Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Purity Balls" - The Anderson Show

For anyone who missed it, last Friday, Anderson Cooper discussed "Purity Balls", and certain aspects of the purity movement, on his show. Here's the preview clip...


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The focus of the show was a family of four - father, mother, two daughters, 18 and 16 - who are part of the purity movement and have attended Purity Balls in all their splendor, including the purity pledge/covenant ceremonies. Also featured were Jessica Valenti, author of "The Purity Myth", as well as a couple of individuals from the documentary I recently wrote about, Purity Ball founder Randy Wilson and Jessica (the young lady who became pregnant, ultimately chose a different path than her family's, and has been estranged and shunned because of it).


I'm glad to see this cultural, cultic insanity confused with religion being covered by the mainstream media. That said, there was much left to be desired. In all fairness, one hour (which translates to 40some minutes of actual airtime) is barely enough time to introduce the issues relevant to this subject. It'd take a month's worth of shows just to scratch the surface. Some good questions were asked, and some good observations were made, but I'd like to have seen someone more studied on cultic forms of religion (or even a qualified psychologist) asking the questions rather than Anderson (who likely knew only as much about the issues as his producers told him) or audience members who know nothing of the dominionist movement, or, who know nothing of the ideas behind the ideas. At best, I have a "battlefield commission" on this nonsense, but at that, I'd have liked to be the guy speaking into Anderson's earpiece with "Now ask this..."


The show revolved around the sexual aspect of the purity movement, and the religious undertones were either avoided or everyone was just oblivious to it all. This was largely due to Valenti's book, or at least that's my assumption (I haven't read her book). I agree with Valenti 100% that the purity movement pushes against sexuality with more sexuality - which is ridiculous, but coming at it from that angle is, in a lot of ways, like trying to cure a disease by treating the symptoms. Until the source of the wound is addressed and treated (the crazy, dominionist religious ideas), all the rest is just so many words in the wind. That's where the show dropped the ball, in my opinion.


For instance, the double bind that these purity pledges put these young women in. You sign away your own will, and if you ever come to the realization that you're an independent, autonomous person, with the same access to God as any other person (including your father or pastor), and have no need for a human mediator, the contract itself is used against you as proof of your lack of "character and integrity". The father of the family of four insisted that the purity pledges were his daughters' idea. To me, that's a roundabout admission of genuine suckage as a father. NO good or responsible father would agree to something like this. NOT ONE.


The two daughters were quite obviously naive and oversheltered in a lot of ways - if not every way. The eldest (in the brown dress - who rocked side to side for almost the entire show - she felt a lot of pressure and was searching for a comforting rhythm) mentioned a boy she had once kissed and how the relationship had deteriorated, mutually, after the fact. What she didn't go into was WHY the relationship deteriorated. The smart money is on "because daddy said so". THAT's some ground I'd have liked to have seen plowed. It was one of those moments where I wish I'd been in Anderson's earpiece. Also, she, and the rest of the purity movement people, kept insisting that it wasn't just about sex, that people shouldn't be judged strictly by sex, that purity was about the whole person, physical, emotional, spiritual, yadda, yadda, yadda... Yet, when she began speaking of some women she considered "impure", Anderson asked her, "Why do you consider them impure?" Her answer? You guessed it. "Because they've had sex." Why he didn't follow up meticulously on such a gross contradiction is beyond me. Everything these girls had to say just went in circles. Round and round and round. As is common in cultic groups, they could give you the company line to obvious and expected questions, but struggled to substantiate anything when questioned further. Their minds have been so thoroughly indoctrinated that they've become part of the collective, for lack of a better description.


Randy Wilson just made things worse every time he opened his mouth - saying that these Purity Balls were originally supposed to be about fathers being the fathers they're supposed to be, or something or other. He's just a dominionist nutjob. He was angered by even having to be there, and the frustration showed on his face and in his phrasing. He's a true believer - just the kind of stooge the dominionist movement/cult needs to forward its agendas. He also needs a better hairpiece. Preferably one that doesn't look like roadkill. In a short video package that Anderson played about Purity Balls, there was a clip of Wilson talking about "fathers being the High Priest of the home". As far as I'm concerned, here's the bottom line for homes where the father acts as "High Priest of the home"...


Such homes are absolutely, unequivocally, undeniably NOT Christian homes. Christ has been done away with. The Holy Spirit is obsolete. There's no argument otherwise that I can see. None. Either Christ is your High Priest or daddy is. Not both. Claiming Christ while denying Christ is a spiritually futile undertaking.


I believe Randy Wilson loves his children, just as I believe the parents in the family of four love their children, just as I believe most P/QF parents love their children. The problem is, doctrine is valued over person, and that love has become religiously/culturally perverse and unhealthy, denying personhood to human beings created with free will and, through the tearing of the veil, given full access to God through Jesus Christ, not through daddy.


The most telling moment in the entire show happened when Jessica (not Valenti), the girl from the documentary "The Virgin Daughters", shared a very, very small snippet of her story. While she was speaking, they cut to a shot of the two daughters on stage, and then to a couple of shots of purity movement girls in the audience. They LOATHE Jessica. They hate everything about her. In their faces, all at once, was this hatred, disdain, fear, loathing, and a complete disregard for her humanity. She was beneath them, rebellious, and didn't deserve to be heard. 


The "whole person" my ass.


Just for context, I'm gonna list a few of the 8 dynamics of cultic Thought Reform of Robert Lifton. Those that I'm listing below were/are relevant to issues/behaviors that came up on the show...


MILIEU CONTROL

    the most basic feature is the control of human communication within
    and environment if the control is extremely intense, it becomes
    internalized control -- an attempt to manage an individual's inner
    communication control over all a person sees, hears, reads, writes
    (information control)
    creates conflicts in respect to individual autonomy
    groups express this in several ways:  Group process, isolation from
    other people, psychological pressure, geographical distance or
    unavailable transportation, sometimes physical pressure
    often a sequence of events, such as seminars, lectures, group
    encounters, which become increasingly intense and increasingly
    isolated, making it extremely difficult-- both physically and
    psychologically--for one to leave.
    sets up a sense of antagonism with the outside world; it's us
    against them closely connected to the process of individual change (of personality)

MYSTICAL MANIPULATION (Planned spontaneity)

    extensive personal manipulation
    seeks to promote specific patterns of behavior and emotion in such
    a way that it appears to have arisen spontaneously from within the
    environment, while it actually has been orchestrated
    totalist leaders claim to be agents chosen by God, history, or
    some supernatural force, to carry out the mystical imperative
    the "principles" (God-centered or otherwise) can be put forcibly and
    claimed exclusively, so that the cult and its beliefs become the only
    true path to salvation (or enlightenment)
    the individual then develops the psychology of the pawn, and
    participates actively in the manipulation of others
    the leader who becomes the center of the mystical manipulation (or
    the person in whose name it is done) can be sometimes more real than
    an abstract god and therefore attractive to cult members
    legitimizes the deception used to recruit new members and/or raise
    funds, and the deception used on the "outside world"

THE DEMAND FOR PURITY

    the world becomes sharply divided into the pure and the impure, the
    absolutely good (the group/ideology) and the absolutely evil
    (everything outside the group)
    one must continually change or conform to the group "norm"
    tendencies towards guilt and shame are used as emotional levers for
    the group's controlling and manipulative influences
    once a person has experienced the totalist polarization of good/evil
    (black/white thinking), he has great difficulty in regaining a more
    balanced inner sensitivity to the complexities of human morality
    the radical separation of pure/impure is both within the environment
    (the group) and the individual
    ties in with the process of confession -- one must confess when one
    is not conforming
SACRED SCIENCE

    the totalist milieu maintains an aura of sacredness around its basic
    doctrine or ideology, holding it as an ultimate moral vision for the
    ordering of human existence
    questioning or criticizing those basic assumptions is prohibited
    a reverence is demanded for the ideology/doctrine, the originators of
    the ideology/doctrine, the present bearers of the ideology/doctrine
    offers considerable security to young people because it greatly
    simplifies the world and answers a contemporary need to combine a
    sacred set of dogmatic principles with a claim to a science embodying
    the truth about human behavior and human psychology
DOCTRINE OVER PERSON

    every issue in one's life can be reduced to a single set of principles
    that have an inner coherence to the point that one can claim the
    experience of truth and feel it
    the pattern of doctrine over person occurs when there is a conflict
    between what one feels oneself experiencing and what the doctrine or
    ideology says one should experience
    if one questions the beliefs of the group or the leaders of the group,
    one is made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them
    to even question -- it is always "turned around" on them and the
    questioner/criticizer is questioned rather than the questions answered
    directly
    the underlying assumption is that doctrine/ideology is ultimately more
    valid, true and real than any aspect of actual human character or
    human experience and one must subject one's experience to that "truth"
    the experience of contradiction can be immediately associated with guilt
    one is made to feel that doubts are reflections of one's own evil
    when doubt arises, conflicts become intense
DISPENSING OF EXISTENCE

    since the group has an absolute or totalist vision of truth, those who
    are not in the group are bound up in evil, are not enlightened, are not
    saved, and do not have the right to exist
    "being verses nothingness"
    impediments to legitimate being must be pushed away or destroyed
    one outside the group may always receive their right of existence by
    joining the group
    fear manipulation -- if one leaves this group, one leaves God or loses
    their transformation, for something bad will happen to them
    the group is the "elite", outsiders are "of the world", "evil",
    "unenlightened", etc.

30 comments:

  1. I was reffered to this site through a friend of a friend and have been looking around. I decided to comment on this one.

    Though there are aspects that I would disagree with about the purity balls and related activities and beliefs, your post is very broad and general. It condemns them and those involved with them w/o giving detailed reasoning.

    As far as the "8 dynamics of cultic Thought Reform of Robert Lifton," you might take a look in the mirror. You are engageed in some of the same activities and probably don't realize it.

    These activities mentioned by Lifton aren't limited to just the "religious right", who you mention under your blog title, but also take place on the "religious left", which you curiously don't mention. It sounds to me like you might be leaning heavily toward a praticular mindset and set of ideas and teachings which are rather narrow. I'd hate to see you exclude others and their beliefs just because they don't agree with yours and those you hang with.

    Sounds kinda sad.

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    1. Another anonymous drive-by which I hope is satire.

      "You are engageed in some of the same activities and probably don't realize it."

      Enlighten me.

      "I'd hate to see you exclude others and their beliefs just because they don't agree with yours and those you hang with."

      That's kind of a slippery slope you're treading, don't ya think? Some belief systems, such as those I address here, are more than a little harmful to people. I'm sorry if you've been duped by them.

      Delete
    2. Me? Enlighten you?
      Far be it from me to guide you into all truth, especially when it's right there on your own post!

      Slippery Slope? I don't think it's any more slippery than the one you're treading.

      Duped? Me? Oh my! You are presumptious aren't you!
      I'll repeat that I believe certain foundational aspects of the "purity balls and related beliefs and activities" are wrong. If not agreeing 100% with you about every aspect or wrongness means I'm duped, then I confess.

      BTW What about the religious left? Or are they off limits?

      Delete
    3. Final (non-drive-by) AnonymousJanuary 27, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      I'm so excited to hear there is still a Religious Left somewhere in this country. Ah, there is hope for me yet.

      Delete
  2. "Me? Enlighten you?
    Far be it from me to guide you into all truth, especially when it's right there on your own post!"


    In other words, "I made an accusation that I thought sounded good at the time, but I can't really substantiate it - so, being that I intend to stand by it, I'll put the responsibility on YOU to find any merit to my accusation. That way it seems like I can substantiate it, but it saves me the trouble of actually having to do so."

    "BTW What about the religious left? Or are they off limits?"

    If you feel so strongly about it, you should start a blog about it. This blog isn't about the "religious left".

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  3. i wish to have been able to watch the entirety of this show. i can assure you that i know enuf about this movement/cult to talk with conviction and honesty. heck, my soon to be ex was born into this patriarch/king mentality/girls have their roles and men get to make the rules and break them cult mentality. "the father being the king of the home" makes me *shudder* violently. i have been around this kind god forsaken crap for yrs and yrs and it is oppressive & @ best religious fanaticism/addiction *gag* & also very controlling & without Christ. it's without Christ because the cult leader is right up there with God so he can speak for God and further control you. UGH!

    these cult leaders like randy & hubs cult leader use false humility as a way to control and manipulate. And the game is to separate themselves from families, friends & the "world" (isolation) to have followers look to their leader for the answers to life. The cult leader is right up there with God so he can speak for God and further control you.

    the tricky thing these cult leaders do is they put God and what they are spewing and themselves all in punch bowls and they stir it up so badly it is hard for members to distinguish what is actually going on & they confuse all three as the same.

    What these ppl like Randy are doing is nothing new, hundreds of cults have done the same thing, demonizing the body of Christ in order to seclude and control their members. Then they strip their minds of everything they knew before as truth and rewire their brains so they lose their identity. It's pretty upsetting people are this evil, it will definitely give you trust issues. in the case of the hubs, he was born into this cult & his parents used spanking to break he and the sibs will to program & control. so these ppl don't actually grow up emotionally.

    the wonderful awesome list that lewis gave called Milieu control are the lovely *i'm being snarky* tactics that cult leaders like randy like the leader of hubs cult & fathers of this movement use. these tactics are used to encourage cognitive changes in individuals which many times look like "mental" illnesses. the cult leaders control the members or their "daughters" environment and human communication with lots and lots of pressure and thru language.

    what's sad to me, well, the whole thing breaks my heart is that often times the victims of these cults often becomes the deceiver. like in the hubs case. he was preyed upon but he's had yrs of ppl around him loving sharing planting seeds of truth etc etc. At some point, it becomes a matter of volition a conscious decision involving willful disobedience. and you know what happens? Over time, they are no longer sensitive to God’s word or the Holy Spirit’s warning. This is what Wendy Duncan means by her book title, “I Can’t Hear God Anymore.” so so very very sad!!

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  4. Far be it from me to guide you into all truth, especially when it's right there on your own post!

    In other words, "Since you're indwellt by the Holy Ghost, follow your own heart. I'm sure you can trust it."

    Start my own blog? Why? That's for people like you to do. Then people like me get to come along and encourage you!

    On a more serious note, I must say that you do seem to be a little bit on the harsh and judgmental side in your approach. I would think that that is something that you're trying to stay away from on the religious right - fundamentalist side. Maybe you should try a little Love, Jesus style! After all, he only blasted religious types who were always trying to point out the faults of others, sorta like you're doing here, just pointing out the faults of others. Dude, you need to repent, get the log outa your own eye and start doing Kingdom Business! This attitude is what killed Jesus!

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    1. Enough already. Maybe next time you make an accusation, you'll bother to think about it a bit beforehand.

      Delete
    2. "Maybe you should try a little Love, Jesus style! After all, he only blasted religious types who were always trying to point out the faults of others, sorta like you're doing here, just pointing out the faults of others. Dude, you need to repent, get the log outa your own eye and start doing Kingdom Business!"

      This is beyond the measurement capacity of my Irony meter.

      And btw...EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! when making religious points come across as religiousness.

      Delete
  5. Not that I want to get drawn into this conversation, but...I think Jesus blasted people who were spreading false ideas/doctrine about God. Whether those people were pointing fingers at others was kind of a side issue (being as the log-in-the-eye bit was only mentioned once).

    Lewis, I am as creeped out by purity balls as the next person (particularly the daddy worship), but there is a side to the debate that I have always wondered about and would be interested to hear your thoughts on.

    Besides the whole dad worship/your hymen is your value/fairytale prince charming, etc. etc. I have also heard people criticize purity balls for teaching girls to remain virgins until marriage. Some critics say that parents don't have a right to place that expectation on the kids, and make the kids agree to it when they're young. In other words, don't ask your kids to decide about their sex life until they're old enough to understand it.

    So, if you're a parent who happens to believe that sex before marriage isn't God's plan--at what point do you cross the line from teaching your kids your values, to becoming creepy and controlling?

    I'm just kind of airing out my thoughts here. It's frustrating, because generally I agree with anyone and everyone who criticizes purity balls--but then it comes to *that* point in the argument, and I just think, "Yes, but don't parents have a right to teach kids their values while the kids are young?"

    I realize, of course, that your blog speaks a lot about teaching vs. indoctrination. Maybe indoctrination is more of what's going on here, and that is why people find it objectionable.

    Just wondered if you had thoughts on that particular angle.

    Your non-drive-by Anonymous :)

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    1. "I realize, of course, that your blog speaks a lot about teaching vs. indoctrination. Maybe indoctrination is more of what's going on here, and that is why people find it objectionable."

      I think that sums it up pretty accurately.

      When adult children choose a different path, culturally or spiritually, than their parents, and with their choice comes a corresponding punishment, whether physical or emotional (estrangement and shunning), from their parents, that's where doctrine has overtaken person, and a good place to draw a line between indoctrination and teaching. As much as I think a lot of the doctrine of these movements is poisonous and crazy, what moves it over into "cult" territory are the corresponding behaviors, punishments, et cetera.

      Cults aren't defined so much by doctrine (as a lot of people think they are), but by the behaviors associated with the doctrine. As a friend said in a conversation elsewhere, two sure-fire ways to identify unhealthy groups or belief systems are sex and money. Anyone trying to control those aspects of you is trying to control ALL of you, and more often than not, failure to comply comes with corresponding punishment.

      Delete
    2. "This is beyond the measurement capacity of my Irony meter."

      You could always expand the horizons of your capacity meter.

      "And btw...EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! when making religious points come across as religiousness."

      Wow. I didn't realize you were so sensitive. Well, that's what happens when you succumb to the narrowmindedness of low level capacity meters. Dude, live a little.

      In this post, you make a point about the fact that the Dad is only going along with this Purity Ball idea coming from his daughters. You them blast the Dad for not having "Ball" enough to be a real Dad to his daughters.

      Dude, you're missing the entire point. This isn't about Patriarchy. It's about Matriarchy. The women are in control of this situation, not the man.

      Of course, this is an issue which this blog will probably not address seeing that the religious left is off limits. I just listened to a nationally recognized Psychologist conbduct a talk show about violent spousal abuse. hHen the idea of abuse by the women came up from a caller giving his own story, it was acknowledgeded by the host, but was not discussed in any detail. It was glossed over by eventually saying that women were victims and never at fault, even when they were the instigators and perpetrators of the violence.

      If you don't address this issue in the example in your post, you are enabling the cultish matirarchal mind control and indoctrination to continue.

      Delete
    3. I think it is the responsibility of every parent to teach their children what they believe is right and/or wrong. It is NOT RIGHT to force/coerce/encourage your children to sign a vow stating they will never commit a particular sin. That's the difference.

      To start with, Jesus told us not to make vows. That should end it right there.

      Matt 5:33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ 34 But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

      But beyond that, you cannot control your adult children. Ezekiel 18 makes it plain that you, parent, are not able to be responsible for your children before God. It is not your place. You do not have that power.

      The closest you can come is to withhold your love when your adult children do not live as you want them to do, in an attempt to manipulate them to live as you wish. That is a direct violation of "Love one another as I have loved you" coupled with "God commends his love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Further, according to Romans 2:4, it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance, so if we are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, we too should be showing kindness towards those we consider "in sin".

      Then there is the whole "he who is without sin" being the only one qualified to cast the first stone (of condemnation, rejection).

      Further, what about the doctrine that all sin is equally repulsive in God's sight? Romans 1 lists a whole lot of sins of many kinds, and then Paul concludes in Romans 2 that we have no standing to condemn anyone who commits any of those sins because we ourselves are just as guilty before God. The tendency to put a girl's sexual activity as a greater grievance to the heart of God that your cutting someone off in an impatient snit is based in misogyny. It's not a core teaching of the Bible.

      Yes, Paul seems to state that sexual sin is somehow more serious because it involves the body, but I must confess that makes no sense to me. However, like all instructive scripture, it is meant for ME to apply it to MYSELF, not for me to attempt to enforce on others. Further in Romans, Paul makes it plain that believers are to answer to the Lord only (Romans 14). He is Lord. Parents don't get to horn in on God's place in their children's lives.

      To sum up my belief from my study of scripture:

      It's one thing to instruct a child in right and wrong; that's a parents job. It's entirely different to pressure them to sign a pledge that they will never disagree with you or break your rules as long as they live. Not only is that in itself encouraging your children to sin, *you* as a parent have no right to such obeisance from your adult children. This applies across the board to all areas of life. Lead, teach and then get out of the way. Your children's hearts and lives are not yours to give to Jesus or deny Him. All you have to offer the Lord is YOUR life. But then that is all He is asking of *you*. :)

      ps

      I have one child, who of his own accord, intends to remain a virgin until marriage. I didn't coerce that intention from him. My daughter does not share that conviction. Does the Lord love my son more than He loves my daughter? No way. Will my son be blessed for his choice? I believe so. But none of it is really my business anyway. To their own master they will stand or fall, indeed He is able (and only He is able) to help either/both of them stand. I leave it in God's capable hands.

      Delete
    4. "In this post, you make a point about the fact that the Dad is only going along with this Purity Ball idea coming from his daughters. You them blast the Dad for not having "Ball" enough to be a real Dad to his daughters.

      Dude, you're missing the entire point. This isn't about Patriarchy. It's about Matriarchy. The women are in control of this situation, not the man."


      If you honestly believe that, let's play poker sometime. In the VF world, women are second-class citizens. Part of Randy Wilson's frustration on this show was the fact the he was even having to address the charges of and answer to women. VF is a man's world. This has been addressed at length on this blog.

      You might want to check out the "bounded choice" label here on the blog.

      BTW, I "blasted" the dad for signing the covenant along with his daughter. Not something a good or responsible father would do. I could also "blast" him for filling her with such nonsensical beliefs as to want to do such a thing.

      If this kind of uninformed comment is gonna be typical, I ask you to rethink commenting, and if you have questions, email me at the address in the link on the upper right of the blog.

      Delete
  6. Very amusing to read about "the religious left". Thank you for making me smile so early in the morning.

    Hmmm, having never heard of "the religious left" nor having been accosted by such anywhere, I am left to imagine to what nefarious deeds they might be plotting. Rob from the rich and give to the poor? Enforce tolerance and love with a strict "no tolerance" policy that shames and ostracizes homophobic, racist and sexist bigots? Or does Anonymous imagine a religious left where tolerance is not enough, but forced gender/race/sexual orientation assignment surgeries and therapies are demanded, so that men finally "get" why misogyny is evil by being forced to become female; whites finally "get" why racism is wrong by being forced to become a person of color, and straight persons who revile gay persons finally understand why that's wrong when they themselves are forced by some yet-to-be-determined therapy to feel unsought, unwanted homosexual attractions which don't go away no matter what they try, and finally FINALLY then they understand why homophobia is wrong? Those fiends!

    The religious left is so sneaky, so subversive, that I haven't got wind of their plans nor been invited to any such "church" even though I am regularly accused of being a "liberal". Nor have I met any Christian who is in favor of economic, racial, sexual justice who has ever tried to shame, libel, slander or ostracize any person for disagreeing, much less an organized group of such people working together to do so.

    "Religious left"- hee hee. That one is going to have me smiling all day. Lolz.

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    1. Petticoat PhilosopherJanuary 26, 2012 at 7:34 PM

      hehehe. I admit that, when I first read this fool's comments, I kinda hoped you'd show up and take him apart. Heart you, shadowspring! :-P

      Delete
  7. Lewis,

    Thank you for what you are doing! I found your website through Wade Burleson's blog, and I am so grateful that courageous men like you and Wade are speaking out on these issues that subjugate women.

    I co-write a faith-watch blog with my best friend called The Wartburg Watch, and we have focused on some of these issues. We will have to add you to our blogroll.

    Blessings!

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  8. You know, Lewis, much as I'm baffled by many statements coming from the other anonymous, I do think it would be interesting for you to address the role that women play in enforcing patriarchy. Although the majority of patriarchal homes are run by men and keep women in submission, there are some families where the mothers are demanding/promoting this unhealthy structure, and those situations are truly a shame. This was the case within the family of the girl my husband used to date, the situation which (as I have mentioned in other comments) so closely mirrors yours in other ways.

    In any case, even when it is the father promoting it, there is a LOT that women do behind the scenes (or sometimes out in the open) to reinforce what the men are already doing. I mean, Debi Pearl. Do I even need to go any farther? ;)

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    1. No denying that. I think there are several factors.

      One is women with narcissistic/sociopathic tendencies of their own, acting as manipulators, becoming matriarchal in the process. I've no hard data to support this opinion, but I believe this is a minority. Just the fact that men like Doug Phillips can barely stand to have to speak to a woman tells me that this isn't an accepted practice in the upper echelons of these movements.

      Another group are the true blue believers and Kool-aid drinkers who believe it's their duty, as women, to make Kool-aid drinkers out of their children, particularly molding dutiful, submissive wives out of their daughters. While their husbands may make the policies, the wives enforce them. This group is similar to the core group of women that Jim Jones surrounded himself with. He and his male cronies may have made the policies, but these women were responsible for promoting, upholding, and enforcing many of them.

      Another would fall into a phenomenon not unique to P/QF leaders, but a head-scratcher that's pretty widespread across even mainstream Christianity - the idea that a pastor's (or church leader's) wife is somehow obliged and automatically qualified to be some kind of leader herself, when more often than not, she isn't qualified at all. 9 times out of 10, who leads the "women's bible studies" at an evangelical church? Not the most qualified person to lead it, but the pastor's wife.

      Lots of nuance to it. I've heard of a lot of cases where the mother is the staunch P/QF person, and leads the charge of bringing her family into the belief system...but once there, in most cases, there's only so much she can do without technically stepping out of its principles. Most of the time, this kind of family is already pretty dysfunctional (not because it's matriarchal in nature, but simply because it's dysfunctional). If it were an emotionally/mentally healthy dynamic to begin with, a matriarch wouldn't promote a system that robs her of power. Unstable.

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    2. as a place to find women who were, at one point, the driving force behind their family becoming P/QF, i recommend No Longer Quivering [Lewis knows it, and Vyckie, the main runner, loves Lewis :) ] the sum-up of why they did - pushed their families into P/QF - seems to be "it looked like a deal - i submit, my husband becomes a great leader, and my family is SAFE".

      i don't think any of us would be surprised at how anything that "guarantees" "safety" is incredibly seductive...

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  9. WE ARE THE BORG. YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

    You mentioned the "collective". Any group or belief system that suppresses individuality and embraces doctrine over person, draws parellels in my mind to the most frightening and evil villains in all Sci-Fi, the Borg.

    Those girls are just drones, speaking from the hive mind. It's sad, and scary.

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  10. Actually, there are many "patriarchal" homes who are secretly matriarchal. I think the homes of the big leaders, Doug Phillips and such, are run more by the men. Then a lot of controlling women push their husbands and children into the movement. They supposedly want a "patriarchal" home, but things are largely run by them, not the men. It's way more common than you would think if you haven't been deep in the movement and talked to plenty of people from such homes. I'm from one of them, and have been surprised at how many friends are too. I think such movements attract controlling, manipulative people, because the religious aspect gives them a way to control. They use the name of God to guilt their families. I think many of these homes would be very different if the husband wasn't pushed into by the wife, and if the wife wasn't making a lot of the decisions behind the scenes, and convincing the husband why it should be a certain way.

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  11. "If this kind of uninformed comment is gonna be typical, I ask you to rethink commenting,"

    My comments are anything but "uninformed." They come from practical experience, from being deeply involved on the fringes of high leadership circles. It's one of the ironies of the whole partiarchal movement and mindset. While the man is touted as the pinnacle of authority and worthy of all respect, deserved or otherwise, all ministry is geared to bypass the man and appeal directly to women and children. The man ends up being nothing more than a figurhead, empty and weak.

    This is nothing more than a reflection of the culture around us. One of the goals of public education of this country, primary secondary and higher education, is to break down any perceived historical patriarchy and rebuild a matriarchal society. What is left is a society dependent upon government who become the true parents of everyone. The state with its power of the sword is the "Father" and the school is the "Mother." I'm sure many have an "Alma Mater", a "Holy Mother", even if you've never really thought of it that way before. Everyone is viewed as the property of the State, especially the children.

    So, what I said earlier stands. The real issue is not the patriarchal father but the matriarch and the power she wields over the lives of those in her household and beyond.


    BTW it has also been stated, "two sure-fire ways to identify unhealthy groups or belief systems are sex and money. Anyone trying to control those aspects of you is trying to control ALL of you."

    If that's true, then you might as well include Jesus on your list of Cult Leaders. He spoke more about money that any topic. And he wasn't afraid to confront the issue of sex in personal lives. Yeah, Jesus loved people in a strange way. He told them the truth. Cultic Dudes like Him are dangerous. Elimination is the only answer.

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    1. "My comments are anything but "uninformed." They come from practical experience, from being deeply involved on the fringes of high leadership circles. It's one of the ironies of the whole partiarchal movement and mindset. While the man is touted as the pinnacle of authority and worthy of all respect, deserved or otherwise, all ministry is geared to bypass the man and appeal directly to women and children. The man ends up being nothing more than a figurhead, empty and weak."

      Not exactly. Women and children are, ultimately, taken advantage of within this movement. They aren't being "ministered to". That gives the movement waaaaaay too much credit. They're being mined.

      Experience in leadership, whether directly or on the fringe, doesn't make someone informed about the dynamic within the power hierarchy of P/QF. It's like I've told people unfamiliar with P/QF types...If you ever have to deal with them, take everything you've ever considered "normal" about interacting with other people and throw it out the back door. It's a whole other animal.

      "This is nothing more than a reflection of the culture around us. One of the goals of public education of this country, primary secondary and higher education, is to break down any perceived historical patriarchy and rebuild a matriarchal society. What is left is a society dependent upon government who become the true parents of everyone. The state with its power of the sword is the "Father" and the school is the "Mother." I'm sure many have an "Alma Mater", a "Holy Mother", even if you've never really thought of it that way before. Everyone is viewed as the property of the State, especially the children."

      Despite whatever elements of truth might be in this, that really comes across as right-wing, fundamentalist fear.

      "BTW it has also been stated, "two sure-fire ways to identify unhealthy groups or belief systems are sex and money. Anyone trying to control those aspects of you is trying to control ALL of you."

      If that's true, then you might as well include Jesus on your list of Cult Leaders. He spoke more about money that any topic. And he wasn't afraid to confront the issue of sex in personal lives. Yeah, Jesus loved people in a strange way. He told them the truth. Cultic Dudes like Him are dangerous. Elimination is the only answer."


      Geez. Most of the time that Jesus spoke of money, Jesus wasn't speaking of money. He also had next to nothing to say about sex.


      If you want to continue this nonsense, take it to email. No more of these comments will be published. You've barely even addressed the post itself. Enough. If you have a message you want to communicate...start a blog.

      Delete
  12. Passivity can be used to emotionally abuse people. It works this way, the passive person neglects to: keep his word, fulfill his responsibilities, fill in the blank. The passive person may be neglecting things consciously or subconsciously, but the net result is a very frustrated partner. Usually the partner can get verbal assurance that the passive person won't drop the ball again. Said partner, if they are forgiving and/or co-dependent, after a time of frustration, happily agrees to let bygones be bygones and trust again. Think Lucy holding the ball for Charlie Brown as he prepares to practice his kicks. Sometimes she is distracted and drops the ball, other times she pulls it away quite purposefully. Charlie Brown, ever the trusting soul, keeps giving her the opportunity to fail him again, trusting that Lucy really is giving her word in good will this time .

    This is a good analogy for a person married to a passive (aggressive) partner. If the passive partner is a man, then the evangelical woman will be doubly frustrated. She continues to carry most of the load of parenting (and home schooling) while her partner just isn't there for her. Such women are, I think, attracted to the patriarchal ideal because maybe with that extra outside pressure, her passive partner will finally step up to the plate.

    Except it doesn't work that way. Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder is a learned behavior. Spanking, controlling, emotionally absent or distant parenting instills this terrible way of doing life in a young person's psyche. The child learns to agree to everything, and then asserts their independence in only passive, nebulous ways because direct assertions of independence are shamed and punished as 'defiance' or 'rebellion'.

    So wife pushes passive husband into patriarchy, hoping the extra outside peer pressure will change things. It doesn't. Now she has the added pressure of trying to look submissive while in reality she is carrying all the responsibility for running the show. She is bitter, angry and frustrated. She snaps at this kids, tries begging, pleading and demanding that her husband "man up". He looks so innocent (because he's doing nothing, so he's not doing anything wrong, right? =) while she looks like a banshee.

    Been there, done that, wrote a blog about it.

    Obviously this doesn't describe every secretly matriarchal family ascribing outwardly to the patriarchal party line. Some of these women are probably narcissists/sociopaths. But others are just caught in a very tricksy psychological dynamic. It's so subtle that it's hard to put into words, but responsibility abuse ("letting" mom do all the work), refusing to give respect to a partner (not keeping promises, not speaking to with honor), being the "Silent Knight" who drags his feet and works to quietly frustrate a partner's plans until the wife is so frustrated that she looks bad, THEN steps in to "save the day", it's all abuse.

    Some of these "pushy" women and married to passively abusive men, and that abuse hurts just as bad as open abuse. It's just a whole lot harder to recognize, and by the time a wife figures it out, she is often still left carrying ALL THE RESPONSIBILITY for the failures in the family.

    'Nuff said.

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  13. That a daughter would "pledge" her "purity" (her virginity, her body) to her father really creeps me out. Does he own her? Own her body? Her sexuality? Ick.

    And if a girl has sex, she becomes "impure"? Damaged goods?

    I think we've had enough of men controlling women's bodies. I also wonder if these same people would agree to have their SONS pledge their purity to their MOTHERS?

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  14. Anonymous: of course they don't, because it's obviously the women's responsibility to keep the men "pure." If a man looks at you and has impure thoughts, it's because you weren't dressed modestly enough--better cover up! (Or because you were flirting with him--*gasp!* Better not talk to boys without chaperones present.) Don't get me wrong, I don't approve of girls dressing like skanks, but that's because I want them to have self-respect, not because I'm worried they might "cause a man to sin." I am SO tired of hearing that given as the reason girls should be "modest." But that's another topic for another day...

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    1. JM- Women who dress like "skanks" (nice and respectful! not a hint of misogyny there, eh?) don't have self-respect? How do you know that? Does the length of woman's hemline give you the authority to speak for her and her state of mind when you probably don't even know her name?
      You don't want women to have self respect, you want them to live up to your silly arbitrary standards of what is and isn't "proper".

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  15. Shadowspring...are you suggesting that there are some incredibly disfunctional, neurotic, angst ridden marriages in the conservative Christian circles???I think you would be right.I have seen some of them fall apart in recent years and what we hear about the real behind the scenes stuff that was going on is nothing like the impression we all had. There are couples playing ALL kinds of roles, none of them healthy.Fortunately, I have heard of a few who have ended up in therapy, something that never would have been considered while the make believe was going on. And I don't mean "church" therapy. What should be the most empathetic, sensitive type of counseling often end up as "if the wife is unhappy it's the wife's fault...and if the husband is unhappy, it's the wife's fault too!

    I would not be surprised if some of these ultra "pure" families face some serious reality checks at some point. Somewhere, some day, one of these girls is going to be smitten with some very natural inclanations regarding the opposite sex.

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  16. Lolz. Sarcasm. My kind of humor. =D

    For sure there are MANY families facing serious reality checks! In the home school world, though, new recruits never hear about them for several reasons.

    First is the SHAME that families with public failings will have heaped upon them. Families with undeniable issues tend to stay away from the happy shiny shows that are typical home school support group meetings because they know they have problems, and feel shame that they are not all the other home school families appear to be.

    The next reason is that they will likely be shunned and possibly even openly kicked out of a group if they do show up. "Your husband is an alcoholic? That is not in keeping with our guidelines of Christian values. We must inform you that you are no longer a member of XYZ Christian home school group."

    The third reason they stop being part of the group could be they have figured out that all of the advice they followed to the letter DID NOT result in the promised outcome. As they come out of denial, why would they continue to go back to the places whose faulty philosophies failed them?

    And finally, if you are to catch wind of the existence of a former pillar of the Christian home school community who is now divorced, family member arrested for a crime, put on sexual offender list, kids becoming parents out of wedlock, cutting, suicide attempts, partying or turning away from the faith, the ready answer is there:

    They weren't doing it right! The religious system works, people continue to insist, but THOSE PEOPLE weren't doing it right! And if you don't know "those people" personally, and sometimes even when you do, it is far more comforting to believe that lie than to come out of denial.

    And here Jesus said "the truth will set you free". Crazy mixed up world, this world of uber-religion.

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