Back in January of last year, I was checking out articles on Alternet ~ the progressive news site which my uncle Ron had introduced to me during that momentous year of our correspondence which I’ve come to think of as my “rehab” days ~ it was a year of waking up to the fact that my strict fundamentalism was not only unhealthy for me, but was also destroying my family, going through the withdrawal-like process of freeing my thought life from its narrow, black/white thinking patterns, getting clean of the “virus of the mind” which, in my own life, had been the “hard stuff” which numbed my brain and created illusions of happiness when reality was just too painful to deal with when completely sober.
I’d been on the wagon with regard to religion for about a year when I happened upon Kathryn Joyce’s article, Women’s ‘Liberation’ Through Submission: An Evangelical Anti-Feminism Is Born. As I read about the “Quiverfull movement” ~ I was so astonished ~ I had no idea that anyone who was not actually practicing this lifestyle was even aware of what is unambiguously taught and believed among “Quiverfull” women.
The more I read, the stronger I felt an urge to talk to Kathryn ~ I wanted someone to know that, “Hey ~ this is what I was doing ~ I was Quiverfull!”
I posted the following comment on the Alternet story:
I am very interested in this topic because I lived as a “True Woman” of God for 20+ years until my oldest daughter’s suicide attempt woke me up to the lie I was living. I have not only followed this patriarchal worldview, but have promoted it in my own Christian “Pro-life, Pro-family” newspaper (which I have since sold) and in my articles which have appeared in patriarchy / quiverfull movement publications including Home School Digest, An Encouraging Word and Above Rubies Magazines. I know many of the leaders of this movement personally ~ my oldest daughter lived with Nancy Campbell and R.C Sproul Jr. ~ two influential leaders in the movement.
After a year-long email exchange with my something-like-an-atheist uncle, I have totally left the patriarchal belief system ~ I divorced my abusive husband and am now a single mom to 7 kids. I quit homeschooling ~ put all my kids in public school for the first time this year.
After getting myself out of the cult-like movement, I contacted a fellow home-church mom whom I had been friends with and I knew she was having the same struggles that I experienced ~ burn out from too many pregnancies and the hard, demanding lifestyle, plus domination by a controlling, emotionally abusive husband. My friend felt trapped and wanted to kill herself. I invited her to stay in my home ~ she left her husband and 11 children in order to escape a lifestyle that was slowly killing her. Now that she is out, and has “seen the light” (we both read “Dance of a Dissident Daughter” and “The Skeptical Feminist“), she is now struggling with much anger and loss ~ she has lost half her life (we’re both 43 years old) and all her children to a controlling ex-husband who has them convinced that she is deceived by Satan and on her way to Hell. (I’m not making this up!)
Anyway ~ I’m looking for resources ~ seems there must be a way that she can fight for her children. She is so fragile emotionally from all the abuse that she’s endured. But she has not completely lost hope ~ she wants to help her children.
I would love to correspond with Ms. Joyce. There is so much more that I could add to this story ~ my friend and I both have been through an incredible trip through Hell ~ and I’m not sure if we’ve come out the other side yet!
We have a story to tell. We were both thoroughly convinced of the patriarchal, fundamentalist worldview ~ we understand the mindset and can totally relate to the women who submit themselves to that sort of lifestyle.
I would like to help other women that I know who are struggling desperately to survive ~ their worldview has them feeling trapped in unlivable conditions and they are burning out.
That comment led to an email from Kathryn ~ and then we talked on the phone. Or rather, I should say that I talked ~ and talked ~ and talked! What a relief just to be able to tell my story to another woman who had an understanding of what I’d been through!
Just as it is for alcoholics who are serious about breaking their addiction ~ leaving QF meant drastic changes for myself and my family ~ divorce, loss of friendships, loss of income ~ and the greatest upheaval of all ~ my loss of faith.
Thankfully, not everyone deserted me and so I did have a few people I could talk to ~ Mimi (my mother), Heather (my pastor), John (it’s complicated), Deb (my therapist) ~ and, after I “rescued” her ~ Laura ~ my friend. Still, I was desperate for support and community ~ what a relief it would have been to find a place like NLQ when I took that first step on the road to recovery.
After spending hours on the phone as I related my story (thanks for listening, Kathryn!), Kathryn wrote All God’s Children for Salon.com ~ and in the process, helped me to realize the importance of sharing my experiences publicly.
“You should write a book,” Kathryn encouraged me. With six kids still at home, it seemed impossible that I could actually produce a book any time soon ~ but there was something I could do …
I called up my friend, Laura ~ who by that time had remarried and moved to Seattle to be with the love of her life, Richard ~ and I invited her to start a blog with me.
We began posting one year ago today. When setting up the blog, I didn’t have a name in mind, so started the blogger account @ “2spb” ~ as an anniversary bonus, I’ll tell you now that it stood for “Two Seriously Pissed Bitches” ~ LOL
In a way, it seems like just yesterday that we “birthed” No Longer Quivering ~ but at the same time, it’s been ages ago ~ so much has transpired, so many stories shared, lives changed, friendships made … Wow! It’s been an amazing journey ~ thanks to all the dedicated NLQ readers who’ve been with us through it all.
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