Quoting Quiverfull: Always Being Open?

Quoting Quiverfull: Always Being Open? March 9, 2014

by Vaughn Ohlman from True Love Doesn’t Wait, Really – Always Being Open

Recently I have had some discussions about  a doctrine often called full quiver. I am ‘full quiver’ and I believe the doctrine to be an integral part of marriage, to the extent we included it in our betrothal covenant for my oldest son and his wife. The statement I made, that caused quite a bit of discussion, was this:

Godly Married couples should always be open to the blessing of children.

In order to address the objections that have been raised to that statement, I am going to take it, one phrase at a time, and explain why I believe what I do about, well, about the statement

Godly married couples should always be open to the blessing of children.

Godly. I want to be careful, right at the beginning, to disclaim something that some people might believe when I use the word ‘Godly’. They might think that I mean ‘Christian’. That, in some way, I am saying that Jews, Muslims, Budhists, Animists and Atheists, etc, are exempt. I’m not.

What I am saying is that this requirement comes from God, and reflects God. And so, to the extent we accept it and live it out, we reflect God… even if we are atheists. Oh, I’m not saying that this makes them righteous, or that it saves them… just that God uses it to reflect truth about Himself.

Godly married couples should always be open to the blessing of children.

It should go without saying but, unfortunately, doesn’t nowadays, that I am talking about married couples: couples in covenant with each other for life. Mind you, I don’t believe that this means that an unmarried couple becomes more righteous when they engage in sex *with* birth control. Quite the opposite. The sex (being outside of marriage) is wrong, and the birth control is wrong too. When God said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ he had in mind married couples. But that doesn’t mean that failing to multiply in some sense justifies fornication or adultery.

Godly Married couples should always be open to the blessing of children.

I know that this phrase doesn’t come next, but I thought I would get it out of the way. Not because it is unimportant, but because it is the key to the entire issue.

Scripture treats children as ‘a blessing’. Indeed they are one of the most frequently named blessings in Scripture. Most Christians know this but, if not, we will list many of the key passages later in this article.

 Godly married couples should always be open to the blessing of children.

I know, I know, I’m going backwards here. But this part of the sentence needs, not so much a defense, as an explanation. It seems that every time I or another full quiver person talks about this issue these words (however we express them) are misunderstood. ‘Be open’ becomes, in their mind, ‘try to have as many children as you can’.

This is not what I, or any full quiver person I have read or talked to, is promoting. To be crude, I believe that a Godly married couple will have lots of sex, at lots of times, very casually, naturally, and eagerly. I do not believe that they have to go out of their way to ‘make children’. They don’t have to figure out the woman’s fertile time of month, abstain before hand, make love on the right day, using an approved position, etc, etc.

They are to behave naturally… without trying to *stop* the children that come naturally from the activity. Of course, that is a tautology, since there is nothing natural about any form of birth control. Even Natural Family Planning, which is sometimes touted as a ‘natural’ method, is horribly unnatural. The very biology of both the man and the woman make the woman’s fertile period the most desired time for sex… so to deliberately abstain during that time is unnatural squared.

And we certainly don’t mean that the couple who, try how they might, can’t have children are somehow sinning!! There is nothing in anything we believe or teach which implies that. We are not talking about a certain number of children, but of an attitude. If God gives one, or God gives a thousand children, we need to be open to however many He gives.

Godly married couples should always be open to the blessing of children.

Now we come, finally, to the heart of the issue for many objectors. They are fine having children. They even would join in criticism, perhaps, against those selfish couples who choose to have no children. But they don’t think that the openness should extend as far as ‘always’. They want to be able to be open to not having children, some of the time, to be open to only having  a certain number of children. They would like this sentence to read:

 Godly married couples should SOMETIMES be open to the blessing of children.

This, in their opinion, strikes the right balance. This allows children to be a good thing, a blessing, but also allows a couple not to be too blessed. This allows us to have children… but not yet. To have children… but not too many. To have children… but not right now, when it would be awkward, expensive, dangerous, or annoying.

And it allows the couple to be ‘done’. To have done their duty, but to not have too much duty. This is what they think Scripture teaches… or at least allows. Few of them attempt an exegetical defense of this exact wording.

Godly married couples should NEVER be open to the blessing of children.

This is another of the possibilities for how a married couple should behave, but many of our critics, at least those who are Christians, are uncomfortable with this. The passages are too hard to ignore this blatantly. If someone seriously commits themselves to never having children, well, they are not only weird, but probably also sinning (see the note on ‘should’ below).

Godly married couples should ALWAYS be open to the blessing of children.

This is what we believe Scripture teaches, but many Christians believe that this is too harsh, too unloving, to judgmental and, quite frankly, too dangerous. This eliminates any control, any timing, any limits. The modern Christian rejects this possibility: but we believe it is the one God commands and blesses.

We will explain why we believe Scripture teaches this below, after we deal with another hard issue in our statement:

Godly married couples should always be open to the blessing of children.

We say that Godly married couples ‘should’ always be open to the blessing of children. But ‘Is this,’ our opponents ask, ‘something that is a direct command of God?’.

Unfortunately for our discussions, I don’t believe in that question. Oh, I believe in direct commands (and this is one), and I believe in direct prohibitions (which, as birth control isn’t mentioned, this isn’t one)… but I don’t think that is where our obedience to God stops, or even starts.

We have a phrase in our family for obedience. A definition. For obedience. It goes like this: “To immediately and cheerfully carry out the expressed and unexpressed wishes of those in authority over you.”

A Christian’s goal in life should not be to merely obey God’s overt commands (those they cannot wiggle out of) and avoid his overt prohibitions (ditto); but to do God’s will. To know and do God’s will.

So here, with this word ‘should’, I do not mean ‘we have found an overt command which specifically states that Modern American Gentile Christians must always avoid birth control.’ We have found, instead, commands given to all of humanity, frequent blessings, and significant metaphors…. which, together, lead us to an understanding of God’s will on this issue. His will being clear, our response should also be clear.

All in the next section, so let’s move on… or, rather, return to the subject we started earlier:

Godly married couples should always be open to the blessing of children.

Why do we believe that the Godly married couple should ALWAYS be open to the blessing of children? Let us count the ways:

1) Because God has commanded us to be fruitful and multiply:

Genesis 1:27-28 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

— This command was given to ‘male and female’ at the very creation of the Earth. These are typically called ‘creation ordinances’ and express God’s will as to the very nature of our creation. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, part of the Mosaic code, or a law given only to Jews. It was given pre-sin, to a perfect people… thus why would Christ overrule it?

And it was not merely the ‘condition’ at the start of creation, but a command. The very first command they were given. The primordial command, to a sinless people, by their creator, on the day of their creation. Sound important yet?

Genesis 9:1  And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. 

Genesis 9:7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.

—The same command gets repeated to Noah and his sons. This time post-fall and post-flood. These are typically called ‘Noahide’ commandments, and, again, pre-date the Mosaic code. So we have the primordial command: repeated.

Genesis 35:11  And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;

– And then God repeats the command to Jacob. ‘Be fruitful and multiply’. Sounds like God is serious about this.

 Jeremiah 29:6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.

— This command was given to God’s people when they were living in a foreign land. Thus lest anyone think (in the face of all evidence) that the prior two commands were given to Jews living in the promised land, for some reason connected to the promised land, here we have the same command given to Jews living in exile. And dealing with their time in exile, and the place of exile. They are to beget children, be increased, and not be diminished: there. In the land of exile. Far from the promised land.

Titus 2:4-5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

—This command only tangentially addresses the issue of having children (one cannot love children one does not have) but it is also an important command because of the warning that is attached to it. The passage warns that, if it is not obeyed: ‘the word of God [will] be [] blasphemed.’

Another article, perhaps, should be written on the many ways that the Word of God is blasphemed nowadays… and linking that to the lack of these very traits in our young women. Who for the most part are not married (thus not loving their husbands or obeying them), not having children (thus not loving them), not keeping any home, not discreet, not chaste, and not good.

 1 Timothy 5:14-15 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

For some are already turned aside after Satan.

–This command carries a double whammy. First of all, it is a NT command, given to a Gentile church. Any idea that one might have had (despite the evidence) that childbearing was an Old Testament ordinance, intended for Jews living in the promised land, should be put to rest here. Gentile Christians, after the resurrection, after the great commission, living in a pagan land… are commanded to bear children.

And this passage also carries a warning. Paul notes that some who have not obeyed this command are ‘already turned aside after Satan’. He says that following his admonition here will avoid giving occasion for the adversary to ‘speak reproachfully’.

1 Timothy 2:11-15 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

–This is, perhaps, the most dramatic command in Scripture regarding childbearing. While it is not exactly clear what ‘saved in childbearing’ means, the phrase is still a dramatic one. The passage makes it clear that the woman is to learn in silence, and why. It speaks of her having been decieved. And then it concludes with the dramatic, if difficult to understand conclusion, “she shall be saved in childbearing.” And we will let that end our section on commands.

 2) Because God expresses his blessing via fruitfulness:

Genesis 1:27-28 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

–We notice that the very first ‘command’ to childbearing can also be read as a blessing of childbearing. That the first blessing God gave the new couple was that they would be fruitful and multiply. As if God thought that this was a good thing.

 Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

–Indeed the second command to childbearing can also be read as a blessing of childbearing.

Jeremiah 23:3  And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 

– Someone with more knowledge of prophecy than I have will have to tell me what this refers to, but it seems to me to be a future restoration of Israel into the promised land.Or perhaps the church? But regardless, having been driven out and then brought back in, God repeats His blessing: they shall be fruitful and increase.

Leviticus 26:9  For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you

Genesis 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

Genesis 17:16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.

Genesis 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.

 Genesis 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

Gen_24:60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.

Genesis 26:3-4 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;

And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;

Genesis 26:24 And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake.

Genesis 28:3 And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;

Genesis 28:13-14 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;

And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

Genesis 49:25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:

Deuteronomy 1:11 (The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!)

Deuteronomy 7:13-14 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.

Deuteronomy 28:1-4 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

Deuteronomy 33:24 And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.

1 Samuel 2:20-21 And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home.

And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.

1Chronicles 26:4-5 Moreover the sons of Obededom were, Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, and Sacar the fourth, and Nethaneel the fifth,

Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peulthai the eighth: for God blessed him.

Job 42:12-13 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters.

 Psalms 107:38 He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.

Proverbs 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

 Isaiah_51:2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.

Heb 6:13-14 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,

Hebrews 6:14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.

Genesis 29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.

Genesis 30:22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.

Deuteronomy 7:13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

–Again, and again, and again we see the blessings of God of an open womb. How then those that would deliberately close the womb? That would spill the seed meant to grow in that womb?

Psalms 127:3-5 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

–Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is His reward. What a powerful statement! And then we read that they are ‘like arrows in the hand of a mighty man’ and that that man will will not be ashamed but will speak with the enemies in the gate. The gate, the place where the city is ruled. Because of his many sons, the Godly man will sit there without shame.

Psalms 128:1-6 A Song of degrees. Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.

For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.

Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.

Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.

The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.

Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel.

–The Godly man: the man that fears the Lord and walks in his ways. This man will have a wife like a fruitful vine, and children around his table. That is the way the Lord will bless the man that fears him. Wow.

How then the opponents of full-quiver? How then those that think that some blessings are enough? That the blessing of children should be limited by time, place, or number? Or kind??

3) Because the holy men and women of old saw children as a blessing, and childlessness as a curse.

1 Samuel 1:5-6 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.

And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.

Genesis 30:2 And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?

 Genesis 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.

4) Because God saw barrenness as a curse.

Luke 1:36-37 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Isaiah 66:9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

Genesis_20:18 For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife.

Hosea 9:14 Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.

2Samuel 6:20-23 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!

And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD.

And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.

Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.

Godly Married couples should always be open to the blessing of children.

So, then, here is where I believe we stand. God had given us a command to have children. He, and His people, have labeled children a blessing, and the lack of children as a curse. These blessings, curses, and commands, range throughout the entire Scriptures, from old to new, from Genesis to Revelation.

I do not believe there is any logic, therefore, in saying that a couple should only be open to ‘some’ children. If having children is a commanded blessing, and not having them is a curse, then I don’t think there is any Biblical logic in saying ‘I would rather have God’s curse right now than God’s blessing.” If children are a blessing, then each child is a blessing. If one has seven children, and says, ‘I am done, it is enough’, then one is rejecting that eighth child. Who knows who that child would have been?

The idea of ‘always’ is implicit in the very nature of the word ‘blessing’. We may, from time to time, joke with the idea of ‘too much blessing’, particularly when dealing with the ‘blessings’ that other people give us, or a garden that seems dedicated toward producing an infinite amount of zucchini, but we know, or should know, that these jokes do not apply to God. We even sing about it: comparing ‘raindrops of mercy’ with ‘showers of blessing’. We take something that is almost the very definition of ‘too much’ (getting caught out in a rain shower) and make the obvious point that, when it comes to the blessings of God, the shower is not ‘too much’.

And this is no minor issue. Even leaving aside the huge tracts of Scriptures speaking of the blessing of children, the curse of barrenness,[1] or the commands to have children, there is the fact that God, Himself, directly links children to the very reason for marriage.

 Malachi 2:14-15 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.

And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

We see here that God counts it as treason against one’s wife when a Godly seed is not sought. He states that children are, from the beginning, part and parcel of marriage. Even before we read of Adam being given a wife he was (or, they were) given the command to be fruitful and multiply. Even before we read of God pronouncing the words ‘it is not good for man to be alone’ we read of the blessing of fruitfulness. And here in Malachi He repeats Himself: he made the two one that he might seek a Godly seed.

“It is impossible to reconcile the doctrine of the divine institution of marriage with any modernistic plan for the mechanical regulation of or suppression of human life. The Church must either reject the plain teachings of the Bible or reject schemes for the ` scientific’ production of human souls.

Carried to its logical conclusion, the committee’s report, if carried into effect, would sound the death knell of marriage as a holy institution by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality. The suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptives would be ‘careful and restrained’ is preposterous.”

The Washington Post, March 22, 1931
As quoted in ‘The Baby War’

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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  • Allison the Great

    If someone seriously commits themselves to never having children, well, they are not only weird, but probably also sinning (see the note on ‘should’ below).

    Hmmm. Wrong. I’m not open to having children ever. Not only am I not weird, but I’m also not sinning. When I get married, I will do everything in my power to prevent kids. I think that people have a right to be childless, thank you very much. I don’t think that every married couple should HAVE to have children, because not everyone is mom material or dad material. I know I’m not the mom type. I can’t help that. Why should someone be judged for not having the kids they don’t want in the first place? There is nothing selfish about not wanting children. I know plenty of selfish people who have plenty.

    Do you know what would be nice? If people like Mr. Ohlman would stop thinking that people should live according to HIS religious beliefs and mind his own goddamn business. He should stop looking at people whom he does not know and making judgements about their decisions without knowing the circumstances of those decisions. He should also stop expecting people to live by crap that was written in the Bronze Age. We know better now. Having no children is NOT a curse. There are plenty of couples who should never have had children, such as abusers like Michael and Debi Pearl and the people who follow their advice.

  • B.E. Miller

    Okay… so this “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” Does that mean barren women are unsaved? (And therefore cannot go to heaven?) I’m seeing a problem with his philosophy….theology… whatever you want to call it.

  • Allison the Great

    You’ve made some pretty awesome points here. They’re totally against pluralism so naturally they only see White “Christian” ( I use that term loosely when talking about Ohlman) kids.

    In the article, Ohlman implies that Atheists can’t be righteous. I think this is laughable. I have met plenty of Atheists who were 1000 times more righteous than many of the Christians the t’ve known.

    Your description of the patriarchy guys is right on the mark. You’re probably describing Kevin Swanson too.

  • SAO

    The thing that’s striking to my about the Ohlman and his ilk is that it focuses inward on saving yourself. There are so many prescriptions of how to behave, but it’s not focused, like Jesus was, on helping others, but on being Godlier oneself.

    In the end, the behavior Ohlman and so many others like him advocate is self-centered.

  • B.E. Miller
  • Nea

    You only feed this man’s delusions of significance when you quote him and thereby open the door for him to come abuse the commenters here. Is he really a leader of anything other than his own ego and sheltered children?

  • Allison the Great

    Yeah, later he’ll come and start arguing with us about why he’s right, then he’ll proceed to pass judgement on us. “Disagree with me? Well you’re all hell bound harlots, so HAHA I TOTES WIN”

  • Trollface McGee

    Too much of a blessing isn’t always a good thing as every little kid knows – ice cream is great, but too much is a guaranteed tummy ache. Especially with children. Children require a lot of time and money (of course that’s assuming you want them to grow up healthy and happy and not just proof that your penis works).
    Barrenness was seen as a curse because people didn’t understand how the body works, there was no concept of male infertility back then either. Now, with modern science we know that infertility is often a result of disease or genetic factors, some treatable and some not. Are you really saying that someone is “cursed” because they contracted a disease or were born with a genetic defect? Because if you say barrenness is a curse – you’re either saying that or being woefully ignorant of the human body.
    But yeah, this is the almighty Cult of Penis dressed up in Biblical terms, at least be honest about it.

  • Nightshade

    ‘Too much of a blessing isn’t always a good thing.’ Precisely. I think we can all agree that food, water, oxygen would fit into the blessing category, but excessive amounts result in obesity and disease, drowning, and oxygen toxicity.

  • Mel

    What always boggles my mind about these kind of articles is how the ONLY actual parental responsibility is bearing children. Not actually raising the children, not teaching the children, just breeding and baring children. As a farmer, I view raising children as a different endeavor than producing calves or pigs or chickens. Responsible farmers space the litters/pregnancies of their dams as well – you can kill a cow or a pig by breeding them every time they come into heat.

    As SAO implied, you can be incredibly self-important and immature in the name of God. Uncontrolled reproduction – leaving it in “God’s” hands – is a way of avoiding honest conversations about how the family is currently functioning, what the needs of the current family are and if/when is a good time to enlarge the family. No, instead you simply have sex whenever and hope for the best. After all, you can have the older children pick up the slack, right? They’re learning about life that way! (Nevermind that in most careers, if you handed your job off to a 10 year-old you’d be fired post-haste.

  • Guest

    Von, I’m only going to pick up on one point. As far as I’m concerned, you may believe and live by whatever you choose, so long as you aren’t harming anyone. But at this point, which I didn’t have to read far to find, you are overstepping a boundary and becoming a dictator in your children’s and children-in-law’s lives.

    “I am ‘full quiver’ and I believe the doctrine to be an integral part of
    marriage, to the extent we included it in our betrothal covenant for my
    oldest son and his wife.”

    Have fun dealing with the consequences of trying to control your children’s reproductive lives.

  • Mel

    And dealing with the fall-out. What happens when the married couple decides to make their OWN choices after they “leave and cleave”? Or are we just ignoring that portion of the Bible?

  • texcee

    Not even going there.

  • CPM

    Where to start…

    Godly parents fix their kids’ rotting and crooked teeth, provide them a home with room to live and move around, food on the table, clothing on their backs and an education that will allow them to do the same for themselves and any family they may have as adults.

    There is something else in scripture that is often overlooked, it is referred to as counting the cost. Implied in this statement is that people “should” look further down the road to actually responsibly plan for a future. There is no shame in using the human brain that one has been given, and doing so is really not a lack of faith. Cause and effect is part of reality, and having more children than one can provide for sets up a whole laundry list of consequences that can have unforeseen generational effects.

    Gone are the days when one looked at the family size in the same manner as the herd size. Yes, in an agrarian society, having more children was a sign of wealth (as was having plural wives). And in the ancient context that much of scripture was penned, wealth was the sign that one was favored by God. More hands to work the fields and tend the herds was desirable. Hence, the accusation from Job’s “friends” that he must have pi**ed God off did actually bear weight in their context.

    I challenge those who follow this teaching to go the “full Monty” with it. Don’t just refuse to use birth control and have tons of children under the guise of greater faith. Quit your jobs and wait for the checks to show up in the mail, so you can really prove how God is solely responsible for taking care of you.

  • tulips

    Basically it just amounts to naturalist ideation. Nothing more. Conveniently forgetting of course that The Nature is sort of ~fine with it~ if bad things happen. Entire family starved to death? Fertilizer. Circle of life. Move along folks, nothing to see here. We put in a good amount of effort to avert natural outcomes. Housing. Medical care (I believe the author is a paramedic?). Social safety nets. Family planning. Financial planning. I vote he takes his naturalist fantasy out into the nature and… in a few years… I’d be willing to have a discussion re selection pressure with any survivors.

  • tulips

    This is a very good point. It avoids dealing with reality. Bingo. Nail/head.

  • “GODLY married couples should always be open to the blessing of children. – What I am saying is that this requirement comes from God, and reflects God. And so, to the extent we accept it and live it out, we reflect God…”

    In other words, this is a tautology: He defines Godly as “open to more children.” It is impossible to disagree with a tautology, but a tautology is essentially meaningless extra words, like “pea soup should contain peas to be considered pea soup.”

    This could also be the no true Scotsman fallacy: If Godly people are per definition always open to the blessing of children, nobody can point out a Godly married person on birth control – they will be ungodly by his definition.

  • Joyce

    When No Longer Quivering first introduced me to this looney, I was rather fascinated by his nastiness and noodleyness. But having read him for a while, he just presents to me as someone who is mentally ill. Until someone takes him by the hand and shuffles him away, I’m all for ignoring his illogical ranting.

  • I have had people calling me unsaved at several times for several of my views
    a) believing a certain description of male bossiness was a sign of proud “headship”, not the “humble headship” the speaker claimed to demonstrate
    b) believing women could teach men
    c) being converted for years but not having had a believer’s baptism (yet, at the time when I was called unsaved)
    d) Finding Biblical™ Patriarchy problematic
    e) Teaching age-segregated Sunday School
    If people call me unsaved for not being a mother, they could join a club for those who think so. But then, except for the believer’s baptism people from the Church of Christ, everyone who doubted my salvation did so without knowing me in real life.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Actually, there is an “orphan ministry” devoted to adopting as many “orphans” as possible, and raising them to be True Christians™. They include kids of single parents and poor parents as orphans for this purpose, regardless of whether these parents legally surrendered them for adoption or not. Even kids who were kidnapped from their birth parents for the lucrative international adoption trade as possible.

    They also interpret “as possible” to include crowdfunding adoptions which they can’t afford to complete themselves, and even crowdfunding to cover the unexpected-but-predictable expenses of adopting from foreign countries, such as massive dental work. That’s why they adopt internationally for the most part, since adopting from foster care has requirements like how much space you should have per child, how long you should go between completing adoptions– and has a nasty habit of wanting to follow up on how the kids are doing afterwards.

  • Ashley

    That was what struck me…how many times did he mention the
    word “command”, or referenced a code? Rules, rules, rules. ‘Let’s figure out
    what rules to follow to prove that God has blessed us because we were so
    obedient.’ Never mind that the command may have been a specific one for a specific person/people group at a specific time, in a specific culture, and
    that this is antithesis to that pesky, “I have fulfilled the Law and the
    Prophets” verse. It also seems to be assumed that parenting is the crucible by which we are further purified of selfishness; more kids = more self-less =
    better Christian. As though purely by birthing kids and NOT by actually
    lovingly parenting them one acquires a more self-less heart. Children end up being used in this “theology” as a prop for self-righteousness and ego.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Wow, he claims not only all Christians, but all people of ANY religious faith are obligated to follow his dictates. Not only that, but ATHEISTS are under this “godly” mandate, despite not even believing in God.

    Yet he offers no evidence for this belief, other than his opinion about what God is supposedly thinking but didn’t bother to see included in a book that’s only considered sacred writ in one religion, and isn’t considered inerrant by all of them. Now THAT’S eisegesis! And chutzpah as well.

  • gimpi1

    Right there with you, Dukes.

    Because both my parents were pretty severely handicapped, I did my stint as a nurturer/caregiver early in the game. I loved my parents, and mourned when they passed away when I was in my mid-30’s. However I had no interest in taking on the responsibility of children. Here in my mid-50’s, I still don’t. To me, choosing not to have children gives me the freedom I simply couldn’t have as a child. Since my husband doesn’t want any more kids (he has a grown daughter by his first marriage) we’re in total agreement.

    To give Mr. Ohlman his due, however, while he goes on at great length about how childless is sinful, ungoldy, et all, he never argues that it should be a crime. He doesn’t say that birth-control could be criminalized or restricted. As long as he keeps his nose out of the law and confines himself to lecturing those who pretty-much already agree with him, it’s none of my business. Any more than my and my husband’s reproductive choices are any of his.

  • gimpi1

    Choosing to have more children than you can support, than you can care for, than you can educate, than you can actually pay attention to is extremely selfish in my book.

    Yet I don’t run around telling the folks with more kids than sense how “sinful” they are in their selfishness. Go figure.

  • gimpi1

    YES! Good one, Trollface. Besides the care of my parents that I referred to earlier, I have an (at least partially) genetic disease.

    I have rheumatoid arthritis. It’s hereditary. My mother and aunt had it. If I had daughters (like most auto-immune disorders, it’s more common in women) they would be at high risk to develop it. Some genes shouldn’t be passed on.

  • gimpi1

    Actually, in part because Mr. Ohlman believes in marring so young, I think he believes his son and daughter-in-law should live with him. I don’t know at what point he thinks it’s OK for them to move out on their own. For everyone’s sake, I hope they do it sooner rather than later.

  • gimpi1

    Yes, Tulips. natural outcomes are often very bad. We’ve spent much of our tenure on the planet trying to mitigate them. And, conveniently enough for the fellows, the natural outcome of too many pregnancies, too close together is often maternal death. Never paternal death

    I’m always suspicious of anyone who wants to demand sacrifice on the part of someone else.

  • yulaffin

    “Quit your jobs and wait for the checks to show up in the mail, so you
    can really prove how God is solely responsible for taking care of you.”

    I would agree with that line if the children wouldn’t be the ones to suffer from their parents’ choice to rely on god.

  • Nightshade

    Yep. The ‘it ain’t nachural’ argument doesn’t fly with me, whether we’re talking about family planning, sexual orientation, or whatever else anyone cares to mention. Natural isn’t always good, man-made isn’t necessarily bad. Most of human development has been improving on nature to fix those bad outcomes, it’s what we humans do. Sometimes we screw up, yes, but we (usually) learn and move on to make a different, hopefully better improvement on nature as we found it.

    And yes, if people want to make sacrifices that’s fine, but don’t ask someone else to sacrifice their entire life on that same altar.

  • Jewel

    Not to mention not very intelligent nor well written.

  • a-mckeown

    Why do they call it our betrothal covenant for their son? Wouldn’t it be his betrothal covenant?(Not something I believe in) Aren’t we as men suppose to leave our father and mother and cleave unto our wives?

  • Allison the Great

    I can most certainly understand why you don’t want kids. I don’t blame you. And I do agree that as long as Ohlman is just voicing his opinion and not trying to make them into law, he can have them. I think I have some pretty legitimate reasons for not wanting kids. As I’ve already said in a comment when I first started commenting, I have Asperger’s Syndrome. And while I may love children and I’ve done a lot for them and I plan to do a lot more for them, I don’t want them. To be honest, I don’t think I could handle their constant needs. I still have problems with getting over stimulated especially when it comes to other people. Marriage, I can handle, because a grown man gets it.

    I don’t think that children is the only reason people get married and I don’t think that in order to get married, you have to have kids. It might have been a necessity thousands of years ago, and it was probably the only reason they got married. But it’s not like that anymore. When I’m ready, I’d love to get married. I’d love to have that companionship.

  • gimpi1

    In the final analysis, the only reason anyone needs to not have children, not marry, not follow anyone else’s ideas on how your life should go is, “I don’t want to.” That’s it.

    Your reasons for not wanting children are good and fine. So are mine. And, as long as Mr. Ohlman has no interest in or authority to control anyone, no harm no foul. I keep an eye on such things, because I don’t fully trust some people, and I want to be sure that authoritarian-types never get the right to control our lives.

  • Nightshade

    ‘I think I have some pretty legitimate reasons for not wanting kids.’ Personally I don’t give a damn if someone’s reasons for not having kids are legitimate-and who decides what is ‘legitimite’ anyway? If someone, anyone, doesn’t want to have kids I think that’s good enough, and their business. Not mine, not the government’s, and certainly none of Mr. Ohlman’s business.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Not according to Von. Daddy-O controls it all..

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I agree. Posted this one because it seems to encompass what Quiverfull really is and all the nasty of the Quiverfull Patriarchy. Sort of like forcing Cuba to remain a Communist country just so we can look and see for ourselves how bad an idea that type of political movement can be.

  • Trollface McGee

    Yeah. I have a family history of severe mental illness and breast cancer on both sides – definitely not genes I want to be passing along.
    In the fundie world, having a child with disabilities earns you extra martyr points.

  • Trollface McGee

    People get married in their 80s. They’re not having kids (though interestingly legally you are considered fertile until the day you die as you can adopt).
    But yeah, like others have said, the only reason you need is “I don’t want to.” Which is perfectly valid and sensible. I know I don’t want kids of my own. I wouldn’t discount marrying someone who had children but I certainly wouldn’t be adding to them.

  • Trollface McGee

    Nature is mean! Nature has parasites, bacteria, viruses, venomous creatures, poisonous plants – but we cheat nature all the time with medicine and antidotes and technology. Computers are certainly not natural and not in the Bible but Ohlman sees nothing wrong with that or any other technology unless it affect teh secks.

  • Guest

    Von is very Old Testament in his faith. For him, it’s all about rules.
    I wonder if he believes in stoning rebellious teens… shudder….

  • Guest

    The man’s job is to plant the seed, lay down the rules, and hold down a job (unless he feels called not to have one) to provide for whatever he considers to be the basic needs of his family. An important part of his job is to exercise lots of authority, discipline, and preach at his family.
    The mother’s job is to have the children, nurse them, raise them, homeschool them, make sure they stick to daddy’s rules, clean up their messes and “discipline” all childish behavior out of them so daddy only has to deal with the bigger issues.

    That’s my take.

  • Guest

    Yeah. He wrote a really long-winded post on why leaving and cleaving doesn’t really mean that men are supposed to leave their father and mother and cleave to their wives.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Unless you’re caring for that child with disabilities in ways that fundies disapprove of. ie not beating them when they misbehave because of their illness.

  • Nightshade

    Too bad he’s so determined to read into the Bible what he wants that he totally misses that point. How much clearer did Jesus need to be than ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother’? We sure hear enough about the ‘one flesh’ part.

  • AND he even claims people can be “Godly” if they follow none of those other rules in said book – you know, like loving God or loving others – as long as they don’t prevent more children, and call all those children a blessing.

  • The improving on nature thing – I even think the Genesis 1 “dominion mandate” to have dominion over the earth is about that – bringing nature under sensible, wise, control. It certainly isn’t about political rule, as nothing there says to rule humans.

  • Guest

    Yes, Von believes couples don’t have to wait until they are financially ready to move out of their parents` home before getting married. His solution is for them to move in with the husband’s parents. They can move out, of course, but they never move out from under the authority of the husband’s father.

  • Guest

    Yes, the one-flesh part, as understood by Patriarchalists. Von even included something to the effect in his son’s betrothal contract.
    Interestingly, for a wife to defraud her husband means that she doesn`t want to have sex with him. For a husband to deal treacherously with his wife is for him to use birth control.
    I think Von (and many patriarchalists) miss the depth of the relationship because they are so lost in their rules and duties. To them, marriage is a set of rules and duties to be adhered to in fear, not a loving relationship of two equals.

    He claims to love his wife, yet he believes he has the right to dominate her and make decisions she disagrees with. He claims to consider women the weaker vessel, yet he writes about giving daughters to men of doubtful character and not because the daughter chose the man but because “every man needs a wife”. Weaker vessel seems to equal “need to be controlled”.

  • I have a close-to-blind cousin who met his blind wife at a school for the visually handicapped. They also say they don’t wish problems like that on their children, so they don’t have any.

  • texcee

    My take on all this biblical gobbledygoop is that is breaks down to “How many times can I stick my dick in a woman and f**k her. Look how incredibly virile I am!”

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    I was surprised, actually. I had thought that y’all had decided not to quote me any more to not give me any more ‘press’. Was surprised to find this one up.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Madame, as I pointed out in the other thread, somewhere, and perhaps you missed it, the ‘we’ here was: me, the father of the bride, the bride, and the groom.
    I will have no need to control their ‘reproductive lives’. I do do a certain amount of newlywed teasing, but that’s about all.

  • Guest

    I hope you are open for them to change their minds. People do that and need the freedom to find their own path in life.
    It may have more to do with the way you express yourself, but you come across as very dogmatic, inflexible and controlling.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    People do that, sometimes changing from right to wrong, sometimes from wrong to right.
    You are aware of what a ‘contract’ is, no? To change the terms of a contract one must do a little more than ‘change one’s mind’. One must ‘break one’s word’.

  • Guest

    You made my point, Von. That’s exactly why I think it’s wrong for you to have them put such a statement in a contract. They are young and naive. Such a commitment can only be made on faith of their own, not on yours.
    God doesn’t require couples to make such a vow on their wedding (or betrothal) day. Why do you?

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    An interesting question, Madame. What passage would you point to for the vow that couples must ‘make on their wedding day’ (leaving aside this was a betrothal contract, not a wedding vow)??

  • Nightshade

    So by putting what you did into the contract you’ve effectively trapped them for life and cut off their free will, they have no choice but to follow what you’ve told them is ‘right.’ No one should ever have that kind of power over another person. NO ONE. EVER.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    So by putting what *we* did (see the comments some minutes ago) *we* put in writing what *we* all believed and the condition upon which her father was willing to give her to my son.
    By the way, they are doing very well, thank you for asking.

  • Nightshade

    I am truly happy that they’re doing well, and I hope they both have very happy lives, but by their definition, not necessarily yours. I see what you’re saying there, but how much input did they really have? Would you, or her father, have altered or omitted parts of it if your offspring requested it? How much free will did they really have?

  • Guest

    The more you tell us about it, the worse it sounds. So being quiverfull was the condition upon which your son’s future father-in-law was willing to give him his daughter?

    Did your son’s and your future daughter-in-law’s mothers have any say in this marriage arrangement?

  • Guest

    That’s a good question, Von.
    There’s no passage in the Bible dedicated to “wedding/marriage/betrothal vows”. There is a description of marriage to be found in Genesis 2, Matthew 19 and Ephesians 5. We both understand the “leaving” part a bit differently.
    Note that I did put “or betrothal” in parentheses. I don’t know what was vowed when a betrothal was arranged.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Von, that contract of yours is not legally enforceable so why have it in the first place.

  • Trollface McGee

    You apparently don’t know what a contract is. Contracts are modified and terminated ALL the time, without there being a breach. Circumstances change, and even a contract that had no modification language would still be modifiable or terminable without a finding of breach by the court if a party had sufficient cause.

  • You know contracts have two sides. It is usually something like: Party A promise his car, a [model, year] to party B, and party B promise [X amount of money] to party A.
    In that case, party B only have to pay if party A provides said car.

    What, in this contract, do they get in exchange for their keeping the contract? What would void it, if said thing is not done?

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    I gave my son, he gave his daughter, and my son and daughter-in-law each gave each other. Did you read the contract?

  • $190147

    If having children is a commanded blessing, and not having them is a curse, then I don’t think there is any Biblical logic in saying ‘I would rather have God’s curse right now than God’s blessing.’

    In other words, “Everthing Not Forbidden Is Compulsory” — as in the ant farm from The Sword in the Stone.

  • Nea

    Vaughn, for the 87th time, I AM NOT SUZANNE CALULU! I have no idea why you cannot grasp the simple concept that one person using one screenname is not a different person using a different screenname.

    By the way? Let me make something else clear. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO QUOTE ME ON YOUR BLOG WITH OR WITHOUT WHATEVER SCREEN NAME YOU THINK I HAVE. You do not have permission to use my words. You do not have permission to use my quotes.

  • Nea

    A contract signed under duress isn’t even enforceable in the first place. And I do wonder how much free will there really was in a relationship where the husband and wife *actually met* for a mere hour before everything was inked, don’t you?

  • Nea

    Technically, the people who quit their jobs and sold all their stuff to go around the company preaching the end of days for Harold Camping did precisely that – trust in God. Look at how that worked out for them.

  • Nea

    Certainly that’s Jim Bob Duggar’s outlook on life.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Doesn’t make it enforceable any more than high heels make these guys gay – http://youtu.be/DfKrE3YDtoc

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    When did i quote u as Suzan?

  • Lynn

    Did anyone else find it pretty funny that he uses the phrase “huge tracts,” only it’s “huge tracts of Scripture” ? Monty Python for the win!

  • Nea

    Nice try to move the goalposts. Theft is still theft even when you bat your eyelashes and suggest it doesn’t count if you took the wrong screenname off what you had no permission to use. Addressing me as the blog owner to ask about posts is still confusing me for Suzanne even if you don’t use her name.

    Here’s a simple way of preventing further confusion:
    Do not talk to or about me EVER AGAIN. Problem solved.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    My question was ‘when did i’? As in ‘please quote what u r talking about’.

  • Trollface McGee

    Unfortunately, the U.S. case law I’ve looked into requires duress to be unlawful pressure and they apply the “reasonable person standard.” So it wouldn’t be a slam dunk – it would have to be shown that a reasonable person would not enter into the marriage because of threats or actual harm from parental pressure. And consent is often presumed if the parties are of age, and continue to live as a married couple.
    I know in fundie circles, refusing the order of a parent in such a case could easily lead to violence or being shunned (with no education and no work skills, that’s certainly a harm) and consent isn’t something that’s considered in that culture. So, it would be an interesting case which would put the whole mess of fundie culture at trial if it happened.
    As it is, with divorce always being an easier and more reliable option, I figure most couples opt for that.

  • Trollface McGee

    You can’t contract an exchange of people.

  • Nea

    Makes sense, much as I would love to see the whole culture come to trial… or at least the bits that talk about “giving” a full- grown woman to another person after negotiations and a contract, which sound very much like slavery.

  • Nea

    Never has your avatar better fit the words.

  • Allison the Great

    Yes this is most definitely true.

  • Allison the Great

    You are correct. Every reason for not wanting children is a legitimate one. If I were asked to give another reason besides the one I gave above, I believe I would answer that person by telling them to fuck off and stop asking.

  • That is not a contract. It does not say this-in-exchange-for-this, and is not legally binding.

    But for the sake of argument, I would pretend as if this actually is a contract.

    One of the purposes (getting a car is the purpose for which B enters the contract in my sale contract example) of these promises was “so that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” This is verbatim in said “covenant.”

    If you pay any attention to this blog, you may see the word of God is being blasphemed because of ideas like yours (in general) and this “contract” between two people who known each other for two hours (in particular). Unbelievers are saying that if people could use the Bible to coerce others into such narrow “roles,” the Bible and God is to blame. (Even I, a believer, had times of asking myself if the Bible/ Word of God/ God is to blame for this ridiculousness.)

    Since they made this “contract” for the purpose “so the word of God should not be blasphemed”, it already means the terms of the “contract” was not met, the “contract” was
    broken the first time it was a reason for anyone to speak against God and his word.

    (NLQ readers, If you want to read the covenant, go here:
    http://freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=19273 )

  • Guest

    Von’s site doesn’t exactly ooze love, humility and one-another-ing. It sounds pretty pharisaical, with lots of gnat straining and burden laying. Patriarchy is unchristian because it completely overturns Jesus’ command not to lord it over others but to serve, to treat others as you would like to be treated, and Jesus himself said that love sums up the law and the prophets.

    ETA: it’s worth following the link to Freejinger to see the (very reasonable) reviling that such a contract stirs up.

  • B.E. Miller

    Dang, now I’m jealous. Look how well those guys are dancing in those heels! I do good if I just walk across a room without falling.
    PS realy ncie legs I t hink those legs are disctracing me….