My Life as a Daughter in the Christian Patriarchy Movement -- How I Was Taught to Obey Men, Birth 8 Kids and Do Battle Against Secular America
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You have to understand just how deeply these beliefs are implanted. Even though I began questioning my parents’ beliefs halfway through college, I was so inculcated into their mindset that I did not even think of having a career or being other than a stay-at-home homeschool mom until four years later. Even though I have been out for years and am now in my mid-20s, I still feel like I am a failure because I only have one child. I feel that if I don’t have five or six kids, I am somehow a flop. In my brain, my worth as a woman is still tied to the number of children I have. I know these brain patterns are bullshit and I’m working on eradicating them, but they are still there. And in my conversations with other daughters who have left, I have found that I am not alone in this.
By now, you may be wondering, how is this possible? How can parents indoctrinate their children in this way? The answer, I would argue, is simple: homeschooling. By homeschooling, these parents can control every interaction their children have and every piece of information their children come upon. My parents called it “sheltering.” The result was that I knew nothing of popular culture or the lives of normal teens, besides that they were “worldly” and miserable while I was godly and content. I had no idea that normal teens would see the amount of chores I did as unfair and oppressive, and even when I did realize this, I took pride in it, for the amount of chores I did and my cheerfulness in doing them showed my godliness.
By homeschooling us, my parents could completely control what we learned. I studied from creationist textbooks and learned history from a curriculum that taught “His Story,” beginning with creation, Noah and the flood, and Abraham and his covenant with God, showing the hand of God moving through the 6,000 years of the earth’s history. I never had anyone tell me to dream big, or to think outside the home, or that with my talent and intellect I could have a brilliant career. Everyone around me believed the way my parents did, including all of my friends, who, after all, were without exception children of my parents’ friends. They encouraged me in my steadfastness of beliefs and held me up as a paragon of virtue. Why would I desire anything else?
It didn’t help that I was taught that those outside of our beliefs, including humanists, environmentalists, socialists, and feminists, were evil, selfish people who were destroying our society, and that Christians who did not share our beliefs were “wishy-washy” and “worldy.” There is a very “us versus them” mentality in Christian Patriarchy. They were the enemy, the agents of Satan out to destroy belief in God and pervert the world. They cared only for themselves and their own desires and were not to be trusted. I was taught that the world outside was a scary and dangerous place. If I stayed under my father’s authority, I would be protected and safe.
You also have to remember the sense of purpose that accompanies the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements. We were raised to fight the enemy, be that Satan or the environmentalists, socialists, and feminists, to come against them in spiritual warfare and at the polls. This is why Michael Farris, a proponent of Christian Patriarchy and the leader of the Home School Legal Defense Association, founded Patrick Henry College in 2000 to train homeschooled youth in the law and government. There were more interns from Patrick Henry College in the Bush White House than from any other college. Put simply, their goal is to take over the country, instituting godly laws ruling according to Christ’s dictates.