Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pink Casts

I love hiking. It's a good release for me and it gets me outside which helps my depression. Unfortunately, I am clumsy! I left Friday for a two nighter. We went up near the Needles. We had a blast, for a winter hike. One of the group's members tests new technology for REI so we were very comfortable. The last day of our trek, the same guy decided he wanted to try out a new wet suit thing he'd bought so we went to Peppermint Creek. The lower part of the creek is a series of granite swimming holes. I wasn't getting in the water but I wanted to watch him try it so I jumped across the creek. It turned out to be a very bad idea because I slipped on some smooth, wet rock/ice and my left foot went into a space between two rocks. My body kept going with the momentum of my jump and my tibia and fibia cracked.

I have really bad luck or make very stupid decisions, maybe both.

The good news, if you want to call it that, is that I had to go to a County Hospital because that's where the medivac people took me and there was a great social worker there. When I explained my situation to her, she went to work yesterday and got me enrolled in a few programs to help with the bills and I'll only end up spending a few hundred for all of this (with a payment plan, even!). I'm really glad she was on duty when I came in because I think it's going to be okay financially.

In the meantime, I'm going to classes and I actually feel pretty good. It doesn't hurt as much as I thought it would. It's less painful than my throat surgery, go figure.

I just wanted to explain my absense from the blog. I'm sure I'll write more later because I won't be going anywhere beside class this week.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Part 14- Punctuality vs Tardiness

This is Ruth-lite because, as I was glancing through the character qualities and trying to figure out what to write about this time, I realized that this topic would contain some humor.

Our family was religiously devoted to punctuality. Chalk it up to my father's obsessive-compulsive behavior or to it being one of our operational definitions but we were rarely tardy for anything. Unless, of course, it was a social function after a long road trip. Road trips were brutal and I imagine ours were no different than any other large family's.

We always started with good intentions. In my family, "wake up" time was usually 6:30am, so it wasn't hard to get up at four for road trips. Dad preferred to drive in the wee hours of morning so that the littlest kids would be asleep. We'd always pack in the week before the trip. Mom and I would be up to our necks in laundry because my father didn't believe in leaving dirty clothes untended for more than two days. We'd even get a cooler filled with snacks and drinks prepared so that we'd get our stops down to bathroom breaks. However, all of this preparation and good intention failed to deposit us at our destination by itenerary time.

Here are ten things that would inevitably go awry:
1. As I or mom buckled the smallest in their carseat, they would projectile vomit. It never failed. I don't know if it was because mom always nursed them as she gathered last minute things and then forgot to burp them properly or if it was the angle of the car seat...or maybe the baby had a glimpse of the hell that was to follow...but barf they always did. Back into the house we'd go to change the baby.
2. Despite the repeated and often angry warnings of my father to take a pit stop before we left, it was he who always needed to use the toilet one last time or ten minutes in to the trip.
3. "Did I leave the toaster oven on?" or "Did we set the timer?"
4. If we misbehaved in the car or argued, dad would pull to the side of the road and turn off the vehicle. He'd just sit there and glare in the rearview mirror. He'd tell mother to "handle it". This meant her turning around and warning the offender (if they hadn't shut up immediately when the car stopped). If they stopped, she'd mark a little mark on a dry erase board. For every mark we got on the trip, that was a swat we'd get when we arrived at the destination. If the offender ignored mother, and dad had to actually get out of the seat or say something, you were a dead man.
5. We were crammed into a van that dad had bought at an auction. Before we took ownership, it had been a floral delivery van. It had a stange smell on warm days. This smell made a few of us car sick. Not to mention, it had no rolling windows in the back. Someone would puke. We kept a bucket of this kitty litter type stuff that they use at amusement parks in the vehicle so that we could just sprinkle and sweep away the vomit.
6. When we did stop, two of the boys had a strange habit of taking off their shoes. Now, I think I know why. Their shoes were always hand-me-down and ill-fitting. I think they were just miserable in them and would take them off because walking in them was torture. In any case, we'd get a mile or two down the road and someone's shoe would be missing. We'd have to turn around and go back.
7. My dad never bought a new car. They were usually old and battered by the time we got them. As such, they would break down frequently and we'd get stuck.
8. If we travelled in our motorhome, towing the trailer, we'd end up driving so slow that semi trucks passed us and gestured feverishly at my father for going so slow.
9. My dad never checked maps or asked directions.
10. As us older kids got older, we realized that the trips were almost always an attempt to get us to take interest in a person in the family we were going to visit (as a courting prospect) and, I know I, stopped making these trips easy. I would purposefully distract my father or find a reason to make us stop.

And so, we were always tardy on road trips.

-Sorry this is a fluff piece but I'm going hiking this weekend. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Good memories

I get forty emails a day on average. At least three of those will say something like, "Didn't you or don't you have any good memories of growing up QF?"

To be fair, I should answer it. I had planned to include some of the better days in my '49 parts', but I don't want to string people along. Without any further ado, I present five "good memories".

1. Joseph and Caleb made a "Ruth sandwich". - We had this sneaky game we'd play when we could get away with it. That was usually when dad wasn't around. Basically, it involved our hammock, two blankets, and wrapping three kids in said hammock. Joseph would be on the bottom, followed by me wrapped in a blanket, followed by Caleb in a blanket. We'd flip the hammock over so many times that we'd be sausaged in a hammock tube. It sounds stupid and kind of dangerous but it was a guaranteed giggle inducer.

2. I remember when Rebekkah moved into my room in 91. I was about seven. I'd been in my own room for so long that it freaked me out a little to know that I'd be getting company. When dad rolled her basinet into my room and put it next to my bed, I was freaked out. But, that first night, after mom tucked me in and put Becs' to bed, the lights were dimmed. Out of instinct of whatever, I started reading a poem book outloud to her and she gave me her first smile. For the nedxt two years, before Rachel, I truly enjoyed raising Becca'. She was my baby.

3, When Eli, Joseph, myself, Caleb, Matt and Luke, and Rachel caught chicken pocks. We were miserable = but we had company in our misery. We got the pox in summer time, so we turned our front lawn into a series of tents and sun porches..

4. Shopping for Becca's layette.

5. Taking Rani and Rachel shopping.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

You asked for it.

QF/ATI One-Ups-man-ship.


Friday, March 19, 2010

49 Character Qualities of Ruth, Part 12

Hospitality vs. Loneliness
Cheerfully sharing food, shelter, and spiritual refreshment with those whom God brings into my life (Hebrews 13:2)-Bill Gothard's Characte Traits

The older I got, the more responsibilities I was given. When I last left my mother's list of progeny, she'd just had me (I think). In 1986, she had "Caleb". In 1988, she had twin boys, "Matthew" and "Luke". We called them the Dynamic Duo because they were never still and would go on to win the "most like to end up in the emergency room" award. After the twins were born, my father started travelling alot and my mother had a miscarriage, so it was three years before "Becca" was born, in 1991. All of the children after me were "my charges"/buddies.

1993 was a monumental year for my family...and for me.

Very early on in the year, one of my maternal grandparent's died. The other followed shortly after. We'd moved back to the South by that point and it fell to my mother to plan and host her parent's funerals. She, as it happened, was pregnant with Rachel. By default, the hospitality planning fell to me. Until now, I never realized just how bizarre it was for grown people to pass off the responsibility for hosting a wake to a nine year old child. I'd like to say that my parents must have been doing something right, or that I was preternaturally mature, because I pulled it off.

One of the training sessions that all girls attend in ATI camps involves hospitality. You learn the general rules of hospitality and meal planning for large groups. You learn how to "have a listening heart" and an "anticipating JOY-ful spirit". Translated: you learn how to listen for small clues regarding the needs of your guests and you try to stay one step ahead of them in providing for those needs. I flew around our house in full QF-Queen mode. I didn't even go to the graveside service because I was instructed to stay home and prep for the gathering that would follow.

My mother was devestated by the loss of her parents in such a short span of time. Between the bad blood of the past and my father's imposed distancing, she had limited contact with her parents. They, not wanting to walk away completely, decided to focus on forging relationships, as they could, with their grandchildren. I think they figured that, perhaps, they could help us where they couldn't help my mom. Their estate was given to my mother, who was supposed to divide it up for her children. In reality, they might as well have written my father's name on the will because he was the ultimate decision maker when it came to finances. The money was put into "dowry accounts" for us girls and put into "start up accounts" for the boys. I've never seen my dowry account. I've been told that my dad withdrew the money and put it into a business endeavor for my brother.

I digress. By the time I turned ten, I was capable of running the house. If we had visitors, which we often did, I could prepare all of the meals and prepare enough alternate bedding for us kids (our guests took our rooms). How did those visits shake down, you might wonder?

Usually, the other QF/ATI family would arrive and we'd immediately gather for prayers. One of the fathers would ask for God's blessing on the fellowship. As we all got older, the fathers would ask God to open our eyes to "His Plan". I may be way off, but the manner in which they said this always made me hear this as "open your hearts and listen to the Lord because he may be presenting you kids with 'the one'". However, after this prayer, the segregating of the sexes was almost immediate. The female children would head to the kitchen to prep a meal. The males would head outside or to the pool table. The adults would go to the formal living room (if there was one) to "fellowship".

As much as ATI families try to stay humble and gracious, you couldn't help be feel and hear the vanity and one-upping.
Parents A: Our Ruthie can run a home better than her mother. Teehee.
Parents B: That's wonderful! What a blessing she must be. She would pair nicely with our Janey! Janey can single-handedly clothe our entire family with ten yards of re-claimed fabric.
Parents A: A blessing indeed! Praise God for his wisdom. You know, our Eli is already saving wood to build his bride a home.
Parnets B: He should talk with our John! John is carving his marital bed out of a single piece of maple he bought at an auction.
You get the idea.
Fellowship indeed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Feeling better

I've seen my therapist twice this week and I'm feeling better. I've had to come to terms with the fact that I am very angry. Growing up the way I did, that's not an easy admission. Anger was considered a "selfish emotion". Never let the sun go down on your wrath and all of that. That might be a wise instruction- if you have a way to confront your anger in a managable, productive manner. I don't have that and it was never appropriate for me to show my anger, so now I'm having to find ways to show it and deal with it.

My dad will never apologize to me. If he does, it will be icing on the cake, but I'm not going to expect it. That doesn't change that fact that I am owed an apology!

I'm angry about a whole list of things but chief among those things is:
1. My childhood being abbreviated to serve the family.
2. My feelings being trivialized.
3. My pleas being ignored.
4. My individualism being sacrificed for the "greater good".
5. My education being sub par.
6. My father not loving us as he should have.

What I do about this anger is still up in the air. For me, just acknowledging it publicly is a huge step.

How do you channel your anger? I'm open to ideas.

On NoLongerQuivering, someone asked about Lisa Welchel's version of the obedience game. LW, according to the poster, has written that she occasionally denies her children the permission to use the restroom. The commenter said, "Why would anyone do that?"

I can speak from experience. My parents did this, too. They claimed that it was about learning self control and denying your physical urges. The belief was that if you could withhold the urge to need a restroom, you could withhold the need to satiate other physical desires. I was told that it was part of purity training because, some day, we'd have to practice controlling our need to self-gratify sexually or have physical relations before marriage. It was also used to get us to do things under our parents command. We had a bathroom schedule. If you had to use the bathroom at other times, you were supposed to get express permission. Our parents were supposed to know everything we did, down to bathroom habits. Just in my house, we had timers in the bathroom. The door could never be locked and you couldn't spend more than two minutes in the bathrooom for urinating or defecating. Showers were five minutes and you had to have someone of the same sex in the room with you, sitting outside the shower, so that you weren't tempted to use that time for "unpure purposes". It didn't seem like a big deal to me at the time because I was usually helping a littler sister wash her hair or someone was getting themselves undressed for bathing while I was bathing. Now I see how crazy it was.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is depression cyclical?

Can depression come in cycles? I think it must because I'm back in that dark place again. I have a nice guy. I'm making progress in school and with therapy, so I should be happy. Right? I should be. I have food in my belly and a place to live. I have friends (like you, readers).

Today, I started thinking about my dad's responses here and the things he's told my brothers about me. After I wrote Part 11, he went phone crazy and called each of my siblings, and I'm sure he questioned the siblings at home, to ask them about Martin. My dad was sure I was lying about the pantry incident. I guess he didn't get what he was bargaining for because my brother confirmed that Martin did inappropriate things with other kids he knew and my dad started accusing my brother of being 'poisoned' by my negativity. Now I'm poisonous?

A commenter said something like, "you probably picture your dad when you picture God" and she's right. I am having a hard time with my faith. I keep hoping that God has a purpose for the struggling people like me have experienced (and worse). That's really difficult to believe - that a god would punish people or make them suffer for His purposes. That depresses me. But I don't want to be one of those people who loses faith and belief because they're angry or confused. If I don't believe, I want to not believe based on better reasons than that.

I'm getting stressed about summer, too, and I know that's not helping. I'm going to miss Harris. I'm going to have to find a place to live, with roommates I guess. I neeed to find a job. I might nanny but I worry about how well I'll do with children.

I'm sorry for this post. It's mostly complaining. I hope you're all having a great day.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Part 11 - Perfect Victim

Self Control vs. Self-indulgence
Instant obedience to the initial promptings of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:24–25) - Bill Gothard

The training started when I was just a toddler. I don't remember who introduced it or how it was introduced. I just remember that, at certain points in the day, one of my parents would have us line up in the family room and begin barking commands. "Ruth, go to the table and sit in the chair. Stand up. Sit down. Sit on the floor. Move the chair. Come stand by me." It was common for one or two of the commands to not make sense. "Ruth, pick up that magazine and move it into the bathroom, but don't put it on the counter. Put it in the shower." The goal was to get us not to question the command or the logic of the instruction - the goal was immediate and unquestioned obedience. My mother never asked us to do anything "wrong" but my father would introduce "challenges" (as he called them). "Ruth, hit your brother." This contradicted our household rules. However, if I did not walk over and tap my brother on the arm, I would have to sit in time out. I can't tell you how common this "game" is in QF/ATI families.

Another incident, that I've described before, happened when I was very small and was asked to take a diaper to the trash for my mother. I had a sensitive gag reflex as a kid. Smells or sights could make me vomit. My father saw this as a character flaw and lack of self-control, so he mandated that my mother find a way to break my sensitivity. This particular day, I gagged on the way to the garbage can and was punished severely. Part of that punishment involved two weeks of eating the same meal (a meal that had previously made me toss my cookies): liver and onions. I hated the texture and smell. Yet, every night, while the rest of the family enjoyed whatever my mom had prepared, I was presented with liver and onions. I sat in my chair for hours, until the meat had congealed and cooled, trying to force down smaller and smaller bites. If I didn't finish it, it was reheated and served for breakfast the next morning. When I finally managed to eat the meal without throwing up, I was given oatmeal dyed with food coloring or some other unappatizing or stinky menu option. In the end, I learned to disassociate from what I was eating and I got past my gag reflex. My dad claimed this as his victory.

My siblings and I became robots for Jesus and my father took all the credit. We were picture perfect children, on the surface. Beneath the surface, we all suffered from various forms of anxiety disorders. It's not surprising! Everything, and I mean everything, was a big deal. If, when we finished our dinner, we didn't place our forks precisely on our plates (with the tines at two o'clock and the handle at ten o'clock, horizontally), it was considered a lapse in self control. If we spoke an unkind word or raised an eyebrow, it was a lapse in self control. If we ran, rather than walked, to get to a toy... you get the general idea. You can't live with that level of perfection and come out without anxiety. For myself, it would prove to be a disaster. At eight years old, I would make a mental accounting of every flaw or imperfection in my behavior (over the course of the day) and I exacted an almost Catholic approach to repentence. I would force myself to say so many prayers, in a certain position, with hands folded precisely, with no words missed. If I missed one word or positioned myself wrong or had my thoughts drift, I would start all over. This often meant me praying for hours every night.

Another result of this "self control" or "discipline" was that I became unable to carry out certain tasks without express permission. I've heard people say, after they've been through boot camp, that they couldn't pee without being told they could. I was much the same way. With regard to personal actions, I wouldn't take care of my own needs without first fulfilling my obligation to others and getting permission to take care of myself. Because every command was supposed to be followed literally, I also became the perfect victim. This was dangerous.

One of my dad's "friends" was a pervert. Much later in his life, he was convicted of lude and lacivious behavior towards a minor. This didn't shock me because, one afternoon, when I was six, he attended our home church and the bbq that followed. I was inside the kitchen, gathering condiments on my mother's orders to take back outside. One of my younger brothers was with me, getting hamburger buns and putting them in a basket to take to the serving line. Directly off our kitchen was a small pantry. "Martin" followed me inside the house and engaged me in small talk. When there were no other adults present, he told my brother and I to go into the pantry. Once inside, he shut the door and told me to kiss my brother. I pecked him on the cheek without questioning the order or the reason for the order. Apparently, he didn't want to see a peck. He told my brother to open his mouth and told me to stick my tongue inside his mouth. I was nervous and felt awkward but I'm also ashamed to say that, after having been drilled into following orders even if they were morally questionable, I did exactly as instructed. I didn't even hesitate. This haunted me for years. How could I do such a thing without even pausing to consider that what we'd been instructed to do was wrong. I've said it before and I'll repeat it- this is why the obedience game is dangerous. It replaces your ability to reason or pause to consider if the request is reasonable or safe. That same afternoon, Martin told my father that I had defrauded his son by sitting on a fence.

As an adult who's been through hours of therapy, I now see how twisted this experience was. Here's a grown man ordering two children to tongue kiss while he watches, who then goes outside and suggests that a child is being sexually enticing (defrauding young boys) by sitting astride on a fence. It's terrible!

The worst tragedy is that I never told my parents about the pantry incident and I was punished for "defrauding" even though I was the victim. In this type of family, you do not "tattle", especially on adults. Adults are the authority figures, end of story. Unfortunately, looking back on it, I don't even know if telling would have resulted in a punishment for the man. I don't have any confidence in my father and I'm sure that he would've labeled me a liar. In fact, I suspect he'll call me a liar even today. Parents, when you're teaching your children obedience, make sure they understand that there are some orders that a child has a right to deny. Otherwise, you're creating the perfect victim.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Let's go to the movies

Harris helped me with this little movie.
If it doesn't work, you can try here:

Adsense, really?

That was strange. I added adsense less than a month ago. It was up to about $40 in generated income and then I get an e-mail saying the account had been deleted for bad clicks or something. What does that mean? I filled out the appeals process and they denied it, without giving me much of an explanation other than "Your content may have been inappropriate for our advertisers". Is this because I said "porn"? It seems coincidental. Anyway, I guess that avenue is out. Ha!

Here's a strange side-effect of this situation: I'm so paranoid, having grown up Gothard, that my first thought was "Bill must have written google." I know that's ridiculous and that he's really not that powerful but that was my initial though. Or, that somehow my dad had contacted google. I'm such a dork.

Today's going to be a busy one. I'm gearing up for finals and trying to figure out what I'm doing for spring break. I think I may go hike with Harris and another friend. I may do some volunteering at this place I found over Christmas. I don't know. In any case, if the weather holds, I'm going to play put put tonight. I told Harris I was excited because I've actually played put put before! :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

nlq faq on the duggars


This is an interesting FAQ on the question of "Are the Duggar QF?"


Recently there have been many questions about my father. Since he doesn't seem shy about posting here when it suits him, I'll answer those questions (with the standard disclaimer that names have been changed and certain details won't be discussed to keep his identity private).

Was your dad involved in drugs or alcohol?
I don't believe he has even drank or done drugs. I've never seen him touch alcohol or anything stronger than Tylenol. That doesn't mean that he didn't have addiction issues. In speeches and talks he has given in the past, he has admitted to being addicted to pornography. This may or may not have been a ploy. In my opinion, somoe fundamentalists or evangelicals will claim they have a "porn addiction" when they're only human. Humans enjoy looking at the opposite sex. My understanding is that this is a biological imparitive to keep the species going. Evangelical Christians with the desire to self-punish will feel guilty because they see it as an uncontrollable vice. (I'm sharing this because my dad doesn't feel it's private enough to keep secret.) When my dad was a teen and young adult, he had a collection of pornographic videos and magazines that he used for self-pleasure. When he became involved with BYC, he had to renounce that usage and publicly admit his short comings. Ever since that day, he's claimed an addiction. In addition to that, my dad has obsessive compulsive tendencies. He's an absolute perfectionist. He's "addicted" to hs his image and keeping his space in perfect order. I think that's one reason he gets so flustered by this blog - he isn't in control of it. He demands this perfection from those around him.

Why does he treat your brother - the boys who left ATI- differently?
Your guess is as good as mine. My guess is that it's because men are just viewed differently in the ATI worldview. It's not desired but it's accepted when young men take their families in a different direction, so long as they stay evangelical, conservative Christian. Even so, all is not rosy between one brother and my father. My father still blames one brother for supporting my exit. He only keeps up a relationship with him, by my math, because my brother helps my dad in business and they have to associate for financial purposes.

How did he get involved in ATI?
My father met Bill Gothard during the BYC days. Gothard hired my dad and invited him to be part of "something big". Dad experienced a great deal of loss in his own life and I think Gothard knew that my father needed a "father figure" or someone who just cared about what he did. One thing Gothard is great at is telling people what they want to hear about themselves and building them up.

Did I miss a question?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stuck on Part 11

I'm experiencing writers block on Part 11. Please bear with me.

In any case, today has been a real mind trip. I came out of my morning class and walked but to the dorm. I'd hoped to take a quick catnap. My message light was blinking, so I had to go get messages.

It was my mom. Brother broke his promise to me and let her call from his house. It was an interesting conversation that revolved around mom asking me to give up this blog. She's worried that I'm getting too close to people I don't know. Shes' worried that I'm putting my dating life out there. Most of all, she's worried that I'm leading people away from Christ. Mom said that I should consider taking the blog down to help Dad and the rest of the kids deal with it.

My responses were short and sweet. I tried a new approach that someone told me about. I kept my answers to "yes" or "no", for the most part. I also made sure that I got to ask a few questions.
1) Are you and Blessing well?
Yes. Blessing is doing very well. She's had a cold for a few weeks and doesn't sleep as much as mom thinks we all slept. I suspect we all slept the same, but mom has gotten older.
2. How is Dad?
Dad is apparently vexed by this blog. He hates it and he is using it in prayer group to "work out a way to reconnect". I wonder if his church group knows about his comments?
3. The engagement has been cancelled and she has been told that she can either find a way out or stay, but live as my parents want her to live (waiting for marriage).

I need to stop thinking about me and start figuring out how to get her out. Like yesterday.

Harris update, per request:
It's going well. We've spent a lot of time hanging out with each other (usually in public). We've acknowledged that we ""like"" each other.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

the Oscars

A reader said I should do a post about the Oscars. I'm not sure what my perspective would give anyone, but this is the first time I've watched them and I find that I don't really get all the to-do.

I find that my favorite part of the pie is sitting here with my dormmates, trying to guess who's going to win. However, I'm just not up-to-date enough to understand most of the significance of the wins and losses - not to mention not seeing most of the movies. It's still fun, I suppose. I have used the opportunity to get about a thousand movie recommendations from people in the dorm.

This brings up a memory I have. I remember when Pocahontas came out in the theater. We weren't allowed to see it, of course. In any case, somehow, I heard the song "Colors of the Wind" and really, really wanted to buy the CD. We went to Walmart and the CDs were in a case by the electronics. I took it. Yes. I shoplifted it. I managed to hide it and hold onto it for several years, but I didn't get to listen to it because I was never left alone long enough to do that. I guess, along the way, I forgot about it. I just remembered it today. Anyway, how did I get from the Oscars to this little memory? I saw George Clooney and thought he was Mel Gibson. Whoopsy. Mel Gibson was in Pocahontas and you get the picture. I don't know what happened to the CD. My parents probably have found it by now. If they haven't, I hope one of my sisters or brothers did...and I hope they enjoyed it. If this is the first anyone in my family has heard of it...I hope it drives my dad crazy looking for it for the next week or so.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Praying a Hedge of Thorns

Someone remind me... does praying a hedge of thorns mean praying for something bad to happen to shove the whisperer back under the great man's umbrella, or is it more of a general protection thing?

Bill Gothard gave a series of lectures where he talked about how men can protect the fidelity of their marriage. In these lectures, a concept came up that revolved around Ez. 22:30.
" 30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none."
Other scriptural references would be-
Hosea 2:6-7 (King James Version)
6Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
II Corinthians 12:7
"7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure."

Bill Gothard teaches that Satan can gain "jurisdictional authority" over a person's soul. When a father or husband, as the authority and spiritual protector of the family, fears that this (Satan attempting to get ja) has happened or may happen, the man is instructed to "pray a hedge of thorns" around his wife/family/son/daughter. In doing so, Gothard teaches that the man will have created a "stronghold for Christ".

As a child within the hedge, you are supposedly protected from Satan's influence, so long as you keep a pure heart and follow, with every obedience, the true will of your parent and Lord. If, as a child, you purpose to step outside the hedge, by thoughts or action, you have opened your soul up to Satan and should not be allowed back inside the hedge without proper and due accounting.

In the beginning, Gothard preached this as a way to keep unfaithful spouses from straying. By praying the hedge of thorns around your spouse, God would keep the Satanic thoughts of infidelity and adultry from being able to breach your marriage. As time progressed, it was suggested that parents pray a hedge of thorns around children who strayed. This was to be done, both, as a means of protecting the children still at home and to keep out the child who had strayed until they "properly repented".

It's all out of context and misguided.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I've read the comments on the last entry. If you haven't, I suggest going back and reading them because there are some very insightful comments there. Instead of replying to them all one-by-one, I decided to make this a post and get it all "answered" or "weighed in" in one punch.

I think homeschooling can work out very well. I have met and spoke with many h/s parents and kids in my life - some of those people are the most gifted people I know. My issue is with ATI and it's method of homeschooling. The Wisdom Books are not enough and you need a parent who's invested in educating her children - not popping out enormous quantities of kids.

My mom was a certified teacher with a lot to give us. She was limited in giving us what she wanted to give us by patriarchy and the standards of her faith. I was very fortunate that she wouldn't bend on the math requirements and that I had, until I was nine, grandparents who sent me supplementary tools to learn from. If it weren't for that, I'd be a bad statistic.

@ATI people reading this- consider this not a libelous attack - it's my testimonial. Not all testimonials have to be positive. This is my review of how it worked in my house, in my life. Your experiences may differ.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Part 10- Continuation

Persuasiveness vs. Contentiousness – Guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks (II Timothy 2:24) – Bill Gothard
by RazingRuth

One of the goals of homeschooling, for ATI and I’m sure other communities that homeschool, is to forge tighter bonds within the family unit. As my teacher and the only other female in the house (prior to the first sister), my mother and I developed a very tight bond. I looked to her as my mother, of course, but also as any small child looks upon their teacher – I thought the sun rose and set with her. She, in return, shared similar feelings about me. I was the girl she longed for (secretly). A wish fulfilled, she would say during the quiet moments we shared together.

One of the quiet moments she insisted on, in a house full of chaos, was our “reading time”. I was always allowed to stay up later than the boys. This was something they always wanted to express their opposition to but rarely did because of the consequences of questioning an authority figure. After all, I was younger than three of them! Yet, the boys were all bedded at precisely 8:20 every night. As I said, the reasons for my later bedtime were several. For one, I helped my mother get everyone ready for bed. She and I would give the smaller ones their snack and supervise their baths. Then, I would dress the smaller ones for bed while she got the older boys in bed clothes and tucked them in.

After the boys were in bed, mother would come to my room and climb into my bed. She’d continue my “homeschooling” by reading to me for thirty minutes. I have no doubt that, had it been allowed, she’d have done the same for the boys, but when my father was home, the routine was for him to go have “Bible study” with the boys (after they’d been put in bed). When he wasn’t home, they were made to listen to inspirational and devotional tapes.

Mother would always read one passage from the Bible and then put the Bible down and read to me from a collection of fictional novels she’d saved from her girlhood. The books were always approved by my father, so they usually weren’t modern, children’s literature (I never read Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary, for example). I was, however, exposed to Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jack Wild, Lewis Carroll, E.B. White and Patricia McLaughlin. She didn’t just read to me, either. She would expand upon what we were reading and talk to me about vocabulary, history, and the bigger theme of the books. It was heaven. (See! It wasn’t all bad.)

Still, the “formal” homeschooling was ruled by Bill Gothard’s ideas and (at the time) new trends and trials. Because of this lack of rigor, when I left ATI and started looking at colleges, I was overwhelmed by what I didn’t know.

Science. I was hopelessly lost. I was educated as a strict creationist. We learned the scientific method – sort of.

Step 1: Read the Bible.
Step 2: Ask a question.
Step 3: Form a hypothesis.
Step 4: Read the Bible to find evidence to support your hypothesis.
Step 5: Devise an experiment.

You get the picture. I’d been taught the anatomy of the human body in Wisdom Books but that was limited to coloring pictures of the organs and knowing, generally, what it was that they did. I didn’t understand “how?” they did what they did or what the scientific reasons were. If you asked those questions as an ATI kid, you were told “God made it that way” and shushed. Evolution was strictly taboo and mocked incessantly.

History. I’d been given a neo-conservative, white-washed, Christian evangelical version of history. My version mentioned nothing of the founding father’s deism or the Treaty of Tripoli. I didn’t know that slavery was as bad or as rampant as it was. I was taught that the civil war was a Godly war over state’s rights. I wasn’t taught about Martin Luther King. I knew about the Crusades, but I didn’t know about the Black Plague or pre-Biblical peoples. Ancient cultures were briefly discussed and the caveat was always tossed in about how they couldn’t have existed in the times ’secularists’ claimed they did because there were no men on earth further back than about six thousand years ago. Dinosaurs? They walked with humans before the fall.

When I left and decided that I wanted to continue my education, I had a long row to hoe. I was over the age of 18, by the time I decided I wanted to repair the damage my ATI education had caused, so I had to go through an adult school. I had a GED, but I needed refreshers in basic high school courses. My math skills were exceptional (all thanks to my mom!). My writing skills were so-so. Reading comprehension was great. History and science – the counsellor looked crestfallen as he told me the results of my evaluation. I took two years of remedial courses through the adult school before I could take college placement exams.

I know not all ATI kids come out the way I did. Sadly, I know most of them come out worse! They’re “educated” in only the barest sense of the word. They’re educated in the same way a talking parrot is educated. They can regurgitate. Most ATI kids are horrible at advanced math. They know how to balance a checkbook and “figure”, but unless they were being apprenticed for careers involving higher math, it wasn’t offered to them. I know girls who went through the midwifery training that BG approves and to say their midwives is to say it using the 19th century understanding of the term. They can deliver a baby, sure. I think most of us could if we had to. They’re taught most of the skills that modern medicine would teach and certify a doula to provide. They are not taught true anatomy/physiology classes. It’s all practical experience.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Are the Duggars Quiverers?

I don't know what's in the water today but I've received this question a hundred times in e-mail.

(paraphrased and summed up)"Are the Duggars QF? Why would they deny it if they are?"

The Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar family are absolutely, positively, 100% QF and HAVE identified themselves as aligned with the goals and ideals of the main QF movement. I've not met them personally, given. But I don't have to stand in the presense of George Bush to tell you he is a republican, either. Here's how I know that the Duggar family is QF. Forget that their books are on the QF website- that's not the half of it.

1. They speak at ATI conferences. The only people allowed to speak at ATI conferences are those who Brother Gothard, or one of his employees, has cleared as sticking to the party line. The party line is quiverfull.
2. This article is on the QF site. It's from 2001. Further, a version of this article was mailed, by the organization, to every QF voting family in Arkansas. Ask yourself why the QF organization would mail out a prospectus on a candidate that wasn't QF? They wouldn't.
3. Prior to the show, they claimed QF in local newspaper pieces done about them.
4. Prior to the show, Michelle posted on QF forums. Since the first discovery show, her posts have been exponged.

Why they'd deny it?
I think they'd be more likely to deny it now because they can afford to. They're no longer dependent on seminars and QF/ATI speaking engagements for their livelihood. They've got the show and with the show comes the freedom to do things their way. Jim Bob isn't stupid - he's very media savvy and he knows when to disengage from a system that's being scrutinized in the public eye. Gothardism and ATI and QF are starting to get picked apart by people from within and without. It behooves QF to attach themselves to the Duggars because the Duggars are "modest modern" and in the public eye. It behooves the Duggars to disassociate because people like myself and nolongerquivering are outing the system for what it is.

Part 9

Wisdom vs. Natural Inclinations -Seeing and responding to life’s situations from God’s frame of reference (Proverbs 9:10) ~ Bill Gothard

by RazingRuth
Bill Gothard wasn’t a great student. He makes no effort to hide the fact that he flunked the first grade and barely passed the next eight grades. From 1st to 8th grade, he was a lackluster student. However, according to the legend, near the end of eighth grade, an older friend challenged him to read and memorize large portions of scripture. In doing this, Bill Gothard (claims to have) found the key to unlocking his intelligence. I’ll let his words speak for him.

“However, as he memorized and meditated on Scripture, Bill’s grades improved significantly—so much so that he graduated from high school a member of the National Honor Society. This direct correlation between his grades and consistency in memorizing and meditating on Scripture continued through college and graduate school.” – History of IBLP, Bill Gothard

At fifteen, Bill also noticed that some of his classmates weren’t paying attention to their instructors. This bothered him enough to meditate on their lack of attention. Through thought and meditation, Bill realized that these boys were making “drastic choices that would have drastic consequences” (source: a taped lecture from 1993). It was these experiences that led Bill Gotharrd to create the homeschooling program that we all know now as ATI/IBLP.

Before I get into how this worked in my childhood home, I would like to take a moment to ask a few questions (and answer them).

Q: Does Bill Gothard have children?
A: No.

Q: Is Bill Gothard married?
A: No

Q: Had Bill Gothard spent a lot of time observing youth, prior to creating the homeschooling program?
A: Yes. However, the youth he observed were admittedly troubled inner-city, heathen youth with multiple problems and, often, criminal records.

Q: Does Bill Gothard have a degree in education from a credentialed school?
A: No. He has a BA in Biblical Studies and an MA in Christian Education from Wheaton College. Presently, it holds all the necessary credentials for providing degrees in education. In 1961, it did not. In fact, by the 50’s, it was known as the most neo-conservative, evangelical university in the northern United States.

The homeschooling program I was raised in was created by a childless bachelor who took his educational ideals from mentoring troubled teens and applied them to families with a one size fits all mentality.

I was very young when the decision was made to homeschool. As such, I can’t say that I know what my parents reasons were but I’m almost positive Mr. Gothard influence was key. We lived in an area with nice schools and my mom had been a teacher. Still, despite all of the stress heaped upon her, my mother was charged with homeschooling her children and she did it with as gracious a heart as she could muster. Since she had a background in teaching math, we were some of the best educated children in that discipline, in our cohort. She broke with the prescribed curriculum for math somewhere in the fourth grade and began teaching us her own.

ATI utilizes Wisdom Booklets. These books can be used to provide education for a wide age range of children at the same time because of the way they’re formatted. Every section is focused on a scripture from the Bible. Every child studies the same topic/scripture while the parent applies it to different disciplines (the law, medicine, language, etc.,.). To keep it “grade level”, you use different worksheets or reviews. But, yes, the question I get most often “Did you get the bankruptcy lecture?”, is answered with a resounding “Yessiree”. I probably got the lecture three times over the course of my homeschool education. The curriculum repeats itself every four years.

One problem I saw was that there was no room for individuality within the ATI curriculum. There’s no program designed for special needs children. Even though the lessons are so basic (and so academically unrigorous that I can’t imagine anyone “falling behind”), there’s no remediation options. If I missed something due to illness, it was just missed. If you didn’t understand something, there were no academic consequences since the Wisdom Booklets don’t build upon anything academic. It’s ironic, to me, that Mr. Gothard developed this program after watching kids zone out and fearing for the “consequences” of their inattention — there are no consequences, save what Gothard considers spiritual consequences or physical punishments — for not learning your ATI curriculum.

To be continued…in part 10.