We build fences to keep ourselves from committing certain sins. Soon these fences – instead of the sins they were designed to guard against- become the issue. We elevate our rules to the level of God’s commandments. “ Jerry Bridges
Have you ever heard of the “Stay-at-Home Daughters Movement”? It’s a relatively new movement that appears to be promoted by Vision Forum (Doug Phillips) and his cohorts. Young girls and single women are encouraged (perhaps coerced?) to be “keepers at home” until they marry. They are forbidden to attend college or seek employment outside the home (that is, their parents’ home). These maidens spend all of their time honing their “advanced homemaking skills”, which include cooking, sewing, cleaning, knitting, etc. A stay-at-home daughter is under her father’s “covering” until he transfers control to her husband.
When I first learned of the Quiverfull Movement, I wondered how a wife and mother could take care of so many children. As I have read about the experiences of stay-at-home daughters, it has become clear that it’s primarily the daughters who take care of their younger siblings – not the mothers. These young girls/ladies are truly moms-in-training. How sad that so many stay-at-home daughters are robbed of their own childhood!
In case you are having doubts about whether this movement is for real, check out these blogs written by stay-at-home daughters.
Jasmine Baucham, daughter of Voddie Baucham (a Southern Baptist pastor), had been posting on her blog Joyfully at Home until just last month. She explained that she keeps her readers updated on three things: “1.When my book was out. 2. When I got another sibling. 3. When I said goodbye to spinsterdom.”
Then Jasmine explains that two out of three isn’t bad, meaning that her new book (which shares the same title as her blog) has been published and that her parents have added another arrow to their quiver… Although Jasmine explains on her blog that she “chose to forgo the typical college experience so that I could live under the discipleship of my parents until marriage,” her bio indicates that she is completing a degree in English literature — perhaps through online study?
Then there’s “Miss Kelly and Miss Andrea” who have a blog called “Ah the Life”.
And we certainly cannot leave out Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin who wrote the book So Much More, which we reviewed here at TWW. Their blog is called Visionary Daughters
Interestingly, Anna Sophia (who co-wrote So Much More when she was a teenager) recently published the following on her blog:
“I just turned 25. Oddly, it seems a lot more than one year older than 24. The realization that I have lived a quarter of a century brings new awareness of the preciousness of time, the reality of aging and death, and the fact that life unfolds at a speed and in a way that I can’t control. I’m past feeling like my life is stretching out endlessly before me – I’m a good third of the way into it (Lord willing) and the ticking of the clock seems to grow louder.”
Why hasn’t her father found her a beau to marry yet? I thought the goal of Quiverfull and Stay-at-home daughters was to get married young and have lots of babies as Anna Sofia and Elizabeth gleefully advocate in the conclusion of their book.
Gina McGalliard has written an eye-opening article entitled “House Proud: The troubling rise of stay-at-home daughters” that we encourage you to read. (Please excuse the name of the magazine).
“Integral to Vision Forum’s belief about female submission is making sure women are not independent at any point in their lives, regardless of age; hence the organization’s enthusiasm for stay-at-home daughterhood. The most visible proponents of this belief are Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, sisters and authors of the book So Much More: The Remarkable Influence of Visionary Daughters on the Kingdom of God (published by Vision Forum), and creators of the documentary film Return of the Daughters, which follows several young women staying home until marriage, and details how they spend their time serving their fathers.”
What greatly disturbs me is the following excerpt from House Proud:
“Although the Botkins and their stay-at-home sisterhood believe that women have a duty to be obedient, if men fail in their endeavors—their work, their marriages, their faith—guess who’s responsible? “If our men aren’t successful, it largely means that their women have not made them successful. They need our help,” the Botkins write. Wives, claim the Botkin sisters, have the ability to “win” over their husbands with respectful and submissive behavior, for when the husbands observe this, they will become “ashamed and repentant.” (The sisters are strangely silent on what to do if this isn’t effective.) And daughters have the same responsibility: “Before you can accuse your father of being unprotective, ask yourself: ‘Do you make it clear to him that you are a woman of virtue, worthy of his special protection? If your behavior was more gentle, feminine, respectful and lovely would he be more inclined to be protective of you?’” Relationships with mothers, by contrast, get little consideration within the literature and blogs of the stay-at-home-daughters movement. Mother-daughter dynamics are mentioned in the Botkins’ book and film only in the context of readers becoming future mothers.”
This movement definitely has its dissenters, as Gina McGalliard aptly explains:
“The stay-at-home-daughters movement has inevitably inspired controversy and dissent, much of it among dedicated Christians who consider the movement to be a dire misconstruction of their religion. According to Cindy Kunsman, a survivor of what she terms “spiritual abuse” and the author of the blog Under Much Grace, stay-at-home daughters who have exited the lifestyle are—despite what the rest of us might presume—usually well prepared academically, but lack certain key skills for success in life. ‘Those young women who received excellent training have an easier time acquiring job skills when pursuing college and healthcare training, as many of them have done quite successfully,’ said Kunsman in an interview. ‘However, because [these young women] were required to abdicate all significant problem-solving to another agent while in their families of origin, they lack skill and practice in critical thinking and planning… They must work to build integrity, self-reliance, autonomy, and trust in themselves, which they were taught to derive from the identity of the family.’ ”
We focused on Hillary McFarland in yesterday’s post, and she is quoted in House Proud, as follows:
“One of the most outspoken counter-CPM blogs is Quivering Daughters—the name a play on the phrase “Quiverfull”—authored by Hillary McFarland. ‘Increasing numbers of women in their late twenties and thirties remain ‘safely’ at home, patiently waiting for husbands to find them,’ writes McFarland in her book Quivering Daughters: Hope and Healing for the Daughters of Patriarchy. ‘As unmarried adult daughters continue to perfect the art of homemaking, help to mother and school young siblings, and learn to be a godly helpmeet, many through spiritual discipline strain to cauterize wounds made tender with disappointment.’ “
If marriage and motherhood are so important to stay-at-home daughters, then why does it appear that many are not yet married?
I want to end with a comment posted by Mary Elizabeth on Your Sacred Calling, a blog that advocates the stay-at-home daughter movement.
Mary Elizabeth said…
“I shudder to think of all the young girls in your community whose futures are being drastically limited due to your absolutely archaic thinking. This will probably not be posted, again due to a narrow mindset that cannot stand to be challenged, but I simply had to say something. I sincerely hope and pray your daughters wake up and realize their potential before it is too late.”