Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quiverfull Philosophy

Yet another quick post which intertwines birth and Christian theology, and so which may apply only to readers of the Christian faith (though not necessarily!).

So, I've been reading up lately on the Quiverfull Movement, which is a conservative Christian movement that rejects all form of birth control, that is, putting God in complete control of family size. It is based on the Bible verse: "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them." (Ps. 127:3-4, NKJV).

Followers of the Quiverfull movement believe that (1) any form of birth control is an effort to take away the sovereignty of God, who alone is able to open and close the womb, (2) that children are always a blessing from God and should be received gladly, (3) that Christians should trust God with their family size, and (4) that birth control has led to our culture's current "abortion mindset," i.e. that children are disposable man-made objects whose worth is dependent only upon whether or not they are wanted by their parents.

(If I missed anything or messed anything up, please feel free to write and correct me.)

The Christian community seems, to me, to fall into the following categories regarding birth control:

Option #1 - Any form of birth control is okay, barring abortion.

Option #2 - Some forms of birth control are frowned upon, due to their ability to act as abortifacients, but others (barrier, etc.) are considered okay.

Option #3 - Quiverfull Philosophy, see above.

Option #4 - The Roman Catholic view, being that it is okay to use God-given periods of female infertility (with abstinence during fertile periods) in order to control family size.

Did I miss any? The Quiverfull Philosophy is by far the least common, though I have run across it quite often over the past few years.

I have read "A Mom Just Like You" by Vickie Farris - it is an excellent book on the topic of homeschooling, but the first two chapters are devoted to family planning issues. Regardless of your birth control philosophy, it's a great read.

I have also read a little bit by Shonda Parker, an excellent author whom I really admire. Incidentally, I am friends with Mrs. Parker on Facebook, and she is an awesome woman, wife and mother..... I receive a lot of encouragement from her wise and godly wisdom, and the glimpses into her family life. She is definitely a mentor-from-afar for me.

I've also read stuff online and on blogs that deals with this subject.

So! I'd love to hear what you think! For? Against? Bible verses? Thoughts?

Now..... I never know which articles on this blog are going to "take off" and which are going to just sit. Some articles garner a lot of comments that I never would have expected, while others stay comment-less. Since I don't know which way the wind will blow (until it does!), here is my disclaimer again: Civil, polite, kind conversation is welcome! Name-calling, cat fights, or any form of unkindness or rudeness is NOT and will be deleted immediately without comment. All conversations must be governed by the law of kindness.

So if anyone would care to discuss this, feel free!


  1. Have you read Kathryn Joyce's book on the Quiverfull movement? I found it very interesting. She's also written an article on Quiverfull and unassisted birth. I don't think she totally understands parts of the UC movement, but it's an interesting documentation of the interaction between some Quiverfull doctrines and the ideas behind UCing. http://www.alternet.org/belief/141499/my_womb_for_god's_purposes:_the_perils_of_unassisted_childbirth_in_the_quiverfull_movement_/?page=1

  2. I'll go check that out right now! Thanks!

  3. Argh, I just posted a long comment, and it says, "unable to complete your request." So if I end up double-posting, sorry.

    Short answer: I think God has given us brains for a purpose, and that we can and should use them. Actions have consequences, whether it's jumping off a cliff, playing in traffic, or using medicine when you're sick. I don't think it's "failing to trust God" to use medicine when necessary or beneficial, avoid the edges of cliffs, and look both ways before crossing the street. For families who want lots of children, I say, "Go for it! (as long as you're not violating the command for a Christian man to be able to take care of his family)." For those who don't, whether due to the mother being overwhelmed and feeling like she's going to snap if she has any more kids, or some condition in the mother that would make a pregnancy a hardship, like HG, or downright dangerous or life-threatening, I say, "Thank God for modern medicine and fertility knowledge!"


  4. Personally, I have struggled with this. I want birth control, but I realized the IUD is not for me. There is the possibility of conception. That just doesn't feel right to me. But I do feel the need to use birth control. When we are done, we'll probably do the diaphragm for a while and then my husband will get a baseptomy. I want to be the best mother I can be. I have high expectations of myself and I know how much I can give and what is too much for me. I know we won't be a big family. We are a family of three, currently trying to conceive #2, but still having doubts periodically. I feel that our lives are great as is. Frankly, I am afraid about the transition, the stress, how my sleep deprivation will impact my parenting style, etc. I feel very strongly that I owe it to my kid(s) to be a happy, healthy, rested mom to one or two of them, as opposed to having "as many as God gives me" and then being thoroughly overwhelmed for years. Interesting topic, thank you!


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