From the late 1980s up until 1994, she had been associated with this subculture, which treated homeschooling as part of a religious movement. The defense had argued that Seelhoff ran a Christian ministry rather than a magazine, and that when her peers used her brief divorce announcement in Tacoma’s as an opportunity to appropriate her subscriber list and publicly shame her, they were simply doing what any upstanding, concerned Christian would: correcting a wayward sister while protecting others from her downfall. Why, Duffy now wanted to know, did Seelhoff fail to publish an issue of in summer 1994?Its architects, often referred to as the “four pillars,” saw homeschooling as a mandate for conservative Christians, a way to raise up Bible-centered future leaders. Just prior to the issue’s scheduled release, Seelhoff’s former pastor, Joe Williams of Calvary Chapel in Tacoma, read from the pulpit (during a church service she did not attend) a “letter of discipline” accusing her of “an adulterous affair with lying.” “Because it was a time of great difficulty for me personally, my family,” Seelhoff replied. The phone was ringing off the hook [and] I was pretty devastated.” She was definitively on the outs with the “pillars.” “I still don’t know to this day why they felt it was appropriate to do what they did,” says Seelhoff, now 65, of what she refers to as her “excommunication.” She spoke by phone from her home on a small farm in Gig Harbor, Washington.” Seelhoff found herself forced from a world she had nurtured – and without a business to support her family.In the years after her excommunication, she went from conservative Christian role model to outspoken progressive.She homeschooled her own children and made her living speaking and writing about motherhood and home education.In the five years following the 1989 launch, the number of homeschooling families in Washington more than doubled, from 5,536 to 13,584.“And, honestly, I really miss that part of it still.We went to each others’ births, we watched each others’ babies.” * * * ears before her journey from religious right to feminist writer, Seelhoff had embraced progressive politics.
The magazine paired cooking guides with articles on joy, loss, natural birth and homeschooling – and it was the reason she took the stand that day.
She founded a feminist blog, Women’s Space, and went by the name “Heart” online.
Certain members of the Christian homeschooling movement found her apparent apostasy unforgivable.
The headship model, in which the man is considered God-ordained head of the family, was common, as was the “Quiverfull” ideology – bearing as many children as God gave you, rejecting on principle any means of birth control, so you could have a “full quiver” of children to lead God’s fight. “There was an onslaught of cancelled subscriptions. “People found out where I lived by going to the post office, then they showed up at my house and wanted me to pray.” * * * was a 600-page book of lessons, recipes and lifestyle meditations that Seelhoff (then Cheryl Lindsey) distributed to friends.
Marriage was sacred, and Seelhoff had filed for divorce. When she began the magazine, after self-publishing the book, she had 23 subscribers.