Quoting Quiverfull: Low Self-Esteem Is Healthy?

Quoting Quiverfull: Low Self-Esteem Is Healthy? June 30, 2013

by Jane Grey of Ladies Against Feminism and her blog Jane Grey

So we are to have high God-esteem, and with that comes high esteem for God’s creation, including ourselves. This is not an arrogant, conceited esteem of ourselves, but rather it is an objective view from a position outside of ourselves, in a sense looking across the room at ourselves and saying, “God has given that person (me) much to be thankful for.” This is the only kind of high self esteem that is honoring to God.

Now, there is a type of low self esteem that is also beautiful and precious to the heart of God, and that is humble repentance. It is the self esteem that confesses to God and to others that it has failed at keeping God’s righteous and holy laws, and that there is “only evil in my heart continually.” It is the self esteem that esteems others more highly than itself. It is the self esteem that lives to be trampled down and crushed if it will only build God’s kingdom. The meek are blessed, Jesus says, for they shall inherit the earth. This is the opposite of what many influences will tell you, such as “Believe in yourself,” “Follow your heart,” “Fight for what you want,” “Just do it,” “Be proud of yourself.” However, it is the meek who will inherit the earth. Who made Rome fall? Who founded America? Who freed a downtrodden people from a slave state? Who killed a giant with only a stone?

The meek.

Comments open below


QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask 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.

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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  • Donsie

    “Who made Rome fall?”

    A complex interplay of social, economic, political, natural, and martial factors, the exact nature of which is a continuing point of debate among scholars. Oddly, “the meek” and “low self-esteem” are not any of the options from which those scholars choose.

    “Who founded America?”

    I assume Ms. Grey discounts Native Americans in her rhetoric, and uses America to refer to the USA only (not actually all of America). In terms of founding a permanent settlement we can consider a few contenders. St Augustine in Florida is the oldest white, European-founded city in the USA, but is not really considered part of the founding of the polity that came to be the USA/America. So, that leaves Jamestown and the Chesapeake region, settled by Europeans from the early years of the seventeenth century. The early founders of Jamestown were mostly young single men who went to make money, either through exploiting natural resources like timber (or, in their early hopes, gold) or farming tobacco. They were funded by the London Company. This was one of two companies that held the patent on settling and exploiting the east coast of what is now the USA, collectively called the Virginia Company. The other was the Plymouth Company — we’ll come back to them, but basically they failed to establish an ongoing settlement in America. The Virginia Company was run by rich shareholding investors and ultimately answerable to King James I. I know he’s a popular dude among modern Fundamentalist Christians, but I don’t think we can accuse him of having been meek.

    Now for the Plymouth Company — which I assume is what Grey is getting at in her statement. The first of their settlements (founded 1606) was in what is now Maine, but it was abandoned after about a year. It wasn’t until about 15 years later that the religious fundamentalist Separatists known as Pilgrims came on the Mayflower to settle land held by a successor of the failed Plymouth Company (the Plymouth Council for New England). They stole corn from caches belonging to native peoples, whom they went on to shoot and against whom they readied huge cannons. Chief among them were men like William Bradford — from a farming family, yes, by a wealthy and eminent one — and William Brewster, who studied at Cambridge University for a time. In my book at least these are not so meek as Grey suggests. In terms of a humble countenance, these people called themselves Saints! They were Separatists assured of their own state of grace. That strikes me as antithetical to meekness and low self-esteem.

    Also, 17th-century Maryland was the top destination for troublesome English Catholics. Surely not the meek folks Grey is so pleased about!

    “Who freed a downtrodden people from a slave state? Who killed a giant with only a stone?”

    I assume, based on what follows it, that the slave state Grey refers to is Egypt. If she wants to call Moses, the Hebrew people, and really much at all of the OT meek then I really don’t know what to say. Lionizing meekness is very much an NT sentiment that comes direct from Jesus’ teachings. There’s nothing meek about calling down YHWH’s deadly wrath on the children of your enemies.

    David and Goliath, eh? Like, David, the warrior king? David was not *ever* meek. He was an unlikely victor, but that wasn’t because he was meek but rather because he was facing a giant and using a sling. Indeed, what’s meek about volunteering to take down a giant in single combat? Sounds almost a bit prideful! And David was a naughty boy full of self-esteem throughout the OT. Poor Uriah, poor Absalom.

    “The meek.”

    Erm, or not.

  • anna

    Encouringing this type of self image is haneous. No wonder abuse thrives in these environments. I’ve been out long enough to have nearly forgotten this view of womanhood. No wonder I have so much recovering to do still.

  • Saraquill

    Loving one’s neighbor as you do yourself means jacks**t if your self esteem sucks.

  • NeaDods

    So this person just redefines low self esteem as high and good? Being told constantly that I was a sworthless sinner regardless of what I did or tried was the foundation of why I walked away from religion. Life is a beautiful thing when you’re not trying to suck up to a vengeful god and everyone tells you that feeling worthless is proper.

  • persephone

    See, now you’re being all logical and intelligent and knowledgeable, which are anathema to the fundagelicals.

  • Trollface McGee

    So, believing that you have the (God-given or not) skill to do something and then working to reach a goal is conceited and arrogant and bad.

    Believing that the fact that your house wasn’t struck by lightning, that you don’t have cancer and you live in a country with decent drinking water is because God likes you more than those other filthy unchosen people… not arrogant or conceited at all. I really, really hate people who act like random events and sheer luck are signs of favour from God because it means that those that suffer somehow deserve it. From people who claim a monopoly on morality – I can think of few things less moral than that line of thinking.

    “Who made Rome fall? Who founded America? Who freed a downtrodden people from a slave state? Who killed a giant with only a stone?” – I believe those were people who believed in themselves, who believed in their cause, and worked hard to achieve it.. in other words those arrogant, conceited bad people. Not to mention that historical inaccuracies and oversimplifications don’t help this article make the awful message that it is making.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Eh…Not really. I have low self-esteem, but I think much higher of people than I do myself, at least until a person proves themselves to be a butt.

    It depends on the person, really.

  • Saraquill

    Oh, my self-esteem sucks, and the thought of treating others like myself horrifies me.

    Still, I really enjoy the logic of feeling good about yourself in order to do the same to the ones around you.

  • texcee

    Yeah, Andrea Yates had low self-esteem, too, and look what happened there. I have struggled my entire life with low self-esteem such as Jane Grey describes and twice it drove me to the brink of suicide because my religion hammered into me that I was to be “humble” and “unselfish”. Anytime I tried to lift myself off the ground, I was slammed down again. Finally I declared ENOUGH and walked away. It took two separate courses of therapy to do it, but today I can look self-haters in the eye and say “Screw you. You don’t have power over me anymore.”

  • Theo Darling

    Oh yeah, I remember being explicitly taught this at a young age. Or, to take it a half-step further, that the only “godly” view of oneself was HATRED. “Love your neighbor as yourself” was supposed to be a fucked-up way of saying, “Hey, you over there with the disgusting sense of self-love going on. Knock it off and transfer all that love to the people around you, and get busy hating yourself.” Because…every other person is worthy of love, but I’m not, or something. Anyway, that was all I took away from that. ._.

  • dani_alexis

    Being one of William Bradford’s by-now-several-hundred-thousand descendants and also an English major, I’ve read his history of Plymouth Plantation about a dozen times in my life. William Bradford was many things. “Meek” is not one of them.