Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays

If you celebrate Christmas, then I wish you a Merry Christmas.
If you celebrate something else, then Happy Holidays.

I don't have much to do today. I've been invited to a prof's house for dinner but until then I'm just doing dorm stuff. Thank you to the person who suggested I could make a special request to stay over holidays. They're allowing me to in exchange for light housekeeping and maintenence over the break. It is weird not having the dining hall and not having the library open for computer time. I borrowed a laptop from a dorm mate. I wish I had one but that's not in the cards right now. Growing up not believing in Santa, I can't ask him for one. :o)

There were questions in the last two comment posts that I had not got the chance to respond to and wanted to.

@Margaret - The information about obstetrics was fascinating. I would suggest people go read what she has to say about modern fertility and how it applies to the QF movement. If I understand her right, she is suggesting that it's all the modern science that QFers generally speak against that has given them the ability to procreate at Michelle Duggar levels. While, at the same time, they are clinging to fertility dictates from a book written when natural processes kept women from producing such large broods.

ms0tee said...
I'm glad to hear she's doing well. I was wondering why she wasn't named an "R" name though?

I don't think my parents intended to give all of us girls an "r" name. They really liked our names, so I am told, and they were all Biblical. The boys have Biblical names but they're not "r" names. I think they named Blessing what they named her because of the situation. Her first name is a Fruit of the Spirit. (Just a note: since leaving my situation, every time I read "fruit of the spirit", I think of underwear.) Whatever I think of my parents choices, they didn't "pick a letter" and I'm happy for that.

Anonymous said...
Ruth, did you ever consider that your depression could be a result of following the wrong path?

No. My depression stems from living an isolated, controlled lifestyle with a mentally abusive parent, in a community of people who prized obedience over love.

Natalie said...
Josh and Anna's courtship always confused me a tad. I know they met at an ATI conference, but did they ever have a CONVERSATION before Josh asked to court her?

Obviously I don't know the whole story. In 'most' ATI/Gothard influenced families, kids like Josh and Anna would not have spoken alone until they were engaged. The may have spoken on the phone but a chaperone would have been nearby. E-mails aren't usually exhanged and if they are, they are monitored. Most ATI families have one e-mail account and all e-mail to the family, be it personal or not, goes through that account. Anna's family seems a little more liberal so it may have been different for her. I can say with almost 100% certainty that other than a few cursory, surface discussions to make sure their religious views and family views concurred, there wasn't any "alone time" until after the ring was put on her finger by Josh. It doesn't happen. Even after the ring, the conversations were probably limited to the phone because any other time they'd be monitored by family to make sure there was no physical display of affection (except for 'hand sex').

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A new sister

I have a new sister. My depression stemmed from not being contacted until several days after she was born and finding out that mom had some complications. The baby, despite being a little early (33 weeks or so), is remarkably healthy. She was just under five pounds. I guess she has some jaundice but is otherwise perfect. She's the first girl who wasn't named with an R name - but the TWOPers will find it humorous just the same - her middle name is Blessing (which is what I'll call her from here on out for privacy's sake).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I've had a rough day. On days like today, my depression gets the best of me. I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to all of you.

Courtship Company

A reader sent me the link to this site: She asked if I'd heard of people, I assume she meant in the ATI movement, paying a "dowry fee" to match their sons and daughters in courtship. I have, but I'd not heard of this particular ministry and I have some thoughts about it.

However, what caught my eye even more was this article within the site.
It states in part:
I wonder if you know about some of the tactics of Bill Gothard. I was helping a friend who was trying to get her daughter to come home. She was sent on one of the ATI youth centers and just as soon as she got there, her personality completely changed. She said she had read a book that said her family was dysfunctional,and so she would not return home. It is sad to see the anguish in this family. They trusted this ministry and now Bill has gone against them. He has told them that he cannot make her come home because he thinks the family is "abusive." I have written to Jennie about it and we are trying to think of anything we can to get this girl out of there, but Bill is working against us. On the web, there is an article called "Holy Kidnapping" written by a man whose daughter was sent to a ministry and ended up being free labor for the minister and his wife. He said there was a trend of getting these daughters to stay, and when the heat was too much, they would just shift them to another minister somewhere else. Since we have not heard from this daughter for awhile, we suspect she has been sent to another one of Gothard's centers. Do you know that he does things like this? He is also very evasive when the parents talk to him. He would not answer any questions. He claimed that the family didn't have anything going on at home for their daughter and it justified her being away in his center in NZ. We think it is all wierd. Stanley has emailed Bill but just gets evasive answers. I have emailed him and been told that since the parents are "abusive" they won't send the girl home.Lydia

Not knowing how old this 'daughter' (the 'kidnapped') is, I can't say if Bill Gothard is doing anything illegal, but this isn't the first case like this that I know of within his past.

Girls in this movement are taught that men are the ultimate authority on earth. They're taught that obedience is the key to a pleasing countenance. What parents may not realize is that they're setting their daughters up for tragedy! If you tell girls that godly men will take control of a situation and "lovingly" influence them into submission, then you can't be shocked when some men use that control in damaging ways. Parents, you trick yourselves into believing that "the wolves" are "out there" and not in your circle - this is foolish! The worst "wolves" I've experienced were in my own home and our home church. You let the wolves in and trust them completely with your flesh-and-blood. Shame on you! If you want to protect your children - start by loving them! Love them enough to objectively weigh the merits and short-comings of every person in their lives. If your daughter has "spiritual shortcomings" that need addressing, then address them as a family and love her through them. Don't send her off to an abusive charlatan to "fix". Maybe she doesn't need fixing?

Now to address the purpose of the linked site's ministry. They define "the problem" as:
The Problem
As we have attended good churches, home education conferences, and met good Christian families, we have noted a serious problem — that is, many young people are prepared for marriage, but have no contacts for good prospects who are equally equipped..

Please excuse my sarcasm = DUH! If you isolate your children from the world and proclaim the keys to the kingdom through your own, home church, then how do you expect the children to meet other people? Look at the Duggars and Bates! Two very well known families with, what some consider, "too much worldly exposure" and yet the choices for "mates" (I hate that word) are skim. They associate with few people in the first place. Take out the people who mommy and daddy would never allow to court their children and you end up with a small pool of possible applicants. Josh and Anna are a great example of how strange the priorities are. They saw each other across a crowded room and both decided to pray about the other. Josh finally decides that Anna is the one God has for him and asks his father to contact her father. Anna, probably figuring that no one else was coming for her, because she can't ask for anyone, says yes to a courtship that isn't really a courtship so much as a pre-marital placement. That's not options!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Can men defraud women?

This question was asked via e-mail: Can men defraud women?
Strictly speaking, yes. The definition of "defraud" would be different between men and women. Most ATI/QF believe that men and women respond to different stimulus. When the Duggar girls yell "NIKE", it's to alert their brothers to a female dressed inappropriately. This isn't a two way street. The boys wouldn't yell it out if they saw a man dressed in skimpy clothing. People like the Duggars believe that women are "defrauded" by suggestive words, touching, or contact with a man. They believe that women are "stimulated" by the heart and the body -and men are stimulated by the eyes and ears. The hard part for a girl is that this puts an insane amount of pressure and responsibility on her head. Boys could be defrauded by (this list is not a complete list, just based on my memories): flirtation (looks or speech), the way she acts around a man, the way she dresses, the words she uses (you don't talk about the body because it might make a man think about your body), and the way she carries herself physically. I was accused of defrauding a male in our circle because my dress got hitched on a fence and rose up. I was told that a real woman wouldn't even sit on the fence because the action could cause a man to think sinful thoughts. I am not kidding when I say I was told: "the man could think of himself as the fence with you sitting astride on top of him."

This really can get taken too far. I knew of girls who would do nothing in a male's presence, including sitting down at all. They would stand, legs firmly together, hands sweetly folded in front, for fear of their walk or position defrauding the men in the room. To be fair, I know of boys who would never be caught dead alone in a room with a girl or speaking to a girl.

The funnier aspect is that you can imagine how often people get tossed under the bus to save your reputation. You can always blame someone else for your impure thoughts. There's no personal responsibility and that is contrary to the alleged goals.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Questions and my date

I was wondering, have you been able to adjust to having non-familial relationships (i.e. friendships). I dont mean "dating" necessarily, but have you been able to make friends at your university, to provide you with the emotional support you may not be getting from your family? - Natalie

It's been very hard for me to adjust to non-familial relationships. I am always hesitant to trust (which is why my therapist recommended this blog). After twenty years of being told, daily, that the world was a horrible, sin-filled place with people who "walked with Satan", it's hard to see the world as anything other than that. I am getting better every day, but it takes time. The thing is, within your family, you miss out on introductions. I have the hardest time just walking up to someone and joining a conversation. It's foreign for me. My entire life, I knew everyone in my life (with few exceptions) from birth (theirs or mine). My friends were my siblings and a few others who were in our church. Our conversations with non-family members were closely guarded. As a result, I didn't learn that social thing that kids learn from getting to know complete strangers in school.

Strangers are referenced to as "the wolves". When you hear a fundamental parent say "we're not going to throw our children to the wolves", they're not referring to pedophiles or criminals. They are referring to you,...and me. The wolves are the general public. ATI families, especially, believe that it's the "normal" people you have to fear the most because "they are everywhere" and they "look harmless". It's the influence of normality that they fear because they know (most parents having been "average" themselves at one point), in their hearts, that there's nothing WRONG with being an everyday, non-ATI Christian or family. It's the non-control that they fear. That's why ATI kids don't go anywhere alone. You can be tempted to believe that that girl in line is a nice, normal person if you don't have another ATI kid to keep you focused on "the right".

My date didn't go very well. It was my fault. I'm just not ready for it.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I'm going on my first "date". I'm 25 and I'm going on my first real date.

One weird side-effect of growing up in such a sheltered lifestyle is that I find myself experiencing 'normal' things much later than my peers. It's exciting, no doubt, but I also feel like sort of a reject.

I'll respond to 'anonymous' later.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Baby #19 for the Duggars

I'm sure I'm the last to know that the Duggar family had a baby girl over the weekend. She was incredibly premature. This news makes me very sad for several reasons, chief amongst those reasons is that my mom went through this after Rani. I think I talked about it in the "pregnant" post. I really feel badly about the challenges the Duggars and their baby will face.

Question from a reader: How do Gothard families reconcile a happening such as this with their idea of God's will? Will they stop, do you think?

In families like the Duggars, God's will and timing is perfect. The Duggar family is probably sad and confused about this birth, but they won't show it like you'd think they might. It's not as much a Gothard-family trait as a devout Christian, conservative-Baptist approach: You don't question what God puts before you and you make the best of it. It's considered a test of character and worthiness to face situations like these with a positive spin and complete faith. They'll see Josie as a blessing, sent to teach them patience and possibly humility. I've alluded to it before but never really said it outright, but there are some families in the ATI circle that see the Duggars as prideful. I'm sure everyone is praying for them but there are feelings of this being a "moment of choice" for the Duggars. My own parents told my brother that the Duggars would be judged by God for their reaction to this and in how they react to this. It's sick, but some people will want them to stop the show now because this would be God's...not God's punishment, but his message for them to reevaluate the important things and maybe not see the show as their "mission". Alot of ATI see them as falling away from the mission to serve God and evangelize to a selfish mission. I'm not saying they're right or wrong.

I feel bad for the older Duggar kids. Little Jordyn has lost her mom for a while, at a time when she needs her very much. Why didn't the Duggars and why don't QFers in general think of the suffering that occurs in cases like this for the children they've already had? It's an oversight. The focus is so much on a PREGNANCY being a NEW blessing that the blessings they've already received get shorted. I'll just say it- I don't think my dad even thinks about my mom's health and what losing her would mean for us kids. I'm not sure Jim Bob and Michelle get it either. If they got it, why would they risk it? They have eighteen healthy, adorable babies, but it wasn't enough for them. When is it enough? Unless Michelle had a hysterectomy, this won't stop them. They'll have more if she can, you can bet on that. It doesn't matter if a doctor tells them no. They'll find a new doctor. They've done it before. It's what my mom did.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Email questions

How is your mom doing?
From what I've been told, she is progressing as expected. She did an amnio but I haven't been told what the results were. She's having trouble with her blood pressure plus being very fatigued but at her age that's not a shock. My dad has been listening in on our conversations so it's hard to say.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What do you want to be?

From what I've been told, the question of what a child wants to be "when (they) grow up" is a common one in most households. It wasn't that way in mine. In ATI, kids just aren't asked this in the way that most kids are outside of ATI. I may stumble explaining it but I'll give it a try. For one, the question never came from my parents. If my parents talked to us about our future, it was always laced with directed suggestions about the biblical role we were to fulfill. I'll give you an example:
Normal house: What do you want to be when you grow up?
ATI house/My house: Do you understand and accept God's commandment to be fruitful and multiply? Do you accept His plan for you as a wife and mother? What talents do you think God has given you to help you meet this commandment? Will it serve God?
Boys were given slightly more leeway because they could use their "talents" to provide for their family financially.

I have always loved reading and before I knew what a librarian was, I would "play" with my books. I would line up our books in alphabetical order and suggest titles to family and friends. Then, one day, we went to the library for some reason. This normally wasn't allowed because not all the books in the public library were "approved" and might contain inappropriate materials. This one day, though, we were there and I saw a librarian doing what I had been "playing" all my life. It was a lightbulb moment for me. This was what I wanted to do and it had a place in society. Not too long afterward, a nighttime conversation in the family turned to our goals in "serving" the Lord and I said I wanted to be a librarian. You really could've heard a pin drop. I may as well have said that I wanted to enter a prostitution ring. I was asked how that vocation would serve the Lord in "our purpose" to raise up a righteous army. At eleven, I couldn't think of a good answer, so my father told me that if I felt a calling to books, I should consider being a missionary because there I could give the Word of the Lord to those in need.

I'm hoping to be a librarian. If I can stick to this, then it might come to pass.

I posted this topic since I received an e-mail question about why I thought a certain QF family's son didn't go to law school. I don't know the answer to that. I only know that a child's future goals aren't as open, in ATI families, as they might be in a regular family. A child can express their desire but it will be held up to a different set of criteria. A "normal" parent might ask the child if the occupation would support their family or fit the child's personality. Would it be attainable given circumstances or talents? An ATI family asks if it takes too much time away from baby making. An ATI parent would ask if working for someone else is really following God's commandments. If the child is a female, the ATI parent would remind her that God made her for a purpose and to deny that purpose by having a conflicting career would put your eternal future in question. It's a different set of rules.