Hello my name is Paul Johnson. I’ve been googling around the net looking for a place to copy/paste my IFB survivor story in hopes that it will help others overcome Religious oppression, whether it was from an IFB cult or otherwise:
First of all I apologize in advance for any curse words used in this testimony but I have only been a Christian for a few years and I am still working on expressing myself without using profanity. But until I have successfully rebuilt my vocabulary according to what I think is the will of God for me I feel that I need to use strong language to effectively communicate what I need to communicate here. So be warned.
I would have to start with my parents. My mom has been in the medical field as a nurse for over twenty years. I watched her work her way from CNA to RN and she is an amazing nurse. My biological father was a welder but hasn’t been for a long time due to the fact that he has always suffered from addiction to Rum and Crack. I bring my parents into this testimony because the constant “watching my mom kick my dad out of the house hold” and “watching my dad con his way back into the household until he gets too drunk/high/violent to tolerate and gets kicked out again” cycle gave me a very early hands-on training on the subject of “Bullshit” and how to “Recognize it as soon as possible and react accordingly”.
This upbringing gave me a fantastic ability to tell when/if somebody is bullshiting me as soon as possible and know whether or not to call someone out on their bullshit or to play along depending on the level and intensity of the specific bullshit being slung in my general direction.
My family’s exposure to the bullshit of the IFB cult started with two Soul Winners knocking on our door from a church in Denver, Colorado. Because of the dysfunction in my home, the cult gave my family a sense of order that we desperately needed and we fed off of it. I was not yet properly educated in how to deal with Bullshit just yet. Cornerstone Baptist Church of Greater Denver was the name of the church.
I think i was around 5 years old when we started(or so my family has told me) but i remember a lot of it very well. My family sold out on it. Even my dad bought into it for a while. And for a time, it was good. My family started spanking me and my big sister and believe it or not I do believe in spanking…only if it is done right, but that’s another subject.
But after a while as I continued to grow and mature in the IFB church, I started to develop social problems, mostly with the pastor. You see, it turns out that I have been “gifted” with the personality being a “free-thinker”…but when you are in an IFB cult, it is a curse. I was the type of person that always went out of his way to be “just a little bit different from the crowd”. I wasn’t trying to be rebellious, I just wanted to be me. Another example, is that I never really did something because everybody else is doing it. If I did or said something, it was for a reason. This sounds like just a very small and simple thing but in a cult it is an abomination!
By the time I was a teenager, I was able to see very clearly through the bullshit in the church. Because of my free-thinking personality, the pastor always found reasons to humiliate me in front of the church. For example, if I do something as terrible as “clap my hands to the music” differently than anybody else, the preacher makes fun of me behind the pulpit! For a while the abuse just started with the Preacher making fun of me in front of the whole church every time I did something just a little bit different from the crowd and label me as a rebel. In truth I just can’t help but to be creative.
But after a while, I began to call the Preacher out on his bullshit and that literally escalated into a war!
The actual war began when Pastor Alley started a church school called Denver Baptist School(or Schools I can’t remember).
We had strict dress codes, a demerit system, and capital punishment(spanking). Now, Pastor Alley finally had a system he could use to break my free thinking behavior because now he can beat me whenever I don’t conform EXACTLY like everyone else.
Of course, I didn’t conform! I knew what he was trying to do from the start and this time I wasn’t a rebel by accident, I was a rebel on purpose and a rebel with a cause! I made a secret commitment to myself that even my family doesn’t know about and this document is the first time I have even mentioned it at all. My commitment was this: I will show preacher that he can’t break me. I will show him that beating me doesn’t work.
Now the rule at the school was that for every 25 demerits you earn, that’s 5 swats. Pastor Alley started off with a couple paint sticks attached together. Of course I broke those paint sticks. I got beaten so many times and broke so many paint sticks that he upgraded to 2x4s. But eventually Pastor Alley discovered that if you wrap the wooden 2×4 with tape that it doesn’t break so, it was a 2×4 until I finally escaped the school later on in my life.
When the Pastor finally realized that I flat out refused to conform to his religion(because I saw it for what it was: BULLSHIT), he became more violent and one time when I racked up 200 demerits, he talked my parents into giving him permission to give me one swat for every demerit. I still remember like it was yesterday. He had a large dining room oak table in his office. He had one of the men in the church hold my wrists as I was stretched out on the table and the Preacher gave me 200 swats. I screamed so loud and long that I lost my voice. You can hear my blood-boiling screams from all over the church building and the students in the hallway listened and laughed me to scorn.
The damage to my body was devastating. I couldn’t sit down for a month. I’m not sure how but the beating was so bad that it somehow effected my immune system and I was bed-ridden with the flu for a month. Usually it always takes me about a week to get over the flu but I was so damaged that it really did take a month.
This 200+swat beating took place more times that I can remember. I could have allowed my spirit to be broken but when I was recovering from my first 200 swat beating I became inspired by something.
During this terrible abusive time in my life I learned about the American Revolution and how the American colonists endured terrible abuse from the British. I learned about a man named Thomas Jefferson and how the idea that every American has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I realized that in this dark time in my life I realized that I was going to pursue my own life, my own liberty and my own happiness by never becoming the Pastor’s Bitch.
And just when I was about to give up on being an individual, Thomas Jefferson of all people, and the story of how American colonists overcame tyranny, gave me the strength and courage to overcome this situation. I finally had what I needed to continue waging my war of individuality against the man of God.
By the time I turned 16 years of age, I successfully got expelled from Pastor Alley’s school twice! And the second time, the preacher wouldn’t allow my parents to put me back in. They didn’t want to put me into public school because my parents who were slaves to the IFB cult wanted to protect me from the evil public school system. So, they home-schooled me and beat me themselves instead of having the preacher do their dirty work for them.
Around this time, my mom finally started to recognized the bullshit of the church and stopped attending. In a way my mom is a survivor of the IFB cult as well and cheers me on today for not being in it. My dad, however is still a drunk and a crack head and lives on the streets because he couldn’t get the help he needed from the church…they were two busy abusing me I guess, lol.
When I got expelled from the school a second time, I burned the school’s rule book out of celebration: I won the war! But I was put in a second Christian private school. I don’t remember the name of the second christian school but it really was a nice school but it turns out that I paid a terrible price in my victory against Pastor Alley: Because I spent so much time fighting the preacher, I never had the chance to develop the character a child needs to study. Because of that, despite the school I was in and was a really good one, I got F’s the whole time I was there and dropped out. I was put in a third private christian school and was having the same problems. My mom was too busy working and paying the bills and dealing with my drunk dad to realize what was going on with me until it was too late.
By the time I was 16 years of age, I was so traumatized from the beatings that I was stuck in permanant “rebel” mode and eventually began to go out of control. Not in a violent way, just in a character way. I did what I felt like doing and didn’t let anything hold me back. It felt good at first but I began to learn the hard way that with freedom comes responsibility to manage your freedom or you will lose it. So I started just getting up in the morning and just hang out at parks and malls and movie theaters all day and then come home late at night without telling my parents. I really was out of control…I couldn’t even control myself. I didn’t know how and it was scaring me.
Finally my mom somehow got duped by Pastor Alley into becoming involved with his church again during this time and Pastor Alley talked my mom into shipping me off to a Baptist boys home out in Brewster, Nebraska. It turned out that the IFB pastor running that boys home was so abusive that he made Pastor Alley seem like a pussy in comparison.
Now here’s where you will get a good shocker: You see, the terrible thing that I was doing that gave my mom the impression that I was out of control is that she believed at the time(and so did Pastor Alley) that going to a movie theatre was a very bad sin because it’s Hollywood!
I love art, and literature, especially in the form of movies. But the only way I can go to a movie theatre is to do some odd jobs, mow a lawn here and there and sneak away from the house and watch a movie. Of course, my parents always caught me and punished me but I didn’t care because I got to watch my movie.
One day my mom was so terrified of me watching Hollywood movies that she told me that if she ever catches me going to watch a Hollywood movie at the theatre again that she’ll throw me into a boys home.
I didn’t give a flying fuck… it wasn’t like she could stop me.
But one day I did it again and got thrown into that boys home in Nebraska for it.
And guess what movie i watched! Ice Age! (you know, the first one)
What a terrible sin! I Got thrown in a boys home for a YEAR…for watching a CARTOON!
Yeah, I say FUCK the IFB CULT!
Now, here is what happened at the boys home…all for watching a cartoon:
What’s funny is that I don’t even remember the name of the boys home. I think it was Prarie Dog Baptist Boys Home. I just remember that it was in Brewster, Nebraska (population 22).
The pastor who ran the church and the boys home there is Pastor William Reeves (We just called him Bill Reeves).
When I went to that boys home, at first, the Pastor was very nice to me, my mom, and Pastor Alley who personally drove us all the way from Denver, Colorado to Brewster, Nebraska. In fact, he was so nice that I started to label him in my mind as a wuss (that’s how nice he was).
But after my mom and Pastor Alley left, he took off his proverbial mask and showed his true colors. He discriminated against me and the other three boys in the boys home(yeah there were only four boys in the boys home including me) for the same reasons Pastor Alley did.
But how he responded was very very violent. He never sexually abused me. He never sexually abused any of the other boys(as far as I know). But he did spiritually, emotionally and physically abuse us to the point of insanity and back.
I remember him sticking a torch in one boy’s face just to get his attention. He didn’t spank us with a 2×4 like Pastor Alley…instead he used a paddle carved out of a 2×6 that he named Bertha with 1/2 inch holes drilled into it.
More times than I can count he would force me to spread out on a bed face down as he with both hands would jump up in the air and use gravity to “enhance” his swing when he swatted me and the boys…only 30 swats would cause me to not sit down for a couple weeks.
He would beat our butts us with this monster paddle that he named Bertha, then get carried away and beat our arms, heads, etc. There were times he was so violent that he would throw us boys across the room. One time he punched me in the head and knocked me out.
There were times he beat me so hard and so long that I shit and pissed myself…and then he would openly announce to everyone he could find how that I shit/pissed myself, laughed me to scorn and had everybody else laugh me to scorn as well. He did this to me more times than I could count…and then beat me for shitting/pissing myself.
He also made it very clear that if I ever attempted to expose him when I got out of the boys home that he would murder me. As you can see I’m not afraid of that son of a bitch anymore and I’ll kill his ass if he ever lays hands on me again.
I lost count how many times I went to bed with bruises all over my body. Every day I lived in paralyzing fear but I refused to brake…instead I came up with a brilliant plan: I noticed that within the IFB cult, that if somebody is called to be a missionary to a distant land or a preacher and act as if he is sold out to God and becomes a fire ball — a Billy Sunday wannabe preacher boy– that Preachers don’t abuse those people as much.
So I lied to the Preacher and convinced him that God called me to be a missionary to Russia. Pastor Bill Reeves forced all four of us boys who were conveniently called to preach, to preach 15 minutes behind his pulpit every Sunday night. I became a fire-ball preacher. I was fake but the plan worked. By the time I escaped the boys home I was the least abused boy in the boy’s home. I had the preacher cry more times than I can count as he told me that he was well pleased that I am on fire for God….if he only knew that I was BULLSHITTING HIM….hey…I learned from the best of bullshitters…and that’s IFB preachers!
Imagine: I went through all this bullshit for going to a movie theatre and watching Ice Age. Ice Age must be a very wicked movie. Charles Manson must have written the script or something, lol.
Of course when I got out of the boys home, I was having so much fun with my “called to be a missionary to Russia” smoke screen that I also convinced Pastor Alley, and everybody at his church…even my own family that I was called to go to Russia.
But when I got out, I was never officially diagnosed, but I do think that I may have suffered from a form of post traumatic stress syndrome because for the first year or so after I was out of the boys home I found myself so defensive when I even thought somebody was bullying me around that I was an abusive, violent bully until I found a way to cope with my mental scars.
When I was 17, my mom finally loosened the reigns enough when it came to religion that I was finally able to escape the IFB cult. I began to explore other religions and through the influence of an uncle of mine, I became a full blown Wiccan. I still considered myself saved, though. The doctrine of salvation according to the Bible is something I held onto. So I was a saved Witch.
I didn’t get back into Christianity again until I was 21 years of age. By then I have been a Witch for four years. By the time I was 21 I learned how to deal with bitterness and Pastor Alley began to learn from his mistakes. His church no longer exhibits cult-like behavior!
He still has his school but he no longer has spankings at his school because I convinced him that it doesn’t work. So in the end, I didn’t just win the war, but there are other kids who are not going to suffer the abuse that I did at that school because I refused to become Pastor Alley’s bitch.
I can honestly say that his church is not a cult now. And believe it or not he is fully aware of his mistakes and has actually changed. Hey, I can smell bullshit a mile away…which means that I can ALSO tell when a person has truly changed. It is because of this great change in his life that I was able to finally forgive him for what he did to me and he and I are now good friends!
He didn’t become friends with me out of an attempt to cover up his crimes. In the end, I didn’t just win the war with my arch enemy, Pastor Alley, but I also saw to it to become friends.
But Pastor Reeves and I never made peace and if there is ever a way that I can put that asshole behind bars I will. The only reason I have never taken legal action is because I live in Georgia and I can’t find Pastor Bill Reeves. It’s like he disappeared. His boys home mysteriously doesn’t exist. I really don’t know what happened to him or his boys home. Also, I have no proof. I am thinking of tricking him someday (if I can find him) into confessing/bragging about it and have it recorded on a voice recorder hidden in my shirt or something but, until then, it’s my word against his and I have no way of proving it. So until I find an opportunity to bring him to justice, He is still at large at the moment, probably abusing another minor in the name of Jesus as you read this.
Now when I became a Christian at 21 years of age(on my own terms), I did immediately go back to the IFB crowd. I didn’t understand why until when I started writing this testimony (i’m 26 years old now). But, I guess I have been “conditioned” to default to the IFB crowd. IFB is the only form of Christianity I’ve ever known. I have spent the last five years bouncing between the IFB crowd and the Southern Baptist Crowd. As I’m writing this, I just got done leaving an IFB church again.
This last part of the testimony is sort of embarrassing but also interesting to me because it seems that even at the age of 26, I’m still finding my way back to IFB churches. I am trying to break away from it permanently, but it’s hard because the last time I broke away from an IFB church a year ago, I lost my social life in the process, because when you are part of an IFB church that exhibits cult-like behavior(which is 9 out of 10 of them) and then you leave, then they suddenly act as if you never existed.
Right now I’m in the process of building my social life again from the ground up. I have a close walk with God and that’s how I deal with my scars. Sorry for the profanity. I’m sorry if my curse words make me seem like a hypocrite but I’m a young Christian and I’m still in the process of learning to communicate without the use of profanity.
I hope this story helps/inspires any other victims out there.
My name is Paul M. Johnson and I’m an IFB cult survivor.