Thursday, February 21, 2019

Babblin' Botkins: Teaching Your Kids to Fear

My Spawn-baby is now a Spawn-toddler.  He's reached the pre-walking stage where he grabs our hands for support and tries to walk.  We've been offering him our hands for months now - but until this week he was not interested at all.  Suddenly, a switch flicked for him and he wants to learn how to walk.  Right now.  He's walked the length of our house from the kitchen, through the dining room and into the living room.  He only stops to look up at me or my husband to see if we are proud - and we are SO proud - then grins happily at us.

The overarching theme of mothering Spawn this year has been helping him manage his anxiety.  Like many medically complicated kids, Spawn had scary and painful medical procedures starting from a minute or two after birth when he was intubated so that they could place surfactant in his lungs.   He's had a lot of tubes, tape removal and shots in his first 18 months.  On top of that, we had to keep him in isolation or semi-isolation for eight months out his first twelve months so he missed out of being exposed to a wide variety of places like grocery stores, churches, libraries, malls, get the idea. 

New experiences scared Spawn.  Understandably, he believed that new places and new people - e.g., places that are not our house and people who are not in the "Inner Circle of Trust" - would lead to painful or scary things happening.   I hate that pain and fear was his experience of new things during his infancy, but he needed shots and a ventilator and blood draws to stay alive - and to get him healthy enough to go to libraries, malls, get the idea.  It still sucked for him - and for me.

I've been working with my parents (who care for Spawn overnight once a week) and his developmental team to help him learn techniques to feel safer when he is anxious.  We tell him about what is going to happen next.  If he is scared, he likes sitting on a safe person's lap.  If he's really anxious and starts to stiffen or shake, he responds well to having a gentle hand on his chest and reminders to take a deep breath while the person holding him breathes deeply, too. 

Honestly, the process has been tiring at times.  As much as I know that having Spawn sit military straight on my lap during a library story time is huge for him, I struggled with feeling like he was missing out because of his anxiety - and I know how painful that experience is from before I entered therapy.

And then....something shifted. 

He found a metal bookend at a library, grabbed it, climbed under an empty shelf, and tried to climb down stairs - without looking behind him to see if I was watching.  At our WIC appointment, he took off down a long hallway to return to a playroom he liked - and he was totally OK with leaving me behind.   Spawn stayed with his PT up in the gym while I went to retrieve his shoes from the car and waved happily to me when I came back instead of trying to escape from her.    Spawn willingly sat on the lap of a new PT - without making her describe that sticker* he left on the gates of hell like he did with Robin his main PT.  (And Robin rocks.  She is the best PT for Spawn - and he's finally admitted that he agrees.)

My Spawn is exploring the world joyfully; all the effort to teach him that the world is safe paid off for him and for me.

That's why the interview between Geoffrey Botkin and his two daughters is so fucked up at the end of "So Much More", a book written by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin when they were teenagers and published by the now-defunct Vision Forum.  Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin don't say anything particularly unusual in the interview - but Geoffrey repeatedly hammers home that the girls should be afraid of the wider world.   Here's a particularly egregious example:

A&EB: Can we make a list of the deceptions? How about "the top ten lies that rule the lives of modern fathers?" A list like this would be welcome to many fathers. Or would it?

GB: It would be welcome to many. To others who are even mildly deceived, their response would be angry hostility to such a list. This is the nature of deception. If you publish this list, many of your critics will say, "These things are not lies, or transgressions, or problems. We can be Christians and still think like everyone else thinks. We have Christian liberty to live the way everyone else is living, and this list smacks of legalism."

A&EB: In our book we define legalism as the fleshly pursuit of man's moralism in hopes of earning salvation. Joyful obedience to all of God's precepts is the response of the grateful believer who has been saved by grace through faith.

GB: Well put. Careful conformity to God's standards for righteous living is not legalism but faithful maturity. Accusations of "legalism" are the first defense of the man (or woman) who is ashamed and reluctant to repent. Are you sure you want to publish such a controversial list?

A&EB: What is your advice, Daddy?

GB: Good answer! I'll give you an abbreviated list that's not too....dangerous. I'll share it in love, and you can print it in love. When the critics land on you with boots and spurs, I'll protect you. Ready? (pgs 295-296)

Let's go over this response by response. 

Anna Sofia and Elizabeth sound like excited teenagers following an interesting new idea.  They are pumped about creating a helpful list for dads of CP/QF daughters.  Sure, the topic isn't my cup of tea - but that's the kind of energy teachers try to get from students in a classroom.

Geoffrey replies by telling the idea is palatable to some people - but most people will respond with hostility.  Not just anger - but anger directed at Anna Sofia and Elizabeth with the intent to harm them.   Remember, the daughters are in their mid to late teenage years.  The book they are publishing is running through a "ministry" that is somewhat larger than most vanity press operations - but not much larger.   Their book has probably been read by tens of thousands of people - in a nation of over 230 million people. Geoffrey's attempt to reinforce a pathological fear of outsiders reflects his mental status and obsessions rather than a rational outcome of publishing a list to a niche market.

Geoffrey's prediction of how most people would response sounds like most people would listen to Anna Sofia or Elizabeth, consider their ideas, then feel it was important to respond to the ideas.  Honestly, I think most people's response would be "That's weird" followed by wandering away.   Arguing about the practical implications of an obscure theological interpretation is not high on the list of most Americans.  Heck, I like doing that - but I wouldn't start an argument with a few teenagers.    Teaching your daughters that strangers will surround them with anger and derision is twisted - but there is a level of self-importance.   A fierce public rejection is a sign that a person is important and controversial in some way; the realization that the Botkin Family is as average and workaday as the rest of us would be far more traumatizing for Elizabeth and Anna Sofia after years of being lauded as the belles of CP/QF young women.

Wow.  The paragraph where Anna Sofia/Elizabeth rattles off a brand-new definition of legalism is stunning for naivete and arrogance.  Legalism already has a definition: a religious believer who relies on rules or rituals in lieu of personal faith in Christ.   Billions of words have been written around various charges and rebuttals of legalism - so two teenage girls with no academic credentials at all should not be encouraged to write a de novo definition to shield their family against charges of legalism.   If the Botkin Sisters want to engage in apologetics around their family''s practice of Christianity, their parents should have encouraged them to become well-grounded in systematic theology instead of teaching the girls to change the working definition.

On a more technical note, the legalism paragraph is nearly incomprehensible thanks to the theological version of purple prose.

Geoffrey gives the girls faint praise for publishing his new definition of legalism and reinforces that their family is not legalistic.  Nope, not the Botkin family!  Just look at our definition of legalism!

 He must have regretted letting that faint praise break his tone of doom because he quickly doubles down on the scariness of outsiders by giving the girls a faux chance to not publish the list.  Does anyone honestly believe that Anna Sofia or Elizabeth could say "On second thought, let's not publish it.  I'd just as soon not be killed by a mob this week, thanks!"  No, good Christians in tiny cultic belief systems are supposed to be fearless and relish the idea of being a martyr so the Botkin Sisters can either fall on the sword of cowardice or on the mob wielding swords.   Since the sword of cowardice comes with failing to live up to the expectations of their father and mother, the possibility of a mob of outsiders' swords seems less fraught to me.

Thought experiment: how long would the circle of the Sisters trying to get praise and engagement from their dad only to be shot down continued if left uninterrupted?  A few hours?  A few days?  A few years?  A few decades?

Because the strongest praise Anna Sofia and Elizabeth receive is when they relinquish control over publishing the controversial list to their father.    Geoffrey Botkin rewards subservience in his young adult daughters; what does that say about Geoffrey Botkin as a father?

The Sisters are rewarded by being given a watered down version of the "controversial list"**.   Just in case the Sisters feel a moment's relief at the idea of publishing a safer list, Geoffrey twists the knife one more time by telling the Sisters that he'll protect them from the angry mob that's coming for them.  What does that say about Geoffrey Botkin as a father?

About that mob of angry rablerousers?    It's been 14 years since "So Much More" was published.  The Botkin Sisters have had some people express anger about their book, I assume, but the critics who attack them physically - the boot and spurs brigade - never materialized.  Oh, I'm sure the Botkin Family will tell you that the reason the brigade never came is that the Sisters are armed concealed carriers who are always escorted by their dad or brothers and adhere strictly to curfew as they shared in the "Good Girls and Bad Guys" podcast. 

I think the real reason is sadder; the mob existed only in the fevered, paranoid daydreams of Geoffrey Botkin. 

After all, the Botkin Sisters are still living as stay-at-home daughters freely.  No one has forced them to work outside the home - not even economic forces.  No one has forced them to get educational credentials.  No one prevented the publication of their second book.  No one prevents them from publishing blog posts.    Sure, being unmarried and childless in their thirties was never in their childhood dreams - but that's true of plenty of single men and women who are members of other religions or no religion who wanted a spouse and children.   They have every right to be sad or mad about that - but it's a sadness shared by many people in the US.  Not all dreams come true.

I'm proud of the work I've done to free my son from needless fear; my heart breaks that the Botkin kids have been trained to live in fear.

*When  Spawn was giving Robin hell at PT, I joked that Spawn was giving hell to a woman who would gladly go to the gates of hell and back to help Spawn.  Every time I said this, Spawn would give Robin a baleful look like "Mama thinks you'd go to the gates of hell for me.  Prove it.  I left a sticker on the gates of hell.  Describe it to me and we'll be friends." Don't tell Spawn I told you - but the secret is that he didn't leave a sticker on the gates of hell!  Only someone who went to the gates of hell for him would know that he didn't leave a sticker.  Robin figured that out somehow - and Jack thinks she's a great buddy.

**I might review all 10 list items someday - but there's nothing new or groundbreaking in the list.  The controversy comes mainly from the fact that Geoffrey Botkins likes drama to spice up his life.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Joyfully At Home: Chapter 3 - Part Four

I've been slacking a bit when it comes to blog posts recently.  Part of the issue has been the round of Spawn-related appointments, but the other fascinating development has been the fact that the Botkin Sisters have re-emerged from their protracted silence to send an officious, overblown and palpably silly letter to a blogger who wrote a series of posts about 1) the lies that Geoffrey and Victoria Botkins have been telling everyone about their families of origin and 2) used the Botkin Family to discuss covert incest (e.g, emotional incest, emotional entanglement) which I generally term "stunting your kids' emotional growth to suit the needs of the parents.

I'd love to tell you that I have a series of insightful posts waiting based on that letter - but, Jesus, it is so rambling and badly written that I find myself skimming rather than reading the letter. 

I'm currently transcribing one of their free podcasts (ugh) as well as part of the interview between Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin and their father in "So Much More" (double ugh) to repudiate one of the claims the Botkin Sisters made in their letter.   Anna Sophia and Elizabeth claim that Cindy Kunsman didn't use the actual writings or teachings or actions of the Botkin Sisters to support her claims that 1) the Botkin parents lie through their teeth about their parents and 2) the Botkin parents have worked diligently to keep their adult children emotionally dependent on the parents in an unhealthy way. 

Well, Cindy Kunsman may not have directly referenced the writings of the Botkin family when she wrote the post ten years ago - but I certainly have along with  Hester over at Scarlet Letters

In a cosmically aligned irony, the Botkin Sisters today are a great counterexample to advice given by Jasmine Baucham in her book "Joyfully At Home".   The third chapter in the book has been filled with advice on how to be a good daughter to a CP/QF dad while avoiding the accusation that the daughter is wasting time by remaining a child by living at home until married.

 In the last post, we discussed how Ms. Baucham's belief that a good stay-at-home daughter should be fully conversant in her father's vision fails mightily if her father's vision is wrong.  For example, Kathryn Joyce in "Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement" shares the family anecdote that Geoffrey Botkin shared far and wide to catch people's attention about his two-hundred year plan.   When Anna Sofia was born, Victoria had heavy postpartum bleeding and the midwives handed off Anna Sofia to Geoffrey to care for while they tried to staunch the bleeding.  Geoffrey was overwhelmed at having his first daughter and remembered that women have all the eggs they will ever need at birth.  He cups his hand over little Anna Sofia's abdomen and prays that God will give her an early, highly fruitful marriage. 

Now, Anna Sofia is in her mid-thirties and still bears the name of Botkin - so I think I can safely say that her father's vision of an early marriage for her (and Elizabeth presumably) has failed.  The two sisters have 5 to 10 years of childbearing left if they marry soon - but the time left for a large family of more than 2-3 kids is rapidly running out.

The next quotes from Jasmine Baucham's book bring up a different scenario.  What is a girl to do if her dad doesn't have a huge, overarching plan?  On this blog, the families we meet here are strongly biased in favor of fathers who have clear plan for how their immediate family of CP/QF believers are going to do something huge over time.  This bias happens because I'm reviewing materials created by motivated family members - and motivated family members seem to come from motivated parents frequently. 

This bias is important to remember because the CP/QF families I meet in real life rarely have as organized or far-reaching plans for the rebirth of Western Civilization or slowly replacing everyone in Leavenworth, Kansas with Maxwell descendents.  (Ok, I don't know if that is really the plan of the Maxwells or just a side effect of not wanting the grown-up kids to live more than a mile away....)  Most families have two parents who are working hard - really hard - crazily hard - to support a large to extremely large family on multiple blue collar jobs.  They love their kids.  They love their spouse.  They have a deep, personal faith in Jesus.  They try their best to homeschool their kids, but are often overwhelmed by the sheer struggle to provide the basics of food, clothing and shelter for the kids let alone provide the materials to educate them. 

For these families, a response to a teenage daughter in her late teens or twenties to "What can I do to support your vision?" may honestly be "Get a job to help us pay for gas, groceries, clothes, rent...."

I suspect 19-year old Jasmine Baucham ran in more financially stable circles, but the first quote is still condescending to young women:

To cherish your father's vision is not to wake up every morning and expect him to make your life worthwhile. I have received countless emails and inquiries from young women who are throwing their hands up in despair. " My dad doesn't have a vision!" What these girls usually mean is that they are waiting for their fathers to micromanage their time at home, and would feel more comfortable being told what to do every second of every day then actively seek ways to bless their father and their household as their own. (pg. 51)

I doubt that's true.   I'm assuming a young woman who hunts down contact info for Jasmine Baucham after reading her book and writes an email seeking help when her dad says that he doesn't have a vision is both highly motivated and reasonably competent in the first place.  If she was less motivated, her response to a non-vision by her father would be a sigh of relief and kicking back to read a Christian romance.   If she was honestly clueless, that email would never get sent.

I think it's a safe assumption that those young women are in a family without a huge vision. 

But don't worry; 19 year-old Jasmine has your back! 

She realizes that all Christians are called to spread the Gospel - so your dad has a vision even if he doesn't know he has a vision - and brainstorms some ideas that a young woman could bring to her dad in the next quote:

In that Spirit, even if your dad never tells you specific things that you can do to aid him in his vision, you can work on helping him by advancing the gospel in and through your home. Ask your dad if it would be all right for you to arrange for two families from your church to come to dinner at your home every week. See if you can spare you once a week to babysit for a busy mother at your church. Ask him if it would be alright if you had several younger women over to your family's home one day a week to minister to them. (pg. 51)

I'm cringing on behalf of real-adult Jasmine and grateful (yet again) that no one ever showed any interest in publishing a self-help book written by me at 19. 

 Lots of CP/QF families are food-insecure.  If you can barely feed your double-digit family, bringing two more families over for dinner weekly might break your family.  Heck, that would be a financial drain on a lot of blue collar families with a few kids or single-income white collar families.  Instead, find a free meeting place at an easily accessible location for a monthly Bible-based story time.   Local libraries often have free community meeting spaces on a first-come, first-serve basis.  If you have a little more money, reach out to offer free rides to and from to other families who might not have extra gas money.

The babysitting idea is good - assuming you are not needed at home by your family, have reliable transportation, and gas money.  I feel like that is unlikely to be true for most CP/QF families, though.

Oddly enough, the last one is the most annoying to me.  This can inconvenience both parents, your siblings, the parents of the ministered young women and the young women if done right...or maybe I mean wrong. 

The most obvious annoyance to me as an adult woman would be having to clean my house to "ready for outsider" standards.  Additionally, the visitors may want snacks...or to talk to me.  I promise I'm not a anti-social begrudging hermit in real life, but the thought of having my house invaded by young women who need ministering puts me in a bad headspace. 

My husband would like it even less; he's a solid introvert who appreciates a calm and quiet house.

Since most CP/QF houses are overcrowded to start with, dragging ministering targets into the house decreases the room siblings have to play while increasing the likelihood that irritations will happen.

The dynamics in play for the girl's family are at least unlikely to split a church; what happens when the ministering teen teaches something that differs from the other family's belief system?  The CP/QF blog-o-sphere and the blogs of people who have left are already filled with church splits over broken courtships or minor theological disputes.  I am confident this would lead to at least one messy church fiasco a year.

Last - but not least - who wants to be ministered to?  I am extremely easily amused and having a slightly older girl take me on as a personal ministry project sounds hellish. 

My take-away: if your dad doesn't have a vision, count your blessing and read a good book!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Maxwell Megalomania: Bunnies and Eggs Have Nothing to Do with Easter

Great combination of events this morning, folks! 

We got hit by an ice storm and I'm getting over a bout of the stomach flu. 

Honestly, it worked out well for me.  The school I was scheduled to work at was closed so I spent the morning sleeping and feel quite a bit better already.   My son is safely packed out with his grandparents for the night so hopefully I'll be good to go by tomorrow.

I greatly appreciate a dose of humor to keep my spirits from sagging when I'm sick so I decided to review an old blog post by the Maxwells that made me laugh so hard.  In 2012, several people asked the Maxwells why they don't have anything involving bunnies or baskets of sweets when they celebrate Easter, - sorry - "Resurrection Sunday**".

Maxwell decides the best option is to write an entire blog post:Bunnies and Baskets that he swears in the comments sections he wrote to be non-judgemental.  To my eyes, the judgemental portion outweighs his occasional sop towards tolerance like the first paragraph response after re-posting the offending comments:

Christianity is not a democracy, and if millions of “devout” Christians exercise their faith in a particular way, it doesn’t necessarily make it pleasing to the Lord. Living one’s life according to the Bible should be every professing Christian’s (sic) desire and practice. I do understand that many churches have bunnies and baskets to perhaps reach the lost. Each person/church’s conduct/choices are between them and the Lord.


See, that sentence about how millions of Christians are doing Christianity wrong....that's judgemental. 

Additionally, that sentence is incredibly arrogant.  And dumb.   Has anyone - even the commenter who talked about how millions of Christians who involve candy bunnies in baskets  for Easter - implied that Christianity is a democracy? 

I'm one of those devout Christians who includes bunnies, eggs and flowers in Easter celebrations - so allow me to reverse Maxwell's assumption.   Oddly enough, Steven Maxwell views himself as theologically educated enough to run his own church - but he declares in the middle of the next paragraph that there is no "natural tie-in or segue" between the Resurrection and bunnies, eggs, or candy baskets.   Why have millions - or billions - of Christians through history connected Jesus's miraculous rising from the dead to bunnies, eggs, and flowers?  What have they seen that Maxwell misses?

Rabbits, eggs and flowers are all symbols of new life.  Jesus' resurrection opened to the world a new life where everyone could be saved by God.   The birth of a new animal or child is wonderful today when we understand reproduction - but the ability of life to continue onward was literally magical and connected to the divine through most of history. Eggs are especially miraculous - how does an animal that requires mating get the sperm or the baby into a hard shell?

Now that's I've vented my spleen about the first sentence, let me move on to the second sentence. 

I love Protestants of all stripes - but seriously - the majority of Christians on the planet fit into the denominations of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and the Coptic Church.  Those three denominations have lots of disagreements - but none of them prioritize Scriptural revelation over revelation that happens through church traditions.   Yelling "Sola Scriptura!" is not a winning argument in the three older Christian traditions; all it does is cause the members of those religions to exchange exasperated looks around the person yelling it.

Let me express this another way. 

It's as irritating as me yelling "You have no church cultural tradition of skipping bunnies, baskets and eggs!" every time Steven Maxwell strips away a cultural tradition.   Since my religion's frame of reference is different from Maxwell's, holding him to the my religion's frame is ignorant at best and presumptuous at worst.

Sentence three is a hot mess of qualifiers; the stripped down sentence of "I understand that churches have bunnies and baskets to reach the lost" is elegant compared to the original.   The qualifiers serve the critical purpose of watering down the sensible statement into a mishmash of babble.   Without the qualifiers, Maxwell would be open to the question of "Your family attracts people for tracting by offering face-painting - including the logos of sports teams - despite the fact that you teach that participating or watching sports at any level leads inexorably to immoral habits.  How is your behavior more moral than offering kids candy shaped like bunnies at Easter when no one (including you) argues that candy bunnies leads to evil?"

The fourth sentence was clearly added later to be less judgemental along with the weak/weakened third sentence.    How can I tell?  Mainly because the rest of the essay reads much more smoothly without it.   Hell, there's even a nice transition between discussing the second sentences ideas of ideals of Christian living and the next paragraph's hook about looking at two objects at once.   That original writing worked - and I rarely compliment.

The rest of the essay alternates between sketchy Biblical interpretation based on Maxwell's weak understanding of the word "idle" and how the meaning of words change over time and cranky air-quotes about "Christians" and "holidays".   There's even the required denouncement of Halloween as evil.  I'll skip my required denouncement against denouncing Halloween and against the dangers of reading the KJV without an advanced degree in Medieval Studies.

Finally, I'll leave you with my favorite idolatrous quote of the essay:

Having an egg hunt for the family on Resurrection Sunday is similar to celebrating Mother’s Day by the family watching basketball, when Mom hates basketball. Resurrection Sunday is a day that is to be all about Jesus!

I'm pretty sure "Jesus hates family egg hunts" insults Sola Scriptura more than the family egg hunts do. 

As Luke 10:21 lovingly shares " At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do."

Kids understand what to do when we receive good news.  We rejoice with our whole bodies, minds and souls!  And what better day to rejoice than the day Jesus conquered death for us! 

Amen.  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

Thanks for listening :-)

**"Resurrection Day" messes with my head since I keep confusing it with "Reformation Day" - the Lutheran celebration of Luther nailing the theses to Wittenberg Cathedral door on November 1st when Catholics were expected to attend Mass since it was a Holy Day of Obligation.  Pretty brilliant, Luther!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Quick Update!

Hiya, folks!   The quarterly set of the Spawn's medical appointments has hit again.   He's doing great; the follow-ups are examples of medical CYA according to his primary doctor - but all of a sudden we've had a slew of appointments all at once. 

Since the Spawn is still an obligate crawler - albeit one who now cruises and pulls-to-standing on everything he can reach - dragging my laptop with me places gets heavy in addition to a 24 pound two-year old who likes to smack the keys and tries to put things in the USB ports.  Oh, and wonderfully, he's getting more comfortable in new places which means he now bolts down hallways if he thinks there's an interesting toy at the end of blogging on the run is a thing of the past.

I'm hoping to work on one either late tonight or tomorrow evening and should be back to 2 posts a week within 10-14 days.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Joyfully At Home: Chapter Three - Part Three

Well, we are in day three of Snowmageddon and I am pre-loading a bunch of blog posts.

Michigan has two nice seasons of spring and fall when people can spend the whole day outdoors without too much planning.  In the summer,  we have spells of weather in the mid-eighties or higher with 90% humidity.  Outside excursions are possible, but are best undertaken early in the morning or in the early evening when the sun is low.   During the winter, the temperatures stay below freezing for weeks at a time - but as long as the temperature is above 0F - we don't usually need to make any special accommodations besides winter clothing.  We usually have 2-3 winter storms a year that disrupt school and travel for 24 hours or less before the roads are cleared.   Multi-day winter storms like this are very rare in this area of Michigan; I don't remember one like this in my life.  My parents lived through the blizzard of 1978 which shut down their town for a week.   We're probably going to be melted out by Saturday, I hope.

I'd never realized how much I depended on being able to go outside until these last three days while the storm has made it too dangerous.  My husband's truck was in the shop and we planned to pick it up this morning.  The three of us got bundled up, hopped into my minivan and started off.   We made it about a half-mile before deciding that traversing the 5 miles to the auto shop would be too dangerous.  The next street was a half-mile farther along and I made a U-turn there.   The road alternated between 12-18" of drifted snow and bare ground thanks to the constant wind we've been having for a few days along with an average of 6" of snow each day.

Making decisions about when (or if) to do basic chores during a winter storm is part of being an adult.   The problem facing young women who are stay-at-home daughters (SAHD) is that these women are expected to conform to the vision of their father.   It's most obvious in courtships.  The Duggar daughters who have married were all expected to conform to the Duggar parent ideals - no "front hugs" and no unchaperoned time with their suitor.   The daughters were all legal adults when they entered their courtships, but the rules for the courtship was set up by the parents.   Based on the book "Before You Meet Prince Charming", the Mally family agrees.   The Maxwell Family views their sons to be under the authority of their father until marriage so presumably the daughters are too.

In "Joyfully At Home", Jasmine Baucham includes a swipe at adult SAHDs who follow their father's vision without being fully conversant in the details of the plan. 

For instance, I once had a friend over, and we were talking about various movies that were playing in the theater at the time. I brought up a movie that I had not seen or read about yet, but was interested in looking into, and my friend - a wonderful, Godly 19 year old woman -quipped, "Oh, my dad says I'm not allowed to watch that movie."

When I asked her why, she shrugged her shoulders helplessly. "He just said so." I questioned her further, intent on getting to the bottom of her helpless attitude towards the situation. " Did he say you couldn't ask him why?" I wanted to know.

She shook her head. " No. He read something in the paper and said we probably shouldn't be interested in that movie."

" Did he burn the paper afterwards?" I asked.

" No, he left it open on the coffee table."

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a young woman who trust fully in the wise guidance of her father. However, to do so without caring seek the reasoning behind the decision might show laziness or an indifference on the daughter's part. (pgs.48-49)

I think Ms. Baucham's intention for stay-at-home daughters is clear.  Daughters should put the time and energy to fully understand why their fathers believe certain things and be able to explain that belief clearly to outsiders.

It's a nice idea - but there is an assumption that once daughters learn the reason for their family's belief, the daughters will both agree with the belief and want to continue the behavior.

Allow me to create a thought experiment around Jasmine's story.   The next time her friend wants to see a certain movie, her father says she shouldn't watch it because of something he read in the paper.  The friend picks up the paper and reads it.    How might the daughter's belief in her father's vision be shaken if she finds that:
  • The movie "God Is Not Dead" is described as a collection of how conservative Christians wish the world worked, but because of that the movie is completely unobjectionable and edifying for people within a certain belief system.   Too bad her dad refuses to let anyone in his family watch movies because he thinks they are a waste of time a la Steven Maxwell.
  • The movie "Hidden Figures" has no objectionable content in terms of sexuality or language. It does, however, show adult women working while they have children at home - and that's immoral according to Ken and Lori Alexander.
  • The movie "Selma" has some content-related violence - but the thing her father really objects to is the idea that black people are equal to white people.  That's against the Bible according to anyone who raves about Rushdoony like the Botkin Family.
Exploring the beliefs held by your family is a critical component of growing up - but 19-year old Jasmine Baucham hadn't yet grappled with the reality that it is very natural for adults to reject some beliefs that their parents hold strongly. 

This rejection of reality illustrates one of the flaws of the expectation of SAHDs that living under their family's vision automatically moves them closer to being a woman who is ready to leave her family of origin and marry.  For a SAHD who objects to an item of her family's belief system, her only option is to crush her disbelief and stick with the family's beliefs.  If she openly questions the beliefs, she's being worldly so it's better to shut down those nagging thoughts and feelings before they destroy her family.

If a person ignores their thoughts and feelings long enough, they will stop hearing those thoughts and feeling, certainly - but at the cost of losing the ability to think critically about situations as well as losing the benefits "gut-instincts" bring to the table.   The person will be less likely to discomfort their friends and family - but are at very high risk of being taken in by cult leaders, conmen and predators.

I suspect that 28-year-old Jasmine Holmes has a more nuanced understanding of belief formation among adolescents and adults, thankfully.  I hope her mature understanding makes inroads into CP/QF beliefs.

The last post in this chapter is my favorite.  Ms. Baucham explains that your dad always has a vision - even if he swears he doesn't.....