by Lana Hope cross posted from her blog Wide Open Ground
Editor’s note: This advice also could apply for reaching out to or helping adults/parents in the ATI or Quiverfull or Fundamentalist movements. Perhaps the only way you’ll be genuinely heard by those in these people groups.
Hi, everyone, I did an audio recording, where I argue that saying the Duggars are uber-godly or uber-evil cultivates an attitude that does not help free the Duggars. The recording is not perfect because I don’t have an edit button like I do in typing. For example, I forgot to mention that yes, it’s possible the Duggar parents physically abuse their kids beyond just spanking. I also don’t know what it is like to have 18 siblings. I just know what ATI is like.
My main argument, as you can tell as you listen to it, is that supposing the Duggars are your typical cultish homeschool ATI family + 12 more kids than normal (is 7 your average ATI family?), telling the Duggars that their life “sucks all the way” will not help the Duggars children want to leave their home, because that’s probably not their experience. They experience the good, the bad, and the ugly. I did too.
If someone had approached me ten years ago, when I was just graduating from high school, and said, “your life sucks. You are being spiritually abused. Run as fast as you can,” I would have laughed and never listened. If someone had said, “yes, your life with your family is and was valuable to you, but there is even more *better* things out there, yet to be experienced,” I would have slowly begun to listen. Actually that is what happened for me. I just went to college, which is actually a huge step for girls raised like me, but one step led to another that led to another. But yes, telling me my family is evil would not have been very helpful.
Lana Hope was homeschooled 1st-12th grade in a small town and rural culture. Involved in ATI, her life growing up was gendered, sheltered, and with a lot of shame and rules in disguise of Biblical principles and character qualities. After college Lana moved to SE Asia and began working with the abused, and upon discovering that the large world is not at all like she had been taught, she finally questioned it all, from Calvinism to the homeschool movement to the foundation of her Christian faith. Today Lana is a Christian Universalist, holds a B.A. in English, and is currently working on a M.A. in philosophy. She blogs about the struggles she has faced leaving fundamentalism and homeschooling behind and how travel and missions has wrecked her life for good and bad at her blog www.wideopenground.com .
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