Monday, August 23, 2010

Character Qualities of Ruth

So, there I was, pre-engaged. Betroathed. I refused to say "engaged" because that would suggest I was a party to the act. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When I should've been praying to ask God to make my heart right with these decisions being made for me, I was asking God to get me out and show me a way to avoid it all. My goal was to graduate high school. When I told my mother that, she made sure my home school curriculum was first priority - just to get it out of the way and give me less of an excuse. When I told my mom I didn't like the boy 'that way' - she thought she'd help me by having me spend time with his family. When that didn't work - I was sent away. I was sent to work in the offices of the movement. During that time, all ties were cut for me. I was only allowed to get one letter a week from my "betroathed" and one phone call from my parents. Both of these were pre-read and listened to. I was kept, doing church related tasks, busy for three months.

When I had been beated down (emotionally and spiritually), I was allowed to go home. The very next day, my dad invited Adam to come help with a project we were doing. He was brining another brother as a chaparone. I knew the question was coming and the question was going to be the catalyst to change in my life.

I was right.

Adam came into our home and went straight to the backyard to discuss something with my father. I tried to look small and invisible. After dinner, Adam publicly asked my father if two of my siblings would accompany us on a walk. We walked down the street until we got to a fence gate. At the gate, Aaron dropped on one knee and read me a scripture passage. He pulled a small box from his coat and presented me with a diamond ring.

The world started swimming. I have never felt more claustrophobic in my life. My sister stepped up to hold my shaking hand as he put the ring on - because I hadn't verbally agreed to anything. Somehow or another, we ended up back in the house and a party was being amped up. Dad was taking photos and mom was caling friends to tell them to save a date for a wedding. All this and I haven't said yes. I went to the bathroom and tried to hide, but Adam used our lockless doors against us and he forced my sister in through the door to tell me to return to the party. Inside I was screaming that I hadn't agreed to be his wife and yet there were dates being tossed around.

People were planning a wedding around me. The wedding was a go and the bride was a no. I was in a daze but through the daze I knew that it was time for me to leave. After the hubbub died down, and people were leaving, Adam took me outside by the hand for a "talk". During the talk, I tried barganing. I told him I might marry him if he would be okay with my staying in school and going for an advanced education. He was visibly uncomfortable. He said that he thought I was in line with the teachings of our fathers and God's commandment for us. I told him I might be, I wasn't sure, and that I needed time to seek out an answer. I also told him that IF we got married, I would NEED to have something that was just mine in our life (a job, a hobby, or the ability to further my education). I thought, maybe for a moment, that he was thinking about what I'd said becuase he got quiet. I wrongfully thought that meant he was considering some of what I said. Well, maybe he was, but not in the way I thought. He grabbed my arm forcibly and said, "YOU is no longer YOU. YOUR WORLD IS ME NOW." He quoted scripture at me and jammed my hands into my chest. He told me to get right with the Lord and see him for the prize he was. He had a house for us. He had a job. He was next in line for a political fortune (supposedly) and I "could have it all" just by marrying him and "Learning to love him." I just cried - what else could I do? As I was trying to walk away, he spun me around by jerking my arm and pinned me to the fence. I won't repeat what he said, but he grabbed my rear-end and said, "Yummmm...Ruth. Don't lose any weight between now and the wedding."

I went to my mother and told her what had went down outside. She insisted I must've misunderstood and went to get my dad. My dad was ambivalent. He insisted that I had misunderstood and then suggested that every woman enjoys it when a man pays you a sexual compliment.

That night - after everyone had gone to bed-- I started grabbing clothes. I had no idea where I was going or what it even meant to get out of the family but something told me I had to go. I prayed to God to give me a sign to go. An hour later, I noticed a light go on at the neighbor's house across the field. I wasn't thinking very far ahead - I had just asked God to give me a place to run - a sign to go - anything. The light. I ran across the field with only what I could carry.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. First to comment! lol. So where did you run, and what did you do from the time you left until starting your freshman year? Thanks for posting the next installment btw, I was REALLY looking forward to it!

  3. Ruth, you are very brave for running away like that, leaving everything behind except what you could carry. I know it must have exceedingly difficult, and I am glad you were able to have the courage to do so.

  4. Wow, I have no words for these men who preach about a woman's purity, yet the moment she is "engaged" (even against her will, which I imagine is probably the majority of the time in this first full generation of the movement), it's okay to start ass-grabbing and that's OKAY with Darth Pater, a supposed LEADER in said movement.

    My disgust for these people, and yes, your mother as well for being co-dependent in permitting this. I think she had a little more power than we're crediting her with, although NOW she seems completely spent; all traces of the vibrant woman she used to be destroyed by the QF/F/ATI movements.

    I would have gotten to that neighbor's house and called the cops, tout suite, but I was more savvy and I suppose those neighbors could also have been "in" on all of this. Hopefully not, and they could get you away, not unlike slaves and the "underground railroad."

  5. You poor thing....I'm so sorry you had to go through this.

    - Lauren H.

  6. Run, Ruth, run. With all your might.

    Oh dear sister, life with Adam would have been a hell you couldn't even imagine. He is a head case and a half. Abuse starting even before the wedding? The hell afterward would have been horrific. I am so grateful you escaped then instead of waiting to have seven children to have to take care of during your escape.

  7. I knew when you got to this next chapter it was going to be a nightmare. I didn't realize it was going to be THAT bad. How wonderful for Adam that he had "God's commandment" as a rationale for his abusive behavior. I'd bet my last dollar he would have dredged up myriad reasons why slapping you around was the Lord's will, too. What a prize, indeed... NOT.

  8. Wow - I'm so glad God gave you a sign, and that you had the strength to escape. Makes me wonder how many other girls in similar situations are too beaten down emotionally and terrified of "the world" to stand up for themselves and get out. It's beyond disturbing to see how your parents turned a blind eye to YOU but gave Adam (and the whole cultish system) a pass.

  9. What kind of father tells his recently engaged daughter that every woman enjoys being paid a sexual comment? Especially so when the daughter is obviously bothered by it. To me, that's a huge red flag that there's something wrong with the young man. What kind of Christian father doesn't protect his daughter at this point?

  10. Sigh. The "protection" of a father for his daughter in your case is just so screwed up. I want to cry for you and I just rejoice that you got out.

  11. Wow. I am speechless. I know first hand the utter terror of running away from abusive people. I just thank God you did when you did.

  12. So much like the FLDS--sent off for "re-education," forced to take a husband you didn't want, forced to forget all of "you" for him. Ick, ick, ick. I really feel for you. I'm glad you made it out.

  13. Adam sounds like a younger version of Darth Daddy.

  14. What kind of Christian father doesn't protect his daughter at this point?

    Surely you don't think this kind of behaviour is considered acceptable by non-Christians? What kind of father period doesn't protect his daughter at that point?

  15. Oh my word I don't even know what to say. I pray your relationship with Harris is a great picture of him pursuing you properly with pure intentions. I'm sure you enjoy him allowing you to be your own person. So glad that you left. I love your spirit.
    So did you get sent to Headquarters, Northwoods or a TC?
    Can't wait to hear the rest of the story.
    Love ya girl,
    Stephanie East

  16. Ruth - I am riveted by your story and can't wait for the rest. Out of curiosity, when you mention "the offices of our movement" are you talking about Bill Gothard offices in either Oak Brook or Indy?


  17. "What kind of Christian father doesn't protect his daughter at this point?"

    One that clearly isn't.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. I heard the words "political family" and immediately saw the Huckabee's. They are supposedly huge Gothard fans.

    What a horrible story Ruth. I love how you prayed for and received a sign. Even as an apathetic whatever I am, I don't think all religion is wrong. Maybe someone was listening to your prayers.

    Can't wait to hear more!!!

  20. What a situation! So very glad that you got out of there & keep running!

    Take care.


  21. NLQ has proposed an underground railroad of sorts, for anyone interested- the Take Heart Project.

    @ Dave L., I think one of the big surprises children of the movement will enjoy when they get out is finding out that non-Christians are great people, fun-loving, kind, generous, forgiving, gentle, etc. It is preached almost continuously and sub-consciously that only Christians truly love, forgive, are generous, etc.

    I say a surprise they will enjoy because the love, forgiveness, generosity, etc. of the Christian world they are escaping was of such poor quality, when they see the REAL thing, and in athiests, Buddhists, agnostic, etc. they will be delighted!

    Written by a Christian who does her best to love, forgive, be generous, fun-loving, etc.

  22. DaveL: Since we're talking about a family that claims the Christian faith, I didn't feel it necessary to bring up other folks.

    Part of being head of household is protecting the people under your authority. Part of a wife or children submitting to their husband or father is that he is supposed to look out for their physical and spiritual well being. This is what scripture teaches and it used to be how Christian families were run. It's certainly how I run my Christian family.

    But Darth Daddy doesn't seem interested in protecting the women under his authority. I find that absolutely shocking. What a dereliction of his duties to the Lord. Any young man would would abuse his unmarried daughter like this should be dealt with. Instead, Darth Daddy defends him. A normal Christian father would confront the young man and forbid him to marry his daughter. If I had been in Ruth's father's position I would have returned the ring myself. That's assuming there would have been a ring in the first place, after all if my daughter is uninterested in marrying a particular young man there isn't going to be a ring handed to her.

    The problem I have with ATI is that they're all about submission for the wives and children but when it comes to husbands providing for and protecting his family they turn the other way and make excuses. Such is a very poor, very weak version of Christianity. It's one that ensures that many children will not continue in the faith, which is particularly sad.

  23. Cynthia said...

    I heard the words "political family" and immediately saw the Huckabee's.

    I've watched too much of the duggars--I immediately thought of Jim Holts kids

  24. I can hardly believe that. What that boy did is so against everything that is taught (in ATI) about purity, Christlikeness, meekness, love... ETC!! Thankfully, I DO know other movement families who are much better, worthy, Christians!
    Do you know if he has another girl? I hope she is warned......
    Where were you sent away to? ANY place that limits contact with immediate family is suspect in my mind.
    @Shadowspring... your two middle paragraphs, AMEN. you are right on. ONLY "christians" can love, have fun, be nice people... surprise, surprise!!!

  25. Appreciating Publius's thoughts.

    Speaking as a Christian who is QF (and *not* ATI)--The young man's behavior was just beyond scuzzy, and Ruth your parents reactions to it were inexcuseable (not to mention essentially forcing you into the engagement in the first place).

  26. DaveL: Since we're talking about a family that claims the Christian faith, I didn't feel it necessary to bring up other folks.

    You're still perpetuating the assumption that Christians are morally better than other people- as in "I could believe this of a heathen/Muslim/pagan/Hindu/unbeliever, but a Christian?"

    And yes, I know you have this whole theological framework as to why Christian fathers have a duty to their daughters, but a lot of other religions and/or cultures have rationales of their own and still others are flat-out horrified that any man would feel the need for a theoretical framework to justify protecting his daughter.

  27. I second the appreciation for Publius's thoughts. Sexual compliments are NOT compliments when they are unwanted. They are harassment. And his grabbing you was physical and sexual assault. No one, man or woman, enjoys that - and those who suggest that you should are abusers of the worst possible kind. Praise God you're no longer in that environment.

  28. Hurry up, Ruth! :) I can't wait to read more, esp. about your triumphant escape when Darth Butthead realized that his power over you is GONE!

  29. I am a 29 year old Stay at home, homeschooling/ATI member mother of 5 ( 4 of which are daughters). I think that you should point out that all ATI members/ quiverfull families are NOT that way. We too believe in betrothal and knew my husband only 6 weeks before we were married. That was 12 years ago as of this December.All that said, we would NEVER force our daughters or son for that matter into a relationship like that. If she did not want to be betrothed to that man, we would continue looking. I believe that God will put that person and their family into your life. I am so sorry for all the abuse that you suffered through and I am glad that you took a stand and are trying to start fresh. God bless you Ruth.

  30. DaveL, I don't care to get into a theological discussion with you. Christian morals are superior because they come from God but that in and of itself does not make Christians superior. We are after all still sinners and require an act of saving grace given to us by the Lord alone. We are undeserving of God's grace and because of this we are hardly superior.

    There is no 'theoretical framework' for protecting a daughter. It's a matter of theology and following God's commands. Whether other religions or cultures do the same thing is irrelevant to the duties placed by God on Christian fathers like me or Darth Daddy. In any event, it is Darth Daddy who claims to be a Christian and we therefore must look to God's word when looking at what he does as a father. What other religions believe or do is really quite irrelevant to this situation.

  31. Christian morals are superior because they come from God

    ...And Muslim morals are superior because they come from God. Jewish morals are superior because they come from God. And Hindu morals are superior because they come from their gods. And secular humanist morals are superior because they're not based on gods that don't exist. Isn't this fun?

    There is no 'theoretical framework' for protecting a daughter. It's a matter of theology and following God's commands.

    I've got news for you - that is a theoretical framework.

    Now, you might say that according to (your version of) Christian theology Darth Daddy is being a bad Christian. That may be, but what I'm trying to get across to you is that it misses if not obscures the larger point that he's being a bad father, even a bad person.

  32. I dont agree with Publius.

    If you are the head of the home, you are putting yourself above your wife and children. Not even your wife is your equal, thus making your marriage one of domination instead of equality.
    With thinking like that, you should probably just join ATIA and be done with it because its no less appealing than what Ruth describes here, no matter how you try to justify it.

    DaveL, you are right. I read what you write and I want to high five you through my monitor.
    You sum up what needs to be said and well.

    For those who have come to say that not all ATIA families are like this, I would beg to differ.
    I was in the cult for years, as was my husband (from a pilot family) and what Ruth types about here was/is the norm for us and all of the families we knew.

    Its a shame.
    For a group that promotes itself as building families, ATIA has sure destroyed a lot of the ones Ive known, including my own.

  33. I want to ask the ATI mom a question since it's relevant to Ruth's post:

    Once your parents realized you were not compatible with the mate they apparently chose for you, did they allow you to choose, or was another boy merely trotted out for inspection? How much choice did YOU have? And in ATI families, are dowries considered that would help the potential husband with his home-business?

    I also worry about this being the generation where the kids either get sucked in due to lack of education (and as I've read on Above Rubies and other QF/ATI publications), extreme poverty to overcome to be productive members of society? Or is the real intent of either (or both) movements, complete isolation from society (other than the like-minded) to keep the kids in the fold? I just worry about uneducated women educating a portion of the next generation of American kids, who will have enough challenges, what with India and China overtaking us in all aspects of the world economy, without being under, or flat-out UNeducated to face the challenges of the mid-21st century.

    IOW, will your daughters have the choice to leave, and/or go to college to become doctors, or even nurses, or REAL teachers? Or will you and your husband be choosing spouses for them, even ones with whom they may seem compatible at 17 (and admonished to keep sweet to for the duration, no matter how you really feel inside).

    Sorry, I worry for your girls almost as much as I did reading Ruth's story about a woman with advanced degrees not educating her children well enough to qualify for college, until years of remedial education had been completed at the community college level (Ruth, I would have stayed in the JC and entered as a junior....much cheaper, esp. in CA).

    shadowspring, glad to hear there is a form of the underground railroad up and running. THAT is true compassion, whether the "stops" are Christians or atheists.

  34. Surely, morals come from within, as does spirituality. Yes, one's family can set an individual on the right path, but so many times, a person must look within oneself and do what is right. This sense of self; realizing the difference between right and wrong - even when it is hard to do; being able to have empathy for others; and seeing goodness and potential in others - surely must transcend the boundaries of different religious faiths. Does it matter what the label is - Baptist, Catholic, Jewish Muslim??

    I wonder, at times if God looks at us and shakes his (her?) head.

  35. I've been reading your blog for a while now, Ruth, but this is my first time commenting... mostly because I was so upset by this quote that I couldn't keep quiet any longer:

    He insisted that I had misunderstood and then suggested that every woman enjoys it when a man pays you a sexual compliment.

    It is so frustrating and upsetting to me that there are men in the world who still believe this kind of thing. I am so, so sorry that you had to live in a world where that kind of thinking was accepted. It is not a sexual compliment when a man pushes you up against a fence and touches you against your will. Does he think rape is a sexual compliment, too?

    As horrified as I am that this happened to you, I am looking forward to seeing where your story goes and what you did after you left.

    Take care. :)

  36. Uh, momato4sofar? If one of your daughters didn't like the guy, YOU would continue looking?? How about giving your girls the freedom to choose their own lifemates. Congrats to being 3 degrees less idiotic than Darth Daddy.

    Ruth, I applaud your god given instinct to know this was an awful situation.

  37. Well DaveL, we'll have to agree to disagree.

  38. Momof4sofar - If you'd read all of her blog, you'd know she has stated several times that not all ATI families are like hers. Sheesh.

    Publius - the "my morals are superior to yours" argument is so tired.

  39. I am glad you escaped! I am so grateful to have a marriage of two equal partners. Words like headship, authority, hierarchy, and patriarchy do not belong in a healthy marriage. Your father is a twisted man and the movement gave him the ability to call his behavior "asserting his rightful authority". So many insecure, weak men are drawn into this because they have the mistaken notion that real manhood means controlling everyone around you. It is so sad and way too common.

  40. Not-Anonymous Pam...

    I miss the "Character Qualities" references, so I thought I'd look them up myself. Here's the one this post seemed to match up with to me:

    Decisiveness vs. Double-mindedness:

    The ability to finalize difficult decisions based on the will and ways of God (James 1:5)

  41. @DaveL - I think this is just one of those instances where language gets a little bit tricky.

    I believe most of these people are just trying to say that in the same sense that one cannot eat meat and be a real vegetarian, one cannot behave in this manner and be a real Christian. It is possible however to be an atheist and behave in this matter.

    It seems like some of the commenters actually intend the offensive meaning you are taking from these statements but I just wanted to clarify that's not what all of us mean.

    Regardless it's safe to say this behavior is unacceptable no matter how one label's themselves.

  42. Ho - ly Moses, Batman...

    Real men don't treat their daughter or prospective fiancee that way.


    End - of - story.

    Jim K.

  43. @ undesired- bull hockey! True Christians suck just as bad as anyone else possibly could, at least if your doctrine is correct. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, right? Right? Can I get a witness? Romans 6 the good I want to do I do not, and the evil I do not want to do, I do. So get off your moral high horse. Christian morals are not superior to anyone else's (Romans 1-we all have the law in our hearts) nor are they more likely than other people to attain their lofty standards.

    I am for standards, shoot for the stars to leave the ground and all that. But Christianity has not cornered the market on morality.

    @ Dave L. "...And Muslim morals are superior because they come from God. Jewish morals are superior because they come from God. And Hindu morals are superior because they come from their gods. And secular humanist morals are superior because they're not based on gods that don't exist. Isn't this fun?

    *claps hands in delight* ohh, can we all play? (wink wink)

  44. @shadowspring - Your reading comprehension leaves much to be desired.

  45. Shadowspring, Christian morals are superior because they come directly from God. The fact that no Christian lives up to the standards created by God says nothing about the morals themselves. It says more about our fallen nature. But of course, you're uninterested in that. You'd rather attack Christians.

  46. No, Shadowspring is just sick of your holier than thou attitude, like I am. Your Christian morals are only superior to Christians. I AM a Christian and I am sick of your arrogance! Knock it off Publius! This site isn't your own little Christian playground, this is Ruth's blog. If you want to go talk about how wonderful and superior Christianity is do it elsewhere.

  47. @undesired, actually I have superior reading comprhension skills and perfect 4.0 in my theological studies =)

    @publius you sound suspiciously like a certain Pharisee in the temple, "I thank God that I am not like other men..." LOLZ

  48. I believe most of these people are just trying to say that in the same sense that one cannot eat meat and be a real vegetarian, one cannot behave in this manner and be a real Christian. It is possible however to be an atheist and behave in this matter.

    You seem to have fallen into the same assumptions Publius has.

    First, do you know of anybody who abstains completely from meat but is not a vegetarian?

    Second, most atheists (who may follow any number of moral codes) in fact do not behave like Darth Daddy does.

    Third, given Darth Daddy's example, some Christians evidently do behave as he does (and you and he can go argue about how that violates Christian morals).

    So while it may be that this behaviour goes against Christian teachings, to act shocked that "a Christian could do something like this" implies that this is somehow different from the moral systems of other people. This implication is a lie. The fact is uses the actual bad behaviour of an actual Christian to imply the moral superiority of Christians over others is just an added dimension of perversity.

  49. I agree with DaveL. Many Christians cannot get past the point of believing that we (yes, we) are supposed to be morally superior. While there are clear codes of conduct in scripture, the ultimate truth is that Christians are no better than anyone else. I'm not going to make an argument as to whether DD is a Christian or not. I'd just like to remind everyone that he lives his life by rules. God did not impose rules on us and order us to save ourselves. He sent his son to die for us and atone for our wrongdoings. This is not to downplay that we should do our best to do right by others. Just remember that when someone asks why you call yourself a Christian and are clearly not good enough, well, that's because you're not. Jesus was/is.

    For the record, no father should act the way DD did and I am really disgusted that he would call an assault a "sexual compliment."

  50. DaveL I agree 100% and the point is so obvious that I am surprised it has to be made over and over again. Sheesh....

  51. The close minded patriarchal 'Christians' are really giving sensible Christians a bad rep.This is inexcusable no matter what anyone call s themselves. No matter what other QF are like, I have no use for ATI until I am showed different.

  52. Hi Ruth - just for continuity's sake, I caught a mistake in one of your paragraphs.

    The fourth paragraph down, starting with "Adam came into our home...", in the fifth sentence, you refer to him as Aaron.

    I understand that these are pseudonyms and so it would be easy for that happen to anyone!

  53. roddma--just one point, ATI and QF are not the same thing. People in ATI may hold a QF belief, but not all QF people are ATI.

    ATI: Gothard's movement, with a very long list of rules and regs covering all areas of life, and obviously some problems.

    QF: a rejection of the use of birth control within Christian marriage, based on a particular interpretation of Biblical principals about marriage, fertility, and children, and not demanding adherance to a particular lifestyle in any other area.

    The two are not interchangeable. They *sometimes* go together. *Not always*. ;)


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