Quoting Quiverfull: Submission Keeps You From Being Victimized?

Quoting Quiverfull: Submission Keeps You From Being Victimized? April 20, 2014

by Rebekah (Doug Wilson’s daughter) at Femina – On Not Being A Victim

1. Christian women should be characterized by submission. No matter how much cool-shaming is thrown at the concept of headship and submission by the hipper-than-thou crowd, we can’t get around it that the Bible teaches this. Some people scream and run when they hear the word submission, and men like Doug Philips make that reaction understandable. Then over amongst the crowd that’s all gung-ho about submission there is frequently a scary lack of nuance. On the two sides of this question you find people waving their flags saying either, “submission is terrible,” or “submission is wonderful.” But submit is a a word like love. Is love good or bad? Well of course that all depends. What do you love? Whom do you love? Do you love God, or do you love the world? Do you love your children, or do you love your best friend’s husband? Obviously those details make all the difference in the world.  It’s all good and well to say that we Christian women should submit . . . but whom do we submit to? Do we submit to God or do we submit to Nebuchadnezzar? One is a great act of faith, the other a great act of cowardice. The word submission, on its own, holds no moral value whatsoever. Submission could be noble, submission could be treacherous. It all depends. So as we teach our daughters to “be submissive,” the ever-important question is “submissive to whom?” And the only no-fail answer to that question is “God.” We teach our daughters to be submissive to God – and that may mean being the extremely un-cool person who believes that wives should submit to their own husbands . . . and that also may mean being the wife who calls the cops on her husband, or the woman who calls the cops on her pastor, or the girl who calls the pastor on her dad. Submission certainly doesn’t always mean saying yes – sometimes submission means saying no, and that can take an awful lot of strength and bravery. Submission always has a backbone – and that backbone is the Word of God. Every human authority requiring our submission should be examined in the light of that. Do I owe this person my submission? If the answer to that quesion is yes, then it is because I submit ultimately to God and He has asked me to submit to this particular man. As a mother, I want my girls to know and understand this, and I want it to be deep in their bones. Ultimately, a heart submissive to God can stand up and resist someone who attempts to exploit that submission for their own ends.

Read the rest at Femina

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 and Spiritual Abuse 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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  • Nea

    Ultimately, a heart submissive to God can stand up and resist someone who attempts to exploit that submission for their own ends

    Citation needed. Include how god would protect a family whose church, home, and employment rested on the man doing the exploitation. Also include how god protected the *previous* women who have stood up to Phillips.

    Yeah, I thought there would be crickets.

  • Saraquill

    Thanks for having the stomach to read that passage all the way through.

  • Sara Lin Wilde

    In theory this idea – that women should submit to God and no one else – is a bit less toxic than the idea that women should submit to their husband as if he is God. (CTBHH, I’m looking at you.) In actual fact, however, it’s quite problematic to basically say “all women should submit to their husbands because God said so, UNLESS the husband shows himself to be ungodly in which case she should fight back.”

    The problem I see is that it puts the woman in the difficult position of having to demonstrate her husband is misbehaving, and abusive men can be very good at concealing their real selves and coming across as wonderful in public. This attitude means women will have nowhere to turn unless Mr. Wonderful stops caring about his public image and chooses to show his true face.

  • This passage has nothing to do with protecting women and everything to do with protecting the concept of submission. No matter how many times their ideas fail, they are going to keep using the No True Scotsman fallacy to protect those ideas. As a study in how the human mind works, this is a significant passage. As an actual guide to how not to be victimized, it stinks.

  • Mirella222

    So you are supposed to submit to your husband, but stand up to him if he is doing something that is against God? Sorry to break it to you, but that is, logically, submission to God, not to your husband. Using this logic, the only thing you would “have to” submit to your husband on would be on amoral issues, such as which house to buy. However, the Bible says to live in submission to each other. And that we are all one in Christ. And that husbands should love their wives as self sacrificially as Christ loved the church (which means not only being willing to die for her, but being willing to give up all your possessions, live in poverty, stand up for her, say good things about her, be willing to go without food and water for a long time, endure physical pain and persecution and hatred and arrest, etc). So really, even on amoral issues, the wife can always point out that Jesus was willing to do ANYTHING for the church, so morally, he is obliged to do anything for her well being. When read as a whole, the Bible seems to push for equality amongst all people, including between husbands and wives; taking one or two verses out of context is not giving the real picture.

  • The more I read, the more I’m beginning to think that “submission” equals “martyr”. As in “see how much I overlook and sacrifice to make my husband look good/think he’s perfect…aren’t I holy?”

  • Lynn

    Gosh, when I told on my husband, I was told to a) stop dishonoring him by disclosing his abusive actions, and b) be submissive, which clearly in this case meant “let him to whatever the hell he wants to you and shut up about it.” I can’t seem to find a true Scotsman anywhere, no matter how hard I look.

  • Trollface McGee

    I actually agree with a lot of what she says – we should teach girls (and boys) to think, to get an education, to know how to identify threats, we should teach kids to be less afraid of the world, and to have trusted adults they can go to.
    Of course, this would be a lot better if this wasn’t coming from someone heavily involved in a movement that thinks critical thinking skills are bad, that, despite what she says, is very anti-education, especially for girls. This coming from a movement that encourages teens and young adults to be sexually obsessed and sexually naive and afraid of everything except authority is exactly the opposite of what she’s saying.
    And of course the defence of submission by watering down and Duggarising of the word so it’s palatable doesn’t actually make it so in practise. And while she says that submission is to God – the entire patriarachal movement stresses that a woman submits to whatever man owns her at any given time.

  • Allison the Great

    The brainwash is strong with this one.

  • Nea

    Like looking at a really gruesome accident, reading that was.

  • persephone

    I called the cops on my husband. There was always an excuse. He woke me up at 1:30am in a tweak screaming fit over my sewing machine sitting in a box on the shelf. It was bothering him. After years of this, in exhaustion, I threw the box down the stairs and tried to go back to bed. He wouldn’t stop. I grabbed the landline to call the cops. He crushed me into the sofa and took it from my hands. I grabbed my cell and called. Cops show up. I tell them what happened. The excuse was that I had been aggressive too. So instead they did the absolute worst thing: they told him to go stay somewhere else for the night. The most dangerous thing you can do to a victim of domestic violence.

    The next year and a half it everything escalated. Finally, this time in the morning, he decided that I was going to suffer what he suffered, and tried to set me up to claim that I attacked him. Well, it was a different reaction from the day shift of sheriff’s deputies. He was finally arrested. My older son gave a statement. He pleaded out to a misdemeanor and I finally got a protective order.

    I’ve heard of this attitude before from cops: unless the female victim displays the proper beaten down submissive helpless attitude, they excuse the man’s behavior. Fight back, unless you’re protecting your child, and they’ll excuse his behavior. I called multiple times. When the DA’s office called to find out if I would press charges, I immediately said yes. The caller seemed surprised. I told her that it wasn’t the first time I’d called for help, it was just the first time they’d finally arrested him. Also, the deputy should have immediately given me an emergency protective order, but he didn’t do that, instead directing me to go down and file with the court for a temporary restraining order. When my ex was arraigned, he was automatically served with a protective order and I got my copy. He was also entered into the state database.

  • persephone

    I tried to watch the documentary on purity balls starring the Wilsons, but I kept wanting to thrown heavy objects at the TV, so i gave up. Doug Wilson poured out enough BS in the first ten minutes to fertilize every farm in the Midwest. He acts as a priest, blessing his children individually, and he started immediately with lies right there. The whole family has the insecure overcompensation behavior and viewpoint.

  • persephone

    It requires a lot of submission to let your father choose your husband, and then be expected to spend the next 50+ years praising both of them continuously. Husbands and fathers get all the praise in patriarchy, not god.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    Good luck with that, Rebekah. I think your girls will find that even if they question authority based on Biblical principles, their authoritarian overlords will kick them in the teeth. Why? Because Patriarchal Christianity is a pretty-looking cover for abuse and control. You can’t see that because the kool-aid runs through your veins.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    In Maryland, they automatically arrest the perpetrator. By the time they let him out of jail, you have your protective order.

  • Allison the Great

    Actually the exact opposite is true. A person with a truly submissive heart is too much of a downtrodden doormat to stand up and resist someone who exploits that submission for their own ends. That’s why Christian Patriarchy works so well for the men who choose to be a part of the culture. The truly submissive women will not stand up to them. That’s why they’re so opposed to feminism, and women making their own choices. I guarantee that if Rebeckah were less submissive and actually thought for herself, she would not choose this life.

  • persephone

    Too bad that’s the rule in so few locations. The laws should also be changed so that the victim isn’t required to press charges; the state does it automatically.

  • Nea

    You just summed up every book by Debi Pearl.

  • Em

    condition women to obey men: blame women for obeying men once they suffer for it. Everything the woman’s fault, every damn time, no matter what. This keeps me angry.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Re: “…condition women to obey men: blame women for obeying men once they suffer for it…”

    Like Doug Wilson is blaming Lourdes Torres for not immediately calling the cops on Doug Phillips the first time he invaded her bedroom and masturbated over her, while she wept and begged him to stop?

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Ugh. She perfunctorily acknowledges that guys like Doug Phillips make submission look bad but the rest of the quote reads like thinly veiled victim-blaming of Lourdes Torres because she did submission wrong, you see. She should have realized that submitting to Phillips was not the will of God and then she wouldn’t have gotten herself groomed and assaulted! I’m disgusted.

    But also somewhat amused by the idea that female submission could only be looked down upon by the “hipper-than-thou” crowd. Um, should someone break the news to her that people sharing equal power in relationships isn’t just some hipster fad? Lol

  • Allison the Great

    It makes me mad too. It keeps these evil men from taking responsibility for their actions. Quiverful attracts the worst kind of people. I feel sorry for the girls and women who are trapped in this. I wish that they all escape and find out that real men are not like the quiverful men at all. They’re smart, honorable and fun to be around.

  • SAO

    In “submitting” directly to God, a woman uses her own intelligence and moral sense to drive her actions. In submitting to a husband or father, she’s required to turn this off.

    HUGE difference.

  • I read the comments. I especially liked the one where a woman’s husband would not allow her to return to the public library because the children’s section were staffed by mean homosexuals. If there was to be a fire, would he even bother saving the women and children?

    Do these people even exist in the real world? Sure, i’ve run into a few gays who were absolutely nasty. One was my former priest. When I ran afoul of him, his threats terrified me. He’s lost his parish and his family. Of course, when he was threatening me for crossing him, he was still heterosexual, dating the town slut, while still married to his first wife. (Oh, yes, we Episcopalians have interesting lives). I haven’t turned on priests. I haven’t turned on Gay priests. I happened to be bright enough to know the man was a psychopath.

    I keep going back to the whole ‘submissive’ movement and keep thinking there is a very strong undercurrent of S & M about it. My bad?

  • guest

    I think those passages are written using wife-submission and husband-love because of the times in which they were written. Women were property of men, and so were children. The instructions to those whom society had placed in a position of authority are not instructions to hang on to that authority, but to love and treat those under their (society given) authority with love, honor, respect, considering them as above themselves.
    These people ignore the passage in philippians 2, where Paul instructs all Christians to esteem others as above themselves. That’s what Jesus did, not considering his equality to God as something to be grasped, and if he’s our leader, our head, and if we find any consolation in him, any unity in our faith, then our lives should be poured out for the benefit of others.
    But patriarchy/complementarianism is so busy grasping power, defending positions and living out the curse (he shall rule over you), that they are incapable of seeing the subtly subversive nature of the writings they keep misinterpreting fot their gain.
    Blah. Blah and blah again.

  • guest

    Yes. And the authority and right to the last word of men.

  • guest

    Yes and no… a young woman who is submitting to God would know that a married man (a father figure, I’m assuming), has no business making sexual advances at her and would want to resist them in her desire to honor God.
    Yes, because people who have been so conditioned to obey and submit don’t have the skills to call the police on someone they can’t get away from and who is doing wrong to them. Children will be beaten by parents and not know that they are being abused. Of course they know that what is happening is wrong. It sure feels very wrong and hurtful, but they blame themselves for disobeying and don’t alert any outside authority to their situation.
    Those children can’t stand up for themselves and don’t have enough self respect. They doubt their judgmet.
    Every child should be taught to stand up for herself and trust her judgment. I wasn’t taught to trust my judgment.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Frank BDSM is actually role playing within previously agreed limits– AND there’s a “safe word” that the sub can use to stop the action whenever it goes too far.

    But in a less-focused sense, I’m not sure you’re not wrong. All I know about BDSM I learned reading fanfiction, but some of the “themes” played out in BDSM echo CPM rhetoric.

    And then there’s “Christian Domestic Discipline”, which enacts in RL what BDSM plays at– without a safe word.


    ‘Domestic Discipline’ is one of the few fanfiction genres that I absolutely cannot read at all.

  • The culture of submission is the culture of people who want others to be victims. When you submit to someone, you have no say in what happens to your body.

    In this way, BDSM is far more moral than the evangelical Christian culture. At least in BDSM, safewords exist.

  • Same way in some Aussie places (as an Aussie friend of mine found out recently…). I wish that it was true in Texas…

  • “Yes and no… a young woman who is submitting to God would know that a married man (a father figure, I’m assuming), has no business making sexual advances at her and would want to resist them in her desire to honor God. ”

    And yet they are required to submit to them, because God told them to submit to the men in their lives.

  • Astrin Ymris

    BTW, I found the comment and read it. My question is, “How did she and her husband KNOW that any of these ‘mean’ people were gay? Unless they knew them socially, why would the topic even come up?”

    Of course, the commenter could have been engaging in the all-too-common practice of “lying for Jesus”.

  • Nightshade

    If my understanding of S & M is correct, and I realize it may be practiced in different ways and submission of one to another can be misused, but doesn’t the sub have the right to decide when s/he has had enough? The way (most of) these people do it, it’s totally one-sided, the man has all the power, the woman has none, not even the ability to say ‘no’ when it goes too far.

    The article as written above at least acknowledges that a woman may need to call the police on a husband/other authority figure, which is a start, but it doesn’t go far enough.

  • tulips

    That overlooks the grooming process involved over a period of years in which she was literally reliant on him for food and shelter. He didn’t likely walk in bare assed on day 1 and order her to satisfy him sexually. He conditioned her to tolerate ever increasing personal boundary violations that would have started so small that her only objection could be that they made her ~feel~ uncomfortable and we all know what the answer to that complaint would be.

  • tulips

    Right? I think back fondly to all of the wonderful times spent with my male friends when we were kids and then teenagers. So much of it spent alone, even overnight on camping trips and I was never ever in danger of being raped or violated… because my friends weren’t rapists… just real people with real lives, interests, and functional internal ethics structures. They would be horrified and offended at the notion that some woman needed to be afraid to be alone with them, as they should be.

  • I’m being only slightly sarcastic. I think there is a whole stream of kinkiness closeted with these people.

  • Same here. I have read, though the same article, did a little digging for a post on my blog. I think though, there is something a little strange about the entire ‘submissive woman’ movement. When you realize that it was pushed & promoted by Bill Gothard, who is basically a pervert, then look at Doug Phillips, numerous ministers & so called ‘leaders’ of the movement and their sexual proclivities, I think something is amiss here. It may not be advertised or spoken, but there’s something a little weird going on. I know, weird is in the eyes of the beholder, but let’s face it, they’re weird.

  • Christie

    I think that they are trying to make sense of what happened in their own way. From a purely high level thinking position a person’s first duty is to God and anyone that asks a person to violate a moral code should automatically be discarded and not “submitted to.”

    However this is where this fails. We are not high thinking, level headed people. We are human, emotional, and prone to clouded thinking even when we are not being manipulated. It fails to take into account the manipulative nature of men like DP (I refuse to say his name). It expects an 18 year old to take on an elder in a church and persevere and win. Not going to happen. The imbalance of power and the understandable confusion over right and wrong is going to overcome any high minded ideals.

    It is wishful thinking to believe that teaching a person “obedience to God first” is going to protect your daughters against predators. If they face a DP they are going to be very confused by what is obedience in that moment. I think the better route, and a very scriptural principal too, is to teach your children from a young age that your bodies are your own. That no one is permitted to do anything with it (without your consent–taught at an older age–). That you neither put your body on someone else or allow them to put their body on you.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Unfortunately, I’m not sure “teaching young children that their bodies are their own” can coexist with Michael Pearl’s “Total War” school of childrearing. 🙁

    Also, emotional predators are VERY skilled at getting past their victims defenses. The fear that their revelations will be met with “You should have known better!” can become another deterrent to victims coming forward.

  • Astrin Ymris

    You know, I was looking for a link to share with you about the post-Civil War roots of today’s Christian Patriarchy Movement. I was scrolling through it to make sure it was the right essay when this bit caught my eye:

    “…Not long ago, Douglas Wilson made headlines with a statement he made about marital sexual relations, which he said were ungodly if they were done for mutual pleasure. Rather, he said, they should reflect the dominance of the man (Patriarchy), who plants and colonizes. (The woman receives.) The part that caught the eye of those outside of the ultra-conservative circles was his claim that the rape fantasy was a longing for the “godly” form of sex, where there is “true authority and true submission” (his words)…”


    So it seems you’re correct. But read the rest of the article, anyway: Robert Lewis Dabney and his belief system SHOULD be widely known by everyone affected by the Quiverfull Movement.

  • Christie


    Micheal Pearl’s philosophy should be put through the shredder. I like to frequent thrift stores and whenever I see his book I remove it from circulation. I hope to save a parent/child from the horrors that book entails.

  • Nightshade

    It doesn’t coexist. How DARE children take ownership of their own bodies? Doncha know they are property of their parents, their only purpose in life is to have individuality beaten out of them so they can raise more young-uns the same way in the future?

  • Allison the Great

    It’s disgusting how they teach that women should be distrustful of young men and boys (not their fathers or their pastors) and to fear sex all their single lives and then BOOM they supposed to be sexual creatures who trust their new husbands starting on their wedding nights. I like being able to form relationships – whether they are friendships or otherwise – naturally, without fear.

  • Margaret Marquez

    exactly—the whole patriarchy movement reeks of idolatry

  • herewegokids


  • herewegokids

    You are referring to Randy Wilson. Different family, same B.S.

  • herewegokids

    Shame on that Foxy Bubbles…. and poor Dougie… he can’t hep it, he’s just too manly!!

  • herewegokids