Daughter of the Patriarchy: Surveillance

by Sierra

Thick summer haze blended with the spirals of smoke belching from the backyard grill. A teenage girl in a sepia-colored seventies outfit poked at the flames with a stoic face, silently urging them to gulp up more pages from the notebooks she fed them, one after another. The fire surged with joy and then abated, leaving only charred fragments sinking into dust or drifting lazily into the air. The grill was stuffed, but not for long. Soon the makeshift altar had reduced its sacrifices to embers. The girl sighed with relief, though the anger blazing in her chest had not subsided.

Her mother had read her diaries. They had to be burned. Her most private thoughts unmercifully exposed, her trust breached, the girl vowed to herself that no one would see those words again. As I would discover thirty years later, she also made a promise to her future daughter: she, unlike my grandmother, would never so mistrust and mistreat her own offspring.

“I trust you.” My mother said, over and over again. “I will never invade your privacy.”

I kept journals sporadically, largely as an outlet for childhood frustrations. When other girls shut me out of their circle, I scribbled furiously about it. When I realized guiltily that Christ had commanded us to love everyone, I hastily amended, “Ignore my last entry. I love everyone, those girls especially!” Sometimes the pages were filled with incoherent childhood rage: “STUPID STUPID STUPID!!” I vented. I knew more emphatic words, but good Christian girls never swore.

Despite knowing that my diaries would never be read by mortal eyes, I nonetheless resisted uttering any religious fears or insecurities. I had been told that Satan could not read our minds but could definitely hear what we said. I surmised, though I was never told, that the devil was probably smart enough to read, too, so I avoided showing fear or doubt in the pages of my journals. I alluded in the vaguest possible terms to crushes I had on boys, convinced that to have a crush was to succumb to sinful lust and thus to leave an opening for Satan. Those thoughts were evil, and must be repudiated and denied.

In time, new media burst on the scene. I sent my first email at 11 years old. My mother, still adamantly adhering to her promise to trust me, didn’t stand over my shoulder or vet my communication. I was free to email my friends at church as though we were having a private conversation. At least, that was my assumption. I was quick to discover, yet slow to appreciate, how different the lives of my peers were.

The internet was new to most people I knew, but some guidelines had been established rather quickly: the first rule was to remember that the people in chat rooms weren’t always who they said they were. The second was related: never share identifiable information. Armed with this common sense, I boldly entered chat rooms and held conversations with strangers. Their potential wiles and innuendos flew over my head like a fleet of supersonic jets. If they were there at all, I was none the wiser for a long time.

Among the interests I pursued on the internet were websites for other children who played the Catz video game, which allowed the player to raise and breed virtual pets and show pictures of them to others. I also discovered MIDI files, which exposed me to music I had never heard before and yet held none of the threats of Satanic infiltration like rock music on the radio. MIDI files had no beat or lyrics. They couldn’t infiltrate my brain with images of sex and drugs. This latter discovery soon led to my first jolt of surprise at the exceptional quality of my mother’s trust.
[Read more...]

Family Man, Family Leader: Created to be His Help Meet – Help I’ve Created a Monster. Part 2 The Balance Shifts

by LivingForEternity

We had two children nineteen months apart. We wanted a larger family than just two. At that time we had never heard of patriarchy. We just loved kids, and we loved making them. However, after that I did not have any more. Of course I was disappointed, but we were alright with that at the time. As they approached school age I began to fret. I loved being with my kids and I did not want to send them away. I had met a family one time that educated their children at home. I was still working part time, but we decided that I would stay home with the children and teach them myself.

If that is all that I would have done it would have been great, but of course I had to join a support group. That is were the trouble began. It was full of very fundamental families with many children. And of course none of the other mothers worked outside of the home. Their kids always seemed to be so well behaved. One thing I should have noticed is that there were very few families with teenagers. Since I did not have any I did not notice. I have come to realize a lot of these beliefs cannot make it through teenage years. Many of these moms were so “helpful”. They began to give me all sorts of advice, and that included Created to Be His Helpmeet and To Train Up a Child.

At that time I was questioned about how many children I planned to have. We were not trying to prevent pregnancy, so I shared that. Many mothers determined that God must be trying to teach me something, like maybe I was not being submissive enough to my husband and on and on. I began to feel like something had to be wrong with me, so I began to try to be the perfect, Godly wife. The only problem: I wasn’t reading the scripture, I was relying on Michael Pearl, Bill Gothard, Little Bear Wheeler, and eventually satan himself – Doug Phillips.

So, instead of being my husband’s capable helpmeet, I now became a meek, submissive, and unable to make any decision on her own little wife. He was also being counseled by men who were into ATI (Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute) and finally followers in a very big way of Doug Phillips. I still am not ready to reveal how closely we are associated with Phillips. But it is very close through friends of ours.

My husband was now becoming the “leader” of his home. He stopped helping me with chores around the house. If he needed something done I was expected to drop everything to meet his needs. I never went anywhere that he did not want me to go. I even missed a going away party for a dear friend of mine. She was very hurt by this and our relationship has never been restored. He wanted me home to be at his beck and call.
[Read more...]

Family Man, Family Leader: Created to be His Help Meet – Help I’ve Created a Monster. Part 1

by LivingForEternity

My husband and I met at work. We were both recovering from failed marriages, and were friends for a long time before we started dating. After having a failed marriage we were both determined not to let another one fail.

We had two kids within nineteen months. That was fine as we wanted several children. He worked a lot of hours so I was a very capable manager of our home. I could feed babies and fix water leaks. I did not find it necessary to ask him about every single thing I did. If something needed fixing or doing I took care of it if he wasn’t able to. We were partners. However, as the children began to approach school age I began to question whether I wanted them to go away every day. I had quit work by this time, and really loved my kids.

It was decided that I would home educate them. Both of us are college educated, and we felt confident that this would be possible. I was not into a whole bunch of character stuff. I just liked my kids and wanted to be with them. As I began to get involved in a local home school group I was introduced to some ideas I had never heard of before. I met a lot of women who were very different from me. They seemed to be so calm with their many children. They had never worked and many were not college educated.

As I said before I was very independent. I was in no way co-dependent on my husband. I was a very capable person who could take care of most anything I had to. My new “friends” saw this and sought to “help” me. One of those helps was Created to Be His Help Meet.
[Read more...]

When Promises Become Dreams: Doing Marriage God’s Way

by AfricaTurtle

The title of Sierra’s Post “When Dreams Become Promises” stirred thoughts in me of another Dream, of other Promises that have brought their own dose of pain and disappointment and reality into my life: Dreams of an enduring, godly marriage and the Promises I made to God and myself in order to lay hold of that dream.

I made my first promise at the age of 14. “I promise to never date a non-christian”. It was the call to action given by a speaker at the summer church camp I attended that year. I knew it was right, I knew it was what God expected of me. How can “light fellowship with darkness”? Why would I build a life with someone I couldn’t hope to spend eternity in heaven with? What a heartache that would be! What a burden to bear, to be “unequally yoked”! I knew that God wanted what was best for me. I knew I could trust him. I knew I would never “compromise” my walk with God by dating a non-Christian.

The second promise came only a few, short years later, at the age of 16. “True Love Waits” was the name of the campaign. It was pretty popular that year in various area youth groups and on a national level. I still have the card that I taped to the inside cover of my Bible that year: ““Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate, and my future children to a lifetime of purity including sexual abstinence from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship.” Signed and dated. For my 16th birthday I even asked my dad to buy me a “purity ring”, a ring I would someday give to my husband to show him how I had saved myself for him, and him alone.

Then as I went through high school and built friendships with other “like-minded” and “strong” Christians, we started talking about “casual dating”, why it wasn’t good, the emotional repercussions and so on. We really believed it was important to only consider dating someone who we believed we could actually marry. By this time I knew I had a call to foreign missions so this drastically reduced any dating “options” for me. Not too many guys I knew were interested in heading off to live in the jungles of Africa!

I believe it was also around this time that Josh Haris’ book “I Kissed Dating Good-bye” started to appear in Christian circles. I had pretty much already concluded that casual dating was not for the “mature” Christian. My father had no interest in “choosing” my spouse for me. (Not that he was unconcerned, he just always said “you’re the one that has to live with him, not me! ) So while I never committed to courtship, in the purest sense, I was, nonetheless, convinced God would lead me to the “right man” at the “right time”. This was something I was leaving in his hands. I didn’t “trust” myself with a decision this weighty, I definitely knew I needed God’s guidance, direction, and seal of approval.
[Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: When Dreams Become Promises

by Sierra

As followers of God’s final prophet and members of the elect Bride of Christ, we made a lot of promises in God’s name. We promised safety to a world we presumed was in its death throes, ready to face tribulation, destruction and ultimate renewal. We promised healing, hope and happiness to those who accepted God’s provided way of escape. We promised individuals that their broken families would be restored, that their financial problems would vanish when they tithed, that God’s will would give them purpose and the strength to deal with the wearying parade of everyday troubles. We promised Alissa that God would heal her daughter.

Alissa was a single mother of two young boys. She worked as a clerical assistant in a faceless grey office. It paid the bills, but not all of them. She had a husband, too, but not all of him. He brought home other women, parading them in front of her face. He took them out to places she would never see. He riled up the boys, then refused to parent them. He made them despise and curse her. He probably took her money, too, but I don’t know. I was a kid, and I wasn’t supposed to listen to these kinds of stories, even though my dad was doing the same thing.

Late in the 1990s, Alissa found out she was pregnant. A third baby for a man who hardly noticed the first two. But Alissa had dreams for this one: this little girl would charm her daddy’s heart, bring him back, make a real man out of him. And our church turned those dreams into promises. God would honor her faith and restore her marriage, since she had submitted to her husband despite all the trials and was ready to bear him a daughter. Just wait and see, we promised her, God has a special miracle for you. How glorious it will be when he reveals his power through you and your family!

Within weeks, Alissa learned that there was a problem with the baby. The child had a genetic abnormality: an extra chromosome, perhaps. She was expected to live only a matter of hours, if she wasn’t already stillborn. The doctors recommended abortion. They said it would spare Alissa the pain of saying goodbye to a daughter who would never hear her hello.

Everyone at church smiled knowingly at this point in Alissa’s story. Doctors loved to recommend abortion, especially unnecessary abortion. It made them money, after all. Alissa ought to ignore them. They were part of a culture of death and hated motherhood. Worse, they didn’t believe in the power of God to heal the sick! Not even cancer could stand before the prayers of God’s elect. Heads wagged along with the tongues. Those doctors might think they knew what they were doing, but they didn’t know our God. He could turn Alissa’s dreams into promises.
[Read more...]