(Corboy note: It is possible to escape a cult if you have a large family. However, maintstream American society provides little support for parenting. This Reddit discussion is illuminating.)
"It really sucks for those that learned to rely on the evangelical machine to help us raise a large family and suddenly find ourselves outside of it."
"The (Big Family)lifestyle really only works within the (Evangelical/LDS)bubble.
"I'm not sure if that's by design, but it sure makes it harder to leave.
Large family parenting Reddit ex Evangelical
My story is similar to many here: KJVO IFB, to SBC, to ex-vangelical. My husband and I (married during Bible college at 19 and 21) have six kids from 5 to 17 (because we were encouraged not to selfishly limit God's blessings, also to outpopulate the Muslims and Catholics. I wish I were kidding.)
We were "that" exemplary young homeschooling family, until the cognitive dissonance finally got to be too much during Trump/Covid, and we eventually noped out of our tiny insular church.
Now I'm finding, outside that authoritarian paradigm, I'm belatedly learning how to actually parent and not just punish.
I hate having uprooted our kids multiple times in search of a healthy environment. Not to mention overturning their whole worldview that we so carefully (and wrongly) instilled.
We've told them "We basically raised you in a cult, and we taught you to fear the outside world, and we are so sorry." I'd give almost anything for a do-over. They're fantastic, empathetic, resilient kids who deserved so much better.
The fear/shame/guilt of leaving fundamentalism is so much worse when you're taking half a dozen kids along for the journey. It's not just my soul in peril!
The loneliness is worse too. All our friends and family are still "in" that world, and sending their kids to camp at the Wilds, to attend Bob Jones, to work at Chick Fil A. While my oldest is attending the local state university, sporting black nail polish and a Pride bracelet. My friends are reading JD Greear, I'm reading Bart Ehrman...when I can spare five minutes and a handful of brain cells. (Reevaluating your faith is hard when you're busy "dying to self" as a godly homemaker!)
We don't fit in anywhere...too "woke" for our old friends, but we still look like good conservative homeschoolers when we roll up in our Transit van, so we're a little conspicuous in the outside world.
I really relate to the piece about having to learn how to make friends outside the church. A lot of people here have told me to find hobby groups and such, but I think having a large family and/or small children really complicates things.
I mean where else can you just show up with five or six kids for free and shuffle them off into something like a Sunday school class. The world outside evangelicalism, or maybe just middle class, white America is really not very easy to exist in with a large family.
It really sucks for those that learned to rely on the evangelical machine to help us raise a large family and suddenly find ourselves outside of it.
It's true, the lifestyle really only works within the bubble. I'm not sure if that's by design, but it sure makes it harder to leave.
3 days ago
Highly recommend the podcast Childproof.
Not really anything to do with religion at all in any way. But such a great needed perspective on parenting beyond the walls of fundamentalism.
Thanks, I'll have to check that out.
I SO get this. I had doubts and questions for years, but as a PK with several extended family members also called servants, it was nearly impossible to get out. I raised my kids in it and sent them to the church school through 8th grade. They were the ones who deconstructed in their teens, and they led US out. They are wonderful and forgiving, though, and every time I find myself expressing guilt and remorse for messing them up with the hell and damnation claptrap, they lovingly forgive me. Best of luck to you. It gets better (3 years out) although most of my extended fam is not currently speaking to me.