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Review of Maxwell Seminars


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http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=150618

 

Don't know if this has been posted her before, if it has been I apologize. I found the reviews of people who actually attended their seminars interesting (and not surprising).

 

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I went to a Steve & Teri Maxwell workshop last night.

That was... interesting.

 

Update: Sorry to leave y'all hanging. We're in the middle of serious decluttering in the kids' rooms and, well, OY!

 

The seminar consisted of two sessions. I took dh and oldest dd. Dh was actually excited to go, because we're always looking for ways to improve our scheduling and the flow of our days. He'd never heard of the Maxwells. I'd heard of them on the boards of course, but didn't know much about them beyond the MOTH stuff.

 

The first session I went to was Teri's talk for the moms about MOTH. Very nuts-and-bolts practical. I was actually encouraged a little, because we already do a lot of what she suggests (our chore chart is just an Excel spreadsheet), and I thought of one or two things I need to add to our routine. It was also nice to hear how human her children were when they were little, iykwim. I thought, "Oh good. Her kids run off and play when they're supposed to be doing chores, just like mine do!" LOL.

 

The second session was held by both Steve and Teri, and was directed toward both parents. Dh said later that much of it was a rehash of the men's session. The Maxwells seem very sincere and caring. Some of the things they promote are things that our family would see as beneficial, because we've seen positive outcomes in other families who make those choices.

 

So here's the "interesting" part. They are very family-centered. I thought of Joanne's recent post on mothering as I sat there and listened. They advocate a level of family togetherness that seems quite insular, to a degree that is unhealthy. They discouraged parents from having outside relationships or hobbies that would take any time away from the family. They spent a lot of time talking about "keeping our children's hearts" by carefully managing their outside influences. It was almost like, "You will keep your children's hearts close to God if you just spend all your time with them and keep them away from bad messages." Steve even held up a bottle of water and put in a drop of something he said was sewage, likening it to a child's heart that is not sheltered from negative influences.

 

Now, I don't know if there's a name for their particular brand of theology, but I think (and dh agrees) that it has several flaws:

 

1.) Unregenerated human hearts are not like pure bottles of water that need to remain sealed to keep out the sewage. They are already full of "sewage" and filth, and they are bent on becoming even more polluted.

 

2.) Human hearts don't stop craving sin unless and until the Spirit of God transforms them and makes them spiritually alive, gradually turning their appetites away from sin and temporal satisfaction, and toward spiritual, eternal joy. A spiritually dead young person, whose heart craves self-gratification and wants nothing to do with God, will only bide his time until he can get out from under his parents' authority and influence and pursue his desires.

 

3.) Once God has claimed one of His sheep, He says that "no one can snatch them out of My hand." A spiritually alive young person, whose heart belongs to Christ and is beginning to follow Him, will not fall away from the faith permanently. I think most parents want their kids to avoid making big, life-altering mistakes as they grow up, and many of us here on the boards would try to keep their kids from "growing up too fast" or whatnot. But trying to shelter them from every conceivable negative influence is impossible. I think it's the kind of mentality that leaves little room for the sovereignty of God and reinforces parental fears. It also means that the only time you have any contact with unbelievers is when you put a tract in their hands.

 

If I followed the Maxwells' advice to the letter, my kids would never visit their grandparents, or be friends with anyone not as well-behaved as they are. And any kids who behave better than mine would have to belong to families who don't follow the Maxwells' advice -- otherwise my kids would be a negative influence for another family. Clear as sewage?

 

4.) Parents need to have time without the kids, both as a couple and as individuals. I don't know how to follow Titus 2 if I don't have any older, spiritually mature Christian women in my life. And many a marriage has failed because the parents focused so much on their kids that they forgot to nurture their relationship with each other.

 

After the seminar, I went to the book table and looked at Managers of Their Schools. Teri Maxwell is a big fan of textbooks. I skimmed a few testimonials in the book from her grown kids about the beauty of textbooks. Meh. I'm OK with the textbooks we're using, but I didn't feel like plunking down money to read about how they're supposedly the answer to all of my problems.

 

The seminar was held at a nearby church where I know quite a few families, and I got to catch up with several of the moms. That alone was worth the trip down there. Plus dh, dd and I got to have a quick dinner together before the event. Three of us going anywhere is a rarity. Two, five, six, seven happen a lot. Not three.

 

I haven't read the discussion you've been having in my absence, so I'll read those responses now.

 

Update 2: One of the reasons I wanted to go to the seminar was that Facebook has been somewhat depressing for me. HUH??? I found a lot of old church friends on FB and I've also added their now-adult children to my friends list. It's been depressing to see so few "Christian" families in our lives whose grown children are believers. So many of them are just living for the moment, for themselves. And plenty of them were homeschooled! Over the past year dh and I have been talking a lot about this, and asking ourselves what we can do to avoid that outcome. When we have the opportunity, we ask older parents what they think they did right and wrong as they raised their kids. So a workshop on "Keeping Your Child's Heart" sounded like it might have some worthwhile information.

__________________

 

Is anyone else having trouble accessing the Maxwell blog this morning?

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If I followed the Maxwells' advice to the letter, my kids would never visit their grandparents, or be friends with anyone not as well-behaved as they are.

Now she's getting the idea!

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I got on the blog just fine - through the old site. I don't think they've "launched" the new one yet. They better get crackin'...don't they leave for Philly tomorrow.

eta: Got onto the front page of the new site just fine as well, but they haven't updated that blog to reflect Mel and Christina being released from the hospital.

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Got onto the front page of the new site just fine as well, but they haven't updated that blog to reflect Mel and Christina being released from the hospital.

Do the Maxwells have a new site? I just know about Titus 2 and can see the post about Melanie and the baby coming home from the hospital. Am I missing out on more wisdom from Steve?

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Ok, they're getting ready to leave tomorrow, but the best they can do is this "by the way, Melanie and Christina came home Sunday" post? Two days later?

I guess by the time you get to blessing number 3 it's old hat?

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Guest Anonymous
Ok, they're getting ready to leave tomorrow, but the best they can do is this "by the way, Melanie and Christina came home Sunday" post? Two days later?

I guess by the time you get to blessing number 3 it's old hat?

Sarah is the blog author and is probably on the floor, wracked with depression right now, after watching her two sisters-in-law basking in the reflected glory of their new arrows. I bet Steve wants her away from the babies and safely re-established as "Daddy's overgrown helper" on the conference circuit, before she gets too broody and makes a run for it....

Interesting times ahead - the conference is a national one this time, so there is a chance that a higher-than-usual percentage of the attendees may react negatively to the isolationist views of old Steve.... also a higher-than-usual chance that some male suitors may come a-knockin' at the door for the Maxwell girls. I do like to hope one of the girls will escape to a quiet prayer closet for some quiet times with a not-so-fundie young man..... :mrgreen:

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When titus2 blog is late in being updated, I also imagine (as in, fear) that Sarah is off in the prayer closet, crying and rocking.

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I don't agree with everything that WTM is espousing, either, but it is kind of funny to see that even other conservative Christians find the Maxwells a little weird and isolationist.

I also felt like she was getting in a little bit of a dig at MOTH when she said that their chore chart was just an excel spreadsheet :D

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Ok, they're getting ready to leave tomorrow, but the best they can do is this "by the way, Melanie and Christina came home Sunday" post? Two days later?

I guess by the time you get to blessing number 3 it's old hat?

Yes, and that is something to consider. :naughty:

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Sarah is the blog author and is probably on the floor, wracked with depression right now, after watching her two sisters-in-law basking in the reflected glory of their new arrows. I bet Steve wants her away from the babies and safely re-established as "Daddy's overgrown helper" on the conference circuit, before she gets too broody and makes a run for it....

Interesting times ahead - the conference is a national one this time, so there is a chance that a higher-than-usual percentage of the attendees may react negatively to the isolationist views of old Steve.... also a higher-than-usual chance that some male suitors may come a-knockin' at the door for the Maxwell girls. I do like to hope one of the girls will escape to a quiet prayer closet for some quiet times with a not-so-fundie young man..... :mrgreen:

I'm sure she must be depressed, but in my mind I can totally see the girls being sent off to each new home to help with the daily activities. so they might be mighty busy!

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I'm glad this was brought up. While gawking at the Maxwell's new website I went to check out their products (I was curious how much the the Trust eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen Obey CD was going for). It was there when I found a book, I had not known they had written "Keeping Our Children's Hearts". The fist thing I though was, "wow that is selfish". Their kids "hearts" do not belong to Steve and Terri, they belong their children. Then I went and read the summary of the book " Do you ever wonder what the future holds for your children? Do you wish that they wouldn't walk the same path as you did? Steve and Teri will gently guide you down a path to raising your children without rebellion." Now in the land of Steve, I am sure rebellion=not turning out like Steve and Terri. I go back and forth between being very sad and very angry by this. So I will leave the post like this: Steve if you read here, you are an arrogant, selfish asshole. You do not own your kids. You got to live your life as you wanted. Let your kids do the same. Let them go down the path best for them. If you can't accept your kids if they have chosen a path different than yours you have failed as a parent.

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I'm glad this was brought up. While gawking at the Maxwell's new website I went to check out their products (I was curious how much the the Trust eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen Obey CD was going for). It was there when I found a book, I had not known they had written "Keeping Our Children's Hearts". The fist thing I though was, "wow that is selfish". Their kids "hearts" do not belong to Steve and Terri, they belong their children. Then I went and read the summary of the book " Do you ever wonder what the future holds for your children? Do you wish that they wouldn't walk the same path as you did? Steve and Teri will gently guide you down a path to raising your children without rebellion." Now in the land of Steve, I am sure rebellion=not turning out like Steve and Terri. I go back and forth between being very sad and very angry by this. So I will leave the post like this: Steve if you read here, you are an arrogant, selfish asshole. You do not own your kids. You got to live your life as you wanted. Let your kids do the same. Let them go down the path best for them. If you can't accept your kids if they have chosen a path different than yours you have failed as a parent.

I have read this book. (Bought used and saved the difference.) It is disturbing on many levels. The basic message is if you don't want your kids to rebel, then don't even give them a glimpse of what they're missing. This means no school, no sports, no TV, no dating, no Sunday school, no AWANA clubs, no youth group, no church camp, no sleepovers, no college, no teen jobs, no mission trips, no outside friends or activities of any kind. All toys, books, games, and learning materials must be heavily censored. You can't give your younger daughter a Barbie doll or your older daughter a Christian romance novel because that will make her want to date. You can't let the kids read any books that mention Santa Claus (the Maxwells use "Little House in the Big Woods" as an example of what not to read, although they don't mention it by name). If the children absolutely must interact with outsiders (including their own relatives), then a parent or much older sibling should be present.

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When most of us think of "rebellion" we think of our kids turning to drugs, dropping out of school, things like that.

To the Maxwells rebellion is a girl choosing to work outside the home, a child choosing to go to college, a married couple using birth control.

When they talk about keeping their children's hearts they mean it in the most controlling, cult like way possible. Very frightening.

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When most of us think of "rebellion" we think of our kids turning to drugs, dropping out of school, things like that.

To the Maxwells rebellion is a girl choosing to work outside the home, a child choosing to go to college, a married couple using birth control.

It doesn't even have to be anything that "bad." One of the examples they mentioned in the book involved their kids caring more about game time at their AWANA club than learning their Bible verses. (AWANA was not mentioned by name, but I remembered the game time and Bible study format from my own childhood.) Steve and Teri's solution was, of course, to pull the kids out of AWANA and spend their Wednesday evenings doing yardwork for an elderly friend. Now, I do think it's nice that the Maxwell kids spent time with this old lady and helped her with tasks she could no longer do herself. But there's absolutely nothing rebellious about kids wanting to play games and be with other kids. The Maxwell kids could have found a way to do both. But no, we're talking about Steve here,

When they talk about keeping their children's hearts they mean it in the most controlling, cult like way possible. Very frightening.

Yeah, even other fundies think they take the sheltering concept too far, as we've seen in the first post in this thread.

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I have read this book. (Bought used and saved the difference.) It is disturbing on many levels. The basic message is if you don't want your kids to rebel, then don't even give them a glimpse of what they're missing. This means no school, no sports, no TV, no dating, no Sunday school, no AWANA clubs, no youth group, no church camp, no sleepovers, no college, no teen jobs, no mission trips, no outside friends or activities of any kind. All toys, books, games, and learning materials must be heavily censored. You can't give your younger daughter a Barbie doll or your older daughter a Christian romance novel because that will make her want to date. You can't let the kids read any books that mention Santa Claus (the Maxwells use "Little House in the Big Woods" as an example of what not to read, although they don't mention it by name). If the children absolutely must interact with outsiders (including their own relatives), then a parent or much older sibling should be present.

Yep. I second all of this, I have the book too (got it on eBay).

This is the book I was quoting from earlier where there's chapters on isolation and Sarah has a section talking about how she is grateful for being "sheltered" like this and regrets the few times she can remember playing with actual friends as a young child before her parents went full-on isolationist. Indeed they require supervision when with non-nuclear-family relatives (because they have those cousins who have Easter Egg hunts, can't have that kind of horror!) and better yet if they have to mix with the extended family, Steve-O would prefer it happen at Chez Maxwell so that he can turn the evening into a witnessing session and preach it up.

"Disturbing" pretty much says it all. Well, almost. The other bit would be "judgemental."

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Yep. I second all of this, I have the book too (got it on eBay).

This is the book I was quoting from earlier where there's chapters on isolation and Sarah has a section talking about how she is grateful for being "sheltered" like this and regrets the few times she can remember playing with actual friends as a young child before her parents went full-on isolationist. Indeed they require supervision when with non-nuclear-family relatives (because they have those cousins who have Easter Egg hunts, can't have that kind of horror!) and better yet if they have to mix with the extended family, Steve-O would prefer it happen at Chez Maxwell so that he can turn the evening into a witnessing session and preach it up.

"Disturbing" pretty much says it all. Well, almost. The other bit would be "judgemental."

Let's not forget "paranoid." And I mean that in the clinical sense. Steve and Teri are not mentally healthy individuals. Teri, of course, has been very open about her struggles with depression. But Steve isn't right in the head, either.

Sarah's essay at the end of the book makes me wonder what she was like as a child. Did she lack social skills because she didn't spend enough time with girls her own age? Did the other kids in the neighborhood pick on her because her family was different? Most kids like playing with other kids. The kids in my neighborhood fought a lot, but then the next day they would be friends again.

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Interesting, thanks for sharing this. I went to a Maxwell Seminar last year and had a lot of the same thoughts, especially when I talked with Teri where she more or less 'scolded' me about having friends outside the home. Honestly, that is what tipped me off to the lunacy.

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Interesting, thanks for sharing this. I went to a Maxwell Seminar last year and had a lot of the same thoughts, especially when I talked with Teri where she more or less 'scolded' me about having friends outside the home. Honestly, that is what tipped me off to the lunacy.

Lemonbalm, you cannot just write this and then leave us hanging!

You went to a Maxwell seminar and actually met and talked with Teri??? And was scolded by her?????

How did you happen to go to the seminar? Did you meet any other family members? What is Teri like in person?

How hot is John in person?

C'mon girl, dish!!

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Lemonbalm, you cannot just write this and then leave us hanging!

You went to a Maxwell seminar and actually met and talked with Teri??? And was scolded by her?????

How did you happen to go to the seminar? Did you meet any other family members? What is Teri like in person?

How hot is John in person?

C'mon girl, dish!!

Hahahahaha Lemonbalm don't let them bully ya - I don't think JOhn was that much hotter than the rest. But I really lok up to you for talking with Teri. I couldn't get that much courage nor tough stomach.

ONe thing I noticed about Sarah when I observed them was how she bossed Anna nad Mary. NOthing big- I only saw one instance - she prety much was in control of the girls, got them away from the book table and I guess of somehwere to get ready to perform.

O my ears, just thinking about that performance. Lemonbalm, dish dish dish, please!

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Hahahahaha Lemonbalm don't let them bully ya - I don't think JOhn was that much hotter than the rest. But I really lok up to you for talking with Teri. I couldn't get that much courage nor tough stomach.

ONe thing I noticed about Sarah when I observed them was how she bossed Anna nad Mary. NOthing big- I only saw one instance - she prety much was in control of the girls, got them away from the book table and I guess of somehwere to get ready to perform.

O my ears, just thinking about that performance. Lemonbalm, dish dish dish, please!

Phyllis, I'm pretty sure you are the person who signed the Maxwell picture, Jinger Freeh, correct? If so, you and Lemonbalm

are my FJ heros! (Even though I disagree with you regarding John's hotness!).

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Lemonbalm, you cannot just write this and then leave us hanging!

You went to a Maxwell seminar and actually met and talked with Teri??? And was scolded by her?????

How did you happen to go to the seminar? Did you meet any other family members? What is Teri like in person?

How hot is John in person?

C'mon girl, dish!!

Yes I did, I had read the Maxwell blog for ages and just wanted to see what they were like in person. And.. :shifty: . I drove about 3 hours to get to the conference it was at NR Annas families church (back in 2010) . Here is the post they did: FIXED LINK, sorry i posted their spring Port Orchard Conference not their Fall, whoops (went to both spring I left two second in due to the baby I had throwing up).

titus2.com/blog/index.php/2010/10/28/port-orchard-conference/

I am in the third photo, points if you can pick me out correctly. ;) I also met the women in the second to last photo and her girls before that photo with sarah.

For one thing I doned on my best "fundy" attire which in the NW makes you stick out A LOT, when I stopped for gas people stared at me for awhile. Once I arrived thought I felt a little more comfortable. When I pulled in the men outside automatically glanced over as I got out, maybe expecting to see my headship and quiver? Sadly, they were disappointed since it was just me, maybe I was a bit too defrauding because they looked away. I walked inside, it was actually a pretty small conference, all the ladies seemed to know each other and the kids were all pretty well behaved. Now i realize they were abused into submission but at the time I was pretty impressed.

To be honest I went and saw Teri speak and saw something by Anna, I really do not remember much of the content but Anna's made me want to fall asleep, she presented it with her brother and OH MEEE GAWD. I have sat through philosophy classes for hours and they were EXCITING in comparison.

Between the two sessions when I was sitting a little girl maybe 11 or 12 came to talk to me (I look young for my age and was alone), she is actually pictured in NR Annas wedding here:

titus2.com/blog/index.php/2010/10/29/wedding-pictures-3/

She is the little blonde to the left, I am pretty sure she has albinism but that is my best non-medical thought. She was extremely polite and asked me my name and where I was from, she told me about a wedding coming up (photos above) and how excited she was. I asked her if she was excited to get married and she just lit up and began talking about her wedding plans, it was adorable and sweet and probably the most "secular" teen girl thing I heard all night. She told me she had like 8 or so siblings, i forget now and I asked her if she had a favorite. She leaned over a whispered a siblings name and giggled telling me she taught her how to sew underclothes. :naughty: I have worked in many non-profits doing social work even before a degree, since I was a young teen, I am used to kids readily talking to me and telling me things so this did not shock me until a year or so later when I realized how private and "sinful" it was for her to tell me that.

Anyway we chatted for a few more seconds and then Annas talk was up and she scampered to collect a child who was climbing on a chair and take them to her mother. After that I actually had Anna and Sarah themselves come talk to me, they asked me about my plans and I told them I was in school. They were SHOCKED beyond belief. They attempted to tell me the benefits of being a SAHD and I politely smiles and nodded. Another girl was part of the discussion and she said all her friends just graduated and were going to college and she had a hard time explaining she was staying home. The sadness in her eyes was remarkable and I just wanted to hug her, of course the Maxwell girls encouraged her in her choice. After another few minutes of discussion about pot pie recipes and Sarah telling me about writing a book we parted ways. In the foyer I walked up to teri, because I am a rebel and more or less lied asking advice about a friend outside the home who I thought may be having a bad influence. She told me that having friends outside the home was opening a door to sin and they made sure not to allow their kids to get close to anyone outside the home. I was impressed that she even took the time to talk and then pray for me, but she did. Her prayer actually really shocked me, maybe it is just me but I thought it was a nice gesture she even offered. I left feeling terrible it was a lie...

I went to the book table last and picked up managers of their school and Mary helped me look through the books. One of the younger boys checked me out and when he accidentally touched my hand when I passed him cash he almost looked like he was about to pass out and then he apologized. I may or may not have said it was ok and when he gave me my change I may or may not have purposefully grazed his hand again. :whistle:

If you have any questions feel free to ask but that was the basics it was two years ago. :D

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Lemonbalm and Phyllis, did anyone at the seminars you attended wear normal clothing? Any females in jeans and a T-shirt? I always wonder what reaction they would have to a woman wearing pants at one of their sessions. They came to a church in my area a couple of years ago but I could not work up the courage to attend because I have no fundie clothing.

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Lemonbalm and Phyllis, did anyone at the seminars you attended wear normal clothing? Any females in jeans and a T-shirt? I always wonder what reaction they would have to a woman wearing pants at one of their sessions. They came to a church in my area a couple of years ago but I could not work up the courage to attend because I have no fundie clothing.

At mine there were some women with children who had on pants, please note though these were loose fitting jeans. They honestly did not seem to be treated too differently, but then again this is the NW, fundies are few and far between. Many fundies are content to be friends with fundie-lites and lite-lites. Most people wear jeans to even the most fundie churches including IFB churches and Mars Hill, so it is not that odd that no one seemed to care (except the odd men outside).

ETA- Most women had on nice-ish shirts, blouses, polos etc.

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