Saturday, February 7, 2009

Return of the Daughters, Multigenerational Faithfulness and Uncle Ned

I take for granted that those who have linked over to this website for the first time will be familiar with the Vision Forum teachings that support multigenerational faithfulness. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Vision Forum teachings regarding women and since I've referenced their importance in these most recent posts, I will offer this very brief overview of the teachings about following the family patriarch as well as the eldest male within one's extended family, a vital part of the multigenerational faithfulness concept. Please note that since criticism of the ideology, Vision Forum has re-written some of their history. They once prohibited voting for women, but apparently all of the advocates of this teaching have been voting all along. If you find that interesting, you can read more about it HERE and HERE. In the event that other documentation should disappear in the future, copy the links and go to the internet archive’s “Wayback Machine” to enter them in order to find them. Like the teachings on voting and engagements and courtships and such, things have a nasty habit of disappearing from the patriarchy websites.

Botkin’s Teachings
on Daughters and Wives

I have not discussed the Botkin gender material here in some time, so for the benefit of those who are not familiar with the book “So Much More,” (or the "Return of the Daughters" video) I will review some of the concepts taught in this book by the then teen daughters of Geoff Botkin. (Link HERE to read about Geoff Botkin’s history in a Bible-based cult just prior to his appearance at Vision Forum.) One can also glean a great deal of these teachings from the Botkin Daughters website, but in a nutshell, the belief system maintains that young women remain the “helpmeets” of their fathers until they are given in marriage. Until responsibility is handed off to the new husband, the young woman must serve the vision of the father. All of her endeavors must further the father’s vision in some way by aiding him in his life’s work. All members serve the family patriarch (the husband/father), and their life purposes revolve around the father like planets resolve around the sun in our solar system. If a young woman has her own endeavors, those activities must still accommodate the father’s needs and must somehow serve to help him fulfill his “kingdom mandate.” Any activity that seemingly does not meet an obvious need of the patriarch must be pre-approved by the father.

Other resources concerning this view can be found via these links:

Vision Forum’s Teachings
About Wives and Daughters

I encourage you to read this entire article about Vision Forum, as it presents a good overview of the many problems with these teachings. I have pulled out several quotes from this 2007 article from Midwest Christian Outreach, a counter-cult apologetics organization.

From "Who Will Be First In the Kingdom?":
But according to the Vision Forum, women really cannot be trusted as decision makers but are at their best when micro-managed by their fathers or husbands:

"The lies which tell us we should be independent from our parents and out from under their authority, training for a career or looking for our ministry outside of the context of our home and family. [sic] But Proverbs 14:12 says: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death…” There is liberty in submitting to your father. Don’t let your heart be taken captive by the independent spirit of feminism. We as daughters are not sufficient to guard our hearts—God has placed us under the authority of our fathers to protect our hearts… So I encourage you—give your heart fully to the Lord Jesus Christ and to your father (or if you are married, to your husband) and be under his authority."
(From an article by Sarah Zes)

Unless a daughter marries, she functionally remains pretty much the property of the father until he dies:

"Until she is given in marriage, a daughter continues under her father’s authority and protection."
(From The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy)

Women should not go to college. Such a pursuit is a waste of time and money:

"And does it really make economic sense to invest tens of thousands of dollars for a woman to get an advanced education (often having to go into debt to finance that education) that she will NOT use if she accepts that her highest calling is to be a wife and mother?"
(From Brian Abshire’s article available HERE, though it no longer appears on Vision Forum Minsitries website.)

[. . .]

It is true the patriarchs were rulers. Not all males were patriarchs, nor did they have the opportunity to become patriarchs. Patriarchs were tribal chieftains. The patriarchal father would typically pass his position of patriarch to his firstborn son. We have instances in Scripture where the family headship was passed to the second born, but the effect was the same. All of the relatives became, in effect, his servants and property. We see an example of this in Genesis 27 when Jacob deceived Isaac into giving him the patriarchal blessing that naturally would have been passed on to his firstborn brother, Esau. The result and full import of what this meant is spelled out by Isaac in Genesis 27:37:

"But Isaac replied to Esau, “Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?” (NASB)

Sorrowfully, Isaac let Esau know that his hands were tied. The mantle of rulership had been passed on and now all of Jacob’s relatives, aunts, uncles, brother’s sisters, cousins, etc., including Esau, are to be Jacob’s slaves, Jacob’s property. The point is Vision Forum isn’t going far enough if their objective is to embrace Old Testament patriarchy! If they want patriarchy, they cannot simply pick and choose which elements they wish to leave out. Are tribal fiefdoms really supposed to be the pattern for the Church? Forget about wives submitting to husbands—all our relatives have to submit to Uncle Ned!
Link HERE to read the full article by Don and Joy Veinot, well worth the effort.

Life Micromanagement by the Eldest Male
in Multigenerational Faithfulness

Click to enlarge.
Well, there you have it: a brief overview of the Vision Forum ideal that guides the unwritten rules that Vision Forum followers observe. Some of these practices never get documented, so the concept of submitting to the eldest family patriarch may or may not get documented. (Spiritually abusive systems thrive on the unwritten rules and unbreakable codes of conduct that are enforced through positive and negative reinforcement, etc.) Many families follow this “eldest resident patriarch” concept, and it presents some interesting dilemmas and practical problems for young married couples. Because of gender, a new bride should submit to her husband, but per the recycled teachings of Shepherding and Bill Gothard, the groom (an adult, mind you) must observe and submit to his own parents. (A more current example of this practice can be found by reading Scott Brown's NCFIC Internship Application -- formerly John Thompson's and Doug Phillips' NCFIC -- wherein a young man may only participate with the full approval and blessing of his parents.) A young bride’s parents have no real say in the matter which can and does create some dilemmas, for as Bill Einwechter puts it in his sermon on multigenerational faithfulness, marriage advances the groom’s family:

Sons and daughters differ according to Einwechter and the "continuity of history" of name and family extends only through sons. Einwechter states that multigenerational faithfulness works differently for daughters because a daughter no longer carries on her own family’s heritage or work within her new marriage. She serves her new husband’s family name and “his covenant,” so their marriage allows the husband to “extend his influence into other families.” Daughters are the “dynamic means” whereby men extend their name and heritage “into other covenantal family units,” or more specifically as Einwechter implies, into her own family of origin. The man “extends the covenant” of his own fathers through marriage. “Daughters are not dead ends . . . Faithful families must work together to give their sons and daughters to one another in marriage.” He also explains that multigenerational faithfulness cannot be limited to simply training our children but should include “the goal of giving them in marriage to other well-trained children from godly homes.”
(From my previous post quoting the lecture.)

And don’t forget Geoff Botkin’s focus in the 200 Year Plan which seems to place priority in men:
Each one of my children has roughly 156,000 MALE descendants. And that’s a lot of people to be applied to the works of righteousness we have laid out today.
(emphasis mine)

I could pull out more information, but frankly, it’s just too depressing. You need not look very far to find such examples.... But I had not specifically pointed out this particular aspect of multigenerational faithfulness in this recent discussion. The topic called for a fresh overview.