Religion

Quiverfull of Sexist Bastards

Kathryn Joyce has just published a book called Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement, about a growing movement among Christians in the Southern US. The name Quiverfull comes from Psalm 127: “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They shall not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”

It’s no accident that the passage refers only to sons and men, since they’re the only people who benefit from this movement. The crux of it is that women are to submit completely to their husbands, becoming nonstop baby factories who are expected to continue producing and raising spawn until they die.

In an article at Salon, Joyce describes one of the stories she researched while writing the book. Vyckie Garrison was at the end of her rope when she met the man who would marry her and steer her into the Quiverfull movement. From the article:

She’d had her first three children by cesarean section, but after coming to the Quiverfull conviction, she was swayed by the movement’s emphasis on natural (even unassisted home) birth. During one delivery, she suffered a partial uterine rupture and “felt like I’d been in a major battle with Satan, and he’d just about left me dead.” The doctor who treated Garrison lectured her for an hour not to conceive again, but she felt that stopping on her own would be rebellion. When she turned to her leaders for inspiration, she received a bleak message: that if she died doing her maternal duty, God would care for her family. For six months, she couldn’t look at the baby without crying.

It’s obvious that this movement is dangerous to women and to the children they’re raising. Each woman is expected to have around a dozen kids, and the oldest daughters are expected to help care for the others. Raising a child to believe something makes the brainwashing that much easier, which I guess is why so many cults build into their philosophy the idea that a ridiculously high level of reproduction is of the utmost importance.

Joyce’s article goes on to show that leaving the Quiverfull movement is nearly impossible for women who grow to be so utterly dependent upon their husbands, and who worry about losing their children and becoming outcasts from the community. It’s very reminiscent of the FLDS, the crazed hardcore sect of Mormons – there seem to be many parallels between the stories from the women who escaped both cults.

In slightly optimistic news, those women who escaped the Quiverfull movement are establishing a presence online and finding one another, offering support and encouragement. Check out the blog No Longer Quivering, run by Vyckie and another survivor, Laura. I’ll definitely be picking up Joyce’s book to learn more about this growing, disturbing movement.

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Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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286 Comments

  1. It’s no accident that the passage refers only to sons and men, since they’re the only people who benefit from this movement.

    Hey, maybe this isn’t such a bad idea after all! ;)

    Seriously, though, I wouldn’t get too worked up over this. It’s a fad. Won’t last.

  2. I caught a couple of seconds of the Duggar’s show on TLC the other day. The girls were helping perm each other’s hair. Why do they all do their hair in the same style? Because that’s the way their dad likes it of course! Creepy and depressing all at once. I wanted to throw something at the TV.

    It’s so sad to see kids who should be exploring their individuality being crammed into the same little mold.

  3. I read the article but couldn’t see the bit where ‘Joyce’s article goes on to show that leaving the Quiverfull movement is nearly impossible for women’

    I did read her where she said that the women were afraid they’d be without money and references. Is that what you mean by ‘nearly impossible?’

  4. @mxracer652:

    I think that comments like this are just trying to get a reaction from someone. Well, here is a reaction. I hear this comments from people who don’t deal well with kids and think all children are whiny , messing, annoying things. MXracer652 , I could be wrong about you, but I am being general. My son at times is a handful but he is good most of the time.

    Should we all just stop having kids then? Sure, if we want to face the problems that Japan is going to in the next few years.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/05/AR2008050502224.html

    Granted, as my brother explains to me (Japanese Major, currently studying in Japan, I know appeal to authority) there are other factors such as a huge opposition to immigration and foreign workers.

    Do I want my boy to be just like me? To be frank , no not at all. I want him to grow and become his one person. I will guide him but I am not going to restrict his growth either.

    I think having kids is fine as long as you do it responsibly and not just to fill a quiver.

  5. Incidentally James Fox, I don’t know if your being hyperbolic for effect but the effect is that you seem to be diminishing the horror of slavery. Seriously it’s nothing like slavery. It’s a voluntarily entered-into arrangement that can be freely ended at any time. That’s not really slavery now, is it?

  6. @cloudsoup: By nearly impossible to leave, I was referring to the entire second page of the article, such as this:

    The experience of Garrison’s friend Laura — a mother of 11 who collapsed under the demands of the lifestyle — also helps explain why many unhappy women are afraid to turn their backs on the movement, when they’ll be left with scant financial resources, years without work experience, and a dearth of references from a community that often shuns them. Laura was near suicide when Garrison helped her leave; …

  7. Here’s a thought, Skepchicks.

    Are the women who do stay in this bizzare and unpleasant little sect, and who freeze out people who leave, sexist bastards too?

    Or can only the men be sexist bastards while the women are helplessly smitten with false consciousness?

  8. I think it has a lot in common with slavery.

    These women are technically free to leave at any moment… but that is the thing with cults, they don’t realize they have the option or they are too afraid to take it.

    End result is still the same.

  9. I think it is obvious that sexist behavior can go either direction (just as there is no such thing as reverse discrimination).

    And I think in cases of cults like this one both genders suffer from what you call being “helplessly smitten with false consciousness”

  10. @cloudsoup: Oops maybe I wasn’t clear, I am not saying slaves were technically free… I was saying that the people in cults are “technically” free in that they CAN walk away, but that just because they can, doesn’t mean they are able. Splitting hairs a bit on my word usage I know, but I think you can see what I am attempting to say right?

  11. @cloudsoup: No, damage to the English language is “hopelessly smitten with false consciousness.”

    If you don’t agree that it is nearly impossible to escape a situation in which you’d be destitute and without friends or family – including the children they’ve raised – fine. We strongly disagree.

  12. @Kaylia Maria – I’m concerned (but not a lot) that exaggerating this issue – and others – makes them easier to ignore or dismiss. The facts are bad enough without anyone needing to get all medieval with the truth.

  13. @Kaylia_Marie: I agree with you – while obviously this differs from other forms of slavery, being raised in a cult that leaves you unable to think for yourself or gain any kind of independence is a form of mental slavery. It doesn’t lessen the cruelty of the past several millennia of other kinds of slavery.

  14. @Rebecca – more hyperbole?

    If the friends and family are those who imprison you, why would you want them? And in the article, Garrison won custody of her children, didn’t she. So you’ve just invented the bit about losing the kids, haven’t you?

  15. @cloudsoup:

    If the friends and family are those who imprison you, why would you want them?

    I recommend you read up on cult mindsets. Try the blog linked above, or perhaps Under the Banner of Heaven.

    And in the article, Garrison won custody of her children, didn’t she. So you’ve just invented the bit about losing the kids, haven’t you?”

    Garrison’s custody battle was described as “ugly,” and further the article states: “Laura was near suicide when Garrison helped her leave; her husband took physical custody of all 11 children, and her oldest daughter seamlessly assumed Laura’s duties and tended to the younger children, who now view their mother as a backslider deceived by Satan.”

    Do you have poor reading comprehension or are you being deliberately obtuse? Judging by your past comments, I’m guessing the latter. I really don’t have much interest in sad trolls.

  16. @cloudsoup: “It’s a voluntarily entered-into arrangement ”

    I think that’s where you are having problems, cloudsoup. You may see it as voluntary and you may think they can “leave any time” — but that’s not how it *works*. I see many, MANY parallels with this movement and the FLDS cult. It is nearly impossible to leave such a situation. Hell, it’s nearly impossible for some women not in cults to leave abusive relationships. There’s more to it than just “Oh I’m “technically” free, I can leave any time I waaaant, I just choose not too!”

    Not so much.

  17. Garrison’s custody battle was described as “ugly

    Oh don’t be so daft, any contested custody battle could be described like that.

    Do you have poor reading comprehension or are you being deliberately obtuse?

    I read fine. You’ve implied all the men but none of the women involved are sexist, you’ve called a non-slave arrangement ‘slavery’ as more than a metaphor and you’ve invented a scare that the women lose their children when they leave.

    The issue is, as before, that exaggerating your case and freely inventing stuff will be divisive and will exclude others who might be persuaded. You’ll drag along your coterie of fans but you’ll alienate others.

  18. @marilove if you don’t reserve the word ‘slavery’ for actual slavery I think you’re belittling the experiences of people who have been or who re slaves, even today; and you’re doing serious damage to our underatanding of the past.

    I’d have thought that would be quite a concern for folks in the US. It seems not.

  19. I hold a special place of contempt for people who live in the western world & choose to breed anyway.

    Procreating is nothing but an exercise in narcissism.

    Having a nice day, then? Anyway you’re going to have to back that up with some, like, evidence or, you know, argumentation, if you don’t want to come off like an inflammatory troll.

    I mean, I don’t have any myself, and don’t really plan to (not in the next decade or so, anyway), but I think they’re a rather convenient way to propogate the human species. As species which I have grown rather fond of, despite our foibles.

  20. @cloudsoup:

    I read fine. You’ve implied all the men but none of the women involved are sexist, you’ve called a non-slave arrangement ’slavery’ as more than a metaphor and you’ve invented a scare that the women lose their children when they leave.

    So it’s deliberate stupidity, then, as I figured. I especially like the part where you ignore the fact I quoted the article’s example of a woman losing her children, so that you can keep pretending I invented it. Sad troll is sad.

  21. @jtradke:

    I hold a special place of contempt for people who live in the western world

    Indeed, it’s quite a bizarre statement isn’t it. This person apparently hold most of the citizens of the free world in contempt. I wonder who they think will be supporting them in their dotage.

  22. @cloudsoup: I think the implication comes because while both genders are victims in cults like this the idea behind cults like this does seem to come from a pretty misogynistic and patriarchal place
    I think we have covered the issue of using the term “slavery”… you think we are going to lessen its impact if we use it in this context, a few of us disagree with you.
    I think the ‘scare” of losing your children is very relevant as illustrated.

    So… I am a bit confused as to what your actual beefs are at this point…? Anyway, back to work for me

  23. @Rebecca

    >*I quoted the article’s example of a woman losing her children, so that you can keep pretending I invented it.*

    You’re forgetting what you actually said. This is what you actually said:

    >*a situation in which you’d be destitute and without friends or family – including the children they’ve raised*

    Which is not true, is it. It’s not true that, for example, Garrison lost her children. And in the case of Laura, you don’t even know if the custody was contested, do you.

    Talk about comprehension problems.

  24. Part of what I find so creepy about this movement is that these women are having enormous families not because they want to, not because they enjoy mothering large numbers of children, but because “God wants you to! Now shut up!”

    Let alone being bad for the woman, this can’t be good for the kids.

  25. @cloudsoup: Those in a cult essentially are slaves. Having read up on those in the FLDS cult trying to escape, the parallels are quite evident. There are threats and actual violence if they don’t agree with those in charge and try to rebel even a little; if they try to leave, their children are taken from them; they have no free will whatsoever; their education is controlled and almost non-existant; they have no choices in their day-to-day lives.

    slav·ery
    Pronunciation: \ˈslā-v(ə-)rē\
    Function: noun
    Date: 1551
    1: drudgery , toil
    2: submission to a dominating influence
    3 a: the state of a person who is a chattel of another b: the practice of slaveholding

    Seems to fit, does it not?

  26. So as I read this, they target vulnerable women with low self esteem or are already part of the cult. The women them have multiple children. Don’t have access to money or material goods as this is all the man’s property. Are indoctrinated to believe that anything less than total obedience to the husband will doom the woman to eternal damnation. Also the threat of physical violance and the loss of contact with children who will be taught to hate you.

    What lovely people. Yay southern US. Way to improve the American experience.

    I guess this group has given up on trying to out think us and is going for the win by outbreeding us.

  27. @cloudsoup: “>*a situation in which you’d be destitute and without friends or family – including the children they’ve raised*”

    Okay, how about the very real threat of being destitute and without friends or family — including the children they’ve raised.

    Have you read ANYTHING about cults such as these? The threat FUCKING EXISTS and comes to reality quite a bit that, if they leave, they will lose their children (and likely their friends and family). This is common sense.

    This woman was lucky, but not that lucky, considering she had to have a pretty painful battle to get her kids back and away from the cult she escaped from.

  28. @marilove: Those in a cult essentially are slaves

    I think we’re not going to agree on this one. The minor meaning you cite is obviously a borrowing from the principal meaning for rhetorical effect and I presume whoever it was mentioned slavery first didn’t simply mean ‘submission to a dominating influence’.

    I’ll go with this, sensible, definition:

    Slavery is a form of forced labor where a person is compelled to work for another (sometimes called “the master” or “slave owner”). Slaves are held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase, or birth, and are deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to receive compensation (such as wages) in return for their labor.

  29. @cloudsoup:

    >*a situation in which you’d be destitute and without friends or family – including the children they’ve raised*

    Which is not true, is it. It’s not true that, for example, Garrison lost her children. And in the case of Laura, you don’t even know if the custody was contested, do you.

    Actually it is true, as the quotes show: one example of a woman who had to battle for her kids, and another who is obviously devastated by losing custody of her kids. Next try arguing that I can’t even know if the entire planet is just an illusion. Maybe that will work!

    Seriously, this is the saddest argument I’ve seen in awhile. What on earth is your point?

  30. @Rebecca

    Give up digging.

    One woman kept her kids. We don’t know the circumstances of the other woman not having custody. but you wrote:

    a situation in which you’d be destitute and without friends or family

    Which is simply not true according to the article.

    What on earth is your point

    My point, which I’ve tried to make several times now but which for some reason you’re ignoring, is that making stuff up and descending into hyperbole isn’t going to win your position any converts.

    Is it’s a worthwhile issue – and this certainly is – then why on earth mess things up by making things up, misreading and misrepresenting the issue?

  31. @Marilove

    ‘This woman was lucky, but not that lucky, considering she had to have a pretty painful battle to get her kids back and away from the cult she escaped from.’

    Look, she voluntarily married the man, voluntarily had kids with him. Thne when she lft him she went to court to get custody of the kids and she got custody of the kids (although that didn’t happen according to Rebecca’s weird misreading).

    How is this different, in regard to a custody battle, to any contested custody battle? The woman doesn’t have a natural right to the custody of the kids she had with her husband, does she?

  32. you know who really had the definition of “slave” wrong? Britney Spears. Slaves don’t dance and sing! Why aren’t we talking about Slave4U? Certainly if she was free to use txtspk, she could leave whenever she wanted!

  33. Ok, I’ll jump in:

    @marilove:

    Some of your discussion is about how hard it is to LEAVE. I believe that one point was – this is a situation that is voluntarily ENTERED. Sure, once one makes a mistake it can be hard to extricate oneself. And it can be hard to discern where the mistake begins.

    I believe that the situation is quite sad. While we have strong initial feelings of these women as being victims, they are contributors to creating a hostile environment for the real victims, the children who have made no voluntary choice and have every right to be protected.

    Right now, in the world that exists with gender-inequality, it seems quite reasonable to expect that a woman who is destitute, no family, no friends, no expectation of earning a wage to support herself or he progency, would not have physical custody of the children. Why would you expect such a person, who could barely care for hereself, to have custody of children too?

    And ultimately, who made the life decisions that result in the woman being in such a place? I have zero sympathy for people (men or women) who subject children to conditions like those described.

    Regarding the subject of gender-inequality, I hope that men will see the folly of this someday and work passionately for a resolution.

    Regarding the whole article and trying to parse some of the details. There is a lot of anecdotal, one-sided story-telling (women who have left?) and does not really give many answers (but raises many questions).

    Personally, it does not sound to me like the story fully supports some of the conclusions attributed to it, as cloudsoup notes.

    If arguments are all that obvious or clear, it really should be unnecessary to use those words. Most of the commenters here seem to have enough grasp of the english language and argumentation to understand the truly obvious or clear.

    Y_S_G

  34. @Mordicant: Nope, it’s not meant for any reaction.

    You cannot procreate & do it responsibly when 6+ billion people already exist. We already have global warming & energy shortages (remember $150/barrel??) & wars over resources. Adding more people is going to make things worse, not better.

    On top of that, 30,000 children die each day of rather preventable things like dehydration & starvation. So, if someone REALLY has to have a kid, why not just pick one up that already exists, instead of adding to the already existing population? It’s the same thing with dogs & cats, plenty of perfectly fine animals at the pound, yet people go & breed more anyway.

    I just don’t understand why people are so selfish?

  35. Listen, and understand. That troll is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or shame. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are flamed.

  36. @cloudsoup:

    *Slavery is a form of forced labor where a person is compelled to work for another (sometimes called “the master” or “slave owner”). Slaves are held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase, or birth, and are deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to receive compensation (such as wages) in return for their labor.*

    You got that definition from Wikipedia (I checked), while Marilove got her definition from a dictionary. I, as a rational person, would tend to lean towards the reference from a source that cannot be edited by users or that sounds like it came from a high school term paper (likely with a low grade, at that).

    *My point, which I’ve tried to make several times now but which for some reason you’re ignoring, is that making stuff up and descending into hyperbole isn’t going to win your position any converts.*

    Who, exactly, is Rebecca trying to convert? The people that come to this page are generally of two mind-sets: those who agree and those who don’t. As someone who has been running this blog for a while, I’m sure she knows by now that those who don’t agree are most likely not going to change their minds, no matter the proof that they’re given.

  37. I, as a rational person, would tend to lean towards the reference from a source that cannot be edited by users or that sounds like it came from a high school term paper (likely with a low grade, at that).

    That should have read “or that doesn’t sound like it came from a high school term paper…”

  38. What’s the name of the leonine aliens that bred intellingence out and docility into their females?

    Nevermind, I looked it up. Now, second question, would you feed trolls to the Kzin if you could? Or do you have a sense of decency and morals?

    Oh, and my apologies for the previous paragraph, I just felt like being rude and ambiguous for a change.

  39. I’ll meet you part way and hate Australia. What the hell is up with a whole CONTINENT full of marsupials?!?!

    And I have yet to find an Ozzie wine that I like. Sure, I still finish every bottle, but I do it with disdain. Disdain!

  40. @jtradke – I’m sure many people would agree that, for example, Rebecca just made up her claim that:

    it is nearly impossible to escape a situation in which you’d be destitute and without friends or family – including the children they’ve raised

    when the article she’s referring to in Salon is about a woman who left with her children

    @mrsepp Who, exactly, is Rebecca trying to convert

    I dunno. Whoever she thinks she’s talking to in her soporific YouTube video, maybe.

  41. I don’t think @mxracer652 is a troll, but he/she is not the most articulate poster we’ve had in a while. Right now we have a world economy based on increasing population. Clearly this is unsustainable, but doing anything about it outside of a tyranny is politically impossible. Increasing world education and living standards do not seem to be taking care of the problem quickly enough.

    Me not having a child makes a better world for your child, but where is the benefit in that for me other than feeding my altruism? Large problems do not get fixed with altruism. Of course making fewer babies will make for a more sustainable world, but I don’t see it happening. On the contrary with shrinking resources there is a perverse incentive to make more children so they can grab a large a slice as possible for your family.

    I see this problem as ultimately intractable. Preaching on it only irritates people and solves nothing no matter how sincere you are. This does not necessarily make the preacher a troll, however.

  42. @cloudsoup:

    Seems someone pulled out the thesaurus this afternoon!

    soporific

    Dictionary: sop·o·rif·ic (sŏp’É™-rÄ­f’Ä­k, sō’pÉ™-) pronunciation

    adj.

    1. Inducing or tending to induce sleep.
    2. Drowsy.

    n.

    A drug or other substance that induces sleep; a hypnotic.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I have no issues with Rebecca taking me to bed.

  43. @cloudsoup: I’m sure many people would agree that, for example, Rebecca just made up her claim that:

    it is nearly impossible to escape a situation in which you’d be destitute and without friends or family – including the children they’ve raised

    What about the women in other cults and other situations in which they didn’t end up with their children? This is by far not an isolated incident, as several people have already tried to explain to you.

    I dunno. Whoever she thinks she’s talking to in her soporific YouTube video, maybe.

    Why do I get the feeling that you are one of the people to whom the videos are in response to? If you find them so soporific, I suggest you a) don’t watch them, b) drink a cup of coffee if you must watch them, or c) listen to the audio whilst jacking off to troll porn if that’s more likely to get your rocks off.

  44. @davew:

    I’m still unsure whether mxracer is a troll or just honestly disagrees with most everything we say here.

    I also can’t say much in the way of refuting his narcissism argument. I’m pretty self-absorbed.

  45. @mrsepp – ‘if you find them so soporific, I suggest you a) don’t watch them’

    I don’t. She is on the NESS podcast though, which I used to listen to for Steve and Perry and now only Steve and the interviews.

    ‘What about the women in other cults and other situations ‘

    Give me the facts I’ll give you my opinion. Rebecca was talking specifically about these weirdos though.

  46. @cloudsoup:

    “Whoever she thinks she’s talking to in her soporific YouTube video, maybe.”

    ‘if you find them so soporific, I suggest you a) don’t watch them’

    I don’t.

    If you don’t watch them, how do you know they’re soporific?

    Also: have you gotten around to providing evidence for your claim that I made something up? No? Ah, okay, I’ll just be going, then.

  47. The slavery issue raises some interesting points.

    While very few women will actually be physically locked up as sex slaves, having your passport taken from you essentially takes away your ability to “just walk out whenever you feel like it“. The restraints aren’t physical anymore, they’re social and/or legal. The slave owners are essentially using the law that’s supposed to protect the innocent as a tool to keep the innocent enslaved. Or at least the fear of the law and what would happen if you faced them without a valid identity. Or the fear of what the slave owner’s friends back home might do to your family.
    You ARE being held against your will, and you can’t really walk out without severe consequences.

    Similarly, I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say women in cults like that are essentially slaves. They aren’t physically chained to the kitchen stove, but they might as well be. The cult has denied them every opportunity to become independent. So they remain enslaved because the alternative is not a viable option. Leaving DOES mean having to fight for, and potentially lose, their children. Especially when they’ve learned no other skills except how to raise children. No money-making skills anyway. In a sense, the father really would be better able to provide for the children. The only point in favor of the mother is the fact that leaving the kids to be raised in that situation is potentially worse …

  48. @Rebecca – trouble with the English language again? I don’t watch them continuous action starting in the past and continuing into the future

    I have watched your brave declaration of atheism and one other at some time when I happened upon it.

    Also: have you gotten around to providing evidence for your claim that I made something up

    Yes. you made up this:

    it is nearly impossible to escape a situation in which you’d be destitute and without friends or family – including the children they’ve raised

    the woman in question won custody of her children. The other, Laura, we know next to nothing about. You made it up.

  49. @cloudsoup: Give me the facts I’ll give you my opinion. Rebecca was talking specifically about these weirdos though.

    http://www.religionnewsblog.com/5124/woman-loses-custody-to-sister-wife

    In this article, the mother fled her polygamous cult. She got her children back, but then lost them again to her husband’s first wife, having never been deemed an unfit mother. She was however diagnosed with PTSD due to her experiences within the cult.

    @Elyse – are you seriously telling me you had never heard / do not know the meaning of the word ’soporific’?

    Go read some books for Christ’s sake.

    It really takes a certain level of douchebaggery to insult the intelligence of or imply lower intelligence of the writers of the blog you’re spending so much time on. Instead of trivializing the content of a well maintained blog site, why don’t you do everyone a favor and just log off (although you are giving some of us a great deal of entertainment at your own expense)?

  50. I remember, about 6 years ago, it was mid-July and the air conditioner wasn’t keeping up. My then-wife was a couple weeks from her due date and doing her best to keep cool. She was fixing a snack for herself when she pointed out that she was currently “barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen”. We had a good laugh at that.

    That’s probably the only circumstance under which I’d find that phrase acceptable.

    While I’m sure that there are many people who are perfectly content being completely submissive, I find it obscene that anyone would try to impose that lifestyle on anyone.

  51. @exarch – Leaving DOES mean having to fight for, and potentially lose, their children

    If a woman walks out of the family home – the family home she voluntarily setup with the husband she voluntarily married and with whom she voluntarily had kids then – if the ex-husband himself would like to raise his own children there will be a custody battle.

    And in this case, the woman won custody. Much to Rebecca’s disappointment, it seems.

  52. @cloudsoup:

    Yes. you made up this:

    it is nearly impossible to escape a situation in which you’d be destitute and without friends or family – including the children they’ve raised

    the woman in question won custody of her children. The other, Laura, we know next to nothing about.

    In fact, we DO know quite a bit about Laura. Again, from the article:

    Laura was near suicide when Garrison helped her leave; her husband took physical custody of all 11 children, and her oldest daughter seamlessly assumed Laura’s duties and tended to the younger children, who now view their mother as a backslider deceived by Satan.

    Explain to me how this does not describe a woman who, as I said, is without the children she raised.

  53. @Elyse “I also can’t say much in the way of refuting his narcissism argument.”

    He sounds a lot like me when I was much younger: no filters, no barriers, no tact. I think racer is a perfect candidate for the “It’s not that simple” shirt. For example, if everyone did what I do: no kids, no car, and living well within my means the economy would implode catastrophically. No one would gain except for the rats and the cockroaches and I’m not so sure about the rats. Other people having kids means I can eat now and maybe retire later.

    @Elyse “I don’t know about anyone else, but I have no issues with Rebecca taking me to bed.”

    Hey! I’m trying to pretend I’m focused on work here!

  54. @cloudsoup:

    when the article she’s referring to in Salon is about a woman who left with her children

    What about the other woman talked about in the article, who is specifically mentioned as losing her children?

    Laura was near suicide when Garrison helped her leave; her husband took physical custody of all 11 children, and her oldest daughter seamlessly assumed Laura’s duties and tended to the younger children, who now view their mother as a backslider deceived by Satan.

    and

    The chaos and confusion that follow leaving the movement is a powerful deterrent to other women who face losing their children as Laura did

    I mean, I know that Rebecca already quoted this and you blatantly ignored it, insisting she made it up with no basis in the article, and that I must obviously just be a sycophantic sucker under her soporific sway, but I thought I’d give it a shot.

  55. @cloudsoup: Yes. you made up this:

    it is nearly impossible to escape a situation in which you’d be destitute and without friends or family – including the children they’ve raised

    the woman in question won custody of her children. The other, Laura, we know next to nothing about. You made it up.

    Yes, one of the women got her children back. However, this is not always the case. Therefore, it is not an unheard of assumption that the same may not apply to Laura. Making a valid assumption and “making something up” are two quite different things. To assume based on facts or prior evidence and cases relies on the ability to deduce. To “make something up” is to fabricate the situation entirely, which is not what Rebecca was doing.

    This thread is on the verge of driving me to the bottle.

  56. @cloudsoup: If a woman walks out of the family home – the family home she voluntarily setup with the husband she voluntarily married and with whom she voluntarily had kids then – if the ex-husband himself would like to raise his own children there will be a custody battle.

    And what if it wasn’t voluntary? What if a woman is raised from childhood into that situation, which in most cases lead to her being married off by her family to a much older man while she’s in her teens?

  57. @cloudsoup:
    the woman in question won custody of her children.

    Won custody. As in, she didn’t have it, she had to fight for it. And the outcome was never guaranteed to be in her favor. That pretty much boils down to “nearly losing your children” if you ask me.

  58. @davew:
    I disagree with your statement that: “I see this problem as ultimately intractable.”

    It’s not intractable at all. You see, I think that the evidence clearly shows that it will solve itself in a spectacularly bloody fashion all by itself, if we don’t have the wits and determination to find the answer first.

    Extinction? Not necessarily, but a decent back to the Stone, Bronze or Iron Age is a distinct possibility if we don’t collectively get our act together in time. With no possiblity of return.

  59. @cloudsoup:
    If a woman walks out of the family home – the family home she voluntarily setup with the husband she voluntarily married and with whom she voluntarily had kids then – […]

    Wow, and you are accusing rebecca of making baseless assumptions?
    You’d think that if she wants out, perhaps it wasn’t all that voluntarily after all.
    In fact, the article directly contradicts the last part of the quoted bit of your post, as it specifically said she consulted with the cult leaders about having more kids after the near fiasco of the last one, meaning that having more kids was not exactly something she wanted considering how dangerous that would be, but she was told she had to.

    Perhaps you need to look up the meaning of “voluntary“. And might I suggest using an actual dictionary, not wikipedia’s “this is what most people think it means” description.

  60. @OneHandClapping: Don’t hate Madagascar.

    If you would watch the Dreamworks documentaries (Madagascar and Madagascar2) you would see that it’s really a lovely place with lots of very funny animals.

    I still can’t figure out how they trained the penguins to hotwire that jeep!

  61. @SteveT:

    Really I only hate Madagascar because it’s an island between the US and New Zealand. I suppose I could be convinced to hate Micronesia, but that hardly seems fair since that is a considerable assembly of islands. I’m not a big fan of Easter Island though: no eggs, no bunnies, no saviors tacked to crosses (or rising from the dead, I would accept either one)…Easter Island my ass.

  62. @exarch: And might I suggest using an actual dictionary, not wikipedia’s “this is what most people think it means” description.

    THANK YOU! The minute I saw their “definition” I knew it had to have come from there, and wouldn’t you know it… It’s the first damn paragraph of the “slavery” article. If they’re going to fight, they should use reputable resources.

  63. @cloudsoup: “Slavery is a form of forced labor where a person is compelled to work for another (sometimes called “the master” or “slave owner”). Slaves are held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase, or birth, and are deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to receive compensation (such as wages) in return for their labor.

    Replace that with “husband” and “work” with “have sex with and have babies” and there you go.

  64. @OneHandClapping: But aren’t all the islands in Micronesia incredibly tiny? I mean, it’s not called Macronesia now, is it? It doesn’t sound like you could even stand on any of the islands of Micronesia without getting your feet wet! What business do they even have calling themselves a country?

    I totally dig Easter Island! All that shiny green grass strewn with jelly beans! Nom!

  65. @mrsepp: There are many scenarios, how to address them all. I seem to recall that there are some states (1 state?) that permit children age 15 to be “married” which raises other issues. If everyone is talking about different issues with their own premises and biases, it can seem like we are chatting about different ideas here.

    Let’s talk about Laura. From Laura’s blog, she was raised by two lesbians and she met and chased after her future ex-husband Dale “the religious zealot” until she got her coveted goal – a real “prize” namely a voluntary marriage at age 18.

    @exarch: As pointed out, contested custody means a fight. There are no guarantees, the legal system is supposed to favor the children’s well-being in these issues and we don’t know the whole story. I do not believe that being part of such a contest is nearly losing your children, if you ask me. She was at risk of not being awarded custody, but as pointed out, short of a Salomon-like solution, someone usually loses these battles. (There is shared physical custody, and shared legal custody, but sharing can be hard as all know.)

    What about the man? Social progress includes those men who are worried about custody of their children in cases of break-up. So in a contested custody battle, when both parents want custody, and contest the other’s desire for custody, and “fight” to “win” custody, you would say that they both nearly lose their children? (Short of a parent using the child against the other for other personal reason, having both parents desiring custody of their children is a step in the right direction.)

    @Andr̩s Diplotti: The topic was sexist bastards РI believe that this thread has actually stayed on topic with a bunch of sexist comments and assumptions regarding custody and victim-hood.

    The legal system has finally begin to catch up to realize that a child’s mother is not always the correct choice when awarding custody. To argue otherwise is sexist at many different levels.

    @mrsepp: I believe I understand your point. However, I see you advancing from an assumption that is possible that it could be a valid assumption to then state that it is, in fact, valid in this particular case. While what you say is possible, what about the story makes it valid in the present context?

    For her to gain custody would mean that there would be a constest in front of supposed neutral judge who would hear evidence in support of varying positions regarding the children well-being – then custody is awarded. Temporary physical custody is something different, I believe.

    Just framing the question as Laura “losing” custody seems to imply some bias towards her having custody and denying her that custody implies that the world is ganging up on Laura for some inexplicable reason. There should be no default gender bias in custody issues as far as I can tell.

    Y_S_G

  66. @exarch You’d think that if she wants out, perhaps it wasn’t all that voluntarily after all.

    How bonkers. If she wants out it wasn’t voluntary? Same goes for every couple who breaks up. Let me think…Madonna breaking up from Guy Ritchie, or course, finally extricating herself from slavery. Pphhhhhhh.

    Won custody. As in, she didn’t have it, she had to fight for it. And the outcome was never guaranteed to be in her favor.

    Crazy stuff. If the man and woman, the father and mother, can’t agree about custody and both want custody, you think she should just be handed the kids. Crazy, crazy stuff.

    @Rebecca:

    Explain to me how this does not describe a woman who, as I said, is without the children she raised.

    You didn’t say that though, did you. You said:

    it is nearly impossible to escape a situation in which you’d be destitute and without friends or family – including the children they’ve raised

    Now that says that the situation in which you would find yourself would be without children. You don’t say that’s what seems to have happened in at least on of the two cases described.

    As there were just 2 cases, and as one won custody, by your lunatic lights you’d be just as justified in claiming exactly the opposite of what you think you claimed.

    Stop wriggling. You made it up You over-egged the pudding. You misrepresented the facts. You drew unwarranted inferences from scant information

    You know, all that great skeptical stuff.

  67. @Andrés Diplotti – there are a few skeptical-type issues here, don’t worry.

    Like, accurately representing facts, carefully using evidence, drawing inferences from evidence, and finally, being truthful rather than full of bluster and dissembling, as in Rebecca’s repeated, pointless and doomed efforts to claim her reading of the piece is defensible.

  68. @marilove: I hear what you say, they basically have no other option. Respectfully, my question is: why is that? I suspect that for most, at some basic level, it is because of some voluntarily choice somewhere in their past. As I stated, I believe it can be difficult to discern where some mistake begins.

    I do have empathy for these people in abusive cults, but my concern for the children predominate.

    Y_S_G

  69. @mxracer652:

    I DO think it’s meant for a reaction, too.

    “””You cannot procreate & do it responsibly when 6+ billion people already exist.”””
    COMMENT: That’s a non sequitur. Try this variant of the same reasoning: “You cannot earn money & do it responsibly when when 4+ billion people are poor. Let’s all stop working.” That’s nonsense.

    “”” We already have global warming & energy shortages (remember $150/barrel??)”””
    COMMENT: And obviously, children are the cause of that, is that what you mean? Because that’s another non sequitur: children don’t drive cars, don’t go snowboarding, don’t fly as often as adults. What do you think has to do more with global warming, the patterns of spending of parents bringing up their children, or the patterns of spending of singles with no children and lots of money and time to spend traveling and buying items they don’t need? Singles are
    known for having lifestyles not particularly little opulent. Families spend, but singles don’t really seem to save much more, so they spend everything in themselves. Excuse me, but were you talking about the SELFISHNESS of having children?

    “””& wars over resources.”””
    COMMENT: Those wars already existed in the Middles Ages, no matter how less people there was relative to now. For your argument
    to even start to make sense, first you would have to prove that less individuals would not compete over resources, which is obviously false. On the other hand, social life forms such as humans need to breed in significant and proportional numbers. If you don’t want the population to grow too large, which would be the magic number? At what point would you, personally, because you don’t like it, prevent somebody from having children? Who exactly are you to make that decision and judge the right of somebody else to have children? You may buy bikes, some other people grow plants, and some other people have a family. Why is your decision ethically better than any of the
    alternatives? Still, you choose to pontificate and disapprove of those who have children.

    “””Adding more people is going to make things worse, not better.”””
    COMMENT: Again, substitute the reasoning: “””There’re already a lot of life-forms in the world. Adding more is going to make
    things worse, not better, so stop reproduction, no more life-forms on the planet.” As evolution shows, adding more individuals to the pool merely results in better individuals (and, in the case of human beings, more evolved ideas and better technology). Stopping that would be a recipe for failure, so, again, I am not looking forward to it.

    “””On top of that, 30,000 children die each day of rather preventable things like dehydration & starvation.”””
    COMMENT: And I suppose Western parents who have been able to save their own children from that fate are now responsible for the suffering of somebody else’s children, the same suffering they have banned in their own families. Non sequitur.

    “””So, if someone REALLY has to have a kid, why not just pick one up that already exists, instead of adding to the already existing population?”””
    COMMENT: “Pick up one kid that already exists”? And take it away from its parents just like that? You know, parents usually have children because they want to bring them up (and some even turn out to love them, did you know that?). And if they didn’t want to, then the problem wouldn’t be Western parents’ wanting to have children, but some other parents’ having children without wanting or being able to. Why should Western parents pay for somebody else’s mistakes? Let those parents who think condoms are an instrument of evil deal with the consequences of their own acts. It would be just ridiculous that those who really can have children, weren’t allowed to. You should fight the religious birth policy of theocracies, rather than some parents’ individual right to have a family.

  70. @cloudsoup: Ah, so now you’re changing your argument from “no one mentioned in the article left without children” to “not EVERYONE who leaves will lose their children.” It is obvious to anyone without cloudsoup in their heads that I never suggested that, and that I did in fact suggest that to a woman who wanted to escape, the very real possibility of losing her children will likely make her reconsider.

    You seem to be the only person in this thread who is able to imagine I’m saying otherwise.

  71. @exarch:

    …Perhaps you need to look up the meaning of “voluntary“. And might I suggest using an actual dictionary, not wikipedia’s “this is what most people think it means” description…

    What? Why would you and Mrsepp believe that a dictionary is “better” then wikipedia? Do you have any idea how a dictionary is created? Do you understand that there are many different dictionaries? Some people “win” legal disputes by getting their dictionary selected.

    Why don’t you just offer a definition of voluntary that you are happy with and see where that leads…

    Y_S_G

  72. @cloudsoup:

    Seems to me like you are not as interested in the facts as you claim to be. Rather, it seems you’re more interested in shooting down your own interpretation of what Rebecca meant instead of listening to her descriptions of what she actually meant. I think that’s called a Straw Man.

    You’ve come here simply to pick a fight, clearly. Perhaps Rebecca has missed something or misstated something, and perhaps she even wasn’t as skeptical as she should have been. Frankly, I don’t know, because I opted not to read this story and wouldn’t even be commenting on it if not for the obvious trolling.

    Had I read the story, and encountered some difference in opinion with Rebecca or any of the commenters here, I’d have presented my side of the story as part of a discussion, NOT as an argumentative attack. Maybe that’s because I’m more interested in getting to the essence of the thing than I am in drawing attention to myself through obvious attacks and trolling.

    Sometimes the style of a comment trumps whatever substance it may or may not have had. You might have drawn people to your side if you’d bothered to present yourself well. Instead you settled for childish antagonism. What a pity.

  73. @QuestionAuthority “It’s not intractable at all. You see, I think that the evidence clearly shows that it will solve itself in a spectacularly bloody fashion all by itself, if we don’t have the wits and determination to find the answer first.”

    Points taken. When people say they are concerned with the survival of the species I take this to mean survival of civilization. This will be small comfort when someone’s kid is gnawing on my bones.

    @OneHandClapping

    Please forgive me. I must be running low on vitamin snark.

  74. @Expatria – You might have drawn people to your side if you’d bothered to present yourself well. Instead you settled for childish antagonism. What a pity.

    So you agree with my points. Good-oh.

  75. @YourSkepticalGuy: @mrsepp: There are many scenarios, how to address them all. I seem to recall that there are some states (1 state?) that permit children age 15 to be “married” which raises other issues. If everyone is talking about different issues with their own premises and biases, it can seem like we are chatting about different ideas here.

    Let’s talk about Laura. From Laura’s blog, she was raised by two lesbians and she met and chased after her future ex-husband Dale “the religious zealot” until she got her coveted goal – a real “prize” namely a voluntary marriage at age 18.

    I was simply stating that it isn’t always voluntary, as CloudSoup seems to think. I’m not trying to shy away from the topic, just show them that what they’re saying isn’t always the case and that it should be recognized.

    @mrsepp: I believe I understand your point. However, I see you advancing from an assumption that is possible that it could be a valid assumption to then state that it is, in fact, valid in this particular case. While what you say is possible, what about the story makes it valid in the present context?

    For her to gain custody would mean that there would be a constest in front of supposed neutral judge who would hear evidence in support of varying positions regarding the children well-being – then custody is awarded. Temporary physical custody is something different, I believe.

    Just framing the question as Laura “losing” custody seems to imply some bias towards her having custody and denying her that custody implies that the world is ganging up on Laura for some inexplicable reason. There should be no default gender bias in custody issues as far as I can tell.

    Perhaps there should not be default gender bias in normal custody issues as, let’s face it, some women are just as horrible at parenting as some men, and deserve to have their children taken depending on the circumstances. However, this is not a normal custody case. Laura had 11 children, but “collapsed under the demands of the lifestyle.” Said lifestyle was patriarchal, which gives this particular case gender bias. Her husband took the children, who now believe she’s “a backslider deceived by Satan.” She did lose her children, not only in the physical sense, but in the sense that even if she were to get them back through a court case, they’ve been brainwashed against her. The world wasn’t ganging up on Laura, but the cult and her husband were.

  76. Laura had 11 children, but “collapsed under the demands of the lifestyle.”

    prima facia case for removing the kids from her, I’d have said.

    The world wasn’t ganging up on Laura, but the cult and her husband were

    You’re just making that up. You have no idea even if Laura wanted custody.

    You don’t know what here mental state was, you don’t know what her financial circumstances were, you don’t know if she requested ctody, you don’t know if there was a legal hearing and if there was, what was its outcome.

    You’re just making things up. Just like Rebecca makes things up.

    Why on earth do you both do it?

  77. @YourSkepticalGuy: Why don’t you just offer a definition of voluntary that you are happy with and see where that leads…

    The issue wasn’t with the word “voluntary,” it was with their definition of slavery. They argued that slavery was not “submission to a dominating influence” based on what they read on Wikipedia, which basically just stated that it was working for no pay under a master. The argument didn’t even make sense.

  78. Apparently, if one repeats “You’re making it up!” often enough, one feels one is correct, even if no one else on the planet can see it. This troll has officially moved from ‘vaguely amusing’ to ‘possibly mentally disturbed.’

  79. @mrsepp – stil arguing the toss about slavery?

    I didn’t base my understanding of the word on what I’d read in Wikipedia. That was just a convenient place from which to copy and paste an explanation that seemed to accord with my own understanding.

    Get it?

    Citing a minor definition that has more to do with BDSM enthusiasts, as you did, is just ludicrous.

  80. @Rebecca – you made up a claim that women would lose their kids. You made up a claim that I said ‘no one mentioned in the article left without children‘.

    Made it up from whole cloth. Just invented it. And now you’re denying it which is bogglingly stupid because all your statements, and mine, are here for everyone to read.

    Unless you remove this blog post, like you did the other one, of course.

  81. @cloudsoup: Have you even read the article we’re discussing?

    You’re just making that up. You have no idea even if Laura wanted custody.

    You don’t know what here mental state was, you don’t know what her financial circumstances were, you don’t know if she requested ctody, you don’t know if there was a legal hearing and if there was, what was its outcome.

    You’re just making things up. Just like Rebecca makes things up.

    “Laura was near suicide when Garrison helped her leave; her husband took physical custody of all 11 children, and her oldest daughter seamlessly assumed Laura’s duties and tended to the younger children, who now view their mother as a backslider deceived by Satan. “She feels so incredibly angry, so ripped off, so used.”

    As Rebecca ALREADY SAID, that sounds to any normal-minded person, like she had had her children taken from her. Yes, she was trying to escape from the lifestyle. Why would that mean that a mother would not want her children? Especially when the article about the woman states how ripped off and used she feels? There may not have been any legal recourse. It’s a CULT. When she escaped, any part of her life that she had while in there was taken from her.

    If I were to make something up for my own sake, it would be a fuckton of money in my bank account and you, not posting on this site.

  82. @Rebecca: Alright, I will *meekly* raise my hand and say I do not really understand what you are now saying.

    The post: ..Joyce’s article goes on to show that leaving the Quiverfull movement is nearly impossible for women who grow to be so utterly dependent upon their husbands, and who worry about losing their children and becoming outcasts from the community…

    Maybe it is a simplification to say that Joyce *shows* all of that without reading more into the story. The two featured women did in fact leave, and they made the decision knowing about custody concerns.

    I do not recall reading the stories of the *other* of women who want to leave. I would like to believe that there are more – but there may not be. (Both the men and women who stay should lose custody – it should be the case that people become more concerned that participating in this lifestyle makes it impossible to stay in the cult.)

    Joyce says she interviewed dozens and a handful have left. She doesn’t use the phrase nearly impossible, she says “…many unhappy women are afraid to turn their backs on the movement…” for some of the reasons you note, but not the one about losing children. (I do not want to go over the article again, but I believe that the non-Laura person (Garrison) left first so Laura’s experience was not a factor (assuming I am correct about the timing)).

    I presume that a woman with chidren she loves is usually concerned about custody when leaving any relationship. Concerned about custody as in wanting to be sure she gets is right.

    It also sounds like (from Laura’s blog) the custody issue has not been resolved in a legal forum.

    Best wishes to these women who want to get their children out.

    Y_S_G

  83. @mrsepp – just like Rebecca, you’re drawing completely unwarranted inferences because they accord with your presumptions.

    Rather than fisk the tedious whole of your reply let’s just focus on a very obvious weak link:

    There may not have been any legal recourse

    Under what circumstances might that have obtained?
    Under what circumstances would there not have been a legal recourse?

  84. @cloudsoup: No, they’re brainwashed and without resources. They can’t leave, and if they stay they have to belong or risk being mistreated or kicked out.

    @cloudsoup and cloudsoup: Men have started the movement and use their power (because they have engineered themselves to have so much of it) to convince women to have babies even though it may be medically unsafe, such as in the case Rebecca indicated in her article. One gender using their power over another is the definition of sexism. Women participating in this because of fear or mental abuse is not the same thing as them being sexist. That is not to say that women in other situations can’t be sexist, but in this case I don’t think the accusation necessarily applies. Kaylia_Marie said it pretty well above.

    @cloudsoup: You know, it is possible to disagree and not be a douchebag.

    @YourSkepticalGuy: It’s really hard for some people to get why people can be so stupid because of course they themselves would *never*. There are lots of reasons why people would “choose” not to leave that do not at all resemble healthy, informed choices. It should not be necessarily considered their “fault” for staying, nor a reason to discount possible abuse and/or torture.

    @cloudsoup: You live in a fantasy land.

  85. @Kimbo Jones – so women are strong and independent and resourceful until they marry the man of their choice, at which point they become brainwashed object of subjugation?

    use their power… to convince women to have babies

    What miraculous powers do these men have, tell me?

    BTW. You don’t own the definition of sexism. Yours is ridiculous.

  86. @Kimbo Jones – the ellipsis removed what you’d already parenthesised for God’s sake. It didn’t substantially alter your meaning, did it?

    Where did you learn to focus so dishonestly on complete irrelevancies?

  87. @cloudsoup: This is my last post because I’ve got better things to do with my day than go back and forth with the likes of you. Also, you may want to start “previewing” your posts before submitting, as you have continuously posted sentence fragments that leave the reader wondering what it is that you’re saying.

    @mrsepp – just like Rebecca, you’re drawing completely unwarranted inferences because they accord with your presumptions.

    Rather than fisk the tedious whole of your reply let’s just focus on a very obvious weak link:

    There may not have been any legal recourse

    Under what circumstances might that have obtained?
    Under what circumstances would there not have been a legal recourse?

    Why is that a weak link?

    It was never stated in the article that there was any. Considering the fact that this woman left, not having her own money saved (since everything belongs to the man in this cult) and limited aptitude for work (since she was confined to the home to take care of 11 children), she would have limited chances of winning a custody case. Because of this, or the fact that she couldn’t afford proper representation, she may not have even tried to file suit. We don’t know. Which is why I fail to see how my stating that there may not have been is “an obvious weak link.”

    Now, it’s been real nice chatting with you (gag). I hope for the sake of everyone else on this thread that the fumes you’ve been running on for the duration of your “arguments” fail you soon and you crash land back on your home planet.

  88. @mrsepp – as you have continuously posted sentence fragments that leave the reader me wondering what it is that you’re saying baffled at vocabulary beyond that of an average nine year-old.

    Fixed that for you

  89. @jtradke:

    When it suits him/her.

    Aggressive when it suits him/her.

    Passive/aggressive when it suits him/her.

    Incredulous about others’ comments it suits him/her.

    The anatomy of an Internet troll. Therein lies the frustration.

    Once you figure that out, step off, man. leave it. Scrape that shit off the bottom of your shoe and move on.

    I don’t know who this person is, and I can’t think of anything I care less about than what he or she has to say.

  90. It is interesting to note that while the family structure being (occasionally) discussed here is overtly misogynistic it appears from the Salon article it had its origins with a woman.

    “In 1985, homeschooling leader Mary Pride wrote a foundational text for Quiverfull, “The Way Home: Beyond Feminism, Back to Reality.” The book argued that family planning is a slippery slope, creating a “contraceptive mentality” that leads to abortion, and that feminism is incompatible with Christianity”

  91. This hurts my brain.

    Methinks that in order to have a productive conversation, we will have to find some common ground… though, at this point, it’s more fun to imagine Elyse and Rebecca in bed together.

    I digress… even if we don’t agree that this is technically slavery, can we at least agree that it is a difficult situation to be in, and get out of? I think it’s important to note, too, that all those saying that the women entered into this voluntarily have not addressed the situation of women born into this cult.

    I think it would also be interesting to consider how difficult it would be for a man to leave. Originally, I was going to say that clearly men would find that easier, but that’s not always the case. While they are in a position of power (over resources, at least), perhaps they, too, would suffer violence or retribution if they tried to leave. Would that, then, be considered a voluntary situation? If not, then wouldn’t you also have to agree that the women who originally entered into the marriage voluntarily might have changed their mind about the whole thing, and that being held against their will kind of removes the whole voluntary aspect?

    I don’t know, I’m just throwing ideas out there. I do agree that the children are *more* innocent in this situation than the women, but nobody really deserves to feel trapped in their marriage. I’ve made a lot of dumb decisions in my life, entered into them voluntarily, only to discover that I didn’t fully understand what I was doing at the time (or the situation was completely misrepresented to me when I signed up). Luckily for me, these were all temporary or easy to get out of (meaning I didn’t stand to lose everything that once was important to me).

    I feel like my brain, tired from a loooong day and reading all these comments, isn’t really reaching any conclusions here. Somebody help me out.

  92. @Amanda: I think it’s important to note, too, that all those saying that the women entered into this voluntarily have not addressed the situation of women born into this cult.

    Thank you. I mentioned that earlier and was questioned on it.

  93. even if we don’t agree that this is technically slavery, can we at least agree that it is a difficult situation to be in, and get out of

    Absolutely. But not slavery and not impossible or even nearly or almost impossible.

    So here’s a question. To what extent should the State interfer with the free choices of adults and their preferred ways of bringing up their children.

    I’d tend towards a liberal pov (liberal as in the UK, John Stuart Mill type of liberal) but there must be a point where the arrangements become child abuse.

  94. @cloudsoup: Looks like I shouldn’t make clearly hyperbolic statements at the beginning of a discussion. My initial remark about slavery was hyperbole but the emotional toll abusive relationships have on the victims is in many ways comparable to slavery and often involves more violence, sex abuse and threats. I’ve worked with the victims of domestic violence and child abuse for 25 years and the family circumstances I’ve seen often look a lot like what I imagine slavery could look like.

    Sate involvement in its citizens private lives is a difficult question in many respects. My general view is that abuse and neglect are reasons enough for some level of intrusion. I do not think the government should be the thought police however.

  95. @cloudsoup: “Absolutely. But not slavery and not impossible or even nearly or almost impossible.”

    Okay, awesome… we’re getting somewhere. So, what options do you imagine that a woman (or a man) wanting to leave this cult might have? Leave and what happens? Stay and what happens? Which one has the benefit of familiarity on its side? (“The evil you know” vs. “the evil you don’t know” can be a pretty powerful deciding factor, which I can attest to.) I guess to determine whether or not it *seems* nearly impossible (from the perspective of the women wanting out), we kind of have to put ourselves in their situation (as much as we can, of course).

    From the sound of it, there was little resistance to the movement at first. When health risks (including death during pregnancy or childbirth) became concerns, the whole situation changed. Suddenly, the people who might previously have seemed loving and supportive are telling you that it’s okay if you die doing something you are thinking you might not want to do anymore.

    So, how do you leave? What will happen? And what will happen if you stay? Do you keep having kids, despite health risks? If you decide to leave, where will you go and where will you live? What will you eat? Basic needs (food, shelter, etc) are a strong determining factor here, also.

    If a woman in this situation stays, she might get pregnant and die. However, she will likely have food and shelter. She will also likely be traumatized by the stress of knowing that in order to keep her basic needs met, she has to participate in a lifestyle with which she doesn’t agree (and that could potentially kill her).

    If she leaves, what will she eat? Where will she live? Can she potentially track down old friends who might be willing to help her out? Does she even know anyone who is not in the cult? She could go to a shelter, but how would she get there? If she went to one nearby, would she be safe there, or would somebody come after her and become violent with her for leaving? There are many unknowns here, and unknowns are frightening.

    I don’t know for sure (because I’m not in a cult) how much of this might be running through a woman’s mind if she is considering leaving. Add to this the possibility that you’d be leaving your children (to whom you have an emotional bond) at least temporarily, and that you may never see them again — it’s a really complicated situation.

    I’m not opposed to the use of the word slavery, though I do see how somebody could take issue with it. I guess I find it hard to see how somebody could think critically about this and really try to imagine what this is like and not think, “okay, I can see how leaving with all its unknowns and certain hardships could be almost impossible.”

    I guess what I’m wondering is, can you describe what you think a woman’s choices might be in this situation? I think it might make your position more clear, especially if we disagree on the factors that one might weigh during the decision making process.

  96. @Sam Ogden:

    Yeah, I know, I know. But it’s like a weird noise in my house, you know? I always want to go find out what’s causing it, and try to stop it… Not necessarily any one troll in particular, but the phenomenon itself. I can’t adequately form a theory of human psychology that accounts for trolling and that frustrates and fascinates me far more than any individual troll does.

  97. @Sam Ogden rinderpest.com generating a reported attack site warning.

    What happened when Google visited this site?

    Of the 229 pages that we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 37 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time that Google visited this site was on 2009-03-10, and the last time that suspicious content was found on this site was on 2009-03-07.

    You might want to sort that out

  98. @drockwood, @mxracer652 – answer to population is economic growth. Numbers of children decline as people get wealthier, best way of doing that is through trade. Get rid of tariff barriers.

    For eg, the EU pays subsidies to farmers rather than importing developing world produce. Also, blocks import of processed goods, allows import of raw material for processing (adding value) within EU.

    You should campaign for globalisation.

    US only major W. country with reproduction rate above replacement.

  99. @mrsepp: I remember you mentioning it, and I thought it interesting that nobody had anything to offer, really. It seemed to be just ignored in a sea of “he said/she said.”

    I was born near a military base, and grew up fairly conservative as a result. (I once based the decision not to have sex for the first time on the fear that I might go to Hell. Also, I voted for Bush the first time. Sorry, dudes.) I then went away to a fairly liberal college and slowly began to question my thinking. I now think I have a balanced grasp on things.

    It took a lot of thinking and losing many good friends just to shift in my political leanings. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I decided that my entire lifestyle was wrong and had nobody to help me and everybody I knew was telling me I should suck it up and die.

    I’m torn on the population dilemma. I wish people would stop having more kids than they can afford (mentally, physically, financially, etc), but I also get that it is kind of what living things do. Should we be responsible? Yes – but I think we all have different ideas about what is responsible in this case.

    More than population control, I wish people would stop brainwashing kids… but, then, unless there is clear endangerment, there’s nothing I can legally do about that, either.

    Except, of course, have my own army of skeptical spawn to outnumber theirs.

    Hang on, gotta go call my husband. I suddenly have a great idea…

  100. @cloudsoup:

    “answer to population is economic growth.”
    COMMENT: Not really. I think birth control has been actually more strongly correlated with education (education then also correlating with economic growth). The more educated people are (particularly women), the less children they tend to have. This seems a key idea in the current thread, as far as I can tell. If it all reduced to wealth, the wealthiest countries would be expected to have the lowest birth rates. However, Spain, for instance, has the lowest birth rates in Europe, and it is clearly not the leading economic power there. Likewise, as of 2009, Ireland and France have the highest rates, and they’re by no means the less economically developed countries (Ireland has in fact been the country which has experienced the biggest economic growth during the last years, if memory serves). So, the generalization is basically wrong. Also, the baby-boom was precisely a result of economic growth, while the opposite should have been the case according to your statement. For someone who blames others for making things up, I would reasonably expect you to show a somewhat more consistent standard of accuracy.

    “””best way of doing that is through trade. Get rid of tariff barriers.”””
    COMMENT: Barely. Trade and economic growth are somewhat related, but considerably different beasts. Technical development is the key factor, in the long term. Trade is okay, but you need something to trade with.

    “””the EU pays subsidies to farmers rather than importing developing world produce.”””
    COMMENT: You need not go to Europe to look for an example of subsidies, USA is not precisely a virgin as regards undermining foreign economies. I’d rather think that your choice of this example has had more to do with lack of care than with a deliberate aim to be partial.

    The key point is education. That makes people both productive and honest, which is what makes countries viable (BTW, petrocracies are also wealthy “traders” and have relatively flourishing economies, but birth rates are among the highest in the world. What happens here?)

  101. Housekeeping of my own:

    @mrsepp: Thank you for the additional information. I do believe that (in)voluntary has to be carefully used in the cult context. The Salon article states that the Quiverfull movement started in 1985 – way too long ago and exactly leading to the possibility many have mentioned regarding children being born into this abuse.

    I hear the pain regarding Laura “losing” her children. I am unqualified to get into the psychology of cults. From my vantage point, the points recommending that Laura have custody are that she left and she wants the children out. Beyond that, placing too much faith in Laura’s objectivity in her statements regarding events surrounding her conduct and custody may be inappropriate.

    @mrsepp: I believe Exarch challenged Cloudsoup to come up with a suitable definition for voluntary and requested the definition come from a dictionary. This comment reminded me that both you and Exarch seemed to prefer a dictionary to wikipedia. My apologies for being lazy and weak and implicating you in that Exarch post.

    @Kimbo Jones: Thank for the reminder. I certainly do not want to play any variation of the “blame the victim” game. I just do not have a sense of relative numbers of people at the various points of voluntary/involuntary spectrum. Particularly as we have not agreed upon definitions for these terms. I also have no intent to suggest that there is no abuse/mistreatment. There could be abuse/mistreatment in a voluntary setting, and I believe that the risks of abuse increase the more involutary or fearful or hesistant the situation becomes.

    Y_S_G

  102. @ everyone on this thread:

    I will share a very personal bit of information, as a reminder that the original point of this whole post was that there are women(people) being mentally and emotionally manipulated by men(other people), and that that is a really troubling situation, which shouldn’t be taken lightly.

    I consider myself a pretty smart person, skeptically minded, well-educated. I also happen to have an amazing family and truly wonderful and caring friends. Despite all of these obviously positive elements in my life, I found myself in an mentally and emotionally abusive relationship, from which I recently had to extract myself. It was, and continues to be, a tremendously difficult and painful experience, and it has also entailed many financial and logistical ramifications. Luckily I have a fantastic support network that are helping me at every level, for which I am eternally grateful.

    Now, I read stories like this and I think, what if I didn’t have a strong support network? What if, in fact, the only network I had was that of my abuser(s)? What if I was undereducated? What if there were children involved? And, worst of all, what if I were a “believer” and I felt that my actions for or against the relationship were being judged by a “higher power?” Any one of those factors, let alone all of them combined, could seriously mess up anyone’s head, and make it that much easier for her/him to continue to be manipulated and abused.

    My best friend is a counsellor for a women’s domestic violence shelter, and I can tell you that DV and general mental/emotional abuse against women is far more pervasive in society–at every strata–than most people realize. So, when I see something like this story, which shows it happening in a systematized and broad fashion, I find it utterly repugnant.

    All semantic arguing aside, this is a disturbing story, and I really hope that this group, and others like it, are taken down.

  103. I went to a decently liberal university (same as ERV), but with a strong contingent of the evangelicals. We coexisted pretty well, and hell, I even dated one for the better part of two years. However, I was truly shocked when a fellow student actually let the words come out of his mouth that positive eugenics was a good think for increasing the proportion of people like him (yes, white and evangelical and greek!) in the population. I suppose it never occurred to him that, a) boy meets girl must take place first, and b) (a) won’t happen if all you listen to is Dave Matthew Band.

  104. Gads, I can’t believe I just read this entire thread of nearing 200 responses to only find 4 valid response points in the entire thing. Everything else is either trolling or troll-baiting.

    So, for those of you who actually want to discuss the topics and article, here is where we stand:

    1) A valid question has been raised about how one should define slavery. A loud, fool has ignored all discussion in favor of his own, arbitrarily defined definition.

    2) A valid point of interesting discussion has been raised regarding the foundation of the cult by a woman. No one has taken this up for discussion other than the originator of the point.

    3) A valid question has been raised about the concept of Voluntary action. Any possible discussion was promptly then derailed by a loud fool attempting to impose his own position as the final standard.

    4) An eco-nut is convinced that reproduction is murder. I suspect the best solution is to lock him in a room with some pro-lifer, but I’m afraid the resulting ‘anti-position’ canceling explosion might kill us all.

    As an interesting secondary note, there is some hot skepchick on skepchick action happening in Madagascar.

    Oh.. and cloudsoup….. I know your clearly towering ego will never let this past the barrier of reality denial needed for you to keep feeling good about yourself, but just to get it out there. You are a douche.

    Hmmm.. really not that much content for so close to 200 post, but some promising stuff in there if any of us started focusing on it and ignoring the trolls.

  105. @Minnie,
    I wanted to respond to you personally and not as part of my vent at the rest of the thread, but I can’t think of anything to say in a public forum that wouldn’t sound off. But you are right. This kind of fall into abuse can, and does, happen to people from all walks of life; not just the mentally weak or those with poor self images.

    Even worse, for every person like you who does have a good support network and who is able to start finding their way out, many others never will find their way.

    To those who would shrug their shoulders and say, “they chose it for themselves”, I can only say that you are wrong. No one chooses these things for themselves. Think what you will to make your life simple and clear, but I just hope if never happens to you so you don’t have to experience the harm your callousness can do for yourself.

  106. You know, I don’t want to make light of what is a real and serious situation but as I read through the comments I started to imagine this as a Lifetime movie. It has many of the standard plot elements of what seems to be every Lifetime movie.

  107. It seems to me that whether or not this is slavery is almost beside the point. Quiverfull is a truly toxic culture where women are treated as no more than baby factories and domestic labour, enforced by theological and emotional blackmail. Even if this doesn’t make the Oxford English Dictionary definition of slavery its still thoroughly awful.

    There’s one other point that hasn’t been mentioned yet and that’s about the men in Quiverfull, in some sense they are harmed by this too.

    Now I don’t want to equivocate here, the harm to the women is orders of magnitude greater, but the men in this sect are led to believe that women are little more than robots, capable of doing nothing more than simple physical tasks and producing more humans. They are denied the fulfilment of a woman who is a true companion, someone you can share the joys and pain of life with as an equal. In short, a partner they can love and respect. Make no mistake, those men are lessened by being denied this, even if they don’t realise it.

  108. @James K:

    It’s true that the men do not come away unharmed by this “lifestyle”, but the difference is that if the husband has a moment of clarity and wants out, he has the power to get himself and his family out. He could even COMMAND his family out, if he chooses.

    The woman, not so much.

  109. @Skepthink – “answer to population is economic growth.”
    COMMENT: Not really. I think birth control has been actually more strongly correlated with education

    And in what sorts of economies do people get to be educated?

  110. @Skepthink – For someone who blames others for making things up, I would reasonably expect you to show a somewhat more consistent standard of accuracy.

    My observation is of a well-known general trend and correlation, not a hard-and-fast absolute unbreakable rule.

    but take a look at this

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic-economic_paradox

    or this graph

    http://www.pregnantpause.org/numbers/fertility.htm

    or this one

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fertility_rate_world_map_2.png

    and learn something before calling me names

    Ta

  111. @cloudsoup:
    @exarch You’d think that if she wants out, perhaps it wasn’t all that voluntarily after all.

    How bonkers. If she wants out it wasn’t voluntary? Same goes for every couple who breaks up. Let me think…Madonna breaking up from Guy Ritchie, or course, finally extricating herself from slavery. Pphhhhhhh.

    You’re absolutely right. Madonna broke up with Guy Ritchie because he was going to force her to have more children against medical advice.

    Oh, … wait, … I don’t think that’s how it went …

    Crazy stuff. If the man and woman, the father and mother, can’t agree about custody and both want custody, you think she should just be handed the kids. Crazy, crazy stuff.

    Nope, I don’t think so at all. In fact, I even said that from a strictly objective point of view, the court should hand custody to the father because he is able to provide for the kids, the woman isn’t.
    And that’s precicely the point of the whole “slavery” debate, that a woman is in such a bad position that she’s forced to stay in a situation she doesn’t want to be in because the alternative is even less desirable to her: leaving and losing your kids because you don’t have any marketable skills other than cooking and cleaning. A skill the girls are being groomed into when they’re still teenagers, like Laura’s oldest daughter for example. The upside might be that while she’s still taking care of her siblings, her dad will perhaps be more hesitant to marry her off to a guy to start her own herd of kids.

  112. @YourSkepticalGuy:
    Why don’t you just offer a definition of voluntary that you are happy with and see where that leads…

    Well, in my personal view, the definition of voluntary should exclude anything that’s “against a person’s will“.

    I know, crazy huh?

  113. @cloudsoup:
    @Expatria – You might have drawn people to your side if you’d bothered to present yourself well. Instead you settled for childish antagonism. What a pity.

    So you agree with my points. Good-oh.
    Where did you read that?

    All he said was you might have convinced someone if you’d actually bothered to present yourself well. You didn’t bother to present yourself well, and as a result you didn’t present your point well either.
    It’s kinda hard to agree with a point if you don’t really know what that point is.

  114. @cloudsoup:

    “…and learn something before calling me names…”

    Actually, I’m pretty sure it was me who just came out and started calling you names, not Skepthink. However, that is the sort of confused, half-assed, mis-aimed response I’m pretty sure we are all coming to expect of you.

    I mean really, I can’t decide if I should be amused by you or disgusted. Reading most of your responses is a similar experience to what I suspect watching a comedic play would be like if it were performed by homicidal schizophrenics. Sad, ultimately tragic, and more than a little disturbing.

    Then again, as I do so rarely have the chance to just blithely insult people as part of performing a community service, please do keep it up.

    *Starts putting up “Don’t feed the Troll” signs*

  115. @MoltenHotMagma –
    Actually, I’m pretty sure it was me who just came out and started calling you names, not Skepthink

    That’s right you did, but I was ignoring your…er…contribution.

    Skepthink’s useful contribution was to take a pretty uncontested observation and contest it and suggest there was some problem with a completely ordinary and well-known observation – simply because he/she hadn’t heard of it before

  116. @cloudsoup:
    use their power… to convince women to have babies

    What miraculous powers do these men have, tell me?
    I believe in their case it’s called “the bible“. But other means are sometimes employed to convince someone that one sexe is superior (regardless of whether that’s actually tue) …

  117. @cloudsoup:
    And in what sorts of economies do people get to be educated?

    I suppose an equally valid question could be “in what sorts of economies do people get to be rich”?

    To simplify it, wealth causes education. But at the same time, education causes wealth. It’s not immediately clear which is the cause and which the effect.

    What we can say with a bit more confidence, is that education leads to birth control, but the inverse doesn’t necessarily appear to be so evident.
    I’d still wager to go one step further and say that it’s easier to properly educate a smaller population because it takes less resources to do so (schools, teachers, etc…). As such, countries with a lower birth rate have more resources available to educate their next generation. Countries with large underage populations have a much harder task, and fewer people to carry the bill. And once these kids mature, fewer jobs (and income) available to divide amongst them.

    Both seem to be self-perpetuating situations (more education -> more wealth -> more education
    vs.
    less education -> more poverty -> less education)

    There’s obviously something linking education, population control and living standards, but I wouldn’t claim a cause and effect relationship so hastily.

  118. @MoltenHotMagma:

    Then again, as I do so rarely have the chance to just blithely insult people as part of performing a community service, please do keep it up.

    *Starts putting up “Don’t feed the Troll” signs*

    Isn’t this a bit hypocritical? I mean, you’re basically a zoo guest tossing peanuts at the elephants while putting up your own private ‘don’t feed the elephants’-sign, possibly using a peanut screwdriver. Mmmm… peanuts…

  119. @exarch Writing a monograph on speculative social policy are you? I’ll stick with the research even if nobody else here seems ever to have happened across it.

    but I wouldn’t claim a cause and effect relationship so hastily

    I called it a correlation. Actually. But there’s obviously a causal element.

  120. Well here’s a thought, we could go on discussing like reasonable adults and ignore cloudsoup.

    NO ONE DRINK THE CLOUDSOUP, THE CLOUDSOUP HAS GONE BAD.

    See? that was easy.

    So I agree that the situation is definitely like slavery, or even more accurately, forced servitude. More accurately? Maybe it’s just a nicer way of saying slavery.

  121. I’ve tried to read the whole thread, honest. I didn’t see anywhere where anyone actually had encountered a quiverful family on a board or irl. I’m actually on a few mothering boards with quiverful mothers. And I think there is one thing in the article worth pointing out that there is no overly cohesive center for this movement.

    Most of the mothers I’ve encountered have entered into this freely and would tell you that being quiverful doesn’t include risking your life to have children. One of them stopped at 3 b/c her doctor told her she’d die if she had another. Her and her husband feel they’re fulfilling God’s plan for them by stopping there. All of them kind of abhor the spectacle that is the Duggar’s and wouldn’t do something along the lines of octomom to get their quiverful, it would be considered trying to get around God’s will.

    So actually I think it would be wrong to call this a cult. An individual church that promotes this kind of lifestyle to the detriment of the mother could be considered a cult but there would be additional reasons and teachings that would bear that label out not just this movement. Any marriage that goes bad can leave either party just as devastated as the two in the story regardless of beliefs or number of children if that divorce results in the loss of family, community and church. More often than not the devastation hits women the hardest.

    And all of this said, I am not a quiverful person, I don’t even believe in god. I just thought that the movement is presented here as far more cohesive and centralized than it actually is or at least my experience with it when really the only common thread is they’re all Christian. I personally wonder why any women ever follow any Western religion as women are always cast as property or servants or slaves to a greater will that is their husband’s and god’s. But yet women are often the biggest proponents of their own slavery within religion.

  122. @latenac – I personally wonder why any women ever follow any Western religion

    because they’re all brainwashed or worse by the nasty men they’re forced to marry and then can never ever leave. Obviously.

  123. @latenac: Are you saying that this article is putting emphasis on only one aspect of the movement? Sort of… drawing our attention to what is really a fringe activity?

    This whole thing reminds me of a slogan I would love to have on a tee shirt someday:

    There are assholes on both sides of every fence.

    In other words… there are extreme examples of good and also crazy in every group. It is hard to not sometimes focus on the extreme examples.

    Of course.. that begs the question of whether or not this sort of behavior is in fact a fringe activity or just more subversive.

  124. cloudsoup, from my perspective you are trying to do a good and noble thing, but in a really fractious way.

    All intellectual discussion groups need — and should be reminded of it — to try their very best to avoid the logic fallacy of, well, perhaps the argument to consensus, or special pleading, or one of those in-group logic fallacies that are so hard to avoid, i.e., “We is right ’cause we is both plentiful and righteous, and the enemy is never us in this here swamp”.

    And such special interest and special focus groups as here at Skepchick, where we at the very least lay claim to an arguably elitist and rather special intellectual persepective and standard, that of being correctly skeptical and therefore generally more right than other folks, must try extra hard to observe and avoid the pitfalls of hypocritical claims to perfection through special selection.

    Nonetheless, cloudsoup, to do as you do in such a hostile, belligerent manner forwards nothing and no one.

    Please, stand back and look at yourself for a wee moment. Ask yourself if, were the shoe on the other foot, you would spend any meaningful time at all listening to yourself.

  125. @Kaylia_Marie: Are you saying that this article is putting emphasis on only one aspect of the movement? Sort of… drawing our attention to what is really a fringe activity?

    I think it is the extreme of the quiverful movement. However, I don’t think it’s a huge leap at all to go from the more moderate adherents to the extreme. After all it does come from Christianity where women are taught to be submissive to their husbands. Often in these cases what’s forgotten is the responsibility of the husband to his wife even using the same scripture to justify everything else. All in all how extreme you view the whole movement is going to depend on how extreme you view evangelical Christian ideas of marriage. Or Catholic or Orthodox Jewish ones for that matter.

    And it also plays into how many children you think people should have. For me, 1 is more than enough. I can understand 2, maybe 3 when you get to more than that I do begin to think you might be a little crazy. On the other side of the coin people with 4+ children, heck even ones with only 2, feel that I’m doing my daughter the biggest disservice imaginable by not giving her a sibling if not 2 or 3. The people who started this movement probably wanted to have a tribeful of kids to begin with and couldn’t imagine anything else.

  126. Nah, just kidding about having 14. My own perspective actually falls more in line with mxracer, except the narcissistic part. I agree that exponential population growth doesn’t really do us any good, unfortunately our system is largely based on that concept. I certainly don’t see an easy way to prevent such population growth in “third-world” countries, aside from education. However, I am not sure it is our responsibility to educate the rest of the world. On the flip side, why not? I mean we reap the rewards of their poverty (cheap labor for our goods) so it is incumbent on us to take care of those that we are currently exploiting.

  127. Come on guys, we can make it to 500 comments before noon!!! :-)

    @cloudsoup:

    “””and learn something before calling me names”””
    COMMENT: I think someone already made clear that I didn’t call you names. But I can, if you want :-)

    As for the drawings you refer me to:

    1. If that’s your standard of “having the facts on your side”, I feel happy for you.

    2. As for http://www.pregnantpause.org/numbers/fertility.htm, according to what you have now downgraded to the level of “correlation”, the “world colors” would equate the wealth of Russia to that of Canada, as far as birth rates are concerned. Or those of United Kingdom with Ukraine’s or Yugoslavia’s. If any of this is meaningful to you and you think UK is like Ukraine, then I am again happy for you. You know, I think this broad generalization of yours is too broad and, once you start having a look at the specifics, you realize some underlying factors must also be having an impact. I still think that somebody so concerned with the literal interpretation of the article Rebecca posted on, should be more concerned with detail. That’s a subjective assessment, though, you can disagree on that. What you cannot disagree on, though, is on…

    3. … the interpretation of the first graph you referred to me (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic-economic_paradox), where it’s indeed evident that 1) lower GDP per capita countries have high birth rates, but also that 2) between nothing less than 15,000 and 40,000 GDP (two thirds of the whole scale, roughly), birth rate is basically constant no matter how high GDP is (so, again, where’s the inverse correlation?). It seems that, once people can pay for having children, they don’t stop having children, and that idea doesn’t seem particularly counterintuitive.

    Also, please note again the huuuuge exceptions, Saudi Arabia and Israel, where wealth cannot explain what’s going on, while religious fanatism can. I bet you it’s not Israeli scientists, but ultra-orthodox families, who are having the highest birth rates. And also, what about intra-country wealth? Do you think that, within the same country, families with more money will tend to have less children than families with less money? Barely.

    If you feel like reading Wikipedia, apart from looking at the paintings, you’ll notice it when it says:

    “””economic growth in Spain, Italy, etc, has been accompanied by a particularly sharp fall in the fertility rate, to a level below that of the Protestant north”””

    And also:

    “””Another possible explanation for the “American exception” is its much higher rate of teenage pregnancies, particularly in the southern US, compared to other countries with effective sexual education”””

    You see? The magic word, “education”. The South of USA is not precisely the cradle of civilization, to the best of my knowledge. You know what? In Spanish, “education” can be a synonym of “politeness”. You clearly lack politeness, but let’s hope this is only about linguistic synonymy.

  128. @Skepthink

    I don’t have a particularly huge concen for the fact that Rebecca can’t read properly, except when she continually insists her overheated imagination is correct and my understanding wrong.

    As for the rest of your post, I can’t be bothered to do more than skim it in the hope of there being something that progresses the conversation rather than just attempts to prop up your silly remark. I should have know better.

  129. @cloudsoup:

    Yeah, sorry, mea culpa. But teasing somebody like you is always SO tempting! :-D

    So, before I keep doing it, I just want to make sure: have you already read all those small drawings written in rows in the Wikipedia? Or are you going to insist that there’s a non-existing inverse correlation between wealth and birth rates not influenced by culture, education or the knowledge of what a condom is?

    Since I suspect I will no longer hear of you, it was very nice teasing a troll! :-)

  130. @SicPreFix: Thank you again SicPreFix – I agree with most of what you write. However I am disapppointed that you stop short of admonishing others besides cloudsoup to take a “time out” and explore what is going on here.

    Look at the initial exchanges between cloudsoup and Rebecca:

    http://skepchick.org/blog/?p=6467#comment-55023

    http://skepchick.org/blog/?p=6467#comment-55035

    http://skepchick.org/blog/?p=6467#comment-55036

    http://skepchick.org/blog/?p=6467#comment-55037

    And we’re off!

    It wasn’t then, and still isn’t, obvious to me that the Joyce article supported the offered characterization in all respects.

    From then on there is a whole bunch of dog-piling and mean-spirited accusations and name-calling all around (some of it seemingly designed just to quash contrary opinion or support Rebecca without regard to the details).

    Who knows how things would have turned out if that “obviously” had been a more respectful, inquiring\informative response.

    Things have certainly gotten out of hand that it is quite a challenge to understand where we are and what anyone really thinks about whatever the current sub-emphasis on some meta-topic relating to who knows what.

    Process is important and this is not the first time a thread has degenerated for reasons I would say are similar to the situation we see here.

    In the deleted post, I recall that there was a thoughtful and cogent reminder about avoiding personalizing message content\comments. It was offered by a thoughtful pig-tailed, red-haired commenter who is perfectly able to speak for herself without mischaracterization from me. I would’ve like to have provided a reference as I thought it would have been relevant here.

    Y_S_G

  131. @YourSkepticalGuy:

    I agree with you that Rebecca’s “Obviously” response may have triggered the thread’s self-destruction chain reaction, but I still don’t see as a particularly clever movement cloudsoup’s trying to deny what Rebecca stated, namely, that leaving the cult was “impossible” (and may eventually be equated to a form of slavery).

    I think leaving the cult would be impossible (not literally but yes by virtue of any reasonable standard of objective opportunity assessment) for any person who has been brainwashed (possibly from childhood and until adult age) to a) produce children; b) rely on somebody else’s money; c) not be able to generate its own income or be useful for the community otherwise; d) give up contact with most human beings outside the community that person may ultimately want to leave. Both b) and c) would already amount to slavery in any capitalist economy based on money exchange.

    Therefore, I have to agree with Rebecca’s “Obviously”. Anybody doubting that a), b), c) and d) make you in practice (if not technically or politically) a slave is equally likely to doubt some equally sensitive issue like Holocaust or climate change. Trying to make a point about literal impossibility when simple reasonability is enough is just an easy way to be an smart-ass and draw attention.

    No amount of skepticism justifies doubting that a cult enslaves people, and you simply cannot base an objection to it on the basis of linguistic literalness. If Rebecca had told, at 99% effectiveness, that “it is impossible for someone to become pregnant when using a condom”, that would have not been literally (100%) correct, but I would certainly have regarded it as correct given what it was intended for (not scientific accuracy, but practical assessment). If you apply the 100% literalness criterion to everything, then it happens what I observed for birth rates, that not even cloudsoup can fulfill his own criterion of precision.

    That’s why I don’t understand why he expects others to do it.

  132. @Skepthink I think leaving the cult would be impossible

    Why would you think that when the the article is about two women who did, in fact, leave?

    why he expects others to do it

    Rebecca’s description of the content of the article in her brief intro was way over the top in a way I think I recognise. It was theatrical. It was emphasised victimhood. It encouraged a view of women as passive and lacking gumption. It tried to advance a weltanschuung (there’s one for the person who didn’t know what ‘soporific’ meant, eh?) by doing damage to the substance of the actual article.

  133. @cloudsoup: Of course you are attempting to ignore or distract from my… ‘contribution’. I’m calling you out as a hypocrite-troll who is constantly derailing this thread from anything useful by making constant, unsupportable, inflammatory, aggressive statements.

    The difference between me and everyone else here is that rather than ignore you and hope you will go away, or wasting my time attempting to reason with you; I’m calling you for what you are, and demanding you either clean up and start supporting what you say with clean logic supported by facts or accept that without those you will continue to be publicly humiliated by your own actions.

    However, your entire post history in this thread has shown that you can’t support your positions with logic and facts so instead you have resorted to the use of one logical fallacy after another in your attempts to show others as ‘wrong’. When logical fallacy hasn’t worked for you you have hoped that staying on the offensive would.

    Well, once again, I call bullshit on you. If you have a case, then present your points and your evidence. If you disagree with someone else, then present the point of disagreement and start working towards a resolution that is hopefully closer to ‘truth’ than what was possessed by both people before. But in the absence of those things, you can claim whatever you want, but you are just a shit spewing troll, constantly demonstrating that no more rattles around between your ears than the dessicated remains of the copperlite you are attempting to use in place of a functioning mind.

    @Rebecca: :)

    Though I have to admit that I suddenly feel somewhat Cartmanesque…

    Cartman – “Yup, I thought so.. You see mam, what you have here is a drum circle. If we don’t deal with this now it will just keep growing. Why one time I saw one of these grow to be almost 14 miles in diameter.”
    Old Lady – “Oh My!”
    Cartman – “Oh yeah, hippies always travel in groups. Once you get one, you have to get rid of it quickly before you end up with a whole nest of them.”

    (Please excuse my poor paraphrasing.. I haven’t seen that episode of Southpark in a while but I think I got the gist of it right)

    @Bjornar: Good question. I don’t know. It probably is hypocritical, but in a way I want it to be. That’s part of my point. To be completely transparent in my aims for a moment, (and possibly undermine my efforts with cloudsoup), I am trying to get everyone to just disengage from dealing with trolls in general past the necessary time it takes to identify them. As part of that I’m attempting to not just clearly expose one such troll, but also to parody him.

    Ultimately,and unfortunately, the troll already won. He completely derailed a discussion that should have been a very good one and because of that some very important and interesting points aren’t getting attention.

    Minni, earlier, attempted to raise one such point and even committed some of her own self to the effort with the admittance of her own experiences. This troll, however, de-values her comment and the true tragedy of the situation being faced not only by the people involved in this ‘quiverfull’ cult, but people in abusive environments everywhere.

    Cloudsoup has shown himself/herself to be more concerned with stirring up argument and beating his/her own attention whoring drum than in allowing any discussion of these very real issues to happen. That disgust me. What you are seeing in my responses to him is a product of that disgust.

    For instance, here –

    @Cloudsoup, I know you probably haven’t actually read all this. You have made it clear to Exarch and others that actual ‘Reading’, ‘Comprehension’, and things like an ‘Attention Span’ are not exactly your strong suites. So to summarize all the above for you:
    1) I once again called you a troll
    2) I insulted your intelligence again
    3) Umm.. I compared your brain to a fossilized poo, (that is what the word copperlite means. Though I would save you the confusion of trying to look it up)
    4) I implored everyone else to just ignore you and get on with covering valid points in a productive manner.

    Oh, and I’ve hinted at the fact that in spite of my general distaste for you, I hold out the minor hope that you may yet rise to the occasion and actually engage in civil, logical discourse. I don’t expect it, but hey, I’ve been surprised before.

  134. @cloudsoup: Two people leaving the movement versus several hundreds staying due to heavy brainwashing seems pretty anecdotal evidence to me, if you were indeed trying to use that as evidence that Quiverfull is easier to quit than a newsletter subscription.

    The article, as any piece of journalism, focuses on two particular cases for sake of brevity, depth and, probably, also some degree of sensationalism, but I don’t think you should take a stylistic device as a representative study. All the more so if you put it in context: two women leaving a movement with a birth rate such as that of Quiverfull are barely noticeable. By tomorrow they’ll have grown and brainwashed 600 more girls, ready to be enslaved.

    I do agree with you that some more data are desirable, but given what’s already known about this kind of movements, I think Rebecca’s depiction, even if provisionally incomplete, can be regarded as provisionally valid. Once you have been able to collect some more data, though, you may want to share it with us.

  135. @YourSkepticalGuy:

    You raise a very valid point, even though it wasn’t aimed at me, I would like to try and rise to your challenge and be something other than part of a dogpile.

    The core questions originally hinted at by our feral troll were:

    1) Is Rebeccas’ characterization of the of the ‘quiverfull’ group accurate?

    2) Is her statement about the difficulty associated with leaving the group accurate?

    3) Is her submission that what the women are put through is similar to slavery accurate?

    On all points, I have to agree completely with @Skepthink.

    Past that, I actually think that there are more interesting questions raised by this entire subject.

    Why are these cults so predictable in their occurrence? What is it about people that lends a significant number of them to just hand over all their thinking in a way that leads to any of the various expressions of fundamentalism? (Not just Christian fundamentalism, but fundamentalism in general)?

    Ultimately that is what is at the core of the ‘quiverfull’ movement. A particular expression of fundamentalism. Once a fundamentalist movement starts, the abuse of power, increasing subjugation of weaker members, and spiraling commitment to extremism is so predictable it is almost cliché.

    I’m really interested in that. First, why does it happen? Second, how does someone from outside the ‘movement’ successfully engage with someone in it to try and deal with it?

    I would think that the second question has pertinence to all of us as skeptics.

    Also, what should we do for those trying to get out of such movements? As a critical thinker, do we have a responsibility to assist those who are trying to see their way clear?

    Minni’s post earlier raises good questions here. She was fortunate enough to have a good support network, but what can be done for those who are not so lucky? Should anything be done?

    Why aren’t more of us asking these questions?

  136. @Elyse:

    It’s true that the men do not come away unharmed by this “lifestyle”, but the difference is that if the husband has a moment of clarity and wants out, he has the power to get himself and his family out. He could even COMMAND his family out, if he chooses.

    The woman, not so much.

    I agree, as I said I don’t mean to equivocate, the woman is harmed far more and has less freedom of exit. I just thought I should highlight another downside of Quiverfull that hadn’t been noted in the thread yet.

  137. @Skepthink : Two people leaving the movement versus several hundreds staying due to heavy brainwashing seems pretty anecdotal evidence to me

    The focus of the article was on two women who had successfully left. I don’t think then that’s it’s sensible to conclude that it would be impossible to leave the cult, as you concluded, or that it is nearly impossible to leave the cult, as Rebecca claimed.

    As for thos staying, well you say it’s because of ‘brainwashing’ but, leaving aside what that’s supposed to mean just for a second, what’s you evidence for making that assertion? That they just make choices you disagree with?

  138. @MoltenHotMagma:
    What is it about people that lends a significant number of them to just hand over all their thinking in a way that leads to any of the various expressions of fundamentalism? (Not just Christian fundamentalism, but fundamentalism in general)?

    I think in the end it’s just laziness.
    It’s a lot easier, and surely more comforting, to have someone else deal with your problems and worries. Having the church leaders decide how to deal with, for example, the new gay couple that just moved into town, takes away your personal responsibility. You don’t have to feel bad for treating them like crap, because the priest said that’s what you should do. Living a life without guilt truly is bliss. But you can only achieve that if you can remain ignorant enough so as not to know (or at least manage not to realise) that what you’re doing should make you feel guilty.

    It also gets so much easier to remain ignorant if you’re never confronted with the truth. If you’re constantly reassured by people around you in the same situation that it’s all good. And they’re probably mainly just doing so in the hopes that you’ll return the favor and put their mind at ease too.

    Just like the morbidly obese never set out to become so fat they can’t get out of bed any more, it’s just so much easier to slowly slide into that position than to get up and do something about it. Then when you finally realise the mess you got yourself into, it gets that much harder to work your way back out.

    In the end, you give up most of your freedom in return for peace of mind. When you’re not responsible anymore, you can’t be blamed either.

    But I suppose most commenters on this blog have a hard time grasping that because we’d rather “sell our soul to the devil” than sell our mind to the church.

  139. @exarch: Unfortunately, I agree with you. *sigh* I keep hoping that the view you put forward is just cynicism though, even though it is a pretty accurate view of what I have come to believe myself.

    I guess I keep asking that question because I just can’t imagine a life in which I don’t accept responsibility for my own actions and choices, yet that is the very life so many people choose to lead. But where do we draw the line in the sand and say someone has gone to far? One of the few valid points that cloudsoup has been beating on about is the question of, “when does it become brainwashing instead of a choice we don’t agree with?” It’s a good question, even if it was delivered badly by a troll.

    I mean, obviously, we think their choices are bad, and I think there is a clear case that raising a child into extreme fundamentalism is tantamount to child abuse, (few would argue that raising a daughter with the idea that god wants her to have daddies babies is abusive for example); but where is the line where it stops being abuse and starts just being beliefs a child is raised to?

  140. @MoltenHotMagma I just can’t imagine a life in which I don’t accept responsibility for my own actions and choices, yet that is the very life so many people choose to lead

    Who does that? Which people?

  141. @exarch:

    As a former true believer and a current obese person, I have to take exception to the idea that it’s all just laziness. But we’ll talk about being fat another time.

    It’s not about not accepting responsibility. I would say that fundamentalists have to answer even more for their actions than non-fundies. You say that they get out of feeling bad for not liking gay people, so they blame their religion. But what about the people who like their gay neighbor? What about their best friend who they have to shun for living the “wrong” lifestyle? What about having to abandon the child sinner? These aren’t easy situations to walk away from. They’re not off the hook for walking away, they’re on the hook for not walking away.

    There are a lot of reasons someone might become a fundamentalist. Maybe they’re looking for answers they’re not finding somewhere else. Without being armed with sharpened critical thinking skills, it’s very easy to get seduced by charismatic evangelists. They have answers. And their answers are designed to both comfort and terrify you. Their answers aren’t necessarily ones you’ll like, but they can connect your current suffering to your current lack of faith.

    For people changing religions, it’s never easy. There is a lot to lose. And there is a lot of soul searching to do… and there are friends and family members who will cut ties that person.

    They’re forced to work for their acceptance by their leaders and their god.

    For us to look in from the outside and realize that there is an ignorance and then say that ignorance is “laziness” is incredibly unfair. Even seasoned skeptics can get suckered in by faulty reason at times.

    Other people are born into their situations. Thinking your way out of the only thing you’ve ever been taught is pretty difficult, especially in situations where your exposure to dissenting viewpoints is limited.

    Gods require a whole lot of work on the part of a believer. And they give little in return. In fact, it’s up to the believer to figure out what they’re getting in return, and not lose faith in the meantime… Gods don’t like people losing faith. And if you’re not getting what you want, it could be that you’re not working hard enough.

    I don’t think the religious are lazy. Gullible? Perhaps. Easily seduced? Sure, but that’s not a character flaw. Misguided? Maybe. Or maybe none of those. Maybe they can truly rationalize (and many skeptics do, BTW) that God is more probable than not and they need to do what they can to praise and thank him.

    There are plenty of times when even the really smart and really driven of us end up making bad choices based on the fact that we can’t know everything about everything and we have to default to someone else’s expertise. It’s why my house is worth 60% of what I mortgaged it for. It’s why Bernie Madoff is a billionaire. It’s why you ended up paying 3x as much for cab fare than a local last time you were in NYC. It’s why people go on American Idol. It’s why doctors are sued for malpractice.

    Until it’s possible for humans, as individuals, to have all the answers in the universe, fundamentalism will be alive and well.

  142. Gullible? Perhaps. Easily seduced

    I don’t see the point of these words if they’re to apply to the majority of people. If the majority are ‘easily’ seduced, what’s the measure of easyness being used?

    it’s very easy to get seduced by charismatic evangelists

    Have to disagree with you there. I find them all deeply creepy.

  143. It isn’t just members of cults and fundamentalists that believe things without skeptically analyzing them. Moderate Christians pick and choose parts of the bible they like and ignore conflicting sections. How many people are a specific religion because that is what their parents were? Do you think they did a reasoned analysis to determine if they should become that religion or just follow it because they were taught it from a very young age?

  144. @cloudsoup:

    I like your sense of humor :-)

    So, 0,000,0002 people leave, versus, say, 1,643,295 people who stay, and according to you leaving the cult is not impossible. Well, you’re right. It’s clearly not impossible: two people were able to do it! So, according to you, it’s not impossible that everybody wins the lottery, after all, two people have win the lottery! Let’s see, if you claim that leaving the cult is impossible, you have to account for 2 exceptions, while, if you claim that it’s possible, you have to account for 1,643,293 exceptions. Gash, you’re right again, your hypothesis is much more elegant. It has a explanatory power of 2 / 1,643,293!!! :-D

    I’ll try again (last time, ***obviously***): it is indeed not literally impossible to leave the cult (and I’m sure Rebecca didn’t mean that, because she’s as able to realize as you or me), but the fact is that it is not literally impossible either for your atoms to scramble right now and for you to turn into a chair, but it happens so rarely (if ever) that, I think, we can agree it can be dismissed as practically impossible. Although it’s a case less extreme, the same quantitative assessment applies to the figures for leaving the cult.

    As for brainwashing, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I take to be brainwashed anybody making decisions I disagree with. Actually, I agree with those guys, I am seriously considering joining the Quiverfull. However, “agreement” here would not mean that they are not brainwashed with respect to me because… well, just because in this case we would all be brainwashed, both they and I. No agreement or disagreement with anybody else is relevant (your decisions are not right or wrong on the basis of whether somebody else chooses to do the same, but by their consequences), anybody can do what they want, but if they choose to join a cult, then they’re brainwashed (by the definition of “cult”). And if they stay, that’s because they are still brainwashed (namely, they are brainwashed). For instance, a bunch of Wall Street guys seem to think that stealing is their job. I happen to disagree with them, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve been brainwashed; what proves that they’ve been brainwashed (or that they are thieves, for that purpose) is the fact that, if you steal repeatedly, you get, surprise!, an economic crisis. Pretty compelling, huh? Likewise, I might indeed agree with Quiverfulls, “not be brainwashed” by that standard, and still be brainwashed because whoever precludes people from interacting with other people to their mutual disadvantage is failing to meet the standards of social coexistence. That’s as near as you can get to “brainwashed” before having to appeal to much more fancy concepts such as chi, mysticism, voodoo or Black Magic, but of course those don’t stand for brainwashing because I believe all of them! :-D

    Incidentally, my standards of “non-brainwashing” are pretty high (for non-teenagers): most people don’t meet them, but I’ve learned to be flexible because if you go around intending people to adhere to standards of literal “impossibility”, for instance, then it’s clearly not them who are brainwashed, but you.

  145. So, 0,000,0002 people leave, versus, say, 1,643,295 people who stay, and according to you leaving the cult is not impossible

    Um…that isn’t what I said, is it?

    We have no idea hopw many people have left, how many people have remained, how many people have attempted to leave and have failed. none at all.

    We simply have the story of two peope who successfully left.

    It’s not literally impossible, practically impossible, nearly impossible or any other sort of impossible to leave that cult. You’re making things up.

    The rest of your stuff is unreadable rubbish, I’m afraid.

  146. @Elyse:
    As a former true believer and a current obese person, I have to take exception to the idea that it’s all just laziness.

    In that case, I don’t think it’s that they let others actually make all the descisions, but rather that they spend so much time trying to get their own thinking to conform to that of the people they (mistakenly) believe to be right, that they have no brain-time left to actually think through the actual content of these ideas.

    As in: Oh noes, the pastor says we need to hate homosexuality, but my neighbour is such a nice man.
    How can I reconcile these two ideas.

    Rather than: Oh noes, the pastor says homosexuality is bad, but my neighbour is such a nice man.
    Which of them is wrong?

  147. @exarch:

    It’s not about what other people are telling them is right, as if they’re just desperate for the approval of their pastors. It’s about what they believe is right. At some point, they do have to rely on their religious leaders, but that’s doesn’t make them thoughtless.

    Religious people tend to have a lot of questions and conflicts, and one way of coming to terms with those conflicts is to seek the advice of an “expert” in the field – their religious leaders. It’s a matter of trusting them to lead them in the right direction.

    Some people choose to walk away, but most don’t. It doesn’t make them dumb or lazy or insecure.

    The issue isn’t making the pastor or minister or priest happy happy, it’s about pleasing God. They don’t want to go to hell. It’s the same reason I take medicine. It’s not that I want to please my doctor, it’s that he’s the expert whose advice I seek to stay alive.

  148. @Elyse: I get that… as a general question then:

    At what point do you not take instruction from the expert? If you doctor tells you to do something that makes no sense to you, then you might disobey right? In the same way, if a pastor tells his/her flock to believe something so out there, people can think “wait a sec…’

    The problem is how much to you trust your expert? Even if it sounds wonky, the expert (doctor) might know better and you should obey. Same goes with the pastors.

    This is where the idea of “critical thinking” can only take you so far I think. Because… how do you know you are thinking critically?

  149. @Kaylia_Marie:

    Exactly.

    There is a point where, even as skeptics, we have to default to someone else. I have neither the time nor the expertise to treat myself for most medical conditions. I can research most things that go on with my body, but then I have to ask my doctor. If I think he’s wrong, I’ll probably go to another doctor… but if I go to 6 doctors and they all say “you have a broken arm”, I have to accept that it’s probably broken.

    Of course, I could do the Jenny McCarthy and take my kid to as many doctors as it takes to get the diagnosis I want. But that’s no more skeptical than not verifying something that sounds a little off in the first place.

    I get that there’s logical gaps (to kindly understate it) when a woman decides to hand over control of her life to her husband because it’s God’s will, but it needs to be treated with compassion and perhaps a little empathy. We can’t walk around with the idea that we’re intellectually superior or believing that true believers just don’t want to take responsibility for themselves. In fact, one of the arguments against atheism is that we just don’t want to be held accountable for our actions.

  150. @cloudsoup: 1. You’re right again, I only write rubbish. And so far, you seem to have read it all. Do you enjoy rubbish, or where you simply overstating and doing the same you blame Rebecca for doing?

    2. You were trying to accuse me (purely randomly) of calling “brainwashed” those with whom I disagreed (I never stated my own opinions, so your assumption was basically illegitimate), and now you’re calling “rubbish” those with whom you disagree. I’d rather use “brainwashed”, but I suppose that’s a merely literary choice.

    3. You’re right yet again, you didn’t say there was a majority of people who stayed in the cult. The author of the article said that:

    “””I spoke with dozens of women who follow the Quiverfull conviction. I also met a handful who had left the movement and now denounce the lifestyle.”””

    And if you do basic research, what all skeptics and the author know about cults is confirmed:

    “””Though there are no exact figures for the size of the movement, the number of families that identify as Quiverfull is likely in the thousands to low tens of thousands.”””

    Obviously, the author and this other source could be lying and all we know about pro-life groups times theocratic sect effects could be wrong, but that’s something you’d have to prove from scratch (I hope I don’t have to explain to you the concept of burden of proof). And even if, as of now, the cult consisted of only ONE single 14-members family with a standard distribution of 7 male/7 female, a majority of people would be already staying there, compared to 2 survivors. Please, notice also that it’s a rather conservative estimate.

    4. Still, you’re again right when you say you didn’t say what I reported. You said this: on the basis of the lack of data for one particular cult which shows, however, the features of ANY other cult, you claimed that people who are in this cult can leave it, in opposition to all other cults for which we have those data. That’s plain nonsense, even without actual data. Then, you went on to make a different statement and take 2 cases as representative of 1) something (which is wrong, it constitutes anecdotal evidence) and 2) more specifically, representative of the fact that leaving a theocratic sect is not necessarily difficult, which is again nonsense, given the previous statement and after weighing it by point 1).

    Basically, nobody here was trying to prove that leaving a cult is difficult because it’s impossible by the very definition of “cult”. And since there’s no need to argue that, neither the article nor Rebecca’s point aimed at proving what everybody already knew, but merely at exposing a new example with two cases of people who left.

    Why are you taking this cult, displaying all features of any other cult, not to be a cult as regards quitting it, just like any other cult? Just because Rebecca verbalized what everybody knew and was not even an issue at stake?

    You don’t even have a point. I would shut up, if I were you. As for me, I will definitely shut up, I have work to do other than teasing idiots.

  151. @Elyse: Why is anyone who disagrees a troll??? I happen to agree with at least 80% of stuff on this board, I just don’t see the need for ass patting.

    The stuff that I do disagree with does tend to rub the PC/it’s not my fault/easy hand out/be nice no matter what crowd.

    There’s a lot of cognitive dissonance even in the skeptic ranks. People worried about global warming & adding more to the population are one example.

  152. May I offer another observation. The Salon article does not use words like cult, brain-washing, will, voluntary (that is unless my operation of the “find” feature failed…).

    Many arguments are seeming to just assume that this Quiverfull movement is, in fact, a cult. I started to wonder if this characterization is correct, hence my searching.

    Wikiepedia: Cult link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult – this article includes some cult checklists that are interesting to read.

    Dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cult

    Not sure that all the implied characteristics of cults ascribed above are applicable to the various meanings in the dictionary.

    A Google search for: quiverfull and cult produces 4,920 results. This is a bit surprising to me given that this movement appears to have started in 1985.

    In reviewing some of those 4,920 links I found this one: http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2007/01/15/the-quiverfull-movement-hate-speech-and-discrimination-against-women-as-women/ “The Quiverfull Movement, Hate Speech and Discrimination Against Women as Women” (which doesn’t use the word cult)

    But it does favorably reference Wikipedia’s article on Quiverfull: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiverfull (which is not surprising in that it does not use the word cult).

    In reviewing and considering this, I am not sure that the Quiverfull Movement is a cult (I do not have a definition in mind). If it is not, then some of the deductions/assumptions above may need reconsideration.

    It just may be that we are incapable of understanding what it is. We may certainly think “bad” things about it, but I urge people to be cautious in judging if we do not understand.

    It is a frightening movement on so many levels.

    Y_S_G

  153. @mxracer652:

    I didn’t say you were. I said I didn’t know. And I should have said you seem to disagree with most everything *I* say – which is fine, really.

    But making an inflammatory statement like anyone who wants kids is a narcissist is going to set off some flags. It’s the kind of thing that someone says when they’re trying to piss off other people.

  154. @Elyse: Though I am uncomfortable with your interchangeable approach to ‘Religious people’ and ‘fundamentalist’, I certainly like your reasoning as to what is happening in their heads. It also makes a lot more sense.

    Your interchanging of the two terms though, (Religious people and fundamentalist), relates to my previous question to Exarch. Where do we draw these lines? And what logic do we use to justify them?

  155. @MoltenHotMagma:

    I’m not using them interchangeably. I apologize if it comes across that way. When I say “religious people” I mean that I am including those who believe but are not “fundamentalist”.

    I don’t think there is a “line”. It’s more of a continuum.

    I probably should have made that clearer, but sometimes when I’m commenting, I’m also trying to juggle 4 or 5 other things in the room while trying to form a coherent rational thought.

  156. I don’t think Quiverfull would qualify for cult status simply because it’s a philosophy within a bigger structure. There’s no direct leadership control over the people who agree with the teachings and I don’t even think those who follow the teachings would call themselves members of anything. Cults are generally defined by control and leadership structures that isolate people from alternate views and the broader community. I don’t necessary see that happening except within particular family structures.

  157. @Elyse: “…but sometimes when I’m commenting, I’m also trying to juggle 4 or 5 other things in the room while trying to form a coherent rational thought.”

    *laughing* I think that is something we can all relate to, and I’m not about to fault it. I am doing well most times if I can form a coherent rational thought with only what I’m thinking of in front of me.

    As for your point about the continuum, I certainly agree with that. However, as in most things, at one far side of that continuum is ‘sane’, or ‘acceptable’, or whatever that side of the continuum gets labeled. Then, on the other far side of the continuum, there is ‘insane’, ‘not acceptable’, ‘Child Abuse’…

    For instance. Children have to be disciplined as part of raising them. However, where on the spectrum does ‘discipline’ become abuse? Does it happen at the ‘naughty step’? how about with spanking? What about with breaking the kids ribs because he needs to learn how harsh the world is?

    I think we would all agree that the first isn’t abuse and the last is, but that one in the middle causes a lot of disagreement.

    I believe that some of the issues with this ‘Quiverfull’ movement fall into the same gray zone. Sure, we all agree that raising a child in such a way that it can only ever become a baby factory is probably abuse, (I feel that it is clearly abuse but I am not the holder of the universal opinion), but what about the less extreme members of the movement.

    At what point would you say that what the children are being taught moves back from abuse and into the area of giving them information to make a choice with?

  158. @James Fox:

    Good point. I actually suspect that from a Christian standpoint it represents a heresy. But given that there is no true centralization for Christianity now days, a case can be made that every church and denomination out there is based upon someone else’s heresy, (I don’t think it’s a valid case but I wanted to acknowledge it).

  159. @Kimbo Jones: Thanks, but I don’t think I can take that credit.

    Besides, how can the thread be ‘Saved’ if it hasn’t accepted Jesus as it’s personal Lord and Saviour yet? ;)

    @QuestionAuthority: I’m not sure I agree with you but that is a very good question. I know that for atheist, what you just stated is a completely acceptable, operational definition of a cult, (after all, cults, religions, it’s all just imaginary friends). However, from inside the religious world I don’t think that this would be an acceptable definition. Additionally, since I don’t think we are in a position to settle the ‘God/not-God’ debate any time soon then any definition developed needs to be equally applicable.

    I would suggest that a good place to start is –

    Cult – a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

    and in the interest of transparency I got that from here, ( http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cult )

  160. @Kaylia_Marie: I agree completely. I’d even say that QuestionAuthority’s definition is in accordance with this one if you just consider all religion to be false, (thus my point to him).

    I guess what I’m wondering is if it is even possible to remove the subjectivity from it?

  161. @Kaylia_Marie:

    Excellent point! Where I live we have a lot of mormons (more appropriately Latter Day Saints or LDS) and plenty of non-LDS consider it a cult due to the apparent influence of the church (see Proposition 8) and secret rituals within their temple. However, they take exception to being called a cult, and while they do appear to meet the description on a number of points, the fact is that they don’t operate “outside of conventional society.”

    I think that it’s kind of humorous that other religions consider them to be “weird” (quoted from my Mom, a lifelong Catholic who eats Jesus’ flesh and drinks his blood…but apparently that’s not weird). When it boils down to it, they are all equally weird and implausible.

  162. @Mordicant: I have to agree the show about the Duggars is odd. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t know how many choices and free will those kids have. What happens if one of them is gay? Or doesn’t believe in their parents God? I wonder what Rebecca thinks…

  163. @MoltenHotMagma:
    Cult – a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

    Well, the definition says “A or B or C”, meaning that from an atheist point of view, all religions are cults according to definition A, which they are. Although I’d say that mainstream religion is simply publicly accepted cultism, and the religious probably dislike the negative connotation of the word “cult” enough to try to redefine it so it doesn’t apply to them.

    As for B or C, fewer religions fit those (luckily), and also some non-religious groups. But I’m not sure a religious basis is needed for a group to be labeled “cult”. I can think of a few non-religious groups that truly are cults, even though the core beliefs of the group aren’t religious.

  164. @exarch: Hmmm.. Well, your first part follows on with what I mentioned above. If it just goes on the subjective, the pretty much everyone gets to decide what is and isn’t a cult.

    In that case, I completely understand why an atheist view would line up with ‘all religion = cult’. However, I guess that my point is that any definition that is that completely subjective looses value.

    What I’m wondering is if there is some definition that could be developed that would broadly be acceptable to both theist and non-theist and that would accurately capture the general societal context of what a cult is. For instance, almost everyone but Scientoligist recognize Scientology as a cult, yet neither B nor C fully capture them accurately.

    I’m not saying I have a definition. I’m just very interested in trying to formulate one that is more useful.

  165. @exarch: “unorthodox or extremist?”

    … but compared to what? Because on the spectrum of “beliefs” I am sure that you culd find more crazy ideas.

    And again it seems like cult or crazy are ideas that change depending on which pew, tuft of grass, or clock tower you are sitting on.

  166. There’s a YouTube movie that puts the beliefs of scientology in the right perspective. It’s pretty far out …

    As for crazy, there’s the teenager who had sex with a ghost, and her son who eventually grew up to be tortured and killed in order to absolve everyone of the responsibility of a mistake made by two completely unrelated people who just happened to be the first humans.

    Or the one about the preacher who gets god’s rules and laws engraved on golden plates handed to him by an angel somewhere in the middle of nowhere. So what does he do? He burries them (I think?) somewhere in the middle of nowhere and you just have to take his word for it that the rules are actually from god and not pulled out of his ass.

    There’s so many of them, but all are so completely off the wall it’s a surprise anyone takes them seriously.

  167. @exarch: Oh! good golly gosh no!

    I was intending to point out only that, from the view of a Scientologist, everyone else is just persecuting them and they are completely legitimate. Also, they are generally tolerated by society. I was unfortunately unclear in what I was saying though.

    @Kaylia_Marie: that’s exactly what I’m driving at and trying to sort a way around.

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