The Eighth and Final Square

with courage face the thing you fear so the pawn becomes the queen

So recently, Debi Pearl (of Created To Be His Helpmeet, Preparing To Be His Helpmeet, and To Train Up A Child fame) posted this post entitled “Learning To Become A Multi-Colored Girl”. (URL below post. I refuse to link to them directly.) The premise is this: How God created women to adapt to their husbands.

Men were created in God’s image. God breathed the breath of life straight into Adam. It is mind-boggling to think that mere man is in God’s own image. In effect, man is in the likeness of God. God feels, he thinks, and he loves just as does his creation. Just as Eve was created to meet a need in Adam, so we meet a need in God. That is strange to me. We all know that God is three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We learned in Created to Be His Help Meet that as men were created in God’s image, so each man predominantly expresses one of the three aspects of God’s image.

First of all, when the Bible says “man” in Genesis 1:27, it means either man, mankind, Adam, or a city in the Jordan valley (Strong’s). I’m pretty sure we can eliminate it meaning a city, and apparently the same word for man, mankind, and Adam is used interchangeably through the Old Testament in the Hebrew, but predominately as “mankind”. Which, if you read it, makes much more sense grammatically when the text is switching back and forth from “man” to “them”.

Secondly, “we meet a need in God” sounds strange because it is. If God is God, he is a complete being in and of himself: he has no “need” for anyone else. If he did, he wouldn’t be God.

Besides that, she really narrows God down to fit in her three boxes (what seems like one of the main points of her Created book — identify what your man is, so you know how to adapt to and manipulate him). “Mr. Command Man” is like God the Father, “Mr. Visionary” is like the Holy Spirit, and “Mr. Steady” is like Jesus. This supposedly makes for a completely rounded person (in other words, God), but that all men are one of the three (with perhaps a couple traits of the others).

She goes on to say:

As Adam was created in God’s image, Eve was created in Adam’s image. God could have shaped two clay figures and breathed life into both, but he chose to take the woman from the man’s own flesh and bone. I have come to see that tiered process as very significant, making it consistent with nature that the woman should be the helper in the chain of command.

It does not say that in the Bible!! It says male AND female were created in God’s image. (I prefer the NIV or Message, but check in any translation and it uses the plural. Plus, what I referred to earlier about the word for “man” also meaning “mankind”.) So what if he fashioned Adam out of clay and Eve out of Adam’s rib? That doesn’t mean Eve was created in Adam’s image. It means Eve was created from Adam. Her “chain of command” theory, frankly, I find silly. I mean, if you really want to spiritualize it, you could say Eve was made from Adam’s side to stand beside him, not behind him, under him, etc. There’s absolutely nothing in those verses that indicate the reason Eve was made from Adam was because he was “over” her. More like, that’s just what God chose to do.

God did not create women as he did men, strongly fixed in one type or another. Being created in the image of man, we are more muted and flexible in our types. If a woman were a strong Command type married to Mr. Steady, that would cause terrible conflict in the marital relationship.

Wow, I’d like to know where she gets her info from. So guys can’t change their types easily (why do all her references to men make them sound like dumb oxen?), but women can? I mean, I suppose with enough brainwashing, anything’s possible, but still. I find absolutely no evidence that men are any more stuck in one position/role/type than women. Or that women are any more flexible than men. And certainly not narrowed down to just three types! Some men are laid back. Some women are leaders. Some men are leaders. Some women are laid back. It’s just the way things go.

I’m sort of getting the impression that Debi Pearl needs to find her way out of the woods and among some REAL people so she can see what REAL people are REALLY like.

She goes on to talk about attaching colors to the Holy Three Types, and gives different scenarios as to if she had married such-and-such of guy, her “color” would be thus-and-such (a mix of two of the three Holy Types) because she would have to adapt to his plans for life, and says:

When a girl marries a man she becomes a new person. She becomes his bride, his woman, his helper. It is God’s will that her life be fashioned to help him. If a girl comes into marriage knowing that she is equipped and appointed to be this one new person, then she can adapt and find fulfillment in her new self expression.

The only time the Bible mentions someone becoming a new man is when he is “in Christ“. Sure, it says a man and woman become one flesh (which happens, by the way, because Eve was made from Adam’s flesh), but that is not the woman becoming a new person — it’s the two bonding together to make a single entity.

Debi uses old-fashioned manipulative techniques/scare tactics:

If you are wise you will learn to become a many colored girl.

Meaning, if you don’t, you’re stupid and your marriage will fail. This is how people are coerced into doing what the Pearls do…they are told they are stupid if they don’t. Nobody wants to be stupid! Besides that, these people are respected. They’ve written books. They’ve been published!!! (Many despicable people have been published. It doesn’t make you automatically more knowledgeable than anyone else!)

Don’t say to yourself, “I am a go-to girl and not a servant.” Rather say, “I am learning to be anything I need to be. I want to be a servant, I need to learn to lead and teach, and I will learn to be creative because my husband may need me to be all of these.”

Another classic example of what I believe is called a Straw Man arguement: You state the “other side” as sounding stupid, then knock it down with your own brilliant logic. The biggest problem with that is that people usually cite the extremes (which the Pearls love to do) as The Only Choices. So here, the choice is between a “go-to girl” (sounds like some kind of prostitute) meaning someone your husband ALWAYS has to come to, and an adaptive servant. I don’t think even clothes usually conform to a man’s body like Debi advocates a woman should. (Besides that, spandex isn’t usually the first choice in a man’s wardrobe unless he has a reason. Likewise, I’m not all that sure a doormat is most men’s first choice of in women, unless he has a reason. Such as, they are great for ego-stroking and trophies.)

The next little bit is the most damaging, in my opinion:

Practice being flexible in your likes and dislikes, how you feel about things, and what you hope to accomplish.

Let me try to find the words to explain how wrong this is. Maybe I should go get a glass of wine and finish this later.

Basically, she’s saying “Take the God-given likes, dislikes, and feelings you have, and deny them. Pretend to be someone you’re not, so you can be whatever your husband wants.”

This is a lie. Do not do this.

Sure, I see adapting to his quirks, just as he adapts to yours. But there is nowhere in the Bible that advocates conforming to another human, especially to this degree. What’s next, denying the pain you feel when you are injured, just so you can be more adaptable? Those pain receptors are there for a reason. Feelings, likes, and dislikes are there for a reason — they make YOU, YOU!!!

This isn’t meaning that ALL your feelings, likes, and dislikes come before everyone else’s either…or that they are more important than everyone else’s, merely that it’s what helps make you the person you are. Some likes and dislikes and certainly feelings should adapt to other people, like perhaps sometimes you make something for your husband’s dinner that you don’t like but he does. But really, if you deny all of your feelings, likes, and dislikes, you deny yourself. You deny the very person you were created. In my opinion, that’s worse than using the tired argument that dying your hair is bad because it means you’re unhappy with the color God gave you.

Only one of the comments (the last one by Wendy) disagreed with her, and the gist of what she said is, “My husband married me for me… not for how I can change to fit into his world. I already fit, that is why he married me and that is why I married him.”

I married my husband not because of how I fit into his life, or how he fit into my life, but because our lives are intertwined in a symbiotic relationship. We change and adapt to each other. We grow with and around each other — sort of like those trees whose trunks are braided together. We are two separate personalities and beings who come together out of a want to be together.

I believe that is truly what “becoming one flesh” means.

***

URL for the article: http://www.nogreaterjoy.org/articles/general-view/archive/2011/august/15/learning-to-become-a-multi-colored-girl/

Other References:

An extremely concise, detailed review of Created To Be His Helpmeet (recommended): http://createdtobehelpmeet.blogspot.com/2007/09/introduction-main-concerns.html

Some good insights on Debi’s flawed theories: http://spunkyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2005/07/created-to-be-his-help-meet-part-1.html

Addressing some of the issues with the book, but not an exhaustive list: http://responsivereiding.com/2008/03/01/created-to-be-his-help-meet-a-review-sort-of/

Libby Anne’s take on the article: http://lovejoyfeminism.blogspot.com/2011/09/masters-and-slaves-are-men-and-women.html

Phoenix On September - 1 - 2011

34 Responses so far.

  1. Libby Anne says:

    I read this too, yesterday, and am also planning to respond. I jaw dropped at the beginning of the article and kind of stayed that way through the end. Seriously, though, why am I even surprised by Debi anymore? The thing is, she’s saying it like it is here, while so many others color coat it. Others will say “oh, men and women just have different roles, they’re both equal, just different,” Debi seems to drop that entirely. Women are made TO SERVE MEN, she says. I am SO GLAD I jumped ship before reading this or CTBHHM. I mean, I believed this already, but not in such very stark terms! Sigh.

    • QuicksilverQueen says:

      I actually have a copy of CTBHHM that I haven’t dared open. I already know most of what’s in it. My mom runs a really big women’s forum, and she was buying those books by the box and reselling them. Now it makes me sick to think about it!

      I think the only good article by them was the Cloistered Homeschool Syndrome one, and *possibly* the Jumping Ship one. I don’t really remember what was in either, other than my parents didn’t like those ones.

  2. Joelle says:

    You are braver than I am! I can’t even stand to read their crap, so I don’t. lol

  3. Raine says:

    It’s interesting she says this now, because she gave 3 types for women in the book and didn’t mention anything about colors then, just that it would be harder for certain types to adapt to certain types of men.

    It’s funny, because my husband & I fit her example of “terrible conflict” perfectly, and yet we make it work. He is the image of “Mr. Steady” and I fit her “Command” type better than even the “go to girl” description. I am pretty driven, have a strong personality, and very take care, to the point of sometimes giving orders rather than asking. I have learned to tone it down some around those I loved, but trying to change my personality doesn’t work (I really tried to be passive, quiet, and all those things some people think make a godly, submissive, wife and he hated it more than I did because it wasn’t who I really am).

    I actually liked most of CTBHH, and it did help my marriage, but I think the Pearls go way off-base on many issues and sometimes ignore or twist scripture to make it fit their own ideas. You are right, and she is wrong, about man being the image of God and woman created to fit man – the bible says we are both made in the image of God. I also agree with your view on becoming “one flesh” – becoming one means the two melding together, not one overpowering and the other having to shrink away or change it’s nature to conform to it.

    • QuicksilverQueen says:

      I’ve heard some people have gotten some good out of CTBHHM, but there seems to me to be too much garbage to wade through to get to it!

      Thanks for you comment!

  4. Danielle says:

    Thank’s for posting this! Great evaluation and wonderfully insightful…=) I just read the article by DP yesterday and was appalled…seems like her world is very, very small…and her audience very large. A really bad combination.

    • QuicksilverQueen says:

      You’re welcome! I’m glad you like it. Really bad combination — I agree!!

      This was one I couldn’t pass up replying to.

  5. Sydney says:

    My mom’s friend once recommended CTBHHM (they both hated the Pearl’s material overall, but she happened to like many parts of that book alone)…my mom was very cynical, but said she’d take a look because she kept pushing it, and she found some good things, but she and MP are still wonky in most of what they say, so she (my mom) avoids them like the plague.
    How someone can fall for giving up your wants, likes and dislikes in the name of being holy or something, is beyond me. What would life be like if we never had those? 😕 You hit the nail on the head with your critique.
    When you marry someone, you’ve come together in the first place because you have similar dreams and goals that either are the same, compliment eachother, are flexible with the other’s, etc. I think most guys like a girl who does think for herself and has goals and dreams, instead of just wandering aimlessly with no care for anything.

    There’s a parenting program (you probably know of it already) titled, “Growing Kids God’s Way.” The title itself makes me squirm…if it’s written by man (his opinions) then what makes HIS way God’s way compared to another program/author? It pretty much tells you to disregard other ideas because they’re not ‘God’s way.’ If you want to do things God’s way, why not read the Bible itself? I’m not against all parenting books, just those that advocate control and absolute submission over love and grace. I’d rather have my child disagree with me but still have a relationship with me, than to have him/her hate me for not extending love/grace to them. IMHO.

    • QuicksilverQueen says:

      Some people can find the good in CTBHHM…personally, I don’t think there’s enough good to make it worthwhile!

      Yeah, I’ve heard of that program. I don’t believe God really laid out any type of parenting program in the Bible! Sure, there are proverbs, written by a man, and proverbs are wise/nice sayings, not laws. And I’m with you…I’d rather have my child disagree with me and still have a relationship, than have her remember me as a tyrant!

      • Sydney says:

        Don’t get me wrong. Let me clarify though I think you can glean a lot about parenting (not all) from the Bible from the way God treats us, His people, more than from Proverbs (there’s many verses or sayings that people twist from there that I completely disagree with), I didn’t mean to imply that there’s a distinct “parenting program” in the Bible. Of course not. My point was that before someone starts calling their parenting program “God’s way, holy, etc.” make sure it lines up with scripture in the first place…time and time again, I see it doesn’t do that at all. Too many inconsistencies…definitely see that with anything of the Pearls, Gothard, Ezzos and others. Irks me that they’re convincing people they’ll have holy children if they do it THAT way, but it doesn’t even align with the Bible. You pointed it out in this post well.

  6. Amy says:

    … I am absolutely speechless.
    Wow.
    I knew that this movement advocated sacrificing your likes and dislikes, your wants and needs, your emotions and your feelings– but I’ve never seen it put into such stark terms. And the fact that these instructions are only for women! UGH.

    I’ve read CTBHHM, and I was drinking the koolaid at the time and I liked it. But now, looking back, I think, “Wait, that’s what she wrote? That passage was there? HOW did I miss those blatantly screwed up ideas?”

    It’s so sickening. It just grieves me that women are just totally destroying themselves. They might not even realize it, but others can see it. How worn down these women are. They suffer in so many visible ways. You can’t keep denying the desires GOD gave you, and continually let others violate your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual boundaries without serious repercussions. It’s not healthy.

    • QuicksilverQueen says:

      Crazy, right?? Coming out of that lifestyle, I have to learn what I like and what I don’t like, basically, or at least rediscover! Not to mention learning to show my emotions and learn how to even deal with them properly! It’s really difficult sometimes!!

  7. shadowspring says:

    Growing Kids Gods Way= GKGW= Growing Kids Garys Way (author Garry Ezzo). http://ezzo.info/

    Be warned, young moms. This is way more dangerous than merely taking proverbs (generalities) and making them absolutes. His advice is abusive and in some cases dangerous, like the Pearls. For instance, he believes being shy is a sin to be punished. He teaches infants are selfish and demanding and need to be taught that parents are in control- not by the spanking Pearl advocates, but by withholding nursing/bottles until the parents decide it’s time to feed the baby.*shudder* He justifies this by pointing out that God, the perfect father, turned away from Jesus ON THE CROSS.

    Yes, that’s right, he tells parents to ignore crying, hungry infants and compares that to the moment of crucifixion!! God crucified his son, so you can deny meeting the needs of your infant in a timely manner with no qualms. Unbelievable!

    He also markets to the secular world under the title Babywise, sans the prooftexting. In his books for parenting older children, he advocates not telling your children about sex until the week before MARRIAGE! No, I am not kidding.

    Okay, now that I have that off my chest (whew!) I have to say:
    hats off to the quicksilver queen for making it through that entire Pearl article!! I could not have done it. And here is that glass of wine you well deserve *pours nice merlot and hands to QSQ*. You deserve it for your service to humanity in publishing this review. 🙂

    • QuicksilverQueen says:

      Wow! That’s child abuse. Withholding food?!? I’ve heard of Ezzo and Babywise and mostly in bad light.

      And I can tell you from experience, NOT being told about sex and my body caused way more harm than if I had known! (And same with my siblings.)

      *sips wine* Thanks 😉 This was one article I couldn’t pass up without saying anything!!

  8. Young Mom says:

    Wonderful! I grew up reading this stuff, and buying it hook line and sinker. Combine that with Elsie Dinsmore and the “Above Rubies” magazine, Yikes! I still get the Above Rubies mag, I’ve been meaning to cancel my subscription for over a year now, but part of me still have this sick facination with it, I’m getting to the point now where I can mostly read it without feeling burdened with guilt. I may even write on it one of these times.

    • QuicksilverQueen says:

      I tried to be like Elsie Dinsmore for a while…it didn’t work. haha My mom gets Above Rubies as well. And I think that you can read it without feeling guilt (mostly) is a really big step! Sometimes I don’t read things, or avoid reading things, because I know I’ll get sucked into the guilt trap again. But then when I overcome it, I can write about it and help other people. 🙂

  9. Sisterlisa says:

    If all women conformed to their husbands, they would never learn patience in marriage. Many fundamentalists say God doesn’t want a robot..but apparently Fundy husbands do want robots.

    And just because Eve was taken from Adam’s rib doesn’t mean we all were. So Mary conceived as a virgin..doesn’t mean we all do.

    Those are two special circumstances in the bible that WE were not included in. After Adam and Eve all children are created after both their parents. Adam AND Eve BOTH were created in THEIR (God and…?) image…how is a female created in the image of a God who is male only? I say there’s more within the “our image’ than people give God credit for.

    But as for Debi Pearl…She is writing her content based on what her husband teaches her. Why should she have a mind of her own when her husband enjoys having her and her children (when they were little) as slaves? It’s “their calling to serve him”..but maybe Debi actually likes her life like that. Who are we to say she’s wrong in HER choice? It’s just not ok to tell everyone else they HAVE to be like her “if they want to be wise”. Give me a break. Wisdom doesn’t come from following a list of rules.

    • QuicksilverQueen says:

      Very good points!

      Sometimes people in those situations don’t realize they are being abused. Perhaps Debi is one of those, perhaps not and she truly enjoys living like that. I didn’t realize what my parents did was abuse until after I left.

  10. Laura Iversen says:

    you are onto it! last sunday God showed me what the lie is in this…our pastor was talking about covenant and how it MAKES THE TWO PARTS BETTER by hebrew definition. NOT makes the one part less. This is the root of this heresy: that we should become less and less until we have NO personality ourselves. I even had a woman argue that my desires and wants and dreams were sinful and fallen, but followed through to logical conclusion this would mean she never does anything she likes. I spent many years (and still do) second guessing myself, God talking to me, and even the decisions I make over small things. This is wrong. We were created to be God’s friend and helper, in a way that completely completes us as a person, not denies our being.

    • QuicksilverQueen says:

      I’m still trying to get over the second-guessing of myself! Not to mention the second-guessing of others. When we were first married, whenever my husband asked me which of two movies I’d rather watch, I would try to second-guess and figure out which one HE wanted. Patiently, he would talk me through it until I figured out what I really wanted to watch. That was how bad it was!

      I like your last sentence…but I’m sort of curious what you mean by being God’s “helper”?

      • Laura Iversen says:

        I mean by helper : we are His hands and feet. He is counting on us to salt the earth, is He not? He created us to glorify and enjoy HIm forever, and He delights in our praise! He gave us the ability to be creative and He delights in seeing that worked out in the world to give him praise. 🙂 Right?
        I’m the same way with my husband, to the point that I’m really having to stop and examine myself and see what’s inside. My hubby has done the same thing. 🙂 I have a terrible time making decisions but am getting better. It didn’t help that I had an important person decide to tell me I was good for nothing 20 years ago. I’ve been second guessing myself for a long time. It does my heart good to ask my children to “go ask Jesus what you should do” and have them come back with an answer!!! 🙂

        • QuicksilverQueen says:

          Ah, ok…I get you now. 🙂

          I’m glad you’ve got a husband who helps you with that too!! My dad didn’t say I was good for nothing but he sure made it clear anything I did wasn’t good enough! Really damaging!!

  11. Amanda Aeschliman :) says:

    Just finished reading through all the comments!

    Kudos for being able to read through that article and post a clear-minded response to it. 😀

    I have had the same problem as you – my husband is always having to tell me not to feel bad about getting something for myself, and help me learn to decide what I like and don’t like and stuff, because I feel guilty for it still. :S He is so patient, and he cares about me being me, and that’s one reason I love him so much. 🙂

  12. Joanna says:

    This is horrendous. This is saying that the desire to write and draw that I have is somehow “wrong”. God must not have given me that talent, because I’m not supposed to have ANY preferences until I marry??

    So, if my husband doesn’t approve of my doing artwork, I am not supposed to ever paint again? If he doesn’t like me writing books, I cannot do it again? Even more than that, I am not supposed to even like it myself?

    That is so wrong, I can’t even begin to describe my disgust for this teaching. Is she really taking it upon herself to say that God gives NO preferences, no talents, no interests, no dreams, no desires (other than motherhood) to women?

    • QuicksilverQueen says:

      Or if he does, they are supposed to completely suppress them! My dad realized some women were naturally better leaders than other women (and some men), but that they had to suppress those qualities so their husband could lead. The logic with that is the same he uses for selfishness — they are both born into you, both are things you have to conquer.

      • Joanna says:

        Right… but the men never have any qualities they have to “suppress”, except maybe being too “soft” in dealing with people, or actually caring about other people’s opinions/feelings. 😛

        Again, that’s just such a wrong line of thought I don’t even know what to say. If there IS no marriage in heaven, then what is the purpose of men and women “roles”. Why would God want half of His creation to be opinionless for the rest of eternity?

        Debi Pearl takes it even a step further than your dad did (at least in the above quote LOL), that even opinions, likes/dislikes, etc are wrong in a woman. You should even be flexible in what you like, what you prefer, what you do for fun/hobbies…

        Basically, women suck and are only here to make men happy. This rigid gender roles junk is seriously getting out of hand. It CREATES abusers and abusive situations, even with people who wouldn’t naturally tend toward that.

        • QuicksilverQueen says:

          Regarding heaven…ha, yeah!

          My dad was pretty much of the opinion that likes/dislikes didn’t *count* in anybody under the age of 30.

          And yeah, it creates abusers! See my next post.

  13. Erika Martin says:

    I’ve never been able to think of that book as titled anything other than, “Created to be his doormat.”

    • QuicksilverQueen says:

      Ha, yeah no kidding! The way my dad always explained it always made women sound like a doormat even though he assured me that wasn’t the case.

  14. Anna Wood says:

    Hhmm, something we have in common: I don’t like the Pearl’s either. I believe that their advice, on marriage and on parenting, leads to abuse and therefore is itself abusive. 🙂

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Welcome! This is my space on the internet to explore myself and my life and find my courage to turn into a queen. My Quilt No content on this blog may be used or reproduced elsewhere without a link back.

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