Monthly Archives: March 2013

How Submission is Obtained: The Cult Rationale

As mentioned in my previous article, The Sexual Exploitation of Women, “submission” is an submissionintegral part of sexual exploitation of women in a cult environment. Throughout history, women have been raised and taught to believe that they are inferior to men; that God intended for them to submit to the authority of all men. This simply is not true and is a flagrant corruption of scripture and total disregard for history and culture to support this premise. One of the major issues that church leaders use to control women in the church and the home is “submission”.

According to the Cultic Studies Journal, “sexual exploitation in cults takes place on both the group and personal levels. Sometimes everyone in the group must exhibit certain attitudes and demonstrate certain behaviors.” For those of us that have exited an abusive cult, we understand this to be true. The “thought reform” process that was mentioned in my previous article, causes members to act and re-act according to the attitudes and beliefs instilled by the cult. This can be highly dangerous in a family unit. The concept that women are inferior, less intelligent and must submit to men can cause young teenage boys to rebel against the parental authority of the mother. It can even lead to the child blatantly treating that same parent with contempt to the point of raising their hand to strike her in times of disagreements. I know this to be true from experience. In the groups setting, we find that those that do not “submit” to the rules are treated with similar contempt as well. They are ostracized and shunned until the desired attitude and behavior change to match the cult “mentality”.

The Cultic Studies Journal also went on to say that, “Since cults are essentially mirror images of the central leader figure, how this transpires in each group will depend on the whims, preferences, and predilections of the man in charge.”  It even gave a list of control strategies used by leadership to enable the leader to fulfill his desire for power and control.   The following are control strategies that turn up repeatedly in Lalich’s study of cults and in reports of former cult members. This list reflects Lalich’s findings as published in The Cultic Studies Journal.

Group Rules

By controlling sex, marriage, and procreation, the cult is better able to control its membership. Rules of all sorts will be put in place to govern the member’s daily lives, including their intimate relationships. This can range from standards of free love and free sex to strict behaviors. Some cults literally instruct their members when and how to have sexual intercourse.

Oftentimes cult policies will clearly define personal and sexual behaviors. Female members may be expected to dress a certain way (e.g., wear long skirts and look “womanly”), behave a certain way (e.g., never look the men in the eye, always look down when in the presence of others, be passive and joyful at all times), and speak a certain way (e.g., refer to the leader as “Master”). Other regulations may provide specific guidelines for dating, cohabitation, marriage and divorce, sexual relations, and so on. Female cult members are sometimes used to procure recruits through seduction and sexual favors. Some cults force women into prostitution to help finance the cult leader’s personal lifestyle. In others, men regularly flirt with and seduce women into friendships or relationships in order to recruit them into the cult; once in, the woman is usually turned over to someone else to “handle.””

In many cults, leadership decides who should have children and how many. In some, women are discouraged from bearing children, with sterilization or abortion used as means of birth control. In others, childbearing is expected and sometimes ordered by leadership in order to bring about more little cult members. Cults that particularly deride “the family” will have children taken away from their birth parents to be raised by other cult members, or sometimes even sent away to non-cult relatives or foster homes. Marriages and partnerships are arranged and broken at the whim of the cult leader. Members merely become pawns in an abusive play, where the leader gets to act out.”

I would like to add to these statements by Lalich that leadership will also send children off to a cult-operated boys or girls home to be “forced” into submission to the rules and attitudes of the cult and its leaders. In these types of homes, the children are treated as if they are in “concentration” camps. They are severely punished for disobedience. They are isolated from anyone that could “save” them from the punishments. And, the very strict rules are oppressive and many times, abusive in nature.  How many countless children have been physically and sexually abused in these types of homes? We know of quite of few and they can tell the horror stories of that abuse. Please see: Simone’s Story, Kim Holt’s Story, and Aaron Anderson’s Story.

Another point that needs driven home that Lalich has stated is that “children are taken away from their birth parents to be raised by other cult members”. How true! Especially in the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult that I came out of. If the birth parents were having trouble making a child “conform”, that child would be placed in another members home to be raised and nurtured in the ways of the cult. Under this type of scenario, a false “love” and “acceptance” is employed by the cult family and used as a weapon to bring about conformity to the rules. This can often lead to the child looking at their own parents with a contempt because they do not live up to the standards and rules like the cult family does.

There are two popular control mechanisms: “The demand for sexual abstinence or celibacy, and the enforcement of certain prohibitions (for example, against homosexual relationships or other unsanctioned relationships). At first glance such rules may provide relief from the confusion of trying to master the intricacies of sexuality and intimate relationships, especially for young adults who may be struggling with these issues. In reality, however, the rules merely serve as yet another manipulation” (Lalich).

Ultimately, Lalich points out that once someone has been led to accept the cult leader’s philosophy, then just about anything goes. He calls the shots, and members are expected to go along with the program “or get out.” Threat of expulsion gets equated with losing a chance at salvation!

Tomorrow, I will talk about another strategy used by cult leaders to get members to submit – personal abuse.

The Sexual Exploitation of Women in Cults

There are countless numbers of cults in America and across the world. One of the common threads that ties them all together is the sexual exploitation of women. Not only this, but this common “thread” is actually a three-fold chord that’s strength is nearly indestructible! The second common “thread” that is interwoven with sexual exploitation is “submission”. Women in all cults are taught to submit to the authority of men. The third strand in this chord is “male-dominance and/or control” over every aspect of a women’s life. There is not one single area in a women’s life that men in cult religions do not control and dominate.  All this, aimed at women for one primary purpose – sexual exploitation.

The following excerpt is from the Cultic Studies Journal. I genuinely believe that this information will be helpful to victims of religious abuse in that it will educate them and give them the understanding that the abuse “was NOT their fault”.  The other aspect of knowing this information is that it will help victims to identify those that fit into the category of “Psychopath.”

Cultic Studies Journal

Janja Lalich, Community Resources on Influence & Control, Alameda, California

With approximately 5000 cults active in the United States today (Tobias & Lalich, 1994), and an estimated 185,000 new members being recruited each year (Martin, 1996), public or professional discussions and analyses of life inside a cult are surprisingly sparse. I define a cult as a particular type of relationship that not only is based on an enormous power imbalance between the leader and followers but also includes a hidden agenda….a cult relies on deception, manipulation, and exploitation, and almost certainly results in abuse. At the head of the cult is a self-proclaimed leader (or sometimes two or three) who demands all veneration, who makes all decisions, and who ultimately controls most aspects of the personal lives of those who are cleverly persuaded that they must follow, obey, and stay in the good graces (i.e., the grips) of the leader.

All cults, no matter the stripe, have the same common denominator as well. The leadership uses “thought-reform” (i.e. behavior control and modification) without the knowledge or consent of the person being manipulated. By attacking a person’s behavior or attitude, cult leaders manage to “dissemble and reformulate members according to the cult’s desired image (Lalich)”. In other words, they take away YOU and give you back a cult personality. They make you a CLONE of their system. And when the old you tries to rear its head, they punish you. When you conform to their ideals and standards, they reward you. Before you know it, you don’t who you are or how you got there. You only know that you have to stay there. (paraphrased)

In a cult, there is only one way – totalitarianism – set up to serve the leaders whims and desires, be they power, sex, or money (Lalich, 1996)

Sexual exploitation is defined as the exercise of power for the purpose of controlling, using, or abusing another person sexually in order to satisfy the conscious or unconscious needs of the person in power – whether those needs be sexual, financial, emotional, or physical. Sexual abuse can range from having to live in a sexually coercive environment (whether or not one is personally abused) to unwanted touching to rape. It may masquerade as a “marriage” to the leader or as some form of “spiritual” practice, or it may come about as the overt seduction of vulnerable females (or males) by those in power. In many groups, if not the leader, then the husbands are given absolute control over their wives ( and children), including a license for sexual activities without mutual consent. Marital rape is an accepted standard in certain cults.

Sexual exploitation includes reproductive and general sexual controls through such policies as enforced celibacy, arranged marriages, mandated relationships or intimacies, and regulated childbearing. Even if no such specific practices are overtly employed, most cults govern the sex lives of members with myriad rules and regulations.

According to the Cultic Studies Journal and one post-cult recovery workshop, “40% of the women present said they had been sexually abused in their cult (Tobias & Lalich, 1994, p. 171). If we were to take that figure as an indicator of the prevalence of sexual abuse in cults, I would predict that when solid research is finally done in this area, we will find that 40% is actually an extremely low figure. I base this on my own work as a cult information specialist and educator who meets regularly with former cult members to help them get some clarity on their cutlic experiences. The 26 female former cult members seen by me in the past 9 months came from a wide spectrum of cults. Fifteen of the women were directly abused (14 by their leader and on occasion also by others in the cult, and 1 raped by her cult husband at the leader’s orders). Eight had their personal, marital, and/or sex lives manipulated and controlled by the cult. The remaining three were not personally abused but eventually became aware of the sexual victimization of the other female members by the leader. In four of these cases, the sexual activity included lesbian and/or bisexual liaisons; and in three, the women were also subjected to physical abuse, one of which was ongoing and extreme” (Lalich).

From these data, it becomes apparent that the sexual exploitation of women in cults of all types is widespread, and, to date, is possibly the least talked about, and certainly the least researched, aspect of cult life. There is, in my opinion, a two-fold reason for the prevalence of sexual misdeeds in cults.

First, those who wish to dominate others discover that their power increases as their areas of influence over the other person become more intimate and personal. Therefore, controlling someone’s sexuality or sex life is an effective method of all-inclusive manipulation and control. Once sexual control is in place, no part of life is left untouched by the cult leader’s influence. the satisfaction of the leader’s desires (be they real or conjured up for the purposes of sheer display of power) becomes an expression of the cult member’s faith – her cross to bear, so to speak.

Second, many cult leaders fit the profile of the psychopath. Psychologist Robert Hare, a specialist in the study of this particular personality disorder, estimates that there are at least two million psychopaths in North America. He wrote:

Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret. (Hare, 1993, p. xi)

Certainly not all psychopaths become cult leaders, nor are all cult leaders necessarily psychopaths. Yet, when studied, the backgrounds, personalities, and behaviors of many of those who have led and lead cults fit quite nicely into the framework for this particular character disorder. Several psychopath’s characteristic traits lend themselves to acts of sexual exploitation and abuse of others. Those are:

  • Need for stimulation
  • exploitation and abuse of others
  • poor behavioral controls
  • promiscuous sexual behavior and infidelity
  • glibness and superficial charm
  • grandiose sense of self
  • pathological lying
  • lack of remorse, shame, or guilt
  • manipulation and conning, and
  • incapacity for love.

Sexual acting out of all sorts is frequent among cult leaders; and for them, as with psychopaths, sex is primarily a control and power issue. Such behavior goes hand in hand with more flagrant forms of irresponsibility. In one cult, for example, multiple sexual relations were encouraged even while one of the top leaders was known to be HIV positive. This kind of negligence toward others is not uncommon in the world of cults. Whether sexual behaviors are kept hidden or are part of the accepted and expected group practices, the fact remains that because of the power imbalance between leader and followers, sexual contact is never truly consensual and is likely to have damaging consequences for the follower.

New Bethany Home for Girls – Abuse and Cover-Up – Kim Holt’s Story

Abuse and Cover up at New Bethany Homes in Louisiana and S. Carolina

For nearly two decades, abuse survivors from New Bethany Home for Girls in Arcadia, La and New Bethany Home for Boys in Walterboro, S. Carolina,  have been trying to get Law Enforcement to arrest Mack Ford, his wife, and other staff members of New Bethany Home for Girls and Boys for rape, torture and abuse. To date, he has not been arrested by law enforcement and Mack Ford is still a free man. The atrocities cited from these victims of Abuse will be published individually. Their desire is that JUSTICE be served to a rapist, pedophile, torturer, abuser and his accomplices. Each story will be linked to the other stories of survivors as they are published. All names of supporters of this work will also be published as they supported a work that enabled this abuser to hurt countless numbers of children. It’s time for a pedophile, serial rapist and abuser and those that helped him to do so, to be held accountable for their crimes.

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First Story in this Series: Simone’s Story – New Bethany Home for Girls, Arcadia, La.

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kim holtFrom Pillar To Post

I grew up in the Indiana Cornfields. My mother divorced her second husband when I was 10. Now that the bad man was gone, I didn’t have to worry about getting beat with his belt anymore. When I was little,  he would come into my room with a belt to check to see if my room was clean. I would hang onto my mommy’s leg. His oldest boy would get in trouble and then point his finger at me. This is when I found out what happens to Liars. We would have to drop our pants and lay across the bunk bed where he would slap that belt on my little butt. Then he would ask who did what and the boy would point his finger at me and we would get more slaps with the belt. He would even get caught lying but there was no, “I’m sorry Kim”.

I lived in a small town where everyone knew everybody. I was free now to look at life without fear. I had the best little old ladies for neighbors and I would walk them to church. I loved to hear about Jesus and loved to memorize John 3:16. They took me under their wings. I watched one guy mow their yards and he cut it to short and it burned the grass. I was determined to push that lawnmower myself. My little old ladies had flowers all around their houses and I just loved to help them.

By the age of twelve, I finally could push the lawnmower. My mother told me that as long as I took care of our yard that I could mow theirs. I made $4.00 a yard and $7.00 for the biggest yard. I had all the cookies and pies I could handle. Plus I had more yards to do because I did a good job. I played in the boys little league. But they got to where they didn’t want a girl on their team anymore. I tried to join the Cub Scouts but the ninety year old Scout Master wouldn’t let me. So I had to go to girls sports. I picked volleyball, basketball, track and finally softball. I got to go play in a lot of cool schools with cool gymnasiums. Basketball was my way of escaping my mother and my half sister. If I was home I had to babysit and clean house. So I kept myself as busy as possible. Ninth grade was the greatest. I was always running up and down the court or running somewhere. I wasn’t one to sit down or give up. I spent weekends at my Dad’s in Southern Indiana. He was a Horse nut. We hardly ever spoke. I was on a horse all weekend at Spring Mill State Park. We would take people out on the trails. There were two trails a short one and a long one. Either my Dad led and I followed up from behind or, sometimes I got to lead. I loved my time on the trails. I never thought my time on horses would come to an end. I loved it.

Well. our trailer caught fire in my 10th grade year and that made it tough. I stayed with my best friend Jodi until school was out. My mother decided to marry this guy she was seeing. I wasn’t happy about that at all. He made sure to tell me that this was his house. I found out real quick when I got there his yard was so thick and tall. He made me mow it with a bagger, and I got nothing for the work. I found myself as their slave and babysitter. I started out by sleeping on the floor and his dog would come over to my pillow and start humping it with nasty stuff all over my pillow. I was made to let that dog sleep in my new room. I hated that dog. The day before they were to get married I got caught stealing 45 records at Target. It sure wasn’t my little town anymore. I found myself in trouble.

I spent some time at a juvenile detention center. I tried playing basketball with the black girls but they didn’t know what foul meant. So I sat out. I met this one tall girl named Laura. She mentioned that she was getting sent somewhere and I didn’t think anything more about it. I had learned my lesson on stealing.

My grades weren’t the greatest as this school was more advanced. I made the basketball team, but had to sit out because of my grades. I was bored and I started smoking cigarettes at a young age. I figured out later that my mother’s second husband smoked and that I was already addicted to cigarettes. So I would spend time in the school bathroom smoking. I still hadn’t been given a key to the front door. It was a key on both sides. I was told by my mother’s new husband that I was to lock the door every time I came in. Well I didn’t have a key so I left my window unlocked. After getting off the bus I said goodbye to the neighbor kids and climbed in my window. I got in and then I realized that I didn’t have a key and how was I going to explain how I got in. So I climbed back out the window and went next door and stayed there until my mother came home. Well she went to another neighbor’s house and the kid told her that I had climbed in the window. She finally found me and then started accusing me of sneaking out. She put a lock on my window. Eventually, they gave me a key to the front door.

I had a green Cutlass Supreme that I didn’t get to drive much in the snow. One day, I came out of the bathroom from smoking a cigarette and there were the two basketball coaches. One’s name was Ms. Pickle. (She pronounced it differently). We always laughed at her name. Anyway they asked me if I wanted to get back on the team. I said, “yes of course!” Boy, I was so excited. We were going to play a team from my other school. My mother had told me that her and her husband might go on strike and if that happened, I would only get $10.00 a week allowance instead of $20.00. Well, I came home all excited. My mother was at the kitchen sink when I told her I got back on the team and that there was a game that night. “Can I have the car to go?” She said, “You won’t get very far on $10.00.” My heart just sank and I can’t remember if I went to the game or not.

A few nights later, I was making a grilled cheese sandwich with wheat bread. I didn’t like wheat bread but, I thought I would give it a try. Well, my Mother’s husband saw what I was using and started yelling at me because I was eating his bread. My mother was standing right by me and I was waiting for her help. He threw the bread at me and hit the cabinet above my head; and guess what? I forgot to lock the front door. My Mother’s husband was way out of control and I waited for my mother to help me. She told me to go lock the door and I did. I can’t remember eating the grilled cheese. I got to thinking about my mother going on strike. I thought that since she wasn’t going to be working so much that she could do more around the house. So I decided to go on strike. I mean really for $10.00 she could do it herself. What could she do to me right. Well two weeks went by and she sat me down at the kitchen table with a calendar that had X’s on the days I hadn’t done anything. I sat there and didn’t care if I did anything anymore. She started sending me to the psychiatrist that she sent me to when I was little. He was a really nice guy and he had a memory game that I loved to play and little did I realize that my mother went in after me. One day when I was about 5 they sent me to him trying to get me to let my mother’s second husband adopt me but I had to sign a piece of paper. I was scared because I know he was a drunk and mean. They handed me a pen. I still can remember the thought of losing my daddy and having him as my daddy. I didn’t sign it.

So here I am sixteen, I am sitting on his couch telling him that he needed to find me another place to live because I couldn’t take much more. I was now too far away from my dad. My mother made it rough on me because not many liked her. I know she was a bitch with a capital B. One day she tells me that she and her husband were going to go on a honey moon. So she made me pick out a trunk for her trip. Other things happened and I was just thru with her. There was a blizzard coming so they let us leave early on the bus. I got to the driveway and this sister of my mother’s husband came out, she saw me and started hurrying herself to her car.

Then I saw the suitcases at the front door. I thought well they are leaving. I came in the house to everyone’s surprise. My mother was home awful early. I sat down on the couch. She was sitting in the chair and she put the paper up so I couldn’t see her. Then she said “Kim you are going to a girls school for a year. I got up off the couch and went to my room. I closed the door and didn’t know what to do because there was a lock on my window. I heard them coming for me so I put my foot at the bottom of the door. He started hitting the door really hard until it finally hit me in the head and knocked me to the ground. I found myself on my knees with my hands behind my back. My mother put the phone to my ear. It was the game guy.

He said Kim You have two choices, You can go to girls school which you are not a criminal, You could go to a psychiatric ward which you are not crazy or you could go where they were going to send me. I was then forced to take a pill. They drugged me all the way. I managed to not swallow one and hide it in my cheek. I put it in the ashtray on the back of the seat. I wanted to know what was happening.

Well we get off the interstate and my mother takes me into the bathroom where she puts this dress on. I was horrified at what I was watching. When I got back in the car I dug that pill out and took it.

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New Bethany Home for Girls Staff from Left to Right: Bobby Barnes, David Garris, Mack Ford, Mrs. Garris, Thelma Ford, Clarie Shipman, Mr. and Mrs. Larry Roebuck

Bobby BarnesDavid GarrisMack FordMrs GarrisThelma Fordclaire shipmanLarry Roebuck and family

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Arc-05 Lisa Blanchard – Affidavit of Facts from Lisa Blanchard McKee – August 6, 1996

Arc-06 – Affidavit of Facts from Kimberly Ann Howard – August 9, 1996

Arc-04 Laura Blake – Affidavit of Facts from Laura Blake – June, 7, 1983

linekim holt2My First Day At New Bethany

When we pulled up to the gate it was opened and my mother and her 3rd husband got out of the car. I really don’t remember the walk in the door. The next thing I remember, I was taken to the bathroom to change into this uniform. That is when I realized my mother tricking me to get measurements at some ladies house. The girl that was with me was taller than me. I was taking stuff out of my wallet when I realized I had a letter from Johnny telling about being a divorced kid was so terrible that he felt so alone. I started to rip it into smaller pieces when this girl says you can’t put stuff in the toilet and she picked it all out piece by piece. I got the uniform on. I don’t remember what happened next exactly.  I was taken over to get lunch. I was shown how to get my tray and then I heard someone say I know that chick I know that chick. It was that tall girl from the detention center. She was hushed up because if the staff knew, we would not be able to talk. At that very moment, I now knew where she got sent to.

The pill I had taken just before I got there was still working as I wasn’t scared yet, I don’t remember eating. I remember being taken back to the home when I saw this girl walking towards me. She said it will get much better in time. I just looked at her like she knew what I was thinking. Well, I went in the front door and took a right at the center and was lead to where I would sleep. I was faced with bunk beds and at the foot of the bed was that trunk I picked out for my mother’s honeymoon. I knelt down and opened the locks. I lifted the lid and there were two sheets of paper. It was what my mother had now reduced me to and in her handwriting. I was crushed. I knew she was gone, so I wasn’t going to stick around. I stood up and walked right out the front door. There was a girl sitting at the front door and I went right past her. The next thing I know I was surrounded by about five girls. The tall girl got me from behind and I threw her off. They immediately stopped and all looked at me. I was terrified, but I wasn’t going to show it. All at once they all rushed at me and knocked my head against the block cement wall. I have a hard time dealing with what happened next. I was put on the couch just inside the front door. I was being pushed down and then made to stand. I was crying about as hard as anyone could cry. Crying hard would be putting it lightly. They were completely surrounding me. Then, they took me and carried me down the hallway and back to that room. I was still screaming and kicking. There was a girl getting something out of the closet. She had to get in the closet because there was no passing room. I was brought into the room and laid flat on the floor. I went to get back up and they all jumped on me again. This woman with long white hair started loudly praying; screaming she was “praying the devil out of me”. I started yelling, “Oh My God, why did she send me here.” I was crying so hard that I couldn’t see the girl’s face that was sitting on me. I started yelling for them to get off of me. I had a girl sitting on my feet, one on each arm and one sitting on my chest. I was so strong that it took a long time for me to wear myself out. I wasn’t one to cuss; my bad word at that time in my life was “man.” I started using words like “bitch,” and so forth. All of the things that I had put back all those years of not protecting me were coming out. Finally, I started banging my head on the floor. Another girl got scared and put her hand to catch my head which ended up smashing her fingers. The woman with white hair stated “She’ll quit when it starts hurting.” But, I just couldn’t stop crying. I was finally let up and put on a bottom bunk to rest. By then, it was supper time. I don’t remember eating but I was given a chance to shoot hoops and was told very firmly that I had best accept where I was going to spend my next year.

Once I got back to the room again, the biggest girl decided that she didn’t want to be my “watcher” as she was a senior. So, the girl who got her fingers smashed became my watcher. She watched me for a month and then she was going home. She taught me how to survive at New Bethany. When she was fixing to go home she made me make her a promise which I had no problem doing because she had spent her last month teaching me how to stay alive in such a hard and difficult place as New Bethany. She made me promise to not bite my fingernails for a month that she would be back in that time. I was a serious nail biter. Well the month went by and I hadn’t bit my fingernails, not once and that was huge success for me. She didn’t come back but I had fingernails and I still do to this day.

My Bible 1982

Amongst the list of items in my trunk was a NKJV Bible. I was told that it was not a NKJV. I didn’t know the difference. I was given a cheap KJV Bible. I was making friends and I would have them sign my Bible like a yearbook. One night in church my friend, Robin started crying and saying that I need to get saved that I was going to Hell. I didn’t know what she was talking about. I wasn’t about to walk down that Isle to the Alter without knowing. It wasn’t long that a lady by the name of Mrs. Jewell gave me a Heart for Valentine’s Day. If I needed to talk to someone she was there for me. It was a couple of nights later when Robin and I were walking back to the home, with the other girls, when I started asking questions about getting saved. Mrs. Jewel started talking to me as the others were going into the home –  all three of us knelt down in the gravel at the front door. Mrs. Jewell led me to the Lord.

One night coming back from church we were all told to leave our Bibles at the front door for a Bible check. The next day I found mine rather easily because I had written “Indiana” on it. I opened it up and was shocked to see that someone had taken black and blue marker pens to my friend’s entries; saying that I had defaced “The Word of God.” It was then and there that I realized that New Bethany didn’t care about us, only that they have total control over everything that we do.

I know I had asked, or at least invited, the Lord into my heart. But they continually (everyday) told us that we were worthless and that we were going to Hell. They would have us sing sad songs about our mommies and daddies if they could have; insinuating to us that if we didn’t change that our families were also going to go to Hell as well.

FOR CHRISTMAS I WAS GIVEN A BRAND NEW SCOFIELD REFERENCE BIBLE. SO, I SET OUT TO GET AS MANY PREACHERS TO SIGN MY BIBLE AS I COULD AND I STARTED WITH MACK FORD. BECAUSE, ONE DAY I WANTED PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT THESE PEOPLE WERE DESTROYING CHILDREN’S LIVES.

Busted To Trusted

One day after my watcher left, I was called to Ms. Nora’s room. I was scared to go there. She was very scary and big. I was asked to come into her room for a talk. She asked me what I liked to do and why was I there. I told her that I had my own lawn business when I was twelve. I grew up around horses. That I had gotten myself into every sport I could get myself into. The reason I was there was to get out of my mom’s third marriage. So I became more trusted and was given chores outside to feed and take care of Sheila’s horse. I was given a lawnmower where I mowed the back side of the home. One day someone came up to the outside of the fence and wanted to take my picture, I agreed. Little did I realize that this picture would end up being my Junior/Senior High School year book picture? All of my dreams of sports achievements were over that I had to some way learn to survive and stay alive.

Knock; Knock on Big Mack’s Door

For so many years I have been haunted by faces and, running in place. I have been able to put names to faces. We would line up going wherever – mostly church. There would be girls getting in line. They would say, “Here we go again, “Brainwashing Time. This place is a cult.” I would stand there hearing this not really knowing what exactly brainwashing was. What is a cult? I had an idea but, you didn’t dare say something like that because you would be a target of abuse. We would all get to our seats so we could watch the next man yell,  “You are going to Hell! You deserve to be punished. It’s your entire fault that you are here!” There were girls who would not listen to them and would have to fold their arms and legs readying themselves for the attacks that were about to come. The preacher would start with open your Bibles. They would start with taking their handkerchief out of their pocket and place it on the pulpit. Then they would take their jackets off, then they would role their shirt sleeves up and then their faces would start to get red and then they were sweating really badly. The girls would have to just sit there while these men would get in their faces telling them they were going to Hell. There are several girls that I can now name. These girls were tough. They never backed down. The men would not stop no matter what night it was. Over and over we were told how bad we were, that we deserve it –  meaning getting sent off. We would have to sing songs about our family circle, making you cry because you missed your mommy and daddy. How that, if you didn’t change, your family would go to Hell.

Well, it got real bad because girls were running all the time. Seems like day in and day out, night and night. You didn’t dare go near Ms. Nora’s room unless you had to because the girls that would run would be caught and brought back and beat and then they would have to run in place for long periods of time. I know I saw a paddle once that was made of thick Plexiglas with perfect holes drilled into it. I have never been able to get these girls faces out of my nightmares. So now I will mention names.

New Bethany History for getting it on a daily basis was Angie. She was always quiet but she ran and was caught. She was put in front of Ms. Nora’s room where she had to run in place for hours. If someone stopped they would be paddled again. I can say they all had that same look. It was a very sickening site to see and nothing you could do mattered. Shelly she really got it in church. They just loved to attack her. Well, she ran because she also had to run in place.

Amber was tiny and she had to run in place. Well, the worst one was Sheila. She was a big girl always in trouble. It got so bad they locked her in a room for days. Then she disappeared. Nancy was a really nice girl and had a lot of friends. She got a beating from Mack Ford and she disappeared. Later, he was preaching and he mentioned Nancy referring her to the Dark Side of the Moon. So many beatings…so what could stop this madness? The preachers continually called us liars, thieves and drug addicts.

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lineheader3evidence NB home for girls and tim johnson3NB Home for Boys

evidence NB Home for BoysThese excerpts are for New Bethany Home for Boys in S. Carolina

lineheader5New Article 1964

Kim Holt video          Jennifer Halter Video          No Longer Silent

New Bethany Staff

New Bethany No Longer Silent Facebook Page

New Bethany No Longer Silent Video

New Bethany – Mindy Rich’s Story

lineLet’s Talk About Timothy Johnson, Mack Ford’s Son-in-law

tim johnsonTimothy Johnson had full knowledge of a rape and other abuses that took place by his Father-in-law. There was a recording of the rape by Nora Carter, if I remember correctly. Tim removed the girl from the home, but never took her to the police, nor made sure the police had the recording. To my best recollection, I believe the recording was given to Thelma Ford and eventually, disappeared. Recently, Timothy Johnson has denied knowing anything about abuse at New Bethany Home for Girls and is denying even knowing about a place called New Bethany. Currently, he is being considered for President of Louisiana Baptist College. WELL, let’s look at some EVIDENCE of his involvement with the Home since he denies any abuses took place and seems to have forgotten it ever existed.

He was on the BOARD OF ADVISORS for New Bethany Home for Girls.

Board of Advisors NBHG

He helped in closing the home after the rape occurred and “promised” that it would never be allowed to open again. The closure was because, “Having lost state and federal cases with no further recourse available it has become necessary to seek other options for holdings.” However, it did open again, and he did NOTHING to stop it. This led to more abuse of children.

NB docClick HERE to see another story on Timothy Johnson regarding this document.

Click the following link to read a copy of the responses to the story on ChucklesTravels.com. – Comment Thread Chucklestravels. (You may also click the previous link and scroll down to these comments on the actual website.)

This place preyed on CHILDREN. It took away our honor and dignity and destroyed our hearts and minds and bodies!

As a result, I am breaking my silence. I will be a voice screaming the atrocities endured at their hands. I will be a voice that screams the “SILENCE” of others toward those same atrocities. I was young and scared then. But today, I am no longer afraid of you.  I am no longer hiding and running from you. I am not a liar, druggy, whore and slut like you would tell the world I was. Me and the other abused girls are taking our stories to the world; screaming them to all who will give ear.

Independence Day

I got out of New Bethany Feb 4, 1983. It was a month and a half before my eighteenth birthday.

As a survivor of this home I cannot emphasize enough the magnitude of the abuses I and other girls endured. Recently, we came together to tell our stories in a book that we are offering for FREE to everyone who will read it. Our desire is to make the public and lawmakers aware of institutional abuse of children. The horrors we have lived are real. They have changed us forever. We have carried the memories and the scars our whole lives. It has affected every aspect of our lives and it’s time to break the silence and show the world how serial rapists got away with their crimes against children and the Law did nothing to stop them. Mack Ford is still a free man today.

header6The New Bethany Book (Click on this Link)

Jack Schaap Sentencing Memorandum

Jack Schaap Sentencing Memorandum

I finally read the Jack Schaap sentencing memorandum today. I should be shocked at what it schaaprevealed, but then, I’m not. The sexual abuses of women and children are hidden well underneath the mantle of this religious sect. I am just thankful that these NINE others were caught and indicted too.  Here’s the quote from page 21 of the sentencing memorandum:

Since Defendant entered his guilty plea in this case, undersigned counsel has been able to charge — by complaint, information or indictment — nine other defendants with lead offenses as follows: two defendants (separately) with producing child pornography of victims as young as 6 years old in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2251(a); one defendant with transporting a 14 year-old minor across state lines with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2423(a); one defendant with engaging in aggravated sexual abuse of a minor under age 12 in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2241(c); one defendant with engaging in the sex trafficking of adult females in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2422; two defendants (separately) with receiving and/or possessing child pornography featuring minors under the age of 12 in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2252(a)(2) and/or (a)(4); and two defendants (together) with the purchase/sale of an infant/toddler child knowing that the child would be caused to assist another person to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2251 A(a) and (b). Had Defendant not signed a pre-indictment plea and swiftly admitted his guild in this case, it is unlikely that undersigned counsel would have been able to charge all nine of those other defendants during the same time-frame.

Click this link to read the entire memorandum:  Jack Schaap Sentencing Memoradum

The letters in this document are heartbreaking. The evidence, overwhelming and shocking. The victim and her family needs the support of countless people to rally around them in love. My prayer is that she will be able to overcome this and have a happy life. Please keep this family in prayer.

Jarrod’s Story

Note from the Author:

It is not very often that I come across a youth that has the character to stand up for what is right amidst peer pressure from family, friends, church leaders and a church “system” that is demanding conformity to religious dogmas and rules. My experience in this sect has allowed me to see the trail of destruction of young people who refused to conform. Many of them were either publicly humiliated, shunned, slandered, or all three. Others were shipped off to boys or girls homes to be “forced” into submission to the sects’ rules and standards.  Needless to say, many did not recover emotionally from it, and today, their lives are a reflection of the tragedy that has ensued as a result. Independent thinkers are usually “marked” for “forced” conformity or, they become a “target” for abuse – spiritual, emotional, physical and sometimes, sexual. To see someone so young stand strong as an individual and think for himself is quite remarkable; not only this, to write about it publicly takes the utmost courage. Another thing I noticed was that Jarrod had the ability to recognize the “problems” in the church that others turned a blind eye to. He did not just ignore them, instead, he let these “problems” aid him in keeping the “blinders” off his own eyes. This young man deserves our utmost respect. — C.McClaskey

Jarrod’s Story

I was born on April 23, 1995, in Hammond, Indiana. My parents, at that time, were employed under Pastor Jack Hyles and First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. My Mother was a secretary and my Dad was a part of the maintenance team. They had met a few years before at Hyles-Anderson College and had both dedicated their lives to serving the Lord. Because of my parents’ commitment, this also meant that every step they took, I would be taking with them. Pretty much every day I was at the church and had grown accustom to that lifestyle; from morning until night it was my life. Once I was old enough to go to school, my parents enrolled me in Hammond Baptist School. There, I gained the foundation that I was supposed to hold true to for the rest of my life.

Up until the third grade, I had done everything I was supposed to do. I was the typical church kid who grew up in the ministry. I was a young kid who fell asleep in church, ran around in the auditorium and, made a mess of stuff. The church was my whole life. It always felt different going to see family who weren’t “like us”. My parents always told us to just be good and when they did things “we didn’t agree with,” to just stay respectful but to not participate. It was kind of hard being a kid like that. When we went to amusement parks we got “the stares” because my mom and sister always had to wear dresses. We couldn’t watch a lot of movies but my other family members could. We were also not allowed to participate in some of the activities they were able to participate in. Even through all of this, it did not mean much to me, because all of my friends lived in the same situation. After I got a little bit older though, reality started to set in.

After my second grade year, Jack Hyles, the Pastor of First Baptist of Hammond, passed away. Then, it became a competition to see who could get the church and run it best and, to see who would be the next big “leader” of First Baptist. My parents were always loyal to Dr. _____ and, not thinking of what was best and God’s plan, they followed a “man” to West Virginia to work under “his ministry” instead of God’s ministry. The move wasn’t too bad for me because I was only 9, I believe. My Mother became the pre-K teacher and my Father became the janitor in the school, working 80 hours a week for next to nothing. Life for me was pretty much the same. The church wasn’t as big as my old one – FBC Hammond had an attendance of about 5,000 at the time, I think, and my new church was running around 800. My day to day life was go to school, help my dad at the school, and go home to sleep. I was at the church and school every school day from 7:30 AM to anywhere from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. On the Saturdays, most of the day was spent doing bus visitation and Sundays was of course, church all day.

The routine of spending my whole week at church lasted from the third grade right until my ninth grade year. It was then that I gained a little more freedom from my parents and started seeing what the real world had to offer. I started getting some friends who weren’t exactly the greatest “Christian” kids and, saw all the freedoms they had, and I wanted that. Thus began my mission to get to the “real world”. I started sneaking out a little bit. All I was looking for was something different. I knew there had to be more to life than following all the rules and becoming a pastor and staying miserable my whole life like I had seen in all the leadership before me. After having my fun, my eyes started to open more. I have always been the kind of person to question things, not always to be ignorant, but just so I know why things work the way they do.

After my ninth grade year was over, I started hanging out with a lot of older kids and began to really develop my own personality. In the school and the church I guess I started to become sort of a “bad kid”,  probably because I wasn’t some kid they could boss around or acted like all the other church kids. I became my own person and developed my own sense of logic; I wasn’t under there “mind control” any longer. It still wasn’t easy separating myself from them. It was the only thing I knew, but I still needed to find something different. Half way through my tenth grade year, I got in trouble with another girl in the school and they saw it fit to kick me out of the school. They told me if I was good and came to counseling, and they saw that I lived a good lifestyle, I might have a chance of getting back in. The first summer went by and my parents made me do as they said. When school came back around, I was told I had to keep waiting. After that, I was done trying to please them. It was not fair to me to have to live a certain lifestyle in order to gain back access to a Christian school. As a Christian, you’re supposed to help the ones in trouble, not shun them out and make them live a, and I quote, “near perfect life for 3 months”. After I had my meeting, and they told me to be good for another 3 months, I gave up trying. By that time I had a job, my own car, and a whole day of doing whatever I felt like. Since both of my parents were working full time at the church, there was no time for them to actually make sure I wasn’t getting into trouble.

A few months passed by and I was ready to be in a school atmosphere again. I was homeschooling during the time I was away from the Christian School. During this time, I will add, I taught myself everything. My parents always worked and no one had the time to help me. This actually made me learn a lot better; it gave me a chance to figure things out for myself and to work through tough circumstances.

The Spring semester was coming around and my parents finally decided to put me back in an “other” Christian school. Public school was always out of the picture because they could never live with themselves for putting me in something so bad. At this time, I had started to stay away from the church. I was pretty much looked at as a rebel. I didn’t go to their school and I didn’t follow all the rules. I didn’t wear a shirt and tie to church and I didn’t always listen to old time gospel hymns. I didn’t have good Christian friends and was viewed as “wrong” for associating with people who weren’t fellow believers. At the time, I really wasn’t too concerned about having a lot of friends or getting into trouble. My big thing was playing basketball and that’s all I really cared about. I remember at the church school when we played basketball we always had to keep our shirts tucked in and wear plain t-shirts. We had to wear sweatpants for practices and games. We could never wear shorts because they said our thighs would show and that was “nakedness”. At the new school I went to, it felt like I finally caught a break. They even let us wear shorts!! I wouldn’t have to wear a shirt and tie to school all the time and, the girls even wore pants. To my parents, this kind of school wasn’t a true church-run-school and was considered a “contemporary” church-run-school that did not believe right. They saw it as “bad” because of the way the girls could dress. They had modern music and we even used more than the KJV Bible. My father didn’t even want me to go but, they thought it would be better than the public school.

I started to grow away from my old church. I no longer went every week and I would only see some of my old friends a couple of times a month. After all of what happened with them kicking me out of the school, I was pretty much done with the whole thing. The church always had its problems. I knew it did but, nobody else wanted to believe it. While in it, you don’t see all of the problems it has, but once out of the movement, they all become crystal clear. I’m not mad at my parents for my upbringing, it gave me a view on life different than most. I learned how to get through it and to take the best out of the situation.

Now, I am 17 years old. I have stopped attending an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church completely. I have cut all ties with any of the staff there and only communicate with some of my old friends in the same situation as me. Since then, the church has split and a lot of the problems that were always there, have now been revealed and it has become a big mess. In the end, God will have his glory; and when a man is lifted above him, he will shut it down. It happened in FBC Hammond, SBBC, and others as well. God is a jealous God and will always put us in our place. As for now, I am on the path of finding out truly who God is and not just believing everything that has been shoved down my throat my whole life. Christianity is not about forcing a person down the path you believe they should go, it is simply to lead them to God and for him to show them the path to take.

Breaking the Silence – by Mary K.

It has taken 33 years for me to speak up — 33 years to find the courage to tell what happened to me. There hasn’t been a year that has passed that I have not suffered emotionally and mentally as a result of what happened so long ago. My abuser was like a father to me. His wife, I called Mom.  They were, and still are, dear to my heart to this day.  I forgave long ago and hold no animosity or bitterness toward them. BUT, I can no longer hold in what has caused me so much pain and mental anguish.  It has only been because of the courage of others who found their voice in speaking out about their abuses, that I too, have found mine. My name is Mary K. and today, I am breaking my silence. Why? Because it’s time.

The greater the man, the greater his evil inclinations. — Babylonian Talmud, Sukkah 52a

While there are saints who seem to have almost no evil inclinations, the Rabbis believe that a person of extraordinary abilities has more temptations and opportunities to use those abilities for wrong than do his less talented brethren. — Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Wisdom

There is so much truth to these statements! Many of us are now realizing these truths as a result of the abuses that have been endured (and exposed recently) from those who espouse greatness under the guise of “leadership” within religious institutions. Realizing that the ability to do evil lies within these people of “greatness,” we should all the more question authority, doctrines, agendas and the like from these so-called “leaders of righteousness”; proving them in all that they do. Transparency should be paramount to prevent abuse and corruption. Worshiping the the man and placing his position on a pedestal, only helps to thwart truth and transparency. It will always lead to hidden abuses and corruption. As a result, many will be defiled (corrupted) by it, and many will be victims (abused) of it. — McClaskey, Religion’s Cell

This post by a friend of mine, describes a truth that many choose to ignore and, as a result, abuses are hidden and victims are silenced.  One of the places one would expect to feel safe is with people they grow to love: parents, friends, neighbors, church people, school faculty, etc.  What is sad, is that we can never know who to trust when positions are elevated to a place of honor that prevents truth from being heard and believed. This quote illustrates so well this truth and depicts exactly what happened to me.  I say all this not to hurt the one who hurt me, but to show that we are all human. We all make mistakes. We all have the potential to do bad things. This said, let me also say that it exacerbates the one who does speak out, when those in authority do not believe them because the position of the abuser takes precedence over the words of the victim.

In telling my story, I want to also share a letter that I recently sent to my abuser and his wife. Writing this letter helped me to unload all the heartache and mental anguish that I have harbored and suffered silently with for 33 long years. Speaking out has released me from bondage to silence and, given me freedom from the cancer that has plagued me my whole life. What is that cancer? Molestation as a teenager by the person I called Dad and, the memories of it. I have learned that I am only as sick as my secrets.

MY STORY

At the age of ten, my parents divorced and my whole world was shattered. At the same time, my sister went off to Hyles-Anderson College in Crown Point, Indiana. My Mother was dating a man the same age as my older sister. This young man treated me with contempt and went out of his way to make my life at home unbearable..

When my sister came back from college on break, all she talked about was how wonderful college was. She painted a picture of safety, fun and stability – things that I so longed for. After she went back, I longed to follow her and be with her at this wonderful place.

At the age of 13, I began praying to be able to go to Hammond Baptist Schools. Hyles Anderson College and Hammond Baptist School were owned and operated by First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. This was the place where my sister attended church while attending Hyles Anderson College. My prayers were answered in 1977, when a couple showed up at Hyles Anderson College and my sister had the wife as a teacher of one of her classes. During class one day, she was telling was telling how they had allowed students from the university where they had previously taught, to stay in their home. Knowing how badly I wanted to be where she was, my sister approached Mrs. ___ to ask if she and her family would consider allowing me to stay with them so that I could finish school at Hammond Baptist. They agreed and I moved into their home in march of 1978. I would turn 16 in one month.

Some time during that first year in their home Dr.___ began coming to my room to “wake me up” in the morning in a very inappropriate way. I asked him to stop and he told me “Well, then get up in the morning.” Then other things began to occur. I was extremely uncomfortable, confused, afraid. I did not know what to do.   I told my sister about it and she adamantly told me not to go to Pastor Hyles about it. She said he wouldn’t do anything and that he would believe the person in authority. Dr.__’s position as a member of the Math and Science Faculty afforded him the privilege of being believed over me. Again, I refer back to the quote mentioned previously.

The one thing I did do, however, was to tell Mrs. ___ what he was doing to me. She told me that she had never had any reason to doubt his fidelity, but she confronted him about it nonetheless. I heard them arguing upstairs. Then, he burst into my room, grabbed me by the ear and hauled me upstairs to their bedroom. He was angry. I was afraid. He made it very clear he had had no inappropriate feelings toward me. He never apologized; never admitted to his indiscretions. He acted as if he did nothing wrong. He accused me of trying to ruin his marriage and his ministry.  But I knew the truth and, the memories never went away.

From that day on, he never touched me again. I was grateful. Life continued and it was as if the whole incident and the months of molestation had never happened. They acted as though nothing had ever happened. But what else could they do? They continued to love me. They continued to help me through the challenges of life. Mrs. ___ always made it very clear that she loved me. I had no reason to doubt that love. Yet, in the back of my mind, I wondered. Were there others he had touched? Flashbacks fueled these thoughts. Were they being kind to me to buy my silence? This was another thought that parked itself often in my mind.  I could not escape the thoughts. As a result, the memories and thoughts became a cancer that plagued me. I was sure at the age of 16 that what he had done to me was wrong. Yet, with life seemingly the same on the outside there was a constant war of thoughts on the inside. I thought maybe somehow I was wrong.  Until I married…….then I knew beyond any doubt that his intentions towards me were very clearly sexual. I say this not to hurt any member of this family but to show that every human being has the potential to do bad things. None of us are exempt. As this man told me himself “Anyone is capable of anything”. Humanity comes with potential for good and potential for bad. The man I looked to as a Dad was no different.

Thirty-three years have passed. That’s a long time to battle the memories and thoughts that won’t go away. Surely peace of mind is the most precious gift.  Recent events have caused me to look at this part of my past through the lens of honesty, allowing myself to see this all from the perspective of a victim, allowing me to admit to myself that I am a victim of sexual molestation. This meant that I had to face the fact that this man was not who I wanted to see him as, but a totally different person.  I had to write and tell them how I felt about their silence and my silence. I had to…. in order to release myself from the prison of silence … the memories and thoughts. The following is a copy of that letter:

The Letter

Dear Mrs. ___,

The sermon Sunday was about gratitude. The text was the story of the ten lepers. I was reminded of so many things for which I have to be grateful. I wanted to thank you for all that you have done to help me through life. You chose to take me in, put a roof over my head, food in my tummy and accept me as a member of your family. You have chosen to be available to me whenever I have needed you these past 35 years. For all this and more, I thank you; not because I have to, but because I want to. I love you for all the good things you have done for me.

There is something else I must thank you for that opens a door that I have chosen to keep closed for so long. . . too long. I want to thank you for believing me when I told you that ___ was being inappropriate in his behavior towards me, enough to be willing to confront him. I want to thank you for not initially sweeping it under the carpet and calling me a liar. I want to thank you for making him stop. He did not ever touch me again.

However, I want you both to know that I have never been okay with no apology and no admission of guilt on ___ part. He is guilty of child molestation by the legal definition. I have known this from the very beginning. I feel in my heart, ____, that you have known this yourself for a very long time. At any rate, whether you choose now to believe that he was molesting me doesn’t matter. I know the truth. It was sin, it was wrong and it was illegal. And I want you to know that I know that. I have wounds and scars from this. From his molestation . . . from no admission of guilt on ___ part . . . from being accused by him of trying to ruin his life and his ministry. . . from keeping a secret for someone who used and abused me. . . from knowing that I have been protecting a child molester for 34 years.

I have suffered flashbacks for years, which got quieter over time but have never gone away. I’m not bringing this all up now out of bitterness or for vindication. It’s just that keeping this all a secret has made me ill in body, mind and spirit and I am only now admitting this all to myself because of recent events and because I feel the support from many other victims.

I have found validation and healing in realizing that I am not alone. There are hundreds, if not thousands of us who have been abused by “faithful, humble, kindhearted “servants of God,”” and many, many by men who are and were mean, powerful and arrogant “men of God.” The day I told you what was going on and you confronted ___, he came to my room, lifted me off of my knees (where I was begging God to just make it all stop) by my ear and accused me of “ruining his marriage and his ministry”. He drug me by my ear upstairs to your bedroom and proceeded to deny that he had ever felt anything inappropriate towards me. Thus,  placing all of the blame on me. I accepted this explanation because I knew I would end up on the street if I tried to put the blame back on him, and I just wanted the molestation to stop. It did, thanks to your willingness to confront it. God answered my prayer and I thank him often for that.

So, when the Schaap crime came to light, all of my buried emotions and the reality of what ___ had done to me so many years ago, came flooding back. Actually, they were pushing their way back to the front of my heart and mind as I prepared for you to come with the tour group last summer. I couldn’t figure out why the emotions were suddenly so vivid after all this time. I was physically ill by the time you arrived. Try inviting your perpetrator to stay in your home!

I am writing to you to clear the air that has been fouled with very distorted feelings on my part for way too long. I have dreamed of this moment and planned it many times. I have often pictured waiting until ___ passed away and then having a heart to heart conversation with you. I have even on multiple occasions considered approaching you and telling you that you would never have to be worried about me “spilling the beans” because I had forgiven ____. This is the kind of distorted and conflicted thinking with which a victim of sexual abuse lives.  In light of recent events, it seems far more important to the victims past, present and future to put this on the table NOW.

I have come to the realization that I do not need to be right with the two of you to be right with God. Your approval has meant the world to me up until last summer when I discovered that being an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist is so wrong, at least the kind that come out of HAC/FBC thinking they can write their own rules.

Seeing myself as a child of the most gracious, loving and merciful Father has given me a new found liberty that I was never allowed to partake of under the system of works that is perpetuated by preachers and teachers that call themselves servants of God while either molesting children themselves or covering up for someone else who does. YOU KNOW that I KNOW personally of many cases of abuse . . . sexual, verbal, emotional, all under the guise of spirituality, which puts spiritual abuse at the top of the list. I no longer feel the need to get my security from a system that operates this way. Truly I have come to realize that acceptance and approval by you and FBC/HAC is not a very secure source of security. My security comes from my relationship with my heavenly Father who loves me regardless of my ability to meet any requirement set out by a religious system.

I have forgiven both of you long, long ago. Though I’m not sure that either of you have ever felt the need for that. As I said before, my emotions conflict over this because if I choose to see you as God honoring, honest people you would have to feel the need for my forgiveness. And yet, neither of you has ever asked. I don’t say that with a vindictive spirit, only to clear the air. I love you, ___, for all of the ways you continued to show your love for me after I told you the truth.

Just to be very clear, let me summarize why I am writing you this letter:

  1. To let you know I appreciate your willingness to believe me in the beginning.
  2. to be sure that you understand that I know what ___ did was a crime. And I understand the implications and results of covering up his crime.
  3. To let you know that I am willing to speak on behalf of victims of crimes committed and perpetrated by FBC/HAC. This is not a threat, just a clarification.
  4. This has not changed my position in Christ. It has only served to bring me to a greater awareness of my true positiion in Him, of His unconditional and unbounded love for me and everyone else that He created.

I have lived with this for over 30 years and all I ask of you is that you acknowledge that I am speaking the truth of what happened. If you remain silent, I will take that as your acknowledgment that it happened.

Secure at last in my Father’s Love,

Mary K.