Quivering Daughters

There seems to be some controversy surrounding the recent publication of 'Quivering Daughters' by Hillary McFarland. I can understand why, since this book came out so quickly after the death of Lydia Shatz, which many of us have been following the news of. I have many friends from various fundamental and quiverfull fellowships and I know they are concerned about Hillary's book. Some leaders are even speaking out against her book with accusatory remarks that she is 'in rebellion' and 'dishonoring her father' (which she did NOT). I personally came out of a strict fundamental church..where I was a member for fifteen years. It's not easy to speak up about abuse that takes place in such circles.

I remember when the Domestic Violence Campaign began when I was younger. There was a lot of controversy about that since many husbands were still beating their wives. I am so thankful that there are domestic violence programs out there and safe places for women and children to go to for help and support. I can't even begin to imagine how afraid battered women are to speak up and get help. Hillary speaks up in her book about spiritual abuse and yes, she even quotes some leaders she disagrees with, but she does so in an effective and grace filled manner. It took great courage for her to write this book and she did so to help wounded women heal from spiritual abuse. She did not write this book as an outlet to bash anyone. After being free from fundamentalism for over a year myself, I don't think I could be as gracious as she is in this book.

Now there are several books about spiritual abuse and are available all over the world. There are many websites dedicated to exposing spiritual abuse, but many churches do not talk about it. They want to cover their tracks before any media ever catches wind about it and they don't want new members finding out. Any church that does not openly discuss matters of spiritual abuse are vulnerable to committing this same abuse. If a church is sincerely there to help the wounded people, then why not protect your church from spiritual abuse by teaching about it to the members so they can be aware? If you're in a church where spiritual abuse is not addressed, in my opinion, is a red flag for disaster.

Now... this spiritual abuse goes beyond the churches, it also infiltrates the family. When a leader is spiritually abusing people they are also teaching how to spiritually abuse...and if you aren't aware of what it is, you may be inadvertently teaching and training your own children to grow up to be abusers too, by abusing them spiritually yourself. As a parent who loves their children, wouldn't you want to MAKE SURE you aren't spiritually abusing your children? Wouldn't you want to MAKE SURE your church is not spiritually abusive?

Hillary's book is a behind the scenes look at what takes place in the hearts of many quivering daughters from around the world. In my experience, as a spiritual counselor and former cult member, I testify that this kind of abuse is not isolated to the quiverfull movement. I would imagine many families with many children do not run their homes like this. This kind of mentality is within many Christian movements today. As a matter of fact, I believe it has infiltrated most churches in the world no matter their denomination. Spiritual Abuse is real and Hillary's book and the recent death of Lydia Schatz demands our attention.

As I read 'Quivering Daughters', my heart sank. It reminded me so much of what it was like as a victim myself. It was also a stark eye opener to what my daughters went through when we were deep in fundamentalism. When we left and spoke out about spiritual abuse, we received awful letters, emails, and messages on Facebook and rude comments on my blog. We were being stalked online by people we thought were our friends, then they were 'reporting' back to their church about what I was writing. So I closed my blog and disconnected from many of them on Facebook. It's been over a year since we left
and when any one of them finds out about this review I may get hit hard once again. Nevertheless, Spiritual Abuse is real and if you consider yourself a Christian in any way whatsoever I highly recommend Hillary's book.

I have been using this book as a discussion starter with my own daughters and it has helped us to be able to talk about what we went through. I am thankful that we got out when we did and that our family relationships have strengthened. There are many families that have been split apart because their quest to be right was more important to them than the hearts of their children. I implore you to take some time to become educated about Spiritual Abuse. Even our religious forefathers experienced the same kind of abuse and risked their lives to become free from it. The adversary has not given up and has found a sly way back into Christianity. Be aware.."your adversary is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." He's after your children. Our next generation. And He is looking for ways to get at them... through us. Let Hillary's book become a serious in depth self examination study for your family. Our children deserve it.

I ordered an extra copy to give away on my blog with this review. Here's how you can get a chance to win:

  • Blog about this review
  • Include your thoughts on spiritual abuse
  • Tell why you want this book
  • Link back to this review
  • and bring your blog link back and put it in the comment section below.

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{ Jim K. } at: September 25, 2010 at 8:58 PM said...

SisterLisa,

Thanks for your kind words about Hillary's book. I think that she has struck an incredible balance between speaking the hard truth and doing so in a humble, gracious manner. As one who grew up on the wrong end of spiritual abuse in a church, I can testify that it is real and it absolutely has to be reckoned with. Whether you are talking about families, churches or parachurch organizations, there is no room for the types of excesses and abuses that people have suffered. It is causing real harm and it brings a shame to the name of Christ.

Until a person realizes that an abusive person, family, church or other organization can put a very good image on the outside while being patently cruel on the inside, he or she will not realize the magnitude of the problem. Abuse which is couched in religiosity under the guise of "authority" (with some even having the gall to call it "protection" is perverse and wrong. People like Hillary and others who are finding the courage to come forward with their stories are just the tip of the iceberg.

Those who choose to leave abusive systems/families, particularly those who do so because they want nothing more than to function as adults and not perpetual children, often do so at great personal cost. That ought to tell you something. The "easy" thing to do would be to accede to the status quo and not rock the boat but if leaving means that you are cut off from the family you love (and despite the abuses that happen, I believe a great many of these quivering daughters dearly love their families), they must be doing so for a compelling reason.

Hillary's book is not an easy read but I believe it is a must-read, very relevant and timely.

Blessings,

Jim K.

{ Sisterlisa } at: September 25, 2010 at 9:16 PM said...

Thank you for your kind words, Jim. You are so right..speaking up is not easy. It's incredily difficult. When victims speak up they open themselves up to more abuse as the onslaught of ridicule, accusation, and belittling begins. But the other victims who have been silenced and not able to find healing need more strong people to stand firm against it. Once one speaks up, more gain the courage to speak up as well. and yes I have seen major abuse in parachurch organizations. And since this is of a spiritual nature, the government won't touch it. Not yet anyway... but. imo, anyone with 501c3 shuld be required by law to give a pamphlet about spiritual abuse to it's members.

{ shadowspring } at: September 27, 2010 at 6:14 AM said...

Hillary has great courage, humility and grace. She has written with gentleness as well as honesty. Home school parents should listen with prayerful hearts and make the necessary adjustments to their lives, not vilify the one who merely brings to our attention the ways these false doctrines harm little girls.

I think that many parents, those who are people of good will, humble people who truly do care for their "blessings", will read her book with interest. They will want to learn from her experience and the experiences of others who grew up in the Christian home school movement. They are the kind of parents who will take heed about the "old foolish king who will no longer be admonished", and accept that they too are capable of mistakes. I am sure such parents exist and will welcome Hillary's perspective. May God bless them in every way as these parents seek true righteousness and make it easy for their children to honor them. =)


I know that I am so angry at what the "Christian home schooling movement" has done to both home schooling and Christianity: two beautiful practices twisted and perverted by a wrong theology and a wrong motivation. There is no way I could write her book. The posturing, the hypocrisy, the bait and switch- ugh. It is all so distasteful to me.

Hillary was called and appointed for this task, and she brings great honor to God in the way she fulfills her purpose.

{ Grace } at: September 27, 2010 at 8:20 AM said...

Please enter me in the giveaway. I would love to win the book!!!! I posted about it here: http://heartcries4god.blogspot.com/2010/09/giveaway.html

{ DelightinginHim } at: September 27, 2010 at 9:45 AM said...

Sheltered...maybe.
But I haven't experienced the abuse and mind control that many of these families have and I'd like to have the chance to read the book to see it through different eyes and understand better. I have been following Hillary's site for a while and think what she is doing is great.

{ rachel } at: September 27, 2010 at 4:28 PM said...

Thank you for your review. :) It was really good, and having read the book I can't help but agree with much of what you said. :)

{ Grace } at: October 3, 2010 at 6:19 AM said...

I was wondering when you will announce the winner of the giveaway? Just curious. :)
Thanks!
Grace

{ Abby } at: October 8, 2010 at 4:33 PM said...

SisterLisa,

I have just begun discovering all the wonderful resources out there on the web that deal with spiritual abuse. Fifteen years ago, when I left the abusive church I had been in for many years, there were very few resources. I felt totally alone. I thought that walking away from my church was apostasy, and that I could never be right with God again.

Please take heart and know that you are doing something very courageous, loving, and important. I know how difficult it must be for you and the other writers to be speaking so boldly about these "taboo" subjects.

I support you and pray that you will continue your good work. Thank you for your giveaway of "Quivering Daughters."

{ Jay DePoy } at: November 5, 2010 at 4:59 PM said...

I have had the honor of talking with Hillary at length. She is a quiet strength, confident in her relationship with Jesus, and delicate in her submission to Him.

She is absolutely devastated by any suggestion that she is "dis-honoring" her father, or in some kind of carnal rebellion. Hillary loves her parents and each of her brothers/sisters. She aches for their relationship to be strong enough for honest dialogue, and gracious enough for everyone in this family to be reconciled together through the blood of Christ.

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