Coming out of a restrictive religious lifestyle isn’t easy. Some women find a new home in a different but similar religious frame. Others, perhaps because of the lasting effect of the abuse inherent in our former lives, need more space than that – I am one of those. I need to retreat to some greater distance in order to feel safe enough to begin to grow again. But my long history with Christianity, and my need to be understood, makes me want to keep people who can comprehend my ramblings within arm’s length. It’s for those women – women like me, who don’t fit into Christianity any longer but haven’t quite finished dealing with the past – that All the Way Out exists.
After more than 20 years inside the ‘Quiverfull’ patriarchal Christian fundamentalist world, I came out. As it happened, as part of that process, I also left my marriage and the church. Although I am not suggesting that either of these is necessary in order to find healing, both were for me. Now, some 4 years down the track, I am building an exciting new life with my children. It has been a difficult passage but we are finding it truly wonderful learning to live free and fabulous…without reference to traditional, institutional Christianity or indeed religion of any kind.
In this blog, I am going to explore some of the issues around my entry into what I now consider a loosely arranged, but powerful fundamentalist cult. I’ll post my thoughts and those of others on the subject of cults such as these and their effect on women and children. I’ll canvas the abuse my children and I suffered inside patriarchal Christianity, and take a peek at our progress in deciding what to keep and what to leave where it lies. I’ll also devote some time to considering my own healing process and how that has brought about a real and lasting transformation.
The name All the Way Out will sound a little familiar to some. It is drawn from the the title of the Quiverfull ‘classic’ All the Way Home by Mary Pride. As this book was the conduit through which I, like so many women, entered the Quiverfull fold in the 80s and 90s, it seemed appropriate to acknowledge it on the way out the door.