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What Does 'Keep Sweet' Mean?


AnnoDomini

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I see this phrase used a lot here. I may or may not have grown up fundy or fundy-lite but I'm not really familiar with it. Can you experienced FJers explain it?

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Honestly, this is a phrase most commonly seen in a polygamous/FLDS cultural context. I think it became popularized/entered the common consciousness because of Big Love and has seeped into internet lingo when talking about other patriarchal societies. The actual phrase is something that is reportedly often said to young girls in the FLDS culture, and refers to a way conducting oneself, even in circumstances that most people would consider horrible - like being forced into a marriage, or having multiple wives, etc. It's another way of telling young girls to be unquestioningly obedient - with a smile, no less.

Edited for clarity

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They use equivalent phrases, I'm sure, and the word "sweet" is a common one to hear in the context of any girl - "We love to focus on their sweet countenances," "Anna is such a sweet girl," but I have never heard that specific phrase used on that show. Also, at least in the context I'm aware of it, the phrase would be used as an admonition - ie, you'd better keep sweet - and you don't see much discipline on the TV show, obviously. But the Duggars are part of a culture that has its own code phrases; I'm just not sure "keep sweet" is specifically one of them.

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Even though I've mostly heard it used in describing LDS/FLDS stuff, it definitely fits the "always have a cheery smile on your face no matter what" mentality that I ran into growing up. Oddly enough, I will say that it was easier to be real to an extent around fundies than around some of the megachurch fundie-lites. Many of the fundie-lites I encountered growing up were from megachurches and seemed to give the message that conservative Christianity had made them happy and prosperous and if you're a real Christian, you better look the same at all times.

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Ah. The idea of 'keeping sweet' seems pretty VFish too. I don't know much about fundamentalist FLDS except what I read in fiction books (Ellen Hopkins' 'Burned').

THere's anything like fundies in megachurches? I thoght only tiny churches held in conference rooms and rented classrooms were fundy. My upbringing has taught me that all megachurches have the biblical message so watered-down there's no possibility for any kind of fundyism.

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Try to think of it as the water running the other way - the small classroom and home churches are at the extreme end, but the general principles have trickled out into the mainstream megachurches. Instead of courting, there's "true love waits" rings, etc.

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Guest Anonymous

THere's anything like fundies in megachurches? I thoght only tiny churches held in conference rooms and rented classrooms were fundy. My upbringing has taught me that all megachurches have the biblical message so watered-down there's no possibility for any kind of fundyism.

There are definitely fundies in big churches as well. See: Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill.

(It's always been funny to me that his church is named after a Roman God.)

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Ah. The idea of 'keeping sweet' seems pretty VFish too. I don't know much about fundamentalist FLDS except what I read in fiction books (Ellen Hopkins' 'Burned').

THere's anything like fundies in megachurches? I thoght only tiny churches held in conference rooms and rented classrooms were fundy. My upbringing has taught me that all megachurches have the biblical message so watered-down there's no possibility for any kind of fundyism.

I'm not sure I know of any megachurches that are primarily hardcore fundie, though many have small pockets of that crowd. However, I know of quite a few that are very much fundie-lite. That may be more of a southern phenomenon, but we've got megachurches down here that draw people from miles around because their own towns don't have anything conservative enough.

What was fundie in the 90s now seems to be embraced by the fundie lites now. It looks like kind of a trickle-down effect of religious conservatism.

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Fundies exhort their daughters to practice "J-O-Y" (Jesus, others, then you) and it means basically the same thing. I don't watch the Duggars but I have seen many accounts where this was taught to young QF/fundie girls. I don't know what the Duggars say.

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Probably the roughly equivalent phrases in ATI (Duggar) jargon would be "yielding your rights" or "being an energy giver." They have convoluted pop-psych-theology explanations for these ideas, but essentially they mean "suck it up and act positive no matter what." I don't watch the Duggars either so I don't know if they say that, but I grew up ATI so I know the lingo.

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My church fundy question then becomes, if megachurches are thought of as fundy, is there such a thing as non-fundy Christian who has specific beliefs and not a general vague belief in Yahweh?

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Guest Anonymous
My church fundy question then becomes, if megachurches are thought of as fundy, is there such a thing as non-fundy Christian who has specific beliefs and not a general vague belief in Yahweh?

Just because some megachurches are fundie, doesn't mean that all of them are. Nor are all small or medium churches populated with fundies.

Yes, there are non-fundie Christians. We have quite of few of them posting here. I know people that are Lutheran, Catholic, Methodist, and Episcopalian that are Christians and not fundie.

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My church fundy question then becomes, if megachurches are thought of as fundy, is there such a thing as non-fundy Christian who has specific beliefs and not a general vague belief in Yahweh?

Sure. The world is full of them. A few words that tend to flip my fundie alarm are:

submission

modesty

dominion

convicted

oh, and obviously quiverfull. A family can be non-b.c., just look at Catholics, but specifically using the word quiverfull has political and religious associations tied to it.

I was friends with Christians (even fundie super-lites, born again, etc) for most of my life and never heard these issues brought up.

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Fundies exhort their daughters to practice "J-O-Y" (Jesus, others, then you) and it means basically the same thing. I don't watch the Duggars but I have seen many accounts where this was taught to young QF/fundie girls. I don't know what the Duggars say.

I've heard the J-O-Y explanation from Michelle's on the show, so it's definately something the Duggars say.

I've only heard 'keep sweet' on polygamy related things (like Big Love as mentioned by others), but the thinking behind it the person is wrong in their negativity and should keep it to themselves. It's a much nicer way of saying Stop complaining, no one cares.

You got raped by the prophet's son after Sunday school? No one believes you, so keep your mouth shut and keep sweet. You're a 13 year old girl that doesn't want to marry a middle aged man who's got 5 other wives? Your father's already made the decision, so shut your mouth and keep sweet. You want to go to school but your mother needs you to help out at home/your father needs you to work for him, your parents know what's best for you so shut up and keep sweet.

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I see this phrase used a lot here. I may or may not have grown up fundy or fundy-lite but I'm not really familiar with it. Can you experienced FJers explain it?

What does "I may or may not have grown up fundy or fundy-lite" mean? Did you or didn't you? Or are you trying to say you'd rather not disclose this info?

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I would say FBC Hammond is a fundie megachurch. Even a lot of IFBs (Independent Fundamental Baptists) consider them to be IFBX (extreme - ie, more fundie than our type of fundamentalism), yet they run well over 10,000 in attendance on Sundays. Their website is fbchammond.com

I never heard the phrase "keep sweet", but the principle was certainly there. Hide any "negative" emotions, joyfully submit to your parents, pastor, husband, and other authorities, always look & act happy because if not you didn't reflect the "joy of the lord", so you must be sinning. It's that whole expectation to always seem happy and to quash any real feelings or emotion, and to just accept everything that you are told.

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It is a term that originated among the FLDS cults, but I was nearly sucked into Evangelicalism and "keep sweet" is a perfect term for what I was told to do. Nobody ever told me outright to lie about my emotions, but there was very much pressure and guilting. I was taught that if you are constantly happy, then others will see that and ask why you are so happy, and you would use that chance to tell them that the key to happiness is Jesus. I was also told that anyone who is truly right with God couldn't possibly be anything other than happy. So showing any negative emotions was essentially admitting that God didn't really love me, and also that I was risking the eternal damnation of complete strangers by frightening away from being "saved". I never heard the phrase "keep sweet" until years later, but it is such a perfect description that I have started using it.

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It is a term that originated among the FLDS cults,

Someone told me the phrase "She's a sweet spirit" is a phrase used when a woman is not married, and is past the age when she should have been. I don't know if this is intended to mean she refused to get married or that no one asked her to get married.

Edited to add that I found this: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.p ... t%20spirit

The worst word/insult one can use on a Mormon girl.

No she's not really pretty... but she sure is a sweet spirit.

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My church fundy question then becomes, if megachurches are thought of as fundy, is there such a thing as non-fundy Christian who has specific beliefs and not a general vague belief in Yahweh?

Quoting census figures for Christian demographics is tricky because if a fundamentalist doesn't agree with the numbers, he/she can always say that the source is biased. That said, here is an extract from an article on Christianity in the U.S. at the Hartford Institute for Religion Research:

1. The Catholic Church, 68,503,456 members, up .57 percent.

2. Southern Baptist Convention,16,160,088 members, down .42 percent.

3. The United Methodist Church, 7,774,931 members, down 1.01 percent.

4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6,058,907 members, up 1.42 percent.

5. The Church of God in Christ, 5,499,875 members, no membership updates reported.

6. National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc, 5,000,000 members, no membership updates reported.

7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 4,542,868 members, down 1.96 percent.

8. National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., 3,500,000 members, no membership updates reported.

9. Assemblies of God, 2,914,669 members, up .52 percent.

10. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 2,770,730 members, down 2.61 percent.

11. African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2,500,000 members, no membership updates reported.

11. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, 2,500,000 members, no membership updates reported.

13. The Lutheran Church-- Missouri Synod (LCMS), 2,312,111 members, down 1.08 percent.

14. The Episcopal Church, 2,006,343 members, down 2.48 percent.

Explanation of where the numbers come from: http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/fastfa ... ml#largest

For a worldwide rundown, I turned to Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Unfortunately, I couldn't find worldwide figures on individual denominations, just a general outline: there are over two billion Christians worldwide divided into about 38,000 groups that consider themselves distinct, 1,200 of which are present in the U.S. Discussion of how these different groups can be sorted into larger groups here: http://www.religioustolerance.org/christ7.htm

Finally, a fact that sometimes shocks people raised in the network(s) (or an outlier) of U.S. IFB churches: It's a very young movement. Sure, it's several generations old, but we are talking about the Church, which has seen about a hundred generations so far (putting a generation at 20 years). The breadth, depth, height, and richness of the full Christian tradition can overwhelm someone stepping outside the circumscribed world of fundamentalism for the first time.

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I actually never once heard the term "keep sweet" until joining FJ a very short time ago. But yeah, it basically means "Yeah, nothing in your life is controlled by you and you're going to be married off to have 800 kids, suck it up, princess!"

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My least-favorite 'keep sweet' story: I was working in the kitchen (figures) at a summer camp when the mostly-fundie crowd of male staffers went through. They told us how they were going to go work in the field, get all hot and sweaty, and come back hungry. The camp director then exhorted me to 'keep sweet' and have food waiting when they got back.

(unintelligible mumbling of NSFW terms)

For us, keeping sweet meant staying pretty, delicate, and submissive--not aggressive, macho, or unfeminine.

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What does "I may or may not have grown up fundy or fundy-lite" mean? Did you or didn't you? Or are you trying to say you'd rather not disclose this info?

Because I'm not sure where exactly I fall.

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It did originate (I think) in the FLDS religion but the J.O.Y rule in the Duggar house (it's on their house guidelines) is about the same. A rule by any other name still does have the same effects. One of the Duggar guidelines is something to the tune of "always use soft words even when you don't feel well". Another is "always display joyful attitudes even if you've been mistreated". I may have mangled a few words but that's basically what the kids are taught.

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