Quiverfull Daughters: The Making of a Helpmeet

TLC’s 19 Kids & Counting: The Duggar Family on How To Prepare For Courtship & Marriage

by Hopewell

“Helpmeet” is such an odd-sounding word to modern ears! But it resonates well in the lingo of the King James Bible. Girls born to Quiverfull families begin their training for the life’s calling as a Helpmeet [aka wife and homemaker] almost at birth.

Girls are born for one and only one reason: to serve a husband. In that capacity, as his helpmeet, she will bear and raise his children, feed as many children as God sends on whatever income he earns, may raise a garden and animals or run a home-based business [with his approval], may home birth and will certainly homeschool all of her children.

Becoming a successful, multi-tasking helpmeet is not something you just “do.” Something that important cannot be left to chance. The training starts almost at birth with “child training.” Moms have a number of helpful “ministries” to turn to for child training guidance. For infants and toddlers two of the best known are Ezzo and the Pearls—both of whom are very controversial to the secular world. We’ll briefly look at each.

Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo developed the popular and often criticized programs “Babywise” and “Growing Kids God’s Way.” As with any program there IS some good and helpful information as well as a lot that many people find abhorrent. “Babywise” teaches new parents to adhere to rigid schedules and rules for bedtime, breast feeding on a parent-friendly schedule and bedtime rigidly enforced with few, if any, interactions with parents after “lights out” no matter the tone of the child’s cry.

“Growing Kids God’s Way” is a huge undertaking for parents. Both parents must attend each session and both must complete weekly homework. This program met tremendous success in conservative churches and megachurches during the  late 90s and on. [They also do offer a single-parent version now.]  Parents are taught to take back their lives by having a parent-centered, rather than child-centered home. [For the gist of the controversies see www.ezzo.info, but please note this IS a biased site.]

Michael and Debi Pearl of “No Greater Joy Ministries” are some of the most controversial child training advocates in the world today. Several deaths have occurred in homes following the Pearls advice. [NOTE: I am NOT saying in any way that the Pearls are responsible for the deaths, just that the parents were known to follow their methods.]

Their book, To Train Up a Child, advocates corporal punishment to a degree seldom seen today. The idea is to compel instant, willing and cheerful obedience at all times from even the youngest children. Failure to comply results in physical punishment. Parents are taught that children are born with a sinful nature and that they must begin early to “train” the child in the “way he should go” as is taught in Proverbs 22:6. Therefore, it is appropriate to even “chastise” babies with a switch—even one made of plumbing supply line.  Parents are told

Training does not necessarily require that the trainee be capable of reason…”[Pearl & Pearl, Chapter 1.]

With this background in mind we can now try to piece together the “training” of a future helpmeet. In her infancy the girl we will call “Jerusha Faith” may be enticed with a toy and swatted for reaching for it. She may be fed only when Mama says and not when her tummy says she is truly empty and hungry. She may be left in the throes of colicky insomnia to cry it out alone for hours on end. In short, she is learning, like a Nun, to deny her “self.”[Note: it is important to remember that ALL families are different not all my use these practices and some may even agree with the critics!]

This dying to self will include seemly innocuous phrases like the one the Duggar family uses which is summed up by the acronym “JOY”—Jesus First, Others Second, Yourself LAST.  (Duggar family website, FAQ) Even in infancy little Jerusha Faith is learning that she is not important as herself. She is merely important when she is doing the will of her authority figures—in this stage her parents.

As she grows older, should she dare to be “wayward” in any way she can expect to be chastised with the rod or, in more humane families, may be “tomato staked” meaning she is expected to stay right with Mama and do only what she is told to do for a set period of time.

The next stage of training begins at about school age. It can be summed up as “the cult of character.”  For Quiverfull families, like the Duggars, who belong to Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute homeschooling program, “Character” will be the focus of education throughout the school years. Jerusha Faith and her siblings will likely take 3 complete trips thru the famous “Wisdom Booklets” which teach each of the Gothard-defined character qualities. So much focus is placed on these qualities that other educational subjects are often severely neglected.  Some mothers are more creative in this training than others and one book they may use to enhance creativity is Marilyn Boyer’s Fun Projects for Hands-On Character Building.

For girls one character quality receives even greater emphasis begining just before puberty: Virtue or Purity. Beginning with books such as “The Princess and the Kiss” by Jennie Bishop:

“On the day she came into the world, the royal couple gave their daughter a very special gift from God—her first kiss” (Bishop, 1999, p. 2).

From that moment on she will be surrounded with an odd mixture of encouragement and suspicion all aimed at keeping her not only technically a virgin, but totally untouched by any man’s hands or lips until her wedding day. [Of course, her Father may kiss her….]

Some families may have their Jerusha Faith and her Father participate in a Purity Ball. Her father will accept her promise to remain pure and give her a “purity ring” as a reminder of her promise. Her mother may do a study with her (and possibly other like-minded mothers and daughters) of Stacy McDonald’s book Raising Maidens of Virtue” . Mrs. McDonald cautions parents that“certain yearnings [can be] awakened too early [and] can cause all kinds of temptations and trouble.” (McDonald, pp. 161-162). This study teaches girls the importance of her “purity:”

Part of your [parents'] responsibility to God and TO YOU is to guard your purity and insure you are faithful to your future husband EVEN NOW…..Emotional purity involves saving your romantic feelings for your husband…You will be able to offer him your WHOLE HEART on your wedding day—not just bits and pieces that are left. (McDonald, p. 162) [emphasis added]

McDonald also cautions girls not to read romance novels which may lure them into fantasizing about a “perfect husband” (McDonald, p. 162), citing Hebrews 13:5 which reads in part “and be content with such things as ye have….

On her own, or with a sister or mother, Jerusha Faith may read Beautiful Girlhood—a classic for Chrisitan girls. Her parents may, however, remove or censor some material in Karen Andreola’s revision of this book since it advocates completing your education and being able to support yourself and a family if the need should arise later in life as well as the chapter about boys.

A little later in her teens, just before courtship “season,” Jerusha Faith may be found reading “Before You Meet Your Prince Charming”—a book recommended to elementary school children by one of the Duggar girls.(“18 Kids and Counting,” TLC, “School Daze” episode. See Youtube for complete episode.) Her parents may allow her to read specially written “courtship stories,” such as those written by the Castleberry family, which emphasize parental approval, waiting on God and trusting the Lord and your father.   Mostly, this pre-courtship and courtship phase will be spent as a daughter “at home” serving her own father in any way she can. [See: Return of the Daughters (check Youtube) and So Much More by the Botkin Sisters.

With her character trained, her mind directed to thoughts of others and her purity guarded what’s left for Jerusha Faith to do?   Plenty! While still in diapers, she will begin learning to help with simple household chores. She will definitely have chores to do almost from the moment she learns to walk. Like Mrs. Duggar, her mother may use the Managers of Her Home or Managers of Her School to schedule her day and may pin a Chore Pack on her children to remind them to be diligent in doing their chores!

Naturally, all of these chores can be “supplemented” with corrective chastisement as necessary. Jerusha Faith will need to model cheerful, willing, and immediate obedience to her siblings—some of whom she may be assigned to help with their own chores or with other tasks like getting dressed. By early elementary school she will be very experienced in the care of infants and toddlers thanks to her mother’s need for help and the consistent arrival of new siblings.

About the time she is in her “tween” years Jerusha Faith will be expected to begin formally learning the housekeeping tasks, social skills and other practical knowledge she will need as her future husband’s helpmeet and mother of his children.

While it is important to remember that all families are different, one popular “program” for training girls and teens in these skills centers on Ann Ward’s huge Training Our Daughters to Be Keepers At Home. Ward, who styles herself “Mrs. Craig (Ann) Ward,” on the title page offers a Ph.d. in housekeeping, practical nursing, child care, practical handcrafts and much more.

Each of the SEVEN years of this program has a very strong spiritual development component—usually featuring a classic Christian book. (For supplemental materials see the Unofficial Training Our Daughters web site.) Should Jerusha Faith marry a missionary to the 3rd world or a backwoods homesteader, once she graduates from Ward’s program she is good to go—even free birthing her own child if necessary. This book uses the “holy grail” of cookbooks—the Sue Gregg whole grain books which fueled the “grind your own wheat” to bake your own bread movement among right-wing Christian families.

Jerusha Faith is now ready for the next stage in life—the ultimate stage—marriage and motherhood. She and her parents will be reviewing Mrs. McDonald’s advice to be sure she is “ready:”

…be well prepared for your groom when he comes. He will find you well-equipped to your position has his honored helpmate with your lantern filled, radiating purity. You will ease into motherhood with confidence, grace and an eager desire to serve. And, if you continue in your diligence serving here at home, you will be a much more organized and prepared homemaker….” (McDonald, p. 163)

During her years as a daughter at home, Jerusha Faith will be a sort-of “helpmeet in training” for her father. Non-quiverful, non-Patriarchal families often find this very odd—after all Dad has a wife. She will run errands, provide child care, do chores, plan and cook meals, help on the farm or in her father’s business if appropriate. If her father approves she may even start a home-based business. Basically she is to “serve” her family in any way she can—Jesus First, Others Second, Yourself forgotten by this time in her life. (See the Botkin Sisters, above, or blogs such as Firmly Fixed on the Father or  Aspiring Homemaker.)

Finally the day Jerusha Faith and her parents have been praying for: God has sent the man who wants to marry her! With her father’s blessing, the courtship can begin. It will likely be long and --rarely, if ever, will the couple be alone. One of the foundational books of the movement, A Full Quiver by Rick and Jan Hess sets the tone of what Dad will be looking for in a future son-in-law:

Strive to build Christian discipline and habits before marriage…..Another thing, especially for men, finish your education and training as as much as God allows, get established in your law firm, assembly line or home business, then get hitched to your sweetie” (Hess & Hess, 1990, p.) 137

A Godly man who is able to fully support not only a wife but a rapidly growing family are the only men who need apply for Jerusha Faith’s hand. Whether she likes the man or not, or has even met him, is not always very important—she is to trust God and her father in this matter. She will spend time in prayer as will her parents who have been praying about this man since her birth. It may be at this time, too, that she fully learns the “facts of life” and what will be expected of her in marriage.

Let’s leave Jerusha Faith for now and see what went on in a real Quiverfull Courtship—that of Joshua Duggar and his wife, Anna. The Duggars, as a Quiverfull and Patriarchal family, view their family in terms of a chain of command with God at the top and the father of the family as the “head” of the family. Bill Gothard’s ATI &IBLP teaches this as the father’s “umbrella of authority” over his family.

The use of an umbrella to symbolize protection is commonly understood and accepted. In the insurance industry, an overall coverage of protection is referred to as an “umbrella policy.” In the Bible, similar symbols teach the concepts of provision, protection, headship, and leadership.The use of this symbol in relation to the family is to give special encouragement to fathers to protect, instruct, lead, and provide for their wives, sons, and daughters. (http://billgothard.com/bill/teaching/authority)

When Joshua Duggar, met Anna Keller in a concession stand line at an ATI-homeschool event, he felt sure that she was “the one” God had chosen for him. He “knew” because he had been taught since childhood to be on the lookout the future wife God hand-picked for him.

I was taught to wait for God’s best in my life partner. But as time went along and I grew older it was harder to keep my heart only for the one that God had for my life partner. (Josh and Anna Duggar blog)

Josh spoke to his father about courting and was first counseled to pray, to listen carefully to God to be sure he was hearing God’s message correctly.  After a visit by the Keller family to the Duggar home,  Anna’s father asked her if there was any one  man God was leading her to. Was she called to be someone’s wife? When she said she thought it was Josh, her father agreed.  After the visit, Josh too, told his father he was sure. This resulted in a “virtual” courtship—supervised phone calls or Skype calls etc. Anna remembers her parents’ teachings on courtship:

Like Joshua I was raised in a Christian home, and my parents encouraged me to save my whole heart & purity for the one that God had for me. As a young girl, my parents told me that it was normal to have desires & thoughts, but that it was my responsibility to commit my future to the Lord and trust God to lead me in His timing.  (Josh and Anna Duggar blog)

On their show, and in their book, Jim-Bob and Michelle and their children return time and again to the discussion of not giving “pieces of your heart” away by dating. Choosing a spouse is the single most important thing after accepting the Salvation of Jesus Christ.

The Duggars teach their children to “guard their heart” in many ways. Courtship, not dating is one such way. Another is being very careful of the images and words the put into their brain. Limiting TV and Internet, and parental approval of reading material and music are another way the children are taught to “guard their hearts.”

Not being alone with a member of the opposite sex and only very limited touch is a very visible way of keeping pure. The Duggar children were also encouraged not to think “wrong thoughts” –which Joshua confesses was as hard for him as for any other young man. (Josh and Anna Duggar blog) As parents Jim-Bob and Michelle take time to help their children deal with such thoughts and encourage them with Scripture and prayer. (20 and Counting by Jim-Bob and Michelle Duggar and the Duggar family website and TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting).

Like most Quiverfull couples, Josh and Anna had a longer courtship than their engagement, the thinking being that courtship is “getting to know you” and engagement is “all but married” so “temptations” come into play and must be fought off.  During this time Josh focused on becoming a provider. On TV we were shown how they re-did an old rental house to live in and how Josh was developing a used car sales lot to support them.  Another difference between the Duggar courtship and other even more Conservative families was when Josh proposed to Anna he was allowed to slip the engagement ring onto Anna’s hand himself. This is not always the case. Since the ring symbolizes the coming “transfer of authority” over the young woman from her father to her husband-to-be [and is only final at the wedding] the father sometimes places the ring on the woman’s finger (see the blog Kristina’s Keepsakes).

Discuss this post on the NLQ forum! Comments are also open below.

More from Hopewell:

A FULL QUIVER OF INFORMATION [my information only site]
Personal Blog

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  • Sophie

    Hopewell, thanx for this very good summary, it is very informative and helps to get all ressources in the same place.

    However, I am disturbed by the comment “Their book, To Train Up a Child, advocates corporal punishment to a degree seldom seen today outside of Islamic Funadmentalist countries. ” What is the purpose of this ? Where does it come from ? Where are your sources (you won’t find any) ? What is the purpose ? (Some christian fundamentalists could tell you that’s how real people with faith train their children… so what’s the point ?)

    I am sorry but some families use this much strength with children all over the world. children’s rights may exist but are not enforced.

    I think it kind of spoils a very good article to get such an out of the blue comment.

  • http://longgame.org/ Matt Warren

    I was born into the fundamentalist, evangelical, southern Baptist tradition and *this stuff* seems utterly alien to me. By comparison, my parents must have seemed cosmopolitan and wicked.

    All I can say is that you are quite fortunate to have discovered an alternative path for your life. I’m not exactly saying anything that your commenters haven’t already covered, but it bears repeating.

    Thanks for this look at HelpMeet, even though I’m unsure if this knowledge has done anything other than give me an upset stomach. :)

    Hang in there.

  • ShetlandShepherdess

    I’ve been reading over some of the information on your site with great interest. I hope that you realize that you were under false teaching at that time; not orthodox Christianity. We home-school and are “conservative” Christians, but I admit we’ve both been a little concerned that there are certain groups (common in the home-school world) that do NOT practice good Biblical hermeneutical study, instead using cunning proof-texts to bolster support for ideals and doctrines that may seem “good,” but that can quickly become legalistic or even defy true Biblical standards.

    I hate to be blunt, but some of this is simply ignorance and an emotion-driven lack of analytical thinking. (Encouraged by fear or the excitement of a worship service.) For others, God may really have “called’ them to follow some of these “rules,” but they do not acknowledge Paul’s message that Christians may not agree on some matters of conscience, and the “weaker” Christian (one bound by rules & law) must not judge the “stronger.”

    What scares me, I suppose, is that it seems that what most quasi-Christian cults have in common is the frequent use of Old Testament proof-texts to support really bizarre doctrine…that’s how we have so-called “Christian Polygamy.” Some people have never been taught how to really read and study the Bible, so they grasp at whatever verse seems good to them without comparing it to the whole of Scripture. Some of these leaders are not really clear about the difference between the Old and New Covenants, either…or the role of Israel vs. the Church & Modern America (I know that this is a controversial subject) so they interpret everything as being applicable to modern Christians. I’m really surprised sometimes that some of these groups haven’t tried to bring back the Temple & priesthood. (wait! I think some have!)

    Christianity is a liberating religion that brought self-worth to women, children and those disposed by society. I find it liberating to be a Christian wife and mother with the freedom to stay home (rather than fight the rat-race) and raise my daughter apart from the really sick secular world. What Christian girls need to learn is what to look for in a Christian husband, a man who truly LOVES his wife, as Christ commanded, and would die for her. The Christian husband is not one that is looking for a slave to oppress.

  • HRD

    I appreciate the information in this article, but please consider removing or editing this phrase: “corporal punishment to a degree seldom seen today outside of Islamic Funadmentalist countries.” Besides the typo, I am not sure this is based on any understanding of child-rearing in any sort of Islamic society. Though certainly all flavors of fundamentalism have a tendency to lead to brutality, I am not aware that fundamentalist Muslims are any more or less brutal to their own children, and I consider this a prejudice statement against Islam, even if unintended (no I am not Muslim).

  • HRD

    ShetlandShepherdess :
    You wrote:
    “I find it liberating to be a Christian wife and mother with the freedom to stay home (rather than fight the rat-race) and raise my daughter apart from the really sick secular world. What Christian girls need to learn is what to look for in a Christian husband, a man who truly LOVES his wife, as Christ commanded, and would die for her. The Christian husband is not one that is looking for a slave to oppress.”

    I am NOT a Christian, and my husband is NOT a Christian, and we are NOT sick. My husband truly loves his family, and he doesn’t need Jesus to tell him to. The “secular” world is just the world, no sicker than the Christian world .. though perhaps it could be argued, less so…

  • http://thecurrencyofheaven.blogspot.com Debra Baker

    I am a Christian but I am friends with Muslims and I am very close to a conservative Iraqi Muslim woman.

    There is *nothing* in Islam that advoates for corporal or draconian parenting.

    Something very important to understand with respect to Islam is the distinction made between Islam and *culture.* Perhaps there are some *cultures* that *may* advocate harsh child-rearing practices, but there is nothing in Islam that does and i don’t know firsthand of any Muslim culture that does for that matter.

    My friend is a very tender loving mother to her daughter and I prefer not to hear her faith and her being misrepresented.

    Thanks for understanding.

  • Anon

    Interstingly, you might find this interesting about the Islamic practice of wife beating with a rod and the “shebet” rod advocated by many for child training:
    http://www.tulipgirl.com/index.php/2004/03/islam-and-the-rod/

  • Anon

    So glad you mentioned “tomato staking.” While at first glance it may seem okay, I’ve known so many parents who implemented these ideas and found themselves in a cycle of “discipline” that they had such trouble escaping, with spankings leading closer and closer to beatings. While Elisabeth may not endorse that, the reality in many families is that “consistency” in the tomato-staking paradigm leads so easily to abuse.

  • veronica

    Looked for “The Return of the Daughters” on youtube but I couldn’t seem to find it. Is there anywhere else I can possibly watch it online?

  • http://hopewellmomschoolreborn.blogspot.com Hopewell

    There used to be a “trailer” or preview on their web site and on youtube. You can borrow it via Interlibrary Loan from your public library. [That's how I watched it.]

  • Elena

    Raising a child to see the world as sick? That’s sad and maybe a little cowardly.

  • http://www.gwenspaperexpressions.com Gwen Mangelson

    WOW! I am so glad the LDS Religion does not advocate these things!! I cannot find the words to express my feelings. I hear/fee in your article (me personally) is how Satan is using everything he has to ruin women, families and our world. Judgement day will come, how sad for those who practice these things when they have to answer to God and Jesus Christ for doing so.
    thank you for the eye opener. May Heavenly Father protect our females of all ages.

  • Megan

    I can never understand how different brands of religious people can tsk-tsk at the barbarism of one group, like the quiverfull fundies, but then can say how glad they are that their form of barbaric archaic religion is so much better or more enlightened.

    When will people realize that atheists are good people on their own accord, rather than out of a fear of a barbaric and often murdurously spiteful invisible deity? It always amuses me that us godless heathens are portrayed as amoral and “wicked” when the religious types have rampant and systemic hatred, bigotry and abuse in their “morality.”

  • Candi

    Here, here! From one godless heathen to another.

  • Jessica

    I don’t think it is cowardly at all. It is her choice. If she doesn’t like it, it doesn’t mean that she is AFRAID of it. It just means she doens’t like it. Her choice. Stop being so judgmental.

  • Jessica

    I don’t think this was offensive or unfair to all Muslims, any more than the overall article was unfair to all Christians. The entire article focused on Christian fundamentalism. I’m not insulted by that, or insulted that one phrase addressed Islamic fundamentalism.
    Portions of the Koran do inspire violence. That doesn’t mean that every cultural Muslim will be violent.

  • Jess

    I think it’s liberating when people can choose they life they want with their eyes wide open rather than being bullied and cajoled and manipulated into it.

  • Carolina

    Well said, Megan. I concur most enthusiastically.

  • Kris

    Thanks for this article! I must say, that I was raised in a fundamentalist family, am a female, and in no way, shape or form was EVER treated as inferior, nor was I raised to contribute only more Christian children.

    My beliefs are simply that – my beliefs. I will share them with you if you ask, and will listen to yours should you care to share, but I respect that it is your choice to have your beliefs.

    Part of religion is the faith that what you have chosen to believe is the unequivocal truth, that all other paths people follow are wrong. It is that way, no matter what religion you research.

    If families such as the Duggars believe in guarding your heart and not dating, keeping yourself pure in thought and deed, what is the harm in that? Are you proposing that we continue allowing young men and women to have ultimate freedom to choose whatever actions they will? I’m sorry, but have you researched the increasing number of teen pregnancies, as well as the number of accidents, illnesses and deaths due to children and teenagers using drugs, drinking alcohol, as well as watching violent programming and playing video games? And yes – there are cases where teenagers told authorities that they were acting out what they saw on their video games when their best friend ended up dead.

    And just so you know – there are many Scriptures in the Bible that advocate for equality among women, and it does actually describe woman being created as a helper for man. Helper does not equate to slave – do some word studies on the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic languages in which the Bible was written before you assume that the English translation of it means something different from the original text.

    PS – I finished my college education, have a Masters in Education, with an emphasis in English, and have CHOSEN to stay at home and first be a wife and mother. I am the one responsible for teaching my children values, morals, and ethics – not a care provider or a teacher at school, and yes, we will be home-schooling, because our public school systems SUCK. I do not view atheists or those who follow a different religion as amoral or wicked, neither do I feel pity for them. All of us are given minds to use, and no amount of teaching or training can take that away – its a choice.

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  • Nell

    Thanks for the article. It does an excellent job of summarizing the methods and literature that are being advocated within the Quiverfull movement to “train up” children. The lack of options and limited education presented to these young women is truly saddening. How any young woman can go through that indoctrination and retain a sense of self-worth let alone the ability to break free of the patriarchy is truly amazing.

  • Bailey

    How anyone can read this and think that any of the ideas advocated by these people are acceptable is so far beyond me. I’m sickened to think of the number of children who are permanently damaged (or even killed) by being brought up in this lifestyle.

  • Jade

    I just started a blog about being raised in a fundamental Christian family as a way to deal with the damage I sustained from the ideals discussed in this article. My dad left our family early on and there were only two of us children but we were raised according to QF values. Someone who has not experienced this kind of “helpmeet” training cannot imagine how damaging it is to the self-hood of a woman. If anyone would care to read my experience, my blog is aloeandhyssop@blogspot.com.

  • Jo

    Really? The tone of your article indicates I ought to be shocked. I kinda thought all those trainings were smart.

    I myself was made fun of at 13 in public school for being a virgin. What did that do for my sense of self? Is this alternative really so bad? That a young woman’s first sexual experience should be with a man who is not only capable of supporting her and her children but has already committed to do so for a lifetime?

    Yes, on one hand, Christian women are instructed to lay aside selfishness and serve the needs of others, but so are the men – not to the neglect of self, but to “love your neighbor as yourself.” However, yes, sometimes to the point of painful sacrifice. But aren’t you glad when someone loves you beyond the point of their own comfort, to help you with a specific need? It’s okay to turn that around and love others that way.

    Jesus, Himself, was the best example. He said He didn’t come to be served but to serve. In a very targeted fashion – not cowing at our feet to fulfill our every whim. He came that we might have life, and that more abundantly.

  • http://www.iragsdbeliebter.com Solomon Meske

    Please, can you Pm me and tell me couple of more thinks about this, I am truly fan of your blog… gets solved correctly asap.

  • Kelsey

    Thank you, HRD. You are so right.

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  • T

    ‘“Babywise” teaches new parents to adhere to rigid schedules and rules for bedtime’

    Can you tell me what page this is on in Babywise? I’ve used these books loosely and also taken the GKGW class. While I found the Ezzos themselves to be somewhat uptight, I felt that their teaching was wise. What’s ironic to me is, the biggest message I got from Babywise was a “flexible routine”. For some reason, that word “flexible” really stood out to me; yet, oftentimes when this book is mentioned, both on the internet and among friends/acquaintances, the interpretation is often that the book says one must be “rigid” with the schedules. I just don’t see that in the book, and I don’t understand why people read it and think that. I think they clearly position themselves, at least in the secular Babywise book (I haven’t taken the Along the Infant Way Classes to compare), to be taking a middle ground – not the hyperscheduling, only nurse for 3 minutes on each side, every 4 hours advice from the past, but also not the babywearing, cosleeping, demand feeding, nurse every time the baby fusses extreme that Dr. Sears recommends with attachment parenting.

    Thanks for clarifying.

  • http://delesmuses.blogspot.com/ Jenny

    I’d like to point out that it’s generally Jerusha Faith’s brother, not Jerusha Faith herself, who marries and achieves the telos of quiverfull womanhood, as has been clearly illustrated by families such as the Botkins and Duggars. (And the Lindvalls?) Jerusha Faith usually spends her most fertile days growing old, ever trusting that God has a plan for her that includes the husband and children she longs for.

  • http://delesmuses.blogspot.com/ Jenny

    Sorry, I typed to sentences into each other, but you know what I meant.

  • Anna

    Just so sad to see people still ‘living’ like this in the developed world. Obviously the age of enlightenment never happened for them. I hope they come to their senses before they’re too old. Why make life so hard? Live before it’s too late!

  • Laura Warman

    Your first, last, and *every* sexual experience should be with someone who is passionately concerned about you, about your life and pleasure, and someone you are equally passionate about.

    ” a man who is not only capable of supporting her and her children but has already committed to do so ” could be a sociopath, an abuser, a brute, or just somebody you really don’t like all that much. Women deserve better than a walking bank account with appropriate religious credentials.

  • Lilah

    Not too long ago, I saw a segment about “Purity Balls” on YouTube, and it was, to say the very least, DISTURBING! The ball that was featured looked basically like some sort of prom, and if the men weren’t so much older than the girls, you would actually think that they were their boyfriends, just on account of the way they were looking at them and interacting with them! Indeed, one mother talked about having her daughters go out on “dates” with their dads! YIKES! I’m all for girls having close relationships with their fathers, but this is creepy! I can only imagine what Freud would say about it!

  • Elaine Johnson

    I can’t emphasise enough by how much this backward and ignorant doctrine offends me. You are complicit abusers to advocate the books on child training that you do. When will you people realise that the god you claim to be ‘good’ is a jealous, petulant, unreasonable, warmongering, prejudiced, maniacal, murdering rapist. Following him is abhorrent behaviour. I was enlightened out of this and will continue to speak out against religion for the rest of my life. I hope it becomes illegal.

  • Erin

    This is a great article and I really enjoyed it! Incredibly informative.

    There is one issue that I wanted to raise about something written in the article though. The post above says – “As she grows older, should she dare to be “wayward” in any way she can expect to be chastised with the rod or, in more humane families, may be “tomato staked” meaning she is expected to stay right with Mama and do only what she is told to do for a set period of time.”

    I was actually kind of excited to read that some QF and fundamentalist families have ‘more humane’ ways of disciplining their children. I followed the link on Tomato Staking because I was really interested to see what kind of parenting was being advocated. I failed to see anything humane though in what was written. In fact some of it was downright disturbing and just as bad as anything advocated by the Pearls. Tomato Staking to me looks like a method of keeping kids close so that their every tiny behaviour can be monitored and punished accordingly. They are kept close so that they are always within ‘swatting’ distance.

    One of the most disturbing parts of that webpage that I found said this (from http://www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com/ch05.php) –

    ‘Returning downstairs, I noticed the book, not on the shelf, but on the fireplace hearth next to the shelf. I thought perhaps she just misunderstood or forgot exactly what I’d told her. Then I noticed the shoes, setting neatly outside the closet door, not inside. That’s when it struck me that she had not been obeying me with her whole heart. She had tried to get away with something — to only partially comply with my requests. She had intentionally misplaced those items in a way that she thought would not get her into trouble. Well *almost* obeying is not obeying at all. I hated to do it, but I woke her up, spanked her, told her flatly that she had disobeyed, and I made her “fix” each one of her little “mistakes.”

    She was remorsefully and I assumed she’d gotten the message until a few weeks later when she tried a similar ploy on Dad. Dad had decided that when he called, his children should come just as he had been trained to come as a child. They were to say, “Coming”, and come immediately.

    Since they were young, he decided to have them practice a few times first, before instituting this new policy. He gathered them together in the kitchen and carefully explained what he wanted. Then he sent them all to the living room to await his call. Upon hearing Dad’s summons, the oldest obeyed perfectly. The youngest was next and also responded perfectly. But when it was her turn, our second oldest child said, “Come” instead of “Coming”. Dad explained again that he wanted to hear, “Coming” and had them all try again. They all got it exactly right except again, our four-year-old daughter. This time she said, “I come.” Dad explained it again. The next time she said, “I’m coming”. She couldn’t seem to get it right.

    Finally, both Dad and I caught on to her game. She was only being rebellious and sneaky. She knew exactly what we wanted, was very capable of doing it, yet was determined not to. Too smart to risk outright defiance, she had devised a more subtle form of disobedience.

    So Dad got out the paddle. He did not get angry. He simply determined to correct the problem. He spanked her (one firm swat on the posterior, over her clothes), and then told her to try again. It took her six more tries (and six swats with the paddle) before she finally decided to obey and say, “Coming.” Dad made her practice a couple more times just for good measure. And guess what? She NEVER defied us like that again! In fact she is extremely honest to this day, and cannot be outdone in zealousness to do the right thing. From that day forth, although still lively and enthusiastic, she became an absolute pleasure to live with.’

    The idea of being able to discipline children differently is really important to me. I was raised in quite a fundamentalist family and was beaten (abused) regularly because of what my parents perceived that my behaviour meant. When I became a parent, I didn’t want to be like my own and have spent a great deal of time researching alternatives to what I was taught growing up. I love hearing from Christians who have also found alternatives that work, though it might not always be for me. The problem that I have with tomato staking is that it is a bit of wolves in sheep clothing. It seems to be ‘more humane’ but it is not. It seems to be about the kids and showing love to them and keeping them close when looking deeper, it is still really about parent control that is maintained through unreasonable, harsh and exceptionally violent methods.

    I really did enjoy the article and it, along with other reading that I have done, has helped me to make sense of a lot of what happened to me growing up and how my family worked. But for other people who came across this article and were interested in tomato staking for being ‘more humane’, I just wanted to point out that it is not what it seems.

  • Marx Bane

    “( or even killed) by being brought up in this lifestyle.”
    – do you mean like families that abort their children?


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