Fast-forward some years: Having left ATI very disillusioned, I nevertheless found myself engaged to a young woman whom I had met while serving at the Indianapolis Training Center. My pastor, who had probably never heard of Bill Gothard, the Basic Seminar, or ATI, asked us to sit down and answer some questions together.
They were tough, but necessary questions dealing with all sorts of things like finances, sexual activity, gender roles and expectations.
By this point in time my children were toddlers and I was doing everything I could to invest in their lives. And that’s when I began to SERIOUSLY question all that I had been taught about family planning.
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Sixteen months after our daughter was born, we learned we were expecting again.
At some point along the way we started watching the Duggars’ show, “19 Kids and Counting.” While Katie found them fascinating, I was irritated.
These days, the Duggars are the most well known family to have participated in the Advanced Training Institute (ATI).
For those not familiar with ATI or the Quiverfull movement, the prospect of a family having 19 (going on 20) children is just mind boggling.
-Jesse had 8 sons, but if he didn’t have all the children God intended him to have, we would not have had a significant portion of the Old Testament, since Psalms were primarily written by David (Jesse’s 8th son) while Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon were written by Solomon, David’s son.
There were probably a few more examples, but those are the ones I remember. The reality is we don’t know the answer to any of these questions.Katie cried, but I’m not sure they were tears of joy.Eventually, we grew excited about having a second child and even more-so when we learned this one was a girl.Not surprising, there was also a question about family planning.My fiancée Katie (now my wife) and I talked and concluded that we wanted “as many children as God saw fit to give us, whenever He wanted to give them to us.” Of all the IBLP-influenced beliefs and standards we’d jettisoned since leaving, for some strange reason we continued to cling to the mindset that God was opposed to any sort of family planning and wanted everyone to have a very large family.I wasn’t sure what a reversal baby was, so my mom explained that these mothers had their tubes tied (or in some cases, the dads had vasectomies) but had undergone operations to “reverse” that procedure and have more babies. I had a slew of younger cousins who were a lot of fun. Admittedly, I was a little bit disappointed when my mom said there’d be no point in her having a reversal surgery since she was undergoing the change. The more time I spent in ATI and away from “normal” people, the more normal having a lot of children seemed.