Have you ever heard of the Botkin sisters? We're certain that most daughters in Quiverfull families know of Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin. We became familiar with them last summer as we were googling "young marriages". We stumbled upon a few blogs where young ladies were discussing the topic of getting married early. As they were chatting online, they mentioned a book written by the Botkin sisters entitled So Much More. Apparently, this book was leaving a strong impression on them. We had to check it out!
Since it's a book written for Christians, we called LifeWay and Family Christian Stores to obtain a copy. Neither place had it, and they couldn’t even order it for us. How weird! Upon further investigation, we discovered that the publisher of So Much More is Vision Forum. This challenged us to obtain a copy, which we finally did!
The Botkin sisters take great pleasure in explaining that they are teenagers at the time they are writing their masterpiece. So much wisdom at such an early age… Here's what we learned from reading the book cover to cover:
Daughters are to be their father's "helpmeet". What? We thought that was the wife's role! The Botkin sisters advise daughters to remain at home until they marry and help their father achieve his life's mission. Where is that in the Bible?
Daughters should be homeschooled and should NEVER attend college! The Botkin sisters warn young ladies that if they enroll in college, they will be defiled.
Daughters are to build up their brothers who will be the next generation of “manly men”.
Daughters are to be submissive and have a quiet spirit.
The climax of the book occurs when the Botkin sisters gleefully explain that they promote the Quiverfull Movement and that they plan to have as many children as possible when they get married.
We decided to check out the customer reviews of So Much More at Amazon.com. Because this book has been marketed to homeschooling families (probably at homeschool conferences around the country and in the Vision Forum catalog), the majority of reviews have five-star ratings and are very complimentary. Could it be that no one knows or cares about the book except those who are like-minded! In order to give you a glimpse into So Much More, we have included several positive reviews, along with two negative ones. To learn more, here’s the link:
The names of those writing the reviews have removed, but you can easily see them at the above link.
If you only buy one book on this subject, this should be the one! September 8, 2006 (5 stars)
I bought this book at the Denver homeschooling conference from Vision Forum and I am so glad I did. The book is not just for young daughters at home. I am married and have two children and I still found it beneficial in so many ways. This book helped to open my eyes on a lot of issues and it taught me many things about myself. This book was such a blessing and I think that you would think so to. Definitely don't pass it up.
2nd best book (the Bible being first), A Kid's Review April 25, 2007 (5 stars)
So Much More is one of the best books I have ever read, second to the Bible alone. I will warn you the ideas in this book are VERY controversial to today's culture. I STRONGLY recommend this book, young people need to hear the truth.
If you choose to read this book. I recommend going into this book with an open mind, willing to make a reform in your heart and in your life. There are some things in this book that many young people of my generation may not like to hear. Some people read this book and say, "well this may have worked 100 years ago, but it doesn't work today." That is a lie. God's rules, God's standards, God's design for the family STILL holds true today. Unless you believe that God is not mighty enough, not powerful enough to prevail over today's modern culture and way of life. The ideas in this book can and will become a reality, if we humbly ask God for his help and guidance and if we truly give it our all in the reformation of our lives. I think the Botkin girls did a beautiful job portraying what God's plan is for the family is in this book. This book has changed my life I believe it will do the same for anyone who reads it.
This Book Changed Our Family Forever! September 4, 2007 (5 Stars)
Let me say, as a mom reared in a non-Christian home in the 70's and a college grad. – I had worldly expectations for my own children. I bought this book, unread (because I trust everything Doug Phillips endorses), and gave it to my daughter for a Christmas present. She read it, prayed about it and approached me with her newfound convictions that staying home and serving her father's vision until marriage-if that should happen-was the best way for her to glorify God after high school. It took me some time – I mean, my daughter is so gifted! But as I read the Botkin sisters offering of their hearts to us, I, too, was changed. Now my daughter and I are strong-standing advocates of biblical womanhood against a very strong tide of feminism within and without our families. We praise God for the renewed family vision this book has given – it put our desires to serve and glorify God and focused them into a practical, doable, daily-life-walk reality. Even my expectations for my son changed and we have been able to discuss what he should be looking for in a future wife's mindset and heart-posture. I praise God for the clarity of God-glorifying purpose and conviction that the Botkin sisters were able to biblically espouse in this book. May women's hearts to live out biblical womanhood gloriously grow as this book gains ground!
Not quite finished yet, but…, March 5, 2006 (1 Star)
I received this book from my cousins for Christmas. It is basically full of unsupported sweeping generalizations (like this sentence) that are poorly developed. I have dubbed it the ultra-conservative Christian manifesto for women. The young authors advocate a return to a non-existent American paradise where women live to serve their fathers, then husbands and do not think for themselves. The problem is that they try to pretend that there was absolutely nothing good that came out of feminism, and we should not try to deal with the world we live in, but rather retreat into our own little cloisters. And it's full of questionable hypotheses. To top it all off, the authors annoy me. They are inexperienced and obviously still have a lot to learn about persuasive writing. Avoid this book.
Sad………………………there is something very wrong here May 19, 2006 (1 Star)
First of all, on the back cover is an endorsement by a former minister; a man who has been defrocked by his denomination, is not allowed to give the sacraments, preach, act an as elder, or serve in any capacity in any church…this doesn't say much for these girls or their parents. While some extol these daughters are great little writers, don't forget that every word they wrote was edited by their parents – particularly their father. In essence, he told them what to write. Unfortunately, these girls twist the Scripture to their own desires, much like the father/daughter relationship they promote is twisted. Nowhere in the Bible are daughters called to "support" their fathers in the way these girls describe – that is a wife's role to support her husband. There is no denying they love their dad, but these girls are substituting for the Word of God their emotional bond towards their father – and they mix the two up; of course their father most likely loves this. They are desperately trying to fulfill a role of a wife and want to have other girls do the same – this will lead to emotional incest, the inability to see themselves as separate beings, created by God. Instead their god is their father. This is not Christian.
The above commenter begins by mentioning an endorsement of So Much More by a former minister. Below is that endorsement. As an aside, this minister and Doug Phillips are good friends.
“As the father of five daughters, I feel the weight of my call to protect them. This book, this wisdom, charity, logic and beauty, not only deepened that weight, but lightened the load. These young ladies have honored their parents and have served generations to come. I encourage fathers, mothers, daughters, and sons to read this book- and that covers everyone.” – R.C. Sproul, Jr.
Another endorser of So Much More is Jennie Chancey. Here’s her endorsement:
“Page after page, I laughed, rejoiced, wept, and felt ‘hallelujahs!’ rising in my throat. You hold in your hands a rare gem of a book, the fruit of godly parenting and thoroughly Scriptural teaching. Its vision is one that should awaken every daughter to the calling she has to advance the kingdom of God.” -Jennie Chancey
Do you remember seeing Jennie Chancey's name in the Vision Forum satire we included in Tuesday's post? "And the women are taught by Jennie Chancey." Jennie and her husband are close friends with Doug Phillips. She co-wrote a book with Stacie McDonald entitled Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. In fact, Amazon customers who buy So Much More often buy the Chancey/McDonald book. While we haven't ever seen the Passionate Housewives book, we did find one of the endorsements interesting. We know about it because Doug Phillips’ posted it on his blog when Desperate Housewives first came out
Mrs. Paige Patterson Endorses Passionate Housewives Desperate for God
“The biblical paradigm for womanhood is marked by clear, though often hidden, distinctives. Especially are these noted in the Proverbs 31 description of the ‘woman of strength’, PASSIONATE HOUSEWIVES DESPERATE FOR GOD provides the bookends for the life of this remarkable woman—on the one hand, she is passionate, enthusiastic about everything to which she puts her hand, even the most mundane tasks in her home; on the other hand, she is totally committed to what God wants her to be and to do without being swayed by culture or peers. She makes no apology about devoting her foremost energies and greatest creativity to her own family and household, and in so doing she is confident of offering her best and most precious gift to the Lord! Give us passionate women who are desperate for God, and we will change the world!” Dorothy Patterson, wife of Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Posted by Doug Phillips on December 14, 2007
And, of course, you can read Dorothy Patterson’s endorsement on the Passionate Housewives blog hosted by Jennie Chancey and Stacie McDonald (scroll down to bottom of the page):
In the fall of 2007 Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) added a Homemaking degree at the college level. Since Dorothy Patterson endorsed Passionate Housewives, we would imagine that it's required reading for the homemaking degree. Because the Botkin sisters have strongly advised young ladies NOT to attend college, we wonder whether SWBTS is now an option for those who don't want to be defiled by attending college. Have you ever wondered how all of this appears to the secular world? Here’s how USA Today reported the addition of a homemaking degree at SWBTS — Baptist seminary to offer homemaking for women only. Check out this link:
In case you may be wondering, yes there is a Paige Patterson/Doug Phillips connection. Wade Burleson, a Southern Baptist pastor who wrote a blog post entitled: "And What Is It About Patriarchy That Scares Us?" included the following, which can be found at this link:
Doug Phillips Ties to the Southern Baptist Convention
"Doug's father, Howard Phillips, served in the Nixon Administration and was a director for The Council on National Policy. Serving with Howard in 1996 on the Council for National Policy were his son Doug, Southern Baptists Paige Patterson, Judge Paul Pressler, Judge Roy Moore, and others."
On May 29, 2003, Doug himself wrote of their relationship on his own blog. Here's the link:
"Dr. Paige Patterson, Scott Brown, and I addressed the veterans on the issue of war as a parable of salvation and rescue — one man lays down his life for others. My two messages were titled respectively “The Heroism of the Fathers is the Legacy of the Sons” and “The Faith of the Fathers is the Foundation of the Future.” After the messages, Dr. Patterson and I spent a happy hour swapping stories about Africa. Patterson’s office is legendary for the numerous trophies displayed there, including lions and leopards he bagged during expeditions through the bush, but I wanted to hear the stories first hand."
Scott Brown, one of Doug's closest friends lives on a farm in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He hosts a Memorial Day celebration every year at his farm and Dr. Patterson, who was president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest at the time, joined Scott and Doug for the festivities. Scott Brown taught some classes at the seminary when Patterson was the president; however, we don't know whether he still does or not. There are some very interesting connections to say the least.
As we’ve been investigating all of these high profile Quiverfull supporters like Doug Phillips, Jennie Chancey, and Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, what we’ve noticed is that all of these individuals are self-promoting with their own websites, books, and other resources telling everyone else how to be like them. It's fascinating to see how they endorse EACH OTHER! Essentially, they've created a "cottage industry" out of their "unique" lifestyle (patriarchy/QF) which they believe is superior to the way everyone else lives. And these quiverfull "prophets" are definitely enjoying their "profits"! Check out all of the books and resources the Botkin sisters' are marketing on their website: http://visionarydaughters.com/ It does make us wonder whether they are helping to build their father's business or their own? By the way, if you want to see a photo of Howard Phillips, check out the July 16, 2009, post on the Visionary Daughters website, scroll down, and look at the picture of an older gentleman talking to a young lady in costume. That's Doug's dad!
Tikatu, a commenter on yesterday post, made a very important remark: "It's hard to imagine that all the children in the Quiverfull movement will follow in their parents' (father's?) footsteps." Yes, it is hard to imagine, and Tikatu is correct!
There are some young ladies in blogosphere who have begun to speak out against these patriarchs, and we believe the trend has just begun. Here are two recent examples:
Sarah’s Updated List of Things That Really Bother Her (March 15, 2009)
Here's Number 4 of what really bothers Sarah (taken directly from her blog at the above link).
4. (tie) Christian Patriarchists
The Christian patriarchy movement (closely tied to the Reformed and Quiverfull movements) makes no qualms about its goal to reestablish patriarchy. Organizations like Vision Forum actively push patriarchy as an appropriate lifestyle. I visit Vision Forum’s website for a good laugh; they often feature articles on the scandal of sending your daughter away to college. Members of this movement believe that young women should remain under their father’s control until they marry, and they cannot marry without the father’s consent. Traditional gender roles are strictly applied. Women in this movement typically wear long skirts in an effort to be more ‘feminine’ and are taught to believe that their main purpose in life is to be submissive baby-makers.
The Duggars of TLC fame are members of this movement, as is evangelist Voddie Baucham. Sadly, supporters of patriarchy are gaining momentum in the American church. It’s impossible to guess how many young women are being oppressed by this ideology, forced into a life where their higher education is not considered important and their fathers have say over every aspect of their lives.
There's also a young lady named Hillary McFarland who has started her own web site called "Quivering Daughters". It can be found at this link:
Here's what Hillary includes about herself.
"I am a lover of God, a follower of Jesus, a wife, and a writer. I am passionately writing my first book, Quivering Daughters, which offers hope to weary, struggling women oppressed by Christian fundamentalism, authoritarianism, fear, and shame."
It seems that Hillary was raised in a Quiverfull family, and now she's speaking out against it. "Quivering Daughters" is a very descriptive term. What would it be like to grow up in a Quiverfull family and not share the same life goals as your parents and your sphere of influence? If young ladies are brought up to get married and have as many children as possible, we can understand why that would make some of them QUIVER!
We have communicated with Hillary through e-mail and found her to be most gracious. We plan to spotlight her ministry soon. In the meantime, please check out her web site for her insights into the Quiverfull Movement.
As we wrap up our series on the Quiverfull Movement, we want to leave you with these parting thoughts.
It's no secret that humans gravitate toward social structures that fit their personality and, in some circumstances, their deviant behavior. For example, pedophiles find groups with large numbers of children and trusting parents and authority structures. There seems to be a fair number of reports of abusive relationships within the Quiverfull Movement. Think about it. What sort of man would be attracted to this kind of lifestyle? How about men with "control issues" — you know, the men who always have to be "in charge"? What about a woman who enters such a marriage? One might expect a wife with a passive personality who finds a decision maker attractive. There is a fascinating, yet sad, web site dedicated to survivors of abuse within this form of family structure. It's moderated by a woman who was abused.
Churches that promote this Quiverfull lifestyle need to be aware of the very real possibility of physical and emotional abuse. Stressing female submission without teaching what a normal, healthy relationship looks like is tantamount to complicity in abusive relationships within the families of the church. Why don't more pastors teach on the subject of abuse when it is such a prevalent problem within the church? Is it because such an admission would be "negative" and not in keeping with a "successful" church?
Tune in tomorrow for a little satirical fun as we lighten up what has been an extremely serious topic…