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!!