Mama’s Choice – Part 4: Buying It Wholesale

by Vyckie Garrison

Shortly after recognizing the spiritually abusive nature of the Quiverfull movement, I wrote:

I’ve had a sick feeling in my stomach lately.  It’s the feeling that comes along with a growing realization that the Quiverfull worldview and lifestyle which I felt that I had carefully considered and thoughtfully adopted is, in actuality, a product called “biblical family values” which is being aggressively marketed as an investment to safeguard our loved ones from becoming collateral damage in today’s war against the family. …

Seems that I should have been immune to the marketing strategies of those who ruthlessly engender fear and dissatisfaction so they can offer their products as the remedy for the very malady which they themselves created.  After all, one of the first “family values” books I read is All The Way Home: Power for Your Family to be Its Best ~ in which author, Mary Pride explains that happy, well-adjusted families are not very profitable.  In order to sell self-help books, couple’s retreats, therapy sessions, etc. ~ husbands and wives (mainly wives) need to be convinced that something’s wrong ~ something’s missing ~ they need help! …

Back then, it was dawning on me that the whole idea of a “culture war” has been artificially manufactured to create fear and insecurity so that we will take out our checkbooks and purchase “protection” for our families.  Kind of similar to war in general ~ it’s a big money-making business and a lot of people have a vested interest in keeping it going.

As Chris Hedges, author of American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, points out, “All radical movements need a crisis or a prolonged period of instability to achieve power,” ~ and, I would add ~ make lots of money.

It was somewhat bewildering for me to realize that so much of our lives and our choices are really all about some other guy making obscene amounts of cash ~ and most of us only have a vague idea that we are being used in this way. …

Have Quiverfull moms been sold a bill of goods?

Oddly enough, though I understood this in regard to the “Christian Right” in general ~ I completely overlooked the profit-driven nature of the phenomenal growth I witnessed in the Quiverfull movement.  I would often remark that “this family vision is spreading like wildfire” ~ all the while, oblivious to the fact that, of course it’s growing ~ there’s big money to be had in selling family stability and security to desperate moms and dads who’ve come to Christianity as refugees from dysfunctional homes ~ parents who are confused and scared for the future and they’re looking for answers as they scramble to raise their children in a healthier environment than that which they had experienced as kids.

An uninitiated modern woman might think it’s irresponsible and impractical to toss out her birth control pills and leave her reproductive life “in the Lord’s hands.” But, let that woman spend a weekend with Nancy Campbell at an Above Rubies retreat, and she very well could come away with a new understanding of the power of motherhood and God’s vision for families. What higher purpose could there be ~ what better eternal use of her time, energy and talent ~ than to invest herself in the lives of her children? If she catches the vision, her entire life from that point forward will be consumed by her determination to conceive, birth, and raise as many of “God’s mighty warriors”  as she is capable of producing.

In other words, Quiverfull teachers are masters at SPIN. They have the ability to convince a woman that she WANTS nothing more than to stay home, have lots of babies and serve her husband. In today’s world of seemingly unlimited choices for women, making the best choice can be an overwhelming responsibility and it’s extremely tempting for a woman to choose to have no choice.

Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Comments open below

Read everything by Vyckie Garrison!

Vyckie Garrison started No Longer Quivering to tell the story of her “escape” from the Quiverfull movement. Over time, NLQ has developed into a valuable resource of information regarding the deceptions and dangers of the Quiverfull philosophy and lifestyle. Several more former QF adherents are now contributing their stories to NLQ and our collective voice makes these Quiverfull warnings impossible to dismiss or ignore.

The Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

 

 

About Vyckie Garrison
  • Cathy W

    This is why I stopped reading NLQ for a little while, back when you first started. Even as you were writing about what a terrible thing it was, to part of my mind, it almost sounded like a good idea – and I’m not even Christian! There’s just something about the fantasy of Hubby going off to work every day, returning to a tidy home with perfectly behaved children and home-baked bread on the table… and if you’re not equipped to recognize that as a fantasy, you’re in trouble.

  • Andrew

    Actually Vicki has hit the nail on the head. So many lies are being told to women in the church not to mention the lies being told to men. It unfortunately gets dismissed with the speaker is fallable but the lie is delivered packaged with 80-95% truth with lie being delivered at the most critical moment. At my church the youth pastor and his wife are struggling with pressure to home school their children and I think they would like to send their kids to school which is 1 minute from their house. A friend told me that at a ladies meeting women were supposed to submit to their husbands even if what their husband was doing was outright illegal.

    As for a stay at home wife, the man needs to make a minimum of 100k in this economy. I haven’t met anyone who wants trailer life to be their life. That’s why both parents wind up needing to work. How that gets done is up to them alone.

  • alfaretta

    “In today’s world of seemingly unlimited choices for women, making the best choice can be an overwhelming responsibility and it’s extremely tempting for a woman to choose to have no choice.”

    This can’t be said too often. I’ve been mulling it over since reading it a few hours ago, and really, I think this single fact explains not only why so many women choose the Quiverfull life, but why gender equality has taken so long to happen in human history.

    I was never Quiverfull, but I came of age just as the feminist movement came to prominence in the U.S. in the mid-70s. I was raised in a traditional suburban patriarchal, dysfunctional American family with the expectation that I’d be a housewife (and was really offered no other choice), and though gender equality made sense to me, the false promise of being protected and taken care of was very, very hard to shake.

  • vyckiegarrison

    Alfaretta – I know, right? For all my pro-femininist talk these days, recently when the toilet handle broke and my kid’s bike tires were flat and my computer was freaking out on me, I really, really wanted a man to just take care of all that for me! Ugh.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    I definitely agree that, confronted with challenge of choosing the best life yourself with so many options in front of you, a certain number of women–and men too–are going to “choose to have no choice” as Vyckie eloquently puts it. But to say that progress on gender equality has been slow BECAUSE of this I think really misrepresents the actual history of the struggle. Patriarchy is thoroughly embedded in our society and, although many women certainly participate in it, it’s male power structure. I think THAT is the real main culprit, not women getting cold feet about liberating themselves.

  • Nancy B

    Vyckie Garrison, you rock!!

  • vyckiegarrison

    (✿◠‿◠)

  • alfaretta

    Vyckie –
    After all you’ve been through, just getting thru a run of stuff like that is a major accomplishment!

  • alfaretta

    PP –
    I certainly agree that patriarchy is the main culprit for women’s status thruout history. My focus when I wrote my statement was really the past 100-plus years of American history (the period in human history I’m most familiar with) where women fought hard on both sides of the suffrage issue in the early 20th century and both for and against gender equality and reproductive rights in the last 40-plus years. I certainly didn’t mean to blame the victim here — but I do remember the arguments that weren’t explicitly religious that were going around 4o or so years ago, and a lot of them were about how wonderful it was to have someone big and strong to handle the tough, dirty stuff in life, and how awful it would be to have to give that up.

  • alfaretta

    After a little thought, PP, I reread my original statement, and I think I should have said “that’s partially why” instead of “that’s why.” You certainly could have reasonably construed that to mean that women instead of men were the main builders/maintainers of the patriarchal power structure.

  • http://www.pnissila.wordpress.com Phyllis

    Yes, “follow the money” applies to many movements. This is appealing not just to the men at the top, but the women at the top, too (if that’s not an oxymoron). But that’s no doubt one of the reasons women who are pro-patriarchy betray their sisters. But some, I think, do want the security, too, rather the security perpetrated by the myth of the well-resourced family headed by an unusually wise, hard-working, magnanimous, even-tempered, brilliant, jack-of-all-trades and master of them, too, virile, and loyal man who also changes the babies once in awhile. Well, maybe he doesn’t change the babies…the older girls do that…
    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  • not a gator

    It’s kind of nihilistic, isn’t it? Like deciding to “end it all” because life is too hard. It’s this nihilistic death fantasy–give up responsibility, give up agency, obliterate your aspirations, dreams, ambitions, and somehow everything will come out right on the other end. “Why try, nothing I do will make a difference.” A lot of organized religion is focused on getting people to this state–and they call secular humanists nihilists.

  • Pingback: Mama’s Choice – Part 5: Baby Fever!

  • Shadow Spring

    “Oddly enough, though I understood this in regard to the “Christian Right” in general ~ I completely overlooked the profit-driven nature of the phenomenal growth I witnessed in the Quiverfull movement. I would often remark that “this family vision is spreading like wildfire” ~ all the while, oblivious to the fact that, of course it’s growing ~ there’s big money to be had in selling family stability and security to desperate moms and dads who’ve come to Christianity as refugees from dysfunctional homes ~ parents who are confused and scared for the future and they’re looking for answers as they scramble to raise their children in a healthier environment than that which they had experienced as kids.”

    You’re not the only one to fall for it, but at least you admit it!


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