Quivering Daughters: 5 Stars

In the amazing movie, Amazing Grace, that recounts the true story of abolitionist William Wilberforce and his long fight against the British slave trade, there is one scene that will forever stand out in my mind.

Frustrated by the apathy, if not arrogance, he encountered among those who were detached from the realities of slave life, Wilberforce invited a group of Britain’s high society political patrons for a dinner cruise, pampering them with the best food and wine, first rate servants, and an impeccable string quartet.

As the guests finished their meal, their boat laid anchor alongside a ship called the Madagascar and Wilberforce introduced his guests to a slave ship that had just transported its latest cargo. Explaining that the voyage had begun with over 600 slaves but that 2/3 of them had died along the way, one by one, the horrified dinner guests, now covering their noses with fine linen handkerchiefs, realized that what they smelled was the stench of human death.

In a clear and simple voice, Wilberforce confirmed, “God has created all men equal,” giving his guests a startling jolt to the reality of slavery and making clear why he was so passionately opposed to it. Wilberforce did not simply say “yes, there might be abuse of some Africans.” Instead, he declared that the institution of slavery itself was a horrible evil.

I could not help but think of Wilberforce and his zeal to defend those who could not defend themselves as I picked up Hillary McFarland’s Quivering Daughters: Hope and Healing for the Daughters of Patriarchy for the first time. Exposing the reality of life for many daughters within the patriocentric paradigm, Hillary turns this movement on its head by revealing the dark side its leaders don’t want to admit exists.

Hillary makes it evident right from the start that she loved being homeschooled, loved having a house full of siblings, and that she deeply loves her mother and father. This is no “Mommy Dearest” treatise nor is it a forum for rebellious homeschooling daughters. Instead, Hillary graciously explains the nature and practice of spiritual abuse while weaving together both her own experiences and those of young women who have suffered at the hands of a patriocentric system into a book that is certain to touch many hearts.

To be clear, this is no psycho babbling self-help book either. Instead, Hillary encourages her readers to seek the grace so fully offered by Jesus Christ to heal and sustain them and to embrace forgiveness as they rebuild their lives. Giving credit to her parents for instilling a love of Scripture in her life, Quivering Daughters capably explains the wrong doctrines of patriocentricity, rightly correcting its attitudes and teachings with what the Bible actually says.

The truths discovered on the pages of Quivering Daughters won’t only be helpful to the young women who have been harmed by this system. Moms and dads who have embraced the performance-based style of parenting within the homeschooling world will see the fruits the paradigm peddlers don’t want you to see and only the most cult like will be blinded to the fact that Hillary isn’t talking about how “some” daughters are abused, but the reality that being part of the system itself IS the abuse!

I highly recommend Quivering Daughters for anyone who has been personally touched by the patriarchy/patriocentricity movement or who wants to understand what the controversy is all about; it is must reading for every single homeschooling parent. Let’s pray that those who still cover their noses with patriocentric linen hankies will be convicted and stirred into action.

I will be featuring a series of podcast interviews with Hillary beginning on July 23rd and will be offering a chance to win a copy of Quivering Daughters. Also, keep checking this spot for links to other reviews and commentary on Hillary’s book.

Barbara Curtis at Mommy Life

Elizabeth Esther
Cindy Kunsman
Meg Moseley
Lisa at Hopewell
Shari Howerton
J. Wile

Amazon reviews

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  1. says

    Karen – Thank you for this review. Although I am not personally close to patriocentrists and their teachings, I have many friends who have been negatively impacted by it. I need to know more in order to be a better friend and to pray more intelligently. My heart is heavy for those who have been drawn in by this extra-biblical teaching.

  2. says

    Excellent review! I will add links to your podcasts to my “other” [opinion-neutral] blog A Full Quiver of Information–located here: http://quiverfullmyblog.wordpress.com/ It provides links only to all types of resources on the Quiverfull/Patriarchy life. I also put up neutral posts announcing new materials. I do not write opinion pieces at that blog, like I do on my personal one.

  3. says

    Lisa, you might want to add the series of podcasts on Militant Fecundity, too. I have lots of information on the “quiverfull” aspect of this movement on those!

  4. says

    Excellent–Militant Fecundity will get linked, too. I aim to build a true virtual library on the Quiverfull movement, so this is a help.

  5. says

    Read this interesting comment today in reference to Hillary’s book:

    “Merely asking a well-known pastor and conference speaker in homeschooling circles to read and review Quivering Daughters and get back the response, “Are you accusing me of something?” screams volumes about the overall environment of certain patriocentric sectors of Reformedville.”

  6. says

    There is an interesting discussion of Robin Phillips’ review of Quivering Daughters going on over on his blog. http://robinphillips.blogspot.com/2010/07/review-of-quivering-daughters.html

    In case my comment doesn’t make it through moderation, here is what I wrote in response to him and to Stacy McDonald who is offering some of her perspective:

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    Those families who embrace patriocentric teachings like these gravitate toward family integrated churches where the leadership would also be teaching these things. If a young woman came to her pastor or elders and explained that she wanted to do X, Y, or Z, anything other than what the paradigm says is “godly womanhood” she would be marked as rebellious and she would most likely be excommunicated for her rebellion, being reminded that “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.” Is it any wonder that you see Stacy McDonald, author of this book I quoted, heartily endorsing your suggestion?

    It then helps to understand why the 2009 Homeschooling Leadership Conference in Indianapolis hosted Vision Forum (publisher of Stacy’s books) founder Doug Phillips who stated that three of the stated goals for homeschooling families are to see all homeschooling families in family integrated churches, see daughters stay home until given in marriage, and close down the department of child and family services. I hope people are getting the whole picture.

    Hope that clarifies my quote.


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