In Quiverfull Movement, Birth Control Is Shunned

April 11, 2011 • Family Planning, Daily Email Recap

In case you missed this story on NPR two years ago, here it is.  Thanks to Leon Kolankiewicz.  The link is

In Quiverfill Movement, Birth Control Is Shunned

by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

March 25, 2009

Among some conservative Christians, a movement is giving new meaning to the biblical mandate to “be fruitful and multiply.”

The movement, called Quiverfull, is based on Psalm 127, which says, “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”

Those in the Quiverfull movement shun birth control, believing that God will give them the right number of children. It turns out, that’s a lot of kids.

‘We Actually Didn’t Want Children’

While cooking a typical predawn breakfast in the Swanson household in Shelby, Mich., 10-year-old Lydia Swanson cracks a dozen eggs laid by the family chickens. Her mother, Kelly, fries 3 pounds of sausage from the family’s own pig and toasts a 12-inch loaf of homemade bread.

If they didn’t raise their own food, Kelly Swanson says, they’d spend $1,000 a month on groceries for her gaggle of growing children, including 15-year-old Josiah and 13-year-old Elisha. But in listing their ages, Kelly gets Elisha’s age wrong.

“At least I remembered your name,” she says.

Kelly can perhaps be forgiven the lapse. The 40-year-old mom has seven children; the youngest is 6 months. And she’d like to have more.

The Swansons subscribe to the Quiverfull movement.

“When we first got married, we actually didn’t want children,” Kelly’s husband, Jeff Swanson, says.

But then the Swansons began to notice that the Bible was very high on big families. And Kelly says that she and Jeff decided that God knew how many children they could handle.

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