Quoting Quiverfull: Well-Behaved Women?

Quoting Quiverfull: Well-Behaved Women? August 11, 2013

From The Prairie Muffin Manifesto

The women who will have the greatest impact on the world, those who will have the greatest influence on history, are those “well-behaved” women who faithfully serve God in their daily lives, seeking His approval rather than the world’s admiration. Prairie Muffins know that while engaging in the kingdom-building work in their homes of loving, training and disciplining their children, the world may not express its approval, but it will be turned upside down.

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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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  • persephone

    I’m sorry. It’s immature, but I can’t take anything seriously that’s written by someone who calls herself a cowpie. I can’t stop snickering.

  • I think this is really the only thing that can be said to make their lives (full of never ending sacrifice) seem worthwhile. “Yes, you’re suffering. Yes, your voice isn’t heard. Yes, you’re held to an impossible standard and judged on how far you are from that. But you know what, God will reward you and your kids will change the world! Maybe…Hopefully…I mean…definitely.”

  • Moonlit_Night

    Of course one can turn the world upside down by “loving, training and disciplining their children”…by training them to love and respect everyone, and to go out and change the world to reflect that. I’m just not sure that the author and I would agree on what that looks like.

  • When I read that, I googled a quote I read, but I could not remember who it was from:

    “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    Seriously, you have a better chance to make history by being some murderous
    character like Mary Queen of Scots than by staying at home.
    You could make a difference in the world by raising your children to care, but
    women who stay at home full time (I don’t mean not having a job, but not engaging with outside culture, not actually influencing anyone but your children), you set an example to your children that influencing the wider world is unimportant, that you should rather draw your wagons as a family, influence only them, and forget the culture.

    You don’t just set an example of not influencing the culture, you become unable to teach your children anything that they need to understand about culture to influence it. You cannot teach what you do not know.

    If you want to influence the world, directly or indirectly, set your children an example of actually engaging in the world to influence it – the Proverbs woman for example helped the poor, and was praised at the gates. (The gates were where the decision-makers of the era gathered.) Or do these women want their children to do as they say (engage with culture), and not as they do?

  • Kristen Rosser

    Does the writer realize that most of the women in the Bible who are praised in the text, were not praised for staying home and quietly raising children? From Deborah to Ruth to Abigail to Esther to Mary Magdalene to Phoebe — none of them were written about in terms of their quiet, well-behaved motherhood.

  • NeaDods

    I agree with you. It’s a way of shutting down any thought of doing anything different – especially any thought of accomplishing anything in the world for yourself – with the palliative that “well, this is THE most important thing and someday someone will recognize it for the great work it is!”

    All this really is is a more verbose version of “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” and nevermind that women themselves staked that notion through the heart back in the 19th century because it’s not true!

  • NeaDods

    Seriously, can they actually *name* one woman who changed the world just by raising kids? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

  • teaisbetterthanthis

    I’m pretty sure that even Mary (you know, Jesus’ mother) did more than just stay home, obey Joseph, and Train Up her children.

  • Exactly! I grew up Mormon, and this thinking was very harped on. Something to the effect of “raising righteous (meaning Mormon…lol) children is the greatest achievement a woman can have.”
    Guess it’s easier for the men who control churches and thinking to blindly assign roles based on outward sexual characteristics than run the risk of having authority given to capable people with vaginas!

  • Why, Michelle Duggar, of course! Look at all the attention she’s brought to the QF movement. Look at how Godly and obedient her children are! And now one of them has a job in D.C! Surely he’s going to change the world…right?

  • Christine

    The Prairie Muffin Manifesto was my introduction to Quiverfull and Biblical Patriarchy. Someone posted a link to it a few years ago in Live Journal, and I honestly thought it was a joke. Then I realised it wasn’t, and its message is gaining ground in parts of Australia. It took me a while to find NLQ and other survivor sites, and I was so relieved to find all of you courageous women who got out and are fighting it.

  • SJ Reidhead

    Well… start naming them. I’m waiting, I’m waiting….Let’s see

    George Washington’s mother
    St. Augustine’s mother
    Martin Luther’s Mother
    Pope John Paul II’s Mother

    Then the “other” women, many poorly behaved:
    Elizabeth I
    Catherine the Great
    Ann Boleyn
    Marie de Medici
    Lucretia Borgia
    Harriet Tubman
    Nell Gwynn
    Mata Hari
    Sophia Alekseyevna
    Belle Starr
    Marie Antoinette
    Eleanor of Aquitaine
    Mary Queen of Scots
    Mary Todd Lincoln
    Lady Georgiana Cavendish
    Martha Jane Canary
    Jeanne Antoinette Poisson
    Pearl Hart
    Etta Place
    Josephine Baker
    Mary Walker

    History does not remember well-behaved women. That in itself should be a commentary on just what a woman must do to be remembered. We remember the famous men – but never their sainted mothers. So much for being well behaved.


  • NeaDods

    I figure the Muffins wouldn’t be sarcastic bringing Josh up, even through 1) putting your kids on TV is hardly quiet mothering and 2) whatever Josh does, *Josh does*, not his mama. I bet there’s a lot of people’s work they take parental credit for. (After all, who would Oedipus be without his mama?)

  • Because these Prairie Muffins probably think of making history via your descendants, I was thinking of the fore-mothers of Jesus. Most was not actually named in His genealogy, but 4 made history and were named: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Mary.

    Those are 1 acting as a prostitute, one actual prostitute, one acting in a way Prairie Muffin moms would never tell their daughters to do (climbing onto the bed of a guy she is not married to and laying there), and the last behaved well by being willing to do something she would get ostracised and judged for. (Have an out-of-wedlock baby.)

    Is it the well-behaved women who made history? Only the one who was willing to look less than well behaved.

  • mayarend

    And even if they were to credit the parents, it would be his GODLY FATHER who was a great head of the house and told his mama what to do.

  • Oh, good call. Silly me, forgetting to give credit to the daddy! What was I thinking?

  • newcomer

    One quick tidbit: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich came to speak at my college a few years back, and one of the things she mentioned is how her quote has been massively flipped around into a kind of motto of rebellion. She actually meant it in terms of that the well-behaved women who strongly influenced and shaped history tend to be left out of the history books; that the women who are written in to the history books are almost always the ones who have a lot of scandal and tempestuous actions associated with them. This was not a call to leave your mark by causing trouble, it was a commentary that we don’t get anything like a full account of how much women have contributed to the changing world. A lot of brilliant innovators, scientists, political players, etc have been swept under the rug due to the fact that they were women and led quiet lives compared to, say, Marie Antoinette.

  • Ahh… thanks for telling me.