Quoting Quiverful: Created as Nurturers?

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and aks our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

Nancy Campbell from her book Be Fruitful & Multiply: What The Bible Says About Having Children

“Women were created by God’s design to function as nourishers by nourishing life in their womb and a babe at their breast.  When women deliberately turn away from their natural functions, they do it to their own detriment.” (pp. 105-107)


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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


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  • Sarah

    I think what bothers me about this isn’t the idea that women should be nurturing, but the unstated assumption that men aren’t supposed to nurture.

  • Sarah Morehouse

    Human beings function as nourishers, which is embodied most obviously in how we protect, provide for, teach, and love children. When people deliberately turn away from our innate urge to care by being aggressive, hypercompetitive, and indifferent to the needs and feelings of others, we do it to our own detriment.

    There, now the statement works. 🙂

  • lucrezaborgia

    I’m also hardwired to enjoy sex and have a sex drive, but Nancy does not believe in those.

  • I’ve got a lot of natural functions, and emphasizing any one of them over the others means that a price will be paid somewhere. That’s just life and it goes for all of us.

    None of these were “designed.” They just are.

    Not every woman is damaged by forgoing childbearing. Some women are damaged by giving into it.

    And I’ll bet that Nancy’s tune changes when it’s black women on welfare who are focussing on their natural, life-giving functions, not white, right-wing fundamentalists.

  • Saraquill

    What about the women who are unable or not inclined to create and raise children? Not everyone is fertile, and some find time with children to be unpleasant.

  • Ellen

    Biologically and anthropologically speaking, I believe she is correct. Mothers are nurturing. Of course, I don’t believe in God and I don’t believe God had anything to do with this. If you look at groups that live in a hunter gatherer culture similar to that of the first humans, you do not see a woman with a baby in the womb and nursing at the same time. There is usually an age separation of about four years. But the mother and related women do the primary care until the child is about seven.

  • Helen

    Oh look, biological imperative. Two responses to that; anthropological ‘evidence’ changes frequently based on the anthropologists politics; the other is, even if it’s true, so what?

    Biologically we’re designed to go naked; eat raw meat, hunt / gather our food and be prey for bigger animals. Personally, I think clothing, fire and supermarkets have been very helpful.

    Personally, while I love children, I find them exhausting if i’m alone with them for more than a few hours. My (male) partner, on the other hand, genuinely enjoys looking after kids and is good at it.

    By this logic, despite finding it difficult and unrewarding, I should stay home with the kids, whereas my partner, who finds looking after children easy and fun, should have to go out to work.

    Yay, everyone’s unhappy!

  • What bothers me the most about this quote is that not only does it leave no room for voluntarily childless women, there is no room for women who want a child but who are infertile (the category I fall into). My body doesn’t make babies – does that mean that I’m “turning away from [my] natural function”? She says that God designed women to carry babies in their bodies and to nurse those babies after they are born. There is no space in Nancy’s world for someone whose body doesn’t do this (or for someone who does not want to do this, even if their body is capable). Besides trapping women into thinking that child rearing is their only purpose, it is extremely hurtful for infertile women within that culture. What is their purpose when faced with this “truth”?

  • A confusing thing about this is how into what is “natural” they go and yet turn around and say that “natural is inherently sinful” from birth. So why argue that women are natural nurturers while at the same time arguing that natural urges to be “evil” and “rebellious” must be beaten out of children? Is “natural” good or bad in their minds? It seems to depend on which point they want to make. What if you asked if women are naturally nurturers, should they resist the urge to nurture and never have children to be fully spiritual? (An actual idea in the Middle Ages, leading to establishing a lot of convents in Europe) Which is it?

  • Nancy Campbell say: “Women were created by God’s design to function as nourishers by nourishing life in their womb and a babe at their breast. When women deliberately turn away from their natural functions, they do it to their own detriment.”

    Paul said, in the New Testament: “An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, …”

    Who should we take as representing Christianity? The one who tells women to marry and have children, or it will be detrimental to them, or the one who tells women (and men!) that staying single (and per extention childless) is not detrimental, but for your own good?

  • Monica

    I find that she says this just to justify herself and her agenda.

    It’s something I’ve noticed. Folks with a narrow view of gender/sex say such silly things like Nancy does.

    I have PCOS, so lets see her explain that.