“I have too Many Children:” Leaving the Quiverfull Movement

26 Apr

There’s still a couple of days left before I’m completely done with this semester, but I wanted to share one of the websites that I have been using to procrastinate: Nolongerquivering.com

This website shares some of the experiences of women who have sought to leave the Quiverfull movement, which forbades the use of birth control, encourages women to stay at home, and requires women to wear conservative clothing.  The most restrictive groups won’t let women wear anything but skirts and dresses, and many of the groups encourage homeschooling.

The movement that they are talking about is profiled on the TLC Show 16 kids and Counting (Is it now 17 kids?)  and has received a lot of press in recent years.  One of the posts that I read today is called “The Beautiful Girlhood Doll.” It chronicles the story of a young girl who desperate to find a future for herself that includes something beyond motherhood and submission to her husband.  She writes about how she longed for her father to give a boy permission to court her and cherished her purity ring.  She also talks about how she was never  able to fell pure – in spite of the fact that she had never kissed a boy, never held his hand, and knew few boys her own age.

The stories on the site are beautiful and haunting.  When I was first discovered it, I spent two hours on the site.  I had never been raised in a house that conservative, but something about it resonated with me.  Check it out.

*Note: The quote in the title is also from this website.  I can’t remember which entry I found it in, but I liked it too much not to use it.  The quote if I remember correctly is from someone who had 10 or 12 children, if not more, and found herself wishing that she had fewer so that she could devote time to each one.  She stressed that she loved them all, loved them so much in fact that she regretted her decision to have so many that she couldn’t adequately provide for them.


10 Responses to ““I have too Many Children:” Leaving the Quiverfull Movement”

  1. Liz April 27, 2011 at 12:02 am #


  2. hopewellmomschoolagain April 27, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    I have written many of the posts there on the Duggars. You may also find my site useful http://quiverfullmyblog.wordpress.com/

  3. amanda5245 April 28, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    Thanks for the site! Very interesting.

  4. Liz April 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Amanda, this is fascinating. I have a friend who wrote her master’s thesis on Mormon mommy blogs. I think someone needs to write about these blogs. I came across a slew of “restoring femininity” blogs that involved promoting biblical and cultural differences between men and women. One of them, “Feelin Feminine,” promoted dressing more femininely. They definitely parallel the Mormon modesty dialogue. I want to compare the language of these two sets of blogs and see what appears. Mormons are pretty secular by comparison, though, much more in and of the world.

  5. amanda5245 April 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    I was thinking the same thing, Liz. When I posted, one of the things about which I wondered was what type of reaction the post would receive. Although the Quiverfull and Christian Patriarchy movements are much extreme and world-denying than Mormon understandings of femininity, there are some similarities – the emphasis on motherhood, on children as blessings, etc. I found it interesting that the blog I list in the post has a copy of Escape by Carolyn Jessop, the ex-Mormon fundamentalist, on their recommended books list. It seems, as though, people who have left the faith also see some similarities between the two.

    • amanda5245 April 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      I also think a paper is in order.

  6. CCJ April 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    Yeah, it’s now 19 Kids and Counting: http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/tv/19-kids-and-counting

    Kathryn Joyce’s book is essential reading for anyone interested in the movement:


    I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that the source of the movement’s name (the 127th Psalm) is the same biblical chapter cited in the LDS Proclamation on the Family.

    I wasn’t aware of any sort of movement or writings of those who have left the Quiverfull movement—fascinating.

  7. Emily May 10, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    I don’t know if I should even comment, but when I became a mother and wondered how I could learn to love it (because I originally had the attitude that it took away all MY FREEDOM and WHY would I want to do that?), I started looking for LDS examples of women who loved motherhood, so I could maybe have a paradigm shift and feel better about motherhood. Funny thing was, I couldn’t find LDS examples of people loving being mothers, but I found those quiverfull type and I learned a lot from them. Not that I want 12 children, but I admire their attitudes toward children and family.

    There does seem to be such a balance, an individual’s balance, of education/knowledge/personal interests and family. If a woman aspires to have 20 children and loves it, and can pull it off, well great, but if a woman’s desire is for a little more interaction with each kid, great; if she’s going to go crazy because of too many children, maybe she ought not have so many children! I think God understands and is willing to work with our personal needs (and fears).

  8. Louise Goode July 30, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    I am an Ex Jehovahs Witness who is trying to reach out to ex members of other cults. I have a Facebook site called ‘Life after Cult Coercion. Womens Support Group’.
    If you are a woman who has suffered spiritual abuse please feel free to join and find a safe place to share experiences with other people in similar situations.
    Much love to you on your journeys.

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