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Author Topic: What were brothers told? And did sisters know?  (Read 15911 times)
Joanna
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« on: November 05, 2007, 08:34:34 am »

What were husbands and single brothers told about training their wives/future wives, and how was it tied in with love? If you were taught and believed those things before marriage, how did it affect your pursuing that relationship?

Did wives and single sisters know what the men were taught and that they were being trained?
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Joanna
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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2007, 08:45:46 am »

I've read what people have written on this board and on Assembly Reflections. I understand the attitudes and I've read the stories. But what was actually said to the men, and how did the women see it?  Did the men and women really see wife-training as love? And how was that connection made?

I haven't introduced myself, but I have been reading this board for a long time, with reason.
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Marcia M
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2007, 10:37:08 am »

I've read what people have written on this board and on Assembly Reflections. I understand the attitudes and I've read the stories. But what was actually said to the men, and how did the women see it?  Did the men and women really see wife-training as love? And how was that connection made?

I haven't introduced myself, but I have been reading this board for a long time, with reason.

EPH 5:22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
EPH 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
EPH 5:24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
EPH 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;
EPH 5:26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
EPH 5:27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.

MM
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outdeep
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2007, 05:58:42 am »

I've read what people have written on this board and on Assembly Reflections. I understand the attitudes and I've read the stories. But what was actually said to the men, and how did the women see it?  Did the men and women really see wife-training as love? And how was that connection made?
Probably the most blatant expression I had seen was a couple's meeting that featured the testimony of Kimber Edwards.  She gave testimony of how God had used training in her life.  She recounted how if she gave Danny any "attitude" or resistance to his leadership, he was trained to give her a consequence.  This was heralded as a good thing that couples should emulate.  I remember her saying something to the effect of "I'm twenty-seven and need these things to deal with the self-life".  (Not an exact quote but something to that effect).

Probably the wake-up call that got both Loretta and I on the same direction about leaving in 1990 had to do with this type of thing.  Loretta had a very difficult time being successful with mat training with Nathan.  There were good reasons that I won't go into here but the Assembly interpretation was that she was being rebellious.  I, as the husband, was to crack down on her and make sure she did the mat training exactly as she was instructed by the training mothers and a certain number of times a day.  If she deviated, I was to give her a consequence.

Thankfully, my attempts to do this ended in disaster and I was forced to understand the fears and concerned that fueled the resistance instead of just plowing through it.
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Joanna
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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2007, 08:14:22 am »

This list is from an article on the Assembly Reflections site.

Characteristics of Verbal Abuse8
Withholding - Refusing to share ideas, feelings, intimacy, thoughts, dreams.
Countering - Disputing the partner's thoughts, feelings, perceptions, experiences; arguing any point or idea.
Discounting - Minimizing the partner's accomplishments or experiences.
Abusive jokes - Telling jokes about the partner that humiliate and embarrass.
Blocking and diverting - Creating verbal barriers to the partner's efforts to communicate; changing the conversation to gain control.
Accusing and blaming - Blaming the partner for the abuse, which excuses the abuser's actions.
Judging and criticizing - Putting down the partner's thoughts, actions or feelings.
Trivializing - Pretending that the partner's opinions, actions, thoughts or concerns don't count or are trivial.
Undermining - Eroding the partner's self-confidence and self-esteem.
Threatening - Implying harm to the partner's well-being or the well-being of the children.
Name calling - Stripping away the partner's identity and replacing it with a minimizing or degrading epithet  - "the wife", "the hag."
Chronic forgetting - Forgets appointments, special days, agreements, incidents.
Ordering and commanding - obvious displays of power and control.
Denial of anger and abuse - Denying the partner's reality and the abuser's fault.
Abusive anger - Aggressive outbursts that are threatening, and may escalate to physical violence.
Any of these verbal weapons used regularly erode self-esteem and the capacity to act independently. They create shame and humiliation. They are methods to manipulate, weaken and control the victim. Assembly wife-training explicitly encouraged at least half a dozen of these verbal weapons.

I understand how the whole system contributed to these attitudes, but it's the "explicitly encouraged" that I'm asking about. Did assembly leaders directly tell brothers to do certain of these things?

I also wonder what would go through a man's mind to connect these things with love. (I'm sure all the brothers were familiar with 1 Cor. 13.)

And what about the women?
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moonflower2
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2007, 10:42:36 am »

It was my impression that "wife training" and giving consequences to the wife was more of a California program rather than the Midwest (Chicago) area, but I could be wrong.

When touching on marriage issues, most of the Midwest (Chicago) preaching focused on the wife's obedience to the husband, which in the case of an abusive man, would only be used to justify his abusive actions to his wife, whether verbal or physical.

When I was there, there was no emphasis whatsoever on love and acceptance, except in passing, and that for only a moment. Love was preached as being conditional, and this was supposedly the way God looked at us, too.

Did the assembly create abusive men? It condoned some abusive behaviors, but from some of what I read on these websites, many men apologized for the behavior that assembly teachings created, which leads me to believe that they were not abusive coming in: They could recognize their behavior and apologize.

Abusive men coming in were only made to be worse. However, again in the Midwest (Chicago), there was a limit to what would be tolerated as far as abusive behavior went. Had Judy been in the Midwest (Chicago), I don't believe her husband's physical abuse would have gone on for long without being seriously addressed and measures taken to stop/prevent it.

If there was "wife training" in the Midwest (Chicago), neither I nor my husband was privy to it.

You asked about the women:

From what I had heard, I believe it was made plain to assembly women what was expected of them: Obedience to their husbands. Some women (single or married), were viewed by other women as "martyrs" for experiencing authoritative behavior from their husbands. Some women were viewed as being "rebellious" (as was Judy) and necessitating that extreme controlling abusive behavior from their husbands.

Most women accepted their "fate" because there was no way their husbands behavior would be addressed; the husband's behavior was always the wife's fault. It lowered their self-esteem, which made controlling them all the easier.

With the younger women, I noticed a healthy attitude emerging. They did not accept the lower rung forced upon them in assembly marriage and they seemed to expect to be treated as the equal partner that they were. Some of the aberrant behaviors were also addressed. Some of these healthier couples were married before coming to the assembly meetings.

I do know of one in-coming couple whose wife was bad-mouthed quite a bit and her husband was told how to treat her "rebellious" nature. This may have been a case for the consequences being doled out; I don't know. In this case, it seemed to me to be an "unacceptable-to-the-assembly" personality thing. The wife was more out-going and independant than the husband.  Wink

In my experience, love was not the main issue in assemblies. Men were not taught how to love their wives. Love was just a word, not an action. All they had to get their wives to do was to obey and they were fullfilling their duty as husband. Abusive behavior doesn't concern love; it concerns control, just as in an alcoholic family: We need to look good and this is how we do that........

Sons of these men will need to be taught healthier behaviors, and their wives need to stand up for it.

Just some insight into a few of the things that went on......
« Last Edit: November 11, 2007, 09:43:17 pm by moonflower » Logged
vernecarty
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2007, 04:08:52 am »

As one who lived in the Midwest during my assembly years, I agree with Moonflower. This attitude should of course be of no surprise to us since assembly men had as their model men like George and David Geftakys, the latter having spent quite some time in the Chicago assembly. There were some really sharp brothers in Chicago. How they allowed themselves to swallow so much of David's tripe I will never comprehend.

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Oscar
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2007, 11:43:57 am »

Folks,

I think that Moonflower has brought up an important point.  Each individual assembly had its own character.  When folks from headquarters came to town everyone shipped up and performed as expected.  As soon as the Not-Very-Secret-Police left town, folks went back to doing it their way.

Naturally, assemblies having a Big-Gun-In-Residence living in the community would hew closer to the Fullerton line.  Exactly what this entailed varied from place to place as well.  Having David in residence was different from having, say, Dan Notti.

Thomas Maddux
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Marcia M
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2007, 06:08:58 pm »

Wife training was definitely promoted by the leaders (all LBs and LBWs) in Ottawa and came via the influence of TimG and the Nebraska assemblies.
The justification ... the verses I quoted in a previous post.

Marcia

Update:  I should add a few more names to the list:  itinerant ministry via DanN, DanE and of course BettyG and possibly other names that I have forgotten.

MM
« Last Edit: November 13, 2007, 03:32:21 am by Marcia M » Logged
Oscar
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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2007, 09:37:13 pm »

Marcia,

My tenure in the assembly began when the Fullerton group started in, say, 1971 or 72.  I left the Fullerton LB meeting in 1988, and finally made the break with the assembly in 1989.

I do not remember ever hearing anything about wife training during those years.  I do remember hearing from Betty about child training.  I agreed with some of her ideas, and rejected others.  No one ever came to me and demanded that I follow her ideas completely.

I did the same thing with her ideas on health foods. Once some sisters came home from the "Big Sister's Meeting" and told me that "We aren't allowed to eat red meat any longer".  I just said, "In my house we eat what we wish to eat", and that was that.

In my last few years in the assembly the "consequences" practice was present in the brother's houses and training apartments.  That is the foundation that all her training ideas rested upon.  But I do not remember being in a meeting where wife training was openly taught.  Of course, the assembly went on for over a decade after I left, and I know virtually nothing about what they were teaching then.

Tom Maddux
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Joanna
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2007, 08:11:55 am »

Thanks Marcia, Dave, Tom, Moonflower, and Verne. I'm especially interested in what was happening before about 1985. Margaret, can you add anything? Mark?
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Margaret
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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2007, 11:30:06 am »

In those days The Other Side of the Garden (Virginia Fugate) wasn't around yet, so Betty and her minions (namely me and a few others) still used the Bible to teach wives they were to obey their husbands in everything--be daughters of Sarah (I Peter). It was okay to voice an opinion once, but if he didn't listen, drop it. She recommended Marabel Morgan's book, The Total Wife http://www.amazon.com/Total-Woman-Marabel-Morgan/dp/0671732110. Betty talked to the single brothers back then, too--don't know exactly what she said.
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moonflower2
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« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2007, 07:32:56 pm »

Before 1985, and following, through 1990 in Chicago:

The focus was on the woman's subjection to her husband. If Betty could keep the women in tow, there would be no need for husbands to give them consequences.

(Betty's earlier advice, BTW, may have been good advice for someone who lived with a very controlling man. I believe at times she was "preaching" from experience learned in her youth and later as a wife. However, it would be a bandaid, but not a cure for living with a more abusive man, who would then just find another justification for abuse.)

Neither I, nor my husband, were aware of men being told to be abusive. In fact, my husband had been told quite the opposite when he met with Roger Grant. Roger strongly preached wives' obedience to husbands, but husbands were not told to abuse or to demand obedience in a belittling, condescending way.

Abusive men can be quite manipulative and convincing in their attempts to discredit their (ex)wives, and leave impressions of being a nice-guy victim of their "rebellious, cruel, abusive, emotionally unbalanced" wife, in whatever way they can, (even when no longer living with them), but, in those days, it would not have gotten far, for long, with Roger, and another elder there (K.Ldwg.), which is why I don't believe that Judy's situation would have continued to go on unaddressed had she stayed in the Chicago assembly where the facts of it would have been obvious.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2007, 05:49:39 pm by moonflower » Logged
trac4yt
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« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2007, 10:19:37 pm »

Onward and upward!..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2vd-jdxVGg

 Smiley
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Oscar
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« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2007, 11:47:06 pm »


Well Trac, you gave your age away with that one.   Wink

Tom Maddux
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