I guess my question is still very much unanswered. I understand the desire to help those who have been truly abused.
However, I get the sickening feeling reading these posts that the definition for “abuse” has gotten really out of hand and has turned into a self-indulged victim mentality.
The distinctions are not clear enough. There are terms being used interchangeably with “abuse and cultish” that are not, in and of themselves, such.
To try to illustrate my point:
Because there are abusive parents in EVERY kind of family, denomination, “camp”, etc., imagine a family where the father is a pedophile. This father chose to homeschool his children to make it easier to abuse them without being found out.
It would be ludicrous then, in an attempt to “speak for the abused”, to write things like, “Abusive men homeschool to try to hide their activities”. While that statement is true in some instances, it is far to overreaching. Now the undiscerning reader has had a shadow cast across every homeschooler he encounters because he read that “abusive men homeschool”.
What I see happening here I’ve seen over and over. A knee-jerk reaction that “throws the baby out with the bath water”.
You insinuate that a family who uses terms like “guarding a daughter’s heart” is a cultish family. It could be true, but you’ve just cast that shadow across every family who has a genuine desire to do so.
That cannot be a blanket statement. This is a gross misrepresentation of many, many loving homes who do in fact use such terms and actually mean it and carry it out in a loving, healthy way.
It matters little “who your audience is” when you hurt these healthy families in the process.
What of the many families (I know them well) who would agree to being called “patriarchal types” who are gentle, sacrificial, listen to their children and have flourishing, sweet relationships with them, who like Vision Forum AND hold their daughters close, telling them, “You are unique in the sight of God, I’m so blessed to be your Mom/Dad and God has great things in store for you”?
Who eat whole wheat bread and don’t believe it’s a sin to wear make-up.
Who attend the Father/Daughter Retreats and have joyful, healthy daughters anyway?
Who believe in the authority of parents in the home AND who teach their children that they can DO NOTHING to earn the favor of God because they have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus?
Who teach a balanced view of repentance and grace?
Whose daughters may enjoy wearing skirts because they like the feminine way they feel, but wear pants sometimes too?
What of those families who have instilled a healthy, balanced sense of work and whose children understand that helping with siblings is not abuse, but just a normal part of life, just as it has been for centuries?
I see some dangerous Psychology being used here. I could bait anyone and get them to *feel* abused. We all had flesh-covered, sinful parents who didn’t love us perfectly and we could conjure up “abusive moments” all day if we wanted to. We could even say our whole lifestyles were abusive (my parents sent me to public school. I could easily call this abuse, though they loved me dearly.)
(The feminists baited their proselytes and instilled in them a hatred of home using a similar tactic.)
My question is, if grace is so much a part of what we are trying to extend to these daughters, where is the grace for parents who, despite not being perfect are doing the best they know? Instead, I’m seeing a whole generation of ungrateful children rise up against their well-meaning parents. (Hmmm…I seem to recall that in a prophecy of Scripture.)
It’s a disgrace that I have a friend who was so grossly abused (chased with a gun on a regular basis, anyone?? Told how ugly she was…) who demonstrated honor and respect for that wicked father up until his death, having never even received an apology, and still continues to give him honor due a parent to this day. She is healthy because she refused to be a victim. Her children are healthy because she refused to be a victim. She didn’t need counseling because she really understood grace and in extending grace to her abusive father, she was healed.
Address abuse, yes! But address it in the only way it will bring healing (by teaching forgiveness of the abuser, despite their deserving of it). And distinguish, for mercy’s sake, the difference in real abuse and a selfish, sin nature that wants to blame and be coddled.
All the good that is being done here is being negated by the healthy families being torn apart and labeled as a “cult”, and by the happy girls who will come here and fall victim to “being a victim” by the baiting of feelings.
God can not be pleased when His people–faithful, loving parents, are falsely represented.
All in grace, and pleading, and praying you have ears to hear.
What do you think about parents, pastors,Vision Forum, the Botkins, and the other ministries and organizations who promote reformed, Quiverfull or the patriocentric family?
Because only the Lord can see the heart, we do not feel it appropriate for us to assume critical attitudes towards the real people behind movements, ministries, organizations, churches, or within families. We acknowledge that many of these people are sincere in their efforts to do as they feel God has indicated, which includes taking a stand for or against specific religious or familial practices. We trust and pray that wherever they, and we, are in error, God will reveal it and lead us along a path of righteousness and humility. We trust and pray that He will reveal truth and healing to those affected, and endeavor to make restitution where we are responsible. We are all fallen, and yet all created in the image of God. Judgment belongs to Him.
You’ve said that you do not want to “assume critical attitudes towards people behind the movements, families, etc”. But there are some very public faces promoting unbiblical teaching! How can you not point someone out and truly support the women they are hurting, directly or indirectly?
We try to address the teaching itself, and may on occasion use specific names to illustrate ideology in question. But our goal is to remain focused on aching souls and feel that for us, it would be a distraction to ‘go after’ those with whom we disagree or who perpetuate errant philosophy. In other words, it’s nothing personal. To have a merciful heart towards those who promote hurtful teaching is not mutually exclusive to bringing awareness to said teaching and addressing the effects and wounds they cause. Again, it is try. There may be exceptions.
Edited to add: Here is the beginning of part one of the Cultic Family series in which I used the term “authoritarian” not “patriarchal.” I bring up this difference because while some patriarchal families may be cultic, my own context in writing was authoritarian. There is a major difference, I believe.
Life in an authoritarian environment causes many women to experience severe emotional and spiritual stumbling blocks. Some of these include shame, fear, self-condemnation, difficulty trusting those in authority, knowing God, and understanding truth. Issues of the heart and spirit have been addressed at length, but of less renown are some of the physical effects caused by prolonged periods of extreme control. And in the context of a deeply religious family, when one is born and raised in such a milieu, the ramifications on flesh can be especially destructive.
Within high-demand groups, like cults, for instance, members often have what’s known as a “pre-cult identity”. Recovery requires that one reconnects with the person they were prior to group involvement. In other words, remembering life before the cult enables ex-members to reestablish life on their own and heal from cultic abuse. SGAs ~ Second Generation Adults ~ are those from totalitarian groups who do not have a pre-cult identity to fall back on to aid recovery. Because those from cultic groups and adult children from authoritarian families have such similar living environments ~ physically, psychologically, and emotionally ~ we will look at both in this article.