Friday, April 23, 2010

More questions asked.

I would also like to know if QF families would continue to have Duggar-size families if not for daughters who are effectively unpaid au pairs (like the older Duggar daughters)? If a family has 10 boys, for example, how is the enormous domestic workload handled? Do church members come in and help cook, clean, etc.? Do young girls from other QF families come in to help for a few hours a day? Don't know if there were any such scenarios in your association of QF/ATI families.

There are several all boy QF families. They don't tend to reach the quantity of kids ala' Duggar or Bates but then again even most QF families consider 10 to be a lot. In my experience, all boy QF families tend to have mothers who age very quickly (that may be why they have fewer children, now that I think about it). These women are some of the busiest mothers I know because they have less help than if they'd had female children. You do see, in the better families, where the men and boys step up and make some "housework" masculine. The Arndt family who live in Illinois, friends of our family, have all boys and one girl, born later, and the boys did household chores but they're a strong family who helps mom. I've seen it go the other way where certain dads don't want their boys doing certain chores because they're fear it will feminize the boy. Unless there's a tragedy or illness, I've never heard of girls from other families going to stay with other families to help lighten the load. Most Gothard-follower, dads would see this as letting their daughter outside their protection. We did help local families out for a couple of hours if there was a temporary need. Boys go to other families for apprenticeships and work studies.

Ruth, I have a question for you ... I've been doing a lot of reading about Michael and Debi Pearl and their appalling books, especially in the wake of poor Lydia Schatz's murder. I've heard the Pearls are very influential in conservative Christian homeschooling circles. Were your parents and/or their friends big Pearl fans?

I think most all QF know the Pearl philosophy. Some follow it, some follow something else. QF families are more likely to follow VF or BG/ATI child rearing discipline ideas. I think QF families are like other families in the sense that they take what they will and leave what they don't. Almost all QF families follow some piece of Pearl wisdom. My dad spoke of them highly (towards the end of my time in his home), if that answers your question.

1) How are holidays celebrated? Not just religious ones like christmas and Easter but Independence Day and so forth? Did you ever have your birthday pre-empted by Easter?

Holidays relating to Jesus were celebrated with a focus on Jesus. Other holidays were less recognized or ignored - I never went trick-or-treating, for example. Fourth of July WAS celebrated well! ATIers are fiercely patriotic people (*we* just wanted America back "to it's roots"). (Note: the history you learn as an ATI kid is that America was God's created land for Christians. I don't believe that now.) I don't remember my birthday ever being preempted because if it was, I wouldn't have been celebrating it that day, my mom would've moved it to another day for cake.

2) Did you have any pets, or were the children enough to take care of?
We had a dog at one point. ATI doesn't have an official position (to my knowledge) on keeping pets. It's a family decision.

3) Did you ever go to any Gothard-sponsored conferences, retreats, or gatherings? What were they like?

Yes. They were all different. I'm not trying to be vague, it's just that I went to so many that for me it's like trying to tell someone else how many school plays or field trips I went on over the course of my life. It would be hard to tell you about each one, or the broader experience, in one paragraph because there were so many and each was a different experience. My dad was a Gothard friend! My whole life was a Gothard sponsored event.

4) I recall from an earlier post (or maybe I'm imagining it, quite possible given my brain) that when you left the movement someone said, "Why? What did Bill Gothard ever do to you?" -- like it was worse you were "betraying" Bill. Is that wretched man essentially revered?
He's regarded in kind of the way you see Catholics regard the Pope. Not holy, really, but somehow respected because he's the authority on earth. Does that make sense?


  1. "My whole life was a Gothard sponsored event."


    I'm so glad you are breaking free emotionally as well as in all other ways. Hugs!

  2. "4) I recall from an earlier post (or maybe I'm imagining it, quite possible given my brain) that when you left the movement someone said, "Why? What did Bill Gothard ever do to you?" -- like it was worse you were "betraying" Bill. Is that wretched man essentially revered?
    He's regarded in kind of the way you see Catholics regard the Pope. Not holy, really, but somehow respected because he's the authority on earth. Does that make sense?"

    Gothardism is nothing but a cult of personality...I'm so sorry you had to go through this.

  3. "certain dads don't want their boys doing certain chores because they're fear it will feminize the boy."

    Yet God favoured Jacob who didn't hunt but hung around the house/tent helping his mother and making stew.


  4. I was thinking of the Arndt family when someone mentioned all boys. I used to follow there website and message board. My family isn't even close to being QF or ATI but for some reason I just always found it interesting.
    Good for them for having the boys help out. I'm sure it made life much more pleasant for all. Are they ATI? Don't mom and daughter wear shorts sometimes? Was that an issue with your dad?

  5. Do you know the Denton family? They were all boys. I met them a few times and they came to our house, but I never saw them in their home setting, so not sure if they were "allowed" to participate in "girl" chores, e.g. cooking, cleaning, sewing.

  6. Ruth,
    You are so talented in your wit and writing. "My whole life was a Gothard sponsored event" - that phrase alone should be worth big bucks!

  7. I'm glad you mentioned the Arndt family--they were the first I thought of when I read the question about families with lots of boys. They seemed very down-to-earth folks and those guys took very good care of their mom. I know they were QF, but are the ATI as well? To me the two don't necessarily go together (certainly not in my life), and that might explain why in their family the focus isn't on being "macho" and avoiding "women's work", but just functioning together as a family and doing your part with household chores. And I know I saw both mom and their one daughter in shorts.

  8. I agree with the above posters, I too have seen the Arndt family and the mom and daughter were wearing shorts and they also had hair that looked like it has been cut. I did not think they followed the Gothard lifestyle, I have also seen them play baseball.

    I have a question for you, do you do anything for Mother's day or Father's day?

  9. I remember seeing the special on the Arndt family and they seemed down to earth and I liked the ways the boys helped out- but I do remember the mom saying in the special that she was hesitant to have the boys do "women's' jobs". But as she kept giving birth to boys, she realized that she would have to let them help out because it was all too much for her to do alone. So maybe the whole "women's work" is in their beliefs, but because of circumstances they have let go a little. I thought it just would be an interesting thing to throughout out there since you all mentioned the Arndt family. :)

  10. "throw out" not throughout* sorry

  11. Hey Ruth (or anyone else, really), there's a question that I often have that I'm wondering if you can shed some light on.

    What do Gothardites think of Sarah Palin, and other conservative female politicians? Like Michelle Bachman, too. I know the Duggars supported McCain for President, so I'm assuming they supported Palin, and they were shown on the show meeting Bachman. But obviously these women don't follow the standards set by Gothard, and really if far right Christian conservatives had their way, there wouldn't be any female politicians at all.

    So how do they justify supporting female politicians who go against their beliefs?

  12. I'm curious to hear Ruth's response to Lauren H., regarding what Gothardites think of Sarah Palin. I know my Gothardite parents love her! Which does seem to contradict the "women's roles" mentality of typical Gothardites. I think it's a funny quandry: they love her conservative politics, but what to do, what to do, do we really want a woman that high up in politics? Oh no . . .
    My mother's take on women in leadership was that there was one woman, Deborah, in the Bible days, that was in leadership; but although she did a great job, it was a "curse" to the nation, because it represented that there were no strong men to be leaders, so they had to "resort" to Deborah.

  13. Yeah, because, you know, God couldn't possibly have chosen Deborah himself. *rolls eyes*.

  14. Regarding Sarah Palin: I bet the men (and maybe women) love her "conservative" politics. By "conservative", I mean sexually and emotionally repressed/oppressed, which explains why they have such a huge need to control and dominate others and/or "submit." Sounds like a lot of mutual "issues" going on which explains why they're all the peas in the same cuckoo pod.

    Speaking of "dominating", I bet they would love to "be told what to do by a woman" as long as Sarah Palin dressed up in a leather dominatrix outfit and sported a whip. Ha!

  15. Can I ask a question? Often, people who leave very restrictive, isolating, totalitarian religious groups feel immensely guilty and long to return to the security they knew in them. Do you ever think about going back to your family/QF/ATI?

  16. I'm interested in learning the QF/ATI version of history. I know that they have a very "interesting" take on American history, but what did you learn about world history? Did every history lesson have a religious slant to it? Do ATI homeschoolers learn about the Holocaust? I've read that RJ Rushdoony was a Holocaust denier, but is this position shared by others in the movement?

  17. What do QF/ATI folks think of middle class "polish" requirements for young women? Think piano lessons, manners, French/Italian (think Jane Austen)? Or do they not believe in "good polish" because it's unAmerican/too bourgeoisie?

  18. Love to you, Ruth!

    I know there is a whole set of home school moms trying to make their children little replicas of Jane Austen women, complete with etiquette lessons (antiquated of course- they will certainly not think they have a need to know how to address invitations to cohabiting couples or seat divorced in-laws at a wedding!0.0).

    Music lessons, art lessons- all are (I think) encouraged as long as it is "for the glory of God"- i.e. you can play hymns, but not "The Boogie Woogie Flu". There is even an art curruculum, How Great Thou Art, that teaches budding artists along with the ever-present religious indoctrination included in every subject.

    I don't know if ATI goes that route, but I have known many fundie home school moms who make the arts (as long as sufficiently controlled and religious) an important part of a girl's education.

  19. I have a question about ATI members and where they live.

    Do they only live in the country or in small towns? I can see the lifestyle being easier to maintain if you have a single-family home on some land rather than a 2 bedroom apartment in a big city where just the parking spaces run a couple hundred bucks a month.

    I live in a large city in the northeastern US. Rent is around $1,000/month for a studio or one-bedroom. A small single family home costs around $400,000. Ever since I moved here, the most children I have seen in one family is 4 and that is only 1 family. Most people I know have only 1 or 2 kids. I think the cost of living would prohibit mega-families from either A) moving here, or B) popping out that many kids and still living here. I think if you had more than a few, you would have to move somewhere cheaper to live.

    Also, I would think that a large city would be anti-ATI, would it not? I mean, in a given day, I probably interact with people from 50 countries or more and maybe around a dozen religious beliefs. Surely that would run contrary to Gothard's insular teachings? I am new to the concept though, so I appologize if I am mistaken.

  20. Good Afternoon, Ruth, I hope you're doing well. I've read your blog, but never commented, so please don't be frightened of a new face popping by. I just wanted to know that you are so brave to share the truth and continue to share the truth, despite the unfortunate negative experiences it has caused in regards to your family and church. That takes some serious ovaries.

    You possess so much talent and it is wonderful, not only to see you stretch your literary muscles, but to see it being utilized for the greater good of women and children in all sorts of controlling situations, not just those bound by religion, but those in controlling marriages and other situations where a women is under a man's thumb with few options. If you keep even just one woman from that lifestyle or give her the strength to leave with your blog, it will be (perhaps is!) a tremendous achievement

    When I read about your life, I often think of the very famous quote by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich: "Well-behaved women seldom make history."

    Are you looking forward to getting your cast off? I myself have never had one, but my brother broke his leg and was ready to hack the cast off with a hacksaw towards the end, it was so itchy! As I recall, he had a ruler for scratching. Plus, his leg was filthy and needed some serious exfoliation, but other than that it was just fine. Don't be surprised when your leg is weak at first. If you have access to a pool that's an excellent exercise because it works the muscles but is low impact.

    I do have one nosey question, and do feel free to ignore it, especially if I've missed you discussing it already. Do you think you'll ever go back to church or do you think it would cause bitter memories? I could see it going both ways.

    I'm hoping and praying for the best for you, Ruth, you deserve it and you deserve to live the adolescence you missed and have F-U-N, fun.

  21. Following on from the last question, I'm curious to know what/where your understanding of God/religion/faith now is? Would you still describe yourself as a Christian? Do you attend church? Have you considered any other spiritual practices?


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