Blog Recommendation: Rethinking Vision Forum

The Message, when you’re in it, can feel like an island. You might think every popular idea and every tenet by which Message believers live came directly from the prophet, William Branham. That just isn’t the case. In the Message, materials like Nancy Campbell’s Above Rubies magazine and Vision Forum’s Beautiful Girlhood are very popular. [Read More…]

The Older Sister Who Wasn’t

I miss my mother’s best friend’s children. Does that sound complicated? It doesn’t make a lot of sense when I phrase it that way. What do I have to do with the children of someone my mother spends time with? How could I possibly miss them? In the world of quiverfull and patriarchal Christianity, in [Read More…]

How to fake it like a Message girl

Women in the Message of the Hour are not allowed to wear makeup. They are taught two standards of beauty: “worldly” beauty, which allegedly sends men packing into a boxcar bound for hell, and “godly” beauty. Roughly translated, “godly” beauty means being a skinny natural blonde with clear skin who manages to make her frumpy [Read More…]

On Counterculture

“Culture” is a fraught concept just about everywhere. In the academy, people debate what it is and whether it’s a useful term at all. In some Christian circles, culture is that thing you fight against in order to follow God. Evangelical Christianity in America is counter-cultural. There’s a problem with counterculture: it’s wholly dependent on [Read More…]

Overgrowth: the Story of a Big Marigold

My garden has been growing unchecked for at least a month while I tended to less earthy pursuits. Gardening always takes me by surprise. My plants seem so well-behaved, growing silently in their places, that every once and a while I stop, take a closer look, and am surprised to find that enormous clover have [Read More…]

One year!

I’ve been writing this blog for a year now, which means a number of things: The world hasn’t ended yet, so (according to Message lore) the earliest possible date on which the Rapture could have occurred and left me behind is August 27, 2008, 11:59pm. I haven’t been stricken down by lightning, cancer or bad [Read More…]

Good Reads

Nothing to read on the internet?! Never fear! Here are a few posts I’ve read recently that seemed especially smart and insightful: Darcy’s Heart-Stirrings: I Was You Once An open letter to young women growing up in fundamentalist groups like the Message, which emphasize “modest” dress and teach women to fear and hate their own [Read More…]

The Message vs. the Gospel: Lust and Responsibility

One Sunday, about a year or two before I left my Message church, my pastor warned us that one of our own had fallen away. She was the primary pianist for a small church in Maryland. Unmarried and in her early twenties, she was someone I’d always looked up to as a smart woman, an [Read More…]

You Aren’t What You Eat

The main message of the Message is this: the world is ending soon, and only those with the Holy Spirit will go in the Rapture and escape the Earth’s final burning torment, known as the Tribulation. This is the foundational idea upon which the Message adds multiple layers of doctrine. Here are some examples of [Read More…]

The Message vs. the Gospel: What Defiles You?

William Branham’s life story is published in a book series called Supernatural (no relation to the TV show, although they’d make an interesting combination!). Branham’s story is about growing up as the son of a moonshiner and a 15 year old girl, impoverished, wearing corn husks for shoes, and being conscripted from an early age [Read More…]