A Love That Multiplies ~ The Duggar's New Book

by Hopewell

Regular readers of this blog know that I watch TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting–” a reality show featuring the family of Jim-B0b and Michelle Duggar. I make some people very happy with my blog posts on this family and get flames from others. Such is life!! So, when I spotted a used copy of their new book so I could “buy used and save the difference,” just like the Duggar’s recommend, I knew I’d have to review it here!

Like everything Duggar there is much to admire here: some good tips about listening to your children, listening to your spouse, spending time as a family, spending time in God’s word, gathering together with other believers, living debt free, controlling your anger, modeling good behavior, drawing close in times of crisis, and looking for learning opportunities all around you.

A Season of Re-Runs:

This book, however, does have a few flaws that need examining. First: repeat, repeat, repeat! Much of this book is a virtual transcript of several recent episodes of “19 Kids and Counting” (or it’s previous incarnations). If the reader has never seen an episode it might be new, but I doubt it. Like any politician, Jim-Bob “stays on message.” You can find nearly everything in this book in other radio or podcast interviews, newspaper or magazine stories or blog posts.

Another big problem is that this book, when not repeating everything said in the past, is a public relations exercise. Nearly everything the Duggars have ever been criticized for on message boards, blogs, in the press–it all gets “answered” here. Don’t expect any shocking answers! Jim-Bob stays on message. [Read more...]

Sons of Patriarchy

by Libby Anne

Yes yes, I know I said it’s about the daughters, but it’s actually about the sons too, and here’s why: Christian Patriarchy may say its about creating the perfect godly family, but, at its heart, it’s about control. Yes, that sounds kind of harsh! Let me explain.

In Christian Patriarchy, parents don’t let their children grow up and leave and make their own decisions. Instead, parents seek to control their adult children. The system only works if everyone stays in their place and does as told. The moment there is an independent thought or contrary life goal, it all falls apart.

Where do the sons come into this? It’s simple. I have brothers, and while things have been much smoother for them than they were for me or my sister, it hasn’t all been fun and games. My mother disapproves of my oldest brother because he didn’t join the military. It says something about his character, apparently. This is small hat compared to the emotional manipulation another of my brothers has experienced because my parents don’t approve of his plans for his life. Why? Because he wants to join military the wrong type of military.

This is the point I am trying to make here: the sons of patriarchy, just like the daughters, will only be smiled on so long as they believe what their parents believe and do what their parents want them to do. As soon as they have an independent thought or a contrary life plan, it’s all over.

I do have one brother who is my parents’ golden boy. Why? Because he is doing everything my parents want, and leading exactly the life they want for him, down to his chosen career path and which college he is attending. I used to be like that, basking in the glow of my parents’ approval. And then I began changing my mind on doctrinal points they considered critical and told them “no” when they told me to break up with a young man they had decided was a bad influence. I went from golden girl to outcast in one single day.

The real irony here is that both of my parents broke with their parents when they began homeschooling us. Neither set of grandparents approved, but my parents said too bad. My parents weren’t raised this way, but rather left the beliefs of their parents and started out on their own. This is actually fairly common among the parents of Christian Patriarchy. Why, then, do they refuse to let their children think and act for themselves?

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Dispelled ~ One Girl’s Journey in a Home School Cult ~ Part 8: The Road to Freedom

Please note: The content contained herein does not necessarily reflect the values and opinions of the NLQ blog and its administrators.

by Chandra

It wasn’t until this past year, while speaking to my counselor, that she looked me in the eye and asked of me, “Did you ever think to call 911?”

Something like a tidal wave went through me. I still feel like I am picking up the pieces of that.

“No,” I replied. “It never even dawned on me.”

I still don’t understand the full implications of living in such a mind-controlling cult. I really don’t. It’s…indescribable really and I often feel like a blundering, clumsy writer trying to articulate it to the outside world. The truth is that I had been trained to believe since I was six that all law enforcement was to be feared. The only authority that was to be trusted was that of a God-ordained institution: marriage, family, and sometimes, the church (if that church was legalistic or a home church). Government, social workers, doctors, lawyers, police officers…were all to be feared implicitly and never, ever trusted. I had become so trusting of my caretakers that I had turned into the girl who was ignorant of their abuse: because I had been trained to rely on them for everything.

I stumbled through the next few months after my graduation with a feeling of being a nomad, feeling like I was waiting for a game of chess to end, but somehow the game continued to be sustained by a few pieces. In retrospect, I see how certain events were orchestrated to my benefit, leading me slowly into the path of freedom. Even in June, after I had graduated, I was still weak and sickly from my previous pneumonia and ARDS. I got tired very easily, and frequently felt short of breath. I was also depressed. After all, I was a newly graduated senior and I was without friends. It had been well over four years since Hannah and I had last spoken to one another and probably about a year at that point since we had seen each other. Still, somewhere in my heart there was a longing and an aching for the hope that we could renew our once precious and sisterly friendship.

In truth, I had never had another friend like her. We were more alike than not, even in the way the thought about life. What I didn’t understand, even at nearly eighteen, was that we were both cut from the same cloth: brainwashed, controlled, and manipulated. Because our parents were the best at manipulating and “raising godly daughters as a heritage unto the Lord” it was a very natural thing that we would approach the world in the same way. But at almost eighteen, I didn’t understand that. All I knew was that there was loneliness, an aching, a void, a starving and thirst for human companionship and the sisterhood of true friends.

After I graduated, I received a sizable amount of cash, and combined with money that my grandparents had generously gifted me with over the years, this allowed me to purchase my first car. My dad actually spearheaded the entire purchase of the car. I purchased my first car when I was 18: a 1993 Red Honda Civic, with all the bells and whistles. I loved that car! It was the best thing that had happened to me in nearly seven years. I would drive with the sunroof back, the stereo blaring and loved the feeling of burning rubber. This car held out its metaphorical hand to me, encouraging me to embrace the freedom of my future. And I took it.

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The Beautiful Girlhood Doll ~ Part 10: I Am a Person, Not a Doll!

by Libby Anne

It has now been some years since I left my parents’ house and shifted for myself. I think my parents were somewhat surprised that I was able to make it on my own and that I did not come home asking for help, or maybe it was just me who was surprised. I found inner sources of strength I had not known I had. At the same time, my college friends, both the original evangelical ones and new ones I had met, were a wonderful source of support, and always accepted me regardless of what I did or didn’t believe. I finished college on my own, and was extremely proud at graduation.

During this time I also found someone special, and I married him not long after finishing college. Because I was marrying someone who did not share their beliefs, my parents did not approve, but then I did not expect them to. My siblings were not allowed to be in my wedding, and I walked myself down the aisle with my head held high. My friends and in-laws made my wedding a time of great joy, but my heart still broke years later when one of my little brothers was exulting at being a ring bearer in one of my siblings’ weddings, and all I could think was, I did want you for my ring bearer, little brother, please don’t think I didn’t. But I couldn’t tell him that, I couldn’t explain what had happened. Remembering that moment still brings tears to my eyes, even now.

Early on, there was some question about whether my new husband and I would be allowed to visit my parents and siblings. After all, what kind of example were we setting? This question was resolved, though, when we chose to become pregnant and have a child. The presence of a grandchild has improved my relationship with my parents, though it has also created new problems as they do not always agree with the way I am raising my little one.

Another factor that has improved my relationship with my parents is their belief that my husband is my authority, and that they should therefore seek to change his views rather than mine. At the same time, though, my husband is a man and not their physical child, so there is a level of emotional distance and respect present that there is not with me. Thus my parents simultaneously leave my beliefs alone and at the same time work to respectfully persuade my husband that he should change his beliefs. Of course, this makes me want to laugh, because my husband and I have an egalitarian relationship, and we frequently disagree with each other without seeing it as a problem.

Regardless of the reasons for the softening of my relationship with my parents, I am grateful that I can still be a part of my siblings’ lives. However, my relationship with my parents will never be the same, and the pain of what happened will never go away.

My parents’ mistake, if that is how you want to see it, was teaching me how to think. The simple reality is that teaching women to think will be subversive in any system that demands male authority and female submission. My parents gave me the tools to form my own opinions and choose my own beliefs while at the same time demanding that I hold their opinions and beliefs, and once I left home and learned that the world was a much bigger place than I had been taught, I was crushed in the inconsistency of this.

There is a deeper problem as well. My parents saw me as an empty slate and believed that they could paint on it as they wished and choose what the outcome would be. They saw me as something to be shaped and moulded rather than as an individual with my own thoughts and feelings. For them, I was one more daughter to fit into the perfect mold. In some ways, it was like they were playing dollhouse with me, forming me just how they wanted and setting me up just how they liked – but I’m not a doll!

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Crushing Daisies ~ Ways in Which Patriarchal Fundamentalism Harms Its Children ~ Part 2: The Little House on the Prairie Fashion Club

by Daisy

When we were Quiverfull, our family wasn’t nearly so extreme as some regarding dress standards, but we did insist on longish dresses and hair for the girls for several years.

This wasn’t all religious nonsense: those Osh Kosh pinnies were tough as hell and could be passed on through all the girls in the family and still look as though they’d hardly been worn. And, despite how my girls remember it, they were actually in fashion at the time. I wasn’t just sewing our own stuff (although I did that too), Osh Kosh pinnies were bought off the rack in Myer and Target by regular folk as well as fundies like us. However, I’ll admit that we kept it up for longer than was appropriate. And we did choose clothing on the basis of a biblical notion of feminine modesty.

One day, some months after we’d come out, my then-17-year-old daughter K reminded me how damaged she had felt by this over-emphasis. She told me that in her view it had three significant effects – none of which I had intended to convey. For one, she grew to have an abiding disrespect for men and boys who apparently couldn’t keep their minds away from her private parts. K says she felt disgusted at male weakness and their apparent obsession with all things sexual. For years she struggled even to imagine enjoying a healthy partnership with a man.

In addition to helping us spot like-minded families in a crowd, dressing as we did had served, conveniently, to keep a distance between us and ‘the world’. K tells me that, even though she ended up going to school for grades 11 and 12, and is now happily managing university, for a long time she felt 16 years behind the eight ball when with her peers. Dress and other conservative choices we made kept my kids from engaging with their own culture. In an effort to follow the advice of patriarchal teachers such as Jonathan Lindvall we ‘dared to shelter’ our kids from many things that would help them function in a 21st world.

Finally, and perhaps most disturbing is that K says she grew up believing that there was something very wrong with her body. Having to hide herself away under a veritable mountain of denim, and promptly being admonished when any bits weren’t properly covered left her confused and, she says, appalled at her own foulness. She tells me that, before she even came to the dreadful realisation that God planned a very limited range of life choices for her, she knew she hated it that he had made her a girl. It’s impossible not to connect the dots and see this as a factor in K’s subsequent fight with Anorexia Nervosa.

How incredibly sad is that? I am heartbroken that I participated in crushing the self-worth of such a beautiful, intelligent and energetic young woman. And I feel very lucky indeed that she loves me still and allows me to walk beside her to build her up and help her realise her full potential.
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