Monthly Archives: September 2013

Lani Harper’s Story – Part 2

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

MY INJURY, MY SECRET: Lack of medical care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I will keep their secrets no longer.

Lani Harper’s Story – Part 1

Silent No Longer: Lani Harper’s Story

 How to sum up the first twenty years of my life in a few paragraphs? The stories are too numerous and shocking for me to process, let alone speak of. The memories tumble over one another, leaving me gasping for air as I look with new eyes at my childhood. A childhood I thought was near-idyllic for many years. Even after I started to see my parents as too harsh on us as kids, it took nearly a decade and a half for me to put the label on it. The stories are many, but they all begin with a single point. I cannot tell the rest until I tell the beginning, the root from which all other things sprung. I am a 36 year old woman, a wife of more than ten years, mother to three, yet I still feel like a 6 year old girl being tersely instructed to not tell, or else.

They taunted me with mysterious unnamed events that they assured me I didn’t want but would befall me if I spoke, told me they were only able to spare me these horrible things if I kept the Code of Silence. They told us that this was how Christians disciplined their children. Other people outside of our faith wouldn’t understand why we did things this way. They were ignorant, through no fault of their own, and we had to spare them this particularly harsh reality of Christian families.

Logically, I know that he will not beat me or physically harm me now, but emotionally, psychologically, I still hold a terror that he will. Yet I am compelled to speak and encouraged by those who have gone before to tell their stories. Sad, that this is how we bond, that we have been reduced to clinging desperately to one another in our shared woundedness.

My name is Lani Harper, and I was abused.

I am the middle child of five, the third girl, and my father always introduced us like this: This is Number One Daughter (hand on Libbie’s head), Number Two Daughter (hand on Andie’s head), Number Three Daughter (I always tried to duck his hand; I hated the heaviness on my head), Number One Son (a pause while he puffed himself up with pride at introducing our brother Dale), and Number Five (hand on Evie’s head). Number One was better than Two, Two better than Three, but we all paled in comparison to Number One Son. He was never “Number Four”.

I grew up in a house where my father JD exercised complete and absolute authority over all. His word was, we joked then (but with an underlying seriousness) law. And he brooked no challenges, no contrariness, no insubordination. To do so was to incur the wrath, to bring down his heavy hand of judgment in the form of severe disciplines. I suppose he may have always had this sort of near-obsession with power and control, and joining the military because he was flunking out of college only reinforced these authoritarian tendencies and cemented them by practice, giving him tools and methods to use on us, his insubordinates. He often commented on how running a house was similar to running a ship. And, he would say, I want to run a tight ship. We were commanded to fall in line and to call him Sir.

Children in this culture are viewed as the property of the parents, and especially of the father. When termed that way, instead of viewing a child as a gift, a blessing, an individual entrusted to two people to nurture into an independent, educated, intelligent, functioning member of their community and citizen of their country, one begins to see how little children are valued.

Children are not people. They are not worthy. They are born sinners, with the innate and persistent duty to sin against their parents. It is an us-versus-them mentality: the children are against us, are going to undermine us, are going to undo us at an elemental level. Consequently, the parents’ focus becomes the need to stand firm against their children’s “wiles”, and to guard themselves against being drawn astray by their children. To be strong and stronger than their children. To resist their children anytime the parents feel pulled against their will, their desires, their instincts. And then to deny their children as they ask for things, in an attempt to show the children, as my father would say, who’s boss.

With this perspective, every small blunder became magnified under the perception that we were elementally sinful, deliberately devious, manipulative, intentionally-subversive. And it was punished as such. It was a society obsessed with control, evidenced by the behavior of the man’s children. We were brutally instructed on how to act, how to speak, how to comport ourselves in the home such that when outside the home, we would not embarrass them with our childishness.  We were drilled a horrid play-acting at home with severe punishment even for transgressing in practice – until we relinquished our will and just did things the way he wanted them.

So we sought to learn the mercurial rules, learn to be good, learn to do anything and everything we could to not bring about the abuse.

We were happy because children are happy until given a reason to be otherwise. Happiness, I believe, persists as a desperate pursuit in order to feel normal, and to try to balance out or paint over some of the darkness in the home with something beautiful. It is a pursuit critical to their sanity, offering an escape from the horrors they have to face.

It took years after having kids of my own before I gathered courage to myself to describe to my husband how my parents spanked my siblings and me. After hesitantly giving the details, with a guarded watchfulness in my eye to see if he’d scoff or brush it off as inconsequential, he surprised me. That’s not a spanking, he said, that’s a beat-down.

I had to change my definition: I now refer to them as “beatings” and not “spankings”. Definitions make all the difference.

The beatings began, like for most children raised in this early pre-solidified fundamentalist culture, in infancy. The weapon of choice grew with us, beginning with a wooden spoon or ruler. Then it was a ping-pong paddle, then a yard stick, and finally JD’s very thick leather belt folded in half, and beatings were given for any number of perceived-failings large and small.

During dinner one night, I stood to reach into the center of the table to give myself a second helping. I remember being excited, though whether at serving myself or being granted a rare second helping, I am not sure. I was about eight and small in stature, and I had a half-full glass of milk. In my childish exuberance, I reached over my glass and knocked it over. And froze. Maybe it didn’t happen. Maybe they would let it go. The milk seeped into the crack between the leaf and the rest of the table, wetting the place mats and the table runner underneath the dishes.

Let’s go, JD said with a sigh of exasperation and thew his napkin on the table, looks like you need a lesson with the belt. And so, in the middle of the meal, I was escorted to The Bedroom. I knew what doom awaited me. All for spilling some milk. I knew that, if I were allowed to finish my meal, that I would be allowed no further drink because spilling my glass might have been purposeful.

He closed the door behind us, and told me to pull my pants down and bend over as he dramatically pulled his belt out of the belt loops of his pants. Disobedience was not an option and would most certainly grant me a far worse session with the belt, so I pulled my pants down. Sometimes my mother would let us leave our underwear on, but JD never did. Once I tried to wear double underwear, anything to help dull the blows a bit, but got found out and the reprisal was so severe that I never did it again. But for JD, all our beatings were naked from the waist down, and if we were wearing a dress, then we were totally naked.

I stood half bent over, holding the edge of the bed, while his mountainous bulk shadowed me from the ceiling light. And braced myself for what was to come. No amount of bracing kept me from stumbling to keep my stance, to keep from falling over. I was a small child and he used all his substantial force to emphasize every strike. Though my legs trembled violently and could barely hold me up, I knew that falling over meant starting over.

With each strike, I was to count out loud. I tried to order my wobbly tongue and quavering jaw to speak clearly enough that I wouldn’t have to begin again, but inevitably I cried and he could not understand me. This meant restarting multiple times, and his frustration when I lost track of where I was. The numbers I pictured in my mind wouldn’t stay still. In the middle somewhere, overcome with humiliation, anger, frustration and other emotions I could not name, I urinated. And prayed that my underwear and culottes tangled around my ankles would absorb the warm liquid, prayed that my socks would catch any straggling drips, prayed that it would not wet the carpet beneath my feet.

I gripped the end of their comforter so hard that I made fists in spite of the fabric in my palms. Gripped harder and harder so as to resist the powerful instinct to raise my hand to shield my bare behind. But I had done that before too, and not only did my arm get the brunt of a lash or two, but I had to begin all over again, ensuring the beating lasted longer.

Hot saltiness tumbled down my cheeks until I was almost gagging on my tears, combined with the warmth of urine down my leg, and the all-encompasingness of my humiliation threatened to drown me. Indeed, I prayed for death in those moments.

I seem to remember 18 being the magic number, though the number changed every time. This, I guess, so that we would always be wondering, and he would always be in control. I was never sure when exactly he would decide I’d had enough.

When he was finished, he made me recite a verse or two while pulling my clothes back on with trembling fingers. There was a lecture about how how this was his God-given duty to show love to me and help me become less sinful, that I deserved more, worse and should be thankful, that this was hard and he didn’t like it but it was necessary and in my best interests. Then he would duct tape my mouth shut, a concrete reminder that I was never to say anything to anyone. My mouth was now shut, and I knew I was to keep the tape on all night, during my sleep. Now go clean yourself up, hurled at me with disgust in his voice.

I did not get to finish my half-eaten meal, but was sent still-hungry to clean up the table and kitchen. I did not regret not being made to sit down, but moving was difficult. My sister Andie was to help me, both to ensure that the job was completed properly and also so that I didn’t sneak scraps off plates to try to ease my hunger. Anyway, the tape over my mouth prevented further eating. Her eyes burned compassion into me whenever I dared look at her.

My mother actually told me after one beating that I would not remember these episodes and that if I did, it meant I was bitter. I remember thinking that I was okay with that because I did not want to forget what she had done to me and how much I hated her in that moment. I always walked out of The Bedroom with newly-kindled anger and hatred at my parents.

The bruises stayed for weeks, but often there would be another beating before the bruises from the previous incident had completely healed such that my skin was a mottled mess of yellow and green old wounds mixed with the bright red-purple of the new welts. The frumpy, blousy style of the early 80s, combined with the mandated-loose clothing of the fundamental churches actually worked to my benefit: I could hide my wounds, though even the softest cloths chafed my swollen, cracked and oozing skin.

And always, on the way out, he would say, remember, what happens in The Bedroom stays in The Bedroom, and what happens in This House stays in This House. And he would send me away with the knowledge that he was watching and all-knowing, that he would know if I told even my siblings, which would result in another lesson. We were never allowed to comfort each other, though there were a few hasty, whispered words to the newly-beaten one in the dark of our room. We did not dare hug.

I cried myself to sleep, fiercely dashing the tears from my cheeks, attempting to wipe them away before they sogged the adhesive and loosened it from my skin. I had to be able to show him my still-taped mouth first thing in the morning. After a while, we stole tape so that we could remove the tape while we slept, then replace it in the morning.

The Pearls published their book about the time I graduated from high school, but my parents had been using their methods, espoused by Jack Hyles and Lester Roloff at the time, from our infancy in the late 1970s. Contrary to what the Pearls, Gary Ezzo, Jack Hyles and others who espouse this way of rearing children believe, this expectation of a surface appearance or semblance of obedience actually works against the parents who use it: in our family, it created bitter children adept at hiding their bitterness. It created strife and hardened our hearts (that they thought they were softening) against our parents: we hated them. It created a subversive culture of deeply angry children with secretive, ignored and repressed anger, who lashed out at each other because we could not lash out at our parents. It created a culture of blind obedience instead of teaching us how to make good and informed decisions. It ignored the fact that we would grow up and move out, and kept us in this perpetual childhood for longer than is natural. As a result, I spent much of my twenties figuring out things and growing personally in ways I should have been able to during my teen years. Finding independence and autonomy, discovering my authority and my rights that were denied me.

It wasn’t until I had children that I realized spanking isn’t hard, it is easy. It is easy to hit, and once you have begun a habit of hitting, the next hitting episode comes easier and easier until it’s rote, instinctual, without thought, automatic. Hitting is also a gateway to anger: the more I hit my kids, the angrier I became and the easier it was to become angry. I recognized this very early, while my kids were still very little, but though they were nothing as severe as my own beatings as a child (three swats with a spoon while clothed), I regret every episode of spanking them.

I do not remember my last beating, though they continued in much the same fashion until I was sixteen. I still remember the humiliation and ferocious anger at being violated on the outside by the beating and on the inside by the changes they sought to force into us, by the association to God and spirituality. It affects me decades later and has thus shaped my views on everything from parenting to God to spirituality, to self-worth and more.

I got out without really knowing what I was running from or why…and was shunned, but that’s a story for another time. Decompressing and deprogramming continue into the present, but I hope that telling my stories will begin to dispel the power my parents and their secrets still hold over me.

My name is Lani Harper, and I am a survivor.

Building a Fence Around Victims – By Nancy Bicknell

Building a Fence around Victims in the IFB Church to Keep Out Predators

By Nancy Bicknell

  wolf
What comes first? Caring for the Predator Preachers or, Caring for the People they harmed? Big People Taking Care of Little People is something that sticks with me as a good formula for who needs to be helped. I always want to help the Little People who have been harmed by the Big People. When the wolf got in our chicken coop, I helped the chickens and my dad put up a fence so it would not happen again. When church members praise the Predator Preacher they are putting new victims at risk by opening the door, which says “More Predator Preachers WELCOMED, rather than building a fence around the people that were harmed and those who may be harmed in the future by other Predatory Preachers.
Can these sex offenders be cured or cared for? Theories of using confrontational treatment of sex offenders ordered for child sexual abuse perpetrators is the most common approach. They use group therapy that relies heavily upon punitive and hostile confrontation and a non-systemic blend of psychoanalytic concepts and traditional talking therapy. There is often little or no effort to provide a theoretical base for the program. These procedures are often moralistic and reflect the judgmental emotional response of society rather than an empirically-based healing technique. As you can see there is not anything that we know of for sure that works with pedophilia. However, in dealing with pedophilia, the focus is not on CURING the pedophile; as no one really knows how to do that. The focus is then on CARING for children, to keep them safe in the future by building a fence around the vulnerable among us, by locking up the pedophile and not allowing the continuation of their abuse. Our society currently is set up to keep the weakest, the littlest among us safe. Big People take care of Little People.

How much more so should that statement be true in our churches. Did the IFB church in your life protect the Little Ones or their Pastors who protected the abuser who abused the Little Ones? Shame on those who did not condemn the Pastors who abused or, protected the abuser, and continue to PRAISE them by allowing them to sit in the IFB PEWS and have not cared for the LITTLE ONES who sat in those same pews while being abused! SHAME on those who enable the Predatory Pastors message to continue through their praise, presence or silence.

Those who enable Predatory Preachers by praising them endanger the vulnerable. So the problem in my view is not those who are confronting the Predatory Pastor or Praisers but, what are we doing to keep the message of the pedophile from being praised or promoted and attracting more Predator Pastors? The blood of the child victims in the IFB church, like the blood of the chickens killed, will bring more wolfs to the chicken coop.

Many in the IFB churches are still in some denial believing they can cure the pedophiles by using a loving message and accepting those who praise the rapist —  like Jack Schaap, for example. This Praise of the Predatory Pastor should make us angry and motivate us to action. I would be equally angry at a group that praises Charles Manson and talks against those people who are trying to protect future children. If your family has been victimized by such a killer as Manson, who actually never killed a victim himself that we know of – yet his followers did – what side of the fence would you be on? If there is not a fence that your IFB church has put up, you would be determined by the blood you or yours have sacrificed because of the wolfs killing spree, to quickly put your energy into building a fence.

There is no easy answer. However, I don’t understand why those who are in denial about the danger of Pastor Predator Praising groups or churches have not left those communities to go build fences around the vulnerable. We build those fences by pointing a finger at the danger of praising the perp-pastor groups and churches. I support all of you advocates, survivors and those who support you with efforts that use your personality style to expose the dangers for those vulnerable ones still in the IFB churches like First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, and their former pastor, Jack Schaap. As leaders in this movement, we must build fences resilient enough to resist future Predator Preachers from getting to our children! I am your cheer leader. You are who you are and that leadership has been helpful to many who see your strong word on that subject. You are a leader and leaders show strength. That is a good thing. I have never seen a predator react to a feather.

Be strong all of you who are building the fences in your life time. Some of you are good yellers, so yell! Others are good writers, so write! Some of you are great listeners, so listen! Some of you draw pictures, so draw pictures! Together we can build a fence, but alone, well. . . alone we are just alone and the IFB will see us as a feather and blow us away.  So get your post hole digger out and help build the fence the best way you know how because God can use your talents to protect His Little Ones if you own your talents and prioritize fence building over caring for the Predatory Pastors.

The IFB tried to teach us as members that the real wolf was our government trying to take away our rights; and so many of us spent so much time looking out for the government as the wolf ready to devoured us that we missed the Wolfs among us in the IFB. As a result, many people got hurt and many, many children were harmed. What a paradox we found ourselves in when we finally saw the IFB wolfs in sheep’s clothing and it was too late. We were hoodwinked. I pray I will see the real wolfs in the future and point the IFB wolfs out to others. Keep up the good fight and I will cheer you on and, draw a picture now again.

Darlene Scott’s Story

When a church becomes a gated community that’s when the devil has taken residency. My name is Darlene and I was a victim of childhood molestation. At the age of 53, I want to share my history of abuse when I married the junior pastor of my church. In the beginning, we had so much fun. But, when his mother, an evangelist, saw we were moving towards marriage, her horrible demeanor became worse. Everyone, including her son, knew she was abusive. She often displayed the physical and mental abusive behaviors at church. Each time, she had an outburst, the pastor always made excuses for her.

My future husband would often share the horrific stories of his mother’s wrath and, he felt once we were married that we would live happily ever after. Well it didn’t happen. Once we were married, he became physically and mentally abusive just like his mother for eight long years. I tried everything to make his mother love me. I stayed in the marriage because I thought prayer and my goodness would rub off on him. My husband had so many disguises it was hard for me to keep up. What people didn’t know was that he loved drugs more than God and our family. I couldn’t believe his behavior, I trusted him with all my secrets, as he did me. He knew my pain, why did he hurt me?

I turned to the minister of every church we attended and I was told the same thing, “You took a vow for better or worse, till death do you part. Keep praying for your husband.” But, God had other plans for me. I divorced the bum and the cult. I said cult because we worshipped in a gated facility, where whatever happened in the church stayed in the church. We were taught it was against the will God to call the authorities on another church member, because prayer changes things.

I realized the sexual assault I survived as a child had hindered my mental growth as an adult. I allowed the pain BECAUSE I was use to being hurt. I found healing through prayer and writing. Writing poetry and short stories took me on an adventure that provided hope for my future. I received closure when I was BLESSED to write a powerful fictional story that mirrors episodes of me and my daughter’s past. The generational curse was broken when God gave me something my mother didn’t have when I was molested – courage — and the courage I found, led me to file charges against my daughter’s molester. Even though we couldn’t get a conviction, we won spiritually.

When my book, What A Nice Guy!, hit Amazon, I was in tears with joy because I had WON! I had written a book exposing the devil. In addition, children will learn from my story. This past week, I have received so many tweets, Facebook messages and telephone calls from friends from my first church family. For over 35 years, I took it personally because I never received the respect I wanted from my former mother-in-law.  My husband had shared parts of the dysfunction of his family.  I knew his siblings were tortured from their past. His youngest brother was arrested and convicted for several sexual assaults at the age of sixteen. The other brother was a child molester as well as a homosexual infected with Aids. His brother was responsible for the death of his nephew whom he repeatedly sexually assaulted over the years. The sister left the family at an early age for a life of prostitution and drugs. She later gave birth to two boys whom my mother-in-law loved to torture. This lady never missed a church service and has preached many sermons! The reason why she hated me so much, I discovered from members of my old church, is that all those years I was married to her son she was having sex with each of her children and the children were having sex with one another. My husband never told me that incest was taking place in his home.  This information made  me sick to my stomach, but yet gave me closure. I’m grateful to God that he protected my child from the demonic spirit of incest. My story is one of many that occurred within that Pentecostal church and, possibly many other religions.

When stories of child molestation are discovered, in their ignorance, people blame God. The first lesson a Christian should learn in Bible school: God is love and he loves children. The devil wears many disguises. We must learn to unmask the child molester and take God out of the demonic behavior.

We live in a society, where teaching children “Good touch, Bad touch” is not good enough anymore. No one is exempt as far as I’m concern. Because the majority of the survivors I know were molested by family members or friends of the family.  Parents, listen with your heart and observe what is not being said when a child’s behavior is different in the presence of someone he or she once adored. The purpose of writing my book was to educate parents, so that they teach their children my safety concept.

Be encouraged to view my youtube promo at ability46K or to buy my book on amazon.com to protect your children – What A Nice Guy! By Darlene L. Scott

Gospel Forgeries

forgedWhat is very important for people to understand is that during the early centuries there were MANY different beliefs regarding Christ. Today’s Christian beliefs regarding Christ were NOT the majority belief during the early centuries. What we have today is the result of centuries of fighting and forgeries. The opponent with the biggest material resources and secular arm of power to enforce their agendas was the opponent whose beliefs won the battle and paved the way for what is believed as “orthodoxy” today.  Just as we have countless theological beliefs and differences today, so it was then. What makes the difference between then and now is that we have copyright laws that prevent people from forging books in other people’s names. Back then, forgery was a huge problem. Historical evidence attests to this fact and, scholars agree on this point. Whenever the disputes over doctrine collided, it was a simple fix – they forged documents that leaned toward their theological views and wrote these forgeries in the names of well known people. The debates over what was the “right belief” were prevalent and heated back then just as they are today.

In his books, scholar Bart Erhman covers this issue of forgeries excellently and, brings to the forefront of reasoning, the questions that most Christians either REFUSE to ask, or CHOOSE to overlook. It simply frustrates me that Christians tend to believe blindly what they are told regarding the Bible and scripture, as well as doctrine and belief, without doing their own due diligence and research on the issue. As a matter of fact, it is not just Christians that are guilty of not doing their due diligence on their religious teachings and scriptures — other religions have the same problem. Countless followers do not research to find out if what they are being taught is true.  Because religious people tend to ACT on their beliefs in unethical and immoral ways to hurt others that believe differently (in the name of their religion or God), it morally behooves us to search out if what we are being told by religious leaders IS TRUE. What type of godly testimony do we have if we ignorantly believe what we are told? What does this tell the world? That we are NOT going to do the research; that we do not CARE what the REAL TRUTH is; that we are too AFRAID to find out if we have believed a lie? What IF you have believed a lie? Wouldn’t you WANT to know? What IF those lies are destroying the relationships within your family and your marriage? WOULDN’T YOU WANT TO KNOW?

I was handed lies my whole Christian life about the Bible and doctrine. Those lies led to abuses and strife in the home, destruction of my marriage and family, isolation, fear of government, fear of authorities and other religions, fear of the church and religious leaders. Today, because of an honest effort to find out if what I was taught was true, I have been freed from the bondage to the lies I once believed. If you are in bondage to ANY religion that has attached to it FEAR of retaliation for not conforming, then my guess is that you are believing lies too. Just my honest opinion. There is no FEAR in TRUTH.

Whatever you are being taught needs to be challenged with the utmost effort and research! I believe that this journey into truth requires character, humility and, a heated desire that will enable one to not only uncover the lies, but once uncovered, discard them for the right beliefs based on the FACTS presented. It’s time to NOT take mans word that truth is truth! Why? Because men lie to further their own agendas; and when they do propagate lies, it brings abuse and suffering to those that are weaker or slighted by their dogmas and rules.

I will simply leave the following quotes from Bart Erhman’s book, Lost Christianities, as the thoughts to ponder in hope that those who read them, will decide to embark on that journey into truth that will either validate their beliefs, or damn them as lies.

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Gospel Forgeries

“Almost all of the “lost” Scriptures of the early Christians were forgeries. On this, scholars of every stripe agree, liberal and conservative, fundamentalist and atheist.” – Lost Christianities, Bart Erhman

“That Christians in the early centuries would forge such books should come as no surprise. Scholars have long recognized that even some of the books accepted into the canon are probably forgeries. Christian scholars, of course, have been loathe to call them that and so more commonly refer to them as “pseudonymous” writings. Possibly this is a more antiseptic term. But it does little to solve the problem of a potential deceit, for an author who attempts to pass off his own writing as that of some other well-known person has written a forgery. That is no less true of the book allegedly written to Titus that made it into the New Testament (Paul’s Letter to Titus) than of the book allegedly written by Titus that did not (Pseudo-Titus), both claiming to be written by apostles (Paul and Titus), both evidently written by someone else.” — Lost Christianities, Bart Erhman

“Other books, however, are widely regarded as forged. The author of 2 Peter explicitly claims to be Simon Peter, the disciple of Jesus, who beheld the transfiguration (1:16-18). But critical scholars are virtually unanimous that it was not written by him. So too the Pastoral epistles of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus: They claim to be written by Paul, but appear to have been written long after his death.” — Lost Christianities, Bart Erhman

“How could forgeries make it into the New Testament? Possibly it is better to reverse the question: Who was  collecting the books? When did they do so? And how would THEY have known whether a book that claims to be written by Peter was actually written by Peter or that a book allegedly written by Paul was actually by Paul? So far as we know, none of these letters was included in a canon of sacred texts until decades after they were written, and the New Testament canon as a whole still had not reached final form for another two centuries after that. How would someone hundreds of years later know who had written these books?” — Lost Christianities, Bart Erhman

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If scholars know about forgeries in the Bible, and have known about them for centuries, why do Christians fight against that knowledge? Why aren’t they addressing this reality and fighting for the truth to be made known and/or corrected in Scripture? My guess on that question is a simple one and, possibly, a hated one. Here is my opinion on that question, if you don’t like it, just agree to disagree with me:

I believe that the changes that were made to scripture were done in order to:

  • Give men pre-eminence and dominance over women.
  • Proliferate inequality of the sexes
  • Allow for sexual dominance and control
  • Afford men power, control and prestige in religion and the world

If one just reads the countless articles on this blog that expose these truths scripturally and historically, these points that I give will become obvious. Why else would male-dominated religions wish to use, and tout as infallible and inspired, corrupted texts that have been altered by MEN to oppress and suppress women and, bring the masses into bondage to FEAR of their God, their rules? Why else would religious leaders defame, attack, label and “name-call” those women and men who bring these facts to light?  It wasn’t women that made the forgeries, keep that in mind. Inequality always leads to abuse. Just my opinion based on the evidence uncovered. Read my blog articles yourself and form your own opinion. BUT, You don’t have to believe me. Afterwards, go on your own quest for TRUTH. Let the FACTS guide your thought processes and build your foundations — not hear-say and opinion from fallible men who have agendas to uphold.

David Pittman’s Story

Pedophiles are like Serial Killers – My Story by David Pittman

My name is David Pittman – For 30 years I’ve been keeping a secret that almost killed me. From the time I was 12 until I was 15, I was molested by my youth minister at Rehoboth Baptist Church in Tucker, GA. His name is Frankie Wiley, full name Franklin Andrew Wiley. Due to the pathetic statute of limitation laws in Georgia and almost every state in the USA, he walks free. And up until recently he was serving as an associate minister at Trinity Baptist Church in Ashburn, Ga. While he no longer holds an “official” position at the church, he still has access to little boys because the pastor of the church defends him. I have been told they grew up together so that’s the only reason I can conceive as to why he would allow this confessed child molester to continued access of potential victims of sexual abuse.

In 2006, I found Frankie serving as youth minister at Jodeco Road Baptist Church, where Jerry Light was the Pastor. I contacted Pastor Light, told him my story and he and the Chairman of Deacons, after doing their due diligence about my story, confronted Frankie. Frankie admitted to both men that he had molested me. They fired him on the spot. He then went back to get help from a family at a previous church in Flowery Branch, Ga. When they were made aware of the circumstances, they too told him to leave. He returned to his hometown and got a job with the schools as a substitute teacher and when I told the superintendent there, he fired him. I continue to track his activity with children and if you look at his Facebook or MySpace pages they are filled with preteens and teenagers as he has a whole new world of potential victims.

There is an important update I need to give you as the reader, I first posted this article in October of 2012, but as of March 30th, 2013, a total of 7 men have come forward, from three different churches, ages ranging from 10 to 15, that Frankie raped, molested or sexually assaulted in some way prior to, during or after the time he was sexually abusing me. There names are Cale Harbour, Christopher Elrod, and sadly one is now deceased, Andy Harrell. Andy gave me permission to use his name prior to is death in 2012. Unfortunately 3 others are not in an emotional place of healing and told me “they just can’t talk about it right now” and I know how they feel. It’s how myself, Cale and Christopher felt for many years. But they reached out to me because they thought all this time they were the only ones and needed to talk to someone who understood what they had been through.

It’s important that you know how Frankie and other sexual predators operate. He invites 2-3 boys over to his house for sleepovers. He keeps 1 or 2 in another room and has the other boy stay with him in his bed. This is where the molestation takes place.

These vultures go after others like me who came from a family of divorce or worse. They take advantage of the vulnerability; a young boy simply wanting attention from a male role model. This is their “play”, also known as “grooming” and how it eventually leads to the abuse. God only knows how many there actually are-which is why I am writing this. The National Crime Statistics say “an uncaught child molester has approximately 117 victims.” And one young man I mentioned, can no longer speak at all-he died in June 2012. According to what he told me, because of the shame and guilt from being molested by Frankie Wiley, he took drugs to numb the pain, the drugs lowered his ability to make proper decisions, and in the end it cost him his life. It seems clear to me that the blood of his death is on the hands of Frankie Wiley.

Since the state of GA has a pathetic statute of limitations on child rape, I am unable to bring him to justice. I called Mr. Kenneth Keene at the Georgia Baptist Convention to inform him of this pedophile using his church as a haven for hunting. His response was to pray for me and say “sorry but each church acts separately and there is nothing we can do.” After two conversations, I wanted to tell him that Frankie had moved churches, but he wouldn’t take my calls or emails. It appears the Baptist Church, as an organization, not the individual parishioners, are following in the footsteps of the Catholic Church. They prefer to deny and cover-up rather than own up to the evil within. They know that the moment they admit to what is actually happening, they open themselves up to lawsuits, and it seems like they would rather have more children abused, molested and raped, than admit wrongdoing, take these pedophiles out of their churches and pay money to the victims.

But don’t take just my word for it, an organization has found 18 leaders within the Baptist Church who know of instances of abuse and choose to do nothing. Mr. Keene is listed among them.

“The only thing needed for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”
– Edmund Burke

It appears as though this has become the case within the Baptist church.

http://stopbaptistpredators.org/blind_baptist_leaders.html

How many other adults out there have suffered this atrocity and are unable to bring their abusers to justice due to the insufficient laws held by almost every state in this land? These predators know this and count on it. They count on us not saying anything until it is legally too late. The reason being, most survivors of abuse aren’t capable of acknowledging what happens to us until, on average, we are in our 30′s and 40′s. The statute of limitations in almost every state runs out between the ages of 18 to 23. It’s simple math for the predators and the organizations that protect them.

When Dr. Light contacted the pastor of Trinity Baptist, Rodney Brown, with verification of Frankie’s molestation, all he said he would do was to bring it to the church. While Frankie is no longer “on staff”, he is still active with the youth. What they fail to understand is these predators NEVER stop until they are caught. The elders at Trinity are either too ignorant or too negligent to protect them. When I sent an email to the parents of Trinity Baptist, after the pastor failed to tell them, he called me and said I was a bad person. Pastor Rodney Brown said I caused a split in “HIS” church. To which I replied, “pastor, first of all, its not YOUR church. The “church” is the people who make up the body of Christ, not the person standing in the pulpit. And who is the bad person here? Me, for letting the parents of Trinity know about an admitted child molester with access to their children, or you, who CHOSE to keep it secret until you were FORCED to tell them? And hearing that the church split tells me that half of the people there didn’t agree with you in allowing this sexual predator to continue to be around their children.” Below you will find a link to Trinity Baptist Church where they proudly list Frankie as their worship leader. Is this the type of church you want to send your little boys and feel safe about doing it?

http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ga/county/turner/trinity.html

And to any of the aforementioned people who would deny anything I have spelled out in this letter. I challenge them to submit to a lie-detector test. I am more than willing to do so and testify under oath. Myself, Cale and Christopher have the one thing they don’t…the truth.

I wonder how many parents of the children Jerry Sandusky molested wished they had this kind of information. How many little boys would still have their innocence? How many little boys would have been protected? To me, this pastor is WORSE than the pedophile. A pedophile is sick and won’t stop until incarcerated or deceased. This man, like the administrators at Penn State CHOSE to protect the monster in their midst.

We have started a non-profit, 501(c)(3), charitable organization and advocacy group that will help others like me who were robbed of their innocence and struggle every day with a way to stay alive. We provide counseling at no charge to those in need, educate parents on how to better protect their children and lead a monthly support group for survivors of CSA. By having this support, we help survivors to fight the urge to seek out vengeance on the person who killed their childhood. You can get more information at our website – together-we-heal.org – follow us on twitter @Together_WeHeal – join our Cause Page at – http://www.causes.com/causes/640477-together-we-heal – follow our blog – togetherweheal.wordpress.com – or join the Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/togetherweheal – The other reason why I am asking all of my friends to join is because survivors of molestation and abuse will seldom speak out…but they will read in private if they see helpful sites like these posted on your wall. You may never know who you are helping, but trust me you will be helping. I know because it took me almost 30 years to finally acknowledge and address what happened to me and that allowed me to begin healing. And for those who have any misgivings or doubts, we do not make one dollar from any of this. We do all of this on a completely voluntary basis. I just don’t want any other survivors to think they are alone.

My childhood voice was strangled by the rope of molestation. My assailant is free (for now), but with your help other victims will have the courage to come forward in time to incarcerate these predators. Most survivors have a similar feeling; one of feeling trapped—having to relive the crime that keeps them quiet, that keeps them inside their minds, it even costs some of them their lives. So many have committed suicide because they did not have the tools to handle the trauma, others (including myself) turned to drugs and alcohol to numb their pain (many times ending in overdoses). And even more who are never able to have any kind of life. No loving relationships, no lasting friendships, no children to show true parental love – all due to the pain caused by the crime of abuse, molestation and rape.

I was told by a GBI investigator something that has stuck with me to this day…a pedophile is like a serial killer that leaves his victims alive.

I believe that most accurately describes a pedophile. It’s truth articulated.

Frankie served as a youth minister at the following churches from 1981 to 2011 – if you or anyone you know have concerns, please contact me.

Rehoboth Baptist, Tucker, Ga.
Second Avenue Baptist, Rome, Ga.
A Baptist church in Flowery Branch, Ga.
Jodeco Road Baptist, Stockbridge, Ga.
Trinity Baptist, Ashburn, Ga.

He also worked as a substitute teacher at the local school system in Ashburn, Ga., sometime around 2009-2011.

If you or anyone you know has been molested by Frankie Wiley or by anyone, please reach out to someone, things are different now, you WILL be believed, you are NOT alone. Please, reach out…there are people you can trust now.

Historical Proof of Women’s Early Dignity and Equality

equlity picThe account that we have in the Bible of what took place between the time of Noah and Abraham is sparce. It is covered by the tenth and eleventh chapters in Genesis and that’s it. However, even though the Bible does not give much detail to this time period, archaeological discoveries do. The Tel el Amarna tablets, the Code of Hammurabi (King Amraphel of Gen. 14:1), and the numerous discoveries about Nineveh, in Babylonia, Egypt and other places, have combined in enabling scholars to reconstruct the manners and customs of the people during this time period.

One of the clear voices of the early centuries (early 1900s) that exposes the facts and discoveries regarding women and their positions in society during the early ages, is a Hebrew and Greek scholar named Katherine Bushnell. Bushnell did over one hundred Bible studies based on historical and Biblical research that present the truth about women’s roles in early history. Not only this, but her research also exposes the corruptions in translation and teaching by men in order to subjugate women to them; thus, setting women up for abuse. The following teaching is from one of Bushnell’s studies on the early dignity of women. I have updated some of the language to modern English for ease of reading, but have left most of it in tact as Bushnell herself wrote it. At the end of her study, I will bring this research around to today in order to show the magnitude of abuse that has arose out of male-kinship.

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More Proof of Woman’s Early Dignity

By Katherine Bushnell

First of all, we have information that in Egypt women occupied a very dignified position in public as well as private affairs. While one may think that this is an exception, what we find in reality through the discoveries is that it was not exceptional at all. There were many scholars works published in the early centuries, such as Bachofen and McLennan, who traced the signs of that early dignity of women. Their research gave investigators new clues to follow out into past facts. This enabled historians and others access to new information regarding women of ancient history and their roles, public and private.

These newly discovered facts help us to better understand the numerous incidents in the Bible that regard women and how they have been misinterpreted. Nothing is more important to Christian women today than to understand that God did not Himself subordinate women to men. He merely prophesied that such subordination would follow as the fruit of sin in this world. The subordination of women to men is NOT the result of God’s ordinance; it is the fruit of wrong-doing; and, as such, the fruit can be no more God’s doing than the bad tree.

Ancient history proves that woman, in earth’s earliest ages, was not subordinate. As to Egypt, we shall never forget the profound impression made on our own mind by a review of the long line of ancient monarchs in stone, to be seen in the Gizeh Museum, a few miles from Cairo, near the pyramid of Cheops. Beginning at the end where the most ancient were placed, we noticed that the queen sat by the side of the king, of equal size and importance. A few centuries later, we noticed that the queen had become smaller than the king. The representations were all rudely true to life, and we could not but conclude that for some reason the man had taken to marrying a wife not as mature as himself (child-bride); and beginning to bear children in her immaturity, the development of woman’s stature had been arrested. Further on, the queen sat on a lower level than the king and was subjected to him. Lastly, the queen was no longer carved out of a stone block; she was merely scratched into the pedestal of the stool he sat on or, the arm of his chair or throne.

The progression of this story could not lie. No man had carved more than one or two of these stones; they had not been carved under the same dynasty; no architect had conceived the plan of the whole; no sociologist, no theologian had written this history of womanhood; no romancer had woven the tale. It was cold fact, in cold stone. And the revelation told us that the Egyptian woman was, of old, a dignified person; she gradually lost that dignity; her fall was not all at once; it was accomplished only gradually, through the working of ages of custom. How very different this is from that theological teaching that while the nations were as yet unborn, God placed their mother, Eve, under servitude, so that, by divine ordinance, every woman except Eve has been born in servitude!

Turning to Isaac Myer’s work, Oldest Books in the World, we quote what he says about ancient times in Egypt: “The mother of the deceased is usually shown with his wife, and his father rarely appears. The custom as shown by the funeral steles, was to trace the descent of the dead on their mother’s side, and not, as we do, on the father’s. This produced also the curious effect that the father of the mother was considered the natural protector.” “The position of woman both in religion and in government was elevated in ancient Egypt.” Mr. Myer reproduces teaching which was found on what he calls “The Papyrus of Balak, No. IV.” He dates the writing about 3000 B.C. The words are in the language of a god, addressing some mother’s son: “I have given thee thy mother who has borne thee; she gave herself a heavy burden for thy sake. . When thou was born after thy months [of gestation], she was truly subjected to thy yoke, for her breast has been in thy mouth during three years. As thou grew marvelously, the disgust of thy untidiness did not turn her heart against thee. . [Now] that thou has married, . . have an eye on thy child, raise it as thy mother did thee. Do not do what she would reprove in thee, for fear that, if she raises her two hands towards God [against thee], he will hear her prayer.”

Dr. J. H. Breasted, in his History of Egypt says: “Under the Old Kingdom [which he would place about 3000 B.C.], a man possessed but one legal wife, who was the mother of his heirs. She was in every respect his equal . . .The natural line of inheritance was through the eldest daughter, though a will might destroy this.” To these statements, and many more kindred ones which we might quote, we know of no reliable historian who would take exception.

We turn now from Egypt to ancient Babylonia, to learn the same things, as regards the early dignity of women. Formerly it was supposed that Hebrew was the oldest language, and no people were older than the nation from whence Abraham came. But before the Babylonians were the Sumerians; and Prof. Sayce tells us in his book, Babylonians and Assyrians: “Two principles struggled for recognition in Babylonian family life. One was the patriarchal, the other the matriarchal. Perhaps they were due to the duality of race; perhaps they were merely the result of circumstances under which the Babylonians lived. At times it would seem as if we must pronounce the Babylonian family to have been patriarchal in its character; at other times the wife and mother occupies an independent and even commanding position. It may be noted that whereas in the old Sumerian hymns the woman takes the precedence of the man, the Semitic translation invariably reverses the order: the one has ‘female and male,’ the other, ‘male and female.’” Again he says: “Women could hold civil offices and even act as governors of a city.” Again we read the same lesson,–in Babylonia WOMAN WAS BORN FREE!

These facts are brought forward for the sake of proving a point – viz., Woman was NOT subordinated, at the beginning of human history through the wrong-doing of Eve. At the dawn of authentic profane history, which must have been much later than Eve’s day of course, we find woman holding a position so dignified and honored, both in family and public life, that men are constrained to name it a matriarchate. If this be so, then the theologian has not read his Bible correctly, in his supposition that he can trace the subordination of woman all the way back to Eden, and to a day when the blight of God’s curse fell upon Eve. . . such a sad day as God’s curse of womanhood never dawned on human history.

This matter may seem of so little consequence to male Bible expositors that they are more than willing even to this day to ignore the “woman question” in their teaching, and allow the case to stand as God’s blight on the sex, when it is wholly the result of man’s wrongdoing. Thus Adam was more than willing to ignore the Serpent in the Garden, and lay the responsibility of his own wrongdoing at the door of the Almighty,–as he did when he said, “The woman whom THOU gavest to be with me.” (Blaming God) But such continuance in an evil way will not escape God’s eye, inasmuch as the teaching that all women are left under condemnation because Eve sinned is more a slight and disrespect shown towards Jesus Christ, the Atoner for ALL SIN, than a slight and disrespect shown towards women.

To continue the record as to old Babylonia: In the History of Sumer and Akkad, by L.W. King, of the British Museum, we read: “Tablets dating from the close of Ur-Nina’s dynasty [B.C. 3000] show the important part which women played in the social and official life of the early Sumerians.” He describes a plaque which has been found, among others, on which Lidda, daughter of the king Ur-Nina, stands in the first place of honor, facing the king, while the crown-prince is represented as attending his sister.

Now let’s look at Asia Minor. Here, on the testimony of the investigator, Prof. Sir Wm. M. Ramsey, are abundant evidences of an early “matriarchate,”—so called. But again we say, we must not misunderstand the real import of this word. Men are apt to name anything which savors of an equality of the sexes, in these days, a “petticoat government.” The matriarchate does not convey to our minds the idea of a rule of women over men; it merely implies the absence of an exclusive government by men,–the existence of that saner, righteous state, in which the governing privilege is invested in the competent, without regard to sex.

In Prof. Ramsay’s Church in the Roman Empire we read: “The honours and influence which belonged to women in the cities of Asia Minor, form one of the most remarkable features in the history of the country. In all periods the evidence runs on the same lines. The best authenticated cases of mutterrect [matriarchate] belong to Asia Minor. Under the Roman Empire [in Asia Minor] we find women magistrates, presidents at games, and loaded with honours. The custom of the country influenced even the Jews, who in at least one case appointed a woman at Smyrna to the position of “archisynagogos” [chief of the synagogue]. We could quote much more, and from Prof. Ramsay’s other books,–especially his Phrygia, but this is sufficient for illustration; it puts the whole case in a nutshell.

Next we turn again to Prof. W. Robertson Smith. Here we learn facts concerning the Semitic races, to which the O.T. Hebrews belong. In his preface to Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, he says, “The object of the present volume is to collect and discuss the available evidence as to the genesis of the system of male kinship, with the corresponding laws of marriage and tribal organization, which prevailed in Arabia at the time of Mohammed; the general result is that male kinship had been preceded by kinship through women only, and that all that can still be gathered as to the steps of the social evolution in which the change of kinship law is the central feature corresponds in the most striking manner with the general theory propounded. . .in the late J.F. McLennan’s book on Primitive Marriage.”

Elsewhere he says: “Mother-kinship is the type of kinship, common motherhood the type of kindred unity which dominate all Semitic speech.” Now, how was that mother-kinship secured? All these writers whom we have quoted propound the evolution theory that it arose out of polyandry, in which state fatherhood cannot be certainly determined. But let us repeat: We are not driven to a theory to account for mother-kinship; the Bible tells us it was God’s own ordinance,–“Therefore shall a man [“husband” is the precise word used] leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.” Prof. Smith says: “The common old Arabic phrase for the consummation of marriage is . . . ‘he built [a tent] over his wife.’ This is synonymous with ‘he went in unto her,’ and is explained by the native authorities by saying that the husband erected and furnished a new tent for his wife. . .Though the wife of a nomad has not usually a separate tent to live in, a special hut or tent is still erected for her on the first night of marriage. In Northern Arabia this is now the man’s tent, and the woman is brought to him. But it was related to me . . .as a peculiarity of Yemen [a southern tribe] that there the ‘going in’ takes place in the bride’s house, and that the bridegroom if home-born must stay some nights in the bride’s house, or if a foreigner must settle with them. This Yemenite custom. . .must once have been universal among all Semites, otherwise we should not find that alike in Arabic, Syriac and Hebrew the husband is said to ‘go in’ to the bride, when as a matter of fact she is brought to him”.

He continues: “As the ceremony of the tent is common to all the Semites, the kind of marriage to which it points must have begun very early, and with this it agrees that among the Hebrews, as Mr. McLennan has pointed out, there are many relics not only of female kinship but of an established usage of beena marriage, with which was associated not only female kinship, but also the rights of inheritance through females; but the covetous Laban was keeping all the property as his own, to the exclusion of his daughters’ rights. Second: Under beena or sadica marriage, the bridegroom made his gift to the bride, for the privilege of marrying her; but under ba’al marriage the bridegroom purchases his wife. These women complain of their father Laban, “He hath sold us, and quite devoured the price paid for us” (R.V.) In other words, they claimed that the entire wages of Jacob’s fourteen years of service to obtain his wives belonged to them,–not to Jacob, and certainly not to their father Laban. Their argument for leaving their mother’s roof (as doubtless it would have been called in those days), was not at all what one hears in these days.—“He is my husband; I must follow him.” Rather, they argue that since their own father will not give them an inheritance, they will be better off to forsake him for Jacob. They in no wise recognize it as a duty to follow a husband away from the parental roof. It is a quarrel about ba’al marriage being substituted for sadica marriage by a covetous father.

McLennan calls attention to the following interesting sidelights on woman’s position among the ancient Hebrews: “When Abraham seeks a wife for Isaac, his servant thinks that the condition will probably be made that Isaac shall come and settle with her people,” Gen. 24:5. (But in this particular instance Abraham, having been himself called out from among these idolatrous relatives, will not permit Isaac’s return to them—Gen. 24:6.) Upon this, Prof. Robertson Smith remarks: “He might have added other things of the same kind; the Shechemites must be circumcised, i.e., Hebraised, before they can marry the daughters of Israel; Joseph’s sons by his Egyptian wife become Israelites only by adoption; and so in Judges 15 Samson’s Philistine wife remains with her people and he visits her there. All these things illustrate what is presented in Gen. 2:24 as the primitive type of marriage; but perhaps a still more convincing proof that the passage (Gen. 2:24) is based on a doctrine of beena marriage and mother-kinship lies in the very name Eve.—‘The mother of all living.’” To this we add the further strong warning which God gave to Eve: “Thou art turning to [to follow] thy husband, and he will rule over thee.”

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What we can see from this research is that female kinship was the “norm” in the beginning and throughout the early centuries. There was equality of the sexes. But men, wanting dominance, used force to rip women away from their families and natural protectors causing male kinship to come to pass. As a result, men then began taking away women’s autonomy, honor and dignity, relegating them to servitude. By marrying younger girls, this made sure that their “control” over their wives was solidified – since young girls cannot defend themselves. This allowed for these young girls to be raised by the husband and, by force, made to submit or suffer the consequence.  This allowed for abuse of women and young girls throughout history and even today.

As a result of this practice of male kinship, women suffer bondage and abuse to wicked husbands. They have been stripped of protection, honor, dignity and equality in religion and the world. As a result of inequality, women have endured rape, torture, incest, polygamy, physical abuse and emotional abuse. Sex trafficking is rampant, child rape and mutilation is rampant and, men have made women the “scape goat” for their own wickedness. Instead of protecting women from mens criminal and in-humane behaviors, women have been made the “cause” of it because God made them female. That is why, after centuries of proliferating this mindset in men, we live in a rape culture.  Men today, in many cultures are not held accountable for their crimes against women and children. In some cultures, young girls – as young as five, six, seven and eight years old—are married to men four and five times their age. This is pedophilia and rape! When God prophesied to Eve that, “Thou art turning to thy husband, and he will rule over thee.” He was prophesying that mens evil intentions would cause them to dominate women and strip them of their honor, dignity and equality. That prophecy has been fulfilled. The fruit of this evil perpetrated by men has been crimes against women and children without full accountability and, the enactment of laws (in some cultures) that protect men from full accountability.

It is time for the populous to wake up and realize that over half the human race has been victimized, abused and treated in-humanely. The weapon used to enforce this system of abuse against women, is religion.

Allah Bachai Honor Killing

Source: WikiIslam

Name of Victim:   Allah Bachai

Age: unknown

Date of Incidence:  Jan. 5, 2007

Location: Pakistan

Method of killing or religious violence:  Shot to death

 Perpetrator: Nephew

Reason for Violence:  Suspected she was having illicit relations with another man

Read More:  http://dawn.com/news/226544/woman-shot-dead-by-nephew

Published 2007-01-06 00:00:00

SANGHAR, Jan 5: A man killed his paternal aunt on the suspicion of adultery in Haider Khan Mari village near Tando Adam on Friday. Mukhtiar Ali Manganhar suspected that his aunt Allah Bachai had illicit relations with a man of the same village. He shot her dead with a gun and fled.

The body was shifted to the taluka hospital. The police are investigating. . .

Alia Ahmed Honor Killing

Name of Victim: Alia Ahmed
Age: 37
Date: October 2009
Location: Jordan
Method of Killing: Stabbed 28 times
Perpetrator: Brothers
Reason for Violence: They thought she left her husband
Read More:

http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/jordan-aims-to-deter-honour-crime

Jordan aims to deter ‘honour crime’
Suha Maayeh
Oct 12, 2009

AMMAN // When Abu Ismaeel recalled how his older sister, Alia Ahmed, was stabbed 28 times by another brother in a so-called “honour killing” after she had allegedly run away from her husband, he said that at first he thought she deserved it. Ahmed had left her and her husband’s house at 1.30 am one morning in mid-August, taking their 16-month-old boy with her. Ahmed’s husband, Masoud, reported her missing to police and called her brothers to tell them she had run away.

When police found Ahmed, 37, a mother of eight, and handed her over to four of her brothers, they took her to her father-in-law’s house in the crowded Palestinian refugee camp of Baqa’a. “Cousins and relatives were shouting ‘You are not men, you are not men’,” Abu Ismaeel said, in the presence of his brothers’ lawyer, referring to the jeers of those who had expected them to kill her to restore the family’s “honour”. “Her husband then took the child from her and divorced her.”

Abu Ismaeel said one of his brothers asked Ahmed to come into the house to talk with him alone. Moments later he ran out crying “I killed her, I killed her”. “He was out of control,” Abu Ismaeel said. “My other brother who really liked her entered the house and hugged her, and he got soaked in blood, so the police thought he took part in the stabbing.” Police later discovered that Ahmed’s husband had been beating her with a belt, and had in fact kicked her out of the house, only to later report her missing.

The two brothers are currently in prison while police continue to investigate the case. Bowing to pressure from rights activists, the government is trying to make it harder for men to get away with killing sisters and daughters in the name of “honour”. Perpetrators have benefited from reductions in sentences if they had committed their crimes in a fit of fury. Sentences for honour killings have been as little three months to one year.

In May, the government presented a new draft law to parliament, asking that the minimum sentence be five years in prison. The proposal has not been discussed by the country’s tribal-based, conservative parliament yet, and it remains unclear if parliament ever will approve the bill. Parliament has blocked similar efforts over fears that they would promote adultery. A special tribunal was set up in August to handle honour crimes.

“Having a specialised tribunal helps the application of the law, especially if the tribunal overseeing cases is aware of the law, both international and local, pertaining to such crimes,” Yassin Abdullat, the attorney general, said. “But it is not enough. We need specialists in the whole process, starting with the investigation.” At the moment, he said, most officials investigating honour crimes are not trained to do so. “People from parts of the Badia, for example, may think a woman who stays out late deserves to be killed.”

There have been 18 reported honour killings in Jordan this year so far; there were 18 in total in 2008. Despite the recent efforts to curb honour killings, Human Rights Watch (HRW) pointed out that tribunals are not an adequate solution. Articles in the penal code need to be amended because they sanction the practice, HRW said. Societal attitudes need to be changed as well, experts in the field argue.

The King Hussein Foundation’s information and research centre is working on a two-year project funded by the European Commission that seeks to change public perception of honour crimes by removing the “honour” label from the crime. Part of the project includes an interactive website called mathlouma.com. Mathlouma is the Arabic word for female victims of social injustice. “We want to replace it in the Jordanian psyche with a crime of ‘socio-economics’ and eliminate the false moral label,” Nesreen Murad, the centre’s director, said. “These crimes are a reflection of societal and economic ills that need to be specified and addressed – and an indication of the state of women in the Middle East in a patriarchal culture.

“Women are victims of social injustice, and men are also victims because they are required to be real men and protect the honour of their family.” Ms Murad’s assertions are backed by a study the centre conducted that showed a link between poverty and honour crimes. The study, based on 102 police cases in the past eight years, found that 73 per cent of the victims were economically disadvantaged females and 66 per cent of the perpetrators were poor males.

The study also found that 81 per cent of victims were under the age of 30 and 92 per cent had at most a high school education. Yusuf Mansur, an economist, presented the study at a conference on honour crimes this month. At the lawyer’s office, Abu Ismaeel appeared remorseful over his sister’s death. “Her husband was a bad man; he was on drugs. My sister married him when she was 15. So if there’s anything bad about my sister’s behaviour, it is because he brought her up that way,” Abu Ismaeel said.
But he added: “Had she left the house willingly, she would have deserved what happened to her.” @Email:smaayeh@thenational.ae

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/jordan-aims-to-deter-honour-crime#ixzz2bnjBGhKt

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/jordan-aims-to-deter-honour-crime#ixzz2bnitsixu

Kamerino’s Story

Those that do not understand what religious abuse is, have no idea the scope and magnitude of it. It spans all continents and all cultures. It includes: rape, torture, incest, persecution, honor killings, physical abuse and murder, to name a few. The 1900s and 2000s are full of accounts of those persecuted due to religious beliefs by those with differing beliefs. Today, many religious sects have left a wake of abused and battered former members that have fled the faith because of the abuses. Some of their stories are on this blog.

The sad reality is that many religions are guilty of persecuting, abusing and killing because of religious belief and dogma. What is even more disheartening is the fact that the populous has no idea that these persecutions, abuses and murders are even still taking place to the large extent that they are, “in the name of God.”

The following excerpt is from The New Foxes Book of Martyrs, Updated to include recent accounts from the 160,000 martyred in 2001. While there are many accounts of religious persecution and abuse listed, I would like to focus on a young ten-year-old boy named Kamerino, who’s voice needs to be heard. He lived in the Sudan and his religious persecution took place in 2000.

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Kamerino’s Story

Muslim forces had been roaming the area around the small village for days, and the Christian villagers were afraid to even leave their homes to get food. Ten-year-old Kamerino hadn’t eaten for many days, and though the hunger pains had stopped, he knew that if he did not get food for himself and his grandmother soon they would both starve to death. The Islamic army had already taken the life of his parents, and now there was a good chance that they would take his if he went out looking for food. But what choice did he have? So he and his three nearby friends made plans to go out early the next morning and search for food.

His grandmother reluctantly agreed to let him go, with the understanding that he and his friends would come back that same day.

The four boys left early the next morning, just after dawn. But in their desperation to find food they became careless, and ran into a large group of Islamic soldiers. A Muslim officer yelled at the boys and commanded them to come to him. Fearing for their lives, or of being sold as slaves or made Muslim, the boys ran into a small nearby field and hid in the tall grass. They remained silent as the soldiers called repeatedly to them to come, and stayed low when the soldiers searched through the grass. When they heard the soldiers leave the field, the boys hoped they were giving up and going away.

But the soldiers were enraged at the thought of three small boys outwitting them, so they surrounded the small field and set it on fire. As the flames encircled the field and burned toward them, the boys kept moving toward the center of the flames, but eventually the circle of fire was too close to them, and they had few choices left. Three of the boys ran out of the field as rapidly as they could, hoping to dodge the soldiers and get away. But it was no use. They were quickly and easily caught—their fate, whether it was to be killed or made slaves or Muslims, was sealed.

Kamerino chose to stay in the field, curling himself up into a small ball as the fire ate at him. After the field burned to the ground, the Muslim soldiers searched the scorched ground for the fourth boy. They found Kamerino’s motionless body, curled up on the ground, burned from head to toe. Assuming he was dead, they left the area with their three young prisoners. . .

When Kamerino did not return to the village with his friends that day, his grandmother asked some of the villagers to go out and search for him. They found him trying to get home. Somehow he had managed to get to his feet after the Islamic soldiers left and start back toward the village.

He could not have walked very far before they found him, however. His chest was so badly burned that he had trouble breathing, and his feet were so deeply burned that they could hardly bear the weight of his small body.

Kamerino was brought back to the village, put in a small room, and left to whatever treatment his grandmother could get for him. If he was going to survive, it would be up to his own ability to do so. But there was little hope that he would make it, for the villagers had no way to transport him the nearly fifty miles south to the Christian hospital in Nimule. It had been eight days since the Islamic soldiers had set the field on fire and burned Kamerino nearly to death in it.”

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A missionary team came through the village during this time and discovered Kamerino through the child’s grandmother. They found him under a blanket with hundreds of flies covering his body. His skin was blistered and cracked from being burned. They quickly took the child the fifty miles to the hospital where he recovered; but, he bears in his body the scars from being burned. No one knows about Kamerino unless they read his story in this book. Today, I want the world to hear his story. His story needs to be heard.

Religious abuse and persecution, even today, happens all the time all over the world and in various forms. It is not just Christians that are persecuted and abused. Gays are persecuted and abused. Atheists are persecuted and abused. Jews are persecuted and abused. Women and children are persecuted and abused. Religious abuse and persecution can be inflicted on those that question religious authority or dogma; those that speak out about their abuses at the hands of clergy; or, those that simply want to leave an abusive religion! The harm is always inflicted by those that profess the name of their God or religion.

Differing beliefs and views regarding God have always been at the forefront of wars, murders, mutilations and tortures. Religious abuse and persecution is real. It is wrong. Think about this: If you think you have a BIG God, but he cannot take care of his own creatures and needs your help through FORCE and abuse, then your God is not real, is small, is powerless, is hateful. All you have is a religious “system” that is MAN-MADE, MAN-CONTROLLED and MAN-ENFORCED, where CRIMINAL and ABUSIVE behaviors will be the norm toward opposition.  This “system” will be one of CONTROL where those within it either do as they are told, or else!  This “system” will also be a harbinger of hidden abuses against women and children!

If your God is the ONE TRUE GOD, he does not need you or anyone else to interfere through force and abuse! Either you have a God that can handle EVERYONE and is ALL POWERFUL and ALL KNOWING, or you have a God that can do nothing and you will use your “religion” to justify abuses, murder, rape, torture and mutilation of innocent people. If your God is the ONE TRUE GOD, then he will allow for freedom to “choose” and can handle the hearts of men himself in swaying them withersoever he wills.