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.
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.