From the Author:
This open letter to Linda Hyles Murphrey was written by Jo McGuire and signed by those survivors of religious abuse that felt the need to support and thank Linda for her efforts in setting things right, by revealing the truth about her Father, Jack Hyles. Many of these victims are part of the Do Right Hyles Group on Facebook and understand that Linda has taken a very brave stand against religious abuse. They have kindly asked me to share this letter with everyone. If you would like to show Linda your support too, simply leave her a comment at the end of the letter.
Linda Hyles Murphrey currently has her own website, http://www.lindamurphrey.com, where she helps victims of spiritual and emotional abuse heal from their trauma. Linda is also currently writing her memoirs and is putting a chapter a month about her story on her website. Please purchase your copies as she writes them. They are excellent and very helpful to those who have been abused in any manner in an abusive church or religion.
You so graciously wrote an open letter that offered an apology to those of us who suffered beneath the weight of the massive First Baptist Church of Hammond and its impact upon our lives. Through sheer courage that is unthinkable, you have taken a stand for truth and offered hope to thousands who have yearned for acknowledgement of the abuses and crimes against them. You have cracked open the sealed vault containing lies, shame, deceit, false guilt and condemnation … allowing the voices that were bound in silence to break free and join your truth as an ever growing tidal wave of freedom, healing and peace. Grateful does not begin to describe how we feel. Inspired, overwhelmed, validated, fearless, freed, victorious, awakened, empowered, renewed ….. these are just a few of the emotions that resonate within our hearts as we hear your truth.
In this, you have taken enormous risk upon yourself and experienced the harsh realities of those still blinded who lash out at you to protect their own misguided illusions out of fear. Many of us speak our truth in the comfortable anonymity of our homes, behind our keyboards, in a virtual world, but you stand publicly exposed as a target for those who need to protect their Jericho, as it were. The panic of feeling the walls come down around the fortress of their man made religion causes the fierce attack to land on your shoulders and here is where we, the Survivors, write an open letter to you:
For every small-minded person that lashes out at you, hundreds more stand shoulder to shoulder with you, Linda. We grow daily in numbers and in strength of spirit to rise up and say, “No more!” While there is yet work to be done and generations of false teaching to be undone, we are willing to do the work it takes to get healthy, to stand strong and to right the wrongs of the past. In doing so, we support you and surround you in love. You are on no pedestal; we appreciate and value you too much to revisit the former ways. We are simply partners in this journey, each sharing a common path, lighting the way for thousands more to follow as they slip free of the bonds that enslave them to fear.
And … we want to apologize to you for those who have hurt you so deeply and senselessly. We pour out our heartfelt regret and express our sorrow for the scars and wounds you bear in your tender heart. You did not deserve to be set apart, isolated, pointed at and criticized or attacked. You deserved better and on behalf of any of those who could have made that happen for you, whether they are our grandparents, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, or we ourselves, you were failed by those who should have protected you, cherished you, valued you, embraced you, and should have called you Beloved.
Survivors of this cult are a wounded people. While some have learned to walk in love and breathe grace, we still include a great many who know no other way but to destructively point out the differences in others as threats. For so long, this is all we have known, a culture of creating levels of holiness, measured by degrees of rules and standard keeping. Therefore as former hostages, we can be divisive, tediously insensitive and sadly, even hateful. We are infected with it. However, we will persist in growing up and learning new ways of being. We will deprogram from the intolerance and the need-to-be-right and we will increase in our ability to love radically. We will do the work to get healthy emotionally, mentally and spiritually. And some day, Linda, we will have – not many voices – but one resounding, over-powering drum beat that rejoices in our beautiful individuality and more importantly the loving God who made us each as we are and delights in us as His precious Children. With that identity, with that power … we will create change that can only come from the goodness within us, rather than the dark blots of our past.
Though it may feel like this story has gone on for too long, we are creating new chapters daily and living a new beginning … together.
Thank you, Linda, for that moment in time when you decided walk away and break free, and for that moment in time when you decided to be brave and to speak. For all the moments in-between.
And for every moment after.
May our moments of courage reflect yours.
Survivors & Supporters
Jo McGuire (Author)
Rhonda Stahlman Bell
Sarah Hammer Bennett
Linda M. Fossen
Emily Paradis Garate
Joanne Loveless Hargraves
Michelle Fishback Hendrickson
Cheryl Tripam Huddleston
Georgia Graham Ivey
Carolyn Gail McPherson Johnson
Colleen Gentry Maxey
Jared and Jennifer Munson
Julie Peiter Oliver
My husband and I read your first chapter together and it was such an encouragement to us.
Dear Linda, it is such an honor to stand with you survivor to survivor. Like you, I suffered in silence for decades and what a glorious day it was when I finally shattered my silence. I know the courage that it took and the fear that you had to overcome to speak your truth. Please don’t be discouraged by those who try to discredit you. There is an army of us who believe you and stand with you. Together, we survivors will tear down the walls that have protected our abusers and kept us living in terror and fear. I am proud of you and am cheering you on all the way!
–Linda M. Fossen
I remember realizing that my jaw was agape while I was watching your TED talk. Waves of realization washed over me as I saw Jack Hyles’ daughter in pants and heard her speak of my childhood as a cult experience.
I recalled being so proud of my membership in your Blue Denim and Lace singing group, when I was in Jr. High, and wondering why you always seemed rather sullen. No wonder!
So, dear Linda, thank you for your apology, but your effort in speaking the truth has resulted in the freeing of so many spiritual prisoners and that more than evens the scale. Thank you and God bless you.
–Emily Paradis Garate
I am very pleased that you have bared your very soul, Linda! – Carolyn Gail McPherson Johnson
Hugs! –Amy Moran
Many will remember the book written by Linda’s dad entitled Mercy and Truth. Linda, you epitomize true mercy and truth in your letter and I’m proud of you. –Carla Robertson
I have the highest respect and admiration for you! You are a strong lady and an inspiration to many! –Julie Smith Sherman
Linda, words fail to describe the depth and breadth of meaning and validation I have found in your TEDx talk, your open letter, and your book. Thank you for grasping your twenty seconds of courage. Thank you for your willingness to stand up and speak out. Thank you for valuing and validating me and countless other survivors through your brave actions and words. You will never fully know the magnitude of strength and courage your words have fostered and will continue to nurture for decades to come. You are truly a lifeline of hope, help, and healing to me and so many others. I thank you, I applaud you, and I stand with you. –Sherri Munger-Tyler Y
I love you, Linda Murphrey. You are a breath of fresh air. A lovely flower that blossomed out of fertile manure. -Monica Weimer
Thank you for your courage, support, and help in healing, Linda. I was in a JH-worshiping church and am so thankful to be free from twelve years of the closest thing to hell I’ll ever experience. I love your book, your empathy, and your openness to the cult influence and the hope for healing.
–Amy Whitford Y