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The Blogging Community Takes on the Destructive Subculture of the Homeschool Movement

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Bloggers are taking on the destructive subculture of the Homeschool Movement and calling homeschool leaders out for their extra-Biblical practices and abusive patriarchy.

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The Homeschool Movement really took off in 80s and 90s.  Back then, when we read homeschool magazines, we were sold on the “perfect” homeschool family on the front covers. We were the parents who wanted to protect our children from worldly influences and train them up in the way they should go because the government school systems were indoctrinating our children with their agenda.  We wanted to give our kids godly education. 

Along the homeschooling journey, homeschool leaders have taught us their ideologies and some of us bought them.  Some of us bought into the idea that if we kept our daughters at home, they would be protected from the world and bad influences. Our daughters were kept home and away from the world, so they would be sexually pure.  Through the practice of “courtship,” fathers would be sure to select/approve a spouse for our daughters who had the same religious convictions and ideologies that he shared, and thus, our daughter’s new family would carry on in the same ways, building generations of godly warriors for Christ.  It was the perfect plan.  So we thought.

Where are those kids now?  A whole generation of homeschoolers have grown up and are now moving on from their parents’ homes.  Over the last several years, I have watched adult Homeschool Kids (HKs) “come out” and share their experiences in blogs. Homeschoolers Anonymous blog has been very influential in drawing attention to these abuses that had once been kept secret in families.

Now, through blogs like Homeschoolers Anonymous, HKs could see that they were not alone in how they were raised.  Some of them discovered that their home life was not as godly and Christian as they were led to believe – some of them were in fact abused and had very troubled lives.

Kathryn Joyce’s new article, The Homeschool Apostates, recently came out.  Several homeschool graduates were interviewed in Kathryn’s article.  The article is not an easy read.  If you are a homeschooling parent and have poured your life into the education and well-being of your children, it is going to make you angry to think that others could have sabotaged the welfare of their precious children.  You also might feel that your family’s homeschool experience is lumped into Joyce’s article, and you might get a bit defensive.  I’ve observed this strong reaction from several of my personal homeschool mom friends.

But we who are homeschool parents need to check and see if some of the ideologies that we have adopted are in fact biblical and are not just some newfangled idea promoted by homeschool gurus.  If there is some truth to what you read in the article, then it is up to healthy and godly parents to make sure to call out the abuses and extra-biblical legalism when we identify them.

I’ve been blogging alongside these young HKs, seeing the same patterns of mental illness, substance abuse, depression that Stollar mentioned in Kathryn Joyce’s article.  What happened to the perfect homeschool family?

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One common response when drawing attention to abuse in churches or spiritually abusive church leaders is:  attack the “attacker.”

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We are now seeing that same attack-the-attacker response from those who speak out against those leaders who promote legalism in the Homeschool Movement.  Homeschool leaders who previously had free rein to say what they wanted and were rarely challenged no longer have that privilege in the blogosphere.  The whole subculture and legalistic aspects of the Homeschool Movement are under fire and rightly so.  And now, because the heat is on, anyone who draws attention to these abuses is up for attack by these homeschool leaders.

Kevin Swanson is one such attacker.

In critiquing Joyce’s article, he nitpicks on aspects that are not even important, but glosses over the most important points.

The homeschool community at large would be wise to distance themselves from this man who spews vile rhetoric on topics that challenge his ideologies.  (He has yet to retract his statement on dead embedded fetuses in wombs of women who were on birth control pills.)

Below is an excerpt from his recent blog post in which he attacks Kathryn Joyce and her article:

Homeschool Apostates and Kathryn Joyce’s Sins

Kathryn Joyce’s propaganda pieces that are intended to demonize the homeschooling population (or at least, certain segments of conservative homeschooling in America) continue rolling off the presses, and I like to keep track of the people who sympathize with her.


So of course, there will be masses of homeschooling millennials who will take on these ideologies, and abandon any semblance of agreement with the Christian faith. My tiny radio broadcast is only meant to salvage a few Christians left in the Western world who have ears to hear and won’t move with the masses.

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I took at look at Swanson’s Facebook page and his supporters echoed similar comments. Rather than taking a careful look at the idea that there might be legitimate abuse going on, they comment on denim jumpers?

Why oh why are people still bringing up the denim jumper thing. Good grief who cares! Some of the loveliest people I know wear denim jumpers. (Source)

And this parent focuses on public schools and rights of parents being taken away:

this [sic] is very sad, some children will reject the faith, i pray its’ never my own child daily!!!!!!!!! it doesn’t sound like it is the blame of the parents here, just a child that fell away and i pray that she will be a prodigal. but what about the horror stories from public schools, lets hear some of those. it’s all about taking the rights of parents away.

What in the world?  Did they read the article?   Do you see how these homeschool parents avoid the real agenda and don’t even want to tough the real issues?

If you’ve never listened to Kevin Swanson’s radio broadcast, be sure to check him out – if you can handle it.  Here is a little snippet from the broadcast:

Her big article that she did for uh..Prospect…American…she…she names the article “Homeschool Apostates” which is exactly what I used for my show a couple of 4 3 weeks ago.’s pretty excited about uh the point 1%…whatever it is…of the homeschool population. It might be 10% it might be 20% I dunno what it is…it’s hard to know..but they are definitely the whiners that are coming out of the homeschool population and saying they didn’t have the best of experiences and some of them may have a good point. Others may not. Now she covers a number of them in her article and most of whom seem to be to be whiners.

Kevin calls these adult homeschool kids whiners.  He, a homeschool leader, pastor, instead of looking to see if there is any truth to their story, calls them whiners.   Plus he’s criticizing an unbeliever.  Well, what you don’t see is him addressing all of the Believers who are coming out publicly against his brand of extra-Biblical legalism in the Homeschool Movement.  Why is that?

I appreciated Shawn Mathis’ take on Joyce’s article, especially coming from a pastor who is taking a closer look at the Homeschool Movement.

But in spite of this weakness, the article may wake up some homeschoolers to the physical and spiritual abuses in their midst. Such abuses are not unique to homeschooling to be sure. These abuses arise from various causes, even ones I cannot imagine. But I believe a widespread root problem is legalism.

The air of legalism is fear. And the atmosphere painted in the article was fear. Her vivid stories display households drenched in fear: the fear of parents and children losing their souls because they are not obedient enough.

Joshua Generation

Matthis touched on another important aspect that I also took from Joyce’s article.  This generation of homeschoolers had a heavy burden on their shoulders to perpetuate this homeschool mission that they were raised to take:

The article painted another important fact: the additional burden of being the newly christened Joshua Generation. I first ran across this term in a book I am reviewing, entitled Take Back the Land. The author unashamedly declares: “I believe that you [young homeschoolers] will lead America into decades of revival and national reformation. If you don’t, there is little hope for our country. A lot depends on you.”

Spiritual abuse, in the form of legalism, is a big problem. But the additional burden of being a chosen generation must be unbearable. (Some thoughts on American Prospect essay, Homeschool Apostates)

Homeschool parents would do well to take a closer look at these stories.  Dig deeper and try to look at the Homeschool Movement from these HKs’ perspective.  See if you can read some of these stories without getting defensive.  Is there any truth to what these HKs are saying?  If so, what are we as parents going to do about it?  I say it’s time to call out the legalism.

I’ve been struck by my own friends who are homeschool parents and don’t want to challenge their practices.   It might be a rude awakening for some when their adult kids do not emulate the same practices they tried to instill in their children.  I get that in a real personal way.

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I will continue to blog about this topic because it is near and dear to my heart.  I am so thankful to the other bloggers who have taken up this cause and will fight to make sure our adult children are not abused, isolated, undereducated, and forced to be a part of a system in which they have no individual rights, even as adults.  This must stop.

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It will be interesting to see where the homeschool leaders shift the blame next.  It’s not about them, of course, and extra-Biblical rules.  Any failure in homeschool kids to toe the line as adults and carrying on the torch will be blamed on anything but faulty homeschool leadership.  I know how this works.

In the meantime, here are some bloggers who are speaking out about their experiences.  Many of them no longer look or live anything like their former lives.  Let’s learn from this first generation of homeschoolers so we can make appropriate course correction.  All homeschooling is not bad, but we have some work to do.

***Update on a newsworthy Homeschool Movement/blogging story:

This article was brought to my attention:  Matthew Chapman to Headline the 2014 CHEO Convention.   Please take a look at this very disturbing article.

It discusses another dangerous homeschool trend about marrying off homeschool girls at a young age.  The article discusses the Matthew and Maranatha Chapman who were recently slated to speak at the CHEO homeschool convention.

Take a look at this screenshot with a very new development:

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Now, recently, there have been several bloggers reporting on this disturbing story.   So could they have voluntarily removed themselves because of this blogging  pressure?   hmmmm.

BAM – former homeschooler

Beautiful Disarray—”Surveying the aftermath of quiverfull devastation.”

Becoming Worldly—Eldest of 10 from a homeschool, patriarchal and quiver-full family

Between Black and White—”A quiverfull girl who has realized she is worth something.”

Bridging the Gap – Ex-christian fundamentalist/quiverfull daughter, homeschool graduate. Survivor, fighter,entrepreneur, creative.

Darcy’s Heart Stirrings— “Fundy” homeschooler, influenced by Gothard and ATI and includes guests posts

Defeating the Dragons – An ongoing journey in overcoming a fundamentalist indoctrination.

Dispelled—One girl’s journey in a home school cult.

The Eighth and Final Square—A place to rant, ramble, and process.

Emily Maynard — Grew up in Homeschool Movement and now speaks out about her experiences.

Faith Filled Thoughts—”I ask hard questions, and then I write about them.”

Feminist in Spite of Them— “Finally feeling free to tell my story.”

For Heaven’s Sake—”One of 9 children whose family got into a cult.”

Freiheit 86—”Once upon a time I was homeschooled . . . and then the world opened and was wonderful and everything changed. Myself most of all.”

Heresy in the Heartland— “A homeschool grad and her atheist kids.”

Homeschoolers Anonymous – “HA is a clearinghouse for all stories about homeschooling from any people who have experienced it — the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

IBLP Detox—I wouldn’t consider myself to have all the answers.

Incongruous Circumspection—Fasten your safety latches . . . you’re in for the time of your lives!

Lana Hobbs, the Brave—Aspiring writer, perpetual seeker.

Lauren Nicole—I live to make my life beautiful, and to speak truth in love.

The Life and Opinions of Kathryn Elizabeth, Person—I was born at a very young age.

Love, Joy, Feminism—Former evangelical turned atheist progressive feminist.

Mari’s Musings—”story of how I was sucked into the patriarchal/quiverfull belief system, and how I was lovingly (and in some cases, not so lovingly!) escorted out.”

The Neon God They Made—I’m done making excuses.

Out of the Chrysalis—The defrauded daughters

Overturning Tables – R. L. Stollar, co-founder of Homeschoolers Anonymous

Permission to Live—Pretty much everything changed.

Phoenix and Olive Branch—Daughter of the patriarchy.

Profligate Truth—Truth is beautiful without doubt; but so are lies

Ramblings of Sheldon—Exposing the IFB.

Spiritual Llama—A journey out of a life of fundamentalism and spiritual abuse.

Time To Live, Friend—Taking hold of my life, finally.

Who I Am Without You—Dealing with my past for the first time in my life.

Wide Open Ground—An unfundamentalist conversion.

Wine and Marble—We shall not cease from exploration.

Quivering Daughters—Hope, healing, and gentle encouragement.

X-ATI Girl—Don’t snicker. A lot of kids are hurting.

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170 thoughts on “The Blogging Community Takes on the Destructive Subculture of the Homeschool Movement”

  1. Carmen S,

    Concerning the “blame the victim” type of people who come here to comment? I am thrilled to see it. It means that they’re hearing the information, and it’s causing them to feel intimidated. This broader perspective, albeit emotional and rude, means that they’ve at least reading. You have to begin somewhere, and most of us commenting here were likely drinking the Koolaide at some point ourselves.

    I always hope and pray that this kind of discussion will plant seeds that will help stimulate the “true believer’s” critical thinking. Like Morpheus tells Neo in the Matrix film, I hope that it plants that “splinter in the mind.” We know that the truth sets people free, and if any of this is true, it will stick with people. And I pray that the Holy Spirit works in these parents to help bring them together with Him in the knowledge of the truth. It is a hard process, and it takes time.

    But if they’re here and they’re commenting, it means that they’re reading. When they’re ready, I always hope and pray that they’ll feel comfortable enough to really consider the ideas on these kinds of blogs. They’re fighting to survive, trying to deny the idea that they got duped into some really unhealthy ideas (if they can see them that way), and the mere suggestion of that is horribly painful. It may mean to them that they could lose their salvation or that their kids might. They live in a culture and survive life with a mindset of fear. I just pray that perfect love will cast that fear out in time.

    But if people are protesting, that means that their conscience is pricked and not seared. They’re searching. They’re feeling the cognitive dissonance posed by reality that threatens to wake them up. Pray for them — pray that God wakes them up so that they can really see what Biblical means outside of the confines of their group.


  2. Exactly, Cindy, that is why this kind of dialogue is so important and why I allow debates here. I am 100% that you could go through my blog and see where I have changed my tune on certain subjects. I really didn’t know what I was sucked into and what the movement really believed.

    For example, I can clearly remember when my former pastor told my husband to get his wife in order. I laughed at the time, but I wasn’t thinking about “husband ruling over wife, must get her in order.” I just brushed it off as some stupid comment.

    Now I understand the real meaning behind it. It was about being Priest of the home, taking charge of the home/wife and making sure I submit to that authority. (I have no idea what I did or said that warranted this statement, btw.)

    I’ve put the pieces of the puzzle together using that example and so many other examples. I just did not see it so clearly as I do now.


  3. Such interesting comments, Angela.

    Last fall I interviewed for a volunteer position with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). The gal interviewing me asked me if I thought religious ideas influenced child abuse. 10 years ago my answer would have been “no.” My answer today is that religion can certainly influence a parent to abuse their child.

    I have learned so much about the ultra-conservative side of homeschooling, and I do believe that it can be an influence in child and spouse abuse. The isolation of families from others who are not like minded, the push for gender specific roles within the family, and the fear that is grounded into parents that if they don’t homeschool their children will be one step closer to hell is enough to push a parent to maintain control and power over their children.

    Do all homeschooling families abuse their children? Certainly not. However, Angela, it is not good enough to bury our heads in the sand and not even consider that there are homeschooled children who are being abused. And, mostly for “Biblical” reasons.


  4. “but it seems to me that young adults in this nation are all having a difficult time and instead of blaming their parents, perhaps they should take a look at the present administration and policies put in place that are affecting their lives?”

    This is just the type of thing the young adults speaking out about homeschooling are attempting to avoid. What does politics have to do with this and why in the world do the conservative Christian homeschooling types always want to bring politics into faith and home education? Marrying homeschooling with right-wing politics and a bunch of legalistic nonsense is something that the younger generation is wise enough to stay away from. They do not want to fight battles with those who hold opinions like this when they can put the time and energy into making sure their kids get a quality education. Education, that is what this should be about not some type of right-wing indoctrination process!

    Plenty of young Christians support the present administration and don’t want to have to pass a litmus test to be accepted by others who homeschool. That is the kind of sick environment that I had to walk through in order to homeschool my kids and I am THRILLED to see the younger generation turn their back on it. If they have to keep every last homeschooling parent an arms length away to do it, so be it!!

    To homeschool parents who have raised their children, you had your chance now step back and let these young people have theirs!


  5. I often think about this, too, Taunya. If God is sovereign, God will work it out whatever He wants in everyone.

    Yet for all the talk about providence in some of these Calvinist influenced homeschooling related groups, they just turn everything into social engineering to build the desired and preferred world that they want. It’s not about liberty. It’s about being in with the group that you want to run things with an authoritarian fist. It’s the flipside of the liberal coin, and it becomes a cloak under which these guys hide their freewillism. (Bob Wright talks about this in his book “No Place for Sovereignty.” These angry young Calvinists are often more into free will than the Arminians they decry. It’s up to them to make it work. Not God. That’s why they’re so bound up in fear and conspiracism. They’re the great saviors, not Jesus.)

    Put God to the test and let Him do whatever he’s working in the world and in the hearts of every man and woman. Pray for that to happen and believe in Him and praise Him. If He is who He says He is, and the One whom these parents believe that He is, everything is going to happen the way it’s supposed to happen. We get our eyes on the wrong goal, and we put God in the back seat with our pessimism. And perhaps that’s the worst thing about all of this. Fear and pessimism, enhanced by human striving.

    What happens to righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit?


  6. “We get our eyes on the wrong goal, and we put God in the back seat with our pessimism. And perhaps that’s the worst thing about all of this. Fear and pessimism, enhanced by human striving.”

    Well said.


  7. Many people from the older days of homeschooling are panicked about losing rights. They fought for freedom to have those rights, and the idea that some of these things need to be regulated pose a threat to what they worked so hard for. But herein is the problem. Christians as a group were not good stewards of this work, and no one wanted to hold anyone accountable for anything. Some of the attempts to do some of this turned into disasters, too, because they were not done in love. Homeschooling became all about home character building instead. During the past week or two, in the wake of Joyce’s article, I’ve heard people say “But public school isn’t doing any better of a job.” I’ve heard people argue the “lovely families” or “nicest kids” as justification for educational neglect and some of this abuse as if neglect is specifically not a type of abuse. The idea used to be that a child could be more successful academically via homeschooilng. But Christians didn’t guard this freedom well enough. Too many have handicapped their kids, and now those adults who have watched this or have suffered are finding their voice and asserting their perspective. Some are appealing to the government because Christians gave them cause and will not fix the problem. The rod of God failed. Now it’s up to the rod of man.


  8. You all will have to excuse my strong words on the above comment. I have spoken to many ex-homeschool parents over the last few years and I have been surprised by the number who began homeschooling with normal ideas and beliefs but felt pressured to adopt more legalistic right-wing beliefs in order to have a homeschool community for their children, it is sick and twisted and it is cult-like. You are shunned if you hold opinions that are considered liberal and the bar for what is considered liberal is constantly moving.

    I am moving on at this point in my life and very rarely find myself angry anymore but the comments made by Angela set me off, I will admit it. I am tired of hearing this kind of talk among Christians. I am tired of the judgmental nature of people who claim to follow a grace-filled Christ and I understand why the younger generation wants to chart their own course without dragging along the dead weight of a bunch of people with outdated ideas from the Jerry Falwell Christian coalition days. Please!! It would be a beautiful thing if we could leave the tired talk of abortion protests, anti-gay rhetoric, “biblical womanhood,” and all of these fringe topics and ideas out of homeschooling. We are each entitled to our beliefs but why does all of this have to be married to home education? Home school groups should be about educating kids at home, period!

    Okay off my soapbox and moving on!! Just found out today that my oldest who is 18 and in college has made the Dean’s List during her first semester with a 3.9 GPA!! I homeschooled her from 1st grade through 12th and she had 16 credits and a double major!! That is what it is about, and I happen to LOVE the young woman she turned out to be as well!! Dwelling on that as I calm myself down, lol!!!


  9. All the anti-birth control talk, LOL. Give me a break.

    I am a virgin in my 40s, never had sex, but had to take birth control pills several years ago in an attempt to cut down on menstrual- related problems.

    I was even engaged to my fiance at the time I was on the pill, but we still never had sex. If I was ever going to have pre-marital sex, that would have been the opportune time, since I would not have had to worry about getting pregnant over it due to the pills.

    Birth control pills are not just about sex and pregnancy. Women have other reasons for taking them.

    Just based on his laughable birth control pill views alone, Kevin Swanson sounds like a gigantic idiot.


  10. Just based on his laughable birth control pill views alone, Kevin Swanson sounds like a gigantic idiot.

    And he’s a pastor – – – with currently 4,076 people following his Generations Radio Facebook page (yes, I just checked). How many families does that number represent? How much idiotic rhetoric does this man produce weekly on his broadcast? It’s difficult for me to stomach one because his exaggerations are so thick.


  11. Thanks Julie Anne glad to know I did not come on too strong. I just think we of the older generation need to step back and be quiet a minute. We drilled our ideas and opinions into these kids for decades and they were forced to listen and obey. Now that they are finally having their say we still feel the need to insert our opinions. Sit back, be quiet, and graciously listen for once and maybe just maybe we might earn their respect and be invited to the conversation. Forcing our way in however is not the answer.


  12. Speaking of “dead babies in the womb.” I am reminded of an odd true news story I saw a week or more ago.

    There is a naturally occurring (as in not due to birth control pills) health issue in some women that causes a fetus to expire and fossilize in the woman’s body.

    40-year-old calcified fetus found in Colombian woman [who is 82-years-old]

    Multiple news agencies reported that when the Colombian woman when to a doctor in Bogota, they found a lithopedion, or a calcified fetus, inside her stomach.

    Also known as a “stone baby,” a lithopedion happens when a mother has a pregnancy that doesn’t develop in the uterus, according to an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Typically the fetuses are more than three months old and found in the abdomen. The fetus lacks circulation, which leads to extra calcium buildup.


  13. Angela W said,

    No parent is perfect and it sounds to me like the complaining home schooled kids are being unrealistic. Instead of blessing God for giving them parents who truly tried to do the best for them they sit around and blog about how they were mistreated….

    I don’t think that is entirely fair to depict their reaction that way.

    My Mom was a Christian woman. She died a few years ago. She never home schooled me, but did raise me with many of the same beliefs the home school parents are raising their sons and daughters to believe in, that I see mentioned on this blog.

    I’ve had to re-evaluate many things my Mom taught me in the years since she has passed away, even basic things about how to relate to other people, how to live life.

    The things my mother taught me – in a nut shell, she raised me to think being a good Christian girl meant being a codependent (be a total doormat). I could write volumes on how my Mom’s parenting messed me up and held me back in life.

    I do realize that my Mom did the best she could, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling angry at her at times for all this, and me talking about it and blogging about it now helps me to cope and heal from it. I’m having to start from scratch and work through this garbage alone.

    I love my mom and miss her, and I know she was a product of her abusive upbringing (which is why she was codependent and didn’t know better than to raise me like that too), but it doesn’t change the fact I am upset with her for raising me to be this way.

    I’m having to work through all this stuff on my own, and blogging about it or posting about it helps me sort through my feelings and make sense of things. I would suspect the same is true for the 20 and 30 something kids who have left homeschooling families.

    I don’t think it’s just a bunch of 20/30 somethings acting bratty on the internet for the sake of acting bratty or like ingrates. I’ve read through some of their posts on the sites JA linked to at top, and they seem to be genuinely hurt or confused by the way they were raised – like I am, and I’m older than they are.


  14. I’m not sure why people here are scared of us critiquing Swanson publically. He LOVES it. In fact, he uses us to sell his book.The more we create for him, the more he can continue to pick on us. I’ve never listened to a Christian show with so little hope.


  15. @Angela. Believe me, I still love my parents. I talk about this because 1) my friends need to know they are not the only one 2) parents do listen and learn. My parents don’t know what it is like to be a homeschol grad. I do. So if parents want to know a piece of what this is like in order to help their kids, well, then reading our stories is a good place to start. This really has nothing to do with complaining against my parents.


  16. My heart and prayers go out to those that have been poorly affected by the sins of DP and folding of VF. My husband and I were previously theonomists and reconstructionists. We still have many friends that are, and know many in those circles. My husband wrote a book that explains what is wrong with that theology, and I would like to share the link where it is provided free of charge to read on-line.


  17. The “stone baby” thing is a real rarity. It happens when a fertilized egg misses the path to the uterus and develops outside the uterus in the abdomen. Most such eggs do not survive and disappear. But occasionally one will get enough nourishment to develop for a little while. Like any foreign body in the human body, it can be an irritant to the surrounding tissue. Calcification is a process that the body uses to isolate the irritant.

    But this shows that the process of fertilization and implantation is not perfect and has a high failure rate. Again, research suggests that as many as 80 percent of fertilized eggs do not implant in women who are not taken any drug that affects the human reproductive system.


  18. Anon by Choice,

    4-5 fertilzations occur per year in the healthy, sexually active woman who does not use contraception. (That’s why you could actually argue that it’s more ethical to take the pill.)

    Maybe women in these circles should have a monthly ceremony after menses to mourn? (Actually, this is what much of my early marriage was like when I hoped for pregnancy.)


  19. When it comes to homeschooling, both sides (pro and con) are often guilty of logical fallacies, misinformation, and/or misuse of data.

    For example, many critics of homeschooling commit the logical fallacy of hasty generalization by leaping to conclusions about the entire homeschooling population because of a few bad examples. And many critics of the VF and ATI movements commit the same fallacy by lumping in homeschooling along with all of the legalism of the patriarch movement. Any sometimes those hasty generalizations lead to overcorrecting. Leaving the patriarchy movement does not mean you should necessarily chop off your hair, divorce your husband, have an affair, and put your kids in public school. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Kids that excel in school, no matter what type of school, are the kids that have tons of parental love, support, time, and encouragement. Homeschooling can be a wonderful and valuable way to educate a child, so let’s not lump it in with certain movements and then call it bad because of that association.

    The issue of poor logic and use of data is even a bigger issue with the godfathers of patriarchy. DP, GB, VB, and KS are all on tape decrying the evils of college, how brilliant homeschoolers are, etc. Let’s break down a few of their favorite declarations:

    • “All colleges are all bad all of the time” – This is the logical fallacy of relevance. It is an appeal to consequences that “something bad might happen.” Yes, and I might get hit by a meteor today as well, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get out of bed and go to work!

    • “75% of all Christian college students lose their faith by the end of their freshmen year, so don’t send your precious little ones to college!” – this is the logical fallacy of relevance as well. It is an appeal to probability that “because something might happen, it will happen.” First of all, most kids that self identify as “Christian” are not necessarily true believers and they usually don’t “own” their faith. They were just simply brought up in the church and youth group, but under fire in college — in the academic crucible of a very liberal and critical thinking environment — their faith faded away. No surprise there. What would be much more relevant is to ask how many college students that were truly born-again believers lost their faith in college. Probably very few. But the scare tactics sell more books, so it’s an argument that continues to be declared by them.

    • “Homeschoolers outscore public schoolers and private schoolers on the SAT test, so homeschooling is by far the best way to educate your kids, especially with my curriculum or videos or books…” This is misuse and misapplication of data. DP always bragged about this. Now, while HSLDA does report data every year on SAT test scores and while homeschoolers do usually end up in the 85th to 88th percentile (which is very impressive), the VF and ATI kids don’t take those tests! The homeschoolers that are taking the SAT are college bound and have usually prepared very well. I do know homeschoolers that aced their exams. And I do know homeschoolers that went to Ivy League undergrad institutions and grad schools like Harvard Law, but they are the exception and not the norm. And they didn’t come out of the VF or ATI movement. While nearly all public school kids and private school kids take standardized tests (because its built into their process and school calendar), many in the homeschool population do not. So, it should be no surprise that those well-prepared homeschool kids that do test will score higher than the full population of all public and private school kids that are all over the map. Hey DP, show me some scores from your kids that are too busy traveling with you on exotic trips to have school. Guess what? Most VF and ATI types abhor any type of testing or government “intrusion” so they never test and therefore the test data DP loved to claim for his movement didn’t apply to his demographic. Did DP’s kids ever take the National Latin Exam? Are they National Merit Scholars or AP Scholars? What were their SAT scores? I didn’t think so.

    Of course most of these types of messages are completely self-serving. For example, DP’s promotion of his European faith and freedom tours often boasted of statements like “why waste money on a college degree when you can learn the real history of Europe on our tour.” Again, it’s almost laughable how over-hyped those VF tours were. Really? I will learn as much on a one-week whirlwind tour of a couple of cities in Europe listening to DP talking on and on ad nauseam as I would in four years of college? And will the employers be lining up to offer me a job when I land back in America? I actually pity the people that forked over hard-earned money to go on those tours.

    Maybe we should test homeschool parents?


  20. “Sad to say, both of my sons were gov’t educated and suffered persecution in school while I was a board member.”

    If you approached that board position like you approached the comments on this blog, their “persecution” might have been due to you. BTW: What is your definition of “persecution”?


  21. I tend to agree with JA that Swanson would fit into the category of “false teacher.” There are innumerable ways to be legalistic and add to the Scriptures. Not all of them make you a false teacher, of course. But when you start to make peripheral issues central to your faith, you have crossed a line, IMO.

    It might be helpful to hear how/if the OPC is addressing Swanson. BOTH internal OPC investigation and outside bloggers/accountability are appropriate.

    Re: birth control, I encourage all to read Randy Alcorn’s book. The entire book is available as a free PDF. It is first rate research.


  22. Yes, I am. I posted about it way up the comment thread here.

    I connect with them in another group and share ideas. Some of the people involved are also part of the Homeschoolers Anonymous group.


  23. Thomas – My kids are examples of (former) homeschooled kids who scored average on standardized tests. They have always struggled with standardized tests. In fact, my daughter, now in public high school, has managed to fail the math test by 1 point three times! They are allowing her to do extra work in order to meet that requirement for graduation.

    There is a lot of rhetoric declaring that homeschooled kids score higher on these tests as compared to public schooled kids. My kids did not fit that mold. I always joke that I want to introduce my “average” children to all of those brilliant kids out there. Long live the “average” child! May they rise to greatness!


  24. My spouse and I raised two children, generally in public schools, but a year in an academically challenging private school. Both Merit finalists, one with a perfect score on the SAT, both Christians, both moral and ethical people that you could trust to manage your life savings. With good parenting, and good parent involvement in the schools, good can come from the public schools. And any other educational circumstance will not succeed without parental support and involvement.


  25. Oh, and both were “home schooled” before and during their public school education, with language tapes in the car, math exercises involving speed, distance and time while driving, etc. Using every experience as a learning opportunity, from early childhood on.


  26. Anon by Choice, Some homeschool parents would read what you wrote about your children and declare your Christianity is works-based. You mentioned moral & ethical – two derogatory works-based buzz words, these days. Literal Calvinists believe good actions are filthy rags. And any “real” good your kids do is not them, it’s ALL & ONLY God. All minutia is controlled & predetermined by God. That’s their definition of “sovereignty of God”. Your kids basically had no choice in the matter of doing good, or evil. Neither do you as a parent.

    They simply may not see the good in what you are saying about doing good. They may also think an education is not about math, science, etc. That’s worldly. What do they teach at home? Ironically, they would then say they strive to teach their children to be “godly”.

    Does anyone else think this is not rational thinking? These religious “Christian” groups basically believe: Action is divorced from choice. All while striving to be “godly” right down to their tiniest of minutia choices. These rules are dictated to them by a religious leader holding spiritual authority.

    It hurts my heart that children (future #s) & women (wombs, that is) are the currency they need to succeed. No human being should EVER be a means to an end. I wonder if some of these homeschooled adults feel this way. It is quite heartbreaking.


  27. A Mom – – These now adult formerly homeschooled students have been used. They were called the Joshua Generation and were expected to carry the baton, the “battle” to take dominion of the world via the submitting and accepting wombs of young ladies and men ready to colonize, plant, and conquer.

    Their life was never about them, but about raising an army for Christ.

    Education was not really part of this equation. It’s interesting that they brag about statistics which were most likely skewed, but their focus is not usually on education when you listen to the guru leaders as they give their keynote addresses. It’s about the mission.


  28. “These now adult formerly homeschooled students have been used. They were called the Joshua Generation and were expected to carry the baton, the “battle” to take dominion of the world via the submitting and accepting wombs of young ladies and men ready to colonize, plant, and conquer.”

    Something that first struck me about the moniker, “Joshua Generation”, as applied to these poor children of Theonomy, is that Joshua’s generation took over villages and farms and vineyards that they had nothing to do with creating. They were occupiers. I’ve detected a very similar and highly unpleasant “pillage the heathen” sense of entitlement (and arrogant disdain for any outside their group) among some of this “generation”. It’s grotesque.


  29. @Thomas Hern, excellent post, thank you.

    “Maybe we should test homeschool parents?”

    LOL’s aside, is it not highly probable that the high-scoring cohort of home-schooled children are of highly-intelligent parental stock who are also heavily vested in their children’s education? These kids have two massive advantages over the mean: smart genes and great teachers.


  30. “Literal Calvinists believe good actions are filthy rags. And any “real” good your kids do is not them, it’s ALL & ONLY God. All minutia is controlled & predetermined by God. That’s their definition of “sovereignty of God”.”

    I take issue with this. What is a “literal Calvinist”? If you mean, “hyper-calvinist”, then, well, ok, maybe. If you mean Calvinists who believe in the absolute sovereignty of God, then, absolutely, no. Normal “literal” Calvinism ascribes absolute sovereignty to salvation. And the works in question are “works of righteousness”, as per Paul, toward salvation, not every day actions, where man’s moral agency is of critical importance.

    It’s also important to note that while Phillips, Swanson, Sproul, Jr. are Theonomists, a vulgar, carnal distortion of confessional Calvinism, and of the Gospel of our Lord, there are also many, many Arminians and somewhere-in-betweens in this movement. The distinctives are not Calvin. They are Galatia.


  31. Why does following Jesus need to be so complicated? Isn’t it simply to love God & love others as yourself? I’ve read the word “extra-biblical” a lot lately & even though the word itself sounds good & holy, (as in extra or super sized Bible) it seems it means to add man-made rules to the Bible. That’s scary.

    “What is a “literal Calvinist”? If you mean, “hyper-calvinist”, then, well, ok, maybe. If you mean Calvinists who believe in the absolute sovereignty of God, then, absolutely, no. ”

    What I mean by literal Calvinist is someone who lives by “it happened so no matter what it must be what God wanted”, no matter if they claim to be Calvinist, hyper-Calvinist, Armenian or Augustinian. Maybe practicing Calvinist is more accurate?

    “And the works in question are “works of righteousness”, as per Paul, toward salvation, not every day actions, where man’s moral agency is of critical importance.”

    Yes. Not sure how a right work/action is righteous “toward salvation”, but right everyday moral actions are important but not righteous. It kind of affirms my comment of how right moral actions are filthy rags in this particular movement.


  32. “I’ve detected a very similar and highly unpleasant “pillage the heathen” sense of entitlement (and arrogant disdain for any outside their group) among some of this “generation”. It’s grotesque.”

    Absolutely. I’ve seen it in action, from HS parents. It’s the Reformed version of name it & claim it. Label the person heathen & it’s rightfully yours. It becomes a part of their legacy. More ends justify the means. All in the name of Jesus. Grotesque is a good word to describe it.


  33. @JulieAnne — thanks for the warm welcome, and sorry for such a late response. Holiday craziness is catching up with me!

    Oh my yes, there is Homeschooling Craziness in Catholicism. (And plenty of other sorts of craziness, too, from apparition-chasing to ultra-trad-ism.)

    The Catholic Homeschool epicenter is in Front Royal, Virginia, home of Christendom College (which some student wags refer to as Prisondom because of its draconian rules). That’s also where Seton Home Study School is based. I’m not sure it’s anywhere near as crazy as the stuff you describe, but suffice it to say that we went the “design-your-own-customized-curriculum” route for a reason.

    When the kids were little, I really wanted to get more involved with local homeschooling groups, both evangelical and Catholic. Alas, they all met at inconvenient times for a working mom — and the Catholic group hardly seemed to meet at all. I now see that this may have been a blessing in disguise. I’m not really a “joiner” anyway, and I think this may have insulated me from a lot of guilt-inducing groupthink.

    Speaking of which…a Catholic friend did once chide me for being a working mom with a stay-at-home homeschool-teacher husband. She called this unbiblical “role reversal.” I was so troubled by this that I asked the assistant pastor at a large local Catholic parish about it. He told me that my friend’s charges were nonsense. So, in essence, my priest protected me from Catholic fundamentalism. LOL.

    Of course, I, too, could have shot some holes in my friend’s argument (but it was nice to have backing from my priest). As my history-buff husband and kids alwasy remind me, the “dad-at-the-office/mom-at-home” arrangement is a relatively recent development. It is a product of the Industrial Revolution. In pre-Industrial agrarian societies, both mom and dad stayed in the home orbit and worked together on the farm — and everyone pitched in at harvest time! Strict division of labor wasn’t even feasible.

    And what of the Holy Family? Did Joseph pack his box lunch and go off to the Nazareth Chair Factory every morning, while Mary stayed home and worked at her loom? Of course not. Joseph’s workshop was attached to the home; the family lived and worked together, under one roof, per the ancient custom for artisan families. Moreover, Mary at her loom weaving “seamless garments” was just as much an artisan as Joseph in his workshop carving wood into implements. (BTW–I understand that many evangelicals are kind of allergic to Mary, but if they are going to extol Deborah and Esther and Lydia, why not give Mary some credit, too? Her Magnificat is not exactly the feeble whimpering of a passive doormat. 😉 And, when all those big brave men ran away from Jesus at the Crucifixion, Mary and a few other women were the only ones, along with St John, who stood by Him. [Am not even mentioning her incredibly brave “Yes” at the Annunciation — what manly-man Bible personage can top that? ;)])

    Anyway…sorry for beebling on and on, and thanks for the kind welcome. Now back to Christmas Craziness!


  34. I was homeschooled from ’82-’88, and it was a very positive experience. My parents, although they were Dobson-listening Evangelicals, were sane and conscientious, and they put us in public school in sixth grade, where I and my two brothers who followed, excelled academically and did just fine socially. Until recently, I thought of homeschooling mainly as an educational option, not as a counter-culture lifestyle choice.

    Since 2011, my husband and I have worked out of the country for a Christian-run NGO. There is really no other educational option for our three kids other than homeschooling, so we dove in, and are trying to figure out how to give our kids the best education we can within the limitations our work and location impose.

    Shortly before leaving the U.S., I attended my first “Christian Homeschoolers Book Fair” in Dallas in 2011. I was totally shocked and extremely uncomfortable by what I saw there. I consider myself an Evangelical, though a left-leaning one in some things. I was prepared for some people there to be more conservative than I am, but I was not prepared for them to be the vocal majority. Everywhere you looked was another booth with young-earth creation propaganda, revisionist history propaganda, supplies so women could learn to rise with the sun and make their own bread with special Christian flour, tools for introducing your Protestant family to Messianic Judaism, courtship/purity/modesty/patriarchy/daughter-oppressing/woman-devaluing books and merchandise out the wazoo, tables of “wholesome” pre-1960 books where all the women wore aprons and black children evidently didn’t exist, and other cultish kookiness that gave me hives. Prior to that, I was under the impression that groups like Vision Forum and Quiverfull were fringe extremist groups, not that they were welcomed front and center as mainstream at most of the homeschool conventions and book fairs.

    What do you all think non-militant, non-Fundamentalist homeschoolers should be doing in the light of the fact that the crazies are always getting microphones, and innocent newbies can easily get sucked into the rampant yuckiness? Most of the theologically sane and mainstream-culture participating homeschooling moms I interact with on my curriculum’s forum have just stopped going to “Christian home school” events (preferring secular or “inclusive” ones, which not all states hold), don’t do co-ops, and generally just disapprove from afar. But the activist in me says we should be doing something, saying something, or writing someone indignant letters of protest. To allow cult groups to pass themselves off as mainstream, with a conservative flavor is BAD, and I feel just bowing out is a form of complicity. I too am a Christian homeschooler, I should get a voice in my own group. I am open to suggestions.


  35. Dom said: “It’s also important to note that while Phillips, Swanson, Sproul, Jr. are Theonomists, a vulgar, carnal distortion of confessional Calvinism, and of the Gospel of our Lord, there are also many, many Arminians and somewhere-in-betweens in this movement. The distinctives are not Calvin. They are Galatia.”

    I can’t agree more – it would seem the book of Galatians was written just for them. Don’t forget to add Gary North, Greg Bahnsen, Joe Morecraft, Steve Wilkins, Doug Wilson, Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar and R.J Rushdoony, among many, many others. You will find this theology in the Presbyterian circles of the OPC, RPCGA, RPCNA, and a few PCA. In the Baptist circles you can find them in the Southern Baptist, Soverign Grace and many independents. There may be more , I just thought I’d let you know where to find most of them.

    Dearest “A Mom”, you said – “What I mean by literal Calvinist is someone who lives by “it happened so no matter what it must be what God wanted”, no matter if they claim to be Calvinist, hyper-Calvinist, Armenian or Augustinian. Maybe practicing Calvinist is more accurate?”

    Can I ask you to be a little more considerate? There is a variety of Calvinists, just like there is a variety of Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and Catholics (can you name a branch of the body that doesn’t have variety?) Is there a literal Catholic, or a literal Baptist? No, practicing Calvinist is not more accurate. What you described in the two posts that you bring it up is hyper-calvinism. It may be insulting to other Calvinists to call the hypers “practicing Calvinists”. Should we say one sect of Catholics or Baptists are practicing (implying the others aren’t)? Maybe it’s desirable to simplify it all that way so that a disdain for Calvinists can be maintained? 🙂 Thank you for listening.

    May God’s healing love bring peace to us all –


  36. Hi Under the Radar,

    I do not wish to insult you or anyone else. I, too, long for love & peace. Which is why my concern here are the spiritually abused. They seem to get lost in these discussions. When I see spiritual abuse coming from the men you listed, or anyone for that matter, I ask myself, “What is their doctrine or religion?” Then I try to study it to see if what they are doing is consistent with their religious beliefs. If it is, they are accurately practicing their religion.

    Have you read Calvin’s own theological book titled, “Institutes of the Christian Religion”? Have you read it? If you don’t agree with it, then you might not be his follower. As for me, I will not defend his control-based religion.

    Do you think no matter what happens, the most vile or evil deeds, it must be what God wanted or “decreed”? If so, what does that say to the abused? It’s meant to be? If God controls everything that happens, people are robots with no choice OR responsibility for what they do. Do you think an unbeliever is incapable of doing any good?

    Some parents see themselves as their children’s spiritual authority. No one is someone else’s intermediary between them & God. There’s no love & peace in that. We do not spiritually own our children, or anyone else.


  37. I know this post isn’t about Calvinism, but I definitely saw the link and connecting thread big time with Calvinism, Theonomy, Dominionism, and Patriarchy in the teachings of DP, GB and others like them. Most of the core churches in the NCFIC that I ran across during my brush with the “movement” were Reformed Presbyterian or Reformed Baptist and “doctrine” was critical to the rest of the cultish program. It influenced the arranged marriages and courtship model (“God is sovereign and this young man is the sovereign choice for you, my darling daughter”), and it influenced the arrogance and disdain for anyone outside of the movement (after all we are the “chosen ones”). The teachings of DP and VF were a toxic cocktail of everything extreme about the teachings of Calvin, Rushdoony, and others in a high-control way that benefitted DP and the other “anointed” leaders of the “movement.” And DP’s reaction to anyone standing up to him or his teachings were very Calvin-like in terms of how Calvin controlled Geneva and treated those who disagreed with him. I often hear the “New Geneva” description used as what the movement was trying to replicate.

    May God grant us all wisdom to seek Him first and never again be drawn in by the foolishness and sinful nature of man.


  38. A Dad, I’m right there with you!

    Under the Radar, All I am saying is if we love ourselves & others & want to protect people, then we need to at least examine doctrine, all doctrine.

    Take a hardened criminal not interested in doing right. Which half-way house will he pick in between jail time?

    1st house: The one that tells him:
    His choices aren’t his.
    His choices are predetermined by God.
    He doesn’t even have the capacity to do a teeny tiny bit of good. None at all.

    2nd house: Or will he pick this house:
    His choices are 100% determined by him. Not by anyone else, certainly not God.
    He is 100% responsible for his actions.
    He can choose to do good at any time, even if he refuses Jesus.
    He can follow Jesus: love God, himself & others & by doing so have abundant life.

    These houses are doctrines & churches. Which one would he pick? Which one would you pick? Is one more safer than the other for you & your loved ones? What will thinking abusers pick? House #2 deals with the here & now. It deals with how to live life, with consequences good & bad of each choice. What do all children need to know, whether they decide yes to Jesus or not as they get older?


  39. BTW, I’m not pushing any denomination on anyone. I’m not Armenian either. From what I know about Armenianists, some wouldn’t pick house #2 either. Well, maybe some would, but their doctrine doesn’t? I don’t know.

    What I do know is house #1 is a dangerous place to live.

    What I do know is we are to follow Jesus, no other man. And obey his words. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. House #2 is quite simple.


  40. Thanks, I appreciate you caring. 🙂 It’s okay, I guess. we’re slowly figuring out a way to talk about some things, but it’s really hard for both of us. He’s on the ‘politics is part of your faith’ end, and I’m a pretty liberal feminist, so we don’t see eye to eye on most of that, either. I’ve been trying to keep our discussions focused more on spiritual things for the time being, but homeschooling has come up a few times, because I really do feel that it was central to many of the problems I have with how I was raised, but it’s hard to find a way to say things that he won’t take as a personal attack. I am sure you meant well and only wanted the best, but intent is not magic, you know?


  41. Dear A Mom –

    My kids are all home for the holidays and we’ve been busy living, cooking and playing. Sorry in my delay to answer you.

    The way you have presented “Calvinism” has been wrong. If I were to try to tell a Roman Catholic what they believe (and their history) in such erroneous terms and expect them to defend it I would be placing the person in a position of trying to educate a hostile participant. That is not a good use of time, and highly inefficient means of education. Please read some books about it (maybe even ones written by them – not the psudo ones – instead of against them) before trying to criticize and critique another beliefs. It would be loving and responsible. (BTW, it’s Arminian and Arminianists)

    The topic of the thread is “Destructive Subculture of the Homeschool Movement”. There is a destructive subculture in the homeschool movement not just in the psudo-reformed groups. As previously mentioned by another post, there is one among the Roman Catholics, as well as the Baptists, Mormons, Pentecostals. Many Amish and Mennonite kids go rouge, and it could be classified as a destructive subculture. (Notice it may be the “fundamentalists” of each group that is the dest. sub?)

    We lived in the West for a period of time, and have had a lot of exposure to Mormons. We have been to various conventions (incl. homeschool) over the last 20 years on and off, not always every single year, on business. Two years ago was the last time we had to be at one. My jeans clad, only elementary homeschooled, teenage daughter went and we were positioned across from the VF table in St. Louis. They had definitely become more radical, and more Mormon-like since the time we had last seen their crew about 4 years before that. It really freaked out my daughter where she stayed in the hotel the next day rather than have to deal with the vibes and dirty looks she was getting from the VF “mean girls” and “boy robots”. (Her words)

    It is esp. unfortunate that the homeschool “movement” seems to have really been taken over by these psudo-reformed groups. The conventions have taken on a more radical and different flavor than they were 20 years ago. In fact, that one in St. Louis two years ago was our last. The conventions are too different now to be profitable for healthy Christians.

    A Mom – you say “ Which is why my concern here are the spiritually abused. “ –
    I was personally spiritually abused growing up in the Roman Catholic Church by the priests and nuns. I went to a parochial school and suffered a lot of shaming, guilt mongering, and mental abuse at their hands, not to mention their doctrines of hoping to be good enough to only have to go to Purgatory. I know now that the area of the country we lived in was a more fundamental region, and there are actually a lot of “flavors” in the RC Church. The spiritually abused can come in all the branches, and in many different educational settings.

    We all need to be more sensitive,careful and loving, please. In our efforts to condemn the behavior of a narcissist that has done a lot of damage, we may also be improperly ascribing incorrect beliefs to a larger group.

    Thank you for listening! Good night.


  42. Under the Radar, I appreciate your response. I am sorry you were spiritually abused. You mentioned, “their doctrines of hoping to be good enough to only have to go to Purgatory.” as problematic for you as you tried to understand & connect the dots in the doctrines behind your abuse.

    It is quite odd that you gave yourself permission to examine the RC doctrine & express your opinion on an aspect of it as part of your healing, but you don’t want an examination of a doctrine you uphold, which might aid in someone else’s healing or avoiding abuse altogether. You imply to do so is insensitive, unloving. Hmmm. This train of inconsistent logic baffles me. And frankly, it concerns me.

    You stated what I’ve said about the doctrine you uphold is wrong. I have been quite specific & have worked hard to be as clear as I can in my statements. Yet you have made several comments, never pointing to what you think IS wrong. You just keep stating I’m wrong. You have yet to be clear & specific, IMO.

    Both of the examples above are “stop the speech” tactics, not “let’s have a dialogue” tactics.


  43. As I stated earlier, I do not have an agenda. I am all for identifying & stopping spiritual abuse in all doctrines, religions, belief systems, including Roman Catholic, Arminian (thanks UtR), & in “C”.

    There may be others here, however, who want a certain doctrine to be off limits!


  44. I thought I had replied here before, but my comment seems to have disappeared. Thanks, Julie Anne, for caring and asking. We are working on it, but the going is slow and difficult. I have trouble still separating my anger at the system from my anger at him specifically, because I think a lot of the damage was environmental, from the general atmosphere of the subculture, and not necessarily due to him, and I know he was trying his best to do what he thought was right, but there is like…an effect of trauma, in my brain, that I’ve erased some things and confused others, so sometimes I remember him as saying or supporting something that he maybe didn’t, I just assumed he did because it was the general message I was getting and he never contradicted it or indicated in any way that he disagreed with anyone or anything in the system. I know that in many cases he just didn’t have a lot of time or energy, because we were extremely poor and we had seven children and in his words, he nearly killed himself working crappy jobs just to feed us. I believe that, especially in my younger years, we had nothing and I know he hated those jobs. But it still isn’t right, when he was home, to take his frustration and anger out on us. The whole atmosphere was fear, and him always being angry and yelling at us for seemingly everything we did, just for existing sometimes, didn’t help. We couldn’t do anything right. Physical abuse was limited to spankings, but we were in mortal fear of those. Home was fear too, but we never had a chance to escape. My youngest sisters were eventually allowed to take some classes at the local high school, but us older ones were denied anything similar even when we asked. We were discouraged from talking to other kids or making friends, even inside the movement, because they might not line up with our beliefs exactly and were a bad influence. I didn’t have a single friend, ever, until I was 17, when I discovered the internet. Some may think that doesn’t count, but when you have never had anyone – it was a revelation to me.

    Anyway, I am just…still processing a lot of things, and struggling to separate out a lot of things that are cloudy or just unreliable in my memory, and realising that I was a very sensitive kid, and some things may have been worse for me because of that. It didn’t, and still doesn’t, take much to cut me deep. When it happens over and over with no chance to heal in between, it adds up to serious trauma, apparently. I am stronger and better about dealing with it these days, but I’m still sensitive enough to know that as a kid, I had no way to know this or cope with it or process the hurts. I ended up just burying and repressing everything emotional, and creating a facade that approximated what I thought was demanded of me, being happy and submissive and what not, and even if it became rather brash and defiant and even rebellious eventually, it was all a cover for the fear and the hurt behind it. The best defense is a good offense, you know? My dad feels hurt because he feels like I was deceiving him when he believed I was happy all those years, and I don’t know what to tell because yeah, I guess I was, but it was the only way I knew how to survive. As it was, parts of my mind just shut down, trying to protect myself.

    It’s hard talking to him because I’m still afraid of his explosive reactions if I say something he disapproves of or doesn’t like, and he’s hurt by everything I say that seems to him like an attack or accusation, like I don’t care about all the things he did right, or don’t remember the good times. I’ve tried explaining to him that the good times get eclipsed by all the rest to the point that I don’t necessarily remember them, though I know that there were good times, but they weren’t good enough or there wasn’t enough of them to offset all the rest. I did and do still highly respect how hardworking he’s always been, and everything he did to provide for us. That isn’t really the issue, and I’m not discounting that but it doesn’t really help. So, it’s a process, and right now I’m mostly trying to get him to tell me what he does believe, so I can start sorting out the stuff that came from him directly and what things I just picked up from the environment and people around us. I think the homeschooling community was possibly much more damaging than either church or home, to be honest. There was a lot of extremism.


  45. Dear A Mom – “ you don’t want an examination of a doctrine you uphold” Who are you to judge if I examine my doctrine?
    “ And frankly, it concerns me” Again, why? Are you in control of me?
    “never pointing to what you think IS wrong. You just keep stating I’m wrong. You have yet to be clear & specific, IMO.” You like to make rules, don’t you? Yes, you are wrong and uneducated. It is not incumbent upon me to educate or correct you, regardless of your opinion. If you would like a recommendation on what to read to further your education:

    “Both of the examples above are “stop the speech” tactics, not “let’s have a dialogue” tactics.” We have been asked by the owner of this blog to not get into it over “Calvinism”. So therefore, I will not discuss “Calvinism” or your opinions of what it is with you on this thread. I can respect the JA’s wishes. The subject of this heading is the destructive subculture of the homeschool movement.

    “There may be others here, however, who want a certain doctrine to be off limits!” Loving and friendly, healing and thoughtful. Always a pleasure to interact with you.


  46. I didn’t know a large graphic would display when recommending a book on amazon. It seems to overpower the whole post. Sorry!

    I can’t recommend Ravi Zacharias enough. Not only are his books wonderful, his sermons and radio material is excellent. He has such a big heart, sharp wit, and humble attitude.


  47. Dear Kagi – Your post has touched me deeply. Do you still live with your parents? It’s not really my business to ask, but it has me a little worried. If you don’t answer I understand. Sending love and prayers your direction –


  48. By all means, you may continue the discussion on the Calvin debate thread linked above. That’s what it is there for.

    The topic of this thread is important as people are still searching Phillips and trying to make sense of it all, that’s why I’m trying to keep them separate.


  49. Dear A Mom – “ you don’t want an examination of a doctrine you uphold” Who are you to judge if I examine my doctrine?
    “ And frankly, it concerns me” Again, why? Are you in control of me?
    “never pointing to what you think IS wrong. You just keep stating I’m wrong. You have yet to be clear & specific, IMO.” You like to make rules, don’t you? Yes, you are wrong and uneducated. It is not incumbent upon me to educate or correct you, regardless of your opinion. If you would like a recommendation on what to read to further your education:
    “Both of the examples above are “stop the speech” tactics, not “let’s have a dialogue” tactics.” We have been asked by the owner of this blog to not get into it over “Calvinism”. So therefore, I will not discuss “Calvinism” or your opinions of what it is with you on this thread. I can respect the JA’s wishes. The subject of this heading is the destructive subculture of the homeschool movement.
    “There may be others here, however, who want a certain doctrine to be off limits!” Loving and friendly, healing and thoughtful. Always a pleasure to interact with you.

    Under the Radar,
    I have no problem with you examining your doctrine! LOL 🙂 I encouraged you to examine doctrine yourself by reading “Institutes of Christian Religion ” if you hadn’t already. Exactly how am I controlling you? Anyone reading this thread will see I said we should examine all doctrine in my last comment. Maybe you missed that? I’m not following your logic.

    What concerns me is you gave an example of what you thought was wrong with the Catholic doctrine, yet you told me “it’s not loving” to point out what I think is wrong with “Cs” doctrines. You are not practicing what you preach, that’s what concerns me. You can speak about doctrinal problems, but I can’t? Why would it upset you if BOTH of us expressed our thoughts? Hmmm. Anyone having flashbacks to Geneva?

    Do you want to bring healing? Stifling others who may want to connect the dots between their abuse & doctrine is not the way. If it worked for your own abuse in regards to Catholicism, why not let others do the same?

    And by the way, there is no question that “C”s doctrines are alive & well in the destructive culture of the homeschool movement. Just read the next post.


  50. P.S. I think you’d have to turn a blind eye to not make the connection, after reading so many stories of spiritual abuse here. I am afraid what I’ve read is just the tip of the iceberg. People are starting to connect the dots.

    I also want to be clear there are many who hold to this doctrine who are loving, kind & would never abuse anyone. That doesn’t mean the doctrine itself doesn’t have huge problems.


  51. Sorry. To finish my thought:

    I also want to be clear there are many who hold to this doctrine who are loving, kind & would never abuse anyone. That doesn’t mean the doctrine itself doesn’t have huge problems that may lead to or enable spiritual abuse.


  52. Thank you, Gary W. I also just moved Under the Radar’s most recent comment there. so feel free to continue the Calvin conversation there. Debating is good – it stretches you and causes you to challenge yourself.


  53. Under the Radar,

    You mentioned Servetus as “an interesting guy” regarding his religious beliefs or something of the sort here or on the next post.


    For the record, I don’t care if someone has blue hair, is an atheist, and rides a bike to work. They don’t deserve to be killed in the name of religion. Without religious tolerance in this country, all religious groups but the ruling one would live in bloody fear. God help us all if this country becomes a theocracy/church-state.

    I am starting to realize I take religious freedom for granted & that there are those, not just in the destructive subculture of the homeschool movement, who seem to want government power to enforce doctrines. Their actions look intolerant. To which they would probably yell out “Amen” as their battle cry. Their eye seems to be on a theocracy.

    Religious freedom may be at stake. That sounds crazy or unlikely, but for me it’s not after reading this & other spiritual abuse blogs. Freedom to choose our own spiritual beliefs needs to be protected & defended, no matter what our personal religious belief is.


  54. Hi Kagi:

    BTW, Your other comment is still there, you probably just missed it. No worries. Thanks for sharing how things have been going. It sounds like it’s been a challenging journey. The one thing you both have going for you is that you love each other and there seems to be respect for each other. That is very positive. I would encourage you to take it one day at a time and treasure each moment that there is a positive connection. I think in recovery there are some times where it seems like it is one step forward, two steps backwards, but it’s still movement and I think that’s better than being stagnant. Try to focus on the positives. Having understanding of where he was coming from and extending grace will help your relationship, but also don’t lose sight of healthy boundaries, too, for your own protection.


  55. JA: Trust me, I am allll about the boundaries. But he’s definitely not, doesn’t really understand what they are or why they’re healthy and sometimes he doesn’t understand the need to respect them. He pretty much labels all of it as ‘unforgiveness’ or bitterness or what have you, and I’m like….no. It’s really not.


  56. @CindyK:

    Yet for all the talk about providence in some of these Calvinist influenced homeschooling related groups, they just turn everything into social engineering to build the desired and preferred world that they want.

    Just like the Communists.

    And their predecessors; the Jacobins of the French Revolution, mesmerized by their future Republique of Perfect Virtue. A Cause so Righteous it justified any means to bring it about.


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