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Kathryn Joyce's fascinating introduction to the world of the patriarchy movement and Quiverfull families examines the twenty-first-century women and men who proclaim self-sacrifice and submission as model virtues of womanhood—and as modes of warfare on behalf of Christ. Here, women live within stringently enforced doctrines of wifely submission and male headship, and live Kathryn Joyce's fascinating introduction to the world of the patriarchy movement and Quiverfull families examines the twenty-first-century women and men who proclaim self-sacrifice and submission as model virtues of womanhood—and as modes of warfare on behalf of Christ. Here, women live within stringently enforced doctrines of wifely submission and male headship, and live by the Quiverfull philosophy of letting God give them as many children as possible so as to win the religion and culture wars through demographic means. From the Trade Paperback edition.


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Kathryn Joyce's fascinating introduction to the world of the patriarchy movement and Quiverfull families examines the twenty-first-century women and men who proclaim self-sacrifice and submission as model virtues of womanhood—and as modes of warfare on behalf of Christ. Here, women live within stringently enforced doctrines of wifely submission and male headship, and live Kathryn Joyce's fascinating introduction to the world of the patriarchy movement and Quiverfull families examines the twenty-first-century women and men who proclaim self-sacrifice and submission as model virtues of womanhood—and as modes of warfare on behalf of Christ. Here, women live within stringently enforced doctrines of wifely submission and male headship, and live by the Quiverfull philosophy of letting God give them as many children as possible so as to win the religion and culture wars through demographic means. From the Trade Paperback edition.

30 review for Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    "Can you call your husband 'Lord'? If the answer is no, you shouldn't get married." Holy mackerel! Where do I even begin? This is one of those books where I started writing down every sentence that pissed me off, but had to stop because I was using too much paper. The movement, in case you've never heard of the Quiverfull, is a conservative Christian fundamentalist faction that stresses the necessity of building large family dynasties, generations of families with six, eight, ten or more childr "Can you call your husband 'Lord'? If the answer is no, you shouldn't get married." Holy mackerel! Where do I even begin? This is one of those books where I started writing down every sentence that pissed me off, but had to stop because I was using too much paper. The movement, in case you've never heard of the Quiverfull, is a conservative Christian fundamentalist faction that stresses the necessity of building large family dynasties, generations of families with six, eight, ten or more children to raise a godly seed for Christ and the salvation of America. The group also has strict guidelines for how men and women should behave. They take their name 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 will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate." And they are quite literally building an army for God where children are used as weapons of spiritual war. It may seem silly and inconsequential now, but it is estimated that the Christian right ranks could rise to 550 million within a century. That's 550 million voters . . . voters who want to harken back to the "good old days" - not of the 1950s but the 1700s. . . . Eve had a feminist heart . . . an inclination to disobey, to subvert authority, to rebel, to not submit. And SUBMISSION is the key to Quiverfull attaining their goals. A woman shall be a submissive wife who bolsters her husband in his role as spiritual and earthly leader of the family. She understands that it's her job to keep him sexually satisfied at all times, and that it's her calling as a woman to let those relations result in as many children as God wants to bless her with. Women are to ask permission from their husbands before doing virtually anything, from making a household purchase to volunteering to bring a covered dish to a church supper. (The kind of man who wants to spend his life micromanaging his wife's days, I can't even imagine.) Women's attempts to control their own bodies--the Lord's temple--are a seizure of divine power. Forget about abortion - they want contraception banned! And men, in case you think this is just a female problem, LOOK OUT! They want to ruin your hobbies! And then there is the problem of women being coerced by their churches to return to and stay with abusive men. . . . godly women can bring lost husbands to Christ through their submission. One woman, whose husband tried to kill her, was encouraged by Debi Pearl to reverence him by refusing to bring the stories of his abuse to their church. WTF? Says Pearl, "When God puts you in subjection to a man whom he knows is going to cause you to suffer it is with the understanding that you are obeying God by enduring the wrongful suffering." Keep in mind that this advice is coming from the woman who coauthored the reprehensible To Train Up a Child, a book which advocates that infants be swatted with twigs when they reach for forbidden toys. I could seriously go on and on about the crimes and sins of these monsters and their hordes of heaven hell spawn. And maybe if these people decided that the world was too evil for the likes of them, and formed their own little enclaves, or hutches, if you will, where they could breed like rabbits and sing hymns all day, there'd be nothing to get upset about. BUT . . . They want US to play by THEIR rules. They want to reshape our belief systems to conform to their narrow-minded vision, they want to control what you do with your wombs and genitals, they want to cram their ideas into YOUR children's brains (after they get done swatting them with twigs, I guess), and their long range plan is to fill vacancies in the House and Senate and the Supreme Court with their minions. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tamora Pierce

    A very clear, readable book about the rise of separatist Christianist movements which emphasize wifely submission to the husband as the wife's way to gain eternal glory, the husband's leadership as family priest, and the rearing of large families as gifts to God and a way to take the world back from gays, feminists, and liberals. Without pretending to be a believer, Kathryn Joyce has met with and attended meetings of many of these small, fundamental American Christianist sects (which are beginni A very clear, readable book about the rise of separatist Christianist movements which emphasize wifely submission to the husband as the wife's way to gain eternal glory, the husband's leadership as family priest, and the rearing of large families as gifts to God and a way to take the world back from gays, feminists, and liberals. Without pretending to be a believer, Kathryn Joyce has met with and attended meetings of many of these small, fundamental American Christianist sects (which are beginning to pull away even from the churches where they began, calling them as being "non-Biblical") to form multi- or even single-family church cells, practicing homeschooling, courtship (a boy must gain a father's approval before he can approach a girl with a view toward marriage dating), husband priesthood in the home, and feminine submissiveness. Joyce attended seminars and retreats in which this feminine submissiveness was taught, and she attended world conferences in which faiths with the view of increasing white, Christian populations with such families would enable all Christians, including Catholics, to take back Europe and the Americas from non-whites. It's a very scary book by the time you reach the end, yet Joyce is never sensationalist or alarmist. She gives the history of the growth of America's Christianist right following WWII and goes on from there, only getting into the day-to-day rules and existence of the women's submission and birth aspects in the second half of the book. Most of the time she lets the leaders, particularly the women, speak for themself. This is no rabble-rousing supermarket book: this is a thoughtful, well-researched, intelligent study that I recommend to anyone who is interested in what is going on with the Christian right and what is going on with the women who are entering the marriages in groups like the Dominionists' and the most fundamental of the Assembly of God and Baptist sects, not just the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints and the Quiverfull Christianists.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book was enlightening, to the point of actually being terrifying. It actually scared me more then any horror movie I've ever seen. The author doesn't put much of herself in this book, she just lets those who live this frightening lifestyle talk. And talk they do. I wasn't surprised by much in this book, not the acceptance that domestic violence is always the woman's fault, not the casual racism, not the creepy incestuous father-daughter relationship. But it was almost overwhelming to see it This book was enlightening, to the point of actually being terrifying. It actually scared me more then any horror movie I've ever seen. The author doesn't put much of herself in this book, she just lets those who live this frightening lifestyle talk. And talk they do. I wasn't surprised by much in this book, not the acceptance that domestic violence is always the woman's fault, not the casual racism, not the creepy incestuous father-daughter relationship. But it was almost overwhelming to see it all put together, to see the spiritual, emotional, and physical violence culminated. This should be required reading for everyone who lectures gay people and feminists on how we should just work harder at getting along. These people know no compromise, and you can't compromise much with people who believe you should be executed or whose opposition to your movement is entirely based in lies about what you stand for. Overall, a bone-chilling must read for all women, feminist or not, just to see how scary some people can be.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Naida

    I was really looking forward to learning more about the Quiverfull movement and the patriarchical structure that supports it. It is the opposite of everything that I believe in so reading this was pretty much a "know your enemies" sort of thing... I found this book to be very academic and not quite what I expected. For a movement that professes to have tens of thousands of followers, it was very light on 1st person accounts. When she finally does interview a woman in the movement the book become I was really looking forward to learning more about the Quiverfull movement and the patriarchical structure that supports it. It is the opposite of everything that I believe in so reading this was pretty much a "know your enemies" sort of thing... I found this book to be very academic and not quite what I expected. For a movement that professes to have tens of thousands of followers, it was very light on 1st person accounts. When she finally does interview a woman in the movement the book becomes much more compelling. I only wish she had spent more time on the individuals who are in the movement and less time detailing the church type structures that support it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    I have a friend who can't stand the Duggar family. You know the family I'm talking about? The one with 19+ children...and counting. They have been featured on The Learning Channel giving us all a glimpse into their unusual lives. My friend is disgusted by them. She said so. I have never really understood her animosity towards them. After all, they're not hurting anybody. Why not live and let live? Why judge so harshly? And anyway isn't it all sort of sweet and wholesome? Well, after reading Quive I have a friend who can't stand the Duggar family. You know the family I'm talking about? The one with 19+ children...and counting. They have been featured on The Learning Channel giving us all a glimpse into their unusual lives. My friend is disgusted by them. She said so. I have never really understood her animosity towards them. After all, they're not hurting anybody. Why not live and let live? Why judge so harshly? And anyway isn't it all sort of sweet and wholesome? Well, after reading Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement, I think I understand her feelings a little better. This book offered a different insight into Quiverfull families (those are families who have as many children as God gives them and who see men as leaders and women as helpmeets). This is the "woman submit to your man" crowd. The book focused mainly on how women fare in this system - as wives, mothers, and daughters. Chilling. I read this book at the same time I was reading Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. What a contrast! Two completely different belief systems at work. Two completely different feelings as I completed each book. After reading Lean In, I felt motivated and powerful and excited to teach my daughter about what I had learned. After reading Quiverfull, I felt sad... and sort of scared. Good Lord, I hope the Christian patriarchy movement's quest for dominion over the earth through the excessive birthing of "soldiers in God's Army" never reaches fruition. As far as the book itself goes, at times it was a slog to read. It was hard to keep the names of all of the leaders of the movement straight. It also felt a little repetitious at times. But I'm glad I read it. Now I understand.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Joshua

    I have been part of the homeschooling movement since the early 80s and am familiar with every name in this book. I have watched over the years in dismay as good principles have often been taken out of balance and some teachings have become extreme and oppressive. I was really hoping to read an in-depth critique of the Patriarchy movement from an insider. It's a bit difficult to read even a much-needed criticism from someone who thinks all religious believers are backward and ignorant. She doesn' I have been part of the homeschooling movement since the early 80s and am familiar with every name in this book. I have watched over the years in dismay as good principles have often been taken out of balance and some teachings have become extreme and oppressive. I was really hoping to read an in-depth critique of the Patriarchy movement from an insider. It's a bit difficult to read even a much-needed criticism from someone who thinks all religious believers are backward and ignorant. She doesn't understand the basics of faith, sacrifice, or giving up your own desires to serve others. She also seems a bit confused about certain theological ideas. (Really, is she surprised that many religious believers eschew birth control? Is she not familiar with church discipline? She must know that most churches do have standards members must abide by or be asked to leave. For example, Cheryl Lindsey was continuing to teach at conferences on how to have a good marriage while secretly carrying on an affair.) However, the author is correct in pointing out that things are terribly wrong in some of these circles. The Christian teaching that the husband is the head of the home is to work in harmony with the Bible's instructions to both to walk in true oneness of mind, heart, and purpose, including a willingness of each to defer to the another. The Pearls and others have done so much harm in teaching that only women should "submit" or defer to men. Such out of balance teaching has lead to the notion that the father is the center of the home and the intermediary between God and his family; and the belief that a female must always be under the complete control of a man, and a daughter should not attend college or even be allowed to leave home until the father transfers her from under his authority to that of her (selected by Daddy) husband. If you can get past her view that all large homeschooling families oppress women, this book illustrates how dangerous it is when one scriptural principle is emphasized to the extreme while the ones that temper it are ignored.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Adam Omelianchuk

    Kathryn Joyce’s Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement is an expose of sorts on a curious theological trajectory among conservative Protestants who seem to believe that raising large families–with the man as the head of the household–is the means for taking America back to its Christian roots. As an Christian who finds any theological justification for hierarchical gender roles to be mistaken, I was curious to see what Joyce, an outsider from a secular persuasion, would have to say Kathryn Joyce’s Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement is an expose of sorts on a curious theological trajectory among conservative Protestants who seem to believe that raising large families–with the man as the head of the household–is the means for taking America back to its Christian roots. As an Christian who finds any theological justification for hierarchical gender roles to be mistaken, I was curious to see what Joyce, an outsider from a secular persuasion, would have to say about those who take up the banner of “complementarianism.” Not surprisingly she focuses on the fringes the evangelical/fundamentalist landscape where such extreme views are taken to be normative: -A woman may not work outside the home in any capacity. -Women should abstain from developing intimate female friendships so as to safeguard the highest levels of intimacy for her husband alone. -A woman is to view her husband as God’s ordained representative to whom she must entirely submit. If a woman fails to submit and is deemed unrepentant by her (male) pastoral leaders, she is subject to church discipline. -A woman ought to stay with an abusive husband and try to “win him” with submissive behavior. -A woman should be ready and willing to gratify her husband’s sexual desires at any time. -Couples should have as many children as biologically possible so as to fulfill God’s commandment “to be fruitful and multiply.” -Any form of contraception or natural planning is absolutely forbidden. -All sex acts ought to be performed with the intention of being open to the possibility of conceiving a child. -Families ought not to send their daughters to college. -Homeschooling is the only moral option for educating children. -A woman’s contracts or promises may be nullified by her husband or father as she has no moral or legal right to autonomous self-determination. -A woman must be courted by a suitor by first seeking her father’s permission/blessing. Dating is absolutely out of the question. In my experience, few if any who hold to a complementarian reading of gender roles abide by such strict moral standards. Joyce’s storytelling does not seem to note the fact that many self-styled complementarians– their biblical interpretation notwithstanding–function as practical egalitarians who see their marriages as instances of equal partnerships. In this sense, Joyce’s portrayal is unfair. Nonetheless, I think she paints a fair picture of what it looks like to take "complementarian" exegesis to its logical conclusion: a blinkered culture of patriarchy that exemplifies male domination at all levels. Readers will be scandalized by the teaching and behavior of Doug Philips, RC Sproul Jr., Michael and Debi Pearl, and many others, but one will wonder why there are no citations, no footnotes, and no bibliography. Joyce’s book is seriously lacking by way of needed documentation so discerning readers can go to the horse’s mouth and warn those who under the influence of such teaching. Alas they will have to take her word for it, which may good enough for some, but hardly helpful for others.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra

    First of all, I made the mistake of not reading very far into the description of this book. I saw Quiverfull pop up a few places on the internet and it sparked my interest. My church is anti-abortion but does not have a clear stance on birth control. Well… the book is more about the subtitle than the title. It is titled Quiverfull but doesn’t spend much time analyzing the Quiverfull movement. Instead, it focuses on the subtitle of the book, “Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement.” The first s First of all, I made the mistake of not reading very far into the description of this book. I saw Quiverfull pop up a few places on the internet and it sparked my interest. My church is anti-abortion but does not have a clear stance on birth control. Well… the book is more about the subtitle than the title. It is titled Quiverfull but doesn’t spend much time analyzing the Quiverfull movement. Instead, it focuses on the subtitle of the book, “Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement.” The first section of the book looks at wives’ roles and beliefs about wives inside the patriarch movement. The second section focuses on mothers. The third section (the shortest in the book) takes a look at daughters who are raised in Patriarchal families. I was hoping for more information about the Quiverfull movement and an analysis in the light of Scripture. Instead, the book describes various beliefs of the Patriarchy movement. The author does not attempt to make an argument on the right or wrongness of the beliefs, merely how some church leaders and members interpret and live out the beliefs. Of course, the members that the author chose to highlight are those who abuse the belief system, who take advantage of their wives. The few who are happy/content to believe in patriarchy and a quiverfull lifestyle are presented with an overly large dose of skepticism. It seemed as if the author’s attitude was that “this could never be true. No woman could be happy in a marriage like this. She must be faking it.” I was interested to learn two very important things about the author, both of which made me question her feelings that come across throughout the book. First, the author is not a Christian and is open about that. Therefore, it is hard for her to understand people following Scripture. The author never attempted to analyze the Patriarchy or Quiverfull beliefs in light of Scripture. She analyzed the beliefs from the viewpoint of a non-Christian feminist. This affects the way she discusses various lifestyle choices. Also, I don’t believe the author is married. Though she did not come out and say in her book that the idea of wives’ submission is ridiculous, the sentiment came through. It’s hard to listen to someone criticize marriage roles when she has not or is not experiencing them herself. It’s like taking parenting advice from someone who has never been a parent. Basically, the book did not offer criticism in light of Scripture. The criticism was from a feminist viewpoint, more of a “how can any woman live like this?” That type of criticism doesn’t mean anything other than someone’s opinion.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie

    Have you ever attended a Christian church service and wondered why the gender imbalance (mostly women?) So have several Evangelical pastors and - voila - a marketing scheme to bring men into church by giving them ultimate power and a 1950s family is created. Kathryn Joyce, a secular feminist, gives a balanced view into the lives of families who have chosen to be "quiverfull" - having as many children as they biologically are able (cf The Duggars on television.) The economic, emotional, and financi Have you ever attended a Christian church service and wondered why the gender imbalance (mostly women?) So have several Evangelical pastors and - voila - a marketing scheme to bring men into church by giving them ultimate power and a 1950s family is created. Kathryn Joyce, a secular feminist, gives a balanced view into the lives of families who have chosen to be "quiverfull" - having as many children as they biologically are able (cf The Duggars on television.) The economic, emotional, and financial impact of this decision is described as well as the gender defined roles within this philosophy. Many people are drawn into the movement through homeschooling, house-based churches (that have an emphasis on moral behavior. aka holiness), and at-home birth literature. The ultimate goal of the patriarchy movement is to restore women to wives and "helpmeets" - being single and or childless is said to be a rare vocation from G_d. College is not recommended for women and even the men are encouraged to focus on vocational or home-based businesses. Devout members wish to return to an Agrarian society. The weakest part of the book is the section on the children (specifically daughters) of this movement - mostly due to the fact that the eldest children of this movement are now just entering adulthood. It would be interesting to delve into the lives of the leaders of this movement; do they practice what they preach? What are the economics of this business of patriarchy? As a single, atheist, scientist this book scares me - what if I did not have the loving and encouraging parents of my birth and instead was in a world were housework and child rearing were the only options? What about men who don't seek marriage or children? Challenging economic times and rapid change induce fear-based philosophical movements (in my opinion.) Christian patriarchy easily returns to a time when roles were clearly defined and the guide post to behavior was the King James Bible.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Kathleen

    I learned SO MUCH about Quiverfull from this book and IT IS ALL TERRIFYING. I first heard about Quiverfull because of the Duggars. I saw their show for the first time, and looked them up on Wikipedia. It all spread from there, as so many things do. Ever since then, I thought the Duggar women were adorably ignorant. I would watch their show ALL the time and just be like "oh, isn't that cute? They're being oppressed and they don't even realize it! One of those girls is totally going to rebel and w I learned SO MUCH about Quiverfull from this book and IT IS ALL TERRIFYING. I first heard about Quiverfull because of the Duggars. I saw their show for the first time, and looked them up on Wikipedia. It all spread from there, as so many things do. Ever since then, I thought the Duggar women were adorably ignorant. I would watch their show ALL the time and just be like "oh, isn't that cute? They're being oppressed and they don't even realize it! One of those girls is totally going to rebel and wear pants and use condoms and start a revolution in that family." Now I know better. Quiverfull is a movement that keeps women ignorant, but the thing is they know about it. They choose to be oppressed because "that's what God wants." One of the men profiled in the book speaks at a conference where he holds up a nine year-old girl as an example for her peers. That nine year-old girl doesn't know how to read. BUT she already knows how to raise children, so that makes her complete illiteracy not only okay, but a goal for parents of girls. Quiverfull is one of the most eye-opening books about religion I've read, and I am a huge nerd for this kind of stuff. It's slow to start (it took me almost a week to get through the first 50-60 pages), but once you're through the background stuff it really picks up. It's really horrifying, reading about the people who believe in this crap.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melody Schwarting

    Hoo boy. Where to start with this review? Perhaps I should first explain that I grew up home schooled, fundamentalist-adjacent but not fundamentalist. That's where my interest with this book began: I knew Quiverfull families, and was aware of the sect forming within home schooling that leaned away from college and toward homesteading (my dad worked at a university, so it was clear to me where my family stood). It's a movement I've followed on the sidelines, but with which I've never had direct i Hoo boy. Where to start with this review? Perhaps I should first explain that I grew up home schooled, fundamentalist-adjacent but not fundamentalist. That's where my interest with this book began: I knew Quiverfull families, and was aware of the sect forming within home schooling that leaned away from college and toward homesteading (my dad worked at a university, so it was clear to me where my family stood). It's a movement I've followed on the sidelines, but with which I've never had direct involvement. Yet, many of the names are familiar to me, because you just couldn't get away from it in the home school groups I knew. Reading this 11 years after publication, several leaders to whom Joyce devotes attention have fallen, including Doug Phillips (Vision Forum is inert, too; without its leader, the organization perished) and Paige Patterson. I'd include Jerry Falwell Jr., too, but his brother Jonathan gets more page time here. Thus, Quiverfull functions as a time capsule of late-2000s patriarchy. The field has certainly changed since then. My quibbles with this book are largely based on personal feelings regarding research and writing. I'm a historian. Joyce is a journalist. We approach things very differently. She doesn't cite her sources for readers to easily reference; she often takes a tone of personal offense that such people exist; and she focuses heavily on the looks of her interviewees, sometimes extolling their physical beauty, other times ridiculing them for their natural features. I haven't studied journalism, so I don't know the ethics regarding what I just mentioned, but it significantly decreased my appreciation of this book. The Gospel According to the KKK by Kelly J. Baker is an excellent example of a historical book about a sub-mainstream group that maintains charitability, even as it reveals behavior that begs to be judged for its sins. I wish Joyce had taken a similar tack with Quiverfull, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions. I guarantee you any Quiverfull person reading this book is crafting a takedown argument, and not being persuaded by Joyce. After reading this, I feel obliged to extol my husband in the city gates: he vacuumed and made dinner while I was reading this book and writing this review. Not that I would have done those tasks anyway (they're his choice, just like laundry is my choice), but, you know, just flexing my loving, reciprocal, blissful, imperfect, egalitarian marriage on the toxicity of the extreme patriarchal movement.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kayt O'Bibliophile

    While it wouldn't make as eyecatching a title, this is less "Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement" as it is "Poking My Nose In a Few Places Related To the Christian Patriarchy Movement." I think that's what you expect, though. The problem is that the book wavers between focusing on a few, big names and organizations, and trying to give an overview of a movement that has as many variations as, well, every other thing ever. What rubbed me the wrong way was how the language used often equated th While it wouldn't make as eyecatching a title, this is less "Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement" as it is "Poking My Nose In a Few Places Related To the Christian Patriarchy Movement." I think that's what you expect, though. The problem is that the book wavers between focusing on a few, big names and organizations, and trying to give an overview of a movement that has as many variations as, well, every other thing ever. What rubbed me the wrong way was how the language used often equated the book's super-conservative, super-religious-and-legalistic subjects with generic conservative people, and even more how "homeschoolers" = "these particular very conservative/religious/etc homeschoolers." (Full disclaimer--I was homeschooled. Like everything else, there's a spectrum of people and beliefs.) It would have been to the book's advantage to highlight that, actually, since the point was to look at what is essentially a parallel society. "Homeschooler" often seemed to be used as a synonym for the entire conservativereligiouspatriarchysubmissivewomen thing, especially when the topic wasn't related to schooling. The other thing is, a lot of it read as "I am studying these brain-damaged creatures, let me tell you their 'opinions.'" "The critique...[is a] response to materialism and capitalism, which itself has co-opted women's liberation rhetoric ('Who says you can't have it all?') in the service of selling pantyhose and long-wear mascara. But 'materialism,' to conservative Christians, doesn't mean corporate greed and commercialism but rather is code for secularism and socialist leanings."...Except it does. I mean, it could mean the latter as well, but "conservative" (again, there's that equating a large label with this smaller group) Christians, you know, speak an use regular English, too. But it's small things like this, with no explanation or source, that pop up throughout the book and make it clear how the author feels. Or this: "[a neonatalist specialist] who argues that pregnant women should carry to term even fatally flawed pregnancies, certain to result in stillbirths, as a 'God-honoring' way to demonstrate care and respect for the fetus." Obvious takeaway: geez, how ridiculous is it that some people will continue a pregnancy even when they're not going to have a baby! Their religious conviction that their unborn child deserves respect is so wacky! Whether the author meant to show that the doctor was, perhaps, more strict, or something, doesn't matter, because that's not what's actually written. Later in the book, she posits that the infamous Andrea Yates' (mentally ill, drowned her 5 children) mental illness was "likely exacerbated" by teachings from a particularly fundamental preacher. Don't think for a moment I'm defending the preacher--ew, no. But there's no source, no evidence, nothing beyond "this guy says this stuff and had communication with her and LOOK! Yates was mentally ill and killed her kids! Tada!" The concluding chapter was a glimpse of what could have been: the author's interactions with a family that falls within the movement, but who are portrayed as real people and not legalistic Puritans. The book ends with "I went in expecting X, but I actually found Y, and here's why they keeping getting stricter." If only there had been some indication. There are a few parts where the author participates in gatherings or finds the women she meets nice, but overall the book had that feeling of "enlightened researcher vs. close-minded caricatures." Regardless of that, the book also suffers from some disjointedness. There are so many possible things it could have focused on that some get a close look (sometimes too close, like the chapter-long chronicle of one woman's life and break from a fundamental church) and some...don't. Part of it is also that the focus varies between ultra-conservative misogyny and the more genial sides of the movement. Again, I know why (overview!), but again, it causes disjointedness (overview of everything!). It is, I think, a good way to figure out what you'd want to learn more about. It's the book equivalent of rubbernecking (I'm guilty of that, I picked it up after being dumbfounded by the website "Raising Homemakers") and it's hardly balanced, but fascinating nonetheless.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This book ties together a lot of small threads I've been concerned about for the last decade or so. I've seen friends and family members dip in and out of various forms of fundamentalism, patriarchy, and Quiverfull ideology, and as someone on a different axis of spirituality and religion entirely, I've tried to read up and understand where these ideas come from and what the ultimate vision is for this lifestyle. Quiverfull is chilling. The accounts from the women she interviews seem hollow and i This book ties together a lot of small threads I've been concerned about for the last decade or so. I've seen friends and family members dip in and out of various forms of fundamentalism, patriarchy, and Quiverfull ideology, and as someone on a different axis of spirituality and religion entirely, I've tried to read up and understand where these ideas come from and what the ultimate vision is for this lifestyle. Quiverfull is chilling. The accounts from the women she interviews seem hollow and ill-informed; at best they seem to be trying to self-convince that it's worth trading in their individuality for perceived safety, and at worst, one sees evidence that these young women have been grossly undereducated in homeschools so that they are unable to detach themselves from this movement without grave consequences. I have heard from a family member about their family's 200-year-plan for dominion, and reading about its genesis in Doug Phillips' teachings makes me mourn for the future of their daughter, by all accounts a bright young lady-- but we are kept at a distance, not being part of this movement. Joyce does an excellent job of remaining objective while reporting on some very tricky details of this American subculture. Where one would want to jump up and object, Joyce simply reproduces the words of the speaker in full and lets the reader draw his or her own conclusions. If you've heard of this movement and want to dive deeper, this book is an excellent, well-written resource that I can't stop thinking about. I finished this book on the American celebration of Independence Day, which is not insignificant. The leaders of the patriarchy movement look to this nation's founding fathers as a source of truth. I believe those men would blanch at the misogyny perpetuated by the patriarchy movement and hope that some brave sons and daughters become erudite enough to point it out.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This book was fascinating but an emotionally exhausting read. I grew up in a family which, while not technically Quiverfull, held very similar beliefs. I am very familiar with a lot of the names, organizations, and publications mentioned in this book, and was raised to believe many of the same things. So when I say this book is upsetting, it's because while I read it I relived certain moments of my childhood that I thought I had moved past. Apparently I haven't.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ana Mardoll

    Quiverfull / 978-0-8070-1073-0 I consider myself to be a homeschooling success story, as I was homeschooled for several formative years of my education, and now happily hold two college degrees and a good job - and indeed, I am fully open to the possibility of homeschooling my own hypothetical children. Going into "Quiverfull", I held some concerns that author Kathryn Joyce might fail to clarify that the type of people her research centers on - many of whom "homeschool" (see note below) - are NOT Quiverfull / 978-0-8070-1073-0 I consider myself to be a homeschooling success story, as I was homeschooled for several formative years of my education, and now happily hold two college degrees and a good job - and indeed, I am fully open to the possibility of homeschooling my own hypothetical children. Going into "Quiverfull", I held some concerns that author Kathryn Joyce might fail to clarify that the type of people her research centers on - many of whom "homeschool" (see note below) - are NOT typical examples of the homeschooling community at large. However, Joyce is an eminently fair writer, and frequently emphasizes that the movement she studies is "fringe" in most all respects - fringe Americans, fringe Christians, and fringe homeschoolers. [[NOTE: Homeschooling families tend to be sensitive to accusations of isolationism and indoctrination, in large part because the public figures of homeschooling are often comprised of the "fringe" element - whereas the "normal" families who see homeschooling as one of many valid education options to choose from tend to be more interested in quietly getting on with teaching their children properly. In much the same way that there are educational private schools and indoctrinational private schools, such as there also educational homeschooling families to balance the indoctrinational one. The best parsing of the issue I have seen so far is the growing online meme to refer to these methods respectively as "private schooling", "private churching", "home schooling", and "home churching", to designate where the training is taking place, and what the training is focusing on.]] Divided into three parts, "Quiverfull" carefully parses the duties and burdens on women within the Quiverfull movement - as wives, mothers, and daughters. With a predominantly respectful tone, author Joyce carefully balances the statements of the members of the movement with the cold facts, and keeps editorial comments at a perfect minimum (just enough to delight the reader, but never so much as to seem to co-opt the narrative). Joyce carefully highlights the contradictions within the movement at large, such as: * the insistence that wives be submissive at all times to their husbands, even when the husband is wrong, but without a corresponding energy level directed into teaching the husbands to be loving, mild, and, well, not wrong. Why is so much energy directed at teaching the women to be submissive when that same energy could be directed at teaching the men to be kind, gentle, and wise representations of Christ? * the disconnect between the fertility reasoning behind the Quiverfull movement (to allow God to direct the number of children within a family) and the actual practice of the Quiverfull movement: desperate women driven to despair because they "only" have 3-4 children, which means they measure as "less holy" than the women with larger broods - some women going so far as to use fertility pills, treatments, and schedules to attempt conception. * the financial blinders within the movement - although God "provides" for the children, He will apparently only do so *after* the children are born (according to a divine "no backsies" rule), and in an apparent contradiction He refuses to pony up the cash for a vasectomy-reversal or tubal-reversal - those surgeries have to be paid for by charity organizations that select worthy candidates. There is probably a "pay for your own sins" analogy in there, but it breaks down quickly in light of the whole concept of Christ. * the hypocrisy in the name of public relations - in a movement that insists that women "marry young" and neither earn money nor teach adults (usurpation of manly power), it is noteworthy that a huge amount of the books are written by Quiverfull women, and the prettiest daughters of the movement leaders are cultivated into public speakers for the movement in a blatant P.R. attempt to appeal to young women within the movement. If that means delaying the marriages of the chosen daughters, so be it - even the worst P.R. firm in the world recognizes that it takes time to build a brand, and you can't get a new spokeswoman every year without hurting your cause. The density of information within this book is absolutely staggering, and the author has done a superb job of laying out the information clearly, succinctly, and with a rawness of tone that will scar even veteran readers of the patriarchy movement. Especially painful is the clear and open misogyny and racism of many of the proponents here - Joyce is not afraid to point out which of the leaders prefer to fear-monger about the lack of "the right kind" of babies being born, nor does she fail to point out which leaders are currently lobbying to revoke female suffrage in America. Are these fringe elements? You bet, and Joyce never pretends otherwise. But they are a fringe that we should be aware of, and "Quiverfull" provides an easy immersion into this terrifying culture. ~ Ana Mardoll

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Where to start? This book is an eye-opener! The book concentrates on the "quiverfull" movement among fundamentalist Christians, but places it in the context of a larger movement that includes systematic mysogyny within the family, an anti-tax/anti-government philosophy, disdain for individual rights, especially for women, the anti-contraception movement, eugenic and racist thinking and teachings, revisionist history (i.e., the Native Americans were the oppressors), and anti-intellectualism. This Where to start? This book is an eye-opener! The book concentrates on the "quiverfull" movement among fundamentalist Christians, but places it in the context of a larger movement that includes systematic mysogyny within the family, an anti-tax/anti-government philosophy, disdain for individual rights, especially for women, the anti-contraception movement, eugenic and racist thinking and teachings, revisionist history (i.e., the Native Americans were the oppressors), and anti-intellectualism. This is a must-read; it brings together many, many things I've read in the newspapers without realizing that there is a unifying movement behind them. Theologically, the movement harks back to the theory that of preordination, i.e., whether or not a person is saved is known before birth, thus, "good works" and holiness are manifestations of this saved status. This is different from the "earn your way into heaven" theology. The consequences are that any deviation from "biblical" interpretation, especially for women, proves that the person is not saved, and thus, a tool of Satan. For women, especially, this is a no-win situation. Any sign of "non-submissiveness" to her father, and then later, to her husband, is a sign that she is not saved. Hatred and fear of women and women's independence and power are the drivers behind this male-led movement. I can't say enough about this book. The only complaint I have is that Kathryn Joyce is given to excessively long sentences and her clauses are laden with names of people and organizations, so that sometimes, it's hard to follow her train of thought. Other than that, this book is excellent. We need to educate ourselves about this, because at the rate these folks are cranking out (and then brainwashing) children, they are a growing concern in this plural society we now enjoy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lois

    I was intrigued by the title of this book. I read several reviews, both pro and con, and thus I had to read it for myself, keeping an open mind. First, let me state my position. I sit squarely on the fence, barbed wire notwithstanding. After reading this book, I am even more ambivalent. In a nutshell, patriarchy is a branch of the home schooling movement and a twig of evangelical churches. Patriarchy is by definition the fundamental belief that the man is head over his wife and Christ is the he I was intrigued by the title of this book. I read several reviews, both pro and con, and thus I had to read it for myself, keeping an open mind. First, let me state my position. I sit squarely on the fence, barbed wire notwithstanding. After reading this book, I am even more ambivalent. In a nutshell, patriarchy is a branch of the home schooling movement and a twig of evangelical churches. Patriarchy is by definition the fundamental belief that the man is head over his wife and Christ is the head over the church. (Eph. 5:21) I have no problem with that. (Just for fun, google patriarchy sometime, and start reading.....very thought-provoking!) In the introduction, Ms. Joyce explains what aroused her interest in writing this book. The first event was the Southern Baptist 1998 statement that wives were to graciously submit to their husbands. The second event was when pharmacists started refusing to fill prescriptions for contraceptives based on morality. Kathryn Joyce describes herself as a "secular feminist who writes about religion." Therefore, I read the book through that lens, cringing when she used terms like antiabortion, pronatalist, anticontraception and even religious right. Generally, labels turn me off because of who's defining them, and there is no shortage of places the author's verbage gets in the way. For example, in a profile, she makes reference to the biblical woman wearing modest, feminine dress, and avoiding sex and dating before marriage. Her tone seemed to mock this as weird or undesireable. Joyce does a good job of explaining the various components of patriarchy: male headship. female submission, vision, quiverfull, agrarian lifestyle, etc. None of these issues arouse any suspicion of being strange or questionable, particularly in the Christian home school community. We're pretty used to seeing large families, many of which dress their daughters in home-sewn jumpers, carry the new baby in a sling, bake bread from fresh-ground grain, and make their own soap. I remember 10 years ago I called all the differences degrees of conservativism. Whether children watched movies, attended dances, celebrated Christmas or whatever, all of these were individual family choices. It was the world that looked at us homeschoolers as strange, because we had the belief that parents should have control of their children's education. We expected snide comments and criticism from the world. In this book, it is evident that a growing chasm exists between different factions of the Christian homeschooling community. This alarms me greatly, as I will explain later. What makes patriarchy (and its evil cousin patriocentricity) unique from the usual man being head of his family, is the amount of authority granted to the man by God, as they see it. Not only is the man head of his family and his wife a submissive helpmeet, but he is prophet, priest and king. In other words, God only speaks to the man. He leads the family worship, raises up his godly seed, and the woman doesn't act, think or speak without his explicit instruction or approval. The man is completely responsible for his family's spiritual welfare, and as long as his wife and children are in complete obedience to his lordship, they will be saved. A thread of legalism runs through everything they do. Joyce recognized and showed the cookie cutter families that she encountered. Reading this book, one would think there is rampant abuse as well. I will withhold judgment on that, as I personally know many families who fit the profile who are not abusive by any stretch. (Some people think teaching your children to do chores is child abuse. I do not agree.) The only abuse that PROBABLY is prevalent is spiritual abuse. In a complete patriocentric family, the man has the role of Christ, by which his family is redeemed and sanctified. Sometimes I felt Ms. Joyce painted with a broad brush, categorizing any large home schooling family with its own business, harp-playing daughters, entrepreneurial sons as patriarchial. She devoted almost half of the book to Doug Phillips of Vision Forum, a leader and founder of this movement. I already had serious reservations about many of his teachings, and reading more about him and his beliefs confirmed my thoughts. She left no one out. To her credit, she personally interviewed many of the leaders, their wives (I'm sure with their husband's oversight!) and people who had left that lifestyle. She cites her sources, many of which came from the patriarch's own publications and web sites. She includes Michael and Debi Pearl, a brute in my opinion, who has actual instructions on the use of the rod (PVC pipe is one "training tool.") Bill Gothard, Voddie Baucham, Geoff Botkin, Nancy Campbell, RC Sproul Jr., and the pioneer of the modern homeschooling movement Mary Pride, are all researched. I found myself exclaiming, "No, not them too!" every time one of my favorite teachers or speakers was mentioned. Again, Kathryn Joyce, being a feminist, would probably NOT understand the concept of biblical submission, so I took each account with a grain of salt. She didn't criticize as much as present the evidence, so that the reader could discern. I appreciated that. It is difficult to address all the issues in this book, because there are so many: the biblical mandate to populate the world demographically to advance God's kingdom, adult daughters remaining at home under their father's authority until she is given in marriage, reconstructionism, home churches, Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy, and not allowing wives or daughters to attend college or work outside the home. Yes, much, much legalism in the name of biblical authority. The bottom line for me is this. Every Christian homeschooler, who wants to recognize what is going on around them, should read this book. This is already a divisive issue among churches and home schooling groups. My alarm comes from the idea that human authority takes precedence over the work of the Holy Spirit in the believers' life. Every cult has an authority figure with a bloated sense of self-importance, who preys on the weak, the helpless (the submissive????) who allows no disagreement or questioning. Two verses of scripture come to mind. (As a woman, I want you to know I study the Bible myself, and my head heartily approves of me. It blesses his heart when I share with him what God has been teaching me.) The 14th chapter of Romans deals with principles of the conscience. Verse 4 says: "Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand." And Gal. 3:28 says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, the is neither male nor famale; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." I think those under patriarchy are under the law, and not under grace. Whereas many areas of the Christians' life should be between him and the Lord, patriarchy says that unless you homeschool, unless you disciple your children in exactly this way, unless you have 6 or more children, you are living in disobedience. In their view, a family with no children, or two, are living in sin. I heartily recommend this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shana

    Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce is one of the most fascinating books I’ve read this year. I first became interested in Quiverfulls after researching the Duggers, a Christian family who has a reality show on Lifetime called 18 Kids and Counting. I was curious about their background and how they came to have so many children, and came across this movement to build God’s army. Joyce explores the world of the Christian Patriarchy Movement, in which women are cons Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce is one of the most fascinating books I’ve read this year. I first became interested in Quiverfulls after researching the Duggers, a Christian family who has a reality show on Lifetime called 18 Kids and Counting. I was curious about their background and how they came to have so many children, and came across this movement to build God’s army. Joyce explores the world of the Christian Patriarchy Movement, in which women are considered valuable for the fruits of their wombs and their “feminine” contributions. An ideal woman in this movement submits to her husband, is pure, does not nag or talk back, is an excellent housekeeper, and a good Christian. The ultimate enemies of this movement are the feminists, who are apparently responsible for every single bad thing you can think of in this world. Quiverfulls basically have as many children as God “gives” them, and do not use any method of birth control. Hence the 18 kids and counting… Although her personal opinion comes through here and there, I thought for the most part that Joyce provided a fair perspective on these people and their beliefs. At times she shows compassion, and even respect, which is something I personally would have a hard time doing. The part that upset me the most was about abuse in this movement and how it is oftentimes blamed on the woman. Apparently women cause men to be violent by adopting modern ways and not submitting. It’s hard not to cringe or throw the book when reading this! If you’re looking to learn about Christian Patriarchy Movement and Quiverfulls, I highly recommend this book. It will open your eyes to the beliefs of people you might not often come in contact with in your every day life.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Woowott

    Not perfect, but Ms Joyce actually does a decent job of handling this. As someone who grew up with a milder form of this, I recognized the conservatism, the sexism, and the justifications for it all. I recognized it in some of my friends and colleagues, certainly in myself--more mildly--when I was in high school. Though, at this point, the book is preaching to the choir, it was still a bit shocking to see how far some people take this evangelical patriarchy, especially when I see how negatively Not perfect, but Ms Joyce actually does a decent job of handling this. As someone who grew up with a milder form of this, I recognized the conservatism, the sexism, and the justifications for it all. I recognized it in some of my friends and colleagues, certainly in myself--more mildly--when I was in high school. Though, at this point, the book is preaching to the choir, it was still a bit shocking to see how far some people take this evangelical patriarchy, especially when I see how negatively it has later affected my friends. Ms Joyce, I do believe, was kind to most of the woman entrenched in the movement, which, to my view, lends her more credibility. Yes, she's horrified, but she also takes the time to get to know some of these women, why they hold such archaic views--to the point of befriending one. Oh, yes, this was a highly interesting book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Leah Lucci

    Hello, good sir -- I have a riddle: How do you make sure your religion is the biggest and most powerful? You make lots of babies and train them to be that religion. You make sure that your wives skip college and stay home to pump out and raise those babies. You home school so they can't get exposed to outside ("feminist") influences. You maintain a patriarchy to keep the women and children in line. If they fail to submit and you punish them, it is their own fault. It is never yours. You don't ca Hello, good sir -- I have a riddle: How do you make sure your religion is the biggest and most powerful? You make lots of babies and train them to be that religion. You make sure that your wives skip college and stay home to pump out and raise those babies. You home school so they can't get exposed to outside ("feminist") influences. You maintain a patriarchy to keep the women and children in line. If they fail to submit and you punish them, it is their own fault. It is never yours. You don't care about the poverty that having a "full quiver" of children and only one working parent provides, because God will take care of you. You don't care about potential overpopulation of the planet, because God will give you Heaven later. All that matters is being fruitful and multiplying. Then all the base will belongs to you.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pumpkinbear

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have two things in common with women in the Christian Patriarchy movement: we like craft projects and we're fans of homeschooling. Other than that, this book FREAKED. ME. OUT. The people depicted in this book are like cartoons, it's so surreal--seriously, having your husband give you a list of his priorities for you for the day, and that's what you do? Sending your husband and daughter to a retreat where she learns how to shave his face so that she can serve him better? This book basically taug I have two things in common with women in the Christian Patriarchy movement: we like craft projects and we're fans of homeschooling. Other than that, this book FREAKED. ME. OUT. The people depicted in this book are like cartoons, it's so surreal--seriously, having your husband give you a list of his priorities for you for the day, and that's what you do? Sending your husband and daughter to a retreat where she learns how to shave his face so that she can serve him better? This book basically taught me that crazy Christian people are having a lot of babies so that they can someday take over the planet. Oh, and they don't care about recycling, because God is going to give them a new world.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jendi

    An eye-opening overview of the prevalence of woman-hating ideas among right-wing Christians. Patriarchal theology keeps women in sexual and domestic slavery, not only in the fringe "quiverfull" movement itself but among followers of evangelical superstars like Mark Driscoll and John Piper. Joyce's writing style is plain and journalistic, and could have used some editing of run-on sentences. But she does a great job showing how disparate sects are united by a rape culture and a racism-tinged anxi An eye-opening overview of the prevalence of woman-hating ideas among right-wing Christians. Patriarchal theology keeps women in sexual and domestic slavery, not only in the fringe "quiverfull" movement itself but among followers of evangelical superstars like Mark Driscoll and John Piper. Joyce's writing style is plain and journalistic, and could have used some editing of run-on sentences. But she does a great job showing how disparate sects are united by a rape culture and a racism-tinged anxiety about Euro-American Christians losing demographic ground.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Savannah Preston

    I have NOOO problems with people having a REASONABLE amount of children within their means. I don't care. But who are you to dictate my reproductive decisions because you're some right wing Christian bigot who's daughters call him lord? Jump out my uterus and concern yourself with calcium depletion at 40 because you let god give you 10-15 kids Btw I going to go take a shower to rinse this book off me and praise the gods for my IUD

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Valenti

    I loved Joyce's article on the Quiverfull movement and so far the book isn't disappointing either.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Peacegal

    Joyce has done an impressive amount of research for this intelligently-written look at a sect of Christian belief of which most mainstream people remain unaware. Adherents to the “Quiverfull” belief system shun all forms of family planning and seek to birth as many children as possible (think the Duggars), sometimes suffering serious health and financial problems as a result. These beliefs go hand-in-hand with ideas about the subservience of women; the idea that girls and women should not aspir Joyce has done an impressive amount of research for this intelligently-written look at a sect of Christian belief of which most mainstream people remain unaware. Adherents to the “Quiverfull” belief system shun all forms of family planning and seek to birth as many children as possible (think the Duggars), sometimes suffering serious health and financial problems as a result. These beliefs go hand-in-hand with ideas about the subservience of women; the idea that girls and women should not aspire to be anything but wives and mothers and should remain second-class to men. They seek to perpetuate their belief system by creating armies of children whom they rigorously shield from the outside world, shunning out-of-the-home schooling, college, dating, and popular entertainment. On one hand, we have “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;” if a person wishes to think of herself as a subservient helper to her husband and live a life based upon Puritan ideals, she is well within her rights to do so. However, some adherents to these beliefs are also political, and advocate Quiverfull values via proposed legislation and supporting candidates for office. Some of these ideas will never get off the ground—such as punishing single people and couples without children. Others, however, such as making birth control more difficult to get, we are already seeing in our culture.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Kathryn Joyce’s Quiverfull makes clear the inherent conflict between The Bible and feminism. Although the idea that this conflict exists is still controversial, even among feminists, this is the implicit message of the book. Quiverfull is divided into three parts: wives, mothers, and daughters. Although the title refers explicitly to the Bible verse that informs a specific view of childbearing, the book looks at Christian Patriarchy as whole. Christian Patriarchy is a way of life defined by a str Kathryn Joyce’s Quiverfull makes clear the inherent conflict between The Bible and feminism. Although the idea that this conflict exists is still controversial, even among feminists, this is the implicit message of the book. Quiverfull is divided into three parts: wives, mothers, and daughters. Although the title refers explicitly to the Bible verse that informs a specific view of childbearing, the book looks at Christian Patriarchy as whole. Christian Patriarchy is a way of life defined by a strict interpretation of the Bible’s prescriptions for gender, marital and family roles – including that wives be submissive to their husbands, that men be the heads of their households and that children – especially daughters – be subject to their fathers in all matters. The first section explains the Christian Patriarchy’s view of marriage. Joyce spent a weekend at a retreat of “The Apron Society,” an event designed to fulfill the commands in Titus 2, which calls older women to instruct the younger ones about marriage and family life. The weekend did not focus on improving communication skills or child care, but about Proverbs 31 and hospitality. What struck me as I read about these incredibly earnest women was a comparison between their attempts at “Biblical Womanhood” and that of Rachel Held Evans. Evans made her attempt to live precisely by the Bible in good faith, but also with a smile and an easygoing, carefree attitude. There was no friendly wink to the reader here. To the women of The Apron Society, being a good hostess wasn’t just something to do for fun or to be kind – it was a matter of their eternal salvation itself. A disturbing undercurrent of Christian Patriarchy is that women’s lives don’t matter. This is made clear when Joyce reviews the writings of Debi Pearl, author of Created to Be His Helpmeet and other books about marriage for Christian women. Perl explains how women don’t need to enjoy sex, that close female friendships can be a sinful “spiritual masturbation” and that your life itself is worth sacrificing for the sake of being a properly submissive wife. Perl writes about a woman who came to her for advice after her husband had tried to kill her with a knife while she was pregnant. Perl said this might be grounds for divorce, but that she could also try to win him back by being kind and never speaking of the abuse again. According to Perl, once the woman kept quiet, everyone lived happily ever after. That this is extremely dangerous advice is beside the point. Perl sees nothing wrong with suggesting the woman risk her life and the lives of her children for the sake of her religion. The section on motherhood was very different than what I had expected. I thought I was going to get a TLC like view into homes with dozens of smiling and identically dressed children, or alternately, horror stories about endless housework and abuse. What Joyce described was a group of people who worship fertility almost as much as they worship Jesus. When common sense or medical advice suggests something incompatible with their worldview, they of course side with their faith. Christian Patriarchy is not just an ideal for family life. There are a set of political values and beliefs that go along with it. Conservative think tanks and churches have funded such projects as the Natural Family Manifesto the World Congress of Families, and the Population Research Institute. And these aren’t just places for conservative Christians to get cushy jobs. Their lobbying has real impact on the laws of the United States. Joyce does not go into the policy implications specifically – but it’s easy to guess what some of them might be. The WCF has lobbied extensively against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and of course, CEDAW – the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. Within our own borders, PRI would like to make all abortions illegal. Reading through the parts of the book about these organizations made clear to me the links between theocracy, natalism and fascism. The section about daughters is the shortest in the book, and much of what Joyce talks about is similar to what Jessica Valenti covered in "The Purity Myth." Young women in these homes are taught to prize virginity above all else, to revere their fathers as the ultimate authority in their lives and to wait patiently to be betrothed. Although Joyce meets many Christians in the book who are kind and warm to her, and some who seem like they are genuinely nice people, it was clear to me that their fundamentalism has elegantly solved the obvious conflicts between feminism and Christianity. While I think that treating women with dignity and respect is more important than leaving yourself open to charges of hypocrisy, the choice is not as clear for others as it is to me. To be clear, I know lots of Christians who are also feminists. How they resolve their belief in women’s equality with their belief that the Bible is a Holy Book is something I don’t understand. It must require a complicated set of caveats and a faith so strong as not to be shaken by the conflict between their belief in women’s autonomy and the Bible’s decrees that women are unworthy. The Christian Patriarchy movement is by comparison incredibly simple. Dark, bizarre, harmful and hurtful. But as plain as the words on the page.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Fundamentalist Christians who want to have as many children as they can in order to create an army for Christ that will make the United States a theocracy.Women told to stay with their abusive husbands. A nine-year-old and her family being lauded because even though she can't read (at nine) she knows how to do chores and take care of children, and therefore is a homeschooling success.Girls brainwashed through homeschooling into believing that as women, they are flawed and inherently sinful,that Fundamentalist Christians who want to have as many children as they can in order to create an army for Christ that will make the United States a theocracy.Women told to stay with their abusive husbands. A nine-year-old and her family being lauded because even though she can't read (at nine) she knows how to do chores and take care of children, and therefore is a homeschooling success.Girls brainwashed through homeschooling into believing that as women, they are flawed and inherently sinful,that they must obey men at all costs and that their only place is in the home, serving their husband– Women taught that their only purpose in life is to bear children. Women told that they must never refuse sex with her husband, the matter what the circumstances – basically sexual slavery and religiously sanctioned rape is allowed. Women being shunned by the entire church because they dared to question what the church taught, and other women publicly humiliated for telling other women about their husband is treating them – apparently, no matter how bad their husband was to them, they can't tell anyone because that's dishonoring him. This book was absolutely horrifying.I liked this book overall, and quite a bit of what I read made me angry and made me feel very sorry for some of the women were trapped in this lifestyle. But I wish that some of my friends who were homeschooled would read this book,And give me their perspective on it, because I feel like I'm not being given the whole story. What I don't like is the author didn't give me a good sense of how prevalent the quiver full movement is. she talks a lot about homeschooling and you really get a negative impression young women being brainwashed to be subservient and submissive. She talks about an organization called the vision foundation which publishes materials for homeschooling that apparently a lot of people use, and they're just awful – their church sound like a cult, and the person in charge sounds like an absolute monster who demonizes anyone who disagrees with him and destroys the lives of people who leave the church and speak against it.He sounds like a complete tyrant who controls every aspect of the lives of the women in his church – no one should listen to this man, and it bothers me that so many innocent children being subjected to the materials he writes. Sometimes I think that there should be a psychiatric evaluation of couples before they can have children. A lot of these people definitely wouldn't pass one. The quiver full movement is really destructive – it's horrible to see women being so exploited – pumping out child after child and having absolutely no rights. I can imagine how miserable woman would be in that situation, it reminded me of polygamy and the books I've read about Warren Jeffs, the women being forced to have as many children as they can have. And the brainwashing goes very deep – and it horrified me that so many women were saying these hateful things about other women. These women were taught to believe that they were inherently evil, inherently bad, and that any form of rebellion was sinful. They have a very distorted view of feminism, and feel that it's a horrible thing. It's hard to believe that people actually live this way. A lot of what I read made me very upset and angry. One thing that bothered me though, was that there were so many people she talked about that the con of all ran together after a while. It was hard to keep all the names straight. And I would've liked to hear more testimonies from people who left the quiver full movement – the were few, but I felt like the book focus too much on the teachings and not enough on the actual experiences of women. I thought the chapter about the UN was not well researched and some of their conclusions were off base. I thought that was the weakest part of the book. I can't say I enjoyed this book, but I feel more educated about reading it – though it's hard to say how much I really know because the author was obviously very biased going in. Of course, it's hard to imagine anything good about the sexual slavery of women and their brainwashing. There was a chapter about how the order should be dedicated to their fathers that was bordering on promoting incest, I thought – it was just disturbing – the daughters were told to fetch their father's slippers and wait on them hand and foot – they basically belong to their fathers, and then would later belonged to her husband's. It's kind of horrific to think of women living that way in 2014. Definitely disturbing, and I feel very sorry for some of these women.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Today’s Nonfiction post is on Quiverfull- Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce. It is 258 pages long including an index. The cover has a hand holding arrows on a sky background. The content of this book is told in mostly third person with interviews, articles, and sometimes how the author got in contact with these individuals. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book but it is deeply disturbing because of the content so 16 and up. There Be Spoilers Ahead. Fr Today’s Nonfiction post is on Quiverfull- Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce. It is 258 pages long including an index. The cover has a hand holding arrows on a sky background. The content of this book is told in mostly third person with interviews, articles, and sometimes how the author got in contact with these individuals. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book but it is deeply disturbing because of the content so 16 and up. There Be Spoilers Ahead. From the dust jacket- In the corners of fundamentalist Christendom across the country, an old ideal of Christian womanhood is being revived. It looks like this: The “biblical” woman wears modest, feminine dress and avoids not only sex but also dating before marriage. She doesn’t speak in church, or try to have authority over men. She doesn’t work outside the home, but within it she is its tireless center. She is a submissive wife who bolsters her husband in his role as spiritual and earthly leader of the family. She understands that it’s her job to keep him sexually satisfied at all times, and that it’s her calling as a woman to let those relations result in as many children as God wants to bless her with. She’s not the throwback to the fifties summoned in media-stoked “mommy wars” but is a return to something far older. The Christian patriarchy movement finds its fullest expression in families following what they call the Quiverfull philosophy. Here, in direct and conscious opposition to feminist calls for gender equality and marriage equity, women live within stringently enforced doctrines of wifely submission and male headship. They eschew all contraception in favor of the philosophy of letting God give them as many children as possible- families of twelve or more children that will, they hope, enable them to win the religion and culture wars through demographic means: by reproducing more than other social groups. Journalist Kathryn Joyce plunged into the world to give readers an intimate view of the patriarchy movement. We meet Nancy Campbell, grandmother to thirty-two and counting, and editor of an internationally distributed magazine that provides guidance for women seeking to be “virtuous” mothers and wives. We are invited into the home of Donna Mauney, an “ex-feminist” homeschooling mom from North Carolina, who children are more dedicated to the movement than she is. We are also introduced to the aspiration of Doug Phillips founder of Vision Forum and one of the most influential proponents of the patriarchy movement- aspirations that include a return to the values of sixteenth-century Calvinism, the repeal of women’s suffrage, and the cultivation of “Virtuous daughterhood”: unconditional devotion of a daughter to her father, who serves, quite literally, as her “Lord” until he helps her choose a husband who will then fulfill that role. Quiverfull takes us into the heart of a movement we ignore at our peril, and offers a fascinating examination of the twenty-first-century women and men who proclaim self-sacrifice and submission as model virtues of womanhood- and as warfare on behalf of Christ. Review- I read this book because I knew very little about the patriarchy movement but I had some suspicions. Now I have done more research both from this book and other sources and I have to say that this is horrifying. Joyce tells a story about real people living in this lifestyle every day for all their lives. Joyce tells the story but she has so much compassion for the people, both female and male, who are living in this world that it helps while reading it. The notes, interviews, and the articles that Joyce gives the reader about this movement is both enlightening and terrifying. The patriarchy movement is about a ‘return’ to better women and girls but really it is about controlling them in all ways. It is movements like these that make me ashamed of being a Christian. They twist and destroy the word of God and make themselves look like holy men of God. I had to read a funny novel in between chapters of the book so that I could make it all the way through this book. This book is broken into three parts from wives to mothers to daughters and the last chapter as daughters is truly sickening. I will recommend this book to my sister, nieces, sister-in-law, and others just to get the word out about this movement. I give this book a Five stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    The Quiverfull movement is a subculture to the fundamentalist Christian movement and a component of the Christian patriarchy movement – the former rejects birth control and the later values submission as a cornerstone of Christian womanhood. The most famous adherents of the Quiverfull movement in the United States are the Duggar family from Arkansas with nineteen children and their own show on TLC, although they do not use the term “quiverfull”. In this culture, women live within stringently enf The Quiverfull movement is a subculture to the fundamentalist Christian movement and a component of the Christian patriarchy movement – the former rejects birth control and the later values submission as a cornerstone of Christian womanhood. The most famous adherents of the Quiverfull movement in the United States are the Duggar family from Arkansas with nineteen children and their own show on TLC, although they do not use the term “quiverfull”. In this culture, women live within stringently enforced doctrines of wifely submission and male headship by the Quiverfull philosophy of letting God give them as many children as possible so as to win the religion and culture wars through demographic means. In this book, Joyce traces the rise of the movement and its transition from the fringe to a more prevalent aspect of Christian fundamentalism and attempts to provide a complete picture of the movement and its patriarchal underpinnings. Most adherents are drawn into through homeschooling and at-home birth literature rather than through their own churches; one of the biggest advocates for the Quiverfull movement and Christian patriarchy is actually a homeschooling organization. Men and women at the forefront of the movement blame feminism for society’s problems arguing that putting women on equal footing as men allows for men to escape their responsibilities as fathers and women to engage in premarital sex, and argue such ills will be solved by return to the biblical principal woman as a piece of man rather than a separate being worthy of independence. Women should aspire to their biblically supported roles as mothers having as many children as biologically possible, and daughters should remain under the authority of their fathers shunning work and college while they wait for their fathers to approve of someone to marry them. But there are also racist underpinnings to this movement. The cover of the book shows a hand clutching a collection of arrows because the movement often cites a passage about how blessed a man with a full quiver is, and adherents of the movement view their children as arrows in a war against demographics and secularization. To prove this point, Joyce cites the ultra-orthodox communities in Israel who believe God wants women to be submissive and have as many children as possible and who readily confess that this is the best defense against the higher birth rates of Muslim women in the region. (Arab leaders have presented the womb as a weapon in their war against Israelis, as well.) In America, the movement is seen as a way of reversing declining white birth rates, combating the higher birth rates of Catholic Hispanics and Muslims, and creating “warriors for God” who will undoubtedly vote against gay marriage, the right to choose, and equal pay for women among other issues. (So, no, the Duggars are not the wholesome family TLC presents them as being.) Most of the information Joyce presents is information I have read before from either the primary sources she cites within her text or in shorter articles published elsewhere. But this is the first time the information has been condensed into a single volume and is quiet comprehensive in its explanations and scope of analysis. One particular chapter, however, details one family’s attempt to reconcile with their church after the wife refused to be submissive and began to quest the authority of men within the church. While interesting, this antidotal evidence went on for far too long and distracted from the overall message. I’m sure it is rather heartbreaking to be shunned by your church, particularly when you believe such doctrine is the only admittance to heaven, but I fail to see how this incident deserves more attention than the stories of women and children who are abused in the name of God and Jesus. The chapter on the “stay-at-home-daughters” of the movement is easily the weakest chapter with Joyce citing a few blogs, but I think that’s largely because the movement started in the 1980s and early 1990s so these teenagers are the first generation to go through courtships and marriage within the movement. Who knows if they will continue to be Quiverfull like their parents before them, or even if they will be able to find someone to marry? Clearly, a follow-up book is needed ten to fifteen years from now.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ciara

    having been raised atheist, i am finally starting to get curious about other people's religions now that i am just about to turn 30. not because i am interested in finding religion myself, but because i am finally starting to open my eyes to the fact that religion is behind a lot of the fucked up shit in the world, & i want to know what people believe & how it actually influences their beliefs. especially because i am about to move to kansas, loving cradle of operation rescue. these people say t having been raised atheist, i am finally starting to get curious about other people's religions now that i am just about to turn 30. not because i am interested in finding religion myself, but because i am finally starting to open my eyes to the fact that religion is behind a lot of the fucked up shit in the world, & i want to know what people believe & how it actually influences their beliefs. especially because i am about to move to kansas, loving cradle of operation rescue. these people say that the power of god moves them to stand around outside abortion clinics, harass women, & terrorize clinic workers. what kind of god works in those people? what's going on here? i had heard of the quiverfull movement before--families who believe that they have a duty to allow god to control their family size & give them as many babies as he sees fit. everyone knows about the duggars, with their reality TV show & 18 children. they are a well-known quiverfull family. but i hadn't realized (perhaps in my religion-free naivete) that there was a whole christian patriarchy movement that helped give sustenance to the quiverfull movement. not all christian patriarchy families are quiverfull, but pretty much all quiverfull families are christian patriarchy families, & i am pleased that this book covers the christian patriarchy movement in general & doesn't just focus on quiverfull families & their dozens of kids. again, this is probably my naivete speaking, but i'd always kind of thought on some level that even the most conservative of christians knew enough to try to make their beliefs seem appealing to more moderate americans. & i thought it was pretty obvious that deciding men are god's disciples on earth & woman is made from man & therefore exists as a helpmeet who cannot question male authority lest she be smoted or something was really not that appealing to the average middle of the road american. the book talks about how christian patriarchy may be an attempt to make the church more appealing to men, which seems like sound reasoning. but it's shocking to me that any woman would go along with it. there are all these rules about being sexually available to your husband at all times, going along with any & all of his decisions, even if you think he's wrong, so long as he isn't asking you to sin, etc etc. i guess my big take-away from the book is that, yeah, this belief system is really intense & requires huge amounts of self-discipline, soul-searching, self-denial, etc. it's a lifestyle commitment. these families have tons of kids at young ages, they homeschool, many of them run home businesses (because the ultimate goal is for families to be self-sustaining), they budget meticulously to try to feed every mouth & meet basic needs, they are expected not to speak about their relationship troubles outside the home, etc etc. in some respects, it reminds me a lot of my experiences with super-intense anarchist ideology. & that freaked me out. kathryn joyce is a self-described "secular feminist," but i think she did a really good job staying unbiased. she reported on these people's beliefs in a way that seemed representative of the truth, & she kept judgments to a minimum, only engaging slipping from her objective voice in order to encourage the reader to understand that christian patriarchy beliefs have political consequences, like support for pharamcists who are "morally opposed" to filling birth control prescriptions. i think it's helpful to understand where these beliefs come from, rather than just writing off christian patriarchy defenders are "crazy" or "evil". they still scare the shit out of me, but it's better to try to understand, i think. anyway, a very compelling read.

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