I wrote about the Duggars here: [Read these blog entries for context]
"The Oppression of Youth and Dominionism"
"The Duggars, Bill Gothard, Vision Forum, and The Quiverful Movement"
The other week, Michelle Duggar announced she was having her 20th baby. Maybe it's just me, but I have grown more disturbed at the whole circus. Watching the show for me has become about exposing what is going with it and the movements this family are promoting. The children are great, they are sweet, and many are lovable, but there is much to be concerned about as the family that rejects television in their own house but stars in one of the most watched reality shows out there which advances insidious agendas. I found myself thinking of Michelle Duggar's announcement:, "What about the baby she just had, who has gone back on oxygen and who now will join the numbers of the neglected "lost" children?" One example is Jordyn who seems to bumble around her family, 'asking who are these people and what am I doing here?", horribly ignored it seems.
That said, they have the right to have as many children as they want, [there are options for a couple to abstain 1 Cor 7:5 in the Bible which these two could have chosen] but very few realize that this couple is caught up in such cultic beliefs, that Michelle Duggar feels she must martyr herself to have as many children as possible, forgoing common sense, and even caring about the children she already has.
She said this:
“As I thought long and hard about that, I realized that ‘There’s no greater love than this that a man would be willing to lay down his life,’ and I think as a mom and a parent you’d be willing to do that for your child — even the child that’s not here yet. I would be willing to do that,” she said."
Maternal Martyr, Michelle Duggar, Willing to Risk Life for Baby #20
This article is right about the poisonous aspects of Quiverful where quantity counts at all costs, and motherhood is to be pushed above everything else, even the well-being of one's own health and the children and family already present. I remember seeing these attitudes in the Catholic church, where with some Trad Catholics who did not believe in birth control, even a broken woman who was told she would die by the doctor with the next pregnancy suffered badly. Her husband ignored her health and she got pregnant with number 16. I do not know the final results, but this woman's health had even been in more danger then Michelle Duggar's. This reminds me too of a Catholic friend in the same church who was told by two doctors, they would die via pregnancy and were told by priests, that it was their "duty" and they'd be martyrs for God if they died in childbirth. Remember prior to Vatican 2, this is how it was done EVERYWHERE in the Catholic church. Some of us are old enough to remember. Even the allowances for natural family planning was part of the "liberalization" of the Catholic church. It remains to be seen, but I have the running theory that even Quiverful probably has a tie to Catholicism in it's origins to even be introduced as such a similar teaching.
To me, Michelle Duggar's comment about martyring herself for another baby is very disturbing, and ignores what would happen to a family like the Duggars, should Mom lose her life, in having the most babies as possible. Jim Bob Duggar also holds responsibility here too. Where is his concern for his wife's health and well-being or that of his children? Even with the announcement of her 20th pregnancy,some of the children looked horrified though others kept the smiles plastered on their faces. Let's not forget just a year and half ago, they had their lives uprooted and watched mother and sister almost die. These things were ignored by the parents.
This ties into the Dominionism too, where the woman's worth, is only seen in how many future babies she will have. The article quotes Mary Pride, a proponent of Quiverful who states:
“Missionaries go to foreign countries to beget new Christians; mothers get pregnant to be beget new Christians. Even if maternal missionary work has some hazards (and what missionary work doesn’t?), the noble way is to face them with courage. Likewise, we really ought to honor women with medical problems … diabetes, asthma, quadriplegia, arthritis, heart problems … who are willing to serve God with their bodies as mothers.”
So Michelle Duggar via her false cultic religious beliefs, has been told to have as many babies as possible even if means the end of her life and leaving the 19 she does have without a mother? Sorry but this stuff to me comes out of old school Catholicism, with phariseeical religious leaders laying burdens they themselves would not bear. How many average American families with both parents working a full time job to keep the rent paid and food on the table could take care of 20 children?
There is something worrying about that. I find myself agreeing with some of the even the secular writers who concede that Michelle Duggar is a mentally ill "baby collector" who loses interest in each child, after they leave infancy. Having watched enough of the shows, her bond with the older children seems limited. The older children seem to be more the "parents" in a way of the younger children.
One secular website [warning there are some language issues] states it this way:
"Is it really? Let's study the situation. Before their television show and book earned them millions of dollars, the children lived cramped together in a very small house . However, they live in a slightly large house since their television show. Their children's bedroom is a dormitory-like setting with multiple bunk beds. They have no privacy at all. To top all this, they have to schedule time with their parents WEEKS ahead.
Their older children have no childhoods at all. They function as primary caregivers and it is mandatory that they raise their younger siblings. Their parents do not raise the children at all. However, the Duggars INTEND to have more children. This does not make sense to most educated, normal, and intelligent people. ,We have been educated to know that when a person becomes a parent, it is their responsibility to raise their children, not other children. If a parent is affluent enough, he/she usually hires an au pair and/or a nanny to help raise their children.
Although the Duggars have money to hire nannies and au pairs to raise their children, they elect not to do so. Instead they have their oldest children consigned to slave labor status as handmaidens and servants to their younger siblings. Psychologist decry parents who have children raise other children. Psychological studies state the children do not have the maturity and the development to raise other children. The studies assert that the raising of children is an ADULT responsibility, not ANOTHER CHILD'S responsibility. I concur with those studies. An older sibling raise a younger siblings constitutes child abuse.
Furthermore, many women, including Michelle Duggar, have an inordinate amount of children because of "baby hunger". Psychological and sociological studies maintained that there are many women who continuously get pregnant because they crave infants. Once their children leave infancy, they miss this and have another child. This is a form of mental illness. These psychologically challenged women kept on having infants to the neglect of the older children. This is what Michelle Duggar is doing. She is neglecting the older children to continuously have infants to satisfy her "baby hunger".
It is evident that the oldest children in the family are neglected and relegated to the status of servant to the parents and to the younger siblings. Most rationally minded parents stop at one or two children because they believe that it all they can care for emotional and psychologically. Financial affordability is not the only factor in deciding how many children a couple has Emotional availability should be another factor. Even though a couple is highly affluent, does not mean that they should have a large family. Studies show that as a family becomes large, parents are unable to invest much emotional time in the caring of their children.
To state it succinctly, the Duggars are UNABLE to care for their children. Yet, the Duggars indicated that they wanted a twentieth child. This is totally inane. They do not even take care of the other ninteteen they have. They have it very easy as parents. That job is done by their children. There was one segment of the series in which the oldest daughters wanted to travel but the mother forbade it because she wanted them to look after her infant child"
While I believe there is nothing wrong, with having older children help in a very large family, the Duggars have taken things far far beyond that. One can see even if they watch the show, the bonds between the "buddies" surpass that of the parents.
The parents merely round them up for trips, do a Bible study but even with the homeschooling, the oldest daughters have been given the job to do all the teaching for the youngest and have taken over most of the jobs, that a mother is supposed to at least be in charge of.
That said, watching young women long out of high school, playing permanent baby-sitters for their mother, not being prepared for any future is also a concern. One thing about the Quiverful circles, is they leave their children especially female children unprepared in a society that demands education and some skills to succeed. If they were Amish, there would be at least a community and future beaus for their daughters to marry in a self enclosed system, but for now all they have formed is a gilded cage for their SAHD daughters to live in, denying them education, and opportunities even to build a future life.
Even if they preach motherhood and marriage and no career for the older girls, the oldest Duggar daughters are now well into their early 20s, and have not dated or even been allowed to "court" as far as any of us know. Imagine if some of them joined the regular world, they would find themselves years behind their peers even in education. What kind of future do they have to look forward to? It is a growing problem. Even the Amish allow their teenage children to meet in a group for games and fellowship after church services to at least give their children to meet their future mates.
By the way, I know people personally with SAHD "Stay At Home Daughters", this is not uncommon in the "Christian" fundamentalist world now. The isolation of this life, living like it's 1830 in a 2011 world has major limitations. I do not know how that will pan out for those young women who are some of the sweetest girls I've ever met but seem consigned to living in a bubble. What is scary, is the two families I am thinking of live in a very modern suburbanized community, even the numbers of future Quiverful "Christian" husbands would be very few and far between. If one is going to live this way, at least give your grown daughters a fighting chance and move to a very traditional more rural community, or have at least a church network of some sort that shares in the same beliefs. That is a reality out there, the Quiverfuls often live in a world where they are "connected" via the literature, magazines, and the occasional ATI or homeschool conferences--there is a reason that the Duggars "best friends" ,the Bates live a few states away.
What is ironic about most Quiverful/Vision Forum families, including the two that I know, are the mothers and fathers often had modern education, and in the father's case hold jobs that require a regular college education. While we can be concerned about the wicked things being foisted through the university system and public school system, when no vocational training of any sort is offered that is accredited or approved outside the cult system, what will those young people have to do for a living? That is setting children including young men who must find some way to support these immensely large families up for future failure and being way behind their peers. The Duggars have consigned their children to these 'outside' the system organizations even past the normal homeschool K-12 point forgoing college or trade school for the "College Plus" program.
Here too, the Amish have lands and farms for self sufficiency and some of the families are wise to go more in that direction, but watching the older children in the Duggar family being denied real educations that will be marketable seems to be a disaster in the waiting, once the TLC money dries up. Some may manage to have successful business built on Dad's coattails, but it's doubtful that is going to happen for 10 sons.
This article "Homeschool Blindspots" points some of those major problems out but what about not preparing children for future careers? That is just one of the biggest problems right there. Even among the Duggar children such as Jill and Josiah, who seem to be having their dreams of more intellectual pursuits repressed. Some time ago, I asked one of the Vision Forum influenced families I know if their grown daughter would be going to college, she told me, "No, she will be preparing to be a midwife." These particular folks, live in a suburban house, in a community where most go to the hospital to birth their babies.
Many of those like the Duggars end up living in a little bubble world where home is the "entire world". There is a growing issue out there and warning it does use a tune of modern music to make it's message, this video was done by a Christian man who homeschools his children but worries for the affects of the extreme SAHD/Quiverful/Vision Forum/Gothard teachings on girls who must have every future husband approved by their fathers using humor.
This definitely seems to be a fate that very well could befall the Duggar girls.
One thing, many look at the Duggar children, and think they are so happy, but ignore the cult realities beyond the surface, one of those is ATI, itself. ATI, actually stands for ADVANCED TRAINING INSTITUTE, which is kind of a scary name, denoting control and worse. What is everyone being TRAINED for?
They are sent to ATI camps to be taught Bill Gothard's teachings. See here. Now if you read that website and the young girl who was sent to ATI camp and said some of the Duggar girls were present, I noticed something she wrote right off
There was a big emphasis on quieting of the mind and being silent. Waiting for God. Really waiting. I have been working on that on the train and since I came home. It really is an exercise!!
That sounds like contemplative exercises, that are not Christian nor biblical. One Christian commenter even comes on to warn her. ATI is Bill Gothard's organization and supports the Quiverful, patriarchial visions, where even grown children are to remain under the umbrella of the father. They add to the Bible with their so called "Wisdom Booklets"
Webwide, one can read even more detail about Bill Gothard's false teachings.
The Bill Gothard connections, are scary enough, but The Duggars have now shown support for The Pearls. That has always been debated online, do they follow the teachings of the Pearls who are popular in these cirlces? Well looks like they do. Online, I saw folks discussing The Duggars listing The Pearl's "ministry" "No Greater Joy" on their website in helping to sell their products. Obviously this is some support for the teachings of the Pearls.. Remember the Pearls? If you google them you can find endless websites that expose them and their ties to childhood abuse. Why are the Duggars supporting this ministry on their website given the controversies?
One of the creepiest things about Gothard and the Pearls is that they teach that happy is the only acceptable emotion. If you do not have a joyful countenance, you are publicly shaming your authorities. In other words, if the kid looks unhappy, it is a personal offense against the parents. Pearl also has nauseating quotes and anecdotes about how any time his kids expressed unhappiness or anger they were hit even harder and longer until they were cheerful. How twisted is that? Children are taught from babyhood to always be cheerful, or else they deserve a spanking. As they grow older, it is not just the fear of a spanking that causes them to keep smiling. It is the sincere belief that they are sinning with ingratitude, rebellion and more if they don't present a happy face.
Hopefully The Duggars do not take things that far beyond the already admitted "blanket training" [see above], but keep that in mind the next time you read about or watch the Duggars.
Why is this particular family being so promoted?