Should Old Acquaintances be Forgot – Ten Years On

Should Old Acquaintances be Forgot – Ten Years On December 31, 2019
Yes, the Gemstone church in Locust Grove set for the television show “The Righteous Gemstones” on HBO. Stumbled over it on my recent trip to the US in Charleston, SC. If you haven’t seen this show I highly recommend it. It feels sort of vindicating if you came out of a high demand church.

It’s been eight years, folks, eight years that I have been adminning No Longer Quivering, and about ten years since I found NLQ and started writing. Which got me to thinking. In the last ten years the Quiverfull world has changed a lot. So going into the year of 2020 let’s recap what’s happened with the more well known promoters of Quiverfull.

There’s been a great deal of change in not just evangelicalism and various types of Christianity, but most especially in Quiverfull. Once it was a more secretive off shoot of evangelicalism. In many ways it was more acceptable to be outed as Quiverfull ten years ago because it was thought to be a sweet old-fashioned expression of faith leaning towards the fundamentalist side.

Now it is more widely known ten years later because of the very public scandals of some of the more prominent practitioners. What they believe is now more widely understood, for both good and bad. This exposure has both harmed and helped the movement, mostly harmed. The Duggars are the main proponents to spread Quiverfull even as they disavow the name.

Let’s look at what’s happened in ten years with the leaders. Some of these are mere highlights, not in depth critiques.

Bill Gothard – Institute in Basic Life Principals

  • Allegations of sexual abuse of teenage girls
  • Lawsuits alleging abuse
  • Removal as head of IBLP
  • Exposure in the media of theology and lack of accountability.

Michael and Debi Pearl – No Greater Joy Ministries

  • Exposure of the abuse inherent in their theology and book “To Train Up a Child” in the media during the deaths of Sean Paddock, Lydia Schatz and Hana-Grace Williams.
  • Failure of their own children to succeed in life. Some of their children living in extreme poverty, alleged abuse and at least one divorce.
  • Michael’s stroke, grasping at woo medicine by undergoing a non-FDA approved stem cell procedure and subsequent partial disappearance from ministry activities.
  • Media scrutiny over the real abusive beliefs promoted by the ministry.
  • Recent books published that have flopped abysmally like the hundred or so copies of the easily debunked “Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity” by Debi Pearl.
  • Aging – both Debi and Michael are aging as well as their advice is now dated and irrelevant to modern life and situations.

Doug Phillips – Vision Forum

  • Allegations of sexual abuse against Lordes Torres complete with his threatening to have her family deported.
  • Excommunicated from own church, removed from Home School Legal Defense Association and removed from Vision Forum ministry.
  • Caused the closure of the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.
  • Caused closure of Vision Forum ministry and liquidation of assets in his attempt to protect assets from legal actions.

Geoff Botkin – Western Conservatory

  • Despite years of promotion of the courtship model for taking over the world with Christian reproduction he has failed to obtain suitable marriage partners for his daughters Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin. The ladies are now in their 30s.
  • Failure of his ‘worldview’ historical revisionist theology.
  • Failure of his unmarried daughters as social influencers, who now spend their time justifying existence and singleness.
  • Reduced to threatening obscure bloggers in an attempt to erase rational criticisms of his ministry.
  • Equating criticism of his son’s small business as attacks on him and his family.

Nancy Campbell – Above Rubies

  • Left behind in her self-described war on cultural while promoting ideas of Biblical womanhood according to Nancy. Many of her ideas only ever existed in the mythology of upper class Victorian ladies and in fiction.
  • Increasingly out of touch with the modern world. Demands you do things never once mentioned in the Bible like growing a garden or setting a table with fine china and tablecloths.

Lori Alexander – The Transformed Wife

  • Has gone from a less toxic message to one that demeans women who are not her.
  • Extrapolates ideas from the Bible, twisting them into unrecognizable shapes
  • Has become more radical with every passing year.
  • Like Nancy Campbell teaches a life style that cannot be maintained in a less than upper middle class income.
  • Abuses/neglects grandchildren according to her own words in her blog.
  • Neglects husband during hospital stay even while preaching you must be always available.
  • Reduces marital sex to a chore to be endured instead of a joyful celebration of love.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar – 19 Kids and Counting/Counting On

  • Hid sexual abuse of daughters by their son for many years.
  • Covered for Josh Duggar in his many sexual scandals.
  • Lied about the abuse.
  • Lied during the Ashley Madison reveal.
  • Lied about the molestation of the unrelated girl by Josh.
  • Lied about Josh’s many strip club visits in both Arkansas and Washington D.C.
  • Lied to the press about a recent Homeland Security raid on Josh Duggar’s businesses.
  • Never sought legitimate treatment or counseling for Josh during his escapades. Sent him twice to unregulated, unlicensed, religious treatment centers to do construction work for free.
  • Exposed the names of two of Josh’s victims to the press.
  • Lied to law enforcement about Josh’s involvement with molesting his sister.
  • Hid abuse from TLC and continued filming while various Josh Duggar scandals were unfolding, including several lawsuits.

There are so many more we could mention here, like Doug Wilson and Steven Anderson and more, but we’re keeping this list to the most prominent. One thing is true and obvious – as time passes and these people age they present less like spiritual authorities and more like elderly dementia patients furiously yelling at the sky shaking their fists most futilely. May this trend continue, and the entire movement die out.

There have also been many younger people attempting to be the next wave of cultural enforcers in the movement, but so far none are very successful.

I pray for a time when NLQ is irrelevant and there is no need to keep watching these people.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon

About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Happy New Year!

  • Raging Bee

    …their advice is now dated and irrelevant to modern life and situations.

    Wait, did I blink and miss the time when their advice was NOT dated and irrelevant?

  • Thank you for all you do. The very cells of my old body remember the horrors. So grateful now for the anger and defiance I was shamed for: I see now that it is what saved me.

  • lady_black

    Welcome back. You were missed. Thank you for what you do.

  • Jim Jones

    > Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin

    Time to pick someone girls. Are they really that f___ed up?

  • Friend

    Thank you for this excellent distillation. Even though I did not escape the Quiverfull camp, I was harmed in a related setting. NLQ has helped me make sense of it, and has helped me find a voice.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Figured when I rounded the corner and ran into the Gemstones set it was a sign it was time to return.

  • AFo

    The saddest part is the mental gymnastics they do to convince themselves that these failures are really successes and/or a test from God instead of reevaluating their lives and beliefs. Most people learn from failure by adapting.

  • Whitney Currie

    It’s a bit of a shock to see all this in one place. Thank you for putting it together, and have a safe and happy New Year!

  • persephone

    Welcome back, Suzanne! I hope you’re rested and ready for this coming year.

    I watched the first episode of The Righteous Gemstones and I kept thinking it wasn’t going far enough. I’m sure plenty of viewers who haven’t been part of HDOs think it’s over the top. Probably the same people who thought the Duggars were quaint and harmless.

  • wannabe

    Sorry – HDOs?

  • Saraquill

    I hope your break was restful, Suzanne. Also hope these leaders get even more discredited.

  • Aloha 2

    Don’t blame the girls. They are totally under their Daddy’s thumb.

    I’m sure it’s Daddy who is refusing to allow the girls to get married, get a job, move out, or even read freely. In one of his books, he paid out a plan that they need to each marry a super-powerful politician — so that he can influence the world in his 100-years-plan. But if the girls can’t snag a super-star husband, then Daddy will force them to live as spinsters, dedicated only to him.

  • Aloha 2

    The mighty have fallen:
    — But then they asked for forgiveness and were given a 2nd chance.
    — And then some new faces showed up ready to take over.
    — And then Quiverful theology comes out better and stronger than EVER!!! /s

  • Welcome back! ❤️

  • Friend

    I’m no fan of the Botkins, but…

    They’re women, not girls.

    They’re not allowed to pick someone, according to their code.

    Being single as an adult is not the same as being f____ed up.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    High Demand Organizations

  • wannabe

    Thank you!

  • Mimc

    OT: is anyone else’s Discus notifications completely broken right now?

  • Yes. Disqus staff is aware of the issue and are “working on it”.

  • Martin Penwald

    That’s Charles Manson level of creepy.

  • Martin Penwald

    However, it doesn’t seem that their father consider them as women.

  • Glandu

    I am not shocked. It’s a logical following. The more unhealthy the teachings, the more out-of-touch with reality the teachings, the more bad things are bound to happen.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Happy New Year, and may you find much enjoyment and positive energy in what you do!

  • Jim Jones

    If I was a lot younger I’d consider faking my beliefs long enough. He’s set them up for disappointment, like Billy Graham did to his daughters.

    Then we’d read MY bible.

  • persephone

    High Demand Organization. For people uncomfortable with the word “cult.” Some HDOs might not meet the usually criteria for a cult.

  • wannabe

    Thank you!

  • Aloha 2

    That’s a sweet thought, but I can’t even imagine the effort and deception needed to bust those girls free from Daddy. Somebody really ought to think about helping them, however.

  • Jim Jones

    He’s set them up for failure like Billy Graham did to his daughters.