Why, oh why, do we have to be having a fascinating discussion when I am in the midst of high-maintenance company??? So not fair.
First, Andrea, I've been humbled, repented, and am ready to choose the right. ;-)
I have realized something about myself recently, which is that when I am evaluating a program like TJEd or other things, I tend to intuitively drop the stuff I don't agree with, without every consciously acknowledging it to myself. So then when I'm asked to explain myself, it's harder for me to do and I have to stop and put some thought into it.
So a couple things I want to clarify. I don't really care that the DeMille's are using TJEd for a business. That's their right. What bothers me is the inconsistency of having "principles" followed by things (seminars,books,college classes, etc) that you have to buy in order to be following the "principles" correctly. I don't think I truly verbalized that to myself until recently. I just know that I decided long ago that the 5 Pillars of Greatness thing was a waste of my money since I could just as easily read good books without mailing in an essay to a stranger. You know? That is one of the lamest things.
Also, the cult-like following disturbs me. Not that there's something evil about TJEd itself, just the attitudes of the "followers".
As Julia pointed out, I also hated the idea that my mission shouldn't be my home and family, and that saying it is, is a cop-out. I actually read that somewhere from some TJEder and that really bothered me. I don't want another MISSION right now - the idea only made me feel like some sort of slacker, until I decided to ignore it.
I agree with you all that we can still get good from TJEd, no matter what sort of person DeMille is. I know I have. Since I knew NO home-schoolers ever until Hannah was four, I had no idea what sorts of options were out there. Reading DeMille's book opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities, and also made me realize that I had a whole lot of learning left to do in areas I'd never even known existed. I was SO steeped in the conveyor belt mentality (to use DeMille's phrasing) that his book was huge for me. Since then I've read so much. I appreciate DeMille for opening my eyes.
One of my little peeves has always been how much time Rachel DeMille spends doing this. I have poked around on some of the TJEd websites and stuff and it seems like she must be ALWAYS online. I have to wonder how you can help your children get educated when you're busy running a business, responding to emails, moderating yahoo groups and facebook pages, etc. Oh, and her phrase that she repeats like crazy in one of their CDs to "trust the process". She first started using that phrase when her oldest was about 11 - too soon in my opinion to expect your following to "trust the process" since you haven't even gone through it yourself yet!
And now I have to move on from TJEd for a minute, so I guess my Andrea-induced repentance didn't stick. ;-)
As for Misfit and her attitude, I have had to learn a LOT about not judging people since I moved to this tiny town I live in. We have the weirdest of the weird when it comes to members here. I think only San Francisco, with it's higher LGBTQ population, might be weirder. ;-) But I've learned to appreciate that even people who don't live the Gospel the way I would want to live it, still have lessons to teach me in so many areas. In fact, I like living with these less-than-perfect people BECAUSE of the lessons I learn. Sometimes I get frustrated when they don't live the Gospel or run the Church programs the way I think they should (I can identify with Misfit there), but always it comes back to a lesson in humility for me. I'm not perfect, either.
I don't want to be like Misfit and see so much evil, sorrow, and worldliness in the people around me. She keeps talking about the importance of judging evil, but that's a tricky thing to do in a Christ-like way.
A couple months ago I replied to one of Misfit's posts and suggested that she take a more diplomatic tone. She was actually really nice and promised to do that. I don't think that her aggravating tone is the way the Savior would want us to communicate, which is basically what I told her in my comment. She's always saying she appreciates (polite) honesty, so I thought I would tell her how I felt. ;-)
I would love to know what you all thought of her post on youth programs. REALLY made me think - especially remembering that the youth should be with their families, first and foremost, and if you are taking them away from their families for a church function, you better have a darn good reason! Worthwhile, uplifting activities are vital! I also agree, and think, that we are not helping our young men enough to prepare for missions in the young men's program. I talked to Josh about this - he's currently responsible for our stake youth as part of his calling. Definitely things to think about.