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Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement Paperback – May 1, 2010
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Engrossing . . . Skillfully reported by journalist Kathryn Joyce, Quiverfull has echoes of The Handmaid's Tale. Unfortunately, it's not fiction.—Rebecca Braverman, Bust
"An invaluable contribution to understanding how religious fundamentalism still stands in the way of sexual justice . . . An urgent call to dismantle fundamentalism's hold on our politics, and our policy-making."—Sarah Posner, American Prospect online
"Insightful . . . A call to reexamine our own beliefs . . . The issues Joyce's book raises are fundamental to our identity as human beings, and as Christians. Perhaps they could stand some reexamination."—Elrena Evans, Christianity Today
"[An] excellent, frightening new book . . . Quiverfull merits wide readership."—Edd Doerr, The Voice of Reason: Journal of Americans for Religious Liberty
"Riveting and deeply disturbing. This important book shines a light on a corner of the Christian right that has taken misogyny to sadomasochistic extremes, and reveals the sexual anxieties so often underlying modern fundamentalism."—Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming
"Joyce gives us a first-ever glimpse into the Christian patriarchy movement, and her riveting reporting makes it all the scarier. If you've been feeling complacent about women's status, read this book!—Barbara Ehrenreich
"A groundbreaking investigation . . . Future historians and journalists will owe Joyce a debt of gratitude for her foray into this still nascent religious group."—Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Kathryn Joyce is a freelance journalist whose writing has appeared on Salon and in the Nation, Mother Jones, Newsweek, Double X, and other publications. She lives in New York City.
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I found the book to be an accurate depiction of Fundamentalist Christian mindset. Every human emotion involving self is sinful and immoral. To like yourself means you are vain, self indulgent and wicked. You have allowed evil/Satan to take over your life. You are not encouraged to think independently and question the idea's being spoon fed to you by Fundamentalist Christianity. The children grow up to have literally no self esteem or confidence in themselves. They have even less self esteem because they are a female and are not worth much in the Fundamentalist world except to breed. You are raised to think you should aspire to nothing more than marriage and motherhood. That's all girls are good for and nothing more. Most of them cannot think for themselves, they have to refer to the bible to find answers to life's questions or have their husband do their thinking for them like my Grandmother did. In their world Feminism is the great Satan. They blame all of society's ills on feminism rather than taking a good look at themselves and the evil that lies within their movement. They rely heavily on guilt and terrorizing the young into 'being saved'. Something for a lot of us only lasted as long as we were home, but was shed the minute we left home. I think a lot of them enjoy making themselves and others around them miserable. It often leaves me to wonder what people find so enticing about such a dark repressive religion that controls ones every thought. It's taken me 55 years to get over that terrible religion.
I will admit, I finally had to quit reading this book at around page 140. When it was divulged that they were heavily into the trying to eliminate birth control and force their beliefs upon a society around them, that's when it became too much for me. I find these people warped, immoral in their arrogance and irresponsible behavior. They have a right to their religious beliefs...but they DO NOT have a right to force them upon others around them. There is nothing admirable about the grinding poverty they promote with too many children, the misery, the starvation and the suffering of millions from overpopulation they are advocating breeds. The hapless people who didn't ask to be brought into the world to suffer. It's criminal to advocate the kind of immoral behavior they are indulging in...even if it's done for religions sake. In a world that's already been populated into oblivion and dying from excessive human population and all the problems that go with it, by past generations of thoughtless people like them.
It's almost like it is some sort of a twisted parlor game for their pleasure to outdo each other in the breeding department. There are too many offspring for the Mother to have any kind of a decent relationship with any of them. My mother was born into such a ultra religious household where she was the eldest of 10 children, who was expected to raise the younger siblings along with doing all the cooking of family meals, housekeeping and any other dirty chores her mother (my Grandmother) was incapable of performing because she was always pregnant. Her father (my grandfather) chased away every boyfriend she had until 26, so he wouldn't lose his built in housekeeper. I am not sure why he didn't chase my father away, maybe he had started to have a glimmer of a conscious by that time or people had begun to gossip about why Mom was still single and living at home...who knows?
That was something my sister and I learned early in life (there were only two of us), how much our mother resented the childhood she had been robbed of , because she had another one forced upon her by two thoughtless parents only interested in what they wanted and their religion. It was nothing our Mother said outright, but the anger was there right below the surface in body language on special occasions and rumblings within our family from siblings of our Mothers. Who viewed my Mother as their only mother, because she was the one who raised them. Our Mother on no occasion ever talked about her childhood. So to this day I know nothing about her younger years. My sister and I knew it was not a happy period in her life. So we didn't ask to many questions and bring her added pain.
My Grandmother had no relationship with any kind with her 10 children and even less of one with the 40 Grandchildren that came later . I didn't know the joys of having a doting Grandmother growing up. My Grandmother didn't know who I was at my Mother's funeral. Still, all my Grandmother could do was whine and complain that none of her children loved her. What did she expect...she wasn't a mother to any of them? Their only mother was dead now...my mother! There were too many to have one on one relationship with like I do my two. She didn't know any of them, she always had her nose stuck in the Bible. But, she was extremely good at moralizing to others through her poison pen letters (my mother's term not mine, when my mother finally tore into her for writing them and reminded her there was a federal law against sending such garbage through the mail). I got one when she accidently discovered I smoked cigarettes. She never confronted anyone openly something my Grandfather would not have tolerated, they just got a religious tract and a sermon in the mail. I threw it in the trash, but have often wished I had kept it to show my children what these so called Fundamentalist Christian's are really like. So I know all about these patriarchal family movements filled with more and more dysfunctional Christian's.
But, Kathryn Joyce does a great job in her depiction of the movement (the only reason I gave it such a high rating). I will give her an 'A' for not letting her feminist side get in the way of the story. I did on no occasion pick up on any bias or utter revulsion I was feeling for their lifestyle. It became too much for me just reading it (a devout Secular Humanist) and I had to let it all out or explode. So I quit reading the book and put it up. I am determined to never buy another one like it again as long as I live. These Christian cults are way too bizarre for me. They are giving Christianity a dirty name.
My daughter kept telling me about '19 children and counting' and the Duggars she watched frequently. So I decided much to my sorrow to check out this book and see what they were all about. They sounded a whole lot like my Grandmother, that I have never been able to put a label on until now. I bought a used copy of it that had been in a library from an outfit that donates the proceeds to literacy programs, so it wasn't a total waste of money. What little I paid for it went to a good cause. Thankfully my daughter has finally figured out it is all a boat load of propaganda. They are trying to sell the lifestyle of Christian Fundamentalism and excessive breeding to a skeptical public. That most of us are too intelligent to buy into.
I had forgotten some of the names and institutes Joyce encounters in this book, and am grateful for the reminder of where much of my childhood theology originated.
I'd recommend this for anyone in mainstream evangelicalism or mainline Protestantism, as this fringe (or not so fringe, depending on how you view it) group continues to spread its influence in conservative Christianity and American politics.