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Elisabeth Elliot: A Second Look at Passion and Purity


Petronella
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So how do you think these motives rate? Who is the most virtuous? 

1. I'm still a virgin but only because me and my boyfriend are always guarded by and/ or babysitting several of my sixteen siblings.

2. I'm still a virgin but only because my boyfriend isn't that  into me. 

3. I'm still a virgin but only because I have never seen my long distance boyfriend in person.

4. I'm still a virgin but only because there have been no interested takers. 

5. I'm still a virgin but only because my parents are famous for being controlling nutjobs. 

6. I'm still a virgin but only because nobody has been good enough for my dad. 

7. I'm still a virgin but only because my love for stuffed penguins is considered  a little excessive for an adult male in their thirties.

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I never read this but I did have to read Through the Gates of Splendor cos it was in the ACE curriculum.

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There was also a 13 year gap of Elizabeth being a single mother and women between Jim and her 2nd marriage. There was only a 4 year gap between marriage two and three.  I find it interesting she didn't try harder to re-marry for the sake of her daughter given her staunch belief in men as protector and provider.  Were she and her young daughter not "deserving" of that? I really wonder why, especially during the 50s and 60s it took her so long to remarry after Jim. 

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She was widowed at 30 with a 10 month old daughter, and remarried for the first time at 43... I kind of wonder if she didn't want more kids, and that was the 'godly' way to limit her family size.

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On 7/21/2020 at 9:42 PM, JermajestyDuggar said:

I think about this with a lot of long distance fundie relationships. They’ve spent very little time in the same room and when they do, a chaperone is around. I’m sorry but staying a virgin in that kind of situation actually seems a million times easier than finding a way to secretly fuck. 

This reminds me of a comedy sketch .  

Spoiler

 

 

On 7/22/2020 at 12:01 PM, AmazonGrace said:

7. I'm still a virgin but only because my love for stuffed penguins is considered  a little excessive for an adult male in their thirties

How did you know about that ?  Seriously though , some people , such as myself incidentally , are simply asexual .  https://www.wikihow.com/Understand-Asexual-People   

Spoiler

 

I'm not entirely sure what the sexual orientation of Jim Elliot was though , and it might not even be considered ethical by some to even speculate one way or the other .  I simply wanted to point out that just because a person isn't straight it doesn't automatically make them gay . 

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 @Marmionthe penguins are not a  reference to assumptions that anyone is gay. They're a reference to the Arndts. They seem extremely weird but the weirdness  has nothing to do with sexual orientation or lack of sexual interest. They have so many children they could easily have a variety of orientations, statistically. But the weirdness is more about dysfunction in the parents who are  keeping their brood of children extremely enmeshed and treating them like babies well into adulthood. None of them have been married or dating anyone of either sex or even moving out and living alone (at least, not publicly acknowledged), as the  dad's brand is keeping children safe at home. Which was a lot less weird when the oldest child was fourteen instead of over forty years old. 

Asexual people who have little to no interest in sex wouldn't really fit  into any of my categories of, "I'm still a virgin but only because external circumstances prevent me from doing what I want to."

 

 

 

"I'm still a virgin but only because there has been no opportunity."   

Many asexual persons have  had plenty of opportunities to have sex, it's not "only because" dad was successful in scaring everyone away.

 

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There are elements of Jim Elliot's journals that make it clear he was not asexual...and that he had some passionate feelings towards at least some men. 

Edited by Howl
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I gave @Marmion a heart reaction because it's comforting to know there is a fellow Ace on the site.

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*waves* @clueliss Hi from another Ace, albeit one who doesn’t post much.

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19 hours ago, AmazonGrace said:

 @Marmionthe penguins are not a  reference to assumptions that anyone is gay. They're a reference to the Arndts. They seem extremely weird but the weirdness  has nothing to do with sexual orientation or lack of sexual interest. They have so many children they could easily have a variety of orientations, statistically. But the weirdness is more about dysfunction in the parents who are  keeping their brood of children extremely enmeshed and treating them like babies well into adulthood. None of them have been married or dating anyone of either sex or even moving out and living alone (at least, not publicly acknowledged), as the  dad's brand is keeping children safe at home. Which was a lot less weird when the oldest child was fourteen instead of over forty years old. 

Asexual people who have little to no interest in sex wouldn't really fit  into any of my categories of, "I'm still a virgin but only because external circumstances prevent me from doing what I want to."

 

 

 

"I'm still a virgin but only because there has been no opportunity."   

Many asexual persons have  had plenty of opportunities to have sex, it's not "only because" dad was successful in scaring everyone away.

 

I wasn't thinking that , but ok.  I was actually trying to be funny , in a tongue in cheek way , as if I actually do have a strange fascination with stuffed penguins , which I don't .  But now that you mentioned it , I have heard of this story .  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_Tango_Makes_Three 

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"Oh, to spend eternity with such whose spirit quickens my own — makes me throb just to hear his soul’s surgings." 

This is his journal. He is not talking about his girlfriend here. It's about his male friend. 

“ . . . if only I may see Him, smell His garments, and smile into my Lover’s eyes, ah, then, not stars, nor children, shall matter — only Himself.” 

Also from his journal. The Jesus-as-lover trope is so weird. 

His letter to his girlfriend after she met his parents is brutal and needlessly cruel.  

The Medium link is worth a read. I may actually buy the daughter's book, as my library doesn't have it. 

On 7/23/2020 at 8:21 AM, Pecansforeveryone said:

There was also a 13 year gap of Elizabeth being a single mother and women between Jim and her 2nd marriage. There was only a 4 year gap between marriage two and three.  I find it interesting she didn't try harder to re-marry for the sake of her daughter given her staunch belief in men as protector and provider.  Were she and her young daughter not "deserving" of that? I really wonder why, especially during the 50s and 60s it took her so long to remarry after Jim. 

I think it took her that long to realize another marriage did not have to be like her first. And it's also very possible that @AmericanRose pegged part of it: she didn't want more kids. 

On 7/23/2020 at 8:41 PM, Marmion said:

How did you know about that ?  Seriously though , some people , such as myself incidentally , are simply asexual .  https://www.wikihow.com/Understand-Asexual-People   

From what I've seen of his writings, he didn't lack sexual attraction, but rather was tortured by it. 

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Because y'all are a bad influence, I started reading Through Gates of Splendor, which is not the one by the daughter with all the letters, but the one by Elisabeth Elliot about her husband's missionary experience and death. Thus far, two other missionaries and their letters have been quoted, and the contrast between how they speak about their wives and how Jim spoke about Elisabeth? Heartbreaking. They are grateful to have met their wives, grateful to have them by their side, they praise them and say they couldn't do it without them. 

I'm only about a fourth of the way through, so I'm hoping ol' Jim comes through with some love or praise at some point. 

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I’m almost 40 and only recently discovered I’m an ace. I was reading a checklist and the lightbulb went off and things started making sense!

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On 7/25/2020 at 2:05 PM, katilac said:

"Oh, to spend eternity with such whose spirit quickens my own — makes me throb just to hear his soul’s surgings." 

This is his journal. He is not talking about his girlfriend here. It's about his male friend. 

“ . . . if only I may see Him, smell His garments, and smile into my Lover’s eyes, ah, then, not stars, nor children, shall matter — only Himself.” 

Also from his journal. The Jesus-as-lover trope is so weird. 

His letter to his girlfriend after she met his parents is brutal and needlessly cruel.  

The Medium link is worth a read. I may actually buy the daughter's book, as my library doesn't have it. 

I think it took her that long to realize another marriage did not have to be like her first. And it's also very possible that @AmericanRose pegged part of it: she didn't want more kids. 

From what I've seen of his writings, he didn't lack sexual attraction, but rather was tortured by it. 

Oh , I have concluded by now that he was by all appearances , at the very least , homoromantic .  But as I posted , I just tend to feel that speculating as to the sexual orientation of the deceased , who cannot give an account of themselves , one way or the other , is ethically dubious .  And another thing , even if you could get evangelicals to accept Jim Elliot as a closeted gay man , along similar lines to Ray Boltz , for instance , what would it accomplish ?  I imagine that they would just hold him up as an example of how even a homosexually oriented person can still find fulfillment within heterosexual marriage .  So is he really a role model that confident LGBT+ Christians would want to claim ?  And lastly , in regards to this point you made , 

Quote

“ . . . if only I may see Him, smell His garments, and smile into my Lover’s eyes, ah, then, not stars, nor children, shall matter — only Himself.” 

Also from his journal. The Jesus-as-lover trope is so weird

, I will respond by saying not really .  If you had grown up as I did , around contemporary Christian music , you would have realized that their are a number of songs like this .  Case in point , this one especially .  

Spoiler

 

And as an aside , their are even obstensively secular pop songs that I rather suspect are underhanded references to the relationship between God and His bride , the church .  Sometimes with a female singer , in the role of Jesus , which can really throw the casual listener off .  

Spoiler

 

Spoiler

 

The latter song I particularly suspect has hidden Christian meaning , given that it seems to me to harken to these two Bible verses .  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew 7:7&version=NIV  ,  

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew 11:28-30&version=NIV  When your mind is as programmed as mine has become , you will be primed to find Christian significance in the lyrics of numerous pop songs , no matter how unintended it might have been to the composer .  Like for instance , I can first prime you all by citing this verse  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+139+%3A+23-24&version=NIV  , and then have you listen to this song .  

Spoiler

 

Cults can actually use this technique to implement information control .  

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5. 

Extensive use of cult-generated information and propaganda, including:
a.                  Newsletters, magazines, journals, audiotapes, videotapes, YouTube, movies and other media
b.                  Misquoting statements or using them out of context from non-cult sources

https://www.openmindsfoundation.org/the-bite-model-of-influence/  More specifically , a group , whether it can be considered an outright cult or not , could use this method to get teenagers , and  single adults to redirect their romantic , and even more so their erotic feelings onto Jesus .  So that if we were to ever hear a secular love song , such as this one , for just one more example , we will feel inclined to take it and substitute out the word " baby " for the name " Jesus " .  

Spoiler

 

So it suits the purpose of both behavior control 

Quote

3. Control when, how and with whom the member has sex

, as well as thought control 

Quote

4.Encourage only ‘good and proper’ thoughts

https://www.openmindsfoundation.org/the-bite-model-of-influence/   Oh , and as Jim Elliot was part of the Plymouth Brethren , which is related to the Exclusive Brethren , which is reputed to be a cult { 

https://culteducation.com/group/910-exclusive-brethren.html , https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth_Brethren#Open_and_Exclusive_Brethren }  , it could be that he was brought up with a similar frame of mind .  But yeah , I suppose that all this might sound weird to those who've grown up in the mainstream society at large , which Christian fundamentalist sects would refer to as " the world " . 

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6 hours ago, Marmion said:

 

, I will respond by saying not really .  If you had grown up as I did , around contemporary Christian music , you would have realized that their are a number of songs like this .  

Oh, I'm extremely familiar with it, it goes back to the Middle Ages at least. It's long history does not cause me to find it any less weird, lol 

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7 hours ago, katilac said:

Oh, I'm extremely familiar with it, it goes back to the Middle Ages at least. It's long history does not cause me to find it any less weird, lol 

I agree. God is my lover/father is real weird no matter how common and old the idea is. 

Edited by formergothardite
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13 minutes ago, formergothardite said:

God is my lover/father is real weird no matter how common and old the idea is. 

And chaste nuns wearing wedding rings because they are a bride of Christ...

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On 7/20/2020 at 5:40 AM, Petronella said:

Evangelical superstars Elisabeth and Jim Elliot were brought up in the Renee Bach thread (“Missionary with Bogus Medical Practice...”). I was intrigued by the discussion there and felt it worthy of its own thread.

Elisabeth Elliot’s book Passion and Purity was a HUGE evangelical hit. I read it in the early nineties, and was enchanted by it. She had other books, most notably the story of her husband’s martyrdom when they were missionaries in Ecuador in the fifties. Passion and Purity was the story of their courtship, and touted as a model for Christian women everywhere.

At the time I read it, I loved it for a few reasons:

1) I was “waiting until marriage” and reading about a relationship where the man believed in that too was comforting. Being praised for what made me feel like an outsider felt great.

2) Their high-stress, stretched out courtship read like a romance novel. Y’know—it looks like it’s not going to work out but you know that somehow it will, because the genre (or, in Elliot’s case, the known history of their marriage) assures you it will. Drama!

3) It was full of tips and instructions for being worthy of being romantically loved. I loved me some tips and instructions.

How I feel about it now:

1) I did in fact wait until marriage, as did my husband, and we’re very happy with our decision 20+ years later. I think it’s great to read stories affirming all kinds of relationship paths, including “waiting” paths (when it’s the true choice of the individuals involved, not forced by overinvolved parents or communities).

2) Their tortured romanced. Ugh. It makes me wince now. It’s an unjoyful slog. This article on Medium retells the facts of the story in a way that shows just how negative and exhausting it was: https://medium.com/interfaith-now/the-purity-hoax-c9b1c4934325

The quotes and summaries all together imply that Jim may well have been gay and struggling against that. If not gay, he was certainly struggling against the whole concept of sex. It’s not romantic at all. It’s awful.

3) I’ve come to hate tips ‘n’ tricks for attracting a relationship, whether they come from evangelical publishing (no sex!!) or Cosmo (all the sex!!). Relationships are about individuals coming together. Being yourself and finding a match who actually suits you is far more important than fulfilling any generic pronouncement of what an author has decided is “attractive.”

Any other FJers have any experiences with Elisabeth Elliot’s books and story?

After reading it as a teenager I was always left with the impression that she was way more into him than he was into her.  I actually knew a lot of fundies who didn’t like the book because Jim and Elisabeth had alone time and wrote a lot of private correspondence. Theirs was not a parent led courtship by any means.

Honestly I think Jim was gay, based on the journals I’ve read, and needed a wife in order go to the mission field.  That was pretty much a prerequisite in those days. Couldn’t have a missionary falling in love with a native.

Also, one explanation for the long period of time between Jim’s death and Elisabeth’s remarriage is that she took Valerie and went back to Ecuador as a single mother for several years.

Edited by sableduck
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1 hour ago, sableduck said:

Also, one explanation for the long period of time between Jim’s death and Elisabeth’s remarriage is that she took Valerie and went back to Ecuador as a single mother for several years.

Wasn't she missionary-ing during that time?

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3 hours ago, sableduck said:

 Also, one explanation for the long period of time between Jim’s death and Elisabeth’s remarriage is that she took Valerie and went back to Ecuador as a single mother for several years.

That still leaves a decade that she waited! 

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2 hours ago, Howl said:

Wasn't she missionary-ing during that time?

From the links I found she didn’t return to the US for any length of time until 1963. http://www.thearda.com/timeline/events/event_393.asp
 

My mom used to listen to her radio show and I could swear Elisabeth said once she didn’t want to remarry until her daughter was older, because after hearing that my mom always said the same(if she divorced or was widowed she wouldn’t remarry until her kids were adults). But I can’t find any source for that now.

By all accounts the last two marriages were very happy ones.

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8 hours ago, sableduck said:

Honestly I think Jim was gay, based on the journals I’ve read, and needed a wife in order go to the mission field.  That was pretty much a prerequisite in those days. Couldn’t have a missionary falling in love with a native

As an anecdote , my mother once informed me that this was how it was in regards to the Church of God , Anderson , Indiana . Though she said that she wasn't sure why this was .  

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13 hours ago, sableduck said:

Honestly I think Jim was gay, based on the journals I’ve read, and needed a wife in order go to the mission field.  That was pretty much a prerequisite in those days. Couldn’t have a missionary falling in love with a native.

I have heard of this in more recent times. Not the "falling in love with a native" part, but a requirement on the part of a mission agency that a single male missionary get married, stat.

My money isn't on Jim being gay. I think he was very straight. I think he had a very obsessive personality (possibly on the spectrum?) and was ALL IN on every single thing he did. And I think in those times there was probably a lot of "Don't let the opposite sex be an idol!" teaching in conservative circles and he would've been worried sick about that. I remember those sorts of lectures from my teen/young adult years in the mid-90s. What no one was talking about then (and maybe they would be now, as same-sex relationships are much more accepted in mainstream society even if not in the church) was letting a friendship with the same sex become an idol. I'm sure the thought probably never occurred to anyone in the late 40s - particularly if the friendship was defined as "a David and Jonathan friendship" and therefore Biblical! So he put all his love into a "safe" friendship with another man, which worked...until the man got a wife and then Jim was adrift.

That being said, he was horrible to Elisabeth, and I think her longsuffering and the "happy" ending (before the untimely death part, of course) probably set a lot of starry-eyed teen girls up for miserable and/or abusive relationships. When their very first conversation (when she's got her eye on him and is starting to get emotionally invested) is a lecture from him about her reticence, when he keeps her in limbo for years, when he messes around with (kisses) other women, and when he just keeps raising the bar higher and higher for her to be "good enough" for him (Move to this country! Learn this language!) and then goes and reminds her that she's just turned 26 which they had agreed was "passing the youth mark" - he was awful to her, but she kept jumping through the hoops until she succeeded, and then described their wedding night as "unspeakably worth the wait." How many girls read that book and concluded that if they were being mistreated by a guy, that they just needed to work harder and do better to "earn" his positive attention? Or that this was all part of a normal Christian dating/marriage relationship?

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I just read Gates of Splendor, and it has at least a couple of references to single missionaries, and I don't think any to them having to be married. Kind of the opposite, like maybe it's better to be single. 

From Jim's journal: "One more thing: I am quite confident God wants me to begin my jungle work single."  

And from the book text (written by Elisabeth): "Jim had been praying for some time that God would give him a comrade with whom to go to the mission field, a single man ready to enter tribal work with him."

This is about another missionary, Pete: "With typical candor this quiet, studious man wondered if there were any conflict between his coming marriage and his "call" to the Acuas?" and then Pete is quoted as saying, "Strangely enough, I do not feel my coming marriage will prohibit me from being eligible to help in efforts to reach them." 

Elisabeth and Jim both began their separate missionary efforts while still single. 

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