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Seelhoff shared life hacks: how to feed a family of ten on 0 a month or how to make 30 loaves of bread in a day.
In 1990, she appeared on “Focus on the Family,” the syndicated radio show hosted by the popular, gentle-voiced evangelical Dr.
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.
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.“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.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.
“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.