Book Review Series – Lori Alexander’s “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Parents Rule, Children Drool

The Power of a Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Child Training, Submission


Screenshot 2017-07-28 at 2.12.35 PM

From The Transformed Wife Facebook page, June 27, 2017

-by Kathi

This is a book review series of The Power of a Transformed Wife by Lori Alexander. If you are just joining us, you may click on previous chapter reviews if you’d like to catch up.

Introduction & Chapter 1   Chapter 2   Chapter 3   Chapter 4   Chapter 5   Chapter 6  Chapter 7   Chapter 8 – Part 1   Chapter 8 – Part 2

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Chapter 9 – Teaching & Training Children in the Way They Should Go

I apologize for the long delay between chapters. Life got busy, then I went with Julie Anne to the CBE International Conference, and then I pretty much forgot about Lori for an entire week (Which I admit felt pretty good!). Here we are at Chapter 9 which gives us a very curvy road discussion about raising children.

I included the above post from The Transformed Wife’s Facebook page because this sentence caught my eye: “If the parents are warm, loving, and emotionally accessible, the child comes to believe he is loveable [sic] and worthy.” There is a lot in the chapter that suggests that Lori teaches ideas about parenting that are far from being warm, loving and emotionally accessible to their children.

First off, Lori states that many considered them to be “strict parents:”

We took the verses in Proverbs about using the rod on our children seriously and literally.

And:

Pain is a great teacher. God disciplines us for our good, and we disciplined our children for their good.

This is not surprising coming from someone who idolizes Michael and Debi Pearl, authors of “To Train Up a Child.” This book has been highly criticized for using discipline tactics that focus on breaking the will of a child as well as advocating using switches on babies to “train” them into obedience. There have even been deaths of children linked to the teachings of this book, yet the authors still have followers like Lori singing their praises.

Lori also talks about how she and Ken expected their children to abide by first-time obedience, meaning that the first time a request or order was made, the children immediately obeyed. She also expected her children to obey with a positive attitude. Obeying rules with a positive attitude is hard enough for adults let along children to do! Expecting children to obey with a positive attitude negates their feelings and autonomy. But Lori isn’t concerned about children having their own feelings or attitudes, this is all about control.

Full disclosure here…I spanked my kids when they were little and I tried the first-time obedience rule. It wore me out! I got tired of the spanking, and I certainly know my kids didn’t like it. I got over the first-time obedience rule when my one of my kids asked me to help with something and I responded with, “Just a minute.” If I couldn’t drop everything to help them at that moment then why would I expect them to do the same for me? If I could relive the younger ages of my children, I would not have spanked or placed such a high expectations on small children.

Lori and Ken also controlled who the influences were over their children’s lives. I understand this to a degree. No parent wants their child influenced by a peer who is not making good life choices. However, Lori’s reason for influencing was because she didn’t know what movies or music the families listened to and and wanted to protect purity. Lori needed to know who their children were hanging out with every moment of every day. I see this going one of two ways for a parent – either your child will turn out to be really good, or your child will rebel. There are no guarantees in parenting. And, it turns out that when you give kids a little bit of freedom, they learn how to make good choices, and they also learn from their mistakes.

Since Lori’s still not done controlling thoughts, attitudes, and actions of her children, she insists that homeschooling is the best option for schooling, with Christian school being the second best option.

I’m not sure the Lord wants us to send our children to a government run school where they mandate that God cannot be mentioned and where humanistic and evolutionary ideas are promoted.

And:

Public schooling is not worth our children’s souls.

Right, Lori. You get back to us regarding all the teaching Jesus did about government-run schools, and we’ll talk. I have a better idea for Lori. Since her children are all grown and out of the house, maybe it would be nice for her to volunteer at a local public school. Maybe she could tutor some kids, work in a reading program, sit a the library desk, or help proctor tests. Schools are always looking for great volunteers to spend time with kids and let them know that they are worthy and lovable.

I get the feeling that might be out of Lori’s comfort zone because she wouldn’t be able to set the rules and control these kids. Because control is what parenting is all about, right? Or is it about being warm, loving, and emotionally accessible?

38 comments on “Book Review Series – Lori Alexander’s “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Parents Rule, Children Drool

  1. ATI touted the immediate obedience standard; according to them, if obedience was delayed, then said obedience was really disobedience. Then I came across this parable of Jesus:

    “But what do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘My son, go, work in the vineyard today.’
    “He answered, ‘I don’t want to!’ Yet later he changed his mind and went.
    Then the man went to the other and said the same thing.
    “‘I will, sir,’ he answered. But he didn’t go.
    “Which of the two did his father’s will?”
    “The first,” they said.
    Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you! For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him. Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him, but you, when you saw it, didn’t even change your minds then and believe him. (Matthew 21:28-32)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Years ago I had some friends who had been exposed to the Pearls’ teaching. It was exhausting to be in their home because it was a never-ending round of spanking and crying. The kids were only 2 and 4. Thankfully, they changed to a more balanced church where parenting was more than playing whack-a-mole, and their kids, now young adults, seem to be just fine. The Pearls are very dangerous for new parents who are young in the faith.

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  3. I would love for my grandma to write a book about getting her grandchildren to instantly obey. We were never hit or otherwise forced and the only guilt tripping came from aunts and uncles (she has 8 kids) saying “go help your grandma”.

    I think one story explains her method best. One of my cousins is a VERY picky eater (think a ” white colored food” diet). When he was ~11 he was staying with grandma for a week and the first day, all he did was complain about the food. So that night, she sat him down and said “I’m tired of listening to you complain. Here’s a contract for you to sign: I promise to try to make food that you like. In exchange, you will NOT complain about what I put in front of you. You do NOT have to eat any or all of it. After dinner, if you are still hungry, THEN you may make yourself either a PB&J sandwich or a bowl of cereal, no questions asked.” He didn’t give her any more trouble and I think he never had an alternative dinner.

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  4. Such a strange presentation of wonderful ideas (being emotionally present/accessibly to your kids, building healthy attachments, etc.) and harmful ones.
    We were exposed to this more fundamentalistic form of parenting instruction when our children were young (in the ’80s), and I deeply regret the emotional estrangement that it fostered between me and my little girls, and its pathetic, unthinking quickness to counsel us to resort to violence and physical pain infliction as a means of control and behavioral reinforcement. We healed, abandoned the “spare not the rod” instruction, and by God’s grace managed to salvage our relationships with the kids. Beware, parents, of any person, be they a religious leader, writer, or whatever, who tells you it is God’s will for you to inflict physical or emotional pain on your kids, or that the wonderful, poetic wisdom of Proverbs is simply telling you to grab a stick and start spanking them! Such a myopic, simplistic approach to your kids that will kidnap their hearts away from you, and will teach them to hide their feelings and thoughts from you! And, even if you do still spank, NEVER allow another human being to administer physical discipline on your children, and immediately leave a church that suggests you should.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Such a myopic, simplistic approach to your kids that will kidnap their hearts away from you, and will teach them to hide their feelings and thoughts from you! ”

    This is exactly how I felt as a child/teen, and it took many years to be able to trust my parents with such things. Even though it was somewhat milder than some stories I’ve seen here and on Recovering Grace.(a lot of times being told “are you sure you’re not too old to be spanked” even though the spankings weren’t actually done)
    Thank you for spelling it out for us, Ken Garrett.
    And yes, a break from the lovely thoughts of Lori has been very therapeutic.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Please know that my thoughts do not criticize homeschooling. I think homeschooling is a very good option for educating a child. Public school and private school is a good option too. I get annoyed when someone says that a certain schooling option is the best for children. Every family and child is unique. Let families decide what works best for them. As long as the child is receiving a well rounded education, why bother arguing?

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  7. I see this going one of two ways for a parent – either your child will turn out to be really good, or your child will rebel.

    My observation in high school was generally the stricter the parents, the wilder the kids.

    I do have to say, having just read a whole bunch of reviews from Hester of the Stay at Home Daughter book, Lori’s little bit about children maturing and feeling secure enough to leave the nest sounded downright healthy compared to….staying at home forever and ever under your father hands you over. ugh.

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  8. Public schooling is not worth our children’s souls.

    I want to say this. I went to a private Christian school for a while, with the intent of switching to public school and that transition was made easier by the fact that my last year in Christian school was full of what I guess would now be described as ‘bullying’ by a boy, who ended getting lauded at the end of the year by a bunch of poor excuses for teachers who knew what had gone on. People are people, wherever you go. Nothing is a guarantee. [and I know myself well enough to know that I would have hated homeschooling and not thrived in that environment even though my parents are wonderful.]

    Public high school, by comparison, was awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I would love for my grandma to write a book about getting her grandchildren to instantly obey.

    Ha, Catherine! My grandmother did not have to ask twice. And she did not bully and she certainly did not hit. But if you didn’t get up and stop watching tv and come to breakfast, she might look somewhat disappointed and that would have been the Worst!

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  10. A product of public education here. As a matter of fact, I am an immigrant product of public education.

    When we moved to the States, we had nothing. Not only was free public education a Godsend for us, but the free meals were too. Having arrived with little proficiency in English shortly before turning 15, I took ESL classes that eased my transition and prepared me to eventually complete with native speaking students. I am forever grateful for ESL education.

    With a single mom who worked 12+ hours a day, home schooling and private Christian school were out of question. Now with advanced degrees from California’s public universities, I am a productive citizen who is happy to chip in to educate future generations of children FOR FREE. Yeay, “government” schools! I love them. God bless them.

    Only after I joined an Evangelical church, did I hear horror stories about “far left liberals” in public schools bent on anti-Christian indoctrination. My undergraduate degree is from UCLA which is considered a hotbed of liberal indoctrination and political correctness topped only by Berkeley. Never did I hear any professor make disparaging statements about Christianity in my four years there.

    Thou shalt not bear false witness, anybody? Making sh*t up is a sin. Especially if you do that in God’s name. Then you are also taking the Lord’s name in vain.

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  11. All that said, I agree with Kathi. I have nothing against home schooling and private school. But the “Christ-centered” curriculum designed by grifters like Ken Ham and David Barton though. I’d rather opt for far left liberal indoctrination.

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  12. Great comment, David. It was interesting reading about your educational and family background. Thanks! My now public schooled kids have done well in public schools. I wish I would have put them in earlier. I was getting too burned out at the end!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “I want someone to give me some real-life examples of God’s discipline.”

    I’ll preface this by saying that God’s discipline is in the eye of the beholder – we don’t necessarily know what God is working on in another person. I’ve heard illustrations in sermons on tithing that people decided not to tithe, then they had something major break down and it came to the amount of the tithe check. Now, that may seem like God’s discipline, and that’s what the illustration was about, but what, instead God was saying, “you need this money more than I do this week!” That seems to fit more with how God seems to work, in my opinion.

    But, in my life, I will give this example. I was an authoritarian legalist. I grew up in an emotionally abusive and distant home and church. God gave me a three year reprieve from that when I graduated college. I had a great living situation, a great job and a great church. I was seen as a church leader, but it was because I had a lot of theological knowledge. Looking back, I was soaking up the admiration I received by being recognized that way. God then brought me through a 10 year period where I suffered under authoritarian and legalistic leadership. In retrospect, I think he was saying, “this is what it would be like having you as a leader”. Through that, I first recognized that I wanted to be a leader for the wrong reasons. I then recognized that the characteristic of that denomination was authoritarian and legalistic leadership, and that, if I wanted to grow, I would need to leave.

    To the point above, when I’ve talked with others still associated with the old church, their conclusion is entirely different – that God was continuing to discipline me for my “negative” (in their minds) characteristics. I find the opposite – when I accepted the church’s abuse and disrespect, I was driven further from God. It was when I started challenging that and getting labeled as a complainer that I began to recognize my distance from God. It was not until I left that I began to slowly find healing.

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  14. “Full disclosure here…I spanked my kids when they were little and I tried the first-time obedience rule.”

    Yes. I remember trying to teach my 9mo daughter to come when I told her. Somehow spanking her when she didn’t come didn’t fix that. We spanked and spanked and nothing really changed until she was developmentally ready. However, we have a pretty antagonistic relationship that has remained to this day.

    Now, we believe that we need to treat our children as equals as much as we can. Yes, we have boundaries, and yes, they need to understand that certain behaviors are just plain wrong through consequences. I was convicted that my view of God the Father was shaped by my emotionally abusive and harsh father, and that my children’s view of him will be shaped more by me than by anything.

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  15. David C, my public school experience was not so great. Now, mind you, my home was not “safe”, so it was at school that the real me showed up, and that may have had a lot to do with it. I grew up in a blue-collar town, and the teachers considered themselves, in a lot of ways, blue-collar workers fighting against the administration. In the same ways, the administration fought back. Both of them generally treated the students as a necessary evil. Aside from a few teachers who cared, we generally got the minimum the teacher was able to do to avoid administrative and parental run-ins. I went to a private Christian college where the administration was abusive and the professors were mostly caring and competent, and a private secular graduate school that was simply excellent in every way that I can think of, so I don’t see any correlation with Christian=competent and excellent.

    We ended up with our kids in public school because homeschooling just wasn’t working with our eldest. When she went to public school, the other kids decided they wanted to go, too. Our experience with the non-blue-collar public school is entirely different and we have been very happy, for the most part, with the professionalism and care of the teachers and administration. They’re teaching some really cool things, like conflict resolution, dealing with bullies, and other things that I grew up without any tools for, and our children have really flourished. They’ve taken it seriously when our kids have reported bad behaviors instead of glossing it over – they have strong expectations on respect and being good citizens.

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  16. I’m a teacher of 35+ years. I’ve taught public elementary, in non-profits, and I’m currently in a private school for upper-income folks. I think the best choice is what works best for your family in terms of school philosophy, income, and your child’s personality. Of course, that’s if you have the freedom to make those choices. Many don’t due to geographic and financial restraints (think low-income families where the local, low-preforming public school is the only alternative).

    As for home-schooling, I see a lot of them at my church. It again depends on the family and I’ve seen some great outcomes and some disastrous ones (such as late-diagnosed autism because the parents just thought their child was “special” and misunderstood by everyone else). I’m not a great fan, but I know it does work out for some families.

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  17. Personally, I think homeschooling should be more situational, ie, based on the needs of specific children (whether special needs, or gifted, etc) then widely prescribed. But that’s just my opinion.

    But I think I have a bias towards larger schools in general, because there are more opportunities for different classes, arts, sports (although small school can be good for kids who like sports but are not really competitive enough to play in a large school), and tend to have more options socially as well. It’s a lot easier to find a places to fit in a big group than a tiny one. But that may be just a me thing. Private schools that are larger might also be a good fit. Just depends on the kid. I will say, I think I got a completely different public education at the same high school than my sibling did, due to interests and classes I took.

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  18. I think it’s completely situational. My first child needed someone other than mom telling her to do her work. The teacher/mom relationship just wasn’t working. Our other kids are more self-motivated, so it might have worked. But, we have private Christians schools and public + public charter schools. Each one has a different flavor/focus. We steered away from the Christian schools because we find they have a superiority complex here. The same with some of the charter schools, plus they overload the kids with work. For the eldest, we are looking at a partially online school that allows her to succeed without too much homework, and for the other two, right now, we are looking at a program that allows kids to take college credit in high school.

    But, this is based on what we see in each child. The eldest is very social, but very distractible and she really struggles with homework. The middle is less social, more internally driven and more able to get work done outside of school with little oversight or direction. The youngest is pretty similar, although she is less of a loner.

    There are definitely things the big schools will excel in, and in our area, we can choose between schools with different emphases, but, since our kids mostly have interest in STEM fields, we feel we can also supplement this adequately from home.

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  19. Hi David!

    I’m a CSUF grad myself. Sadly, I did not have the joyous experience you did. I did have professors, especially in history class, who would deliberately try to tear down Christians. One would do this subtly. Whenever a bad or hypocritical character came up in history, he would point out that that person was a Christian. But when a decent person or even a brilliant scientist came up, he would conveniently fail to mention that that person was a Christian.

    I also had a hard time in various GE classes like English, History, etc. I had professors making us read books and articles that were smutty or which had very foul language for us to do reports on. I wish in retrospect that I had stood up for myself and asked for alternatives to read, but I was very financially poor at the time and afraid for my grade. What if my professor lowered my grade for it? I could lose my grant, and my ability to get an internship if my grades suffered from that. Fear kept me back from doing the right thing. I wish I had had the courage. Maybe they would have been nice. To be fair, my fear was someone legitimate: Just even bowing out of a group project that was 5% of my grade caused one teacher to try really hard to knock down my grade down a an entire letter on various papers over a comma that could optionally be there. Joke was on her. I still made an A in the class. She didn’t dare get too overt. Sadly, she was also one of the teachers giving me smut to read. I was scared to ask anything of her when she was being passive aggressive. Had I realize how much she frowned on my bowing out of the group project, I would have just participated. That’s what you get I guess for trying to balance your time in English 101 against your demanding advanced calculus class. And the physics class. And the comp sci class… Bottom line, I learned the hard way not to upset your professors in any way if you want your grade to stay high. I do wish I had at least tried. I have things in my head from my forced book readings that are stuck there forever now. I wish I could have a memory wipe. 😦

    It appears public education is luck of the draw.

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  20. When is the last time Lori has set foot in a “government run” school? How, pray tell, does she know if they teach “humanistic ideas”?
    We are extremely fortunate to have excellent public schools in our area, in which our children have been thriving since Kindergarten. And lo and behold! Many of their teachers and classmates so far, have been….wait for it….Christians! Kind, loving, caring ones at that. Who’d have thought?

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  21. ladyadelaidesrealm – Lori’s “government run school” talk is classic language from the Christian homeschool movement. If she spent as much time actively living out the words of Christ as she does bashing everything that goes against her world view she might actually make a great contribution to society.

    My kids started going to public school after one was homeschooled for 9 years and one for 6 years. It was a great decision. We happen to live in an area where we have the highest number of low income families in our high school, and our school does a great job of offering options for kids to take college level classes for free. The staff and teachers are dedicated to seeing all kid succeed. Do they have their issues? Yes, just like any school – including Christian schools. But, I have yet to see another high school in our area where the kids elected an autistic girl as homecoming queen, or kids who stand and cheer for all of the disabled kids at graduation, or their prom king and queen is based upon character and charitable causes. “Government run schools” can offer a good education as well as help build character among our youth.

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  22. Just to be fair to Lori, there are several objectionable things in public school curriculum– one is the way homosexuality is taught. In addition, a dedicated mom can do better for her kids simply because it is one on one. I definitely gave my kids a better education than anything they would have received in public school– or anything I received in public school.

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  23. @Clockwork Angel
    Hey, I used to teach at CSUF as a part time lecturer! It was in the Computer Science department. No, I did not force my students to read smut :).

    @Mark and @Clockwork Angel,
    Of course I can’t really speak for everyone. Public education works for some and not for others. But at the very least, for people who can’t afford to send their children to private schools, public education is there as an option.

    For people who are so anti-public education, what kind of society do they envision? Do they really expect poor parents to work harder if public schools closed down? Was my Mom supposed to work 20+ hours a day as opposed to 12 hours? If not, what are kids supposed to do? Just chill all day? Abolish child labor laws and put them to work at factories? Just a quick google image search of child labor in America turns up some images of little boys and girls slaving away in the not so distant past which people like Lori Alexander love to mythologize.

    A recent study shows that Christians are more than twice as likely to blame a person’s poverty on the lack of effort. Great.

    I remember when the school voucher issue came up back in the 90’s in California, a parent that I knew was worried that a Christian school located in a sketchy area in LA would attract the poor neighborhood kids. The school principal assured him that he would raise the tuition by the voucher amount if that came to fruition. Of course he was for school vouchers only to cripple the public education system.

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  24. Regarding the school issue… I was “officially” homeschooled because the public schools in my area were not that good. And in fairness, this was one of the rare things my mother was right about. I was given the option to go to public high school but didn’t take it because I was emotionally messed-up at that point and figured it was probably safer for the local community if I limited how many potential victims I had. (I was not a nice person at that point in my life and let’s leave it at that.) This… may or may not have been the right decision, as it allowed some legitimate mental health issues to fester for a couple years longer than they might’ve if I’d crossed paths with a concerned adult who actually had the sense to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, but there’s no certainty of that in any environment so what the hell.

    So tldr, homeschooling actually worked out great in my case. Homeschool PEOPLE were a whole ‘nother story, but education-wise I got the best-case scenario.

    That said, paranoid people are gonna find something to squawk about regarding ANYTHING and I remain neutral on the school issue. Individual circumstances should mean different things for different people, and anyone who thinks their preferred method is the One True Way has bigger problems.

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  25. Irene – Of course there are objectionable things taught in public school. There are also objectionable things that some homeschooled kids are taught, especially if they are not fully prepared to function as an adult. There is good and bad to everything. The issue I have with Lori is that she doesn’t take into consideration that all families should make the choice that works best for them.

    There is no one right way for a Christian parent to educate their child. By the end of our homeschooling time I was getting so fed up with those such as HSLDA that push that homeschooling is THE best way to educate a child, and that is not true for every family. Homeschooling is a choice, not a cause.

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  26. Dear Irene,

    Just to be fair to Lori, there are several objectionable things in public school curriculum…

    “Objectionable” to whom? To yourself personally? Or are you saying that they ought to be objectionable to all believers?

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  27. Dear Clockwork Angel,

    I had professors making us read books and articles that were smutty or which had very foul language for us to do reports on.

    May I ask what you mean by “smutty”? That’s a rather subjective term — very much in the eye of the beholder.

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  28. I’m not sure if you’ve attended or taught in public schools stateside, but there is plenty that many parents-Christian, “nones’, Muslims, conservatives, liberals-find objectionable. Whenever an institution tries to cater to all, some of the “all” will have problems. I admire parents who are brave enough to realize that the local public school doesn’t meet their needs, and who look for other alternatives (either private school, a magnet/charter school, or homeschooling). I think it is a blessing that we live in a country where there are almost as many choices as there are students. It does sadden me when parents don’t have the many resources available to them, and have to settle for a really crummy public school. I taught in two local public schools in my area where both principals sent their children to private instead of public schools because the high school graduation rate for the district was less than 40%.

    Instead of what can appear to be accusatory questioning that can make a person feel uncomfortable, I think it’s more important to ask reflective questions that are more open-ended. That gives people the opportunity to express their concerns without feeling like they are being pushed into a corner, needing to fiercely defend their position.

    A recent, big issue in my area, that may be the last straw for some people in my local district, is that high schools are on the path towards converting all bathrooms to “gender neutral.” I’m not talking a small bathroom where one person enters at a time and it might be a boy or a girl, but an entire bathroom with several urinals and several stalls, in use by both sexes at the same time. Not to muddy the waters, I am not going to express my personal views at this time. But, I know many parents, of all spiritual persuasions, who just will not be able to handle such a change, and will probably find an alternative to the local public high school.

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  29. Is this some kind of bash Lori site because people don’t have anything else actually productive to do? Pitiful. Find something positive and useful to do.

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  30. Michelle – Lori spends a lot of time bashing women on her site, so your point is….? Lori has made herself a public figure and claims that she is approved by God (because it’s in the Bible) to tell younger women how they should live, therefore critiquing her teachings is valid.

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  31. Pingback: Book Review Series – Lori Alexander’s “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Birth Control and a “Funny Story” | Spiritual Sounding Board

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