HSLDA founder Michael P. Farris criticizes the teachings of former ministry leaders Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard

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Homeschool leader disavows ‘patriarchy’

“[W]ith these recent scandals in view, we think it is now time to speak out,” wrote Farris, currently chairman of HSLDA, on the organization’s website. “[T]heir teachings continue to threaten the freedom and integrity of the homeschooling movement. … Frankly, we should have spoken up sooner.”

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On Gothard

The HSLDA chairman said Gothard did not specifically promote patriarchy, but Farris called Gothard’s teaching regarding family and women “unbalanced” and described it as “legalism,” although without offering specific examples. He explained, “In this sense, legalism occurs when someone elevates his personal view about wise conduct to a level where it is claimed that this person’s own opinions are God’s universal commands.”

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It is easy to throw rocks at

It is easy to throw rocks at them now that they are finished. The question is indeed why it took so long for Farris and other influential people to do so. Maybe follow the money trail for example?

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Why it took so long?

GregH wrote:

It is easy to throw rocks at them now that they are finished. The question is indeed why it took so long for Farris and other influential people to do so. Maybe follow the money trail for example?

Gothard was a huge proponent of homeschooling (not that there is any issue per say with homeschooling). So there was a certain synergy there.

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http://hslda.org/courtreport/V30N2/V30N202.asp

Much fuller explanation of the objections to Doug Phillips' version of patriarchy there, and regarding the lack of comment on Gothard, it's worth noting that the two philosophies are largely parallel.  Both Gothard and Phillips support mandatory homeschooling, a full quiver, mandatory courtship (as opposed to dating), and a view of male authority which appears to far exceed what the Scripture actually states.  So to address one is pretty close to addressing the other.  

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Why so long?

Greg's comment got me thinking, and having been acquainted with Phillips' work for over a decade, it's worth noting that Vision Forum was a moving target.  At the first, they were really mostly along the lines of letting boys be boys, and it was a lot of fun.  As time went on, however, what occurred is that they became increasingly enamored with boys in the military, and started prescribing more and more Gothardesque prescriptions for life, going from homeschooling to entrepreneurial activity to patriarchy and the "family centered church" (no Sunday School, no age ministries).  So for a busy man, pinpointing what was wrong with Vision Forum (or Basic Life Principles) would be difficult.  In my case, I took what I thought good (some of the fiction, a few of the toys) and ignored the rest.  

How to render discipline?  Keep in mind that the HSLDA has hundreds of advertisers, really a lot of the same companies you'll see at most homeschool conventions, where you will find hundreds of vendors selling just about everything to homeschoolers.  Think each publisher to CBD all on the floor.  So for state organizations and the HSLDA to police this, you'd have to hire some staff.

But that said, I can think of a bunch of guys here who are in ministry and can address the realities of ministries and publishers one at a time...our pulpit is small, but it's a start, no?

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Organizations

As the president of a local homeschool support group, I sympathize somewhat with the situation HSLDA was in. Our group's purpose is not to investigate churches or well-known homeschoolers or speakers, nor do we 'take sides' on doctrinal questions or educational methods. Our mission is to provide information about homeschooling and support homeschoolers. Period. People can make up their own minds on these other issues. But now and then members email me wanting to know what our group's position is on this or that, and the nutshell answer is - our position is folks need to do their own research and make up their own mind.

The HSLDA are one of homeschooling's legal watchdogs, so it doesn't surprise me that they didn't take a stand against Gothardism or Doug Phillips. Until fairly recently, you had to dig pretty deep to find the weirdness. But in hindsight, I am sure that they regret accepting advertising from VF, since the implications of their teachings have led to abusive behavior in its followers. 

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But...

Does HSLDA require its members to be Christians or to use Christian curriculum?
Our mission is to protect the freedom of all homeschoolers, no matter what their faith background. HSLDA membership is open to all who choose to exercise their fundamental parental right to educate their children at home, regardless of their religious beliefs. Additionally, we place no religious restrictions on member families’ choice of curriculum.

Source: http://www.hslda.org/about

If you look at the statement above, you don't even have to be Christian to belong to HSLDA. So with that being said, whether or not Gothard and Phillips were wrong, why would HSLDA feel any more compulsion to speak to their error than they might strict no-pants-on-women types (or vice-versa), KJV-only proponents, or Jesus-only advocates? If you homeschool, can't you hold to Gothard's teaching and still be defended by them? I'm not sure why Farris feels the need to single them out now. I mean, I think both of the men and their teaching are wrong. However, there are a lot of bad ideas held by people who homeschool. I expect some people would say I held to some of those bad ideas as a home school parent myself...

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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Good point on HSLDA being not

Good point on HSLDA being not explicitly Christian--I'm thinking that (per Susan's comment) it was said simply because the matter had come out and the majority of Christian homeschoolers were at risk if something was not said.  In other words, while not explicitly a Christian organization, most members and (almost) all of the employees are Christian (along with PHC), so it's important to warn of an error that is becoming pervasive in the movement.

It's worth noting as well that there is an implicit dig at a lot of the groups Greg references there if one will think things through.....

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Fruits of those errors

I interpreted all this to mean that HSLDA spoke up because of the fruits of the Gothardism and patriarchy movement - abuse, neglect, domestic violence, degradation of women/girls, etc... The implications of these teachings can't be ignored because not only are there moral issues at stake, but legal ones as well. 

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Understood...

Susan R wrote:

I interpreted all this to mean that HSLDA spoke up because of the fruits of the Gothardism and patriarchy movement - abuse, neglect, domestic violence, degradation of women/girls, etc... The implications of these teachings can't be ignored because not only are there moral issues at stake, but legal ones as well. 

I don't disagree with what you're saying. But it's interesting that he makes the statements he does speaking in the forum of HSLDA, rather than from a personal blog, for example. He makes specific applications of Scripture that are good and sound as I understand them to be, but in the community he addresses, also are very polarizing. If the statements I quoted are true, and he would defend the rights of Mormon or Muslim home educators like he would Christians, I'm not sure why it becomes the place of the organization to make these specific kinds of statements. Again, I don't think he's said anything off-base or objectionable. I'm just not sure why he said it where he did, or why he's apologizing for not having said it sooner.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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Maybe

Because they accepted advertising from VF? I think there's a distinction in there somehow, in that they will defend anyone's right to homeschool, but they (the HSLDA) are associated with certain homeschool 'leaders' and groups, none of them  Mormon, KWIM? It isn't uncommon for a homeschooler to say "HSLDA" and "Doug Phillips" or "Vision Forum" in the same sentence. However, I've never heard "HSLDA" and"Mitt Romney" or "Sister Wives" in the same sentence. Biggrin

It definitely feels to me like they wanted to purposefully distance themselves from a previous association.

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Home School or Christian Home School?

I understand what you are saying about associations. At the same time, then, they probably need to determine whether they are going to be championing and defending the expression of religious liberty as connected with the right to home education, or whether they want to narrow that specifically to an identity as an officially Christian organization. If they do the latter, they will also need to determine what they understand to be Christian and what they do not (which it would seem Farris has begun to do already).

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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Interesting

Our family just got back to Idaho after dropping off a son at PHC.  This was my first, direct inside encounter with Farris, lots and lots of homeschoolers and their families, and WORLD journalists.  Quite frankly, I was impressed in a number of different ways.  And with a number of different people.  It is a whole new circle of friends for me.  I really liked the emphasis of the discipleship of the heart during parent orientation meetings.  And I was thankful of Farris welcoming me, even when all three of my other kids are currently in the public school.

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disappointed

I've been disappointed at this HSLDA article ever since I read it.

This response expresses most of my thoughts better than I could: http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2014/09/perils-policing-patriarchy-home-s...