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Olive Plant

Our Stories (why we snark)

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Olive Plant

Maybe this has been covered elsewhere, and if this is the wrong spot to do this, let me know. But I thought it might be nice to have a thread devoted to our own backstories. Obviously, brief, due to space constraints, but for those who come here wondering why we would snark in the first place, it might be a good resource. We feel safe here, I think, and we hash out things that have really, really bothered us. To most of us, it is very personal.

So here goes:

I was homeschooled, raised in a rural Bill Gothard/ATI community with the understanding that modesty was paramount and not kissing before marriage was something to aspire to. Most of my friends from that period got married around 18, but not me… I waited until after college. I had many conversations during my college years about virginity, and I was convinced that it was better to wait, and that God would bless my decision to remain celibate. I never dated. Instead, I saved myself for a guy who had ties to the Reformed community, who had been personally discipled by Doug Wilson for awhile. He sounded great on paper, he said all the things that I wanted to hear, and he got my father's permission to court and then marry me. He met the requirements on my list and my parents' list. We agreed that we would have a biblical, God-centered marriage. We would do great things together for the glory of God.

Hence, I lost my virginity in my mid-twenties on my wedding night. In the grand scheme of things that night, although much less than satisfying, wasn’t that bad, because the grand scheme of things was hell on wheels. My now-ex apparently took “biblical marriage†to mean that he got to do whatever he wanted and that I had no say in anything. I was a “nag†if I objected to anything — that he didn’t keep his word, that he yelled at me or abused me, that he lied to me, that he spent money on frivolous things, that he had secret financial arrangements, and so on. I cried almost every day, and begged God, on my knees, to show me why this was happening to me. I tried to trust that it would work itself out. But in the meantime, I lost so much weight from the stress of day-to-day living that people started getting worried. I developed other health problems. I wanted to kill myself to get away from it. Finally I reasoned that divorce wouldn’t be worse than death, even if everyone I knew disowned me for leaving him, and even if he made things very difficult. In fact, he did make things difficult – he stalked me, harassed me, messed with my finances, tried to have me excommunicated, and threatened to do much more. I was so overwhelmed and alone during that period of my life that I felt more dead than alive. Almost none of the Christians in my life were any help, and I didn't know where to turn. I distinctly remember at one point, just after all this went down, looking at photos of my friends’ kids on the internet and sobbing uncontrollably because I was convinced that I would never have kids myself — because who would love me after all that? Who would see past the shambles?

Now, I’m working, I’ve gotten myself on steady financial ground, and I’m dating an egalitarian Christian guy. Just last night we had a conversation about money, and I noticed (somewhat to my surprise, given how long it’s been) that I was starting to have a panic attack because I was terrified that he’d think I was bitching him out for buying something prematurely. He took my hand. “Baby, you’re not being a nag,†he said “you’re not being a bitch. You’re a smart woman. I should listen to you. I love you.â€

He knows I’ve been hurt. He knows I’m “damaged goods.†And this guy, who is handsome, in-shape, funny and thoughtful, loves me anyway, and still respects my opinions and my personhood. What I didn’t believe possible is fully possible – whether the two of us live happily ever after or not.

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JesusFightClub

OMG, Olive Plant. I am the least huggy person ever and after reading that I wanted to hug you! What a lot of shit to put up with!

In my case, two things for why I snark. One is that I had a religious education and that stayed with me. The other is that I am a Marxist and a Leninist :)

Doctrinaire isn't a compliment but I became intrigued by fundies as although their worldview is so different they have the same need to live by strict rules when it comes to "doing the correct thing" that I do. I wondered what makes strong believers alike.

Didn't realise my motivations straight away, mind. At first fundies just looked like mad bastards who were lolworthy.

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Kitty

Well, here goes.

I was raised Southern Baptist In Name Only. My mom would drag us all to Southern Baptist churches on Sunday, but at home she drank, smoked, and swore like anyone else (and so did my dad). So we were all a bad fit at church. I read Harry Potter and listened to metal. My sister was into more 'mainstream' things that were still frowned upon by the church. The preacher would pretty much tell us who to vote for from the pulpit. I never did learn much about my own faith, because all I was doing was memorizing Bible verses, so when the subject of the Trinity came up I was like "...what? this makes NO SENSE." But I couldn't really question it, and it never really came up again. But evolution, abortion, and homosexuality would. I rejected the idea of creationism at around age 8. I dropped youth group after reading the packet we were given- "My sister wants an abortion and I think my parents are gonna get her one!" I'm dead fucking serious. I stopped going to that church altogether after a whole bunch of women in the church freaked out over me reading Harry Potter. I was 13. By 14, I'd gotten so sick of getting non-answers, the hate, the sexism, that I dropped Christianity altogether, and it was a matter of months before I became an atheist.

I've also been in really shitty relationships. One boyfriend molested me, and I had no idea what to do or how to get out. Another "boyfriend", the one I actually lost my virginity to, got crazy clingy, constantly calling me and leaving somewhat threatening messages. A third "boyfriend" actually had a fiancée, but was cheating on her with anyone he could because he wanted 'more experience' before he got married. He would criticize everything I did. I can't tell if the final straw was him telling me I was bipolar, or making fun of the make of my car. I was going through a horrible bout of anxiety and depression at the time, and he just refused to listen to me. I had nobody else to talk to about it. He wound up ditching me. I put "boyfriend" in quotes because neither one was ever "official."

There are other things, minor things, that have been affected by Christian wackiness too. At school we couldn't watch certain movies. No books were ever banned or challenged, surprisingly. Sex ed was abstinence-only. My high school was a very anti-gay environment.

I've always had this fascination with dystopias, so I got to work on a fundamentalist Christian dystopia a few months ago. I was looking for the floor plan of the Duggars' house, and that's how I got to FJ and into snarking. My story's evolved so much thanks to FJ.

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FuManchu

Didn't realise my motivations straight away, mind. At first fundies just looked like mad bastards who were lolworthy.

Same here, really. I forget just how I first got interested in this kind of thing, but back in university my friends and I used to follow the evolution/creation shenanigans of the time - mainly by laughing at the absurd creationists, particularly Kent Hovind (whose entertainment value lasted well beyond his conviction for tax evasion but has waned somewhat since as he comes to realise that God isn't actually going to break him out of prison). Following links related to Kent and his type led me to the blog of a woman who'd encountered Vision Forum, and from there I realised just how much more fundamentalism there was out there and started to take an interest.

So for me there's no real backstory - raised in an atheist-by-default family in a country largely indifferent to religion, the observation of fundamentalism is part intellectual exercise and part tourism. What fascinates me - in everything, not just religion - is the tremendous disconnect between what people say, mean, and believe. Which is why I was so happy to find this forum - sometimes it does rather feel as if you must be going mad when you read the utter drivel some of them spout as if it's the most self-evident truth, and having other people also point out that it's drivel is reassuring for one's sanity!

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samithemage

I was raised conservative catholic in the Bible belt. While science and such was easily accepted, I was taught that those "other" religions where misguided at best, and heathen at worst. I was taught above all that sexual purity was the most important thing, which has led to many issues in my life. I was taught to be very defensive about Catholicism, because it was rare in my part of the world, so i need to be able to defend my religion. Though, as I was informed by a friend of mine (in front of a mormon friend of mine) "Oh you're catholic...well at least you aren't mormon, you should hear what we say about them in my church." I was also informed by a friend of mine that I considered quite intelligent, that Catholics don't believe in Jesus. Her pastor had told her so.

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fundiefan

I don't really have a story. I just began devouring information about religions and different versions of Christianity, mostly because I love to learn about things that are different. Different cultures, particularly, and religion forms so much of culture it's nearly impossible to study the history or one without the other. The more I read the more my head felt like exploding. I found some religious beliefs so overwhelmingly unbelievable that I took to looking further into them to see if they could possibly be real, all the while thinking 'no way'. I was, obviously, completely wrong in that. I hit upon the fundie bloggers and the rest, as they say, is history. I secretly read them for a couple of years, and would often spend time finding beliefs and bible interpretations that differed from theirs. That always gave me a sense of relief because to be honest, for a while, I really did think every Christian was absolutely insane to believe and that the human race was duped and doomed. I didn't have a religious upbringing so the differences in belief and interpretation wasn't something I was aware of. I just always thought that if you believed in god you were a Christian.

I have never really believed in god. I had a generic, loose religious education while growing up but it was mostly by osmosis. Going to church with friends or cousins. Everyone in my family apparently believes in god but with one exception, no one lived a life according to some doctrine or anything. It was just - god is there. Some went to church, some didn't. Some were Catholic, others were Lutheran, others...who knows. I wasn't raised to be anything or believe any specific way or call myself anything. I started questioning god when I was about 12. I never gave it too much thought then though, fleeting thoughts that came and went. It just wasn't enough of my life to give a lot of time to.

Anyway. Through my searches and reading and everything else, I hit upon places like Free Jinger and other blogs/boards that existed to oppose/snark on/contradict/call out the crazy. I'm appalled at the quiverfull/patriarchy fundies and movement and think they are dangerous and harmful, to individuals and society as a whole. But, since they hide their insanity behind religion, it's persecution or hate to contradict them with the disdain I usually feel. You can't fight the religious fanatics because we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech - as we should and I have no complaints about that, trust me. But, when there are places like this, it helps be able to share thoughts, bounce ideas, and express confusion, disgust and horror at what fanatics are doing to society. They can hide behind their religious freedom, but they can't hide from everyone else's right to speak freely.

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Muffy

Wow, Olive Plant, what an amazing story. I love the idea of this thread, and thanks for describing your life. I'm so glad you were able to escape and have found happiness.

My own story - well, my personal dealings with patriarchy have come about primarily through watching the lives of Christian friends. I'd probably be considered "fundie-lite-lite" by most of y'all here. I was raised by conservative Christian parents, sent to Christian private schools, and surrounded by lots of other kids whose families had been heavily influenced by Gothardism. Several of the teachers at my school were Gothardites, too...and while we didn't have any of the modesty/dress code Gothard stuff, there was this underlying assumption among the "nice" families that dating in high school was a bad idea...unless you were planning to marry young, which meant that your family had money. Lots of the people from my childhood actually were wealthy, with family businesses. Consequently, it was pretty common for kids to graduate from high school and marry soon afterward.

I'll never forget the girl who provoked so much jealousy in all of us. She was 2 years younger than her boyfriend, who was considered one of the cutest guys and best catches in town. He was (naturally) from a wealthy family. After high school, he went to work for his dad, who built him a new house on some family property. Christmas of this girl's senior year, they got engaged. She and I had a class together, and I remember lots of "Brides" magazines smuggled into that class and passed around when we were supposed to be working. She was from money, too, and we were all so envious of her ultra-elaborate wedding, with 8 bridesmaids, a church full of flowers, and a 2-week Hawaiian honeymoon.

Although I knew I wanted to go to college - and although my parents pretty much expected me to get an education - I had also deeply imbibed the notion that finding a husband was paramount, the only thing that really mattered in life. Yet at the same time, because of the Gothardite "no dating" culture at my high school, I entered college woefully immature, with basically no sense of myself and ZERO social skills when it came to interacting naturally with guys. When I look back at photos of myself from that era, I am always surprised at what a cute girl I actually was. On the inside, I'd felt...nothingness.

I won't bore anyone with the details of the next decade of my life, except to say that while I got a degree and achieved some wonderful things in my chosen profession, I was bitterly unhappy until I finally found someone who wanted to marry me. Really, nothing else mattered. But the guy I married turned out to be a sociopath and narcissistic liar who pretty much lived in his own reality. Although there had been plenty of obvious clues before our wedding, I was so eager to finally get married that I willfully overlooked all of them and accommodated this man no matter what. It was a disastrous marriage that was over 3 years later, when I finally had had enough of the crazy-making. I'd somehow pulled together enough courage and self-esteem to leave, but I was tens of thousands of dollars in debt (his debt).

Despite all of this, though, I am now in a very good place. I've been married for several years to someone else, someone wonderful and truthful who has always treated me with the utmost respect. We were able to pay off all my old debt and buy a lovely home. We have great kids, and believe it or not, I still have retained the core of my "fundie-ism." We are members of a fairly conservative Bible-based church. I work part-time by choice but am mostly a stay-at-home wife and mom. I love being able to focus on homemaking and be here for my kids.

All that being said, though - my alarm over patriarchy began some years ago, when one of my close friends announced that she had decided to homeschool. It wasn't the homeschooling itself that was so troubling - it was this friend's rather rapid journey into the world of Vision Forum, the Pearls, Quiver-full, and talk of future stay-at-home daughters (her oldest girl is not yet in her teens). It was like homeschooling had thrust her into a place where her Christianity had become secondary, and where she judged other Christians' perceived worthiness on their lifestyle choices. When we decided to send our own children to the public school across the street, I realized that my friend was definitely pulling away from us.

It was almost like homeschooling had cultic elements for my friend - it was like her faith had become "Jesus plus homeschooling and stay-at-home momhood." And she assessed the other believers in her life accordingly.

How this all connects back to my own life experience is, I simply could not understand (and still don't really understand) the lure of pulling one's kids and oneself out of the "real world" and creating a whole other parallel universe for my family. All I can imagine for my friend's kids is the same life of social awkwardness that I (and many of my high school friends, those who weren't lucky enough to "find a man" right away) experienced.

Even though I would still call myself a conservative Christian, and even though I have some fairly narrow ideas about what I believe to be true and right, the "Cult of Homeschooling" mentality that makes Christians withdraw from the world and hunker down and grow ever-more-restricted in what they believe to be "godly" simply CANNOT be right. I think these beliefs are actually doing great harm to the Christian culture. The reality is that the patriarchal system is simply not sustainable for more than a generation or two. The further removed these kids - particularly the girls - become from formal education, the less equipped they'll be to homeschool their own kids. To me, it's like a gigantic spiral of dumbing down.

I follow patriarchal/fundie blogs because although it's sad, I can't help but be fascinated as well by the slow-motion disasters that seem to be unfolding all around, as more and more of these tightly controlled and carefully sheltered young people are growing up and growing disillusioned with the patriarchal lifestyle.

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loveandwar

Hugs to you, Olive Plant!! I'm so glad you've found someone that respects and loves you!!

I've posted part of my story before, but I will post it again for newbies.

Why do I snark? Because the ATI lifestyle turned my (former) best guy friend into a condescending, legalistic jerk. I'm going to keep this short because if he ever comes across FJ, I don't want him to identify me. From what I understand, his family bowed out of ATI when he was a kid due to differences of opinion on college. For whatever reason, he went on an ATI mission trip a couple years ago and came back a completely different person. He went from a sweet, cute, slightly nerdy guy to the condescending, legalistic jerk mentioned above. I was hurt by the 180-degree shift in his personality and decided to dig deeper into ATI beliefs. My research took me from Razing Ruth to NLQ to FJ, and here I've stayed. As a Christian, it frustrates me that Gothard has twisted the Bible and the title of "Christian" for his own gain. ATI stole one of my best friends. That's why I snark.

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AmyP

Even though I would still call myself a conservative Christian, and even though I have some fairly narrow ideas about what I believe to be true and right, the "Cult of Homeschooling" mentality that makes Christians withdraw from the world and hunker down and grow ever-more-restricted in what they believe to be "godly" simply CANNOT be right. I think these beliefs are actually doing great harm to the Christian culture. The reality is that the patriarchal system is simply not sustainable for more than a generation or two. The further removed these kids - particularly the girls - become from formal education, the less equipped they'll be to homeschool their own kids. To me, it's like a gigantic spiral of dumbing down.

I follow patriarchal/fundie blogs because although it's sad, I can't help but be fascinated as well by the slow-motion disasters that seem to be unfolding all around, as more and more of these tightly controlled and carefully sheltered young people are growing up and growing disillusioned with the patriarchal lifestyle.

This is pretty much why I am here as well. I consider myself a very conservative christian, and I homeschool, but I don't like what these legalistic, patriarchial systems are doing to my faith. It is a distortion of real christianity- all the elements look like they're there but it is like the image in a funhouse mirror. It's bloated and distorted and it is not the "real thing" at all. I read here to educate myself so that I can recognize these false religions when I see them.

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NurseNell

Olive, thanks for sharing your story. I'm not a hugger either but I'd hug you if I could.

I grew up in a typical 1950's home with 2 parents, a cocker spaniel, and siblings. My Dad was a Republican and Catholic, my mother a very liberal Democrat and UU. We were raised Catholic but we were a minority, no Catholic schools so 12 years of public schools. College or military was expected after high school graduation. I chose college, then the military. One brother is a member of the Communist Party, one a Republican, and my sister is a Democrat. One brother and my sister both married Jews. None are Catholic any more. I married a Catholic and we raised our kids Catholic. 2 are still Catholic, one is an atheist.

I've known many large families but the only fundamentals I knew were the Old Order Amish. It was watching the Duggars that got me interested in fundamentalism and Christian home schooling. It's just hard to fathom how people can live such rigid lives. The large Catholic families I know are just so different from the Duggars and the other large families discussed here. They are pretty liberal, all accept gays and lesbians (having at least 1 in each family), and they love having fun. I think what surprises me the most about the people and families we snark on is that they just don't seem to have fun. Even the Amish kids I grew up with knew how to have fun.

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Muffy

I know my initial comment was already WAY more than long enough, but I did have one other point to share...

Part of why patriarchy has always struck me as particularly crazy-making is the way the system sets up marriage and motherhood as the only truly worthy destiny for women. At the same time, the super-restrictive "I Kissed Dating Goodbye"/guard-your-heart courtship teachings create a dynamic for girls where finding a guy to marry can seem like an almost insurmountable challenge. Many of these girls' parents have all sorts of oddball ideas about how a potential suitor is supposed to "woo" the father first...and basically be willing to jump through all kinds of crazy hoops, just for the privilege of exploring the idea of marriage with someone who is still a virtual stranger on any sort of deeply personal level.

Sure, there are girls who are especially cute, whom guys will line up to court. (After all, so much of what drives a guy to choose a particular young lady is still superficial, despite the fundies' decrying of physical attraction as a consideration when choosing a mate. So much of what they tell themselves is about the young lady's "godly character" is really more about whether or not she's cute.)

But the other girls, the average ones, the ones from not-so-stellar families - what does it do to them, to live in a world where getting married and staying home is their only "really godly" destiny...but where their ability to interact naturally and normally with young men and get to know young men casually is so hampered?

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Crackedeggs

I got sucked into this stuff when the internet was barely breathing in the early, early 90s. The "movement" grew online as I had my first child, and a great deal of the pregnancy and baby advice I came accross was from these people, since my own mother was too ill to help me, I turned to the lists to get parenting information. As I grew more and more entranced by the fairy tale world of homeade bread and manly men who let their wives stay home with their broods, rather than force them to go out to work - which I always sucked at, if there was a molesting, sexually harrasing bastard, he'd hire me. If there was a jealous, backstabbing bitch, she worked at the next desk... I just suck so bad at office politics that I prefer to work alone at home - my marriage grew worse and worse, as my husband believed that men should hang out in their man caves and do their man hobbies with other men and ignore their wives and kids. Oh yeah, and they could sleep half the day, show up for work when they felt like it, quit jobs to run off to chase their dreams, never do or fix a damn thing around the house... and when my mother died, he proceeded to blow all the money on a business I begged him to not start, but which " Gawd" would want me to submit to him regarding. I did, he did, he ran us beyond broke, I found out, blew up, he beat the crap out of me, lied to our kid to get back in the house, then slept with the 17 year old babysitter in the room next to mine, and under our daughter's. We caught them the next morning. I guess that's what I get for emasculating him by expecting him to not spend all MY money and hold a job. ( snark snark) My daughter and I left, since as co-owners of the home, neither one of us could force someone the other wanted to stay out without a trial, and that would take weeks. I found out when we were at our temporary accomodations that this girl had a porn site, she swung both ways, and seemed to enjoy posing on her internet blog in my daughter's clothing. 6 months later, I didn't have a dime to get any help legally, legal aid in my area was backed up beyond beleif..., so we just left the state. We have lived out here now for 6 years, with a sweet guy who I would married if I could get shut of King Douchebag... who won't sign papers, tries to sell the house out from under me with his bitch saying she's me ( I put a stop that one right quick...) let the bitch trash the house with 14 cats and no litter boxes.. ran what we think was a meth lab in my now trashed house ( dozens of antifreeze containers out back, sticky film all over the house.. can't tell you what it smelled like aside from cat piss and shit) and yes, they brought a CHILD into this mess, a little boy born about 18 months after we left.

I still believe in God. I still wish, at times, that I could be that perfect bread bakin' mamma... but I can't stand churches, knowing they are all judging me and my guy since we aren't married. I just keep to myself that way, these days. I've gone through hell with my daughter, she is of course damaged by this crap, and that piece of butt loaf that donated the sperm. She doesn't want to see him, and he doesn't bother with her... of course, he might have to spend a dollar on her, the prick.... but it's a horrible thing for a girl.

I snark to remind myself how fucked in the head these people are, and to blow off steam about how it affected me. Did the ATI/FV/Duggar people make my ex a total prick? No, but they sure taught me how to enable his sorry ass.

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O Latin

I discovered the Duggars, QF, the whole deal while I was stuck in Hell Frozen Over (as I like to call my first college). It seemed so perfect, so much better than the terrible life I was trapped in. So I dropped out of school and spend eight months trying to be a SAHD. I was absolutely effing miserable, but I convinced myself that I was only miserable because no one else accepted the lifestyle I had chosen. I was sure I was doing everything exactly right. I started at the local university to get my parents to leave me alone. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I love it. I absolutely love everything about it. Even now, when I'm getting over a cold and I have exactly eight days to write a ten page paper on a subject I know nothing about, while simultaneously studying for a test and driving my brother everywhere he needs to go while my parents are out of town, there is no place I'd rather be. You couldn't pay me enough to go back to those awful days of doing nothing but lying on the couch crying and reading about the Duggars on the internet.

I was raised in a mainstream Methodist church, which I still attend. I was always attracted to the fundie lifestyle, the long skirts, the big families, the women staying at home and not going to school or working, but I never wanted the religion.

I don't snark as much as some because I'm just not naturally a very snarky person. I'm also more conservative than a lot of people here. But I'm here because FJ helps to remind me how awful my almost-fundie days were, and that, no matter how harmless or even appealing some detail of that life may seem, I don't ever, ever, ever, want to go back to that.

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dormouse

1) I am an atheist raised by atheist/agnostic parents, in a very liberal country and province, so the fundie and very conservative lifestyles fascinate me as something completely foreign to my reality. Almost like observing exotic animals at the zoo.

2) I'm friends with a former fundie blogger. At 18, she married an abusive 34-year-old pastor. He was her teacher at Bible camp, they had been courting since she was 16 and he was 32. Her parents saw the red flags but were scared of saying anything because he was "a man of God". Soon after their wedding, they moved to Alberta so he could further isolate her from her family. I doubt you would know her because her website was in French. In fact, it wasn't really a blog, back in the late-90's early 00's it was called a "personal homepage", on the now defunct Geocities. She was talking about submission, about how housewives are superior to working moms, that any woman can afford to stay at home if they really want to, that abortion is murder, homosexuality is an abomination, along with the usual recipes and housecleaning tips we can find on today's fundie blogs. She was very judgemental online, saying her younger sister, with whom I am friends IRL, was "living in sin" because she was going to college in the big city and living with her long-term boyfriend without being married. I was very envious of her because we were rougly the same age and she was married at 18 and had two little boys by age 21, while I was still 'stuck going to school'. No one knew about the abuse that was going on, not even her family. From the outside, everything seemed perfect. She was forbidden to scream while giving birth, and to cry when she lost premature twin girls because "they were with Jesus now". Shortly after that she ran away with her two toddler sons, she took a plane back to Montreal and went to a women's shelter. She now lives in the US, where she re-married a "regular christian", and even if she is still very conservative socially and politically, her kids go to public school, she wears pants, works outside the home, doesn't mind secular entertainment as long as it's child-appropriate, and even has gay male friends. No more presence on the Web except FB.

3) I was in an abusive relationship from age 18 to 25, and even if the Evil Ex was as atheist as can be, he clearly said many times that he expected me to be submissive, that I belonged to him, and blamed his behavior on me not submitting enough. So I feel for these poor fundie girls, the SAHDs and wives alike, because I know what it is to be in a "golden cage", it's easy to develop a kind of Stockholm Syndrome and to make yourself believe that everything is fine.

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clibbyjo

I snark because its fun. :) I read fundie blogs because my sister is a fundie and I wanted to understand why. I still don't understand,but at least now know how to maintain a relationship with her so my nieces and nephew can know me.

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Olive Plant

This. This. This!

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. I snark because I can. Because I'm free, because I can breathe, and because I can laugh about it now. And because it's nice to know that there are other people out there who understand, thorny as some of them might appear on this forum. And because the thought that there are women out there who are in my former position, but who don't have an out, because they weren't educated, or because they couldn't face the music, really upsets me.

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mattsmom

Hi, I am delurking to share my story. I just rediscovered this site a few days ago, I originally read here a few months ago when all the Mckmama drama was going on and someone on that site mentioned this one, but got busy having another baby and forgot. Fast forward to last week, I hurt my back, got put on mandatory bedrest, stumbled upon this site again, and I'm hooked :)

Anyway, why I snark.

I was raised in a conservative, Christian home, fundie lite. We attended a church that expected modesty in men and women, skirts for women though (BOO), long hair, minimal make-up, etc. That being said, it was not like the churches I see on these blogs. Most of the members were (are) well educated, professional, well respected in the community types, doctors, lawyers, business owners, the entire congregation was pretty affluent. Women were never made to feel inferior, I never got the vibe I was supposed to marry early, not get an education, etc. In fact, our pastor, harped on all of us "kids" getting a college education and bettering ourselves. The only fundie thing I can relate to is the dress. Lord have mercy, I hate denim skirts!!

So, I grow up, fall in love with a man who has no religion (was raised Southern Baptist, but it didn't take), is 14 years older than me, and gets me pregnant (after FOUR years of dating, no one night stands here), and I obviously don't fit the fundie bill. We continued going to that church until our daughter was a few months old (he was fine with going to church anywhere) and the I told him I was done. I didn't want to raise a little girl who is constantly singled out as different, who feels ugly and weird for NO GOOD REASON. I know it seems superficial that the dresscode is what bothered me, but it is. Seriously, God does not care how long your skirt is. Or whether you're wearing a skirt at all!!

I digress. So, we left that church (so did my parents, figures they would see the light AFTER making me dress like Laura Ingalls thoughout my delicate teen years), and joined a less opressive, non denominational type church. We are still Christians, and I do believe that some fundie families believe they really are doing what God wants, since I know so many of them (although, as I've said, most of my friends are fundie lite). The QF movement really pisses me off. Our church never taught that, quite the opposite it seems. Most families had two kids. A few had three. One had four and they were odd balls :) But, a friend from my younger days has since joined a QF church and is on baby #8 or 9 with no end in sight. She genuinely seems to enjoy her children and they are well off, so the kids needs are met, but I just hate that she feels like she is disobeying God by not procreating. She has been led astray. Anyway, morbid curiousity combined with the terrifying thought "that could have been me" is why I snark.

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Bookworm

I was not raised in a "typical" QF home, as my mother always said she was a Christian feminist because God loved women just as much as men, or something like that, even though she covered and believed she should be submissive (?!). At least I never totally bought into the ebil feminazi stuff because of that. But she did encourage us kids to read a lot, practically anything except Harry Potter, and did want us to be really well educated. They prided themselves on NOT sheltering us – i.e., they were involved in ministry, like counselling families with drug/alcohol/abuse/etc. problems and us kids were allowed to be around these people and know what was going on. Somehow, despite the fact that we had no TV, never said so much as "gee," and had to be frumpy modest, our knowing about "real-life problems" made us well rounded and not isolated. Unfortunately, they did not really balance this out with hanging around people who were well educated and upper class type. Both my parents are very highly educated and so since most of the people us kids knew around us were either rednecks or addicted rednecks, well, we had an unconscious superiority complex going on about the quality of our education and how good our lives were.

Suffice it to see that working and being in the real world has been very, very tough and very good for me. For me personally the thing I most regret about my upbringing was the paranoia instilled in us, especially me, about The End Times and all the evil people out there who might at any time start hunting Christians down. No joke, I really had my entire childhood overshadowed with constant worry about starving to death in the Great Tribulation and frequent prayers that before it started I would just be in a car accident or something so as not to suffer.

A situation involving a similar homeschooling family is what caused me to start wondering if all these conservative preachers/teachers I'd been listening to really had it right and I began to look for the "other side" of everything I'd been taught. I was suicidal in a very calm, 'death would be best' way when I started this and figured I had nothing to lose. A combination of a nutritional supplement and gradually researching everything I ever believed has made my life SOOO much better in every way. Most of the time I'm really happy, except when I process another bit of my past. It's been several years now since this journey started and I am at a pretty good place in my life now. One of my sisters has also questioned everything and changed her life for the better and I just wish I could get my parents and other siblings to do the same. I feel like the way I was raised was really grim and yet it has affected my brothers even worse than me. They are thoroughly brainwashed and suffering because of it. They all know I'm on FJ and that it has a lot to do with how much I've changed and maybe someday they will come on here too and do some reading around : -)

I snark because I and so many people I love/am acquainted with are trapped by the evil of the fundie beliefs. Most people perpetuating these beliefs are truly sincere and wonderful people and I hate the way this stuff sucks vulnerable people in and wastes lives. I snark because I hope in some small way I can contribute to helping people free their minds. Most of my life I thought I was happy because I did not know any better, and coming out of this belief system can be horribly hard because one then has to face and grieve over a lot, but it is so worth it.

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darkplumaged
1) I am an atheist raised by atheist/agnostic parents, in a very liberal country and province, so the fundie and very conservative lifestyles fascinate me as something completely foreign to my reality. Almost like observing exotic animals at the zoo.

A lot of this is me, too. I'm not an atheist, and the area in which I was raised and still live isn't super-liberal, but yes, dominionist fundies are like exotic creatures to me, and I enjoy observing them. I'm probably one of the few people here who has no real-life experience with fundies. I've just been fascinated by extreme religion since I was a kid. (TBN was my crack when I was a tween/teen.)

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zoestercoaster

I was raised in a largely secular, left leaning household. My mom instilled in me the virtues of feminism. We went to a Methodist church for a while, but abandoned it. I would occasionally go to the local Baptist church with a friend, or to VBS in the summer but I didn't particularly care for religion until I met The Guy.

The Guy was first of eight, ATI/IBLP homeschooled and hot. Like, MODEL hot. So I dated him. I started going to church with him, hanging out with his family (they really were nice folks) and I don't know, I just sort of sucked it up? We got ~engaged at 17. I became a headcovering skirt wearing fundamentalist. It never felt right to me. Staying home and have 789085431 kids wasn't my bag either. Eventually I came to my sense and broke off the engagement (at 20, lol).

I couldn't reconcile my upbringing - go to university, be successful, get married if that's your thing - with the need to shun education and start popping out kids. I NEVER had any pressure to have kids as I got older. I was NEVER told "when you have kids." It was always "if you have kids." I am so incredibly grateful to have parents who have never pressured me to breed.

I didn't date for 2 years after that. I needed to figure myself out. I pulled on a pair of pants, refound my left-wing feminism and went back to university. I'm 25 now, still in school (recessions will do that), but unimaginably happier. No lie, sometimes I just stop and think, "I am so fucking glad I never got married."

I snark because I've seen both sides. I snark because I'm still fascinated by the world of Gothardism and fundamentalism and patriarchy. I snark because sometimes I can't help but think, "what if."

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Sola

My back story is pretty boring and benign compared to some members on here.

Raised Anglican, my dad was a missionary and then a minister. We're weren't fundie-lite, or fundie-anything really. Even though I was brought up in a Christian family and was 'saved' at a young age, I realised early on that I was an atheist and none of it made sense.

My own interest in fundi-ism is my attempt to understand what the hell happened. I mean really, it's the 21st century and people are falling for this BS. I've had a lifelong fascination with religion, but when I first came online I found the the fundie views and they astounded me. I started watching the Duggars, which I found interesting and finding out more about them led to my fascination with this lifestyle.

I think Muffy summed it up best;

a place where her Christianity had become secondary,

Christianity is secondary to these people. They are so far removed from the Christianity of my childhood that it is like a completely different religion. I would love to know how and why a modern country such as the USA has fostered such a controlling and abusive model of faith and why today it allows the right wing associated with it so much influence.

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CanticleoftheTurning

I lurk/snark here thanks to someone posting a link via Fark.com.

I was raised in a homeschooling Catholic family with an asshole psychologically and verbally abusive father and dishrag mother (she's nice--she just believes that she has to "obey" dad.) They're very conservative, but my dad used religion as a means of control. That is, he twisted it beyond recognition, and I'm still figuring out what Catholicism really is thanks to my (Protestant :lol: ) husband. Fortunately, they never fell for the VF/ATI stuff because oh noes, protestants are so misguided! but that didn't stop my dad from being a control freak and being patriarchical. And of course, they had plenty of kids. I'm the oldest of six. It was my mom's fertility troubles that prevented them from having any more, and it eventually ended up with a hysterectomy. So, thank God, I won't have any more siblings stuck in that lifestyle.

Mom used to stand up to him until he gave her a "joke" gift book "How to Change Your Husband" by the Catholic cult leader, Terry Colafrancesco and totally fell for it, and she became perfectly submissive and told me otherwise. Strangely, I didn't buy it because I read Laura Ingalls books. There's a scene where Laura told her fiance that she would never obey him. Love and honor, sure. Not obey. (This was back when I thought all men were like my dad--and I never wanted to obey men like that).

So, when DH and I met, my parents were wondering when he would convert to Catholicism, because can't he see how that's more perfect than his mainline Protestant denomination? There was a time when i was acting like a fundie bitch toward him, too, but somehow he knew that was just a product of drinking the koolaid/being brainwashed, and kept standing up to me. I must say, his consistency and reasonableness won me over. His moderate leanings and my great evil liberul friends helped me realize, hey, people more liberal than fundies aren't all evil!

I became more moderate, and I started standing up to my dad more. I even moved out, which he hated because I'm sure he had dreams of me being what is essentially SAHD until I got married to a good Catholic guy and started popping out babies. When I got engaged to DH, I got disowned. He never was clear on the reason, but no doubt it was because I became a "radical liberal feminist" in cahoots with a "radical liberal feminist priest" when planning my wedding. I didn't want to be given away like chattel, I wanted to walk down the aisle as equals with DH, to symbolize how we are entering the marriage as equals. I think that really put him over the edge.

Anyway, since being disowned, I've come to even better understanding of my family as fundie or fundie-lite. In fact, DH said that the priest described my family as fundamentalist, when DH went to talk with him about my dysfunctional family at one point.

So, I snark, because I recognize the cult-like nature of many of these homeschooling fundie families from my own experiences. I snark as a quietly anonymous F. U. to my dad. And day-um, it feels good. :dance:

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kittypie

FWIW, I am 53.

I was reared fundie-medium in Plymouth Brethren. Our congregation consisted of families ranging from fundie-lite to very fundie, but we had no quiverfulls that I recall. Most families had 3 or 4 kids, 5 at most. I went to a PB related non-accredited (at the time) Bible college. I guess the main reason I hang out here is #1 I love snark and #2 I had my first panic attack at a Bill Gothard seminar.

Went off the rails after college and ran wild for years. Got married when I was 37 to an agnostic with Pagan leanings.

A couple of years after my husband died I had a "real" religious experience whereby I felt like God came and got me and THAT'S when I became a "real" Christian. God was the one who pierced my heart and converted me. Don't ask me to explain because I can't. I mean, I could tell you about the experience but then you would surely snark on it :). I only know that now I believe the American Evangelical movement and the fundies movements are chock full of false converts and fools hungry for entertainment, hoping that their self-righteous good works and emotional experiences will qualify them for heaven.

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MamaJunebug

Good topic, thank you!

I object strongly and everlastingly to what these people (Gothard, Phillips, Pearl, et.al.) are doing to distort Christianity and smear its name.

I am a Christian and thus, I snark.

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Rachel333

I was homeschooled and knew lots of fundies. My parents actually seemed pretty liberal in contrast to the people I was around, since I was allowed to wear pants and makeup, was expected to go to college, and was taught to be respectful of different religions. Still, my parents were very conservative, anti-evolution, anti-gay, and I was expected to court instead of date and wait to kiss until my wedding day.

I gradually became more and more liberal. I remember being 11, and though I had really never been exposed to pro-evolution materials, except the fake kind my science books gave to prove that evolution is evil, I was listening to some anti-evolution stuff at my summer camp and thinking "this is really stupid."

The conservative environment did get to me in my early teens, though, and I became convinced that I needed to wear skirts and cover my hair and stay at home and have lots of kids. This made me really miserable, as I loved science and math and traveling and learning in general, and all my skills were useless in the life I was supposed to have. Eventually I got out of that mindset and became the snarky one at my homeschool co-op classes (which were so bad; there was one about different world views that I had thought sounded interesting, but all it was was watching videos were a guy mocked people who had different beliefs than he did, and then making fun of those beliefs ourselves). While my mom certainly caught a lot of flak from the other homeschool moms who were concerned that I was too worldly, the other kids were pretty nice to me.

I went to a public high school, and that was a really good thing for me. For the first time, it wasn't a big deal that I was a girl and was good at math (which isn't to say that the fundies were outright rude to me about that--the rudeness masked as concern was saved for my mom--but there was always the sense that what I was interested in wasn't for girls). I'm now in college and have fully made the transition to evil feminist/liberal/hippie/whatever. I still keep in touch somewhat with some of my fundie friends, and I think the vast majority are significantly less fundie.

I started reading here (and first twop) because I grew up around the Duggars and it interested me to see what others had to say, but I stayed because I really care about the issues raised here. I like that there's a community where people "get it" about how terrible the fundie ideas are.

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