Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Cinderella - Part Two

We get to meet "Cinderella" whose name is actually Leah.

Cinderella: story five by David and Leah Spina
  • Who should I date and marry?
  • Are my standards too high?
  • Is God really in control?
  • Will I ever get married?
My husband and I wish we could sit down with each of you over a cup of coffee, look you straight in the eye and answer those questions with zeal!

*Raises an eyebrow*

Leah can zealously tell me who I should date and marry.  Oh, and she can tell me if my standards are too high.  

Of course, she doesn't know that I hate coffee, so I'm not sure how accurate her other observations are.

Being the Right One
Growing up, I had a beautiful blonde friend that had a new guy every time I saw her.  On one hand, I wished I had a guy by my side.  On the other, I wondered what the single guys thought when they saw her with so many guys.  

I think it's pretty normal to wish for a boyfriend.  I've NEVER wondered what single guys thought about a girl who had multiple boyfriends, though.  That feels spiteful or envious to me.

My mother had me read a book called Beautiful Girlhood when I was a girl, and I always remembered one sentence about boyfriends: "Be reserved and careful, and though you do not seem to be so popular as the forward, giddy girl who is always "cutting up" with the boys, you will have the respect of the best boys and young men, and she will not."

I've never read "Beautiful Girlhood".  Based on the "cutting up" verbiage, I assumed it was written in the 1950's.  

According to the internet, I found two things.  First, the book doesn't have a Wikipedia page which shocked me.  Second, the publishing date was 1922.

Who makes their kid read a morality book written BEFORE the Great Depression?

Now that I think about it, my mom never made me read a book on dating.  Thank you, Mom!

From that moment on, I started to realize that I was building my reputation as someone's future wife.  Someday my husband would either be honored or dishonored by my conduct as a single woman. "She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life" (Proverbs 31:12).  Did you realize that during your single years you are building your reputation as a wife?

At some point, I realized that my actions build my reputation.  MY reputation - as a student, as a worker and as a person.

I never thought about building my reputation as someone's future wife per se.

In so far as I thought about my future marriage, I figured building a strong personality, good education and solid career would make me a better marriage prospect.

  It was always hard for me to picture a flirty guy as a faithful husband. 

Leah's imagination is not her strongest point.

 Remember that "dating around" for fun affects the way people view you - they will associate you with those you date.  Even if you have no serious intentions, you are giving signals about who you are.

Note: Do not take dating advice from someone who CLEARLY doesn't date and has had her views on dating formed by a book written in 1922.

When I was single, I heard a teaching by Tommy Nelson on how to find a godly spouse.  He asked how we expect of find a wonderful Christian spouse when all we do is go to church, go to work, and go to an occasional happy hour.  He said run fast and hard after Jesus and look to the left and the right and marry the person who is at your side.  That made sense to me.  "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:6). 

I missed something, I think.  How is "going to church, going to work, and going to an occasional happy hour" NOT "running fast and hard after Jesus?"  Many jobs are much closer to following Jesus' ministry than writing books on how not to date.

Just because someone is running "fast and hard after Jesus" doesn't mean that they are the best spouse for you, either.

 Most girls tote a fat list of credentials and want to marry a sold-out godly man, but few of us have taken the logs out of our own eyes. 

I hope "sold-out" means something very, very different where Leah lives.

 What kind of girl would he marry? 

Hell.  Just be your freaking self.  STOP LIVING YOUR LIFE FOR A FUTURE MAN.

 I spent my time before meeting David finishing my degree, going on mission trips, Bible studies, and working with pregnant teenage girls.


Remember, you will never regret any time you spent on your relationship with the Lord and ministry for the Lord.  You are building faith and character to take into your marriage to bless your husband and future children.  And you husband will be thankful if you don't bring debt into your marriage, so work as unto the Lord!

Yuck.  Yuck.

AntiPearl: Love yourself.  Love others.  Leave the world a better place.  Run away from any ideas that sound like they fit in this book.  -Mel

Friday, December 26, 2014

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Cinderella - Part 1

I've found two different types of toxic views in reading CP literature.  The more common toxicity is "Do this or really bad things will happen to you!"  Debi has given us plenty of these examples so far.  This chapter is a different type of toxic.  This is the "Do this and life will be magical!" toxicity.  

Personally, I think the second type is more pernicious than the first.  With the first, once you've done the forbidden action, you can figure out pretty quickly if the predicted bad outcome happens.  The second type, though, is hard to disprove because life isn't always magical.

Moral to the Story: One of the sweetest things you will ever know will be those intimate things you first learned together.

For a woman who writes extensively about sex, Debi manages to use a ton of euphemisms.  Wouldn't it be clearer to say "Sexual activities with your spouse are so much better if neither of you have ever had sexual activities with anyone else."  

On a practical level, how could anyone prove that sexual activities between two virgins are more "sweet" than between any two sexually experienced people or one virgin and one sexually experienced person?  

Random thought: Does Debi mean to imply that the first time a couple has sex is the best time ever?  Because....no.  Not that the first time is awful; just that practice brings additional pleasure.  

A Caution: A first time is only the first time.  Once lost, it is forever gone.

How could you "lose" a first time?  Does she mean "experience with someone other than your married spouse?"  

Sloppy writing like this can be extremely painful to sexual abuse survivors. Not that Debi cares about that....

How do widows/widowers fit into this world view?

How about people who are involved with a partner who has a different set of expectations about premarital sexual activities?  (Imagine the stress someone who wanted a parent-lead, hands-off courtship could have if they fell in love with someone who felt that passionate kissing and petting was allowed in a committed relationship...)

Enough with the sad stories.  Now let's consider a girl whose love story is so special she calls herself Cinderella.

*Raises an eyebrow*

An orphaned girl treated horribly by an abusive stepmother who only escapes when a prince falls in love with her at a dance - that Cinderella?

Are firsts important to men?  What do I mean by first?

How stupid is Debi's target audience?  She's needed to define "antsy" and now "first".  

Your first kiss is a first.

Ugh.  On behalf of everyone who has been traumatized by watching three Duggar agonizing kiss-free courtships, let's kill the kiss-free courtship.

  Your first true love, the first guy you take home to meet Grandma or maybe your first night in bed with a man.

Ouch. That hurt.

My husband and I met when we were nearly 29 and 30 respectively.  I've met three of his four grandparents - his paternal grandfather not long before he died and his maternal grandparents who are both quite well.  His paternal grandmother had died not long before I met Nico after living for several years with Alzheimer's. 

Nico wasn't able to meet my grandparents; they had all died multiple years before I was dating Nico.

  Every first is a moment of awakening.  The man who truly loves you will treasure these first moments you gave him and to him alone.  Will you save your firsts for him?

No, I won't save anything for my spouse.  That's just asinine. 

Let's be honest.  Debi could care less if you wait to go water-skiing for the first time with your spouse.  She clearly feels that cheese-making should be entered into before marriage.

(My husband is fake crying because I made cheese without him.  He's heart-broken because he was waiting to make cheese with his wife for the first time and now we can't share that.  Yeah, it does that stupid when put anything besides sex in there.  And now we're talking about accordion lessons)

She's selling the whole hoopla about "emotional adultery" along with an incredibly strict injunction against sexual contact but is trying to make it seem sweet and romantic rather than creepy and demeaning.

My church was pretty clear on limiting sexual intercourse before marriage, but the prohibition for the good of the person's relationship with God.  The future spouse wasn't being cheated or expected to treasure...marrying..a...virgin. 


I think I realized why Debi uses euphemisms.  The truth is too disturbing when written out in actual English.

  God told his people to bring their first fruits to him (Exodus 23:16-19).  Why? Because they are very, very special.  When you save yourself for your man he will know your are giving him your best.

Well, let's look at Exodus 23:16-19 (NRSV):
     "You shall observe the festival of harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of         what you sow in the field. You shall observe the festival of ingathering at           the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your               labor. Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the                   Lord God.
           You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let           fat of my festival remain until the morning.
           The choicest of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house         of the Lord your God.
     You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk."

Ok....agricultural sacrifice outline.....more details......sacrifices should be of good quality....one rule of kosher eating....
What does that have to do with interpersonal relationships?  Absolutely nothing, of course.    We're supposed to give God our best.  The connection to our spouse in Exodus is completely unclear unless your husband is God.  Since that's clearly an example of idolatry, I'm sure someone as Titus 2 wise as Debi keeps telling us she is would NEVER say that.
AntiPearl: To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Pie in the Sky - Part 4

In this portion, Debi attempts to wrap up the chapter by being very clear that she's as shaky on modern technology as she is on theology, homeschooling, child development and communication skills.

When you get to know someone online it is like getting to know a character in a fiction novel.  That character is the product of creative writing.  When a young man writes to girls, you can be sure of one thing: he is doing his very best to make a good impression.

That's a safe statement about the vast majority of human communication.

  Have you ever seen one of those nature shows that feature the mating rituals of wild creatures?  The male bird fluffs out his feathers, making him look three times as big as he really is.  Frogs inflate their chests and make deep croaking sounds.  Lizards expand the skin around their necks until they look five times bigger.  

Yes, I've seen those shows.  

The fluffing and puffing can be a way to attract a mate, but more frequently the increased size is an attempt to trick PREDATORS who might be attracted by the noise they are using to find a mate.  

College: A place you can study animal behavior in depth.  Plus, you get a degree that can be used to find a job - which you won't get for watching TV specials.

Young men go online and become spiritual giants, with large hearts and magnificent goals and worthy ambitions, but it's all bird feathers and lizard skins.  He describes himself as he would like to be, or as he thinks she would like him to be.  He develops an online personality.  None of his assertions are tested.  His body language and mannerisms are concealed.  Like an author writing a novel, he is known through his creative writing.  As the country song goes, "I'm so much cooler online."

I don't see the difference between Debi's stereotypical "Online Man" from Visionary Men and Kingly Men.  Actually, the "Online Man" may be nice in person; the Visionary Men and Kingly Men make poor partners.

So, am I saying that texting is inherently evil?  No, not at all; it is just a form of communication. 

Debi spends the rest of the chapter bashing texting and online communication in general.

 Texting it's self is not sin, but then, neither is parking a car.  However, if you are alone with a guy when you park, you have already accepted the slippery slope.

A slippery slope to what?  Watching poor parallel parking....putting change in a meter....walking to a movie?

Have you accepted the slippery slope with any guy you are alone with in a parked car?  What if the guy is 85? What if the guy is your brother?

How about if you are parked on a busy street in the middle of the day during a festival?  What if it is 90 degrees outside and you have all the windows closed in your junker of a car?

I've been clear on what I think about Debi's views on sexuality - she's 100% wrong, 100% of the time.   This time, though, she can't even say what she thinks and leaves us with a muddy semi-metaphor.

  When you text a guy, you are alone with him, it is just the two of you - soul to soul.  Because your body is not there, you feel safe.  But intercourse of the mind and heart is 90% of marriage.

Yeah, but the other 10% involve physical intimacy and a publicly made contract that involves accepting legal responsibilities for the other.  

Are you in a Pie in the Sky relationship with a guy or, maybe, several guys?  To get to know a man who is not your husband is emotional adultery.  To exchange intimate knowledge with several guys is whorish.

The man I text and FB most frequently is....my brother.  Does that mean I'm committing incest?  No sane person would equate sending texts about buying Christmas gifts and inside jokes about early 90's pop culture to a brother with incest.

Yet, Debi's argument is EXACTLY THE SAME.
Also, the correct term is "emotional fornication" if both are single.  For "emotional adultery", one or both parties would have to be married.

A Warning:
Texting, Facebook and emails are not private.  Husbands are checking up on wives.  Employers are now paying computer gurus to find "web noise" information on people who are seeking employment.  If you sent it, someone can trace it to you.  Sin and foolishness will find you out.

I spend lots of time online.  I very rarely see sin on display and "foolishness" isn't an actionable offense at work.

In preparing to write this book I asked several young men if they had gone on to the web to check up on any of the girls they have considered as potential brides.  Many men felt the best way to really know what and who a girl in was to check out her past cyber traffic:  What has she written?  Who has she been in contact with? 

Debi spent the first part of this post explaining how guys make up entirely false identities online.  Why are girls any different? 

 The guys had thus eliminated many girls that never knew they were being considered.

Debi makes that sound like it's a problem; I'd prefer not to have to deal with a potential boyfriend who cyber-stalks me.

You think, "Shame on a man who would violate my privacy." What privacy? I say, "You typed it; you or one of your friends posted the pictures; you went to that place and associated with that crowd."  If you have already soiled your cyber image, now is the time to stat over.

Look, posting pictures of excessive drinking, illegal drug use or sexually suggestive pictures can be a problem when looking for a job...but I don't think that's what Debi's talking about.

Just say never again, and proceed to reform your foolish tracks with righteous and sober-minded remarks.  A man seeing the change will appreciate a healthy repentance and a lesson learned.

"Sober-minded remarks" sounds agonizingly boring.  Debi recommended being light-hearted and not particularly spiritual when talking with guys last chapter.  Which does  she want?

Great White Throne Judgement
There is a new rash of suicides among very young teenagers.  The reason has been tracked to the embarrassing situation kids are finding themselves in due to foolish "sexting" and texting.  These young teenagers tingle with excitement as they, in the secret corners of their bedrooms, point a small phone towards their bodies, and push the camera button.  It seems secret and it doesn't feel that bad.


Why does Debi describe everything sexual in detail?  

The Scripture teaches that there will come a day when every thought, deed and attitude will be made known and each person will give an answer.  Some of you will give an answer long before The Great White Throne Judgement.  Some of you will have friends (at least you thought they were friends) forwarding your messages and your pictures to people who only want to hurt you. 

Nice use of a vague and changing subject to make this sound even more serious.  The first sentence is about giving an answer to GOD.  The second sentence is about answering questions from other people.  The last one is conditional on potential friends sharing possibly sexual texts and pictures.

 It might not be revealed until your wedding day, or at your first child's fifth birthday or maybe when your daughter is eleven.  But it floats around out there waiting to come forth at the most embarrassing time.

*Snorts, then dissolves into laughter*

Who is going to whip out a naked picture of a mom when her daughter is eleven?  

People don't show up at a fifth birthday party with compromising photo of the kid's parent.

Well, actually, Debi probably would...but everyone knows she's nuts.

Don't let it happen to you.

'Mk.... wasn't planning on letting Debi have naked pictures of me anyway.

I've been ignoring the questions at the end of each chapter because they are horrible.  These are a standard sample - leading questions that are close-ended.

I often amuse myself by answering the questions as I would have as a bored 16-year-old...

Your Treasure Chest:
God commands women to be chaste in their conversation.  If you are not chaste as a single girl then you will not be trustworthy as a wife.  You are what you do!

Some of you are conceiving sin by participating in activities that will one day bring forth the death of your marriage.  Are you NOW involved in an unchaste conversation with a guy, or maybe several guys?

[What does "conceiving sin" mean? ]

"Right now, I am writing in a cheap paperback in the middle of the church library...so... no."

If you knew every single week the preacher would read to the whole church your emails or texting and show over the large screen every picture you sent or received, would you feel ashamed, embarrassed, or outright horrified?

[If Debi was an experienced teacher, she'd rephrase this question into an activity.  She could have the girls look up all the emails/texts they sent over a week, then decide how they felt about those messages.  Also, you don't need a list of emotions.  Teenagers are pretty good at ID emotions.]

"I'd be impressed that my priest was that good at cyber-espionage."

Are you ready to honor God in this area of your life?


Are you willing to flee the temptation by removing from your chat list any person that you have written to or who has written to you in an unwise manner?

"Does this mean I can stop getting stupid emails from the Pearls?  They aren't very wise...."

Are you willing to do whatever it takes to completely free your heart from attachments that dishonor God?

"If I answer yes, do I get out of this stupid class?"

AntiPearl: I'm a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they're interested in.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Pie in the Sky - Part Three

Do you think Debi believes in confidentiality or getting permission before using a story from someone else's life?

I work very diligently to either get permission before sharing a story -especially a potentially embarrassing story - OR remove any details that could possibly be used to trace the original person.  

I doubt Debi got anyone's permission for this next story - and I bet the people who live in Debi's community can figure out exactly who "Jane" and "Rodger" are.  Heck, they're probably named Jane and Rodger.

As a young, unmarried girl, do you think you would have to be married in order for your texting "love affair" to be soulish adultery?  Think again.  In the next story the girl had never even been kissed.

Wha....what is "soulish adultery?"  Let's just go with NO!  Just say "NO!" to Pearlian crazy....

This is not a story I read in a book or got from a letter.  I heard this sad tale sitting at my own kitchen table.  I watched tears flow down the faces of those who knew her.  Her parents were shocked senseless for days because it never occurred to them that their clean, wholesome, homeschooled girl might have done this thing by her own volition.

Tell Debi everything!  She'll listen so very carefully...and write you into her next book.


(Input from my husband - Making Money Off Of Pain: The Pearl Method)

A Young Bride-to-Be's Pie in the Sky
Jane was 23 years old before Rodger asked for her hand in marriage.  It came as a total surprise to her.  He was a friend of her brother, but had never really shown her any special attention.  Rodger was shy and awkward around her, and she was so nervous around him that she couldn't say a word.  He was a nice guy, and she would have swooned over him if he had asked for her just three months earlier, but now she wasn't sure.

This story is oddly familiar....shades of Lydia....with a bit of Ellie mixed in.

If courtship is supposed protect young people compared to dating, why do all these stories sound so horribly painful?

Jane had been secretly texting and emailing a guy from Florida for several months.  Through a mutual friend he had asked to be on her Facebook page.  She had never actually met Mr. Florida, but they had discussed everything while texting.  As soon as Rodger had left her family's house after asking for her hand in marriage she rushed into her bedroom to email Mr. Florida of Rodger's proposal and then shared with him her nervousness, fears, uncertainties and doubts.  Mr. Florida totally understood.

That scenario is an incredibly sad commentary on how lonely Jane was.  She's befriended a random friend of a friend on Facebook and feels closer to a man that she's never met than her theoretical fiance.  She's more comfortable talking about her "fears and doubts" with Mr. Florida than her fiance, brother or parents.  That's heartbreaking.

Every evening for weeks Rodger came over to visit her, but she never could open up to him like she could to Mr. Florida.  But, the wedding was scheduled anyway for Jane wanted to get married.  Mr. Florida never mentioned marriage.  She knew her parents would never approve of him anyway, as they had narrow expectations of a suitor.

What's going on with Mr. Florida?  Is he afraid of commitment? Exactly what makes Jane think her parents would disapprove of him?  (My parents would have been extremely concerned about getting involved with a guy I met on the internet who I'd never met in person who lived in a different state.)

Bluntly, in situations like this with a highly sheltered young adult with a parent-lead courtship, I feel free to blame the parents for setting up a crappy match.  Did the parents not notice Jane's lack of enthusiasm for Rodger and the lack of deeper feelings and growing attraction?  

Two weeks before the wedding, Jane was getting very nervous.  She emailed Mr. Florida saying she wished Rodger were like him.  She felt like she was marrying a stranger.  Mr. Florida said he wished with all of his heart they could be together, just to talk this out and make sure she was doing the right thing.  In confused desperation she bought a bus ticket and slipped out of the house.

I have two separate problems at this point: 
1) Jane should be talking to RODGER about her problems with RODGER.  Getting engaged to a stranger was a poor choice; avoiding these awkward conversations is worsening the problem.

2) Mr. Florida is creeping the hell out of me.  He magically works up enough guts to ...ask her to come see him....so they can talk....in person....in an area that she probably doesn't know anyone.  If he's serious, he can haul himself up to Jane where her family and friends can see him.  

Mr. Florida met her at the bus station and took her to a motel, where she fell into his arms weeping.  They didn't mean for it to happen...they just felt so connected...like it was meant to be.  You do understand, don't you?

Honestly, I do NOT understand.  Why a motel?  Doesn't Mr. Florida have a home or apartment or something...

After a week of sleeping together at the motel, the spiritual, Bible-quoting, deeply sincere Mr. Florida revealed that he was already married and had two kids.  He explained that he desperately loved her and that she was so much more than his own pitiful wife, but he had a commitment to his family.

Does Debi know any men who are NOT sexual predators?  

I wish I could tell you Debi is lying, but there are people who pretend to be single online, start an entirely new relationship with an unsuspecting person, and never mention their other family.

Because of that, I was cautious when dating online.  I met men in high traffic 
restaurant or cafe for the first few times.  I ran a basic internet search on the men.  I introduced them to my friends within a month or so to get their opinions.  My husband brought me to the local pub in the small town where he lived.  That made me smile since everyone there knew him and liked him a lot.

Debi isn't terribly hard on Mr. Florida - the adult man who built a relationship with a girl under false pretenses and probably got off on the fact he wrecked her soon to be marriage.  

She walked into the motel an unkissed virgin; seven days later she walked out pregnant.  Jane got back on the bus and went home.

I'm worried about Jane's inability to say no.  She said "Yes" to Rodger when he asked him to marry her.  She trotted down to Florida two weeks before her wedding to meet with Mr. Florida when he asked.  Jane apparently didn't say "no" to Mr. Florida when he wanted sex without any promises of...well...anything.

I mean, the only way she had to get out of her impending marriage was to run away to another state to the arms of a different stranger man....

I hope Jane gets a comprehensive STD test along with that pregnancy test.

Her relationship with Mr. Florida was just Pie In the Sky.  It felt more real than what she felt for Rodger.  Why?  Because Jane believed she knew Mr. Florida.  They experienced intimacy as they texted.  They became relaxed and confident with each other, which made physical intimacy hard to resist.  Emailing, texting and phoning was the sin that lead her ugly tragedy.

No, I don't think so, Debi.  Jane HAD more of a relationship with the icky Mr. Florida than Rodger.  

Jane's parents SHOULD be horrified - they've raised a 23-year-old woman who can only get what she wants by assenting in front of authority figures then following her own wishes without telling anyone.   

Think about it.  Jane is proposed to by Rodger.  She says "yes" then runs upstairs to talk with Mr. Florida.  She starts planning her wedding - then runs away for a long enough time close enough to the wedding to bust the relationship up.  

This is one of the things that TERRIFIES me about home-schooling.  Junior high and high school students are peer-oriented BECAUSE they are learning the social skills they need to maneuver in world.  Adolescence sucks sometimes because you learn - though experience or through watching - that some people are trustworthy in most things; some people are never trustworthy.    

Jane's got the emotional and social intelligence of a 5 year-old in the body of an 23-year-old woman... and her parents are responsible for that.

She had skated close to sin every time she punched a letter on her keyboard, and God is not mocked. 

That sentence makes no sense.

Every time she pushed "send" she sent him a part of her intimate self.  She had already given herself away before she closed the door to a cheap motel room with the noise of the interstate in the background. "Then when lust have conceived, it bringth forth sin, when it is finished, bringth forth death" (James 1:15).  Her texting brought death to her lifelong hopes, dreams and the possibility of becoming a pure bride.

*Dramatic swoon onto my fainting couch until my lady's maid uses the smelling salts*

Geez, Debi.  Drop the overwrought angst, please.  

Jane's had a rough reality check, for sure.  But I've had the privilege of working with many, many moms and dads who were much younger than Jane and this is NOT the end of the world.  Not at all. 

Rodger didn't want a candy bar that had already been licked, so he went else where and found a nice chaste girl who didn't text.

Debi, be serious and get your head out of the gutter for once. 

 If Jane had come back from Florida without having had sex with Mr. Florida, do you really think Rodger would have been waiting with open arms?

I don't blame Rodger for not wanting to marry Jane; Rodger had no relationship with Jane and had to deal with the embarrassment of knowing that his fiancee ran away to another man within two weeks of their wedding day.  

I had a relationship that ended when I was unceremoniously dumped through email about 4 hours before my ex-boyfriend just happened to be going out of town for 14 days.  Dealing with the pain of a relationship ending is bad; being hit out of left-field without a chance to confront or talk to your ex makes it worse; being the person left behind to answer questions while the other person is conveniently unavailable is pure hell.   By the end of 14 days, I had moved from sadness to white-hot rage...and I don't blame Rodger if he was in the same mood.

I must note, just a few weeks after this event someone found the charming Mr. Florida getting to know another nice Christian girl.

I hope they notified his wife and Jane.  Jane's got some child support coming her way and his wife deserves to get free of the creep.

Only one part left in the chapter - Debi's views on electronic privacy and sexting.

AntiPearl:You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Pie in the Sky - Part Two

(Trigger Warning for abusive church behaviors.)

Ever wonder if Debi would pull her punches on friends?  

She doesn't.  When a "friend" has the audacity to get a divorce from an abusive husband AND marry a different man, Debi spews out the massive misinformation created by a conspiracy to destroy the woman's magazine. 

 I know it sounds crazy...but the information is a matter of public record since the woman and her second husband were brave enough to sue.

(This took me about 20 seconds to find online since I am not active in the home school community...but figured someone would write about it.  Mark and Helen Hegner, Linda Dobson and Shay Seaborne worked together to publish a factual account of what really happened.  These four authors deserve the utmost praise for uncovering and condensing a sick, twisted, narcissistic conspiracy into an easy to understand narrative AND taking the time to support the story with quotations from the trial and pretrial motions. )

Tragedies go a step further than disaster.  Tragedies are relationships that wreck the dream of a fine prince coming to find you.  The next story is a tragedy that destroyed two families.


Tragedies are when people are permanently hurt or killed.  

Being judged by Debi is NOT a tragedy no matter what she claims.

There was this really cool lady who published a home school magazine that I really liked.  You would think that a Christian wife and mother of many children, wouldn't fall prey to tragedy, but she played with a possible disaster and it took her down.  This is how it happened.

The woman is Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff who published Gentle Spirit and made a good living from it.  She had 9 children and a husband with anger management problems.  

 She had in the previous year successfully protected her magazine from "request" that she disclose that her family was biracial in her speaking and magazine blurbs or be removed from publishing.  

(EW. EW. EW.  I feel freaking slimy having to write that.)

Cheryl met Rick Seelhoff through online discussion boards and eventually met in person at a home-schooling conference.

While at a large homeschooling convention where she was one of the leading speakers, she met a fine, spiritually man who also was one of the main speakers.  The two really hit it off.  He was really cool.  I am not being sarcastic; he was handsome, wise and seemingly godly.  Although both speakers thought they were being led of God and were walking in the truth in reality they had both just been caught up in the home school movement.  As the Scripture says in 2 Timothy 3:5 they had "...a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof."

Lots of DebiSpin on this one.  Cheryl has documentation that shows here marriage was in deep trouble before this conference. She had confided her pastor and his wife about the troubles in her marriage and her growing relationship with Rick.  She left that church to avoid any scandal due to her imminent divorce.

When the lady went back home, the two leaders had legitimate reasons to text...and they did text.  At first it was ok, until the day she had an argument with her "lazy, unspirtual husband".  When she reached her lowest point, Mr. Cool knew just what to say to make her feel better.  Thus they "got to know" each other in a more personal way through sharing the pain and disappointments of her marriage.  Then, of course, he began sharing some of his frustrations at his wife's lack of interest in homeschooling their children.  In time he began sharing his wife's disinterest toward intimacy.

Ew. Ew. Ew. EW!

Debi is:
A) Making shit up again.
B) The worst friend ever. (Although, I doubt she's actually a friend of Ms. Lindsey Seelhoff)
C) Both of the above.

Cheryl had filed for divorce by June 27th since her divorce notice was published in the local paper on that date - practically, the legal papers had to have been filed before that point.

This next conference Debi brings up  next spanned June 23th-25th 1994 - a period where Cheryl was most likely legally divorced.

Mrs. Magazine Lady felt his pain.  At the next homeschooling conference they went out for coffee.  The sweet, spiritual intimacy they had come to share thorough texting had taken their consciences to places neither of them would have allowed in a social context.  At this second meeting the energy between the two of them caught them both by surprise. They were amazed at how attracted they were to each other.  It felt so good, so fulfilling - love like they had never known.  "It must be of God!" they thought.  "Surely both of them had made a mistake and married the wrong person.  Our love was meant to be"

People often think the forbidden boundary is the act of fornication.  Not so.  These two crossed the boundary the day they met at the first conference and decided the other person was of such interest that they wanted further contact through texting.  Each act of texting was foreplay.  When they finally met in person the second time they were already turned on to each other.  They left their consciences further in the dirt every time they advanced their emotional intimacy through their digital communication.  When they agreed to going together for coffee, it was just the next to last of many steps away from virtue.

How does Debi know about all of this?  Oh, well, Cheryl's ex-husband called one of the men who settled out of court - Greg Harris - and had him watch the two of them at a conference.  Harris didn't see anything, but decided to check that Rick was in town through lying to Rick about a lost credit card.  (Classy, isn't it..and so subtle....totally likely to be forgotten about by Rick later... OH, WAIT. NO.)

Then the pastors of the church that Cheryl had left decided to pull some vigilante church justice along with some of her competitors like Mary Pride and Sue Welsh. 

(Sue Welsh had also been involved in the "Be sure to tell people you are in an interracial marriage" shit. Ew. Ew. Ew.)

 At one point, the conspirators managed to write up an entire packet of "evidence" of her divorce and remarriage and sent it all over the home-schooling world.  

At various points some truly stellar folks like Johnathon Lindvall (marrying off young teenagers is great!) and Michael Farris (world's worst lawyer judging by this fiasco) wander in and out...while Mary Pride just happens to write an "expose" on Cheryl and Rick, drive Cheryl's magazine out of business, and substitute her OWN new magazine that was oddly similar to Cheryl's.

Funny how "Christian love" and "driving a competitor out of business" overlapped like that...

They divorced their spouses and the two "hot lovers" married.  After a few weeks of bliss, they lived in a state of constant stress and unhappiness.  Now, years later, they both know that their wild attraction was just Pie In The Sky.

Debi leaves out that the stress and unhappiness were caused by a conspiracy crossing state lines to drive Cheryl out of business.

Boy, you'd think there would be laws against conspiring within an industry to drive other competitors out.  Oh, wait.....THERE IS.

And Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff (she had married Rick by this point) sued their sorry asses.  She won the suit against Sue Welsh.  The other defendants settled out of court before the trial.

*Whoops*  Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoof - YOU ROCK!  *Whoops*

I haven't been able to find any trace of PearlIndustries in this whole fiasco....except poor choice of badly paraphrasing a mostly illegal trade document that  infringed on pastor-penitent rights... That's about par for the course, really.

AntiPearl: A claim of good motives, like a claim or ignorance of the law, cannot justify or excuse a violation of federal antitrust laws, and would be no defense in this case.  Summation by Judge Burgess in Seelhoff vs. Welch.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Pie in the Sky - Part One

After the last chapter, a girl might be thinking about using electronic communication - get to know a guy without worrying about accidentally dragging his sexual feeling into the picture.


The real name of this chapter should be "INTERWEBS IS EVIL!"

My name is Tara.  I am nineteen and have never been your average girl when it comes to guys.  Yes, they make good buddies, but I could never understand the girls who spent all their time giggling about their latest crushes.  I made up my mind from a young age not to waste time or emotion on a guy I couldn't picture myself marrying.  Looking back, I can see I had too much spare time.  If I had been busy, I would not have had time to text, text, text.

That's why you should let your daughters go to college or work outside the home, FYI.

Here's how it happened.
Matt was the most sensitive guy I had ever met.  He wasn't the kind of man I had pictured myself with, but we seemed to fit together so well.  Because I grew up with an insensitive and very emotionally unflappable father, I never thought of sensitivity as a positive character trait for a man to have.  But when you become the object of all that emotion and thoughtfulness it is very appealing.  Matt always knew how I was feeling and seemed to relate.  He was romantic and read poetry.  He made me feel like I was the most special and wonderful girl on earth. 

I'm not seeing a problem.  (I'm not a huge poetry fan, but that's not a fatal flaw.)

 In a way, it made me feel guilty, because I didn't know how to do the same for him.  Like my father, I am rather insensitive, and very realistic.  But I tried.  Even though I knew I wasn't being myself, I tried to be emotional and as dependent on him as he was on me.  It just felt so good.

What does "dependent" mean?  Romantic relationships often bring a closeness over time and deeper trust which is great.  

[Steady Guy: Girls just love attention of this sort.  It becomes intoxicating, like alcohol, and bends their perception of reality, like a drug.]

So do guys according to Debi.  Remember the whole bit about hanging on a guy's every word?

We had briefly met through mutual friends.  We seemed to hit it off.  A few months later we started writing, and over the span of about four months he became one of my best friends.

Again, nothing too weird here.

That's the first red flag - internet "love" is just pie in the sky.  It looks great, but it is not a real pie.

Taking the metaphors too seriously, Debi.....

Because I am very self-reliant and guarded individual, I found it amazing how much I opened up to him and trusted him on the internet.  The transition from close friends to something more may have been slowly building throughout those four months, but neither of us realized it until he helped me get through some difficult issues.  He was extremely honest with me and very sympathetic.  I gave him my cell number and we began talking and texting all the time.  Looking back, I see that we didn't have a chance of remaining "just friends".

This sounds like the beginning of many relationships - friends become closer and become lovers.

When a guy and a girl spent all their time communicating and confiding in each other, they are going to run into trouble eventually.

Citation, please.  Oh, wait...Debi's just making this up as she goes along.

I set myself up without knowing it.  I didn't see it coming, and while I was still trying to figure out my own feelings, he had already moved on to considering himself in love with me. 

He probably was in love with Tara.  It's not that crazy.

 Knowing that the man I cared about was in love with me was a wonderful feeling, and I felt pressured to return the sentiment.  I convinced myself that I loved him, despite the fact that deep inside I knew I was forcing it.  I thought love would be amazingly clear, but it seemed so elusive. 

Yeah, I've done that, too.  Life would be easier if you could fall in love by an act of will, but life doesn't work like that.

Good news: actual love is amazing clear.  You want to be with the other person because of who they are.

 I pushed the doubtful thoughts from my mind; we were both so shocked and surprised by this development that instead of taking things slow to evaluate whether it was real or not, we plunged ahead, discussing whether or not my family would like him and kind of weddings we'd always dreamed of.

Um...ok.  Probably moving a bit fast at 19.....

We also discussed his past and some of the issues he had struggled with for years, and once again I persuaded myself not to let it bother me, for I was his healer.  Our relationship was good for him.

Red Flag number 2: You don't have brains when you're in love and you can't "fix" your guy.

Debi and I agree again.  No one can fix anyone else.  I'd add that if you are with a guy because you "understand" him when "no one else can", think very carefully about what other people are seeing that you are missing.  In my case, I missed severe depression and alcoholism in an ugly relationship.

I convinced myself that it wasn't that big of a deal, that we could work through it.  I was foolish and blind.

On the flip side, there is no need to beat yourself up after a poor relationship choice.  We all go through those.

My parents were absolutely shocked when I told them about Matt.  It was the last thing they would have expected from me.  But because I had never shown much interest in a guy before, they took me seriously and said he could come and meet the family.  They made sure to emphasize that he was coming to be approved, not to visit me.


Matt's on approval, but not visiting.  How did they pull that one off?

They had no clue as to how serious we had become through texting and taking on the phone.

I doubt that.  My parents could always tell when I was sweet on a guy. I'm betting her parents knew she was falling for Matt.

 After talking to my dad on the phone a few times, Matt bought his ticket and finally arrived.  It had been eight months since we met - the only time I had ever seen him.  

That's not a great idea.  On dating websites, advice to meet people in person quickly is plastered everywhere.  There's nothing particularly wrong about communicating electronically; it's more important to spend time with a person to get to know them better before getting to serious.

Things were awkward at first, and I started wondering what I'd gotten myself into.  I pushed all my doubts and fears aside and pretended to be just as much in love as he was.  But slowly, over two or three days, little pieces of his character that I didn't recognize online began to show and it scared me.  When someone writes, the project the person they think (or maybe wish) they are, not the person they really are.  It became obvious that he wasn't the man I had foolishly convinced myself I loved.  But still, I told myself it was too late, I can't back out now.  After all we had been through and all our plans, I couldn't just end everything.  He was so sensitive.  I could not hurt him.

Ooh...that's not a good place to be, Tara.  Don't put your needs behind the needs of a boyfriend.

I made up my mind to go through with it, to stop thinking about things so much and make it work.  The same day I made that decision, a close friend approached me and said she had to talk to me.  She hesitantly told me things that she, herself, had noticed in Matt, things that I convinced myself were okay or "normal".  While she talked, I set my feelings aside and tried to see truth, because I truly wanted God's will in my life.

Good for her friend!  That's a hard conversation to have.  Tara showed more maturity than I had at 19 in her ability to listen to caring concerns about a boyfriend.

Hearing these concerns from someone I loved and trusted was a reality check for me.  It hit me that I didn't really love Matt, and that I didn't actually want to spend the rest of my life with him.  I could see that all we had was a result of modern technology and runaway emotions.  It wasn't real tried and true love.  Through her gentle counsel I came to realize that I didn't want to have to deal with his past problems for the rest of my life, nor did I want my children to start life with a daddy that came with baggage.

It wasn't easy to admit how wrong I had been, but I was relieved to know I was walking in truth.  I went straight to my parents and told them everything.  They told me I was doing the right thing.  So that night I ended the relationship.  Matt took it very hard and tried to change my mind.  But I knew I was doing the right thing, and the freedom I felt was remarkable.

Yeah, break-ups suck, but it's better to break it off early than later.

Life was hard the following weeks, but I deserved it.  I had fooled myself into thinking you can know someone from chatting on the internet.  I learned that is just not true, and I am thankful I escaped my folly.  All of the pain I went through could have been so easily avoided if I hadn't continued to play my little mind games and convinced myself of lies.  I learned the hard way, but I will always remember one thing: lying to yourself doesn't change the truth.  I feel wiser now, so maybe something good came out of my disaster after all, although I know part of me will never be the same.

Look, this is not a major crime.  Tara, who was very young and inexperienced, had a relationship that didn't work out.  That's part of life.  The excessive anguish and recriminations isn't needed or healthy.  

Of course, Debi jumps in with additional guilt-tripping.

Tara's story is a disaster that could have been avoided.  Thankfully, when Tara was warned, she listened to counsel and avoided the tragedy that could have been.

Many girls go from disaster to disaster and think they will someday find their Prince Charming and live happily ever after with no complications.  It is a sad fact that disasters leave scars, some uglier than others.

Meh.  A broken heart isn't a disaster - it's part of growing up.

AntiPearl: A healthier way to look at relationship mistakes from pop culture.  
These bruises make for better conversation
Loses the vibe that separates
It's good to let you in again
You're not alone in how you've been
Everybody loses, we all got bruises
We all got bruises

-From Bruises by Train