Thursday, February 11, 2010
A commenter hit the nail on the head when they said that Louise was obsessed with controlling her children. She wanted robot zombie kids to perform on command and make her look good. She had nothing about herself that she could feel confident about, except religion, so she sought to correct every apparent wrong in her own life, by trying to create some kind of maniacally perfect brood of children. She wanted compliments. She wanted people to think she was the perfect mother who had raised the perfect children - children others awed. She just didn't have the skills to manage a home, all the lessons, the homeschooling, breastfeeding, wacky diet fads, church, missionary work or five children. She couldn't do it and then she got mad and took it out on the children. All of it was in the name of God. Apparently, everyone in her church thought she was a saint of a woman. You should have read the things people wrote about her after her death. Maybe they were just being polite, but Chastity said all the people in that church were just as insane as Louise. Churches like that always draw fanatics, obsessives and the mentally ill.

Another commenter sent me over to No Longer Quivering. I am addicted. Addicted. And I haven't even mentioned my obsession with Quiverfulls. For those who don't know, it's a fundamentalist movement (cult-like in nature) of people who swear off birth control. Think of the Duggars who have a show about their ,now, 19 children. Quiverfulls are absolute freaks. Do you remember my old neighbor Merle from Atlanta who sent me the fetus Christmas letter last year? I guess he's a Quiverfuller now too. My Christmas card this year was a felt quiver with a photo of all the kids stuffed in it like arrows. It said "Thanking the Lord for Blessing Us With Another Arrow for Our Godly Quiver." They just had their sixth child. Freaks. Quiverfullers are wack jobs beyond my comprehension, which is why I'm obsessed with them. I love stuff about cults and fringe movements and unlike my deceased stepmother, I don't join them. I just like to read about them. It's just amazing the nonsense that people will believe. Scientology, for example, which is another one of my fascinations. I loved reading No Longer Quivering and a lot just really rang true. One story mentioned a mother being closed in a "prayer closet." Louise did this to me regularly as a child and I had no idea that it was a "thing" these people did. I really thought I was alone in this. I couldn't believe when I read that. To clarify, Louise and Ronald were not Quiverfulls. I know this because she bragged her youngest was born after Ronald's vasectomy and was a miracle child. If she were Quiverfull there wouldn't have been a vasectomy. I think the only reason she wasn't one though was because no one had heard of it until a couple years ago. Trust me, if she were still alive and of childbearing age now, she'd probably be one. She'd probably have a blog, run a forum and the whole shebang. But while they weren't Quiverfulls, they shared many of the same beliefs. Same stupid mess.

Another blog that I am obsessed with, due to this freakishness, is Under $1000 a Month. The author is very young and already has three children. The whole premise of the blog is that she and her husband, a pastor in training, live in poverty and make things work. Sounds good right? She's a hard worker, that's for sure. She has some ok ideas here and there, but oh my word, she is so much like a young Louise. She reminds me so much of her. I think I read this blog because it's like I get a peek into the mind of Louise in a way and I could never get into the real Louise's mind. She died before I could ever get the answers or the understanding I needed. What makes someone like that? I just don't get it. The girl who writes this blog is definitely fanatical, has some very radical ideas, is extremely naive and idealistic and is also very stubborn. All like Louise (she seems to not be lazy like Louise though). Often commenters will offer very valid safety concerns and she seems to not like that very much. This girl's family lives very similarly to how Ronald and Louise lived, with kids sleeping on floors, a lot of clutter and junk lying around and what seems to me like a contradictory blend of both extreme control over the children and also a sort of neglect. Now I'd like to add that I make a habit of not criticizing other bloggers. I'm not a blog troll and I don't really care what choices other people make about their lives. I make my choices and they make theirs. I'm telling you about this blog because it gives me so much insight into someone who influenced my life in a very dramatic way. I would also like to add that I know Louise and Ronald beat and harmed their children. There is no evidence that this blogger and her husband beat their children. She doesn't talk about discipline methods and I don't want to know about them. Let's hope she doesn't.

Those of you who said I was lucky to escape are so right.

But we need to get back to Chastity's story.


Kate said...

I think it is terrible when people use faith as an excuse for brutality. I am not religious personally but itstill makes me sad to see them hiding behind something that is supposed to promote peace and acceptance.

As for the beating children I have none so can't speak from experience but I disagree with laying a hand on a child ever.

Kate xx

Anonymous said...

I think a distinction should be made between having a lot of children and fanaticism. I come from a very big family, and we all had normal childhoods and are now normal, well-adjusted adults.(Some of my cousins are a little off, but I think that's just the way they are :) Everyone's family is a little crazy, right?)

Some people just aren't meant to have lots of kids. But some people, like my parents, can handle it. Having a lot of children in itself does not make someone a fanatic or a bad parent.

I'm not trying to excuse your stepmother or any of these otherchild abusers. What they do-and in the name of religion!-is repulsive and wrong, and I am truly sorry for what you suffered.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you appreciated my recommendation of No Longer Quivering. I caught a little bit of a TV interview with Vickie over Christmas and then spent like 3 solid days reading everything on her site. It's such an articulate, yet unnerving, peek into such a foreign lifestyle right in our own backyards. I'll have to check out $1000 a Month, although I have a feeling it'll just make me angrier than I usually am.

Thanks so much for this blog -- you've given me hours of entertainment, pathos, and joy. You are a very gifted writer, and a perfect example of Garrison Keillor's assertion that nothing bad ever happens to a writer because it's all material. You've sublimated some awful experiences into art, and been generous to share it with all of us. Brava!

Emma said...

I just went to the $1000-per-month blog. The woman makes her own cheese. That is not going to end well.

Wide Lawns said...

Anon, I definitely make a distinction. My brother in law comes from a perfectly normal, nice family of 7. My grandmother is one of 12 siblings (a big farm family) and my mom came from a family of 5. Big families can be nice and a lot of fun. I'm pointing out religious cults and fanatics.

skip 2 colorado said...

I think you've hit on something that so many of us smacked into head-on growing up; Narcissism. The chilren don't really exist to the parents, except to reflect back the image of themselves they really need to see. Add religion and fanatics to the equasion and you've got some pretty scary shit. Honestly, I'm so glad to see someone shine a light on the freakiness of the Duggar family...I'm so sick of seeing them featured on the 'Today' show like the act of successfully reproducing is something we should all admire; just for biology's sake. These are some creepy folk. (Judgement here- no apologies!) I'm also completely exasperated by people behaving badly in the name of organized religion- and the US is worried about Islamic fanatics? Check the backyard; we've got our very own freakshow going on 24/7. But, one of my Buddist friends once told me, "Never judge a religion by the people who follow it." Serious wisdom there.
Short story long- thanks for being an amazing and brave storyteller. The tale has greater value than you may realize.

staticwarp said...

i've been thinking lately about how i've been reading your blog for over four years. a lot's changed since you were working in that god awful country club office, and i've read all of your archives and every post since i found you (i slack off too much at work). i used to read about ten blogs regularly, including waiter rant, where i discovered you on his blogroll, and you have outlasted all of them. yours is one of two non-news sites that i check regularly. everyone else quit writing.

i really appreciate what you write here. it's become an important part of my life and i hold it close to my heart. i'm going to stop before i get all fahrklemmt.

thank you so much! ^_^

Erica said...

UGH!! I've been reading (well, I've read 19 pages so far) of the 'No Longer Quivering' story, and am I the only one who can't get over how OVER AND OVER AND OVER again she keeps saying that she is so intelligent, and she makes people feel dumb, and she's never known anyone as intelligent as her.. and everyone she knows is a creep or intellectually impaired? I can't stand it, I can't even finish reading, she's so full of herself. Maybe that's distracting me from the meaning of the story, but I can't stand it. It just sounds like she could be twisting some of the facts slightly the appeal to her own self in telling the story, NOT that she is lying.. but some stuff..

Anonymous said...

Have you read Escape - Carolyn Jessop (Author), Laura Palmer (Author)? This book will knock you off your rocker.

Amysue in Texas

Anonymous said...

I've been obsessing over the "No Longer Quivering" blog myself. (Thank you, SARAHLOVESFABRIC for the recommendation). It is, in one way, like watching a train wreck but, in another, very cathartic and has explained some of the *whys* of my being treated so horribly by the "Christians". I believe my phobia is justified when reading the blog.

I also know I will have nightmares tonight.


Mrs. C said...

Hi! Your story is so very odd as it is almost exactly opposite mine. I was raised by liberal parents and became a fundamentalist. I have six children. I homeschool. :)

Actually... I began homeschooling because the (secular!) public school here locked my autistic son "Elf" in a closet on several occasions. I plan to continue until at least middle school (we have an older, also autistic son who went to the middle school and was never abused there - he's now in high school) and we are working to change laws here in Missouri so that children can not be locked up and paddled with WOODEN PADDLES (it says in the handbook they'll avoid the face and hands... isn't that generous?).

Missouri is awesome in that it has lax homeschool laws (read: keeps my middle children SAFE AT HOME) but in terms of corporal punishment and some common sense it has a long way to go.

I know people like Louise, though, who send their children to public school with my older kids as well as some who keep 'em home. I have NEVER seen anyone nurse for five years though... that's... more than a little strange.

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