Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Explaining some things

I want to say thanks to the people who offered me prayers and peace in my last entry. I know that the way my father lives his QF, ATI, Gothard missionary life isn't what most people would see as "Christian". I know Jesus' love is different than that for so many Christians that I've met.

Mrs S said...
I sincerely hope you do not think all conservative, dress wearing large families are like that, Ruth. We have 6 children, wear skirts, don't cut our hair, etc. But we would *never* betroth our daughters to someone without telling her, nor would we ever allow someone to shove our daughters or call them property. I do believe in submission, and raise my children much like the Duggars, but what you're describing here does not seem like what our family does or believes, nor is it what the Duggars do or believe (and yes, I know them)Mrs S

I know, Mrs. S. I think it's possible to have large families and do it right. I think it's hard but it can be done and I'm sure you're one of those people who knows how to do it. However from what I have lived and witnessed, patriarchy can lead to situations like mine and my sisters and it's more common than I ever wanted to believe. Another thing I learned is how every family is different so what I say shouldn't be equated with how you practice or the Duggars practice their version of Christianity. I'm sorry if you feel I'm giving that feeling.

I'm tatortotcassie from the TWOP boards and I had a question about courtship I know the Duggars would never answer. I know you endured a terrible farce of a courtship but I didn't know who else to ask:If "you give pieces of your heart away" when you date, doesn't that imply love is finite and in limited supply? And if love is finite, then won't you eventually run out of love if you keep having more and more children? It just seems like a such a contradictory theory.

It's pretty complicated. I had the same question after I started pulling away because it seems like a contradiction doesn't it. My mother always explained it, as her belief, that there were two different kinds of love. Love you have for a child which can be infinite and love you have to give a sexual partner, your spouse. People in the movement will argue (and maybe they are right to a degree) that it's unquestionable that you don't love your children the same way you love your spouse so that line is easy to draw and seperate the types of love being finite or infinite. That gets rid of the quandry for them. I see it that way a bit but I also see where you're coming from as love being love and just because you love one potential lover doesn't always mean you're going to love the one you end up marrying any less. My questions were about that particular example. My "betrothed" went on to have numerous engagements and no one ever suggested to him that he loved the next betrothed less because he was supposed to have loved the others with the same amount of love. There is a double standard that I see clearly now. I was very much seen as damaged goods when I refused my intended. My father and brothers were vocal about it. Girls can (not always as Mrs. S points out) be labeled as "that girl who DIDN'T MARRY" or "that girl who's still not married and WANTS TO GO TO SCHOOL", where a boy is "taking his time", "preparing for a family", "that boy who courted that girl and then SHE backed out". I may have too much anger in me to be objective for now.


  1. Your answer to tatortotcassie is great and certainly brings out the double standard in much of patriarchism’s thinking on courtship and marriage. It seems to me that many men in this movement have the idea that only men like sex. (Golly, I wonder why—right?) They have been taught by Gothard and others that women don’t lust physically, but emotionally. A girl’s connection to a young man is a matter of the heart, but not quite so much for the man. His connection is to find an outlet for the lust within him. I know this sounds strange, but it answers all kinds of questions. Men marry for sex; women marry for love. Therefore, a man can only commit adultery when sex is involved, while a woman commits adultery when she “gives her heart” to one man and then to another. So he can have one “courtship” relationship after another until he finds what he needs as long as no sex is involved. She, on the other hand, is not free to do this. Once she opens her heart, according to this thinking, she will always have a special love for that person and to marry anyone else would be adultery. You will remember Gothard’s teaching that romance novels are equivalent to pornography for women. Same idea.

    I am praying for you during this challenging time. Just remember that it never was about doing the right thing. That was the lie. The truth is that it’s all about the love Jesus has for you. That never changes.

    Sorry about the “anonymous”

  2. I think you have every right to be angry for what happened to you. But I agree with your therapist that this a great way to get the anger out. One day it will have diminished into nothing more than a memory. =)

    I may not know you in person, but I wish that I could give you a huge comforting hug and maybe take you out for a drink for some girl time. I'm the same age as you, born the same year, and I don't think I have near the strength that you do. In spite of all that has happened in your life, you still manage to push on. Just remember: God won't give you more than you can handle. You're a strong woman and will get through this trying time and go on to have an amazing life.

  3. Regarding the whole, "My family's not like that!" kind of mentality, we weren't as extreme as your family because my parents were a bit older when they discovered Gothard, but that doesn't mean it wasn't harmful! The whole worthless sinner ideas coupled with the abstinence/purity ideals were all that was needed to lead to a pretty atrocious situation for me.

  4. Mrs S,

    I grew up in a situation that was scarily close to the one that Ruth has described, but with the added issue of having a very sick man for a father (if you want to know more go to : I won't post details because I know it is triggering for some). But I and many, many others that I knew growing up had abusive homes.

    The thing is, Mrs S, that you can not say for sure what goes on in the Duggar home: my family was always considered a "good" family, and yet away from the eyes of friends and family was highly, highly dysfunctional on many levels. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with the Duggars: but I am saying the possibility for dysfunction is there, and only the family truly knows what the facts are.

    Mrs S, you sound a lot like my mother (whom, yes, I am close to regardless of past religious differences). Perhaps you should talk to her and hear her story. You can contact her via my blog if you wish: I am sure she would love to chat you.


  5. Can I ask if the other girls who rejected your "potential husband", were they then seen as bad?


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