Sunday, March 3, 2019

Always Follow the Money

While I am loathe to give them any additional free advertising, given recent events, I believe what I saw there deserves some attention. (While revising old blog posts to remove a term to which the Botkin's objected, I happened to notice something interesting.) The link took me to their revamped website which features a slider – a ribbon of material at the top of the screen which automatically scrolls snippets of new content across it to catch the reader's attention. 

All I could think of when I saw it was Vision Forum's habit of deleting, revising, and otherwise altering their 'Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy' document whenever it was met a new wave of criticism.   While they were still in business, I once thought of going through screen shots of the 'Tenets' on the internet archive's Wayback Machine to demonstrate how they'd altered it, as most of the changes appeared to me to address the primary problems that I'd pointed out in an old video and on my blog. (I didn't entertain that thought for very long. There were far more important issues to address from within that fringe subculture, and I'd rather have a root canal.)

Making it Complicated

When I watched the Botkins' website slider for a few moments, most of my questions about the motive for writing a protest letter to me mostly melted away. I could not help but wonder whether No Longer Quivering's resident expert on the Stay-At-Home-Daughter Movement had supplied the family with free advice that might have been used to edit their book? Mel's excellent critical review of their book on dating and relationships that NLQ published here, appeared at When Cows and Kids Collide, and the discussions that ensued may have been all that the Botkins needed to prepare the book's second edition.

Other info that scrolled by on the banner seemed to suggest that the fecundity  issue that was so vital to their religious system may be another motivation for revising the book. Initially, the family stressed the outgrowth of the pro-life movement as pinnacle of all Christian life: fertility and fecundity.  It wasn't enough to be against abortion;  It became necessary for their followers to make birthing and all things related to it a sacrament unto itself where one proves their position to everyone in their high demand subculture through birthing. 

Lest we forget Daddy's original vision, here it is again.  (And bear in mind that I share my own similar disappointments in a small way, because I never successfully carried a pregnancy.  I grieve for them because I know how I grieved what I wanted and never had.)

From Victory through Daughters at Killing the Buddha:

He remembered baby girls are born with two ovaries and a finite number of eggs that will last them a lifetime. He placed his hand over his new daughter’s abdomen and prayed for Anna Sofia to be the “future mother of tens of millions.” He prayed that the Lord would order everything in his daughter’s life: “What You will do with every single egg here. How many children will this young lady have? Who will be her husband? With what other legacy will these little eggs be joined to produce the next generation for the glory of God?” He explained to a room full of about six hundred fathers and daughters gathered for the annual Vision Forum Father and Daughter Retreat that he had prayed that his new daughter might marry young.

So what can you do if the girls that you set up as the exemplars of your TACO (Totalist Aberrant Christian Organization) reach their thirties, still unmarried, and naturally have no children? (They're also purity poster children.) You do what so many alleged prophet-evangelists in other TACOs have done. You claim that God revealed to you that His highest and best plans for your family were higher, better, and ironically different than His plans for everyone else's.

Seemingly new life gets injected into your own dead orthodoxy when you try to re-spin your old spin.  No one's recanting anything.  It isn't repentance; it's a new revelation. I suspect that we will soon hear that 'God revealed' to Geoff Botkin that his daughters were never really meant to do what the system taught was the chief end of 'normativity.' They will be like the daughter of old who 'bewailed her virginity upon the mountains' as a sacrifice to save others from God's wrath. All of those who looked to your family for guidance and evidence of the currency of your own beliefs will again realize that your daughters are even far more special than anyone ever dreamed.  God suddenly does 'a new thing'!

(This is not new illumination or revelation for those of us who live outside of the fantasy bubble of the evangelical fertility cult. Folks like us call it backpedalling. It is the epitome of spin, and reasonable people understand it as hypocrisy.)

Then again, maybe it was all just about a bad review of a gun holster on Reddit?  And either way, I am even more heartbroken for these young women.  They were the all-in crash test dummies for their father's lifestyle stunt driving.  Many a brilliant person waives their critical thinking to sign up to be an ideological passenger on such trips.  I long for the day when everyone gets out of the stunt car.