I am 25, and I am the second oldest of 9. My family ran through an eclectic gamut of various churches and ideology (but always pseudo-homeschooling, starting with the ATIA when I was 6). My parents were into all the popular stuff, Michael Pearl, Above Rubies, Keepers at Home, and I am sure there are others but they do not spring to mind. When I was 9 my parents got in trouble with Children's Aid where we were, so we moved to another province and were taken in by Mennonites, so if you can imagine a mix of QF and Mennonite ideology - yes it's nuts. Then when I was 14, they got involved with a chapel/brethren church, which is very much into homeschooling, quiverfull, and subjugation of women. I am not sure where it fit in with all the religion but neither of my parents worked, I think my dad spent a total of maybe a full 12 months (split up) being employed from when I was 7-17. I think this had something to do with the idea from Christian Patriarchy that men are not supposed to be "under" women.
When I was 17 I had enough. I told my parents I was going to school and went, even though my dad tried to physically prevent me, and in a few weeks I made a friend and asked her parents if I could live with them. They said yes. Then I went to a more mainstream church and youth group, finished high school in three years, met and dated my now-husband, and went to university. I have a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Social Work. My husband is a feminist, and believes that men and women should have equal say in everything. That has caused some problems because even though its been 8 years I still sometimes shy away from asserting myself. Due to repeated calls to CAS over the years I was 17-19, my father was eventually convicted (plea bargain) of three counts of assault on a child, and he is now not allowed on my mother's property. My mother is still deeply involved in the chapel/brethren church, which is very patriarchal and conservative, and she still has 3 of my siblings, however she is not as abusive as the both of them were so CAS lets it be. However at this point, every single one of my siblings except my older brother have spent some time living with my husband and I before moving on to make their way in the world.
I am finding the story of your life so fascinating, you must write a book. YOu could help so many. Mrs. HReplyDelete
Thank you, I have seriously considered it :)Delete
When you say chapel/brethren church, do you mean Plymouth Brethren/"the assemblies"? Out of curiosity.ReplyDelete
But bravo. You are strong.
I don't know that they are affiliated with Plymouth brethren, but they do also refer to themselves as the assemblies, my guess is that it is a very similar situation - head scarves, dresses for women, patriarchy and homeschooling? I am in Canada so the names are slightly different here but same ideology.Delete
So when you say "Mennonite", can you be more specific? Because I can't imagine anything further from QF theology. Sure, I know a bunch with three kids, but I also know lots who plan on not having kids. And QF theology is so antagonistic towards so much of what I'm used to Mennonites valuing, I can see that being incredibly stressful.ReplyDelete
I am referring to the Conservative Mennonite Church of Southwestern Ontario. Their ideology is similar enough to QF as allow something of a short term truce: they are patriarchal, with strict rules for the behavior and dress of women, and although they do not homeschool, they teach against higher education especially for women, and teach against birth control. Most of these families had at least 6 children, and the father was the unequivocal head of the home.Delete
I'm a little further east (Waterloo), so this may be outside of what I'm used to, but this sounds to me like the groups with headcovering & cape dresses (or at least long skirts), but they have cars, generally speak good English, live in cities, etc. My husband went to school in Perth county, so I have an idea of how that sort of thing would play out.Delete
I can see that both your home and foster theology would have done horrible things to your self-image.
I grew up in the "assemblies" and can identify a lot with your story. Attempting to discover my identity apart from my family in a healthy way is so, so hard. Like you, I had to completely cut off my roots. I'm still in contact with them off and on, but most of the time the emotional/spiritual manipulation gets to be too much.ReplyDelete