Everything crashed again, sorry, sorry, etc. We had a SNAFU with servers and switching and WordPress accounts and the fastest way to get this up and running again was to jump the gun on switching Wine & Marble to a domain of my own name, etc. It got complicated, Kiery King is a web fairy wizard, and everyone should go give hen lots of love and probably some alcohol.
Hi and welcome, new readers!
I’m sitting here with my cat on my lap trying to take a deep breath and process the last couple hours. Thank you for reading, for your support, and for breaking my blog.
I think we’re up and running again, and so now I wanted to do a little follow-up on the Cracked piece.
First: my parents left the cult and my family’s doing a lot better. My younger siblings are getting much more normal childhoods than I did — all my challenging the system is finally starting to pay off. My parents sent me a big box of goodies this week for an early birthday present and there were references to Disney movies and birthday parties and I even got a chocolate Easter bunny!
Second: My friend whose novel was burned — she’s doing a lot better. After that she got into UVA and got a full ride (but her parents hid her mail and kept her from attending), so she ran away from home and got herself set up, living and working in another state. She’s healing and growing and has started writing fiction again (finally!). She wrote a short story for Swan Children’s inaugural issue. Right now, she’s saving to go to college (she wants to be a doctor) and has plans to do a workaway program this summer in Europe and write more. Freedom is sweet!
What to do if you want to help:
Raise awareness. This stuff is ongoing and hard to spot if you don’t know the signs. Cults are less about doctrine and more about social control tactics.
Patriarchal purity/rape culture infects the world of Christian colleges (and their horrific mishandling of rape cases) — see, for example, the ongoing story at Patrick Henry College.
Spiritual abuse is also rampant in independent evangelical churches, and my good friend Elizabeth Esther just published her fantastic memoir about her experiences in a similar cult to the one I grew up in. It’s a quick read and covers a lot.
On the positive side, there are folks working to reform and heal the American evangelical church from these horrific ideologies. People working on that include Rachel Held Evans, Sarah Bessey, the good folks at Deeper Story, The Wartburg Watch, and Convergent Books.
The homeschooling side of my story is where the biggest ongoing need for reform is, and a quick overview of that can be found in this piece by Kathryn Joyce on us “homeschool apostates.” Groups working to change the state of homeschooling to eradicate abuse, patriarchy, and religious isolationism and dominionism include: Homeschoolers Anonymous, the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, and Homeschooling’s Invisible Children.
If you want to help me out personally: recovery is slow, I’ll be honest. I’m doing a lot better these days than I have been in a long time, but I’m still underemployed and running a tight ship to stay afloat. There’s a tip jar on the side of my blog if you want to buy me a coffee or a tank of gas, but no pressure. I’d be thrilled if you liked The Swan Children and The YA Wallpaper on Facebook and followed us on YouTube — I’m super passionate about the healing power of art and beauty, and about amazing feminist writing and good novels.
I’ll also occasionally run a fundraiser project to help a Quiverfull escapee get on his/her feet. Right now my friend Becca is trying to pay off hospital bills from her gallbladder surgery by selling her music album, and there’s a scholarship contestant we’re upvoting for a chance to go to school without parental support.
And finally: If you related to my piece and thought you were alone:
HI. YOU ARE NOT CRAZY.
Come hang out with us over at Recovering Grace, Homeschoolers Anonymous, etc. Find us on Facebook. We have support groups for you. <3
And if you want book recommendations for how to recover from this stuff, I highly recommend the following:
1) All About Love: New Visions, bell hooks
2) Boundaries, Cloud and Townsend
3) Daring Greatly, Brené Brown
11 thoughts on “Welcome & TL;DR”
Just now had a chance to read your Cracked piece and this follow-up post. And I just want you to know, that I think you’re amazing, friend. Eshet chayil! Woman of valor! <3
Thank you, Bethany. 🙂
I had a friend who would create complicated strategy games for racing these little horse figurines we collected.
So she wasn’t just a starting-out fantasy writer, she was a gamer. (I knew someone from a fannish/gamer household who’s youngest brother was designing games at 12.) And if those “little horse figurines we collected” were My Little Ponies, that made her an early-gen Brony. (Hmmmm…. “complicated strategy games for racing those little equine figurines…” Working title “Playing the Ponies”? Sure beats never-ending tea parties; Lauren Faust would be proud.)
And what genre of fantasy did she try to write before her parents went Witchfinder-General on it? Heroic? Romantic? High Fantasy? Sword-and-Sorcery?
P.S. In that strategy game of horse-figurine racing, if they were My Little Ponies, how did you handicap the pegasi (who can fly faster than earth ponies/unicorns can run)?
Breyer horses! My Little Pony? Pffft. Please.
And: high fantasy.
Side thought on this one, My parents freaked when they thought I had played D & D. Praying over me and everything. So “witchfinder” is common. Anyone else have this happen?
PS “Thought” was the key word. I honestly never played D&D till I was in college. This incident happened when I was 10.
I loved your piece, but hadn’t really realized how widespread this was. I grew up homeschooled, and it was a solid experience. That being said, over the last few years, my cousin and I have started to discus how weird homeschooling culture looks in retrospect, and how much of what we were taught doesn’t seem to have much biblical backing. My family was always on the fringe of the truly strange and harmful stuff. Never actually part of it, but close enough to see it. It’s only in the last couple of years I’ve realized how much of a close call it was, and started thanking God for launching me out of that culture. I very nearly became one of the stunted indoctrinated people you talk about here. I wonder how many others there are like me, people who came out of the very conservative homeschooling world, but don’t realize there’s other also fleeing it. All of this is a very long way of saying thank you. Thank you for showing me there’s others besides my cousin and me.
Hi there! I related a lot to this as well. It’s kind of nice (and a little creepy) to see that there are other people who went through these weird experiences. Once you get out of it and look back, you suddenly realize how strange your upbringing really was. Mine was an extra religious experience, as my father was the minister and my mom taught all the sunday school classes….and moved up to teen classes once I was a teen.
The lines of home, school, and church were so blurred and it was really frustrating. I distinctly remember having punishments at church for lying at home or having books taken away for “being rebellious.” Once I had to do a book report using the Bible as a source about how it was wrong to tell fibs. I remember smuggling classic literature out of the library and hiding it under my dresser. I read it at night with a flashlight. Makes you really appreciate books.
Still trying to fill in the gaps with my history and science education. Imagine my surprise when I found out what the crusades were really about! And that people of other religions weren’t monstrous dragons/terrorists! And that people of different orientations/genders weren’t all pedophiles! And physics is because God!
Loved what I’ve read of this blog! Thank you for proving I’m not the only person to make it through that crap.
Similar experience too. Education wise the parts that were lacking was in the sciences. I wanted to be a doctor but had no Chemistry knowledge till I was in College and I failed it. So that dream bit the dust hard. Also I laugh now because as a kid I was brought up with the idea that sciences were evil, Darwin and Evolution was of the Devil and that most scientists find it impossible to be a christian. (yes I am not joking). As I completed my own degree in History I found it harder for me to remain believing in Christianity due to what I knew was done in the name of God then my husband did who now has a PhD and is one of those “dreaded” scientists :D.
Dear Hannah, read your Cracked article and yes it did touch me. I didn’t grow up in a society like “Quiverfull” but I was brought up with religious fundamentalism. As mentioned it wasn’t till I was out of the house (or trying to get out) that I realized exactly how different my raising was. Funny thing is my two best friends also were raised very similarly and we had hard times as young adults growing out of that foundation. I won’t bore anyone with the details but if it does help another child understand that you can get out – I now have a Masters in Education and a thriving 9 year old. My friends also have thriving careers and educations of their own. Two of us were also “homeschooled” and as an educator and mother I see the harm (there is good too) in the education and isolation of the children.One must also realize as an outsider looking in that the foundation created by this extremism never fully goes away. I am 30 and am still having my husband and friends point out little quirks that are because of the upbringing. For those who are the friends and spouses of these children just be patient and love them. That’s what we want more then anything. Looking forward to reading more about you and the organization.
I read your Cracked piece and it really struck a cord. I wasn’t raised QF, but in a very legalistic religion (patriarchal, no TV, for the women: skirts at all times, even for riding bikes and horses, no cutting hair, no make up, no education) and it took until my 30’s for me to start to process this entire thing. I can relate to so many of the things you write about. I am still processing and it is heartbreaking and so so stressful. My dad is a minister and thus tows the strictest of lines and even though I’m in my mid-30’s, still feels he can tell me that he feels something is not God’s will for my life and I feel PARALYZED if I disagree. (I do wonder if this will change in a few weeks when I get married…if then he’ll feel like my husband is now my “head”.) I have often wondered if I’m going to hell because I have cut my hair and while I recognize how crazy and irrational that is, there is still part of me that wonders. For some reason, my dad did allow me to go to college (I had to live at home, though, so I could be saved from worldly influences) and I have a doctorate in a scientific healthcare field. This caused me to be essentially shunned from many church friends who had been friends since childhood. The thing I think I struggle with the most at this point is how to move on with any sort of faith in God at all. I tend to feel like religion is a tool for men to control and dominate women. All that being said, I still believe in a loving God and I hope to find a place where I can find peace.