Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More FAQ Answers

Please continue to post short questions for this FAQ in the first thread so I can keep my place. Thank you!

I'm curious about your transition into college, and how your upbringing has affected your class choices and interactions with other students.
My transition from home schooled, "preparing to stay at home" young lady to college woman was long and very gradual. As I've said before, it took a few years to get my pre-reqs in place and educate myself enough in some areas in order to do well on standardized testing and placement exams. My class choices are dictated, mostly, be the university curriculum and what's available. Now that I'm as "caught up" as any freshman, and I'm just finishing my freshman year, (maybe I have enough credits for a sophmore but I'll be here at least three more years), my upbrining doesn't affect that.

what the ATI views on Judaism were, especially since it seems that there are aspects of the ATI life that draw heavily from Orthodox Judaism.
Short answer- Judaism is an older religion that Christianity so it was respected but now they'd say Jewish folks are "wrong" because they don't recognize Christ's salvation.

Do I let my mom off the hook?
In some ways I do. That may not be right from a standpoint of accountability and it seems to have sprung some debate in my comments section but the answer is complicated. I hold my mom responsible for some things: the decision to marry my father, originally, perhaps, or the decision to follow my dad into Gothardism. However, I feel for her like I feel sympathy for the guy who bought a crappy car because of a suave salesman. In my mom's case, she had a whole team of salesman working on her. By the time she started to see the choice she'd really made, she had small children and had been told that she had no where to go. My grandparents would have taken her back in at that point and helped her. But my dad and everyone near her was telling her she'd be leaving a righteous life and their protection. Some one brought up Vyckie at NLQ. Vyckie is insanely strong for being able to leave with her children and she paid a heavy price (financially, emotionally) for it. I cut my mom slack, whether it's right or not, because I can see how limited her perspective was.

If I seem to let her slide in accountability, it's because I still identify with her - I almost became her. My therapist says that we tend to cut our "safe parent" more slack because we identify with them most. When we start to criticize them, we're getting close to criticizing ourselves. I guess I'm not there yet. If I have to criticize her, then I have to examine my part in perpetuating the abuses I saw around me. I doled out some swats to the butt and followed my father's house rules, even after I was at an age to know it was wrong.

I was going to ask if you would ever speak out even more vocally and publicly than this [very brave] blog, but Anonymous already suggested it. Do you think you would ever pursue bringing this to national attention?

Would I EVER? Yes, probably. Is that going to be anytime soon? I think the blog will be it for now. I *need* my anonymity for several reasons right now. Giving my information to Vyckie caused a panic attack of epic proportions. I can't imagine doing more right now. When Rani is out of the house and safe and Blessing is older or my father dies, then I'll feel better about it.

First Question: Do you now consider your upbringing to be a cult?


Second Question: Where you the first to leave and if not, who left first and how are they dealing with life now and are you close?

I won't divulge my siblings stories out of respect. It's their story to tell, not mine. I wasn't the first to have doubts, if that's what you're asking. An older brother followed the path before him and found it to be the wrong path for he and his family. I am very close to them and getting closer every day.

1. How IS the leg??? ;-)
2. What are your plans for the summer? Will you take classes or work or both?
3. Is it safe to tell us what year of study you're in, or does that need to remain confidential? (Completely understand if it does.)
4. Does Harris know about your blog, and if he does, does he read it?
5. Speaking of reading, what books have you been enjoying lately?

1. Healing! I'm still on crutches (my armpits hurt like you know what). I don't have any pain unless my clumsy self bangs it on something. No need for pain meds of any kind anymore. It's just inconvenient now.
2. My summer plans were hampered by my leg. I was going to get a job and do some hiking. I don't know how that will work now. The cast will be off around May 10th. I may nanny for a family in town in exchange for room and food. I'll still need to find some spending money income. I was going to take summer school but budget cuts at the state level blew that when my class was cancelled.
3. I'm a frosh. I consider myself a freshman, but I think I have enough credits to be an early sophomore.
4. Harris knows about my blog. He doesn't read it every day or comment.
5. I haven't pleasure read in a while. Too much school reading to be done. :) I started one of the Twilight books and I like it so far.


  1. Ruth, don't let some of the naysayers on FJ to cause you panics. Your info is yours! You might feel pressure from them to answer but it is your right to remain anonymous.

    I'm sorry for the panic attacks. I've had those &%^$ attacks for over 30 years and at times, I am confined to the house. Breathe deeply, my dear Ruth, and live your life.

    Take care.


  2. Oooh boy, the magical protection umbrella again. I'm not quite sure what I think about this personal accountability stuff, but I do know that disgusting things have happened because disobedience is harshly punished and escape is near-impossible. Once again, you've done a wonderful thing to write a blog that might reach and inform other people afraid to leave, including your mum.

    I hope your leg and armpits heal soon! I'll be interested to see what you think of Twilight when you finish it. I've yet to read the books myself, but it seems to be one of those things that's either adored or loathed (though I've seen a rare few people who take the middle ground).

  3. What kind of books did you read pertaining to homeschooling? Like, obviously Harry Potter was out.. but did you read Little House on the Prairie or anything like that?

  4. Tip from someone who was on crutches for months--shorten them so that they don't come up against your armpits unless you are at rest and leaning on them. When you're walking the load should be on your forearms.

  5. I didn't realize the beating were taking at FJ. Eh, people will either believe or not. I figure that since Ruth's not asking me for a kidney, I'll read and learn and enjoy.

    I hope your foot continues to heal and that you firm up your summer plans. It might be a nice time to get a library card and read when you aren't working.

  6. Also, if you want a good (as compared to the horrible writing styles of the Twilight girl) go for the Anita Blake vampire hunter series. It's great up to book 8 (where the author clearly loses her mind) and very girl power-y. No weak damsels in that series at all.

  7. Oooh, have you read the Harry Potter series yet? It's good! :o)

    I can't go to Free Jinger anymore because anytime I do, I get a virus. So I haven't seen any of the drama over there. I never did post, though.

  8. I sparkly heart the Anita Blake series.
    Have you been to the Anita Wiki, Cynthia?

    I dunno. Wasnt fond of Twilight. I found Bella to be weak, Edward controlling, and the plot line lacking.

  9. I know of another dude with and umbrella of protection...Hagrid from Harry Potter. His umbrella is actually a repaired magic wand....

    Otherwise with all these umbrella's that gothard is so fond of I start to envision ATI as one big Traveler's Insurance know...the ones with the GINORMOUS umbrellas.

  10. Ruth, I was wondering if you received a call from Bill Gothard after you left the fold?
    I did get a personal call from him when I left home. He was kind and soft-spoken, although I can't remember what he said, other than he was persuading me to go back home, and warning me of the dire consequences that would surely ensue, should I choose to remain outside the umbrella of protection. I do recall being terrified after we hung up. It was really as if I was getting a call from God Himself, and the hammer was about to fall . . .

  11. HAHA Lynne, and don't forget the HEDGE of protection, for the really rebellious women/children.

  12. It'd make a great book series. Bill Gothard and the Hedge of Thorns, Bill Gothard and the Umbrella of Protection...

  13. I'm dying of laughter, Lolly! Bill Gothard and the Seven (basic) Secrets. Bill Gothard and the Seven Spiritual Gifts.

  14. Anonymous,

    I love the Anita wiki! I think my favorite part of the series was when Anita was surrounded by bad guys and once she finishes them off, she sees Jean Claude leaning against a tree watching her. She says something about "nice of you to help" and he says "you didn't need my help".

    I thought that was great writing. Sure, it's nice to have the master of the city behind you, but it's priceless to not need his help when kicking evil's ass.

    It's sad that the author got a divorce and went insane. As much as I loved the characters, it just got too sexual for me. But the first 8 books rock!

    I got through the first part of Twilight before wigging. Bella is a fanfic Mary Sue and Edward is creepy. But everyone else loves it, so rock on!

  15. Ruth, you HAVE to read Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are quite intense, but it's a great story.

  16. Rendy, I'm (sarcasticly) jealous. I didn't get a phone call. I got a personal note card from him (through my family) which I always doubted the veracity of. Now hearing that you got a call, I'm wondering if it was a real note from BG. I always thought it was my dad trying to encourage me back into the fold. Did BG tell you that you were depriving the one God had for you of his "spiritual one-ness" by leaving? That's what I remember being on my note. I wondered how God would be so all-knowing that He would not have forsaw my departure and gave "the one" someone else who didn't leave?

  17. Ruth,

    Tamora Pierce (young adult fiction writer) and Shannon Hale (ditto) are fan-freaking-tastic. They are phenomenal for curling up with and just plopping down in another world entirely.

  18. Ruth, if your armpits hurt, you're not doing it right. ;-) No, really. You aren't supposed to put the weight under your arms at all, it's all supposed to go on your hands. No weight on your shoulders. I know it seems weird--I had the same feelings, and it's hard work, but it will kill your pits. They are sort of just supposed to be a pivot point.

    I tore my ACL and had to have surgery while I was pregnant the first time. It sucked. I was so tired anyway, so I actually used a wheelchair to teach from, but when I did need crutches, this helped. It was still really hard, but at least my armpits and shoulders didn't hurt. And my arms got pretty buff. :)

  19. Actually, if you can track down a pair of forearm crutches they apparently work a LOT better than the underarm kind. In most places, people with broken legs get the forearm style, not the underarm style; my father broke his ankle while in London and came home with a pair of hospital-issue forearm style crutches. They're expensive enough that it's probably not worth buying a set if you'll be healed up soon, but you might try putting up a craigslist post to see if anyone's got a set sitting in their closet that you could have.

  20. Oh Cynthia, you and I are of the same mind. How did you get on my wavelength? I full-on heart the first 8 Anita Blake books. Although I must admit that Richard got way too whiney for me after a while. He cannot handle Anita's kick-assness! :) I prefer Jean-Claude to him anyways. My favorite is The Killing Dance. Ahhhh such good books. What say you to Merry Gentry?

    Ruth, if you've never read them, I fully recommend anything by Jane Austen. Start with Pride & Predjudice. Then Sense & Sensibility, then Emma. Amazing books full of strong women. Jane Austen was truly ahead of her time.

    I'm torn about the Twilight books. I'm not a fan of the sparkle-pires, but they are nice escape books.

    I wonder what Daddy Darth would say about us recommending "worldly" books. Especially ones with vampires and wizards and women with a backbone.

    Keep on healing the leg Ruth. You'll be up and about in no time. In the meantime, it's time for me to begin re-reading Anita Blake books. :) What can I say, we all need a Guilty Pleasure every once in a while.

  21. I was wondering, since you said you were exposed to Laura Ingalls Wilder, how long did that particular exposure last? I can't imagine you got as far as These Happy Golden Years, where Laura tells Almanzo she won't promise to obey him, and he replies "I never knew a woman who did, or any decent man who wanted her to."

    Also, did you or any of your siblings vote while you were living with your parents, and, if so, how did your father handle that?

  22. I agree forearm crutches seems less painfull. Never saw any underarm crutches in France actually. Must be a North-American thing.

    There are tons of books to read. But I'd say Harry Potter is really a classic !

    Sookiestackhouse's series might be better than Anita Blake (sorry guys).

    If you like to laugh, I'd say read the Mary Janice Davidson the Undead series. Her character Betsy is really hilarious.

    hope everything is well ^^

  23. Gothic Rose,

    Apparently, LKH wrote Richard in based on her then husband. And then the marriage went south, hence Richard freaky out at every turn and being written out for a while. I guess I always loved Jean Claude because he was up front about loving her for herself AND her power. He didn't lie about that and he accepted her for being more of a monster than he was. Richard never could accept himself, which doesn't bode well for him every being happy in a relationship.

    I keep waiting for LKH to get back to the story and stop the stupid ardour thing. I loved The Killing Dance as well. She can write some hot romance, that's for sure.

    I haven't tried the Gentry books yet. Did you like them? And don't you know I'm going to go home and read one tonight???

  24. Ruth, I suggest that you read Harry Potter and also The Lord of the Rings. That latter is a classic and J.R.R. Tolkien is a genius! I also want to suggest two books that I read in my international literature class in college. They are true stories by women from different parts of the world. Red Azalea by Anchee Min and Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa

  25. I recommend any book by Bill Bryson. He writes non-fiction, but his writing is hilarious, especially his memoirs.

  26. Brysons 'Walk in the Woods' is a must read. Funny, funny book.

  27. Ted Dekker has some good books if you like stories that can be random and out of the box.

  28. Two other Great series with kick-a$$ heroines are Kim Harrison's Rachael Morgan series and the Cast in... series by Michell Sagara.

    Nanny-ing sounds like a great thing to do for the summer, I looked into hiring one once, and they seem to have really good rules for them if you get with the right agency.

  29. I'd like to recommend read the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. It's main character is Sookie Stackhouse. Very good book series & much better than Twilight (Twilight is very mysoginistic). Also the Sookie Stackhouse books have been made into a tv show on HBO called True Blood. Excellent tv show with great acting IMO. But if you aren't ready for shows with some violence & nudity then I suggest not watching the show but reading the books.

  30. Hey Ruth,I've been following your blog for awhile and just decided to post a suggestion on books to read. You should definitely give the Hunger Games trilogy a try. The first book is called the Hunger Games and the second one is called Catching Fire. The third book, Mockingjay, isn't out yet.

    Here is a plot summary of the books: "The Hunger Games takes place in an unidentified future time period after the destruction of North America, in a nation known as Panem. Panem consists of a rich Capitol and twelve surrounding, poorer districts. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol, every year one boy and one girl from each district are selected at random and forced to participate in The Hunger Games, a televised event where the participants, or "tributes", must fight to the death in a dangerous outdoor arena until only one remains. The story follows fatherless 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12 who volunteers for the 74th Games in place of her younger sister, Prim. Also participating from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, a boy whom Katniss knows from school and who once saved Katniss's life by giving her bread when her family was starving. They are taken to the Capitol to get prepared and participate in the games. The book tells their journey trough the Games, the relationships they form, their survival methods and the developement of resentment and hate for the Capitol and its government"

    The books are AWESOME. You should give it a try.

  31. I enjoyed the Twilight books - they were a fun read, and its an interesting take on the coming of age theme.

    I would also highly recommend the books of Meg Cabot - really funny, funny books, with great dialogue, interesting characters and fun reads all around.

    I second the recommendation for Jane Austen (if you haven't already).

  32. For fun reading, I would suggest Bridget Jones's Diary, and also the "Enchanted, Inc." series. I think that's what it's called--it's by Shanna Swenson, and it's just light-hearted and fun.

  33. Hi Ruth! I'm an anon. lurker who loves reading your story and am inspired at how you handle what you went through, and your courage! My own background isn't nearly as mind-boggling as yours, but I did grow up in a fairly conservative Christian home, so I can identify with some aspects.

    Can I recommend a book? The Poisonwood Bible is a great read by Barbara Kingsolver. It's about a baptist missionary who takes his entire family over to the Congo in Africa during its fall in the late 50's/60's. The father is really a character, and believes God is all these "heathens" need and well, if you read it you'll see what happens to HIM! :) It's one of my favorite books, and a fantastic read!

  34. Got to recommend The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. A scary vision of what the future might be like if the fundies took over!

    Hannah x

  35. This is the second reference I have heard to The Handmaid's Tale! I have GOT to get a copy of that book.

    For all the years I was in fundie churches I could not for the life of me figure out why other people were so worried about fundies taking over society. I naively thought that would NEVER happen, and why would anyone want it to happen anyway.

    Now I think my naivety was related to my great early education in Virginia public schools and early exposure to great Virginia thinkers like Thomas Jefferson. The protection for Christians inherent in the separation of church and state was so plain. I am still in shock that any religious person would want to change that. *scratches head*

    Now that I have left fundamentalism, because it was such a mindscrew and faith destroyer, I see why people are afraid. And I am determined to do all I can to keep religion out of government.

    I feel like I owe society and apology for not taking their concerns seriously, even though I am but one little itty bitty citizen. Still... SORRY FOR NOT TAKING YOUR CONCERNS SERIOUSLY! Really. mea culpa. *ouch*

  36. Yeah, The Handmaid's Tale is probably a great read for anyone trying to get out of QF, because it's basically QF taken to extreme.

  37. book reviews: ;)
    i think the anita blake series is my favorite but it does have HEAVY sexual content past the first couple of books so be warned.
    the sookie stackhouse novels are pretty good, the t.v. series is better IMHO but the books are good especially if you don't have a lot of time to read because they are a fast read.
    never read twilight.
    i would actually recommend anne rice books for you, because her vampires struggle with morality and deeper concepts, they are not always about the sex and drama. i really, really loved her books when i was on the "outs" with christianity but still hadn't left the faith yet. there are no clear "answers" to the vampire's dilemma but anne rice portrays a struggle of faith very well, and of course makes a fascinating mystery/adventure along with it.
    if you can't tell i like vampire novels. :)

  38. It's interesting how a lot of us are recommending vampire novels. I would be nervous that these books would be pushing Ruth a little past her current limits. But then again, these are just suggestions. Ruth, it's totally your choice, but I will second the Mary Janice Davidson books. Betsy is a true character, and the books are hilarious!

    Cynthia, I quite enjoy the Merry Gentry series. They're not as overtly sexual as Anita Blake, but it's still there. But then again, the fey are full of wild magicks and Merry is part fertility "deity." And ever since the mention of Anita Blake, I started re-reading the series. I love me some Jean-Claude.

  39. I must also recommend Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. One of the best stories ever put to paper.

  40. Ruth, you might find Francine River's novels healing in terms of faith.

    I second the Ted Dekker recommendation. I love creepy, and lot of them are pretty creepy. :D

  41. For anyone escaping a thought-controlled environment, I would have to recommend two old classics:

    "1984" by George Orwell

    "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury

  42. And another in the same vein as those recommended by DaveL:

    The Giver by Lois Lowry

    Target age for the this book was tween- early teen...I told my daughters they had to be at least 16 to read it. I read it when I was 42 and it scared the daylights out of me. Three of my girls have now read the book and they've all said they were glad I made them wait.

  43. Ohhh! Good picks, DaveL!

    If you want light hearted, Ruth, you might also enjoy the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I find it to be the right balance of funny, shmexi parts, and great characters.

    I also enjoyed The Poisonwood Bible but it was painful to read at times because the Dad in the book reminded me too much of my own father at times....that crazy "must sacrifice everything, my children included to follow Gods will."

  44. Yes, Poisonwood Bible was good, but painful for me too.

  45. I was thinking about book recs. People are suggesting lots of heavy reading, and I was thinking, for pure fluffy escapism, you might really enjoy Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey, along with is sequels, Arrow's Flight and Arrow's Fall. Talia, the heroine, starts out as a member of a highly oppressive religious group; she never fits in because of her literacy and rebellious nature, and runs away when her parents tell her it's time to marry her off. Since this is fantasy, she gets picked up on the road by a magical white horse and taken off to learn how to use her unique talents.

    I mean, you'll probably think as you're reading it that this book is really pretty cheesy. But there's a rather singular pleasure in reading a book that is clearly about YOU (only with a magical white horse and magical powers!) She even works as a nanny (kinda) and has particularly strong abilities with young children because of her upbringing in the fundamentalist cult... Anyway. Mercedes Lackey is genuinely light reading in a way that some of these books are not.

  46. I know this is an old post, but I found you just recently and just had to comment on what you said about your mom.

    I grew up in a family that looked fairly "normal" - parents with careers, no physical abuse, lower-middle-class. But after I moved out and started going to counseling for depression, I realized that my mom has textbook borderline personality disorder, and that there was a lot of emotional abuse, especially from her. That was HARD to admit because my dad had been the "bad guy" when I was a kid, and it took a lot of really extreme behaviors from my mom to really firmly "leave" my family (I have contact only with my dad and younger sister). Anyway, my point is... my mom has borderline, and I learned a lot of her behaviors and fears. So I see myself acting, in relationships, like she does - and although I know that we're different because my behaviors are less extreme AND because I'm aware of them, I DO identify with her a lot in those respects. So sometimes I feel like either (a) I let myself be mad at her, and be mad at myself too because I am similar to her in those ways, or (b) I forgive myself (therapy blah blah therapy), which means I have to forgive her. It's hard to separate them. I realize that's not exactly the same as your situation, but anyway.


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