Skip to comments.In Quiverfull Movement, Birth Control Is Shunned
Posted on 04/28/2009 12:58:36 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Among some conservative Christians, a movement is giving new meaning to the biblical mandate to "be fruitful and multiply."
The movement, called Quiverfull, is based on Psalm 127, which says, "Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."
Those in the Quiverfull movement shun birth control, believing that God will give them the right number of children. It turns out, that's a lot of kids.
'We Actually Didn't Want Children'
While cooking a typical predawn breakfast in the Swanson household in Shelby, Mich., 10-year-old Lydia Swanson cracks a dozen eggs laid by the family chickens. Her mother, Kelly, fries 3 pounds of sausage from the family's own pig and toasts a 12-inch loaf of homemade bread.
If they didn't raise their own food, Kelly Swanson says, they'd spend $1,000 a month on groceries for her gaggle of growing children, including 15-year-old Josiah and 13-year-old Elisha. But in listing their ages, Kelly gets Elisha's age wrong.
"At least I remembered your name," she says.
Kelly can perhaps be forgiven the lapse. The 40-year-old mom has seven children; the youngest is 6 months. And she'd like to have more.
The Swansons subscribe to the Quiverfull movement.
"When we first got married, we actually didn't want children," Kelly's husband, Jeff Swanson, says.
But then the Swansons began to notice that the Bible was very high on big families. And Kelly says that she and Jeff decided that God knew how many children they could handle.
"We just started thinking, 'God is sovereign over life and death. God opens and closes the womb,' " Kelly says. "That's what his word says, so why we're trying to fiddle around and controlling ourselves, we need to stop doing that."
Eighteen years and seven children later, the Swansons live on Jeff's dairy farm salary of less than $50,000 a year. And they've gotten used to the comments from outsiders, such as, "Do you know what causes this?"
"That's always my favorite one when I'm pregnant," Kelly says. "And my husband has a lovely response. Of course we know what causes it we practice all the time."
Their friends do, too. The average family at their evangelical church has 8.5 kids. They are children who the Swansons hope will spread the message of Christ.
'Womb Is A Powerful Weapon'
That's also the hope of Nancy Campbell, a leader of the Quiverfull movement and author of Be Fruitful and Multiply.
"The womb is such a powerful weapon; it's a weapon against the enemy," Campbell says.
Campbell has 35 grandchildren. She and her husband stopped at six kids, and it is her great regret.
"I think, help! Imagine if we had had more of these children!" Campbell says, adding, "My greatest impact is through my children. The more children I have, the more ability I have to impact the world for God."
A Christian God, that is. Campbell says if believers don't starting reproducing in large numbers, biblical Christianity will lose its voice.
"We look across the Islamic world and we see that they are outnumbering us in their family size, and they are in many places and many countries taking over those nations, without a jihad, just by multiplication," Campbell says.
Still, Quiverfull is a small group, probably 10,000 fast-growing families, mainly in the Midwest and South. But they have large ambitions, says Kathryn Joyce, who has written about the movement in her book Quiverfull: Inside The Christian Patriarchy Movement.
"They speak about, 'If everyone starts having eight children or 12 children, imagine in three generations what we'll be able to do,' " Joyce says. " 'We'll be able to take over both halls of Congress, we'll be able to reclaim sinful cities like San Francisco for the faithful, and we'll be able to wage very effective massive boycotts against companies that are going against God's will.' "
In a suburb of Grand Rapids, Mich., Misty and Seth Huckstead, both 31, are straightening up the living room for a birthday party. No small task with six kids and one on the way. With such a large family, they get by with one car. They shop at thrift stores and occasionally rely on the local seminary's food bank.
Seth says it's difficult having so many kids, but he and Misty have no regrets.
They didn't always have this attitude, Seth says. When they were 23, already with four children, he had a vasectomy. But they searched the Bible and concluded that sterilization was an affront to God.
"He presents children as a blessing," Seth says. "And so we started to evaluate whether our decision was ethically right. And we came to regret our decision."
They turned to a ministry that raises money and finds doctors to reverse vasectomies at a bargain price. And their family grew. Misty says she'll have as many children as possible. She loves having babies and believes it's the proper role for women.
"It's not individual, it's not 'I'm a woman, hear me roar, I'm going to go take on the world,' " Misty says. "Family has always been the foundation of church and society. It's God's design; it's beautiful."
Moments later, another Quiverfull family drops by, and for a few moments, they entertain themselves as would a large family 100 years ago.
They sing Psalm 127 a song that seems written just for them.
AS long as they do not hit me up for the Welfare, they can have all the kids they want.
They are correct and therefore the World will come against them and their movement like wolves.
Reminds me of an old joke:
A pastor and his wife said it was against their “theology” to use birth control, and they would trust God to limit their family. Sure enough for the first 5 years of their marriage they had no children.
But in the 6th year of their marriage, they had a child.
In the 7th year of their marriage, they had a child.
In the 8th year of their marriage, they had a child.
In the 9th year of their marriage, they had a child.
In the 10th year of their marriage, they had a child.
In the 11th year of their marriage, their “theology” changed.
There are over 900 comments at the link ... I’m sure you can imagine what the average one looks like.
I think I will spare my mind the further rot of those comments but I can imagine that they are pretty vicious.
I understand public hesitation about their approach but I cannot say I think they are wrong.
Inner city and trailer park families have been having kids for profit since FDR, and there’s been no outcry. These people are doing it based on their beliefs.
Good old Trollope! I wonder how many people get the Biblical and Barchester Chronicles allusions in the name “Quiverfull”.
Although I don't entirely agree with the Quiverfull theology (I think Natural Family Planning is appropriate if one has serious reasons to want to space children further apart), I certainly agree with most of what they believe.
But I think they'd be wise to pipe down about taking over Congress etc. and be realistic about what is going to happen to them and to the rest of us who share their basic life-affirming outlook: at some point, when homeschooling large families become common enough to threaten the Culture of Death that now is entrenched in power the Culture Warriors of Death will outlaw large families, outlaw homeschooling and take children away from such families to be "reeducated." They will not simply let themselves be overwhelmed by demography. As they realize they are losing demographically, they will fight back and it will be horrible.
Can it be resisted, perhaps prevented? Yes, by God's grace. But people like those interviewed here should be hardheaded about what they are up against and begin planning for how they will defend themselves when their entire way of life is declared anti-social, violence-engendering, misanthropic, eeeeeeeevvviiiiiillll and outlawed.
As a child raised in foster care and an adoptive parent, I wonder why these folks give no thought to enlarging their families via adoption, given the millions of waiting children in this world.
The Bible ALSO says this:
Pure religion in the sight of God our father is this...to care for orphans in their distress....
(from the book of James)
They are simply throwing red meat to their anti-Christian constituency.
I don’t care what their procreation is based on, just do not ask the taxpayer to fund the endeavor.
Simply, have as many kids as you can afford.
These sound like the kinds of people that would use Church resources in a pinch, not Food Stamps or welfare.
I would hope so, but if not, you and I are on the hook for their being on the dole.
Before modern manufacturing, making an arrow was a very difficult and time consuming process. Yes, it required a great deal of attention; but the reward for that effort was a tool far superior to any other for hunting and defense, etc.
Thats the meaning of the description. It implies that parents who have many good arrows [well loved, cared for, educated children] are blessed.
I think a lot of folks have considered adoption but they have run into all sorts of road blocks. Even folks who would adopt minority children are being told they can’t because the prospective parents are of the wrong ethnicity.
This is an issue near and dear to my heart. I didn’t know there was an actual movement. I do know that my husband and I have been struggling with the issue of whether or not we should be fooling around with our bodies to limit the number of children we have. On the other hand, although we are excited to welcome our 5th Rush Baby later this year (5 kids 7 and under) we are thinking that more than 5 might be too much for our sanity. I do know that my liberal friends have fallen way behind in the race - so maybe that’s a good thing....
I did my share. We had five kids, and now that I’ve seen what wonderful hard-working, bright, Conservative, patriotic Americans they have grown up to be, I wish we had had a dozen. And no, we never took a penny from welfare or anyone else. Just the opposite, we have paid more than our share of taxes, and have helped just about everyone we ever met who was truly in need.
the FIRST Commandment of God is to be fruitful and multiply. It is right there in Gen 1.
Quiverfull sounds pretty cool. Having lots of kids is the only way to preserve western christian culture in the long run. But kids are a blessing in themselves.
Lots of children is cool!!
People can have as many kids as they want, as long as they don’t ask me to pay for them.
As for me, I’ll do my part by first making sure my children have a good daddy who will stick by them and support them.
Yes, that means I’m single and childless :p
Absolutely necessary to have a good Daddy - I am eternally blessed to have a wonderful man as a husband and father - (they are so hard to find, I know.)
Personally I think the women are nuts. But it’s THEIR choice to wear themselves out. Three children were quite enough for me.
I am unable to find a flaw in their reasoning. All I would point out is that if they have a TV in their house that the kids can watch whenever they want, it will undo all their hard work.
Our goal should be to swamp the left with Christian, homeschooled, conservative children. They find NOTHING more horrifying.
Another Delicious Dish moment.
One possible reason could be the cost of adoption.
Currently, my husband and I are looking into adoption and have learned if we go through a private adoption agency we will be spending 20k to 35k or more depending on the agency. That may or may not include costs for the bio-mother’s expenses, travel, and other items that could come up.
Two years ago we attempted to adopt from two different agencies but could not come up with monies they wanted on their schedule. It was heartbreaking.
I don’t know if that is the reason adoption isn’t mentioned but I personally know two families who follow the quiverfull way and both are very supportive of our adoption quest and have never said adoption was against their beliefs.
Setting aside the moral and Christian reasons to do it, imagine the political ramifications if every decent Christian family in America adopted a child (domesticly or from abroad.)
I wonder what happened to Porky?
I got that when I was on my third pregnancy. Some people are so ignorant and rude that they should not be let outside unattended.
It's only a problem when Christians do it.
My cousin wants to adopt his stepchildren. Their mother— natural mother— shares this desire. The natural father is long deceased.
My cousin is already “Dad” to them. As far as anyone looking from the outside, he IS their father. He does everything a natural father would, and then additionally helps his wife keep the memory of their natural father alive.
The state did not interfere with the marriage, and does not oversee his step-parenting; however, to “make it all official”, he will have to undergo a background investigation (if they had any idea he might fail that, they ought to come rescue the kids NOW) and pay IIRC $5000 each (and if he tried to “buy” kids for that much on the “open market”, he’d be arrested)!
My wife and I married late in life, and for the sake of sparing a child a genetic abnormality, have decided not to reproduce. Adoption would be our first choice, and passing an investigation would be no problem. The $5000 per unit purchase price is, however, too steep.
So it likely is for most. It’s much less costly to reproduce, if you’ve a mind to do it.
As I grow older and lose my refinement, I’m more inclined to answer, “Don’t you know what causes that?” with “Sure! Don’t you and your husband ever do it?” (I’m going to be a positive embarassment by the time I’m 50, especially with more sons!)
That’s so liberal. “Oh, it’s awful when other people decide to do things that I think are too hard for me! They’re nuts and I hope they’ve ruined their health!”
And you’re a twit. I personally have no desire to have more kids. That is MY DECISION, not yours and not some “movement”.
And whether or not you’ve had kids, having one child after another taxes a woman’s body. Even with the high standard of healthcare we have now, it STILL taxes the body.
I PERSONALLY look forward to the last chick leaving the nest while I’m still young enough to enjoy it!
Fine. Don't. Who said you should?
Nobody is claiming otherwise, but this is no reason to call Tax-chick a "twit".
Oh, you should have heard what Bill called me when I changed his computer password while he was asleep ;-).
Well, don’t be mean like that and he won’t respond in kind! :-)
Reason # 683,527 why I love FR. Only here would that be considered the ultimate insult.
Crisis measure. He can have his free-access back when he finishes the 9th grade.
(Since his comments demonstrated that he’s been paying attention to his vocabulary lessons and reading the classic novels assigned, I praised his verbiage and didn’t assign extra chores.)
And even my 3-year-old knows it. “James hit me!” “Vlad called me a liberal!”
Sounds a little harsh, almost everyone finishes 9th grade the second time around! :-)
Never heard of “quiverfull” until I watched the Duggar tv show.
I think it’s great to have as many children as one wants and can support. I have 4, wanted 10 or as many as I could have, but after 4 high risk births and 4 c-sections, that was enough for my body. If I ever happen to get pregnant again, fine, but certainly not trying to.
Yep. That’s the way I see it, too.