Daughter of the Patriarchy: The Atheist

by Sierra Willa was an atheist. A self-styled “unschooler,” she attended homeschool conventions and activities with her two children, Alexis (9) and Steven (5), and it was there that she met my mother. Willa’s husband worked in a field that I knew only abstractly as something involving computers and sales. He was a passive, taciturn man with whom I never exchanged a single word. Their children were boisterous, especially Alexis. Willa attached herself to my mother very quickly. Since Alexis was my age, we were an automatic source of play dates, which often really amounted to tea parties for our mothers. Common interests seemed to abound at first: homeschooling, books, and bargains. … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Barren

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD. -Isaiah 54:1 by Sierra The first time I saw my mother cry, she was hunched over the dresser in her bedroom, silent, her shoulders shaking. I had almost walked into the room, but when I noticed her posture I paused and silently backed away, then ran, on tiptoe, to escape the jarring sight. I had not yet turned ten, but I knew what her tears meant. She was crying for my brother, the one lost in miscarriage just before she’d begun taking me to our new church. Every … [Read more...]

Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 5: Waking Up

by Kiery A failure, that’s what I was, a giant failure. I couldn’t be the daughter my parents wanted me to be. I had tasted freedom, and I felt like I deserved it. I couldn’t go back to being the second mom after being told I was an adult. Adults can’t take their children’s adulthood away, can they? The 6 months between the split and my 18th birthday were the darkest days of my life. I was horribly depressed, I hardly ate, I contemplated cutting and suicide on more than one occasion. Honestly, if it weren’t for the friends I had made before and my boyfriend’s pastor stepping up and reaching me when I cried for help, I don’t know where I would be. I was mad at God, mad at my … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Signs

The end of the world I never had the chance to know by Sierra When I reached the age of nine, I began seriously worrying about the age of accountability and the Rapture. There was no magical number attached to the former; indeed, the fact that I was old enough to worry about it seemed evidence enough that I should worry. I was obviously old enough to understand sin, and consequently was old enough to miss the Rapture. And the Rapture was coming. Of that we all were certain. William Branham taught that only the elect, or Bride of Christ, would make it to Paradise in a dramatic snatching-away in the last moments of time. In a 1958 sermon entitled “The Sudden, Secret Going Away of the … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Casualties

by Sierra Soft breaths of cinnamon and vanilla wafted down into the basement from Anna’s kitchen. Laughter chorused over our heads as Sven and I busily fortified our Lego castle with rubber animals: his were the dogs, mine the cats. We worked together to fend off a motley invasion of snakes, hyenas and whatever other ugly miscreants we could dig from the toy bin. Pirates were only ever united by a common love of money. Bare light bulbs hung glaring over our heads, but we ignored them. Tiring of the siege, we took refuge under the stairs and ripped open a bag of butter cookies. Chessmen. We spared no cavalry or foot soldier in the cookie massacre. We were eight years old. Sneaking … [Read more...]

Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 4: Growing Up

by Kiery The thing about training is that eventually, you grow up and exercise what you were taught. I was taught to think for myself, to stand up regardless of pressure, and in the end, that’s what I did. The last half of my 16th year my parents spent drilling into me that I was a capable adult and ready for marriage. I went to visit my boyfriend after christmas and I think my parents fully expected a proposal even though (despite me being 16) we’d only been together since September. I was nervous, naturally. A hasty marriage was being pushed by my family  while his were much less hurried. I was scared, because at 16, I interpreted this as there being something wrong...maybe they … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Hairspray

by Sierra I awoke with my lungs filled with something pungent and sticky. I sat up groggily in the upper bunk, fumbling around for a watch or cell phone to tell me why it was still dark when so many beds were vacated. A light shone dimly across the long dorm room through a hazy moisture hanging in the air. My hand closed around someone’s small alarm clock, and I squinted at it. 5:30am. It was hairspray, I discovered as I staggered toward the bathroom. Lithe, elegantly dressed young women gathered cheerfully around the bathroom mirrors as they unrolled golden-flecked curls that fell gently to their thighs. Each strip of hair, carefully unbound from a foam roller, was sprayed within an … [Read more...]

Testing the Spirit of Quiverfull: Isolation

by Kristen Rosser ~ aka: KR Wordgazer Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. I John 4:1 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Acts 20:30 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 The above passages warn us that not every movement that says it is following Christ and His teachings, actually is. Even when there is sincere desire to follow Christ, the ways beliefs are practiced, instead of bringing healing and liberty, can bring pain … [Read more...]

Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 3: Critical Thinking

by Kiery Many people tell me I’m brave, they can’t believe how strong I am. Ten years of playing “mommy 2” isn’t overly common in the outside world. People at church would often tell me how lucky my parents were to have me and say “I bet you help out a lot, huh?” and I would nod and say “yes” while scanning the room to keep tabs on my siblings. “You guys are so blessed!” They would exclaim to my parents, “I don’t know how you do it.” My parents would nod in agreement while other families noted how well behaved we were. It seemed people either wanted to have our faith or detested us. They would aspire to become like my family, or think we were crazy lunatics. … [Read more...]

Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 2: Maintaining Appearances

by Kiery In time, I would begin to envision myself as a fair rose hidden inside metal armor. Afraid to grow, afraid to feel, staying inside a metal cage meant to protect. As far as appearances went though, you’d never know I felt that way. I don’t think my own family knew how I felt, when it comes down to it. Appearances were very important - we always had to look perfect, the house had to be spotless, when we were moving we had to be all happy about it (even if we weren’t), that way people wouldn’t think there was something wrong. The worst thing that could happen would be for someone to wonder if there was something wrong/ someone wasn’t “happy”. I joined a speech club … [Read more...]


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