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What makes you so obsessed with the fundies?


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I thought this would be an interesting topic. (I apologize if it's already been covered.) But I have a hard time explaining to friends why I'm so interested in this stuff. (I have a hard time understanding it myself!) I'm definitely not religious. And though I was raised conservative, I'm practically a socialist nowadays. For me, I think it's half repulsion, half intrigue. But I'm not really sure which half is which. How do you guys feel about it? What makes you so interested?

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Watching some of these families is like watching a bad car wreck. I just can't look away, but

I know I should.

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For me, I think it's half repulsion, half intrigue. But I'm not really sure which half is which. How do you guys feel about it? What makes you so interested?

The bolded sums up my feelings. I really got into fundies when I had a stressful job I couldn't stand; I started fantasizing about chucking it all and becoming a stay-at-home wife. (Mind you, I wasn't married or even engaged at the time. That's how much I wanted out.) The fundies' lives seemed so pleasant and simple. Even though I've learned about the seamy underbelly of fundieness since then and the lifestyle is no longer appealing in the least, I also can't look away. I've become invested (to a degree) in some of these bloggers' lives, and I have to know what happens next.

Also, fundies are such pathetically easy snark targets. There's just so much to mock.

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I'm not obsessed, I only really know about the duggars, but I'm fascinated by it. I think it's part revulsion and part jealousy.

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For me it is because it is so different but so close to my own life. I'm a stay at home mother but that isn't what defines me like it does for fundy wives. In my family girls were raised to go to college or find a job that they enjoyed doing that would pay the bills. We were encouraged (read kicked out of the nest) to move out and expirence adulthood before worry about settling down to marriage. Women in our family are valued for wit and personal strength not what their virginity. I also think my family was/is a matriarchal mind set. It was frowned apon for a daughter to date just one guy to soon in life but be open to seeing what kind of person we wanted as a spouse. We were raised thinking that women mattered more to a family than just baby making and being able to cook but for earning money and making a family decisions on our own. In fact I think at times I worried my family when I decided to become a stay at home mother (my husband and I decided together) as they worried I was giving up my financial independence to a man. So to me it seems like an alien world that looks familar but not at all at the same time.

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Their lives and beliefs are about as far from mine as it's possible to get. I'm an atheist, very left wing single woman who lives in a commune, is well past fundie "marrying age", has her own job, is childless by choice (reasonably fond of the little buggers, sensible enough to know I'd be a terrible parent), is an active trade unionist who's been on welfare, who shaves her head (when I do have hair it tends to be dyed all the colours of the rainbow) and wears army boots...the list goes on.

So for me, regarding the fundies, it was combination of "WHY WOULD A PERSON DO THAT" and "WHY WOULD A PERSON BELIEVE THAT" which provided the initial fascination.

Then I heard more about it and someone lent me some books about dominionism and Rushdooney and the like and I started getting a really fucking creepy feeling about fundies. These are actually some bad bastards! The same someone who lent me the books told me of Free Jinger (even though we don't have a telly we had heard of the Duggars) and I lurked there for ages, the horribleness of the fundie beliefs and mindset became apparent to me and I just couldn't look away.

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My fascination with them is several things:

1) They all seem to be stuck in a bizarre time warp i.e. courting, prairie dresses, SAHDs, living like it's 1899, obsession with the Pioneer era/Victorian era ;) I love Michelle's bad 80's hair.

2) They all seem so willfully ignorant of... just about everything that is considered scientific. For instance, evolution, birth control, time zones, believing the earth is flat. The Duggars actually believe that humans and dinosaurs co-existed at some point. I love watching them for this reason alone. I love watching stupid, uneducated hicks. The fact that they CHOOSE to be stupid and uneducated makes it all the more entertaining to me.

3) The fact that they can't seem to handle reality. They shun just about everything that MAY be defrauding or sinful-even fun things like dancing, music, tv shows, movies, celebrating fun holidays like Halloween and *GASP* drinking at weddings. They can't associate with anyone who is not "like-minded" because that's considered dangerous. For instance, the Maxwells. They don't allow their children to have any friends. Don't even think about internet access either or reading an actual book other than the bible because doing so would result in a lot critical thinking which is simply not allowed.

4) They love to pick and choose things based on their interpretation of the bible. For instance, the Duggar girls perming their hair. There is nothing in the bible that says to practice this, yet they do it anyway because Jim Slob and Gothard find this "pleasing". Does it say in the bible to dress alike? Or to always keep sweet? No, but the Duggars believe that adhering to these rules will somehow get them into heaven. However, they preach modesty and warn against being defrauded, yet they allowed Anna to give birth on national t.v. on a toilet! Hypocrites!

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It originally started because I always wanted heaps of brothers and sisters (having none in the end anyway) So I googled large families, watched a few episodes of 18 and counting and became obsessed. I have been lurking for a few weeks here and finally decided to join. And this is my first post! :dance:

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DuckEgg, I had the same experience. My parents both grew up in big families, and i grew up with tons of cousins, aunts, uncles, etc- but I only have one brother. It's nice to see "what could have been" and thank god that my parents' quiver only has two arrows. It's also the sociological, psychological, anthropological, hsitorical, blah blah blah, aspects that has me interested too. I'm a nerd that way :) I DID write my thesis on gender roles, and I WISH TO GOD I knew of you guys while I was writing it!!! Damn! I DID pass, but not to my own standards LOL. I'm such a nerd I am considering re-writing it and possibly writing an entirely new one just for fun :geek: :oops:

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is famous for: "Well behaved women seldom make history" and I do take that quote to heart, and it makes me think of fundies for some reason, probably because of all of the ways you can interpret that quote in fundie-land... haha :)

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Fascination? Boredom? Distraction? All three and then some, I guess. They are so entirely different than I am or anything I've had any experience with. I love learning about different cultures and I guess that has something to do with it. They're also a distraction. When I want to 'check out' of my own life for whatever reason, whether it be stress or frustration or fear or anger or whatever, there is a whole different world for me to dive into. And, I always know then that things could always be worse.

As time has gone on I've also come to embrace the 'know your enemy' concept of it all. I'm as liberal as they come, politically and socially, and the religious right is obviously the opposition and stands for everything I am opposed to. It's interesting to try to understand the hows and whys of those differences. It has also strengthened my position on almost everything by being confronted with it - even if by my own choice - and having to defend and explain it to myself. I know where I stand not because I'm told but because I've questioned my values and beliefs next to those that are entirely opposite and they still hold up.

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I'm an only child, so large families of any stripe are interesting to me. And although I am conventional enough to fly under the radar, I am non-gender-conforming, so gender issues are interesting to me as well. I was raised a religious liberal and still am, so there isn't any personal connection with religion. I just think the gender role and childrearing aspects are fascinating.

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The same reasons as many others, just utter fascination/repulsion at the things these people believe and do. Every time I think they can't get worse, I learn something new and am disgusted all over again. The big one for me is trying to figure out how these women can willfully convince themselves that their only value is as a breeder. I can't believe how many of them were formerly educated, "normal" people and then decided, "hey, I'll just check my own brain at the feet of this dude and subject myself AND my kids to this life of slavery!" :think:

Also there's this slight fascination because I think it's possible that at one point I could have slid that direction, I was very briefly religious as an older teen and it turned out that I was not only disgustinly fertile but pregnancy was a cake walk for me. I could have ended up BEING Michelle or Kelly Bates. Except, as my husband says, "YOU? SUBMISSIVE? AHAHAHAHAHAHA"

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I grew up fundie-lite* and naturally feel like something of an apologist for a lot of things I've rejected as not practical or desirable for my own life, but that I think are personal choices. So I'm interested from that angle, I guess, but also... the ones who are actually doing harm? I guess they just horrify and intrigue me. They seem (to me) like betrayers of the fundamentalist cause, in many ways, twisting it to something really evil and un-god-like.

*I'm not always so sure about the "lite" part, but.. everyone was so nice in the church I grew up in, I just can't put them in the same category as some of the fundies we discuss here.

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It wasn't a very good way. Around 2001, my violent douchenozzle of an ex wanted me to be submissive and read about it. And that's how I found the fundies on teh Interwebz. Funny, the he was more of an hardcore atheist than I am. But he wanted me to submit to him, and not just sexually.

I admit I was jealous of the fundies, because at least they were married, not just shacking up, and they had babies (so glad I didn't though! He wouldn't be out of my life if we had kids!) One of the fundies from the early 00's (you probably wouldn't know her as her website was in french) actually became a very good friend of mine IRL. She left her violent pastor husband, got out of the fundie lifestyle, and is now re-married to man who is also a christian, but not of the fundie variety. They still go to church on Sundays, but she started her own house-cleaning business, wears pants, and she even has gay friends !

I keep reading about them because it shows me how free I am in my life, to be able to choose if and when and how many children I'll have, disagree with my husband, earn my own money, leave a relationship if the man is abusive, read listen and watch what I want, wear pants, etc.

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I originally found them via YLCF, when I was looking for information on curly hair care. I kept poring over the site, because it all just looked so PERFECT. Perfect lives, perfect marriages, perfect children. And then it all fell apart, at least for one of the YLCF girls. I found VF, I started following blogs, I read about courtship, etc.

I can't tell you what a relief it was to find FJ and know I wasn't the only one who watched the fundies with a mix of curiosity, envy, and revulsion.

For me, the attraction is that I wasn't raised like this AT ALL, and have wound up as a stay-at-home mom. Before that, due to a variety of reasons, I was a stay-at-home wife who married fairly young. I bake my own bread, make my own cookies, take care of my kids, take care of other people's kids sometimes, look after the house - just like the fundie women do. But I've never felt that this was what everyone should do, and it amazes me that some people feel that just because they do something, it means the rest of the world needs to follow what they do and if they don't, the rest of the world is just wrong. And also going to hell.

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But I've never felt that this was what everyone should do, and it amazes me that some people feel that just because they do something, it means the rest of the world needs to follow what they do and if they don't, the rest of the world is just wrong. And also going to hell.

They need to justify the harmful aspects of their lives (sheltered, un-empowered women, undereducated children, etc.) with whatever weapons they have. All they can think up is this imaginary "You are going to hell because I say so!" argument. Goodness, they might be in for a mighty surprise on Judgement Day.

They also need to maintain that 'wizard behind the curtain' facade to keep others in the flock and under their control.

I just googled the word 'facade' because the spelling didn't look right, and the definition is perfect: An outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less pleasant or creditable reality.

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It's because my mother had a very near miss with fundie-dom, and I still think she would be a hardcore fundie if my dad hadn't threatened to divorce her if it got too extreme. I've seen so many lives destroyed by fundamentalism that any information I can get and pass on to anyone I care about before they getting dragged under is good.

Plus, some of them are damn funny.

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My fascination started partially because of the Duggars. I had relatives who live in areas with a fundie presence for years they would tell me stories about their encounters with fundies. Some of these bloggers like another poster mentioned are like a bad car wreck that you can't look away from.

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Half repulsion/half intrigue is about right. I remember sitting slack-jawed and unable to do anything but shake my head in disbelief while watching the first Duggar special. I'm a cradle Catholic turned agnostic and proud owner of tubal ligation scars so you can imagine how I felt watching an extremely religious family of fourteen children parade across my tv screen.

I've pretty much been fascinated by the slow-motion train wreck that is the fundie world ever since.

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I love reading all these stories. It's so interesting how varied everyone's experiences are, and everyone's different reasons for ending up here. I was an only child too, and wasn't that close to my parents. Being shy and growing up in the heart of suburbia, my life felt very lonely and pointless. (I'm amazed that I even had thoughts like that as a child.) So I used to always be fascinated with big families -- especially tight-knit ones where everyone tried to be fair and good to each other. But I do think a lot about the fundie world is a facade. I think that every day they have to tell themselves how they're "supposed" to think and act for it to work. I wonder if some people have even lost the ability to know how they really feel. I guess what I'm most interested in is what happens inside people's minds when they get to that point. It seems impossible to ever know the truth.

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The bolded sums up my feelings. I really got into fundies when I had a stressful job I couldn't stand; I started fantasizing about chucking it all and becoming a stay-at-home wife. (Mind you, I wasn't married or even engaged at the time. That's how much I wanted out.) The fundies' lives seemed so pleasant and simple. Even though I've learned about the seamy underbelly of fundieness since then and the lifestyle is no longer appealing in the least, I also can't look away. I've become invested (to a degree) in some of these bloggers' lives, and I have to know what happens next.

Also, fundies are such pathetically easy snark targets. There's just so much to mock.

This was me, too, except that I was stuck at a college I hated, not a stressful job. I'm about the same age as Jana Duggar and I would watch the show and think, "Why can't that be my life? It's not fair." Then I dropped out of college and actually tried to BE a fundie SAHD, but you can see how well that worked. *dreams about going to grad school and smiles* I was at home all day with nothing to do but read the internet, so that's what I did. I read some SAHD blogs and sites like LAF, but I liked FJ better because fundie sites were always "blah blah God blah blah Jesus blah blah blessing blah blah Bible" and I was never into the actual religious side of it.

When I got tired of trying to be fundie I stuck around because I really wanted to see where some of ya'll were coming from. I hated fundie culture for what it did to me, but I still felt a need to defend it and stick up for it. I wanted to get to a place where I could snark with the rest of you. I don't know if I'll ever get there. I'm not really a snarky person. But I enjoy the discussions that take place here. I also especially love reading different people's anecdotes from their lives. I find that really interesting.

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It's hard to explain. I guess I'm sort a a fundie-lite/medium now, but I've sort of swung from one extreme to the other a few times. I went from genuinely loving church in a fundie-lite congregation to having religion shoved down my throat in a church-affiliated girl's home and then an extreme fundie college, to being an atheist and picking up a sort of chaotic mix of feminism and libertarianism which has stuck with me, to believing in God again and getting sucked right back into fundie-dom and now trying to keep my faith intact without all the other crap that comes with the religious subcultures I'm used to.

I found this board through another, looking for info on one of my favorite bloggers when she disappeared from the internet for a while. I stuck around because I realized a lot of people were pointing out some of the same problems and inconsistencies I noticed on blogs I followed, and that they were being discussed her instead of silenced and deleted like in the corner of the blog-o-sphere I was used to. I stick around because this board is mostly made of intelligent, caring, and pretty cool people, and because it makes me think about my own beliefs and why I hold to certain things, and also serves as a bit of a reality check when I'm tempted to slide back into certain parts of the fundie lifestyle that will ultimately end up hurting me if I do.

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It was a very slow process for me. I watched the first Duggar special the first time it aired, and while I was stunned and vaguely repulsed, I had that "oh well, they look happy and they're not hurting anyone" thought and moved on. Then after the the next couple of episodes aired, I did some more digging into the QF movement (once I knew what it was actually called!) and learned about Bill Gothard. I found the thread at TWoP, and from there Razing Ruth and No Longer Quivering, and the whole thing consumed me. I came to FJ to lurk every great once in awhile but wasn't as interested in other fundies as I am now.

I think for me it's similar to others here in that my upbringing and life couldn't be any farther from that of the fundies if I tried, despite the fact that I was a SAHM for 3 years and am now a WAHM. I can't fathom why any sane person would embrace this way of life and I'm no closer to getting any answers than I was a few years ago, but I can't turn back.

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Argh, it ate my post again. Basically I find any kind of extremely rigid lifestyle fascinating, not just religious extremes, probably because I have tried and failed multiple times to impose any kind of order on my own life for more than 3 days.

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