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Monday, January 26, 2015

Quivering Daughters

Posted by jlwile on August 22, 2010

This book is nothing short of amazing. It was written by a woman who grew up in the “patriarchy movement,” which is gaining quite a bit of popularity in the homeschooling community. In essence, the patriarchy movement suggests that if you follow a basic formula that includes parental authority, emphasis on family, homeschooling, and adherence to the “divinely-ordained” roles of the man as the head-of-the-house/breadwinner and the woman as the keeper-of-the-house/helpmeet, then you will be rewarded with a legacy of godly children. Typically, those in this movement say that children are a blessing, and God should determine how many children you have. Thus, many in this movement have very large families. Since Psalm 127:3-5 says, “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD…Like arrows in the hand of a warrior…How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them,” people will often refer to such families as “quiverfull” families, and that’s where the title of this book comes from.

Why is this book nothing short of amazing? Actually, there are several reasons. First, it is really intended for a very limited audience: women who grew up in the patriarchy movement and were harmed by it. Please note the “and” in that sentence. While the author was clearly harmed by the patriarchy movement, she does not contend that all women are harmed through it. This is actually one of the amazing aspects of the book. The author has every right to feel angry towards the patriarchy movement and those who promote it, but she doesn’t express any anger at all. To be sure, she discusses in several places why the patriarchy movement is unBiblical, but she never once condemns the people leading it or participating in it. I find that quite laudable.

The book is also amazing because even though it is intended for a very limited audience, it actually affected me in a profound way. Being neither a woman nor someone who grew up in the patriarchy movement, I still learned a great deal from it. In fact, I strongly recommend it to all fathers who have daughters. I truly wish this book had been around a long time ago. If I had been able to read it before I adopted my little girl, I would have been a better father to her.

The book is essentially the author’s story of the pain she experienced growing up in a patriarchal regime. However, it is also filled with quotes and stories from other “quivering daughters.” The way she weaves her story with the experiences of other women like her is almost mesmerizing.

It starts out a bit dry, with an academic essay by Rachel D. Ramer on the patriarchy movement. It discusses the general characteristics of people in the patriarchy movement as well as some of its more disturbing aspects. Thankfully, Ramer makes a clear distinction between homeschoolers and patriarchal families. While all members of the patriarchal movement are homeschoolers, not all homeschoolers are a part of the patriarchal movement.

With the dry stuff out of the way, the author dives into some very tragic, very personal issues. Using her own diary entries from when she was a child, she details some of the horrible things in her life that were brought on by living in a patriarchal family. Continuing the theme of working through the pain without condemning those responsible, she says that the diary itself is a reminder of the love she has for her father and that it is the best gift she has received from anyone, except God and her husband.

Once you have gotten a good idea what it was like for her growing up, she fast forwards to an episode in her adult life that brought me to tears. I sat on a beach chair on the shore of Lake Michigan and wept like a schoolboy when I read this:

A few years ago, I found an old family picture taken when I was thirteen. I stared at myself, at my shapeless face, awkward body, weird clothes, frizzy hair, and red cheeks. I couldn’t stop the thought – it lurched from some deep, raw place and assaulted her, the girl in the photo, with a lifetime’s accumulation of disgust.
You. Are. So. Ugly. (p. 23 – emphasis hers)

Think about that for a moment. Almost every girl thinks she is ugly (at least for a time) while she is growing up. However, as adults, most grow out of that idea. This young woman’s childhood was filled over and over with the lesson that she was an ugly, worthless girl. Indeed, this was drilled into her so deeply that even as an adult, she could not think of anything else when looking at a childhood photo. I would not wish that kind of childhood on my worst enemy.

But wait a minute. Patriarchal families constantly say that children are a blessing. Why would a family that sees children as a blessing treat this woman so badly when she was a child? She addresses that question with keen insight:

While Quiverfull teaching exalts children as supreme blessings, it doesn’t reveal its grim underside – the silent reality that takes place in hundreds of homes every day and of which I learned: I am only a blessing when I am useful, helpful, obedient, kind, unselfish, submissive, compliant, and responsible. And only these kinds of blessings deserve love… (p. 13)

I grieve for this young woman and those like her. Children are definitely a blessing, no matter what. They also deserve unconditional love.

Now I told you that this book profoundly affected me. It wasn’t just that it brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. It affected me on a much more serious level. While the author is telling her story, she gives a lot of good advice about what daughters need in order to thrive. For example, she says:

Want to know how a daughter should be treated? A little girl should feel safe. She should feel that her mind, body, and heart are all tucked in at night…A little girl should feel wanted…and not be required to learn survival and fear as a constant way of life. A little girl should be encouraged, not broken. (p. 153)

I honestly wish I had the benefit of this author’s wisdom before I adopted my little girl. Even though I probably did a lot of what she suggests simply because I deeply love my daughter, if I had been consciously aware of a little girl’s needs in the vivid way this author describes them, I probably could have done a better job.

Here’s the bottom line. When I got done reading this book, I dried my eyes, screwed up my courage, and called my little girl, who is now an adult. I apologized to her for any mean thing I said to her while she was growing up, and I apologized for anything I might have done to make her feel unwanted, unsafe, unloved, or broken. A little girl is a precious thing, and like most precious things, she needs to be handled with extreme care. I think I would have been a bit more careful with my own daughter if this book had been around 17 years ago.


72 Responses to “Quivering Daughters”
  1. Greg says:

    I am grieved when I see people taking their own personal experiences, however painful, and attempting to discredit other people by painting with such a broad brush. It is all too convenient in our “sound bite” age (even Christians are guilty of this) to stereotype people by broadly associating them with a “movement” (of course, the “movement” has to have a name, in this case, “patriarchy”), stating that the “movement “ is bad, then by implication demonizing anyone who you think may be a part of said “movement”. Don’t misunderstand me, there are some abusive parents out there, who may do any one or more of the many things mentioned in this book, but that in and of itself does not make EVERYTHING they do unbiblical and if what they are doing is based on Scripture, how dare any of us criticize it.

    I personally know of many children who are adults that would fit within the definition of what some are calling the “patriarchy movement” who are well adjusted Christians who have unbelievable testimonies, including deep affection for their parents, etc. If we are to listen to the naysayers, how about giving audience to those who have benefited from living in loving homes where the parents, though sinners, have done their best job possible to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

    I fear some people posting on here, while not seeing it that way, are launching an attack on God’s word and hence, on God Himself. God did say that “children are a blessing”. Does that justify abuse…no. But the problem isn’t with God’s word, the problem isn’t that people are having lots of children, etc., the problem is that some parents (the emphasis needs to be on “some”) have other issues that they need to deal with, etc. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water folks. Remember, and any science major should understand this simple concept, “correlation does not mean causation”. In other words, just because you find an abusive father in a home that looks “patriarchal” to you doesn’t mean that “patriarchy” is bad; it means that the abusive father needs to repent. I hope you can see the difference.

  2. jlwile says:

    Greg, I don’t think you understand the book or the review. As I said in the review, the “and” is important. The author does not paint with a broad brush. Instead, she specifically talks about women who were raised in patriarchy AND were harmed by it. That means not all patriarchy or quiverfull families cause harm to their children. While I consider the patriarchy movement to be unBiblical (and I think the author does as well), the purpose of the book is not to cast dispersions on patriarchy. It is to help those who have been harmed by it.

  3. Greg says:

    Will all due respect, Dr. Wile, what makes one part of this so-called “patriarchy movement” that is being branded as “unbiblical” then? Is it having lots of children and believing they are a blessing? Is it believing that God ordained different roles for men and for women? Is it believing in Biblical authority? Is it believing that we have strayed from Biblical norms and we should return to living “too simple”, “strange”, or “plain”, etc.? Or, must one exhibit 2 or more of the above beliefs or 3 or more of the above beliefs, or have some beliefs I haven’t detailed? This is the “broad brush” that I am concerned with here.

    I have seen references also to the so-called “Quiver full Movement” which seeks to demonize those who would dare to allow God to control the womb. I have talked to Christians who are in the “Quiver Full Movement” and they don’t even know the “movement” exists. The same is true of this so-called “patriarchy movement”. What does one do to get branded as being in the so-called “patriarchy movement”? I would suggest that if there is such widespread “unbiblical” teaching going on that you follow Mathew 18 and approach whoever it is that is in error, etc. rather than painting with such a broad brush so as to lump dear brothers and sisters in Christ in this so-called “Patriarchy movement” and be so bold as to say with no specificity what it is that they are doing is “unbiblical”.

  4. jlwile says:

    Greg, perhaps you should read the book. As I state in my review, there is an essay at the beginning that describes the patriarchy movement and what it entails. There are also specific discussions of what makes the patriarchy movement unBiblical. Even with that, however, the author does not say that ALL patriarchal families abuse their children. However, having grown up in a family that did, her experience is relevant in helping others who have been through similar abuse.

    I think you are assuming things about the author and what she says rather than actually finding out what she actually says through the relatively simple act of reading her book. That is unfortunate, because as I stated before, the author does not paint with a broad brush. As has been clearly shown through the comments on this review, her book has been very helpful to our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been harmed. Until you read the book, you really have no basis upon which to judge it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to have kept you from doing so.

  5. Greg says:

    Dr Wile, I regret I am not making my point(s) clear to you. My issue isn’t with the book necessarily (as you say, I have not read it), but is with your comments as well as those of others on here as much as anything. Let me try this from another approach. You stated the book is for “women who grew up in the patriarchy movement and were harmed by it.” That is akin to stating something like the following: “women who grew up in the home schooling movement and were harmed by it.” The so-called “patriarchy movement” is not to blame for what individual families do or don’t do that is wrong. Sin is to blame. This is painting with a broad brush and does injustice and harm to many Christian brothers and sisters. I am grieved that you fail to see the fallacy in this type of logic. If someone has a bad family experience, and he is home schooled, using your logic, we can blame the “home schooling movement”. Or, if someone claims to be a “Christian” and blows-up a building, we can say that anyone who follows the Bible is a terrorist. Correlation does not mean causation. Perhaps you could point to which Scriptures that folks in the so-called “patriarchy movement” take seriously and that they should not. What exactly is “unbiblical” as you say about this movement? I am simply asking you to support this broad accusation against this so-called movement that indicts many of my Christian friends.

  6. jlwile says:

    Greg, I regret that you are not understanding my review or basic logic. Neither the author nor me is saying that because you are in the patriarchy movement you are harming your daughter. That’s the logical significance of the AND I pointed out.

    If someone wrote a book like this for those who were raised in the homeschooling movement AND were harmed by it, I would have no problem with it. I am sure SOME children have been harmed by homeschooling, and they deserve healing. Since such a statement does not condemn all homeschooling, I have no problem with it. I guess that is the difference between you and me. I do not make assumptions about what people mean. I take them at their word.

    Since you have admitted to not knowing what the patriarchy movement means, it would be pointless for me to discuss its theological problems. Also, that’s not the point of the book or my review.

  7. Greg says:

    I will trouble you with one last post. You stated in your latest post in response to me,

    “Neither the author nor me is saying that because you are in the patriarchy movement you are harming your daughter.”

    In your review of the book, you stated, “she discusses in several places why the patriarchy movement is unBiblical”. You have stated you believe this statement to be correct.

    I guess where I am confused is by the inconsistency here. If the so-called “patriarchy movement” is as you say, and the book says, “unBiblical”, then by definition it is sinful and IS “harmful”. In my Bible, “unBiblical” practices/acts always cause harm and have consequences. You cannot have it both ways. This is the kind of conundrum you get on these types of things when you are not careful. You cannot condemn “patriarchy” as “unbiblical” without condemning everyone who is in this “movement”.

  8. jlwile says:

    Greg, I certainly CAN condemn patriarchy without condemning everyone in the movement. I think you have a lot of things confused here. Let me help you try to sort them out.

    1. The term “unBiblical” doesn’t necessarily mean “sinful.” I am not sure where you get that, but it definitely isn’t from Scripture. Sin is transgression of God’s law, as stated in 1 John 3:4, and rebellion or disobedience against God, as stated in Deuteronomy 9:7. The literal translation of the Greek word for “sin” is “to miss the mark,” which refers to us falling short of God’s holy standard. One can believe unBiblical things for lots of reasons, including honestly trying to serve God and being ignorant or being deceived by someone else. Thus, to believe in something that is unBiblical does not necessarily mean you are being sinful. It might mean you are confused, deceived, or ignorant.

    2. I agree that there are consequences for believing in unBiblical things, but that doesn’t necessarily entail causing harm to those you love. Often, the consequences of believing unBiblical things act on you, not your family. As an example, one of my dear friends from school grew up in an atheist household. The household was clearly unBiblical, but the mother and father loved their daughter and treated her like the fragile, precious person she was. She grew up loved and honored, and even came to Christ eventually. The father died a bitter old man, and the mother is still estranged from her daughter. The consequences of their unBiblical beliefs acted on them, not their daughter.

    3. Many people in the patriarchy movement are honestly trying to follow the Lord. They have been seduced by an unBiblical viewpoint, but they still follow the Lord with all they have. As a consequence of the fact that they are honestly trying to follow the Lord, they treat their children as the Lord would have them treated: as true blessings no matter what. While I think they are living unBiblically, I do not condemn them, because they are honestly seeking the Lord, and it is hard to condemn anyone for that. I can speak to them individually (when the opportunity arises) to try to convince them what is wrong with what they believe, but I don’t condemn them.

    I honestly think your problem is that you are so worried about defending those who you perceived as being in the patriarchy movement that you are missing the whole point of the book and this review. Those who have been harmed need healing, and this book will provide it. If it upsets some people along the way, I really couldn’t care less.

  9. Greg says:

    un·bib·li·cal [ un bíbblik'l ]

    “opposed to teachings in Bible: opposed or in contrast to the teachings of the Bible, or not present or approved in biblical teaching”

    Sorry, Dr. Wile, but “unbiblical” does mean “sin”. If one is “opposed to the teachings of the Bible”, he is in sin. You cannot get around this. This was the first definition on the search. There are probably better ones.

    “un” means “not” as in “unable” means “not able”. In the same way, “unbiblical” means “not biblical”. In other words, “unbiblical” means that something is in opposition to teaching in the Bible. For example, it is “unbiblical” to commit fornication; would you not agree?

    Your explanation in your last post really concerns me. You try to say people can live “unBiblical” lives but somehow get credit from God for their effort, or motives. Please show where this new concept is found in the Bible. My Bible is filled with stories of where people with “good motives” suffered for their unbiblical actions, e.g., 2 Samuel 6:6-7, Uzzah. I submit to you that God is more interested in our obedience than our motives. God has decreed certain ways to do things and regradless of our motives, God desires that we do things His way.

    BTW, with all due respect, you couldn’t be more wrontg on your assumption that the “unBiblical” actions of parents don’t cause “harm” to their children. Children always are harmed by the sins of their parents. For example, if Dad won’t provide by working the children may go hungry, etc. Frankly, your idea that the young lady whose parents were atheists didn’t suffer harm just because she later came to Christ is ludicrous. Dr. Wile, there are always consequencies to “unBiblical” actions for everyone in the family. If patriarchy is “unBiblical” it is sinful.

  10. jlwile says:

    Greg, you really are confused on this issue. Let me once again try to explain to you the difference between unBiblical and sinful, as you are clearly not getting it. Your definition for unBiblical is correct, but you don’t seem to understand it. The definition is referring to a BELIEF, not a person. This is best understood by looking at the end of the definition: “not present or approved in biblical teaching.” A person cannot be present or approved in Biblical teaching. However, a belief can.

    Perhaps the best way to illustrate the difference is to use your question about fornication. It is UNBIBLICAL to believe that there is nothing wrong with fornication. However, that is not sin. SIN is to COMMIT fornication, either in life or in your heart. Now if you believe there is nothing wrong with fornication, you are probably more likely to commit it. However, believing there is nothing wrong with it is not sin. Committing it (in heart or in action) is sin. I hope I have made this clear enough for you to understand.

    I really think you have to stop reading into statements things that are clearly not there. You did this when you read my review, and now you are doing it again. Nowhere did I even IMPLY that people can “somehow get credit from God for their effort, or motives.” All I said was that I cannot condemn them for honestly trying to follow the Lord. That has nothing to do with how God judges them. I tend to follow Jesus’ advice on that point and leave that up to God Himself. I wish you would do the same.

    You also seem to be reading things into what I said about my friend. I didn’t say she was not harmed “just because she later came to Christ.” I said she was not harmed because she was raised in love and treated like the fragile, precious person she is. Thus, her parents, even though they led an unBiblical life, raised their daughter in a way that many Christians can’t seem to accomplish – they raised her in love. I think that actually made it easier for her to come to Christ. She clearly was not harmed by her parents’ unBiblical lives. She will tell you that herself.

    Just as many parents who think they live Biblically can cause immense harm to their children, parents who live unBiblically can raise their children without harming them. Thus, your idea that there are ALWAYS consequences to EVERYONE in the family for unBiblical beliefs on the parents’ part is just ludicrous. Your beliefs will guide you in raising your children, but it is your actions that will cause harm.

  11. Greg says:

    Dr. Wile, “It is UNBIBLICAL to believe that there is nothing wrong with fornication. However, that is not sin.”

    I promise this will be my last post. I don’t think we are getting anywhere with our discussion.

    I must challenge the doublespeak in your last post. I really do think you are confused, and I am not sure how to make things clear to you. Probably a one-on-one discussion would be far superior to this blog, but let me leave you with this thought:

    “Ideas have consequences”. Your idea that people can have “unBiblical” thinking and not commit sin is “unBiblical”. Please allow me to share the Word of God with you and not my opinion.

    “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” Pro 23:7.

    “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Pro 4:23. If this was the only verse in the whole Bible, it would be sufficient to prove your reasoning is faulty. You cannot decouple thought life from actions.

    “ And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?” Mat 9:4. Jesus Himself proclaimed that “unBiblical” thinking was “evil”.

    “May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.” Ps 119:80 This is referring to his thoughts, not his actions, yet the psalmist warns about “unBiblical” thinking leading to “shame”.

    “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD…” Pro 16:5

    “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” Pro 21:2.

    “Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.” Pro 28:14. When you have “unBiblical” thinking, the Scripture says you “may fall into mischief”, NO, it says you “SHALL fall into mischief”.

    Dr Wile, I am truly amazed that you think a man can have “unBiblical” thinking and that not be sinful. I pray you will look to God’s word and see the error in your thinking. If people (or “movements”) are thinking “unBiblical” then they are in sin; there is just no escaping this. “UnBiblical” thinking is sin even when people don’t act on their “unBiblical” thinking directly. And, more often than not, people do act on their “unBiblical” thinking because they have already begun with a lie in their heart. You cannot condemn the “patriarchy movement” without condemning the people in it. If there are people in this movement and they are thinking “unBiblical”, then they are in sin.

  12. Sola Scriptura says:

    Mr. Wile,

    I am absolutely saddened by your definition of sin….i.e. unbiblical does not = sin? My Bible says the same as Greg’s.

    Sola Scriptura, Dr. Wile. Your article tells me that you do not believe in Sola Scriptura for both orthopraxy and orthodoxy. So, if the Bible is not your only standard for life, doctrine and practice, what are you adding into the Bible?

    Have you spoken to this young lady’s parents? If not, then you are judging a matter without having first heard both sides. That is unbiblical and wrong. You are condemning her parents without having firsthand knowledge of the entire situation. Not only are there sinful parents, there are also sinful children, which you don’t seem to be considering a possibility in this young lady’s case.

    I am grieved by your article. Your broad brush stroke of the pen that paints every Patriarchal and/or Quiverfull family in this light is slanderous and wrong. There are sinful people in all walks of life. That doesn’t make God’s ways wrong, it makes man sinful.

  13. Deborah Yuck says:

    Dear Dr. Wile,

    It is with interest I read your review of the book, “Quivering Daughters”, as within I detect a parallel which I hope you will carefully consider.

    In your review, as well as in your responses to various comments, you referenced your beloved adopted daughter. We, too, are the adoptive parents of four precious and much loved adopted daughters, as well as two biological children, a son and another daughter.

    You are aware, aren’t you, that there is a growing body of adult adoptees, who, being wholly disenchanted with having been adopted, are becoming increasingly vocal about their experiences and beliefs, and are lobbying against adoption? Some of these adoptees have tragic stories to tell, to be sure. However, a great many who were not abused by the standards we typically apply to abuse (physical, verbal, and sexual) simply believe adoption is inherently wrong, on every level. Their reasons are myriad, stemming from legitimate abuse, to having been denied their birth culture, to the so-called “white privilege” of adoptive parents, and so on. These adoptees are meeting with significant “success” in influencing organizations such as UNICEF, as well as various governments, with regard to adoption policy, with some of those policies negatively affecting orphans worldwide by denying them loving families, and subjecting them to institutional care until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

    I believe you must now be able to ascertain the parallel I’m speaking of, that of individual cases influencing the broader picture. In the one, we are speaking of the individual case of the author of “Quiverful Daughters” presenting a negative view of the whole of the so-called “patriarchal movement”, and in the parallel, we are speaking of the individual cases of certain, specific children presenting a negative view of adoption on the whole. Were one only to read the blogs and articles of the latter, he or she might easily come away believing adoption is a terrible thing, perhaps even an unbiblical thing. It may be equally so if one only reads, or listens to, young ladies who have experienced heartache in homes where patriarchy was practiced, but biblical patriarchy was not. And there is a distinction, Dr. Wile, between “patriarchy” and “biblical patriarchy”, the latter of which my family and I embrace.

    I haven’t read “Quivering Daughters”, so won’t dismiss out of hand the author’s personal experience growing up. We can all learn from other’s experience, to be sure. However, I would caution anyone who reads the book to exercise utmost care when forming an opinion of the broader so-called “biblical patriarchy movement”. The author’s experience is not a reflection of the “movement” as a whole. It is the story of one woman’s childhood. It may even be the story of more than one woman’s childhood. But it is not the story of all women’s experience, nor should it be considered to be so.

    Just as we see strong support for adoption in the Scriptures, both in direct word, as well as within the principles found throughout, so, too, do we see strong support in the Scriptures for biblical patriarchy, again, in both direct word and within the overarching principles.
    Were this explicitly a blogpost concerning whether or not patriarchy is biblical, I’d address the topic in more earnest. But it is not. Your post is about this one young lady’s experience. Let’s ensure that her experience, and her telling of it, doesn’t negate the truths found in God’s Word. And let us be ever careful in how we address our brethren in Christ, being sure to season our words with love and grace.

    Deborah Yuck
    Ontario, Canada

  14. Deborah Yuck says:

    And if I may just add one other thought.

    As Christians, it is our biblical duty to ensure we hear from both sides in any given dispute, before forming an opinion or offering a judgement. I am not suggesting the young lady in question is not accurate in the re-telling of her childhood, but I am suggesting that before any reputable Christian gives a public endorsement of any book which may possibly disparage a Christian brother or sister, it is imperative that he or she make a deliberate attempt to speak to the others involved, in this case, the young lady’s parents. I assume you have done so, Dr. Wile, and are wholly satisfied that the young lady’s account is fully accurate?

    Deborah Yuck
    Ontario, Canada

  15. jlwile says:

    Greg says, “I promise this will be my last post.” Actually, you said before that you would trouble me with “one last post,” and that wasn’t true. We will see if you are telling the truth this time.

    About the only thing that is correct in this (supposed) last post is your statement, “I don’t think we are getting anywhere with our discussion.” That is very true, as you seem to not understand what Scripture says about sin. The verses you post seem to confirm this, as NONE of them suggest that something unBiblical is necessarily sinful.

    For Proverbs 23:7, please look at the entire context, which is verses 6 and 7, “Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, Or desire his delicacies; For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you.” This, of course, has nothing to do with what is sinful. It is speaking specifically about the fact that a selfish man says one thing about sharing but then thinks another.

    Proverbs 4:23 speaks of the heart. As you should know, the Old Testament sees the heart as the center of all emotions. Thus, this is a command to guard what you are feeling. As John W. Ritenbaugh explains, “Human nature, the law of sin within us, is always seeking to pull us again into the defilement of sin, seeking to destroy our hope of sharing life with the holy God. That is why God counsels us in Proverbs 4:23 to keep—that is, guard, preserve, and maintain—our heart. It is very easy to become defiled by lapsing back to old habits.”

    For Matthew 9:4, look at the verse above, “And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” This is a judgment of the Pharisees. Jesus wasn’t talking about their unbiblical thoughts. He was talking about their plans to discredit him. Once again, those are ACTIONS the Pharisees were committing in their hearts.

    For Ps 119:80, the psalmist is simply asking to have a pure heart so that he will not be ashamed. Nowhere does this verse even imply that unbiblical thoughts are sin. It just shows what the godly man strives for – a pure heart.

    Proverbs 16:5 says that a proud heart is an abomination to the Lord. Of course it is, as a pride is a sin that one commits. It has nothing to do with whether or not one believes something unbiblical.

    Proverbs 21:2 says that the Lord knows the hearts of all men. That is absolutely true and once again has nothing to do with unbiblical beliefs being sinful. It simply says that the Lord knows WHY we do things.

    Proverbs 28:14 says that a man who HARDENS HIS HEART will fall into mischief. Believing unbiblical things is not always the result of hardening your heart. It is often the result of being seduced by bad doctrine, being ignorant, or being pressured into believing something. If you harden your heart, you will fall into mischief. However, very few people believe in unbiblical things because they harden their heart.

    I truly pray that you learn what sin really is, as you do not seem to understand it. Until you understand what sin is, you will continue to mangle Scripture as you have done above.

  16. jlwile says:

    “Sola Scriptura,” I am absolutely saddened by your comment. First, you did the same thing Greg did. You clearly did not bother to even read the review seriously, as I take great pains to tell how the author is NOT painting with a broad brush. Indeed, I even patiently explained to Greg the basic logic that tells you how clearly I said that. For you to claim that I have painted with a broad brush shows you haven’t even bothered to read the review or the comments seriously.

    If your Bible “says the same as Greg’s,” then you need to see my comment to Greg, as the Scriptures he cites say NOTHING even close to the idea that unbiblical = sin.

    The Bible is my only standard, and the very fact that you claim it isn’t shows that you simply want to rush to judgment rather than seriously consider the issues at hand. That is truly unfortunate.

    Once again, since you haven’t read the book (or even read my review seriously), you simply ASSUME that the author and I condemn her parents. In fact, the author does no such thing, and neither do I. She actually speaks quite lovingly about her parents in the book, and I point out in my review her loving thoughts of her father. It is sad to see someone rush headlong into judgment without even pausing to learn the facts.

  17. jlwile says:

    Deborah, I appreciate what you are trying to say, but you couldn’t be more wrong in your parallel. First, the author DOES NOT condemn patriarchy. She simply looks to help those who have been harmed by it. As I state in my review, she specifically does not claim that all daughters of patriarchy are harmed by it. She doesn’t even say that her experiences are representative of the norms of patriarchy. If you would have read the book (or my review carefully), you would see that. When she addresses the theology of patriarchy, she uses the Bible to show that it is unbiblical. Thus, the argument is not, “I got hurt, so patriarchy is bad.” The argument is “I got hurt, and I can help others who were.” A completely separate argument is “If you look at patriarchy and the Scriptures, they are not compatible.”

    Regarding speaking with the young lady’s parents, that isn’t necessary, because she specifically DOES NOT condemn her parents. Indeed, she speaks very lovingly of them. I point out in my review her loving attitude towards her father. Thus, since the book does not condemn them, I have no reason to check with them or condemn them myself.

    I notice a pattern to Greg, “Sola Scriptura,” and your comments. They all are based on ignorance. You have not read the book, yet you all assume things about it. You clearly did not even read my review carefully, as you claim I do things that my review clearly does not do. It seems you all prefer to rush to judgment rather than actually inform yourselves on the issues first. That is truly unfortunate.

  18. thatmom says:

    I hadn’t read the comments for a few days and am quite saddened by the misunderstandings I am reading.
    First of all, only a part of Hillary’s book contains her own journal entries from her growing up years. Much of the book contains testimonies and thoughts from dozens of daughters who grew up in the patriocentric movement and who have written to Hillary since she began her blog.

    These are all stories that are quite familiar to me, too, since I have also received many of these same sorts of letters since I began speaking out against this growing branch of Christian homeschooling four years ago. Having been a homeschooler for 26 years and having witnessed, up close and personal, life within the patriarchal paradigm, I am quite familiar with these teachings and the destruction they have brought to many families. For a true believer in Jesus Christ, the first response when hearing these stories ought to be a troubled and saddened heart, followed by self-examination and a crying out to the Lord to show each of us our own hearts and our own responsibilities in caring for those who are hurting., beginning with repentance toward our own children if necessary. And the hurting ones certainly are not just the young women. There are many young men and grieving parents in this mix as well.

    However, all the personal stories aside, I believe that the patriocentric movement is one that promotes the sin of partiality and a hierarchical system that Jesus condemned rather than the “one anothers” the Word commands. Having spent many years researching the writings and teachings within this branch of homeschooling, I am quite concerned at how far away from Biblical Christianity it has come and where it is heading. Scripture is repeatedly used to proof text the ideas of a few leaders within this movement and mothers and fathers are sinning against their own precious children in order to be part of a paradigm.

    Though I do believe that most families begin down the patriocentric path out of genuine concern and love for their children and the desire to see them walk with the Lord as adults, far too many of them are embracing teachings that are anything by scriptural. I would encourage anyone who does not understand the concerns with the patriarchy/ patriocentric movement to listen to the two series of podcasts I did on this subject. I would especially encourage you to listen to the ones from August 15 and 21, 2010 where I walk through the “manifesto” agenda from the 2009 Homeschool Leadership Summit that was held in Indianapolis. (This summit was organized and presented by leaders within the patriocentric movement and it excluded all homeschooling moms, by the way. ) Included in that agenda for homeschoolers are: being sure that all daughters remain home until marriage, the department of child and family and all public schools are to be shut down, and homeschooling families are to leave their traditional churches and become part of family integrated churches.

    I would also happily share the link to the recordings of that summit if anyone wants it.

    Another concern I have is the repeated notion that any time someone condemns a public teaching that it should begin with a Matthew 18 process. This is one of those misuses of Scripture that is being used by the patriocentrics to shut down discussion of these very important things. (I discuss this on these two podcasts as well and have written an article for my blog that is addresses this notion, pointing out what Scripture actually teaches about Matthew 18.) The bottom line is that public teachings should be addressed in the same manner in which they were taught: publicly.

  19. a friend says:

    Dear friends in Christian love,

    After reading all of these post – I stand in the same space and on the same page with Dr. Wile.

    He is right on target with his book review of “Quivering Daughters”.

    It is a review of a book not a new law that Wile is trying to get passed in the house. (Sound’s like some of you might be in denial of negative hidden emotions or painful experiences that could quite possibly be keeping your eyes from seeing what has been written.)

    After all,
    we are all sinners and need to repent daily. Parents should never be too proud to have a relationship other than just the one and only authoritative style with God’s precious children.

    We are called to lovingly disciple them – not loom over them like a judge in the court room. God will do that! We need to ask for wisdom and discernig skills all the way through our journey as Christian parents.

    I pray for everyone including myself who have responded to Dr.Wile’s blog that we may have understanding minds and hearts of love when reading scripture and for God’s truth to abound and let our heart’s not be troubled or divided. Let us love and care for all sinners, not their sin.
    in His mighty grace and peace, a loving friend

  20. jlwile says:

    Friend and thatmom, thanks for adding your wisdom to this discussion!

  21. Dr. Wile, I hope you don’t mind another person joining in the discussion here, but I just found this blog tonight. You are my elder (in age), so I will do my best to speak with that in mind and with utmost respect for your position.

    My first note is on the definition of patriarchy which you gave. More specifically, it is on the first several words: “In essence, the patriarchy movement suggests that if you follow a basic formula..then you will be rewarded with a legacy of godly children.” I am curious as to where you found the part about it being a formula. I realize that there are people out there who probably believe that if they do “a and b” that they will get “c,” but does the movement itself actually suggest that the passing on of the Christian faith to the rising generation is merely a formula that if followed produces Godly children or is that the practice of some within it? How does such a definition relate to the large number of Calvinists in the Patriarchy Movement who would say that God is in control of salvation and not man?

    Another way of looking at the above question is Christianity in general. If we call Christianity a movement, and we find people who say that “if you repeat this prayer after me, you will be saved,” does that mean that Christianity suggests that salvation is obtained by parroting an offered prayer rather than by faith in Christ? Or does it just mean some people have missed the mark and some people within the movement suggest that by simply repeating a prayer you are saved? If the later, than it would be wrong for me to define Christianity by saying that it suggests the former.

    I humbly ask you to consider Vision Forum’s definition of patriarchy here ( and see if there might be a little more clarity on just what the movement itself teaches verses what some individuals in it practice. I would also be interested in knowing which part of the tenets they present you would believe unbiblical. Maybe do a blog post about it so that it is less vague than your current statements which leave the unbiblical parts undefined. (That’s better than the comments section sometimes.) If it is not the tenets they present that you would find unbiblical, then maybe it would be right to say that it is not the movement itself you have problems with, but rather some individuals application or presentation of the movement.

    Ok, next point. You mention several times that you said that the book was written for those women who grew up in the movement and were harmed by it. My first thought is in reference to what is doing the harming. This relates directly to your comments about the movement being at least partly unbiblical. You have the movement doing the harming. If it is unbiblical, then that is fine because unbiblical things do harm – always. The Bible says that its ways are life, and therefore any way but God’s way is harmful. However, that would also mean that you are putting the entire movement in a bad light – good if it is really unbiblical, bad if it is only some people’s application of that which is taught which is unbiblical. As it currently stands, you do have the PM as a potentially harmful movement that can hurt you and you don’t actually back that up by proving that the movement itself promotes these harmful views. My personal position is that the movement itself did not actually do the harming, but if harm was done, individuals’ sinful application of the Scriptures related to the beliefs presented in the PM did the harming. How would this effect your statement of who the book is for? Going back to my comparison with Christianity in general, Christianity did not harm all the people who have false conversions by thinking that by repeating a prayer or raising a hand or going to the mourner’s bench goes to heaven. The individuals’ misuse of Scripture did. So if the book was about false conversions, your current statement would be that the book is for those who were raised in Christianity and were harmed by it. Now if Christianity is in and of itself bad, then the statement would be accurate. But Christianity itself never did harm anyone. Only perversions of it did. That being the case, the statement is a misrepresentation of reality.

    My final point for this comment will be in reference to the discussion about sin and unbiblical beliefs. Believing something that is unbiblical is sin because it is mentally adding to or subtracting from God’s word which is repeatedly forbidden throughout the Scriptures. Sin may be properly defined not only as all unrighteousness, but also coming short of the glory of God. By holding to an unbiblical position, not only is what we believe unrighteous (unbiblical things are contrary to God himself who is righteousness defined and therefore are by default unrighteous being against God) but it is a belief that is short of the glory of God and therefore something to confess and repent of. My next big concern with the position you laid out is the separation of sin from the belief that gave fruit to it. I quote from an above comment you made:

    ” It is UNBIBLICAL to believe that there is nothing wrong with fornication. However, that is not sin. SIN is to COMMIT fornication, either in life or in your heart. Now if you believe there is nothing wrong with fornication, you are probably more likely to commit it. However, believing there is nothing wrong with it is not sin. Committing it (in heart or in action) is sin.” Actually it is sin to believe that fornication is acceptable. If you believe that, you have rejected the law of God in your hart and that is sin. You have subtracted from the law of God in direct violation of numerous passages like Deuteronomy 12:32 which commands us not take take away from or add to God’s law. Also, consider the case of Job. His friends spoke what they believed in their heart and God’s wrath came on them for it because their beliefs were unbiblical:

    Job 42:7, “And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.”

    In conclusion, if you can show that the tenets placed by the leaders of the biblical patriarchy movement (and I cater to Vision Forum as the best public statement of what Biblical Patriarchy really is), to the extent that it is unbiblical, it has fallen short of the glory of God and is sin. All that is evil in our beliefs must be repented of and thrown out. The issue is merely that the tenets laid forth must be properly shown from the Word how they are in violation of it – and that hasn’t been done yet.

    Thanks for reading and I look forward to your response with hopefully a clarification of your position as well as support for your definition of the movement. I hope you found my statements respectful, and if not, that you will pardon my transgression.

  22. jlwile says:

    Stillstanding, thank you for your comment. I appreciate the respect with which you wrote it. Even though you are young (I assume that from your comment), you have much to teach some of the other commenters on this issue. Thank you.

    Please note that I did not give a definition of patriarchy. I gave one of its teachings. I am, of course, familiar with Vision Forum’s list of the tenets of patriarchy, and that certainly suits better as a definition for patriarchy. However, the tenets of a movement are not an exhaustive list of the movement’s teachings. They are doctrines that form the basis of its many, many teachings.

    The idea that there is a formula by which you will be rewarded with a legacy of godly children is very much a teaching of the patriarchy movement. It is in the literature of the movement. I have also heard it “preached” at many homeschooling conventions: If you do this, this, this, and this, THEN God will bless you with godly Children.

    I agree that many in the patriarchy movement are Calvinists, but that doesn’t affect the formula mentality at all. Remember, in Calvinism, a person has been chosen by God to be saved before the foundations of the earth were laid. Nevertheless, it is the parent’s job to raise ALL their children as godly, whether or not they are a part of the elect. Even if they are not a part of the elect, their life here on earth (and their parents’ life as well) will be better if they behave in a godly manner.

    I agree that you can probably find individual Christians that practice formulaic principles. However, they tend to be the exception, not the rule. We can point out the error of the individuals, but we can also see that the error doesn’t apply to most of Christianity, and you certainly can’t find it in the teachings of Christianity. With the patriarchy movement, you find it in the teachings, and based on my experience with patriarchy families, it is not the exception.

    I have no desire to discuss the theology of the patriarchy movement, as that was not the purpose of my book review, and it is not the purpose of the book. However, if you are interested, there are others who have done a great job of showing the unbiblical nature of patriarchy:

    That Mom

    Jen’s Gems
    (there are three parts to this series, the others are here and here.

    I think you would benefit from reading this book, as you don’t seem to understand how a movement is different from individuals in that movement. This book does a great job of demonstrating the difference. You seem to think that I am condemning the people in the movement, and I am not. Some of them are raising wonderfully godly children and fashioning a truly Christian family, probably because they are wise enough to ignore the unbiblical teachings of the movement and focus on the Biblical ones. However, the movement itself says that EVERYONE must do it in order to raise godly children, and EVERYONE must do it in exactly a specific way. This, in the end, is the source of pain. Forcing a family to be something it is not can cause an enormous amount of pain. Once again, this is the significance of the “and” in the statement “women who grew up in the movement and were harmed by it.” Not all women are harmed by the movement, because their parents were wise enough to follow the Lord in raising their children rather than the teachings of man.

    I am not sure whether this misunderstanding of the nature of sin is a part of the patriarchy movement or just a misconception held by many Christians. However, unbiblical beliefs are not necessarily sin. You claim that by believing that fornication is okay, you are “subtracting” from God’s word. Not necessarily. You could be interpreting God’s word to say just that. While it is hard to interpret God’s word to say that there is nothing wrong with fornication, you can interpret God’s word to say many things that it doesn’t say. Indeed, I think this is what many in the patriarchy movement do. They BELIEVE they are following God’s word, but they are not.

    This is nothing like what Deuteronomy 12:32 is talking about. It is talking about REMOVING things from God’s Law – i.e., saying “this command doesn’t apply to me.” That’s not what many who hold unbiblical beliefs are doing. They are not taking anything away from God’s Law. They are simply misunderstanding it.

    Your example of Job 42:7 makes my point wonderfully. As you can see from the verse, God’s wrath was kindled towards Job’s friends because they DID something. They spoke things about God that were not right. Thus, they were promulgating false teachings. That is an action, and that is sin.

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