I have been studying, reading, and contemplating this series for a few weeks now, and despite my nervousness at publishing it, I think it’s an important topic. I include it on my blog because this group is infiltrating homeschooling communities across the country and not representing themselves accurately Biblically. Please feel free to comment; if you disagree with me, that’s fine – but keep your comments clean, polite, and respectful. Those who don’t will find their comments deleted at my discretion. –Sue
If you’re new here and want to start at the beginning of this series, start reading here.
Reproduction / Quiverful
Another principle that is mandated by VF/IBLP is that women must have as many children as humanly possible. It’s called the principle of being “quiverful,” which is based on Psalm 127:3-5. These verses are a statement of fact – saying that children are a blessing. I have no qualms with this. I also have no problems with people having as many children as they wish and as they can support. To each couple: blessings, happy sex, and joyous returns in the form of little ones.
But is this verse a mandate to have as many children as possible? Biblical scholars say no. If it was a command, it wouldn’t appear in Psalms, which is a book of poetry; it would have appeared in one of the books of the law (i.e., Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy), as God would have instructed the Israelites to fulfill it as part of the Mosaic Law. Hmmm. This seems to be glossed over by the VF/IBLP people.
What happens when you make something law that isn’t really God’s law? Innocent people get caught in the cross-fire. What does this do to women (like me) who have multiple miscarriages and for whom conceiving is not only a major miracle, but also life-threatening? Mark nearly lost me and Brendan when I was 25 weeks pregnant – this is not something we wanted to do again, not because I think I’m so valuable, but because our son is that valuable and to leave him without a mother is an unacceptable risk.
To complicate matters, many people in this particular camp don’t believe in/practice adoption. They have fear-based beliefs about “spiritual baggage that comes with adoption” and so they won’t consider giving a home to a child who has none. To me, it’s not only the height of arrogance to attempt to put people under this yoke of bondage, but also to refuse to help those who need it most – orphans. James 1:27a has some really strong things to say about this, but this verse seems to be overlooked by the VF/IBLP people. They’ll focus on one set of verses out of Psalms and make it law, but they won’t consider these words: Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress…
What happens when you mix the mandate for as many children as possible with women who may not feel equipped to have a gaggle of kids (oh, and homeschool all of them, too!)? Situations where women might struggle with postpartum depression, exhaustion, overwhelm, and more. But within this system, there is virtually no assistance for a mother who might find herself “failing” at the standards set before her. The FLDS justify polygamy by saying that “sister wives” can help raise each other’s children and help each other with house chores (which escapees from this lifestyle roundly deny as reality). Women who are subjected to this particular lifestyle and religious system are simply told to maintain their quiet and gentle spirits (1 Peter 3:4). To me, that’s awfully close-sounding to the phrase “keep sweet!” that the FLDS use to indicate that they shouldn’t complain about mistreatment, abuse, or anything else. Hmmm.
the next installment is here…