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If you, or someone you love and care about has been, as a child, sexually abused, raped, sodomized or molested, there’s one thing you’d have learned or know intimately and that is; you lose your ability to chose. Your world gets smaller and the ability to choose shrinks and narrows to the point where all you can decide on is which option best allows you to survive. No matter your intelligence or education these traumas beset upon you before you can even identify what the hell it is that was done to you – yet still knowing it was all wrong – these feelings and chaos and hell that pedophile rape, molestation and sodomy force you to experience are way beyond most peoples’ ability to process – yet alone having it done to you at 3 years old! What this does – oh and most of these sick fucks also give the child booze and drugs (as in my case) – what happens is akin to… the best image I’ve come up with… you ever see a tree that’s grown around a fence or power line? It looks painful but also like the tree has done the only thing it knows to do and that is to keep going. To keep on growing, grow past the trauma and incorporate it into its foundation, into the core of it’s being. The main problem here though is that trauma weakens the tree and in a storm, it will certainly snap at that weak point. A tree, although it’s alive, it’s not sentient and doesn’t think and can’t fear and plan or anticipate (lucky tree) because those feelings are at the very root of the problem of losing the ability to chose. You begin to operate – at the time the events occurs – in survivor mode. These pedophile rapist fucks destroy a young boys mind with the trauma of rape, sodomy and molestation because – as bizarre as this may sound – when it stops, when they stop being your friend and raping you and paying all this attention to you and giving you drugs and alcohol and toys, when it stops, you’re hurt and scared and worried and at 3 or 5 or 7 years old, you try to figure out what you did wrong? Why don’t they like you anymore? Are they going to kill your parents now? What’s wrong with you? Are they going to get you in trouble? Many times they threaten to kill your parents (that’s what Uncle Al told me he’d do if I told) or your pets or break your toys because they say you’ve done something that made them angry or as a way to show you what they’d do if you told but – with any of it and all of it – you don’t know why or understand what’s really happening but one thing is certain, the child’s outlook on life becomes skewed, twisted and very rudimental. Stay alive. Keep your parents alive. Make the abusing rapist happy and when they stop and/or go away, try and make them come back because you’re 3 or 5 or 7 and don’t understand any of it. If an adult tells you you’ve been bad, you believe them. That’s what you’re told to do. What else can a child and almost toddler do? In my case repeat this abuse scenario 20 to 30 more times from ages 3 to 11 (family friend / Biz partner “Uncle Al”, babysitting hippy couple, Priest, Janitor, and a few I don’t want to mention). With this childhood as my foundation – the core of my reasoning and thought process – how my brain is hardwired, when I reached the age of a teenager and later I’d find myself making choices and decisions that left me baffled and up to my chin in shit. Ten years of therapy in my 30’s has – at best – gotten it down to realizing I’m hurting myself (or my loved one) when just up to my knees in shit – knowing that I need to stop and get out of it – whatever it is – at that point, is real growth and progress. I’ve learned that you don’t get cured, it can get better (and then go right back to being worse – up to your chin – without warning or being able to figure out why) but all in all it takes a lot of work and a near constant vigilance. Until I read some books, attended a ‘survivor of rape and incest’ group and shared and learned that many others share the same childhood trauma and think and process things as an adult the same way I do, that I wasn’t alone – I thought there was something really really wrong with me (not that there’s not but I know I’m not as messed up as I thought – but am pretty broken.

I write all of this for a few reasons; One is I was recently accused of making my life turn out the way it did because I chose it to be this way and two, in hopes that someone else who is as hurt and confused as I was because of the trauma realizes that it’s not all their fault, they’re not alone, that there’s hope and someone cares.

The worst thing I can say to someone with children is that “I wish my childhood on them” and the worst thing I can say to my asshole family is “not only do I wish my childhood on your kids but that you treat them exactly the same way you treated me.” They treated me like shit for most of my life – when most families would lament the burden a troubled loved one brings to them ending most conversations with “but they’re family, what can you do?” there was no such talk in mine. I was thrown out of the house at 14. When an option for a state run reform school or private school was presented my father said something like “he’s your problem – educate him till he’s 18″ when he could have easily afforded to send his gifted child (superior to genius on the tests) to a boarding school. Later, I was tried, convicted and kicked out – literally – the moment I turned 18 (with nowhere to go and no degree or no real ability to care for myself).

The ability to recall and talk about the still very foggy memories of the abuse and telling them what I remembered when these repressed memories surfaced at 26 years old DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO CHANGE THE HORRIBLE WAY THEY TREATED ME. Things were exactly the same as before – actually worse – because now we all knew what had happened to me yet for the next 24 years these right wing republican humps blamed me, the victim and although their types are the first to call psychology and therapy b.s. – suddenly they’ll put 100% faith in the idea that one can be cured and would be if “they only pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, do a little work, stop their whining and put a little skin in the game.”

OMG!!! I wanna puke.

I’ve had little choice in my life and have suffered because of many of the choices I’ve made only knowing I needed to make the ones that allowed me to feel better than the all encompassing 24 hour soul crushing despair that occupied my every waking moment. Not wanting to die is a huge relief and anything, be it a beer or a joint (or prayer and meditation – which is what I know now) bestowed that sweet relief from a near constant suicidal tendency, well hell, anyone – especially a 13 year old who knows nothing from nothing but the very basics of survival – would do (and I did) anything to make the hell stop. The rapist pedophile Priest saw to it that I had no faith or trust in God or the Church and my right-wing, beating the life out of me with a strap or yard stick until the child abuse board was in our living room parents – who didn’t do the most basic of basic parenting responsibilities, which is to keep me safe – made sure I had no ability to trust in anyone else (btw: my father got out of it because he was a law enforcement officer and called it a corporal punishment spanking – even though I was 13 and had black and blues all over my legs and body to the point that my gym teacher called the police). I had it coming at me from all angles. Sorry but if a little beer or weed did for you what nothing or anyone else was supposed to – make you feel safe and not wanting to die and gave you a little hope to continue on for a little while longer you’d be making the exact same choices I did. Actually, maybe not. Statistically, out of 10 abused men (9 + me), most of them would have become child rapists and be in prison for it. Statistically most abusers were abused themselves. Women, on the other hand, go into sex work to become empowered over the memories. Perpetrating is something I didn’t do. There was an incident when I was 12 and baby sitting for a 10 year old neighbor girl but that was it. Although mostly at a loss, I credit this to my heightened sense of empathy and morality. I did my fair share of stupid crap but when I became old enough to become a predator I knew the difference between right and wrong, knew the 10 commandments and knew how being hurt by others felt and had no desire to make another feel that way.

Being told that I chose this life was the most hurtful, ignorant thing I’ve ever heard from a family member. It not only showed me how little they care but that they’ve also never done any research into what I went through as well as never learning anything about what happened to me or someone who is sexually abused as a child. I should have expected it. Whenever they say and do incredibly insensitive shit I’m still hurt and surprised. I should know better, especially about this, being that I’ve never been asked about or shown sympathy over what happened to me as a child, by any of them. Not once, ever.

goodorevilDeciding to write about this topic was one I thought would interest survivors of abuse. Many survivors are currently dealing with evil in their lives – whether it be evil perpetrated against them to silence them or, just plain evil people – either way, evil will leave a person afraid, hurting, confused and a whole host of other emotions. Surrounded by evil behaviors from good people and evil behaviors and words from evil people, we must understand how dangerous the evil are and how they affect us. This information is so much more involved than just the little I share with readers here. I recommend everyone purchase and read a copy of M. Scott Peck’s, People of the Lie. He covers this topic so well and identifies so much of what we deal with as survivors from the people in the religious cults we came out of. It is a must read for every survivor. I am sure when he wrote this book, he never dreamed it would be applicable to the church and its followers!  Sadly, it is.  Knowing how to identify and avoid evil and those who are evil will save us so much trauma. All this said, let me take up where I left off in the first part of this topic and discuss the next characteristics of “the evil” that will help us to identify who they are.

People of the Lie

Peopleofthelie

Another characteristic of the evil is Narcissism, or self-absorption. According to Dr. Peck, some forms of it are normal in childhood, but not in adulthood. Some are more distinctly pathological than others. He talks about a particular pathologic variant called “malignant narcissism,” a term given by Erich Fromm.

“Malignant narcissism is characterized by an unsubmitted will. All adults who are mentally healthy submit themselves one way or another to something higher than themselves, be it God or truth or love or some other ideal. They do what God wants them to do rather than what they would desire. “Thy will, not mine, be done,” the God-submitted person says. They believe in what is true rather than what they would like to be true. . . what their beloved needs becomes more important to them than their own gratification. In summary, to a greater or lesser degree, all mentally healthy individuals submit themselves to the demands of their own conscience. Not so the evil, however. In the conflict between their guilt and their will, it is the guilt that must go and the will that must win.”—M. Scott Peck, M.D.

He goes on to say the evil are extraordinary in their willfulness. They have a strong will and are determined to have their own way. There is remarkable power in the manner in which they attempt to control others (Peck).

This said, a strong will does not determine that a person is evil.

“It is a characteristic of all “great” people that they are extremely strong-willed—whether their greatness be for good or for evil. The strong will—the power and authority—of Jesus radiates from the Gospels, just as Hitler’s did from Mein Kempf. But Jesus’ will was that of his Father, and Hitler’s that of his own. The crucial distinction is between “willingness and willfulness.”

This willful failure to submission that characterizes malignant narcissism is depicted in both the stories of Satan and of Cain and Abel. Satan refused to submit to God’s judgment that Christ was superior to him. For Christ to be preferred meant that Satan was not. Satan was less than Christ in God’s eyes. For Satan to have accepted God’s judgment, he would have had to accept his own imperfection. This he could not or would not do. It was unthinkable that he was imperfect. Consequently submission was impossible and both the rebellion and fall inevitable. So also God’s acceptance of Abel’s sacrifice implied a criticism of Cain: Cain was less than Abel in God’s eyes. Since he refused to acknowledge his imperfection, it was inevitable that Cain, like Satan, should take the law into his own hands and commit murder. In some similar, although usually more subtle fashion, all who are evil also take the law into their own hands, to destroy life or liveliness in defense of their narcissistic self-image.”—M. Scott Peck, M.D.

What is the cause of this malignant narcissism, this arrogant self-image of perfection? How come it doesn’t afflict everyone? No one knows why. They have not even succeeded in distinguishing between all the different types of self-absorbtion yet. At the time Dr. Peck wrote his book, People of the Lie, there was no definitive answer. Some people can be grossly narcissistic and other not at all.

Another characteristic of the evil is that they are masters of disguise. As mentioned in the first part of this article, because the evil are masters of deception and disguise, it is almost impossible to pinpoint the maliciousness of the evil. Their disguise is impenetrable (Peck). The evil hate the truth that exposes their flaws, their crimes, their manipulations, their deceptions. No cost is too high to pay in order to maintain the disguise of righteousness and respectability. Everyone becomes expendable in order to maintain the façade.

And the last characteristic of the evil that I will cover is this: The evil always hide their motives with lies. The lies are not necessarily blatant or gross lies. “Naturally, since it is designed to hide its opposite, the pretense chosen by the evil is most commonly the pretense of love (M. Scott Peck, M.D.). “Because we are good, loving parents, we are deeply concerned about Timothy.” “Because I am her pastor and I love Susie, I am only looking out for her best interests.” “Because we are your parents and we love you, we are doing this to you.” And yet, not everyone is operating under this disguise. So, then, according to Dr. Peck, it must be a matter of degree and it is difficult to know where to draw the line between those that are “falling” into evil and the “fallen.”

First there is a matter of the degree to which they are willing to sacrifice their victim for the preservation of their narcissisitic self-image (Peck). There seems to be no length to which they won’t go. It will not bother them at all to label their victim and use him as a scapegoat. Then there is also the degree — the depth and distortion — of their lying (Peck). The lies are so many that it is a web of deceit so vast that it is nauseating and overwhelming to those affected by it.

Evil is contagious. It affects those surrounded by it in harmful and destructive ways. It leads to many abuses and crimes. So, it is imperative we are able to identify those that are perpetrating evil AND those who have “crossed the line” and are Evil. Let’s review what we’ve covered thus far:

  • Evil begins when one denies his lies and abusive actions.
  • The consistency of the sins is what separates evil and good. The destruction is consistent.
  • Those who have “crossed the line” are characterized by their absolute refusal to tolerate the sense of their own sinfulness.
  • Another predominant characteristic of the behavior of evil people is scapegoating. Because in their hearts they consider themselves above reproach, the evil must lash out at anyone who does reproach them. They sacrifice others to preserve their self-image of perfection.
  • The most typical victim of evil is a child because parents wield absolute power over them. I will add to this that religious leaders can also wield this same power over children.
  • The evil love raw power in order to control and manipulate others.
  • The evil project their own evil onto the world. They never think of themselves as evil: on the other hand, they consequently see much evil in others.
  • Evil, then, is most often committed in order to scapegoat, and the people labeled as such are chronic scapegoaters and blamers. They are consistently placing blame on others for their inadequacies, short falls and wrong doing.
  • The evil are completely dedicated to preserving their self-image. They are continually engaged in an effort to maintain the appearance of moral purity and righteousness.
  • The evil are masters of deception and disguise, it is almost impossible to pinpoint the maliciousness of the evil. Their disguise is impenetrable.
  • Another characteristic of the evil is Narcissism, or self-absorption.
  • The evil hate the truth that exposes their flaws, their crimes, their manipulations, their deceptions. No cost is too high to pay in order to maintain the disguise of righteousness and respectability.
  • The evil always hide their motives with lies. The lies are not necessarily blatant or gross lies. “Naturally, since it is designed to hide its opposite, the pretense chosen by the evil is most commonly the pretense of love (M. Scott Peck, M.D.).

In conclusion, because of the church’s attempts to defend the evil they hide underneath their façade of righteousness, I have endeavored to help readers understand how to identify the evil no matter where one may be. For the last several years, survivors of religious abuses have been doing their best to tell the world the evil they have endured at the hands of those they should have been able to trust.  The evil are in the church and outside of the church, they are family members, they are neighbors, co-works, employers, politicians – everyday people.

Identifying the evil that surround us will enable us to avoid the contamination to the best of our ability. It will allow us an OPPORTUNITY to avoid it, if at all possible, and not be blind-sided by it. Usually, evil is so subtle that by the time we do realize what is happening, it is too late and the harm has been done. Since there is so much evil lurking underneath the mantle of righteousness that many people wear, we must be all the more wiser and our radar needs to be on the highest possible alert level in order to avoid becoming victimized by it, or worse, fall into it. It’s that serious. Identifying evil and “the evil” can mean the difference between happiness or destruction, life or death. What I have come to realize is there is evil in the church system. The Evil have also made their home there. Yet, there are good people in the church system and they too have made their home there. It behooves us to know who our enemies are and avoid them. We also must be aware that because the evil and the good operate alongside each other, good people can be contaminated and influenced by the evil to do evil things to other good people. Those contaminated by evil can recover and be recovered. They are not lost to it. Only those that have “crossed the line” and ARE evil cannot be recovered. This said, one thing rings true where evil is concerned – its primary agenda is to protect self-image. Any organization where you see a complete focus on preserving a righteous and respectable facade; where the focus is to hide all the dirty laundry and corruption – you will find evil lurking. Be Aware.

**M. Scott Peck, M.D.,  is the author of, The People of the Lie, and The Road Less Traveled.

 . . . . . . click here for part one of this topic

goodorevilOne of the problems religious abuse survivors have voiced over and over again is that the “Church” is full of pedophiles, rapists, misogynists, narcissists and physical and emotional abusers. Repeatedly the roar of the voices of the multitude of the victims of these crimes against humanity, drown out the church’s attempts to defend the evil they hide underneath their façade of righteousness. It’s very hard for those who have been victims of evil to understand they are indeed “victims not just of abuse, but of the Evil.” However, once we have a diagnoses and a name to what has been projected onto us, we can then take the necessary steps to escape the evil.

Let me say the Evil are not those who fill jail cells across the world; howbeit, there are evil people in prison. Evil people surround us. They are professionals, politicians, business owners, parents, employers, religious leaders, friends and neighbors. How can this be? All these people have the ability to gain dominion over us. While some of them may have perpetrated crimes of murder, rape, incest and physical abuses, still others may not be designated as “criminals” because their “crimes” are more subtle. They are criminals in that they commit “crimes” against life and liveliness. They attack the soul by destroying growth, self-worth, self-esteem, autonomy and individuality. They are not always direct with their evil. Their “crimes” are so subtle and covert they cannot clearly be designated as crimes. Those who stay in the presence of evil people will be contaminated and destroyed. The Evil are dangerous. The best thing one can do when faced with evil is to run the other way; get away from it as quickly as you can. But in order to IDENTIFY those who are evil, we need some way of being able to do so.

First, we must put a distinction between evil and ordinary sin. “It is not their sins per se that characterize evil people, rather it is the subtlety and persistence and consistency of their sins. This is because the central defect of the evil is not the sin but the REFUSAL to acknowledge it (M. Scott Peck, M.D.). According to Dr. Peck, there is a kind of randomness to their destructiveness. Evil people deny responsibility for their evil deeds. However, evil deeds do not an evil person make. Otherwise, we should all be evil, because we all do evil things.

Sinning is defined as “missing the mark.” This means we sin every time we fall short of perfection. Because we can’t be perfect, we are all sinners. We will “routinely fail to do the very best of which we are capable, and with each failure we commit a crime of sorts – against God, our neighbors, or ourselves, if not frankly against the law (M. Scott Peck, M.D.). Everyone sins.

Evil, on the other hand, is different. Evil begins when we deny our lies and abusive actions. The consistency of the sins is what separates evil and sin. While usually subtle, the DESTRUCTIVENESS of evil people is remarkably consistent. This is because those who have “crossed the line” are characterized by their ABSOLUTE refusal to tolerate the sense of their own sinfulness. This is why they deny, deny and deny they have done any wrong or harm to others. Instead they place blame.

The poor in spirit do not commit evil. Evil is not committed by people who feel uncertain about their righteousness, who question their own motives, who worry about betraying themselves. The evil in this world is committed by the spiritual fat cats, by the Pharisees of our own day, the self-righteous who think they are without sin because they are unwilling to suffer the discomfort of significant self-examination. . . And it is out of their failure to put themselves on trial that their evil arises. – M. Scott Peck, M.D.

“Another predominant characteristic of the behavior of evil people is scapegoating. Because in their hearts they consider themselves above reproach, the evil must lash out at anyone who does reproach them. They sacrifice others to preserve their self-image of perfection (M. Scott Peck, M.D.).” Not only this, but evil people will use their influence to rally others to their cause of protecting their self-image. We see this consistently throughout the country across all denominations where sexual crimes and abuse are exposed against church leaders. As a result, countless “good” people perpetrate evil on other “good” people even though they have not crossed the line to becoming evil. Or have they? When we see consistency in evil actions being perpetrated, then we can say they have “crossed the line.” Many have crossed the line.

Take a simple example of a six-year old boy who asks his father, “Daddy, why did you call Grandmommy a bitch?” “I told you to stop bothering me,” the father roars. “Now you’re going to get it. I’m going to teach you not to use such filthy language. I’m going to wash your mouth out with soap. Maybe that will teach to clean up what you say and keep your mouth shut when you’re told.” Dragging the boy upstairs to the soap dish, the father inflicts this punishment on him. In the name of “proper discipline” evil has been committed. – M. Scott Peck, M.D.

This example is very common in religious circles. Many religious leaders teach that washing a child’s mouth out with soap is perfectly permissible in order to teach the child not to say certain words or, voice their displeasure, or for questioning authority, rules and doctrine. Without even realizing it, good people are taught to do evil things to the vulnerable who have no voice in anything that happens to them. Not only this, the evil teach good people how to become evil and, even believe the evil they perpetrate, is right.  In the Independent Fundamental Baptist cult I came out of, we were taught to “break the child’s will.” We were instructed to spank them for every infraction, CONSISTENTLY! This “breaking of the child’s will” could start as an infant!  This is evil and it is perpetrated consistently in this sect by seemingly good people.

Parents have complete dominion over children. This puts children as the number one targets of evil. As a result, “when a child is grossly confronted by significant evil in its parents, it will most likely misinterpret the situation and believe that the evil resides in itself. Add to this fact that evil people, refusing to acknowledge their own failures, actually desire to project their evil onto others, and it is no wonder that children will misinterpret the process by hating themselves. (Peck)” This is why children suffer from depression and other mental illnesses. This is why they attempt suicide, run away from home, or lean toward alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms.

To children – even adolescents—their parents are like gods. The way their parents do things seems the way they SHOULD be done. Children are seldom able to objectively compare their parents to other parents. They are not able to make realistic assessments of their parents’ behavior. Treated badly by its parents, a child will usually assume that it is bad. If treated as an ugly, stupid second-class citizen, it will grow up with an image of itself as ugly, stupid and second-class. Raised without love, children come to believe themselves unlovable. We may express this as a general law of child development: Whenever there is a major deficit in parental love, the child will, in all likelihood, respond to that deficit by assuming itself to be the cause of the deficit, thereby developing an unrealistically negative self-image.—M. Scott Peck, M.D.

Another indication of the evil is the way they are influenced by raw power. When an evil person has power or dominion over others, they are only interested in controlling them. This control causes the evil to neglect the needs, desires and wants of others. It also causes them to treat others disrespectfully; not allowing for their opinions, thoughts and desires to be voiced. The evil will sacrifice good people to protect their self-image AND in order to maintain CONTROL. This is why questioning rules and dogmas is taboo in churches with evil leadership. The evil want blind obedience and unquestionable loyalty. Those who do not meet these criteria are sacrificed in the most vicious and humiliating ways. Many do not recover from the evil projected onto them when they are scapegoated and cast off.

Since the evil, deep down, feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world’s fault. Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad. They PROJECT their own evil onto the world. They never think of themselves as evil: on the other hand, they consequently see much evil in others. The father (in the example above) perceived the profanity and uncleanliness as existing in his son and took action to cleanse his son’s “filthiness.” Yet we know it was the father who was profane and unclean. The father projected his own filth onto his son and then assaulted his son in the name of good parenting (M. Scott Peck, M.D.).

Evil, then, is most often committed in order to scapegoat, and the people labeled as such are chronic scapegoaters and blamers. They are consistently placing blame for their evil behavior and words.

Strangely though, evil people also attempt to destroy evil in others. But instead of trying to do this, they should be trying to destroy the sickness and evil within themselves. The evil are quick to judge sin and sinners and condemn them to hell. They are quick to isolate themselves and their families from others so they can have complete control over their families. They are quick to take action against those that speak out about their abusers and abuses within the church. They are quick to inflict physical punishment or harm to those that disagree with their beliefs, lifestyles and/or do not follow the rules. The EVIL also kill in God’s name.

“The evil are completely dedicated to preserving their self-image of perfect holiness. They are continually engaged in an effort to maintain the appearance of moral purity and righteousness. The evil dress well, go to work on time, pay their taxes, and outwardly look like good people. “The words “image,” “appearance,” and “outwardly” are crucial to understanding the morality of the evil. They intensely desire to appear good. Their “goodness” is all on a level of pretense. It is a lie (Peck).” They cannot and will not look within themselves at the evil they commit and project onto others. They only see themselves as “righteous” and others as “sinners.”

Because the evil are masters of deception and disguise, it is almost impossible to pinpoint the maliciousness of the evil. Their disguise is impenetrable. The evil hate the truth that exposes their flaws, their crimes, their manipulations, their deceptions. No cost is too high to pay in order to maintain the disguise of righteousness and respectability.

. . . . . click here to continue

zombieSometimes it is easy for people to commit Evil and not even be aware of it. There are countless people that harass, character assassinate, stalk and verbally abuse people who step forward to report their abuses at the hands of clergy. There are countless Christians who do the same to those who expose lies in doctrine or teaching. What they do not realize is that they are committing Evil in God’s name. These two things should never go together! God and Evil are opposites. Let me explain.

What many do not understand is the working definition of EVIL. “Evil is in opposition to life. It is that which opposes the life force. It has, in short, to do with killing (M.Scott Peck).” When I say this, I am not necessarily talking about murder as we understand murder. Evil can also kill the SPIRIT. Some attributes of human life are growth, autonomy, will, self-respect, dignity, self-worth. It is possible to kill or try to kill one or all of these attributes in a person without physically hurting them. This is done through psychological, emotional and spiritual abuses; or, religious indoctrination through mind control, information control and behavior modification techniques. Let me say emphatically this: Any belief or teaching that causes a person to perpetrate Evil is, itself Evil. It’s fruit will be Evil. The end result will be “soul murder” for the victim.

Religious indoctrination can employ this “soul murder” in order to make others controllable. Soul murder fosters dependency on leadership and the religious system and discourages a person’s capacity to think for himself. This prevents questioning, originality, autonomy and unpredictability in people. It produces “zombies” that are easily managed and told what to do and what to believe. The victims of “soul murder” are innumerable and God will hold religious leaders accountable for each “zombie” they create. Then, these “dead” people are used as pawns to further EVIL by attacking and killing others “in His name.” Yet these “dead” individuals do not know they are dead! They do not realize that their life force has been sucked out of them and replaced with Evil. They don’t know they are Evil because they are zombies. They are only interested in creating other zombies!

Evil then, can be said to be a force that resides inside of us that seeks to kill life or liveliness. And goodness is its opposite. Goodness promotes life and liveliness. Some think that because they go to church, live a good life, are separated unto God or, know scripture that they cannot perpetrate Evil. This is so far from reality and truth! These “Zombies for God” go about killing the souls of those trying to escape the EVIL who are already broken, abused and wounded. The cycle never ends.

Evil is in opposition to God. God wants us to not just have life. He wants us to live life ABUNDANTLY. Satan, however, is a murderer. Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning.” “Evil has nothing to do with natural death; it is concerned only with unnatural death, with the murder of the body or spirit (M. Scott Peck, M.D.).”

God is love. UNCONDITIONAL love promotes healing. Wherever there is this kind of love one can find healing.  Wherever one finds unconditional love there will be peace, joy, liveliness and contentment. Evil is deadly. Wherever there is Evil one will find brokenness, pain, depression, anxieties and fear. There will be a loss of dignity, autonomy and self-worth. It leads to death.

By hurling insults at victims, by harassing them, by stalking them, by calling them all manner of names, Satan has just effectively used you to do his will – to KILL. To kill the life force in a person is the worst possible crime against a human being. It is the greatest sin of all. Physical death at least puts an end to suffering. Soul murder does no such thing. It is either done to manipulate and control others or, it is done with the specific intent to cause more suffering and pain far into the future. Life, then, has no joy. Life is painful to get through. Physical death then becomes preferable to life.

Evil is a “choice.” One can CHOOSE to love others and lift them up in order to promote healing and autonomy as human beings. Or, one can CHOOSE to degrade, accuse and hurl insults in order to KILL their soul. If you truly want victims of abuse to HEAL, then stop the verbal abuse, the accusations, the name-calling, the harassment, the stalking. By showering them with UNCONDITIONAL LOVE and support, you will then enable them to heal. Anything less than this is EVIL.

RELIGIOUS ABUSE encompasses many religions  and religiously run systems across the world. It is not a problem that is just happening within U.S. borders.  Within each religion the abuses vary but, one facet of religious abuse crosses all denominational and systemic barriers; that facet is that the majority of the abused are women and children. Women and children have no protections from these religious abuses because RELIGIOUS LEADERS have been allowed to have free reign in establishing the rules and guidelines that followers must adhere to for their respective religions and/or religiously run systems. They use man-made religious writings of the early centuries to enforce their dogmas and rules on the present culture and times. What many do not realize is that these writings were written for the culture and times of their day, not for today’s time and culture.  God is a God of TODAY, not yesterday.  And, most religious writings have been tampered with and changed by religious leaders and scribes throughout history to point people in the direction of their preconceived opinions and ideals. These changes have been made in order to bring women and children under complete and total domination of men for sexual exploitation.

For centuries, religious leaders have used BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION, THOUGHT REFORM and INFORMATION CONTROL to bring about conformity to man-made rules. Those that do not conform have been murdered and/or mutilated.  As a result of this free reign across the world for centuries, inequality exists in the world whereby women and children are the primary targets of the abuses meted out. To escape the abuses can mean any or all of the following for an abuse victim: shaming, shunning, financial destruction, labeling, mutilation and/or death.

HONOR KILLINGS are a very strategic part of certain religions and religious systems; strategic, because it has one goal – to CONTROL by FORCE and FEAR women and children in order to prevent them from exercising personal liberty and autonomy as human beings.  Because religious beliefs are interwoven into civil laws in many Muslim countries, women and children are left unprotected. The abuses are rampant and allow men and women free reign to murder, mutilate and maim in the name of “honor” and “God.” Any “perceived” wrongdoing for a woman or child could be a cause for death, burning or mutilation. It is time for people to see the reality of the horrible RELIGIOUS ABUSES hidden within a system that is designed to proliferate a male-dominated society where the value of women and children are worthless. Before we dive into this extensive list of murders, mutilations and attempted murders, let’s learn a little about how Islam operates and what it is. The following video will help the reader to understand how an abusive religion or religiously controlled system can infiltrate, spread and take over whole nations.

WHAT ISLAM IS NOT!

For more articles and videos on how Islam is affecting America and the reality of what is taking place, click HERE.

The following indexes need to be viewed by EVERY AMERICAN. These reflect a TRUE picture of the FRUIT of this system. After these indexes, will be some pictures of Islamic Religious Abuses perpetrated upon women and children. WARNING: These pictures are graphic!!!

This index is provided by WikiIslam and can be accessed HERE . This Index is not updated weekly on this BLOG like the Clergy Abuse Archive is. You MUST access WikiIslam to see new updates added to this list.

linedividerThis is by no means a comprehensive list as many honor killings are covered up just as U.S. religious sects cover up their abuses.  The reality is that RELIGIOUS zealots and fundamentalists can be dangerous. Those religions and/or systems that harbor these abusive zealots and fundamentalists, need to be identified and the populous made aware of them. It doesn’t matter what people say about their religion, if women and children are being abused, suppressed, oppressed, strictly controlled and harmed, then we will know them by their fruit, not their words.  Any silence on this issue from those within the religion or system, makes them complicit in the crimes committed. Anything less than 100% support in stopping these crimes and changing laws to protect women and children, makes them complicit in the crimes.

Please share these indexes with everyone you know so they can see how abusive this religiously controlled system can be. Share the pictures as well. It’s time for our eyes, as well as the eyes of peace-loving Muslim people, to be opened to the truth about the dangers of this religious system’s dark side. Let me say that EVERY religion has a dark side. The dark side of this one just happens to be the LEGAL right to burn, mutilate and murder women and children. These indexes are provided for reference purposes only.

Honor Killings in Muslim Majority Nations

Honor Killings and Violence in Non-Muslim Nations

Honor Related Violence or Danger to life in Muslim Majority Nations

 linedividerThe following photos are only 30 of the countless photos of mutilation and murder of women and children that I have found on the internet. Many of the photos could not be put here because of the graphic nature of the sexual mutilation done to the women by Muslim men because they were non-Muslim women.  It is time for American Citizens to open their eyes to Sharia and the cruelty and murder it condones in the name of “Honor.” There have been many honor killings here in the U.S. As Americans, it is time for us to take the blinders off and see the danger that ALL religions can pose when there is no escape from them and their abuses. When a religion is completely male dominated and it influences laws toward male dominance and control, women and children will become the targets of the worst crimes against humanity; especially sexual crimes and pedophilia.

WARNING!!!     WARNING!!!     WARNING!!!     WARNING!!!

GRAPHIC PICTURES!!!     GRAPHIC PICTURES!!!

WARNING!!!     WARNING!!!     WARNING!!!     WARNING!!!

GRAPHIC PICTURES!!!     GRAPHIC PICTURES!!!

muslim killing20muslim killing19muslim killing18muslim killing17muslim killing16muslim killing15muslim killing14muslim killing11muslim killing10muslim killing8muslim killing5muslim killing4muslim killing3muslim killing131.1234713151732

Religious BondageI originally wrote this as an outline on August 20, 2006 to teach in the nursing home. To me, it is a testament to the fact that God had already started opening my eyes to how dangerous man-made religion can be in the lives of its followers. Little did I know at that time, when I was teaching this in the nursing home, that God would extract me from the grips of religious bondage to a fundamentalist baptist sect that was abusive toward women and children and set me on a course to do His will in warning others about the dangers that lurk underneath religion’s mantle. Looking back, I am amazed at how much God allowed me to see of the truth and, I am severely disappointed that I ignored it and continued in my bondage. What a sad reality it is to comprehend that I was being shown truth but could not fully understand the seriousness of it due to religious indoctrination and religiously instilled fear.  I have made a few changes and additions to this outline for better clarity and understanding. I sincerely hope that what I am about to cover falls on an open mind and heart that is not blinded by man-made doctrines, rules and religious precepts (the doctrines and commandments of men).

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RELIGION – SATAN’S BIGGEST WEAPON

John 3:1-21 – There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

(3)Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (You mean you cannot CONTROL the Spirit of TRUTH in God’s people just like you cannot control the wind?)

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

(10) Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?  And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (It does NOT say, “That whosoever believeth in the Pope, Pastor, Priest, Rabbi,or any other religious leader, or the Church, should not perish, but have eternal life.”)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in HIM should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (You mean believing in religion, the “man of God” or the “church” won’t save you?)

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil (Say it isn’t so! Men’s deeds EVIL?). For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (It doesn’t say that his deeds are perfect, because mankind is sinful. It says that his deeds are wrought in God. There will be many sinners coming to the knowledge of the truth that desire to warn others about the “greatest deception of all.”)

Verse 3 (highlighted above) tells us that we cannot get to heaven unless we are born again of the Spirit of God. Most people do not understand what being born again means. Some people actually think that means going to a man-made church and serving men who call themselves by religious titles.  Verse 10 tells us that Nicodemus, although a religious leader, had no understanding of spiritual things. His RELIGION was keeping him blind to the truth that had the power to save is very soul and set him free from religions bondage. However, he did recognize that Jesus was a ‘teacher come from God’. (verse 2) He was confusing works with faith.  Notice how he addresses Jesus as “Rabbi” and “teacher.”  He understood that the miracles meant that God was with him. However, he was not willing to let go of a LIFETIME of man-made religious dogma, precepts and rules, coupled with religious tradition, and acknowledge Jesus as “Lord.”

The same is true today. Religious people from all walks of life refuse to let go of a lifetime of religion and tradition to embrace the truth. God has given us his spirit to guide and teach us so that “we might KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God.”  Instead, religion has replaced His Spirit with a Pastor, Priest, Rabbi or other religious designation, so that these religious leaders are now leading and guiding God’s people. The Holy Spirit has been SUBSTITUTED. The people have erred and do not even realize it. Because of this, they foster hatred toward those that oppose a wicked religious leader. They persecute, malign and shun those that find the courage to speak the truth and expose the lies and crimes. And, they themselves become secondary abusers complicit in the crimes perpetrated – all because of blindness and refusal to listen when truth is spoken.

(1Co 2:12)  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God.

(1Co 2:13)  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

(1Co 2:14)  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

– RELIGION BLINDS ITS FOLLOWERS TO THE TRUTH –

It causes people to turn a blind eye to truth instead seeing and understanding it. The reason for this is clear as we shall see from the up coming passages. The Pastors (religious leaders) have caused their flocks to go astray. God holds religious leaders accountable just as he did the Pharisees. Just as the Pharisees instituted their rules aimed at controlling the people, so Pastors of all denominations have done today. As pastors have built unto themselves financial empires off the backs of the poor, they have fallen to corruption. Power, prestige and money are the root of this corruption. The abuses abound and are well hidden by the church and its leaders. Those confronted with the abuses, turn a blind eye to them and support the abusers. Religious followers cannot see past the titles and labels that religious leaders wear that affect clear thought processes. Therefore they both fall into the ditch and it causes followers to become abusers themselves of those that step forward to speak truth. They have rested their lives, their money, their families and their time in religious leaders and church institutions instead of Christ. They have forgotten their true resting place.

2Ti 4:3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

2Ti 4:4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Jer 50:6  My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds (PASTORS) have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.

– IT TEACHES AS TRUTH, MAN-MADE ORDINANCES AND RULES –

Man-made ordinances and rules fill the churches of all religions. It is not isolated to any particular sect. Countless multitudes believe every word that proceeds from religious leaders within their respective institutions. As a result, they are led astray through corruption and false teaching.

Just for the sake of an example, I would like to take a look at what the Roman Catholic Church teaches it’s priests about the Pope and compare it to what the Word of God says.  What you will notice is that their many rules are based on what MEN SAY Peter is “perceived” to have said or done and not what “Christ” has commanded, said or done. It is also based on man-made religious precepts. This is where corruption rears its head – listening to men and not God. Men can make their own rules in God’s name and force implementation of them. This is exactly what has transpired from the beginning.

In considering this doctrine of the papacy, I will only use the teaching of the church as contained in the dogmatic definitions, the official documents of the ecumenical councils, and the teachings of the Popes. These represent the actual teaching of the church, regardless of what some Catholics believe, what certain priests teach  today, or even what some bishops may have written. The following statements are duly documented.

The acceptance of the authority of the Pope and submission to him is necessary for salvation!

“Furthermore, WE (mere MEN, not God) declare, state and define that it is absolutely necessary for the SALVATION of all men that they submit to the Roman Pontif. [Bull Unam Sanctum of Pope Boniface VIII,1302. The Teaching of the Catholic Church by Neuner and Roos, S.J. p. 204, No.342.] (SUBMIT to a MAN and not GOD?)

The Primacy of the Pope

WE (mere MEN, not God) decree that the Holy Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff have primacy in the whole world, and that this Roman Pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, and true “Vicar of Christ” head of the whole church and father and teacher of all Christians; that to him in blessed Peter was given by our Lord Jesus Christ the full power of feeding, ruling and governing the universal church as it is contained in the acts of the ecumenical councils and in the sacred canons. [Council of Florence, 1439. Ibid., p. 206, No. 349.] (This is not in scripture anywhere. As a matter of fact, Peter states the opposite about himself in 1 Pet 5:1, 5:3, Acts 10:25)

“If any one, therefore, shall say that blessed Peter the Apostle was not appointed the Prince of all the Apostles and the visable head of the whole church; or that he directly and immediately received a primacy of honor only, and not of true and proper jurisdiction [right of power] – – let him be anathema [excommunicated and condemned] [Vatican Council I, 1870. Ibid., p. 223, No. 374.]” (God does not imply or command this anywhere in scripture. This is a THREAT aimed at silencing those that speak the TRUTH. See 1 Pet 5:1, 5:3, Acts 10:25)

“Hence WE (mere MEN, not God) teach and declare that by the appointment of our Lord the Roman Church possesses a superiority of ordinary POWER (Yes, it IS all about POWER, not about God.) over all other churches, and that this POWER of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly Episcopal, is immediate; to which all, of whatever rite or dignity, both pastors and faithful, both individually and collectively, are bound by their duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, to submit, not only in matters that pertain to faith and morals, but also in those that pertain to discipline and government of the Church throughout the world.” [Ibid., p. 224-225, No. 379] (Well, well…it IS about POWER and CONTROL through SUBMISSION.)

“If then anyone shall say that the Roman Pontiff has merely the office of inspection and direction, but not full and supreme POWER of jurisdiction over the universal church, not only in things pertaining to faith and morals, but also in those things that relate to the discipline and government of the church spread throughout the world; or that he possesses only the principal part, and not all the fullness of this supreme power. . . Let him be excommunicated and condemned!” [Vatican Council I. Ibid., p. 226, No. 382] (MORE FEAR tactics through THREATENINGS.)

Many more quotations could be given from papal decrees, councils and dogmatic statements; but, let’s hear how the dogma of papal infallibility is defined by Pope Pius IX in 1870 at the first Vatican Ecumenical Council:

“Therefore, faithfully adhering to the TRADITION (Not from God. God has no tradition.) received from the beginning of the Christian faith (Says, Who? MEN?), for the glory of God our Saviour, the exaltation of the Catholic religion, and the salvation of Christian peoples, the sacred Council approving (MEN), We teach and define that it is a dogma divinely revealed (Really? DIVINELY REVEALED? – Not by God, Jesus or the Prophets – so this is a lie.):  that the Roman Pontiff, when He speaks ex-cathedra, that is, when in discharge of the office of Pastor and Doctor of all Christians, by virtue of His supreme apostolic authority He defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the Universal Church, by the divine assistance promised him in blessed Peter, is possessed with that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that His church should be endowed for defining doctrine regarding faith or morals: and that therefore such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the church.  But if any one which God avert – presume to contradict this our definition – let him be excommunicated and condemned!” [Ibid., p. 229, No. 388] (God says no such things in scripture; so this is a man-made religious dogma aimed at CONTROLLING people through threats and fear.)

Catholic Statements About the Pope

The Pope is usually and formally addressed as: “Most Holy Father.” [See encyclical by Leo XIII as introduction to the Douay version of the Bible.] (Mat 23:9 – And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.)

In the Cardinal’s Oath, Pope Pius X is addressed as: “Our Most Holy Lord.” [From the Article “Scriptures for Roman Catholics,” by Dr. Bartholomew Brewer.] (Now they are placing a mere MAN in the place of Christ and making him Lord. In case you didn’t know this, this is deception. 1Co 8:6 – But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and ONE LORD Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.)

The famous historian Moreri writes: “To make war against the Pope is to make war against God.” [Ibid.] (This is a good way to PROTECT a DECEIVER; through fear of God.)

WHAT POPES SAY OF THEMSELVES [Ibid] 

Leo XIII (mere MAN, not God) (1902) said:

“The supreme teacher in the church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete SUBMISSION and OBEDIENCE of will to the CHURCH (Not God) and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself.” [Ibid.] (Interesting. Another RULE instituted by MEN to bring about UNQUESTIONING obedience and control to the church and a MAN.)

Pope Pius X (mere MAN, not God) stated:

“The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but He IS Jesus Christ Himself hidden under the veil of flesh. ‘Does the Pope speak? It is Jesus Christ who speaks.” [Ibid] (In this statement, we are told that the POPE is CHRIST. This is DECEIT. He is a mere MAN, not God, placing himself in the place of CHRIST – a SUBSTITUTION – a fake in place of the real.)

Pope Pius XI (mere MAN, not God) once declared:

“You know that I am the Holy Father, the representative of God on earth, the Vicar of Christ, which means that I am God on the earth.” [Ibid.] (Well, well…another SUBSTITUTION aimed at POWER and CONTROL of People.)

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As stated earlier, there are other religious sects that can be used as examples where man-made doctrines are being taught that go against the Word of God…. and countless multitudes blindly believe they are necessary in order to please God. So, let’s look at the scriptures and see what they really declare.

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– WHAT THE SCRIPTURES DECLARE–

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder . .” 1 Peter 5:1 (You mean he wasn’t a “CHRIST and head of God’s People?”)

“Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5:3 (Not LORDS over God’s People?)

“Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you . .” Acts 14: 14-15. (Even Paul and Barnabas KNEW that no mere MAN should be worshipped nor placed in the position of Christ.)

“And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.  But Peter took him up, saying, Stand Up; I myself also am a man.” Acts 10:25. (What! Peter did not demand WORSHIP? You mean he was just a mere MAN and not a God?)

Acts10:25-26 “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in Heaven.” Mathew 23:9 (This is self-explanatory.)

In the light of the Holy Scriptures, certain dogmatic definitions and statements on the Pope sound blasphemous!  This his how Religion keeps people blinded to the truth of God’s Word.  Religion keeps people in bondage. Religion makes up its own rules and institutes punishments for going against them. Salvation frees us from this bondage so that we can worship in “Spirit and in truth”. Religion seeks to control people through their many religious rules backed by threats. Those that do not conform, are killed and/or silenced through threats, coercion, harassment, etc. Remember the Reformation and Inquisition – Over 90 million men, women and children were  tortured, mutilated and killed by CHRISTIANS of the Church of Rome under the direction of religious leaders.

Joh 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

Joh 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

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Religion usually teaches a works salvation. If you live a good enough life (works), you might make it to heaven.  If you serve in the ministry of the church (works), God will be pleased with you.  If you follow all the church’s rules and precepts, God will bless you abundantly (works).  If you give of your MONEY (works) to the church, God will bless you.

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Here’s what God says:

Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, . .

Heb 6:1  Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.

(You mean all these works are considered DEAD WORKS?)

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Religion DEMANDS obedience to the MAN-MADE ordinances, dogmas and precepts instead of obedience to God’s Word.  It demands obedience to a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” in order to please God. It demands obedience and loyalty to “the MAN of God” or, the “Religious Institution,”

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God’s Word says:

Mat 15:3 – But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

Mar 7:9 – And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

Mar 7:13 – Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye (Who are Ye? MEN, usually religious leaders.) have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Col 2:8 – Beware lest any MAN spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

1Pe 1:18  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

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– RELIGION CREATES CONFUSION IN THE HEARTS OF MEN AND WOMEN –

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The masses would prefer to follow anything but the truth. Why?  John 3:20 – “ lest his deeds should be reproved.”

God did not invent religion, man did. Man uses religion to keep people in bondage to an institution instead of setting them free to worship God and obey his will in their lives.  Religion is the biggest weapon used by Satan to keep people blind to the truth and in bondage to men, religious institutions, and religious leaders. Religion propagates HATE toward those that disagree or question the lies being taught. Religion harasses those that expose those lies and/or any abuses. Religion tries to silence the voices of TRUTH that God has placed in the world to WARN others about the biggest DECEPTION of all time – that deception is man-made religions owned and operated by MEN who have corrupted the scriptures and would have all POWER, CONTROL, MONEY and PRESTIGE for themselves. Religion has been murdering and abusing for centuries. Please remember that more than 90 million people lost their lives “in the name of God” during the Reformation and Inquisition. Right now, women and children are suffering at the hands of religion and its leaders across the world.  This is serious. It’s time to wake up and realize the deception. Religion starts wars, murders its own and others, oppresses and abuses women and children setting them up for sexual exploitation, and incites hatred and violence toward those that disagree or expose the lies and abuses. RELIGION IS SATAN’S BIGGEST WEAPON.

By Cynthia McClaskey

I am sure many of you may be wondering about this topic that I will be writing about. You may be wondering what exactly IS the DARKNESS?  I realize that this subject matter will be delicate and, will evoke a lot of emotion in people. But, I also understand that many of you may not realize that the subject I will be covering even exists; and if you know it does exist, you may even believe that it could not be possibly happening in your church.  Countless multitudes do not even realize that what I am about to talk about has been going on for centuries and is alive and ongoing today in religious institutions across the globe. As a matter of fact, it has been taking place since the third or fourth century; that’s how long this DARKNESS has been growing.

Before I get started, I would like to tell you about two organizations that are trying to make a difference in the lives of those affected by the DARKNESSG.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) and Together We Heal.

Together We Heal works to provide victims of sexual abuse, rape and incest – aka, the DARKNESS - with the free professional counseling services they so desperately need in order to begin the healing process. But, they cannot help victims without your donations. A victim’s help is only as available as the funds are to hire these licensed, professional counselors for them. Right now, the link on my blog is set up to fund an account that will help to pay for victims needs and to aid them in recovery and healing. Your tax deductible donations go directly to this fund which goes directly to help victims of this type of abuse. As fast as we get money in, it goes out, because the need is so great and so few people give. Right now, we have ZERO religious organizations donating to help victims of this abuse. Why is that? Answer: Because churches don’t really care about these victims. The love of God must stop short when it comes to victims of abuse, rape, incest and sexual assault (the DARKNESS) in the church.  Not one church has had the genuine Christian character to step out and do the right thing regarding these victims and support Together We Heal’s fund for victims through my blog. They give to missionaries, but not the abused, victimized, raped, tortured, broken and poor that they are responsible for creating.

Religion’s Cell is also a supporter of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE). This organization is a legal and professional team whose sole purpose is to defend these victims of sexual abuse and, to educate church congregations on the signs of abuse and how to respond to it in a religious environment. If you can afford to support GRACE through the link on my blog, I can assure you they NEED the funds too. Legal and professional help is not free.

Now, let’ talk about this DARKNESS. It is also known as Religious Abuse. I would like to explain what it is, what it encompasses and how it has affected societies and cultures around the globe. When I am done, you should be able to understand and see the scope and magnitude of the true DARKNESS that lies hidden underneath religion’s mantle.

But, before I get into the subject matter, I would like to give you some excerpts from a few recent news stories and then afterwards, ask everyone a few questions. I am warning you up front that these stories will evoke an emotional response in many of you. But I ask that you be patient with me as I cover these because some of these stories are difficult even for me, to read or listen to. All of these stories are recent, by the way. They are cited on my blog HERE, HERE, HERE AND HERE.

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BIRMINGHAM, AL. Pastor, Richard Shahan, of First Baptist Church arrested for the murder of his wife. A minister nabbed by police on new year’s day moments before trying to get out of the country.

Reena Ninan has the details. Reporter: Richard Shan was an Alabama-based Baptist preacher with a devout following. This morning, he’s accused of murdering his wife.

Arrested New Year’s day trying to board a plane to Germany. I think he was totally shocked when they — pulled him out of line. And detained him.

Reporter: He was nabbed after a customs official recognized his passport. But the pastor’s lawyers said he was traveling to Germany and then Russia to work for a children’s ministry. Once he got to Russia the chances of extraditing him were nil. (abcnews.go.com 1/6/14)

Alabama Pastor Allegedly Killed His Wife

State says murder suspect planned to wed boyfriend

Pastor Arrested and Charged With His Wife’s Murder Just Before He Boarded a Plane Out of the U.S. Video TheBlaze

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MUSCLE SHOALS, AL. Authorities say children’s minister Jeff Eddie told them he had so many sexual experiences with children at his church he could not recall all the times he had done it.

A felony complaint police filed against Eddie, 41, said the Highland Park Baptist Church children’s minister admitted to performing oral sex and masturbating children when Muscle Shoals investigators questioned him Sunday.

Eddie, who was arrested Sunday, is charged with 31 counts of sodomy, 2 counts of possession of child pornography, and 2 counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12.

In the sodomy complaint filed against Eddie, police said the abuse came to light after a church member walked in on Eddie with his hands up a minor’s shirt. One of the victims says Eddie engaged in sex acts with him downstairs in the church’s electrical room at least once a month going back to 2011, when the child was 11 years old. The incidents happened until July of last year, the child said, and then happened twice after that. (waaytv.com, Posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 11:24 am | Updated: 9:13 pm, Wed Feb 5, 2014)

New details in minister child sex arrest – Huntsville News WAAYTV

New Details Children’s Minister Facing Sex Abuse Charges, Multiple Victims Confirmed WHNT

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SEDRO-WOOLLEY, WA. On the night of May 11, 2011, sometime around midnight, 13-year-old Hana Williams fell face-forward in her parents’ backyard. Adopted from Ethiopia three years before, Hana was naked and severely underweight. Her head had recently been shaved, and her body bore the scars of repeated beatings with a plastic plumbing hose. Inside the house, her adoptive mother, 42-year-old Carri Williams, and a number of Hana’s eight siblings had been peering out the window for the past few hours, watching as Hana staggered and thrashed around, removed her clothing in what is known as hypothermic paradoxical undressing and fell repeatedly, hitting her head. According to Hana’s brother Immanuel, a deaf 10-year-old also adopted from Ethiopia, the family appeared to be laughing at her.

When one of Carri’s biological daughters reported that Hana was lying facedown, Carri came outside. Upset by Hana’s immodest nakedness, Carri fetched a bedsheet and covered her before asking two teenage sons to carry her in. She called her husband, Larry, who was on his way home from a late shift at Boeing, then finally dialed 911, telling the operator, “I think my daughter just killed herself. … She’s really rebellious.”

Hana was pronounced dead at the hospital, the cause hypothermia compounded by malnutrition and gastritis. The following day, when Child Protective Services tried to check on the other children, Larry Williams refused to let them in. When police followed up, a deputy noted that the family acted as though Hana’s death was “an everyday occurrence.” Twelve days later, detectives and CPS conducted interviews with the children, but their answers seemed rote and rehearsed, all repeating that Hana was rebellious and refused to mind Carri; one child said he thought Hana was possessed by demons. According to investigators, Immanuel said that “people like [Hana] got spankings for lying and go into the fires of hell,” just before Larry abruptly ended the interview.

When Hana died, she became one of at least dozens of adoptees alleged to have been killed at their adoptive parents’ hands in the past 20 years, and part of a far larger group of children who become estranged from their adoptive families—frequently, as it turns out, large families with fundamentalist beliefs about child rearing. Just within the Seattle area, and just among Ethiopian adoptees who came from the same orphanage and adoption agency as Hana, there has been an unreported crisis of “forever families” that fail. These are adoptions that, in an absence of any real oversight and in environments of harsh discipline, began with good intentions but went profoundly wrong….click here to read more.

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Esther Comb’s Story of Rape and Torture

Courtesy Of ABC News.

Joe and Evangeline Combs were Independent Fundamental Baptist. They perpetrated the most heinous crimes against a child. They are now serving 179 years in prison for their crimes against Esther.

Here’s Esther Combs story of abuse as told by ABC News – Part ONE.

Part Two:

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Now, I have some questions I would like to ask everyone:

  1. What do all of these stories have in common? They are all abuse related to religion and/or its teachings/belief systems.
  2. Who are the victims? Women and children
  3. Was justice served in every instance? Yes, when it’s murder or, multiple victims come forward, or,  the major media gets involved.

Now, let’s look at sexual assault, rape and incest where the victims were silenced and the abuses hidden and ask the same questions.

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Stephanie Davies Story of Rape, Suicide and Child Abuse

Ten Thousand Days in Hell – Sherri’s Story

HollyJane Belle’s Story of Rape and Incest

Louise’s Story of Spousal Rape

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  1. What do all of these stories have in common? They are all abuses related to religion and/or its teachings/belief systems.
  2. Who are the victims? Women and children
  3. Was justice served in every instance? No. None of these victim’s perpetrators is behind bars.

Why is the punishment not meted out for these horrible abuses? Because it took decades to pass for these victims to find the courage to speak out. For child abuse, there is no law that allows for prosecution after the fact when such time has elapsed. For sexual assaults and rape of children, the Statute of Limitations has expired in many states. Also, keep in mind that as long as the victims FEAR speaking out, the perpetrators remain free to abuse others. Such is the majority of cases.

What many do not realize is that religious abuse is a broader scope than we think it is. Believe it or not, but the average person has never heard of such a thing.  And yet, religious abuse encompasses the following:

Rape Incest Torture
Sexual Abuse Sex Trafficking Child Rape
Child Marriage Prostitution Child Pornography
Physical Abuse Emotional Abuse and Trauma Spiritual Abuse
Domestic Abuse Honor Killings Polygamy
Victim Grooming  Sexual Mutilation Abusive Control – information, time, behavior

 To learn more about the scope of this abuse and what it encompasses more specifically, click here: Religious Abuse – What Exactly Is it?

Throughout history, every single one of these items mentioned in my list has been going on. Does anyone have any idea who the victims are of every single one of these that I have stated?  Women and children.  What we need to realize is that these abuses against women and children are going on underneath the church’s mantle. Many people I come in contact with refuse to believe that it is, and yet the reality has been all over the internet in the last several years. If you have an opportunity to peruse my Religions Cell blog, please do.  My blog contains an alphabetized list by state and city of news stories of convicted and/or charged clergy for sexual crimes, murder and abuse. This is in no way a comprehensive list. There are thousands of more articles to add. To enter this archive, click here: Clergy Abuse Archive.  My blog also has numerous personal accounts of religious abuse survivors and what they endured. I have to warn you that the victim testimonies will make you angry – and here’s why – because most of the perpetrators of these crimes are still free and serving in churches across America. Most of them never served jail time.  They are STILL in contact with YOUR children!  The number one reason for this?  The church leadership covered up the crime and silenced the victims through public humiliation, threats and fear tactics. As a result, the Statute of Limitations ran out on these victims.

Can I ask another question? Why do you think a victim of rape or incest in the church setting would decline to come forward immediately? The answer: FEAR. Victims are threatened by family members, church members and church leadership. Victims are harassed by the same. Victims are humiliated and shamed. Victims are sometimes tortured. Victims are psychologically conditioned by this fear to keep their mouths shut. This is why it can take decades for a victim of childhood sexual assault and abuse to come forward.

As a result, the statistics on these crimes are vastly skewed. The numbers are much greater than what is reported.

Many of these victims of abuse are being blamed by the churches that hid their abuses. This is done to discredit their testimony. Many of these victims are being called liars. This is done to discredit their testimony and protect the abuser. The fact is this: Religious indoctrination has a lot to do with this secondary abuse to survivors of sexual assault and abuse within these institutions. Here’s why:

  • Religious people may be programmed into believing only what church leadership tells them is true. If leadership says a victim is lying to “hurt the cause of Christ,” then they become militant against that victim.
  • Religious people may be programmed into supporting religious leadership even if evidence PROVES the crime! Jack Schaap, former pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN., is a prime example of this. He is serving a 12 year jail sentence for sex trafficking a minor and STILL has a huge following, even in jail.
  • Religious people may be programmed into doing what leadership tells them to do against victims. Remember that I stated that they can become militant when they are told someone is “hurting the cause of Christ.”
  • Many religious people even believe they are doing a God a favor by harming these hurting and broken people who are just trying to seek justice for the crimes committed against them.

These are so-called CHRISTIANS that perpetrate the secondary crimes of harassment, slander, public humiliation, stalking and attempted murder! Why? Answer: To SILENCE their voice of truth and protect their religious leaders from prosecution. Why? Because they are “clones” of the religious system they serve through indoctrination. What these victims are doing is speaking out about lies in teaching and/or crimes committed against them. If you are a clone of the system, your mind cannot accept these things as true and it rejects them. That’s the power of indoctrination. It keeps people blind, obedient and willing to do what you tell them to. This is why religious fundamentalism can be very dangerous to any society.

Let’s look at more examples of abuse. The following victims, to date, still have not received justice regarding the crimes perpetrated against them. By the way, there are many more than these from this girls home.  Even though many of them reported to police in Arcadia, La., the man responsible for raping and torturing them and allowing others on his staff to do the same, is still a free man.

Kimberly Ann Howard’s Story – New Bethany Home for Girls, Arcadia La.

Kim Holt’s Story – New Bethany Home for Girls, Arcadia La.

Simone’s Story – New Bethany Home for Girls, Arcadia La.

Donna Trout’s Story – New Bethany Home for Girls, Arcadia, La.

New Bethany Book – MORE Girls Testimonies of Abuse

Those complicit in the crimes are still free as well. How can this be?  Answer: I don’t know. But I am sure you have some ideas floating around in your head at this point. Read the New Bethany Book (link above) and then try and figure out how this could possibly be so.  Could it be a huge cover-up? I have heard some victims say it is. Honestly, I don’t know.  These were children!  Needless to say, three decades later, they are STILL trying to get justice served and have Mack Ford arrested. The police have done nothing, to date, on this issue.

Religious abuse carries with it psychological trauma. Many of these victims, as a result of their trauma, suffer with flashbacks of the abuses, PTSD, panic attacks, physical illnesses, cancers, alcohol and drug addictions and mental illnesses. The list of maladies is large and those that are the ones that were to look out for these victims, failed them, shunned them, shamed them and silenced them. Many of these victims need professional help, but cannot afford it. The institutions that allowed these crimes against them to happen, have deserted them, leaving them without hope of help and healing.  It is time for religious institutions to be held accountable for the crimes they have hidden (the DARKNESS) and, for protecting the perpetrators from prosecution. It is also time for them to bear the financial load of helping them recover.

This DARKNESS has affected societies AROUND THE GLOBE with the implementation of civil laws in some countries that restrict and oppress women and children, protect rapists and pedophiles, and punish victims that dare to escape or speak out about the abuses. In some countries, it is perfectly legal to burn, torture, maim and kill women and children without recourse. Forcing victims of rape to marry their rapists, is another civil law some of these countries have. And some of these abusive laws can be seen spilling over into America’s laws. For instance, did you know that many states give visitation rights to a rapist if their victim gives birth to a child as a result of the rape?  This is no different than marrying the rapist! The psychological trauma and abuse is the same.  As a result, more abuse and torture for these poor women and girls.  How’s that for the influence of religion on civil law?

As a result of religious indoctrination, victim-blaming has reached pandemic proportions across the world where victims are concerned. Why?  Because men and women are not being held accountable for their physical and sexual crimes and murder if it is done in the name of “honor,” “religion,” and “God.” Protecting the religious mindset and keeping laws that propagate this kind of power and authority over defenseless human beings is ludicrous!! The perpetrators of the crimes you are about to see are RELIGIOUS people. They are people that LOVE GOD. They are SERVING God. They THINK they are doing GOD a favor.  Yet, they are committing atrocities in his name against women and children. Something just isn’t right with this picture!

Let’s look at some examples of this religious influence across the world:

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muslim killing1muslim killing2muslim killing3muslim killing5muslim killing11muslim killing14muslim killing15muslim killing18 muslim killing19

 muslim killing20

But these abuses are a result of Islam, not Christianity, you may be saying to yourself. Have you already forgotten your history? Remember the Dark Ages, the Reformation, the Inquisition. It was CHRISTIANS that tortured and mutiliated and murdered over 90 million men, women and children.  Look around you and see the abusive religious influences and MINDSETS that are seeping into America. How long will it be before RELIGION influences our civil laws? If you don’t think it has, you are mistaken.  Women and children need MORE protection from these crimes against them in the religious setting. Religious Institutions that hide these crimes and harbor rapists and pedophiles need to be dealt with harshly. Tax-exempt status needs to be pulled and arrests should be made in order to deter the crimes and protect our precious women and children.

Religion CAN be good. It can help people. When it is good, it is very good. But religion CAN be bad. When it is bad, it is an EVIL of the worst kind toward women and children.

Thus, the reason for this blog. Educating the public on this hidden DARKNESS is vital. People must understand that it is real and that they may even be suffering from it. Victim’s voices must be heard. This platform is for victims to tell their experiences. They will not be harassed here and their voices will not be silenced. Next, victims need a place to go where they can deprogram. The articles written here are to help them with that deprogramming so they can better respond to life around them as well as overcoming the fear that religion has instilled in them through false doctrine and twisted theologies. Next, victims need resources to help escape the abuse and, in their healing process. This blog provides resources. Victims also need help financially so they can get the professional help and/or medicines necessary to keep them healthy. That’s why this blog has teamed up with Together We Heal to provide a special fund that will provide these victims with the help they need. But, as stated earlier, we cannot help them without your tax deductible donations! Their help is only as available as the funds we have to give. You have no idea how many victims we have had to turn down due to lack of funds! Not one church has stepped up to the plate to financially support a large and growing populous of abused and hurting people. They give to missionaries, but not the broken, bruised, victimized and poor that they are responsible for creating.

To learn more about this serious subject matter, please peruse my blog and read the articles that I have written on this subject. Become knowledgeable and become a supporter of this sect of society – women and children – that have been suffering silently for many countless decades. Also, become a financial supporter. It is only through the donations to Together We Heal and G.R.A.C.E., through my blog, that these victims can be helped and start the healing process.  They need help and they need support. It is time for their voices to be heard and laws to change to protect others from the abuses they have endured.

I have told my story to many people verbally.  I have written it down in bits and pieces on social media sites such as Facebook.  I have even shared it with other victims in forums for those trying to recover from sexual, spiritual, emotional and physical abuse. In light of recent events with Bob Jones University firing G.R.A.C.E. from their independent investigation, I feel the need to share my story publicly.  I, like many victims of the Independent Fundamental Baptist cult, are outraged that BJU has slapped the faces of victims.  Their cowardice shows by their lack of courage to hear what G.R.A.C.E.’s findings would be.  Just weeks before the final report was to be delivered, at the time of this writing, G.R.A.C.E. had no knowledge as to the reasons behind Bob Jones University’s decision to fire them.

It is very hard for a victim to tell their story.  To give it in detail, in a public forum, takes a lot of courage and strength.  My hope is that my story will help others realize that they are not alone and that they do not need to walk the path of validation by themselves.  I have walked that path.  It is terribly lonely, frightening and exhausting.

While it is terribly hard to find anything in my story that can be criminal or even prosecuted today, what I endured was heinous.  What I endured is considered child abuse by today’s standards.  It could also fall into that category when it occurred.  Sadly, I have to say that the abuse continues to this day  because it is not being addressed and it is still swept under the rug.  Since I opened a Facebook account a little over four years ago, I have spent much of this time diligently trying to right the wrongs, expose the truths within the lies, and tell MY story.  My only hope is that my story gives someone else courage to address what needs to be addressed in their life.

I grew up in what appeared to be a normal, loving home.  My mother was and still is a very loving mother.  She tried to give the best she could to my brother and I.  She was an outstanding mother and I loved how we would go shopping every Saturday after we cleaned the house.  Almost every time we would go to the mall, she would buy me a scoop of bubble-gum ice-cream which I would lick so hard that it always landed on the floor in front of my feet.  We spent a lot of time together.

The first 13 years of my life were pretty much considered normal.  I would have fun with my cousins during the summer.  I was in a public school.  I went roller skating with my friend every Saturday.  My grades were average.  I was well-adjusted.  I was happy.  My parents always got compliments on how my brother and I behaved in public places.  But, there was always a fear that my brother and I had of our father.  He was quick with his hand and we were fearful of  angering him.  My mother was fearful of him.  He threatened her with bodily harm on numerous occasions.  Various incidents happened during their marriage that caused them to realize that the marriage was not what they wanted.  My brother and I were forced to realize that our parents were going to divorce.  I was in 7th grade at the time and I was so stressed about my parents that I had forgotten to do my homework one day.  I never forgot to do my homework.  I went to school and told my teacher at the time that I had forgotten to do my homework.  She gave me a detention.  I ran out of her room and went directly to the girls bathroom to which I began sobbing a body wrenching sob.  It scared me that my emotions had taken over the way that they had.  That made me cry harder.  My teacher entered the bathroom and asked me why I reacted the way I did.  I told her everything.  I told her that my parents were divorcing and that I had to live with my father and that I did not want to.  I felt that I was stuck.  She was not a heartless woman. She took the detention away.  That was a relief because had I gone home with that news, I was surely going to suffer for it.

My brother and I came home one day from school.  We had to take the school bus as we lived in a very rural part of New Jersey.  We came home and we noticed that all the living room furniture was gone.  Our mother’s clothing was gone.  All her belongings were gone.  We were stunned.  I cried for the longest time and the only person who could comfort me was my paternal grandmother.  I loved my grammy.  I begged to have my father drive me the 45 minutes from our house to hers on the night my mom left.  I just could not understand why things happened the way they did. I share all this with you because it builds the reason why my father decided to begin his religious journey.  At least in my mind, this is where it started.

When my parents were having their troubles, my father would attend church more regularly than we had in the past.  My grandparents were very religious and they told him about an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church in a town not far from where we were building a home.  I think that there was an effort to incorporate more religion into our lives in an attempt to save a failing marriage.  It was not that we were not religious.  We were.  We just became more so with this disaster in our lives.

My brother and I were forced to answer questions asked by strangers who appeared that they were interested in us.  It is now, that I realize that these people were lawyers and court appointed psychologists.  They wanted to know who we wanted to live with and why.  But, I always felt this horrible pressure on me to say that I wanted to live with my dad – even though I wanted to live with my mother.  I kept a diary at the time and all my pages during this time-period state just how oppressive it was to live in the house with my father.  He was never happy.  He put on a facade for the outside world, but at home, he was grumpy and just never a happy man.  At the tender age of 12, I was able to notice this about him and noted it in my diary.  I still have this diary today.

The divorce finalized and my brother and I were awarded to our father.  My mother was devastated.  Her story is a much more horrible version.  I will say that my mother was not painted in a complimentary way.  My brother and I were enrolled in the IFB school that was a ministry of the IFB church that our family attended.  The tuition was a lot for my father to pay, but he paid it – somehow.  There were times where we could not even afford a gallon of milk, but he paid the tuition.  There were many winters where he could not afford to fill the oil tank to heat our home, but he paid the tuition and gave his tithe. We heated our home with kerosene space heaters.  It is a wonder I am still alive.  My clothing smelled so badly of kerosene.

Our IFB church had what was called, “Paycheck Sunday”.  During this Sunday in late November, my dad gave his full week’s pay to the church.  Everyone did.  A full week’s pay for a single income parent during the early 1980‘s in blue collar New Jersey was not an easy task.  But the same mantra was uttered by everyone,  “God will provide”.

I guess the realization that having two teenage children with activities was too much for my father to handle alone so he began dating right away.  Every woman he brought to the house, my brother and I did not care for.  He eventually married someone just 8 years my senior.  I was horrified. My brother and I were immediately no longer part of his life and it was shown with many actions.  My brother and I began experiencing changes in how we were disciplined and we were treated extremely different.  By the time I was a Sophomore in the IFB school we attended, my brother and I were extremely miserable.  We were realizing that what we were going through was not normal.  We were so miserable  that we would tell people that things were not right.  Later that year,  my brother had had enough and asked to have my mother sue for custody of him.  She won and he went off to live with her for a while.  I was alone in a house with a step-mother who despised me and a father who placated to her every whim and need.  I was forgotten.

When my parents divorced, my mother had a boyfriend.  This man gave her the attention that she felt she deserved.  She was so starved for attention that it was nice to be the center of it without having to worry if she was saying something wrong or doing something wrong.  It was very well-known that there was infidelity in the marriage and that ultimately caused the demise of my parents marriage.  My mother decided she had enough and that was when she moved.  This boyfriend of hers took great strides to get to know my brother and I.  We were, after all, going to her apartment every other weekend.  He was living with her after she got settled from the divorce.  I was about 15 years old when his affections turned to more than just genuine interest.  He was more touchy with me as my body began to develop.  I was not sure what these advances were.  I know now he was grooming me.

My father was never kind to my mother when she would come to pick me up to go to her home on the weekends that she had visitation.  He would avoid her.  He would state things to me that my mother was worldly.  He was trying to taint my perception of her and trying to make it so that I would be less inclined to go visit her.  This made me want to see her more often.

One particular weekend, my mother’s boyfriend wanted to take me four-wheeling in the woods.  I was 15 years old.  I loved going four-wheeling as that was a highlight and I was finding that my freedoms were becoming less and less living with my father and his new wife.  They were now pregnant and a baby was on the way.  I still had a voice at my mother’s house, but even that was being quieted because by the time I would break out of my shell and start talking, it was time to get in the car and head back to my father’s house where I would have to get ready to go back to the IFB school I attended.  I was in the truck alone with my mother’s boyfriend.  I really don’t think my mother had any idea that it was not a good idea to allow her teen daughter with a man alone.  Maybe she was incredibly trusting.  I am not sure.  We drove out to the woods and started going through mud puddles.  This was in the mid 1980’s, so there were no cell phones.  I was in a truck for 8 hours out in the middle of the woods – far from any civilization – while this man raped me repeatedly.  He was stronger than me and he was drinking.  He made threats to me that if I told, he would kill my mother.  I believed him because he said he was with the Mafia.  I was a 15 year old girl and so naive because of the things that I was being “sheltered” from.  Finally, we went back to my mother’s apartment and he raped me one last time while parked next to the dumpster in the apartment complex.  He always made advances toward me. Now that I am a 44 year old woman and I think about it, he was very calculating in his plans for me.  He would send my mother off to go buy him potato chips (Wise Brand).  While she was gone, he would expose himself to me.  Again, the threat that if I told, I would lose my mother or that I would be harmed too.  He raped me in my mother’s bed while she bathed in the tub in the next room.  One night, he raped me in my bedding on the floor of the living room while my brother slept next to me.  We did not have our own room when we visited.  This constant advancement on me made me not want to spend time at my mother’s house.  I was trapped.

I knew that I could not tell anyone my story.  You see, I dealt with the fear that the boyfriend would kill my mother and I dealt with the fear that if I told my father that he would forbid me to ever see my mother again.  Add to this stress, a girl who is defiled is always guilty.  She either wore something she should not have or she walked a way she should not have.  We were taught in the IFB that the woman was the cause of all men’s sins.   My home life was becoming less and less normal.  The lectures we would get would go on forever.   We were not bad kids.  We obeyed every letter of the law laid down before us.  However, I was never good enough.  I tried so hard to be a good daughter, but it was the same thing – I always failed to meet expectation.  I was to be seen and not heard.  It really got bad when my half-sister was born as it was now my responsibility to raise a baby.

Around my Junior year in high school, my brother wanted to move back to my father’s house because he was promised material objects if he did move back.  He was told that if he moved back home he would get a bb gun, a motorcycle and weights.  He wanted so much to have a relationship with our father and our father made claims that things would be better.  His visitation with my brother was always so fun.  He was a different man around my brother when those weekends came.  He allowed freedoms that we normally never got.  We actually were able to have friends over.   So, my brother, desiring a relationship with his father, really believed that he would get all the things he was promised.  He moved back “home”.  There were no court documents filed and no attorney’s fees paid.  He moved back and everyone was happy – except my mother.  She was stricken with grief, but she allowed my brother to do what he thought he needed to do.  She never once uttered a negative word about our father.  She always felt that it was our observation to make.  Her opinions never muddied our perception of our father.  It was not the other way around.  Rarely was a kind word said about our mother.

My brother went back to the IFB school and graduated 8th grade that year.  He wore a borrowed suit because money was so tight.  I was wearing borrowed shoes that were a size and a half bigger than my feet.  I stuffed them with toilet paper to make them fit.  I was wearing my step-mother’s clothes to school.  Skirts that were 3 or 4 sizes larger than my small frame were pinned on the sides to keep the waist band up.  I never got new clothing unless my mother bought something for me.  We were the children of the ex-wife and we were reminded daily.  Little incidents, like not turning my brother’s socks right side out, became an issue.  His socks would not get washed if they were a balled up mess.  To this day, I see my sons’ socks and I think of that.  Of course it takes only a second to turn socks the right way, but a fuss was created and meanness ensued.  It was constant meanness and vindictiveness in the home.  I was told that I was to always be available to watch our half-sister.  I was the live-in baby sitter even though I had intramural sports that I was involved with and homework that took at least 2 or 3 hours a night.  We were expected to be in church every Wednesday evening, Sunday school, Sunday morning service and Sunday evening service.  There was no time to just be a kid.  I started going off alone into the woods just to get away from all of it.

I walked the halls of my high school with my secret of the rapes and just tried to be the best daughter I could be.  I made no noise because we were taught to never bring attention to ourselves.  We were told that we were never to argue anything.  We were told that if our father said that the sky was black and it was as blue as blue could be without a cloud, we had to agree that it was black.  There were no opinions allowed.  I was smacked across the face with a mouth full of braces when I voiced my desire to move to my mother’s home.  I had had enough of being taken for granted and treated horribly.  By this time, my mother had grown wise of her abusive boyfriend. My brother voiced that he did not care for the man and the two of them kicked him out.  Because he had moved back to our father’s house,  I could not leave my brother in this environment so I did not try to move to my mother’s house.  I also was beginning to drink the IFB Kool-Aid by the gallon and was reading my bible daily.  I had my own little monthly Daily Bread booklet.  I would do my devotions from them.  I read all 66 books of the bible.  I was doing all I could do to be the daughter I thought they wanted me to be.  My brother was not tolerating the lifestyle.  He just could not handle the constant badgering and the oppression we were experiencing.  We began telling people that we were having troubles, but nobody listened.  We were told to read our bibles more.  We were told to “honor our mother (stepmother) and father”.  Today I know that that commandment is taken out of context a lot in the IFB.  There is also a bible verse that says, “Fathers provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” – Ephesians 6:4.  We tried to tell people that we just could not live the life we were living.  We were being ignored and treated very badly.  My maternal grandparents felt there was an issue and they tried to help.  CPS was called to our home and they were turned away.  My brother and I were never interviewed by the agency.

Things got so bad that my brother and I began making plans on how we were going to run away.  We talked many hours in his bedroom.  I still remember a conversation we had.  I remember the way his room was set up.  I was laying across the foot of his bed and he was next to me on the floor.  We were talking how we could not tolerate it anymore and how we were going to get away.  We were thinking of who to tell and who we could trust.  He finally said that we just have to settle down and let things take their course.  I remember specifically a time when we were thrown into the back of our family car and I was so upset that I was going to miss something that I wanted to do with the school.  Our father was notorious for throwing everyone in the car not telling us where we were going with the explanation that we were just “going for a ride”.  This ride happened to be 12 hours long down to my grandfather’s house.  I was so upset that my only escape from my family was being taken from me.  My brother calmed me and said, “It will all be okay in a little while.”

For a 14 year old boy, he was so much stronger and wiser than his years.  I was 17 years old at the time and I had just started my Senior year in the IFB high school.  He was starting his Freshman year in the same school.  He just got picked up onto the Varsity soccer team and we were so excited that we had an escape through our respective sports.  These sports took us from our abusive situation at home.   Every hour away from there was an hour of freedom that we gleefully relished in and felt free.   As the days progressed, I did not notice my brother getting depressed.  He was always the one lifting me up.  Now, he was losing it.  I was involved in my cheerleading and was involved with my Senior year now, so I never saw the signs.  He began telling people in his class that he hated his life and that he had to end it.  His friends were all either 13 or 14 years old so they never really thought that his words would come to fruition.  They were innocents.  They were children.  One night, September 16, 1986, we went home after practice and we had to do our homework and nightly chores.  We were so accustomed to not talking because we would get in trouble if we woke our half-sister.  Any speaking we did was normally in the form of whispering.   We also had to be quiet when walking out to the garage because there was an alarm on the door that would beep every time the door would open.  My brother told me he was going to feed the dog.  His last words to me, “I’ll see you in a bit, sis”.  We were expecting company that night.  Our uncle was coming to see us as he had not seen us in a while and was coming by to catch up.  I watched from the kitchen window while I worked on the dinner dishes as my brother went out to feed our German Shepherd, Bear.  He came back into the garage.

My brother was always tinkering on something.  At this particular time he was working on a bike frame that he was in the middle of repainting.  He had it hanging from chains that held a heavy weight bag from the rafter of our garage.  The chains were not long enough to have the heavy weight bag low enough to be used properly,  so our father suspended the bag with extra length from a rope.  On this particular night, he removed the bike off of the chains, wrapped it in a towel or blanket and set it on his weight bench.    The same weight bench that he was promised if he moved back “home”.  I heard the dog barking and realized that my uncle had arrived.  I ran out to the garage to go meet him at the door.  What I saw forever changed my life.  What I saw forever changed the image that I see when I close my eyes each night.  What I saw is the reason why I am so vocal about abuse and abuse within the IFB today.  I saw my brother hanging from those chains.  The chains were deeply embedded in his neck.  He was gray.  He was motionless.  He was dead.  I ran over to him, and tried to raise him by lifting him so that the tension of the chains would release from around his neck.  They were interlocked by S hooks.  They were so deeply imbedded that I could not release the tension.  My uncle must have heard me or looked in the window, but all the sudden he was next to me trying to lift my brother up.  He screamed at me to go get a knife from the kitchen so that we could cut the rope that was attached to the chains and to tell my step-mother to call an ambulance.  There was no such thing as 911 in 1986.   I ran in the house trying to be quiet to not wake the baby and I whispered to my stepmother, “call an ambulance, Scott hung himself”.  I whispered it.  Why did  I whisper?  I whispered because I was so conditioned and oppressed by this woman that I knew I would get into trouble if I screamed.  My screaming should have trumped all regard for her rules.  But fear stopped me and I whispered.  I ran into the kitchen, grabbed a knife and ran out the door.  As I got back to my uncle, I noticed my brother’s grey sweatpants had a wet spot on them.  I began screaming inside, “NO”.  I knew what that meant.  My uncle got him down and removed my brother’s shoes.  My aunt started CPR.  I did not know what to do and was starting to freak out.  My exterior was stoic, but inside I was screaming.

My home sat off of the main road.  This main road was not well lit and we lived three miles down from the first stop sign.  As I already mentioned, it was a very rural area.  I ran down our gravel driveway in my bare feet to get to the road so that I could flag the ambulance to the house.  Anyone going down my road would drive right by the house.  We were always told to go to the end of the driveway to flag company in.  On this particular night – it was no different.  I ran and stood in the middle of that road – still warm from the heat of the day.  I still feel the warmth of that road on the bottom of my feet.  I looked up to the sky and saw every star.  I cried the most soul crushing non-human cry I have ever heard come from my body.  I pleaded with God that night to not take my brother.  I cried for hours it seemed.  The ambulance took forever.  I do not remember going back up to the house.  I do not remember the ambulance coming.  But I do know they came because my next memory was talking to a police officer.  I told him everything I remembered.  Our father was working a second job, so he was not home at the time of the incident.  I told him the story when he came home.  I told my mother the story when she arrived.  I told the whole story as I have just written it here.  My story is written in a police report.

As the night progressed, I was telling my story over and over.   Then things started to change.  All the sudden I was told that I was not going to tell the story like the way I have just recounted.  I was going to tell the story that it was an accident.  That Scott did not hang himself.  I was even coached to not talk about it at all.  I was told that I was not going to talk to a therapist.  I was told that I did not need to go to the hospital for what I witnessed. The policeman asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital.  The EMT kept looking at me for signs of shock.   My mother told my father that her boss would pay for a therapist to speak with me about what I saw and endured.  I was just told to not talk about it.  I was told that things will get better.   I was told that Scott was just was messing around and that it was a horrible accident.  I was told by my father that my brother was playing with the chains and they came back and hooked around his neck.  His words still echo in my mind today – “don’t you think he was just playing around and they came back and hooked around his neck?”  “Don’t you think that the stool next to him was knocked over because he was trying to frantically reach it with his feet?”  “Don’t you think he died because he wanted to die?”  The last question is the hardest one for me.  This question was asked of me when I last tried to speak with my father in January, 2012 about allegations of abuse that have come to light regarding the IFB church and school I attended.  That was the last time I spoke to my biological father.  He promised to call me back and talk about these allegations that were starting to surface within the IFB church and school I attended.  I am still waiting for his phone call.

I was told that if I ever tell my story that I would get into trouble.  I remember a friend coming to my home a day or two after my brother passed.  I tried to talk to her in my room, but I was so scared that I would be heard.  I tried to get the words out.  I was so fearful that I would get into trouble.  She reminded me of this story and the fear I had.   I know that what I experienced was real.  I needed help.  I got no help.  I was denied any form of help.  I was told that the children in the IFB school we attended were told that my brother died of a weightlifting accident.  The pastor had decided that was the best way to handle this story.   I was bold enough to ask my father, many years later, if the pastor told him to lie about my brother’s death.  My father’s answer was “yes”.  He never even hesitated in his answer.  I can not even think about lying about something like that.  Why he did not stick up his middle finger on each hand to that pastor is beyond my comprehension.  Why he did not put his familial duties as a father above the laws of this man, I will never understand.  I can only guess that my father’s following of this man was greater than the love he had for his family as this was the pattern that has been repeated over and over to this day.

On the day of the funeral, I stood outside and met every single person who came to see my brother.  The IFB school we attended had a “field trip” that day for all the 7th -12th grade.  They were to go to the funeral home and pay their respects to my brother.  I met every single kid that got off that bus.  Where was the person for me that day?  Where was the person that was supposed to comfort me?  I was the one who found him – why wasn’t I being comforted?  Standing outside in my step-mother’s too big, pinned-at-the- waist black suit with toilet paper in my shoes so they would stay on, I greeted every single person with a smile on my face. I was trying not to bring attention to myself. What was wrong with me?

The eulogy was the most disgusting thing that I have ever heard repeated to me.  I did not hear the eulogy that day as I was too busy trying to keep my mother from jumping out of her chair and hitting that pastor.  He stood up there and bragged how his son was thriving in this world while my mother is burying her own.  This was the man of God that we were following?  No compassion.  No love.  Just pretentiousness and narcissism.  My step-grandparents felt that they were the maternal grandparents that day and denied my maternal grandfather the right to ride in the limousine with my family and his grieving daughter.  Instead, he had to drive himself to the cemetery.   There was so much hurt and I just had to hold it all together for my mother.  I had to keep her calm.  Nobody kept me calm – but something made me strong that day.

Our school was involved in an annual event each year where we would compete with other Christian (IFB) schools in the Tri-State area.  We competed in what was called Academic Day.  A day that included going head to head in debates about topics such as creationism vs. evolution (a difficult topic to debate when everyone in the room believes in creationism).  Schools vied against each other for the coveted position of the best choir.  There were sewing (textiles) competitions for the girls to enter.  Sewing showed the best of our academic caliber.  There was a competition to see who had the best score in solving an accounting business model.  There was competitions about speeches and which school delivered the best impromptu or recited speech.  My event was the speech under the line of Dramatic Interpretation.  I had to recite a speech with feeling and draw my audience into me.  They needed to feel what the speech was saying and hang on my every word.  My speech was entitled, “I Hadn’t Time” by prolific Christian author, Ethel Barrett.  The speech was taken from her book, “There I Stood In All My Splendor, Chapter 4”.   It was a 10-12  minute speech on which I was graded for articulation, posture, style, proficiency, and memorization.  I was slated for first place. This story as I was telling it to my audience, was about a young mother who is alone with her son, Kip, for the last time.  She is sitting in front of his coffin and she is recounting all the things that he was trying to get her attention for.  He wanted her to sew a patch on his shirt or to see a frog that he brought home.  She recounts the things that her son wanted her to do and realizes that her being busy was routine.  Now her child is gone and she has all the time in the world for her son.  But it is too late.

This speech was the most heart-wrenching, tear jerking speech.  My father insisted that my mother come to the school and hear it because my school was hosting Academic Day that year.  When I saw my mother, I begged her not to come into the room that I would be delivering the speech.  I knew that it was not for her to hear.  My brother had just died months earlier and here I was delivering a speech about a mother grieving over her dead son.  The teachers in the school should have forbidden that I do that speech.  My father should have forbidden that I do that speech.  I did deliver it and to this day, I ball up with tears because I remember the opening words verbatim.  Staring at my mother as I delivered this speech was one of the most horrific things I have ever had to watch.  The pain that crossed her face was, without question, unremarkable.  I could not deliver the whole speech without breaking down in a jagged cry at the end.  I did not win 1st place because I had to be prompted and because I lost control.  If only the judges knew what I had just endured.  To this day, I still have my third place ribbon and the grading sheets that the judges filled out on me.  They are a reminder of the hell that I should have been saved from, but was forced to endure.

I finished my senior year with all sorts of christian leadership awards and a scholarship to attend Pensacola Christian College.  Dr. Robert C. Gray Jr of Trinity Baptist from Jacksonville, Florida preached at my commencement in May, 1987.  Two months later, allegations about his involvement with minor girls in his church were brought.  Turns out he was a pedophile and this man was in my church.  This man shook my hand.  I still can not believe the proximity I was to him.  My skin crawls at the thought.

During the summer of 1987, I was to turn 18.   My life just was not the same life without my brother.  I went through the daily motions.  I still did my devotions and still tried to be the best daughter I could be, but there was not enough love for me – even after the loss of a child.  I was not living.  I was simply existing.  On the morning of my 18th birthday, I decided to change all that.  I woke that morning packed what I could and stashed it.  I told my father as he was taking me to my summer job that I was going to be moving in with my mother after I finished my work day.  I called my mother from my job and told her to be at my home to get me when I got off work.  I got home and in my driveway were my mother and my pastor.  The same pastor who lied to everyone about how my brother died and delivered the eulogy.  This “man of God” told me that if I leave to go with my mother that I would end up just like her.  I would be worldly and I would not be the woman of God that I should be.  I left without ever looking back.

I still attended the church, but I was looked at differently.  I was to go to Pensacola Christian College in the fall and – in reality, I was following my then boyfriend.    But I also realize that the Christian Leadership awards and the scholarships that I won were a way to keep me quiet about my brother’s death.  I thought that following my boyfriend to PCC, one of three colleges that I was to choose to attend,  was my ticket out of the hell I was living.  I started preparing for my move to Florida and asked for help from my father.  He would not help me.  He told me that as long as I am living with my mother that he had no obligation to help me.  My mother bought all my books, all my bedding and all my PCC approved clothing.  My mother sent me money for expenses, care packages and other expenses that I am sure she would never tell me about.  I never once got a dime of financial support from my father when I went away.  I tried to call him to inform him how I was doing, but there was never any interest.  I attended PCC for my Freshman year and hated every minute of it.  A person was guilty until proven innocent on that campus.  It was very oppressive.  I was beginning to see that I just could not live this way.

Summer came and I went back to my mother’s home.  I would see my father at church, but had no desire to go to the his house and visit.  Things were very awkward.  My step-mother was pregnant and I felt it was so soon after my brother passed away, in my opinion.  I worked that summer and gained some cash.  I told my mother about the rapes.  The boyfriend was long gone.  I still have never told my father – though he probably will find out now that this is posted on a forum.  I broke up with the boyfriend I had followed to PCC and started tasting freedom a little more.  I dated a boy that I really liked that summer and I knew that I was finally starting to live.  The veil was lifting.  There was life to be lived and I was free.  I went back to PCC for the fall of my Sophomore year and I called home every weekend crying to be picked up.  I had recurring nightmares.  I began purging everything I ate.  I hated it there.  I was a 19 year old woman and I was being treated like a 12 year old child.  No touching someone of the opposite sex or you would be “socialed”.  You get socialed too many times and you get “shipped”.  You get shipped, you are blackballed from your church.  No walking on the same sidewalk as the boys.  No using the same stairwell as the boys.  No music with a beat.  No Christmas music before the Christmas decorations were up on the campus.  Lights out at 11 – even during exams.  The never -ending ear worm of a song we sang every day at the beginning of chapel:  “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Praise Him, creatures here below. Praise Him above heavenly host. Praise Him Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen”.  My world was not what it should be.  This is not how a 19 year old ADULT should live.  The freedoms that we were supposed to have were non-existent.  There were no freedoms.  Every move was monitored, scrutinized, judged and calculated.

Finally December 20, 1988 came and I left that campus for what I thought would be the last time.  I actually returned a few years later to see my half-sister receive her degree in nursing.  My half-brother was now attending PCC and was a security guard for the campus.  He would not hug me when he saw me.  He would be socialed.  I was proud of my half-sister on the day she graduated.  I had concerns that her degree would not provide her much by way of a job and voiced these concerns with her.  Ultimately, this was her decision and I was proud of her for accomplishing a task and for her life moment that she wanted to share with me.  This pride had to be stifled, however.   Nobody was allowed to  “hoot and holler” because anyone who showed their pride for their graduate was being prideful in the Lord’s house.  The audience was given a very stern warning by Dr. Joel Mullenix (present when I attended PCC in the late 80’s) to not “hoot and holler” or the commencement ceremony would be stopped.  Someone did “hoot and holler” and it was stopped and we were all chastised from that pulpit – a full auditorium of adults chastised for being proud of their child’s or loved one’s accomplishments.  I just could not believe what I was hearing.

I was able to break free from the PCC environment and lucky for me, my mother was moving across the country to begin a new life with her soon-to-be husband in  California!!!    A quiet little girl from New Jersey was moving to California! Starting my life free from all control, all judgement, all religion – that was my plan.  I arrived in California and the world was so fresh.  Everything was new.  I was new.  I was living.  I managed to get a great job.  I wanted to go back to school.  So I tried to enroll in my local community college.  The woman registering me that day laughed at me when I showed her my high school transcript and the transcript from PCC.  Her words still resonate with me today.  She said, “you don’t have enough credits to graduate high school let alone have these credits from Pensacola transfer.”  My jaw dropped.  My mother could not believe it.  PCC is unaccredited and the IFB school I attended is only recognized by other IFB schools.  The education that I received was sub-par at best.  I always knew that, but now I had confirmation.  I had to do most of my high school credits over and I had to redo everything that I had done at PCC.  I was now back at square one.  I would have to say that it was in a negative position that I was in as I had to capture enough credits to be considered eligible for the local junior college.  I worked while going to college.  I worked as a bookkeeper for a tiny law firm in California.  I learned a lot about probate law and criminal law.  I also studied my heart out.  I wound up enrolling in a Jesuit college not far from my home so that I could continue to work at the job I loved so much.  I graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Business Administration.  I did this all on my own.

During all of this, I would still call home to talk to my dad and see how he was.  I wanted to check in on a family that had now grown to three half-siblings.  I sent them gifts to let them know that I trying to be a part of their lives.  I am 20 years older than the youngest sibling.  It was important to me at the time to be a part of their world.  Unbeknownst to me, they were not allowed to ask about me.  I have learned recently that every time my name was mentioned that my father would get angry.  I was even threatened that my arm would be broken if I tried to convince any of the children to move out to California.  My birthday would come and go.  Christmas would come and go.  I would not get any acknowledgement that I was a part of their world or that I was welcomed.  Gifts – if they did come – always arrived late.  I was not part of my father’s life any more.  When I graduated college in California, he was there.  I was over the moon that my dad traveled to California to attend my graduation. I also had a grandmother who traveled from Boston and an aunt who traveled from Texas.  However, my father took all my attentions.  I willingly gave them thinking that this time with him would bring him back into my life and that he would be proud of me, finally.  I was wrong.

A year or so later, I was about to get married.  I asked my father to walk me down the aisle.  Without any warning, he flew to California to see me.  I was amazed that he was in town, but had to scramble to rearrange plans so that I could spend the weekend with him.  I had a brand new home with my fiance and I was proud to show it off to him.  I showed him where I was getting married and went through all the plans with him.  I really thought he would walk me down the aisle.  The day before he left to go back home, he told me he was not going to walk me down the aisle because the boy I was marrying was not saved.  I was broken hearted.  The familial duties were once again put on the shelf for religious reasons.  For appearance sake, his appearance, he chose to not walk me down the aisle.  He broke the cardinal rule for every father.  He destroyed the visions I had of walking down the aisle with my father as he gave me away to my husband.  Dreams dashed and heart broken, I sought the next best thing.  My maternal grandfather walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.

That marriage did not last long.  It was 10 months of pure hell.  I was physically abused, emotionally abused, and threatened with death.  I finally got the courage to leave this abusive environment, which before I was married never had any physical abusive signs.  There were emotionally abusive situations, but I played them off.  I called my father for help and I was told to talk to my pastor.  The same pastor who lied about my brother’s death, delivered the eulogy, told me that I would end up being a whore just like my mother, was going to give me marriage advice.  His advice to me was, “Steffers – you need to go back to your husband.  You need to be submissive to him.  Show him through your submission that you are saved and lead him to Christ.”  That was the last time I have ever spoken with my pastor.  He condones spousal abuse.

I have discussed numerous times with my father about my upbringing and how the education I received was below average.  Each and every time, I have been told that he did what he could for me.  As a parent, I understand that.  But if my child were to tell me that my decisions had set them up for such heartbreak, I could not handle that without apologizing to them. I don’t think I could defend what I did if it was brought to my attention that my actions actually hurt my children in any way.  I have never received an apology from him – only more excuses.

I have tried to address why I am not important in my father’s life.  The issue is always skirted around.  In January 2012, I tried to discuss these things and now other issues that I have been made aware of within my church and school.  Issues that have been brought to the attention of a detective because many voices screamed and they were finally heard.  Issues that many people have known about and many have talked about.  To this date, these issues and allegations still will not be discussed with me.  I have tried.  I have tried as respectfully as I can.  I suppose the ostrich with its head in the sand is the best analogy here.  If it doesn’t see anything, nothing is there.  But, I am here and I am not going away.

I have been vilified.  I have been denied as being a child of his.  I have been told that I was dead just like my brother.  I have been told that family members were told that I ran away and can no longer be found.  My three children have been held by this man.  He has met my loving, supportive husband of 15 years.  I am not a person who has done anything but speak the truth.  I am not the monster here.

I am strong because each of the things I have shared here, in this long story, will not destroy me. There are a lot of events in my life that have shaped me.  All have been handled by me, alone. This is MY truth. This is MY story.  I am who I am today because I chose to thrive.  I chose to not let my past end me.  I chose to let my past shape me.  I have found courage.  I have left the darkness.  Every day, I get stronger.

I share with you who I am. I have no agenda.  I have no motive.  My only hope is to help those who are learning to find their freedom.   My voice is for my brother.  I avenge his death.  I will not let anyone cover up his death anymore.  I avenge anyone who has had their death covered by lies.  I am sad today, but I honor my brother’s memory by speaking for him.

In honor of Scott Edward Reger

March 28, 1972 – September 16, 1986

Stephanie Davies

February 9, 2014

little girlPicture a little girl running, alone, trying to find her way home. She’s six years old. She is running away from her babysitter’s house, carrying a painful secret. She’s fleeing the pornography the sitter’s sons shoved at her. And she’s fleeing something worse, something that fills her with shame.

Somehow,  she finds her house – but the door is locked, and she has no key. She runs to a neighboring house. The neighbors let her in, and call her mother at work. Her mother comes home, furious at her little girl for running away from the babysitter’s. She doesn’t ask the child why she ran home or what she was running from. The little girl is afraid to speak up on her own; she’s terrified the boys will come get her if she tells.

The angry mother grabs the girl by the arm and yanks her into the car. On the short drive home, she lectures her daughter; then she spanks her. What does this teach the little girl? Don’t run away, and always obey adults no matter what. The mother sends the girl back to the sitter’s house, this time under orders to apologize to the boys — for not obeying them — and to promise them she won’t do it again.

So for one year, every day the little girl goes back to the baby-sitter’s house, and every day the older boys sexually assault her repeatedly.

To avoid the hurt and pain, the little girl retreats into her mind, pretending she’s not the one being raped. At home, she’s miserable; no one will listen to her. She throws fits, trying to regain a sense of control.

Finally, the babysitter and her children move away. The little girl loses her best friend — the sitter’s daughter — but she also is finally free of her tormentors. She won’t have to look at any more naughty body parts or feel the shame and pain of the violations she suffered.

The little girl and her two big sisters go to vacation bible school. A nice lady there tells her all about Jesus. The little girl wants Jesus to love her; she asks Jesus into her heart whenever she feels ugly or dirty. The three sisters go to church more often.

The little girl finds comfort in the idea of Jesus. She loves to sing the hymns: “Stop and Let Me Tell You,” “The Lord is my Shepherd,” “We Have a Great Big Wonderful God”… She feels safe — for a little while.

Then she discovers that among her family’s friends is a father who likes little girls. By this time, the little girl craves a father’s attention; her own father is always angry, always yelling at her.

This other father likes to hold the little girl on his lap, read Bible stories … and rub against her. This teaches her that rubbing grown men, and letting them rub her, is natural. She feels shamefully invaded and good at the same time. The other father tells her God will only forgive her sins if she does as the man asks; he says the girl must forgive him or she’ll go to hell. He tells her he’ll kill her if she tells anyone.

Once again, the little girl retreats into her mind while her body is invaded. She and the other little girls keep going to church. They accept this is just the way things are for them, that they’re meant to be used by men. Sometimes they love Jesus; sometimes they’re very angry.

At home, life only gets worse. Her parents fight all the time. Her father hits her when she whines, fusses or disobeys. He comes home drunk; he yells, hits and threatens the little girl and her mother. So the little girl keeps going to the older men who fondle her and make her feel like a princess.

By the time she is 13 years old, she has a miscarriage. She wears pink lipstick and dresses in clothes meant to get boys to look at her and like what they see. Soon she is an all-grown-up girl, yelling at God in her mind, trembling in fear. She’s tired of her father berating her for getting pregnant; she’s tired of being forbidden to see boys.

Then she finds an escape. She starts to run track, play volleyball, and study hard, avoiding the pain and sorrow her father still doesn’t want to hear about. She hurts deep inside, but she doesn’t know why.

She thinks often of ending her life, but each game keeps her going. The crowds cheer for her, people smile at her. She hides behind a plastic smile. She’s voted the school’s most popular athlete, and the nicest person, of her senior year. She goes on to college to play ball. She no longer wants to be around Christians; she believes God is a joke or a myth who offers neither hope nor love.

Then the all grown up girl’s carefully constructed armor shatters. She falls and tears her Achilles tendon. For two months she can’t play ball, and she can’t escape the pain and confusion inside. She’s never the same. The cheers on the ball field aren’t enough to keep her going anymore.

She has a boyfriend, but he pushes her to return to Jesus. She wants to, but she can’t. She trusts no one with her pain. Instead, she gets drunk and tries to kill herself. That’s when her angel finds her. The angel — a true friend — gets her to the emergency room in time to save her life.

Her angel-friend invites the girl to her home. The girl is surprised to find that this angel has nothing but love to give her.

It is to the this angel-friend that the girl finally releases bits and pieces of her long road of torture, pain and sorrow. For the first time, the all grown up girl is held and rocked as she weeps out her pain. She’s afraid she won’t be able to stop. The angel reassures her that it’s okay to cry as long as she needs to.

The all grown up girl was 19 years old.

Emma Wise is the pen name of a woman who was sexually abused as a child. In the years since she tried to kill herself, she earned a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees. With the help of therapists and her faith in God, though not organized religion, she has built a life and is married with three step-children and five grandchildren.

child abuseFor decades, Religious Abuse has been well hidden within organized religions throughout the world. Those that bear the brunt of this abuse are women and children. In this article, I would like to focus on how it affects children that are raised within, and trapped in, an abusive religious system. My blog is full of articles and stories that cover this topic of abuse against women and children if readers would like to learn more about this type of abuse. First of all, let me explain what religious abuse is, and then I will explain how it affects children. Many have no idea what the definition of that term is. So, what exactly is Religious Abuse?

Religious Abuse - Any harm or violence inflicted by people within any religious sect toward an adult or child that results in harm or trauma physically, emotionally, psychologically and/or sexually and, may even lead to the death of the victim. There are many facets to religious abuse. They are as follows: Emotional Abuse, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, and Spiritual Abuse. Each of these areas of Religious Abuse can be expounded upon here: RELIGIOUS ABUSE – What Exactly Is It? The number one goal of those that inflict this abuse is complete CONTROL of others for personal gratification and/or gain, monetary greed and power.

The most destructive aspect to religious abuse is Spiritual Abuse. Spiritual Abuse does NOT allow for any of the following:

  • Individuality or autonomy
  • Independent thinking and reasoning
  • Freedom of Choice
  • Freedom of Belief
  • Questioning of authority, religious rules, religious precepts, or abuses inflicted.
  • Escape from the abuse and control

Spiritual Abuse DOES demand, in the name of “God”:

  • Blind and unquestionable obedience to religious leaders
  • Conformity to all group rules, dogmas and precepts
  • Punishment of those that disagree or question the authority or rules
  • Punishment of those that speak out about abuse inflicted by those in authority
  • The silencing of, public humiliation of, and/or death of, those that continue to disobey and/or speak out about the abuse

As stated earlier, the goal of abusive religions is ultimate control of others. In a religious setting, this can be a breeding ground for the sexual exploitation and abuse of children. Because those in authority use the name of God and Scripture to justify their abuse, the psychological trauma is unparalleled.  To the victim, God becomes vengeful, exacting, merciless, unloving, uncaring AND gives permission for “his people” to be abusive in his name.

Because of this demand for religious conformity and control within an abusive system, religious abuse occurs and children cannot escape it. In an abusive religion, children have no rights. They have no choices. They have no voice. The abusive religion requires them to obey without question or suffer the consequences. Many of these consequences are criminal.  Many result in the death of the child!

In order to facilitate the programming and behavior modification process, many are put in boarding schools or behavior modification facilities to be “forced” into conformity. Many of these facilities harbor rapists, pedophiles and abusers that perpetrate sexual violence, physical abuse, emotional and psychological abuse and, spiritual abuse. Freedom of choice and belief has no place in any of these facilities. Those that run these facilities are given absolute and unquestionable authority over these children. This type of authority leads to religious abuse and can encompass all aspects as mentioned in my article, RELIGIOUS ABUSE – What Exactly Is It?  Non-conformity to the demands of leadership within these places will bring punishment in the form of spiritual abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse and, yes, sexual abuse and exploitation. Here are some stories of children that have endured these abuses at the hands of those that should have been their protectors:

Kim Holt’s Story  – New Bethany Home for Girls, Arcadia LA

Kerry Lou’s Story of Abuse and New Tribes Mission

Sam’s Story

Donna Trout’s Story – New Bethany Home for Girls, Arcadia La.

Simone’s Story – New Bethany Homes For Girls, Arcadia LA

All of these children were emotionally and psychologically destroyed through the constant barrage of verbal abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuses. For more stories like these visit my blog – http://www.religionscell.wordpress.com.  Also search the internet…the stories are endless.

You may be wondering how in the world abusers can get away with such crimes against children? Let me tell you how:

Sexual exploitation of women and children in abusive religious institutions is a very difficult subject matter to deal with. Exposing it is an even harder task. It has been going on not just for decades, but centuries! Abusive religious institutions have mastered the art of silencing, shaming, bullying, building loyalty, stalling and, walking away from victims without ever helping them and providing restitution and vindication for the crimes perpetrated against them. Instead they have punished and placed blame on the victims. They have used their religious authority and administrative and financial prowess to effectively destroy and silence any who dare to speak out about the abuses they may have suffered. Character assassination, death, torture, public humiliation and shunning by church members and or family members, are just a few of the tactics that victims have to deal with after coming forward with abuse allegations. To understand what I mean by character assassination, please read my articles entitled Character Assassination.”

There are several reasons why these “abusers and predators in the name of God” can get away with their abuses against children. One of the main reasons for the lack of prosecution of sexual predators is Statute of Limitations (SOL) laws here in the U.S. that prevent victims of sexual assault from prosecuting their rapists after a certain number of years has passed. It can take decades for a victim to muster up the courage to speak out! Many church leaders are working hard at keeping these S.O.L. laws in place while victims of the abuse are fighting to get them removed.

Another reason is that many of the crimes are perpetrated in foreign countries where our laws do not apply. Many abusers and rapists come back from the foreign mission field to live free lives here in the U.S., never spending one single day in jail for their crimes. Prosecution must be sought in the country where the crime occurs in order for victims to stop their abusers from hurting others. Many mission organizations and foreign churches are SILENCING and placing BLAME on the victims and, are not reporting the crimes done on foreign soil! As a result, predators are going free; many of which, are moving on to new victims.  Churches here in the U.S. are moving pedophiles and rapists from church to church instead of turning them over to police. Religiously run homes and boarding schools on the foreign field and here in the U.S. have become safe havens for abusers of children due to laws that prevent state and local authorities over site of the facilities.  Another issue is that some of the rapists are still on foreign soil and cannot be prosecuted because of this. The following video is one of the perpetrators admitting to his abuses and living freely here in the U.S.

Video: Leslie Emory admits to molesting girls in the Philipines

Despite these frustrations, victims of sexual assault must forge ahead, paving the way for changes in law that will protect women and children in religiously run institutions. Is this an easy endeavor? NO, it is NOT! It takes years to affect change. It takes years to get all the cogs out of the wheels of religiously run institutions that are in place to specifically protect the institution from accountability to victims! Can it be done? Absolutely Yes…if victims will be persistent and join their voices together with all the thousands out there that have suffered the same fate as them. There truly is POWER in numbers.

Freedom of belief is of paramount importance in the lives of adults and children alike. Freedom of belief allows for freedom of choice. Most religions do not allow for either of these and, as a result, religious abuse is rampant and children cannot escape it. Parents and missionaries within abusive and controlling religions become abusers themselves through physical violence, sexual exploitation, incest, rape and emotional abuse of children. It’s time for people everywhere to wake up to what is hiding underneath the “mantle of righteousness” many religions wear. Religious abuse is real and it is destroying lives! It is responsible for people having a distorted view of God and spiritual concepts as well as turning them away from God.  The following stories will give you firsthand testimony of what can happen to children in an abusive religion.

Sherri’s Story

HollyJane (Stewart) Belle’s Story of Child Rape and Incest

Cathy’s Story of Kidnapping, Rape, Abuse and Cover-up – Part 1

Stopping the abuse means that we must find the root of it. The root of the problem seems to stem from inequality, authoritarian leadership and, lack of freedom to believe and choose for oneself. Within abusive religions, these factors affect women and children and lead to abuses not only within religiously run institutions, but in the home.

indoctrinationMy first part of this series, Religious Bondage – Behavior Control, touches on how behavior reform can cause people to act in abusive ways toward others that disagree or expose abuse within the religious setting. It also explains the tactics many religious followers use in order to silence someone that speaks out about or reports sexual assault, child molestation and rape, or other abuses. One of the key areas of manipulating and controlling people is to control the flow of information within the group. Doing so, allows leadership to rally the group toward their goals, their preferences, their rules, etc. It also allows for abusers to hide their abuses. Information control is one aspect of Religious Bondage. Religious Bondage is the product of Thought Reform, Information Control and Behavior Modification and, leads to abuse.

As I stated in part one, in order to explain this phenomenon that so few know anything about, I would like to break it down and keep it simple. I will call it, “Religious Freedom vs. Religious Bondage.” There are three parts to religious bondage as stated above. This will be the second part of this series and, once again, I will use Steven Hassan’s B.I.T.E. model from his book, Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, chapter two to show the Religious Bondage, I will compare this to my own model for Religious Freedom. At the end of this chart, I will then summarize.

INFORMATION FLOW

INFORMATION CONTROL

 No deception:

  • Flow of information not monitored and controlled
  • Honest evaluations and input

Access to non-cult sources of information is encouraged

  • Allowed to read whatever they want to gain knowledge and truth.
  • Free access to internet, books, articles, social media
  • Association with former members
  • Free time to enjoy family and friends

Equality: Equal access to information by leadership and non-leadership

  • Information freely accessible
  • Everyone receives the same information

No spying on other members

  • No “buddy” system present
  • Outside professional counseling encouraged
  • Leadership is not “all knowing” and therefore encourages secular professionals where needed.

All information provided is from outside sources

  • Books, magazines, journals video tapes, CDs, etc.
  • Non-cult sources studied and discussed in order to understand proper context

No Shaming or Manipulation

  • No use of public confessions which is the same as public shaming. This is abuse.
  • Confidential information shared in counseling is kept confidential and not used to manipulate and control congregants.
  • No sharing confidential information between leadership of like churches.

 

 Use of deception:

  • Deliberately holding back information
  • Distorting information to make it acceptable
  • Outright lying

Access to non-cult sources of information is discouraged

  • Books, articles, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, internet, social media
  • Critical information
  • Former members
  • Keep members so busy they don’t have time to think

Compartmentalize information; Outsider vs. Insider doctrines

  • Information is not freely accessible
  • Information varies at different levels and missions within the hierarchy
  • Leadership decides who “needs to know” what

Spying on other members is encouraged

  • Pairing up with “buddy” system to monitor and control
  • Reporting deviant thoughts, feelings, and actions to leadership

Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda

  • Newsletters, magazines, journals, video tapes, CDs, etc.
  • Misquotations, statements taken out of context from non-cult sources

Unethical use of confession

  • Information about “sins” used to abolish identity boundaries
  • Past “sins” used to manipulate and control; no forgiveness or absolution

(Steven Hassan’s B.I.T.E. model from his book, Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, chapter two)

My thoughts on Information Control:

Information Control allows for leadership to rally congregants to THEIR cause instead of a victim of abuse or an outsider. Congregants readily believe what leadership tells them and, believe that all victims of abuse are liars that are trying to “take down the man of God” or, “destroy God’s works.” Because leadership limits information, twists truth, and/or outright lies about abuses, congregants have no way of knowing what truth IS due to lack of correct information. But, when in doubt, the congregants will naturally lean toward leadership’s views because all information points to that view as “correct” due to information control.

As shown above, information control is paramount in controlling “perception” in the minds of others. Those who control information, control thoughts. Those who control information, control behavior. Abusive leadership will ALWAYS encourage shunning to stifle the truth.  Shunning is very important because it prevents current members from listening to and believing those that have been abused or, have witnessed abuse, from being heard and believed. This is why shunning all former members is mandatory in an abusive religion or cult-like church. Those that continue to speak out after being shunned, will then be stalked and harassed either emotionally or financially by existing leadership and members for not remaining silent. Many different techniques are employed in taking down someone that won’t stop talking to authorities, but the number one technique used time and time again is getting them fired from their job.

Information control also keeps congregants dependent on leadership for “correct” information. Only leadership has the “real truth” regarding every situation; not those falsely accused by leadership or targeted by leadership in order to silence them. Congregants:

  • Will not believe media reports.
  • Will disregard facts if those facts go against what leadership has told them.
  • Will disregard witness testimony as lies meant to destroy their leadership or work of God.

Congregants become secondary abusers to victims of sexual assault, rape, incest and physical abuse who report crimes within the church.

  • They will stalk those that go to the authorities to report crimes (psychological abuse).
  • They will harass privately and publicly those that go to authorities to report crimes.
  • They will use their influence to get them fired from their jobs if they work with members of the same abusive church.
  • They will alter important documents to make it look like the victim is dishonest, using those documents against the victim to destroy them professionally.
  • They will outright lie about victims to others.
  • They will make fraudulent claims against victims to state boards in order to cause victims to lose their professional licenses.
  • They will use the legal system to attack victims that step forward to report by placing frivolous lawsuits on them.
  • It will affect victims socially – they will have no friends.
  • They will pit spouses against spouses and children against parents.
  • They will use the internet to write articles about them to discredit them and their testimony.
  • They will use social media to harass a victim.
  • They will slash tires or break in to the homes or offices of those that expose the abuses, sometimes killing beloved pets in a heinous manner in order to scare and intimidate into silence.
  • They will commit murder to ultimately silence a victim.
  • They will rally other family members against those who report crimes. Thus destroying familial relationships.
  • They will character assassinate any who dare to speak out about their abuses.

Any information told in “counseling” sessions with a pastor is used to spread gossip and slander against anyone who dares to speak out about abuses they have endured or expose them, within the church. This information is also used to blackmail congregants into conforming to leadership’s agendas, demands, desires. This information is then shared between pastors of various churches of the same sect in order to control members that leave to go to another church within the same sect. Pastors across the country work together in applying the same pressures and abuses on a congregant that tries to flee the abuse by attending another church within the same sect.

Information Control allows for abuses to continue, hidden. It allows for abusers and rapists to move on to new victims. It ensures that a victim will remain silent. Silence stops the secondary abuse.

The best way for victims to combat and stop these secondary abuses is to report all instances of it to law enforcement and victim advocate attorneys assigned to the case of a victim. Press charges against every person that threatens, harasses or slanders. By using the legal system to show a definitive pattern of harassment and abuse from the abusive church or group, it allows the authorities to either prosecute and/or stop the secondary abuse. If you have pressed criminal charges against a person in leadership within a religious organization, you must understand that witness tampering and harassment is against the law. Reporting every instance to the police ensures that every individual that is involved is held accountable legally. Don’t be afraid to press charges. Don’t be afraid to speak out. By speaking out about abuse and exposing criminals within the religious system, you save lives – lives of children that won’t be molested and raped, trafficked, physically abused and emotionally abused. You will save lives of teenagers from the same abuses. You will prevent rapes and untold trauma to others.

Religious Bondage – Behavior Control

Religious Abuse (Narrated Powerpoint) is the foundation upon which many religious leaders and organizations build their empires. Yet, many people do not understand what Religious Abuse involves. Members of cults and cult-like organizations will use their influence and power to ruin any victim that speaks out about the religious abuses that they have endured. As a cult survivor that spent more than 18 years in an abusive fundamentalist Baptist cult, I will summarize  the chart below based on the experiences I have had to deal with personally while in the cult and, while helping other victims of religious abuse. Though it is very difficult to wrap one’s mind around these facts, it is vital that everyone understand that RELIGIOUS ABUSE ( Link to “Religious Abuse: What Exactly Is It?”) is real, it’s dangerous and, it can be deadly. Religious bondage is the product of  Thought Reform, Information Control and Behavior Modification and, leads to abuse.

To explain this phenomenon that so few know anything about, I would like to break it down and keep it simple. I will call it, “Religious Freedom vs. Religious Bondage.” There are three parts to religious bondage as stated above. I will cover each part separately in three different articles.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM vs. RELIGIOUS BONDAGE

Religious Freedom allows an individual to be who they are meant to be as an autonomous human being. They are free to develop their own beliefs, standards, likes, dislikes, hairstyles, clothing styles, ways of doing things, etc. They are allowed the freedom to choose their education and career field. Religious freedom allows for equality between men and women. It also allows them to be the best that they can be for themselves, their families, others and God. But, Religious Bondage leads to inequality; which in turn, leads to emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, incest, rape, mind control and manipulation, hatred and fear for those trapped in it.

Sounds a bit shocking to contrast the two, doesn’t it? These two types of “religion” are diametrically opposed and lead to very different results. One leads to freedom in Christ, balance, happiness and joy; the other leads to imbalances, fear, control, thought reform, behavior modification, abuse and destruction. What many do not realize is that they may be in religious bondage instead of enjoying religious freedom. This happens when bondage is all that a person has ever known (raised in it); or, when a person succumbs to being spoon-fed their beliefs, doctrines and standards. Some, having never experienced true freedom in Christ due to isolationism and extreme control within the system, fight within themselves against the transformation into that mirror image of the system. These are usually the ones that escape it later on – but not after suffering much abuse and trauma. Many others passively accept the rules, doctrines and standards and then become abusive toward those that do not accept them wholeheartedly. This can lead to hate crimes, stalking, harassment, character assassination, rape, sexual assault and/or trafficking, incest, physical abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse and death for those that do not conform.

Let me break the first characteristic down into two different categories. Using Steven Hassan’s B.I.T.E. model from his book, Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, chapter two to show the Religious Bondage, I will compare this to my own model for Religious Freedom. At the end of this chart, I will then summarize.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM                                                      RELIGIOUS BONDAGE

FREEDOM TO CHOOSE

BEHAVIOR CONTROL

 No regulation of individual’s physical reality:

  • Choose one’s beliefs
  • Choose one’s friends
  • Choose clothing styles, hairstyles, etc.
  • Choose what to eat
  • Choose one’s career
  • Choose where to spend one’s money
  • Freedom to travel
  • Freedom to make own personal decisions
  • Freedom to set one’s own personal boundaries and standards
  • Critical reasoning skills can be exercised
  • No FEAR of retaliation for expressing opinions, thoughts and concerns
  • Autonomy allowed
  • No spoken or unspoken rules to be followed
  • Independence
 Regulation of individual’s physical reality:

  • Where, how and with whom the members live and associate with.
  • What clothes, colors, hairstyles the person wears
  • What food the person eats, drinks, adopts, and rejects
  • How much sleep the person is able to have
  • Financial dependence
  • Little or no time for leisure, entertainment or vacations.
  • Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals
  • Need to ask permission for major decisions
  • Need to report thoughts, feelings and activities to superiors.
  • Rewards and punishments (behavior modification techniques- positive and negative)
  • Individualism is discouraged; group think prevails
  • Rigid rules and regulations
  • Need for obedience and dependency

(Steven Hassan’s B.I.T.E. model from his book, Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, chapter two)

My thoughts on Behavior Control:

Controlling a congregant’s time is key in controlling their behavior and modifying it (behavior modification).  Excessive demands on time “in the ministry” or “attendance to every meeting, service and event,” leads to passivity and the ignoring of abuses and reality. Peer pressure plays a HUGE part in behavior modification and is used to influence congregants toward group “rules” and “group think.” Those that fight against the rules will find themselves on the receiving end of punishment from the group. This could entail such things as shunning, public humiliation, gossip and slander,  until the person conforms.

normWhat any normal person would view as abuse becomes “normal” with each instance of it in an abusive environment.  For example: In the cult I came out of preachers used the pulpit to publicly attack, chastise and humiliate congregants that disagreed, believed differently or, questioned leadership and their doctrines. This IS emotional and psychological abuse; and, it instills fear of speaking out further against leadership.  The first time this is done, it is shocking, but as each occurrence of it happens, the gradualism of these attacks becomes normal and even okay in the mind of the congregants.  It is seen as “right” and necessary to keep the flock in line with God’s rules; which are usually nothing more than leadership’s rules and preferences.  Through this gradualism, the abuse becomes “normal” and congregants become blind to it. Because this abuse is seen as “normal” and “right,” it then is duplicated by congregants against others that disagree as they transition into positions of leadership.

Another example of abuse is toward victims that speak out about their abuse at the hands of leadership and others within the organization. Leadership, because it controls the congregation’s behavior, can rally their members together to:

  • Use their power and influence to affect a termination of employment, crippling a person financially.
  • Use local authorities to file bogus complaints and law suits against those that speak out in order to cause them emotional trauma and financial trauma.
  • Stalk victims that speak out or file criminal charges.
  • Harass victims that speak out via email, phone, social media and, through personal threats.
  • Influence other family members to shun the one speaking out.
  • Influence a spouse to divorce the one speaking out.
  • Influence children against the parent that speaks out.
  • Spread gossip and slander about the one speaking out.
  • Influence family members and others to do bodily harm to the one speaking out.

Those that allow their time to be controlled are the ones that are easily duped into believing the lies and twisted theologies taught from leadership. They are also the ones that rally to the side of the abusers in any given church instead of listening to and supporting sexual assault victims and other abuse victims.  Staying busy constantly interferes with critical reasoning skills, stunts spiritual growth and, results in thought and behavior reform. It leads to congregants being obedient, unthinking, “do as they are told” followers of leadership. Because of this, it also leads to blind loyalty to the system and its leadership instead of supporting those that step forward to report the abuse. Followers lose their ability to discern reality and truth; thus, believing the lies they are spoon fed by leadership. They will interpret scripture in light of what they are told by leadership; judging others as leadership dictates. They will be the pawns used in order to mete out attacks against those leadership tell them have falsely accused them or their church.  Facts of a situation then become irrelevant in the mind of the congregants and they will fight against those facts and the ones that present them. This leads to abuse as listed above and, even death to anyone that dares to go against the system or its leadership.

Behavior Control is dangerous. It leads to abuse of others. This facet of Religious Abuse must be recognized for what it is and members must flee those religious organizations that practice this in order to control and manipulate them.

hana williamsOn the night of May 11, 2011, sometime around midnight, 13-year-old Hana Williams fell face-forward in her parents’ backyard. Adopted from Ethiopia three years before, Hana was naked and severely underweight. Her head had recently been shaved, and her body bore the scars of repeated beatings with a plastic plumbing hose. Inside the house, her adoptive mother, 42-year-old Carri Williams, and a number of Hana’s eight siblings had been peering out the window for the past few hours, watching as Hana staggered and thrashed around, removed her clothing in what is known as hypothermic paradoxical undressing and fell repeatedly, hitting her head. According to Hana’s brother Immanuel, a deaf 10-year-old also adopted from Ethiopia, the family appeared to be laughing at her.

When one of Carri’s biological daughters reported that Hana was lying facedown, Carri came outside. Upset by Hana’s immodest nakedness, Carri fetched a bedsheet and covered her before asking two teenage sons to carry her in. She called her husband, Larry, who was on his way home from a late shift at Boeing, then finally dialed 911, telling the operator, “I think my daughter just killed herself. … She’s really rebellious.”

From court testimony, pretrial motions, and a detective’s affidavit, here is what we know about what led up to that night: Hana had been outside since the midafternoon, wearing cutoff sweatpants and a short-sleeved shirt in the rainy, mid-40s drizzle of spring in Sedro-Woolley, Wash.—a small town just 40 miles south of the Canadian border. Carri had originally sent Hana outside that day as a punishment, ordering her to do jumping jacks to stay warm. She walked Hana to an outhouse reserved for her use and watched her fall several times, but went back inside to avoid seeing what she thought was attention-seeking behavior. As the hours wore on, Hana refused to come back in when Carri called. Carri put out dry clothes and sent two of her biological sons to hit Hana on her bottom with a plastic switch for disobeying. But Hana had begun to remove her clothing, and Carri, who believed in strict modesty, called the boys back in.

As the operator walked her through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, an even-voiced Carri explained that Hana’s mouth was full of mud, her eyes dilated, “like she’s in a dark room.” Her voice grew annoyed as she described Hana’s nudity, and how she’d been “passive-aggressive,” causing “so much stress!”

Hana was pronounced dead at the hospital, the cause hypothermia compounded by malnutrition and gastritis. The following day, when Child Protective Services tried to check on the other children, Larry Williams refused to let them in. When police followed up, a deputy noted that the family acted as though Hana’s death was “an everyday occurrence.” Twelve days later, detectives and CPS conducted interviews with the children, but their answers seemed rote and rehearsed, all repeating that Hana was rebellious and refused to mind Carri; one child said he thought Hana was possessed by demons. According to investigators, Immanuel said that “people like [Hana] got spankings for lying and go into the fires of hell,” just before Larry abruptly ended the interview.

Two months later, in mid-July, CPS received an anonymous tip from someone claiming that Carri didn’t like her adopted children and that Immanuel was starting to be treated like Hana had been. CPS launched a formal investigation, and all eight remaining children went into state care. In late September, Larry and Carri were arrested and charged with Hana’s death.

When Hana died, she became one of at least dozens of adoptees alleged to have been killed at their adoptive parents’ hands in the past 20 years, and part of a far larger group of children who become estranged from their adoptive families—frequently, as it turns out, large families with fundamentalist beliefs about child rearing. Just within the Seattle area, and just among Ethiopian adoptees who came from the same orphanage and adoption agency as Hana, there has been an unreported crisis of “forever families” that fail. These are adoptions that, in an absence of any real oversight and in environments of harsh discipline, began with good intentions but went profoundly wrong….click here to read more.

I distinctly remember the summer of 1994 because it was the summer that I finally packed away all of my beloved Barbies. I knew it was time to put away childish things and grow up to be a big girl. Little did I know how fast I would have to grow up…..

When the school year started, Bill Wininger would call me into his office just to make sure I was doing okay. He portrayed himself as a father figure and let me know he was there for me if I ever needed anything. It was strange how random these meetings were–sometimes in the middle of history class and sometimes right before gym class–but he always said that we were buddies and that this should be our little secret.  It felt weird when he hugged me, but after all, he was portraying a father figure, and fathers hug their children; and he was the “man of God,” so he wouldn’t do anything wrong. When the hugs turned into a little something more, I knew something wasn’t quite right, but when you were in his office it was as if you were under some sort of spell. You would just freeze, almost as if you weren’t really there but watching yourself in a dream. Even though we were taught by church and school to respect and obey authority without question, my parents always explained their rules and let us question and talk about them.  I thank God that my parents instilled this self respect in me. Although I could never say or do anything while I was in his office, outside of his office I was able to tell him that I didn’t feel that it was right and that we shouldn’t do this anymore. Thankfully, he never did call me back into his office after that, and shortly thereafter, he left the church.

I thought he had repented of what he had done and made a fresh start down in Georgia.  In my young, innocent, and forgiving heart I truly believed this was true.

If only I had known how untrue this was……

I am telling my story not to benefit myself, because personally I would rather just take it to God and forget the whole thing happened.

I am sharing this to stand with my dear friends who suffered along with me, Janeane, Robin, and now, I know Bethany did as well.

I also pray that anyone who is afraid to come forward will get courage from God to stand up for what is right.

 When all the stuff about Jack Schaap came to light, I became brave enough to tell a very abbreviated version of my story on the Do Right Hyles Anderson College Facebook page.  I did put Bill Wininger’s name out there but, I want to tell my story here too.

I would have done this much sooner, but I am the mom of 5 children with the youngest being 3 weeks, so needless to say, I haven’t had much time to myself.

I started attending North Sharon Baptist Church as a 3 year old. As a matter of fact, it was Bethany Leonard’s dad who came to my door and invited my family to ride the church bus. Her family has been a blessing to my family. After all, they are the reason I started going to church.

I loved my childhood at North Sharon Baptist Church.  It was like a second home and family to me; especially after my parents were divorced.  I was in eighth grade when this happened so my church family was my rock.  I knew the people had a genuine love and concern for me.

Well, right before my parents divorced, our church went through a big scandal and my brothers and sister and I, who were attending North Sharon Christian School at the time, suddenly found ourselves in a public school.  My parents were advised this would be best because of our direct involvement in the scandal. We rode the bus of one of the men who was falsely accused. For me, it was devastating. My world had just fallen apart.

It was during this time when Bill Wininger started grooming me for abuse.  It started off as innocent. He would call me into his office to make sure I was doing okay and give me hugs. Well, it proceeded into much more than that over the course of the next year.  I knew it was wrong but, tried to justify it by telling myself he was the “man of God” and he had a reason for it. I remember thinking he was trying to judge my character and see if I was really a “good girl.”

One day after school, I rode home with another family at the school because I was babysitting for the family overnight.  Needless to say, they could tell something was wrong right away.  I was quiet the whole way home, could barely eat dinner and, was trying to hold back tears. I remember both Mr. and Mrs.,  ______  asking me what was wrong and I told them I couldn’t talk about it.  But, deep down inside,  I wanted to tell someone. Just before school let out that day, Bill Wininger called me into his office and that was when the worst of the abuse occurred. Not only was it worse than any other time in his office but, after he was done, he looked me in the eyes and asked me why I let him do that to me!  It’s amazing I didn’t burst into tears right there. Instead, I just froze and didn’t say anything.  After all, why did I let it happen?

Shortly after that incident, I remember purposely trying to avoid him. I was scared to death. I started having bad dreams at night and would sit up in my bed and just cry uncontrollably. My sister shared a room with me and was obviously concerned and curious as to why I kept doing this. She kept asking me to tell her what was wrong and I kept saying, “I can’t.” She finally told me, “You better tell me what’s going on!” Well, I finally told her but, made her promise not to tell anyone, not even my dad or brothers because I knew if my dad found out, we would never go to church again.

Soon after, I noticed I wasn’t alone.  A couple of my friends (Robin Nixon being one of those friends) were being called into his office too. I at least felt safe enough to talk to my friends about the abuse. This is what got me through emotionally until I graduated high school. My brothers eventually found out somehow; not sure how, but it was the big secret of our youth group for the longest time. All the teenagers eventually knew about Bill Wininger.

Well, I’m sure I left something out, but I’ve already written a lot. Needless to say, this has made me a stronger person and there’s so much more I could share but will leave it for a different time.

If there is anyone out there who has been abused and is afraid to tell, please, please tell someone! I am glad my sister pried the truth out of me.  She will never know how much it helped to finally tell someone.  I love her more than words can say. She has been one of my biggest rocks through all this!

From the Author: Words cannot express how proud I am of my son for approaching the subject of Religious Abuse and sharing his perspective on it. This is his first time addressing the issue and, what is even more amazing is that he has allowed me the privilege of putting it on my blog so that others may be helped by it. His name is not on it because he has asked me not to put it on it. He is also the one that put together this presentation to help victims of religious abuse escape. I simply put my voice to it. So, here it is. Please be sure to adjust your volume on the presentation!

religious abuse

(Click to play)

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Introduction

Religious abuse is an evil which can be difficult to recognize and can lead to chronic depression, rape, intimidation, physical abuse, permanent emotional scarring, and even suicide. Corrupted church leaders of today can use their power and influence to control, extort money, manipulate, and sexually exploit their victims. The effects of religious abuse are vast, but the steps which can be taken to escape from them are not. When victims learn to identify signs of religious abuse in churches and realize that they have personal liberty, they can break free by leaving the abusive church immediately. Victims of religious abuse who completely cut ties and cease contact with the abusive church can recover what is left of their scarred lives.

Power, Money, Control, and Religious Abuse

            A dangerous, well disguised evil is sweeping across American churches like a dark beast of destruction, which preys on the lives of even the most devout. It is an evil which is most difficult to recognize, at first, and can lead to chronic depression, rape, intimidation, physical abuse, permanent emotional scarring, and even suicide. Some might argue that this evil originates from the very Devil himself, an attempt to destroy that which is seen by many as holy and pure – the church. This evil comes in the form of religious abuse and can be brought to life through corrupted church leaders in power, monetary greed, and demand for total control of people’s lives; escaping victims must learn to recognize the warning signs, be aware of their personal liberty, and take immediate action to leave the abusive situation.

What could cause such destruction in a person’s life? It’s simple; the impression of absolute power and authority supposedly given by the bible or Jesus can cause almost anyone tempted to become corrupted by it. Once that individual in power decides to abuse the “biblical authority” given to them, believers can become trapped under its rule. There are many ways that victims become trapped under this oppression, but according to David Johnson, two of the main reasons are “they are literally powerless to leave,” perhaps like children born into it, or “because the spiritually abusive system [itself] is a trap” (1991, p. 54). This may be difficult for those who haven’t experienced it to understand, but the cycle of abuse can look something like this: “Out loud shaming, focus on performance, manipulation, idolatry, preoccupation with fault and blame, and obscured reality” (Johnson & VanVonderen, 1991, p. 56-58). Once a person submits to the “authority” of an oppressive church leader, their own sense of personal liberty can be replaced with a sense to obey the “rules” and not to question what is said.

In some positions, a religious leader can become additionally motivated by monetary greed. With the cycle of abuse already in place, they use manipulation in their teachings to convince their victims to give exorbitant amounts of money towards their religious cause or even a personal salary; often attempting to bring guilt on those who do not (McClaskey, 2012, p. 106). Some victims are required to hand over more than 10% of their gross monthly income plus an extra equal or greater margin for regular “gifts” to the leadership, as tokens of their servitude or “commitment” to the organization (McClaskey, 2012, p. 75). This money is often used to build the personal wealth of the leader and to fund the church, continuing the cycle of abuse.

Corrupted power and monetary greed are directly related to a leader’s obsession with having total control over his victims. This begins with a church leader’s power and usurping the authorities they claim were given to them by the Bible, Jesus, or some other religious authority. Victims become convinced their leader has the authority to control them. The control doesn’t stop within the walls of the church; it often “infiltrates into the homes of their believers, with their strange doctrines and rules” (McClaskey, 2012, p. 36). Victims are intimidated, threatened, or in some cases physically beaten into submission (children, teens or spouses) if they don’t comply with the church leader’s rules (McClaskey, 2012, p. 56). Group conformity and total submission to the church “system” are ideas that are not allowed to be questioned in these abusive situations – questioning might lead victims to break free. In many cases, victims who escape are verbally attacked and scorned in front of the church; they lose all group interaction, including immediate family support. Many victims still feel the far reaching, abusive arms of control many years after escaping them. It is this corrupted power, greed and control within the abusive church system which leads to even worse damage in a victim’s life.

Religious abuse can also directly affect other areas of a victim’s wellbeing. If victims believe the abusive teachings, they can have a distorted view of God and spiritual ideas; thereby inadvertently abusing others themselves, like their own children. This often ushers in emotional abuse also; where love and trust can be based upon one’s loyalty to the church or its rules. Paranoia becomes constant, fear of being humiliated or punished is endless, and the pressure to perform and not fail is elevated (Johnson & VanVonderen, 1991, p. 73-77). Sexual abuse is another factor which often associates with religious abuse. A church leader with total control of his victims can easily manipulate them into rationalizing his sexual assault, rape, or exploitation. Sexual exploitation is one of the most common abuses linked to religious cult-like organizations across America (Lalich, 1996, p. 4). Emotional and sexual abuse, along with distorted thinking could eventually lead a victim to consider suicide as an escape, thus multiplying the destructiveness of religious abuse.

How can victims of religious abuse escape? First, they must learn to recognize signs of abuse within a church. David Johnson lists some signs as “power posturing, performance preoccupation, unspoken rules, lack of balance, paranoia, misplaced loyalty, and secrecy” (1991, p. 63-78). Some abusive churches are initially very friendly and appealing, that is also why their trap is effective. Victims often rationalize their abuse, so recognizing that it’s ongoing is vital. Second, recognize that the Religious control is based upon submission of those who believe in it; thus victims must understand their true personal liberty, and that they really don’t have to put up with the abuse. The final step is to break free from the abusive church, including everyone associated with it who could still affect the victim. Victims should completely and immediately separate from every area of interaction with the church. The victim should note that any attempt to change the church is usually futile. Attaining total separation will initiate a healing process.

Once on the outside, victims may immediately begin to recognize the traits of abusive churches. This can empower them to break the cycle of destructive control in their lives and begin to recover from commonly reported experiences such as chronic depression, rape, fear, physical abuse, permanent emotional scarring, and even suicidal thoughts (Lalich, 2013). Victims who have broken free also become some of the best people to help others escape abuse. Escape is one of the most difficult and painful actions that victims can take, but the freedom, healing, and fulfillment that comes afterward is worth more than money could ever buy.

In conclusion, religious abuse is more widespread than one may think. In 1996, there were over 5,000 religious cults in America with more than 185,000 new recruits reported annually (Lalich, 1996, p. 1). If victims are attentive enough to see the warning signs present in an abusive church and they understand that they don’t have to submit to abuse, they can escape and eventually heal from it. The dark, evil beast of religious abuse can be defeated, but only if its tactics and weapons are understood. There are many thousands today who are becoming new victims. When will it ever end?

References

Johnson, D., & VanVonderen, J., 1991. The subtle power of spiritual abuse: Recognizing and escaping spiritual manipulation and false spiritual authority within the church. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers.

Lalich, J. (1996). Dominance and Submission: The Psychosexual Exploitation of Women in Cults. Cultic Studies Journal, 14 (1). Retrieved from http://cultresearch.org/pdf/csj14-1.pdf

Lalich, J. (2013). The Violent Outcomes of Ideological Extremism: What Have We Learned Since Jonestown? Retrieved from http://cultresearch.org/2009/10/the-violent-outcomes-of-ideological-extremism-what-have-we-learned-since-jonestown/

McClaskey, C., 2012. Religion’s Cell: Doctrines of the church that lead to bondage and abuse. Bloomington, IN: Author House.

the CastingIt is fall on the small religious campus in Wisconsin. The leaves have turned and the frost is steaming up from the ground changing the season to winter. The auditorium is filled with people who do not know why they are assembled since it is not Sunday services or Wednesday prayer meeting but, there they are, waiting.

Like feathers floating from the skies little pieces of paper fall from the sky through the ceilings. Each person picks up the note paper closest to them that has a caption entitled “The Casting.” There is a word written on the parers. Some were cast as Orchestra, Church Leaders, Preacher Boys, Inner Circle, Bystanders, Victim or Abuser. It seems that a play is going to be produced this very day and everyone has a role.

One bewildered young Preacher Boy steps forward after he realizes his paper says ‘Director.’ Taking his role, he starts to divide the people into their parts. “Bystanders are to all take a seat in the audience,” he announces. To his surprise, all but a handful of people took seats in the audience. He directed the others to go onto the stage. He sent the Orchestra to the Pit. Once the cast was before him he asked each one to read their role out loud.

The Church Leaders proudly stepped forward followed by the Inner Circle. Looking at the cast of players, the Director notices two players still in the back of the stage. He asks them to step forward. ” Who are you he asks?” The man opened his paper and looking surprised, as though he had not seen his role before, stated, “Well, I guess I am the Abuser.” He fades back into the darkness of the stage hiding behind the Inner Circle. The director then calls on the young teen girl. “Who are you?” he asks. She announces that she must have picked up the wrong piece of paper because she was the Victim and did not want that part. She did nothing wrong and was sure the part was a mistake. The Director said he was not in charge of the casting; and, that it appeared that every role was connected to each other and the play was happening as a spontaneous event based on the reactions and free will of all the players.

The director asked some Bystanders to run the lights and control the curtains. Suddenly, there was a scream.

The Victim ran out on stage having blood on her heart saying, “See, I am not supposed to have this role. I am innocent.”

“Who did this to you?” the Director asked, followed by the church leaders questions.

She said, “It was the Abuser. He hurt me in the dark when the curtain was closed.”

The director asked the Abuser to step forward. He did not. Noticing a stir in the audience, the director sees the Abuser.

“Sir,” he says, “Did you hurt this girl?”

The Abuser says, “No, I was was here in the audience all the time.”

The young girl cries, standing on center stage.

The director again asks her saying, ” He says he did not hurt you.”

The Abuser yells out from behind the church leaders now. “She walked into my sword and then she fell in front of me.”

The girl continues to cry.

The director wanting to get on with the play, sends everyone to the costume room to be fitted with their robes. The make-up is completed and the hair is groomed. The curtain opens and all begin to play their roles.

A Bystanders calls out from the audience, “The Victim is still crying and I can not hear the Church Leaders! Can you ask her to stop?”

She tries to stop as she hears the complaints. The music begins from the orchestra pit but, the sobs of the girl interrupt the symphony.

The victim calls out, ” I need help here, I am hurt.”

The Church Leader says, “I don’t see blood anymore. So you are fine. You just need to trust Jesus, go to church and leave the stage. You are interrupting the work of God here.”

The audience responds with praises and an Amen.

The girl attempts to leave the stage but is too weak to walk now. The Inner Circle tells the Church Leaders to call upon the Director to remove her from the stage. The director says, “I am not writing the script here. So you do as you will.”

The Church Leaders walk up to the Victim and tell her that Jesus has dried her tears. She moans in pain. The Church Leaders tell her to “Let it Go” since the Abuser is innocent and she must forgive him. She faints before them. The Church leaders are fearful she will not get well and ask the Director to let them off the stage.

The Director says, “This is your play.”

The Abuser encourages the Church Leaders from stage right saying,”She obviously has sinned and you must hold her accountable for ruining the play.” The Church Leaders decide to leave the stage followed by the Inner Circle.

Standing on stage left in sheep’s clothing is the Abuser who slips off the stage into the night following the Church Leaders and the Inner Circle. The lights are lowered to center stage and the girl is too weak to stand. The Bystanders tell her to get off the stage, but she cannot.

The Bystanders notice the Director has also left. No one is left but the Bystanders and the victim. Some yell out, “Forgive and get over it and you will be well.” Others cry out to her, “Stop telling us your sob story,” and still others, say nothing at all.

It seems the girl is bleeding now onto the stage’s wood floor, but no one moves from the audience. Only the Bystanders are left. The majority of the cast are Bystanders and they do not seem to know what to do. Silence.

A bright spot light from above shines down and, there before the Bystanders, is a new actor on stage. It is Jesus. He looks at the girl and swoops her up in His arms. He turns to carry her away but stands still for a moment to turn and look at the Bystanders. His eyes are glaring in anger.  They all hang their heads in shame, realizing they could have picked up the child themselves.

Jesus’ eyes pierce their hearts and He turns with the child in His arms and disappears. The Bystanders sit alone as the lights go off and the curtain closes.

My name is Máire Skogstjärna. Once upon a time it was Kerry Louise Gray. Born in Blacktown NSW, Australia on Aprill 11th 1971. My parents were sent out as missionaries by NEW TRIBES MISSION AUSTRALIA (& USA) to work in PANAMA in 1971, when I was 10 months old.

On November 7th 1986 at Escuela Hogar Misionero in Chame, Panama, I had my left knee put completely out of joint, resulting in that my lower leg ended up behind my upper leg. Knee cap, ligaments, tendons, artery etc, everything got ‘broken’. I was driven to Chorrera to the local hospital, but since there was no qualified doctor there, I was sent on to Santo Tomas in Panama City. At the emergency room I was taken care of by an intern, Ariel Saldaña. “luxación de rodilla izquierda con lesion a la arteria poplitia” I was operated on that night, no easy situation, as my parents were up in the Chiriquí and my dorm dad had to sign all the forms presented by the hospital before surgery could commence. I was ‘put back together’ and my left leg was put into a cast to keep the knee stabilized and in place. The ligaments in my left knee, the cruciates and laterals were all completely useless.

knee

A few days later my knee got out of joint again – despite the cast. I was once again taken for surgery – but this time I had an external fixator put on my knee – six titanium screws (very long) in the bones and then a rod between them to keep my knee in place. I wore this for six weeks or so before it was surgically removed.

This was a ‘big deal’ at the hospital as they did not have the necessary equipment with which to do the necessary surgery. Help was given by a doctor from Gorgas, a military doctor. I was not an American citizen so was not permitted to go to Gorgas for treatment.   Instead, Surgical instruments and knowledge was given to the team of doctors that would be operating. From what I understand there were more than the normal number of surgeons present for the procedures. Unfortunately, I do not remember numbers or many of the names. The first names are from the orthopaedic team, the last couple are from cardio-vascular.

Gustavo Pinilla (can be found at Centro de Ortopedia y Medicina Deportiva, S.A.; Centro Especializado San Fernando; Teléfonos 229-4026 / Telefax 229-7522 ; Consultorios Punta Pacífica; Teléfonos 204-8387 / Telefax 204-8388)

Ariel Saldaña padre

Ariel Saldaña hijo (the intern, NOW a well known Dr in his own right in Panama)

Daniel Lozano, in charge of my care

Norberto Donoso Collins

Dr. Monge

This was written by my younger sister and a friend at the boarding school and put into the school ‘paper’ that was then sent to the families of all the parents in Panama.

kerry lou article

After I was released from hospital I was put back into school at EHM and was lent an exer-cycle for physiotherapy. I did not see a proper physiotherapist or get any other qualified help (not other than the couple of times while I was actually in the hospital). I had appointments with the doctor in charge of my care a few times after my release. But these were not for my knee or other aspects of my health.

After the external fixator was removed from my leg the doctor in charge of my care – Daniel Lozano (51) – took me to a place called Campo Amor out on the way to Tocumen. “My Dr”. This is the man that sang outside the ward to make me smile, who promised me that I would be ok (though it later turned out that I could have – OR should have! – died several times along the way). I should not have turned 16. This man was given permission by my mother to take me for a drive down to Balboa, to Panama Viejo to cheer me up. I had spent the best part of three months in the hospital, in a ward of 20 or so women, with little or no privacy. Of course, I was very happy to get out of the hospital, overjoyed. I had been a very active teen and to be stuck in a bed and not being able to even walk was killing me. Anyway, we drove past the sights and then he took me to Campo Amor and raped me.

KL1

I still remember these huge garage doors that shut behind your car when you drove in. No one sees or knows who, what or why. No questions asked. Just pay at the little window inside.

I did not get out of the car. I locked the doors. I was afraid, terrified. This was danger!!! Of course, the doctor unlocked the car doors – he had the car keys in his hand. He forced me out of the car – not violently, but nonetheless. I was pushed into the small motel room; Bed on the right, shower + toilet on the left TV and mirrors in the room. I was told to undress. I didn’t. I was then forced to undress. Still no violence, but I was forced.

No, I did not scream, or yell. I realized quickly while still in the car that there was NO way out. No door out, no one that would hear me. I did not fight him. It would not have made any difference… I was terrified. I had just survived an accident that should have killed me – all I wanted to do was live. “I won’t hurt you” That is what he said before he violated me.

Yes, I was 15 years old, legally permitted to have sex in a foreign country, but not of legal age in mine. But I did not want this. I did not ask for this. I was promised all sorts of things, a job as soon as I had finished high school, gifts, and toys for my kid brother etc. (we had already been given things at Christmas by the doctor). I was still an IN-patient of the hospital on this day: January 16th 1987.


In Panama, the age of consent is 18.

Laws regarding persons aged between 14 and 18:

Article 215 appears to prohibit sexual acts with minors:

Article 215 C: “He who maltreats a minor shall be sanctioned with imprisonment from one to six years. The following conducts typify maltreatment of minors: (…) 2) Committing, inducing or helping to commit sexual abuse against him, or other lustful or lewd acts, even though they do not imply carnal access

Article 226 deals with the “corruption” of minors and prohibits sexual acts with persons younger than 18 (although it is not clear if this article prohibits such sex acts per se or only if the victim was “corrupted”):

“Article 226: “He who corrupts or facilitates the corruption of a person under 18 years of age, practicing with her a lewd act or inducing her to practice or view it, shall be sanctioned with imprisonment of two to four years”.

Another article, Article 219, prohibits consensual sex acts with a “maiden woman, over 14 years old and under 18″ (probably understood to mean a virgin girl aged 14–18):

Article 219: “He who has carnal access to a maiden woman, over 14 years old and under 18, with her consent, shall be sanctioned with prison of one to three years. If a marriage promise is involved, or if the deed is committed by a relative, a minister of a cult that the victim professes a tutor, teacher or person in charge, by means of any title, of the education, safe keeping or upbringing of the victim, the penalty can be increased up to twice the amount”.

In regard to the Article 219, the action or penalty is to be extinguished if the author and the assaulted person are to be married; this is stipulated by Article 225.

Laws regarding persons younger than 14:

Article 216: “He who has sexual access with persons of either sex, utilizing his genital organs or other parts of his body, or introducing any object in the genitals, mouth or anus of the victim, shall be sanctioned with imprisonment from three to ten years in the following cases: 1) When violence or intimidation is used; 2) When the assaulted person is deprived of reason or of sense or when due to physical or mental sickness or for any other cause she cannot resist; 3) When the victim is arrested or imprisoned and entrusted to the guilty party to supervise her or take her from one place to another; and 4) With a person of either sex that is not 14 years old, even though none of the circumstances expressed previously apply.”

Article 220: “He who with the purpose of achieving carnal access executes libidinous acts in prejudice of a person of either sex, by means of violence or intimidation, or when the victim is not 14 years old or cannot resist, shall be sanctioned with imprisonment of three to six years. The sanction can be increased by one third to half, if any one of the circumstances established in the second paragraph or Article 219 occur.”

Not long after this I was released. I remember my mother, the doctor and I going out for lunch at some quaint little restaurant. Sangria was served with the meal. I remember ‘playing footsies’ with the doctor who sat opposite me at the table. I remember him having my foot in his lap. I also remember a comment about ‘having a chaperone’.

After leaving the hospital, I was given a date to come back for a check-up in about a month. The person who went with me this time was told to sit in the reception and wait there. The doctor drove me to his private practice a few streets away and once again raped me – this time on the floor of his office. There was only a thin sheet between me and the floor. My mind went to far away places; I had no reason to do anything. I was already tainted, spoiled, ruined. My life had lost value the day I had my accident, it lost even more the day I was raped by the doctor. I had no reason left to live. All that I valued was taken from me.

Again another month or so passed. We are in March 1987. This time I said no. I did not let him touch me. And he did not. See, he was so smart that he told me about pregnancy prevention. By counting the days since your last menstruation you can work out when the chance/risk of pregnancy is greatest -> 12-17 days after the first day of your period. I still have that in my backbone! L On the other hand he had also said that if I should get pregnant that he would fix it – pay for an abortion etc. And no one would ever know.

Now for April and my 16th birthday on the 11th came and I was permitted to travel up to the Chiriquí and have my birthday at my parent’s house together with my sister who was at the school. We had my party. All my local friends came. On the 16th of April the rest of my family was at a meeting at the church, and I stayed home. A young man I knew came by and under the pretences of looking at a co-worker’s car – he had been asked to buy spare parts for the car. In the darkness of that garage stood this young man wanting sex and I did not care any more, at all!! I knew that I could get pregnant that week. I did not care about that either. I could get pregnant and thus get out of being raped by the doctor, might have to marry this young man – but he was of a good family in the town OR nothing would happen and it would be easier to say no to the doctor should he try again.

In May I had another appointment. But I could not say no to the doctor. Again, He drove me to his private practice office and raped me a third time…

We returned to the hospital again and I had to have x-rays done. Since having missed my period in early May I had to tell someone. I told my best friend at school. She got my mother and we told her… I do not remember much other than the room we sat in. Then having to go into the city to have a blood test done to see if I really was pregnant, and a visit to a gynaecologist to be checked physically… The experience was horrific. Not just being so close to death a few months earlier, and somehow subconsciously knowing that, but also the physical and emotional (add then sexual) mutilation that I suffered by being raped and then being put thru this physical examination. I felt like I was being raped again.

My best friend and I got in a great deal of trouble. She was accused of being my accomplice – I confided in her that I wanted to hitch a ride up to Costa Rica as I had friends up by the border. I got suspended from school and was then kicked out. She got 2 weeks suspension, I think.

I was treated badly. I did the end of year exams from the house we were living in. My mother had to sit and make sure I did not cheat. On my Science test I got a 79%, only to find out later that everyone else was given it as an ‘open book’ test. But not me, I got my grade from what I remembered. A classmate complained and was told to leave it be, I did not deserve that help on the test. (This is just an example of my treatment by the school.) The teacher of that class was William Bacchus.

We were sent back to New Zealand in disgrace. I was fully to blame. It had come forward that I had kissed a boy and had a boyfriend. So, obviously getting pregnant must have been done of my own free will. Not a single word was said about being raped by the doctor.

I remember sitting in the office where the field committee pronounced their judgement over me. I was a slut, promiscuous. They spoke ‘over my head’, not to me, but about me. I was not given any chance to speak up for myself or explain. Present in the room (that I remember): Bryan Copeland, Harry Huddleston, Bruce Haste, my parents and I. (I have a vague memory that Joe Goodman and Brian Simmons were on the field committee then and would have also been present.) I have been told that Don Barger was representative for the work in the Chiriquí but was on furlough when this happened.

I have since found out that Bruce Haste “grilled me” and I told him about the rape. I do NOT remember this myself. My mother told me of it recently. I also had confirmed the “advise” given to my father about not doing anything about my rape as the Dr had friends in high places.

The boy that I kissed: Ignacio Montezuma Montero Haste

1980-1981

He was several years older than me. We used to live as neighbours. In the house we lived in (with an older single lady, Charlotte Teubner), there was a tiny book room. In this room Charlotte kept her Bibles, song books etc for the Guaymi (indigenous people) that came to the base. In this room Ignacio used to kiss me and  fondle me. Most of the time he wanted to stand behind me and push himself up against my buttocks. He was always sexually aroused. I cannot have been more than about 10 years old. They were building our family a house when we got back from a furlough in the UK-Australia-New Zealand.  I do not remember if we had started at the boarding school yet – I do remember being home-schooled in the big living room in this house. So, I am guessing 1980- 1981. I wish I remembered more clearly when. Nor do I remember how long this went on. My younger sister and I started at boarding school and only came back to our parent’s home for summer holidays and Christmas.

Stepping in to 1983/84

“There is one other incident that happened in the dorm of sexual nature while I was at the boarding school. It would have been in 83-84 (?) I think. Our dorm parent’s daughter had a couple of horses and one of the older boys and I used to ride them so that they got exercise. This boy, Brian Grindstaff, started to touch me and fondle me on these excursions. It then became something that he did whenever he could get me off alone with him. It became unbearable and I did not know how to get out of this situation. I told the girl who had the horses one day and she told her parents. The boy was severely punished for what he had done.

My boyfriend: Raúl Antonio Santamaria, hijo (son)

When my family moved up to Tolé, I became friends with a neighbouring family. Their son was a year older than me but was my best friend. We did everything together. Yes, he did kiss me on occasion. He and I had plenty of opportunities as young teens to do whatever we wanted but we did not. I refused to. I told him that a stolen kiss is one thing but that any more than that had to wait till we were married. I honestly imagined myself marrying him as soon as I was 18 years old. I loved him. He loved me. But we had a mutual respect that few ever understood. In the wake of my accident I did not see him for months. He came down to the city to see me in hospital but could not do it. He could not face seeing me so messed up. He did not come by at Christmas either for the few days that I was allowed to be at home with my leg in the external fixator etc. I did not see him at my 16th birthday either – he was at school in Santiago de Veraguas.

I heard via the jungle telegraph that I was spoken of as ‘the pregnant girl from Panama’ from a classmate on furlough in the US.

I had my baby, a little girl, on January 20th 1988. I then gave her up for adoption – a couple that were related to a good friend of my father could not have children. It is an ‘open adoption’ so I have had contact with her all along. She just turned 25 a couple of weeks ago.

I have not named her father previously – Vicente Tuñon Marrone – my family know who he is well. But he did not mean much to me then, much less now.

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I left New Zealand 1990. I moved to Sweden to work as a nanny (anything to get away from my family). A year later I married the Swedish boy I had met and we had two kids. But because of his continued abuse that ended in 1999. I re-bounded into a second marriage in 2000, had two more kids, but that only lasted until 2005 when this man committed suicide. Both of these men abused me. I did not deserve better. I wanted to kill myself innumerable times along the way. I saw no way out of the hell that I had been put into, and no one cared. No one fought for me, protected me, or stood up for me.

In 2004 my daughter, that I had given up in adoption, came to visit me in Sweden –I paid for her to come. She was here for her youngest sibling’s birth. During her nearly two month long visit she told me that her family had had a boarder in their home who turned out to be my own mother’s closest friend. This lady told my daughter about all the “family secrets”, skeletons in the closet as you might say. One thing that came forward was the fact that my mother had planned on running off with “my doctor”, the man that raped me. This, to me, explained the comment about a chaperone.  [My mother now (June 2013) claims this is something that I have fantasized up… it is all in my head. She only ever felt “flattered” by the man. I beg to differ.]

I was never given proper medical treatment with regard to my injury. I was told when we got to New Zealand that my knee would have been fixed properly IF I had come back to NZ or the US straight away – waiting for months made it impossible to fix. I did not get physiotherapy until after we got to NZ and then had to take a break as I was having a baby. By the time I got back to physiotherapy 16 months had passed (at least!) from when I had the accident. I was not given a fair chance at recuperating the use of my muscles etc in my leg with qualified therapists.

I found out in 2010 that my parents had been sent a letter from New Tribes Mission Australia (now Crossview) with a sort of apology for the way in which they were sent home. I have NOT seen anything of that sort personally. In 2010 my parents visited Sanford Florida and met with several of the former leaders from when our family was stationed in Panama. Apparently my parents were asked if there was anything they wanted passed on to the present executive committee regarding the things that happened in 1986-7. They said no. When I was told this I reacted strongly and my mother then sent an email to Don Barger stating that they were not happy with the way I was treated – I was not told how detailed that was, or what exactly was said. I have not heard from NTM yet.

My father told me last year that they were not permitted to press charges against the doctor or the likes. New Tribes Mission’s excuse was that they did not want to come up against a man who had friends in high places as the entire mission could be kicked out of Panama.  This is very hurtful since it shows that I am not worth much in NTM’s eyes.

In August 2012 I was in Florida to be interviewed by PII, part of the IHART investigation into abuses in NTM worldwide. I spoke with Anne Kulinsky, Bob Davis and Linda Davis from 9 am to after 5 pm that day, with a short lunch break mid-day. They have transcripts of all that was said. Obviously that meeting was more emotional than what this is (I am trying to be objective and just put the facts – not all the feelings- that pertain to this).

image027My kidnapping was part of years of violent abuse, deception about my identity, a custody dispute, 10-day captivity, and escape across state lines.  When unable to stop it, the Catholic Diocese of San Diego and the School of the Madeleine chose to hide it.

My birth certificate was falsely marked with the name of the older husband of my 18-year-old mother.  My natural father had refused custody, and finally to pay child support when unable to control her.  I didn’t know his identity until I was an adult, but I did learn the word, “bastard” in conjunction with violence when I was a child.  Throughout my childhood, until I was nine, I was severely abused.  I lived in violent, drug-using homes in California and Oregon, where I was sexually abused by the man I was told was my father, given drugs and alcohol, threatened with guns, photographed, trafficked to men who came to our home, tied with rope, experienced my animals being tortured (hung, strangled, cooked alive), and watched my mother raped and beaten.  Sexual deviance was a hallmark of abuse in our home, with forced urination in my mother’s mouth being among the things I witnessed.  I was first raped by a young neighbor when I was seven, after he had stolen my cat.  But it was this boy’s knowledge of the use of captivity and animal abuse, and early knowledge of intimate secretions, that suggested his own abuse by the man who dominated my home:

Captivity was a common practice by my stepfather, who often separated, restrained, and confined me and my mother, while privacy in the bathroom was not permitted.  The most significant events of violence and captivity leading to my kidnapping occurred in August of 1980, when I was nine, in our Oregon home:  When divorce was imminent, and during a violent argument about custody of me, my mother escaped with me into my parents’ bedroom and locked the door.  My stepfather kicked the door in, punching the doorknob into the wall behind it, missing my face by inches, and then held and beat my mother in the bathroom.  My mother escaped our home after this, leaving me and my 2-year-old half-brother behind.  During the 10 days of her absence, I was held in the house, starved, kept awake, and forcefully raped in my room by a boarder who lived in our home and took LSD with my stepfather at night. On the night my mother returned, when my stepfather became violent and she attempted to walk out through the attached garage, he attempted to kill her.  With a drop latch at the kitchen doorway, he dropped the garage door on her head, and when she had fallen on her back, sat on her abdomen and applied pressure to her chest and neck with his hands to suffocate her.  I was watching from the kitchen, sick and starved, with my rapist standing next to me.  A neighbor called police on that night, but police came and went, regarding my mother as the problem, and leaving us to be abused again.

My mother did finally escape with me and my half-brother that August, returning to California and divorcing my stepfather, and then abandoning me with my grandmother in San Diego.  I was still starved, unable to eat, and had pneumonia when I arrived.  In my grandmother’s home, where I was left to care for my grandfather, a cigarette addict dying of lung cancer, I lived another nine years of severe emotional, physical and mental abuse and neglect, often by my visiting aunt, alcoholic mother, and her many boyfriends.  My grandmother was an employee of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego, and that September, she placed me in the School of the Madeleine, where I was bullied by students and abused by teachers.  School officials had been informed that my mother had custody of me, that my grandmother was my guardian, and that my stepfather was a violent man who did not have permission to see me. During my first month of school, on picture day, I was physically abused and threatened by my 4th-grade teacher, who took me alone into a hallway, pinned me into a corner with her arm to my chest, and told me what she would do if I ever lied to her. Shortly after this, in October, my stepfather, who had driven from Oregon to San Diego, entered the school campus through open gates, without notice.  He first went to the school office and asked permission to take me out of school.  When denied permission, he ran throughout the school, from room to room, yelling my name, with the school principal, a small nun, running behind him.  He forcibly removed me from a classroom, pushing the principal, who had stood in the doorway to block it, out of the way, knocking her into a bench and onto the ground, and dragged me, screaming my fear of falling, down the steep hill away from the school.  He first drove me to an unpopulated restaurant for a drink, then to a secluded canyon, where he raped me, and from a nearby parking lot, returned me to school in a taxi.  Approximately two hours passed from the time I was taken until I was returned.  When I arrived back at the school, there were no police; no one had called them.  The campus was quiet.  I walked back through open school gates, guessed where I should be, and returned to the classroom of the teacher who had threatened me about lying. She had been talking to the class; her words to them when I entered the room were, “It happens every day.”  She called my name as I entered, hugged me, while I stood still and unresponsive, and then took me to the school office.  I was sent home with my grandmother, who had been called away from her job at the Diocese.

Nothing was done, however.  No police report was taken.  No paramedics were called.  No counselors, nor Child Protective Services, were contacted.  I displayed obvious symptoms of abuse on the day of my kidnapping and for my remaining years at the school.  I had regular infections for which I carried cranberry juice to school, information I shared with students and teachers. I described pain to my gym teacher to be excused from class, something for which I was bullied by students.  I described feelings of depression to my choir teacher, who then frequently offered to drive me and other girls home alone after private lessons.  I also disclosed information to the Parish Monsignor in confession two years later, when I was mutilating myself, genitally and compulsively (a result of sexual trauma), who then gave me penance for my sin, but no action was taken.  For my remaining four years at the school, when I was hiding in closets during class, jumping every time a chair moved, sitting alone, dissociated and comatose, during lunches, and finally leaving visible suicide notes, seen by students, in classrooms, no action was taken.  In fact, the school gates remained open every day, despite the kidnapping, and the teacher who had threatened me about lying said to another teacher in reference to my behavior, “I think she just wants attention.”  The same teacher, during a sixth-grade sex-education discussion, told our class, “if a child is sexually abused, she will become schizophrenic.”  The crime was ignored, I was ignored, and I was shamed into silence.  An experienced felon walked free, and my wellbeing continued to decline.  I was still a child, still abused, and still incapable of reporting the crime myself.  I was afraid of my family; I was bullied, ignored, and abused at my school.  Had police been notified by the school or the Diocese when I was kidnapped, I might have been found before I was assaulted.  Had police and paramedics been present when I returned, I would have disclosed what had happened to me, there would have been evidence, and my stepfather could have been convicted.  Had CPS been contacted at any time, I would have explained the kidnapping and abuse, and perhaps been removed from my family and the school.  I might have received help, treatment.  My life today might have been much different if the school and the Diocese had not deliberately chosen not to act.

The years of these events were threateningly normalized by the abusive adults around me while I was living them, and I adapted into the shell of a person I had to be in order to survive.  I have only recently begun to understand exactly how these events created the traumatized, debilitated adult I am, the adult who continued to attract and tolerate abusers, and who has required a severely and increasingly restricted work, home and social life.  But today, despite the fact that my stepfather has confessed to the kidnapping on an audio recording, very little legal action is possible without the support of law enforcement. And while I live with severe disabilities, including chronic C-PTSD and a major depressive disorder, psychological injuries caused by the trauma, something that prevents me from functioning normally, in a way that meets my intellectual potential and potential for sufficient income and community giving, the school and the Diocese have refused to accept responsibility for the tremendous, lifelong damage they caused, also making treatment impossible without compensation.  Today, there is little recourse for these events, and no help available for me.

ABDUCTION madeleine descanso officer finney allowing blocking of my protest statement and me 25 april 2013 turned

Officer Finney allowing blocking of my protest statement and me on 25 April 2013.

SB 131 madeleine descanso front

Protest Statement

In San Diego, CA, my own recent attempts at seeking legal justice and help for the trauma-related symptoms I finally understood, resulted in a death threat, stalking, the questionable suicide of my mother, abuse by police and sheriffs, abuse and denial of service by my local FBI, neglect and abuse by my local DA, callousness and abuse by attorneys, a medical misdiagnosis, permanently damaging medical maltreatment, illegal denial of county health-care services, illegal denial of aid by Social Security, the CalFresh program, and all other social services, denial of service by support organizations, denial of disability by my private insurance carrier, the loss of my small business, the loss of my suburban home, and the depletion of my resources, finally resulting in seven months of homelessness, damaging separation from my physical and psychiatric service animals (one of whom died), and over a year of chronic stress. Ultimately, my attempts at seeking support for the results of the crime that had been ignored in the past were not only ignored in the present, but resulted in ultimate loss, worsening my disability and financial state with abusive and criminal responses. Today, I won’t survive without help.

Today, I’m trying to rebuild, and I’m pursuing legal justice, compensation, and treatment.  After learning that the way I have been treated is very common, and being forced to compile resources alone, I’m also applying my knowledge and skills to support groups filled with amazing abduction and kidnapping survivors, from whom I learn more every day.  And I am sharing my story, because what my teacher said that day is true:  Abduction does happen every day.  The problem is that abduction incidents sound so outlandish to those who are unaware of or simply afraid to hear them, that survivors are left feeling alone, betrayed, and frustrated, with a profound and unique trauma.  Many of us do not survive, not because we did not live through the crime, but because we were denied help after it.  Far from receiving the support and treatment we so desperately need, most abduction and kidnapping survivors are just as profoundly mistreated after the crime.  Today, I’m seeking help, and I hope that, by sharing my story and providing services for other survivors of abduction and kidnapping, while seeking help for myself, I can also promote public awareness about a painful but common crime, and provide the support that I didn’t receive, the support that would have made all the difference.

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ACTION ALERT!  ABDUCTION SB 131 Poster Governor Choose Sign 2

On 12 October, 2013, CA Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB 131, the Child Victims Act, the bill that would have allowed me to sue the Catholic Diocese of San Diego for my kidnapping and assault, and to receive justice, compensation, and treatment for the crimes committed against me by the School of the Madeleine. With his veto, Brown chose to protect the school, the Diocese, and my rapist, rather than to protect me, their victim.  He chose to protect powerful institutions that harbor rapists, rather than to protect today’s children and compensate yesterday’s victims.  Please read my statement, and demand Governor Brown’s resignation:

www.facebook.com/notes/tiffany-moon-foundation-for-abduction-recovery/ca-governor-brown-vetos-sb-131-the-child-victims-act/535316056545103

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From the Author: Tiffany currently operates The Tiffany Moon Foundation for Abduction Recovery. This foundation helps in fighting for justice for her kidnapping and abuse at a religious school (and religious abuse in the family) and, offers support to all kidnapping survivors. For more information on her foundation, or to help support the foundation through donations, please visit her website at http://tiffanymoonfoundation.org/index.htm.

Long before I was born, my destiny was already being formed.  My parents were products of post war Britain, who traveled the world in search of a better life and after exploring Canada, settled at the opposite end of the globe.

Although they came from similar environments, they came from considerably different family structures and had quite different personalities.  My mother was a gentle person, while my father was able to achieve to a high level in most things he tried his hand at.

Life was routine till I was five, when my parents discovered Christianity and like everything else my father did, he embraced it with both hands and the fervor never died.  This religious fervor caused a split with the extended family, with my Grandfather cutting off contact, after being bombarded with large doses of religion, on my Grandparents one and only trip to see us.  By the age of ten they had decided to join a Florida based missionary organization, called New Tribes Mission, an unusual choice for a couple living at the bottom of the globe, as New Tribes Mission had a very small presence in New Zealand.  We soon ended up in Australia for the “Boot Camp” part of the training program.  Conditions were spartan, while the staff lived in normal homes, the recruits lived in shacks which were little more than a large room with a few partitions, no running water or facilities.  For me the warning bells went off soon after arriving, the raids looking for “illicit” reading material and the mind control.  While it seemed all others happily went along with the mantras and heavy doses of indoctrination, I began my journey of questioning what we had really got ourselves into.  I just couldn’t understand why there was the constant repetition of religious principles, figuring that being of average intelligence that being told something once or twice would suffice.

We had a year of somewhat normality back in New Zealand, while my parents completed the language school component of their training..  And then we went to Papua New Guinea and life became very strange.  Language skills were not my parents forte, so they were assigned to the headquarters, where my father became the odd jobs person, taking on a range of jobs that he was hardly qualified for, including become the base mechanic, for which his qualification seemed to be that he owned a bicycle at some point in his life.  They also did a stint as dorm parents and were given the children that no one else wanted, which raises one of the obvious problems that occurred.  Not all missionaries were equal.  Non U.S. citizens were given the jobs that U.S. citizens did not wish to do and if they complained they were dismissed and their homes and possessions confiscated.  This blatant racism was a shock, but worse was to come.  Some of the racial attitudes towards the local population were unbelievable.   Strange racial theology was taught in the boarding school and some missionaries made no secret of what they thought of people with darker skin tones.  To New Zealanders, this was highly offensive.  I wondered why some of the missionaries had bothered with their chosen career path.  Years later I came to the conclusion that for many of the male missionaries it was an ego trip, an escape from the hum drum of routine suburban life to the elevated dizzying heights of being the all powerful, technologically enhanced and spiritually enlightened missionary master, amongst uneducated stoneage populations and those inferior creations of their god, women.  For far too many, this ego trip took a sinister turn and they became a law unto themselves, crossing boundaries that in any normal society that would be deemed criminal.

Discipline was harsh in the boarding school, teachers turned out often to be unqualified and the misfits became dorm parents.  The most notorious dorm parent of the time openly bragged about what he was doing with his wandering hands.  Another dorm parent seemed to revel in his sadistic pleasure at administering discipline.  Beatings were done in public and there was a strange obsession with keeping any physical contact between the genders to a non-existent level.  Infractions of the strict rules resulted in a weeks solitary confinement in the first instance and more severe punishment for a second offense.  Meantime there were the rumors of affairs and infidelity going on and past sexual indiscretions committed by a dismissed former school staff member.

Constantly imprinted on our already guilty consciences was the mantra that we were a team, a sort of Spiritual elite fighting unit and that if we did not tow the line then the family could be sent home and the souls of natives would be in peril.

My father was the ultimate in piousness, every pore in his body oozed his religious beliefs, but he had no tolerance for anyone who did not agree with his narrow band of religious beliefs.  And so began a life of humiliation and mind control.  My father would use anyone and anything to achieve his bizarre goals.  I retreated into a world of isolation, making coffins in the basement of our house for the locally deceased and getting off the base at every opportunity that presented itself.  I participated reluctantly in what religious activities that were required, I made no fake profession of faith as most of my peers did and eventually I switched to doing a correspondence course, which avoided having to put up with the discrimination that was handed out on a daily basis.  The bullying started at the top with the principal and filtered down right through the system.

I spent much of my childhood trying to win my father’s approval and consequently ended up with a considerable few returned gifts.  I would buy my father Christmas and Birthday presents that I knew he would like and yet he would return them claiming he had no need for them.  This procedure continued on well into adulthood, when the light dawned and I stopped buying gifts for him.  He never did this to anyone else and it was just another method of breaking me down psychologically.  I could have become a nobel prize winner and my father would have held up the village drunk as a better person than I was, such was his strange ritual of humiliation and mind manipulation.  My father also used my siblings in his strange game of humiliation.  The one thing he wanted was the one thing I was not prepared to give him and that was my independent mind.  I saw him preying upon those who had fallen on less fortunate times and he openly stated that he had no other reason for interacting with other people than to convert them to his religious point of view.

And so I returned home and just got on with life.  The past was just something that happened, something that would circulate in the mind because it raised far more questions than it ever answered.  I pursued a career in medicine and also discovered a passion for creative writing.  My father refused to have a family conference to sort out the past issues and dismissed my concerns as being ungrateful fabrications.  He completed another term of service and then was dismissed by New Tribes Mission, for reasons that have never been provided.  He was stripped of his assets, his home and his career, yet he continued to sing the praises of New Tribes Mission.  When I intervened and managed to attain a financial settlement for his confiscated house, he became very angry and demanded the matter never be raised in public. And I began to get an insight into how convoluted and secretive his world was becoming.

In May, 1995, another Missionary Kid from Papua New Guinea, was jailed for shooting the rest of his family (his parents and three siblings).  They were not with New Tribes Mission, but the story of strange sexual occurrences and abuse that came out in the trial rang more warning bells, for all the ingredients that had tipped this family over, were emerging from the murky pasts of those I had grown up with.  (As a footnote, David Bain’s convictions were squashed 13 years later, public documentation and opinion on the case is widely available on the internet).  What disturbed me about the case was how deeply affected Missionary Kids could become by what they had seen and experienced and how dysfunctional New Zealand missionary families often became upon their return home.

In February, 2011, a major earthquake destroyed much of the city where my wife and I lived and we were unable to return to our home due to enormous boulders that had been dislodged from the cliffs above and could not be stabilized.  Even though this was a considerable loss, it didn’t weigh as heavy on the mind as the ongoing nagging concerns about my strange childhood and its after effects.  Shortly after this, I became involved with a website called Fanda Eagles and what I had suspected, was portrayed in graphic detail.  Not just in Papua New Guinea, but almost every other boarding school that New Tribes Mission had operated globally.  An independent agency had been commissioned to look into just one school and the report was a disturbing account of sexual abuse, mental manipulation, beatings and other forms of child abuse.  Yet all offenders had escaped justice, with one notable exception.  Apparently under U.S. law, historical crimes committed by U.S. citizens outside U.S. boarders are not able to be prosecuted.  Many of these offenders were allowed to return home and to assimilate themselves back into society with no repercussions for their crimes.

The exception was a New Zealand citizen, who was jailed for sexual offenses.  He was the head of New Tribes Mission in New Zealand and when the New Zealand arm closed down, he arrived in Papua New Guinea shortly after our family did.  He was our neighbor in both countries and we shared a house for a period of time.  In comparison to my father he seemed a fair and moderate person.  His victim was victimized by those in power, for speaking about the abuse, at the boarding school and waited until he returned to New Zealand soil before successfully pressing charges.  Yet despite requests for his crimes to be fully exposed, they were covered up by the Australian branch of New Tribes Mission (now calling itself Crossview Australia and attempting to distance itself from its former parent organization).  His sudden absence from the mission field was explained as being a “mental health” issue.  No one from New Tribes Mission bothered to investigate if there were any other victims and when I wrote to ask for further information regarding the matter, it took over a year for Crossview Australia to reply and when they did it was a threatening e-mail and an attempt to ensure my silence.

I confronted my father about the revelations and the incarceration of the neighbor.  He said he did not care about the missionary children he had known and that it was no concern of his.  We had a heated discussion and that was the last time we spoke.  There have been strange rambling letters in the mail, containing sentiments of “doing the devils work” and “ruining the reputation of Godly men”.  I have not replied.

One positive effect of the earthquake was that it enabled me to leave my family behind and move away from the area where we all formerly lived.  I did not leave a forwarding address.  When the revelations about the past tumbled out in the Fanda Report and other boarding schools, my family members all had a choice to make.  I opted to pursue justice through my writing and to help others through they’re past journeys.   My father opted to deny that any abuse took place.  My mother is a puppet of my father and is not afforded the opportunity of voicing her own opinions.  Like many New Tribes Mission males of my fathers era, he views women as being inferior to men and they should not voice or even have opinions, except those that echo the thoughts of themselves.  My father has documented his opinion that any allegations of child abuse are purely mass hysteria, whipped up by a few ungrateful former missionary children who are not adhering to his version of religious beliefs.

I corresponded with a few New Tribes Mission personnel about the history of child abuse and all assured me that policies and procedures were now in place so child abuse would be a matter of the past.  However my worst fears were confirmed when a Scott Kennell was arrested at Orlando airport and consequently pleaded guilty to sexual offenses with young girls, which he had made images of.  My fear that the abuse had not stopped, was confirmed.

And so, I find myself now at the age of half a century, living a happier and more settled life.  Not having all the answers about what happened in my childhood, or what motivated some of the strange people who I came into contact with, but certainly considerably more enlightened that none of this was my fault and that I was not the only one who had a very negative experience.  My suspicion that this was a cult my parents were involved with has been reinforced, for I cannot find any other logical explanation for why there is so little concern for the children I grew up with and all the other children abused within the confines of New Tribes Mission.  I have conquered the guilt heaped upon me by my father and no longer fear his verbal outbursts, he is out of my life, almost out of my head and I am very grateful for this.

From what I have discovered, my journey is pretty much typical of New Zealanders who have been involved with New Tribes Mission.  About half of us have no or very little contact with our families and little prospect of any reconciliation.  It is not a journey I would recommend, but one I am very grateful to have survived.

Colin

While most of us at Fanda were abused in some form, what we find especially damaging is the abuse of leadership who chose not to protect us at the time in spite of documented evidence and, who have still not reported the crimes to authorities nor sought justice for us today, 20 years later. – Victim of Abuse

This statement by a victim of abuse at a religious boarding school, reveals a glaring reality about victims of childhood sexual assault. Some victims of abuse are still no closer to finding vindication and restitution for the crimes perpetrated against them, even after years of effort to do so. As a result, healing from the psychosexual abuse is not taking place and victims are struggling under the emotional load.

This statement is a typical one heard by sexual assault victims everywhere that have been fighting to get their respective religious institutions to prosecute their abusers; many of which they KNEW about. The glaring reality, once again, is that because of the stall tactics and/or inaction on the part of the religious institutions in turning in abusers to authorities, many victims may consider giving up the fight. That’s right. They might consider giving up!  But why would they do this?  Many of them may be tired of the battle of trying to be heard and, the fight to get their abusers prosecuted.  While religious institutions may opt to offer therapy and some compensation to victims of abuse that make it into the public eye through media news, many other victims of abuse within the same organization will be ignored and receive no aid or help; nor will they see their abusers turned in to authorities for prosecution.  Monetary compensation and aid is just one aspect of the kind of help victims of Religious Abuse and sexual exploitation and assault need in order to recover and heal; and, many religious institutions are ignoring this fact.  Many boarding schools are guilty of crimes against women and children. Many churches are guilty of crimes against women and children. Many religiously run camps and behavior modification facilities are guilty of crimes against women and children.  While some religious organizations have paid for therapy and settled with some of the victims of abuse, this “compensation and help” is small in comparison to the number of victims affected.  Paying for therapy for awhile does not help the victims long term. It does not cover long term medical treatment and medications needed by victims to control mental illnesses and physical problems that many of these victims may suffer from as a result of the abuse and trauma they suffered. When I talk about restitution and vindication for victims of abuse, here is what I mean:

  • The rapists and pedophiles MUST be turned in to authorities for prosecution by the religious organization that allowed the crimes to occur and/or hid them. THIS IS MANDATORY.
  • Those that were complicit in the crimes through knowledge of them and did nothing to stop them, nor turned in the abusers, need turned in to the authorities for prosecution.
  • Monetary compensation should be for as long as the victim needs medical assistance and medications of any kind in their recovery. Lump sum compensation should be given to EVERY SINGLE VICTIM TO HELP THEM TO LIVE. MANY of them can’t hold jobs due to the trauma and after affects of what they suffered! Many suffer from PTSD.
  • Public admission of the crimes against victims needs to be made in EVERY INSTANCE along with publishing the names of those who committed the crimes.
  • Religious Institutions and their followers need to rally their support around the victims and not the abusers instead of shaming, blaming and shunning them! PERIOD.

These are the types of things that religious institutions are NOT doing. They are using a “band-aid” approach with victims, only helping those that get media involved or file class action law-suits. Most religious organizations do not want their dirty laundry aired to the public, so they will settle with some victims instead. But what about those that have been silenced, blamed, shunned, shamed and ignored?  They are struggling in frustration and ready to give up the fight. These are the ones that I am referring to that are ready to quit!

What many victims of abuse may not realize is that Religious Institutions have mastered the tactic of “stalling” and “manipulating” victims. They KNOW what they are doing. Every step of the way they ignore victims, give them lip service, frustrate, malign and antagonize victims in order to get them to back off. The longer the church/organization can draw the process out, the easier it becomes for victims to call it quits. The harder and more humiliating the organization can make it for victims, the easier it becomes for victims to call it quits. The church or religious institution wins and, continues to abuse and manipulate others the same way.  The church/religious organization knows these tactics work because they have been using them for centuries to silence and frustrate victims of abuse. So, many are weary and ready to move on with their lives.  They are considering removing their voices from the foray. Many are considering allowing the victory to go to the abusive organization.

What does this mean for those victims that decide to call it quits?  What this means is that they will be helping these abusers to move on to new victims. Through their silence and complacency, they now are complicit in the future crimes of these rapists, pedophiles and emotional and spiritual abusers!  Silence always leads to more abuse when it comes to any abuse. Giving up can never be an option for these victims of Religious Abuse. There is just too much at stake to ever consider calling it quits.

Sexual exploitation of women and children in abusive religious institutions is a very difficult subject matter to deal with. Exposing it is an even harder task. Churches and other religious institutions have mastered the art of silencing, bullying, building loyalty, stalling and, walking away from victims without ever helping them and providing restitution and vindication for the crimes perpetrated against them.

One of the main reasons for this lack of prosecution of rapists is Statute of Limitations (SOL) laws here in the U.S. that prevent victims of sexual assault from prosecuting their rapists after a certain number of years has passed. It can take decades for a victim to muster up the courage to speak out! Another reason is that many of the crimes are perpetrated in foreign countries where our laws do not apply. Many rapists come back from the mission field to live free lives here in the U.S., never spending one single day in jail for their crimes. Prosecution must be sought in the country where the crime occurs in order for victims to stop their abusers from hurting others. Mission organizations are not reporting the crimes and predators are going free. The following video is one of the perpetrators admitting to his abuses and living freely here in the U.S.

Video: Leslie Emory admits to molesting girls in the Philipines

Another issue is that some of the rapists are still over seas and cannot be prosecuted because of this. Despite these frustrations, victims of sexual assault must forge ahead, paving the way for changes in law that will protect women and children in religiously run institutions. Is this an easy endeavor? NO, it is NOT! It takes years to affect change. It takes years to get all the cogs out of the wheels of religiously run institutions that are in place to specifically protect the institution from accountability to victims! Can it be done? Absolutely Yes…if victims will be persistent and join their voices together will all the thousands out there that have suffered the same fate as them. There truly is POWER in numbers.

WHY DOES IT TAKE DECADES TO SPEAK OUT ABOUT SEXUAL ABUSE?

What the general populous has a difficult time understanding is why victims of childhood sexual assault wait for decades before speaking out. They do not understand that sexual assault brings with it psychological and emotional trauma, guilt, fear, shame and a host of other emotional issues that each victim has to battle on a daily basis. Nor does the populous understand that for those victims within religious institutions, Spiritual Abuse goes hand in hand with the Sexual Abuse and is one of the reasons for their long-term silence. So, What Exactly is Spiritual Abuse? It is only ONE facet of Religious Abuse. Before you move forward, it is vital to understand what this is. This article I wrote – Religious Abuse – What Exactly Is It? – will help readers to understand all facets of this type of abuse. All cases of sexual exploitation of women and children in the religious setting involve Spiritual Abuse.

One FACET of RELIGIOUS ABUSE is Spiritual Abuse

SPIRITUAL ABUSE: This type of abuse, like emotional abuse, leaves no physical marks. However, its trauma is profound in the life of the one being victimized by it. In this type of abuse, God’s Name is used to JUSTIFY all abuse inflicted. Scripture (the Bible) is also used as a tool to force victims into submission to the dogmas, beliefs and rules of the religious sect. God’s Name and Scripture (Bible) are the two main “weapons of choice” employed by abusive religious leaders to extract money, prestige, power, personal gain, and, to sexually exploit women and children within their congregations; thus gaining control in all aspects of their followers lives. All messages taught and preached have one agenda in mind – to control each individual within the congregation. Using deceptively packaged sermons laced with “underlying meanings,” religious leaders attempt to stifle creative thought, independent thinking and, instill new thought patterns and behaviors into their flock (Behavior Modification). These new thought patterns and attitudes become the norm by which everyone is judged. Those who adopt the same thought patterns and beliefs as the Leadership, are “right with God.” Those that do not, “are not right with God” and, are in jeopardy of being attacked, shunned and character assassinated.

Using Scripture to modify behavior is paramount in controlling an individual and, instilling a fear of further punishment from God if they tell anyone about the abuse they have endured or witnessed.

Spiritual Abuse can be inflicted without the knowledge of the victim. When it does occur, it leaves its victims in shock, hurting, confused and, yes, traumatized. They know that they have been hurt, but justify the abuse because they don’t know that it IS abuse. They think within themselves that the “preacher” is really trying to look out for their best interests and accept the abuse as “God sent” in order to bring them back to the “right path.” They may not even realize that it is, in fact, abuse. For example: The sect I came out of used the pulpit as a whipping post to attack congregants publicly who did not conform to the rules and standards of the church and its leaders (public humiliation). They used the pulpit to attack publicly, those that questioned the pastor’s authority, disagreed with the pastor, or exposed abuses in the church. They used God and Scripture to support inflicting this emotional attack. Therefore the trauma is two-fold – emotional and spiritual. The twisting of scripture to suit leadership’s agendas and long-term goals is professionally done in order to reap personal gain. Those that do not question what is being taught, follow blindly whatever leadership wants done, even if it means inflicting more emotional trauma to the same victim (secondary abuse).

Spiritual Abuse is the most deadly of all abuses because those subjected to it, are left seeing God as an abusive entity that lacks love, compassion and acceptance. He is ever ready at any moment to hurt and destroy anyone that does not conform to the religious dogmas and standards of the “church system” they are a part of. He is seen as someone that is angry all the time and ready to destroy at the slightest infraction. Because of this, many followers will adopt that very attitude in dealing with those that fall short of perfection in keeping all the religious rules and precepts. Some will adopt that very attitude with their children, leading to the emotional and physical abuse of the child.

As a result of Spiritual Abuse, many victims fear speaking out because they have been taught that GOD will punish them further, or their children, or their families, if they dare to speak out against “God’s Man.” It can take many years of therapy for a victim of this kind of abuse to overcome their fears and speak out!

Spiritual Abuse is also the number one reason that multitudes of people are turning their backs on God, the Bible, the Church and religion. Religion and Scripture to the Spiritually Abused, is TOXIC. For many, it creates anxiety, fears, mental illnesses and physical illnesses in those subjected to it. Just as the other abuses traumatize and have ill affects long term, so does this type of abuse.” – Cynthia McClaskey, Author and Religious Abuse Survivor.

These emotional issues are traumatizing. They are debilitating. They are huge hurdles that each victim either crumbles under the weight of, or, finds a way to conquer and overcome. The old adage, “Time heals all wounds” is partly true. While it does not heal all wounds, it is necessary for time to pass  in order for wounded and broken people to find the strength and courage to overcome their fears and to speak out. Those that break under the weight of the trauma use alcohol and drugs to help numb the pain, while others, commit suicide. But, those who manage to jump the hurdles and find the courage to speak out need to have their voices heard AND, need to be protected from as much secondary abuse as possible while they speak out.

Here’s why: Once a victim of sexual assault does find their voice, then the even bigger battles begin. Those who do step forward publicly become the targets of religious leaders and their religious followers. They are character assassinated, publicly humiliated and further victimized psychologically and emotionally through secondary abuse. Telling one’s story also triggers and sets in motion a “re-living” of the events that initially caused the trauma. All the hurt, shame, imposed guilt, fear and turmoil come flooding back to the surface. No one can truly understand how difficult it is for just one single victim to tell or write their story of abuse! This is why it is so very important to protect victims emotionally that do step out and tell about their abuse. This is why it is important to rally around victims of this type of religious abuse and succor them and encourage them. That is why it is vital for survivors of Religious Abuse to stick together for the support they need!  For many, all they are looking for is, “I believe you. Let’s see what we can do to help you.” They have been called liars by the churches they were a part of, liars by their families, liars by their closest friends; all of which, supported the abuser instead of them. This is what makes Religious Abuse hidden underneath the mantle of religious institutions the worst crimes against humanity – the victims are ignored, shoved aside, blamed and emotionally assassinated. It is time for all of this to change.

Today, I would like to talk about a group of Religious Abuse victims that are fighting this battle of exposing the abuses that were perpetrated by those whom they were supposed to be able to trust. Abuses that encompass all facets of RELIGIOUS ABUSE. Once again, I highly recommend that everyone read my article entitled, “RELIGIOUS ABUSE- What Exactly is it?” before moving forward in this article. Until you understand what it is, you will never understand a victim’s emotional trauma.

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NEW TRIBES MISSION (NTM), FANDA, and OTHER NTM BOARDING SCHOOLS

Who is New Tribes Mission? New Tribes Mission was founded in 1942. Today, New Tribes Mission (NTM) is an international, theologically evangelical Christian mission organization based in Sanford, Florida, United States. NTM has approximately 3,300 missionaries in more than 20 nations.

The organization sends missionaries from local churches around the world to Latin America, West Africa, Southeast Asia and the Arctic. Countries include Brazil, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Greenland, Guinea, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania, Thailand and formerly Venezuela [Wikipedia].

NTM also has boarding schools for missionary kids in these various places. Fanda is one of the boarding schools of NTM where child sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional and spiritual abuse took place. In 2010, G.R.A.C.E.(Godly Response To Abuse In The Christian Environment), an organization dedicated to helping Christian organizations deal with abuse, documented reports of sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse at the Fanda boarding school operated by NTM for the children of NTM workers in the country of Senegal during the 1980s and 1990s. You may read and download this report HERE.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Recently, I was contacted by one of the victims of abuse from this mission and asked if I would be willing to share their story about NTM and Fanda on my blog. I agreed because they are not the only religiously run boarding school that is guilty of crimes against children. Please read the articles on my blog regarding New Bethany Home for Girls in Arcadia, La. Countless numbers of boys and girls were sexually assaulted, physically, emotionally and spiritually abused; many were tortured in the New Bethany Homes for boys and girls.

Donna Trout’s Story – New Bethany Home for Girls, Arcadia La.

Kimberly Ann Howard’s Story – New Bethany Home for Girls, Arcadia La.

New Bethany Home for Girls – Kim Holt’s Story

Simone’s Story – New Bethany Homes For Girls, Arcadia LA

These victims of New Bethany have been fighting for years to get the abuses recognized and the perpetrators arrested. They have hit roadblocks at every turn. Today, however, they have broken through some of the strongholds and are finally making some strides! They NEVER gave up the fight and it is beginning to pay off for them.

First of all, I want to mention the tremendous efforts of these victims of Fanda in organizing their evidence for the world to see. Just as the New Bethany victims have also been laboring long and hard for years to bring prosecution to those involved in their abuses, so have these victims of Fanda.  As a result of their efforts, an investigation has already been conducted by G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response To Abuse In The Christian Environment) that has vindicated them and supported their abuse claims.

Stunning 68 page report on crimes at overseas mission school is released
SNAP Network, David Clohessy, Barbara Dorris, Martha Jean Lorenzo
[Press release]

Grace report brings tears to many
Orlando Sentinel, Amy L. Edwards
[article]

What is missing from all of this is NTM’s willingness to provide restitution to victims who were abused in their other boarding schools and to turn in the perpetrators to the authorities where the crimes occurred, for prosecution. While there have been some arrests due to victim efforts, these victims have not been dealt with properly nor, received proper restitution (as mentioned above) from the mission for the damages done to them. Many of the rapists and pedophiles are still free today because the mission let them go. It is time for these victims of abuse from NTM to receive the restitution and vindication they deserve (as listed above) and, the populous needs to be warned about the abuses that lurk underneath this institution’s religious mantle. Secondly, I want to give links to the “proof documentation” and the news articles regarding the abuses. Take some time to read through these as they will probably make you mad enough to want to jump in and help these victims. They NEED the SUPPORT!

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For PROOF Documentation click here: PROOF
Fanda Eagles Website containing media links below: MEDIA
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Thank you for organizing all this material and bringing it up to date. Including some correspondence that happened as this blog was launched. It is a very sad commentary on how NTM handled and still handles situations. In 4 years, we have not seen evidence of anything “new” on their part. The cover-up goes deeper. For instance, today as the news of the arrest of Scott Kennell came out, the NTM spokesperson states that his life does NOT have to measure up to his message. His personal life can be looked at separately from his “work’ for NTM. Unbelievable! I am controlling my response, as I am VERY disgusted and VERY angry!” – Angry Victim, June 5, 2013.

Victims of abuse within the religious system are not being handled properly by the very institutions that allowed the abuses to occur. They are receiving “lip service,” but no definitive action!  The abusers are being upheld and supported by the religious institutions! These religious institutions that covered up the abuses and hide the perpetrators and/or moved them to other places, are directly responsible for all future abuses, secondary traumas inflicted to victims and, future victims of these rapists and pedophiles. There is absolutely no EXCUSE for the way these victims have been handled. This institution needs to be held ACCOUNTABLE by state and local governments and law enforcement for the crimes they have allowed to be perpetrated against women and children while on their watch.

Because sexual exploitation of women and children is rampant within the religious systems of the world, it is imperative that victims everywhere speak out. All the numbers reported by religious institutions regarding abuse are inaccurate because religious institutions have been working very hard at hiding the abuses and perpetrators for not just decades, but centuries! The reality is that sexual exploitation of women and children is a global problem and, silencing victims of these abuses only allows for the abuses to continue. Victims everywhere need to find there courage to tell their stories. It is through the telling of their stories that they will realize that they do have the power to affect change — changes in law that affect the way religious institutions operate, changes in law that will prevent abuses from being hidden, changes in law that will protect women and children from the abuses.

The time is now to start affecting this change. The time is now to tell your story. The platform for doing so is now available for Religious Abuse Survivors of all denominations and nationalities. If you are interested in entering the foray with your voice, contact me through my blog: http://www.religionscell.wordpress.com. You can make a difference!

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STORIES OF ABUSE:

Colin’s Story of Abuse and New Tribes Mission

Kerry Lou’s Story of Abuse and New Tribes Mission

In Christian society, your “testimony” is like a spiritual resume, telling those in your fold of your conversion experience, allowing them the chance to critique you, to decide if you were really a “true” Christian. My testimony is different.  It is the story of how Fundamentalism almost destroyed my soul.  Most of these details I have never shared with anyone before, only those in my Facebook group “I Survived Fundamentalism.”  I have agonized for almost a week about posting it publicly.  But, I have to.  There may be one of you going through this same turmoil and I want you to know you aren’t alone.

Yesterday, I spent the bulk of the day reading “Leaving the Fold.” I couldn’t put the book down. It has been an eye opening emotional roller coaster. I didn’t realize just how much Fundamentalism RUINED my life and squelched my true self. More importantly, it destroyed my relationship with God.

I realized just how much of my life was wasted trying to conform to a standard that was impossible to measure up to. I realized just how contradictory the Bible is. I realized that I was both created in the image of God and an abomination in His eyes for who he created me to be. I realized that the loving God was capable of killing us all in an instant, if we weren’t satisfactory in His eyes.

I so desperately spent my youth trying to fit in. Trying to fit into mainstream society as a homosexual, only to be shunned, made fun of, tormented and cast aside. Trying to fit in to “Christian Society” as a sinner with a secret to hide, only to believe that I would NEVER get into heaven. Time and again, I walked down the aisle, “Just As I Am,” desperate to secure my place in Heaven, only to fail once again.

I want that 8 year old boy back. The one who had the shit scared out of him at Bible Summer Camp by a red-faced screaming man, telling me my 8 year old Matchbox car playing sinning soul was headed straight to hell. Yet, the next day, the “counselor” who was there to save our souls, drove me to the beach in his brown Pontiac Bonneville only to molest me on the sands, telling me how much God loved me and how much he loved me.

I want the 16 year old boy back. The one who desperately sought someone to love, someone to talk to, someone who he could be himself with. The one who threw himself into church to make himself worthy of God, yet always fell short. The one who hid his secret from the world, terrified of exposure.

I want the 24 year old man back. The one who was told by his mother that he would be considered dead if he “chose” this life. The one who had no self-esteem and sought approval by sleeping with anyone that would have him. The one who felt he was so unworthy that he had to buy love. The one who felt so guilty after every sexual encounter that he would strip the bedsheets and bleach the sin out of them. The one who lost 40 lbs from colitis from the stress of life.

I want the 32 year old man back. The man who’s sin had enveloped him into a life from where redemption was not possible. The man who still sought approval through his sexual currency. The man from whom love always escaped.

I want the 40 year old man back. The one who bargained with God to save his mother, the good Christian lady who did all the right things, only to be shit upon by life. The lady who’s husband was taken from her at age 33. The lady who felt her back problems were caused by God punishing her for keeping a clean house The lady who was convinced her death was because she didn’t live right and that God was once again punishing her. The 40 year old man was desperate to save the good Christian lady, so once again he became a weak and laughable character, diving in to Christian culture in a desperate attempt to be good enough to ask for a favor from God. All semblance of self reliance gone, the prayers were sent up daily, the donations sent to Joyce Meyer and the like, the library filling up with books such as “Battlefield of the Mind” and “Being Christian.” Obviously, this didn’t work as she died.

As the 40 year old man plodded along, he was punished for not being Christian enough. Panic attacks set in…you know, those attacks from the enemy. To him, fear meant you weren’t strong enough in your faith.

So, now, here stands the nearly 48 year old man. He is battle weary. He may have some cracks in his soul, but he is not broken. He is wiser. He wants the 8 year old boy, the 16 year old boy, the 24 year old man, the 32 year old man and the 40 year old man to know that they are loved by him. The 48 year old man will take care of them. He will protect them. And he promises them that they will never be subjected to that kind of a God again. He isn’t really sure where he is going at this time. But, in another 8 years when we check in with the 56 year old man, he will be a much better adjusted person, with a deep connection with the God that loves us all, the God that rises above all doctrine and dogma.

blindersTAKE YOUR BLINDERS OFF I.F.B. PARENTS

A messaged for children who were abused in the I.F.B. (Independent Fundamental Baptist) church whose parents will NEVER stand up for them:

This is what I would like to say to you as a mom who is trying to stand up for her kids.

I am sorry for the abuse you endured. I am unhappy that your parents cannot stand up for you. Many parents are too indoctrinated in the I.F.B. beliefs to leave the church to protect their children. Yes, I said LEAVE the church  because, if parents stand up for their abused children in the I.F.B. church, they know they will be shamed, shunned and pushed out. My husband and I have finally stood up for our two boys. But, it took them being sexually abused in the I.F.B. church before I stood up. And even then, I was so fearful of the I.F.B. and their tactics, that I had to have a lot of support to stand. I did this by telling my boys it was time for them to tell their stories of abuse since they were adults now and only needed my permission to tell it all. However, the victim has to be strong enough to go through the I.F.B. secondary abuse that will be thrown at them. If they are not emotionally strong then they are not ready to tell their story.

As a Mom, I wanted my boys to talk about their abuse and I would come in as Mom and defend them, protect them from the IFB darts and, validate that I was there and everything they told in their stories was true as I experienced it with them as their Mom. So, I say this to those who’s parents may never see the light: You can find that loving support (the love you wanted from your parents but didn’t get) in others who have seen the light. I guess if you are ready to reach out, then others who understand, will reach back. No one can do this alone. The abuse in the I.F.B. church surpasses that of the Catholics according to G.R.A.C.E. We try to band together and help each other, but yes, in the end, you alone will stand on the stage of the public forum and tell your story if you choose. Many never will and they also have that choice. When all we have left is our story because the statutes of limitations is up, we know we stand together, and yet, alone. There will be no police help for us.

Perhaps some are gifted and can help change the laws. But in the mean time, find a good substitute Mom and Dad that will emotionally support you.  Lean on other abuse survivors. There are those who can write articles and play songs to bring attention to the I.F.B. abuse. I shout out to and for my boys that they are HEROES and stand behind them in the wings of the stage when they tell their stories; and I cry because I was too late and am doing too little. Yet, as they tell their stories, I see other victims standing in the audience and giving them a standing ovation; and their parents look at their children in amazement as they attempt to tell them “Sit down” Sit Down. We haven’t sat down yet…we are standing…keep standing.

Blinders
by Linda Mary Schaap

Look the other way!
Hide the shame, the tears, the ruin, the fear…
Gloss the truth, squash the ‘lie’ -
So no one will interfere…
Blinders.
Deeply festered is a wound so raw
Yet hidden beneath the acceptable.
Pain not erased even by law
For it wallows in a life susceptible…
Blinders.
Looking only straight ahead
Missing the clues of deception,
While atrocious actions multiply
And hearts are broken without detection…
Blinders.
Tear them off! Reveal the truth!
Shed the light on a tragedy!
See what’s right beside you
A soul in need of majesty…
Finders.
Diminish the hurt by reaching out
Avoid the shock, the awe, the no!
Listening, unfolding each awful truth
Of a story that just couldn’t be so…
Finders.
Please, don’t look the other way
And cover the deeds of darkness.
Nor silence an innocent voice
Who cries of confusion, shame, and brokenness…
Finders.

denial picA couple years ago I asked my son, Doug, to go to an addiction program at the IFB church where he was sexually abused to get some help for his drinking. Now, I know that was like taking a burn victim back to the building where they were scarred for life from their severe burns! But not then. It did not occur to me that this would harm him and not help him. After all, I was taking him to God’s church to find healing.

I had been going back into the abusive IFB church for a few months and I had developed a tolerance for the smells, sights and sounds of that church. Well, Doug walked into the church with me and said “OH God! I feel sick!” And ran for the mens bathroom to throw up. I had forgotten about the first time I walked into that abusive church after being out for years. I too, was physically sick. Unfortunately, I kept going into that church where my boys were abused until I could walk through the halls without throwing up. I was forcing myself to develop a threshold of tolerance for the emotional alarms going off in my head warning me to RUN….RUN. Like many others who try to go back to an abusive IFB church, I was taking my son into a burning church to heal his burn scars. That is what we call spiritual denial.

Our mind and body remember the abuse and, if we subject ourselves to the same triggers over and over, eventually the triggers will get less so we can stay in an abusive church. Doug was sick for a reason. That should have been the time to walk out of the church again rather than try to tolerate the puking. I know that now.

To cope with overwhelming experiences of distress, the brain will send out an alarm message like saying, “FIRE! FIRE!” The brain of a child who is raped may react by reducing the connectivity of the Alarm Alert regions in the brain that were hurt in order to survive if they are not removed from that church environment. Doug was helpless to remove himself from the abusive IFB church/school, because his parent taught in the IFB system. Doug’s child brain, in order to survive, went through a decrease in his emotional Alarm Alert as a self-protective response. He developed a tolerance to being in that abusive church as a child but, now as an adult, all the messages of Alarm Alert came flooding back and he vomited.

Sexual abuse of children can leave its victims prone to depression, moodiness and extreme or dulled emotional responsiveness, PTSD and addictions. This tolerance to emotional pain can ultimately prove harmful because it interferes with subsequent healthy Alarm Alert messages . Therefore my idea of taking a burn victim back into a burning building, turned out as one might predict –  very badly and, caused us all more burns.

The brain can change dramatically and begin to heal when provided with the right type of support and emotional nourishment. In our case, that would not be the IFB church where my boys were sexually abused. Understanding what goes wrong during and after abuse will help  IFB abuse survivors figure out how to make it right. Our long-term hope is to heal mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Those who have suffered abuse in the IFB will be more sensitive to disrespect of their pain and any empowering by others for the IFB pastors or IFB churches where they were abused. Their Alarm Alerts will begin working again in time. Getting away from that abusive IFB church environment is good thing. So if you feel like throwing up when you go into your old church environment….perhaps you should puke and walk out.

From the Author: Lani Harper is a religious abuse survivor that has found the courage to speak out about the abusive teachings within religion. She is currently working on a book that will encompass how the teachings of her religion affect children. The working title of her book, is Dear Mom & Dad: You’re Fired. It is a much needed resource to show the populous how destructive religious teachings can be in the home; especially for children. I am looking forward to the time when it hits the market. Lani is an excellent writer and, is gifted with the ability to expose truth in such a way that it can infiltrate the heart of the reader and give genuine understanding regarding religious abuse and how it is used to destroy lives.

MY INJURY, MY SECRET: Lack of medical care

It is common in these cultures to minimize medical care for a variety of reasons. They decry the establishment of the medical community as information-gathering conspiricists complicit with the government which, though they appear to support, are in actuality extremely suspicious of its actions and question its policies and procedures that conflict with what they believe God wants them to do. But they also minimize medical care in order to hide abuse. Or they have lists of approved doctors who are complicit in hiding the abuse. These doctors are either Fundies (fundamentalists) or sympathetic to Fundies and will not report any injury that looks like abuse.

I had maybe just turned 6 when I received my first two-wheeler, and we were living in the blue house that JD (my father) had built in Waukegan (or Beach Park) Illinois. Shortly after receiving this bike, Mag (my mother) actually planned to go on a bike ride, just the two of us. I was beside myself with excitement. I never got her all to myself, always had to settle for the crumbs of her attention that I got when she didn’t have to be watching Dale and Evie all the time. Or be cooking with the older two. I was the middle child of five and expected to just find my place.

She and I prepared to leave. I had a miniature basket that looked like a small laundry basket that I tied to my handlebars. I had a bunny I wanted to bring along, and she needed a place to ride. I couldn’t very well hold her for the entirety of the ride, so I made a seat for her. We pulled out of the driveway and turned left, and I must have over corrected or lost my balance somehow, but my used-new-to-me bike and I fell into the gravel road. I skinned my left knee and my right hand was torn up. I remember crying and coming back inside, sitting on a chair just inside the door while everyone frenzied around me trying to figure out what was going on. There was some terse informing me I had to stop crying, but I was hurt and disappointed: I knew there would be no bike ride with mom and me now, and there was not.

That injury did not heal. I look back now and at the severity of the injury that does not equal the intensity of the accident and wonder: what really happened? It was nearly eight weeks, and most of the summer, I spent in and out of doctors’ offices getting my hand cleaned and treated and wrapped. My oldest sister is convinced I had a splint on my index finger, but I have always insisted that that particular event did not have a splint.

Which begins to create a spiderweb of possibilities. Was there another incident with a finger of mine getting injured that required a splint? Did they not appropriately clean my injuries from the bike accident and they got so infected I had to see a doctor? Why was my hand injury so severe? It required tons of gauze wrapped around my first two fingers, then down around my palm several times.

I also remember having this treated and returning to multiple residences during the healing process. Houses that I can’t place, that I don’t know where they were. I remember having my hand re-bandaged then returning to a bedroom where twin beds lined three of the four walls. Mine was under the window which had a window fan. Central air conditioning was not common at that time, so we used fans. I remember not wanting blankets because I was sticky with sweat, and I kept holding my bandaged hand up to the fan to cool it off.

I came in while the other girls were sleeping, and I crept across the cool, squeaky hardwood floor to my bed, eased myself onto the mattress and tried to ignore my stickiness in order to go to sleep. Why was I being treated at night? Was it a secret doctor? Why was this not the same house where the accident happened? We hadn’t moved in the interim. And Mag was not there: were my parents separated at the time? Did JD keep an extra residence to take us girls for secret time with us?

My sprained ankle when I was five was another instance I do not believe they took me to a doctor. I remember being taught to crab-walk through the house. It was so severe I could not put any weight on it, but any sensible doctor would have given me crutches. My sister Libbie taught me how to wrap it with an ace bandage, then sent me on my way to creep and crawl around the house, using hands and one foot and my rear in order to do navigate hallways and stairs.

About this time I also had a back injury, the first that left me with a life-long issue with my lower back that has plagued me off and on. I was outside playing with a ball at the blue house. This house had a garage with an automatic door opener. Someone had pushed the button to close the door, and my ball rolled under the door. Instead of going to get help or going through the house, I decided to crawl under the door. I had just enough room to get under it, but because of the time period, these doors did not have a safety sensor that would stop it if someone crossed under it while it was operating. So it closed on top of my back, and I had to sit there on all fours, screaming until someone came to find me. I was stuck and in pain, with the entire weight of the door resting on my small frame.

Another episode where I had a back injury took place at camp. I don’t know what camp is like for non-Christians, but for us fundies, when we were living in Roscoe, Illinois, we would go to the mountains in Wisconsin to Camp Joy. It took several hours by bus, and was located in an extremely remote area surrounded by acres and acres of wooded land, fields here and there, on the edge of Whitewater Lake.

My room along with numerous other girls was in the main lodge. The center room of the lodge houses the dining hall, and has one wing to the left and one to the right through double doors. Each of these wings has multiple large rooms used for sleeping, with several bunk beds in each.

Because it’s in the very hilly area of Wisconsin, they built a water superslide that goes from the top of a hill and ends in the lake. We would walk all the way up the hill, through trees and underbrush along a foot-worn path to the top of the slide and climb the stairs. The slide had three runs, so that they could send three children down at once, but they had ceased doing this, as some children on the outside two had fallen off on their way down and been injured. At this point, they only used the center run. One time I went down the slide, I gained a lot of speed, and being a small child, and perhaps because I unknowingly pulled my legs up at the last second, just before leaving the slide and sailing through the air and down into the water, I flipped around backwards. This meant when my body left the end of the slide and I careened through the air, my back hit the water first, instead of my behind and legs. My back smacked the water worse than any belly flop, and the instantaneous pain meant I struggled swimming back to the top and then to the side of the lake to get myself out of the water.

I remember crying as I was walked back to the lodge, hunched over with pain. They tried to get my shirt off so they could look at my back, but this required my grabbing the underside of the frame of the bunk above me (they had put me on the bottom bunk) in order to get my back off the bed so they could remove or lift up my shirt. Yes, in spite of the pain, they had laid me on my back in bed.

A stodgy old nurse gave me a cursory look-over, then I was put in bed to just lay there and recover. Alone. All day. Alone and crying with pain. They never took me to a doctor. They may have given me some Tylenol for pain, but the pain was so great I could not move for several days. Could not get to the dining hall, so they brought me my food. I lay on that bed with no way to count the time, knowing my friends were having fun without me.

I was told to “just rest”, but resting while enduring so much pain was next to impossible. I could not even reach my arms around to touch my back with my hands. and the bruise that emerged covered nearly the entirety of my back in a black and blue discoloration of my fair skin.

This injury prevented me from participating in camp activities for the rest of the week. I think by the end of the week, I could move around stiffly, walking like an old woman, slightly hunched over still, and had to stay with the counselors, sitting on the sidelines as everyone else got to play, run, jump, swim and cavort around the way kids do at camp.

The first time my parents took me to a doctor about my back was in middle school after testing positive for scoliosis. The testing took place during gym class, and the teacher tried to hide her alarm at the severity of the curve in my spine and the fact that my hips were not level.

The inflexibility of my spine meant that when I attempted to touch my toes while standing, I could reach no further than about mid-calf. This was not a problem with needing to stretch more; my spine simply would not bend the way it needed to because it was twisted and curved around in a pronounced S shape.

I am not sure why Mag decided all of a sudden to take my back issues seriously – I had complained about lower back pain for years; indeed, I did not remember a time without back or hip pain. But she went on a mission and found a pediatric back doctor of some sort and took me.

The doctor was a man, and coupled with my self-conscious sensitivity concerning body changes relative to puberty, I was humiliated that I had to undress and parade around scantily clad in front of a man. As I did not know how to voice my discomfort, and knew inside I’d be ignored anyways, and not knowing there were female options for doctors, I swallowed and tried to endure though I can still feel the fire of embarrassment in my cheeks as he sat behind me touching my hips and butt as he examined me. I was then sent for x-rays, after which he looked at x-rays of my physique.

He determined that he could do nothing – it was not severe enough to warrant surgery, but enough to keep observing it, and so scheduled to see me back in a few months. We went four or five times, with much the same experience and diagnosis: nothing to do but come back every few months to ensure it did not get out of hand.

After several visits like this, I told Mag I didn’t want to go anymore, that it was the same thing every time and he wasn’t able to do anything to help me. Instead of taking concern for my well-being and the health of my back as her responsibility, she never mentioned it again. I continued with low back and hip pain for more than a decade after that before I discovered chiropracty.

My entire life, Mag and JD dismissed things they did not value. They (still) do not explore something new-to-them to investigate its benefits or potential positives. They merely scoff and brush it aside, refusing to educate themselves to see if their opinion is correct.

Chiropractic care was one of these things. They scoffed: what use is cracking bones? They’d say with a tone that said more. They thought it ridiculous, worthless; these people were quacks, they told me, charlatans. People who duped their “patients” into believing they were physicians, but really they were deceitful, deceptive and Of The Devil. This “of the devil” determination was slapped on anyone and anything that fell outside the purview of our born-again Christian fundie mindset. They never researched chiropracty, never looked at or talked to any actual chiropractic doctors, just simply dismissed it without another thought.

But the degree of curvature was so severe that it had most likely developed slowly as I grew over the several years prior to my seventh grade year when they screened us. The teachers tried to hide their alarm, but urged me to tell my parents to get me checked out. The curvature prevented me from reaching my full height – the first chiropractor I saw also x-rayed me and measured the curve to be 47 degrees. At 50 degrees, surgery is the only option, but prior to this, even then there were braces and therapies to slow it down or guide the spine to grow upright instead of sideways. The chiropractor told me the curvature was so pronounced that if my spine were straight, I would be three inches taller.

Meaning, I was not allowed to grow to my full height due to lack of medical care when it would have made a difference. Thus, I stood out in my family: all my sisters grew to adult heights of about 5 feet 7 inches. They teased me as the “petite” one, the one who got Mag’s small-statured genes.

I began to see chiropractors just prior to getting married in my middle twenties. A little terrified, a little skittish – what was I doing, seeing the devil’s doctors? Feeling a little rebellious (I didn’t tell my parents what I was doing; they would have began a strongly-worded and toned lecture to tell me how astray I was), I went with my then-fiance to observe.

After he finished with my fiance, I let the doctor examine my back, though I was tentative – I had told a bit of my discomfort in previous back-examinations from my doctor experiences to my fiance, and he assured me that chiropractors did not undress you, that this particular version of medical care was very non-invasive. The doctor felt my spine through my shirt, and assured me that he could help.

Were I younger, he told me, he could actually have improved my spine by decreasing the curvature. At my age, though, he told me the best he could probably do was to get me more mobility (I was not very flexible due to the curve and how it had pushed my ribs and other bones out of place to make room for my spine) and definitely decrease my pain, increase my comfort level on a day-to-day basis. With my fiance urging me on, I decided to give it a try.

I began seeing chiropractors regularly, and as a result back pain rarely plagues me unless I have done something to strain it. My hips did not bother me again until after having babies, but even that issue is alleviated with regular adjustments. I have flexibility in my lower back that I never had before, and at the end of the day, when I lie down in bed, my back doesn’t keep me awake with the severe ache from just living, sitting, walking, standing, driving that happens in my days. And, despite what the first chiropractor told me, the curvature in my spine has improved significantly.

Multiple chiropractic doctors have independently told me the same thing that first one did: were I even 18, they could have done so much more for my back in decreasing the curvature, most likely even making my spine perfectly straight again, as well as realigning my hip. But due to my age, my bones had set and would only shift slightly. As a result of the lack of medical care in this culture, and a result of dismissing an option without researching to verify its ability to help me, my back and hips are permanently deformed, and I am physically disfigured.

I place the blame entirely at my parents’ door. Their attitude concerning chiropractors prevented me from getting help in a place that could actually have helped me. They ceased actively seeking out medical care of any sort for this issue, consigning me to a life of pain. And by lack of care, I live with the reality of being deformed when, had they explored the realities of chiropractic care instead of believing what the church told us about it, they could have fulfilled their sacred responsibility to ensure my health and well-being.

In fact, the more I have thought about it, the more I think Mag felt guilty. She may have done something to me when I was a baby that resulted in my hip being misaligned, and the reminder that it was still not correct, that I am maimed because of her and that it was an issue that plagued me throughout my life, made her hide and avoid any instance that would continue to remind her of what she had done to me. This is speculation, and she will never tell me. But given the realities of our childhood, how they purposefully injured us in order to “train” our behavior, this fits the profile.

Why else instantly and completely give up pursuing help for me for what others had determined was a serious physical malformity? Why else in this instance but no other would she let me, a child, have a say and go with my wishes when in all other instances they disregarded us? Why else not ever mention either the malformity or the pain that plagued me again? She never checked in with me on it, when she checked in on other, smaller maladies like headaches or flus. She would, however, if backed into a corner where she felt she had to admit it, blame it on me, on something I did, in a feeble attempt to exculpate herself.

Consequently, when my daughter complained of a rib hurting, I took her straight to my chiropractor. She had knocked a rib out of alignment while playing on a jungle gym, and I could not idly sit by when I knew of a tool that would help. Small things like this are ways that I purposefully walk contrary to my parents, endeavoring to be a better mother, to raise my children better. If looking at, and defining, their errors results in my learning not only how to not parent but how to parent, then I have succeeded in breaking the cycle. If I can say that is abuse, then I can identify things that are not abuse. I can free myself and move forward, but only when I know what I am moving away from.

And I will keep their secrets no longer.

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