Sunday, January 3, 2016

Manipulation and Control (QF: The View from Here)

This series of posts results includes excerpts from information shared with a journalist in August of 2015 who had questions about the Quiverfull Movement as it related to the Duggar Family.

Find the Index of all posts HERE.

Can you also elaborate on the stories you have heard about the control methods used within QF? How does spiritual abuse within QF actually manifest itself?

Response Part One:

I think that at this point, I’ve address this first question already. Subtle means of punishment as opposed to positive reinforcement and exclusion from group activities and benefits convey a great deal of disapproval. Informal correction to formal procedures, councils and courts can eventually result in shunning which Robert Lifton called the “dispensing of existence.” This loss of personhood while one is still a member of a group can be devastating.

Spiritual abuse generally manifests after the honeymoon period, much like the cycle of abuse that is characteristic of domestic abuse in individual relationships. Conflicts begin to arise as tension builds, leading to some crisis. After a confrontation, both the group and the abused member regret the confrontation or acting out, and they are then wooed back into the good graces of the group.

For a family involved in a QF/P church or parachurch community, an individual in the family will just have the sense that something is wrong. When the written rules or the primary mission of the group seems to become secondary to the preferences of a leader or a hidden agenda dictated by that “hidden curriculum” that truly reflects the clandestine nature of the group, it creates a sense of discomfort. Actions will not match the tone of language, or behaviors will not seem appropriate within a particular setting or during a particular event. When these episodes of dissonance arise, most people will set them aside to consider later, hoping that they will make sense at a later time.

One former member of a group affiliated with ICSA stated that it is as if one’s individual episodes of doubt and dissonance or confusion are placed on a shelf. But as time wears on and as issues become more intense or pressing, it is as if the shelf gives way and breaks. At this time, a person must consider whether they will follow their own better judgement which they’ve set aside, or they can decide to delve deeper into the group to avoid the discomfort.

I very much like the description offered by the character Morpheus in TheMatrix film. There is something wrong with the world, but you don’t know what it is. It is the splinter in your mind, driving your mad. You feel it. You see it when you go about the events of your life. It is the wool that has been pulled down over your eyes to blind you from the truth — that you were born into a prison for your mind.

~ Cynthia Kunsman
The view of Quiverfull from my vantage
August 2015