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  • Summary provided by: Gardenvarietycitizen

    The Maxwells:

    Themes:

    • Extreme sheltering, very limited secular activities
    • Family does everything together 24/7
    • Scheduling every minute of every day, fun is a waste of time
    • Health and exercise obsessed, but not into any specific diet woo

    They tour the country in a bus named "Uriah" proselytizing for their scheduling and sheltering lifestyle and selling books they wrote about those same things.

    Who they are:

    Parents: Steve, Teri

    Kids: Nathan, Christopher, Sarah (original kids)

    Joseph, John, Anna, Jesse, Mary ("reversal kids")

    Backstory:

    Steve and Teri met in college (yes, college!).

    Steve and Teri had three kids, the youngest a girl named Sarah. Teri had depression. The kids played Little League, Sarah wore pants on occasion, they had friends, back in the mid 80's.

    Steve decided he needs to shelter the family more. TV is thrown out, kids quit Little League.

    Steve became convicted that he was wrong in limiting their family size by having a vasectomy. So he had it reversed, and they went on to have five more kids, for a total of eight. (Kids born after the vasectomy reversal are often referred to on FJ as the "reversal kids.")

    Things steadily get more and more sheltered and we arrive at the present day.

    The youngest, Mary, is now 16. She is the only one still homeschooling. Sarah is now 31, and still not courting.

    Maxwells, The Next Generation:

    The two oldest kids (both sons) are married.

    Nathan & Melanie have four kids: Susannah (born very ill, lived only a few days), Abigail, Bethany, Christina

    Melanie's family is somewhat local. Her father is a chiropractor.

    Christopher and Anna ("non-reversal Anna", "Anna-Marie") have one son, Joshua.

    (Note: When Anna showed up, she was called "Anna-Marie" on the blog so as not to be confused with the Maxwell daughter Anna. Some also call her "non-reversal Anna" because of course the Maxwell daughter is one of the "reversal kids.")

    Anna's family is from rural Washington. They have a goat farm and make soap.

    Joshua and Christina are baby cousins born only a month apart, this year.

    Joseph was engaged to be married to Elizabeth Munck in the summer of 2012, but she called it off.

    Where they are:

    Leavenworth, KS. They previously lived in Washington state when the older kids were little.

    The main family, Nathan family, Christopher family, and Teri's parents' family (mother "Gigi") all live right on the same block in various houses.

    Joseph owns a house 0.7 miles away (so far!!! so far!!!) from the main family compound, but because his planned marriage didn't happen and it just won't do for a single guy to live in a house by himself (even if he spent all kinds of time remodelling it) it sits empty while he stays living at home and sleeping in a bunk bed in the room he shares with his brothers.

    More backstory: Steve served in the Air Force, has a pilot license (which he doesn't currently use), went into engineering, worked in the corporate world, moved back to KS (in corporate jobs) to be near family, eventually was "convicted" to quit his job in 1997 to come home full time to just do ministry stuff - the ministry of touring and selling books.

    Interesting mystery: Before quitting his job, he posted that the company was asking him to do something that he personally felt that not only could HE not do, he didn't feel it okay to ask anyone to do it. FJ wonders just what that was? He has posted he was uncomfortable working and having a business lunch with women employees of his company, around that time frame (in the Corners).

    What they do:

    They have a bunch of businesses all run under the umbrella of "Communication Concepts Inc" also known as "Families for Jesus". If you surf around those websites you can find links to all their stuff, much of which is on dead websites.

    So, what do they actually do?





       
    •  
    • Advice column on their blog.
      This is the "Dad's Corner" and "Mom's Corner" series. You can find recent posts on their blog, for older stuff you need the Wayback Machine. The best way to understand all things Maxwell is to read the corners.
       
    • Publishing.
      • Books about how to live a Maxwellian Christian life, with focus on scheduling every minute of every day, Dad leading bible study, sheltering your kids.

        The main point of the books is they give Christian scriptural references for everything they recommend, so it's about giving the reader reassurance that living this lifestyle is what God wants you to do.
         
      • Moody books for kids - written by Sarah, these are a book series about a family based on the Maxwell family that lives a Maxwellian lifestyle. The goal is to have books that the Maxwell kids would be allowed to read, so they only have TRUTH in them and no bad behavior (see further down.)
         
      • Scheduling how-to and kits:
        MOTH ("Managers of Their Homes")
        Chore-Paks

      [*] Bus tours to give conferences about the content in the above stuff,

      and bluegrass concerts.

      They tour in a converted band tour bus, which they named "Uriah." Uriah is very nice inside, has a kitchen, bathroom with shower, bunks, bedroom for the parents. (I would love to travel in a bus like that.) They did all the work, and it's very nice.

      They sing with very nasal voices. This gets snarked as "Trust Eeen Obey."

      [*] IT consulting.

      • IT On Ramp, the logo is hard to read so it gets teased as "one ton ramp."

        It's online classes to get your A+ certification. Hard to tell how well it's doing. Got snarked because it's "Jesus centered" (they won't make you confront any heathen ideas like evolution) and they will only let women advise women and men advise men.
         
      • regular IT consulting for businesses

        Hard to tell what's going on, they allude to it in posts but no real web presence. Probably Nathan's "regular job."

      [*] Construction.

      They have a dead website for "Maxwell and Sons Construction" so it's hard to tell what that is doing, but when they post about fixing up their own property, they do quite nice work. They could probably easily get jobs rehabbing houses.

    Religion:

    Christian.

    • Their big thing is "where will you go when you die?" and Ray Comfort's "Good Person Test." They hand out tracts with this message, they ask it of everyone they meet. Accept Jesus, go to heaven. Live correctly. Are you sure?
       
    • Famously, during Christopher's wedding to Anna (which was streamed online and spawned a huge thread on Yuku) Steve gave a long sermon on DEATH. Because where will you go when you die?
       
    • They hold church in a nursing home, Steve is the pastor. They make frequent references to "the elderly" which get snarked here.
       
    • Lots of bible reading. They wake up to read the Bible individually while all sitting together at 6AM or so every morning, and then have family bible time actually led by Steve with everyone on the same page every night.

    Holidays:

    • Christmas? Yes, but without a tree. They have plain evergreen garlands and a nativity, they go caroling (and hand out tracts, of course).
       
    • Easter? "Resurrection Sunday," and no bunny stuff. Steve has a brother into "bunny stuff" (they had an Easter egg hunt!!!) and that was given as example of relatives they should shun for having "different goals."
       
    • Halloween? Hell no.

    Beliefs that make them interesting:

    • SHELTERING.The main theme of the Maxwells is sheltering. One of their best selling books "Keeping Our Children's Hearts" is all about this.

      Main themes are:
      • kids are never alone, family does absolutely everything together 24/7.
      • kids do not have (or need) friends, they are isolated even from other extended family members if Steve doesn't think the family is like-minded enough.
      • don't blacklist individual activities. Instead, ban everything, and then only WHITELIST specific activities that will actively help kids achieve their "goals" (in their case, worshiping Jesus 24/7)
      • "appetites" are dangerous!!! If you let a kid get an "appetite" for something that doesn't help them toward their goals, they will run with that appetite and waste time and generally fall down. Don't give your kid an "appetite" for sports lest he end up watching football on the tube (er, "The Beast") 24/7 and neglecting his family. Etc.
      • forbid all secular influence.
        • Anything read (or watched) must be TRUE. Misbehaving characters are not permitted even if they are portrayed as wrong and get a comeuppance. Portrayals of non-Christian religion are not allowed. Result: No reading except the Bible, Moody books (Little House on the Prairie is right out), and various Christian biographies.
        • Secular music lyrics just waste space in the brain. Result: they white out the lyrics to "row row row your boat" and similar in the kids' music books.
        • No news. The entire FAMILY does not take a paper, does not watch TV (which they refer to as "The Beast"), does not listen to the radio, because they don't want the kids hearing about the terrible things that go on in the world.

      [*]SCHEDULING.

      Everyone should be on a schedule 24/7, including babies. Time is blocked out in 30 minute increments. Selling scheduling is one of the main business ventures for the family.

      Kids should be doing chores early, their play should be mimicking chores. The thing is to learn to enjoy working, all the time.

      NO FUN. Fun is a waste of time. You should find enjoyment in working and serving the Lord. Period.

      [*]HOMESCHOOLING.

      They homeschool, with textbooks. This was controversial among some religious homeschoolers (who lean more toward Charlotte Mason) and so Teri wrote a book giving the message that it's okay to do that, that's "Managers Of Their Schools."

      Because they don't do higher math and they don't read literature, they don't need much time for school. Some critics of their homeschooling schedule have pointed this out, it works for the Maxwells partly because they just have less material to cover than most families do.

      No college for anyone. Period. Boys will get jobs that allow them to support a family on one income without debt not needing college (they put out a book on this) and girls will get married. (Well, ideally. So far Sarah is still single at 31.)

      [*]EXERCISE/HEALTH.

      They are big into exercise. Push-up challenges, doing lunges in the parking lot next to the bus on trips, taking long walks (in the very early morning, in long skirts) to stay fit.

      They are somewhat into health food, but nothing crazy, they're not into any specific dietary weirdness.

      They do seem to eat very little and portion control. There was a post about having two animal crackers on a birthday which lives on in snark here.

      [*] MODESTY.

      The Maxwells used to be Frumper Ground Zero. The family all wore homemade matching jumpers (in the American sense) with no waist and ankle length hems.

      Currently they wear "regular" skirts and shirts. Hems must be ankle length, but they are okay with short sleeves. They do the "t shirt under a regular shirt" thing often. The skirts are homemade, they buy the shirts and sweaters.

      They exercise in skirts. They hike in skirts. They go kayaking in skirts.

      The men of course wear business casual - khakis and polos.

      They have written about being against swimming (because in their area it's necessarily "mixed swimming") but haven't posted anything about strange bathing suits or bathing in business casual (for THAT, you need to check out the BuckHales - don't mean to derail here but you really do!!)

      [*]NO DEBT.

      They have a big thing about each (male) child buying a house in cash debt-free to live in after marriage.

      Recently Joseph bought a house (0.7 miles away from Steve, which might as well be on Mars) and rehabbed it (wonderfully, I'll say!), but when his marriage was called off, he did not move into it. Presumably until he marries, he will continue to share a room with his brothers and sleep on his bunk bed.

      [*]PEPSI.

      Teri likes Pepsi. She wrote a long post about her addiction to Pepsi in such a way that you would be certain that Pepsi was a stand-in for some hard drugs or at least alcohol, but nope, it was just Pepsi.

      [*]BLATANT EDITING OF COMMENTS.

      The Maxwells have run various forums about their products over the years (MOTH boards) and currently accept comments on their blog.

      They have three controversial policies:

      • no identifying information
        Last names are removed, so you'll see lots of "the L family" and "Mrs. P" commenting, or just "Julia" and the like. They do not want commenters identifying each other or able to contact each other offline.
         
      • no off topic talk
        This was mostly about the MOTH boards, but any non-on-topic content would be removed (from individual posts, see below). This included any content remotely critical of Maxwell products, as well as any mention of "I love it but I also use this other thing in parallel" type comments. Also any mention of "my other contact is..." (see above).
         
      • editing of comments
        They (lately 100% Steve) will edit the content of submitted comments to remove offending material, and leave the signatures on! So "you" end up posting something with your name on it but the thrust of your message is all changed.

        If he wants to reply, he doesn't make a new comment to his own blog, either - he just edits YOUR comment to add his response in it.

      [*]CAMWHORING.

      Constantly.

      The Maxwell blog has photos of the family doing various things (cooking! fixing the bus! dusting the ceiling fans!) daily. The interesting thing about all this though is that Every. Single. Picture. Is. Posed. That's right, no candids here.

      They go to Costco (often!) and take pictures of themselves, POSED and smiling, putting food in the cart, looking at the eggs, goodness even knows what, boring minutiae of life, but POSED!! and HAPPY!!

      In fact it's an interesting web scavenger hunt to search for photos of the family that were NOT taken by them. Occasionally attendees at their conferences take pics, and it's interesting to see how different they look when they are not obviously posing.

      Incidentally, often the boy and girl children pair up, and when a niece is also there, if you didn't know who was in the picture you'd think it was a normal young married couple with a kid. But no, it's just brother and sister, yet again, posing in the family compound expansive kitchen.

    Ties to other families:

    • BuckHales:
      They knew the Buckingham half of the family when they were stationed at Ft. Leavenworth (before they moved to AK).
       
    • Duggars:
      They travelled to meet the Duggars for one of the kids' graduations. The Duggars are MOTH customers, you can see the chart on the wall in their TV show.
       
    • Muncks:
      Joseph was engaged to the oldest daughter, Elizabeth, before she called it off this past summer.
       
    • Rebecca K!11!!!!!
      Rebecca is a frequent commenter and Maxwell fan. She lives and blogs with her family near St. Louis, using plenty of exclamation marks because she actually has FUN and enjoys life. She seems like a nice enough sincere girl, and usually people discuss how she can do SO much better than the Maxwells. Don't fall in the trap, Rebecca!!

    WEBSITE:

    The main website is titus2.com . From there go to "Articles" to read the Mom and Dad's Corners, but be aware that to find the full archive you will need the Internet Wayback Machine. Teh Internets Never Forgets! :lol:

    Free Jinger's Maxwell Discussions

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  • Posts

    • MamaJunebug

      Posted

      5 hours ago, Blue said:

      Wait, she ACTUALLY said that? 

      Because for YEARS our family and friends insisted that the whole "prophet" thing was something made up by outsiders to make them look like a cult, and that even if some people thought she was a prophet, it certainly was not the majority of the congregation (don't look at or listen to the testimonies that say "prophet" on a loop... 🙄).

      It’s late in the day for me but yep, I’m 99.99% sure that’s what I heard. Liz says “prophet” but then corrects herself. HetselfESS ;) 

    • Cartmann99

      Posted

      This is from the Houston Chronicle:

      Editorial: Gov. Abbott, if you won't lead on masks, get out of the way so school leaders can

      Quote

      If any of the 45,000 schoolchildren in Alief ISD gets sick or is hospitalized with COVID-19, HD Chambers knows their parents will come banging on his door for answers.

      That’s why the superintendent of the southwest Houston school district has dutifully followed science and public health guidance on the pandemic, by the book, for more than a year.

      When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first recommended closing school buildings and instituting remote learning, Alief schools were quick to abide. When schools were required to report COVID cases to the state, the district created its own dashboard as a one-stop shop for virus-related information. The district has a comprehensive plan for a return to full, in-person learning and is in constant communication with parents and teachers on health protocols.

      At a time when public health guidance is constantly evolving about an idiosyncratic virus we’re still trying to understand, Chambers has tried his best to emphasize clarity and common sense in his messaging.

      “The way I’ve kept my sanity is I’ve tried to be consistent,” Chambers told the editorial board this week. “I think that’s where a lot of elected officials in general get in trouble is people get frustrated when they start seeing you go back and forth. One day you make a decision based on what you think the science can be, and the next day you make a decision because some political poll tells you (something different).”

      But the one thing Chambers cannot do — the one thing that practically every virologist, public health expert, and epidemiologist says will keep children safe — is mandate that everybody wear masks on campus.

      “I would feel more comfortable, more confident, if entities had the ability to make that decision based on the local situation,” Chambers said.

      Hear that, Gov. Greg Abbott?

      At a time when the COVID-19 delta variant is driving a massive surge in cases among unvaccinated people across Texas, and other states with lagging vaccination rates, the governor’s misguided polices have tied the hands of Chambers and other responsible school leaders.

      An executive order Abbott issued in May prohibits public schools from requiring masks on campus. This policy was arbitrary and nonsensical from the start. There was little data to support his decision, especially at the time when only 30 percent of the state was vaccinated and the vast majority of children had yet to receive a shot.

      A mere two months later, and a fourth wave of the virus is filling hospitals again. The Texas Medical Center reports 245 new COVID patients per day, nearly 100 more than the previous week and almost 200 more than last month. The weekly positivity rate has nearly quadrupled in the past month, from 2.4 percent to 10.8 percent. The delta variant now accounts for more than 80 percent of COVID cases in the country, the CDC said last week.

      And yet Abbott continues to double down on his obtuse refrain of “personal responsibility,” telling KPRC on Tuesday, “(Kids) can, by parental choice, wear a mask, but there will be no government mandate requiring masks.”

      Buzzwords such as “choice” and “responsibility” sound great in stump speeches but make little sense in terms of public health: one person’s choice to go maskless can affect someone else’s health. Our personal responsibility isn’t limited to protecting our own bodies and families: it includes our responsibility to act in the best interest of our community.

      That community includes people who can’t be vaccinated. Among them: more than half of the state’s 5.4 million public school students under age 12, for whom the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve a vaccine. Wearing a mask provides some measure of protection for a student, but far less if he’s the only kid in class wearing one.

      “We’re starting to see a lot of young people — defined loosely as young adults, adolescents and kids — going into hospitals and it's happening a lot more, of course, in communities with low vaccination rates,” Dr. Peter Hotez, director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital, told the editorial board.

      The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated its back-to-school guidance, recommending that all staff, and students over the age of 2, wear face masks in schools, regardless of whether they are vaccinated. The CDC quickly fell in line on Tuesday, issuing the same guidelines in response to the delta variant, which is more transmittable among children than the original strain.

      Of course, it’s probably pointless to urge Abbott to follow medical guidance over the guidance of his political advisers. His priority these days is fending off political challenges from people who equate a life-saving mask requirement with tyranny.

      So we’ll make another plea: Governor, if you won’t do what’s best for Texas public schoolchildren, please untie the hands of superintendents across the state to do it for you. They aren’t running a re-election campaign. They don’t care about primary politics. They’re in a better position to decide what’s best for their students.

      Some may choose not to mandate masks, but those in communities where the hospitals are filling with COVID patients and where kids are losing unvaccinated grandparents to the disease deserve the freedom to protect their communities.

      If some in your party balk, just remind them of a cherished virtue once held by freedom-loving Republicans: local control.

      What Texans of all stripes can agree on is that children learn better in-person, not siloed in front of some computer screen away from their peers. What most every parent and teacher wants this fall is for kids to return to the classroom but to return safely.

      Kids need to interact with each other on the playground without fear of catching the virus or passing it to family. Teachers need assurance that they won’t be teaching in a petri dish of unvaccinated, unmasked students.

      Most have no desire to remain in virtual instruction and even if they did, there’s no money for it. The Legislature deprived districts of that contingency plan by failing to pass a bill to pay for remote learning.

      That leaves school leaders with one main tool to protect their campuses from this raging pandemic. It’s simple, painless and proven to keep kids, teachers, and their communities safe.

      Governor, rescind your prohibition on commonsense mask requirements that superintendents across Texas implemented successfully last year. We’re not asking you to lead. We’re just asking you to get out of the way so others can.

       

      • Thank You 1
    • Jackie3

      Posted

      53 minutes ago, Natalie22 said:

      Brenda stopped all publicity and worked to focus on her children's wellbeing, including fully cooperating with law enforcement.

      I think you could argue that she didn't focus on their wellbeing until people were watching to see if she was focused on their wellbeing.

      While Toby seems like a scary dude, there was no evidence that he abused his wife. No evidence Josh did either. I mean, it wouldn't surprise me if Toby did, but there's never been any evidence of it (there is evidence he hit his kids, though). 

      I also think that if you walk into a police station and tell them your husband is raping his daughters, that man will be arrested and is no longer a threat. The children's honesty could easily be confirmed by a doctor.

      Honestly, if my daughter told me something like that, I'd pack up the kids and move to a hotel so my child wouldn't have to have one more night under the roof of her rapist. If I couldn't pay the hotel bill, oh well. Better than my kid being harmed. 

      Since Brenda had over ten years of denial, I think one can excuse Anna's denial, since she only learned of the CSA charge a couple of years ago. Even if you include the earlier scandal, it hasn't been 10 years. 

      I honestly think if (God forbid) one of Anna's daughters were being sexually assaulted by Josh, she would protect that child.

       

      3 hours ago, AprilQuilt said:

      Jessica tried to tell her when she was 9 years old, but apparently was unable to articulate exactly what her father was doing to her (and surely this is the perfect example of why children need to be given the vocabulary to talk about their own bodies, and not be ashamed to do so).

      Exactly. However, any mother who hears "Dad got into my bed while I was sleeping and took off his pajamas." is going to ask more questions. Brenda was a grown woman and knew what that could mean. Very few young children have the correct language, yet pedophiles are caught and convicted.

       

    • QuiverFullofBooks

      Posted

      12 hours ago, DalmatianCat said:

      I’ve always thought the comments that Harry was “close” to the York cousins were odd. Yes, close in age, but at the time his mother died the girls were 7 and 8? When he talks about wanting to get back to playing with his cousins at Balmoral on his last phone call with his mother I imagine that he was probably in a rush to get back to whatever the older, cooler Peter and Zara were doing (or some second or third cousins who were actually his age), not a 7 and 8 year-old. That age difference would seem huge to a 12 year-old boy. I can see them growing closer as adults when the age gap doesn’t seem as big, combined with so much shared history and the ability to have a relationship on their own terms, not their parents.

      I agree that Harry’s friendship with his cousins probably developed after they were adults. I think quite a bit of it has to do with the women in Harry’s life being friends with the York sisters, though I didn’t keep track of exactly who was friends with whom.

    • Cartmann99

      Posted



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