Why Anna Will Never Leave Josh submitted by
Consider this an addendum to my previous post
regarding the Duggars’ belief system. If you’re wanting more detail on the insane church they follow, you might want to give it a read.
Pretty much everyone here thinks that Anna should have left Josh when the molestation scandal broke and should have taken her brother up on his offer of help. I see a lot of posts implying that she’s stupid but, given the church the Duggars belong to, it’s not quite that easy. Those of us making those comments tend to be looking at the situation from the outside in and don’t know the half of what Anna’s going through. This isn’t meant to defend her, per say, it’s more to explain just why it’s so hard for her to get out. Indoctrination and Educational Neglect
We can all agree that the school of the dining room table is woefully inadequate. The Kellers are known to have home schooled their children but I wasn’t able to find much about the methods they used. I would be willing to wager a guess though that they used the IBLP’s Wisdom Booklets as source material. Homeschoolers Anonymous has an archive of them here.
It’s possible they may have used Abeka or ACE but even those would probably be a disaster, as evidenced by a Redditor who posted about their experience with ACE.
These curricula are extremely heavy-handed with the idea that Jesus is the answer to everything and are littered with Bible verses. Even subjects like math or geography have a religious bent to them. If you read any of the Wisdom Booklets, it’s easy to see that what’s taught isn’t conducive to creating critical thinking skills. IFB children are simply expected to memorize and regurgitate material in order to keep them compliant and God-fearing.
According to Fundamentalists Wiki
, Anna completed high school at the age of 16 and then enrolled in online Christian college for a degree in Early Childhood Education. However, this differs from Josh and Anna’s old website,
which says that she has a degree in Christian Education. Given the differing reports, and that I can’t find a source naming the college she attended, I’m willing to bet it was something along the lines of a fundamentalist diploma mill.
Add to this the fact that fundie girls are generally given less education than their male counterparts, especially on things that won’t be used for marriage or child-rearing, and it’s obvious that Anna is unable to properly think for herself. She’s been “educated” with the idea that her sole purpose in life is to be a “helpmeet”, making her subservient to the men in her life and unable to do anything but trust their judgement. Abuse at Home
The way children are raised in the IFB church often involves physical, emotional, and, in some cases, sexual abuse. Children are expected to obey their parents at all times and not doing so is grounds for corporal punishment. Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Children are thought to be born sinners with a naturally rebellious nature, which makes it the parents’ job to discipline that out of them in order to make them proper Christians.
I can’t find any information on the discipline methods used by Anna’s parents, but I did find a few articles (one of them being People
), although their source is anonymous) that mentioned the Kellers being stricter than the Duggars when it came to raising their children. Physical Abuse
Physical abuse in the IFB church tends to stem from a few of these fun Bible verses. Since the members of this church take the Bible literally, they understand them as meaning that it’s a good thing to beat your child. This is just a sampling but there are many more you can dig up if you’re interested.
- He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (Proverbs 13:24)
- Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. (Proverbs 23:13,14)
- Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15)
- The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. (Proverbs 29:15)
- A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back. (Proverbs 26:3)
- The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly. (Proverbs 20:30)
- Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)
IFB parents don’t believe in the modern ways of disciplining children. Grounding children, taking their toys away, or revoking their video game privileges doesn’t fall under “Biblical discipline”. These people don’t just want their kids to behave, they want complete and total obedience practiced with a smile. Parents in the IFB will often speak about “spanking” but it’s really more like beating. Let’s take a look at some prominent members of the IFB, known for advocating that physical abuse is the path to keeping kids on the straight and narrow. Bill Gothard
I can’t say for 100% certain that the Kellers were followers of Gothard but since they ran in the same homeschooling circles as the Duggars, they probably followed his teachings. The Duggars are definitely the cliquey sort who would never associate with anyone following a different version of Christianity or pastor unless it was to try and convert them.
Gothard is the founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). You can read the carefully sanitized version of his life on the IBLP’s website here
. To make a long story short, he was a hardcore conservative Christian who created his own cult, gained enough followers for it to thrive, and eventually it became even bigger when his supporters began to number people like the Duggars, Rick Perry (former governor of Texas), Jim Leininger (part owner of the San Antonio Spurs), Mike Huckabee (a former presidential candidate), and Sarah Palin.
Eventually it all came crashing down when Gothard was accused of sexually abusing 34 women over a period of more than 40 years. An internal investigation supposedly uncovered no wrong-doing but he was ousted from the IBLP’s leadership. I’ve scoured the internet for any sort of quotes connecting Gothard to child abuse outright, but he seems to keep everything wrapped up in carefully coded religious language.
Your children must understand that as long as they are under your authority, they are protected from destructive temptation. However, if they get out from under your authority, they expose themselves to the realm and power of Satan’s control. (See 1 Samuel 15:23.) this requires that you have no ‘leaks’ in your umbrella and that you never instruct your children to do evil.
Even after the parents release their son or daughter into adulthood, the parents’ counsel should be sought and carefully considered. Scripture warns us to value the instructions of our parents and not to forsake the counsel of parents when they are old. (See Proverbs 6:20–24 and 23:22.)
However, what is easy to find is an article
where a man who has met Gothard in person speaks about the horrid abuse he endured as a child.
Specifically, I’d like to talk about those aspects of Gothard’s teachings which were protocols for physical abuse: examples include blanket training, beating children with rods, and the sheer exasperation of parents whose children failed the rules of the program which would result in explosions of rage and indiscriminate hitting. In particular, Gothard’s distortions of the following verse were extremely detrimental: Proverbs 23:13- Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Gothard devoted a great deal of written material, both IBLP and ATI, to using this verse as a premise for encouraging brutal beatings, albeit using roundabout phrasing and “soft” language which absolved him legally of any actual responsibility. At least, that’s how my parents interpreted it. On the few occasions when I met Gothard in person, he actually stated that he believed spanking made children healthier and more successful. He would then quote the proverb about beating. He was very good about mincing words in order to evade responsibility. Michael and Debbie Pearl
I believe Gothard does in fact intend for parents to beat their children. I would argue that anyone who claims to have had a good experience with Gothard, IBLP, or ATI is either lying, deluded, or sadists themselves. If you got 4-5 years into ATI and you actually applied everything in the publications that Gothard sent you, especially the material based on Proverbs 23:13, you would have had an identical experience to mine.
The Pearls are arguably the most famous child abuse apologists in the IFB church. You might have heard of their book, To Train Up a Child
. This is the book that has lead to multiple child murders, committed by strict Evangelical parents, who not only took the Pearl’s methods at face value but went above and beyond in torturing their children. The most well known of these cases is the death of Hana Williams
, an adoptee from Ethiopia who ended up with a strict, homeschooling Evangelical family unequipped to deal with the needs of a child experiencing culture shock. To Train Up a Child
is immensely popular with the fundie set. The Duggars actually promoted it on their website until it began to gain a scandalous reputation, then removed any trace of it. Again, since the Duggars and the Kellers were friendly with each other before Josh and Anna’s marriage, I’m going to speculate that they might have read it. The book was published in 1994. Anna would have been 6 years old but Gothard would have been promoting child abuse long before then, giving the Pearls plenty of fodder for their book.
Let’s pull some quotes from their book (first edition):
Emotional and Psychological Abuse
- One particularly painful experience of nursing mothers is the biting baby. My wife did not waste time finding a cure. When the baby bit, she pulled hair (an alternative has to be sought for baldheaded babies). Understand, the baby is not being punished, just conditioned.
- A spanking (whipping, paddling, switching, belting) is indispensable to the removal of guilt in your child. His very conscience (nature) demands punishment.
- Stripes ("scourgeth" Heb. 12:6) are said to be to the soul what the healing blood flow is to a wound. A child properly and timely spanked is healed in the soul and restored to wholeness of spirit. A child can be turned back from the road to hell through proper spankings.
- She then administers about ten slow, patient licks on his bare legs. He cries in pain. If he continues to show defiance by jerking around and defending himself, or by expressing anger, then she will wait a moment and again lecture him and again spank him.
- On the bare legs or bottom, switch him eight or ten licks; then, while waiting for the pain to subside, speak calm words of rebuke. If the crying turns to a true, wounded, submissive whimper, you have conquered; he has submitted his will. If the crying is still defiant, protesting and other than a response to pain, spank him again. If this is the first time he has come up against someone tougher than he, it may take a while. He must be convinced that you have truly altered your expectations.
- If they are mad, switch them. Don't let your child stay unhappy. Meet the real needs and make their selfish crying an unrewarding experience.
- Don't think of the rod as a weapon of defense or a show of force; think of the rod as a "magic wand."
- If you have to sit on him to spank him then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher, more patiently enduring and are unmoved by his wailing. Defeat him totally. Accept no conditions for surrender. No compromise. You are to rule over him as a benevolent sovereign. Your word is final.
- Select your instrument according to the child's size. For the under one year old, a little, ten- to twelve-inch long, willowy branch (striped of any knots that might break the skin) about one-eighth inch diameter is sufficient. Sometimes alternatives have to be sought. A one-foot ruler, or its equivalent in a paddle, is a sufficient alternative. For the larger child, a belt or larger tree branch is effective.
Physical abuse is rampant within the IFB and along with that comes other forms, such as emotional and psychological abuse. Emotional abuse generally involves things like an abuser destroying their victim’s self esteem, withholding affection, disparaging their victim in front of others, and invading their privacy. Psychological abuse is typically characterized by distorting the victim’s sense of reality, called gaslighting. This is done with the intention of undermining a victim’s confidence, setting the stage for making their victim easier to control.
One of the few things I was able to find about the Kellers was that they have some bizarre rules about the expression of emotions. If what’s been reported is true, Anna was only given 15 minutes per week
to talk to her mother one-on-one.
Some of the signs of a child who has experienced emotional neglect
- The child receives the message that all or some of his feelings and emotional needs are not tolerated or accepted in his childhood home. (The Kellers only giving each child 15 minutes per week to discuss things that may be important to them. As well, she would have been told that her emotions were not as important as those of the men in her life. )
- The child builds a wall to block off her emotions, so as not to burden her parents. (Anna’s been told that having a joyful countenance at all times is important. Also, with so many kids in the house, she may have felt that her mother was too busy to have any time for her outside of the 15 minutes a week she’d normally get.)
- The child realizes that he is alone in the world, and must solve his own problems and meet his own needs. (Anna learns to keep everything inside, hidden behind her vacant eyes and cheery smile.)
- Likely the child’s parents do come through for him emotionally sometimes, in certain situations. (Anna insists that she had a great childhood.)
- The child grows up recalling the times her parents were there for him. She has little to no awareness of the endless everyday moments when her joy was killed, her anger squelched or her needs ignored. (Most likely, Anna thinks that there was nothing wrong with the way she grew up and her religion has drilled it into her that experiencing abuse from your parents is normal.) Gothard also has some teachings about emotions that are bizarre and very damaging to anyone who was forced to grow up with them. Sourced from Gothard’s Embassy Media site workbooks:
- Anger - According to Gothard, anger is for God and God alone. Allowing yourself to get angry is taking over God’s job and not letting him deal with the people who have hurt you. For humans, anger = sin.
Many people use wrath to punish those who have hurt them. Thus, they are taking upon themselves a duty that belongs to only God. He has stated, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay” (Romans 12:19). Rather than bringing vengeance on others through our wrath, we should extend forgiveness and help where appropriate. In this way, we fulfill the instruction “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). When we usurp the authority of God by meting out vengeance, we actually damage ourselves because of the physical consequences.
It is significant to note Ephesians 4:26 in context of the verse that follows: “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26–27). The initial emotion of anger is not sin, but if the anger is expressed or allowed to continue and deepen into wrath, it becomes sin, and Satan is given a foothold.
- Pride - one of Gothard’s teachings on pride says “Pride is reserving for myself the right to make final decisions and not submitting to the direction of God-given authority.” I am willing to bet this phrase is used to punish women who decide that they want to be in control of their own life. A woman who doesn’t submit to her father or husband is “prideful” and thus a sinner.
- Slothfulness - According to Gothard, slothful people are lazy and spend all of their time sleeping. There is no acknowledgement that someone who sleeps all the time may be experiencing depression. Being slothful is entirely a moral failing that one day a person will answer for. “The slothful person does not consider that he must one day give account to God for the way he has used his time. He sees nightfall as a justifiable reason for sleep, not for examining whether or not he has earned it.”
- Fear - “The opposite of having a meek and quiet spirit is giving way to fear and worry. Fear is not of God, nor has He given us the spirit of fear. (See II Timothy 1:7.) Therefore, fear is from our adversary, the devil.” Apparently it’s ungodly to be afraid because that opens you up to Satan, who will plant doubts against God inside of you.
- Jealousy - Gothard has decided that jealousy is not a sin, but only when it’s applied to marriage. Jealousy is “part of God’s design for marriage”, illustrated with this bible verse:
“When the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the LORD” (Numbers 5:30).
Naturally, this is also tied somehow to punishing women by using a bible verse.
God made provision in the Old Testament for dealing with a jealous spirit. If a husband feels that his wife is delighting in another man, he is to confront her. If she denies any wrongdoing, he is to take her to the priests, who are to follow certain guidelines to confirm or reject the validity of the husband’s jealousy. “If any man’s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner; And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled: Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest . . .” (Numbers 5:12–15).
Psychologically, the IFB church does a number on people, especially those who have been raised that way, like Anna. The church uses fear to control its members, making the threat of hell sound very real to them. According, to Gothard, God is not loving and caring; he is someone to be feared:
Each of us will give an account of our lives to God, and He is fully aware of everything we think, desire, speak, and do. The fear of the Lord is an awareness of these truths. It can be defined as a continual awareness that you are in the presence of a holy, just, and almighty God, and that every motive, thought, word, and action is open before Him and will be judged by Him.
If God knows everything you are doing, thinking, and feeling, there is no escape. Even just the thought of divorce or leaving the church can be grounds for being pitched into hell, creating an invisible prison. Gothard also preaches that humans are naturally imperfect and sinful.
We do not naturally seek to honor God, because our sinful natures lead us to pursue selfish pleasures instead of delighting in God and discovering the joy of knowing and loving Him. We must choose to walk in the fear of the Lord.
If you are not perfect and have a tendency to give in to sin, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll make mistakes at some point. That means you have to be ever vigilant to guard against going to hell. IFB members live an exhausting life of policing themselves to make sure that they are virtuous enough to please God. Fear of the outside world is also used as a tool to keep IFB members compliant. They are told that the secular world is an evil, Godless place where everyone is going to hell. Anything and everything secular can be used as a tool of Satan to lure people away from the church, as illustrated in Jocelyn Zichterman’s book, I Fired God.
Our pastors warned us constantly about the evils that lay just beyond our church doors to reinforce the psychology of suspicion, fear, and alienation. They said plastic toy trolls, like Smurfs, would bring evil spirits into our homes and Cabbage Patch dolls would lead us into witchcraft. IFB pastors also preached entire sermons on the evils of the television set. In the 1970s and 1980s, television-smashing sessions came into vogue. The pastor would tell the church members who wanted to rid their homes of evil to come to worship prepared to destroy their television sets. I can still remember watching fathers, many of whom had worked long and hard to save up for a television, lugging their sets out of their cars after Sunday services and hurling them onto the pavement behind the church. Then they would use baseball bats to smash the TVs to pieces.
Pastors in the IFB church hold a lot of power. They are easily able to manipulate a congregation of people who think the man in the pulpit has a direct line to God. Corrupt pastors often appoint deacons who are willing to impose whatever insane rules they come up with, which makes it easy to drive out any church member who might sow seeds of doubt. According to Jocelyn Zichterman:
The powerful men who run the IFB believe that the only way to maintain members’ fear of the Lord (and, by extension, effective control over them) is by, first, convincing them to fear and respect the pastor in each IFB church, and, second, convincing them to fear and respect the father or husband in each home.
It’s not a stretch then to see just how afraid Anna may be. With the threat of hell constantly looming over her head, she is stuck in an invisible prison. When this is coupled with the fear of leaving her entire life behind, never to see it again, we can realize that leaving is much more daunting than people in the secular world make it out to be. Telling someone who’s had fear instilled into them their entire life to “just leave” isn’t going to do any good. Unless Anna is able to break those mental chains she will remain rooted into her current lifestyle. Mental Illness
Conveniently, Gothard teaches that mental illness is the sufferer’s own fault and is a manifestation of sin. He opposes psychiatry and psychology, stating that they make people worse and have roots in secular humanism. He also doesn’t believe in taking antidepressants. This is detailed on his personal website, billgothard.com
Researchers point out that low or imbalanced serotonin levels result in anger, anxiety, addictions, depression and thoughts of suicide. The whole purpose of antidepressants is to keep serotonin in the brain. An antidepressant is called a “Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor” (SSRI). The first problem with this pharmaceutical approach is that only 5% of our serotonin is produced in the brain while 95% is produced in our “gut brain,” which God (in the Old Testament Scriptures) calls our “reins.”
The second (and more major) problem with antidepressants is that they have very damaging side-effects including depression, aggression and suicidal thoughts. It is extremely significant that 35 of the killers in mass school shootings in recent years were all on, or were withdrawing from, antidepressants.
He goes on to declare that the only way for people to raise their serotonin levels is to read and memorize scripture every day. Supposedly, this is also the cure for keeping people from a life of crime.
Gothard even tackles suicide. Here are his 4 types: * Mental suicide: This involves taking any sort of drugs, “decreasing mental responsibilities”, and leaving Christ out of your life. The prescribed “treatment” is fasting and memorizing scripture. * Moral suicide: Letting evil into your life, specifically lust. The cure for this is supposedly reading Galatians 6:7. * Spiritual Suicide: Rejection of God’s word, immorality, and Satanic worship. This is said to cause “irrational fears, unexplained nervousness, illogical, fragmented thinking, and inability to respond to God”. The treatment for this one is confession and “claim the blood and name of the Lord Jesus Christ”, whatever that is. * Physical suicide: Actually killing yourself.
It’s very possible that Anna may have suffered from physical or emotional abuse at the hands of her parents, or at the very least, emotional neglect. The long lasting impact of it, coupled with the patriarchal cult she grew up in, may have taught her that her needs and wants don’t matter. She is to be a submissive god-fearing wife who supports her husband at any cost, all the while supporting the cheerful “countenance” that Gothard likes to push. She may also be suffering from mental illness but is unable to seek help. IFB Views on Marriage
According to Gothard
, “Courtship is a relationship between a man and a woman in which they seek to determine if it is God’s will for them to marry each other. Under the protection, guidance, and blessing of parents or mentors, the couple concentrates on developing a deep friendship that could lead to marriage, as they discern their readiness for marriage and God’s timing for their marriage.”
What this boils down to is that people aren’t allowed to date around in order to find the person they’re supposed to spend the rest of their life with. They’re supposed to “court” with the idea of marriage immediately in mind. As the Duggars are fond of saying, dating “gives away pieces of your heart”. It also supposedly leads to intimacy every time, destroying a woman’s purity and ruining her for her future husband.
Couples who court are never allowed to be alone together. As we’ve seen of Josh and Anna’s courtship, they were constantly chaperoned and were not allowed to do things that normal couples do, such as going on dates alone, kissing, and hugging from the front. They were allowed to hold hands once engaged though. As you can see in this video
they basically took hand holding to a creepy new level, bordering on some sort of porn.
Once married, Anna would be expected to fit the role of a submissive “helpmeet” in order to be a good wife. According to Gothard, men have seven basic needs
with specific ways to fulfill them
: A man needs a wife who is loyal and supportive
It’s a wife’s job to help her husband achieve the goals and priorities he sets for the family. She is also supposed to demonstrate loyalty to him by “seeking [his] guidance and counsel first, especially in regard to family issues…”
According to Gothard, “A foolish wife will crush her husband’s spirit by resisting his decisions, and God will hold her accountable for disobedience to His instructions. (See Ephesians 5:22-24.)”
Anna may be terrified of being thought of as disobedient so she continues to allow Josh to lead the family, even though he has proven himself to be a failure as a husband. A man needs a wife who honors his leadership.
A wife is supposed to revere her husband, to “honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and in the human sense, to adore him, that is to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy him.” Submission to him is considered to be a reflection of the wife’s faith in God. There is even a specific biblical example on the IBLP website.
For example, Abraham failed to protect his wife Sarah (see Genesis 12:10-20 and Genesis 20), yet she still “obeyed Abraham, calling him lord” (I Peter 3:6a). Sarah trusted God to meet her needs through her authority (Abraham), and God worked supernaturally on Sarah’s behalf to protect her from harm. That verse goes on to exhort all wives to follow her example: “. . . Whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well [“be a well-doer . . . as a duty”], and are not afraid with any amazement” (I Peter 3:6b).
A foolish wife can—either unknowingly or deliberately—crush her husband’s spirit by making foolish choices. For example, if you seek to be financially independent, your self-sufficiency can crush your husband’s spirit. God gave your husband the responsibility to provide for his family. A wise wife will trust God to provide for her family’s needs through her husband’s leadership.
It’s been drilled into Anna’s head that she shouldn’t undermine Josh’s leadership. As a submissive wife, she is supposed to trust Josh, no matter how insane his decisions happen to be, otherwise she will destroy his fragile ego. Leaving would also mean that Anna would have to find a way of supporting herself and her children and, in turn, be seen as turning her back on God. Having never worked a day in her life, this would be a daunting prospect for her. A man needs a wife who develops inward and outward beauty.
Inward beauty appears to be having a “meek and quiet” spirit by trusting her husband and God, while outward beauty means that a wife should make sure her appearance pleases her husband at all times. Wives are supposed to dress and do their hair the way their husband likes. She should also have a “a joyful countenance and select clothing that draws attention to it.” There’s also this lovely passage on the IBLP website about dieting:
God is concerned about the bondage of overeating and gluttony, and many wives struggle with the issue of self-control, especially after giving birth to children. Weight control requires consistent conformity to God’s principles of living.
Let God and your husband know you care about your weight. Ask your husband to help you identify and remove hindrances to weight control, such as unhealthy foods, poor meal schedules, medical problems, or bitterness. Work together to accomplish specific goals. Your efforts to stay healthy and physically fit will bless your husband.
This is why Anna appears pretty much the same after 6 pregnancies while Josh has ballooned to the point that he’s beginning to resemble a blob of tater tot casserole. A man needs a wife who will make appeals, not demands.
Demands are apparently asking your husband to treat you like an equal partner in the relationship when it comes to decision making. Women are supposed to “guard your heart and your mouth” because it can bring dishonor to the man at a later date. A wife is to “ wait for the right timing to present the appeal, and then respond to his final decision with a meek and quiet spirit”.
So Anna can tell Josh not to be an idiot but it has to be in the nicest way possible. She’s also required to accept whatever decision he makes, even if it’s a stupid ass decision, because as a man his word is law. A man needs a wife who understands his need for time alone with God.
A man needs time to be alone with the Lord. If you react and feel rejected when your husband takes time to be alone with the Lord, you will frustrate him.
Apparently Josh is allowed to tell Anna to leave him alone whenever he wishes “because God” but she is always required to be joyfully available. A man needs a grateful wife.
Expectations destroy gratefulness. Gratefulness is the basis of joyfulness, and a joyful wife is a crown to her husband. (See Proverbs 12:4.) An unhappy wife is a public rebuke to him. A husband feels like a prisoner of his wife’s expectations if she does not release them to the Lord. (See Psalm 62:5.)
Reading this makes me think that this is the reason for Anna’s strained smiles in all of her pictures with Josh. She’s not allowed to be unhappy, even when she’s been publicly humiliated. This definitely feeds into the idea of having a joyful countenance as well. A man needs a wife who will be praised by others.
You can become a virtuous wife, doing your husband good and not evil all the days of his life. As you meet your husband’s needs, you will bring glory to God, and the heart of your husband will trust in you. Your husband will “rejoice in the wife of his youth!”
This is a reference to the Proverbs 31
woman that fundies love to talk about. Poor Anna is being held to an impossible standard while Josh seemingly does whatever he wants. He might be condemned in the court of public opinion but he has faced no real consequences within his religious community or legally. The Umbrella of Protection
Gothard preaches that the ideal family structure falls under the Umbrella of Protection
. God protects man and, in turn, man protects his wife, who protects the children they have. Everyone within this structure, save for God, has an authority that they must obey. According to Gothard, complete and total obedience to authority is required in order to avoid hell. The IBLP website says:
The concept of an umbrella of protection is illustrated in what the prophet Samuel said to Israel’s King Saul when Saul disobeyed God’s instructions: “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (I Samuel 15:23). Those who participate in witchcraft directly interact with destructive, satanic influences. Rebellion is similar, because through disobedience you remove yourself from God’s full protection and are therefore far more susceptible to the attacks of Satan.
The message to women is clear: disobey your husband and you risk going to hell. Women are also told that they have the potential to drag their children down with them, something which must be terrifying to someone like Anna, who has spent her entire life being abused and indoctrinated. How the IFB Views Infidelity
According to Gothard, forgiveness is not just important, it’s pretty much a requirement. Anyone who can’t forgive their abuser is considered to be filled with “bitterness”. In the IFB this is considered a sin, as a real Christian would find it in their heart to completely ignore what’s been done to them and move on as if the offense never happened. As stated above, punishment is to be meted out by God instead of the person who has been wronged.
A person who holds bitterness in their heart is guaranteed by Gothard to experience mental, physical, and spiritual consequences. These can include depression, stress, being unable to focus, an “inability to love God”, and hindering the spiritual development of others around you. On the IBLP website it says that resolving bitterness requires putting faith in both God and the person who has offended you and asking God to help you forgive.
From the IBLP website:
When we experience abuse from others, our natural response is to strike back. Pride prompts us to return hurt for hurt and insult for insult. However, God instructs us to love our enemies: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44; see also Luke 6:27-29).
Now let’s take a look at some quotes on marriage from Wisdom Booklet 26,
another one of Gothard’s “teaching materials”.
- The spirit of the marriage covenant is unconditional commitment, “for better or for worse, til death do us part.” This spirit is violated when conditions are placed upon the covenant.
- The spirit of marriage is to be one of love which is forgiving and long suffering. The provisions for divorce were created because of the hardness of people’s hearts who did not know how to love.
- When divorce is carried out between two believers, they violate Scripture by going to law before the unbelievers. (See I Corinthians 6:1-9.) They demonstrate hardness of heart and an unforgiving spirit.
- Divorce produces guilt and bitterness and causes the parties to break the vows they made to each other and to God.
- Probably most grievous of all is the fact that divorce damages the children of a marriage. This not only offends the little ones, but hinders the development of Godly seed. Both these actions carry severe penalties from the Lord.
- When two people enter into a marriage, each one is to yield personal rights for the benefit of the other.
- God’s commandments prohibiting divorce and remarriage are designed to protect our happiness, not to prohibit it. *For a Christian to say that marriage is irreconcilable is to deny the very nature of the God in whom he or she claims to believe.
On the IBLP website:
Divorce is never a solution; it is only choosing another set of problems.
As much as divorced parents try to avoid offending and damaging their children, it is unavoidable. A child's initial perception of God is based largely on his experiences with his parents. When parents divorce, they are displaying attitudes and actions that are contrary to the nature of God. This can lead their children to have a distorted view of God, which can have serious and devastating repercussions in their lives. Many children from broken homes picture God as someone Who is distant and uninterested in their daily lives, a God Who will leave them during hard times, or as an angry, harsh God Who watches for things that He can punish.
Yet again we see the salvation of a woman’s children being used to manipulate her into compliance. Anna is probably terrified of condemning her children to hell. No doubt her family and church would have pressured her regarding this. CONTINUED IN THE COMMENTS.
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