A Well-Trained Wife: My Escape from Christian Patriarchy. Coming August 2024
ABOUT THE BOOK
“Recruited into the fundamentalist Quiverfull movement as a young wife, Tia Levings learned that being a good Christian meant following a list of additional life principles––a series of secret, special rules to obey. Being a godly and submissive wife in Christian Patriarchy included strict discipline, isolation, and an alternative lifestyle that appeared wholesome to outsiders. Women were to be silent, “keepers of the home.”
Tia knew that to their neighbors her family was strange, but she also couldn’t risk exposing their secret lifestyle to police, doctors, teachers, or anyone outside of their church. Christians were called in scripture to be “in the world, not of it.” So, she hid in plain sight as years of abuse and pain followed. When Tia realized she was the only one who could protect her children from becoming the next generation of patriarchal men and submissive women, she began to resist and question how they lived. But in the patriarchy, a woman with opinions is in danger, and eventually, Tia faced an urgent and extreme choice: stay and face dire consequences or flee with her children.
Told in a beautiful, honest, and sometimes harrowing voice, A Well-Trained Wife is an unforgettable and timely memoir about a woman’s race to save herself and her family and details the ways that extreme views can manifest in a marriage.
Christian Fundamentalists want to run the country the way they run their homes. Do you know what that means?
High-control religion is not only reshaping our families. They’re also changing our politics, laws, and elections. And what many don’t realize is that Christian fundamentalists want to govern our country the way they govern their homes. No one knows that as well as the wives and children of the patriarchs––but these citizens of fundamentalism aren’t allowed to speak. And the agenda of the Evangelical Patriarchy is surging ahead by aligning itself with Nationalism.
- watched your loved ones sink further into high-control religion and felt powerless to help them?
- had experiences at church that feel traumatic?
- struggled to overcome the grooming and training of a religious childhood that doesn’t serve you now?
- felt triggered by headlines and cultural news but can’t understand why?
- felt distressed at the changes happening in America and wondered how are we going backward?
I can help.
HI, I’M TIA LEVINGS
I’m an author exploring anti-fundamentalism after church-sanctioned domestic abuse in high-control religion.
I appeared in Shiny Happy People on Amazon Prime, and my memoir, A Well-Trained Wife: My Escape from Christian Patriarchy is coming out with St. Martin’s Press in 2024.
Welcome to my work.
I’m so glad you’re here.
I can help you consciously protect your congregation from fundamentalism.
And help your local political organization by educating them on the talking points of fundamentalism and nationalism, so you can better educate their constituents.
I’m available virtually and in person for your keynote or group lecture. Booking for 2024 is open now.
I believe knowledge is power. And I can tell you what the Christian Patriarchy doesn’t want you to know.
Because I was one of them, once––a woman who chose against herself to perpetuate their system. When I was excommunicated and shunned, and then escaped the violence with my life and my children, I made myself a promise:
I’d tell my story one day. I’d tell as many who would listen what it’s really like to live in fundamentalism.
Because stories like mine offer insight into where America is heading.
Fundies (a shortened nickname for “Fundamentalist”) keep women busy having and caring for babies. She’s a “keeper of the home.” If her world is small and simple, the rest of their governing goals will fall into place without her opposition. As a fundie wife, I wasn’t allowed to vote, drive, or spend without permission. I couldn’t say no, use birth control, or get a divorce. Sharing my story has proven what I never knew when I was locked inside: I was not alone.
Along with books like Uncultured, Educated, Cultish, and Jesus and John Wayne, cult-exposing content is popular. Dissent: The Radicalization of the Republican Party and The Making of Biblical Womanhood; cult documentaries like The Cult Next Door, The Way Down, Join Us, Lula Rich and Shiny Happy People; movies like Jesus Camp, and the startling near-future of The Handmaid’s Tale, are giving American audiences pause about what kind of Christians live next door.
I open that door. My work reveals what it’s like inside a fundy home––reality without TLC’s cheerful narrator and gaslighting editor. But I made it out of that life. I’m committed to growth, empowerment, and connection. I don’t want to stop at just surviving trauma…I believe we are to thrive.
I started in an evangelical megachurch and landed in a cult. How does that happen?
Life as a Quiverfull fundie wife, submissive and sweet, required a lot of work, a dress code, and more.
A Well-Trained Wife is on her publishing path to release in 2024. Sign up to hear what’s next, first!
Your story matters to me.
It’s agonizing to watch a loved one descend into a cult. To see our country restrict hard-fought freedoms and move backward in time. But that’s by design.
The messages flood my inbox and social media:
“I was raised this way too. I’m the oldest of 13 and I was their second mom from the time I was 9.”
“My parents spanked me until I was eighteen.”
“My mom died when I was 16. I’ve always thought it was from exhaustion. She had 12 kids in 12 years.”
“I was horrified when TLC put the Duggars on TV. That was my life! Set to cheerful music with a gaslighting narrator!”
“I always thought there was something off with that show. You’re helping me understand why.”
“I have a close family member caught up in a church like that. You’re helping me see why they’re under so much control.”See @tialevingswriter on Instagram, Tiktok, and Facebook
Are you healing from religious trauma and Christian Fundamentalism? Here’s a list of Religious Trauma Resources that helped me.
See my other work here.
THE HAPPY DAYS: Healing on Purpose. Reclaiming Joy.
After a lifetime of “suffering for Jesus” and waiting for heaven in order to be happy, I now embrace my life for what it is and I live in the present. No bypassing, no wishful denial, no toxic positivity.
It turns out, dear fellow exevangelical, that life on the outside is full of ups and downs without any magic formula for happiness. Healing requires bulldog devotion and a multi-faceted strategy for trauma healing. This happy days project is just one light-hearted attempt to nurture joy within me.
There’s a highlight under my profile on Instagram of the first time I did this—a photo project to document a happy moment in each day for a hundred. My rules:
🌞use my big camera on a timer. Catch myself in the act of being happy
🌞no selfie poses or looking straight at the camera
🌞I must be in it
I blew the top off my definition of happiness and what it looks like, what conditions it requires to exist, and how I’m impacted by actively waiting for “the happy moment of the day.” I discovered a new depth of gratitude. And I created a stack of some of my favorite photographs that I put in a book and regularly return to with love.