Bill Gothard, Courtship, Doug Phillips & Vision Forum, Extra-Biblical Nonsense, Full-Quiver, God's Design for the Family, Homeschool Movement, IBLP and ATI, Lourdes Torres vs Doug Phillips lawsuit, Modesty and Purity Teachings, Parenting, Patriarchal-Complementarian Movement, Personal Stories, Stay-At-Home Daughters Movement, Vision Forum

A Young Woman’s Personal Story: The Residual Effects of the Teachings by Doug Philips, Bill Gothard, and Patriarchy

Doug Phillips, Patriarchy, Vision Forum, Stay-at-home daughters, Courtship, Quiverfull, Bill Gothard

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about Doug Phillips, Vision Forum, Bill Gothard, or Patriarchy teachings. A young woman who identified as “Done Running” posted her personal story and it deserves its own post. Done Running describes the residual effects of patriarchal teachings by Doug Phillips. These ideologies (stay-at-home daughters, courtship, quiverfull teachings) leave women completely dependent on their fathers for their choice in marriage partners, schooling, work, etc. It is abusive, and in my opinion, a form of emotional, if not physical kidnapping.

Young women whose parents participate in these teachings/ideologies are not allowed to have independent thought, to make their own choices for their future. The plan is to have the father pass his baton of authority over to a man he selects as her future husband. A woman is always under the authority of a man, never to be free to think for herself. Her role in life is to bear children (as many as the Lord provides) and serve her husband.

~Julie Anne

Ed note:  I bolded important notes, added headings, and added links to the personal story.





Personal Story by “Done Running”

I grew up in a Vision Forum household. My family dynamic led to my mother pursuing very conservative and patriarchal Christian groups. We spent a few years in IBLP, and then ended up with Vision Forum.

As I became a teenager, the iron patriarchal hold on my life strengthened with strangling force. The relationship between my mother and me is permanently damaged from this group, giving her license to completely devalue me as a human being.

I hated Doug Phillips from the beginning. I thought he was creepy and controlling and when I met him, these feelings only intensified. When I confided in my mother, I was told to stop being a rebellious and sinful child that bad-mouthed godly men.

It was scarring to be taught that my only proper use as a female was as a glorified incubator for as many godly little warriors that God chose to bless me with, and dedicate my entire life to raising them. It was debilitating to be taught that if a guy liked me for normal reasons and didn’t pursue a rigid courtship through my father, it was my fault for not being modest and chaste enough. Not being allowed to dictate my own boundaries concerning my body and personal space was horrible.

The ramifications of these parenting choices follow me every day. The “Return Of The Daughters” movie and the book, So Much More, by sisters, Anna-Sophia and Elizabeth Botkins, was held up to me as my personal guides on how to be a good daughter.


“I had no idea of the psychological ramifications

that would continue to follow me.”


I broke away from this when I was 17, and as soon as Doug Phillips was brought down by his abuse of Lourdes, I cried with relief that finally this cultish reign of terror was over in my family. I had already fought my way into attending real college, in person, and felt that I was finally free, but I had no idea of the psychological ramifications that would continue to follow me.

The Long-Term Ramifications

The next 3 years were basically an entire rewiring of my brain. I had almost daily anxiety attacks from normal daily interactions that were never allowed when I was growing up. Working in a regular workplace was both liberating and torture. I had no idea how to handle healthy adult dating relationships, which led to me falling into a short-term abusive relationship with a “Christian” man.

Through all of this I was still fighting my mother tooth and nail to maintain every fraction of independence I gained. She withdrew from Vision Forum, but still upholds some of the ideals, none of which I live up to.

I am now happily engaged to a wonderful man who respects and loves me for my fierce independence, and has no desire to use religion of any description to exert his control over me or my body.

My mother apologized one time for dragging me through the hell that was Vision Forum. She refuses to have any further discussion about it or to admit that any of her parenting calls were misguided. I feel like when you have hurt someone you don’t get to decide that you haven’t, or that you have done enough to repair the damage.


I’m not sure if my mother and I will ever have a good relationship. Any religion or parenting model that gives parents supreme power with no accountability and rips all agency from their children should be avoided with extreme caution and prejudice.

I have never had the outlet to talk about my experience before and I so appreciate this blog. Thank you for creating it and all of you that have shared your stories. I stand with you.


70 thoughts on “A Young Woman’s Personal Story: The Residual Effects of the Teachings by Doug Philips, Bill Gothard, and Patriarchy”

  1. DR, I am so glad you got out of VF’s grip. Thank you for writing about this. I’m praying for you and release from the lasting effects of that horrible teaching.


  2. A sad but familiar account of what happens when men who think they are God’s personal press officers (oh so very self-important) add and make up rules about family and church where these do not exist. Yes, all for the purpose of control, control, control. And abuse. And perversion. And evil.

    I am happy in my heart that “Done Running” has found a wonderful man who wishes not to control her in any way. Fantastic!

    “Done Running” is another brave woman who has spoken out against these false “Christian” movements. I pray that her peace multiplies from now on…and that this “cultish reign of terror” (what an accurate description) soon disappears from her memory.

    Another tip of the hat to SSB, and another occasion to praise the Lord. He does set us free, doesn’t He?


  3. DR, glad God opened your eyes to the manipulation and abuse. I still know many women who are trapped in similar teachings. It’s amazing how many godly people get duped by these wolves into thinking that they should lord it over their children to maintain an aura of godliness.

    Unbelievable how much damage IBLP/VF/Patriarchy has caused and continues to cause. My church background wasn’t even that strict and there was still a lot of guilt and shame manipulation and leader chest thumping.


  4. Outstanding, DR! Keep moving forward, the hard part’s over–you’ll get stronger and stronger with each year of healing! Blessings, Ken

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My mother and father loathed organized religion, especially my father with a passion. He was by no means an atheist but he experienced the belly side of traditional faith when he was a kid. Deep down they instilled in me an extremely cynical view of people who had all the answer types. In some ways it is not so good in others it has saved me from some long term damage. I still got deeply involved in the born again industry but I always had this warning bell that kept me from total commitment. Funny I am closer to Christ now than when I was involved in any formal franchise.

    I hope you find peace.

    Doug Phillips is not a very nice person from my observations and he should really be ashamed so should Mr. Gothard.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Done Running – Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It’s great that you’re “done” and facing it all head-on! Best wishes for continued healing and peace.


  7. I hated Doug Phillips from the beginning. I thought he was creepy and controlling and when I met him, these feelings only intensified. When I confided in my mother, I was told to stop being a rebellious and sinful child that bad-mouthed godly men.

    She should have listened to you. I think children’s instincts on people can tell us a lot.

    Every time I read a story like this, I am so grateful for my supportive and kind dad.


  8. Done Running, thank you for sharing your story, and thus continuing to shine light on this odious, disgusting little man’s crimes. He should be serving time in prison.

    I invite you to visit Free Jinger – there has been much interest in this topic there, and I think you would find it to be a supportive online community.


  9. Hi Julie Anne – clarification – I meant the topic of Doug Phillips/VIsion Forum as a whole, not Done Running’s situation specifically…sorry for causing any confusion!
    Dougie and VF have been on FJ’s radar for years. (He was one of my “gateway fundies,” and I had a hinky feeling about him from Day One.)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you, Marian, I took a trip over to FJ and figured out what you meant.

    For those who are unfamiliar with Free Jinger, it is a forum in which members converse about fringe Christian fundamentalists, usually ones who have a following of some sort. Do not check it out if you are uncomfortable with coarse language. However, they are a fun-loving snarky group, and just like us, despise abuse. They have a pretty good track record for finding factual information about misbehaving “Christians.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Welcome, FJ readers💕 🙂 Thanks for your kind words. I’ve been one of you, quietly reading for well over a decade.

    Now please do me a favor, I’ve been seeing my name spelled wrong , and the “Ann” is nekkid. Please clothe Ann with an “e” = Anne.

    Or….make it easy for yourself and just use JA.

    Thank you for speaking out and supporting those who have been harmed under Patriarchy and fundyism.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for your courage to tell your story, Done Running. I lived a similar life, except I am now a 41-yr old mom of 3. My parents started homeschooling in the 1980s with ATIA and were and still are big courtship/patriarchy proponents. They still hold to the teachings in spite of the scandals. My escape is a whole other story.

    Can I just let you know that you will enter into a whole new phase of recovery as you marry and likely have children? To me it feels as if new experiences in life have me constantly peeling back layers of this onion and dealing with old thinking/experiences and reprogramming all the “bugs” I was programmed with as a child.

    Your new husband needs to know this too, so that you both aren’t surprised when you have gut-level reactions.

    Can I recommend two books that have been helpful? One by Karyl Mc Bride–“Will I ever be good enough? Healing the daughters of narcissistic mothers” and “Bad Childhood, Good Life” by Laura Schlesinger.

    Like you, the main offender in my home was my mother, and I don’t expect my relationship to ever be normal with her. It’a a reality I’ve had to face and mourn for. I CAN choose what kind of mother I am day by day and that is where I put my energy.

    Manual therapy, like cranial-sacral work, has done a world of good for me too, to relieve the stress I carry in my body. I highly recommend it to any who have difficult life experiences and especially to girls who have grown up in heavy spanking environments that leave emotional and physical damage.

    I know this long, but I can’t end without saying that running to God, rather than away from Him, has been a huge source of inner healing. The constant stream of love that flows to us from God in Christ is well that I drink deeply from every day.

    “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, says the Lord who has mercy on you.” Is. 54:10


  13. Marian,

    Thank you for sharing. Your discernment “from day one” was right on target.

    That book—So Much More—reading through that book I was totally horrified.

    The very first thing in that book is them slamming female missionaries. They actually have young gals “repenting” of the “sin” of wanting to serve on the mission field. The book just goes downhill from there.

    That book actually feels like a puppet. The two teenage girls who supposedly wrote the book aren’t actually allowed to share their own opinions in the book. The most chilling thing about the book is that someone else is speaking through them like a puppeteer would speak through a puppet.

    Here’s some actual quotes from the book:

    “Practically every person in the West today including nearly all young women, including young Christian women, look at the world through Karl Marx’s eyes.”
    (p. 64)

    “By self denial, we mean…….denying that you have a “self.” (p. 77)
    (Right there they just missed the entire definition of self-control as the Fruit of the Spirit. Self-control means we have a self.)

    “Forcing women into employment was one of the primary tactics of the cultural Marxists.”
    (p. 144)

    “Many parents are willing to pay lots of money for their children’s higher educations to ensure that their children can enjoy the worldly rewards that come with embracing an antiChristian worldview.”
    (p. 151)

    “Of all the fraudulent courses in the modern college, the education major is the most dangerously deceptive of all.”
    (p. 156)

    “There is danger in a woman working for a man who is not her husband or father. The rates of workplace marital infidelity are high…we cannot be under the protection of our fathers or husbands if we are off serving another man 40 hours a week.”
    (p. 184)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The very first thing in that book is them slamming female missionaries. They actually have young gals “repenting” of the “sin” of wanting to serve on the mission field.

    Seriously??? Wow. That’s something else.


  15. “There is danger in a woman working for a man who is not her husband or father.

    This is nonsense. There doesn’t seem to be any more danger at work than there is these patriarchal homes or communities, from what I can see.


  16. Avid Reader, thank you for providing quotes from the Botkins’ book. It is important to note that these daughters are not girls. I’m pretty sure they are in their 30s now, and still living at home with daddy. Something is wrong with this picture!


  17. I remember Vision Forum coming out against women working for an unrelated man, and that would extend to mission agencies as well, logically speaking. I remember thinking that as someone who did not own his own business, that puts tremendous pressure on Dad to bring home the bacon. OK, yes, conceded; we’re talking mostly about what it does to women, and I appreciate that, but I figured it might not be TOO out of line. :^)

    And writing as the daddy of four daughters, there’s really only so many piano teacher jobs and such out there, so my girls would get BORED quick. Maybe they could do assembly and sewing work if I started an RV company or something….boy if that wouldn’t induce them to find a good, or bad, husband quickly. If I let them find one, I guess…


  18. Are folks still listening to that idiot Gothard? I thought we saw the last of him in the 1980’s! And Piper is a Reformed/Charismatic along with the other idiots he hangs with. Now some folks want to start a Piper work in Rochester, MN, cannnot imagine how that will benefit anyone except the two “leaders” who will start it.

    Use some discernment folks, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Walk quickly out the door and then RUN for your life. While I am a Calvinist, I don’t force anyone to the position but encourage folks to Read the Word of God in its context, and don’t put your leaders up on a pedestal.

    If they are not caring servant leaders who are not out to line their pockets, then follow them as they follow Christ, but keep your Word close and be discerning, as that is the gift the church needs these days and is least sought after until it is often too late. Carl M.


  19. Your story resonates SO much with me; it is all too similar: Dominating mother, detesting Doug Phillips, loathing the emotional incest that is Return of the Daughters.

    My teenage years were spent during the reign of Vision Forum; the bondage and twisted truths it perpetuated still imprison the hearts of most of my immediate family members.

    My own road of recovery and detox has been long and fraught with anxiety as well. But each day gets a little brighter in the light of Truth and freedom.
    Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. ❤


  20. I have a confession to make. Many here know about the once-turbulent relationship I had with my daughter, Hannah. We are fine now. But . . . I was drinking the KoolAid big-time.

    I was the one who found Doug Phillips first. I bought CDs and brought them home to my husband. I got hooked on the Titus 2 website and Steve and Terri were my heroes. I also purchased a CD from the Botkins that she listened to. Hannah read courtship books and had a purity ring, you get the idea.

    It took a cult and Hannah leaving home abruptly for me to start digging deeper. When I read Done Running’s story, it reminded me that her story could have been either one of my daughters’ story. I wouldn’t want any family to experience our cult experience, but I just wish there was some way I could sit down and talk to these moms and show them what can happen and often does happen in Patriarchy’s high-controlling environment.

    When I brought these “things” into my home, I did so because I wanted the best for my family. I truly thought that it would benefit our children. There is no way in hell I would have bought into this crap if I knew what I know now.

    My hope and prayer is that if you were raised in this environment, that you will recover well and be able to have a wonderful life after the abuse. But I also hope, if you feel comfortable in doing so, that you will leave the door open even just a bit to maintain an “arms-length” relationship with your parents. I know from my own childhood abuse issues (physical abuse by my father) that there was always something gnawing at me because he never admitted to the abuse. I felt the unfinished business.

    Over time, I was able to address some of these issues with my parents. And months before my father died, he actually acknowledged the abuse for the first time, and apologized with tears in his eyes. This was the best gift I’ve ever received. Keeping the door open allowed for him to move forward and take responsibility for his abuse, and finally gave me closure.

    I know as a mom of now 4 adult kids that I do a lot of thinking about how I raised them: what worked and what didn’t work. Your moms may also do this and might wake up to the reality of the harm they caused you. I hope they do, for your sake and theirs.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. JA

    I met Doug and another man (his partner-forget his name) at a home school convention in 2006 or so, as a newbie to homeschooling (had to take my daughter out of christian school due to bullying) spent a lot of time in their sessions and got most of my CD’s from their talks. I was impressed with them both, especially Doug. He was very charismatic. They showed me their brochures, and let me know why they had the best programs.. and it totally impressed me…Educational and toys.

    I think we all do the best we can. We have good intentions..I know I did.
    Our family was in the Calvary chapel “system” for so many years and as I look back, I could cry with what we went through. But I thought I had to fight the devil…that was the place He had me. It’s hard to look back.

    I am glad your relationship with your daughter is good now!
    Also glad about your dad. Mine was abusive, but was saved two weeks before he died. I am glad you had closure. That makes all the difference as you can now be at peace.


  22. Julie Anne,

    Looking back, we see the mistakes we have made. I still wake up at night sometimes in a cold sweat over some of those.

    But we have to learn from our mistakes, turn from them, and warn others about them. And we have to look forward. As you are doing.

    Bless you, Julie Anne.


  23. JA,
    I think most parents are doing the best they can, but if I can be very blunt, that doesn’t negate the fact that sometimes this “best” is still very harmful with long-term scars and consequences. How you address this with grown children is so important. “I was just doing the best I could” sounds like a cop-out and not real repentance and grief. “I was just doing the best I could at the time, BUT now I have come to realize how hurtful my beliefs/actions were, and I’m very sorry for what I put you through due to my own ignorance and weaknesses that made me fall for the crap. I’m actively working through my own issues that made susceptible to these charlatans, and I’m working on learning my lessons to never be sucked in again.” THAT is what real repentance and healing long term look like.
    My parents have apologized for some of their hurtful behavior and think that a simple “sorry” is enough to erase decades worth of damage.
    I am very happy to hear of your dad’s acknowledgement at the end of his life of the harm he caused, and how this was helpful to you. With me, though, looking at how to have a long term relationship, I have decided I have to look for actual, long-term change that shows fruits of repentance. Thankfully, my dad has shown much fruit but my mom has not. We have a very limited relationship with them due to a) the stress it causes me to see them and b) trying to protect our kids from my mom’s influence. My mom is still very sucked into patriarchy and always has some new “Biblical insight” she’s fallen for. The latest she announced over Thanksgiving dinner is that she thinks my 39-yr old single sister should let them arrange a marriage for her. Thankfully my dad shut her down fast!
    Over the years, I’ve come to realize both my parents’ and my own vulnerabilities that make us as humans easy prey for hucksters–especially always looking for magic bullets to make life better. Walking by faith is scarier than walking by formulas. But following the Good Shepherd is the only happy, restful way.
    Thanks for all you do on your blog and twitter. I’ve been a reader for several years after the Gothard and Phillips scandals but I almost never comment.
    God is truly using you as a wounded healer.


  24. For those who are interested, the Botkins’ documentary “Return of the Daughters” is up on YouTube.


  25. “Walking by faith is scarier than walking by formulas. ”

    Now there is a great quote for the fridge door!


  26. Elizabeth,

    What a scary documentary! Poor women! The indoctrination is absolutely shocking, My, I’d never in two eternities do that to my children. The way they twisted the Bible is appalling.


  27. Here is one review of a film out that covered the (sadly unsuccessful) courtship of one woman.

    What is interesting is that this single woman decides to be “adopted” by a husband and wife who manage her courtship and where the husband acts as the single woman’s protector that all possible suitors have to go through. Sadly after one young man doesn’t work out this single woman has no other suitors.


  28. “When I brought these “things” into my home, I did so because I wanted the best for my family. I truly thought that it would benefit our children. There is no way in hell I would have bought into this crap if I knew what I know now.”

    Hoipolloi from FJ here. I quoted this for absolute truth because it applies to all good parents, from evangelicals to atheists. The seductive appeal of these “things” is the false guarantee they promise: if parents follow the “rules,” the kids will turn out perfectly, whatever that means. Parents of teenagers, I think, are especially vulnerable to these frauds. Of course, when these schemes inevitably fail, it’s always because the parents did it wrong.

    Thank you, Julie Anne, for all you do.


  29. Beth said:

    My parents have apologized for some of their hurtful behavior and think that a simple “sorry” is enough to erase decades worth of damage.

    You are absolutely right. Thankfully when I was going through my process, I realized it was a process. And so I was able to articulate that to Hannah. I told her that I’d probably be apologizing to her for the rest of my life as new insights came to me. I don’t think we can comprehend the harm we have done in one step because it takes a while to undo the damage of thought reform and for us to think clearly. The teachings from Phillips, Gothard was a form of brainwashing. That’s why it’s important for both sides to understand what happened.

    If adult children understand that parents went in with good intentions, but got sucked/lured into the thought reform processes, it might help to extend a little grace, if possible. I think this extended grace that Hannah offered me, allowed me the room I needed to even go deeper, which led to more apologies, thus, more healing for both of us. Does that make sense? What happened with us was there was a wrestling (so to speak) period. We both acknowledged that no matter what, we loved each other dearly and we were committed to working this out. There were a couple of times one of us would say, “I can’t talk any more” and the conversation was cut off. We waited a while and then started again.

    I am very happy to hear of your dad’s acknowledgement at the end of his life of the harm he caused, and how this was helpful to you. With me, though, looking at how to have a long term relationship, I have decided I have to look for actual, long-term change that shows fruits of repentance.

    Oh, absolutely! While I genuinely believe my dad’s apology was sincere, even if he had lived longer, I already had boundaries in place for my own health and sanity. I don’t think that a sincere apology acknowledging abuse automatically means that you restore a relationship as if the abuse didn’t happen. For our relationship, it meant we were finally dealing in truth, not hiding the elephant in the middle of the road. That was very freeing.

    What’s interesting is that even though my dad was physically abusive to me, I didn’t realize that my mom, too, was abusive by her complacency and enabling. It didn’t dawn on me until I had a child and realized that my mom abandoned me in my greatest time of need. That was a tough pill to swallow. I had never felt such hurt and betrayal. While I was in counseling and working through that grief, I had to completely sever our relationship – for about a year. It about did her in, but I needed to for my sanity. I couldn’t just have a casual conversation talking about the grandkids a few hours after discussing in the counseling office how she was in her bedroom listening as my dad kicked and beat me. She allowed me the space, and then listened as I chewed her out about her treatment of me. It was so, so painful. Eventually we, too, came to a place of understanding, forgiveness, and restoration. We are very close now. This painful work is so worth it!

    You describe another huge difficulty about the residual effects. Sometimes one parent sees the light, and the other parent is still drinking the koolaid – that’s such a difficult place for adult kids to maneuver. As a matter of fact, I am at a different place than my husband, and that is something that Hannah has had to negotiate as she tries to maintain a relationship with us at different places. Talk about feeling like an emotional yo-yo! Yes, you definitely need to stick with your established boundaries. I’m glad you have seen changes in your dad. But seeing your mom “stuck,” must be so frustrating and sad. I’m so sorry! Thank you for sharing some of your story, Beth!


  30. The seductive appeal of these “things” is the false guarantee they promise: if parents follow the “rules,” the kids will turn out perfectly, whatever that means.

    Hi Hoipolloi,

    Thanks much for your comment. It is spot on.

    Please relay my best regards to FJ peeps. 💕Someone left a comment (I think on DPIAT thread) about my comment here on cussing. In my opinion, some of the most egregious and harmful things done to people in the name of Christ deserve strong language. It does not offend me. I can connect with that kind of anger. Behind the scenes (because I’m dealing with far more personal stories that I don’t post about), I need to vent. I cry a lot. I vent to several people, and sometimes I even say words I wouldn’t say in front of my young children. I think God understands my anger. It’s one way of expressing anger, and it’s better to let it out than keep it inside. These “things” can affect generations. They are not petty, as you well know.

    Thank you for your kind words 😀


  31. Hi Julie Anne, Beth, Hannah, DR (one and all): Anyone up for this? I also started repeating the same sins; you’d think would have caught the warning signs of my child’s rebellion or avoiding home. Anyone want to do a book of each individual stories like “10 Lies the Church Tells Women by J. Lee Grady”; or Merry Bloch Jones Books (like what she did stories of individuals). Proceeds would go to a Non-Profit Organization to help women get out of their abusive situations, education; place to live. Place like the “Sheep Fold”=to get counseling and help. I too had to crawl out of that abyss of church and parental control. Victoria Secunda’s Books and Dr. Susan Forward book are great also and “Letting Go of the Past” by John/Paula Sandford.


  32. P.S. Our Children if want need to write their stories=healing and where they want the funds to go (Orphans, whatever Endeavor, watching their funds go to endeavors they want to help in). By the way: WORSHIP IS VERY HEALING: “Revival in Belfast”, by Mr. Robin Mark and Come Heal Our Land=wonderful. “Even, So Come” by Kevin Prosch. I Bow Down=Daphne Rademaker side of CD=VERY HEALING. A Martin Smith CD (will have to get name), Song: “Find Me In the River” and Hungry-CD! I’m printing this out and sending to Child!


  33. 49 seconds through the Documentary.

    I just can’t. 😂🤷‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

    “us women are really so bad. So bad. Everything bad in the world is all our fault” 🙋

    I’ll have to watch this documentary… when my impressionable young kids are in another room.

    Husband also.

    Lest he develop unhealthy ideas about our relationship dynamic. 🔥😂

    Liked by 1 person

  34. One other resource to be aware of is this person and his book:

    This author use to be a proponent and now basically sees all the problems that courtship has caused. It was easy to make promises about just how good courtship would be when there was no experience but now we have seen the results and many times the results aren’t what were promised. It a shame that so many promoters of courtship still cling to promoting it despite its obvious issues.


  35. I HATE the homeschooling culture. I homeschooled my two daughters but I was always trying to keep us out of this type of stuff. I alienated us in groups because i never concluded that all Christian parents have to homeschool and i encouraged my daughters to get college degrees. I spent tons of time creating my own curticulum to keep out the bias and actually have material they could learn from. And after i was done one of my daughters concluded that these groups had it right and married someone who follows Doug Wilson totally– of course they plan to raise their own children by the wise advice of John Piper. I am just heartsick over it.


  36. Irene,

    I’m so sorry to hear that.

    In the back of our minds—we will always wonder if there was something more we could have done that would have caused everything to turn out differently.

    But remember that God was the only ever perfect parent who actually did everything perfectly and yet still suffered the pain of watching His two children—Adam and Eve—go astray.


  37. Cynthia Albert.

    I respectfully disagree.

    Christianity IS a religion. It’s a major world religion.

    Jesus did not come to start a religion.

    Rejecting Christianity is not rejecting Jesus Christ.

    It’s rejecting Kingdoms built by men in search of the Kingdom of God which Jesus is building.

    We don’t need Christianity. We need Christ.


  38. So sorry to hear that, Irene. 😕
    Are you familiar with Sally Clarkson and her MomHeart ministry? She is a sane voice of the movement calling for a much more balanced approach with nurturing discipleship and grace-based parenting (not just for homeschoolers). Her blog, podcasts, and books have helped me find a very different parenting and general life dynamic than the one I was raised with. Maybe your daughter would listen to her voice?
    Btw, my comment about faith being scarier than formulas comes right out of the Clarkson’s book on parenting “Heartfelt Discipline”–highly recommended!!


  39. Are folks still listening to that idiot Gothard? I thought we saw the last of him in the 1980’s!

    There’s more… according to Homeschoolers Anonymous, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Agriculture is a Gothard True Believer. (Could be worse… could have been Secretary of Education; as Ag Sec we’re just in danger of IBLP/API being taught to lievestock & growing plants in a funhouse-mirror version of Lysenkoism.)


  40. @Steve280:

    It a shame that so many promoters of courtship still cling to promoting it despite its obvious issues.

    When the One True Way shows its dark side, a True Believer is incapable of anything other than Double Down AND SCREAM LOUDER!


  41. @Hoipolloi:

    The seductive appeal of these “things” is the false guarantee they promise: if parents follow the “rules,” the kids will turn out perfectly, whatever that means. Parents of teenagers, I think, are especially vulnerable to these frauds.

    On the now-defunct “Church for Men” website, there used to be an essay about “Why Islam Appeals to Men” that made much the same point regarding conversions to Islam.


  42. One of the things that comes to mind for me is that nonsense along the lines of Gothardism comes in in the weirdest places, and via people who have no awareness of interacting with IBLP or any associated group, but hear it “in the hallway at church” from well meaning fellow believers. OK, at least I want to believe they’re well meaning. Maybe it’s that there truly are IBLP people all around, or maybe it just spreads incredibly well.

    Part of it, I’m persuaded, is that it’s really common to make the mistake of confusing a likely result with a guaranteed result, though. Hence, when someone hears “this is how you do it”, they start to automatically expect “and this will result”. So there are times I get to say “no, you don’t need to take the blame for something someone else decided to do….” And that’s a pretty significant damage; if you assume that if you do X, you will get Y (instead of being more likely to get a degree of Y), you’re going to blame yourself for every misfortune and credit yourself for any blessing. Pretty nasty corruption/rejection of the concept of grace, really.


  43. The fame of Phillips that continued into the 2010’s is frustrating. We are a homeschooling family, but never were followers of Phillips. Prior to Phillips recent falling out, we were somewhat naive. Didn’t realize that we needed to check out who we might listen to at a conference or read in a magazine. They are all Christians after all. After the latest Phillips issue came to light, I finally started digging (and came upon this site, thanks for your wonderful work). Came to realize that the man’s actions should have removed all his credibility 10 years prior with the production of false documentary Raising the Allosaur. Many, many people fell down on the job. How do you bring a man to your conference with such baggage. How do allow him to stay on the pedestal. Why did you you use him to sell your products. Needless to say we do our homework now. Wish we had done more when we first married. The notion of a perfect way of living or being a wife or husband or educating your kids is extremely dangerous. Most dangerous for black and white thinkers or people pleasers. It just about killed my wife. Julie Anne, thank you for the information you provide here.


  44. Julie Anne,

    I have commented before about trying to understand the meaning of a Patriarch in the context you are referring.

    I even referenced The Patriarch Movement and that term isn’t recognized as a group. What did pop up in its place is Biblical Patriarchy and there are different doctrines that have their own ideologies.

    One that stands out is Reformed Theology, which has been very aggressive in stuffing their doctrine down their congregations throat in abusive and sinful ways, and yes some of them are chauvinistic and demeaning to women, as well as men.

    Are these terms that the abusers you are writing about, refer themselves as being “The Patriarch Movement” or is this simply a label used by those that are being abused.

    I know my wife and I don’t make a point of referring to one another as a Patriarch or a Matriarch. We have chatted that we don’t look at those terms as demeaning nor do we exalt them.

    The abuses you are writing about are real, so I’m not at all minimalizing the abuse.

    As I have stated, my wife and I were spiritually abused by a covert preacher who purposely kept his doctrine a mystery and retaliated very aggressively toward me and my wife for 2 years for trying to understand his doctrine. What we endured is more abuse than I could wish on you or anybody else. And yet I know others in your thread have endured way more abuse than I did.

    I didn’t sleep more than a couple of hours a night and sometimes go for weeks without sleep, meditating on his words and after 18 months I began referencing his words in the computer, when I discovered he was heavily Reformed, like a Fred Phelps reformed.

    I do believe by his actions that he had a low opinion on woman and treated them like adversaries especially if they (my wife) were well versed who did not embrace his doctrine and then use his sinful methodology to reinforce his ideology. His wife wasn’t a choir girl as she enabled him by embracing his doctrine and the tactics he used on men/women to reinforce his Reformed Doctrine.

    There is so much sexism even among Christians now, that it feels like we have turned neutral words like Patriarch and Matriarch into negative meanings and that we are more focused on gender and less on the sins that are being committed by male or female, who practice abusive methodologies and force feed their will on their victims.

    So again, what does it mean to be a Patriarch (biblical or unbiblical) If the fella’s you are writing about, consider themselves as the Patriarch Movement, then maybe I need to understand what it means to be a Patriarch in the Biblical sense, because their is nothing Biblical about being sinfully abusive, male or female,

    If anything, I would rather you discredit them as Biblical Patriarchs because of their sin,, in my view a Patriarch in the Biblical sense involves humility not aggression.

    If there is such a thing called the Patriarch Movement who are abusing their congregations through heavy handed and sinful methodologies, then the word Patriarch needs to be taken out of the equation and replaced with Pharisee.


  45. MA,

    The ironic thing is that the biblical Patriarchs are not examples for us to follow. Adam fell. Noah got drunk. Abraham lied about his wife and put her in a terrible position where she was taken into a king’s harem–twice! (if I’m remembering right) Isaac told the same kind of lie about his wife. Jacob stole his brother’s birthright and was something of a trickster with his employer. Joseph (arguably) lorded it over his brothers when he was younger. David committed adultery and conspiracy to murder. None of them was an awesome parent, from the accounts of the doings of their offspring.

    Yes, there is a “Christian Patriarchy” movement. It even had its own magazines: Patriarch, published by Phil Lancaster, Credenda Agenda (Doug Wilson), Every Thought Captive (R.C. Sproul, Jr.). I thought there was another called Quit Ye Like Men among them, but I can’t find it. The women’s versions included Above Rubies (which is still in publication) and Gentle Spirit.

    The word “Patriarch” leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those who have lived in the world of “biblical” manhood and “biblical” womanhood. The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is devoted to spreading the message that women are derivative, not directly created by God (at least one of its spokesmen teaches that), and that women are not fully people in the sense that men are. Oh, they will talk all day about women being equal before the Lord, but different in role… and they use the teachings about “roles” to hogtie women, keep them from using their God-given gifts if such might bring them into competition with a man, keep them submissive and respectful. You might be able to exchange the word “Patriarch” for “Pharisee” but there are a whole lot of people out there who are living in self-proclaimed Christian Patriarchy, and (sad to say) proud of it.


  46. You might be able to exchange the word “Patriarch” for “Pharisee”

    I don’t think the two are interchangeable. You can be a Pharisee about all sorts of issues, patriarchy is very specifically about keeping women in their supposed ‘place’. That is what you are communicating if you run around calling yourself a patriarch, whether you mean it or not.


  47. Refugee,,
    I looked up the magazine “Patriarch” and there is no mention of Christian Patriarchy. It isn’t recognized.

    As for referencing Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and David and their sinful deeds, they like you and I, won’t go unpunished. Whether you consider yourself a Christian or not.

    I don’t minimalize the sinful abuse that is occurring, but the labeling and terminology doesn’t need to be fabricated.

    Patriarch (magazine)
    Patriarch was a magazine published from 1993 to 2004[1] by Philip Lancaster, a former army chaplain,[2] minister of the Presbyterian Church in America[3] and later a founder of Immanuel Family Fellowship in St. Louis, Missouri.[4][better source needed] The magazine was based in Willis, Virginia.[1]

    The magazine’s mission was to promote a “Christ-like manhood” that is “neither tyrannical or wimpy” and a “home-centered lifestyle.” The magazine promoted homeschooling, and Biblical patriarchy.


  48. Lea,,

    Scripture is clear about the role of the Husbands role in the family,, to love his wife, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..

    One of my takes in the verse below, is he is to serve his wife, like Christ served the church. A true Biblical Patriarch in my view would follow those guidelines.

    As for keeping a woman in her “supposed place”, you are referring to male chauvinism, practiced unfortunately all over the globe. The nice thing about this country is a thread like this can alarm us when abuses occur,,,

    A thread like this couldn’t expose abuses in the male dominated Middle East, where extreme Patriarchy abuses occur. In some cases woman being put to death for getting raped, which makes me wonder why politicians in this nation receive money into their foundations, from nations that clearly abuse woman and gays.

    Ephesians 5:25New International Version (NIV)

    25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.


  49. @Curious:

    What is the difference between this type of treatment of women and human trafficking?

    Long Prayers and SCRIPTURE Verses for justification.


  50. Twisted Scripture, yes, but also things that simply aren’t scriptural at all. I’m thinking specifically of Gothard’s argument that offbeat music is wrong, which amuses my children to no end, since a lot of Bach’s works (Soli Deo Gloria and all that) are offbeat at times. You won’t get to “offbeat music is wrong” with the Bible, to put it mildly.

    (my favorite argument is that offbeat music is wrong because of the heartbeat….but since the ventricles beat last and are stronger, the heartbeat technically is….offbeat)

    So you’ve really got to watch what the argument is, since very often, it’s not Biblical at all, but rather personal preferences that they’ve tried to embroider with Scripture.


  51. Polygyny. Maybe this website should start investigating that trend in Christian life. Have a good day. That is like patriarchy…..with a vengence.


  52. Quizer; I’ve had some interactions with people who advocate that, and suffice it to say that most of them are hilariously slow to realize that there might be reasons that the examples we have of polygamy in the Bible (Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, etc..) didn’t work out terribly well. Lots of them, starting with the fact that people don’t tend to share lovers well, and those deprived of a spouse by polygamy tend not to take that well, either.


  53. @BikeBubba:

    there might be reasons that the examples we have of polygamy in the Bible (Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, etc..) didn’t work out terribly well.

    Subversive Wisdom of Tanakh.

    Harem Polygyny as Privilege of Rank was part of Semitic tribal culture, like Honor Killings; if Torah/Tanakh had spoken directly against it, they would have blown it off as Crazy Talk and went on their merry way. So Torah/Tanakh gets sneaky; it concentrates on the downside, showing over and over how harem polygyny can go sour and really mess you up.


  54. Thank you so much for your transparency. I, as a man, got sucked in to promulgating part of patriarchy and have hurt my wife and kids. Abba (Daddy in Heaven) showed me what true worship is. I am so sorry for all the hurt that these people have done to you. Please forgive me as well. I had to repent to my family. I didn’t even know better. The deception comes with an honest desire to serve and please Yahweh, when in reality, Satan uses it against us. Yeshua showed me Truth. Thank you again for sharing.


  55. The americanization of society.

    Can someone please explain to me the difference between this and centuries of MANY ethnic cultural people’s doing this VERY SAME thing for thousands of years. Many cultures today have never abandoned this practice.


  56. I find all of this mess horrible. I’m stumped, however by the trend in the comments that lay blame on the wife and give little mention of the husband. I have five children and we have tried home school, private school, and public school. We have ran in some very conservative circles and got caught up in legalism, etc. I survived years of domestic abuse before I could break free. I was kept barefoot and pregnant and broke. I didn’t come from a Christian family or a rich family. I didn’t see a way of escape. I tried to make the best of the situation. I got out as soon as I could even though I now have to rely on public assistance. I am praying we don’t become homeless. I’ve seen it happen to other women. Why focus only on the mom who is often a victim herself and not the abusive husband? I was young and a new Christian when I met my husband who is 10 years older than me. I thought I was leaving a rough childhood behind and trying to be open to a new and very different lifestyle in hopes of providing a good Christian home for my kids. I didn’t know I was signing up for life with a con man. Why are the daughters expressing so much anger toward their moms, but barely mentioning their dads? Weren’t the dad’s the final authority in everything? (I couldn’t buy pantyhose without my husband’s permission!) Don’t the daughters ever consider that their moms may have been brainwashed or controlled and manipulated by covert narcissist men like my husband, pastor, and elders?


  57. C&C, I think this is more a general problem of how blogs work and not a reflection of the supporters here. Most of the regular followers would NEVER blame a victim of abuse for not leaving that abuse. We understand that there is a bigger picture of deception, gas lighting, threats of violence and even a religious system which convinces women to remain (we’re talking about that regarding Paige Patterson!)

    I think what happens is that these blog posts are internet searchable, so someone who is a Doug Phillips or Bill Gothard fan will do an internet search and find this article, and often a comment that contradicts the tone of the discussion will get lost in the “most recent comments” section and only someone who later searches the same thing, or who has requested e-mails when the topic is responded to will have any idea where the direction has gone.

    I grew up in a household like this – not domestic violence, but my dad had to be the unquestioned authority and my mom had to submit. This was reinforced by the church, and I grew up thinking that my dad just didn’t understand the husband’s side of the complementarian teaching, but it seems to be more a problem with the theology itself.


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