Monday, January 18, 2010

For Jaime

Jamie said...
I find your story interesting, but I really do wish you would stop making statements about your life and making them appear to be the norm or something that everyone that is QF or ATI. I grew up in it, as did many friends, and my sister was an avid Nancy Drew reader. I think she had near every book (me, I hated it). I don't think you or others mean to do it, but it is a pet peeve of mine.

This was in regards to my short post about being called Nancy Drew and not knowing who that was.

Jaime, I think you need to re-read what I wrote. I'll place it here again with empahsis.
I have to admit that I didn't know who that was. Every once in a while, I realize just how sheltered my QF/ATI childhood made me. (sad)

I thought I was clear in that post, as I am in the blog in general, that I am speaking about my experience unless specifically stated otherwise. I'm glad that your experiences were wonderful and that your sister was allowed to read Nancy Drew. That's great! In my family, and many others within ATI, that wasn't allowed. We were allowed to read only materials listed as "faith promoting", "patriarchy supporting", or "gender appropriate" materials. I'm sorry it's your pet peeve and I'll attempt to be more clear with my words in future posts. However, I also feel that this is my blog. It's my reflections of my journey and life. If you'd like to start a blog talking about your journey and your life, then I encourage you to do so. Different perspectives are always welcome and needed.


  1. Ruth, I'm behind you 100% on this. In your own blog, you get to talk about your own experiences. This is both honest and practical and, most importantly, it's your prerogative.

    I often find myself reading someone's blog and getting annoyed that they left out my experience. I feel slighted and want to comment right away with a self-righteous, "Well that's all very interesting, but have you considered MY point of view??" And then I have to stop myself and remember that: 1) The fact that someone's experience was different from mine is not an automatic insult to me, and 2) Though the blogger might find my input interesting, he or she is under no obligation whatsoever to address it on a personal blog.

    (So I guess my point is that, having wrestled with the other side of this issue, I admire your assertiveness in responding to a reader's complaint)

  2. My guess, Ruth, is that the issue is not at all as Jaime presents it. You see, Jaime knows that QF/ATI is exactly as bad as you have presented it to be, perhaps even worse (you are always careful to give QFers the benefit of the doubt, and to present your experience as your experience), and is attempting to invalidate your outing of the culture by shaming you with "well, we're totally not that way, and you should've said that."

    Which, as KateD pointed out, is utterly ridiculous. You can't speak as to everyone's experience, only to your own, and it is absolutely unnecessary (though you frequently do) to point out that you don't know what everyone in the world has experienced.

    Basically, I call troll on Jaime.

  3. I wasn't allowed to read Nancy Drew either.

  4. Goodness, my mother LOVED sharing Nancy Drew with me, but I didn't for a second get mad or think that you were talking about everyone. Maybe your family is normal AFI and Jaime's isn't. :) As with anything, there are extremes. We were only on the fringes of Gothard's teachings and your family is obviously much deeper. It's interesting how much variation there can be, even in extremes, isn't it?

  5. Ruth, you are so sweet and gracious.

    I wasn't in ATI although we had some of their materials. However, I was not allowed to read Nancy Drew either. Nor did we have a television, and whenever someone brought over books they had to be approved by my parents before we were allowed to read them. Even then, we had to be through with our schoolwork and chores.

  6. I can also identify with feeling uncomfortable when others would say, "You don't know what __________ is?" It got tiring as a teen trying to explain that we didn't have tv or we were homeschooled. Even as a young adult, people would tease ~ "Oh you were homeschooled! I forgot!"

    But it gets less and less, now that I'm not quite so young. Wait ~ is that comforting? Hmm.

  7. ITA with you, Ruth!!

    DH and I grew up in the "same" religious subculture but had VERY (read V-E-R-Y) different experiences and while some of the vernacular and "inside jokes" we both understand we each have our own, unique fond and fractious memories.

  8. Hi, Ruth!

    I've been lurking on your site for a couple of months now and greatly admire your courage. I'm from a totally "normal" family that didn't even attend church. I read lots and lots of Nancy Drew, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Judy Blume - I recently shared my own pr-teen copy of "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret" with my own daughter, which was pretty cool for both of us.

    Anyway, I came out of my lurker status to let you know that I think this blog entry is absolutely marvelous! It's wonderful that you just OWN it. This is your little piece of cyberspace and you get to make the rules. If others don't like it, they don't have to read it. YAY, YOU!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing your process and catharsis with us. As painful as it must be at times, I'm sure it's a very healing exercise for you. It's an honor to be able to support you and cheer you on. Your blog is also quite educational for people like me. Having insight into others helps us to find compassion for them.

    All the best to you, Ruth!

  9. Hi, Ruth! I wanted to delurk as well since I just found you recently. My family got into ATI just when I was making college plans, and, long story short, I ended up becoming a prodigal daughter (I and my family have come a long way since then).

    There are WAY more different experiences within ATI and patriarchal circles than identical ones. One of MY pet peeves (not trying to be too snarky, it really is) is reading a blog and being able to set my watch by a commenter coming along with that complaint. Each person's experience is personal and that's it. Besides, having to include constant disclaimers and carefully wording to make sure no one feels offended is a way to end up with really bad writing. Keep writing your own words! I really appreciate reading your story.

  10. Ruth,
    Keep writing and sharing your story. This is a personal blog and the readers are aware (or should be aware) that this is YOUR story. I find your personal blog to be a very valuable source of information and a learning opportunity. Thanks for writing.

    Oh, I do not mean to be intrusive, but have you been able to talk to your Mom or see a picture of your new sister? Are you still in contact with your older brother (the one whose expecting his 7th), is he able to keep you informed?

  11. Wow, you've had so many randoms come along trying to derail or invalidate you, you must be doing SOMETHING right. Keep at it!

  12. Go Ruth! Why on earth would someone try to put their own life into what you said? Ridiculous!

  13. Oh, I do not mean to be intrusive, but have you been able to talk to your Mom or see a picture of your new sister? Are you still in contact with your older brother (the one whose expecting his 7th), is he able to keep you informed?

    I haven't seen a picture of her, but I hear she's doing very well. I'll get to see pics when my brother gets film developed (he still does film). We were all really cute babies so I'm sure she's adorable. :) I got to speak to my mom very briefly, with my dad on the other line. She's doing as well as you could expect for someone her age recovering from birth.

  14. Ruth, I've never heard you say ALL ATI xyz. You have only talked about your OWN experience, or occasionally the norm/most common things within the Gothard circle. Keep doing as you are doing!

  15. Ruth,
    I understand you are telling your experience in an ATI/QF family. It's the same as a Catholic telling their experiences. What I experience as a Catholic, is different than another Catholic-- for example, the use of St. Joseph when selling a home-- some Catholics say you bury the statue upside down in the back yard, some say you bury it next to the "For Sale" sign, some say face up pointing in the direction of the house you want to buy. Sorry, that was a totally lame example, but it's an example of how things differ in one religion. You never said "This is how things are in every ATI/QF family." Jamie just wants attention. I like how you encouraged Jamie to start a blog... you totally rock, Ruth!!!

  16. You're my hero, Ruth :)


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