My Experience Becoming Involved With Christian Patriarchy

How I became involved in Christian Patriarchy

This is definitely not the typical type of post that you usually find here at My Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor.

I invite you to please bear with me as I temporarily depart from the norm!

Some of you will no doubt be offended by what you are about to read!

No offense is intended!
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I became saved as a young single mom of two boys in a church that placed a heavy emphasis on wives submitting to their husbands and the women of the church submitting to the male leadership.

Having led a very disastrous life up until that point, I was very drawn to this new way of thinking, hoping that living my life according to these rules-God’s rules- would make life better!

Many of you may not know that I had two children from my first marriage which ended in divorce.

Shortly after the divorce, my first husband died.

In 1984 I met and married my current husband Malcolm, at this church.

He had also been divorced.

We also began homeschooling in 1984 solely because the church school that my kids were attending at the time did not approve of divorce and remarriage.

We were sort of kicked out!

It was in my search for information about homeschooling that I first became acquainted with the Quiverfull Movement also known as  Christian Patriarchy.

The two seemed to go together back then!

For those of you who may not know it, Mary Pride and Cheryl Lindsey of Gentle Spirit Magazine, were the biggest Christian homeschooling “Gurus” back in the 80’s and early 90’s.

They both preached that birth control was a sin, wives should submit to their husbands and Christians should homeschool their kids.

Cheryl even went so far as to teach that women should wear head coverings and not wear pants .

Even her teen girls dressed like they were on “Little House on the Prairie” for cryin’ out loud!

For whatever crazy reason I bought into the whole “quiverfull” way of thinking, hook, line, and sinker!

I even traded in my jeans for the official homeschooling mom’s uniform- the infamous blue denim jumper!

Now lest you assume that my husband forced me into this submission thing, I assure you he did not!

It was all my idea!

He just sort of went along for the ride!

Subsequently, with my not believing in birth control any more and my husband willing to go along with that, we went on to have six more children over the next fourteen years.

My whole identity became swallowed up in being the mom of eight kids.

I would feel lost if I didn’t have all of my children with me when out in public because then people wouldn’t see that I was the mother of eight children!

I became prideful.

I thought I was spiritually superior to women who didn’t have enough “Faith” to trust God to plan their families or to homeschool their children.

Then one very horrible day, our daughter Bethany was diagnosed with brain cancer.

I became so terrified that I would get pregnant while she was going through treatments or that she would be dying in the hospital and I would have to choose between spending time with her or leaving a newborn that I just about had a nervous break down!

To preserve my sanity my husband made the decision that he should begin using birth control.

It didn’t work.

My precious Jeremiah was the result of that!

When Jeremiah was about 6 months old my husband decided to have a vasectomy because my spinal issues and arthritis were becoming debilitating.

There was no way that I would have physically been able to carry or care for one more baby.

Also, although we did manage to keep Jeremiah safe while an infant, it was becoming painfully evident with the onset of Bethany’s aggressive behavior that our home was really not a safe environment for another baby.

Looking back, I now realize that in my sincere, yet misguided desire to please God and be super spiritual plus immersing myself in all that “quiverfull” propaganda, I actually brainwashed myself into adopting the whole Christian Patriarchal mindset.

Today I am still a follower of Jesus, but I’m a Jesus Feminist.

I believe that a husband and wife should be mutually submissive to each other.

I believe that women’s voices should not be silenced and our ideas should not be squelched!

I still believe that homeschooling is the best method of education for Christian families who are not purposely isolating their children from society or physically, spiritually, or emotionally abusing them in any way.

I definitely believe that girls should be encouraged to go to college and earn their own incomes.

They most certainly should know that submissively waiting for some prince charming to come along, marrying them, and giving birth to nineteen children is not the only way to live a life that is pleasing to God!

More on my family’s experience with discipline in a Christian Patriarchy environment on my page, No Spanking Please. purple divider - Copy - Copy

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15 Replies to “My Experience Becoming Involved With Christian Patriarchy

  1. I can’t say that I totally agree with either side you have chosen, but as you say, it is each person’s responsibility to make their own decisions. I grew up in a cult religion and it took me some time to get over it. For my own children, I encourage them, but realize that it is really their decision to make.

    1. I agree Phyllis. We can pray and encourage, but ultimately everyone must be free to make their own decisions. Have you ever thought about blogging about your experience growing up in a cult?

  2. I tend to agree with you. Although I have had my share of faith crises (I guess that is the plural of crisis), I have never stopped believing in God. I don’t believe that men are inherently superior, nor are women superior. We both have strengths and weaknesses and the truly great marriages are partnerships.

    As for birth control, that is between a couple and God. Like your concerns for a baby’s safety with Bethany out of control, we were concerned with being spread too thin with our boyz. I suspect my parents think we should have had more children, but when we discussed it with a priest in our local church, he even said that we had to do what was right for our family. He didn’t go so far as to say that birth control was OK, but he did recognize that he could not and should not dictate our life.

    I wish like crazy I could have home schooled, but my children always learned best from someone else. My personality and my oldest son’s are too much alike and we spark!!! Once again, you have to do what works best for your house and not judge others or worry about what they think of you. Hugs.

    1. Julie, I think some people are cut out to homeschool and some aren’t. Better that you recognized it wouldn’t work out for your family than try to homeschool and hate it! No judgement was intended on my part about not homeschooling. I apologize if I came across like that!

  3. If what you took away from all that is that women shouldn’t be heard/listened to, that we should be squashed, or that to be biblical we have to wear denim jumpers (or their equivalent) all the time, I would respectfully suggest that your takeaway was a perversion of Christian patriarchy, not actual Christian patriarchy.

    We are not Muslim. We are not required to shroud ourselves from head to toe, walk on eggshells so as not to risk accidentally even bumping a man’s hand in public, or never speak up. One of the things that sets Christianity apart from other major religions is that women are cherished! But it is still true that women are instructed more than once in Scripture to submit to (or “be subject to”) their own husbands. Anything, even a good thing, can become a bad thing when knocked completely off-balance.

    1. I agree with you, Rachel that the kind of Christian Patriarchy that I was involved in was most definitely perverted and based on a perversion of scripture!

  4. I’m stopping by from the Things I Can’t Say link up… I think you’re very brave for telling your story! Best wishes to you.

  5. I think there’s danger in extremes and in listening to closely to one or two voices who decide to come up with their own interpretation of the Bible, yet try to say that their teachings are from God. It can get very confusing.

  6. I never got into the whole quiverful, patriarchy thing. I mean, it’s *there* (inescapable in homeschooling circles, I think) but it was never my bag. We’re not quiverfull in the way that those folks would like, but we’re also not into birth control for ourselves, personally … So we fall in this odd middle ground. My marriage also doesn’t conform to the “guidelines” one would set forth in the patriarchy camp. And my kids do NOT look like little pioneers. Well, except for that phase when MH decided she was an American Girl … But I digress. 🙂

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