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New here, but I've been in the belly of the beast - Maxwells


Phyllis Styne

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Long time lurker , first time poster. Hi. You guys introduced me to the Maxwells. And I attended a Maxwell gathering,survived! and have some notes in case NPR needs a "this american life" segment. :ugeek: Ok if I post them here?

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Cool! I'm excited. This is just part one.

Uriah is a heap. Granted, when I saw him, he’d just traveled 300-some miles. But he’s not a big bus. How do all those people sleep in it? Two couples, two small children and 6 young adults who sleep singly. How do they do it? I don’t want to imagine.

When I pulled up, I got out, and snapped a photo of Uriah on my phone. Then I realized it: I was the object of some mild curiosity. Half-a-dozen young men, gathered outside the building’s door, were watching me. Well, I was a woman with jeans, and without a man. Or child. That probably that made me unusual.

And then I saw my first family. Barrel-chested, grey-bearded dad. Mom in a knitted shawl, the kind you pull over your head. And a handkerchief clipped to her hair. Five stairstep girls dressed just like her. Four stairstep boys. Like their dad, wearing suspenders. Yeah. In this milieu, I was gonna be the unusual one.

Inside, gracious people welcome us all. Young men and old men hold doors . They respond to my “thank yous†with cheerful “welcomes!†And there they are. The objects of my curiosity, behind their neatly stacked tables. The Maxwells.

I need to relieve your curiosity right away. I need to settle a matter of great dispute on Freejinger in the past few days. Here it is: The Maxwells are not too thin. Nope, not even Melanie. They are slightly built people, especially the girls. The kind of people who might be 5-foot 7-inches – but wear tiny, size 5-and-a-half-shoes. Their arms are not too skinny, but nicely shaped and well-toned. There are no angles or hollows to their faces. Of course they’re not fat either

Melanie’s very pretty. Her hair is thick and cut nicely. Her little girls are, as they say, to die for. Beautiful children, and the older has the kind of poise you see in well loved kids. All three of the natural-born Maxwell girls are much prettier than their photographs. Anna’s skin is luminous. Mary’s will be, once she’s out of adolescent -- but she isn’t spotty, by any stretch. Sarah’s glows less than Anna’s, but it’s still clear. And it has a good color. And if you don’t know it, you’ll never guess that Sarah is 12 years older than the next girl. That’s all important information, and easily seen: None of them wore a molecule of makeup.

And we were told that it was time for the concert.

The emcee welcomes the crowd of 150 or so. He acknowledges the honor of having the Maxwells, and he talks briefly about upcoming events. Describing one of them, he mentions "fiat money." Steve, standing behind him, smiles wryly. Steve’s got a bald spot. It’s pretty good sized, and it’s tidy. It’s a circle, maybe a little bit oval. Its lines are distinct; there are no patches to ruin the shape. You wouldn’t expect a bald spot to be anything else, on Steve Maxwell’s head.

Now at the mic, Steve is insistent: This evening will be all about Jesus Christ. Because he is why we are saved, it is none of our doing. Nothing we do saves us. Teri is sitting stage left, guitar on her lap. Sarah’s to her side, with her banjo. Neither smile til the music starts.

The 3 unmarried Maxwell boys? Like their sisters, they are better looking in person than in their photos. I have to give a disclaimer, here: Pale men with light eyes and medium-colored hair aren’t my preference. Give me Justin Theroux over Brad Pitt any day. But that said, I have the answer to the ancient question: Ultimate Hottie: John vs. Joseph. And the verdict? It’s a draw. They’re equally attractive, in person. Jesse – he’s a kid. He has potential, but hey, he’s 16.

Now Steve is getting it all wrong, doctrineally. He says we have free will to choose right or wrong. BUZZ! (We are sinful, most Christians believe. WE can only choose evil. It’s God’s spirit turns us to the good.) Meh. I’m not too upset. This is Steve Maxwell talking, after all.

A song, and then Joseph gives his first patter. He’s 22, he tells us. And launches into a long story about lying. Or whether or not someone was lying. He’s hard to follow. Another song: Steve soloes. Two-word review: He shouldn't.

Meanwhile, Nathan’s sitting on the front row, at a far end. He nods at the appropriate times during the patter. Other than that, he seems to be surveying the crowd. The younger daughter gets restless, and Melanie takes her to the back of the room. After a few minutes, the little girl calls out “Daddy!â€

Nathan turns around, looks at her for a full couple seconds, and then smiles. It’s a genuine smile and I’m relieved. I’d been half-expecting no smile. The Pearls write approvingly of an Amish mother who ignored her child’s call while the Amish father held him. I’d been expecting that, but no, Nathan smiled. Good dad.

Steve’s delivery is turning ever more serious. He’s insisting that fathers must be willing to go into the Jordan & be willing to die to self. He’s saying that only thru God's word is there death to self. And he’s unequivocal: Family only grows when Father dies to self. Behind him, Joseph seems to be having a really good time, playing with his guitar tuning pegs.

Jesse, who’s 16, is up for the patter. He tells how his dad asked him to give up the music instrument that was causing him pride. He says he was later allowed to take it up again. Steve interjects:, within 6 months of resuming – he says -- Joseph was playing very, very well. There was a moral to the story. But I couldn’t quite make it out.

The audience so far is listening politely. But I don’t see much nodding, and there’s no amen-ing. Maybe that doesn’t usually happen at a Maxwell concert. It’s Anna’s turn to step up to the mic. She’s 16, she says, and she murmurs, too. She encourages kids to try music, and says they only started to play recently. She talks about her violin, and jokes that “violins have strings, and fiddles have ‘strangs.’†The audience laughs. Steve’s unsmiling. He’s motioning late-comers to empty seats in front row.

They play a decent breakdown and then clobber “Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing.†My head’s beginning to ache, but there’s no coffee – much less Pepsi – in sight. At the mic, Mary talks ratherfastlikekidsdo about her bass guitar and about her daily quiet time. During a recent quiet time, she read a Proverb about kind words. I’m surprised to know she’s 15; to me, she sounds closer to 12. Whatever: Like the others, she seems genuinely unaffected.

Twenty-year-old John approaches the mic. His riff is about himself as the problem child, the trouble-maker. He notes that in public school, troublemakers mean more money. In homeschool, they mean more work for mom. He promotes one of the books – probably HSWAM&QS – and gets more audience reaction than any other speaker. Maybe more than all the others, combined. Could it be? Homeschool children can be – and are – not perfect?

John is gently advising the youngsters to stop making trouble. “As I get older,†he says, “Mom won't be around to remind me, like, to answer an email from a client.†He doesn’t mention who his clients are. He reveals that he can’t read music, but adds, “I don’t play by ear; I use my fingers. It’s much easier that way.†Yeah. Even I enjoyed that one.

John has one of two banjos in the family band. Sarah has the other, but unlike her siblings, she stays upstage. She leaves for a while to snap quantities of photos. Her camera looks to be quite professional. Possibly borrowed from C. Maxwell Photography. And then it’s her turn to approach the mic. I’m the oldest girl, she says, but she doesn’t give a number. She’s also the shortest, she cracks. She asks if the joy of the Lord is reflected in your face. She says that key to that, is starting every day in the word of God. That’s “crucial†– she says -- to living life to God. She mentions the family’s music CD – and she ends the pitch. Was it abruptly? My notes say so. She heads back upstage; I can’t see if she’s smiling.

The band begins “I’ll Fly Away.†I mutter, “If only I could.†Shameful! But nobody’s heard me – Teri has started to clap loudly in time. After a few bars, the audience joins in. The song ends to loud applause.

And Steve announces that they have concluded the concert “exactly†on time, “thank you, Lord." People rise around me, but I’m troubled. I say, “Thank you, God,†throughout the day. I wonder: Do people react to me as I did to Steve? Note to self: say it only when you really mean it.

In part two i report on brief conversations with other ladies attending. I hope this wasn't too long?

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The only thing that surprised me in your narrative (great job, by the way) was that Nathan responded to his daughter calling out to him in a positive way. I'm glad to have heard that.

The rest? Not surprised in the least. Their little shows are just live versions of their web site. Steve's head is so freaking big I'm surprised his head fits through the church doors and he's so full of himself he must be as flexiblse as a Circque de Solei (sp?) performer for all the back patting he does to himself (dad's must 'die' to themselves and look at him as his glowing example of a family, all because of what HE did).

I give you credit for sitting through it. I don't honestly know if I could do it, I really don't.

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I want pictures because I also saw them in person and I cannot think they have changed that much since we went.

Demgirl and I both went to see the Maxwells last spring and Uriah is HUGE . A full sized motor home. We saw them coming back from CHAP and Uriah was clean as can be and very nice looking.(and we took a picture but only 1 because Jesse was watching us and we were already psychos).

JOHN is by far the hottest Maxwell. Joseph is the least attractive, I don't even remember seeing him at all because John was so much hotter than I thought a Maxwell could be I got hung up on it and demgirl was telling me to be quiet as I kept saying "I cannot believe John is so hot!".

Cough up some pictures,I need to see these discrepancies! :)

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DELICIOUS! Thank you, I anxiously await your next post. Well written: you know your audience! I would like more fundie fashion trend reporting, if you would. Are frumpers eternal? Is denim the True Cloth of The Lord, or is it cotton in general? *I refer, not just to The Maxwellls, but the congregation. What, if any, is the hot long sleeve shirt for ladies/men's polo color trend? I really want to know!

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I want pictures because I also saw them in person and I cannot think they have changed that much since we went.

Demgirl and I both went to see the Maxwells last spring and Uriah is HUGE . A full sized motor home. We saw them coming back from CHAP and Uriah was clean as can be and very nice looking.(and we took a picture but only 1 because Jesse was watching us and we were already psychos).

JOHN is by far the hottest Maxwell. Joseph is the least attractive, I don't even remember seeing him at all because John was so much hotter than I thought a Maxwell could be I got hung up on it and demgirl was telling me to be quiet as I kept saying "I cannot believe John is so hot!".

Cough up some pictures,I need to see these discrepancies! :)

I too thought Uriah was rather large and I definitely agreed John was the most attractive (remember, he was the only one who actually talked to us too! Well, except Sarah, when I was buying books, but that was like pulling teeth to get her to say anything.) I only told you to be quiet because I was so paranoid of being outed! ;) Remember when the church lady asked who we were and I went on the long spiel about you being a homeschool, stay at home mom (totally true), and how I was getting married and wanted to learn to be a keeper of the home and you were mentoring me (somewhat less than true)? :lol: Good times...

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Very good description! You write well. Thank you for sharing this with us

(

We are sinful, most Christians believe. WE can only choose evil. It’s God’s spirit turns us to the good.)

I'm guessing that you're Calvinist? Of course, my opinion of your writing doesn't change one whit because of the ism that you follow. I'm just being nosy curious.

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Twenty-year-old John approaches the mic. His riff is about himself as the problem child, the trouble-maker. He notes that in public school, troublemakers mean more money. In homeschool, they mean more work for mom. He promotes one of the books – probably HSWAM&QS – and gets more audience reaction than any other speaker. Maybe more than all the others, combined. Could it be? Homeschool children can be – and are – not perfect?

I don't think the Maxwell's have a clue what a problem child means. I'm not sure why a problem child guarantees a school more money and they certainly mean a huge loud of work for both mom AND dad, whether mom and dad homeschool or not. My brother was a problem child he has severe ADHD and despite taking a ton medicine he was always disruptive and problematic in school. If the Maxwell's don't believe in meds for depression, they probably don't believe in meds for ADHD. They probably would have tried to beat it out of him. Of course, to get any kind of results, they probably would have had to beat him damn near to death. That's a terrifying thought. Anyway, today my brother is a successful member of a society and in a Ph.D program in computer science. None of that ITonRamp bullshit. My brother actually really knows about computers. Anyway, I'm not sure how my brother, an exceptionally problematic child, could have gotten my public school more money. He couldn't change the way he was. Certainly not without medicine. He didn't cause trouble on purpose. Of course, John, being a reversal child has never seen the rest of the world, so he clearly has no idea that he couldn't have possibly been that problematic if he grew up in his family and lived to tell the tale.

By the way, phyillis, I agree with experienced--I love your writing.

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I too thought Uriah was rather large and I definitely agreed John was the most attractive (remember, he was the only one who actually talked to us too! Well, except Sarah, when I was buying books, but that was like pulling teeth to get her to say anything.) I only told you to be quiet because I was so paranoid of being outed! ;) Remember when the church lady asked who we were and I went on the long spiel about you being a homeschool, stay at home mom (totally true), and how I was getting married and wanted to learn to be a keeper of the home and you were mentoring me (somewhat less than true)? :lol: Good times...

I too thought Uriah was rather large and I definitely agreed John was the most attractive (remember, he was the only one who actually talked to us too! Well, except Sarah, when I was buying books, but that was like pulling teeth to get her to say anything.) I only told you to be quiet because I was so paranoid of being outed! ;) Remember when the church lady asked who we were and I went on the long spiel about you being a homeschool, stay at home mom (totally true), and how I was getting married and wanted to learn to be a keeper of the home and you were mentoring me (somewhat less than true)? :lol: Good times...

LOL, I was laughing hysterically when I heard I was "mentoring you as a keeper of the home"!! :lol: I just hoped that church lady didn't ask me anything biblical because that would have outed us. Jesse did open the door for us and I think he said hi too didn;t he? I was still in the John zone, I don't remember now. :whistle:

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You MUST type up part 2 and submit it quickly. I want to hear more! They're so fascinating in a "WTF?!" kind of way. The suspense is killing me!

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In part two i report on brief conversations with other ladies attending. I hope this wasn't too long?

There's no such thing as too long when it comes to inside Maxwell scoop! Moar, please!!! :D

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The Maxwells are one scary family. I hope that a few of their children are able to escape.

I wish they could. I think their minds have been irreversibly warped. :(

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