n late summer 1998, a lawyer named Barbara Duffy stood in front of an all-female jury inside the Tacoma, Washington, federal courthouse. ” asked Duffy, blond, pragmatic and then in her mid-30s.She had just called her first witness in a trial that would drag on for ten more days. “No,” replied Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff, the plaintiff in this case and publisher of , an intentionally quaint magazine with old-style serif fonts and vintage illustrations.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.
Like those fire-and-brimstone evangelists who made the religious right what it was in the 1980s (Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson), they promoted deliberately patriarchal models, where wife submits to husband.
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.
Marriage was sacred, and Seelhoff had filed for divorce. When she began the magazine, after self-publishing the book, she had 23 subscribers.