Thanksgiving was fantastic. As I sit here in the post-turkey glow, I'm reviewing my e-mail and see this "interview" in my inbox. It's strange because the e-mailer is no one I'm familiar with and it seems like someone reading this blog for a while might know most of the answers. However, since it came in under the subject heading of "Here are my questions", I guess I'll answer as many as I can.
Notquivering asked -
1. How old are you and how long have you been living away from your family?
I'm 26. I've been away from my family for about 8 years or so.
2. What were the circumstances of your departure?
As I've shared here in my story, I left because my father was telling me I had to marry a man who I did not want to marry. I also felt that I couldn't be the person I was required to be under the ATI/QF prescription for life.
3. Are you married? Did your parents approve of your marriage?
I am not married. My parents would not approve of my marriage to Harris if we did marry because he is not fundamentalist Christian.
4. Do you have any significant, unresolved conflicts with your parents? Are you on speaking terms?
We are no longer on speaking terms because my father doesn't want to discuss - he wants to talk AT ME, not with me. He is preventing any sort of discussion with my motehr as well. To say we have unresolved conflicts would be an understatement.
5. Do you have any children? If so, what are their ages?
I do not have children.
6. What kind of church did you attend growing up? Was your church part of a denomination? If so, which one?
I attended a home church. It probably most resembles Baptist teachings.
7. Would you say that your father was accountable to the authority of the local church?
My father WAS the authority. Unless you count self-accountability, then I would say not really. He was accountable, in some ways, to Bill Gothard and ATI, but that was more of a peer accountability and they seemed self-serving in purpose.
8. Was your family involved in the community life of your church?
These are strange questions for anyone who's followed my blog to ask. Are you sure these questions are directed to me out of genuine curiosity? I don't think our "church" fits your idea of "church". Can you give me an idea of why you asked this?
9. Would you say your mother or your father was the stronger leader in your home?
It depends on what you mean by leader. My father was the dictator. My mother "led" us children in how to be obedient and submissive.
10. How many children were in your family? What number are you in age order?
I am the oldest daughter. I am the fourth born of eleven, counting my littlest sister who will be one very soon.
11. Were you and your siblings required to help with chores? How do you feel this helped or harmed your work ethic?
Yes. Chores were required. I believe this helped me form a good work ethic and helped me appreciate the value of a dollar more but I have a problem with the age and manner of chores I was expected to do.
12. Would you say that either of your parents was abusive? If so, how?
My father was abusive; spiritually, mentally, and physically. My mother was, in my opinion, abused. Spare the rod spoil the child is a biblical principal that my parents enforced.
13. In what ways did your parents show you affection?
My father didn't. My mother was very affectionate when she was allowed to be.
14. When you were upset, how did you share your feelings with your parents?
Being upset simply wasn't tolerated. If I was upset, I was expected to put forth a strong, content countenance and pray to find a more obedient, accepting spirit.
15. In what ways (if any) do you disagree theologically with your parents? When did this begin?
This is a question I'm not prepared to answer. I'm unsure.
16. In what ways (if any) did you disagree with the lifestyle your parents lived? When did this begin?
From pretty early on, I can remember thinking that there was a general disparity between the way my dad treated my mom and my sisters and the way that we were told we should be treated. My parents lifestyle choices (lots of children, Christian beliefs, and patriarchy) would be fine if there was a partnership and those decisions were mutually agreed upon. If people sincerely enjoy that lifestyle and find peace, then that's their choice. I don't believe it's the only path for everyone and I think it's an easily abused system.
17. Did you have a mentor or friend who helped you find a new place to live?
I had two people who stepped up to help me with the basics.
18. What type of church do you now attend? How is it different from the church you attended with your family?
Is that really any of your business? I am following my own path, spiritually, for the moment.
19. Are you under any sort of official church discipline?
I don't believe so.
20. In your mind, what would it take to reconcile with your parents?
For my parents to accept that I am an individual with different, but not lesser, values. For my parents to love me unconditionally and to see the beauty in all of us as individuals. For my dad to apologize for trying to force me into a marriage I wasn't ready for. It would also take some forgiveness on my part.
21. What are you willing to do to reconcile with your parents?
That's something my therapist and I are discussing and I don't feel like sharing at present. I need to be willing to forgive.
22. Did your family have close friendships outside of the family?
23. Did you parents/church teach you that salvation is in faith in Christ alone?
Yes and no.
24. Did your family laugh and enjoy being together?
25. Have you ever read Quivering Daughters? If so, what did you think of it?
THIS tells me you're not the reader of my blog that you claim to be. What do I think of QD? I think every journey is different. I think QD is a great place for people to see the less shiny-happy sides of the way ATI/QF/Patriarchy is presented by shows like 19 Kids and Counting. I think it's not my position to judge the stories of the individuals on that site, but to take them for what they are - a PERSON'S attempt to make sense of their life.