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Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,028 Ratings  ·  187 Reviews
Kathryn Joyce's fascinating introduction to the world of the patriarchy movement and Quiverfull families examines the twenty-first-century women and men who proclaim self-sacrifice and submission as model virtues of womanhood—and as modes of warfare on behalf of Christ. Here, women live within stringently enforced doctrines of wifely submission and male headship, and live ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jun 02, 2016 Melki rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
"Can you call your husband 'Lord'? If the answer is no, you shouldn't get married."

Holy mackerel! Where do I even begin?

This is one of those books where I started writing down every sentence that pissed me off, but had to stop because I was using too much paper.

The movement, in case you've never heard of the Quiverfull, is a conservative Christian fundamentalist faction that stresses the necessity of building large family dynasties, generations of families with six, eight, ten or more children
This book was enlightening, to the point of actually being terrifying. It actually scared me more then any horror movie I've ever seen. The author doesn't put much of herself in this book, she just lets those who live this frightening lifestyle talk. And talk they do.

I wasn't surprised by much in this book, not the acceptance that domestic violence is always the woman's fault, not the casual racism, not the creepy incestuous father-daughter relationship. But it was almost overwhelming to see it
Tamora Pierce
Mar 30, 2009 Tamora Pierce rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
A very clear, readable book about the rise of separatist Christianist movements which emphasize wifely submission to the husband as the wife's way to gain eternal glory, the husband's leadership as family priest, and the rearing of large families as gifts to God and a way to take the world back from gays, feminists, and liberals. Without pretending to be a believer, Kathryn Joyce has met with and attended meetings of many of these small, fundamental American Christianist sects (which are beginni ...more
Apr 24, 2009 Naida rated it liked it
I was really looking forward to learning more about the Quiverfull movement and the patriarchical structure that supports it. It is the opposite of everything that I believe in so reading this was pretty much a "know your enemies" sort of thing...

I found this book to be very academic and not quite what I expected. For a movement that professes to have tens of thousands of followers, it was very light on 1st person accounts. When she finally does interview a woman in the movement the book becomes
Jul 31, 2011 Cassandra rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
First of all, I made the mistake of not reading very far into the description of this book. I saw Quiverfull pop up a few places on the internet and it sparked my interest. My church is anti-abortion but does not have a clear stance on birth control.

Well… the book is more about the subtitle than the title. It is titled Quiverfull but doesn’t spend much time analyzing the Quiverfull movement. Instead, it focuses on the subtitle of the book, “Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement.” The first s
Jul 04, 2013 Renee rated it liked it
I have a friend who can't stand the Duggar family. You know the family I'm talking about? The one with 19+ children...and counting. They have been featured on The Learning Channel giving us all a glimpse into their unusual lives. My friend is disgusted by them. She said so. I have never really understood her animosity towards them. After all, they're not hurting anybody. Why not live and let live? Why judge so harshly? And anyway isn't it all sort of sweet and wholesome?

Well, after reading Quive
Dec 27, 2011 Stefanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Have you ever attended a Christian church service and wondered why the gender imbalance (mostly women?) So have several Evangelical pastors and - voila - a marketing scheme to bring men into church by giving them ultimate power and a 1950s family is created.

Kathryn Joyce, a secular feminist, gives a balanced view into the lives of families who have chosen to be "quiverfull" - having as many children as they biologically are able (cf The Duggars on television.)

The economic, emotional, and financi
Lynn Joshua
Sep 14, 2013 Lynn Joshua rated it it was ok

I have been part of the homeschooling movement since the early 80's and am familiar with every name in this book. I have watched over the years in dismay as good principles have often been taken out of balance and some teachings have become extreme and oppressive. I was really hoping to read an in-depth critique of the Patriarchy movement from an insider. It's a bit difficult to read even a much-needed criticism from someone who thinks all religious believers are backward and ignorant. She doesn
Adam Omelianchuk
Jul 11, 2016 Adam Omelianchuk rated it liked it
Kathryn Joyce’s Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement is an expose of sorts on a curious theological trajectory among conservative Protestants who seem to believe that raising large families–with the man as the head of the household–is the means for taking America back to its Christian roots. As an Christian who finds any theological justification for hierarchical gender roles to be mistaken, I was curious to see what Joyce, an outsider from a secular persuasion, would have to say ...more
Sarah Kathleen
I learned SO MUCH about Quiverfull from this book and IT IS ALL TERRIFYING. I first heard about Quiverfull because of the Duggars. I saw their show for the first time, and looked them up on Wikipedia. It all spread from there, as so many things do. Ever since then, I thought the Duggar women were adorably ignorant. I would watch their show ALL the time and just be like "oh, isn't that cute? They're being oppressed and they don't even realize it! One of those girls is totally going to rebel and w ...more
Jul 04, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology, spiritual
This book ties together a lot of small threads I've been concerned about for the last decade or so. I've seen friends and family members dip in and out of various forms of fundamentalism, patriarchy, and Quiverfull ideology, and as someone on a different axis of spirituality and religion entirely, I've tried to read up and understand where these ideas come from and what the ultimate vision is for this lifestyle.

Quiverfull is chilling. The accounts from the women she interviews seem hollow and i
Dec 09, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it
This book was fascinating but an emotionally exhausting read. I grew up in a family which, while not technically Quiverfull, held very similar beliefs. I am very familiar with a lot of the names, organizations, and publications mentioned in this book, and was raised to believe many of the same things. So when I say this book is upsetting, it's because while I read it I relived certain moments of my childhood that I thought I had moved past. Apparently I haven't.
Oct 31, 2012 Kayt rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
While it wouldn't make as eyecatching a title, this is less "Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement" as it is "Poking My Nose In a Few Places Related To the Christian Patriarchy Movement." I think that's what you expect, though.

The problem is that the book wavers between focusing on a few, big names and organizations, and trying to give an overview of a movement that has as many variations as, well, every other thing ever.

What rubbed me the wrong way was how the language used often equated th
This is a well-written, balanced account of one branch of the Christian right, and I recommend it, despite the fact that it filled my heart with fear and dread, and, no kidding, kept me up at night.

For more details, I commend you, my dear reader, to the many excellent reviews on Goodreads, which describe the book, and the movement, better than I can (translation: I am too lazy to write a long review).

A personal note: I had an "aha" moment when I went back to reading Anthony Trollope after finis
A.C. Buchanan
Jan 09, 2015 A.C. Buchanan rated it really liked it
I expected this book to largely focus directly on the Quiverfull movement, the push towards (very) large families, the ideological underpinnings for this and how these families are managed. That ended up being only a small part of the work, which is more a survey of the wider Christian patriarchal movement and context within which quiverfull ideas exist.
For what it is though, this was very readable and well researched (and slightly terrifying, but I expected that), with well drawn portraits of t
Emily Schach
Feb 17, 2014 Emily Schach rated it it was amazing
Quiverfull was a fascinating and horrifying look at the Christian Patriarchy Movement. There is just so much to say about this book, and what an excellent job it did illustrating this truly terrifying movement. Joyce did an excellent job revealing how women are not valued as individuals within this movement. Essentially, women should submit to their husbands in all things, unquestionably heeding his decisions regarding every aspect of their lives. Thus, these spousal relationships do not appear ...more
Alexandria Siddiqui
Mar 05, 2015 Alexandria Siddiqui rated it it was amazing
I have to say this has made me rethink my views on the quiverfull movement, but also on Christianity in America. At first I thought such female christian support of patriarchy were nothing but stupid idiots with no goals other than for their uterus to fall out of their vagina. Now I have realized it isn't just full of idiot women, but the men who run it and its extreme hold over its followers are very dangerous to society as a whole especially for women. Now I do not think most of the women are ...more
May 20, 2013 Suzanne rated it liked it
This book certainly made an impression on me. If all it says about the Quiverfull movement is true, it's a scary, scary thing. However, I kept feeling as I read the book that Joyce had mostly seemed to take official policies, leaders' speeches and the word of those who had left the movement as the whole truth. I kept wishing she would spend some time with a family that is actually part of the movement and still believes in it, just to give that perspective. I know that often the official word on ...more
Jessica Snell
Oct 25, 2011 Jessica Snell rated it liked it
Shelves: mothering
Wow, this was an interesting one. Definitely with the read, though it was easy to identify places where her bias made it impossible to fully understand certain theological ideas. Still, I think she largely came to some good conclusions – the extremes of the patriarchy movement are not good. I think it is, in the end, a problem of elevating the roles of the sexes above the gospel. Sure, men and women are different. But if you make those differences the focus of your life, as opposed to making Jes ...more
Nov 17, 2012 Lois rated it it was amazing
I was intrigued by the title of this book. I read several reviews, both pro and con, and thus I had to read it for myself, keeping an open mind. First, let me state my position. I sit squarely on the fence, barbed wire notwithstanding. After reading this book, I am even more ambivalent.
In a nutshell, patriarchy is a branch of the home schooling movement and a twig of evangelical churches. Patriarchy is by definition the fundamental belief that the man is head over his wife and Christ is the he
Apr 03, 2011 Rachael rated it liked it
Quiverfull is a journey through a subculture which values wifely submission and the bearing of the most children as possible as the highest goals of a woman's life. Joyce clearly did a lot of field work to produce this book and her observations are fascinating. From the somewhat amusing to the truly dark this book explores what happens when a woman's entire life becomes singularly devoted to serving her husband.

My main critique of the book would be a lack of contextualization. Joyce does provide
Jul 12, 2009 Ann rated it it was amazing
Where to start?

This book is an eye-opener! The book concentrates on the "quiverfull" movement among fundamentalist Christians, but places it in the context of a larger movement that includes systematic mysogyny within the family, an anti-tax/anti-government philosophy, disdain for individual rights, especially for women, the anti-contraception movement, eugenic and racist thinking and teachings, revisionist history (i.e., the Native Americans were the oppressors), and anti-intellectualism.

Apr 11, 2013 Joyce rated it it was amazing
I thought this book would be a look at the patriarchal movement that encourages its women to have as many children as possible and that it would concentrate on individual women in the movement. Instead it's a detailed examination of the power the religious right is exerting on American and even global politics - as in the War on Women, it comes right from these people who stress the necessity of a "complementarian" lifestyle in which there are definite male and female attributes that don't mix. ...more
Jun 05, 2009 Ashley rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Feminists, pro-choice advocates, activists, women
Recommended to Ashley by: blogs
Shelves: women-s-studies
When I think about a rating for a book I often ask myself if I would recommend that book to someone else. "Quiverfull" offers insight into a conservative, near Puritanical, version of American Christianity, but I don't know that I got more out of it than the article(s) she wrote about the movement for a variety of blogs and magazines.

As a number of people already suggested, Joyce relies heavily on quotations and does not offer a great deal of her own analysis. Although this is useful as it does
Sep 26, 2012 Shana rated it liked it
Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce is one of the most fascinating books I’ve read this year. I first became interested in Quiverfulls after researching the Duggers, a Christian family who has a reality show on Lifetime called 18 Kids and Counting. I was curious about their background and how they came to have so many children, and came across this movement to build God’s army.

Joyce explores the world of the Christian Patriarchy Movement, in which women are cons
Jan 23, 2011 Ashley rated it liked it
Rarely does a book evoke a visceral reaction in me as I’m reading it. But I found myself incredulous, angry and frustrated as I read.

First, some background. How did I even come across this book? After seeing a few episodes of TLC’s show about the Duggar family, with their 19 kids so far, and reading this piece at Salon, I decided to learn more. I wanted to see if the movement is being portrayed accurately and fairly.

For those that don’t know, the Quiverfull movement is based on Psalm 127, “Like
Ginny Beck
Mar 17, 2016 Ginny Beck rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
When I started this book, I thought the chapters on the patriarchal Christian views about a women's role and homemaking were jarring and far from any thing I'd choose for myself or a loved one, but, ultimately, I'm cool with people choosing whatever lifestyle works for them, as long as it isn't harming others. As the book wore on though, and the political intentions and consequences of this philosophy became more clear, the more I changed my mind; this isn't harmless stuff - it's basically a cul ...more
Jun 11, 2011 Woowott rated it really liked it
Not perfect, but Ms Joyce actually does a decent job of handling this. As someone who grew up with a milder form of this, I recognized the conservatism, the sexism, and the justifications for it all. I recognized it in some of my friends and colleagues, certainly in myself--more mildly--when I was in high school. Though, at this point, the book is preaching to the choir, it was still a bit shocking to see how far some people take this evangelical patriarchy, especially when I see how negatively ...more
Kelly Lynn Thomas
Jan 26, 2015 Kelly Lynn Thomas rated it it was amazing
The contents of this book are pretty terrifying. The jacket copy promises to take you inside the Christian patriarchy movement, and Kathryn Joyce definitely delivers. She attends retreats with Quiverfull women, goes to conventions and gatherings, and talks to a ton of people in and out of the movement.

Quiverfull people generally have large families so that they can raise up an army for their god. They believe men are in charge and women should be submissive and attend to their husbands' every s
Aug 28, 2009 Pumpkinbear rated it liked it
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Kathryn Joyce is an author and journalist based in New York City.
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