Monthly Archives: March 2013

Women in the Early Church

Early church history has to be one of the most enlightening subject matters that one can endeavor to study. It is fraught with “truths” that expose false doctrines and dogmas that mankind, throughout history, has propagated in order to subjugate women and keep them from their rightful positions in the church and in society. Exposing these truths is paramount in order to undo the damage that centuries of male dominance has done. Because of ego, pride and control, man has relegated women to a place of servitude that God never intended. Church history is one of the best sources of study, in conjunction with scripture, to expose lies of the religious system and pilfer through the mess of twisted man-made doctrines, dogmas and rules that have affected our race of humanity throughout the ages. As a member of a race of people that has been stripped of honor and dignity throughout history and set up for abuse, the changes in the manuscripts, the twisting of scripture, the man-made dogmas and rules and every other “change” MUST be pointed out and brought to the attention of the masses. It is these “changes” and “man-made” theologies that have not only caused great damage to the cause of Christ, but they have led to the sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children throughout history.

Early church history puts a magnifying glass on “theology” and exposes the drastic changes that man has made in order to bring about this subjugation. The following excerpts are from “Early church history to the death of Constantine” by Edward Backhouse, 1906. I would like to point out some important things that this tidbit of history reveals, emphasizing them by making them bold.

The reading was followed by exposition and exhortation of a very simple character, those who ministered being mindful to speak as “oracles of God,” and “in the strength” supplied from Him. It was the same with prayer. What was offered was from the heart, under the sense of the present need. No such thing as a form of prayer is to be met with in the worship of the primitive Church. “We lift up our eyes towards heaven and spread out our hands because we are innocent; we uncover our heads because we have nothing to be ashamed of; we pray without a monitor because we pray from our heart.”  So far as can be known, not even the Lord s Prayer was used as a customary part of worship; neither the New Testament nor the earliest Church writers, until we come to Tertullian, give any intimation of its being so used.

The early church was “innocent” of many of the abuses that today’s church is guilty of. The fact that both men and women were equal and worshipped as such, prevented the abuses toward women that we see today in many religious sects. The church, over time, has “crippled” itself and, is turning masses of men and women away from God as a result of the “hidden” abuses that lurk underneath its mantle of righteousness. Needless to say, it has turned about and is no longer “innocent.” It has much to be ashamed of.

The ministry was not confined to one reader or one expositor, or even to the presbyters, the appointed teachers of the Church. [No CHURCH LEADERS or HIERARCHY] When the Holy Ghost, on the day of Pentecost, descended on the disciples women as well as men and they began to speak with other tongues, Peter declared that what was then happening was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel regarding the spiritual gifts of the New Dispensation. The free exercise of these gifts, thus predicted and thus inaugurated, continued for some time to adorn the worship of the Church ; as we find in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, when the congregation came together, one had a Psalm, another a teaching, another a revelation of prophecy, another a tongue, another an interpretation. Nor were the women excluded. The Apostle indeed forbids them to “speak” . . .), but he unmistakably sanctions their praying and prophesying, by directing that they should not minister with their heads uncovered.

The early church did not exclude anyone from worshiping, reading or speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Today, women have been completely removed from being able to do this in many religious sects.  Some are adamant about putting their “thumb of control” upon those women that wish to serve; keeping them from God’s work.  Women were never excluded due to gender as they are today. This change came about, as a result of ego, pride and control on the part of men. The end result of this is that women have been robbed of honor, dignity and respect in every place man has relegated them to a subservient position. This “subservience” has led to the sexual mutilation, exploitation and abuse of women worldwide.

Anyone who has read the many articles I have written regarding early church history and the different doctrines mainstream religion teaches, will notice that I constantly point out the roles of women in the early church. This is a MUST due to what has been done to women as a result of these changes.  This is yet another passage that shares with us the fact that women were not excluded from worshiping, praying and prophesying.  Other excerpts that I have made have shown that they had positions of leadership in the early church; all of which, have been done away with by “men” not God.  Every opportunity, I will hit this topic regarding women until such a time as people take notice and realize the dangers and abuses of such teachings and, how they have affected women everywhere in regard to “religion” and society.

“A Woman of Valor”

annfrankAll during my Christian life, the men behind the pulpits in the churches I attended, spent so much time degrading women that it affected my self-esteem. It not only affected my self-esteem, it affected the relationships within my home regarding how each of us treated each other and how we responded to each other.

I remember preachers preaching on the “Proverbs Woman” as if no woman could ever live up to that standard. All the while, they would preach that we were not allowed to hold jobs or have authority over men. Constantly, they came across with a “double standard”. We should be like the proverbs woman, yet were not allowed to be!  What they failed to recognize was that God allowed for women to be “business women” and “leaders.” You cannot be a successful business woman without having authority over men. God gives authority, position and power to both genders in the Old Testament. Otherwise, Deborah would not have been a “judge in Israel and the General of the Israeli army” (Telushkin); Huldah, would not have been a prophetess; Miriam would not have been a prophetess and called of God to help lead the children of Israel out of Egypt along with Moses and Aaron.

The valorous women is first characterized by her goodness to her husband. “She is good to him, never bad”; he in turn, totally TRUSTS her.

She also takes care of all her family’s needs: “She rises while it is still night, and supplies provisions for her household” (31:15).

[My thoughts: Providing for one’s household is not just a “man’s” position. There is nothing wrong with dual income households; and yet, fundamentalists preach that this is “wrong” and a “sin.” Proverbs 31:15, says otherwise.]

Unlike the stereotypical stay-at-home wife as the preferred model of womanhood, the woman of valor is a businesswoman, who “makes cloth and sells it, and offers (for sale) a girdle to the merchant” (31:24). In addition, she is:

  • WISE – “Her mouth is full of wisdom” (31:26).
  • KIND – “Her toungue with kindly teaching” (31:26)
  • GENEROUS – “She gives generously to the poor” (31:20).
  • HARD-WORKING – “Her lamp never goes out at night” (31:18).
  • A GOOD MANAGER – “She oversees the activities of her household” (31:27).
  • CONTENTED – “Her children make her happy” (31:28), and
  • LAUDED – “Her husband praises her” (31:28).

                                                   – – Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Biblical Literacy

It is quite amazing how men throughout history have subjugated women to the “roles” that THEY say is what God “wants” for them and “meant” for them to have. They have forgotten that God is “no respecter of persons,” and this includes gender. It is disheartening how scripture gets twisted because of “ego”,  “pride” and “control”; and, men’s opinions become the  “truth” and “standard” by which we are “forced” to live.   It has nothing to do with love, respect, dignity and honor.

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

Donna Lynn Trout – New Bethany Home for Girls, Arcadia, La.

My time in New Bethany Home for Girls in Arcadia, La., was from November 1985 to October, 1986. I was put in New Bethany by my Mother. I just wanted to be left alone with my boyfriend, but my Mother did not “approve” of him. So, there I was in Arcadia, La. looking at a compound behind a 12 foot fence topped with barb wire and electric wire. There was a line of girls all dressed the same – blue skirt, white shirt and red vest.. They were all walking in a line over the road which was also fenced in to another building. My first thought as we pulled up was, “What the hell!” Little did I know that this was where I was being brought.

We entered the building and were greeted by Miss Nora. She was a scary looking woman. I was led off by another girl to change my clothes. She told me that once I learned the rules and how to fit in, everything would be fine. I told her it didn’t matter because I wasn’t staying. I left the bathroom to find my Mom and tell her I wasn’t staying there; but she was gone. She left me there alone. So, I decided to rebel. We went for supper, but I refused to eat. I never ate that kind of food before — okra and beans. I was from Michigan. We didn’t eat that. The next day, I didn’t eat, didn’t talk. Nothing. I would get out one way or another. I did this for days until they decided to tie me up and force the food down my throat. That’s when I met Mack Ford. He told me the devil was in me and he was there to bless him out of me. After this, my plan was to run. They shut the outside world away from us. Nothing was familiar to us or what we had ever known. We weren’t allowed to cut our hair, but God forbid we let it get in our eyes.  Many of us just wore pony tails. Church services often entailed standing in front of the church during the service while Mack Ford degraded us. They read any and all letters going in and going out of the home. They monitored everything. They took so much of our stuff and threw it away. Our parents provided what snacks we received, but, they stayed locked in a room. We did not have free access to what our parents would send us. If we were good, we would get them like once a month and a few minutes outside. No television. No radios. One five minute phone call a month to our parents. The calls were always on speakerphone and they listened to everything to make sure we did not tell our parents anything about how they were treating us.

I tried to tell my parents once what was happening, but the phone was taken from me and then I received licks from Miss Nora. That woman could hit, but not as hard as Mack Ford and David Garris. I don’t remember any good times from there. I do remember talking about running with Stacy Liner and Kelly Riley and a Lisa Chic from California, but Nora had the room bugged and confronted us during devotions that very night.

I was put on strict watch then, and was not allowed to speak with anyone. I couldn’t go to the bathroom by myself and received “licks” once again. I left for three days in January for an ear surgery and stayed in a hotel with my parents. I tried to convince them of what was happening at the home, but they thought I just wanted out. I did, but with reason. So, I went back to hell at New Bethany and decided to fake it. I played along and acted like them and acted like I got “saved”. That was hard. I really had no choice. I played the role for a few months but, seeing all the beatings taking place and the constant degrading of us girls daily took its toll on me. The bullshit that happened every single day caused me to decide to run. Others tried to run, why not me? A couple of the girls made it, I think, because they never were brought back and were never found. They never checked the hidden wells on the property either. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they found someone there.

So, one night, I decided to do it. I was doing my watch and had put paper in the doors when I closed them to get back out. I made it outside, threw a shirt over the fence and almost made it over when I was grabbed and pulled back down. It was two boys and behind them stood Mack Ford and Mr. Garris.  They pulled me down and I began to fight. I gave them a hell of a fight, but they over-powered me. Mack grabbed me by the arm and led me back into the house. Once inside, Nora and three girls took me. I was so tired and sore and didn’t know what was going to happen. They took me to the back and there stood Mack Ford with his wooden paddle. I swear it was a 2 X 4 with a carved handle. He told me to grab my ankles and began hitting me. I wanted to die. How could someone hit a child so much! After 13 hits, he stopped. I was hurting so badly that I was almost numb. Then he handed the paddle to Mr. Garris and he began beating me. He stopped at 10. I could hardly move the next day. I was put on pots, scrubbing pots for hours with a steal pad, standing while the Bible was read to me. I didn’t lay or sit on my back side for over a week. I showered only the front of my fingers. My fingers were so tore up that you could see the bones. I wrapped them with toilet paper. After that, I shut down. I didn’t take any phone calls. After 3 months, my Mom knew something was wrong and she got me out over night. She had to FIGHT to get me out of there. I was lucky not to have dealt with the sexual abuse that some of the other girls were dealing with. My heart goes out to the ones that had to put up with that.

“Unwisdom”

Throughout the last few years, my studies of Bible and history have been invaluable in teaching me lessons of “truth.”  I find it amazing and refreshing to read perspectives from other scholars and authors, both current and past, that bring new  “meaning” and “application” of scripture. One such author is Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. Now, one might be asking themselves, “Why in the world is this author quoting a Rabbi?” My response to that would be this – Because many are endowed with wisdom and we must be willing to learn from those that God has blessed with not only wisdom, but knowledge. To gleen from the best of the best, is not only a privilege, but an honor. Though our perspectives and beliefs may differ, I can still learn truths that can teach me the right “application” of the knowledge that God has given me.

In Telushkin’s book, Biblical LIteracy, of which I quote often, there is a chapter written about King Solomon that I found very intriguing. In this chapter, Telushkin writes the following:

Solomon’s decline seems to have started with his decision to enter into numerous “diplomatic marriages” with other kings’ and princes daughters. Although such marriages help procure peaceful relations with Israel’s neighbors, they also bring into Jerusalem the thing God most opposes in Israel: idol worship.

To accommodate his wives’ religious needs (the Bible speaks, one hopes hyperbolically, of seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, see 1 Kings 11:3), Solomon erects temples at which they can worship their idols. One might have thought that this was intended to be a temporary measure, that a man possessing Solomon’s wisdom would be capable of winning over his wives to his monotheistic beliefs. Unfortunately–and the Bible never explains how this happened–the elderly Solomon is more influenced by his wives than they by him: “In his old age, his wives turned away Solomon’s heart after other gods.” In one of the Bible’s most shocking verses, we learn that this wisest of all Jewish kings, the man who built the Temple, became a follower of Ashtoreth, the goddes of the Phoenicians, and of Milcom, the god of the Ammonites (1 Kings 11:4-5).

The young man who had once esteemed wisdom over money grows into a man who is overly fond of wealth. “All King Solomon’s drinking cups were of gold, and all the utensils…were of pure gold, silver did not count for anything in Solomon’s days” (1 Kings 10:21). That Solomon drinks only from gold cups is not an impressive detail, certainly not in comparison to the lives of such biblical figures as Moses, Jeremiah, and Isaiah.

Solomon also ceases to be a wise ruler of men. He starts imposing high taxes on his subjects. To collect the taxes efficiently, he divides Israel into twelve administrative districts, each ruled by an officer appointed by him and each responsible for supplying one month of Solomon’s annual budget. Given that Solomon maintains, to cite one example, forty thousand stalls for his horses, and twelve thousand horsemen (1 Kings 5:6), there is reason to suspect that the taxes were onerous. — Telushkin, Biblical Literacy, Pgs 248-249.

Telushkin goes on to talk about how Solomon also imposed forced labor on the people and multiplied horses unto himself. All this, eventually making Solomon a Monarch that “ceased to be admired” by the people he ruled. He goes on to state that,

His power and prestige spare him from being exposed to much of his subjects’ rage, which in the end is focused on his arrogant, and far less wise, son, Rehoboam. Solomon’s father, David, had spent forty years consolidating the Israelite empire. Within weeks of Solomon’s death, that empire has been destroyed–permanently. — Telushkin, Biblical Literacy, Pg 249.

What a tragic story of how power, prestige and money can corrupt even the most well-intentioned individual. Not only this, the repercussions of this greed for power, prestige and wealth led to the destruction and downfall of an entire empire of people–permanently..

Today, the same tactics are on display across America. We have a government that has imposed high taxes on the people. Spending is out of control. Power, prestige and wealth line the pockets of those elected to look out for the best “interests” of the common people. The government “elite” live above the people they serve and are not held to the same standard. The “common man” has no more say so in the direction of the country he loves. What does one think the outcome will be of such things?

We also see this same scenario across America with many religious institutions and the leaders that run them. The power, prestige and wealth they have amassed have caused them to become arrogant and self-seeking. Abuses abound underneath the “righteous” mantle the churches wear. Countless numbers of women and children are being emotionally, spiritually, physically and sexually abused as a result. What does one think the outcome of this will be?

The repercussions of a person of power, prestige and wealth that has gone astray is always the destruction of people’s lives as well as the destruction of the individual’s life.  It causes people to become angry to a point of distrust. Thus, they will find themselves in a constant fight with any policies that the leadership tries to impose. In government, we see this happening. Our country is divided and the expanse of the division grows wider by the day.  In religious institutions, the division is wide and growing ever wider between the “church” and those they “serve.”  Many are turning their backs on the church and God as a result.  Those wounded by these “systems” find themselves broken, silenced and shunned while the  “system” moves forward with  a swath of destruction across America that is unconscionable; leaving behind many dying and wounded who will be permanently destroyed as a result. All this without regard to love, compassion, ethics, mercy and conscience.

The “Unwisdom” of Solomon can teach us “wisdom” if we allow it to. Is it too late to overhaul the “systems” and right our country? Can the abuses that lurk underneath all this power and wealth be eradicated?  Only God knows.

Perspective

perspective

It’s always interesting to hear a differing point of view. What is even more fascinating than hearing those views, is hearing “why” someone believes as they do and they use documentation to support it. Sadly, we all know that some documentation such as “scripture,” can be used as support for differing view points. How does one decide which point of view to believe once presented with the facts of each if the documentation presented supports both points of view? I do not have the answer to that. However, I do realize that understanding opposing views can be beneficial in helping us to treat others the way we would wish to be treated. Changing “perspective” changes behavior and attitude.

One of the things that I have found difficult to do is to extract completely that mindset or belief system that was instilled in me after more than 18 years in an Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult. Although I have “de-progammed” myself, I have not completely “reprogrammed” myself. There are times that I find myself falling back into the same thought processes and, usually, these thought processes bring fear; ultimately, this fear causes much worry. In order to undo this pattern, it means that I have to reprogram myself by changing my thinking “on purpose”; refusing to give time and effort to the old way of thinking. Is this easy? No. Can it be done? I believe so.

Deprogramming requires replacing the “old” with the “new”. Doing away with all the rituals and habits that became routines in your life and changing them. Incorporating new knowledge, through books, magazines and seminars, can help in the deprogramming process; and of course, a good counselor makes a difference too.

All of this said, I came across a “different perspective” that I wanted to share from the book, Biblical Literacy, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. Although, I understand his perspective, what’s refreshing is that he also understands the “Christian” perspective. Throughout Telushkin’s books, he makes it quite clear that he has taken the time and effort to “understand” the way Christians believe. When I think about this, it makes me wonder how often I did the same with those that opposed my views. Truthfully, I didn’t. No one had ever set an example of this to me! Therefore, I never witnessed it before to learn to do it. Telushkin, through his many books, has shown me that it’s okay to learn about others and their beliefs while keeping to mine. By doing so, it affects my “perspective” which affects my “behavior” and causes me to treat others with more grace, respect and love.

Here’s the story with a different perspective from the book, Biblical Literacy:

“For fundamentalist Protestants, and for many other Christians as well (particularly in the past), what endows the Hebrew Bible with particular significance is its presumed prophecies about the coming of Jesus. For them, the Book of Isaiah is deemed particularly important, since it is credited with two of the most significant such prophecies. Christian translators have generally rendered Isaiah 7:14–a prophecy that Isaiah makes to King Ahaz (circa 785 B.C.E.)–as follows: “Therefore, the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Hebrew for “God is with us”; Matthew 1:22-23 similarly translates this verse from Isaiah as “a virgin…).

For several reasons, Jews have never understood this passage as meaning what fundamentalist Christians claim it does. First, and most important, almah, which Christians have usually translated as “virgin,” actually means “young woman.” The Hebrew word for virgin is betulah. While a young woman may also be a virgin, if Isaiah intended to prophesy the miracle of a virgin giving birth, would he not, if for no other reason than to avoid ambiguity, have used the word betulah, since it has no other meaning other than virgin?

Second, the prophecy’s context makes it clear that God was sending a sign to King Ahaz, and was not speaking of a child who would be born more than seven centuries later (would you be convinced by a prophetic sign given in 2005 C.E. that would be fulfilled in 2705?). Thus, Isaiah tells Ahaz that “the young woman,” not “a young woman,” shall conceive, thus implying that he is alluding to a young woman known to the king. Probably, Isaiah is referring to Ahaz’s young bride, the queen, and to a son who will be granted the couple as a kind of replacement for the little princes Ahaz had earlier sacrificed (II Chronicles 28:3). While one is free to question the justice of giving an infant to a man guilty of such horrific child abuse, Hezekiah, the child who shortly thereafter is born to the queen, is, unlike his father, loyal to the traditions of David.” — Biblical Literacy

When I read this different perspective, it made sense. Logically speaking, that is. All my life, I have heard people question “why” Jews cannot see the prophecy about Christ in Isaiah. Well, one reason could be because they aren’t reading English. They are reading Hebrew. Secondly, they are, by all accounts, looking logically at a prophecy given to the King that would be fulfilled at that time, not centuries later.

Perspective – It is definitely interesting to learn others’ views and perspectives. Does knowing this different perspective change mine, somewhat? Yes, absolutely! It makes me realize that I have a lot to learn and that I cannot be “dogmatic” about this issue and force “my way” on others.  Does it have to change my perspective? No. I don’t have to let it; but that would be very closed minded of me. A closed mind can show others that we have arrogance and pride, not humility.  Broadening our perspectives and genuinely understanding others’ points of view not only leads to treating others with more respect and grace, it leads to peace and unity. There are many people in the world that will refuse to even consider another “perspective” when it comes to “beliefs”. Mainly, this is because religious institutions all want total control over the masses with their “right way”. Those of us “indoctrinated” by these institutions into their “way” or “belief,” are usually not open to differing views. Obviously, when we look at all the thousands of religions out there, we must realize that we may not have what we think we have; or, our institution may have warped the truth just a bit to make it conform to “their way” of thinking or belief. If thousands are using the same verses to support their beliefs, how do we know which is the right one? Again, I do not know. But I will continue to expand my knowledge; which expands understanding; which brings about changes in me. God will do the rest. He can do in me, what I cannot do.

These are just my thoughts out loud to help others to sincerely consider their “perspectives”. Perspectives change as knowledge expands; doctrines and dogmas do not necessarily do that.

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

kimberlyhowardFrom the Administrator: This past year, I have had the extreme privilege and honor of helping numerous victims of sexual, emotional, physical, and spiritual abuse to tell their stories. Each one affected my heart in such a way that it ignited a passion in me to help expose this type of institutional abuse. I can think of no greater way to help than to make sure their voices are heard regarding such abuse. Women and children are the most vulnerable sect of human society. To take away their honor and dignity and self-worth and, replace it with shame, guilt and self-deprecation, is the worst possible crime one can commit on any human being. Utilizing religion to incite violence toward a woman or a vulnerable child is the greatest injustice. Using God and the Bible to inflict harm on one of God’s “little ones” deserves the strongest punishment available. There is no excuse for “bullies for God”.  These “bullies for God” stop at nothing to inflict their “will” on others at the cost of “destroying the victim”.

Kimberly’s story is one that I hear often. She was emotionally and psychologically and spiritually abused all in the “name of God”. God will not pardon those that carry his name in vain (See, The Third Commandment, What it Really Means.). Thankfully, this gives the victim a little hope since many perpetrators of abuse “in the name of God” have escaped justice. I am so GLAD that in the end, God will see that justice is served.  Here’s Kimberly’s Story:

Arc-06 – Kimberly Ann Howard

My name is Kimberly Ann Howard. I am a survivor of the New Bethany Home for Girls in Arcadia, La. I attended New Bethany from February, 1982 through April, 1983. I was sent there by my parents as a result of drug abuse and repeated runaway attempts.

Though not sexually abused myself, I was aware of some other girls who were. Teresa Trahan, a female staff member, sexually abused different girls at different periods during my stay there.  This was common knowledge and in some cases spoken of openly among the girls. Another girl, Kim Link, confided in me about sexual advances made by Bro. Jewell. This later was exposed and he, along with his family, left the home. He was never reported to the authorities.

One of my best friends had an ongoing relationship with Craig Clark.  It was very difficult to get her to see the reality of what was taking place. She later became a staff member, and then left. To this day, she still has some contact with him.

As for our living conditions, they were horrible. We were only allowed four sheets of toilet paper for urinating and eight for bowel movements. Doors were sometimes left open in the bathroom to ensure that we weren’t masturbating with a tampon (What teenager even thinks of those kinds of things?). Medicine was distributed by Miss Shipman as she saw fit. On a few occasions when I had a cold, Miss Shipman gave me antibiotics that were prescribed for someone else. Also, though there was a gym, we had no exercise. We were never allowed to run and jump.

For part of my stay there, we were allowed outside for one hour per week within the fenced barriers. At some point this stopped and we only had the three to four minutes it took to get from the house to the school or the house to the church.

Something else that I am confused about to this day is that many of us didn’t have our menstrual cycles for the first few months after we arrived, and some never at all. I myself was in the home 6 months before mine resumed. I can only assume that it was the constant stress that caused this.

I was paddled on numerous occasions with a heavy wooden board, or paddle. The “swats” or “licks” were between three and twenty or thirty, depending on what I had done, or not done. They were extremely painful and left bruises and marks. I very clearly remember Miss Nora paddling Michelle fifteen or twenty times and then the paddle broke. Miss Nora picked up a new paddle and continued to paddle her about twenty more times.

I also saw Doreen Spangler after Mack Ford beat her. She had a black eye and a swollen face. Though I was not there to witness it, staff member, Miss Gala, later told me that she was there trying to restrain Doreen and had witnessed the whole thing. I have witnessed Mack Ford whipping girls across the back, buttocks and legs with kindling wood from the wood pile. I have seen so much more, but it is too exhausting to go into and it would fill a book.

All this, I survived. The emotional and psychological abuse I suffered far outweighed the horrid living conditions.

Not one day passed when we were not told that we were whores, and drug addicts, sinners and devil’s spawn. The preachers would leap from the pulpit, on top of the pews, screaming and spitting in our faces, “Sinners! You are going to Hell!” Over and over! Every night, they degraded us, yelling, telling us the horror of who we were and how we’d suffer in hell. They told us our mother’s would burn in hell for wearing pants, or working outside the home. If our parents were divorced they’d burn in hell. We’d burn in hell for cutting our hair, or wearing eye make-up. If you looked at the boys, or men that were occasionally there at the home, you’d burn in hell –  We were told these types of things over and over, everyday.

I was 15 years old, and already had self-esteem issues. I became afraid. I was terrified to fall asleep at night in case I woke up in hell. If I had bad thoughts, I believed God could never love me. I felt like a trapped animal. I couldn’t tell my parents anything about what was happening. All mail coming and going, were intercepted and read. Phone calls were on a speaker phone with a staff member in attendance. If you told your parents, you’d get whipped and your parents were told you were lying and homesick. All parental rights were signed over to Mack Ford for you to stay at the home. And, you must remember that 90% of those at the home were “troubled” teens that would not be believed anyway. How could such abuse take place?

After I left, I ended up in a mental hospital for a month. I made bad choices with drugs and alcohol. I have been sober a number of years now, and I take responsibility for my choices.

Some of the long-term effects of New Bethany are still with me till this day. I still have nightmares, at least three or four times a year. When I was pregnant with my last child, I had dreams about Mack and Nora coming and taking my daughter from me. I hate church and have nothing to do with it as a result of what they did to me. I mistrust anyone who is a Christian. There were many times I’d think and get high to drive away the fear of hell in the past. I am still bitter and angry and, still have low self-esteem at times.

Many of my feelings have been pushed down inside of me all these years because I had no one to talk to about it. I cannot imagine the fires this abuse has fueled in my life.

Now, I am an adult and sober. I have a home and a wonderful family. I am going to an international, culinary college to become a chef. Here it is, 13 years later, and I finally feel I have the strength, emotionally, to go and tell someone about this.

My greatest concern is for the children still in Mack Ford’s homes. It is my belief that New Bethany home for Girls should be shut down and Mack Ford and his staff imprisoned for the abuse of hundreds of children, including myself.

I can only hope, after 13 years, someone will be able to help me and listen. What happened to me is past now. It only is alive in my mind and my heart. But, there are so many other children, suffering and scared, that are still trapped in that home. I hope my statements will help those children before it’s too late.

Kimberly Ann Howard – August 9, 1996.

When I wrote this many years ago, I never dreamed that I would be able to find a measure of healing of the many psychological and emotional wounds that I was carrying. Thankfully, about fifteen months ago, I came across a facebook group that literally saved me. It was a group of survivors that had also endured the abuse under Mack Ford and his staff. Amidst this group of survivors were other abuse survivors that came out of the same cult religion that Mack Ford was part of. Finally, I found people who understood my pain; that knew what I had gone through and what I was going through, even now. I also made some special friends in this group that helped me to find this measure of healing – Simone, Jo Anna, Theresa, Kim Tere and Rhonda – I truly believe that you ladies have made all the difference in my life. You have helped me beyond any means I ever thought possible. My life is better today because of you all.

–        Kimberly Ann Howard – March 24, 2013

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Other Documents from Survivors of New Bethany Home for Girls

Arc-04 Laura Blake          Arc-05 Lisa Blanchard

Other Survivor Stories from New Bethany Home for Girls

Simone’s Story          Kim Holt’s Story

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The New Bethany Survivors have put all there stories into a book that is FREE to everyone. It can be downloaded as a .pdf document. Please feel free to share it with everyone! Just click the link below.

header6The New Bethany book

Global Scope and Magnitude of Violence Against Women

This past year has been a wake-up call to me that violence against women has a global scope and VAWmagnitude that the media is turning a blind eye to. As women, we must ask ourselves what we can do to help put an end to this epidemic that spans across all societies across the world. The global scope and magnitude of the violence is a direct result of the religious and cultural “indoctrination” that takes place to proliferate this “inequality” of the sexes.

Male-dominated societies push through the “belief systems” that enable them to continue to oppress and suppress women from positions of authority and power throughout the world. Women in positions of authority that have the power and influence to affect changes in law, would absolutely stop much of the violence. Women do not tolerate abuse or, abuse on their children; men do. If men TRULY desired to end the violence, they absolutely could by using “thought or behavior reform” and, the same methods they have always used AGAINST women, to reverse behavior and attitudes that lead to abuse. They could also put permanent laws in place to protect women.  They could prosecute 100% of the perpetrators.

The magnitude of the abuse:

Chart1

Religious indoctrination plays a major role in the behaviors and attitudes of men toward women. The religious manuscripts in existence have been proven to have many thousands of changes; many of which, have eradicated women from the religious roles they once held in the days of the early church. Changes have been made in order to dishonor and degrade women. Interpretations of scripture are twisted to teach that men are “superior”.  Why would men do this? Why would men change “scripture” to eliminate women in leadership in any capacity within religious circles? This is not difficult to answer. It keeps women in a position of inequality and submission that leads to total control; that leads to sexual exploitation (see my articles on Sexual Exploitation of Women in Cults, How Submission is Obtained: The Cult Rationale and, How Submission is Obtained: Personal Abuse)

Thought reform (also known as behavior modification), has been a major tool used by men to keep women in a place of inequality and submission; thus, enabling the abuses talked about in the following study that I am about to give you.  This study reveals just how bad the war on women really is. Every woman must educate herself on the statistics, and the reality, of what is truly taking place in not only this country, but across the world. We must be exceedingly “aware” of the changes in law that affect our equality, freedoms and protections.  As a race of people, we must take steps to protect ourselves and our children from this abuse. We do not have to put ourselves at the mercy of abusive men in any situation. Unfortunately, oftentimes, we are “forced” into this abusive environment by men whose only real agenda is sexual control and power. Through “religious” laws (like Sharia) interwoven into civil laws, women are “forced” to endure the torture, sexual mutilation, physical abuse, incest, rape, humiliation and trauma that men perpetrate against them. As a result, of these religious laws, as a result of religious indoctrination, as a result of the forced submission and sexual inequality, women and children are left at the mercy of abusive and perverse men in all societies across the globe. MEN can STOP the VIOLENCE and bring EQUALITY – IF THEY WANTED TO!

Global magnitude of the violence against women.

chart2

What are some of the steps we can take to ensure our safety? Let’s put some thought to this and really figure out what is necessary to stop violence against us and our children.

  1. Women should be vying for positions of leadership all over America within Government. Women in Government protect themselves and children.
  2. Women should be ever alert to changes in law that take away their rights and protections. Many times men will enact “laws” using the “MORAL” excuse as a blanket to deprive women of sexual equality; thus, enslaving them to their agendas of “exploitation”, control and submission to THEM.
  3. Women that have been abused MUST speak out about that abuse! The STATISTICS are so badly understated that it gives the impression that it is not as bad as it really is!
  4. Women MUST be courageous in taking action against ALL perpetrators of abuse where there are laws in place to protect them from it.

IF we do NOT do this, these laws will fall away leaving us NO protection. Think about this! The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was not renewed last year because the religious “right” said it would cost too much money to help abused women. Do we really believe that they cared one wit about  money on this issue? Of course not! It’s about maintaining the power imbalance and control over women.

Here’s an excerpt from the Huffington Post online on February 14, 2012.

Protecting women from violence and abuse has been an issue of bipartisan cooperation since President Clinton signed the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994. It was reauthorized with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2000 and again in 2005. Not this year.

On Feb. 2, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation (S. 1925) reauthorizing VAWA. The bill was sponsored by Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) — who is not on the committee — and cosponsored by 34 senators from both parties. Nevertheless, the legislation attracted no GOP support among committee members and passed out of committee on a party-line vote of 10-8. It was, according to Leahy’s office, the first time VAWA legislation did not receive bipartisan backing out of committee.

“Helping victims of domestic violence shouldn’t be partisan,” said Leahy in an interview with The Huffington Post. “I remember when I was a prosecutor and I’d go to a crime scene at 2:00 in the morning where [there were] victims of domestic violence. … I never remember the police saying, ‘Well, we can only investigate this if it’s a Democrat or a Republican or whatever else. Their reaction was, ‘How do we find the person who did this?’ It’s outrageous to make this a partisan issue.” – Huffington Post, Feb. 14, 2012

“But VAWA is facing well-organized opposition, and as Jillian Rayfield reported, it’s coming almost entirely from the religious right movement [emphasis mine].

The socially conservative Family Research Council asked supporters to help it oppose the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act because, the group says, the “real abuse” is how much it will waste taxpayer dollars.” – MSNBC’s Madowblog.com, Feb. 7, 2013

However, President Obama signed it back into law this year to provide women protection from domestic abuse. What if he hadn’t done so? Why isn’t this law PERMANENT? Why is it TEMPORARY and must be “voted on” at the end of its term? Does that make any sense at all? Let’s protect women “temporarily” until such a time as we have a man in office that decides it’s not worth renewing because his “religious” beliefs degrade women anyway? What is wrong with people in government that this needs to be voted on? This is a moral and ethical issue here. This should be a PERMANENT law here in this country.

If women across the globe are going to EVER gain their honor and dignity back, their rights and equality, then we MUST speak out about ABUSE of all kinds. WE MUST REPORT IT. We MUST strive to get into government positions that will allow us to affect changes in law. Why does one think that all these women were shot down by the MEDIA in the last four years? Katheryn Lane, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Hilary Clinton. These women were viciously “discredited” and “attacked” by the media and, it was not because they were not qualified for the positions they were vying for. They were discredited because they were WOMEN that DARED to run for an office that would enable them the POWER to affect change for women all over this country; changes that would stop the power imbalances in government, changes that would stop the abuse and afford women the protections they have been denied oftentimes, changes that would give women the courage to report ALL abuses because they would not have to worry about men shaming and humiliating them and hurting them any longer. WOMEN do not tolerate abuse. Let’s let that sink in for a moment.

If we women are going to change America and bring equality of the sexes, protection of women and children and, equality of power, then we must stand together as a WHOLE and do our best to put women in these positions! We cannot let ourselves be divided by MEN’S agendas as the media “portrayes” them. We cannot let the MEDIA “LABEL” those that try to make a difference for women everywhere.

Labeling:

Here is what “labeling” does.  It attempts to dehumanize a person or race so that dismissing them or their opinions is much easier.  Choosing not to address someone individually who challenges the toxic faith places a blanket negative label on all who would agree with that person.  Those who disagree with what is taught are labeled as “detractors,” “malcontents” and “traitors”, who would destroy the ministry or organization.  These labels then become rallying points under which other followers can be moved to action to squelch a revolt.  Once the label is placed, it becomes more difficult to see the person as a human with real needs and the potential for good judgment.  This is exactly what religious leaders have done to women throughout history!   — Religion’s Cell: Doctrines of the Church that Lead to Bondage and Abuse, C. McClaskey

These women showed the COURAGE to stand in the forefront and run for political offices. They were not only publicly shamed and humiliated (typical male tactic against us) by men, they were shamed and humiliated and mocked by other WOMEN!  They were “labeled” by the MEDIA and MEN. They were used to DIVIDE women everywhere across this country!  What is wrong with people? Only equality of POWER will stop abuse for us and give us the freedoms that we have been denied. If you don’t think we have been denied equality, then ask yourself why men are paid higher salaries than women?  Please, think about these things as you read this study that puts all of this into perspective. This is a WAR on WOMEN and always has been. This war is the result of “religious mindsets” delivered to people deceptively over time. It is time to wake up women of the world and realize that the time is NOW to do what we must do to change our positions in society and to protect us and our children. This will be the most important document you will every read to open your eyes to the global scope and magnitude of violence against women.

Violence Against Women Global Scope and Magnitude

Some “reality checks” for women:

What is the Texas Islamic Court?

Muslim Gang-rapes across Europe under-reported in press

Female genital mutilation on the rise in the United States

Saudi preacher gets fine and short jail term for raping and killing daughter

Court: Man raped 7-yr old inside Church, gave her Chlamydia

Why is rape in Syria being ignored by U.S.?

Rape is Rape: How the Culture of Shaming, Stigma, and Victim-blaming is Hurting us

Papua New Guinea woman burned alive for sorcery

The Magdalene Laundries: Forced Labor

When Violence Against Women is ‘Honorable’, ‘Religious’ and ‘Legal’

DHS Allowing Saudi’s to bypass passport and travel controls

Washington: Hamas-linked CAIR bullying middle school teacher, defending Hamas, Taliban

For the sake of the assault these bring on our conscience, I will stop here with the unlimited list of articles across the world that show beyond a shadow of a doubt that the abuses are real and need to be dealt with. They show the religious “attitude” toward women. They show the reality of the abuses. They show the “mindset” of most men due to religious “brainwashing”. There is so much more that it is mind-boggling. Violence against women caused by “religion” is the main reason I wrote my book, Religion’s Cell: Doctrines of the Church that Lead to Bondage and Abuse. I expose the tactics and mindsets that religion has used to ENLSAVE a whole race of people – women.  Why aren’t mainstream MEDIA covering all of these stories? Why aren’t mainstream MEDIA telling the real story that is taking place against women? Makes one wonder, doesn’t it? Power imbalance and inequality have caused these atrocities. It’s time for women to unite and work together to elect women in places of leadership across this country before we are “forced” permanently into the abusive roles that we once fought so hard to get out of. The time is short. Only unity between us will make the difference.

Healing from Psychosexual Abuse

The following excerpt is from the Cultic Studies Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1, 1997, pages  19-20. I nothumantoysgenuinely hope that this information is helpful in the healing process for those who have been abused and exploited emotionally and sexually in the “church” system.

Healing from Psychosexual Abuse

Bearing in mind that cults control their members through deceptive and manipulative techniques that induce dependency, anxiety, and fear, the recovery process for someone who has extricated herself from a cult is indeed a rocky road. Former members typically experience a range of feelings: fear, mistrust, and betrayal, as well as confusion and disorientation. At the same time, they usually feel relieved to be out of the cultic situation. Major areas of work will revolve around the following: reestablishing boundaries; regaining self-esteem and self-confidence; dealing with feelings of betrayal; learning to trust again; resolving identity crises (who am I? how did it happen?); and what I call exorcizing the “hindering” emotions of shame, blame, and guilt.

Given the sophisticated and totalist nature of thought reform in a cultic environment, it is hard to separate the effects of sexual abuse from the overall psychological rape perpetrated by the leader and the group. The sexual exploitation is reinforced by the psychological violation; as a result, the harm to the individual is twofold.

Another significant factor is that typically cultic sexual exploitation and abuse is not a one-time occurrence. Integral as it is to the cult philosophy and worldview, ongoing and persistent abuse is likely to be part of daily life; for some women, a decades-long reality. Therefore, the abused female cult member – similar to certain battered women who are also victims of mind manipulation – needs to unravel the psychological trappings that were imposed on her by the perpetrator to ensure submission without challenge to his authority.

In some cases, the feelings related to sexual abuse may be the deepest and last layer of cult-related trauma to explore. Acknowledging that one was sexually exploited in the name of a greater goal is often a painful process. Consequently, some cult members deny, rationalize, minimize, and distort the meaning of the experience, while others may dissociate, separate from, split off, and even “forget” what happened in order to tolerate continued membership in or loyalty toward the group. Part of the healing process will entail the recovery of such unpleasant or unwanted experiences as part of one’s own past. Without such reclamation, the negative experiences tend to come back later and disrupt healthy functioning and the opportunity for satisfying personal relationships based on equality and mutual trust.

Various forms of self-expression (art, music, poetry, dance, journal keeping, drama), support groups, individual therapy, public speaking, and legal action are all means by which women have rid themselves of residual cult thinking and the unnerving aftereffects of cult abuse. Each woman’s healing journey is different. But often with the help of friends, family, educators, counselors, clergy, or therapists, she will find her preferred means of working through the pain, guilt, and shame that is the inevitable legacy of cult membership.

How Submission is Obtained: Personal Abuse

How Submission is Obtained: Personal Abuseabuse

Previously, I touched upon the Sexual Exploitation of Women in Cults. One of the common threads that ties all cults together is this sexual exploitation of women. In my last article on How Submission is Obtained, we learned that their are specific control strategies that are used to bring about submission to the “rules” and “leadership”. These control strategies have been used throughout history to keep women in bondage to men. Nothing has changed as far as the “system” is concerned when it comes to religious abuse. The strategies used within the “system” today are the same strategies used centuries ago to bring women into bondage. These strategies span across cultures worldwide and are part of every “system” where there is a power imbalance between men and women. Where ever one finds a male-dominated society, group, or institution, one will find abuse of women and, even children.

One of the strategies mentioned was “Group Rules”. These rules are used to modify a person’s behavior and attitude and provoke individual’s to adopt the “system” or “leaders” beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. It is also known as “thought reform.” This control tactic is also found in cultures, groups and “systems” where there is a power imbalance between men and women.

The next control strategy that is used in bringing about submission to a system or leadership within a system is Personal Abuse.  According to the Cultic Studies Journal, when “the abuse is directed at specific individuals, in most cases, either the cult leader or the person’s direct leadership figure is the perpetrator. A variety of manipulations are used to get women to submit to these advances. These can range from subtle deceptions to outright rape. In almost every case, they are based on ploys that take advantage of the woman’s loyalty, trust, and belief in the leader, the group, and the overall philosophy.  More often than not, members submit out of pure fear. Given the imbalance of power, it is difficult to say no” (Lalich). The following are some of the most commonly used control tactics that cult leaders use in order to gain submission from women in the church.

A matter of honor. The woman is told that a sexual encounter with the leader is an honor, a special gift, a way of achieving further growth. This manipulative technique is a slick combination of sexual coercion and exploitation of the woman’s faith (Lalich). This tactic, for instance, was used on the Jack Schaap victim to manipulate her into a sexual relationship. She was told that “she was God’s special gift” to him. The reality is that this is a “tactic” to gain submission for sexual exploitation. Everyone that uses this tactic has an agenda in mind and it has nothing to do with “honor.” Lalich goes on to say that “this self serving logic is quite typical of some of the guru-based cults, where even the supposedly celibate swami justifies his actions by telling each disciple that theirs is a special relationship, blessed by God . . .” Typically, the woman is led to believe that she is the only one with whom the guru is involved.

The loyalty test. One of the main strategies employed in abusive cults is the “loyalty test.” Blind loyalty demonstrates the follower’s “righteousness” and, is blessed of God. After all, they are serving and protecting God’s “chosen one.”  Lalich states that, “The more a leader demands, the more power he gets. Soon he intrudes and controls every aspect of a member’s life. The rationale is that nothing is too sacred to withhold from the leader. Giving oneself, and sometimes even one’s children, is viewed as a noble sacrifice. Physical violence and sexual abuse are incorporated into elaborate rituals in some cults, where these activities are endowed with mystical and magical meanings. In some cults, the testing of loyalty may be done in a sexually sadistic manner, further debilitating the follower and increasing personal confusion and dependency on the leader.”

One must remember that each time a member forgoes their personal preference for the preferences of the leader or group, she loses more sense of personal control, and consequently, self-esteem.

Female subservience. This is strictly controlled in a cult environment. Many times, the woman is taught to become a slave to the husband and is expected to be completely submissive to all his demands or, the demands of leadership. If the demands of the spouse aren’t met, then this leads to physical abuse of the women and forced sexual intercourse. Refusing to go along, according to Lalich, is regarded as disobedience, and in a cult, disobedience is sin. This “sin” is used to shame and humiliate the woman publicly until submission is “forced” and the woman complies.

In many religious cults the attitude toward women that is taught is that they are “second-class” citizens. According to Lalich, “. . .the message taught from the leaders is that women are the cause of all evil in the world, the one who brings the man down, diverts him from his spiritual path. The woman is “of the flesh”, while the man is “of god”. She is lesser, spiritually inferior, negative. Women learn to take the blame, feel the guilt, and carry the shame of others’ behavior.”

All these “attitudes” are abusive. They are aimed at one thing; to degrade the woman and put her in a place of submission for exploitation by men. It leaves many women broken and defeated. They feel as though they are worthless and of no good use to God. Many suffer eating disorders, insomnia, depression, thoughts of suicide and may even have other mental disorders.

These attitudes and control tactics have been around for centuries. They have been used in every culture worldwide to submit women to men for sexual exploitation. This robs women of honor and dignity and equality. It’s time to put the truth out there and change this attitude that has permeated every sect of human society and set woman back into her rightful place to be treated with equality, respect, honor and dignity. The religious system of today needs an overhaul. More women in positions of leadership will stifle this type of abusive teaching and help to protect women and children from abusive power imbalances that lead to sexual exploitation and physical, emotional and spiritual abuse.

Letter to the Victim of Jack Schaap and Her Family

nancyfamilySurvivor’s Letter From My Family to the Victim of Jack Schaap and Her Family

Dear One, and Family,

The pain that you all have suffered is at least familiar to me in that I had a 16 year old son whose Independent Fundamental Baptist teacher at Marantha Baptist Bible College groomed him for sex and engaged in several acts of sex with him from the campus, to cars and even a motel room. I saw the destruction this had on my son, and likewise, the pain and destruction spread to every member of our family. After the abuse, his younger brother withdrew even more into his own world. I was hospitalized a couple times for severe depression that reoccurred for years. My husband’s spirit was crushed and he lost much of his identity as well as the loss of his job as an IFB teacher in the Maranatha Baptist Bible college system at Calvary Baptist school. We, like you and many others, were told to leave the church and forget the abuse of our child. We were even told to move out of town; out of our home we had just purchased in Watertown WI.

Now, I do not know if this was the right thing to do or not, but after the official firing from our IFB teaching jobs and shunning, we decided to take root instead, and be a thorn in the IFB flesh. Well, they never even saw us right under their noses. We were the MBBC’s dirty little secret and the victims of a crime that they just wanted to disappear. We stayed in our home and tried to go on as a family. We tried to hold on to one another. I cannot tell you as a victim of IFB abuse what would help you through this family trauma except, I feel like I have learned from the destruction of our family that it may be human nature to blame ourselves or even to blame our partner because we were told we were bad parents; that we could not stop our son from acting on sexual urges like Joseph did running away from Pharaoh’s wife, leaving the robe in the woman’s hands.

Perhaps you have also been blamed by the IFB as being as guilty as the victims, parents and/or siblings. I want to tell you to ALWAYS REMEMBER THERE IS A BAD GUY and it is the abuser. For sure, 16 year olds are no match for the IFB leaders they have been groomed to follow. THE BAD GUYS are very POWERFUL and, in the case of our family, the power was so destructive and the more we tried to figure out what happened, the more confused we became. We ended up blaming each other as parents and finally, divorced. This is why the chair is empty in our family picture. I think I lost respect for my husband for not standing up to the IFB leaders who harmed the family. I was wrong to have fallen into that feeling. I know now that I should have supported my husband and to see the evil in the church cover-up. We talked about the abuser and her evil choice but, to hold the IFB church leader responsible was a journey. I think I felt I had to choose either the church I believed in, or my husband who I believed in, or my son who I believed in. The church did not protect the family!  We as parents did not protect our son. We divorced and could not choose each other in the midst of this trauma. We were all in shock as I am sure you are who have suffered similar abuse.

You are in shock. That is important to know and you need immediate support. But, your IFB church, friends, and pastors, have turned you away. Who would not be in shock. You send your children to an IFB school to be groomed for rape? No parent would do that if…if…if we had only been warned. If someone who had been abused in such a way in the IFB church before my family and yours were harmed, perhaps we would have heard the alarms. The shock of hearing your child has been raped is beyond words. I know you understand my words.

I became over whelmed with hurt and fear and could not function. When I finally got angry and out of the shock, it was too late for us. I got angry at my husband and myself and forgot to get angry at the abuser and the IFB church that further abused us. Well, this all makes me cry to feel a little bit of what you all are feeling. Watch your child for depression and use professional counselors as you can. Also remember, GOD did not do this. There was an evil person using their free will and God’s name to lure an innocent young one into a sexual web.

My heart is connected to your family and your child that has been victimized. Our children have been so brave. I applaud your child and my sons who have survived. I see the heroes…but not soon enough because my other son hid his IFB sexual abuse in the MBBC system from me for years and years because he saw all the suffering his brother’s abuse had caused. In a way, he sacrificed himself to protect his family but, caused his own trauma to fester and he rotted in silence and still carries that trauma today as he fights alcoholism and the memories of the abuse.

PRAISES to these young people who have suffered a pain we will never understand and yet they are still with us. My love and prayers to you and give your child a big hug from my son to your children who have suffered sexual abuse in the IFB church as these children are kindred spirits. Be proud, cry, laugh and keep the family together at all costs.

Love Nancy Bicknell – just another Mom who gets it.