Umbrella of Authority

Dear X-ATI Girl,

At the beginning of the summer, I did something that I am still ashamed of.  I rebelled against my parents and wore a bathing suit that my grandparents had given to me.  My parents did not know of the suit, and I wore it only while at my grandparent’s home.  I had worn the suit only three times when my parents discovered it during a routine sweep of my dresser drawers. 

My mother was mortified and immediately called our family coordinator to see when she could speak to Mr. Gothard about my willingness to dress in such an immodest, defiling fashion which would so clearly cause men to stumble.  We had just finished Wisdom Booklet #57 and had studied extensively the section on modesty.  I did take the modesty exam, and I passed with flying colors.  My decision to wear the bathing suit clearly had a deeper root cause.  I was seen by my parents as being rebellious against their authority.  The family coordinator called Headquarters on my parents’ behalf and returned to my mother with the serious request that I be sent to Eagle Springs Training Center immediately for an in depth study on the Umbrella of Authority.

This is what I learned while at Eagle Springs:

When the sky grows dark and the thunder roars,

When the strong winds blow and the cloud bursts pour,

I know I’m safe as I can be when I’m under the umbrella that God places over me.

{escalating effects: duh duh duh duh duh}

For instruction so I know when I am wrong,

For correction so I know that I belong,

For provision for the things I need,

And protection that is guaranteed.

{Here’s my problem: I cannot really remember the second line to the second verse.  What comes after correction?  And what was the correction for?  I don’t understand.}

At Eagle Springs I studied the Umbrella of Authority every day.  Daily forecasts: cloudy with a chance of lust, showers of rebellion, golf ball sized temptation, as well as storms of disobedience all raining down from above.  I learned how my father is the Umbrella of Protection in my family, my mother is submissive to his authority, and all 7 of us children are directly underneath them, always honoring our parents.   Every day I constructed a flannel graph.  I laboriously cut out all of the shapes: the umbrella, my parents, siblings, and hundreds of dangerous raindrops which were labeled with each of my sins.  Through this process I truly learned how helpless I am without the Umbrella and how if I ever venture out from underneath Father’s authority, spiritual and physical death will inevitably be the result. 

So, X-ATI Girl, this is what I need your help with:

1. I am too scared to leave the house now.  I truly have nightmares about severe weather conditions and how they relate to sins in my life.

2. If my father were to ever leave, are we all just left out in the rain and storms of life?  What will we do without a man’s authority?

3. Does this mean that I will have to live in my parent’s home forever?  My mother says yes because when a lady is removed from a man’s authority, she will surely lose all virtue and honor. 


Drenched in Dakota


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8 Responses to “Umbrella of Authority”

  1. DragonKat Says:

    Dear Drenched,

    I think I have the solution. See, everyday, in this world, there are people that I meet. I walk up, shake their hand, and they see the kind of person I am by the smile that I wear.

    I am blessed by the smile Jesus gives me. It makes it all worthwhile. Because of this precious smile, I know (someday) up to to heaven I will go. (You can bet I’ll thank Him for this smile!)

    What I’m saying, Drenched, is that according to this song, one totally pre-approved by Mr. Gothard, a smile counteracts all life’s troubles. So start smiling, I mean seriously, smile now. And don’t stop. Also there should be light in your eyes. I think they’re connected somehow.

    But, don’t sin. That will blow it.

    Hope this helps.

    Keep on smilin,

  2. shadowspring Says:

    I Manipulate by Steve Taylor

    Does your soul crave center stage?
    have you heard about the latest rage?
    read your Bible by lightning flash
    get ordained at the thunder crash
    build a kingdom with a cattle prod
    tell the masses it’s a message from God
    where the innocent congregate
    I manipulate

    Take your notebooks, turn with me
    to the chapter on authority
    do you top the chain of command
    rule your family with an iron hand
    I dispense little pills of power
    from my hideaway ivory tower
    from the cover of heaven’s gate
    I manipulate

    Now it’s time to fill in the space
    where we talk about the woman’s place
    do you want to build a happy home?
    have you sacrificed a mind of your own?
    ’cause a good wife learns to cower
    underneath the umbrella of power
    from the cover of heaven’s gate
    I manipulate

    Yes, I know that parable
    that’s the story of the prodigal
    if you question what I’m teaching you
    you rebel against the Father too
    if he loved him why’d he let him go?
    well, I guess I don’t really know
    but I see it’s getting late…

  3. xatigirl Says:

    xatigirltoo, this comment has me absolutely rolling. There are no words for the laughter.

  4. Darcy Says:

    Also, don’t forget that we are all bubbles, perfectly designed to be under our bubble-umbrella. Which is why we must never be upset because we do not like our size or shape. It really doesn’t matter if you think you’re a star. You must be happy as a round bubble, and never wish to be square. Or else you will pop. The End.

    P.S. I forget how this relates to umbrellas, but I know it does because being a bubble and having an umbrella are Unchangeables.

  5. Amy Says:

    Too funny! At age 32, I am so grateful for my strong will, stuborness and individuality, although I remember my father trying so hard to put the fear of god in me with the Umbrella of Protection diagram night after night on a little chalkboard in my room. I’ll never forget the stick-figures and I’ll never forget that, even at such a young age, it just didn’t make sense. Our will fuels our spirit to persist through life. A strong will does not equal rebellion. Rebellion does not equal stepping outside the ‘umbrella.’ Daring to ‘step outside the umbrella’ means you finally came into your own and your purpose for living is deeper than any other person’s definition of who you should be.

  6. Amy Says:

    Stuborness should be spelled, stubbornness….it’s too early for these deep thoughts. 🙂

  7. Formeratigirl Says:

    Oh man. I remember being told that when you’re out from under your umbrella you could cause bad things to happen to other people too. I’ll never forget thinking Seattle would have an earthquake and hundreds would die and it would be my fault for being out from under my umbrella!

  8. Single_minded Says:

    I always wondered what happened at Eagle Springs, having been threatened with the camps several times (though never by my parents). I have to confess, I’m somewhat disappointed; I always pictured it as nebulous House of Corrections with a little Stepford Factory thrown in.
    But the modesty weather? I had to do that anyway, though not with flannelgraphs.
    Perhaps the most tragic thing about ATI is that it frames extrapolated belief or even flat-out opinion as Biblical fact… so if you question the curriculum, you’re questioning God. This actually made me question my faith for six months my “senior year” of high school– though God, in His grace, put a very intelligent, doctrinally balanced woman in my life who convinced me not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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