Deconversion: Vanessa’s Story, Part Three

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HA note: Vanessa blogs at Fiery Skull Diaries. She “recently uprooted [herself] from kentucky to florida,” where she enjoys “fresh springs, the magical fragrance of orange groves, and copious amounts of sunblock daily.” Vanessa considers herself “an exchristian, atheist, and antitheist, unapologetically.” This post was originally published on August 26, 2013 and is reprinted with her permission.

< Part Two

it’s difficult to talk about the abuse that went on in my home in the same breath as my deconversion process.

based on the nature of their beliefs — the foundation of their beliefs — believers are quick to pounce on this as evidence that i turned from god because of a hard time i went through; that my faith was, apparently, weak.

language falls dreadfully short at encompassing how cruel an insult that is.

because i have first-hand understanding of why they say this, i am never caught off guard or react angrily when they dismiss a real and substantial part of my life with such callous ease, citing that i was never truly one of them (1 john 2:19 they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us);

that i was the seed that fell on stony ground (matthew 13:5-6 some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away).

my faith was indeed nothing short of real to me, and for many years, i viewed god and my faith in him as the underlying force that got me through those painful times of abuse, abandonment, betrayal, fear, uncertainty, poverty, and loneliness.

i held onto the bible verses i had already learned by heart, thanks to awana (see part 2 for explanation about awana).

i searched the bible, especially psalms and proverbs, for more comforting verses. i clung to the verses my friends and church leaders would write down or point me toward. i heard, “god won’t give you more than you can handle” more times than i can count — and i believed it. i didn’t understand why god was letting all this hurt and confusion happen to me and my family, but i trusted that he knew what he was doing and was with me through it. he’s the one that can see the big picture; every piece of the puzzle; every thread of the tapestry. his ways are higher than ours; his understanding high above ours.

he was in control and he had a plan.

jeremiah 29:11 for i know the plans I have for you, declares the lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

when my dad left, i was reminded endlessly by my friends and mentors (all christians) that god was the true father of us all; that god could be my daddy. in fact, in one of the many diaries/prayer journals i filled in my teen years, i addressed every entry to “daddy” (god).


To be continued.

Deconversion: Vanessa’s Story, Part Two

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HA note: Vanessa blogs at Fiery Skull Diaries. She “recently uprooted [herself] from kentucky to florida,” where she enjoys “fresh springs, the magical fragrance of orange groves, and copious amounts of sunblock daily.” Vanessa considers herself “an exchristian, atheist, and antitheist, unapologetically.” This post was originally published on July 22, 2013 and is reprinted with her permission.

< Part One

i cannot overemphasize how indoctrinated i was.

in addition to attending church three times a week from before i can even remember,

going to church preschool at ages three and four,

and being homeschooled as part of a christian homeschooling group from kindergarten through 12th grade,

i started attending awana at age seven.

awana is a highly developed scripture memorization program originally modeled after the boy/girl scouts, that starts kids as young as two years old. in my eleven years in awana, i read the entire bible twice (many parts of it much more than that) and memorized over a thousand verses.

a thousand.

memorized. by heart. word for word in the king james (sometimes new king james) version. recited in reference-verse-reference format.

i attended awana camp for five consecutive summers, starting my eighth grade year. it is no exaggeration to say that the awana camp experience is overwhelmingly similar to jesus camp.

awana taught me far more about the bible than any other source in my life. it grounded me, rooted me, solidified my faith more than anything else.

my name is engraved and hangs proudly on a wall for all to see inside the awana headquarters in chicago because i earned the citation award, the highest award awana offers. it takes ten years to achieve.

awana accomplished its mission with me.

2 timothy 2:15 study to show thyself approved unto god, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.


Part Three >

The Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute: NCFCA and Growing Up in a Conservative Bubble — Libby Anne’s Thoughts

The Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute: NCFCA and Growing Up in a Conservative Bubble — Libby Anne’s Thoughts

Libby Anne blogs at Love Joy Feminism on Patheos.

As I prepared my debate briefs, scouring the internet for evidence, there were two places I always looked first—the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. A good quote or two that could be applied in argument against a given plan was generally sufficient for my purposes. I filed my briefs carefully in my box and prepared for competition.

I honestly think my participation in NCFCA, known colloquially as “homeschool debate,” was the best thing about my high school years. I participated for four full years, attending debate competitions across my region. I loved it—the buzz of people, the feeling of purpose, and the heady rush I got when stepping up to speak.

Homeschool debate was one of the social highlights of my high school career. At the time, my main socialization events were church, AWANA (bible club), and a weekly arts and music co-op. Homeschool debate gave me one more weekly opportunity to see friends (or at least, the ones who were also in our local debate club) and, wonder of wonders, an opportunity to meet people outside of our local social circle. Debate tournaments were amazing—they served as the gathering points of dozens or even hundreds of homeschooled teens just like me, comprising the largest gathering of young people I found myself in outside of our annual homeschool convention.

And here is where we come back to the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Homeschool debate was an approved activity for me and many other teens like me because our parents considered it safe. Homeschool debate was founded by Christy Shipe, the daughter of Michael Farris, founder of HSLDA. The goal of homeschool debate was to train up a generation of young people for public speaking and political involvement in an effort to restore America to its Christian foundation. We were those young people.

NCFCA was unabashedly Christian. To participate in homeschool debate, we had to sign a statement of faith. This meant that the teens filling the halls of a given debate tournament were, like me, growing up in Christian homeschooling families. They were there because they shared the mission and vision of NCFCA. They too were being trained to be culture changers—they too were being brought up to embrace their parents’ vision for the restoration of a Christian nation.

As I’m sitting here, all my memories from homeschool debate are pouring over me. There were the long car trips in which we carpooled with others in our club and spent hours singing, talking, and playing games. There were the hotel stays where we congregated with the other debaters late into the night, sipping hot chocolate in the hotel lobby and swapping stories about tournaments and life. There were the times when we stayed with host families and made new friends in the process. There were the tournaments where disaster struck—a car problem, an illness—and memories were made. There were the times I stood up without a shred of actual evidence and used simple logic to overturn the other team’s carefully laid plan, basking in the heady rush I felt as I did so. The conferences, the tournaments, it all comes rushing back, along with the time spent on the homeschool debate forum cracking homeschool jokes with other debaters (When can the principle kiss the teacher without facing a harassment lawsuit? When you’re homeschooled, because your father is the principle and your mother is the teacher!).

And once again I’ve lost track of where I started this essay—with the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. My parents and the parents of the other students in homeschool debate thought they were preparing us to go out and take on the world, but they had a curious way of doing so. Namely, homeschool debate was like having pro-lifers debate each other about whether abortion should be legal. One year the topic was protectorates, and my partner and I created a plan to get rid of the D.C. gun ban. Watching the other team when we got up and presented our plan was always amusing. After all, how could they argue against the second amendment? They couldn’t! Not only would it be hard for them to argue against their principles, but also the judges were generally chosen from among homeschool parents and their church friends, meaning that the audience was one-sided as well. Generally, the other team would get up and argue that because of a case currently working its way through the courts, our plan was not inherent—in other words, the problem was real but was already being solved.

And beyond just this, we all knew that the best sources to use came from the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. If you quoted one of them to back up a point you were making, you were golden. In college, I learned something I hadn’t known before—that those centers leaned right and were generally taken with a large grain of salt. In homeschool debate, no one was going to argue that. In homeschool debate, no one knew that. We accepted the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute as fair and balanced and objective—and our coaches weren’t about to challenge that. The same was true of just about everything about homeschool debate.

Homeschool debate took place in a bubble. Within that bubble, it was great—I learned a lot about rhetoric, logic, and argumentation—but it was still in a bubble. You can’t raise a group completely outside of a culture and then send them out into it expecting them to change that culture without even accurate knowledge about that culture. Individuals raised in a bubble like we were are simply not equipped to do that—and indeed, our understanding and perspective was limited because we were never encouraged to really question and think outside of the box.

It’s funny, I actually think homeschool debate is what started me thinking my way out of the entire belief system. The introduction to argumentation and logic that I received during my participation served me well once I got outside of the bubble and subjected it to questioning. It was that very foundation in argumentation and logic that kept me going, somehow naively unafraid of what I might find or where my questions might take me. I suppose I might say that homeschool debate gave me the tools I needed to think myself out of the bubble, but that I had to recognize the existence of the bubble before I could do that. But of course, none of this is what my parents intended when they involved me in homeschool debate, eager to train me as conservative culture warrior.

We Need Advocates: Philosophical Perspectives’s Story, Part One

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HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “PhilosophicalPerspectives” is the author’s chosen pseudonym.


In this series: Part One — We Need Advocates | Part Two — A Tool In Someone Else’s Culture War


As a kid, I remember seeing national media stories about homeschool families like Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, who beat their daughter to death in 2010, or Banita Jacks, who in 2009 was convicted of murdering her four daughters.

I clearly remember having conversations with my mother about how “those people weren’t really homeschooling” and how our family and friends were getting it right. We talked about how they weren’t really part of any home school community, and their parents were just trying to get away from the responsibility they bore for the abuse they inflicted, by claiming the title “home schoolers.” The home school community distanced itself from these stories, claiming that the abuses of a few “nutjobs” shouldn’t impact the rights of the whole homeschool movement.

It’s been interesting to hear the same lines come up in response to the stories shared on this blog. In comments on other sites, I’ve read many things like, “you could find 30 abused kids in any school system!,” or “these kids’ parents were just crazy. That’s not what home schooling is really like!” It seems like many people invested in the homeschooling movement are reading this blog in the same way my mom read stories like the ones mentioned above — as extreme examples of abuse from people on the far fringes of the homeschool movement.  I’ve read comments that go so far as to dismiss these stories outright. More people, though, lament the suffering they read about, but make comments that distance themselves from the problem. These extreme cases are hard to catch, the sentiment goes, because these families never show up to homeschool groups or 4-H clubs or churches or anywhere we (homeschoolers) might be able to intervene. “These kids were totally isolated! It’s not our fault!” they declare, explicitly or implicitly.

This is misguided.

For many of us who are sharing our stories, our families were not on the fringes of the homeschooling movement — we were at its center. Our parents were the ones running the debate leagues, and founding the AWANA programs. We were the ones winning awards, respect, and acclaim. We are the poster children of the homeschooling movement.

And yet, we suffered serious abuse and neglect, and no one intervened on our behalf.

As a survivor, I started asking why. I was (almost constantly) involved in a myriad of extracurricular activities, and none of the adults in my life intervened in the neglect I experienced. They either didn’t notice, or didn’t care.

This is what isolation looks like in the homeschooling community.

I interacted with many adults outside of the homeschool movement, in many different contexts, and I honestly don’t think any of them had an inkling of what was really going on. Homeschoolers have always been trained to put on our most adult, most mature face to the outside world. This has to with the ways we’ve been socialized and the pressure we face to be walking proof of  the “success” of homeschooling — but that’s another post. Regardless, we’re excellent at being polite and reciting (often eloquently!) the ideas we’ve been taught. We therefore often make a very positive impression on outsiders — I can’t tell you how many times I was told how grown-up, how mature, how insightful I was when I was a tween. Most of the adults outside of the movement were so blown away by my irregularity (and my ability to discuss the classical origins of astronomical nomenclature) that they never asked deeper questions about my education or physical well-being, let alone about the emotional and spiritual abuse that was present in my home.

I also regularly interacted with adults within the homeschool movement, where parents should have been able to notice what was happening — and still, no one spoke up. Many of them didn’t (and still don’t) consider what many of us endured abuse — it’s just part of the process of “training up a child.” Many bought into the same vision of religious indoctrination and corporal punishment. The “us vs. them” mentality was huge, and “them” was often Child Protective Services. I’d still be surprised to hear of one home school parent reporting another. Even when the “moderate” parents didn’t agree with the techniques of the more fundamentalist ones, the “rights of the parent” continuously won out over the rights of the child. This line of reasoning is currently being used by the HSLDA to justify the refusal to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The combination of these factors created a unique culture that fosters and covers up or ignores the abuse and neglect that happens at the center of its community. The case against Sovereign Grace Ministries, an evangelical denomination that promotes homeschooling, is just one example. We’ve experienced it, and we’re hurt. There was a deep sense of community in the homeschool movement, and many of us, as kids, trusted deeply in its people and institutions. Now that I’m an adult reflecting on my experiences, I feel betrayed. The people I trusted perpetuated the systems of indoctrination that harmed me, and facilitated my parents’ neglect.

This is what isolation looks like in the homeschooling community.

The invitation that this blog presents to the homeschooling community is to begin to take abuse, neglect, and indoctrination seriously, and refuse to look the other way. The children of homeschooling need advocates, and our parents aren’t always looking out for our best interest. Neither is the HSLDA.

To be continued.

Looking Down Their Noses: Jamie’s Story

HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Jamie” is a pseudonym. 

I have been mulling something over for about a month. Pieces of this for much longer. There is something I have noticed and it’s kind of driving me bonkers.

As someone who has taught in Christian/private schools, home schooled, been home schooled and now a mom of a public school student, I feel like I have a bone to pick.

Growing up home schooled and going to a billion home schooling conferences, I heard tons of “horror stories” of public school kids/classes/teachers. Looking back, I am surprised that some of these speakers didn’t dim all the lights and put a flashlight under their chin while they spoke. Parents leave these conferences determined not to let their kid go to a public school ever. So they keep home schooling, and honestly? Some home schooling families have no business “teaching” their kids, because they are learning nothing. (Those are the ones that give the “good” home schooling families a bad name.)

Even if these poor moms are ready to quit home schooling, they can’t. There’s fear. There’s judgement. There’s a pile of canned, self-righteous answers for all their reasons. Generally speaking, there’s no money to send their children to Christian school, public school is “out” (in their minds) and so they muddle on. Done, but not done.

When I taught (in several) Christian schools, there would be comments from the admins and staff alike that would poo-poo the other Christian school in the area. Basically, gossip:

“ABC school handled such and such poorly, we would have handled it so much better.”

“XYZ school allows such and such to go on, we would never allow that here.”

It all pretty much follows the pattern of “they are bad because ___, we are better because ____”.

Building yourself up with examples that may or may not be true (or based on truth) and tearing another down. It’s kind of a manipulative way to keep your staff and students right where you want them, all the while jacking up their tuition so much, it’s almost (if not impossible) to send even one child, never mind more than one. But still looking down their noses at public school families and rolling eyes at home schoolers.

I’m pretty tired of the whole scene.

There are fabulous teachers in the public school system, just like there are fabulous teachers at the little Christian school down the road, and fabulous mothers teaching their own children. And, news flash —

There are horror stories coming out of all three.

The public school system is not the enemy. It makes a convenient target, because it’s big and vague. And just because you assign too much home work, make your students wear uniforms, and have Christian in your title doesn’t make you “better.” And there are home schooling families that need to put aside their fear and the lies they have swallowed for years and admit they are in over their heads. The bottom line should be your children’s education. My oldest has learned more this year in public school than she has the last 3 years I have taught her. It’s been the best thing for her. I can “just” be her mom, and it’s taken a lot of pressure off of me.

It kills me when I hear people say, “I got to hear my child sing praise songs while cleaning their room. Ah, the benefits of home schooling.” Or, “I just got to see my child read a chapter out of the Bible. Ah, the benefits of home schooling.” Really? Somehow my children will never read the Bible or sing praise songs because they are in public school? They will never play nicely with their sisters or practice the piano or go to AWANA because they are in school? Just because it happens at 10:30 in the morning at your house, doesn’t mean it can’t happen after 3:30 in the afternoon at my house.

However you choose to educate your child is your business.

But there is not one way to do it. And there is not merely one way for each family. Kids are different, their needs are different, and situations change. Being fluid isn’t being weak. It’s being open minded and honest and putting your kids first.

And isn’t that what parenting is all about?

To be continued.

Homeschool Confidential: Leaving Generation Joshua

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator


“Generation Joshua wants America to be a perpetual city on a hill, a beacon of biblical hope to the world around us.  We seek to inspire every one of our members with faith in God and a hope of what America can become as we equip Christian citizens and leaders to impact our nation for Christ and for His glory.”

~ William A. Estrada, Esq., Director of Generation Joshua


The story that follows is a cautionary tale.

It is the story of a generation, overwhelmed and frightened by the 1960’s and 70’s, that wanted to create an isolated bubble in which to raise kids untouched by the chaos and depravity of the American world. It is the story of a generation that partied so hard that, ashamed of its doings, wanted its progeny to not do the things it did. It is a story of how you can so easily throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water — or, put another way, how babies always grow up and have to make their own decisions, no matter how hard their parents try to avoid that day.


This story is not meant to antagonize people, though it will surely antagonize many. It is not meant to attack anyone, but it will involve some serious disagreements. This story is first and foremost a personal statement of my personal experience — my experience of the conservative, Christian, homeschooling subculture in which I grew up.

I didn’t just grow up in the subculture. I was one of its most outspoken advocates and champions. I wasn’t merely a conservative, Christian homeschooler. I was raised and groomed to be a model for its tenets, an inspiration for my peers, and someone who trained my peers to also be advocates and champions.

I have struggled most of my life with sorting through everything I experienced as a homeschooler. Not the education, mind you — I can read, think, write, speak, and debate. But as I have been increasingly dealing with major depression, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, and all sorts of other problems, I have been reflecting on my childhood. And I realize that the pressures put on me by the conservative, Christian homeschooling subculture have contributed significantly to my problems today.

It’s not the conservatism or the Christianity or the homeschooling, per se. It’s not my family. But it’s the combination of everything and especially my years in the homeschool speech and debate league that made me who I am. And lately I’ve been talking to other people who went through the same things. And I am starting to see patterns. I am starting to hear stories. Stories of pressure, control, self-hating, self-harming, and even abuse — emotional, physical, and sexual.

I am starting to hear that I am not alone in my problems.

Everyone, of course, has a different experience, even those who were homeschooled. Some of us were in the Home School Legal Defense Association. Some of us did speech and debate, while others did Teen Pact or Teen Mania. Some of us did Creation Science seminars; others did not. Some of us grew up in Quiverfull homes, or homes dedicated to Josh Harris’ model of courtship, or even betrothal homes. Some of us were allowed to date. We all have different experiences. Some of us are atheists now, or agnostics, or Buddhists, or still Christians. Some of us are liberal; others are conservative.

But there is a pattern emerging. And that pattern has a story that needs to be told.


What you might not know about conservative, Christian homeschoolers is that we are actually a smart bunch. Unlike the completely ridiculous cultural stereotype, many of us received more than adequate socialization. We had park days, sports teams, missions trips, and political rallies. We had drama clubs and the Bible verse memorization club AWANA — but more than that, many of us were in speech and debate leagues, moot court, summer camps dedicated to worldview training, and all sorts of other activities meant to make us articulate defenders and proponents of our beliefs.

We were, in fact, probably able to school our secular peers in argumentation and public speaking. And that was no coincidence. There is a vast, well-organized machine that yearly churns out advocates of the conservative, Christian, homeschooling viewpoint.  We were part of the so-called “Generation Joshua,” the new generation meant to reclaim America for the glory of the Christian god.

To my subculture, Generation Joshua means two things. First, it is a Christian youth organization founded in 2003 by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), created to train children to be activists for conservative candidates who support pro-life and otherwise socially conservative platforms. But more importantly, Generation Joshua is a metaphor. It is a rallying cry based on a jumbled amalgam of biblical stories with the purpose of inspiring conservative parents and their kids.

In the Old Testament, the Egyptians held the Israelites in captivity. The Hebrew God chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of captivity and into the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. But the Israelites and Moses disobeyed God on numerous occasions, so God made them wander in the wilderness for forty years, banning them from ever entering the Promised Land. But God had compassion on them, and chose a member of the next generation, Joshua, to lead the Israelites’ children into that land of milk and honey.

While this story is considered by academics and exegetes to be a straightforward historical narrative, conservative Christians have transformed it into a metaphor for the United States. In this metaphor, the Israelites are U.S. citizens. The U.S. was founded as a Christian nation, but the forces of secularism have held us in captivity as the U.S. progressed. So God — now the God of Republican, conservative Christians — chose homeschooling parents to lead the U.S. away from its godlessness and back to its Christian roots. But the parents were once part of that secularism, so God will not allow them to see the fruits of their labor. God has nonetheless shown compassion towards their efforts, so the parents’ children are the new Joshuas. These children are to be trained in God’s original plan for the U.S. to be a Christian nation, and they will grow up to invade all levels of the U.S. government and society and reclaim the U.S. for Republican, conservative Christianity.

To this end, all aspects of a homeschooled child’s life are to be tailored to this vision. Every effort is made to ensure that the children become full-fledged advocates of this viewpoint. You see, many conservatives fear one thing almost more than everything else, including Bill Clinton and abortion: that their kids will grow up and disagree with them. There is an enormous apparatus in place to prevent that calamity. There are books, videos, seminars, and camps dedicated to keep kids in line with their parents’ ideology. One of the most talked about and feared statistics every year is how many kids gave up on their parents’ beliefs once they go off to college. This statistic will go viral everywhere. It will terrify parents, reinforce their mission, and inspire them to push and brainwash harder, faster, stronger. You don’t want to be that parent — the parent with the bad seed, the apostate.

It can be a major embarrassment and shame or alienate parents or families out of their long-trusted circles. “The family that has the atheist kid?” Or, “The family that has that girl who got pregnant?” “Surely they raised their kid wrong. Let’s not associate with them anymore.”

It kills relationships.

To be clear, there are many kind, sincere, and well-meaning members of this subculture. There are parents who believe and know they can offer their children a better education than public schools; or who withdraw their kids due to personal handicaps, bullying, or other real and serious complications; or who are capable of teaching their kids to think for themselves instead of merely indoctrinating them.

That I am even writing this is itself a testament to both homeschooling as well as the power of human experience to triumph over human doctrine. I can read, write, reflect, and self-reflect. Much of that is due to a good education.

Much more, however, is due to the continual wrestling my mind had to do with everything in homeschooling that is not education — the attitudes, culture, worldview, and underlying biases that often are more important to homeschooling than the education itself. If homeschooling in a conservative, Christian environment was merely a parent rather than a publicly licensed stranger teaching me 1+1=2, I would not be writing this.  But I am writing this, and that is because, where I grew up, 1+1=2 because God is a protestant Christian deity who wants us to reclaim a fallen United States of America for His glory.


As I slowly and painfully extricated myself from this world in which I grew up, I felt very alone. But the more I broke free and was willing to not just admit to others my differences in opinion but admit to myself I was changing (often the harder task, as I still fear that maybe I am wrong and thereby will be burned alive for eternity in God’s hell fire), I found that I was not alone. I would hear from increasingly large numbers of my peers, my former students, and even my former teachers that they, too, had or are trying to break free.

I had always been a rabble-rouser in homeschooling circles, but one from within being self-critical. So I am not unfamiliar with making waves and being chastised. So to take a significant, real break from this community is terrifying. But once I finally took a stand, I realized — sometimes, someone just needs to have the courage to say what others have been hoping to hear.

I think, for a lot of us, we are afraid to say what we feel, to say that we have changed. A lot of our subculture’s message to us was to shut up and get in line. That makes us, even as adults, fearful of a former community’s backlash. We have stuffed our questions and our seeds of discontent for so long that remaining silent has become a habit. Even as adults, we have that inner child who is terrified of saying, “Hey, I’m don’t want to be like that. I want to grow up. I want to have my own beliefs. I want to be my own human being.”

The fact is — I am my own human being. And I always was. I just was raised to not think that way. And I have witnessed with my own eyes, ears, body, and heart so much pain that comes from not acknowledging I am my own person. And I have heard of so many others’ pain. So I cannot keep silent any longer. I will no longer keep my mouth shut and I will no longer play the games of this strange world. While I do not oppose homeschooling in theory, how I have seen it practiced in many ways demands a reckoning.

From the Quiverfull movement to the betrothal/courtship mentality to Generation Joshua and the dominionist attitudes of HSLDA, there are many survivors who — like myself — are trying to put their selves’ pieces back together. We are slowly but surely standing together to make our voices heard. I want the world to hear our stories and I want to give hope to those who are still immersed in this subculture. There is a way to break free and reclaim your self.

So here I am today, deciding to take the leap and be honest about what I experienced and how I have changed.


I, Ryan Lee Stollar, long ago left Generation Joshua, and I think you should, too.