Friday, July 9, 2010

49 Character Qualities of Ruth - Relationship (2)

Day two of the Carson's visit was on a Sunday and we had a worship service in our homechurch. My father led the service which, coincidently, seemed centered around the covenants of marriage and purity. This was a frequent theme in our church but it still made me feel 'on the spot'. After service, we went to the park for a picnic. Historically, these picnics were semi-segregated by sex. The boys would gather around one area and do activities or chat with the men. The girls and women would set out the food and then congregate for "fellowship". On this day, however, my dad suggested that I take drinks over to the boys and see if they needed anything.

Adam was, in hindsight, waiting for me to approach him. I asked the group if they needed anything and I was bombarded by requests. So much so that I couldn't possibly carry everything back on my own. Adam volunteered to help me. The 100 yards or so back to the covered picnic area was the longest walk I'd ever had alone with a boy that wasn't a family member. Adam took full advantage of the time and continued his interrogation from the day before. I answered in one word answers and didn't contribute much to the discussion. Shortly thereafter, my dad grabbed me by the arm and drug me behind the van to ask why I was being so short with Adam - apparently, Adam had told his father, who told my father, that I wasn't being friendly enough. I told my dad that I was uncomfortable discussing personal things with Adam as I barely knew him and I had never been with a boy alone. My dad reacted in a way I thought, and still think, was strange! Instead of understanding the position I was in and congratulating me for maintaining the boundaries he'd instilled in me, he was enraged! He told me that I *would* answer all of Adam's quetsions and I would do it JOYfully. I *would* be the "epitome of grace and womanhood" and I would "remember my place" as the eldest, "example" daughter. With that, I was pushed back to the fray. Adam was right there waiting.

The Carson's visit ended with Adam asking if he could call me. When I told him he'd have to talk to my dad, hoping that would dissuade him, he said he already had and had been told he could. It made me feel like my permission was just a quaint formality, but unnecessary. I didn't say I would respond but said I'd have to pray about maintaining communication. We weren't supposed to communicate with boys unless God told us he was 'the one', after all.

A week later, the phone rang and it was Adam. I begged not to take the call and my mom made an excuse for me. This happened several times while my dad was away on business. As soon as he returned, Adam called again and I tried to beg out of it - this time, I was told that I was taking the call. Thus began a year of phone calls I dreaded and my father regulated.

47 comments:

  1. Words fail me. SO GLAD YOU HAVE YOUR OWN LIFE NOW!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. So, just curious, but how old were you exactly - there was some confusion from the last post. Were you 17 or was Adam?

    Anyways, what's so sad about this is how obvious your father just didn't care what you thought or felt. It just didn't matter. I don't get why he wouldn't want you with someone you liked - it just doesn't make sense to me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm glad that, even though you were brought up brainwashed, you still thought your dad's behaviour was strange. That hit-your-brother training clearly had a grander purpose. Don't talk to boys; you'll corrupt them. Talk to that boy; you're being rude. You weren't allowed actual boundaries.

    Question for former ATIers: did any of you (male or female) have *any* say in who you married? How many courtships were cancelled, on fathers' orders or otherwise? It sounds like Darth Pater wouldn't have gone back on his decision even if 'Adam' had started killing puppies, but I'd like to have some idea of how common that is.

    Ruth, you're the best 'example daughter' I've ever seen.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Longtime lurker, first time commenter!! I read through your entire blog and I am speechless. I have a friend who grew up ATI, so I find all this really interesting. Keep writing!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was on the cusp of 15 when I met Adam. He was 17. I'm getting around to why he wanted me with the Carsons- just trying to figure out how to do it without identifying them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Margaret/CappuccinoLifeJuly 12, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    Yikes. That had to be so uncomfortable and confusing.

    Capricious and self-serving "leadership" is horrible. "You will do things this way. Now you will do things this other way. Why? Because I say so". Yuck.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ruth, awesome part two. It does make me wonder though: You're concerned about identifying them, and so I wonder who knows about your blog? I know a few family knows, but I wonder if it's the new naughty thing to do: Read your blog and speculate who will be mentioned and how. Does big man Gothard read it? Comment on it to Darth Daddy?

    I say don't worry about identifying the "Carsons". You've changed the names, and enough specific facts. Hell, the majority of us in the real world have no clue as to the hierarchy and people inside ATI/Gothard world. Don't be afraid, don't hesitate to share. They did enough damage to YOU, and you are telling your story with grace and poise. Don't let them SCARE you with threats of slander. You are telling a story, your story. They don't want the press, it will make them look bad. Hell, Gothard hasn't fully recovered from the whole Cabbage Patch thing from the '80s.

    Thinking of you, sweetheart. :-)
    -Ivy26

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dear lord, you really were only 14!!!! He wanted you married off at 14?!?!?!?!?! That is just sick, sick, sick!!!!! I'm so sorry for you! God, gross!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sorry, I'm still stuck at the part where your dad grabbed your arm and drug you behind the van to "have a word with you." He is a complete and utter A S S !!!!!! Darth Daddy, if you're reading this, I hope that you rot in the hell that you think exists!!!!

    Ruth, thank God, I mean this sincerely, that you got the hello out of there!!! Trust me when I tell you that your life would have been hell on earth if you would have got yourself entrenched into the same system you grew up in. I shudder to think of the abuse that would have been perpretated on you and the children you would have had. Ruth, know that you made the right decision!!! Many (((hugs))) to you. :)

    By the way, "Adam" can go blank off. What a jerk! Who raises their boys this way? I have 5 boys and there is not one that would EVER act this way!!!! What a load of hogwash. Like I said, good on you Ruth, for having your wits about you and getting the heck out of Dodge before it was too late.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow! I was in ATI and had no idea this kinda stuff was going on. I always thought there were strange people at the different events. Maybe that's one of the reasons my parents just fizzled out of the program.I remember being reprimanded at a CI for having a slit in my navy skirt and wearing socks instead of tights. Of course I was embarrassed at the time to be singled out by some leadership dude whom I apparently caused to stumble but now I relish the freedom in Christ that I live in day to day.
    So glad you have the opportunity to live in freedom.
    Love ya,
    Erin

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ugh. Just... ick. You said in your comment you're getting to the "why HIM" question: I assume your family had land adjoining theirs or your combined military might could overthrow neighboring fiefdoms or some other such medieval crap? Because THAT'S how Darth Pater's behavior comes across: purely medieval. And sickening.

    I hope that you wake up each and every morning and congratulate yourself for being the strong and determined young woman that you are. You deserve it. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for continuing the story about "Adam" and also thanks for the explination about how old you were when this was going on. I can't believe that your father would do that to you at such a young age. Since you were the oldest girl I would have thought he would have wanted you to be home longer. Like others have said I am so glad that you got away from that life, stay strong and I can't wait to read more of this.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I wanted to add that your story bears some striking similarities to Carolyn Jessop's, "Escape". Like others have already mentioned in other threads on this blog, ATI seems to have some belief sets that are very similiar to polygamy. And as others have also said, it would not be too much of a stretch to say that some of these ATI men wouldn't be averse to trying that out too...had it been permitted.

    As to "why" your dad chose "Adam" over let's say, "Jim", it's most likely because that particular combination would bring your dad the most "value." He would benefit the most from that particular arrangement. It has nothing to do with love, or the fact that you are compatible with "Adam" or anything else like that, because it's not about YOU (it never has been), it's about HIM, just like everything else that you grew up with. It's always been about how HE can be served the best. The women in his world are just chattel that can be bought, sold, or traded to the highest bidder. I guess they're still stuck at the part in the bible where slavery, women being bought and sold as chattel, stoning, etc. is still practiced and is perfectly awesome. Your dad and those like him deserve to be stranded on their own version of "Lost" complete with the smoke monster.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank God that you got out of that 'life'! Keep moving forward,Ruth.

    Take care.

    Jean

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ruth,

    I've just read through your entire blog for the first time and there's one thing I've been wondering. How is your family's identity still protected when you listed all your siblings names?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Good on you for escaping that life, Ruth! More power to you! It is utterly incomprehensible that the ATI/Gothard people can get away with this sort of behaviour. What sort of father selects a mate for his daughter for his own personal gain, and with no regard at all for his daughter's feelings?

    Hey Ruth's Father, if you're reading this, how did you select "Adam" any way? Was it because you would have had more to gain from a "Carson" son in law than by the next highest bidder? Or did you select Adam because his penis just so happens to be smaller than yours is? Did you ask him to drop his trousers to ascertain that fact? I wouldn't put that past you since you hide behind modesty on the surface, but you MUST know when any of the female members of your family menstruates. You feel the need to know the size of your son in law's penis too?

    Yes, I happen to be a man, but do not claim kinship to Ruth's father, to Adam, nor to any of the so called penis bearers in the ATI/Patriarchal circle. You're not real men, hence you have to hide behind religious misinterpretations of manhood to feel remotely manly. Here's an idea, why not actually try being men first?

    ReplyDelete
  17. jericho, Ruth explained to me once that the sibling names are actually psuedonyms..

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh, thanks Rebekah. The names just seemed so real (all being biblical) that I thought they were the real names. And I didn't remember Ruth saying otherwise. So is Ruth a psuedonym too?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yup, 'Ruth' is a pseudonym, along with any other names connected to her family. The names of Gothard and cronies are real, although they could do with some amusing aliases.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Sounds like the horrid maxwell family to me.

    ReplyDelete
  21. To me, they're rather more reminiscent of the Bandicoot-Smythes, an infamously nasty bunch. In any case, let's try and preserve the anonymity.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I keep checking back to see if the crazies have come out and posted yet. You know it's coming. I almost feel the need to post for them. "God hates Ruth". She's not "pure enough". Hedge of thorns....yada yada.

    I swear reading their posts makes me laugh more than TMZ.

    Ruth, you should start a fundie gossip site. Now that would be fun.

    ReplyDelete
  23. (With apologies to PageSix) Just asking... Which childless idiot not only thinks it's hilarious when a girl is beaten to death according to the child-rearing principles he set forth, but he thinks his chickens are laughing as well?

    Hey, Cynthia, I think you're onto something here!!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Who are the Bandicoot-Smythes, out of curiosity? I know who the Maxwells are - they are nutso.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Jenn,

    Think how nasty they'd get if she posted more stuff about the families (even without the names). Making a fake page 6 would be great. "A tall righteous young man was seen bringing lemonade to an otherwise over worked flower of youth from a family from Des Moins. Is love in the air?"

    I'm joking of course, but someone could make some serious money spoofing these people. The comment about being called out for having a split in the skirt with socks not tights had me rolling. My father was always pleased when my cheer spankies weren't showing from my too short cheer skirt and when my top actually got near the waistline of that short skirt. I guess standards are a little different?

    Ruth, I hope you've had a good summer and are ready to go back to school. Hang in there with money and seriously stalk the res life people until you get an RA position. It would solve a lot of problems and having worked on campus a lot, I think you'd be a great help/resource for the students.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ruth... you are AWESOME & so COURAGEOUS. & don't you EVER forget that.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Lauren, the Bandicoot-Smythes are an entirely fictional family, created only to make a point about helping Ruth keep this blog anonymous by not trying to guess her real family name. In short, it was a joke (though I kinda wish they were real now).

    Cynthia, we need some ATI personal ads. Persistent youngish man of Gothard seeks future helpmeet, 10-16, must have all 49 character traits (grade B or above).

    ReplyDelete
  28. That could be endless fun, Cynthia.

    If we end up going that direction (posting for them), everyone will need to remove a few random keys from their keyboards and forgo the use of punctuation to really give it that authentic feel. :D


    Great entry, Ruth. I think I might have an increased number of sharpy, pointy feelings towards your father. What an asshole.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Just amazes me how your father who has raised you with almost no exposure to boys other than your brothers expects you to just jump right into courting mode at the drop of a hat.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Lolly,

    Damn, I knew I forgot something. We have to have the character traits. I'll even not copyright acknowledge, to see if I can get communication from god (aka big daddy Bill) himself.

    Anonymous,

    Foiled again by punctuation. If early folk used the fish as a secret symbol, the ATI'ers must "find" each other by bad grammar. It's starting to make sense now. Ruth must have stood out early in that regard. "She seems nice but she knows how to use a semicolon...."

    ReplyDelete
  31. Damn semicolons. They do so corrupt a girl. :D

    -Jenny (that was me earlier. I forgot to sign my name. I typed up a big rant and then back spaced a ton, including my name.
    I wanted to make sure that I left room for the whackadoo rantings that are sure to follow from the glorious ATIA Think Tank)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think that's going to spell exclusion for me, Cynthia & Anonymous. I've got an MA in English, and it greeves me muchly to suffer through Darth and crew's posts-of-little-punctuation-and-no-grasp-of-basic-grammar. I don't think I could duplicate it without my keyboard bursting into flame.

    ReplyDelete
  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  34. ATI think tank. Now that's got to be a shed full of unsharp tools. Literally, LOL. I live near the vaunted Creation Museum and I think the same thing when I drive by. I feel a bit better knowing that the nearest Wal-Mart must be a safer place to shop with all the village idiots at the Museum.

    I dread rereading my posts. I usually type them at work and don't proofread as carefully as I should.

    I'm kind of lonely without the crazies around. It's no fun to bait people who won't bite back.

    I guess I'm going to hell for that, but I figure that they might as well add it to my tab.

    **deleted and reposted due to the not proofreading thing**

    ReplyDelete
  35. the, key;is,to,juSt,randumly,tos,iN,punKuatshun,aNd capitallization Wile> rantin' wiLLy NilY @ UR coMputR. MucHLY (N honer oF jeNn)!!!!!!!

    Then watch as spell check jumps off the nearest bridge.

    Id liken the ATIA Think Tank to sporks but fear the damnation for daring to compare them to an evolved implement, evolution being wrong and all.
    -Jenny

    ps-I kinda want to see the email the rep sent Ruth to see if it was anything like what we experience here with their enlightening contributions to the blog.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Jenny is a cruel, cruel woman.

    ReplyDelete
  37. @jennl777

    I find it interesting that you make a connection between Gothard and Michael Pearl. I know they spew a lot of the same poison, but is there a documented connection between them? (Pearl is the one whose teachings are implicated in the death of Lydia Schatz.) I'm the kind of person who doesn't want to assign blame about something to someone who wasn't involved, which is why I'm asking about a connection (other than the fact that they think the same way). I don't know that Gothard advocates the use of a plumbing line to "switch" children, or that his preferred disciplinary methods dovetail neatly with those of Pearl's.

    I guess I don't want people to think that Gothard (as bad as he is) was the one implicated in the death of Lydia when it was Michael Pearl. Let's get our loonies straight, so people know who to avoid, and why.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Tikatu,

    The correlation between Gothard and that whack job Michael Pearl goes back to the 70's when the Pearls sat under Gothards teachings at a Basic Seminar.

    Straight from the horses mouth, a letter written to Pearl from the Great One himself and posted on Pearls site, nogreaterjoy.org

    http://www.nogreaterjoy.org/articles/general-view/archive/2009/may/01/response-from-bill-gothard/

    -Jenny

    ReplyDelete
  39. Don't tell me Ruth is the previous candidate to be Christopher's wife! Lol..... This is like Soap Opera Digest! Ruth--whoever you are in "real life" I trust what you are writing and support you!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thanks, Jenny. I appreciate knowing the link between the two. This link might be something that needs to be spread around, especially now with the Pearls' teaching being implicated in Lydia Schatz's death. It could put a crimp in the "ministries" of both.

    ReplyDelete
  41. If ruth didn't change the ages of the boys, and my math is correct, then it isn't the maxwells. Ruth is 26ish. None of the maxwell's are within a year or two of her boy wise.
    Lets not start rumors here.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Keep on trucking, Ruth! I'm so glad you were able to get out of that kind of environment! It's just plain sick that you were being prepared for marriage at 14!! And did your dad really expect you to understand about boys if he hadn't even let you be around them? I mean, come on! That's very unrealistic. You were 14 and just a child; no one that age should have to worry about getting married just yet. :-(

    Btw, pardon my ignorance, but who are the Maxwells?

    ReplyDelete
  43. The Maxwells are a large, very conservative family who run an email loop and a webpage for other large families. The mom is very organized, and they sell organizational and chore-planning aids to homeschool families, as well. I have not heard of any connection between them and Gothard, but I don't know about that. They are much better known outside Gothard circles than most QF families, though not as well-known as the Duggards, or "Jon and Kate", of course.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Please be careful about lumping everyone who believes in God into one boat.

    Many of us who are horrified at what happened to Ruth still do believe there is a God who really does love us, who really does have commands and instructions that really are important, and even, who really did create the world.

    Some of the comments come a bit too close to throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    ReplyDelete
  45. ruth, you are the best possible example for your sisters and brothers. you ARE setting a good example, by getting out of a corrupt and oppressive system, powerful and strong, even though everyone else tried to keep you helpless and weak.

    ReplyDelete
  46. As a former ATI kid who was in the program since year 2, my impression was that there was wide variation in the courtship/betrothal thing. There were several different theories of how to do it, and different families adopted different patterns depending on which man they were following (many times it was influenced by which church they attended). A potential suitor who was good under one church's approach could be borderline or disqualified under another church's approach.

    It also depended a great deal on the attitude and motives of the parents. My parents started out wanting to closely follow a courtship pattern, but after a couple of failed courtships for my older sister, they began to realize that it's not a perfect world and no pattern is guaranteed to get your daughters perfect guys. Their attitude relaxed to something more like, "It's your life, and marriage is going to hard enough anyway, so you'd better pick the person."

    They never, even in the beginning, picked people and made us court them. They always left the "yes or no" decisions to us.

    I think it's worth observing that my parents had no career advancement or financial gain to get out of it, as Ruth's dad seemed to have. The most my parents hoped for was to see their daughters happily married to stable guys. Ruth's dad seemed to have very different motives.

    ReplyDelete
  47. The Bandicoot-Smythes are of course fictitious because the Smythe part of the equation would never have allowed the Bandicoot part to keep even a hyphenation of her maiden name.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.