For five years had enjoyed continuous bumps in readership, growing enough to fully support Seelhoff and her family – until controversy brought her business to a standstill.
A year earlier, Seelhoff had sued a group of leaders in the Christian homeschooling movement – a politically influential, religious right subculture that originally embraced Seelhoff’s articles on teaching at home.
” 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.
Now, she alleged certain of these leaders had conspired to financially cripple her magazine punishing her for breaking rank. She wrote in a sweet, practical voice, using exclamation points liberally.
After months of depositions and paperwork, she had finally taken the stand. The publication also featured articles and columns on hospitality and herbalist midwifery written by church leaders and other mothers.
Raised in Tacoma, she enrolled at the University of Washington in the late ’60s, where she studied political science, participated in civil rights marches and protested the Vietnam War.
There, she met Roland Dent, a young African-American activist affiliated with the Black Panthers.“When I realized it wasn’t going to stop,” she says of the harassment she experienced from 1994 on, “I felt like I didn’t really have a choice but to file the lawsuit.” Sue Welch, Mary Pride and Joe Williams, her former pastor, were all named as defendants, though by trial time all but Welch had settled for amounts they agreed to keep confidential.(None of the defendants responded to requests for comments on this story.) Seelhoff now sees what happened to her as a sign of what would come as the religious right gained more control over women’s lives.She rendezvoused with him in person for the first time at a Dallas conference at which she spoke early in 1994.She and Lindsey filed for divorce in late June 1994. Once exposed, all of Cheryl Seelhoff’s personal details spurred a smear campaign of sorts.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.