Q&A On Traditional Marriage With Zoe Dawn

November 12, 2012

On Tuesday I wrote a post on birds and voting. It was nothing special, mostly rambling about mallard ducks and excitement about election day, which is why it was so surprising when it turned out to be one of the most viewed and controversial posts on this blog to date.

The entry itself was not controversial, but the comment section quickly became heated when my sister-in-law Zoe made a comment expressing her belief that women should not vote. The response was swift and strong; confusion, questions, and (mostly) respectful disagreement. You can read the responses here.

Over the next 48 hours, questions poured into my email inbox and phone about Zoe, her lifestyle, and our relationship. Finally Zoe and I agreed that a question and answer post might be the best way to address the inquiries on her ideas about women and their role in marriage and politics. The following is a selection of your questions and her answers submitted by email or via the comment section.

As I said on Tuesday, Zoe is family and I love her. She is Austin’s sister but she is also my friend. We disagree on most things, and yet we’re still able to find common ground. I respect her and appreciate her honesty and willingness to share her thoughts today. It’s not often that we get insight into those who believe very differently from us. I consider it a learning experience, a field trip to another worldview, not grounds for anger or disrespect. I hope you do the same.


Thanks Kate for this opportunity!

Let me preface my responses by saying that if you are not a believer of the same God that I am, then this will be a really difficult concept to grasp. I’m also seeing that plenty of Christian women have trouble understanding me. To them I say this: seek the Lord’s will. Give yourself to Him and see what He has in store for you and your relationship with your husband. He will bless you beyond anything measurable if you trust and follow Him.

Also: I’m not trying to shove my religion and views down anyone’s throat. Believe what you want! I love and respect lots of people who believe differently than myself but you asked what I think so here goes!

1)    If you have a daughter and she marries a man who doesn’t share you belief system and decides for her and their family to live in direct contrast to what you think is right, do you just submit to her husband too because he is a man? Do you tell her to stand up for herself and the beliefs she was raised? Or do you tell her what you are advocating now – just listen and obey to whatever man is in charge?

I do have a daughter! And two sons as well.

If I truly believe her husband’s beliefs are harmful and against the Lord’s will, I will pray for them. I will also advise her to do as he requests unless he is asking her to do something she believes the Lord would say is wrong (murder, cheat, lie, etc). In that case, she can make an appeal to him and if that doesn’t work, she should seek counsel from church leaders.


2) What about you – can you ask your husband to not purchase a pair of shoes, refrain from wearing a certain shirt, work more, work less, etc.? And when you say women are weaker than men, do you mean that you (and all women) are not as smart as your husband and so that is why he should make all the decisions?

I can ask him to do things but I have to remind myself that he can decide to go against my wish. He needs to be his own man and make decisions he feels are wise. Besides, nobody can get everything they want in life. It’d be ridiculous for me to expect him to always listen to me. (For the record, I don’t always listen to him, either. I am human, after all.)

That being said, he does respect my wishes, too! He’s not a terrible, demanding man. Not at all. We discuss things and come to an agreement one way or another.

I do not think men are more intelligent than women. That was not my point at all. Often people will use the argument that women can lead just as well as men, perhaps even better. This may be true but God saying that women should not lead is not a statement about women being inferior or incapable. He is simply saying that it is not within our sphere of authority and nature to take leadership over men or to teach them.

The above statement is key in understanding this philosophy.


3) What is your reasoning behind men being created the stronger sex?

I’m not sure I really understand how you can possibly think men AREN’T the stronger sex. Generally speaking, they are larger and physically stronger. Typically they have deeper more authoritative voices than women. (I’m aware there are small men out there and I don’t think that makes them any less manly.)


4) Do your parents feel the same way as you? Was that the way you and Austin were raised? What does your mom say about this? Your siblings? Do you come from a conservative family? In essence: how was this belief system formed?  And if so, what made it “stick” with you, but not Austin?

 I will not speak for my parents or siblings. By all appearances, people probably thought my family very conservative. But really, they are rather not. That’s probably confusing but I’m not sure how else to say it. Besides, I don’t like these labels of “conservative” and “liberal”. Mostly those labels just conjure up too many judgments about the other person.

 How was my belief system formed? I suppose you could say it’s a culmination of watching the couples in my life that I admire, reading I’ve done on the subject, listening to my instincts, and choosing to follow the God that I do.

 I don’t know how to answer these questions comparing Austin and me. I mean, why do any siblings end up the same or different on any subject? We’ve had different life experiences that have brought us each to where we are today.


5) Back to voting, what about the women fighting all over the world for their rights? Women who are stoned to death, women who are persecuted, women who are fighting for their lives, their children, their rights—women who would literally die for the right to vote?

I think we can all agree that there are some men in this world who are not fit to lead. These men are abusing their power and not respecting the women. It is terrible and completely unjust. Honestly, I don’t have an answer to this question. I don’t know how to help them. I don’t know what to tell them to do other than to pray and respect their men as well as they can. Only the grace of God can remove or change these terrible men.

Let me say this. I’m not really against women’s rights as I think I came across as being. I shouldn’t have made some of the statements I did. You want to vote? Vote. (Though I still think men should lead and thus men should choose the leaders.) You want to work full-time? Go for it. (But in my opinion, it is a woman’s place to be in the home rearing and guarding the children and providing a safe haven for her husband.) You want to pastor a church? Then by all means do it. (Pretty sure you know where I stand on this.) I won’t stop you. I will not judge you. Just because it’s not for me doesn’t mean I can tell others not to do it. That’s between you, God, and your spouse.


6) I’m a Christian wife too, here’s my question: If your husband makes a decision that you believe in your heart is not in the best interest for you and your children (making an irrational financial purchase, not handling a relationship well, asking for things you do not want to do/give) … do you do it anyway? Has this happened in your current relationship?

I have a very good relationship with my husband. If he wants to do something I don’t agree with, I voice my concern. We are very respectful of one another. He’s never done any of these things you listed. I mean, I guess he’s done things I’d rather he didn’t do, but in the grand scheme of things–they were unimportant and I didn’t hold any grudges.

 But maybe you want to know what I’d do if he didn’t respect me? If it were an irrational financial purchase, first I’d make an appeal to him. I would state my thoughts on the subject. If he doesn’t agree with me and chooses to make that purchase, I’d do my best to save pennies in all other areas of my life and help pay for that purchase.

 Not handling a relationship well? I don’t know. Pray for him and the other person? I’d have to understand more of the situation to really answer this well.

 Ask me to do/give things I don’t want to give? As I stated before, unless they are against the laws of the Lord (lie, cheat, steal, etc.) then I have to do/give it. If it is against the Lord’s law, I would seek counsel from a trusted church authority who could help me understand the Bible better and see God’s will in the situation.


7) What about my brother who married a strong woman who is simply better at making the big decisions? He is the more emotional one in the relationship and she is more clear headed and does things like make financial decisions, pays bills, and just generally keeps the house together while also maintaining a full time job. He works as a mechanic part time and is happy to be a loving, supportive husband and father. He helps cooks meals, clean the house, change diapers, picks up the kids from school…I’m curious, does your husband do these things? Or would that make him “whipped” as you called it {on Tuesday}? Is my brother “whipped?” Is he less of a man? Is it not a Godly marriage in your eyes?

It’s not my job to judge whether he is less or more of a man or if their marriage is Godly. That’s between them and God.

Brad does help out around the house when he is home. However, he works long days pretty much every day so I don’t expect him to help me too much.


8) As a woman engaged to another woman, who in the world should I let make major decisions for me? Outsource my decisions to a male neighbor?

I don’t believe God intended for women to be with women and men to be with men. If He had, He would have designed them to fit together.
You are probably going to say that you were born desiring women or that women just understand you better or that you can’t help feeling this way. My response to that is: I was born to be jealous. I was born to gossip. I was born to dislike my body.  Sinning is human nature, people. That doesn’t make it right! If you were born gay then that’s something you will have to struggle with your entire life. It’s just the same as me struggling with gossip. I fail. I gossip. Let’s say you fail and you give in to your desire to be with a woman. Fine. We both sinned. But we always have to try to do better. Every day we need to wake up and say, “God, I need your help here” and then do our best to live better than we did in the past. 
The same goes for women who say it’s their nature to be dominant. Great! You’d make a wonderful leader! I’m a wonderful gossip, too! But God does not want me to be a queen of gossip and neither does he want you to overstep the boundaries he has so clearly laid out for women.
So to answer the original question: yeah, I suppose I do think you should let the men in your life make those decisions. 

9) In your comments under Tuesday’s post you said, “Somehow, I think the world would be a better place if we decided that we have enough and just lived life with what we’ve got instead of always pushing for more, whether that’s more money, more rights, or whatever.” My question: If women hadn’t “pushed for more” we wouldn’t have child support, the right for birth control, and the right to divorce our abusers. If we hadn’t pushed for rights, we might still be being beaten with the legalized “two inch rod.” What are the rights we shouldn’t be pushing for? What shouldn’t we have that men don’t?

I think what I was really trying to get at the other day is that we women need to adjust our attitudes. I do not appreciate the feminist attitude because it portrays the idea that women are “owed the world”.  We need to remove ourselves from this outlook. It’s not healthy for the relationship between men and women. Men do not owe us the world. I believe that we were created for men! We need to respect them rather than continually trying to push them aside and rise above them.  In turn, I’m pretty sure they will love and respect us more. It’s wired in their very being to lead. Let’s not take that away from them.

I think the feminist movement portrays men as being incapable of making decisions. By saying, “I need to vote!” we are essentially telling our husbands that we don’t trust their judgment or that their vote isn’t enough. There are a lot of wonderful men out there who have been trodden by their wives because the wives didn’t trust them.

Also take this into consideration: We wouldn’t even have women’s rights if it weren’t for strong male leaders. I’m pretty sure there weren’t women in congress voting to pass these laws. We owe it to the men that we have the rights we do. We need to be thankful for what they’ve done for us. And then we need to trust that they can also do more, for other areas of the world and for us here if needed.

We need to practice contentment. Instead of pushing to be equal to men, let’s appreciate our differences. There’s no use in trying to be like the men. We can’t be! We don’t look like them, think like them, or act like them.

As for these rights you are asking about, I think they are all necessary. As I stated above, I’m not against these rights. I do think, however, that we often abuse these rights. Child support is a sticky issue. I don’t know much about it but I’m sure there are those out there that truly do need and deserve it.

I don’t understand why birth control is a right. Just don’t have sex. It’s not the government’s responsibility to keep us from getting pregnant. If you want birth control because your husband wants another child and you don’t, then I think that’s dishonoring your husband. Is there something about birth control that I do not understand?

I think removing yourself from an abusive situation is fine (necessary) as long as the abused spouse has done everything in their power to reconcile the marriage in a biblical way. I realize this is a fallen world. There are men/people out there who will never see the Light and make terrible leaders. I also think, that if given the respect they crave, a lot of these abusing husbands could turn around and make a major change. God can work miracles! Let’s let him help us find the way.


10) Did you have the same dynamic while you were dating? Does your husband agree with your beliefs?

 Yes, we had this same dynamic while we were dating. And yes, Brad agrees with me on these things. I asked him to read my responses to these questions. He okayed everything and said it’s fine to publish this.


11) What about men who are abusive and controlling with their spouses? Should those women also submit to their husbands, regardless of whether his demands are reasonable or safe? At what point does a woman have a right to stand up for herself and her family? Living in the deep south, I work with victims daily — many of whom were raised with the mentality to “submit fully to your husband.” As a result, they are now walking in a straight line towards death, exposing their children to horrible acts of violence, and often, reluctant to leave because they are following the “word of the Lord” in submitting. I am glad that you seem to have a healthy marriage, however this mentality is beyond frightening as I’ve seen the hell it brings to families, children and communities. I actually consider it a disservice to victims when I read public statements like this. Even if the majority of your peers don’t have this issue, can you see how dangerous it is to promote this line of thought? Considering 1 in 4 women are abused at some point in their lives (yes, in the United States) your words have been read (and will continue to be read) by countless victims. Many of whom might be trying to figure out whether to stay or go. Hearing that their submission isn’t “working” often shames them and convinces them to stay. To death. I pray for peace in your home and that of friends. However, I fear the backlash this type of “theology” creates.

Do you think I WANT women to be beaten and abused? Do you think me a heartless, wealthy snob? I’m sure many of you do. But that is not who I am. This is not dangerous theology I am promoting. By all means, a woman should be able to remove herself from these awful situations. It’s sad that there are ladies in the world that do not have the ability to do so. It’s an unjust world we live in. There will never be complete peace and for that I am sad. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be glory given to God in these situations.

Like I said before, if the woman has done everything in her power (honoring her husband and fulfilling her wifely duty) and the husband still abuses, then it is not her fault and yes, she should be able to escape.

By working with these abused women, you are doing an admirable service. I hope that the love of Jesus Christ shines in your ministry. Perhaps I could recommend this book to you and the women you counsel: Created to be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl. Of course it will not solve all of the world’s abuse issues but in it Debi shares some of the many, many stories she has received from people in these exact situations you speak of. Joyful stores about wives living in terrible situations but through it all honoring their husbands and in turn their husbands learn to love them and treat them well. It’s a work of God. Only He knows each and every situation’s every detail and can work to bring glory through the suffering.

I think this book is very clear on what the Bible says about a woman’s role in her relationship with her husband. Debi gives many examples of all kinds of situations in which we should go against our controlling human nature and honor our husbands.

(You may say: This is a woman writing this book! She is teaching! That’s against your beliefs! No it’s not. She is simply an experienced woman counseling other women. She is not telling men what to do. Her husband wrote a book for them if anyone is interested.)

I do not mean any disrespect to these women who are faced with terrible difficulties day after day. It is not right that some women experience abuse. I realize I am blessed. Very, very blessed. I do not take my relationship with my husband and my life for granted. We are extremely grateful for everything we have.


12) My interpretation is that you are not interested in politics or the bigger picture. They aren’t your passions, goals, drives. (For the most part, they’re not mine, either.) You’re not into scholarly thoughts or Biblical exegeses. Your needs and interests are met; you are fulfilled. This is wonderful! But to blanket beliefs (about the different genders and how they should behave) over all of humanity is rather limiting. There is much room for diversity in God’s big, fabulous world. Many women/men have other interests and passions, many of which aren’t exactly stereotypical. (And the Bible challenges a lot of what you preach—such as the stories of women who are leaders and business-savvy entrepreneurs.)

You are right, I DETEST politics. I cannot believe I even commented about this in the first place.

But I AM interested in the bigger picture; a bigger picture of mutual respect between men, women, and God. Why else would I be writing these things?

Does the Bible really challenge what I preach? I could list plenty of verses that state women should play the supporting role to their husbands. If someone wants me to, I will.

I’d like to know what female leaders and entrepreneurs you speak of. I can’t think of any women that did it alone and were an honor to the Lord. All I can think of is women that supported their husbands in these roles.


13) Does your parents’ marriage reflect your own conservative take on marriage? What is your take on your parents’ marriage and the way they raised you? Who in your life has a model marriage?

I’d call my parents conservative in their marriage but you know, we’ve never really discussed it so maybe they feel differently. They’ve always been a wonderful example for us kids; always loving, patient, and seeking the Lord’s will. I admire a lot about my parents and love them dearly.

There are a lot of marriages I admire: grandparents (Brad’s and mine), parents (again, both Brad’s and mine), as well as other family and friends.


14) Does your brother Austin (Baby Daddy!) share these views? I’ve been reading Motley Mama for a year now and this seems like a stretch from Kate and Austin’s marriage. How did you come from the same family?

I said it before – I don’t want to speak for other members of my family. They can weigh in if they want to share their thoughts.

How did we come from the same family? I have no idea :)


15) Would you have married someone who felt strongly about equal rights?

I can’t imagine marrying anyone other than Brad! I think it’s safe to say that I wouldn’t have been attracted to a person that believes things that are in stark contrast to my beliefs so I guess the answer is no, I wouldn’t have married that man.

I need to say this here: Brad is not against women’s rights. He doesn’t think women should be shoved under the rug. He hates the abuse and neglect in the world just as much as the next person. There is a time and place for all of these rights. We both agree, though, that there’s a fine line between using and abusing these rights.


16) How do you respond to this article challenging the traditional beliefs of scripture?

“After the fall the Lord said the woman would desire the man and the man would rule over her (Gen. 3:16). The word ‘desire’ in this passage has the connotation of ‘control.’”

 What does desire have to do with control? They are two totally different words. I would classify this as blasphemy, changing the scriptures to mean what you want them to mean, not what God intended them to mean.


17) If you love to read, but your husband says it is filling your head with nonsense and told you to stop, what is the appropriate reaction?

Stop reading. Reading is not essential to living life. Is it fun and interesting? Of course. But not essential.


18) Has this conservative mindset trickled down to your children and your parenting style?

Of course our beliefs will be instilled in our children! Why on earth would we raise them in ways that we don’t see as right? Who would do that? They are too young yet to understand any of this but as they grow and question things, we will respond with openness how we feel about all different subjects. They can then form their own opinions. That’s what growing and maturing is all about, right?

By saying “parenting style” is it safe to assume you are wondering whether or not we spank? We do and we’re not afraid to admit it. We do not beat our children. In fact, we don’t even spank very often but it does happen. We think it is a very effective form of discipline as long as it’s done in love.


19) Do you wear a covering? Why or why not? 

I do not wear a covering. Brad doesn’t want me to. He does, however, want me to have long hair.

20) Does your husband vote?



Ladies, we are never going to agree on all of this. That’s just how the world works. It’s what makes life interesting. I do believe that God is a loving and gracious God and will accept many different walks of life into His Kingdom.  But I wanted to clear the air on my opinions, as I don’t want to go down in history as being an uneducated, heartless snob or a browbeaten, brainwashed wife.

Thank you so much for listening!



 Feel free to leave respectful follow up questions and comments for Zoe in the space below.

Please note the views expressed in this interview do not reflect my views or Austin’s views in any way.


**Update: Comments now closed .**

237 thoughts on “Q&A On Traditional Marriage With Zoe Dawn

  1. Kim

    Thank you for sharing your life, your beliefs, and your opinions. Thank you for helping to educate me on a belief that I did not know anything about. I think it is always beneficial to see a glimpse into someone else’s world if only to learn acceptance. Although I do not agree completely or understand completely, I can see where your beliefs have strength. Even though I live differently, I am glad to know that their are other people in the world living differently and successfully. The more people that are being good citizens and good people and having good marriages and raising good kids are what will help this country and help us to make positive change.

  2. Amanda

    Thanks for sharing and for answering my question. It’s obvious you are passionate about your way of life and able to handle the fact that your lifestyle is different even from that of your brother, friends, etc.

    Just curious, do the peers you interact with on a day to day basis follow these same rules? Do you feel like a radical in some ways?

    1. zoedawn

      Some of my peers do, others do not. I didn’t feel like a radical before but since Kate’s post and the resulting discussion, I do sort of feel like a radical/outcast/oddball! It’s a strange feeling!

  3. leah

    You mentioned you don’t understand birth control and why it’s a right. What about for the women who are in cultures where men have “the right” to do as they please with women’s bodies?

    I’m assuming that in the US, you don’t believe it’s right because women should not have sex before they’re married?

    1. zoedawn

      Again, it’s terrible that some men do these things to women. But I believe that God will take care of a woman that is following His will for her and the men will be held responsible for their wrong doing.

      You are correct in that I believe sex should be saved for married relationships.

  4. Beth

    Very, very, very interesting. I do not know anyone like ZoeDawn. Even my conservative friends do not share many of these beliefs!

  5. Anonymous

    I read that book.

    At the beginning, I couldn’t put the book down. It seemed as though everything she was saying was speaking directly to me. I found it so helpful, convicting, humbling and full of truth. It put a passion in me to want to go out and tell all the women I know about how they can have a glorious marriage!

    HOWEVER…the danger in this book is Mrs. Pearl’s repeated opinion (seemingly based on scripture, which makes it even worse) that women are not to have their own goals, dreams, opinions, relationship with God, etc. She says that our sole purpose is to please our husbands, like we are a trophy or something. The chapter that truly messed me up was her whole view on the “Jezebel spirit”. She says that women who “think” they are “spiritual” are usually just emotional and deceived. She says that we do not need to spend time in prayer, that serving God is serving our husbands. She even goes as far as to give a ridiculous example of a woman who bossed her husband around with her “spirituality” until God had to visit her with madness for her disobedience. Let’s not even discuss all the ways she says that women should not pursue leadership roles outside of the house, should not speak in church or teach men on any level.

    1. amber

      First, I have to say that some very well-intentioned women study this book and live by it and I have no condemnation for them. However, when I went through it and started asking my husband questions about it, he told me to stop reading it and throw it away even though his well-intentioned mother gave it to me. I believe that his advice was demonstrating Christ’s love to me, freeing me from the false guilt this book incites.

      While there are always benefits to godly humility and servanthood, the author goes too far in prescribing exactly what fits into her view of godliness. Like the pharasees of old, she sets up rules for godly marriage that are nowhere in scripture. The book condemns women who teach at all as having the spirit of “Jezebel” and gives the overall impression that the only purpose women serve is for their husbands’ wishes and goals and that any other pursuit is ungodly.

      1. zoedawn

        I don’t understand where you think she said we could not have a relationship with God or that we should not pray. I got the opposite! We should pray! We should lift our husbands and families up to Him and trust that He will care for us.

        As for the dreams/goals/opinions, we can have them. I certainly have goals and opinions! But never should we build our own dreams without first considering our husband’s and running the ideas by them first. When we disagree on any one of these things and I try to fight him on these subjects, it strains our relationship. That is not healthy for us or for our family as a whole.

      2. zoedawn

        Ooops! Missed the Jezebel part of this question.

        Ladies, we have the ability to manipulate. Like majorly manipulate. Jezebel manipulated. She taught and called herself more spiritual than her husband, and he in turn was ashamed and lost his manly drive.

        Let’s be careful not to do this to our husbands.

        I do think that our purpose is to serve our husbands. If he says we may pursue our own goals, so be it. Then we may, as long as it doesn’t distract us from our main purpose.

  6. Bethany Smith

    Zoe! Thank you so much for sharing. I was really looking forward to this interview. I will try not to overwhelm this post with questions. I do feel like you a bit of a “radical” in a sense–which is obviously very interesting to me. Anytime you are able to communicate with someone (respectfully) who you disagree with creates great dialogue!

    I just want to make sure I understand you right—In your opinion, women seeking an entrepreneur/leader role is not following what God outlines as godly? What about women who are unmarried?

    1. zoedawn

      I guess I think this is true for unmarried women as well but I haven’t focused on that as much seeing as how I am married. It is a wonderful privilege that women in our country can hold jobs. And I don’t think it’s wrong to have a job. We do have to fill our time with something, after all. Idle time is not time well spent. But I don’t think God intended for women to have these leadership roles, whether they are married or not.

  7. Tiffany

    “You can freely call your husband “lord” when you know that you are addressing the one who put him in charge and asked you to suffer at your husbands hands just as the Lord suffered at the hands of unjust authorities.”

    “The chain of authority must never be broken, even if it means allowing some abuse (of the husband’s role).”

    -Debi and Michael Pearl (Book you recommended)

    Would you agree with this?

    1. zoedawn

      Yes. It’s not fair but if we women honor our husbands, we will not be held accountable for any sin and strive that is caused by their behavior. They hold an awful lot of responsibility on their heads.

  8. Hannah

    I will not add any more questions since I can only imagine how much discussion will go on here today. :) I just want to bless you Zoe Dawn for being willing to share about your beliefs and to stand by them even when people question them. I appreciate that you do it with grace and leave lots of room for people to disagree with you and feel differently. I grew up in a very conservative church and community (Lancaster County) with basically all these same beliefs, some even more “extreme”… it shaped so much of who I am, some of which I am working hard to undue now because it wasn’t healthy. Now I am married and my husband and I are doing many things differently in our marriage then the way I was raised. But some of the positive things have certainly helped and I hope to pass those things on to the next generation. Many blessings on you as you follow your beliefs.
    P.S. I read that book in preparation for trying to be the best wife possible… my husband, however, was not fond of anything in that book so I definitely put it away. :)

  9. Meagan {Green Motherhood}

    Oh Zoe! First, thank you for sharing. You wrote eloquently and passionately about your beliefs. I can very much respect your words because of the thought you put into them.

    As a follower of Jesus, I can attest to a lot of what you are saying. He does challenge us to seek his will in all settings. I see that, in my family, being at home with my daughter and supporting and respecting my husband is the best thing for US. I believe in fresh home cooked meals and bringing my children up with the values I believe in (among other things).

    But, with that being said, I believe in the voice of women. I believe in striving for our absolute best in all situations. I believe in supporting men AND women leaders. I believe in women voting. I believe in women working. And I believe that the one unequivical thing Jesus told us to do was to Love. And if we all just started with that foundation, the respect would come.
    Have you read “The Power of a Praying Wife”? It’s very much along the lines of what you are saying. (without the talk about not voting or resisting homesexual urges)

    Thanks for bringing up an interesting topic!

    1. zoedawn

      I have not! I should because I know I could have a more prayerful spirit.

      Yes, I agree with love! We should definitely be more loving. But we should not normalize sin because that is becoming of the world. We are to be in the world but not of it. I do not hate people who choose to do differently than myself. But I believe God gave us a set of standards to live by…standards that glorify Him.

  10. jess walker

    Thank you for being willing to share and answer further questions!

    Does your husband do things you don’t approve of, that you voice concerns about, but then does it anyway? It never bothers you? (ie: watch too many sports, play violent video games, drive fast cars–typical american guy stuff)

    1. zoedawn

      He’s not perfect! Sure there are things that bother me. But how would me pushing him to stop these things help us or glorify God? Once I voice my concern, it’s up to him to choose the direction he wants to go. If he goes down the wrong path, that’s between him and God. I will not be held accountable for his sin.

  11. Danielle

    I can understand and respect your point of view on nearly everything. However, your views on abusive marriages are very troubling to me. I’ve seen and experienced things that you probably can’t imagine, as have women I know and love. I can’t fathom ever asking a woman who is being physically, sexually or emotionally abused to ‘honour her husband’ more effectively. In my opinion, this perspective could only be had by someone who had never experienced or witnessed such a thing, and I find it irresponsible that you would speak on something you so clearly do not understand. Go to a women’s shelter, watch interviews of abused women, look at pictures. If you can obtain a real life understanding of abusive relationships and still feel the way you do, fair enough. But I suspect, as with your views on birth control, that there is a lot you don’t know about abuse.

    1. zoedawn

      You are correct in that I have never personally experienced abuse and for that I am lucky. All I can really say to this abuse issue is that as long as the woman is honoring her husband’s wishes, God will provide for her. Her husband’s sins will not be her problem. I realize it’s not fair that some of women have to go through this while I sit here in my comfy chair tapping away on the computer and my husband is at work supporting us financially. God never said life would be fair. I don’t know what else I can say.

      Volunteer at a shelter, sure, I could do that. Instead, I choose to do what I can from here at home with my kids. I spend some of my time volunteering and I don’t have to use a babysitter. The kids see first hand that I am making blankets for people that need them. Just this morning I rummaged through closets and drawers and pulled out a big pile of things we don’t really need to send to hurricane Sandy victims up in NY. My daughter said I could send one of her blankets. Does this make you feel better? Knowing that my family has compassion? Maybe it’s not specifically for abuse victims but it IS for someone who desperately needs it.

      1. Monica

        If your daughter was being physically and sexually abused by her husband, I guarantee you’d do more than just pray for her and tell her to tough it out. You wouldn’t shrug your shoulders and say “life’s not fair.” I have seen women horribly beaten and abused who have done everything their husband’s ask. If a woman like this is reading right now: GET OUT. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. GET OUT.

        1. zoedawn

          It takes a strong woman to stand back and let God do His work. You are right. I probably would really try to get her out of that situation but honestly, I don’t think that’s the best way to go about it. Like I said in Kate’s original post….I don’t always manage to follow these guidelines but it’s the ideal that I strive for.

          1. Anonymous

            I am really trying to understand where you are going here. if a man is abusing his wife, and she’s praying about it and he winds up actually killing her, do you feel that was God’s way of saying “it was your time”? I don’t mean to be disrespectful, and I have typed and retyped this, but I just can’t possibly imagine how you could think that praying would be enough to help any person being abused. Some people are sick and they take it out on others. Would you just attempt to pray away cancer or some other illness putting your life at risk?

        2. Candis Jones

          I second that! GET OUT. God loves you and doesn’t want you to be abused. I am a Christian woman who loves Jesus and I promise you he wants your mind and body safe and away from abuse.

          1. Candis Jones

            To be clear I second Monica, not Zoe. It is not ideal to strive to endure being hit, smacked, thrown into walls, thrown down stairs, punched, raped, called names. That is not ideal in anyone’s eyes including Gods.

            1. Candis Jones

              I am trying to stay kind but saying that enduring physical abuse if your husband is doling it out is an ideal to strive for is an ignorant and awful thing to say.

                1. Kate {motleymama} Post author

                  As the moderator of these comments, I do feel a moral and legal obligation to acknowledge that if you are in an abusive relationship, please remove yourself from the situation and seek help immediately. God loves you. We love you. Get out.

                  1. Heather

                    Thank you, Kate – I was becoming really worried and distressed for the potential severe consequences a desperate abused woman reading this comment stream could be facing. Women and their children have died gruesome deaths at the hands of their abusers. For anyone to advocate that a woman stay, yet alone put her babies in that situation… Well, let’s say, that yes – in this instance – I am judging those who advocate for that approach severely. About this, no – I cannot respect another opinion. Wrong is wrong. And advocating a woman stay in that situation is wrong. period. done. Her blood is on the hands of those who advocate she stay and “bear up”. Feel free to delete this comment if you must, but about this I cannot and will not be a silent observer.

                    For those who need help: My friend works for this fantastic organization: The Joyful Heart Foundation


      2. Danielle

        I think you misunderstood my suggestion to volunteer at a shelter. I was leaning more towards gaining a better understanding of what it is to experience abuse, whether it be a one-time or daily occurrence. Better yet, if you don’t have an interest in truly understanding the issue, I’d suggest that you not speak on it. Your words and ideas on abuse are not only ignorant, they are extremely dangerous!

        1. Heather

          Yes – that’s my feeling as well. My mother’s best friend when we kids were extremely young had the sh&t kicked out of her every day while her 6 kids watched. When he almost killed her, my mom and dad got her and the kids out. What if Zoe had been her friend. Would she be alive? Would her kids have survived? Would she walk around every day with the thought that if she just looked pretty enough, or responded well enough, or right enough, or cooked well enough — that then, maybe then, she and her kids would be safe? I find this whole comment fairly nauseating to read. I feel sick inside. And I feel even sicker that this has got Jesus’ name smeared all over it. God have mercy.

          1. Kate

            I feel like while this is a theoretical conversation in many ways, the possibility that someone who is in an abusive relationship reading this very real.

            No one deserves to be hurt by their father, husband, brother, uncle or pastor. It is not God’s will. To suggest otherwise is reckless, painfully naive, and dangerous.

            God loves you. LEAVE THIS RELATIONSHIP. You have done nothing wrong. The only poor choice you can make is to stay with anyone who is hurting you. I’ve read a lot about prayer in this discussion. I pray that no one will accept that they are somehow at fault for the abuse they receive. Please leave.

  12. Bridget

    I haven’t read all the comments yet, so if I’m repeating something, I apologize!

    Zoe, you’re brave for doing this, so thanks.

    Another question (not another!): are there any women in your life who agree with you on this? Just curious.

    You said, “I also think, that if given the respect they crave, a lot of these abusing husbands could turn around and make a major change.” It seems that societies where men demand the most submission from their wives (and often receive the MOST respect), they are the most abusive. Women are marginalized in those societies more than almost any other. How would you respond to that situation?

    On feminism–it gets a bad rap. Your generalizations of it are true–the whole “women are owed the world” thing. For me (and many others, I think) feminism is specifically this: equality of the sexes. In fact, my husband calls himself a feminist. I’m not suggesting that he’s not better designed for some things than others, as am I. But I think a lot of people shy from feminsim because it conjures up women burning their bras and picketing pro-life rallies.

    I could go on, but in the interest of time (yours and mine!), I’ll stop there.

    1. Kate {motleymama} Post author

      By definition, feminism is “a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.”

      Austin would call himself a feminist as well. I think a lot of times we get the definition of feminism confused with women who hate men. That’s not the case. Equal, not more.

      1. Bridget

        True. The whole feminist movement is, at times, characterized by a lot of anger (and sometimes, justified anger!). I’m not thinking of THAT feminist movement with the above comment.

        Steve and Austin! High fives all around!

    2. zoedawn

      There are women in my life who agree with these basic principles…maybe not on every tiny detail but the basics, yes.

      Are these societies believers in the Lord? Maybe they are (I don’t know much about world religion) but I think rather than fighting for specific “rights,” we should be taking the Word of God to them (men and women alike). Tell them about Jesus! His Love! God can work wonders!

      About feminism: thanks for your point of view. I do need to judge less in this area :)

  13. Meggie

    Wow! What an interesting and challenging post. Thank you for your willingness to share your thoughts, Zoe. I’m a Christian and believe God created men and women equally but differently, and it plays itself out very differently in my marriage than it does in yours. My husband read this post with me and said he couldn’t image this dynamic between us. But I think it’s a big world with lots of room for different views to live graciously together, and it seems like you are content and in a happy marriage.

    My biggest concern is your reference to the Pearl’s, whose writings and world view have repeatedly been linked to stories of horrific child abuse. How are you able to still view them as a scriptural authority when ther writings and view points have produced such negative and dangerous consequences that clearly do not line up with the will of God? I hope this question doesn’t come off disrespectful, I ask sincerely, as one mother to another.

    1. Esther

      Zoe, thanks so much for sharing. I used to believe almost exactly as you do, but my views have changed quite a lot. I appreciate that you expressed your views without apology while still acknowledging and respecting those who disagree with you.

      I received Created to be His Help Meet as a wedding gift (from your aunt!) I have to agree with Meggie to some respect. I think that for someone who is very stable and mature, they can read a book like this and take away the good from it. However, for someone with trauma or abuse in their past, the book could be very harmful. For example, a common psychological aspect of abuse is for the victim to feel the abuse is their fault. In this case, the suggestion that by being MORE submissive, they can solve the problem might be taken the wrong way.

      I think the same is true of the Pearl’s parenting books which have been notoriously dangerous (lethal) in parenting adoptive children who may have trauma, and therefor respond differently to discipline than how the Pearl’s children apparently did. I think the Pearls may have some good advice, but I had the feeling that they gave coercively, with the impression that if you do not do exactly as they say, you are not following God. In my opinion, this is blasphemy as well.

      1. zoedawn

        The Pearl’s discipline methods are not abusive. You obviously have to take each child into consideration before you punish them. One of ours is a little more sensitive than the others and we are more apt to deal with him in different ways than just spanking. But that doesn’t mean we never spank him and it doesn’t mean we don’t use other methods for the other children. Every situation needs assessed and dealt with accordingly. And of course, there always needs to be love. Kids respond well to love.

        I think it is probably safe to say that these stories of child abuse that were supposedly brought on by the Pearl’s views were committed by people who lacked proper judgment. Yes, adopted children from abusive pasts should probably not be spanked. They need alternative methods of discipline. Maybe the Pearl’s could have done a better job of explaining some of these things…I do agree with you on that. I don’t believe they were purposely misleading people. They write with love but what it comes down to is each family making calls that are best for them.

  14. SWM

    Oh Zoe dear. I’m glad you mentioned the book. No wonder you feel this way! As a Mennonite woman who has been raised in and raised what I believe is a Godly home, I fear this book is very dangerous for young woman. I encourage you to read some other literature on what it means to be a Godly woman.

    1. zoedawn

      I’ve read the Bible. Is that not literature enough?

      Perhaps I could gain some new perspectives. I’m not saying I have nothing to learn. Quite the opposite. I will continue to learn my whole life. In fact, this whole discussion is pointing out a few things I need to improve on. So thank you all for that.

  15. jodi

    Zoe, I’m glad you were able to share you beliefs to help us better understand where you come from. I am a Christian and a wife and mother and while I wouldn’t live my life the way you do your’s, I really respect the heartfelt dedication to following what you believe. I am curious, what you think about women who are unmarried…how they should make decisions. Should they seek out a man to make decisions for them or rely on their father’s decision making until they are married? Do you believe every woman should get married? I’m just curious because although I disagree with you on most of what you said, I would love to know more about this. I do think, part of what you’re saying is basically that women should adjust their attitudes (?) and instead of having an “it’s owed to me” attitude, our actions should come from a more humble place. I could be wrong in my assumption of your writing, but I definitely believe that the battle of the sexes would be defused somewhat if both men and women came from a place of humble love and respect for each other. But as you say, it’s an imperfect world. Thanks again for sharing!

      1. jodi

        I’ve just finished reading through the majority of the comments. Thank you for your candid answer to my questions. I will maintain that I do not agree with your position on many things, but I definitely respect your right to hold those beliefs and think you’re very brave for putting yourself out there. Honestly, I think each person should seek the Lord’s will for their lives, taking into consideration the giftings He’s placed on their lives and pursue that path (and ideally marry – if you want – someone who’s path compliments and “meshes” well with yours). While I do agree that honoring my husband is the right thing to do, I also firmly stand on the fact that marriage is a partnership, not one sided, with only the wife submitting. I also feel that God created us as individuals and has given each of us giftings and talents specific to us; He’s entrusted those things to us to utilize for His glory and we are to be good stewards of them. While I agree that honoring your husband is good and right, I do not believe it is the end all. That I should abandon every other aspect of who God made me and what He’s asked me to do on this earth, to only do what my husband says. I feel that I would not be a good steward of what God’s given me (if that’s what I did) and in the end, I would be held accountable for that just as much as for honoring (or not honoring) my husband. I realize that when we marry, the bible says we’ve become as one, but I also believe that in the end, we are accountable for our actions, not anyone else’s. I should mention that my husband and I do have a partnership and neither one of us does what we want without regard to the other. There is mutual respect and love and we compromise. I do understand that really, the greater thing is in the attitude we hold while living our lives (married or unmarried)…are we humble, are we acting out of a place of love, putting other’s needs before our own? I do think every marriage is different and each partnership has it’s own dynamics, but when addressed with that humble love attitude (on both ends, not just the wife), that, is the “good and right” way – that is honoring our spouse. In the cases of an abusive relationship, get out! God gave us a free will and He is a loving God and I believe the abuser can still be “won over” without the abused continuing to put themselves in harms way. I do hope that through this entire discussion, the one thread that holds fast is the truth of God’s love, rather than anyone’s man-made opinion or interpretation (me included) of God’s truth.

        1. jodi

          Basically Justin’s comment below is what I was trying to say…And while I’m sure you’re ready to be done with this subject and move on, I am glad you wrote about it and hope you understand that, from me at least, there’s no harshness, judgement nor bad feelings towards you.

  16. Dara

    Thank you Zoe for doing this! It’s nice to see another woman with very similar beliefs as myself. There are some things I don’t agree with–mostly the voting thing, but that’s about it. Otherwise I really understand where you’re coming from with the view of modern feminism. We shouldn’t strive to be men–we’re created to be different and I don’t know why as women we can’t be happy with that.

    Anyway, thank you again for sharing your views. It’s encouraging to me as a fellow sister in Christ :)

  17. Anonymous

    Ephesians 5:22-33
    New International Version (NIV)
    22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

    25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

    I have been married almost 20 years to a wonderful Christian man who truly lives out this passage in Ephesians. Even so, marriage has been the most challenging endeavor I have ever undertaken. Like the rest of God’s word, Scripture is not designed to make our lives harder or to keep us from, “having fun.” Instead, following God’s plan makes our lives better and more fulfilling.

    I am a stubborn and strong-willed person, accomplished in my career and well educated. It has taken me YEARS and YEARS to fully understand that submitting to my husband will make our marriage stronger. Over the course of our marriage, I have tried to control finances, be “in charge” as a parent to our children, and direct my husband’s career path. All of these attempts have resulted in discord and a lack of peace in our home. As I have learned to submit to my husband’s leadership, I have seen great positive change in our family. My husband has demonstrated a wisdom and insight that I never gave him the chance to show before. Every area of our lives have improved and I have a peace I never had before.

    All of that said, as I reflect on this topic, it occurs to me that we MUST educate our children, male and female, about what a godly marriage looks like. It is clear to me in Scripture that IN NO WAY did God intend for marriages to be a one-sided relationship, with women giving and men taking. If a man truly loves his wife like Christ loves the church and like the man loves himself, there will not be abuse, oppression, and misery. In my opinion, men are actually given the larger, more challenging command.

    My husband and I will teach our son and our daughter the roles that each is to play in a marriage, if God calls them to marriage. My children are small, and I am already praying for each of their spouses. A marriage based on Christ is not perfect, but if both parties are committed to God’s teachings, the type of abuse mentioned in other comments will not occur. If it does, in my opinion, a woman must remove herself and her children from such a dangerous situation. God does not ask us to submit to a spouse unto death; Jesus submitted unto death to save us from our sins, but we are not Jesus.

    Okay, I will stop here. I admire and appreciate Zoe for her courage in stating her beliefs and the reasons behind them. May we all be so open and honest.

    1. zoedawn

      Anon: You have said many wise things! Thank you for pointing about a few more details.

      I think this says a lot: “If a man truly loves his wife like Christ loves the church and like the man loves himself, there will not be abuse, oppression, and misery. In my opinion, men are actually given the larger, more challenging command. ”

      Thank you!

  18. Karen B.

    Love you, Zoe. :) You have always been fun to be with, respectful, and kind. I’m proud of you for sharing your beliefs and am so fortunate to call you my cousin. Whether we agree or disagree on these issues will never change any of that. Have a great week.

  19. Mandy

    I’m looking forward to reading through the comments, but now it’s time for me to go be a mother and stop being a lazy bum! But I did want to say thank you for being so open on this issue. I agree with you on everything except your decision not to vote. I might be wrong, but I don’t think the Bible says women can’t choose their leaders. After all, that’s what we’re doing when we decide to marry someone! I respect your decision not to vote, and I would say that wives shouldn’t vote differently than their husbands.

    1. Mandy

      A couple other things:

      You asked about leaders and entrepreneurs in the Bible. In Judges 4 Deborah is a judge and leading battles etc. I don’t think that means God wants women to lead, but this was definitely his plan and he definitely used her in this position for his glory.

      The woman in Proverbs 31 buys land, runs a successful vineyard, sells linens. I think that makes her a pretty savvy business woman! But it’s also clear that she honors, respects and submits to her husband.

      And a question: You don’t believe women should teach. Do you believe this for schools, too, or just other areas?

      Again, thank you!

      1. zoedawn

        Deborah – she was a great judge but it later goes on to say that she was a shame to all of Israel. Yes, God does use women in this way. But I don’t think it’s right of us to pursue it.

        Proverbs 31 –You said it right there: she was honoring her husband. Maybe what I’m seeing is that a lot of women that I encounter want to take these leadership roles for selfish reasons. I’m not trying to judge, here, this is just my observation.

        I don’t think women should teach men. Teaching children, sure, because they are below us in the chain of command.

        1. Mandy

          Oh, I’m not disagreeing with you. I just was saying who I thought the author of question #12 was referring to. Although they said the Bible uses this story to challenge your beliefs, and I think it only proves your point. Like you said, she was a shame to Israel.

          I figured that’s what you meant about teaching, I just wanted to clarify.

        2. Claire Kiefer

          For me, it’s so important that we love and respect each other without judgment. I can’t help but feel the judgment inherent in the statement, “I don’t think women should teach men.”

          I have been a volunteer teacher at San Quentin State Prison for almost ten years. I teach a Poetry class on Monday nights through the Education program in the medium security unit of the prison. Obviously, I teach men (exclusively). The arts programs have been proven to lower California’s recidivism rates, and many students, over the years, have reported that taking these classes has been therapeutic and has left a meaningful impact on their lives.

          It’s sad to me that you think that I shouldn’t be making this impact, just because I’m a woman and they (my students) are men. Then again, I know I need to respect your viewpoint and remember that our lives have been very different.

  20. Anonymous

    Are you worried your sons will not be able to find a woman who will “submit to their husbands” in this way, being that it’s an outdated and fairly radical perspective?

  21. Haley

    Just curious if Motley Mama (ha!)/Kate chooses to incorporate any of these ideas in her own marriage. I know Austin is Zoe’s brother, there has to be some overlap?

  22. Leslie

    I have echo the sentiments on the book—I could not finish it. It was ridiculous. I am a Conservative Christian wife and mother. But, this puts all of life’s emphasis on the husband and making the marriage complete. We are nothing if we do not have God first in our lives. Our hopes, and dreams should be God centered – not husband centered. A man can add to your happiness, but he is not your happiness.

    According to her words, there is a hierarchy: God => man => woman => children. Listening to a marriage lecture by her husband (Michael Pearl) confirmed this unbiblical belief. They really do believe that God talks to the man, the man talks to the woman. The woman ought to submit to her husband’s will as if his will and thoughts were God’s will and thoughts. She is to submit to him as if he were her Savior. This is what they teach and THIS IS a LIE. Scripture does not say this! If it did, then Christianity would no longer be a monotheistic but polytheistic — and Christ’s mission on earth failed. He came so that there would no longer need to be any mediators between God and people (no more high priests), but according to Pearl theology, the man needs to be a ‘high priest’ on behalf of the woman. This is highlighted in Debi Pearl’s encouragement to wives (in this book) to give up their ‘quiet time’ with the Lord in order to ensure time to serve their husbands. In essence, a woman needs to give up her relationship with God because her priority is husband, children and THEN God. This is heretical!!! God desires a deep and personal relationship with both men AND women. Every woman’s first priority is God — NOT her husband’s.

    1. zoedawn

      This whole discussion seems very one sided because I am only speaking from the perspective of a married woman and we aren’t saying much about the men’s responsibility. It does seem terrible that we might have to stop praying and give ourselves to our husbands. Or that we shouldn’t take up sewing or photography. It’s their responsibility to care for us and so ideally they won’t mind if we do some of these things. God’s not saying men should be terrible and not let women do anything. It takes two (3 if you count God!) to make a good relationship. When only looking at if from the woman’s side, I can understand why this all sounds very harsh and unloving on God’s part.

      Also…you say the Pearl’s teach that a woman’s priority is husband-children-THEN God. Remember this: by honoring your husband you ARE honoring God. I don’t think that puts God last in the equation.

  23. Beth Ann

    Kudos to Zoe on being true to herself and beliefs and for being brave enough to share with us. I will add no more questions. Just wanted to say thanks and to commend Kate’s readers for their amazing display of respect in their commenting! Wow, I am so impressed. I don’t think I have ever seen such civil discussion in any blog comment section of such a controversial subject. You definitely have awesome readers!

  24. Melanie

    I am a heterosexual female.

    I wholeheartedly disagree that anyone is born to gossip or dislike their body. These are social constructs born of the society in which we live. They are patterns of behaviors that are engaged in due to the examples set forth for us.
    We do not learn, nor are we taught, to be romantically attracted to same sex partners. Lust, romance, attraction and love are developmental and inherent to physiological and biological makeup.
    I assume, Zoe, that you did not choose to love to Brad. That this attraction and love was not strategized or determined by choice; it simply became and there was no question as to how that happened as this hetero-attraction and love was inherent of you.

    I am really pleased at how patient everyone has been in expressing their viewpoints and agreement/disagreement. I struggle to use the word “respect”, because I can’t say that I actually respect Zoe’s viewpoints. I do respect the way in which dialogue here has been engaged.
    Thanks for that.

    1. Kate {motleymama} Post author

      Thanks Melanie.

      I think there is a difference in respecting the right to an opinion (as long as it’s not causing prejudice or injustice) and respecting actual viewpoints. I do not respect the idea that one chooses to be gay, but I respect the right to disagree with me.

      Great discussion today.

    2. zoedawn

      Melanie –

      You are right about the disliking my body thing. That was a terrible example. But I don’t understand how you think all sin is shaped by society. If we weren’t born fallen, we wouldn’t need Jesus.

      I did not fall in love with Brad at first sight. I did choose to love him. We had our spats while dating and we could have ended it at that. But we didn’t. I do believe that God brought us together.

      Please respect me because I respect you.

      Kate said it very well. Thanks Kate!

      1. Melanie

        I never said I didn’t respect you. I don’t respect your viewpoints and to that end don’t feel I have to. Certainly, I respect your right to have them. In general, I feel we often use the word ‘respect’ carelessly.

        I also didnt say that all sin is shaped by society. I didn’t say anything about sin because I don’t share your faith.

        Also, I feel that we can get lost in semantics around “choosing who we love”. Naturally, we all – heterosexual or homo- choose to work on relationships and go forward with them or end them. But I doubt that we have conscious choice about the type of person we’re inherently attracted to.

        Again, thank you to all for a civil and thoughtful discussion.

  25. Jessie

    WHOA. Kate, more than anything I feel sympathy for you for having to interact with these people on a daily basis. Not because they are incapable of loving relationships outside the barred cells of their own sordid belief system, but because it seems fully impossible to have a conversation with this woman (provided she has permission from her husband to be talking to begin with) that doesn’t end in slamming into the brick wall of the Bible. Zoe stated time and time again in her Q&A that it is not her place to judge, yet each and every response was blatant judgement masked by the “light of God.” It is a shame that this marriage, however non-abusive, will perpetuate children with similar medieval outlooks. What’s most striking about it all is how terrifyingly similar her beliefs seem to be to the LDFS and fundamentalist Mormons. In fact the single separating factor seems to be that of plural marriage. This is a culture that (since it’s okay in Zoe’s eyes to umbrella Americans under such expansive stereotypes) perpetuates abuse toward women and children, rape, sexual assault, and abuse of prescription drugs and alcohol to cope with feelings of complete loss of identity and self respect and absolutely no way out because they are “doing God’s will” in completely submitting to their husbands. I err on the side of extremely liberal, but was educated in a catholic household and more importantly, at a conservative catholic college. The piece of theological advice from several priests that stuck with me was this: the Bible cannot be taken literally. It’s a disservice to its many authors (none of them being God). To manipulate it to fit our own wants is inherently unchristian. It should be amended from time to time the way our constitution is, to grow with its people.

    There is a South Park episode about Hell that depicts Christians, Muslims, and Jews all being checked in at the gates, only to find out that “Mormon was the correct choice! Sorry everyone, but Mormon was actually the correct choice!” We do not know where we are going, so to shove our belief systems so far down someone else’s throats in the name of righteousness seems ridiculous.

    Does Zoe ever stop to ponder the fact that strong women leaders, or merely female voters will not affect her from living out her marriage as she sees fit? But that spewing her medieval beliefs and stunted, close minded, self centered view hurts so many more than it may help? God help a rape victim who takes Zoe’s advice to just pray for help when she encounters a female police officer, but doesn’t trust her to help because she’s a woman. If Zoe’s actually making the correct choice, may her many prayers for those living rational, healthy, rights-fought-for lives be heard loudest and clearest.

    1. Anonymous

      I know everyone is being soooooo “respectful” but hallelujah to you. agreed. if anything I feel thankful for this post and dialogue (and everyone else who agrees with Zoe coming out of the woodwork) because I can grasp how far our sex has come! Feeling thankful for the bra burners for forging the way outta this.

      1. Kate {motleymama} Post author

        I’m thankful for bra burners and I agree, some of these philosophies have been quite harmful to women, children, and men. Yes. Absolutely. But like I said earlier, I choose to respect the right to different beliefs but NOT the beliefs themselves.

        In spite of this, I am thankful for Zoe. And I’m so happy that I can honestly say she’s never pushed these philosophies down my throat. We’ve discussed our differences and left it at that. She is a kind and generous person and while this Q&A does portray a different/passionate side of her, mostly she rolls with the punches and leads her life the way she wants to lead it (and leaves mine alone).

        1. Jessie

          It is so commendable that you are BOTH able to maintain a meaningful relationship despite very polarizing differences. I can say with honesty and a bit of sadness (because it means that I am not as idealistically open minded as I strive to be) that I would not be willing or able to find a place in my heart for someone with such segregating views. I truly think that it would destroy my most cherished relationships to make a place for such intolerant views in my life or the lives of people I love.

          You Kate, are a much better woman than I (and most!) for putting aside your differences and creating what is so obviously an important friendship and family dynamic with Zoe and her husband and children. You cannot choose your family, but you can choose to love them!

          Not dwelling on the differences that separate you from those around you, but appreciating and celebrating what makes you the same is a HUGE way in which you are moving mountains as a mother to shape a mind of our future generation. You are applauded.

    2. zoedawn

      Whoa. Wait. I am not shoving this down anyone’s throat, least of all yours. I said it before and I said it again: These are my beliefs. You may believe whatever you want.

      1. Anonymous

        All of your reply comments have become increasingly defensive. You cannot be surprised at the backlash you are receiving, all of which is mild, respectful and understanding. I echo all the sentiments that read that it’s not THAT you believe differently that I am so vehemently against, but WHAT you believe. By justifying and advocating abuse in a public forum in the name of God you tow an incredibly dangerous line. The fact that you sleep soundly at night thinking you are doing God’s will in “educating” a percent of the public is what disturbs me most.

        I have to wonder mostly about your children. Who would they become if you let them devolp into the person God intended them to be? (To this I’m sure you’ll answer that they were intended by God to be your children and thus destined to be heavily indoctrinated into your belief system). It seems unfortunately though, that they’re destined to become either completely alienated (by either their peers for their beliefs, or you and your husband for going against those beliefs) or self-righteous and outdated in an ever-evolving-for-the-better world.

        As I commented to Kate, I commend you BOTH for putting aside your differences to maintain a meaningful relationship.

  26. Sash

    Thanks to Zoe for sharing so openly and honestly. It’s a brave thing to do.
    I disagree completely, but appreciate the candor. And I’m proud that so many women can come together, and discuss such a big, controversial topic in such a calm, respectful way. Everyone benefits from discussions like this.

  27. LF

    Pearl is CRAZY. Yes, there are nuggets of truth in this book (need to show respect toward your husband, be joyful), but you have to wade through a ton of bad stuff to get to the few nuggets of good. Here is the book in a nutshell: (1) Everything that is wrong with your marriage (abuse, infidelity, porn addition, substance abuse) is YOUR fault (2) All you need to do is smile, wink and give your spouse regular rolls in the sack (3) Once you know your “place” you will be fine (4) Welcome back the spouse who sexually abuses your children (5) Be prepared to “[allow] some abuse” according to Michael Pearl (p. 263) in order to keep the chain of authority intact. The acknowledgement page states that Michael Pearl “rewrote [Debi’s] half-hearted second tries” — meaning that women are receiving marriage advice from a man, rather than from a Titus 2 woman. Better and healthier books to read include Families Where Grace is in Place by Jeff VanVonderen and the upcoming Grace Based Living by Pastor Crystal Lutton.

    1. zoedawn

      You can pull whatever you want from the Pearls’ books and make it look bad. But they site scripture directly from the Bible. I believe the Bible more than I do any random book. But since I have a similar view to them, I chose to quote their book.

      I think if you were to read the Help Meet book as well as Michael’s book for husbands, it might make a little more sense to you.

      Like I said before, this discussion seems rather one-dimensional because I am only a wife. I am not a husband as well.

  28. Anonymous

    Just for the record…”And the angel came in unto her (Mary), and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” God didn’t run this idea of Jesus being birthed through Mary with Joseph before hand. This was a pretty big deal, you know, Jesus being the Saviour of the world and everything. So, I am not quite sure God cares so much about the reporting structure when it comes to things HE wants to do and when he wants to do them.

    1. zoedawn

      About Mary:

      God is in the beginning of the chain of command! He told Joseph and Mary what was going to happen. He can do whatever He wants. I don’t see how this is an argument against the command chain.

      Also, God said she was blessed among WOMEN. He didn’t put her higher than Joseph or any other man.

  29. Candis Jones

    I will say two things

    1. I am thankful for little girls everywhere that this way of life is considered radical and not the norm.

    2. I was not created to hate my body. I was taught that and then unlearned it by listening to what God says about what he created.

    That is all.

  30. Merry

    I understand being respectful because this is your family member…but mind = blown. I read this with my jaw on my desk.

  31. Sash

    I’ll say this. While Zoe’s views are completely foreign and radical to me, and I most certainly do not respect those VIEWS, Zoe as a person, does deserve respect. She has been nothing but honest and open, and an open dialogue like this does far more good than harm.

  32. Bridget

    Zoe! I tried to stay away from posting another comment but I couldn’t! Gah!

    So one more. And then, really, I’m out!

    You compared homosexuality with gossip or jealousy or being ashamed of your body.

    I should think that refraining from gossip or jealousy isn’t denying your VERY BEING. It’s a characteristic, one of many (I should hope!) that make up a person. A flaw, a habit. Denying being gay, finding someone to be with, share your life with, love through and through… abandoning THAT isn’t equivalent to abandoning an undesireable character trait–the two can’t really be compared. Would you agree? And, my research isn’t up to snuff on this, but if they do discover that there is actually a genetic predisposition to being gay, would you feel differently about it then?

    I’ve done some reading–in both the Bible and various commentaries (and my husband is a religious professor so I pick his brain from time to time)–on what the Bible really has to say about homosexuality. In Leviticus, Romans, etc. and you might be surprised (or might not–I don’t deny you are well read!) with how little (almost nothing!) it has to say on a monogamous homosexual marriage. Taken out of context? Sure. But, taking A LOT of Biblical things out of context is a pretty dangerous line to tow. Among the least dangerous–don’t sow a field with two kinds of seed, wear garments of two kind of materials, obey kosher laws, no round haircuts, no sex while menstruating. These are found in the Holiness Code in Leviticus (not suggesting you don’t know that, but just making for easy reference!). We don’t follow those anymore, so do we need to listen to what Leviticus says about other things?

    Zoe, again, thank you for doing this. No doubt I’d find it fascinating to sit with you over a cup of coffee! Kate, invite us over! :)

    1. zoedawn

      Bridget: We disagree on the gay thing. I do think it can be compared to my gossip/jealousy/etc. And I still maintain that if God wanted men to be with men, he’s have created them to fit.

      There’s many commenters I could have coffee with. But we’d probably just spew coffee all over each other because we’d be so shocked at what the other believes :)

  33. Bridget

    And a book I would seriously recommend — to you Zoe or anyone! — The Good Book by Peter J. Gomes. He passed away in 2011 but was chaplain at Harvard and, read it, a homosexual man too. Hope that doesn’t make anyone, Christian or non, throw away his ideas. It’s a great book.

  34. carasrobb

    i wish there was a like button for so many comments above. i felt badly all weekend that i had so much discontent and anger towards the views she expressed. and i started to think how intolerant i must be if i felt that way. in the end, i appreciate the insight that it is not the woman i am so angry towards. it’s her interpretation of scripture that is dangerous, wrong, intolerant and the source of so much pain and suffering towards which i am angry. for zoe, i feel sympathy. for her daughters, even more so.

    i pray that more women (and men) will come to understand the God i love. a God that does NOT view marriage and the role of women this way. i also pray that women who are on the fence in their beliefs are not discouraged as a result of thinking that this is the viewpoint of the majority of evangelical christian women.

    and, in the end, i pray that all may come to know a much more tolerant, welcoming, POWERFUL Christ thanks to outspoken, smart and loving WOMEN leaders.

  35. Carlie

    Wait, you believe this way because of Michael Pearl?

    The same Michael Pearl who suggests tempting a child with a bite of their favorite food ~ placing a morsel within the child’s reach ~ and when said child instinctively reaches out for the food ~ Switch their hand once with a swtich and simultaneously say, ‘No.’ Repeat as many times as necessary until the child is trained not to automatically grab for whatever he or she wants ~ but rather, to automatically look to the parent for permission before reaching out to take the desired food. Didn’t Jesus teach us to pray “lead us not into temptation”? If it’s not okay for our Heavenly Father to lead us into temptation ~ how can it be right for earthly parents to do this to their children? I did not bother to finish reading the book. Or the one about how to have a “healthy marriage.” THIS GUY IS NUTS.

    1. zoedawn

      It is very important to train our children that they can’t have everything they want. Perhaps Michael’s example of training wasn’t the best. I didn’t use it. But when my children would grab for something that they couldn’t have, I would snap their fingers. I did not purposely place the object there but if it was something already sitting there, I’d do it.

  36. michelle

    so glad to see you stick up for the gays. liked you before but i admire you for sticking up for what you believe in and sticking your name on it, too.


    1. Bridget

      my pleasure, michelle! i cannot stand when people use the bible to back their anti-homosexual stance. gets my blood going. but that’s for another day!

      1. Beth Ann

        Bridget, dare you do a post on what you have learned from Steve/the bible about homosexuality? If not, could you email me? I’d love any resources, etc. This is a topic that I struggle with figuring out what is right/what I believe. Growing up in a conservative baptist home, I was taught similarly to Zoe’s views on homosexuality (no other similarities- just this topic) – that it is a choice, a sin that can be redempted, etc. Yet, I have issues with those beliefs. Basically, I just can’t decide what I believe.

        1. Bridget

          beth ann, maybe i’ll post about it one day! not sure when that’ll be though… in the meantime, i will try to formulate an email (though, that book i recommended is a great resource too! check it out!).

  37. Kate Bedinghaus

    Zoe, I praise God for your faithfulness to His Word in sharing your thoughts on authority, headship and submission. It is not easy to be so public, but it is necessary and it glorifies God. I pray God will strengthen you for this work you have undertaken.
    To everyone reading this, there is much to be said on this topic, but it is actually quite simple. God has ordained authority structures all around us and He commands us to submit to them. To submit to the authority of His Word, to the authority of men in leadership over us and to our own husbands. This is offensive to us because of our pride. We cannot imagine anyone ruling over us. However, when we do learn to submit we find there is great freedom there. Freedom for men to be men who lead and women to be women who cheerfully submit. I found the greatest freedom in submission came when I realized I didn’t have to do it all. I didn’t always have to be in control. My husband bears that responsibility and I am thankful for that. But, that can only happen when we also realize that God made men and women differently. Equal yes, in creation and in God’s eyes, but different in our makeup and our roles. Our culture tells us the only difference is sexual parts and that is so untrue. When I finally learned this for good, I found it was much more empowering to know I was created in God’s image as a woman, not a man, and that I could fully embrace being a woman, content in my role of wife and mother. Again, there is great freedom there rather than running around “chasing my dreams.” Am I oppressed? No. Am I unhappy sitting around at home? No. (Actually I’m too busy to sit around!) Does my husband rule me with an iron fist? No. I would choose this life again in an instant given the choice and I praise God for that.
    One final note, if you are looking to learn more on this topic I would recommend first reading Proverbs 31 and then picking up The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. It is much more substantial and clearer than Pearl’s book.

  38. Anonymous

    i’m fine with someone being higher than me. completely. i was fine as a child knowing my parents ruled the roost. i’m at the bottom of the chain at work in a big city working my way up. i’ve done my fair share of menial work. i disagree that there’s an INTRINSIC heirarchy that is set in stone due to your gender. seems odd. like someone with blonde hair is destined for some career path, or someone with brown eyes must only have one child. feels arbitrary guys. buuuut i’m a catholic turned atheist so this is probably all lost on me:)

    1. Sash

      Ha! Fellow “raised Catholic, now atheist” here. Woot. :)
      I feel like it’s slightly easier for me (us?) to stay calm about this whole thing since it’s not quite so personal. By that, I mean, for others who feel like Zoe is “misinterpreting” THEIR god, and their god’s words, obviously that’s hard to swallow.
      Yes, I agree, those views are radical, and wrong, and honestly, harmful, but I don’t have the added insult of feeling like Zoe is using MY god to justify those views.
      Just a thought.

      1. Anonymous

        wow! interesting point! i’m perturbed as a feminist and a human, but the god thing – not at all. i was fairly catholic too! catholic school, church on (most) sundays. but im not passionate about religion (or atheism for that matter) at all, live an let live if believing makes you happy!

  39. Anonymous

    Still really, really curious what your own mother thinks of this. I do not know you or your family (I’m from Indiana)—but I just don’t see how you could adopt this perspective without hearing this kind of rhetoric all your life.

  40. Merry

    Amen Bridget. I always say Jesus was all about love, and no interpretation of the Bible states otherwise. When people use the Bible for justifying any sort of hate, I imagine that is the ultimate blaspheming of Jesus’ message. Either way, I consider myself lucky and unburdened, because nowhere in the Bible does it say to judge or hate or be hateful to your neighbor or make decisions about their life or choices, so I’m cool with letting the Big Guy upstairs make the judgements. In the meantime, I think if you’re a kind and good person, you’ll be just fine.

      1. Dara

        Merry–I guess I don’t understand how not agreeing with someone’s lifestyle choice (i.e. homosexuals) is equivalent to hate? Maybe I read your comment wrong, but disagreeing with someone’s lifestyle is NOT hateful. Please correct me if I am wrong in reading that.

        1. Anonymous

          because you also likely vote {or dont?} for laws that are against what some might say are their rights; marriage, a place at the table with everyone else.

          1. Dara

            I do vote. I am sure it will become legal in the next four years and if that happens so be it.

            I don’t agree with many things society deems acceptable but that’s life. We are all entitled to our beliefs and opinions. If people want to label me as hateful for a difference of opinion, that’s life.

  41. Kara

    Page 270 from Pearl’s book on marriage that you are suggesting we read: [In a discussion of enduring abuse in silence:] “Women who threaten to report him to the law,’… are rebellious. They will never make it to the hall of fame found in Hebrews 11, where Sara was listed, nor will they make it into a heavenly marriage here on earth. They will go to their graves unloved and uncherished, a total failure as the woman God called them to be.”

    Kind of tough on a woman being abused by her husband.

    1. zoedawn

      Right after that quote comes this:

      “To those of you who are enduring verbal and physical abuse, we realize that statistically, you are likely to remain with your husband. It is therefore important that you understand how to speak and conduct yourself in a way that will maintain your physical and emotional safety and ultimately win your husband.”

      Win your husband! Is this not promise enough from God? We can win them over!

      1. Karissa

        Can you clarify where God promises that women can win over their abusive husbands? Are you suggesting that God is speaking through the Pearls here, or do you have a particular passage of Scripture in mind?

  42. LauraEllen

    Zoe, I appreciate your honesty and passion for what you believe. Although, I do not agree with many of your opinions, I do believe we worship the same God and my husband and I honor him in our marriage just as much as you do in yours.

    In the beginning of your post, you state that if I am not a believer in the same God you are this will not be difficult to grasp. I AM a believer in the same God you are and this concept IS difficult to grasp.

    I think the roles that people place within a marriage are seperate from identity. As a wife, I do submit to my husband. We do debate about things and often disagree. He has the final say. I think this is a place where we agree.

    I still vote, will have my own career, and who knows who will stay home with our future children. What I do know, is that no matter what my husband AND I will make the best decision for our family.

    My question to you, Zoe, How will you connect and relate with those around you who do not know Christ, gain their respect, and therefore be able to speak into thier lives when you choose to live so differently? I grew up in Lancaster County, in a conservative Mennonite family. It was wonderful, it was bliss, but I was never able to reach out and relate to those around me.

    I’m not saying give up on what your believe in, but ask yourself, how will I fulfill the greatest commandment given by Christ if I am so secluded from the rest of the world?

    1. zoedawn

      You and your husband are making these decisions together. That is the ideal! I’m glad it’s working!

      His greatest commandment: “and Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind.'” (Matthew 22: 37-38)

      There is plenty of reaching out to be done here in Lancaster. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer. I don’t understand how you can feel you can’t reach out.

      Like I told a commenter above…I’m doing my little part to reach out from here at home. Is this reaching out not as good as the missionary who travels to far away lands? I think they are equally important and necessary.

  43. Jennifer Jo

    Did your father choose your husband for you? Because if not, if you made the decision for who you would listen to, love, follow, and obey all by yourself, then isn’t that kind of ironic? What if your father wanted you to marry someone with different beliefs? What if your father doesn’t approve of these perspectives? What then?

    1. zoedawn

      Nope, dad did not choose Brad. We are fortunate to live in a country where we are not forced into marriages! I’m very thankful for that.

      I like to think that I would have followed my dad’s desires and chosen someone different had he told me to. It would have been hard. I probably would have rebelled. Who knows? It didn’t happen. He did express his perspective about my choice but left it up to me and gave Brad and I his blessing. Isn’t that what a loving, Christ-like father should do?

      As for approving of my current perspectives: when I married Brad I left my father and became one with my husband, and in turn my dad handed his authority over me to my new husband.

      1. A

        Jennifer Jo brings up an interesting point. Your “loving, Christ-like father” left the decision of choosing your life partner up to you. He understood you were a thinking, capable adult who was more than able to choose what she felt best for herself. As that female adult, you made, presumably, what you feel to be the most important decision of your life. Your Dad didn’t decide, your to-be-husband didn’t decide. You did. Is that capability of decision making really only for that one important moment in your life?

        1. A

          Or more to the point, why were you, a woman, OK with making this all important decision, when you say women are too emotional to make important decisions and they should instead be made by rational men? Do you feel God is disappointed since men are above women and you took it upon yourself to choose your life partner?

          You say you feel fortunate you do not live in a country where we are forced into marriages. Yet places where this happens it is EXACTLY BECAUSE the men believe that they are the ones who can make the best decisions.

          1. ZoeDawn

            My statement about the emotional/rational sexes was misstated. I’m sorry I confused people with that.

            I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: Relationships work best when both parties are respecting each other. But when there are disagreements, it’s the wife’s duty to submit. (Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18, 1 Peter 3:1-6, 1 Corinthians 11:3, Titus 2:4-5)

  44. Wendy

    Honestly never been so shocked in my life. And this is coming from a good Christian woman in the heart of Amish country.

    Will you homeschool your children??? Will they be allowed to listen to any kinds of music, watch movies, watch TV, etc? Basically–will they be exposed to anything other than this doctrine? Just curious!

    1. zoedawn

      At this point we have chosen not to homeschool. I’m sure they will listen to music. They don’t watch TV but I know they will eventually.

      One cannot possibly protect their children from all sin. But we must do our best to teach them the ways of the Lord so that when they are tempted, they can respond the way God would want them to.

  45. Karen B.

    I’m just going to give an example from my own life: If my husband made all of the decisions in our household, we’d be up a creek. I am married to the dearest man, but he is NOT a decision maker. If I ask him a question, he responds to me with a question…Me: “What would you like for dinner?” Him: “What would YOU like for dinner?” Me: Where do you want to go to dinner?” Him: “Where do YOU want to go to dinner? :) It drives me crazy sometimes, but that’s his personality.

    I believe everyone was has their own gifts and suppressing those gifts for whatever reason — culture, religion, etc., can lead to a very unhappy life and can be very damaging long-term.

    1. zoedawn

      Brad has the same response to those types of questions :)

      I think, though, that you would never make a big decision without him. You would discuss it, right? And that is how healthy relationships should be. Like someone said above, relationships work best when both people are working together, respecting each other in all areas of life.

      1. Anonymous

        No, we make the decisions together for the most part. Of course, there’s a whole different issue for my family, simply because of the culture differences and the fact that he is not living in his home country.

  46. Anna

    Right now I am not married and as much as I would like to get married in the future what happens if I do not? In your opinion, who would I refer to while making decisions in my life?

    1. zoedawn

      I addressed this question above. I don’t have an answer for this. As surprising as it might be, I guess I don’t have all of my beliefs sorted out yet, either :)

  47. Karissa

    I want to echo what many others have said about respecting Zoe without necessarily respecting her ideas. Thanks, Zoe, for diving into a forum that you surely knew would be full of people who disagree with you. Very courageous.

    I also want to thank all the women (yes, feminists!) who struggled and sacrificed for decades (and continue to do so) so I could vote last week, attend my law school classes today, access contraception someday, and work outside the home if I want to.

    Zoe, you praise the idea of “practicing contentment.” You’re right that contentment is a worthy goal. But where there is discrimination and injustice, I refuse to be content. And if feminists of the past had chosen to be content with the state of things, none of the rights I just listed would be available to me. I recognize that you might not care if women no longer had those particular rights, but it wasn’t always true that we could choose to opt in or out of them. I am so grateful to have the choice.

  48. Georgia

    You say you will not be held accountable for your husband’s sin. Pearl disagrees. I her book she consistently asserts that a woman/wife bears responsibility for a man’s/ husband’s sins, going so far as to say a husband’s complete sanctification and deliverance from temptation is provided to him through his wife and her actions. It seems to teach that women are deceived by Satan but men are not, and that men’s primary weakness is their desire for (or to please) women. Therefore, women cause men to sin (or not) by their actions and submission.

    1. Georgia

      In a particularly eye-brow-raising interchange (p.28-32) that is characteristic of a lot of the advice in the book, a “desperate wife” writes to Debi about her husband’s emotional affair with an office secretary. Debi suggests that the woman engage in a full-on competition to win her husband back, using the weapons of coquetry, feminine wiles, blushing, dependence, smiles, staged anger towards her “rival”, teasing, frequent sex, etc. It is clearly the woman’s responsibility to keep her husband faithful to her – not through love, prayer, and beauty of character, but through using the same techniques as her “rival”. “You can stand on your rights and stand on truth, but it won’t save your marriage.” (p.29)

      How can you possibly agree with this?

      1. zoedawn

        She will not be held accountable for his sins as long as she is doing her part in honoring him. I’ve said this so many times.

        These techniques you speak about are perfectly acceptable in a married relationship. It’s wonderful to be sexy for your husband. Just not for other men.

    1. Kate {motleymama} Post author

      He keeps stomping around the house ordering me to submit to him. What a joker.

      I did ask him in a serious way though, and he said he will think about it and get back to me.

  49. Ellie

    I would just like to say that the Bible was written so long ago. It was written for THAT time period and what was going on then. A lot of time has passed since then, the Bible has fallen into many different hands, it has probably changed, been re-worked, etc. Who knows what the original Bible said… I see the Bible as a good guideline for living a moral and respectful life. Seeing that it is so old I think what the Bible says should be taken with a grain of salt though, not word for word. And if you do want to take it word for word, you can find just about anything in the Bible supporting anything.

    There is also the fact that we as humans have evolved and are continuing to evolve. The world is evolving, you can’t deny that. Is it so hard to believe that women have evolved into stronger, smarter humans more capable of leading and making decisions? This is a wonderful thing! The Bible is around 3000 years old, a lot can happen in 3000 years. If God didn’t want us to evolve into what we are today, then he wouldn’t have let it happen, he would have wiped us out. We are still here though, and women are taking more and more of a lead. I strongly believe that women and men are equal. We both bring different strengths, but neither of us should have a certain role. Our role’s should be to work together.

    Jesus may have been a man, but Mother Earth is a woman.

  50. Anna {dear friend}

    Well, an hour later (read the post and ALL the comments), here I am leaving a comment. I don’t even know what to say, except for that I don’t know what to say.

    I also respect Zoe, but not her beliefs. Absolutely not her beliefs. Not in any way shape or form.

    I am shocked by some (mostly all) of the things you do believe, Zoe. I, personally, am so thankful we live in a country where this kind of belief is radical.

    I really can’t even wrap my head around this, so I’m not going to even say anymore. Lots of people have already written far better comments than I could get out at this point. But thank you for posting this, Kate. A completely fascinating post. WOW.

    1. Anna {dear friend}

      ALso, Zoe, THANK YOU for taking the time to do all of this. Answer all of these questions and respond to everyone’s comments. I can’t imagine it’s been an easy thing to do. Probably VERY HARD, I imagine. I had to come back and tell you that I think you’re awesome for doing this.

      I know I could never be so brave.

  51. Marissa

    Hey Zoe!

    As I tweeted at Kate this morning, I just can’t thank you enough for coming on here! I read your comment on Monday, but didn’t really give it a second glance… so catching up this morning was an eye opener!

    We’re about as polar opposite as you can get, but I loved reading this. It’s fascinating to read someone else’s thoughts and viewpoints, especially when they are expressed as eloquently as yours were here.

    Also, I appreciate that even though you were clearly the underdog here (and bless you for agreeing to come on here, I can’t imagine doing this knowing I’d have to defend myself/explain myself to so many people), you kept it classy and friendly.

    Do you have questions for people who don’t have the same sets of beliefs as you? It would be fun to turn this on it’s head and have you ask questions of us.

    1. zoedawn

      That would be fun but I’m pooped! I’m so tired of thinking about this subject. I want things to return to normal around here. Like I told Kate this afternoon, I’m really not a confrontational type of person :)

      Thank you for accepting that I believe differently than you!

  52. Anonymous

    Yes…God can do anything he wants and I believe can “favor” whomever he wants regardless of sex. God spoke to Mary without going through Joseph. He only clued Joseph in right before he was about to disown her. The God, Man, to women chain you refer to was in fact broken. In your theory, God would have told Joseph and he in turn Mary. That is not how it played out. I know God created Adam not Eve first but God saw them as one. God saw that Adam was lonely, not that Adam didn’t have anyone to rule over.

  53. Lisa

    Luke 11:27-28. One day a woman complimented Jesus by referring to how happy His mother must have been to have had such a wonderful son. “Blessed the womb that bore You, and breasts which nursed You!” she said. She meant well, but Jesus rebuked her sharply. Her reference to woman in purely reproductive terms, seemed to have bothered Jesus. Swidler remarks, “Jesus clearly felt it necessary to reject the ‘baby-machine’ image of women.” (7) He points out that Jesus insisted “on the personhood, the intellectual and moral faculties, being primary of all.” Luke records Jesus’ response in verse 28. He says, “Nay rather, blessed are the ones hearing and keeping the word of God.” Jesus made no gender distinction in clarifying what the defining priority is to be: “hearing and keeping the word of God.” Furthermore, both the word choice and word order in the Greek text indicate that He carried out his corrective action with intense emphasis.

  54. Justin

    As a guy (and a husband), I would like to enter myself in the conversation here. I think ‘submit’ is an interesting word, being that the connotations to that word are much more negative than positive. One thing that Zoe keeps saying in these comments is that she wants people to see the positive things that submitting can bring.. and as a husband, I may or may not have the answer, I will let you decide.

    Submitting, to me, simply means giving yourself over to the other in a variety of ways. Honestly, that passage in Ephesians starts by saying ‘Submit yourselves to one another.’ As a husband, I have the responsibility to submit to my wife and she has the same responsibility to submit to me. And we both must submit to Christ. Then, the Bible, and the author Paul, go on to say that wives must respect their husbands and husbands must love their wives. The ideas of love and respect are honestly the best ways to submit to each other in my opinion.

    That being said, my wife, who commented earlier, said that she chooses to submit to me. She respects the decisions that I make for us. I value her deeply for that. And, in turn, it has made me a stronger man, knowing that I not only make decisions for myself, but for the both of us. I have to make the BEST decision for BOTH of us, not just myself. Do you know what that leads to?

    Me loving her. If I am going to make the best decision for both of us, I have to know what she thinks and what she wants. That means talking, discussion, arguing (sometimes), caring, and ultimately loving. I love her dearly, and I want her to fulfill her calling as a woman, Christian, and human being. A lot of times, that means giving up what I want, and seceding to her wants.

    I am sure many times in Zoe and Brad’s relationship, Brad gives up what he wants for Zoe and the kids and I am sure that Zoe does the same for Brad at times. Submission is an equal thing, not a one way street.

    One example for us is my wife wanted to further her education. Now as a husband, I could of said ‘no,’ and continued with life as it was. But because I love her, we moved across the state so that she could do her Master’s work. Loving her meant that I gave up what I wanted to so that she could do what she wanted. But I also know that had I said ‘no’ she would have listened, but I knew that this was the best thing for both of us, not just myself.

    We must be careful not to equate submission with abuse, and the biblical mandate in Ephesians seems to put the majority of the responsibility on the husband. He must ‘give himself up for her’ the way that Christ did the Church. That is tough stuff. Any man who can do that will love his wife in a way that is pure, right, and totally absent from abuse.

    Thanks for all the great discussion. It definitely made me think about my own ideas and clarify them in my head.

    1. Brad

      I couldn’t have said it better myself, Justin.

      I am Zoe’s husband. I’ve felt through this whole thing that so many people commenting here think that I don’t LOVE AND RESPECT Zoe. They couldn’t have gotten it more wrong.

      1. Kate {motleymama} Post author

        Thanks for sharing, Justin!

        Since I know Brad, I will publicly affirm that he loves and respects Zoe and treats her very, very well.

        Obviously I don’t agree with a lot of their beliefs as they relate to other marriages and much of the outside world, but within their home–love exists and is present every day. I love them both!

      2. Justin


        The reality is when talking about submission, most people go to the worse case scenario and talk about “what if this?” and “what if that?” You know?

        -What if he is abusive?
        -What if you want to do something he doesn’t want you to do?
        -What if he wants to do something you don’t want him to do?
        -What if…?

        The Bible seems to say, and I heard a pastor say this one time, that if ANYONE is going to give up something in marriage it is going to be the husband. So to me if definitely seems like you and I have the tough calling of giving up EVERYTHING for Zoe and Laura (my wife). What a hard thing to do!

    2. Meagan {Green Motherhood}

      Justin, thank you for sharing this “husband’s view” I very much agree with everything that you’ve said; it’s a partnership. And a lot of the pressure falls to the man.

      I’m afraid that a lot of the radical views of Zoe’s (such as the cause against homosexuality, staying in abusive relationships and women not voting- that I don’t support btw) forced a lot of the marriage principles to the wayside.

      My husband is a better stronger man when I am able to give him the respect he very much deserves (and Christ calls me to give!) But, in return, he is a Godly man who gives just as much (if not more!) back to me. I do think that is what Zoe was trying to say (referencing the above comment that shares passages from Ephesians)

      But, with that being said, I am in a relationship where I have the choice of respecting and submitting to my husband. I will forever be grateful to the women who went before me to carve this path of freedom for me.

      I just hope that this message of giving to each other in marriage in the way God intended isn’t disregarded just because of the other extremist view’s Zoe presented.

      1. Justin


        I agree wholeheartedly. As wide of a base as a blog like Kate’s has, their will be MANY different people and many different lifestyles and beliefs.

        I think that Zoe’s view is not as extreme as people want to make it seem. Brad can probably attest to that. Although, I don’t know either of them. Brad and Zoe, y’all can feel free to email me if I am presenting you wrong! I don’t want to speak for you.

        And as a Christian, I am not surprised that Zoe was challenged on homosexuality. It is something that every Christian will get attacked with at some point in life. I have been many times!

        I don’t agree that women should stay in an abusive relationship. Get some where safe PLEASE! But that does not mean that they can give up on praying for the man and trying to reconcile the relationship. And like my pastor said this weekend, unconditional love does not always mean unconditional access to our lives. We have to be careful.

        Thanks for the encouragement though Meagan. Your marriage seems to be a strong one.

        The biggest thing I learned from today is that you have to live out what you believe and do it consistently, whether it is extreme or not. Zoe and Brad certainly do that and I am sure that you do too!

          1. Candis Jones

            This is confusing because through every reply to every question Zoe seems to stand firm that submission is a one way street – woman submits to husband…if husband submits to wife he is “whipped” as she put it. And what you said Justin is “Submission is an equal thing, not a one way street.” and you also say that if you are being abused you should get out where Zoe says the ideal to strive for is staying, enduring and continuing to respect your husband and submit.

            So it sounds like you are agreeing more with everyone else and less with Zoe, maybe you haven’t read all the questions and comments?

            But yet Zoe says you’ve summed it up well – so it seems she agrees with you when you say woman and men should submit to each other, but not when women say it?

            It is just confusing.

            Also – I do not think that Brad is a dictator that doesn’t respect and love Zoe. There is no way. If he were Zoe would not have such a positive outlook toward her way of life and be writing about it. It is easy to respect and submit to men if they are easy going and all your needs and most wants are met and you aren’t being treated poorly. I have a friend who’s family subscribes to this same line of thinking and she has been isolated from her friends and family and the man is not good to her to say the least. She wouldn’t write this blog post and advocate for this way of life, she just keeps quiet about it because it isn’t working for her. She thought she had married a man that would respect her if she just kept submitting. 8 years later, it just gets worse and worse.

            All the “what if’s” are being posed by a lot of woman including myself because WE ARE THE WOMEN. We are the ones that get abused, called names, raped. Many of us commenting have dealt with this kind of thing and it is more prevalent than maybe you know because you are a man and don’t have to think about it much. You, Justin, will never have to endure any of that because you are a man in The U.S.

            1. ZoeDawn

              It sounds like a one way street because I am a WOMAN writing to WOMEN. I do not think men should not submit to women as well.

              Ultimately, when there are disagreements, I do think God says women are to submit. Ephesians 5:22-24 states:

              Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands IN EVERY THING.

              (emphasis my own)

              Candis, I know there are good women out there who are being treated terribly. I can’t stand thinking about it. It makes me sick. But by ordering them to GET OUT aren’t we saying that we think our way is better than God’s? Our human nature is to flee from oppression. That’s very understandable. But God can work through these women to bring these men to Him. When they flee, an opportunity is lost.

              1. Anonymous

                If it was not within our human nature to flee from oppression, slavery would still exist in the United States!!!!! Is it heretical to you that someone of a different race is no longer fully submitting to an omnipotently ordained (white, Christian, male) power? Or perhaps only the enslaved males should have attempted escape and the women should have stayed, continued to submit, behave as they were told, hell, looked sexy for their masters in an attempt to gain better treatment! Perhaps then, God would have shown all of your good Christian males the light and they would’ve stopped slavery on their own! How did Abraham Lincoln not think of this!!!? If only Harriet Tubman had gotten her hands on The Pearls’ book so she could’ve encouraged people more effectively!

                1. ZoeDawn

                  I can think of nowhere in the Bible that it says a certain RACE is called to be higher than the next.

                  I’ve listed some verses (below) on my beliefs about women’s roles. Read them and maybe understand me a bit better.

                  We are going in circles here trying to argue each other down. I’m done.

  55. Kimberly

    What I have loved most about this post (and all the comments! I’ve been reading all day!) is that it made me think about my own views and clarify them. I searched out and studied my own religious texts and wrote my own blog post about it. I may never publish it, but I find it really helpful to write things out to fully process them. So thanks for doing this Kate and Zoe!!

  56. Anonymous

    As a gay Mennonite woman living in Lancaster county, I assure you that being gay is not my choice. In fact, I would choose over and over not to be gay. It is nothing like my desire to gossip or to lie–it is purely biological. Like I said, I would always always always choose to be straight if I could. It is in my genes.

    I would encourage you to befriend someone who is gay (man or woman) and talk to them. Listen to them. You don’t need to agree with them, but maybe some other perspectives in your life besides Mr. and Mrs. Pearl and your family might help with compassion and understanding.

  57. Anonymous

    I am really trying to understand where you are going here. if a man is abusing his wife, and she’s praying about it and he winds up actually killing her, do you feel that was God’s way of saying “it was your time”? I don’t mean to be disrespectful, and I have typed and retyped this, but I just can’t possibly imagine how you could think that praying would be enough to help any person being abused. Some people are sick and they take it out on others. Would you just attempt to pray away cancer or some other illness putting your life at risk?

  58. L

    Zoe- you go girl! As I read these comments it was upsetting to me that so many people call your beliefs radical when at the heart of your “message” here you outline exactly what God says in his infallible, timeless, Holy Word for every marriage. But then again God’s Word IS so radical in our fallen world.

    There is such freedom in submitting to God and my husband. Things always go wrong when I forget that and my pride takes over.

    I praise God for your faithfulness and integrity.

    1. ZoeDawn

      Oh thank you L! That part about God’s word being radical in our fallen world….I’ve wanted to say something to that effect all day but couldn’t come up with the words.

  59. A

    Consider taking the suggestion of “Anonymous 8:24 p.m.” to heart. Learning to know someone who is gay, even one talk where you just listen to their experience, will only increase your ability to live a life of Christ’s love.

    The road of someone who realizes they are attracted to their same sex is one laced with pain. Your response to that question in the post felt flippant, and annoyed. It is easy for someone who has never seen that road to be flippant, and annoyed.

    You mentioned at the end of your post that you didn’t want to come across as uneducated and heartless. Choosing to step in the shoes of the individual souls at the heart of “the gay thing” is a way to not be heartless.

    Those of us who are jealous gossipers don’t feel totally isolated and shamed from an early age. (We just hang out with the other jealous gossipers in church!) We don’t feel so terrible from listening to sermons that we are evil and wrong, that we commit suicide. We don’t get kicked out of our parent’s houses because we gossiped, and end up on the streets. We don’t get called names for being gossipers, or get fired or kicked out of housing because of it. You do not know what it feels like. For the sake of being a compassionate, Christian sister, find out what it feels like.

    I understand you’ll likely still believe what you feel the Bible is saying. But just like you feel people would understand your beliefs better if they knew YOU and saw your marriage lived out, there is much to be learned by seeing where this “issue” intersects with people’s real lives.

  60. ZoeDawn

    Well guys, I think I’m finished. I feel like I keep repeating myself on all of these subjects. I don’t think I’ll be responding to many individual comments anymore. I’m sorry if I missed any important questions. Kate and I were lamenting that the WordPress way of organizing comments can be a bit confusing! I hope you’ll forgive me if I didn’t answer you.

    Thank you so much for this discussion ladies and gents! It’s been quite a day (week). Brad and I have been blessed by the conversation. May your homes be as well!

  61. Sarah

    I just want to thank you for being so bold to share your beliefs even though so many in the world disagree. As a Christian wife and mother I actually agree with much of what you have said here. However, I would encourage you to share what God says on these subjects, not just what you say. As someone who is trying to live according to Gods will, you should be sharing what His will is, not just what you think and believe. By this I mean, sharing where in the Scripture you are getting these beliefs. I truly believe this is the only way to effectively and accurately share His word and explain why you live the way you live. But again, I truly appreciate your boldness in standing for what you believe. It’s so encouraging to read this :)

    1. ZoeDawn

      I agree Sarah. I am terrible with remembering where certain scriptures are in the Bible so I suppose that’s my excuse for not doing it earlier. It will take me a while to compile a list! I will get back to you. I promise :)

      1. ZoeDawn

        Wives submitting:
        Titus 2:3-5 (also talks about wives roles)
        1 Corinthians 11:3
        Colossians 3:18
        Ephesians 5:22-24

        What makes a good woman:
        Proverbs 19:14
        Proverbs 31:10-31

        Winning a lost husband:
        1 Peter 3:1

        Wives and husbands:
        1 Peter 3:1-7

  62. Fran

    I am refreshed at how respectful this whole discussion was. I love that each comment was so passionate without compromising civility.

    For Zoe – to be so bold and transparent was brave. To be so unwavering and gracious at the same time is a testament to your character.

    For Kate – in a sea of blogging homogeny, you’ve really created a unique space for provoking thoughts in an edifying way. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    I just wrote out a novel but man it’s just too late to form cohesive thoughts :)

  63. Chrissy

    Zoe, I respect you a lot for your willingness to share your perspective and beliefs, especially when you know that not everyone that is reading will agree. I’m familiar with the perspectives that you shared, except for women not voting or voting as their husband chooses. It is wonderful that you are surrounded by a family that loves you and cares deeply about you.

    The community that I grew up in told me a lot about who I should be as a woman. While one-way submission to men was preached, as I observed the relationships of those in my family, the women were the ones that often provided leadership in finances, social relationships and spiritual guidance that protected their families and enabled their children to live better lives.

    I’m a feminist, not the kick men down type, but one with the desires to see women treated as equal in the world. Women have so many wonderful gifts to share with the world, including their emotions and empathy. Women that understand how to use their intellect and emotion to lead with compassion and empathy for the world are in great need and have the ability to bring healing and peace (Leymah Gbowee is a great example). I think women’s intellect, leadership and emotional intellect are vital in every society and family.

    I’m not married and I don’t think that I will be anytime soon, but when/if I am I fully expect an egalitarian relationship where we submit to each other equally. It is quite likely that I might earn more or be more highly educated than my husband. Traditional Western gender roles will most likely not be followed. Even though I would discuss politics with a spouse, voting will always be between God and me.

  64. Daniel

    I want to go on the record as one who would advocate for equal freedom for everyone, especially women, children, LGBT, minorities, et al. The societies we live in are deeply and irrevocably shaped by the past, which, at least in Western culture, has been biased in favor of those in power—white Anglo-Saxon Protestant males like myself. I do not believe this is a divinely appointed “chain of command”. Rather, I believe it is a self-serving line of logic designed to maintain a human power structure. How well it has worked, and how wonderful that we are beginning to see through it. Instead, like Zoe, I believe we are created to submit to each other in loving relationships.

    Zoe, I would encourage you to broaden your horizons on homosexuality. To claim that these people are living in sin is damaging, and it reinforces a dehumanizing system of cultural alienation. What has any gay person ever done to harm you? Learn to know a few well enough to understand the pain they go through and how much many of them would prefer to be straight like almost everyone else. I believe you are capable of opening your mind and strong enough to receive this encouragement or I would not write it.

    Finally, I want to underline Zoe’s very gracious statement that her beliefs are hers and others are free to believe what they choose. Above everything else, this is the most admirable thing that Zoe has written here. If we were all able to do this the world would be a much better, more tolerant, less abusive place. Thank you for being so open and honest about who you are, Zoe.

    1. ZoeDawn

      Hi Daniel!

      The idea of homosexuality is something I struggle with myself. It seems terribly unfair that God creates people in this way. But I still don’t think it’s right to give in to these desires. I don’t think their desire to be with someone of the same sex is any worse than my desire to commit any of the sins that I do.

      And for the record, I don’t think homosexuals are living in sin unless they are giving in to their homosexual desires. But if you don’t believe that being with someone of the same sex is wrong, then I guess my statements sound crazy. Perhaps this is what bothers me about a lot of the liberal world: many people are unwilling to actually SAY that they think it’s wrong to have sex with someone of the same gender for fear of offending someone. They say, “Do what you want!” Christ said a lot of things that offended a lot of different people. I’m not saying we should go around purposely hurting people. But everyone wanted to know my opinions so I have stated them. I am terribly sorry if I have hurt anyone in the process.

      Yes, accept homosexuals for who they are. Yes, God loves them as much as He loves the rest of the world.

      I don’t doubt that I could benefit from getting to know some homosexuals better. I’m sure I will as time goes on. I agree it never hurts a person to broaden their horizons. It’s just a difficult line to walk…learning everything we can about the world so as to be more compassionate but not becoming of the world and normalizing sin.

  65. Alexandra

    First of all I have to say I was raised as a catholic but i am not knowledgeable about religion at all.

    One thing i was taught is that we are all God’s children – all of us – which technically means we’re all brothers and sisters. But when you say things like “I believe that we were created for men!” it just sounds (at least to me) like yout think God loves Women less and women are second class human beings, here only to please men. Is that the way you feel about your own children – do you love your daughter less?

    You say “…there weren’t women in congress voting to pass these laws. We owe it to the men that we have the rights we do. We need to be thankful for what they’ve done for us.” That’s true. But wouldn’t you say that the women who, for years and years, fought for these rights that we now take for granted, should also be thanked? They were the ones bringing the subjects up and many of them suffered terribly because of that.
    Saying that having your own opinion and stating that opinion, even it is contrary to your husbands, is in some way emasculating the man, making him feel less of a man, is something that doesn’t make sense to me. If a man feels like that, i have to say he’s not much of a man to begin with. The same thing applies to women who need to put men down (and other women as well) in order to feel more powerfull or better about themselves. I can’t respect people like that.

    I think you have a somewhat narrow vision of certain topics – homosexuality for instance. You should probably try to read more about that. So many people suffer because of being gay. Life is so much harder for them. My brother in law is guy so i have seen, firsthand, the difficulties he’s had to overcome. Saying that being gay is one’s choice – just as much as stealing something is – is just showing complete ignorance.

    Finally, I believe God loves us equally, vaginas and penises aside. I believe He wants us to do all we can to better ourselves each day, and that’s what we should be trying to teach our children. Telling children that because the boy was born with a penis that makes him superior to the girl is instilling intolerance and teaching prejudice wich leads to many of the problems we face in the world today.

    I apologize if my comment seems offensive. I assure you that is not my intention.

  66. ShirleyK

    Dr. Perfection says it’s all my fault. I told Zoe, after she blogged about her baby’s pureed vegetable soup, that she oughtn’t feel terrified of expressing her opinions. “I’m not very good at writing such things,” she’d confessed, in her post. Baby food could be controversial. So didn’t that sterling niece of mine go and march straight over to Kate’s blog and horn-toot her “Sorry. Not voting here.” into the startled ether.

    #1: Anybody getting battered, please flee. #2: The rest of us, let’s just use our heads. Let’s just be compassionate.

    1. SWeaver

      As a woman formerly in an abusive relationship, I would encourage all women who are being abused to get out immediately. This is not God’s will, and any sort of rhetoric that suggests that it is God’s will is blasphemy. I am a strong Christian woman, a Mennonite woman, and I left my husband 12 years ago after being battered so badly I almost died. My children suffered as well, but that part of my life is so painful and so private I cannot share it here. Your stomach would turn and I’ve already suffered enough shame.

      Since leaving my husband, however, God has blessed me and given me a new husband who treats me equally and with respect just as I treat him. This is the relationship that God ordained.

  67. Anonymous

    I know you said you’re pretty much done answering, but I am interested in the answers to Candis’s question and A’s question above.

  68. DM

    Debi and Michael Pearl. Oh dear. You do not need to research very far to realize that their teachings are full of heresy and lies. Not only do they directly contradict and confuse scripture, but they further perpetuate the idea that men are gods themselves. As a pastor and a spiritual leader, I advise those who are being abused to please seek council and flee the situation for the good of yourself and your children.

    Zoe, I encourage you to seek the words of Jesus and Paul. I also encourage you to put down Pearl’s book. His cult following and teachings have inspired abuse, neglect, and marriages based on ideas that are not Godly.

  69. Ben

    I think we need to remember that this ideology is simply Christian fundamentalism in one of its most unflattering forms. Remember that there are plenty of fundamentalist groups all over the country and world who are deemed radicals (because they are). There is no use arguing. The only true challenge to the fundamentalist perspective is life experience and exposure to reality.

  70. Lisa

    If you are basing your beliefs on biblical literalism, you should probably wear a covering. You must also be a proponent of war. God clearly does not oppose it in the literal translation of the Bible.

  71. Anna

    Two quick thoughts that I don’t think have been covered (though I could have missed them with all these comments!)

    One: While Zoe seems to have an innocuous situation where her husband doesn’t seem to abuse or take advantage of her, I still find the concept very problematic not just for women, but for many groups, and I think shows a disturbing method of interpreting the Bible. I’m reminded of MLK Jr’s quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

    For example, couldn’t slavery be justified using the same “biblical” logic? And if slaves complained, they could be told they were fulfilling their biblical position, that really the slave owners have the harder job what with all their responsibilities, and that great will their reward be in heaven… Or the same logic could justify racism and many types of discrimination.

    Two: I’m really bothered by the idea that prayer, disconnected from any action, is seen as the solution to so many problems. What if the Good Samaritan had only prayed for the beaten man rather than tending to his wounds? Would you be satisfied if your doctor merely prayed for you and didn’t offer you life-saving treatment? I think our prayers need to be accompanied by action, and life-affirming actions.

  72. ZoeDawn

    Sorry. Back again.

    You all have caused me to think. And I would like to make a few statements pertaining to the abuse issue.

    I came across wrong. Perhaps my statements sounded harsh and unloving. I’m not Christ, whose words were/are perfect. Forgive me.

    For anyone being abused, male or female, my heart goes out to you. Christ loves you. He has not forsaken you.

    I do not think Christian woman’s shelters or abuse counseling organizations should be shut down. They are great organizations that have helped many people.

    It just worries me, though, that a lot of abuse victims are pulled from these situations without first being taught the word of God. We need to give the abusers a chance to redeem themselves. Ladies CAN win over lost husbands (1 Peter 3:1-2). I just hope that that message is given to them before they flee. I guess I think a lot about the abusers in these situations and I feel bad for them, too. I want them to have a chance to come to know the Lord as well and I think the wives have a lot of power in showing them the Word.

    Does this make more sense? I hope so. I want to be loving and gracious.

  73. Suz

    I believe strongly that Jesus himself was a feminist — in that he believed in the full and equal humanity of women. In the time of Jesus, for a religious man to speak to women and include them in his ministry the way Jesus did was extremely radical and against all tradition. The accounts of Jesus speaking to the woman at the well, having his feet washed by a woman, publicly offering grace to the woman about to be stoned, including martha and mary in his followers — and finally appearing FIRST to martha and mary after the resurrection and telling THEM to go share the good news — to go tell that GOOD NEWS to men. This last one has always made me wonder, I have a suspicion that if Jesus had revealed himself first to men it would always be included in the long list certain churches use to justify men’s authority. However, since it was not the case it is almost swept under the rug and not focused on. I’m not implying that in this act Jesus is saying women are better than men, rather I think Jesus did such a wonderful job of turning tradition and expectations upside down in order to point to truth — such as women are created equal and instilled with various gifts from God in the same way men.

  74. Suz

    ps- hi zoe! i can’t believe you’re taking the time to answer all these comments. you must be exhausted. i think this post was important for many reasons. thank you for doing it.

  75. Heather

    Zoe – a fundamental flaw in your argument that a woman should stay when she and her children are being physically abused is the assumption that this abuser can, and will be, transformed through rational dialogue, subservience, and a pointing back to scripture. Look – I understand how you get there given where you’re starting from and the fact that you have no first-hand or second-hand knowledge of abuse. But you are trading in some pretty serious currency here, and your statements have much more of an impact on this issue than you perhaps realize – especially when shared in a blog as widely read as this one. The fact is that men who are capable of physically beating their wives and children to a bloody pulp have likely been severely abused themselves. They are suffering from a level of psychosis that you and I are, flat-out, incapable of understanding and handling. Can they be radically transformed by the Gospel. Yes. Do they need to seek professionally help and be removed from the capacity of maiming or killing their wives and kids any further. Yes. It is flat-out dangerous for you to argue otherwise, and I would like you to please spend some serious time in prayer and reflection, and consider issuing a formal recantation or apology on this score. This is difficult, painful stuff. These are issues therapists spend years understanding how to address. And a public forum might not have been the best place for attempting to logically test-out how far you’d be willing to take a certain perspective on a particular theological principle.

    1. Heather

      You could have simply said – “I don’t know. I haven’t figured out exactly where I stand on this one quite yet. It’s complicated and out of my depth in terms of experience, knowledge, etc. etc.”

  76. ZoeDawn

    Hey guys! I’ve asked Kate to disable the comments to this post. I have said my piece and now I need to get back to my life and family. Thank you for the discussion! I pray the best for everyone here. Blessings to all!

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