same kind, and Doug Philips, Jonathan Lindvall, Bill Gothard, and Michael Pearl all soon became household words in our family. There were several other less well-known teachers in the same general stream that we followed as well. We subscribed to the magazines/newsletters, bought the books and tapes, went to the seminars, etc. Our home was literally littered with patriarchal propaganda.
I think my parents were first influenced by the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements back when they decided to “let God choose the size of their family” and started reading Mary Pride’s books “The Way Home” and “All The Way Home”. I’ve never read them, I just know she claims to be a former feminist and those are the books my parents attribute to being responsible for their changing their minds on how many kids they wanted.
My parents were both christians before they got married, but after five years of attending a church which taught that they should not have any children at all, so that they could better witness to the lost (based on their interpretation of verses like “he who has a wife should be as though he has none..), my parents reacted against that teaching and felt that children are a gift from God. From that point on, they did not ever use birth control.
My parents sort of came to Quiverfull beliefs on their own. When I was about 7 or so they became involved in a cult called “cleansing stream” which “taught” them how to read the bible and things just kinda spiraled from there. While they eventually left the cult and abandoned some of the crazy teachings, they never truly exited. They were typical in that they had oodles of spawn, were very strict and into gender roles. Atypically, my mom was instigating it and my dad is/was sort of her puppet (seemingly – it’s hard to tell).
I don’t remember when my parents first came in contact with Bill Gothard, Michael/Debi Pearl and company. I think they were introduced to it when we started to go to a small housechurch that was pretty strong in their opinions. I do remember going to several Pearl child training seminars with my parents and my siblings, and I remember my mom being pretty attached to Created to be His Help Meet, No Greater Joy magazines, and some magazine the Pearls did too, I think, and my dad getting Quit You Like Men magazines.