Quoting Quiverfull: Damaged Goods?

Quoting Quiverfull: Damaged Goods? July 31, 2013

by Vaughn Ohlman of True Love Doesn’t Wait – To Betroth or not to Betroth: A Response to Michael Pearl Part 2

Mr. Pearl’s article against betrothal continues later in a more positive note. He says:

“The modern concept of betrothal is a long overdue swing of the pendulum away from the licentious practice of recreational dating. The liberties taken by “Christian” couples in the modern dating game would have been viewed as philandering or immoral in former generations.

Most “Christian” young people are “damaged goods.” Church youth groups are hotbeds of immorality. And I am not limiting my evaluation just to those that have copulated. Would you buy a candy bar that had not been eaten, but the wrapper had been partially removed? What if it had not been handled, just displayed in a partially unwrapped condition? Would you buy the candy bar if it had not been eaten, but just licked? After all, licking by one or more persons would leave the proud, new owner plenty of candy bar to take home for his own.

Let me ask you another question. If you saw your preacher walking through the mall, holding hands and rubbing up against a lady that was not his wife, would you call it sin? Suppose they didn’t “go too far?” Suppose your preacher just needs companionship on the weekend, and likes to spend time with the opposite gender, but is careful to not “go all the way.” Does that make it OK? You say, “But my preacher is married.” What if his wife died, and he was lonely and needed a social life. Would you then approve of his “going out” with girlfriends? I have shocked you haven’t I?”

Here he accepts the concept that is known elsewhere as ‘defrauding’, calling it ‘damaged goods’ (an excellent metaphor, lacking in Scriptural language but excellent in metaphoric force). It is inappropriate, before or after marriage, to treat anyone in a way that is only appropriate to treat ones wife. His example with the preacher is a vivid demonstration of this. Persons of my denomination will have to substitute the word ‘elder’ in their mind.

However he does leave out the mental aspect. He does not enter into the question (so vital in distinguishing between betrothal and courtship) of whether this concept of ‘damaged goods’ applies to the mind as well as to the body. Is it appropriate for the elder to ‘think about’ someone not his wife as his wife? Even leaving aside Song of Solomon issues, is it appropriate for him to ‘wife swap’ in his head… to think about someone else cooking his meals, cleaning his clothes, training his children? Nothing physical is mentioned in Proverbs 31, would it be appropriate for our elder to think about other wives and how they might do… for him… in accomplishing Prov 31 tasks?

He does not answer this question. And yet, assuming he has read widely (as he says he has in the article) on betrothal, then surely he knows that this is a vital question in determining between the principles of betrothal and courtship (or dating). Surely he knows that one objection to courtship is that the couple is encouraged to think about/wonder about each other from a ‘spousal’ perspective *before* they are bound in covenantal committment.

Ironically, in an earlier passage he states, “Gabriel was, and remains, her first and only boy friend and lover. That is as it should be.” Yet in denying the covenential nature of betrothal, he denies the only structure (that I know of) that promotes this (besides being the structure given in Scripture, but we will get to that later).

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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  • NeaDods

    Just remember, girls! You’re not allowed to judge the suitability of a spouse until it’s too late!

    Vaughn, no matter how many poor purity metaphors you use (hint: a $100 bill is still worth $100 no matter how many wallets it’s been in), taking any form of consent away from the woman IS MAKING A SEX SLAVE OF HER!

  • brbr2424

    Anyone who compares a mammal and sex to a candy bar and consuming a candy bar is not the brightest bulb in the pack. When you don’t have facts on your side, I guess you have no choice but to make stuff up.

  • Theo Darling

    I’m confused about the pastor’s dead wife. Widowed pastors can’t get it on with new ladies?

  • Kristen Rosser

    Why shouldn’t an unmarried or widowed pastor date? Frankly, I don’t understand why I’m supposed to be shocked. And the reason candy bars are unclean after they’ve been licked is because of a real thing called germs. Kissing a person of the opposite sex doesn’t give them spiritual germs, whatever those might be.

    He also faults Pearl for “lacking in Scriptural language.” But where are any of his own views in the Bible? I’ve read it many times and never seen any of this in there.

  • Trollface McGee

    Good, now I can go back to thinking Michael Pearl is scum. I really don’t have words to describe how much I hate the “used goods” metaphor. It makes no sense. You wouldn’t eat a candy bar that you opened and licked days before. So what? A person’s only value is their virginity and then the only reason they’re kept around is because God bans divorce?

    I’m glad he uses the word “owner” because that is exactly what this movement is about. People are to be owned. Children are produced en masse to stock God’s Walmart full of Christian soldiers and Christian breeders.

    “is it appropriate for him to ‘wife swap’ in his head… to think about someone else cooking his meals, cleaning his clothes, training his children?”

    Yes, it is appropriate for him to think about HIMSELF doing those things because that is what an adult does.

  • Kristen Rosser

    Yes– they are not his meals or his children. They are their meals and their children. I’ll grant that his clothes are his own, but I imagine her clothes would be in with his in a load of laundry. In other words, she’s not just a useful robot that takes care of his things for him. Blech.

    And why shouldn’t a person envision married life with someone in order to figure out if they’d like it? Where, exactly, does the Bible forbid that?

  • Saraquill

    I don’t understand why Pearl or Vaughn feel the need to insult legions of people.

  • persephone

    Von didn’t get to marry Miss Perfect so he has defrauded his wife according to his reasoning.

  • persephone

    Von doesn’t seem to be big on the scripture quoting himself, maybe because Michael and he are a couple of windbags with no biblical basis for the crap they spew.

  • persephone

    They’re small fish in tiny ponds.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yeah, you shocked me alright. But it wasn’t with your little story about a man needing companionship. It was by comparing me to a freaking candy bar.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Because the targets aren’t doing things the “right” way (their way.) So they must vent their butthurt by attempting to establish domination over those of us who don’t toe the line.

  • mayarend

    That just goes to show the “women are objects to be owned” mindset…

  • Nightshade

    Wonder who Von thinks is supposed to arrange a widowed pastor’s next marriage, since he’s so big on the arranged marriage thing? After all, the poor guy can’t be left on his own to burn…right?

  • newcomer

    Are these candy bars of which he speaks ‘Soylent Green’-brand, by any chance? Does Michael/Vaughn eat people? Is this where the mixup is taking place? Or have they really just not moved past the elementary school notion that spitting on something (or someone) is the way to call dibsies.

    Vaughn, Michael, even if a woman is pre-licked she has probably showered since then. You can stop hyperventilating now.

  • Madame

    “Vaughn, Michael, even if a woman is pre-licked she has probably showered since then. You can stop hyperventilating now.”

    Hahaahaaaaaaa!!!!! you made my evening!