Posts Tagged 'spiritual abuse'

A Story About Ants

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Creepy. I hate these things. Sorry if this pic freaks you out. It freaks me out.

A few years ago, I had a major ant problem in my apartment. Thankfully, they were confined to a few specific areas but they caused me a lot of anxiety and stress. Nothing I did worked.  So I told the apartment manager.

What did she do?

Nothing.

She told me having ants in the apartment was part of living in an apartment and that nothing could be done.  She said it was no big deal. She wasn’t going to do anything.

I was hurt.  I felt disrespected and helpless because she did not take me seriously or care what I had to say.  

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I think the name says it all.

Eventually, she did call an exterminator to come and spray but only AFTER somebody else said something.  And I still felt that she didn’t care.  I had been dealing with the problem for a significant period of time and her ignoring my request for help told me my voice and concerns did not matter.

So now, any time I see ants in my apartment I feel those feelings again.  Thankfully, it is just a few and they go away after a shirt few days.  But I still get stressed out seeing them.  I don’t hate ants but their presence reminds me of not being heard, about not being taken seriously, about having my voice silenced because it wasn’t something she wanted to hear.

That particular apartment manager was a major problem and I suffered stress, anxiety, and threats from her.  She even threatened to evict me if I didn’t quit my job and find another.  Trust me, the situation was bad and she had no legal right to do anything to me.

Thankfully that manager and that set of problem neighbors are gone.

So I have a much better apartment manager now and the neighbors still coukd be better.  But I’m still leery of asking for them to come and deal with anything.  I do my best to keep my head down and be quiet.  It may not make me any friends but I feel safer, if only marginally.

I won’t get hurt.

Why write about this? Simple. 

A victim telling their story about abuse and being heard and believed is important.  Too many people want to silence the voices of victims because it is not what they want to hear.  By silencing victims’ voices, the abusers are given tacit approval for their actions and acceptance and it implies that somehow the victim is at fault.  Silencing minimizes the effects of abuse and how dangerous and harmful abuse really is.

Silence says abuse is okay.  It says the victim is a liar and making things up.  It denies reality.  These are lies.

Victims need to be able to feel safe, to be able to tell their story in their own way and time, to be believed and taken seriously, and to have support and healing.  Victims are people, too.

Quiverfull and Catholicism

Part Five

I have already pointed out that Quiverfull is a man made misinterpretation of Scripture.  The last three posts in this series have covered the effects of Quiverfull on mothers, children, and fathers.  I now want to deal with Quiverfull and how Catholics are embracing this dangerous belief.

Many Catholics have seen the Duggars on their TV shows with their emphasis on having a large family, eschewing birth control and advocating a prolife stance as being compatible with the Catholic faith.  On the surface, that’s true. 
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Yes, the Catholic Church encourages large families.  Yes, the Catholic Church is against contraception and abortion. Yes, the Catholic Church holds to a prolife stance.

But the Catholic Church teaches that being prolife is more than just having babies. 

Large families are encouraged but parents are permitted to space children or not have children at all if there are serious reasons.  For some women, having children could kill them and is a valid reason to abstain.  A mother’s life is just as important as the baby’s.  A woman does not have to sacrifice her life just to get pregnant. 

Women are not baby making factories.  Women are people too.

Children need mothers and fathers. If the mother deliberately puts herself at risk to get pregnant, and she dies as a result of becoming pregnant, she has robbed her children of their mother at the expense of another siblings.
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The Catholic Church is against contraception because it places a barrier between the couple.  It also divorces the two intertwining purposes of marital sex: unity and procreation. You can’t divide them.That division turns marital sex from a selfless intimate vulnerable self-giving to a selfish act that divided the couple.  It’s saying ” I only love you this much and therefore I’m going to keep part of myself to myself.  You have to share me with me but you have to share all of yourself.”  Sounds arrogant and self-centered, doesn’t it? 

The same happens when marital sex is all about procreation (babies). It does violence to the marital union. It also demeans and dehumanizes the couple because focusing solely on creation saying that the parents are only genetic donors, not loving parents. Objects instead of people.

Catholics who follow Quiverfull are following an ideology and not Catholic moral theology. They think they are being prolife when they are really valuing a certain ability to give life. The baby is an acceptable life. The child is not. A girl is only useful in growing up, getting married, and having more babies. It’s all about numbers, not about unique souls who are to love God and their neighbors and to do God’s will.

The Catholic Church says ALL life is sacred. We are all made in the image and likeness of God. Not just babies. Children and teenagers and adults and the elderly and the sick and the physically impaired and the mentally I’ll. Everyone.

Quiverfull is an economic valuation of life. If a woman can keep producing children, she has value. If she can’t produce or produces too few, then she has absolutely no value or little value. She can be judged and harassed and abused and ultimately shunned and kicked out.
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It judges a woman by her reproductive organs and abilities and not the whole, unique woman. Women are not just able to carry a child and give birth. They are people, worthy of dignity and respect. Women are made in the image and likeness of God, just like men. They are not inferior creations. Their ability to give birth is a facet of them, not the whole of them. If a woman cannot have children or does not have children, she is still a whole woman.

Her reproductive abilities do not define her whole being or existence.

This thinking is what those who support birth control and abortion say about women. Both do not think highly of women. Quiverfull and abortion supporters focus solely on a woman’s ability to give birth. Both devalue it but for different reasons. Quiverfull wants to reduce women to machines. Abortion supporters want to reduce women to sex objects.Neither are the freedom offered by God. Both are destructive and do violence to women and families.Both are selfish.

Quiverfull does violence to families especially since it is tied up with other fringe elements and beliefs such as Patriarchy, Dominionism, restrictive.homeschooling, courtship, and fear of the government. It is all about division.

Love is not part of Quiverfull beliefs. I’m not saying families who practice Quiverfull don’t love each other but love is not part of the beliefs and can be a very conditional love. Conditional love in that parents only love their children if they do exactly as the parents want, follow the exact same beliefs, marry whom they choose, and have more babies, repeating the cycle.

Quiverfull and Fatherhood

Part Four

(Warning: Graphic images)

Quiverfull is largely centered on women and babies, with a heavy emphasis on babies.  Men are largely breadwinners, provide half the genetic material, and the main discipliners.  Men are expected to fulfill specific roles.  Nurturing and hands on parenting for fathers is discouraged in Quiverfull, except for corporal punishment.

Quiverfull gender roles are largely derived from a theological belief called Patriarchy.  It is also called complementarianism.  Men are considered the head of the family, spiritual and physical.  Their wives are to obey them in everything but sin, though sometimes even then (see Debbie Pearl’s Created to Be His Helpmeet for examples).  The justification comes from Ephesians 5:22-24 where St. Paul lays out wives being submissive to their husbands (while ignoring verse 21 which requires mutual submission) and Genesis 2:18 where God created a helper for Adam, the first man. 

(I could go into a refutation of woman as inferior helper and slave but the are multiple places that reveal the truth.  It is part and parcel of Patriarchy and comes.from Genesis 2.)

Since Patriarchy is an authoritarian belief system, the justification to abuse others using the Bible is rampant.  Women are kept financially, physically, and emotionally dependent on their husbands.  Husbands may beat, harass, threaten, rape, withhold money and support all in the name of being the head of the family.  And say the God approves.  I’ll get to children later in this post.

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Men in Quiverfull are just as hurt by its beliefs and practices as women and children are.  While there is nothing wrong with being the sole financial provider, men are usually expected to be the only provider.  Many lack a decent education due to restrictive homeschooling with its emphasis on religious beliefs and practices and disdain for government educational standards. 

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Many receive the equivalent or near equivalent of a high school education.  Many times the education is barely eighth grade level. Many are forbidden from going to college or can only go to an unaccredited Christian college.

A lack of education hinders many from getting a decent job or at least a job that would financially support a large family.  Men may even have to work multiple jobs to support their families. This leaves men overworked and even overwhelmed.  But the emotional health of men is not a concern. 

Men also have to live up the false standards of Patriarchy.  They are expected to be the spiritual and physical head of the family. Patriarchy says that men be authoritarian leaders who give orders and make demands that must be obeyed immediately and without question.  Disobedience and other infractions are to be punished with corporal punishment, i.e. spanking.  Disobedience is rarely or vaguely defined and almost an always arbitrary condemnation.  It can be much worse if the parents follow the teachings of Michael Pearl and his book To Train Up A Child.

(I suggest the site http://whynottrainachild.com to refute his teachings and to learn about gentle Christian parenting)

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Threatening a child. Threats may include things such as spanking, loss of friends, damnation to hell, being kicked out of the home, etc.

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Michael Pearl advocates parents start spanking as young as three months.  This baby was the victim of abuse but if the parents were followers of Pearl’s teaching then this could be a result.

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A child that has been on the receiving end of corporal punishment, probably been hit with a thin stick.  Again, fathers in Quiverfull are expected to spank their children for disobedience and any other reason they decide.

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Mothers, too, can and will spank their children in Quiverfull.  This particular picture gives the impression the mother is spanking in anger, something parents in Quiverfull allege they don’t do.

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One potential object used to spank a child.  Many children are spanked on bare buttocks with things like this spoon, hair brushes, paddles, and belts though this is not an exhaustive list.

Men in Quiverfull are not permitted to be hands on (except spanking) or nurturing.  Their fatherhood is defined in activities they do outside the home (work), their “God given” gender role (spiritual and physical head of the family), and their “God given” ability to spank their children info submission.  Men in Quiverfull are denied their whole being to fulfill man made gender roles.

Doing any of these is frowned upon or even forbidden.

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Remember, babies and children are women’s work.  Men are discouraged from being tender, gentle, and nurturing. It’s all about rigid gender roles rather than discovering how God made you to be and working in partnership with their spouses.  If men do do these things, it’s not talked about or hidden. 

Also, not all families in Quiverfull spank or spank to excess.  There are higher incidents of abuse and definitely a greater emphasis on obedience and physical discipline and corporal punishment in Quiverfull.  Rigid gender roles plus fringe religious beliefs plus lack of education plus limited finances plus other elements create an environment that encourages or at least greatly excuses abuse.

Men are just as hurt by Quiverfull as women and children are.  Their victimization is covered up or not even acknowledged.

Bringing Back the Angry God

I thought God was love not anger.  I mean, the Bible even says so.

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It’s Jonathon Edwards and his “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God” with a Catholic bent.

This isn’t coming from one thing or article but multiple blogs, articles, and even CAF (Catholic answers forums). 

I don’t understand this need to punish others.  Reveling in the pain and suffering of others who have been deliberately hurt and abused in the name of God and saying this is a good thing.  These are Catholics who are advocating Edwards’ tyrant of a god who dangles sinners over an open pit of fire and then throwing them in with glee even after the sinners beg for mercy. 

These Catholics want God to hurt people.  They would be extremely happy if God destroyed certain people.  Their God is not the God of love that we hear about in the Bible.  Their god is a bully and a tyrant and an abuser who only loves them and loathed everyone else.  They make proclamations of judgment and condemn everyone who isn’t like them to a fiery Hell that is much worse and more violent than anything the Church teaches or accepts.  They like to hurt people and they want their god to hurt people, to torture people for fun.

This is not the Catholic God.  This is not the Christian God.  This is no God.  This is evil.

Wanting the destruction of another person is a mortal sin. It violates the commandment to love your neighbors as yourself.

God does not punish, at least not the way these people want. Most of our punishment comes from our own choice to sin. 

Our sins hurt us, not just God.  God does not seek our destruction but our salvation.  He loves us.  He doesn’t hate us.  He doesn’t love our sins.  Rarely does God need to actively step in and smack us down.  And he doesn’t even smack.  Mostly he let’s us suffer the consequences of our sins.  He might magnify the consequences, make them worse or more painful but he doesn’t deliberately set out to hurt us.  He doesn’t need to.  We’re pretty good at hurting ourselves.

Yes, God did punish the Israelites in the Old Testament.  But look at the context.  This was a people who were like children in their faith and God acted like the father he is.  Yes, there were time when his punishment seems excessive but then then look at what the Israelites were doing and the context.  The Israelites got a lot of second chances.  And I mean a lot.  And they still kept being disobedient.  So God escalated the consequences.  But he kept giving them chances, kept forgiving them even after sending them into exile.

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And Jesus changes the whole game.  Forgiveness, mercy, grace, salvation are there for the asking.  And if we fail, we sin, we have recourse to the Sacraments.  We aren’t cut off or sent into exile or have plagues sent.  We have grace and mercy and forgiveness and salvation all because God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us so that we might have eternal life.

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Nowhere in there is punishment. God isn’t a pushover, either.  We do have to repent of our sins and change our ways but God will give us the grace to do so.  We have but to ask.  We have but to ask.

People who want punishment don’t want mercy or love or grace or salvation or forgiveness.  They want rules and formulas and lines and penalties and punishment.  Oh, the grace and mercy they can have but they don’t want other people to have it.  They want to horde it all to themselves.  They refuse to understand or accept that God doesn’t discriminate in whom He gives his mercy, grace, forgiveness, love, and salvation to as long as people ask for it.  They make god in their own destructive image.

I don’t want that god.  I don’t want a god that is out to get me just so he can hurt me.  I grew up with that god.  That god was going to send me to hell just for existing.  I don’t want that god.  I don’t like that god. That is not god.

I want the God who is love.  That God that forgives.  The God that gives mercy.  The God that gives grace.  The God that offers salvation and eternal life. 

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That God is a much better God than the god that I grew up with.  The god that certain Catholics want to impose on everyone.  The god that hurts and punishes and isn’t a god at all but a bully and a tyrant and a condemner and abuser.  The god that isn’t God but a demon, a devil, a god made in man’s image.

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The Jesus we need.

Quiverfull and Childhood

Part Three

Warning: I will be talking about various types of abuse in this post and have inserted photos where appropriate.  Be advised.

This post builds off the discussion from Part Two.  I mentioned previously that many girls are forced to raise their younger siblings because their mothers just don’t parent.  Or in the case of Michele Duggar, passes the responsibility of parenting to a daughter so that she can keep having babies.

Since Quiverfull is focused on babies and numbers, children as individuals with needs are in an odd phase.  They aren’t babies and they aren’t married adults.  These two phases are the only ones that matter in Quiverfull.  That’s where the priorities are focused. 

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Courtesy of Google Images

Children are then ignored until they get noticed.  The phase of childhood itself is ignored until someone notices a child acting (as in any sort of movement, not just bad or irresponsible behavior) or speaking.  The phase of childhood is considered a messy wasteland to be conquered by the parents rather than enjoyed as a season of human life. 

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Courtesy of Google Images

First, children are just numbers, not actual individuals with wants and needs and desires. They are soldiers in a battles against the secular world.

Two, children are considered property of their parents.  The parents have rights.  The children do not.  The children are merely objects to manipulate.

Three, children are seen as inherently sin filled and willingly disobedient.  Children are only capable of sin and incapable of virtue. 

Four, children must be homeschooled because any other sort of schooling is un-biblical, full of dangerous anti-Christian agendas, and a means of government interference.

Fifth, children rarely receive medical assistance in any form.due to paranoia about the government and beliefs that any healing is God’s will and can only happen if He desires it.

While there are more, these are a good starting place.

Point One: Children are individuals but not in Quiverfull.  Quiverfull is a movement that emphasizes numbers of people and not actual people.  Add in the distaste for childhood as a phase of life and things get a lot worse.

Points Two and Three go together.   When children are not seen as people, they have no rights or protections.  They are also open to great abuses, neglect, violence, and even homicide.  Since many parents come to believe that corporal punishment and spanking are acceptable means of forcing a child to comply with their demands, many children are physically abused in the name of love and God.  Many use verses out of the Book of Proverbs to justify their spanking.  They also read and endorse abusive parenting methods like Michael Pearl’s To Train Up A Child (which compares training children to training animals and to start spanking at three months), James Dobson (again comparing children to dogs), Rev Bradley, and Shepherd a Child’s Heart.

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Courtesy of Google Images

There is no biblical basis for beating the sin out of children so that they become God fearing adults.  But it is a belief espoused in Pearl’s and heavily hinted at in Gothard’s work (though I don’t know if he advocated corporal punishment). 

Pearl advocated “first time obedience” and demands it of babies.  “First time obedience” is the expectation that when an adult tells a child to do something that child must obey immediately.  Any hesitation, finishing a task already started, or asking for directions on how to do that something is seen as disobedience and must be punished immediately. 

For example: a thirteen month old baby is sitting on the floor, playing with a toy.  He puts the toy in his mouth (babies like to put things in their mouth; this is normal).  The mother sees this and tells the baby to take the toy out of his mouth.  The baby keeps the toy in his mouth because he doesn’t really understand what his mother is saying.  However, Pearl says the child is actively choosing to be disobedient and therefore needs to be spanked right this minute.

But first time obedience is expected of all children.  And being disobedient or even “rebellious” (a vague term that parents use to justify any spanking or to justify their anger and their desire to hit a child). Spanking then becomes the default method of parenting instead of teaching the child why let alone understanding child development in any way.

Children in Quiverfull face lots of violence, abuse, neglect, and are forced to behave in developmentally inappropriate ways. 

Teenage girls are expected to parent their younger siblings. 

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Courtesy of Google Images

Many children face the threat of corporal punishment which I’ve expanded to include not just spanking but any use of hitting as punishment which includes slapping, punching, using some type of implement. 

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Courtesy of Google Images

Many children are verbally abused through threats of corporal punishment regardless if those threats are carried out, through name calling, through insults, and through intimidation. 

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Courtesy of Google Images

Children are sexually abused not just through molestation and rape but also abused through body shaming, purity culture, and dress codes. 

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Courtesy of Google Images

Children are psychologically abused when parents threaten them, manipulate situations so that a child fails expectations,  play mind games, and through gaslighting.

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Children are spiritually abused because they are raised to follow an extreme belief system, are threatened with an angry, vengeful God that is out to get them and can’t wait to see them fail, and through the use of illegal and immoral tactics that are justified by the use of scripture verses.

Children are educationally neglected through the use of homeschooling.  Many parents use homeschooling as a means of isolating their children from others so that the parents not only do not have to teach their children a standard education but so that many parents can abuse their children and not have others know about the abuse.  Many children who receive a homeschooling education are usually very deficient in many subject.  Some children are not allowed to finish or even graduate high school.  This is especially true for girls.

Children in Quiverfull are medically neglected.  Many children are born at home.  If there is a midwife involved, she may be unlicensed. Licensing and training depends on state statute so many midwives are trained and licensed.  But there are those midwives and other medical practitioners who choose to operate outside the medical establishment. And with a heavy distrust of the government, many followers of Quiverfull will actively seek out medical assistance that is not regulated by any government agency.   Vaccines are seen as government intrusion so many parents refuse to vaccinate their children.  Or beliefs false information about vaccines.  Many children rarely see a doctor. Reasons include: lack of parental finances; government intrusion; doctors are typically mandatory reporters of abuse (depends on state law); belief that sickness is merely uncompressed sin and so the child needs to repent and get right with God; the belief that any sickness can be cured by prayer.

Children raised in Quiverfull suffer the most and are given the least amount of help and support.  They may live in an unhealthy home due to abuse, neglect, inadequate shelter, inadequate food, inadequate clothing, and inadequate resources and support. 
These children are victims.  They spend many of their adult years healing from the abuse they suffered, correcting their education deficits, and shedding false and dangerous beliefs and behaviors.

Quiverfull and Motherhood

I love it when people post comments because they end up helping me think more on a topic I’ve posted about.  I only scratched the surface in my last post on Quiverfull and I consider that one as providing the background and context for future discussions of Quiverfull.  Or to put it simply: Part One.

So this is Part Two.

I received a comment on the previous post and my response included issues that I hasn’t covered in that post. I felt another post was necessary. I am going to use the Duggars as my example here, largely due to the fact that people are familiar with Jim and Michele Duggar and their 19 children as a result of their following Quiverfull beliefs.  Though people many not know that the Duggars are Quiverfull, Gothard followers, follow Patriarchy (which is another damaging belief system that basically comes down to men are superior and women are inferior so they need men to rule and protect them using Ephesians 5:22 as justification), use courtship instead of dating, homeschool using Gothard’s material, and home church.

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Photo courtesy of US Weekly (because that was the only photo I could download and not have it end up opposite of what I wanted)

Michele Duggar likes to be pregnant and has said so in interviews.  Pregnancy is about her and her status as a child bearer.  For her, being pregnant makes her feel good.  Being pregnant keeps her in the spotlight and actually attracted the spotlight in the first place.  She is famous for giving birth to 19 children.

Pay attention to that last sentence.  There are two important words that highly illustrate the mentality of Quiverfull: giving birth.  That’s it.  These women get pregnant and give birth and then their job as mother is done.  Michele nurses and cares for a baby for the first six months of it’s life and then hands it off to a daughter to raise from there on out.  And then Michele gets pregnant again and the cycle starts all over. 

To Michele and many other women who follow Quiverfull beliefs, the mother only has to get pregnant and give birth, maybe take care of the baby for a few months or a year before an older siblings, almost always a daughter, is drafted into motherhood to raise her sibling.  Michele only gives birth.  She doesn’t nurture or raise this new child in any way except maybe homeschooling, at least nothing beyond those first six months.  Michele likes babies but her actions say that she doesn’t much care for children beyond how they make her appear to others.  And in Quiverfull, appearances matter.

Many women behave in the same way.  They get pregnant, give birth, and at some point an older daughter is drafted into motherhood to raise their younger siblings. Remember, Quiverfull emphasizes having as many babies as possible.  And the focus is on babies. 

Children are seen as a rebelling, disobedient, demon possessed spawn of satan stage between baby and marriage.  Childhood and adolescence don’t exist or are ignored.  

For many Quiverfull women, having children is a selfish act, not a selfless one. 

The Catholic Church teaches that marital sex is for two intertwined purposes: unity and procreation.  Or more colloquially: bonding and babies. 

You can’t divorce one from the other.  Marital sex cannot be just for pleasure and it cannot be just for babies.  By making marital sex about sex or babies, you make marital sex a selfish act where one spouse uses the other for their own gratification.  That’s not healthy marital sex.  Marital sex that embraces both bonding and babies is selfless because it becomes an act of complete self-giving to each other.  Marital sex is intimately vulnerable self-giving.  Your spouse becomes more important than you.

In Quiverfull, it’s all about the babies.  The mothers are treated as if they are broodmares.  Many mothers treat themselves this way which is truly horrific.  Babies and children become a commodity, not individuals made in the image and likeness of God who need a mother and father to nurture and love them and disciple them into adulthood.  Quiverfull is all about numbers not people.

So the child bearers abdicate mothering their children, at least after a daughter is considered old enough to be thrust into raising her siblings.  It’s justified as practice for raising her own children in the future. 

Michele gives birth to Baby.  She nurses Baby for six months before she picks Sister to raise Baby.  Sister in now Baby’s mother and will do all the diaper changing, potty training, getting dressed and fed, putting Baby to bed, teaching how to Baby how to tie his shoes, comforts Baby after a bad dream or a fight, teaches Baby to read and write, teaches Baby not to write on walls and how to get along with others, disciplines and corrects Baby, and how to play. 

A thirteen year old girl is now a mother to her baby brother.  And many times she is also mother to a toddler, a five year old, a six year old, and an eight year old while also having to clean most of the house, cook for ten people, complete her own homeschooling work on top of teaching a few of her younger siblings while also making sure she dressed in a pure and modest manner, read and memorize passages of the Bible, and obeying her parents while trying to avoid being spanked and/or other punishments for real or imagined infractions.

Quiverfull not only damages adults but also children, especially the girls thrust into adult parenting responsibilities that they should not be forced into.  A thirteen year old girl is expected to behave as an adult but gets punished as a child.  She rarely gets to have friends outside her siblings and what few friends she may have are chosen by her parents as long as they believe and act the way the parents want.

So Quiverfull:
-Emphasizes huge families
-Family planning is forbidden for any reason (health, finances, ability to care for other children)
-Women are expected to give birth to as many children as possible and their health doesn’t matter
-Babies are seen as a commodity
-Children are forced into parental roles to keep the cycle of permanent pregnancy going
-Women are only valued for their ability to get pregnant and give birth, not to be an actual mother
-Girls are expected to follow in their mothers footsteps by getting married and having large families after first having raised many of their own siblings
-Quiverfull is justified through the misinterpretation of Scripture verses

Quiverfull is Dangerous

Quiverfull is a fringe procreation movement with its name coming from Psalm 127:3-5 which states “Certainly, sons are a gift.from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them.” 

Adherents believe that families should have as many children as possible.  There is no concern for a mother’s health, for a family’s finances or needs, and is seen as a reaction to secular culture.  Children born into this movement are seen as soldiers fighting against a corrupt United States (it is a very American centric movement as are many of the other movements/beliefs tied with it) that can be brought back to Christianity (usually a very narrow, fundamentalist Protestant version) through high numbers of births and raising these children in this belief system.

It is a movement that is touted as pro-life when in reality it very antithetical to life.  Babies are seen as commodities instead of people, as individuals.  Women are to have children at all costs, even at the cost of their own life.  Women are expected to have a baby just about every year.  The parents act selfishly in having babies to fulfill what is considered godly belief and behavior.

These women are also expected to homeschool these children.  Girls are raised to follow in their mothers footsteps by getting married and having large families.  This all justified as being godly and biblical.

Many children are born into families that are headed by parents where at least one parent has a college education which is surprising considering that children born into this belief system are forbidden from going to college. Though there are also families headed by parents that only have a high school education, if that.  Many of the children in this movement barely receive a high school education, if that. Most of the children in this movement are homeschooled, usually by parents who lack the ability to teach academically.

The father is the only employed member of the family since it is considered sinful and against God’s will for women to work and/or work outside the home.  Women are only allowed to be wives and mothers.  Education for girls (beyond the minimum, usually high school) is discouraged and early marriage after “courtship” is encouraged. 

Most of these families have little income so will at times suffer from a lack of necessities such as food, proper clothing, housing, education (even with homeschooling), health care, and dental hygiene.  Many suffer all these things almost constantly during childhood. 

Corporal punishment is also heavily pushed so many also suffer from abuse.  Not just physical but emotional, mental, financial, spiritual, and even sexual abuse.  Verses from Proverbs and books by the likes of Michael Pearl, Reb Bradley, Bill Gothard are used to support spanking and child abuse and prove that this “Biblical.”

Anything that may be seen as government interference or intrusion is considered evil and refused or looked at with suspicion.    Such groups such as Child Protective Services are warned against and followers are told that they will take away your children because you homeschool (which is patently wrong and illegal).  Fear is a common tool to coerce and force compliance of behavior of children and even adults.

Quiverfull is also dangerous to men.  They are expected to get married at a young age so that they can father many children, typically are the ones to carry our corporal punishment, expected to rule the home as a leader which ends up being a dictator or tyrant, and determine who their daughter(s) may marry.  They also discouraged from going to college (too worldly) and so have to find work with a high school diploma. 

More information just Google “Quiverfull Movement.”  The Wikipedia entry is especially helpful. 

The blog No Longer Quivering (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering) has stories from those who were in the movement. It also provides useful information and support.

Homeschoolers Anonymous (http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com) also has stories from the children raised in this movement because homeschooling is tied up with Quiverfull.

I also suggest Recovering Grace (http://www.recoveringgrace.org) which deals with Bill Gothard and his promotion of Quiverfull, plus his homeschooling curriculum, spiritual and sexual abuse.


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