If you follow this blog, there’s a good chance you also follow No Longer Quivering, the blog started by Vyckie Garrison, where I’ve also posted occasionally. Vyckie escaped from quiverfull and since then has dedicated huge amounts of her time to exposing abuses of power within this patriarchal movement.
If you don’t know what quiverfull is, here’s Vyckie’s brief explanation:
Quiverfull ~ is the idea that truly godly families will “trust the Lord” with their family planning. Children are viewed as unmitigated blessings (“As arrows in the hand of the mighty man, so are the children of ones youth, happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them”) and as such, the couple is willing to have as many children as the Lord chooses to bless them with. Artificial or chemical birth control such as the Pill or IUDs are equated with abortion ~ the sin of murdering your own offspring. “Natural” birth control such as Natural Family Planning is not actually “natural” because a couple must abstain at the very time of the month when the woman is naturally more desirous of physical intimacy. All methods of “conception control” is considered a lack of trust in God to provide for the “children of the righteous.”
Now Vyckie needs our help. After devoting her life to helping other women escape from Quiverfull, she deserves our help too. Last time I announced on this blog that someone needed our help, we raised almost $1,500 in under 12 hours. I realise that you all have your own financial pressures and commitments, so I’m just going to show you some examples of Vyckie’s work, and I think you’ll agree it’s worthwhile. If you can’t give, though, just check out Vyckie’s story, because it’s amazing. Here’s a video and an article, so choose whichever you prefer.
The end of my life as a “Bride of Christ” came after a visit to Bright Horizons, which is the local domestic violence shelter in my hometown of Norfolk, Nebraska. I went there for help in filing a restraining order against my husband, whose emotional and mental abuse against me and my children had escalated to the point that I was in the midst of a complete mental and physical breakdown. He had taken 6 of our 7 children to a town three hours from our home and was preventing me from having any contact with them unless I agreed to his terms for our “reconciliation.” Read more.
Vyckie is still suffering the fallout from divorcing this man. She is in danger of losing the home where she lives with the last five of her seven children. On her support page, there are various updates showing the work that Vyckie does to support other women in need, like this and this.
It’s all very well encouraging people to leave fundamentalism, but a lot of people aren’t as lucky as I was: For some of them, leaving means losing family, friends, support networks, and income. If you’re in a position to help, please read the fundraising page and consider supporting Vyckie. If you don’t want to use the credit card system on the Give Forward site, you can also donate by PayPal or cheque.
The philandering fundamentalists
Please be advised that this post contains discussions of sexual abuse.
In 1970, Pastor Jack Hyles, of First Baptist Church, Hammond, Indiana, called into his office one Jennie Nischik, wife of one of the church deacons. Soon after, Vic and Jennie Nischik began experiencing marital problems. Eventually, Vic confronted Hyles with “evidence of an improper relationship between Hyles and [Vic’s] wife”. On hearing this evidence, Hyles, who had been pressuring Vic to leave, instead created an arrangement whereby the Nischiks lived in different rooms of the same house and never had any physical contact. Hyles continued his affair with Jennie for more than a decade. Eventually, Vic complained to Hyles that his room was damp and affecting his health, and said he was going to move back in with Jennie in the master bedroom. Rather than allow this, Hyles paid to have a new room added to the Nischiks’ house.
This is just one of the allegations that have become Hyles’ legacy.
Meanwhile, in 2014 Bill Gothard, founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), was placed on “administrative leave” while they investigated claims of historic sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s. Thirty-four women have made claims of harassment, and one woman says she was sixteen when Gothard molested her.
Welcome to the world of Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFB). IFB types don’t believe in church hierarchy. They’re not usually part of any official denomination. They believe God invested all authority in the Pastor, and so bishops, archbishops and other formal church structures are unbiblical. This means that when scandals like the above break out, all the others can say “Nothing to do with us!” Unlike abuse scandals in the Catholic church, abuse in the IFB is usually portrayed as an isolated occurrence.
Is there in fact a link between all this?