A Great Big "THANK YOU!!!!"

by Vyckie

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I’ve been reading through the comments which have been posted on this blog ~ and feeling pretty overwhelmed by the kindness, support and thoughtfulness of our readers. I sure wish there was more time to respond ~ much of the dialog going on between posters is incredibly insightful. Nearly every comment makes me think, “Oh ~ I want to write about that too!” ~ and I am keeping a list of topics that I hope to address in the future.

I honestly had no idea that there were so many others who were totally steeped in this lifestyle and then left the movement. It’s really encouraging to me ~ makes me hopeful that what we’re doing here could help other women either escape their own abusive/cultic situations ~ or else avoid going there in the first place.

There’s so much more that I want to write ~ and things are always so crazy around my house that it’s a wonder I get anything posted at all ;-) For now, I just wanted to say, “Thanks” ~ because of you, there’s already a wealth of helpful information and support here. Wow ~ How cool is that? ‹(ô¿ô)›

  • Arietty

    And THANK YOU Vycki and Laura for your blog and for the wonderful venue you’ve provide by allowing comments. I have rarely had opportunity to talk and read about these things and it has been encouraging, cathartic and very meaningful for me to do so. I also really appreciate that you moderate this blog and no one is bible bashing me in the comment discussions. I have read every last word here.Is there an option with blogger to show recent comments in the side bar? Sometimes people comment on an older post and it isn’t seen unless you keep checking them all (yeah I’ve been doing that, lol)

  • Jadehawk

    getting your story out there is SO important! just look at all those ex-this, ex-that support groups and support sites! it’s always immensely helpful to people to know that they’re not alone, and that they actually have more choices than they think they have.and for the rest of us who don’t have this hell to deal with? well, it’s equally important to have more people KNOW about this. if all a person ever sees is their own propaganda about how awesome their lives are, you’ll have a culture that will support them in “doing what makes them happy”, even though it obviously doesn’t make many happy at all! some outrage and cultural support for those who want out is always necessary!

  • Charis

    I hope you might consider blogging on this. The beliefs which trapped you and I are not just some isolated cult. They have a strong foothold in mainstream evangelical Christendom and involve activity which struck me as downright diabolical- affecting the very accuracy of the the Bible.Here is a link to a Q & A on Boundless which is an arm of "Focus on the Family" aimed at singles. Please go read it and weep at how they are preparing women to be robbed of a voice in their relationships:www.boundless.org/2005/answers/a0001982.cfmFocus on the Family was also influential in squelching the publication in the US of a Bible translation which was seeking to accurately translate gender. (see TODAY’S NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION: THE UNTOLD STORY OF A GOOD TRANSLATION by Craig L. Blomberg: Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary)When I came out of the fog, I was truly shocked to discover how Bible translations are slanted in a way which disrespects women as well as disrespecting the very Word and intention of GOD. Here is an example which was like a slap in the face to me:“God wants all men to be saved” (link to 4 Bible versions which all say this) The Greek word translated there as “men” is anthropos which means “people”. In the TNIV, it is accurately translated “people”.

  • Vyckie

    Arietty ~ I added a gadget over on the right-hand column which is supposed to let you subscribe to the posts and comments on this blog. Laura tried it and couldn’t figure it out ;( If anyone here knows how Blogger’s “Subscribe” option works ~ please enlighten the rest of us!

  • mom huebert

    Charis– The TNIV was not squelched. It is alive and well, and available through Amazon and christianbook.com and other places. It is also the translation used in the “Bible Experience,” a a very well done dramatized audio bible.

  • Anonymous

    Vicky your blog demonstrates the peak of intolerance. Let’s see if I have this right. While in lifestyle A you and your druggie husband did as you pleased. You left that and went to lifestyle B. While there you worked to convince people that this was the best and they should join you. Bad mouthing lifestyle A and those who choose to live there.Then you decided to live lifestyle C and now you are working to have others join you there. I guess because this is now the best lifestyle for everyone. You now write to show how bad the first two were and how good your new lifestyle is. When you get tired of this and move back to a previous lifestyle or maybe on to lifestyle D will you then tell us how abusive lifestyles A,B and C were?What ever happen to tolerance and allowing others to live their own lives however they choose. Who are you to tell us how we should live. What makes you think your current lifestyle is what is best for the rest of the world? Why not be thankful that you are able to live how you choose and live and let live?

  • aimai

    Vyckie,I think you and Laura are well on your way to having a blog “community” that will be incredibly important, both to you guys and your families and to other people. I’ve been blogging for a while and I can tell you that its not easy to create a space where people feel excited to come and free to comment. It can get out of hand if you have hundreds of commenters but its good to give your commenters as much free space and connectivity as you can and just see what comes up. I wanted to write back to Arietty, for example, and tell her how important her insights are for other women. Maybe sometime you can figure out a way to tag some of your sub conversations so people can link up and talk about side issues that are spawned by your original posts. I have no idea how to do that, of course!Also, you might want to consider putting up a link to Amazon. I think there is a way you can enable an Amazon “wish list” of books for you and Laura where your readers can buy and ship things without knowing where you live. I see that a lot of people have read things they would like to share with you and that might be the easiest way for them to send you stuff anonymously. I just bought an extra copy of something that one of your other readers recommended–Bart Ehrmann’s “Misquoting Jesus” an absolutely marvellous study of the way scribal transcriptions of the early gospels created a false notion of what Jesus actually “said” or “did” before the invention of moveable type and the King James Version began to fix biblical texts. I’d be happy to send it to you both if you want to get a PO box that, again, preserves your privacy.bestaimai

  • Lorell

    To AnonymousBack off. Vyckie and Laura are telling their stories, they are not trying to convince anyone to join them. In Lifestyle A Vyckie did NOT do as she pleased. Pay attention.Letting people live their own lives? That is exactly what is NOT allowed in the quiverfull movement. In fact, I feel that most forms of organized religion are about power and control of other people. Why do you think the church did not want the bible translated out of Latin and mass produced? Because you do not need to read the bible, We will tell you what to think!And, get a spine. Use a name.Lorell

  • adventuresinmercy

    The criticism you just recieved from Anonymous is IDENTICAL to the stuff I got when coming out of this. It’s very tiring. Underneath it all, the basic message is, “If you’re going to leave our camp, the only way we’ll allow you to leave is QUIETLY.” They can write long and loud diatribes against the evils of feminism and how glad they are they escaped the feminist lair, and THAT, my friend, is okay—even godly. But if you escape their lair and dare to right about it? Watch out. They’ll be sure to use personal attack to make you doubt your “right” to speak. When I began stumbling out of patriarchy, as a former supporter and avid writer for it, it was as if there was a big private Damage Control meeting by some of the “upper-ranks.” I was publically told by numerous women, including a fewof the more influential ones in the patriarchy movement, to shut down my ( new “want-to-process-through-these-new-thoughts”) blog and to keep to myself. Seems silly now, but it really freaked me out then. I’m glad I didn’t listen to them. Use your voice. Talk about what happened. People need to know that there’s another face to this movement, behind the cheerful clean pictures in the Vision Forum catalog and the sweet wholesome family photo’s in Above Rubies (including mine). Some of those family pictures are REAL—those families are sweet and healthy, they really are. But some of them aren’t. I think a lot more aren’t than most would think. As Arietty has said so well, some of us found this movement because it offered us a guilded cage instead of a prison—it made what was happening in our lives appear to be “godly,” to be good, to be the right way—and it affirmed everything our husbands were telling us about how they had the right to control us, etc. It seemed to offer help, a solution, and I grabbed hold of it like a drowning man does a liferaft…but in the end, it only put a nice clean white gauze cover over the top of the wound…so I couldn’t see the gangrene setting in. The day it was ripped off and I saw how rotten and filthy and life-threatening the wound was…wow. It was horrible, to finally begin having to deal with reality. But I’m glad… I so relate with authenticallyme (Hi, old friend!)…the sense of freedom, even with all this hardship of trying to sort through the total mess, is worth it and worth it and worth it! :) I’ve been really saddened/shocked/surprised to find that many people prefered my family with the gauze on top of the wound. Dealing with complex things is hard. Dealing with real serious deep issues is hard. We looked so very very good on the outside. Who would have ever thought? You find out who your real friends are when you go through something like this, I guess. I sure am thankful for them. THey have been a lifeline to me. It’s a mess. But it’s important to talk about it. There are so many more women in this mess, dying in it, stumbling around in it, trying to stumble out of it. More will be coming. Much Love,Molly

  • Anonymous

    You’re welcome!I am just comforted that the tide it turning.Patriarchy is losing it’s hold more and more.Your blog (not to mention the people responding to it) is just one more big, huge, piece of evidence that Patriarchy is going down, or at least being pushed back off of ground it has wrongfully claimed.Keep it up ladies.We’re still reading.Mara

  • Anonymous

    Vyckie-The “Subscribe” feature works via RSS (“Really Simple Syndication”), which you can read about here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS_(file_format)Basically, it is a standardized format that many blogs and news sites support, that is read by a program called a “reader.” It is especially convenient for getting all of the sites you follow in one place. There are many RSS readers available, either as websites that you sign into or as standalone software for your computer. If you already have a Google account, you could look into Google Reader ( http://www.google.com/intl/en/googlereader/tour.html ).-L

  • aimai

    Vyckie,I would love to see you (eventually! in your copious free time!) write about some of the many issues your new commentators have brought up. I’m really interested in a seemingly common thread–the emergence of women from the cloud of perfect motherhood at the same time as their oldest daughter reaches teenage years. I’m guessin that if you could survey the field it is when an oldest child starts to struggle against the family dominion, or wants to come out as gay, or otherwise explore their teenage self that (some) mothers start to take a hard look at what they are asking their children to give up. One or two of your commenters have mentioned that the quiverful movement doesn’t prepare its mothers for teenagers or pretends that teenagers won’t be a problem. I’d just love to hear more about it if that is an issue that resonates for you.aimai

  • Kaderin

    AnonymousIt is not “intolerant” to point out suffering. According to your logic we shouldn’t point when people are being used, abused, threatened with violence and stripped of their freedom as long as its a widespread phenomenon, conveniently labeled as a “lifestyle choice”, let alone do something about it? Gotcha.Really, if the world were run by people like you I suppose we would still have child labour – hey, they chose to be paid minimum wage under grueling and potentially lifethreatening conditions! What do you mean that doesn’t make it ethical?!Assuming you life in some sort of western democracy – we grant freedom to everyone, equally, with no discrimination. To not be able to garantuee those basic human rights to every citizen as promised in our constituions is a disgrace.

  • Charis

    aimai,That is a very interesting observation and true for me (did I mention this elsewhere? sorry if I am repeating…)We sent our firstborn to a nice safe conservative Christian college and when she visited for the first time at Thanksgiving, our baby had changed! She had her own opinion and she was not afraid to tell us about it. Our reaction was that “they turned her into a feminist!” Our compliant sweet servant hearted 18 year old daughter had developed a mind of her own! That was 6 years ago and it percolated with me. Voicing any contrary opinion or making any decisions independently was judged “disrespectful” by my husband. But my daughter was free to have a mind of her own. Now, I am sooooo grateful that we weren’t of the extreme QF camp which does not educate their daughters, because I learned from my daughter. She was a role model for me when she went away to college and became an adult, and sailed right past me in maturity.

  • Arietty

    aimai regarding people waking up as their oldest child enters the teen years, I was just thinking about this myself the other day. I believe it is simply an age thing–after 10+ years of marriage or when a woman is around 40 there tends to be a re-evaluating or burning out. Numerous pop-psyche books track this (Gail Sheehy’s Passages comes to mind). It is quite common for bad marriages to break up around that point both within christianity and without. One thing that makes it so much harder for quiverfull women is that unlike their nuclear family peers they have MANY little ones in the home still. When my parents broke up my mom went to work and we came home from school to an empty house–not desirable perhaps (though it didn’t bother me at all) convenient as her children were of the age to take care of themselves for a few hours. When you are quiverfull you have completely dependant young ones still and the idea of re-entering the workforce is pretty insurmountable.Volatile or questioning teens do add huge tension to a patriarchal marriage though. In every case I can think of the parents bonded over the teenagers rebellion and presented a united front. In the case of bad marriages it was something the parents could agree on and the results for the teenager were not good. This sounds horrible but I have seen women seize upon the teenage years as a relief because their husband’s focus shifted from her to the wayward teen :( Regarding the blog I think a sidebar showing recent comments and the nested threading of comments may be available only on wordpress or typepad.

  • Anonymous

    I want to say thank you to both Vyckie and Laura for this blog. I find it fascinating (often in a horrified way) to read what you’ve been through and I think it’s amazing how you have been able to start living for yourselves and extricate yourselves from such a tight situation and community. I also want to thank all the commenters who have left their own stories. I think the more we can all understand what others have been through the better the world can be. It’s beautiful how your sharing has allowed others to share themselves.

  • aimai

    I can’t speak for our hostesses, Vyckie and Laura, but I think we should be very careful not to express anger to the occasional “anonymous” quiverful poster who comes over and reads defensively or sadly or confusedly and then posts their anger or defensiveness. Vyckie and Laura came out of a tight community, one in which Vyckie, certainly, was well known. A lot of women–and their families–may come over to read and ponder “what went wrong.” And that’s a good thing. Their first response may be anger and defensiveness and that is what they may choose to post up here in the comment section. But I think we can all see from reading Vyckie and Laura’s posts that the process of coming out is long, bumpy, and sometimes circular. One day one of those anonymous posters may find herself walking away from the quiverful movement because of what she reads here. If you don’t have anything constructive to say to one of these “anonymous” pro-quiverful posters just skip their posts. Time and life experiences may change their mind but angry words never will.aimai

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I like this topic on teens. Last year I had three teens living in my house, all my own. And people felt sorry for me. They shouldn't have.I like the questioning years.I'm teaching Sunday School this quarter at my church to 6th,7th, & 8th graders.Those kids ask some of the best questions.And I tell them so.Some of their questions I cannot answer. I tell them old men with gray beards have argued these things throughout the centuries and we still don't know the answers (though some claim to know).I heard a preacher (definitly not a Quiverfull or Patriarchy preacher) say once that our teens need to go through the questioning years. It's their time to find God for themselves. He used Jacob as an example. God didn't become the God of Abraham, Isaac AND Jacob until after Jacob wrestled with God himself.Our kids need to wrestle with these things.My kids cannot get by on my faith. They have to search out their own. They are too old for me to tell them what to think now. I'm more of a sounding board.And guess what, they respect me for it.I couldn't ask for more.Mara

  • adventuresinmercy

    aimai,You are so right. I will retract what I said, or at least the parts that were snippy or could be construed as snippy. I will also work to watch that in the future. You make a very good point—thanks so much. Anger did not get me out of this camp (though hard words did, at times, get through to me). It was a step by step process, and most often it was kindness and mercy and grace that penetrated through the lies I was believing, not harsh words and not “hard truth.” I do not want to retract one aspect of what I was trying to communicate: that this camp will rally around you, as all human camps do, as long you are promoting their message, but when you leave it, you leave many of the friends you’ve made within the camp. This is another part of it that is, indeed, cult-like. People in the camp are trained to look for “like-minded fellowship,” and to fear those who don’t fit into the box. For example, I remember meeting one friend who seemed nice and was homeschooling a pile of kids just like I was, but yet she let her kids watch Sponge Bob… Woah. My husband openly communicated his worry about us hanging out with them, what with them being so “worldy” and all. For us and for many others (though certainly not all!) I’ve seen in this camp, there is no middle ground (where we are free to have our own opinions without being labeled with some -ism that makes us dangerous to listen to or hang out with). It is very black and white in so many ways that if you start questioning, and do something CRAZY like put your kids in school, or wonder if Global Warming might be legit (as opposed to the hoax we are told it is) or say you don’t care for Debi Pearl’s marriage book, you are becoming dangerous. For those in the camp who are “true believers,” they are trained to think of everyone outside the box as being socialists/humanists/Marxists/feminists/evolutionists/environmentalists/post-modernists and all the other horrible -ists that we are warned about regularly in the books, etc. So when you start questioning, when you leave, as if there isn’t enough cost already involved, you will also face losing your community. That’s important, because (as many folks in cults will admit), losing ones community is often more than one can face. We are herd animals, after all. I’m thankful, so thankful, for friends (which includes friends outside of the camp, fellow stumblers-out-of-it like me, and a few precious souls who are still in the camp to this day) who let me question and cry and rage and wonder within a warm protective circle of love and acceptance.

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