observable dangers of the militant fecundity teachings

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“Yep, this leaves a bad taste in my mouth, too, Bud!”


Words mean things. They really do. And powerful words and admonitions bring about powerful life choices. Those words become even more powerful when spoken by celebrities, whether they come from those in politics or the arts within our secular culture. For believers, they leave the greatest impressions when they are spoken by Christian celebrities who are promoting a particular agenda. In these instances, your very salvation, or so they imply, is put into question depending on your “obedience” to these messages.

In yesterday’s blog entry I listed some of the degrading messages evangelical women receive and included a link to the podcast series I recorded on the militant fecundity movement. (If you think I don’t advocate for large families and their moms and dads, think again and listen to these!!!) Interestingly and providentially, two articles on this subject have been impressed on me that I think need to be placed in a broader context than homeschooling families.

The first one was originally circulated last November on the Dulce family blog and has recently been published in the Home Educating Family Magazine’s current issue in the audience soapbox section.  This piece examines the Duggar family’s “cheerfulness,” helping us understand the theology and child rearing practices behind the behaviors. Since the Duggars were the highlight of the Hearts at Home National Conference in Central Illinois a few months ago and I have many friends who attended it just to hear Michelle speak, I feel it is important to share this information. As someone close to me has observed, you might have to have this sort of agenda in order to maintain their version of a “godly” atmosphere in a home. Tell me what you think.

The second article, hot off the press this morning, portrays teachings that are absolutely outrageous and wrong on so many levels. In her Portrait of a Lady article, Ingrid documents the story of Kelly Bradrick, poster girl for all Vision Forum devotees. For those of you who are anxious to fire off a letter to me accusing me of slander and gossip, let me point out that a film of the Peter and Kelly Bradrick courtship and wedding was shown in fundamentalist churches and conferences across the country to promote the VF, patriocentric view of womanhood. Most likely their target audience was young girls and their dads, since older women, the ones Paul talks about in 1 Timothy, the ones who are supposed to be teaching the young women, know better than this.  Ingrid has masterfully organized her own history of this story using direct quotes along with now defunct pictures and commentary which she has saved. Combined with their inane views of women and ectopic pregnancy, these teachings are not just someone’s choice…they are life threatening for women. I would also like to hear what you think of this.

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  1. Susan T says

    Karen, The Duggers were at the Hearts at Home National conference in Normal in March. I was very disappointed to see that great organization have Michelle as a speaker! I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt, that as a mostly volunteer ministry, the leadership somehow missed the vetting process and are unaware of the wacky connections. 🙁

  2. says

    Susan, you are right and I corrected that. T
    he whole time I was writing and looking at it it didn’t seem right! Fever and sore throat today along with laryngitis is fogging me up! I am praying you are correct!

  3. says

    Oy vey I remember Kelly well — the whole “first kiss” trotted out over and over for the patriarchal world to see. Bless her – I had no idea she had 5 kids. And the Scotland-gate? Who on earth would let their wife travel that soon after an emergency c-section WITH a newborn in tow no less?

    I love how they covered it all up and pushed it under the rug. Typical VF fashion.

  4. Janel says

    I think the Duggars are an amazing, Godly family. Their joy is in the Lord, and it’s their main emotion (as it should be for all Christians), but not their only one. They grieved and cried when their baby died. They’re persecuted because they’re doing an awesome job being examples of what the Christian life should look like.

  5. says

    Janel, did you read the article I linked to regarding the theology that undergirds the Duggars parenting? I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

  6. says

    The Duggars: When they announced the 20th pregnancy, that she lost then happily voice-overed for the tv show, Josiah was furious. He was DRAGGED back on camera by his very angry father. They practice “right response” training which is something done in torture, too. (I’m not saying they go to THAT level). But lining up the kids LYING TO THEM and saying we’re taking a picture then as you are about to snap the shutter you say “Mama is pregnant” is not really a very nice thing to do. Nor is it honest. But it does speak volumes about the parents’ characters.

    Look also at Jana Duggar–we rarely, if ever hear her voice any more and she is usually right by her mother. This, too, is a “child training” technique although Jana is old enough to be on her own, thru college and or married with children. But “happy” is the required response and she hasn’t been showing it.

    Sadly, I could go on and on with these examples. I’m sure there will be plenty in the Bates Family’s new show as well.

    About Kelly Bradick. Just call it what it is a forced, arranged marriage. No different than an illiterate girl in, say, rural Pakistan. The father wants to promote his political agenda so he picks a young man who will toe the line. Kelly is there for one reason: to birth children. Children to be an “Army for the Lord.” Never again will she do anything she enjoys if it is objectionable or inconvinient for her darling husband. She was raised to make an idol of her father and other the other VF leaders and now has to bring up children to worship Peter and demonstrate this by her example. Idolatry. Remember Baal, Peter???

    Both VF and ATI rely on a lot of Old Testament laws and very little on the teachings of Jesus. How long before one wife isn’t enough? That’s my fear.

  7. says

    Lisa, you are spot on re: emphasis on the Old Testament. It is a though Jesus never came or that His coming had little significance to some people who embrace a strange version of covenant theology.

  8. Adam says


    I suppose as an OT major, I figured I would take the time to comment.

    The main problem with the argument of the militant fecundity movement is that it is incomplete, and tapered with a bit of ignorance.

    As far as the ignorance goes, the assumption is that the command “Be Fruitful and Multiply” is a command given to individuals. In fact, Scott Brown made this same mistake today on the NCFIC blog. This claim is demonstrably false. It might be a bit technical, but I have demonstrated this in my Exegesis of this passage. You may need to download and install the Hebrew fonts to read it.

    Nonetheless, the Bible does command the human race [not individuals] to be fruitful and multiply. However, this ignores the next chapter, and the effects of the fall. What happens in the fall is that women are guaranteed, not only pains in childbearing, but also strife and infighting in marriage [Genesis 3:16]. I was talking to a friend who has a large family last night at shepherding group, and he told us that they had a large family, but eventually his wife started having back problems, and they thus ended up not having any more children.

    The problem with the exegesis of many of these folks simply does not take into account the problem of sin. That is why human beings can never, by the use of family, or patriarchy, or schooling, or government, or any other means bring about the gradual redemption of society. It must come about by the transformation of the hearts of individuals so that they will seek to do what is right in those areas. You cannot read Genesis 1:28 without reading Genesis 3:16.

    In fact, I someone has already mentioned that Michelle Duggar has had a miscarriage. What people don’t know is that having children at that age is actually something that can be directly linked, not only to miscarriage, but to birth deformities as well. It is something that is a result of the fall, namely, that as female bodies age, it becomes physically dangerous for them to engage in childbearing, not only for the woman, but for the child as well. It is part of the realities of the fall.

    As long as we live in this world, we will always have to deal with the fall. While I believe that the gospel will have a positive effect on the world, the problem is that sin will never be totally done away with until Christ returns. Thus, we will have to deal with these realities all the time, including in the area of childbearing.

  9. says

    Oh la la! I am an almost 50 year old mother/step-mother (biological parents of children on both sides are deceased, not that it is anyone’s business when it comes to my salvation)that has always been involved in Children’s Ministry. From giving birth, having children in traditional schools, private schools and home schooled — teaching in private (christian) schools, Churches and home daycare, currently working in the nursery at our church. Regardless, our church is considering adopting the “structure” of the Family Integrated Church therefore I am doing personal research. I find your blog very interesting and helpful as I am not a fan of this type of organization. New “structures” that stand “hide” behind scripture for self promoting beliefs, basically strong arming those “babes” in Christ make me nervous. I can’t help but wonder where all of this fits in in ‘the end times’…….and then I am back to, this type of “man” pleasing organization is not really ‘new’ it’s just renamed…

    You never know what the Lord is doing. I have been battling some joint issues and have been counseled to rest on and off. During one of these rest periods I found myself, almost hypnotized by the Duggars. My husband couldn’t get out of the house fast enough in the mornings so I could turn the t.v. on. There was always that check in my spirit that my husband would not approve of me viewing such a lifestyle every day. And then just like that, my interest in the show was gone. Now when I go to turn it on or think about watching it my spirit literally flips in my flesh. Now, was the Lord equipping me with information to protect my family knowing that this was going to come up in our church? Being familiar with the “Quiverfull Movement” has allowed me to research this lifestyle more thoroughly and pointed my daughter, who is also researching this to your blog.

  10. Janel says

    Karen, which article? I read the blog posts you linked to, but the magazine link took me to the general magazine site, not a specific article.
    Lisa, what is your source for your comments about Josiah being furious and being dragged back on camera, etc.?

  11. says

    Janel, the magazine republished the blog article from the Dulce family that I linked to. it is the same article. What do you think of the theology behind the Duggars? Are you familiar with ATI and Vision Forum teachings? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the article.

  12. says

    Adam, wow, I appreciate that thorough response!

    My concerns with the emphasis on OT teachings is that they miss the ramifications of the new covenant, the spirit of the NT, and even the words of Jesus!

  13. says

    Darla, I am so glad you shared your thoughts here. If you have time, I highly recommend that you listen to/read these to help place the FIC into perspective.

    First series on patriarchy: http://thatmom.com/podcasts/patriarchy-patriocentricity-series/

    Second series on patriarchy: http://thatmom.com/podcasts/patriarchypatriocentricity-series-two-2010/

    Current series on the Family Integrated church movement (these will be continuing this weekend with my interview with a pastor who at one time had been part of this movement.
    Shawn also has some great articles on the FIC you should check out; the links are here:

    Series of articles I wrote on the FIC and our experience: http://thatmom.com/articles/pros-and-cons-of-the-family-integrated-church/

  14. says

    Adam, I did want to say something about older women having babies, miscarriages, etc. If a couple desires to have children, even into their later years, I do not think there is anything wrong with that. If an older couple conceives and it is unplanned, many times, in fact, in every single situation I know personally, that child turns out to be an amazing blessing in their lives. The same is true for children with handicaps, whether physical or mental. I have seen repeatedly where God’s extra measure of grace flows so beautifully into families who have those special, particular challenges. Though I do not know anyone who sits down and prays that God will give them a natural child who has handicaps, there are many who gravitate toward these precious children and seek to adopt them. One thing we must always be aware of is that each and every child, whether conceived in early or later years can have challenges. And of course, each of us is one stroke, one aneurism, one illness, one accident away from being in that situation. It should never be something in the back of our minds that would prevent someone from having a child.

    As far as miscarriages are concerned, I have experienced three of them, all while in my 30’s, not exactly beyond my child bearing years. One of the problems with women who have health issues surrounding pregnancy, often resulting in miscarriage, is that they do not follow wise counsel to heal their bodies after these problems. Having one pregnancy after another without the body recovering via nursing etc. is unwise and yet many in the militant fecundity movement choose to not nurse or only nurse for a few weeks so they can conceive again quickly. God’s plan is so much better! The race for bearing children because we are in some sort of competition to save the world (believe me, I see this) is just plain stupid not to mention dangerous for a mom. As Ingrid’s article points out, there is no sacrificial love or protection for women who are under this bondage!

  15. says

    Thank you, I am curious to listen to these podcasts…I am feeling that our church has a spirit of complacency and instead of stirring it up, members are trying to take advantage of it…

  16. says

    “Lisa, what is your source for your comments about Josiah being furious and being dragged back on camera, etc.?”

    JANEL: WATCH THE SHOW it’s all on film. Every second of it.

    Karen–the Duggars, in their second books, say something like “we know as Christians we don’t have to obey all that OT stuff, but it’s been around a really long time and is good advice.” When I read that I said “SO, Jesus died for everyone but YOU? Interesting….”

    Kelly Bradick is living the life that so many pre-Vatican II Catholic wives lived. Endless child bearing, exhaustion and cling to the Church to survive. Why do people think Margaret Sanger was so vehement in advocating for birth control in the first place? Women’s bodies are not meant to spend 20 (or more) years growing and birthing babies. Even 3 or 4 are a lot for most women. Never mind adding on the whole “cook everything from scratch, grind your own wheat, can the garden produce, sew all the girls clothes, oh yes! and educate all those kids yourself” mantra!

  17. says

    As of right now, I have not listened to your podcasts. Our research is leading us back to Vision Forum and how all of this is looped to the money making aspect of the original vision. ?? All the single minded concepts listed on their home blog….right back to the same group of people.

  18. Adam says


    I am not necessarily saying that it is wrong for a couple to have children as they get older. I would say, however, that we must exercise wisdom in how we handle the matter.

    Maybe some context would help. When I first ran into this movement, one of the first people I talked to was a man who said that he did something disturbing. Apparently, his wife was very sick with their previous child, and the doctors told her that, if she had any more children, she would more than likely die. However, her husband didn’t care, and, because the Bible said, “Be Fruitful and Multiply,” he believed they had a divine command from God to continue to have children, and thus, he purposefully got her pregnant again, endangering his wife’s life. While his wife made it through the pregnancy, I couldn’t help think of the command “thou shall not murder.” As has been traditionally understood, that command forbids us from endangering our own lives or the lives of others, which is exactly what this man did.

    The point is that we have to recognize that anyone’s love of children, and call to serve God by having and raising covenant children must be always understood in the light of the rest of God’s commandments. One passage I always like to quote is:

    Proverbs 25:16 Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it.

    As with all of God’s blessings, we have to be careful to use them for God’s purpose, and be wary of excess. Thus, things like severe physical pain, threats of death, miscarriages, and birth defects can be things God uses to tell us that we have reached the limit of the work that he has for us, just like the feeling of a full stomach is an indication that you have eaten enough honey. Going beyond that is very unwise, and, I fear, may even result in death in some instances.

    Also, when I think of the notion of a birth defect, I tend to think of it from the perspective of the child. I know that children are a joy to parents, but is it a joy to a child to be in pain for their whole lives? Certainly not. While parents can certainly be there for their children, they cannot take away the pain. The difference between someone getting into an accident and having something happen to them, and having a child that has a birth defect in old age is that the odds skyrocket for the latter, while the odds for the former remain the same. Anyone can accidentally fall off a cliff, true, but the odds get much larger when someone puts you out onto the edge!

    Again, my point is not to say that it is wrong to have children at later ages. My point is to say that it needs to be done with wisdom. They need to understand the risks for both mother and child, and act in a wise fashion. I am sure there are mothers out there who would be capable of physically handling a pregnancy even when they are 85. I have met such women. However, that isn’t everyone. We must exercise wisdom, and use liminality as the book of Proverbs calls us to do, if all of the signs point one way.

  19. says

    “Be fruitful and multiply” … My husband and I had one child. (We knew we would both be working outside the home and thought we couldn’t adequately parent more than one.) As far as I’m concerned, we multiplied.

    When I read that part of the creation story it looks to me like this command ties in to “and God saw that it was good”. He created the earth and everything on it deliberately, and liked every part of his creation as he added to it and it developed, and when there were life-forms that were able to reproduce themselves and populate the earth, he wanted them to go on and do it. The command itself as read was given to the humans, but the part about increasing in number and filling the earth has been accomplished by every kind of life there is. It’s part of the creation story, not a direct and specific commandment to every person (what about those who never marry, or who are infertile?). To needlessly risk a woman’s life, as in your horrifying story, Adam, and to justify it by using this command is a terrible perversion.

  20. Laura says

    Well, as a mom to 11, having my last bio. child at almost 44, I do think that I can comment here-and I know my perspective surprises people.

    I am thrilled that I had the great blessing to have a big family. I thank God for each wonderful unique one. But do I think that having many children is a Biblical command?No. Do I think there is a special “level” of Christianity that is attained by having lots? No, that’s pride and idolatry. Do I think there are pluses to a big family? Certainly. Do I think there are negatives?-Now here is what you are not supposed to say. Yes! There can be. There are sacrifices, and pitfalls that DO NOT BENEFIT the other children, such as the infamous tendency of large family moms to expect the older kids to assume responsibilities of parenting younger sibs that are way over the top.

    I have tried to treat each of mine with as much individual attention as possible. And, one of the neatest thing about having older ones is the chance to see them love each other as grown ups. I would never change a thing. But, I was asked once by a mom of two if I thought she could be a Godly mom if all she wanted was two. IMAGINE THAT!! First, that she would ask me such a question, as if I was one to judge,…and worst of all, that for some reason she would even wonder that to begin with.

    I said to her “I think what counts is the value you place on your children, not in numbers. You will have amazing opportunities to enjoy and learn with your two that some of us moms with a crowd at home just don’t have the chance to.”

    That being said, we have had a great adventure and God has been so good. But you know, I think our older kids who are married will be having small families, and I think those decisions are good for them. There are health issues for some and economic issues, and I am thrilled with the joy they have found in their “little flocks”.I am so glad they are free in this enjoyment and not under the bondage of legalism and modern day patriarchy.

    One last note- Adam, I do understand your concern about handicapped kids, but I think that the vast majority of handicapped persons are as happy to be here as the rest of us. Maybe more so. I have a bio. son with Down Syndrome and one adopted Down Syndrome son, and having become acquainted with that wonderful community, I have learned that there are actually people on this earth who worry very little about unimportant things. Our other kids once were talking about how they felt a family WITHOUT a Down Syndrome sibling would be missing something special….and I know what they mean. For our family, 2 handicapped sons were just what we needed.

    One last word on another topic- the Shades of Grey books- Christian women are being pornified by aged adolescents like Mark Driscoll, and I think the whole Evangelical Community is acting as though the most important topic of the church is sex. And, its a weird kind of sex- sanitized porn from a male perspective. It’s as if the guys in some churches want to brag about who has the “hottest” wife. Geez! Too much information!That’s why I think some Christian women are going for this.

    Thanks for listening!

  21. HoppyTheToad says

    While some people with Down Syndrome may be very happy, many developmentmentally disabled people are miserable. I don’t know any autistic people, but a homeschooling forum I visit has parents posting about how violent some of these kids can be.

    My brother-in-law has some unspecified cognitive problem and my husband said he was angry and depressed growing up. I think his brother was about 25-27 before they found an antidepressant that helped much. He still struggles greatly with anxiety and and change in his routine.

    Part of his struggle is that when he was on school, he was in special ed classes, but his abilities were much more than the other kids there. But he was still far below an average kid, so his didn’t really fit in anywhere. He does Special Olympic sports, but there is an obvious difference between him and most of the others on his team. He understands enough to realize how different his life is from regular people, and it makes him depressed. My DH thinks some of his teammates are happy because they can’t understand enough to see how different their life is.

  22. Janel says


    I’ve watched the show. I watched that episode again this morning. I never saw Josiah furious or his “very angry” father dragging him back on camera. What am I missing?

  23. says

    Hoppy, your BIL has a very bitter cross to bear, and his family has to bear their portion of it too.

    I think there are so many dynamics in play here. There are those who think it’s obligatory to abort fetuses where Down Syndrome is present – mothers of babies with DS sometimes report being challenged as to why they carried to term. And there is a blog I’ve followed that is kept by a man who is wheelchair-dependent, where he has stated that he’s heard so many times, “I wouldn’t want to live like that.” He’s worried whenever he goes to the hospital, that he will find himself at the mercy of some medical person who will help him out of his misery. It’s not like that’s never happened, as we know. So there’s definitely a view that people who are disabled in any way can’t possibly find life worth living, and it’s a view that has to be pushed back against.

    That said, if I knew I carried, for instance, sickle cell, or cystic fibrosis, I’d never abort a child, but I’d find another way to have a family than to push that genetic disorder down the line and risk bringing about a life of pain for my children or their children. You can’t make other people make that choice – we really don’t want to go down that road – but it probably is the moral choice.

  24. Laura says

    Hoppy, I hear what you are saying. I do not generalize the handicapped community together as if to say they are all living in a state of bliss.

    Here’s the thing. The point that I was replying to concerned older mothers having kids and their increased risk of chromosomal problems, most frequently Down Syndrome. When people start voicing concern about older mothers, they are almost always referring to Down Syndrome. (Interestingly, there are actually more Down Syndrome babies born to young women, by virtue of the fact that a higher percentage of them are having children. Add to that the sad statistic that as many as 9 out of 10 unborn Down Syndrome
    kids are aborted based on prenatal diagnosis.)

    I don’t think that there is necessarily a clear link between age of parent and many other developmental, physical, and intellectual problems. Genetics play a part in some debilitating conditions, such as Cystic Fibrosis. Interruptions in proper fetal development, often due to unknown factors or due to maternal illness or environmental factors are key to many disabilities and birth defects. Oxygen deprivation before or immediately after birth causes profound brain damage that can result in lifelong impairment.

    Causes of autism and the baffling pervasive development disorders are still being sought.

    I realize that many handicaps pose incredible challenges to both the affected individual and their families or caretakers. Again, I am specifically addressing those conditions connected with advanced maternal age which is part of this discussion. A broader point would be that although life is very difficult for some in the handicapped community , this in itself does not negate the fact that these are human lives, and as such are worthy of compassion and help. For some, living in a family unit is not possible, and medications are needed. I can see why it would be very hard for your brother in law, and I think the Special Ed system tries to address too many issues in one class. We run into similar problems but from the opposite perspective. My son with Down Syndrome hasn’t a chance of winning races in the Special Olympics when up against individuals who are physically normal but have some part of the autism spectrum.

    Does your brother in law have any particular abilities or interests that he could be encouraged in? Have you watched the “Temple Granden Story”? It is a fascinating look at a very smart person who is way outside our so called normal.

    Thanks for listening and I mean no insensitivity. In fact, I am usually the one who wants to be honest and not fairy tale-ish about real life.Hence, I sometimes sound like Eeyore…

  25. Mommany Cricket says

    After lots of kids (double digit) and decades of chaotic home schooling, we finally learned that two of ours have significant neural/psych issues. There is a lot of defiance, rage, profanity, violent sibling fights, threats of suicide and more. Our marriage, already in crisis, is going under quickly. We have been separated once and I expect another separation and maybe even a divorce soon. I strongly suspect my husband is mentally ill, too. He certainly latched on to male dominance. I have been injured or endangered on numerous occasions while protecting my kids. Looking from the outside, people think we have it all together, but that is an illusion. However, my counselor is quick to assure me that I have held up remarkably well under the strain. I am thankful for intervention from child protection officers, social workers, children’s therapists, and public school teachers. As a diehard home school mom, I never thought I would say that. Thanks for letting me say that. It’s not always sunshine and roses in large home schooling families. Count the cost. And pray for me.

  26. Anthea says

    Hello Karen

    Thank you for the sobering and informative links. I haven’t had much contact with VF types, but at one home ed event, I did see a contrast between the talk of chivalry, and the reality. It made me realise that my husband might not act like the archetypal spiritual leader, but he’s always ready to help people out.

    BTW, to the lady who posted before me, I wish I could offer more than sympathy and prayer.
    I hope there’s someone nearby who can help carry your load.

  27. says

    Mommany, my heart goes out to you my friend. What an incredibly tough situation you are in. I know it is no consolation but have heard from two other online friends in the past few weeks who have stories so similar to yours. I only wonder how many homeschooling moms bear the burden of abusive and/or unfaithful husbands. Those are the stories I am hearing. I guess my question always comes back to how these stories can be prevented. As you share, mental illness is a factor in some of these stories. You are in my prayers.

  28. Susan T says

    From the Dugger you-tube, what I notice is the classic fight or flight response from middle child Josiah…he is on the right & looks upset, then disappears, then they are calling him, then when he is back he looks sad & is holding his arm-don’t know if that is for self comfort or because it hurts…perhaps drug back by arm. I am thinking he is very concerned for his Mom’s health, etc,… And still remembering the crisis of the last birth…at the same time he is going thru puberty. It is just too much and he is supposed to look happy for the cameras and according to Gothardism, be happy all the time. Jesus never said that! He did say, ” Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.” And of course, during the incident of the miracle of Lazarus, “Jesus wept.” A topical study of the Bible will indeed reveal feelings expressed all thru the Scriptures. It continues to be ironic that many who choose to un-conform by doing education and church differently and claim a release from peer pressure, fall right back into the trap of conformity to some man’s ideal and are drawn away from trusting in Christ alone.

    And as Darla pointed out above…anyone can do the research on these groups and follow the money trail: local, regional, national conferences, “manly” expeditions (NOT to be confused w/mission trips), ladies teas, family “Vision” conferences, etc, and my favorite- in just a couple of weeks – “The Reformation of Food & Family” conference, where Michelle Dugger will be a guest speaker – would be interesting to hear how “tator tot casserole” is healthy food 😉 and don’t they have a sugary drink dispenser in the dining room? These people are marketing geniuses and I bet the ones at the top are raking in a great living while many of those who clamor after them continue to struggle and spend money on conferences, books, DVDs, and a philosophy that is not necessarily “godly” and definitely not a wise budget decision.

  29. Adam says

    Susan T.,

    That is what bothers me-the kinds of trifles these folks focus on. You would almost have to be looking for a a reason to believe some of these things are wrong in order to come up with these arguments!

    Case in point: A few days ago, I had a friend of mine who has been influenced by these folks posted an article on her Facebook profile arguing that it is a sin to eat a placenta. I am not joking. Here it is, so you can read it for yourself:


    Now, I would never do such a thing, as I think that eating bodily emissions of any kind is gross. My mother told me I wouldn’t even breastfeed when I was a child. Nonetheless, the whole argument is bunk. First, a placenta is not human flesh. When the Bible talks about eating human flesh, it is talking about eating a human being in the way you would eat a chicken or a cow. It is not dealing with emissions after birth.

    Finally, as to the sufficiency of scripture argument, again it ignores intentionality in language, and the notion that language has a semantic range. The Bible tells us to take care of our bodies, and one of the things we can to do take care of our bodies is to eat nutritious things. Now, again, I could never do something like eating a placenta, as I view eating human emissions of birth as gross, but, nevertheless, it is laughable that anyone would even come up with this argument.

    That is what I mean when I say that these folks must sit up at night thinking of things they can argue are wrong. Also, when they have a weak argument, it doesn’t matter; they can still clinch it by simply destroying human language through pulling the “sufficiency of scripture” card [which is not even close to the historical doctrine of Sola Scriptura], neverminding the inconsistency of such a move. It is absolutely, positively ridiculous political nonsense. When I see articles like this, it assures me that these folks don’t care about accurately handling the scriptures. They only care about looking for things they don’t like, and then imposing the notion that these things are wrong back onto the text of scripture. They then flower it up by saying that they are using a “Christian Worldview” approach with “the sufficiency of scripture,” when anyone who knows how language works and operates can see what they are doing.

    What it demonstrates to me is that these folks don’t care about accurately handling and applying the scriptures. This is what happens when being countercultural is more important than being Biblical. It is very sad indeed.

  30. says

    Susan, I thought the same thing about Michelle Duggar as a speaker on healthy cooking. I remember the pictures of soda pop dispensers on the counter.

    And agree about following the money!

  31. says

    About the placenta……I had never heard of this modern practice until someone in my church posted a link on her FB page for places you could have your placenta dried and placed into capsules. I don’t understand how this is a sin, is pagan, and even equated with stem cell research. Do these people realize that some farm crops are fertilized with human feces? What is the difference? Or that shell fish are bottom eaters and eat waste as well? Isn’t this so typical….another example of Americanizing and Westernizing sin.

    Now, as far as breast milk is concerned, I don’t think you really want to go there, Adam. Not in this crowd!!!!!

  32. Marie Smith says

    My response is really to the person above who mentioned that Quiverfull is like pre-Vatican II Catholicism in the sense that women were told to have as many children as God allows. This is quite true. My parents received this information by the priest who counseled them before marriage, and they adhered to it. And although we all made it out alive, so to speak, and some of us have made our own way in the world to a successful degree or other, all of us bear some sort of scar due to some of the consequences of that world view.

    Mother birthed twelve children and had several miscarriages. After the first several years, my father, who worked two and three jobs to support us, couldn’t keep up with the bills and we entered some years of significant poverty.

    My parents were also sick a lot. Dad was also a “quiet drunk,” that is to say, after his jobs in the evening, he often sat in his chair drinking his quart of beer. Mother, we believe, suffered from either bi-polar disorder or she had some other kind of mental/emotional illness. Life was extremely difficult.

    As soon as we were old enough (12, 13), each of us had to work to buy even our own clothing, school books and supplies, and bed sheets, let alone any of the things other kids used their own money for.

    And poverty was not the only issue. Because it is literally impossible for parents to give the kind of “eye” necessary to protect their children from one another (and an older sibling is NOT A SUITABLE PARENTAL REPLACEMENT FOR A YOUNGER SIBLING!!!! PLEASE NOTE THIS AND TAKE IT SERIOUSLY QUIVERFULL DEVOTEES!), incest occurred. Not just once or for one year or for just one of the little siblings. I cannot tell you the tremendous grief and heartache and sickness that this crime inflicts on small children…for the rest of their lives. Because I was much older and was away from the house working most of the time (and, frankly, escaping the home situation), I was unaware of the crimes committed against my little siblings until much later.

    Even now in 2012 we are entering the next phase of dealing with those horrendous crimes so that the youngest generation now emerging will not be preyed upon.

    I have not used my real name, obviously. More legal work is coming up. But I cannot street this enough: Quiverfull people….DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN RAISE YOUR CHILDREN. THIS, obviously is my biggest concern for those families, specifically, for the girls in those families who are set up to submit to male figures anyway.

    We are still surviving in my family, although it can be hard.

  33. Nicole says

    Dear Karen,

    I have spent the better part of the last week reading many of your articles and listening to most of your podcasts.The whole reason I have had time to explore and enjoy the breadth and depth of your site is because I am in bed recovering from extensive surgery to repair the damage caused by having six children in 17 years. My doctors are much amazed that there wasn’t more damage and are highly impressed by the overall muscle strength and integrity of my pelvic structures. I can only imagine the damage suffered by my “less hardy” sisters who have had many babies (insert wry smile here).

    The pain I have experienced following surgery has been unbelievable. Trust me, the 20 by 40 concept gave me the willies. How many of these dear women will spend years suffering the effects of back to back babies? How many of these earnest young brides even realize the very real possibility of losing control of their bladder and bowels; of having their insides “fall out” as their tired bodies, not allowed time to recover properly, simply give out?

    I am all for big families. I would happily have more if God allowed (though I’d probably opt for a C section at this point). However, I would not ever pursue “militant fecundity” as my primary purpose as a woman of God. Not only does it totally misapply scripture, it also devalues women and children and puts them at real risk for many problems.

    Now I must go take my pain meds and hope I can endure the 20 minute drive to see the doctor for my post op examination.

    In Christ,


  34. BRIGITTE says

    While its years later, I’m adding my comment in case others like me stumble on this excellent page of insights.
    Firstly there have been a number of unsavory revalations re Gothard in sexually abusing girls, Josh Duggar’s youth aged molestation of his sisters, problematic responses by parents followed by his Ashley Maddison flings etc..Josh isn’t a surprise in being in a huge imperfectly impossible to perfectly supervised big family where a youth isolated from female peers, miseducated about sexuality where masturbation is punished extremely and repression is meant to solve that and can’t.Just makes for secretive opportunistic outlets.

    What ought to be credited to the Duggars is that while in the vigour of their 20’s and 30’s they were unusually lucky in Michelle physically holding up then extra well with so many births and the couple effectively and even energetically applying child rearing strategies that managed to keep their big family of closely spaced kids, even multiple births managable, capable of being publicly poised, aquiring many practical skills, able to play a musical instrument and genuinely seeming to have overall positive sibling relationships.The parents have been effective in being a consistent team, delivering with confidence their beliefs , expectations, reponses in praise or dealing out consequences.

    The parents ability/practical smarts there have been able make the best out of any opportunity fiscally and manage economically a large family is impressive too.Their children would have been in those times been given a very secure environment.

    While the foundations of their child discipline and demands aren’t that ideal, these methods made a good begining point in managing a rapidly oversized number of children.

    Where the Duggars begin to fail is that they are cognitively rigid and defensively controlling. They can’t grasp the need to adapt and modify responses to changing developmental states and needs, either of the childrens or their own aging, Michelle’s post menopausal physical and mental health from obssessive repeated birthings, nor grasp the problems that will ensue psychologicaly re issues for sufficient independant functioning as adults for their kids.

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