Thursday, March 13, 2008

So Much More By Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin: A Review

I’m the mother of three precious daughters and a wonderful son, whom I homeschool. I’m a Christian who bases my decisions on the Word of God and who, with my husband, strives to raise our children in godliness. I believe that my husband is to be the head of my home, that I am to graciously and voluntarily submit to him, and that I have a high calling as a wife, mother, and homemaker. I desire for my children to obey their parents, to serve God, and for my daughters especially to understand the glorious role for which God has created them. It would delight me for my daughters to live at home, safe from a ravaging world, until they marry. I believe that is often a wise course of action.

I also will not tell my children God requires something of them that He does not state in His Word. Therefore, when I heard about Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin’s book So Much More, and the controversy surrounding it, I was intrigued--intrigued enough that I got a copy of my own so I could read it objectively for myself.

I actually enjoyed the book very much and found it engaging and compelling on many fronts. It’s beautiful to look at, excellently written, and just feels good in the hand. (Bibliophiles will know what I mean!) My copy is now thoroughly read, written in, underlined, full of notes—notes that explain what I love about the book as well as what I disagree with. It was so convincing on virtually every front that I actually had to stop myself a few times, step back from the sweeping emotion I felt, and take an objective, biblical look at its teachings. The Botkin girls themselves are beautiful, sincere, well-spoken Christian young ladies who seem to have a great love for God and for their family. I’m greatly impressed by the quality of their work and the passion with which they execute it. Here are a few things I appreciated about Anna Sofia and Elizabeth’s conclusions:

They emphasize the glory and importance of the home.

They understand the power of a married woman’s role.

They advocate an excellent education for women (in contrast to some homeschoolers who contend that girls don’t need to be that highly educated since they will “just” be wives and mothers).

They encourage close families and good relationships with fathers.

I also very much enjoyed and appreciated the chapter on courtship, which I found refreshingly free of the formulas advocated by so many courtship “experts.”

However, I still found much about which to be troubled. Here’s the first of my main concerns, the way the Botkins mishandle God’s Word.

The Botkin sisters claim to write a book that expounds on God’s will for unmarried girls and women as revealed in scripture. However, they clearly show ignorance of basic interpretive principles. Conservative Bible scholars (across denominations) interpret the Bible by a set of simple objective criteria to ensure that they do not filter the Word through their own opinions. Does this mean that correct interpretation can only be achieved by specially trained Bible scholars? Of course not. However, many churches I know of fail in genuine discipleship, including training Christians how to study the Bible for themselves. Consequently, many well-meaning Christians apply all kinds of meanings to Biblical texts that are not there, simply through ignorance. (I’m no expert on this, but it’s something I’m working on. A full discussion of biblical interpretation would require its own conversation. I can recommend a few good, conservative books on the subject if anybody’s interested. My husband is the expert Bible scholar in our family.)

The most glaring (and critical) example of this sloppy interpretation in So Much More is at the beginning of Chapter 3. They state, “Because the Bible doesn’t give a huge amount of instruction exclusively to fathers and daughters, most of what we have to work from are passages setting the patterns for men and women in general.” There’s a big problem here. Most of the passages about relationships between men and women in general—which they use--have to do with the marriage relationship. These are the passages the Botkin girls use to create their theology of father-daughter relationships. Anna Sofia and Elizabeth are correct—the Bible, and especially the New Testament, speaks little to the role of single women. The Botkins attempt to speak where God’s Word does not. Making the jump from, “Biblical patterns for men and women in marriage are XYZ…Most girls will marry…So the Biblical pattern for unmarried women must logically be XYZ…” adds to the Word what God never says.

The Bible tells us in Titus 2 that a married woman’s role is to love her husband and children as a keeper at home. However, I Corinthians 7:34-35 says of unmarried women, “There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.”

Because the Botkin sisters apply scripture about married women to the unmarried, many people concluded that they espouse the notion that daughters should serve their fathers as helpmeets, in addition to their mothers. This was a huge concern for many, and in response the Botkins later denied that this was their intent. Their good friends, well-known authors James and Stacy McDonald, came to their defense in an October 2, 2007 blog post wherein they stated that they could not figure out how anyone could pull this conclusion from the pages of So Much More. (The post contained a portion of an email between Mr. McDonald and the Botkins and was apparently written with their support. It’s the only attempt I’ve found online to correct any misunderstandings.) I re-read the chapter myself to see if I possibly misunderstood it—and after a thorough examination, I don’t know how anyone could read this book and NOT come to the conclusion that the Botkins believe daughters should be their fathers’ helpmeets.

A quote from page 42: “You may not immediately see how much your father needs your help and just how much you can help him, because the very importance of a ‘helpmeet’ has been long forgotten.”

On the same page, they further quote a friend named Ruth who says, “I realize that it is most likely God’s will for me to be married someday, and I desire and have the responsibility to be prepared, as much as possible, for this role as God sees fit. I want to be a true helpmeet to my husband, and what an excellent opportunity I have to practice this with my own father!”

The statement of most concern is this one: “A father is most fruitful when he has the help of his children (in addition to his wife, his primary helpmeet)…”

The McDonalds claim that the word “primary” is merely an editorial error, and that it’s the only statement that implies a girl is to be her father’s helpmeet. (Mr. McDonald goes on to attack the Botkin girls’detractors by questioning why they did not clarify this statement with the Botkins themselves. In an article that accuses detractors of throwing red herrings, he himself attacks the character of the detractors rather than addressing their actual concerns—a red herring of his own.) While I have to contend that it’s not the only statement that leads to this conclusion, the Botkins in their very own statement do not even go so far as to call it an editorial oversight. They do claim to be misunderstood.

I’ve mulled over how this supposed misunderstanding could have taken place. How can the Botkins be contend that it’s simply a misunderstanding, while so many who have read the book are convinced that they espouse such an unbiblical mindset? I’ve concluded that if the Botkins truly did not mean to lead young women to the belief that their God-ordained role is to be a helpmeet to their fathers, ultimately the blame lies with their mishandling of God’s Word, unintended as it might have been. When they apply “helpmeet” passages to the relationship between fathers and daughters, the logical conclusion is that daughters are to be their fathers’ helpmeets, whether or not it’s explicitly stated. Since young women and their families are basing major life decisions on this principle, it’s incredibly important for the authors to convey their thoughts with absolute clarity.

One fatal interpretive mistake the Botkins commit is to use the “example” method to determine whether or not a single woman can be a missionary (p. 267). Since there are no stories of women missionaries in the Bible, they conclude that a woman can never be a missionary. There is a problem with this method of interpretation, too. We don’t have examples of women in scripture doing a lot of things the Botkin girls do, such as making movies, writing books, taking notes at business meetings, and so forth. Simply because there are no examples in scripture of a particular person doing a particular thing does not mean it is consequently forbidden by scripture. By the same token, simply because a person in scripture commits a particular worthy act does not always mean we should follow in their footsteps. If you follow the “example” logic, we could encourage girls to pound spikes through the heads of God’s enemies, like Jael, seduce men on the threshing floor like Ruth, or enter a king’s harem like Esther. The “example” method can lead to all kinds of trouble. An amusing sample of this kind of interpretation is the satirical piece “Top 15 Biblical Ways to Acquire a Wife.” We should be on the lookout for God’s specific instructions rather than basing doctrine on examples. They actually turn their own argument on its head by telling the story of God’s work through Rahab and then admonishing girls that her example of the end justifying the means should not be followed. So clearly they pick and choose the examples they subscribe to.

(Incidentally, I find it interesting that the Botkins believe a girl can serve as her father’s “ambassador” as she takes care of the elderly and as she goes here and there serving others, but she cannot serve as his “ambassador” on the mission field.)

Furthermore, the Botkins pull verses out of context. Here’s one example, which I believe is key because it focuses on a major tenet of the book—that a daughter must “give her heart” to her father until she gives it to her husband. On page 39 they state, “Proverbs 23:26 suggests, in paraphrased form, that daughters must give fathers their hearts: ‘…and let your eyes observe my ways.’” In an even stronger statement in Appendix A, their father, Geoffrey Botkin states, “Fathers must represent God to daughters, because daughters are commanded to give hearts to fathers.” (p. 327, emphasis mine) However, even a cursory reading of Proverbs 23:26 reveals the true context of this verse: a father instructing his son to heed his words as he tells him how to avoid the wiles of a seductive woman. It has absolutely nothing to do with a daughter giving her father her heart until she gives it to her husband on her wedding day.

The Botkins also fail to differentiate between the Old Covenant and the Gospel of the New Covenant, as evidenced by their premise that unmarried daughters of any age are under the complete authority of their fathers, based on the Law of Vows in Numbers 30 (p. 24). Not only is that not what this passage says, but Believers are no longer bound by the law. If we must obey part of it, we must obey all of it. However, we are in fact free from the law and live under the New Covenant of Christ. (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15) Again, this could be another discussion in and of itself! However, this is my own dearly-held conviction, so obviously their use of OT law in their defense of their position is a massive red flag to me.

They state on page 155, “…we are trying very hard in this book to advance only those ideas that can be defended exegetically.” They go on to define exegesis as “the drawing of truth directly from Scripture in the correct interpretation,” which is an excellent definition. Unfortunately, in many places they’ve failed at this. Remember, just because you fill a book with scripture does not make it biblical!!!

Another issue of concern is the Botkins’ apparent belief in Christian Reconstructionism. I’m not an expert on Reconstructionism, but what I’ve read from a number of reputable sources has revealed tenets of this belief consistent with the Botkins’ approach. The main tenet of Christian Reconstructionism is that we must apply Old Testament law to today’s society in order to reconstruct society toward the Kingdom of God on earth. (Note this use of the Law in their appeal to the Law of Vows, mentioned above.) This is an extreme version of Reformed eschatology (end-times theology), known as Postmillenialism. From what I understand, Postmillenialism teaches that God’s kingdom began with the first coming of Christ and will advance throughout the earth until Christianity becomes the world’s primary faith. Postmillenialism teaches that Satan will be gradually vanquished on earth as the Kingdom of God expands. According to this belief, Christians will usher in the second coming of Christ after a “Golden Age”—the Millennium.

It’s important to note that the beliefs of many Postmillenial Christians fall within the pale of orthodoxy and do not subscribe to the extremist stance of Reconstructionism. However, the Botkins and those with whom they most closely associate have apparently adopted this extreme belief. They laud Rousas J. Rushdoony (commonly known as the father of Reconstructionism) as a “great scholar.” (p. 135) Rushdoony reportedly espoused some horrific teachings which I am in the process of verifying before making a definitive statement. Feel free to do some research of your own if you’re interested. The Botkin sisters also refer favorably to other Reconstructionist Theologians such as Gary North. Their admiration of theologians of this stripe should be cause for concern in and of itself.

But I have other concerns that have to do with the specific teachings of the book itself.

One is that the Botkins espouse a view of honor that goes beyond what scripture states. Christians are called to serve one another and children should honor parents. However, the Botkin girls give suggestions never found in scripture. They suggest by examples given that an unmarried girl or woman could serve her father by untying his shoes, fetching his slippers, and asking him about his preference as to the colors she wears (all examples given in the book). I tread a fine line here, for Christ Himself gave us the example of washing the disciples’ feet. My concern is not so much with the actions themselves as the attitude behind them that goes beyond mere service to an honor that approaches worship. (The father is referred to more than once as “my knight in shining armor.”) In So Much More we learn that a daughter is to find out what her father believes about everything (not just salvational issues) so that she can adopt all of his beliefs and opinions as her own (p.35). One of the “heroines” in the book says that she once asked her father questions like, “What if I don’t hold the same convictions you hold in this area?” She goes on to call such questions “selfish” (p. 37). Another young adult “heroine” tells the story of how her father caused her to be 45 minutes late for a lunch appointment. She condemns her irritation, stating that it indicated that she was focused on her own desires and schedule rather than being fully submitted to her father’s. (p. 195)

So Much More clearly states that a father has the authority to discipline an unmarried daughter of any age (p.199, 303). They specifically advocate spanking for younger daughters, but are silent as to how a father should discipline an adult daughter. Should he spank her? Remove privileges? Allow God to deal with her? (My guess would be no, since the father is supposed to represent God to the daughter in a way that almost seems to approach mediation.) They don’t say. Among Patriarchal families there is a small but growing subset that teaches “Christian Domestic Discipline”—a husband exercising corporal punishment upon a disobedient wife. With such extreme and abusive teachings swirling around the Patriarchal camp, it seems extremely unwise for the Botkins to be so ambiguous about the issue of adult daughters and discipline. And we haven’t even gotten to the real question, which is whether a father, in fact, should be able to discipline a daughter into her late teens and adulthood. The Botkin view about discipline is extreme, dangerous, and at the very least should require careful clarification.

The belief that a father should discipline an unmarried daughter, regardless of how old she is, leaves the door wide open for humiliation and abuse. Before you write this statement off as radical and extreme, let me assure you that I’m personally aware of families where this has happened. Before I even finished this review, I received correspondence from those who have seen this happen in their family as a result of the Botkins’ teaching. Aside from the fact that this level of servitude, submission, and authority goes beyond scripture, it is also a predator’s dream come true. I would love to believe that all Christian fathers are good and godly men, as my husband and father are, but the sad fact is that all are not. As a pastor’s wife who has heard the stories of many families who come to my husband and me for counsel, I’m all too aware of the perversion and abuse that goes on in some homes that appear squeaky-clean on the outside.

The Botkins mention that a girl should not stay in the home with a father who is involved in abusive criminal activity, but they touch on this so briefly and incompletely, while emphasizing again and again the responsibility of the daughter to submit to her father in all things, that an impressionable young woman could easily feel that to resist the approaches of a father-abuser would be rebellion against God. Again, I am personally aware of situations (yes, plural) where daughters have remained in abusive homes (physically and/or sexually) because they have been saturated from birth with the teaching that they must submit unquestioningly to their authorities. This isn’t theoretical, it really happens. In a culture where rebellion is the norm, I believe we need a call for children to honor their parents. But I believe that teachers like the Botkins have taken that call to an extreme that can be harmful to vulnerable young women.

So Much More is filled with alarmism, drama, and exaggeration. The Botkin sisters state that to counter-culturally choose to stay at home and serve your father till marriage will take “the courage and conviction of a martyr.” (p. 13) That’s a gross exaggeration, and a slap in the face to the martyrs who have spilled their blood for Christ through the ages. I stayed home till I married for some of the reasons the Botkins endorse, and although many people were perplexed, I was the subject of misunderstanding and ridicule, and even sometimes shunned, the “persecution” I endured did not come remotely close to what a martyr endures, nor did it require the level of courage and conviction of a martyr must have to give his life for Jesus. Try telling a Saudi Arabian Christian who is about to have her throat slit for her faith that you have equal courage and conviction because you are staying home till you marry and see if she agrees. See if you can agree. That is a ludicrous statement!

The Botkins also regularly refer to girls who choose to stay home until marriage as “heroines of the faith.” That’s rather dramatic, I think. Wise young ladies? In many ways, yes. But heroines? Not quite.

They refer a number of times to women (even single women) who work for men as “wage slaves.” That’s quite an inflammatory term, and one that’s hard to pin down. If a girl creates items for a home business and receives an order from a man, is she then his wage slave? Is a man who works for another man a wage slave? This term, even this idea, is not found in the Bible. It’s great for dramatic effect though.

Anna Sofia and Elizabeth (and their father) paint with a broad brush many, many times throughout the book, lumping all Christians, movements, or groups into one category. To summarize some of these, Young people who attend college are robbed of their wisdom and discernment. Parents who send their offspring to college want to buy a degree for children who have little direction in life. Singleness is a stage where you, among other things, “become uninvolved in your family’s concerns (and reluctant to let them be involved in yours.)”. Girls who have difficulty getting along with family members will not be able to get along with husbands. Day cares are ruthless environments Youth mission trips do very little good. All of these scenarios are true in some situations, but certainly not all. I found a particularly broad-brush and mean-spirited example in Appendix A, the girls’ interview with their father. Geoffrey Botkin states, “If daughters get schooling rather than education, they will turn out deceived, a chip off the old man’s block, and they will be just as trapped in the ways of blind conformity as their cowardly fathers—in the permanent underclass.” (p. 305)

They also approach their subject with a strong either-or mindset. Either you stay home and serve your father until you marry, or you are a raging, rebellious, Marxist feminist. Either you submit without question to your father’s every whim, idea, and preference, including his color choices for your clothes, or you are out in the cold, resisting his protection.

The Botkins criticize churches that operate by a senior pastor model (actually their father does: p. 296), as well as the modern missions movement, which they claim are unbiblical (p. 271). They go so far as to state that churches, not missionaries, are the “primary biblical missions agencies.” By that standard, even the Apostle Paul would not fit their criteria. They also condemn unmarried women missionaries like Amy Carmichael and Mary Slessor. The Botkin girls state that women missionaries can only bear a very small amount of fruit (p. 271), apparently not because they themselves have inspected this fruit in light of God’s Word, but based on their presupposition that a woman missionary cannot possibly bear much fruit because she is not living at home with her father according to “God’s design.”

They unequivocally advocate a dramatic pendulum-swing to the extreme opposite of our culture in order to somehow counterbalance it. This is human nature. When humans see errors in the way a previous generation did things, we tend to swing to the opposite extreme. It’s how people typically approach life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing to do. Biblical balance is often somewhere in the middle.

I was also disappointed that the book contained misleading “research.” When you first open it, you notice that it is filled with footnotes, usually an indication that a book has been thoroughly researched. However, a closer examination reveals that a huge number of the footnotes, probably the majority, are from Vision Forum publications (the book’s publisher), or organizations with close ties to VF. Many, many of the people they quote with great authority are actually quite obscure, and not recognized authorities by anyone but a handful who subscribe to Botkin-style or extreme Reconstructionist views. Other footnotes are authoritative definitions of terms with no references whatsoever.

I must add that the best and most well-researched part of the book was Appendix B, direct quotes from militant feminists like Margaret Sanger. But the footnotes were a disappointment.

Finally, the Botkins (and Vision Forum in general) have a greatly romanticized and idealized view of history. America’s past was indeed more Christian than it is today, but it is hardly the shining ideal they describe. In their minds it seems almost perfect. At times in America’s history (before the second Great Awakening, for example), it was not safe for a woman to walk in the street because crime was so great. Christians at America’s great universities had to meet in secret and keep their notes in code for fear of persecution. America has a great and rich Christian history, but she has still been a country operated by broken, sinful people in a broken world. If we constantly try to improve ourselves and our society by a sentimental reach toward a better past, we’ll be disappointed in people and their methods. Our hope is Christ alone, not an idealized history.


As I stated at the beginning, this is a beautiful, compelling book, written by lovely and talented young ladies. Nevertheless, I found that its positive messages were far outweighed by these concerns. I believe that God’s Word, properly applied, should be our standard. Decisions such as whether a daughter should live at home till marriage should be made with wisdom, but not with a distortion of what God has actually said.

~I realize there may be some confusion in regards to the date this was posted. I hijacked an unused draft and tucked this article back in my archives, since it doesn't really fit the current focus of my blog. The funny thing about blogger is that when you save a draft, it automatically publishes with the date the draft was saved, not the date you actually publish. So although the original date this draft was saved was in March of 2008, the article was just published February 6, 2009. Clear as mud? :)~


thatmom said...

Wow, Charity, what an accurate review of this book! I will be referring to it on my did a wonderful job of succintly saying all the things that need to be said. I know that the Lord will bless these efforts.

Whitney said...

wow, I'm impressed! Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the gracious, balanced, and excellent review!

Anonymous said...

Excellent work! Thank you for sharing. Found you via ThatMom. Enjoying your blog. God bless you. Susan T

Danae said...

Thank you so much for what you shared! You reflected many of the concerns I have had in a clear, respectful manner that I appreciate. This will be so helpful for me to be able to share with friends who have asked about SMM.

Hillary said...

Charity Grace,

You gave a brilliant review of this book! It is so refreshing to see such an intelligent and humble woman who presents these wise views with gentleness and sincerity. Your love for the Lord and your family shines through every word. God bless you! I am glad to have met you!

The Henderson Family said...

Absolutely excellent and very accurate!

carole said...

Thank you for this thorough review. I use blogger and I believe you should be able to correct the date for posting. If you look at the bottom of the screen when editing/composing the blog there is a little link that says "post options." When you click on that a tiny window should open with date and time slots which can be altered (and even future dates can be entered so as to schedule ahead).

Jennifer @ Quiverfull Family said...

Thank you for the excellent and balanced review - I have not read SMM myself, though we do own the DVD Return of the Daughters. I appreciate your insights.

mamazee said...

Thanks for this beautifully thoughtful blog post - i also bought So Much More to read with my daughter who is ten - and after reading it through first, i probably will not use it with her. Or if i do, i will be careful to discuss each chapter. There is good in there, but what made me uncomfortable were the same subtle things that you pointed out. I would like to link to this post on my blog one of these days ;)

Sarah Robbins said...

What an excellent review! I couldn't agree more.

I respect and agree with some of the opinions of the Botkins. I also cringe at how legalistic they are. Where is the grace of this family? I sense a lot of self righteous superiority in them. It's just like Jesus said about it taking just a little leaven to leaven the whole lump of dough. Just like Jesus warned His followers to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees (legalism and self righteous religious pride), we need to be careful of the leaven of the Botkins.

Cindy Kunsman posted an article about Geoffrey Botkin's employment in a legalistic cult group, Great Commission Ministries. Reading it helped make some sense for me about how the Botkin girls can know how to quote so much of the Bible, and to do it with so little grace.

The Botkins and others like them want to put us back under the law. Jesus came to show us a better way. "For the law kills, but the Spirit gives life."

Rebecca said...

thank you very much for doing such an excellent review of this book. You expressed the exact issues that I have had with this book so clearly that I was able to pass it on to other people who previously did not understand what I was saying. It was really, really helpful. Thanks again so much!! It's especially good to hear these words from a mother!
Bless you!!

MandyN said...

This is an excellent review and I couldn't agree more. Thank you for putting my thoughts into words.

Erika Martin - Stampin' Mama said...

Part of me thought about buying this book to do a balanced review of it, but don't want to waste my money to further the agenda these people have.

With all that is wrong with the patriarchal cult and this book, though, I'm confused as to why you call it beautiful....unless it's because of the cover illustration?

I guess this shows no one can judge a book by its cover. It may look pretty on the outside, but can be putrid on the inside.

Christine said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You have expressed your concerns in an articulate and reasonable manner. I have bookmarked this post for future reference.

-- A "stay-at-home daughter" (staying at home because she's got no reason not to, that's why!)

Anonymous said...

Do you only post comments that agree with your opinion? I think the book is extremely well-written and very well reflects the Word of God. I would be delighted for my daughters and granddaughters to read, assimilate and live as these girls have written about. I thought it odd that you would write about a book you had confessedly never even read....but even after you did read it you had to tear it down. THAT'S SAD.

Melissa M. said...

I think there are some exaggerations and perhaps some small inaccuracies in the book, but for the most part I think it aligned with Scripture. A young lady can help her father and practice for marriage without being a "helpmeet." And an older daughter can be disciplined without being spanked, though perhaps they should have been more clear about that and some other things.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your review of "So Much More". Thank you for reviewing the book and it's premise and NOT the Botkin sisters themselves. To me, this shows that one can be critical of a product without delving into petty gossip or personal attacks.

Contrary to what another commenter posted before, I do not see where you are tearing this book or the Botkin sisters down. It's an honest explanation of problems you have with the "maiden in waiting" philosophy put forth by Vision Forum and the Patriarchy movement.

V.H said...

at a difficult time in my life someone gave me this book. while I enjoy the diff. perspectives expressed, it left me confused and wondering if I had made the right decision to moving out of my parents home.(being single women)*gasp* everyones circumstances are diff. the reality of it is I am so glad I decided to not to move back in w/Mom and Dad. They aren't going to be around forever to protect and shelter me from every little wave. make no mistake I love my parents VERY much. my relationship w/ God has grown leaps N bounds,I have gave Him my trust, my heart, and I have not looked back.
THANK YOU for taking your time to write a truly eye opening review. ~ V

Laurel Bates said...

Wow, thanks for posting that. As a young woman preparing for college, in a very different situation than them, it is good to hear a biblical perpective saying that the Bible doesn't command young women to stay at home.

Christina Mathis said...

Thank you so much for posting this! As thatmom said, you summed up exactly what needed to be said.

Jen said...

Very good review. A friend gave this book to my older sister, and my parents then bought the rest of us girls each a copy.

The first time I read it I was riddled with guilt. I have a very tense relationship with my father, and he is definitely NOT a safe person to entrust my heart, dreams, thoughts, etc. too/in.
I was afraid that I needed to be open and honest with him. I cried and prayed, and wrote out a long letter to share with him my heart.
However, after waiting for the "right mood" to approach him, I was counseled by his mother and others who knew our family to wait a little longer.

I have decided now (almost 1 yr. later) that he would have to change before I could feel safe in trusting him. Respect has to be earned, and I should not feel guilty when I don't have a father as 'perfect' as Mr. Botkin.

Balance has become my buzz-word these days. Yes, women would be "freer" and all staying at home under the care and protection of a loving father and family. But only a miniscule portion of homes and families are like that.
Keep up the good work:
Jen P.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is the most amazing post I have ever read in my entire 15 years of life. I'm a visitor to your blog whose father agrees with every jot and tittle in that book. I felt like the Botkin girls' claims were extrabiblical, but had no argument when my dad countered that there were tons of verses. The points you brought out are very revelant. Thank you for this freeing post!!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for this blog post. I was raised along with my siblings with Vision Forum teachings, and So Much More and Return of the Daughters are next to the Bible in how we as girls were supposed to act. I am 20 now, and I have recently been seriously reevaluating and in many cases rejecting the teachings of Vision Forum. I am deeply concerned with some of the problems I am witnessing. Thank you so much for this wise, kind, thoughtful, Scripturally based, but respectful review of this book.

Greg said...

Could this perhaps be what you're talking about? Or does it get even worse than saying interracial marriage is "unequal yoking" (something particularly irritating to one like myself who is planning marriage to someone of a different race)?

Marlana said...

You said it SO well. Thank you.

Karen said...

Thank you!!! I'm reading "So Much More" right now, out of pure curiousity. Since my father's with Jesus, I figured I can't be too affected, right? (Plus I'm 30 and have been living on my own for several years). One thing that stood out to me is that they refused to address real issues. One of the questions dealt with "my father's dead." They grouped that with divorced, not willing to protect, and a few other things. Their blanket response? Basically: "Don't be cynical. You have to plan for the best."'s that supposed to help the daughter who's dad has passed on?? That's not being cynical!

Anyhow, I've been planning on writing a review for my blog (I have no real followers!) and am wondering if I can just link to yours instead--you say it so well and with a lot more grace than I would!

Karen said...

Thank you!!! I'm reading "So Much More" right now, out of pure curiousity. Since my father's with Jesus, I figured I can't be too affected, right? (Plus I'm 30 and have been living on my own for several years). One thing that stood out to me is that they refused to address real issues. One of the questions dealt with "my father's dead." They grouped that with divorced, not willing to protect, and a few other things. Their blanket response? Basically: "Don't be cynical. You have to plan for the best."'s that supposed to help the daughter who's dad has passed on?? That's not being cynical!

Anyhow, I've been planning on writing a review for my blog (I have no real followers!) and am wondering if I can just link to yours instead--you say it so well and with a lot more grace than I would!

Anonymous said...

I have issues with them. I think they are just as bad as the radical feminists. i have issues with them about college. they probably say i am not Christian since i am studying to be a pastor. Everything they represent creeps me out. i wonder what they would think about interracial relationships. Also since they have a good opinion of American history, i guess they think good about slavery, jim crow as a black young woman i don't want to think . that's my issue about homeschooling also, many of the homeschool kids i met in college knew nothing about blacks and other minorities had prejudicial attitudes since most of them are white, they don't know how to act around people of color because they never socialize or know much about us. Anyways I was thinking about homeschooling when my husband and i have kids and about being good wife etc and i was lead to Anna Sofia and Elizabeth but they creep me out with their doctrine