Monday, November 15, 2010

The Children of Indoctrination

indoctrinateto instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., esp. to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view. - and an alternative definition from the Collins English Dictionaryto teach (a person or group of people) systematically to accept doctrines, esp uncritically

I've spoken before about the mental/emotional/spiritual make-up of my ex-fiancee. Typically, I use the phrase "Indoctrinated much - Taught little". Let me distinguish what I mean...

Indoctrination is imposed, leaves no realistic opportunity for critical thought, and benefits ONLY those in positions of authority. It's narrow and marks resources outside of the sphere of dogma as morally wrong and out of bounds. Indoctrination is intended to save from external threats. People who've been indoctrinated thoroughly will lie, cheat, steal, and in extreme cases even kill, to protect whatever movement or cause they've been indoctrinated into. They see only a single outcome.

Teaching is presented, often most effectively by example, and stimulates critical thought. It benefits ALL involved. It makes the world larger and gathers resources from all elements of society. Teaching saves from internal corruption. Teaching opens a person up to a personal moral compass with the ability to discern, for themselves, right and wrong (not that this guarantees a right choice). While people who've been taught can see outcomes, they also see the ripple effect of their decisions, having been entrusted with the appropriate information upon which to base that decision.

Think of the approach of Christ from what we have recorded of his ministry. He seldom dealt with doctrine and dogma, but instead preferred parables, metaphors, and real-life scenarios that expanded the mind and field of thought of the listener. He provoked. It seemed to me that He preferred an approach that made you have to "get it", rather than Him getting it for you, because usually an idea can't complete the transit from ears to mind to heart until one "gets it". Any idea, concept, or belief that doesn't root in the heart has no chance to produce lasting fruit. Christ challenged every religious and social concept His audience knew, with every word He spoke provoking them to dig deeper, think broader, and get to the heart.

My ex-fiancee's family homeschooled for all the wrong reasons. The intention of her parents was to create a "biblical worldview" for their children. Sociopolitical engineering on a small scale flying under the flag of religious ferver. While she and all of her siblings are very bright, they're also extremely naive, gullible, woefully uninformed and misinformed about the world around them, co-dependent, insecure and emotionally unstable - with emotional leverage being the manipulative currency of choice in her home. Very early in our relationship, while firmly entrenched in the "getting to know you" part of the process, she would make bold declarations of various things that she adamantly believed about faith, family, the world, politics, what have you. For instance, when politics came up, with a Presidential election cycle coming up in the next year, I asked her who she liked for President. She was pretty adamant that she "really liked Ron Paul" and thought he was far and away the best man for the job. I asked her what she liked about him. She didn't know. I asked her what part of his platform, which of his proposed policies, she agreed with. She knew nothing about his platform or policies.

Her dad liked Ron Paul.

She was the product of 20 some-odd years of indoctrination that everything daddy says is gospel, you don't argue with it, you merely accept it as what you believe and you do so without question. I was saddened to discover that the vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast majority of everything she believed about faith, family, the world around her, and life in general all fell into the same category. Her dad was the god of her life. It brings to mind the old bumper sticker (replacing "God" with "dad") - "Dad said it. I believe it. That settles it." In those first few weeks, when I would challenge her, when I would try to provoke critical thought, I could hear palpable fear in her voice, total apprehension to voice an opinion all her own. She'd never been taught how examine the evidence and form her own opinion. She'd been indoctrinated to willingly have her opinions determined for her, primarily by her father, while taking his word about what the evidence represented.

The result of all of this was a woman who, until I came along, lived in emotional and spiritual bondage, in intellectual stagnation, having been planted in a jar, never exposed to the elements, and only allowed to grow within the confines of the jar, unable to ever exceed its shape and parameters. I came along and busted the jar, and all the while her parents and their patriarchal cohorts were warning her of (threatening her with, more accurately) the ungodly dangers of the wind outside of daddy's jar, feverishly spinning glass, crafting a new, shinier, glossier jar they could lure her with and stuff her back into. Had they left her alone, she would've thrived. She WAS thriving. She was beginning to handle the breeze of life with an easy rythym, learning to process the realities around her, with the freedom to grow toward her Source of Life unencumbered.

To break her from this newfound freedom, she was isolated from me (and the rest of her world) with some patriarchal vipers in another state and given a 2 month radical re-indoctrination to scrub me and the horse I rode in on out of her life, her mind, her "worldview"...her heart. As I've said before, she emerged as a child, a shell of the woman she had been, almost verbally militant about her beliefs, spouting all of the major, predictable talking points of patriarchy, but unable to point to their substance. I didn't know her.

All of this to produce pure and virtuous warriors for a stupid cultural war being planned, plotted, and fought by a bunch of paranoid "Christian" morons. The children caught up in this indoctrination have little chance at a thriving, healthy relationship with Christ. They're the true casualties of this bone-headed sociopolitical cultural war.

You don't believe this kind of thing happens in the Christian religious community? Check this out.
(Video here)

It makes this culturally radical sect of Christians no different than their enemies.

Take a look at the process and fruit of sociopolitical religious indoctrination...

Before you go getting all indignant about how awful it was that the little boy, Muhammad al-Durrah, was caught in the line of fire and was staged. Both he and his "father" were acting. Another news crew caught a Palestinian film crew staging Israeli atrocities in that area that morning. Muhammad al-Durrah was never even near the line of fire. If you didn't have that information, look how easily the staged images of that "poor, innocent boy and his father" would have stuck in your psyche. It's very easy to indoctrinate when the truth doesn't get in your way. Propaganda doesn't need to be true to actually work.

But alas...Indoctrination, fueled by agenda, doesn't make compromises for something as aggravating as the truth. That darned old nagging truth.

Indoctrination kills. It does everyday over in the middle-east and elsewhere in the world. Just imagine what the America would look like if these patriarchal fruitcakes ever did take over. 

You and I would be expendable. We already are, really. They just can't tell us that right now.


  1. Excellent and chilling post, Lewis. The link to the Jesus Camp bit was broken, though.

    I don't want to live in a theocracy!

    I bought a book at a home school convention, "Biblical Economics in Comics" by Vic Lockman.

    I picked it up without looking through it, because I intuited that it must be an easy way to teach things that are in the Bible, like hard work (2 Thessalonians), honesty in business (story of Jacob), the importance of saving for the future (story of Joseph), importance of paying taxes (the coin in the fishes mouth), being generous toward God (the parable of the rich man and the warehouses), etc.

    Not at all! It is blatant anti-government propaganda proposing theonomy as the utopian ideal for America.

    I have it on the shelf as an example of propaganda. Government workers are called "beauroRATS" thoughtout; any one needing welfare is a good for nothing lazy loafer, etc.

    It's hideous, and probably still marketed at your local state home school convention. Ugh.

  2. I can't say how sad I am for the way patriocentricity came between you and your ex-fiancée. I can imagine exactly how she was able to once again be indoctrinated: it is such a fine line and a sudden, crumbling cliff to stumble over. You can make yourself believe that patriocentricity is RIGHT and true. After all, it is what you were taught by all the authorities from the time you were small. A month or a year's resolutions to ONLY rely on God's word, and attempts to read the Bible through eyes unfiltered by patriocentricity....all disappear in an instant, leaving only the memory of the way you felt when you were 'free', and the familiar approach to the verse in the New Testament that was probably the tipping point. I still find it hard to reconcile so many of the verses which speak against legalism and everything patriocentricity stands for, with those that speak specifically to women and appear to prop up patriocentricity.

    I will admit, when I first found Commandments of Men I was a little put off by some of your views about, say, courtship and homeschooling. I have, however, come to rely immensely on your critiques of patriocentricity. Especially I took away from today's post this: Jesus did not indoctrinate.

    I am so, so sorry that you had to go through the loss of so much in order to be able to fight against patriocentricity. I ask that God will be your ezer now more than ever.

  3. " I ask that God will be your ezer now more than ever."

    Thank you, Bethany. That means a great deal to me.

  4. shadowspring...Try this link for the Jesus Camp...

  5. Bethany, you said:

    "I still find it hard to reconcile so many of the verses which speak against legalism and everything patriocentricity stands for, with those that speak specifically to women and appear to prop up patriocentricity."

    Would you like to read my essays for No Longer Quivering, "The Bible and the Nature of Woman"

    And my three-part series, "The Bible and Male Headship"?

  6. Of course, if any of these indoctrinated children ever get exposed to the real world, they have NO defenses against atheist arguments and probably won't want to defend against them anyway, because their idea of God will be that He is a dictator and control freak, and they will have little or no concept of salvation by grace.

    On losing what passes for Christian faith, they will feel nothing but relief. I pray that the Spirit will help them recover from the spiritual abuse and gently lead them to the true Jesus.

  7. "almost verbally militant about her beliefs, spouting all of the major, predictable talking points of patriarchy, but unable to point to their substance."

    I understand this all too well. "God has been teaching me a lot lately," really means, "my parents have told me this forcefully enough and subtly threatened to kicked me out if I don't comply."
    "I have come to the realization that fear is a emotional and mental trap that we put ourselves into. My desire to be in God's Will and to trust Him with my life and my actions shows itself greater than any pressures or temptations that Satan can throw my direction" translates to "My parents told me that you're poisonous and that's what God must think of you. Also, you're temptation from Satan."

    "Dad said it. I believe it. That settles it." Very appropriate.

  8. Have you seen the latest "review" of Hillary's book?

    I guess a daughter has no right to expect a mother to mother her because the mother is too busy producing more babies that she doesn't have time to properly mother.

    And I guess emotional neglect due to a mother too busy making babies that she can't take care of herself can never be a form a abuse since it doesn't involve anyone being slapped.
    And I guess forcing daughters to grow up too fast so they have to be little nannies in order to take care of all these children the parents can't take care of themselves is also not considered a form of neglect.
    So not only is a steadfast/quivering daughter not allowed to long for her mother to mother her, she must grow up too fast and learn to mother and give out of a heart that is already empty because her mother can't fill it.

    Steadfast/quivering daughters are forced to be mothers before they are ready with empty hearts void of the love and care they should be getting from their mothers.

    Any steadfast/daughter who longs for her mother to mother her is selfish and inconsiderated.
    She getting in the way of populating the world with mothered-yet-motherless children this horrid doctrine is producing.

    Says Mara, who believes children are a blessing, so I had four. And I love mothering them all everyday. And they are showing the fruit of being properly mothered.

  9. Mr. Wells,

    This blog is dedicated to a certain perspective. You cannot ignore your own indoctination. Look at the definition of indoctrinate. Look at Bethany's comment.

    Ask yourself, "If one relies immensely on my critiques, are they critically thinking or just changing indoctrinations?"

    Jesus did indoctrinate by the above definition. He gave his perspective on doctrine over that of the rulers of the people. That is the definition of indoctrinate.

  10. Mr.Tragedy101...At no point in the course of my writing have I ever said "Accept my opinions or else! Listen to no opinions other than my own!"

    If Bethany gives any particular weight to my opinions, she's doing so of her own choice, weighing the evidence as she sees fit. I'd submit that this process is something you should celebrate, being that she's exercising the process of critical thought quite liberally.

    Note the use of the word "imbue" and the reference to critical thought in the accepted definitions of indoctrinate above. It doesn't benefit anyone to redefine the word to serve ones own purposes.

  11. Mara...I read it just a few minutes ago. The sad part of it is I doubt this "review" would look any different had the author submitted it without reading the book. Reeks of hypocrisy.

    I found the dig at the anonymous QD contributors particularly ironic, what with this review being written for a site which has published "Abigail" and intends to publish "Christendombuilder".

    The "review" follows the same formula as Stacy's. Every twist and turn is identical. It's like everyone who joins that movement relinquishes the right to their own mind and is assimilated into the collective.

  12. I should add...

    After reading this (HEY GUYS!) they'll probably go to great lengths to make the next review "different".

  13. @Tragedy101 Lolz! You are kidding right?

    You're not seriously suggesting that writing a one page blog, which people are free to read or ignore, is anywhere on par with controlling everything a person reads, sees or listens to, as much as is humanly possible, for eighteen years or more of "childhood"?

    You can't possibly be making comparison between the free flow of information that is the internet and the careful choice of curriculum, reading materials, sermons, daily devotions, group devotions, prayer times plus parental lectures ad infinitum.

    Surely you don't mean to compare the crowds of people that gathered of their own free will to listen to Jesus when he was near their town with the captive audience of a quiverfull of children?

    Even the disciples who followed the Lord from town to town were free to leave anytime they wanted, not so the sons and daughters of the QF patriarchal family.

    You are either joking, not very thoughtful, or purposely dissembling.

    Lewis writing a blog is not indoctrination.

    Jesus teaching the crowds was not indoctrination.

    Indoctrination happens when an audience is coerced to stay, day after day, listening over and over to the message that the authority wants them to believe, and all information contrary to the authorities message is kept away from the indoctrinated persons.

    I think you know that, are not joking, and are not stupid. That only leaves purposely dissembling. Shame on you.

  14. Shadowspring,
    Brain-washing is a form of indoctrination.

    Indoctrination is as the dictionary definition states, not the further forcing of the word to become synonymous with brain-washing found beneath the dictionary definition in the above post. Mr. Wells is intentionally trying to make indoctrination distinctly different from teaching. But it is not. It is like saying a quadralateral has four sides. A square has four sides. Therefor, all quadralaterals are squares.

    Any time someone is taught or teaches one's self doctrine, it is indoctrination. What word would you use besides indoctrination?

    How do you read John 15.16?

  15. Mr. Wells,
    "At no point in the course of my writing have I ever said "Accept my opinions or else! Listen to no opinions other than my own!""

    Neither do your opponents, but people use those writings to teach as a choice. If annyone "gives any particular weight to [their] opinions, [they're] doing so of [their] own choice, weighing the evidence as [they see] fit. I'd submit that this process is something you should celebrate, being that [they are] exercising the process of critical thought quite liberally."

    Not saying something doesn't imply anything. Where do you say, "Do not accept my opinions and do not rely on my information. Use your own reason to determine the truth."

  16. What word would someone use? How about the word you used - teach.

    Unless you think I made up the definition of indoctrination, the definition itself makes it different than teaching.

    from the same sources

    teach: to impart knowledge or skill; give instruction.

    indoctrinate: to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., esp. to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view.

    In no definition of "teach" is motivation ever brought into question.

    From another source...

    teach: to help to learn; tell or show (how)

    indoctrinate: to teach (a person or group of people) systematically to accept doctrines, esp uncritically

    If you want to chase your tale to find reasons to oppose this blog, you go right ahead. Frankly, the reason you've chosen here is pretty silly.

    Just so you'll know, my patience is wearing pretty thin, so if you want to continue to chase your tale, do so under your actual name or I'll give you a VIP ticket to chase your tale elsewhere.

  17. "Not saying something doesn't imply anything. Where do you say, "Do not accept my opinions and do not rely on my information. Use your own reason to determine the truth."

    Are you serious?

  18. "Neither do your opponents, but people use those writings to teach as a choice."

    Again, seriously?

    So I'm just imagining that a large segment of my readers have been cut-off from their families. Ahh, I see it all so clearly now.

  19. Hi Lewis,
    You've inspired me to coin a new term- how 'bout Patriarse? Feel free to use it :)

  20. How do you read John 15.16?

    Not sure what you're getting at with that, but I think a good way to read it might be to start with John 15:15, where Jesus says He does not people to mindlessly obey Him but talk with Him as friends.

  21. Lewis,

    Thank you for the dictionary definitions to clear up the difference between teaching and indoctrination.

    The phrase "brain washing" is interesting. I am surprise you used that phrase because it implies a blunt honesty about the desired goal, something I doubt QF patriarchal homes would embrace. There is no scripture to back up blatant brain washing, so they rely on the less virulent techniques of (mere) indoctrination, with plenty of proof-texted scriptures to excuse the lust for dominance and control. One can indoctrinate people without CIA-type brainwashing sessions.

    However it is a valid point to bring that some of the QF patriarchal homes do cross the line from (mere) indoctrination to outright use of brainwashing techniques. The ATI practice of using prayer closet isolation as psychological torture designed to make the subject submissively compliant comes to mind.

    Also, depriving teen girls of sleep by making them care for infants and younger siblings while also over working them (for good purpose- to keep the household running) would possibly qualify. Purposeful sleep deprivation and working people to exhaustion is used blatantly by some groups for the purpose of brain washing, the Moonies for instance.

    I think in the QF patriarchal home it's more just a side effect of having too many children and misogynist views of women, rather than planned to weaken the daughters resistance to indoctrination. But still it was clever of you to point out that it works the same effect whether purposeful or merely consequential.

    As to how I read the book of John, specifically the fifteenth chapter, sixteenth verse:

    I read John 15:16 in context with the rest of the chapter, the entirety of the book of John, and in harmony with the other three gospels as well. I don't take single verses and use them to proof text whatever point I feel I want to make at the time.

    Eric put it well. Jesus is promising to his disciples that he treats us as friends, not servants. Those who respond to his call to fellowship/friendship will wind up bearing fruit that honors Him, and in our union with him we will petition for things that please the Father, which our Father will grant to us in the name of Jesus (because of who Jesus is and all He has done for us). Jesus then commands his friends/disciples to love one another.

    Why do you ask?

  22. Lewis,

    Oops! Only the first paragraph was addressed to you.

    I failed to add a greeting to Tragedy101 between the first of second paragraphs of my above post. The rest of the post is addressed to Tragedy101.

    My bad. n_n

  23. Lewis, this was one of the best posts that I've read! I am so amazed that you were aware of that your fiance family was cult like. When I met and dated my dh, I had no clue. My dh's patriarchal family love bombed, enmeshed, indoctrinated me somewhat into what I thought was a safe family. I had just escaped from my bad stuff @ home I wasn't able to see the signs. I was a mere 20yr old. It wasn't until a few yrs ago that Dh & I began to draw boundaries with his family. His mother has not respected our boundaries. Anyway, my dh's will was broken when he was very young. That made it easier to raise all of his sibs. He's now deep deep in a cult. This movement is very damaging, dehumanizing, spiritually abusive, toxic and many other nasty things. I wish ppl wouldn't downplay the harm and abuse that it is. No one can really truly understand how bad it is unless they've actually walked thru it. I want to go back and tell that young me the signs dangers and harm that this cultic system is.

  24. Where do you say, "Do not accept my opinions and do not rely on my information. Use your own reason to determine the truth."

    Dear Tragedy101:
    First of all, that is a STUPID thing to impose on anyone, and most of all on Lewis. If you look at your comment, and look to the right, you will see Lewis' "about me" section in which he says:

    Whether you agree with my words or disagree with them, I hope they'll make you think and never merely accept.
    Which I think is not only more than sufficient, but a much better version than yours.

  25. Yes, almost everyone agrees: I am stupid.

    esp = Especially

    Especially in said instance, but not restricted to said instance, indicating a modern connotation.

    The actual definition precedes the abbreviation "esp".

    The definition of indoctrinate is "to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc.".

  26. Be sure to inform the dictionary folk of your corrections. I'm sure they'll appreciate it as much as I do.

    And, I don't see a name, which implies another instance of failure to comprehend what's been written here - so consider the above comment your farewell tour.

  27. Ah, trying to reason with a cult member is like trying to catch the wind in a net...

  28. Tragedy 101 isn't it wonderful that you are free to come on Lewis' blog and express your opinion in writing? Isn't it wonderful that Lewis allows those who disagree to express their disagreement? One hallmark of the blogs of those who "teach" patriarchy is they cut off comments on their blogs to avoid having to defend their positions. Take for example Stacy McDonald's latest blog created for the sole purpose of disputing Hillary, the author of Quivering Daughters) story. At first comments were accepted. Once they received a few comments that were not in agreement comments were closed.

    How about Doug Phillips, The Botkin girls, Voddie Baucham none take comments. These folks are in the business on indoctrination and they do not want opposing viewpoints that may make those being indoctrinated think twice. They are not open to a free inter change of ideas. They run from having a debate on simple topics like whether a particular practice is extra-biblical. When asked direct questions they do not answer. All hallmarks of cult-like indoctrination.

  29. I just listened to an interesting conference presentation on the Anabaptists and how their challenging the government and church powers put those in "authority" at financial risk. Rather than having an open exchange of ides and theology, they had the Anabaptists killed. Sounded way too familiar.

  30. Oh joy. A firestorm within the ranks.

    I am just going to make a couple of points here.....

    In my first comment, I hesitated a long time before saying that I 'relied immensely' on Lewis' work, because I was and am aware of the fact that that implies, possibly, a level of 'indoctrination'. I went ahead with the phrase because I was short on time and there were more important points I wanted to make.
    Actually just the other day I was puzzling over this, because we ALL know that 'indoctrination' is bad and that is always what somebody else does...never us. I am as guilty of this as anyone.
    We can say that public schools indoctrinate or brainwash the students in them. We can equally say that patriocentrists indoctrinate their families. And maybe, I could say that I am currently indoctrinating myself with an interpretation of grace and the Gospel that may or may not be correct. For me anyway, it is very hard to know where to draw the line.

    I guess there might be a difference between a type of lifestyle as described above, versus a book or maybe an individual author, which one would hope is presented as one of several options. In that case however, it becomes hard to describe even patriocentrist authors as participating in indoctrination through their works.

    It is one of those things that I try to keep very quiet: don't write about on my blog, and so on....but I am very aware that I AM almost undergoing another indoctrination. Could be true for anyone 'just out' of patriocentricity. The pendulum effect, you understand.

    It is just a lot easier for me to not try to address the issue of 'grace indoctrination', so I usually don't. I share Tragedy's concern, but I don't know that it is a problem with AUTHORS so much as it is with READERS.

    A side point, which of course is outside of my influence but.....I hate to see someone prevented from commenting because they do not want to reveal a 'real' name. Problems with someone's personal views, fair enough: but on the Internet, I hope that I will always support anyone's desire to sign themselves only with a screen name. One's 'real name' is rather subjective anyway, where no facility exists to verify it. I can, also, attest that Tragedy is using a much-used Blogger account which I've been acquainted with for over a year.
    It is nothing short of a double standard to deny someone posting rights merely because of using a screen-name. Half the commenters here do so.

    Tragedy, if you're reading this, I don't think you are going to get very far by disagreeing with the words used in arguments. I would be interested to hear your disagreements with the opinions themselves, however.

    I would encourage those who've assumed that Tragedy is aligning himself with the members of the patriocentric movement, to wait until he actually says so himself. Arguing against myself is something that I indulge in at all possible opportunities.

  31. Bethany...The decision's been made about Tragedy101. Whether he aligns himself with the patriarchy movement or not, he's proven himself a "patriarse" here in the past, too.

    I allow anyone who wants to comment here every opportunity to comment, even if the comments are dissenting. To date, I've deleted a total of four comments since I've started this blog - two by viagra selling spammers, one by someone aggressively promoting the domestic discipline lifestyle (after having given a warning), and one at the request of the commenter. That said, if someone determines to take a petty and purposefully antagonistic stance in their participation, or reduce a very serious discussion into senseless word games, I don't think it's beyond acceptable reason to require a name attached, particularly when said commenter goes out of his/her way to misrepresent me - despite very clear words to the contrary in very clearly noted areas of the blog, as well as in many posts themselves.

    Please note that I'm leaving his comments to date up, but I won't allow any further comments from Tragedy101 regardless of whatever name he submits. He has his own agenda, and he can freely pursue it on a blog of his own or elsewhere in the blogosphere. If he has issues with me personally, he's free to contact me via the link at the top of the page to voice his disapproval. I may or may not respond, however.

    This certainly isn't anything personal toward you, Bethany, but rather just addressing your concerns.

  32. Just wanted to say that the video of brainwashing at the Jesus Camp was truly creepy. I shake my head at the weirdness that is passed off as Christianity and Christian teaching.

    Oh well. Paul did say, "not many wise." Just wish we weren't so eager to advertise it.

  33. Great post, thanks for sharing.

    >> >> Just imagine what the America would look like if these patriarchal fruitcakes ever did take over.

    Have you seen the movie "The Handmaid's Tale" (Robert Duvall, Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway)? It's exactly that and YUP, scary.