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?