Monday, April 30, 2012

Adult Children of Christian Patriarchy--Libby Anne's Project

Libby Anne from Love Joy Feminism is currently doing a blog series about the adult children of Quiverfull/Christian Patriarchy, and I'm excited to be a part of it!

Why did I choose to participate?  First of all, I think it's important to let other children from the Quiverfull/Christian Patriarchy culture know that they are not alone.  As a child in that culture, you are trained to blame yourself for any problems and to see yourself as a bad person for daring to question anything.  It's a big risk to break away from that culture, but hopefully these stories from Libby Anne's series will show you that it is possible to make it through.  And hopefully these stories will encourage you to share your own experiences as well.

Second, I think that a lot of parents who raised their children in that culture are in denial about its effects, even if the parents are no longer participating in that culture themselves.  I hope this series will help to break through some of the parents' defenses and enable them to accept feedback from their children.  It's important for parents to remember that events during a person's formative years can have a much bigger impact, requiring more time and discussion to process them.  

I hope you'll read the series along with me and learn from each person's experience!

Introducing, Raised Quiverfull--Libby Anne's introduction to the series

Introductory Questions, Q. 1--The participants' introductions

Introductory Questions, Q. 2--The families' initial exposure to the Quiverfull/Christian Patriarchy movement

Introductory Questions, Q. 3--How the families were typical/atypical of the Quiverfull/Christian Patriarchy movement

Living the Life, Q. 1--The types of churches that the families attended

Living the Life, Q. 2--The marriage dynamic of the parents

Living the Life, Q. 3--How the Bible was handled in the family

Living the Life, Q. 4--Race and racism in the movement

A Gendered Childhood, Q. 1--Gender differences in sibling responsibilities 

A Gendered Childhood, Q. 2--The role of oldest daughters in the family

A Gendered Childhood, Q. 3--Gender differences in sibling activities and clothing

A Gendered Childhood, Q. 4--Parental influence on sons vs. daughters in their career and educational choices

Homeschooling, Q. 1--Parents' reasons for homeschooling

Homeschooling, Q. 2--Overview of socialization and academics

Homeschooling, Q. 3--The pros and cons of homeschooling

Homeschooling, Q. 4--Present vs. past perception of social and academic abilities

Homeschooling, Q. 5--Whether the participants would consider homeschooling their children

Purity, Q. 1--What the participants were taught about sex and physical/emotional purity

Purity, Q. 2--The participants' courtship experience

Purity, Q. 3--The participants' current opinions and feelings about the purity and courtship teachings

Purity, Q. 4--The lasting impact of the purity and courtship teachings

Questioning, Q. 1--First exposure and impressions of mainstream American culture

Questioning, Q. 2--Cause of initial questioning

Questioning, Q. 3--Struggles with questioning and leaving Quiverfull/Christian Patriarchy

Questioning, Q. 4--Whether others from the participants' Q/CP community have also questioned and left

Relating to Family, Q. 1--How the families and communities responded to the participants' questioning

Relating to Family, Q. 2--The participants' current relationships with families and communities

Relating to Family, Q. 3--Coming out as atheists to family and friends in the Q/CP movement

Relating to Family, Q. 4--Whether siblings have left the Q/CP movement

Coping, Q. 1--Whether the participants feel different or emotionally isolated from society

Coping, Q. 2--Whether the participants' backgrounds create barriers in relationships  

Coping, Q. 3--How the Q/CP culture influenced who the participants are today

Coping, Q. 4--The participants' perception of their childhood, then and now

Coping, Q. 5--Whether the participants wish to go back

Helping Others, Q. 1--Advice for young adults questioning or leaving Q/CP culture

Helping Others, Q. 2--What was helpful to the participants when leaving Q/CP culture

Helping Others, Q. 3--What helps the participants most today

Helping Others, Q. 4--How to help friends/relatives who are influenced by Q/CP culture

A summary of all my answers alone can be found here.

If you've enjoyed reading these questions and answers, I recommend checking out Libby Anne's blog as she continues posting the stories of people who have left the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull culture that they were raised in.  If you are interested in participating in a future survey, she'd love to hear from you!


  1. Thanks for putting your experiences online. I'm glad to have found your blog. I grew up in an areligious family within a very authoritarian and conservative society which, combined with my personality, has resulted in similar problems. I am in my late 20s and I started on my journey of self-discovery a few years ago. Your post about boundaries really resonated with me. I'm dealing with opening myself up and making new friends. I feel like one of the problems I'm dealing with right now is reconciling my evolving views with old friends (most of them simply don't understand) and trying to build a new community among people who have mostly had the luxury of a liberal upbringing. I would love to hear your experiences and any advice you have regarding building a new community.

    1. Hi Bockle, thanks for reading and commenting!

      In my case, I found that relocating to a new area and starting over--basically forming a support network of friendships from scratch--was very helpful. As an introvert, it was definitely painful to start over and it took a long time to form connections, but it did allow me to become somebody new, somebody I wasn't allowed to be in my rigid old community.

      I have actually relocated and started over twice in my adult life now. The first time was for college, when I made a lot of progress within the community of more liberal Christians there. The second time was shortly after college, with my spouse, which is how I ended up with my current network of almost all non-religious friends.

      As you start to feel more supported by your new community, it will probably become easier to feel secure in your new identity even when interacting in your old community. Take care of yourself though and don't jeopardize your progress just out of "politeness"!