Quoting Quiverfull: UnMarried – The Movie?

Quoting Quiverfull: UnMarried – The Movie? November 13, 2014

unmarriedby Vaughn Ohlman from his blog True Love Doesn’t Wait – UnMarried: The Review A Fantastic Movie; With A Fundamental Flaw

I’m not going to post the review in its entirely but you’ll notice that this film carries the Kevin Swanson seal of approval and Von thinks everyone needs to see it lest our entire bedrock foundation of society (marriage) crumble.

But I am posting the point I find the most problematic: The thought that delayed marriage is a literal sin. Education does matter, so does having a career that will allow you to support all those little children you plan on having. This is where the Quiverfull crowd goes the most ‘wrong’, claiming that standards from a book written at least two thousand years ago trumps the reality of life today. It leads to poverty, poor health, ignorance, children with huge educational/socio-economic barriers to overcome and a host of other negative things.

“Men tend to work more hours, they tend to work more strategically, and they earn at least four thousand more in the wake of marriage in comparison to where they were prior to marriage.” Brad Wilcox:Unmarried Movie

This film reminds us of where our priorities should lie. That marriage, in Scripture, is seen as a good… a normative good. That marriage and family are not just fun extras, but they are a foundational means of spreading the gospel. That young marriage is good, that delayed marriage is a sin. That marriage makes a man a man[5]

Marriage, children, raising Godly households… these should be our priorities. Not college, not ‘good jobs’, not ‘church work’. Those all come secondary, if at all. The Scriptures start with ‘it is not good for man to be alone’ not ‘it is not good for man to not have a Bachelor’s degree’. The Scriptures say God will bless the Godly man with a fruitful wife and a quiver full of children, not lots of wonderful programs at church.

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders, influential bloggers and cultural enforcers 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.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

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  • Mel

    Gotta say: Always love the absence of supporting Scripture passages. Yes, in the beginning, God made Adam and Eve. Then three billion other things happen – most of which are not related to marriage at all.

    There are a heap of Gospel verses that are pretty bluntly anti-marriage. Those are always ignored in favor of a few cherry-picked verses from Proverbs, Psalms, and certain Pauline letters. Actually, there are several anti-marriage Pauline letters, too.

    I have no problem with marriage or singleness. I don’t like pretending “the Scriptures” is totes in favor of early marriage…..

  • So, real quick so you know where I’m coming from – I have three kids – one when I was 20, one at 23, and one at 31. I was married when the first was born,
    separated (because of the abuse) AND getting through college when the second
    was born, and remarried and working full time when the third was born.

    I had a LOT more energy for my first two kids, even with the college I was juggling at the same time. The one baby I had when I was “supposed” to (i.e. early 30’s with a career and in a stable marriage) really kicked my ass. I don’t think I could do that again and I don’t know how most people seem to handle it. So I don’t think it should go unacknowledged that biologically, we seem to be better suited to having children in our early 20’s.

    Edit: I also found that because I was juggling 2 kids and college, I had to leave my high school perfectionism behind. I did have to manage my time and make sure I was effective every hour of the day. I didn’t have time to do everything, so if I had, say, 1 hour to study, I had to choose whether that hour was more effectively spent cleaning the kitchen, studying business law, or studying income tax – which of those things would benefit most from that hour? So it is also true that having priorities outside of school and work can motivate you to be more hardworking and purposeful when you do study or go to work. (end edit)

    On the other hand, my two older kids (both girls) didn’t have a steady father figure until I got remarried at 26. I do think it is VERY important (if at all possible) for kids to have a stable household, so I feel bad about this, but it’s not like I can do anything about it now. BUT, that being said, young marriage is risky (as I found out with my abusive ex), and marriage at ALL leaves you in a position of being very vulnerable to another person who may or may not decide to abuse that power.

    TL/DR: It is a GROSS oversimplification to pretend that there is a “perfect” way or a “perfect” time to start a family. There are simply too many variables and too many trade-offs no matter which way you go.

  • Allison the Great

    Putting off marriage until one is more financially stable, mature, emotionally equipped is a “sin”? Bitch please. I agree that it is extremely stupid to think that a book that was written thousands of years ago is in any way applicable to today. It’s not. To say that it is is preposterous. Its ludicrous . I’ve pointed this out to fundamentalists and they say some bullshit like “the bible is eternal”. NO IT IS FUCKING NOT ETERNAL. The way we live doesn’t even resemble the way they lived. Our morals, our lives, cultures, economy, scientific knowledge, understanding of the world, technology, understanding of ourselves as human beings is so much different than what it is in that book. We’ve come so far and changed so much why do people think that going back and living according to their rules and morals is a good things to do? It’s not. We know more, we are different and we are better and the bible does not reflect that. It’s an old way and it’s a barbaric way.

    I’m not saying that the bible doesn’t have value. It does, it’s just not valuable in the way that evangelicals think that it is. The bible is just a way to learn about who we used to be, but are not any more.

    So do we need to get married early and blow off school and everything that we would need to better ourselves and make sure that our families can eat and have a roof over their heads with running water and electricity? ? Fuck no. We’re not stupid enough to think that God will keep the lights on if we pray hard enough.

  • Mermaid Warrior

    For real. Doesn’t the Bible make reference of dove sacrifice or something? Lots of stuff people wouldn’t do today. It’s kind of insane to say that if people in the Bible are living a certain way, we should live that way too, as if something being in the Bible automatically means the Bible is condoning it. People in the Bible had donkeys instead of cars, but you don’t see many fundamentalists decrying the evils of the motor vehicle and giving tips on how to feed your donkey on a limited budget.

    If people in Biblical times were suddenly transported to modern times, with access to all our modern technology, I seriously doubt many of them would obsessively try to stick to their old way of life. Humans adapt. It’s like, our thing. Stuff that works in one region, one culture, might not work in others. It’s why I always laugh at talk of a “traditional” marriage being a man going out to work and a woman staying home and cleaning, cooking, and raising kids. Historically, that kind of lifestyle isn’t practical for most people in most societies. (on that note, doesn’t the Bible make mention of a woman making clothing and selling it at a market, and how this is a good thing?)

  • Astrin Ymris

    Translation: Breed future Dominionist voters at maximum density! Marry as early as is legal in your state, so you can sire as many kids as possible before your wife’s menopause. Don’t you realize that whites are losing market share in America? Forget your own personal dreams and ambitions, and set yourself to working three jobs to support a flood tide of kids with only a GED.

  • Nea

    Marriage, children, raising Godly households… these should be our priorities. Not college, not ‘good jobs’, not ‘church work’

    But actually *providing* for the family is secondary at best. Because there’s nothing that makes a family healthier than poverty, apparently. And the best ability to do that providing is to go to college and have a good job.

    No wonder stories like the Pearl season of cat food or the misnamed Serena running laps around a condemned house trying not to freeze to death are considered “inspirational” rather than “the world’s most disastrous attempt to advertise how wonderful our lifestyle is.”

  • persephone

    Once again: Correlation does not equal causation.

  • persephone

    And if the husband doesn’t provide enough it’s the wife’s fault because God’s favor would shine on them and provide what they need and she should economize better anyway.

  • persephone

    They miss the whole bride price and dowry and marriage contract part. A man getting married was usually established in a trade before he married.

  • KarenH

    Hmmm….from the website of the Federal Reserve Bank San Francisco, we find this:

    “… The average college graduate paying annual tuition of about $20,000 can recoup the costs of schooling by age 40. After that, the difference between earnings continues such that the average college graduate earns over $800,000 more than the average high school graduate by retirement age. …”

    According to Vaughn, being married gets a man $4,000 extra to support the approximately eleventy-billion children he’s going to beget on some lucky brood mare/clown car uterus.

    By contrast, earning a college degree–AFTER accounting for tuition costs–will net a man more than $800,000 than not going to college.

    Granted I’m only a feeble woman with no college education NOR any man to man-‘splain this to me, but even after all that, I’m pretty sure $800,000 is bigger than $4,000.

  • KarenH

    Energy-wise, I would tend to agree with you. But Vaughn is attempting to claim that marrying/childbearing young is also ECONOMICALLY better for you. and on that note, particularly if the young couple has insufficient education, he’s just wrong, wrong, wrong.

  • KarenH

    And, some how, I’m doubting that the cat food they were feeding their kids was anything worth writing home about. Little Friskies isn’t even fit for cats, let alone kids.

  • You forgot to add, little white Dominionist voters….

  • SAO

    If you look across the Christian world and across the centuries, you find an incredible array of different ways to be perfectly Godly, based on the Bible. The preponderance of Christianity across history and the world favors celibacy and devoting yourself to God in a convent, monastery, or through good works over marriage. Marriage is seen as good, but sacrificing your life for God better.

    But, these few guys, with tiny followings, think they know better.

  • Nea

    I’ve noticed that. No wonder anyone who can think straight is dismissed as “elitist.”

  • Nea

    It was given to them for free; human nature suggests that it was something the donors didn’t want around.

  • Well, that depends, too – if you juggle small children while you’re getting through your education, by the time you join the workforce and begin your career, you don’t need to step out for maternity leave. I know it’s not legal to discriminate against pregnant women, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I thought of that, but I’m not not sure where Vaughn stands on Rescue Adoption. There are a lot of white Dominionists who “rescue” non-white kids by adoption, brushing off their critics concerns about culture and identity as “racist”. It strikes me as attempted ethnicide… like the early Mormons motto “We’ll whiten them, then we’ll delight in them.”

    I find myself wondering what will happen when these kids grow up and want to take on leadership roles in their congregation… or worse yet, marry a white spouse. However, there seems to be a lot of disruption in these adoptions, so it may not have come up yet.

    It’ll be interesting to know whether Vaughn would consider a white father obliged to accept a doctrinally-compliant black man’s request for his biodaughter’s hand in marriage.

  • gimpi1

    What?! You mean the social patterns developed by largely illiterate nomadic herders in the bronze age don’t make sense for educated high-technology urban dwellers over 3,000 years later? Say it ain’t so!

  • gimpi1

    I’ve also read about cases where “rescue” adoptions have turned into almost slave-labor, using “adopted” kids as unpaid farm-hands or nannies. Some of the kids involved in these “adoptions” had parents back home who gave them up to get the kids an education, an education denied by their new “families.” A few of these kids have been abused and even murdered by their new “family” using Pearl-style discipline. All in all, a scandal, in my view.

  • Astrin Ymris

    When you’ve got a faith that’s not particularly appealing to adult converts in the general population, your only way to increase your market share significantly is raise a lot of young ‘uns in the faith, and hope to retain enough of them as adults to make up for your losses and also make gains.

    We were discussing just this on the Catholic Reform Thread. Despite the claims of RCC boosters that “RCIA classes are full!”, adult converts weren’t beginning to make up for adult defections. The Church was only managing to tread water through immigration.

    It’ll be interesting to know if this changes under Francis. Under Benedict the Magisterium always projected the message that if you weren’t 100% on board with a Medieval sexual theology, you need not even apply.

  • Nightshade

    ‘That marriage makes a man a man..’ So an unmarried man isn’t a man at all? Guess we know what he thinks of Jesus.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Adopting kids who already HAVE loving parents under the guise of “giving them an education” is evil! They could pay for the children’s education at the best schools in their home country WITHOUT disrupting the family bond!

    True charity doesn’t involve taking someone’s child away from them.

  • Marriage and/ or childbearing ages of the Bible’s patriarchs:

    Abraham, unknown marriage age, first child at 86.
    Isaac, married at 37 or older. (His mother was 90 at his birth, died at 127, and was already dead when he married.)
    Jacob, married at 47 or older. (His twin married at 40, after which he started working for 7 years for Laban to marry Rachel at the end of the 7 years).

    “delayed marriage is a sin” – VO
    Where does Vaughn get his patriarchy from? Certainly not the Bible?

  • gimpi1

    True enough. In the (limited) defense of the adoptive parents, they sometimes don’t know that. Unscrupulous for-profit adoption-agencies have been known to take kids from a parent – promising an education, citizenship in the U.S, whatever – and then arrange a paid “adoption” by a family in the U.S. wanting to “rescue” a child. All this when there are often real orphans needing help, but not ones the agency can use. It’s pretty horrific.

    Of course, just donating money may not help, either. Corruption may mean that money donated for education of kids in the third world just lines the pockets of various “officials” along its route.

    It’s a bitch, either way.

  • What Vaughn teaches is not even how people lived in Bible times – see the marriage ages of the patriarchs, see how some prominent Bible characters stayed single.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I know, but I still think adoptive parents need to think seriously about the issues (and research them!), rather than dismissing everything negative as “anti-adoption propaganda” from “adoption haters”.

    We also need to hear more from the purported beneficiaries of this “charity” themselves– adult adoptees themselves.


    (This was just linked to on ReformTalk today! There really IS an ‘Interconnectedness of All Things’!)


  • Edie Moore McGee

    This issue came up in a research project that some sociologists from a Chinese university did regarding Chinese adoptees several years ago. A fairly hefty percentage of Chinese adults thought that the over-quota girls adopted out of orphanages were going to be adopted to be glorified house slaves, and they came to the U.S. to study the problem. Much to their surprise, they found that the girls were treated just like their biological siblings. There’s not a whole lot of China adoptions in the QF world — China puts a limit on the number of children you can have in the home.

  • gimpi1

    Yes, what I’ve read is that adoption-problems are much more likely with African or South or Central American adoptions than Chinese.

  • Mermaid Warrior

    From what I’ve seen, adoption problems tend to be more prevalent with highly troubled countries. If there’s a war or major poverty, the government is less likely to see, or do anything about, shady adoption agencies. These shady agencies would adopt out to anyone who could pay (there have also been some Christian agencies who would adopt out as long as you seemed like their version of a good Christian family) so there’s little to no screening for the adopting parents. China isn’t problem-free, but it is a rapidly advancing nation. Really, a lot of the more troubled countries actually tend to be more heavily targeted for adoptions by fundamentalists with a “save them!” mentality because it’s much easier (and cheaper) to adopt kids, in larger amounts.

  • Mermaid Warrior

    I’m wondering whether people would put more importance on providing if they lived in a time and place where you wouldn’t get much help if your family was starving to death.

  • Thanks for giving me the genesis of an idea for a blog article.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Um, there are some megafamilies who DO have Chinese adoptees in their broods.



    I could find more if I was willing to search further– I know there’s at least one I can’t find right now!

  • Astrin Ymris

    Great! Will you post a linky when you’re done?

  • Thanks. Just finished it. It will be up at http://www.thepinkflamingoblog.com at about 4AM mountain time. I’ll provide a better link, after that.

  • Nea

    I’m not sure, considering how hard of a push there seems to be in both America and Britain to dismantle the social safety net/”austerity.”

  • Edie Moore McGee

    My definition of a mega-family — as one of five biological children — may be quite different from yours. I am thinking 10-20 children and bringing home more than one at a time.
    Full disclosure: I am heavily involved in the online China adoption community and have been since about 2000. I also read Kathryn Joyce’s book and am happy to say that the agency we used is one she generally speaks well of. Brian Luwis, who heads the agency we used, is an ethical guy, and the agency tends to vet families more carefully than most and manages expectations a lot better than some of them. I thought Kathryn Joyce’s book was well-done.
    China adoption rules have changed a lot since we adopted in 2003. Our daughter was one of the “healthy infants” that are now so rare, due to high demand and more internal adoption (yay!). We think that shortage of such children created the trafficking problems. There’s a huge wait for such children now and the rules for getting them are strict. We adopted once and then the rules changed, and we became ineligible due to medical conditions. China was/is also strict about family income in this category. The unconfirmed “rule” for twins at the time we were adopting — and everyone wanted twins — was over $100,000 in family income and only one parent earning it.
    Special needs, including pre-ID’d children whose files are assigned to different agencies, are under a different set of rules, however. It’s still only under the rarest of circumstances that someone brings home more than one child at a time, but China has been willing to loosen up the medical restrictions, especially when a parent has the same condition as a parent. For instance, I know of one family with kids in wheelchairs. The adopting dad was wheelchair-bound, though from a different condition. I know of another family where the children are hearing impaired, as is one of the adopting parents. China still requires parents to show the financial ability to care for the children they’re adopting. This would rule out a family without health insurance and at least one real income and tend to limit a “mega-family” to 5 or 6 kids, which rules out many QF families.
    Actually, I know one of the families from sites you posted, the one who wasn’t approved for another adoption. They are lovely people. Though they are Christian, they are not QF. Among other things, the mom works as an RN, which means she has post-high school education. I know maybe 3-4 families that would qualify as “mega-families” by your definition, but not by mine. They have 5 or 6 adopted kids.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    A couple more things — in the larger China families I know, some ae couples that have older biological kids (usually these are people who found themselves to be almost-empty-nesters in their late 30’s or early 40’s and had the time, money, and energy to raise more young children), or a “yours, mine, and ours” situation (the ours being the adopted kids). Almost all of the larger families I know are Christian, and some even homeschool, but I don’t know anyone in the China families who’s truly QF/CPM, etc. Even most of the homeschoolers I know do so for other than strictly religious reasons. For example, one family lives in a small school district that doesn’t have the funds to handle kids with the disability that some of her kids have, she homeschools those kids, but other kids in the family go to public school.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Thanks! Good article.

    *sigh* I just doubt the ones who most need to hear the warning are going to read the essay, much less pay heed to it. 🙁

    Still, every voice helps! 🙂

  • Astrin Ymris

    *shrugs* Like I said, I didn’t take the time to really research, just grabbed the first blog links I could find that showed multiple Chinese adoptees in a single family and/or lots of other kids in the family, not necessarily Quiverfull families.

    The family may be lovely people, but I question the decision to even TRY to adopt again while they had one child in respite. One of the red flags for Child Collectors is seeking to pursue a new adoption over stabilizing existing children in the family.

    Trying to start an adoption while you have chemotherapy scheduled is another odd decision. Just sayin’.

  • Thank you.