A Christianity to make Satan proud

satanwinsHere’s a letter I just got in:

I was raised Independent Fundamental Baptist; my family lived and breathed it. My mother graduated from Bob Jones University. All of my aunts and uncles attended Bob Jones University. My grandfather is a well-known IFB pastor who is also a graduate of Bob Jones University. From elementary school on I knew that I would attend BJU too, or be literally kicked out of the family on my ear.

My father was accused of sexually molesting little girls while in my grandfather’s church in Pennsylvania. We were packed up and moved in the middle of the night to Tennessee. My grandfather had made the connection for us to this other church—where the pastor, a friend of his, was another Bob Jones University graduate. My grandfather didn’t believe that my father was molesting the little girls. I do, because my father also molested me and my little sister.

The first time I tried to tell what my father was doing, my mother began to sob. Then she called my grandfather. He told my mother not to go to the police (because those evil police and social workers will come out and investigate our home), but to instead call our Tennessee pastor, who, he said, “would handle it.” My mother did call the pastor. Then she took me over to the church to talk to him.

When I started to try to tell the pastor—my pastor—and his wife that my father had been molesting me since I was three or four years old, he stopped me. “Don’t tell me,” he said. “I don’t want to hear it! If you tell me, then I am required to call the police and report this. You don’t want your daddy going to prison over a misunderstanding, do you?”

I was fourteen. I loved my dad. I was confused. I told the pastor that I didn’t want my dad to go to jail, but that I also didn’t want him touching me anymore. The pastor then told me and my mother that he had spoken with my grandfather, who, he told us, was flying down. The pastor and my grandfather were going to speak with my dad. I was promised, “You need to trust us. God won’t let your daddy touch you again.”

Grandpop did fly in. I was in the Christian School associated with the church. When my grandfather showed up, he took me out of school to go to lunch. He asked what my father had done to me. I told him. My grandfather told me that he thought I had misunderstood; that I had confused my dad’s “loving on his daughter” with “evil things.” Nevertheless, my grandfather promised to speak to my father, along with my pastor.

None of this stopped my father from continuing to sexually abuse me.

A few months later, I tried to once again tell my mother what was happening. She again called my grandfather. He got on the phone with me. He told me to stop spreading malicious lies because I didn’t like my father disciplining me. I tried to tell both my mother and my grandfather that it had nothing to do with discipline. They wouldn’t listen.

That same night, my father came back into my room as usual. That night, I tried to run away. I took my parents van, along with my stained nightgown. I decided that if I could get to Pennsylvania I would be able to show my grandfather the evidence of what my father did. Then he would have no other choice but to believe me. Then he would tell my mother to believe me too.

I drove my parents van from Tennessee to Pennsylvania. For gas I used money I had saved from babysitting our preacher’s kids. I packed a small cooler with sandwiches and drinks like I had seen my mother do when we all made the drive to PA several times a year. I drove straight through to PA. To this day, I don’t know how I made it safely, since I wasn’t old enough to have a driver’s license. I kept thinking my grandfather will help me once he see’s the evidence. He will!

Once I (finally) drove into my grandparents driveway in PA, I breathed a sigh of relief. My grandparents came to their front door, but didn’t come out to greet me. I thought it was strange, but I was soooo very happy that I ran in, hugged my grandparents, and told them that I had evidence that my dad was doing those things to me. My grandfather took me into the house. My grandmother made me sit on the couch while they called my parents. To my horror, my grandparents told my father that I said I had evidence against him. My grandfather said into the phone, “I’ll take care of it.” In my naivete I still thought he meant that he would finally believe me. I thought I would be allowed to stay with my grandparents. I would be safe at last. Because now they had to believe me.

We didn’t discuss anything that night. My grandmother kept talking about how hungry and tired I must be. My grandfather asked a few questions, went into his study to make a phone call, and then returned. This went on for a few hours. My grandmother made up the guest room for me. I slept very soundly because I knew that my dad wasn’t coming in my room to molest me, while my grandparents slept. I was safe. I remember praying. I remember thanking Jesus. Jesus had made sure that I arrived at my grandparents home safely, He had made sure to give me the idea to save the evidence to show my grandparents. Thank you, Jesus for saving my soul and for saving me from my dad.

The next morning, my grandparents told me there was a counselor I needed to talk to. Rand Hummell (another BJU graduate and a “guru” in that circle) was speaking at a church in the area. I was taken to talk to Rand Hummell. I told Rand Hummell about my father and the evidence I had. He completely ignored that. He told me that I had spent too much time on the Internet, where I had been exposed to too many bad ideas. He talked about his book, The Dark Side of the Internet.

I tried to explain that I hadn’t seen any of this on the Internet. He focused on the fact that I had ran away from home. Many young girls do this, he said, because they are lured over the Internet. I tried to tell him and my grandparents that I hadn’t been lured anywhere, but had come to my grandparents house because I wanted my dad to stop hurting me. Rand Hummell told me that I needed to work on my attitude, and let God work on my dad.

I was told to repent for running away, and for causing so much pain. I did apologize for running away.

Unbeknownst to me, my grandfather had been calling not only Rand Hummell, but also another one of his pastor friends, Pastor Jason Casey. Jason Casey is the Pastor and Director of Victorious Valley Baptist Church and Home for Girls in Sunset, South Carolina.

My grandparents asked me if I wanted to go somewhere that would help me, and where I would be safe.

Of course! I wanted to be safe.

I still thought I was going to be staying with my grandparents.

I was very wrong about that. That evening my parents flew in. My grandparents and my parents went out to dinner, where I now know they discussed how it had been set up by my grandfather for me to go to Victorious Valley Home for Girls. I was sent back home with my parents to pack. Within a few days I found myself at Victorious Valley. There I was made to confess that I had made up malicious lies, and to repent for my having caused “pain to many.”

I was forced to “repent,” because if I didn’t I was severely punished. I was put in solitary, where I was forced to constantly listen to the preacher on tape constantly. I was “spanked” (read: beaten), and denied what they called “privileges,” such as showers, meals and use of the bathroom (other than when they decided I needed such things). I was, at heart, a good girl: most of the girls there were good girls. It didn’t take long to break us.

Once I “graduated” from Victorious Valley I went home for the summer. As expected in my family, I attended Bob Jones University. A few nights before leaving for college I saw my father entering my little sister’s room. I went to college, haunted by the knowledge that my father was now hurting my little sister. I didn’t know what to do.

I was a student at Bob Jones University in 2010. One of my roommates complained that my nightmares were keeping “the room awake.” She was the Hall Leader. I was called to my dorm supervisor’s office, where I explained that I had been having nightmares. Without asking any other questions about me or my nightmares, she said, “That is the price one pays for watching horror movies.” I was then sent to the dorm counselor, who ordered me to not wake my roommates any more.

I finally told the dorm counselor about my father. I told her that my little sister had told me that since I had left for college he was coming into her room. The dorm counselor gave me a copy of the Dr. Jim Berg’s book, Changed Into His Image. Dr. Jim Berg was then Dean of Students at Bob Jones. He is now the head of BJU’s seminary. (Dr. Berg and Rand Hummell are good friends.) The dorm counselor also told me she that she would pass my story along to BJ’s Dean of Women, Miss Baker.

The next day, the dorm counselor called me to her office. She told me that Dr. and Mrs. Jim Berg had counseled hundreds of students who had been sexually abused, and that I was to report to Dr. Berg in a few days. (Please remember, that besides my grandparents, my dorm counselor was the first person I had ever tried to tell the whole story to.)

When I went to see Dr. Berg he asked me a lot of questions. One thing he told me was that I was not to tell anyone I had attended Victorious Valley. He went on to say that he had spoken with his wife, and that she would be “happy to counsel” me for the rest of the semester. Dr. Berg was not suggesting that I speak with his wife; he was not asking me to consider doing so. He was telling me that I would, without question, speak with his wife.

The next day, Mrs. Berg and I began meeting. One of the first things she told me was that if I had ever had any pleasure from what happened between myself and my father, God required me to repent of those feelings. She said that I needed to give up “control,” and a lot of other things. I started crying as I told her that I was worried about my little sister.

The next morning I went to class as usual. Upon returning, I had a message to come to my dorm supervisor’s room. I did. She told me that Dr. Berg had called my father and told him what I had been saying about him. My father denied it all, of course. My dorm supervisor talked to me for a while about how God expects us to tell the truth. Though tears, I told her that I had told the truth. I was sent to the Dean of Women’s office and confronted again.

Miss Baker called my mother. My mother has known for years about the abuse. My mother was crying and angry, because, she told me, “You are tearing our family apart.” I knew my mother had called my grandfather too. I’m sure he made calls to the University and told them all about the “little family liar.”

The penalty for “lying” was 50 demerits. I was also put on “spiritual probation.” I accumulated a lot of demerits, for small things that added up. Right before Thanksgiving break, my Hall Leader roommate turned me in for playing “un-checkable” music on my violin in my room. The next day I was, as they called it, “shipped.”

If Bob Jones, the Dean of Women, Dr. or Mrs. Berg ever reported any of this to any law enforcement agency, it is news to me.

They say that G.R.A.C.E is investigating Bob Jones University. [Here.] I will be getting in contact with G.R.A.C.E. It’s hard for me to have any hope after all these years that Christians will believe me, but I’m going to contact GRACE anyway. I pray that this time Jesus, who I prayed to as a fourteen-year-old girl, will come through.

I’m running this letter as a post for two reasons. The first is because if I have learned anything in this world, it’s that people—particularly if they’re trying to communicate an injustice visited upon themselves or anyone else—need to be heard. When you’ve been traumatized an affirmation of your trauma by others can spell the difference between salvation and desolation. I have no idea who has or hasn’t read this girl’s story. But having read it myself robbed me of any excuse for not making at least some effort to ensure that more people read it.

Secondly: if you are a Christian, then you have an immediate and profound moral responsibility to be absolutely, 100% certain that the Christianity you espouse and practice has nothing whatsoever in common with the systematically vile and manifestly depraved Christianity that, in its appalling arrogance, so cravenly sought to brainwash this poor girl into thinking that she was the cause of the nightmare she was forced to live.

One test for discerning whether or not your Christianity is entirely too much like the morally bereft brand of Christianity that informs Bob Jones University is to ask yourself this single question: Do I believe that it is God’s will that women be subservient to men? If your answer to that question is yes, then you are consistently helping to perpetuate the exact same value system that inevitably dehumanized this girl—which made it easy to grossly violate her, and even easier to insist that afterward she shut up about it.

That doesn’t make you a person of whom Christ would be proud. At best it makes you an ignorant agent of destruction. It means that, as sure as the wind causes the reed to bend, you share in the guilt of what happened to this girl. Her perverted father, her degenerate grandfather, the wretches of Victorious Valley Home for Girls, the craven reprobates who run BJU … those people are all your friends. They believe what you believe. They are your comrades, your partners, your soul brothers and sisters.

And if the hell in which you believe is real, then they, thank God, will one day see you there.

* * * * * * * *

Unknown→ Rand Hummell (above), who holds a B.A. in Bible and an honorary doctorate from Bob Jones University [read: wouldn't know a book from an eggplant], is Director of The Wilds of New England, a 105-acre camp in Deering, New Hampshire, where “using the unique benefits of Christian camping,” they “serve people by presenting the Truth of God with the love of God so lives can be changed to the glory of God.”

From the camp’s registration brochure for its 2013 summer camp for kids grade 7-12:

Ladies/girls note: Please bring knee-length skirts or dresses for the evening services (slits must not come above the knee). Any fashion worn must come at least to the top of the knee and cover the shoulders. Low necklines (front or back) are not acceptable camp attire. Loose-fitting pants, jeans, or knee-length fashions may be worn except when otherwise specified. Swimsuits should be one-piece.

“Dr.” Rand’s book, The Dark Side of the Internet, was published by Bob Jones University Press.

→  Victorious Valley Home is still in business. The home page of its website reveals nothing but this … unique use of English and the space bar:

God help us here at Victorious Valley to faint not.   The world we are living in has become a hard place.   We are seeing young people destroyed by the wickedness allowed in our society.   They come to us with so many scars to carry and so much wickedness to fight in their minds.   Homes are being destroyed and the children are suffering in a great way!   Because of all they face, their hearts are filled with bitterness and anger. Please pray for us as we minister to the hurting youth of America and their families.   The work is great!

With the economy in the shape that it is in, we would appreciate your prayers and financial support.   If you would like to support a child monthly, please contact our office at 864.878.3070

The Lord has shown Himself faithful to this ministry throughout the years and we praise His name for that!  If you would like to be a part of financially helping the hurting youth at the homes, please contact us or go to the donations page.   By giving $25 a month, you could help one of the kids get their personal needs.   You also could sponsor a girl or boy in their school tuition.   This would be such a blessing!

jimberg

→ Jim Berg (above) was dean of students at BJU from 1981 to 2010, and today teaches at BJU Seminary. All six of his books were published by Bob Jones University Press, including When Trouble Comes (“Written both for those in trouble and for those helping others, When Trouble Comes takes the grieving and downcast by the hand and leads them to the still waters they so desperately need.”) Berg received his B.A. in “Bible,” and his M.A. in Theology from Bob Jones University. He also boasts an honorary doctorate degree from Tabernacle Baptist Bible College and Seminary of Virginia Beach, VA.

To give you some idea of the academic standards held by (unaccredited) Tabernacle Baptist Bible College and Seminary, here’s a bit (under “Distinctives”) from its website:

The foundation of the entire academic program of TBBCS is the fact that God has revealed Himself and His design for human existence, and that He has recorded that revelation in the Scriptures, the Bible, the Holy Word of God. The faculty and administration of the College and Seminary are committed to establishing this foundation in each student, and thus, every teaching and every practice must honor God and the Word He has given. No human entity … can be allowed to usurp the authority that alone abides in the Word of God.  …

For all classes and activities, the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible will be the basic text; other versions will not be used or recommended. …

As a ministry of Tabernacle Baptist Church, the College and Seminary is an institution of higher learning that is not bound, nor will it be bound, to any external convention, council, or group that would preclude it from exposing any violation of God’s righteous design. In accord with this position and the truth that the character of God is not and cannot be different from His Word, the College and Seminary repudiates all belief systems and theological perspectives, regardless of their name or religious association, which in any way tend to exalt human reasoning … .

→ To keep abreast of goings on at Bob Jones—including whatever happens with the GRACE investigation—visit BJUnity, and BJ News.

→ For a Christianity worthy of the name, try Unfundamentalist Christians.

If you are mentioned in this post, and would like to have corrected something I’ve written about you, I wholeheartedly invite you to contact me.

The post’s lead illustration is Satan Wins, by Susan D Miller.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • mike moore

    such evil … I believe Satan would be as disgusted with these despicable people as am I.

    It sounds like most, if not all of these people, are still alive. If this woman’s father is still alive, he is still molesting children. Something must be done to stop the father and, hopefully, prosecute these people who have facilitated, acted as accomplishes, and protected this pedophile.

    It also seems apparent that this young woman is not the only young woman being abused by these people and prevented from reporting them. The Catholic Church all over again.

    Is there anything we can do?

    Thank you for shining a spotlight on these evil people.

  • Michelle P.

    To the young woman who has posted this, thank you for your courage. You and your sister are in my prayers. I assume that you have heard this from many others by this point, but this was NOT your fault. Nothing that happened to you is anything that you caused. You are innocent and blameless in this. You are also believed and loved.

    Mr. Shore, THANK YOU for exposing these evil, evil people. I know God says vengeance belongs to God, but my heart burns with livid indignation. I want these people hurt. I want everything they called good and blessed in their lives to be taken away from them. I want their lives to fall apart and them to be left with nothing but the overwhelming guilt regarding what they have done and what they have covered up.

  • Gordon

    This girl’s father and grandfather are dispicable, but you know who else is? The girl’s mother. She knows full well what is being done to her daughters at night in her own house.

    I’m feeling extremely violent thoughts about these perverted people.

    • Hanna Moy

      This is true, but I think there’s a reason that the men are the ones being held accountable – they’re the ones who have the powe. Imagine the emotional, psychological, spiritual, and possibly physical and sexual violence the women married to these men must face. If this is the compassion they show this horribly abused little girl, who is obviously a helpless victim, how will they treat adult women, who are not perceived as innocent in the same way – especially in Christian thinking? There’s a tendency to blame mothers in particular within patriarchal culture – women are seen to be the caretakers and protectors of children, and when children misbehave, are victimized, or tragedy happens, the mother bears the cultural blame – men are often given a free pass, even in cases where the women have no cultural power and the men have all of the power.

      I’m wary of doing the same in this context. The mother should have fled the domestic abuse, and taken her daughters with her, but that’s easy for those who have never lived through violence to say, and there is no telling what moral and emotional resources were stolen from that mother by this poisonous commnunity, that left her unable to defend herself and her loved ones. I just think a victim of domestic violence & abuse shouldn’t be held accountable to the same degree as the perpetrator.

      Obviously, I don’t know anything about the case, and perhaps I am incorrect and the mother knew and was fully capable of leaving and raising the children on her own. But my evangelical background makes me aware of the poverty and isolation she might have faced – something enough to make some mothers contemplate suicide, even without the incredible horror of bearing that your beautiful, perfect daughters were harmed by the person you devoted yourself to.

      *sigh* now I feel gross for writing this defense of this imaginary mother – I don’t know her, and it’s the children who deserve this outpouring of compassion and concern, most centrally.

      • Anonymn

        As a mother who married an abuser, I can assure you that the mother’s role was not an easy part to play. I may have more sympathies for her because I understand the lies you can convince yourself that are true to spare yourself from the horrible reality you live in daily.

        I cannot excuse her entirely. It was her responsibility to protect her daughter and raise her in a safe home. But I DO understand what she went through and the ease of the path of lying to oneself.

        My marriage was abusive. I sought help when I realized that my children were going to grow up in a home where the father beats the mother. And I couldn’t seek help for myself because I loved myself, but I did seek help because I didn’t want that life for my children. After two years of therapy and a modified restraining order, I thought we had come to a semi-normal household. Then I came home from work one evening and overheard my almost-four-year-old daughter disclose sexual abuse while talking to her brother. She stated that “Daddy had asked her to do things” and she had said “That’s NASTY!” and refused to do them.

        HAD I NOT had the prior two years of therapy and education on abusive-behavior dynamics, I do NOT think I would have been able to take the following necessary steps to protect my children. I tricked him into taking some tylonel PM by assuring him that he needed some rest. And then I packed all my children up and ran that night. After going to the police to file a report, I left them at my mothers house several hours away.

        I came back home, because I needed to go to work. I then had a complete mental breakdown. I ended up at mental health crisis center.

        And EVEN AFTER ALL OF THAT. I sat there doubting myself. He hadn’t hit me in two years. He’d complied with the modified restraining order even though he could have had it thrown out. He taught Sunday School with me. He loved our children. This COULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED.

        I actually convinced myself that it was all an accident. That she had accidentally seen some popup on the computer a month before and made it up? I also had taught them sexual okays and not-okays because I’d been through foster care training to provide respite care for a friend. So maybe the training backfired and taught her stuff to feed a story?

        I literally CONVINCED MYSELF OUT OF IT.

        But not enough to drop it. Because of the abuse-therapy, and two excellent support groups, I didn’t drop it. And I was able to safely get my children away from it before anything worse happened (subsequent visits to the Child Advocacy Center indicated that there was no physical signs of abuse).

        The court systems are NOT on the mother’s side in these cases unless the abuse has been long term and with evidence. There are countless cases of judges accusing the mothers of putting their daughters up to lying and awarding unsupervised visitations and even custody to an abusive father. A mother may feel she can keep the girls safer by disclosing the abuse to authority figures (like a pastor and father) than by separating from the husband.

        I’m NOT saying the mother is innocent. But I can say that I UNDERSTAND. And we should offer as much support for women and abuse-education.

        Had I NOT had the support group, had I NOT had the education I had been given on abusers, had I NOT had a daughter with clear language skills before she even turned four…..this story might have been from my daughter.

        • Hannah Grace

          Thank you for your insight. Really, I am sure some women read this and it was exactly what they needed to hear, so that later, they would be able to be strong in a horrible, horrible situation. I’m sorry for what you went through.

          And thank you for taking care of yourself. That is the best thing you could have done for your children – to take care of yourself enough where you were strong enough and could trust yourself enough to later, protect your children.

  • http://coolingtwilight.com Dan Wilkinson

    Heartbreaking. Simply heartbreaking.

  • Cheryl Burns

    I can’t not comment. Have you been in touch with this young woman? Do you know if she has told her story to the police yet? Is her little sister still in the home? If she feels incapable of calling the police herself, she could simply tell ANYONE she can trust–outside of the fundamentalist world that betrayed her–and they can call the police for her. She could even make an anonymous phone call to child protective services or the police, if there are still children in the home, and say she suspects the father of sexual abuse. If there are still any children in the home, the call MUST be made. She is an adult now and must try to stop any children still in the home from being further harmed by reporting this. I don’t mean that as putting an unfairly harsh sense of responsibility on someone who has been so traumatized, so hurt, and so betrayed. But if she can manage to tell someone, anyone, who can report it for her, that will be a step in the right direction. She’s been brave enough to tell others before, just not trustworthy people. Sadly, she couldn’t know–how could she?–that the web of betrayal would spread so far, that people would go so far and work so hard to refuse to believe what was done to her. If she will give you, me, or anyone her father’s name and city, that’s all that’s needed.

    I’m struggling to comment beyond that for now. Everyone that she told this too betrayed her and their supposed Christianity. Several broke the law by not reporting it. It’s horrifying (well, all of this is horrifying) that the first person besides her mother that she told was a mandated reporter and knew that. And yet he betrayed her, too, and broke the law in so doing.

    This is heartbreaking and enraging. I will pray that this young woman and her sister get the help they need–the help to report this crime and the help to begin the process of healing, spiritually and psychologically.

  • James

    I read her original posting and it brought tears to my eyes then. It still does on re-reading it today. What a horrific experience to have lived through. My heart and my prayers go out to her.

  • Radical Grace

    Thank you so much for allowing people to read this. There is so much evil, corruption and abuse in the IFB religion and this is one of so many stories. This story was posted in the DRHAC group and it touched my heart. Its one of the reasons why I fight so hard for these people. They deserve radical grace.

  • Alvin Gongora

    Satan has become so irrelevant that he’s not needed for horror to plant its tent pegs. Isn’t there any authority to hold the BJUs accountable? Couldn’t this testimony be taken as a legally binding tool against that world of horrors? I know, I know, it has no legal value but it’s the cry of a girl that was destroyed.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

    I read her story the other day, and was both deeply saddened, and deeply angered by her plight, and the plight of her siblings, and her mother, grandmother and every other person who have been under the influence of these criminals. As that is what they are, people breaking the law.

    To rape is illegal, to condone and harbor a rapist is illegal, as it make one an accessory after the fact. To blame the victim, punish them, call them liars, is legal…sadly…but is so unethical, so dispassionate, so harmful.

    We hear a lot about the horrible sex abuse scandal that occured in the Catholic denomination of Christianity, but I fear that we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of a blight upon our faith.

  • mike moore

    Within the horror of this account of abuse and molestation, another injustice is also glaring: lack of privacy and confidentiality.

    For any person looking for counseling or help from their church or school, do not take confidentiality for granted. Ask about it. Get it writing.

    While coming out, I met with a Westmont College counselor who, upon learning I had had sex with a guy, threatened me with expulsion. I’d assumed, wrongly, that in a counseling session I would have Dr./client privilege.

    • Cheryl Burns

      Any person who holds themselves out as mental health counselor or therapist is SUPPOSED to be bound by therapist-client confidentiality. Anyone with professional training knows this, whether they are a psychologist, master’s level counselor, social worker, or pastoral counselor (with training). But, yes, by all means, ASK at the first session before you talk about anything else. If they are a professional of any sort, they will discuss with you the limits of confidentiality and have you sign an informed consent form before they begin doing counseling with you. I did my first counseling practicum (student internship) at a church-affiliated small university. I was not of the same faith as the school in question, but they didn’t care; they just wanted trained counselors who would provide counseling services to students. I was expected to adhere to all professional standards and ethics of a professional therapist, which first and foremost means confidentiality. By all means, find out if the person you are seeing is a “real” counselor (This can be a psychologist, licensed professional counselor, licensed social worker, master’s level psychologist–all are trained in counseling and ethics.) I’m appalled and so sorry you had this experience, Mike. I hope it doesn’t prevent you from seeking counseling again, if you feel the need. Just be sure you are seeing a licenced counselor. I don’t know who Westmont has in its counseling offices, but I’d consider reporting them to the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. By all means, ask about confidentiality before you talk to a therapist or counselor.

  • Carol

    While my situation was different than the young lady’s, there are some similarities. Mine happened in the Wisconsin Ev. Lutheran Synod, a cult that preys on women and children with a strong male dominance and exclusivity. I pray that the exposing of these false teachers will lead to a stronger, kinder, more Christlike movement and that, though I don’t believe in a literal hell, the bullies may suffer the karma they so richly deserve….

    • Marlene

      I was raised and confirmed in the WELS faith. I was sent to WELS schools for 13 years (K-12). While I did not endure this type of physical abuse, my mother was also raised in that religion, and she stated she had been molested by her father, and when she tried to tell her mother about it after it happened, she was told not to say that. When my mother and father were having marital problems because of my father becoming an abusive drunk, she was basically told that she should go home and be a “good wife” and obey her husband!

      When I was attending school, I so wanted to become a minister, but I was told women could not become ministers, they could only become teachers, and would also never become principals. Basically, you became a teacher only until you found someone to marry, or died a spinster. I married outside of my faith, and divorced after having our son, but my ex-husband had encourage me to enroll our son in the same school I had attended since I had “done better” in school that he did (he had attended public school most of his life, and did not embrace the Catholic faith he was raised in). I also continued attending WELS church with my son. However, since only a man can be the “head of the household” in WELS’ eyes, I was not allowed to vote on matters of the church or school. We could join and serve on the “Ladies Aid” or “Altar Guild” but could not be elected church officers. At the time I was still attending church, they wouldn’t even allow women to be ushers in the church on Sundays because it was like “telling a man where to sit”! (They have since allowed women ushers when there are not enough men to do the job.) Oh, but they still expected me to dish out for the collection plate, and school tuition, and buy school supplies, not only for my son, but for the classroom of each teacher.

      How did I make the money? I worked 2 jobs, the 2nd one either working nights or weekends as a bartender at a bar one mile from the church. Guess who stopped in after the Saturday evening “Board of Education” meetings? Some of the Board of Education members at my church & school. There they’d discuss the meeting, get drunk and flirt with the ladies (even the married ones). And sit next to their wives in church the next morning. Why did I feel I was a member of a “Pharisee” church?

      My son attended school there until the 4th grade, when his novice (1st year) teacher who had once written a paper about ADD/ADHD said my son had ADD, and probably needed medication (he would daydream during class, so she seated him up front between the 2 kids who were the most unruly–no wonder he couldn’t pay attention to her!) I discussed it with his father, and, after also discussing what I had been told with our son’s doctor, we removed him from that school. He never DID need any medication, and our son even graduated from high school a semester early and joined the military so he could serve his country. At age 25, he now lives with a roommate, and has a good job that he loves. I do not regret for a minute taking him out of that WELS school, or not continuing his training in that religion.

      My son chose to go live with his father when he was nearly 13, and I moved away from Wisconsin to Northwest Florida. There are many classic southern religions here, but not many WELS or other Lutheran churches. I found a WELS church in the city where I work, but it is now 35 miles from where I live, and a LCMS church about 18 miles the other direction.

      Since moving to FL, I attended the small WELS church for about 2 years, but I never felt refreshed or comforted by attending church, it felt like a chore. I made no friendships with the other members.

      I considered joining the non-denominational church near my home, but have yet to do so. In addition to that church, my home community also has 2 Baptist (one conventional, the other free-will), 1 Methodist, 1 AME, and 1 Assembly of God. I have tried to learn about each religions’ beliefs to get a better understanding of my neighbors in my community that affiliate with each church. I would have to say the Methodist teaching come the closest to what I was taught, with some differences. Some of my relatives had also switched to the Methodist faith decades ago when they either married someone of that faith or became disillusioned with the WELS churches.

      I also get visited pretty regularly by Jehovah Witnesses, and one of my business partners’ recently again became active with them. The last time I was visited at home, I told them that, while I was not looking to “convert” to any particular religion, I was very interested in the study of ALL of the various religions. I stated I had recently begun researching the Muslim faith due to all the bad “press ” they have received over the years, especially since 9/11 and the so-called “Christians” stating that Obama is a “secret” Muslim. I asked, if their faith is so evil and to be feared, why has it had such a long existence and not yet destroyed the world? The JW visitor then gave me a JW booklet that is supposed to explain the Muslim faith. Of course, after the JW visitor pointed out a few sections, and reviewing it later on my own, this booklet is actually the JW’s view of the Muslim faith. Believe me, it didn’t say, “Yes, they are just like us, and they are great!”

      My current “significant other” was raised in both the Baptist and Methodist faiths. A real, good, honest, caring man, he is also a “non-attending” member of his faith, but has a good moral compass based on the way he was raised, and his father left their mother to raise 4 kids alone. I would rather meet 1,000 more like him than one more “Christian” or other religious believer who will tell me I am wrong for feeling the way I do about religions.

      I have received many posts on Facebook from white, male, former WELS high school classmates which originated from a Facebook page called “Christians Against Obama’s Re-Election”. So I went to that “organization”s page, only to find multiple posts and photos of bigotry & sexism. The Facebook page may as well have been named “Angry Straight White Men Against Everything Except Other Angry Straight White Men”. I don’t think they have even reviewed the source of the material, those posts just reiterate what they have been taught. And all of those guys are staunch Republicans, who will scream from the rooftops “this country was founded on Christianity”!

      No, this country was founded so people could practice their religion of choice WITHOUT PERSECUTION, WITHOUT OPPRESSION, WITHOUT FEAR OF PUNISHMENT.

      I do not believe that ANY church or religious sect is entirely evil. But I do not believe that any members of any religion should be given the power to control, manipulate, or abuse others in the name of their religion. “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Religions and each and every member must follow the law of the land.

      Any church or so-called religious organization that hides what this woman’s father did, and continues to do, is a cult infected by Satan. By doing so, they condone both the abuses and the abusers, which makes them murderers, if not of the body, then of the soul.

      Christ’s statement in the book of John: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

      None of the people at whose hands this woman–and others– suffered can be called Christians. None of the people who did nothing to help this woman, or to have her father brought to justice, can be called Christians.

  • Kerry

    This was so distrubing to read. I just want to protect those girls and get them help. They are going to need a lot of counseling. I send my love nad prayers in their direction.

    I also for the first time looked up if there was any cure for this behavior. (treatment but no cure) I’ve never really gone much further than thinking the pedophile needs to be locked up. I realize that SO much is lost. Not only the immediate loss but it is also like losing your parents too, and grandparents. It’s just awful. This article says many pedophile’s have been abused themselves. Perhaps locking them up is the only way to break the cycle by protecting future victims. If the father was abused by the grandfather or someone else, I actually feel a little sadness for him too. (I’m NOT excusing him or forgiving him but just looking at the whole sad sad picture) http://neuroanthropology.net/2010/05/10/inside-the-mind-of-a-pedophile/

  • Linda Barringer

    Heartbreaking. I hope she can find the help she needs and find a way to protect her younger sister, if she is still at home. How can all these people have failed this girl when she asked for help? It was incredibly brave of her tell her story to these people, and to have them dismiss what she told them and somehow blame her. Those people have no soul.

    Thank you for reposting her story. It is one that needs to be told, and believed. I hope she can find the validation she deserves and get the help she so desperately needs.

    • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

      Forgive me for being this direct, but to all young people reading this who find themselves in this situation, bite and bite hard and don’t let go until the flesh tears off or the police pry your jaws off the rapist.

  • Mark J

    If you view all of this in the context of the letters to the churches, Jesus would have to apologize to the worst of them if he doesn’t judge these members of the Sanygogue of Satan so-called Christian Fundamentalist. The may be fundamentalist, but certainly not Christian.

  • Jill

    Nauseated and horrified. But my vindictive thoughts do not need to be typed here. These young girls are enslaved and treated as chattel. The IFB intent is clear: the breaking of the spirit. The men must be lords and dictators and the women must be submissive and subservient, and there is no room for actual human beings here.

    I cannot bring myself to say anything more other than I’m sorry for this woman’s unbearably painful story. And that this must end.

    • Jill

      A last comment, because I get very lost in my rage at these all too common stories, I shut down a little inside. If only to regroup and gather myself again. And then my anger gets me moving.

      If I can do something, I will do something. If I don’t know what I can do, I will go looking for that thing. For anyone wanting a place to go to do something, here is the GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) website: http://netgrace.org/. I know nothing about the organization as yet, but this is a place I can start.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

        GRACE has been hired by BJU. In a way I think its a good thing, but at the same time, an outside audit of this sort should be working with DSS and the local law enforcement, which seems to be absent from the official language posted at BJU about this. I am uncertain if they are. The survey part of the investigation has my hinky meter pinging like mad.

        • Jill

          So then what? This just has no end? Trust no one, and all that? Seriously the harder I search, the less sure I become.

          (No tone at you, sd, believe me. I’m beside myself angry.)

        • Jill

          sd, would you know how any of us can find out whether GRACE is doing the right thing here? Or if this is just a convenient exercise in futility?

          Is there any way to make anyone accountable here?

          I’m sorry for my frustrated questions directed at you, I just don’t what to do but I’m willing to learn. Thank you.

  • Elexa

    John, thank you for posting this.

    To the author, I say WHAT COURAGE you have in telling your story. My heart breaks with you. I also survived abuse at the hands of family members and I am not able to articulate it like you have. I pray for you, and send you all the love the universe can hold. There is hope. There has to be.

  • Hanna Moy

    Thanks for posting this, John. Thanks for speaking up.

    These girls will be in my prayers, and if it would ever be helpful to arrange a protest or, I don’t know, go on a hunger strike until justice is done, count me in.

  • Angela De Benedetto

    As i read this, I found myself wishing that the commenter’s story is all a lie. To imagine that this evil exists not only in one’s family but in the name of God and the people chosen to teach and serve is downright terrifying.

    • Lymis

      I read it and found that not only couldn’t I imagine it not being true, I didn’t even want to try. I was never sexually abused, but as a gay man, I’m intimately aware of having religious people be completely unwilling to consider that my own personal lived experience and internal reality could be anything but a lie if it causes them to question their tidy beliefs.

      This happens in the name of God ALL. THE. TIME. And in a LOT of different ways. Mostly because people want to wish that it can’t be true.

      • Katherine

        Exactly. Adults deny and the child must live with the consequences. Responsible adults need to validate and believe these children!

    • Solomon

      Be careful what you wish for. Was it not indulgence of such wishful thinking that made physical, mental and emotional abuse acceptable in the eyes of her family, her church and the very people appointed to help her?

    • http://www.fussybudget.wordpress.com Ribbons Undone

      Angela,

      Believe it. My grandfather was a serial child molester. He molested not only me, but my mother, both her sisters and God knows how many other children. My grandmother (his wife) was also a pedophile, but not quite as prolific.

  • http://www.fussybudget.wordpress.com Ribbons Undone

    Reading that story made me so angry that I can feel myself shaking.

    • Jill

      I don’t know how else to feel. Just spent my lunch hour crying in my car. I’m angry because I feel utterly powerless to stop it.

      • http://www.fussybudget.wordpress.com Ribbons Undone

        Jill,

        As a survivor of years of molestation (my grandfather), I can totally relate to what you went through. I never told anyone, though, until I became an adult. I told my mom first. She said she believed me, but then promptly “forgot” that I ever told her anything. So, when the subject came up again, she acted totally shocked.

        I hope something can be done to rectify what you went through. I know that nothing will ever take away the pain, but those who ignored you and belittled you should be held accountable. No one deserves that kind of treatment. Your mother should have protected you. Please understand that what your father did is not your fault and really had nothing to do with you as a person. What he did is all about him: his problem, his accountability, his fault.

        • http://www.fussybudget.wordpress.com Ribbons Undone

          Jill,

          Sorry I didn’t read all of the comments before replying to you. I realize now that you aren’t the girl in the story. Sorry for any confusion I caused.

          • Jill

            Your compassion is appreciated, though this is not my story. I simply relate to your anger and grief in this courageous survivor’s story. We survivors have a lot to sort through, don’t we?

            You should not have had to endure such cruelty. You should have been safe in your home, and you should have been believed and validated. I should have been safe. This young woman should have been safe, her sister. I am sorry for all of us, for our stories.

          • http://www.fussybudget.wordpress.com Ribbons Undone

            I am, too, Jill. Very sorry, very sad, and extremely angry.

  • mike moore

    A quick internet search shows Jim Berg and his wife, Pat, live in Greenville, SC.

    I’ve forwarded John’s post today to the Child Protective Services for that county. Perhaps others can do the same or similar. Keith Frazier is the Director of Social Services for the county. keith.frazier@dss.sc.gov

    • AK Milagros

      Thank you for this suggestion. I am sending an email as well.

    • Jill

      done. Next?

    • mike moore

      update: Keith Frazier responded and is giving this to a caseworker.

      • Gordon

        Great work Detective Moore! Through this caseworker the Berg’s should be able (or be forced!) to disclose who this girl is and, almost as important, who her parents are. If they claim some sort of privilege, my head is going to explode. Again.

        At this point John Shore is the only one who has direct contact with with this girl, but what has happened to her and is most likely STILL happening to her younger sister must be stopped and answered for.

        It’s time for Tennessee law enforcement to get involved!

    • mike moore

      In an excellent example of “not my problem” disinterest, here is the response to my email:

      “You can speak to the Sherriff’s office about it. It is not something that DSS can handle.

      Jennifer James

      Greenville County DSS”

      I’ve now sent John’s post to a regional TV network affiliate that does its own investigations.

      • mike moore

        NOTE: she couldn’t even be bothered to forward this on to the Sheriff’s dept.

      • Camille

        When I received a copy of the Bob Jones University employee handbook and noticed that their sexual assault reporting guidelines did not meet with the SC Mandatory Reporting Laws, I wrote every elected official in the state.

        I got not one positive response. Not one. Most were very, very passive-aggressive and mansplaining. It was demoralizing.

  • Ceejay Garrett

    It’s for abusers like this that I hope hell really does exist. But it also raises that age-old question, Why did GOD not intervene? Thank you, John Shore, for exposing these devils. I hope they are indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And if anyone has any idea who these perverts might be, please notify the authorities.

    • Ceejay Garrett

      God did not intervene because he relies on us to stand up to injustice. We must all do what we can to end this system of violence and evil.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com/ Ric Booth

    Dear Letterwriter:

    I know nightmares. It is not your fault. Yes, you were robbed, violated, and betrayed but you were quite obviously never destroyed. Thank God. Thank you. You are amazing and beautiful and brave.

    I know nightmares.

  • Sheila

    Can someone please tell me if this young girl finally got help????

    • Annie

      I am wondering the same thing. Please speak to an attorney, to child protective services ( for your sister) and a support group/therapy for healing.

      You are an adult now, its ok to leave your school, your parents, and the horrors you were raised in.

      I hope you have help and if not, its time to get it.

  • Erin_D

    Oh, my God (literally.) Words fail. Words fail. God heal this girl-inside-the-woman, her sister, and all the others this monster no doubt victimized.

  • Carrie Bressers

    Dear Letterwriter:

    My heart goes out to you sweetie. I can’t imagine being in that much anguish. I can’t imagine being your parents – having a secret like that and being willing to sacrifice the honor and spirit of his beautiful daughters just to keep it. It’s a miracle and a huge joy for me that you have turned out so well spoken and are still seeking justice. Do not give up. As long as we shed light on the dark places, we always have hope. All my best to you.

  • Leslie Marbach

    I truly hope the letter writer reads the comments here. What was done to her by her father and the continued abuse by all the adults around her that should have protected and loved her is horrific. They were not acting out of any God-imitating love. They were selfish, deluded, and hateful. Letter writer, you are a beautiful young woman of God and his light shines through you. May you cling to that and the knowledge that it truly does get better. It takes so much time and effort to recover from sexual abuse, but it can get better. I pray for justice for you; for healing; and for you to be surrounded by people who truly love and appreciate you.

  • Jeffrey Hoffman

    Dear John,

    Thank you so much for your attention to this horrible story and the many hurting victims of sexual abuse and assault who were secondarily wounded by people at Bob Jones University or others within the network of churches and other institutions over which BJU exercises a powerful influence or, in fact, de facto control.

    For lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans individuals in the Independent Fundamentalist environment at BJU and its affiliates and associates, many of whom, like me, are victims of childhood sexual abuse, the message of these institutions is consistently one of hatred and a lack of hope. Many have been terrified to publicly identity themselves. Many are deeply wounded by a near-constant theme that equates “homosexuality” (the umbrella under which much misinformation about sexual orientation and gender identity is regularly disseminated from the pulpits) with murder, rape and other crimes.

    Into this inferno, a group of LGBT+ BJU alumni stepped one year ago, ultimately forming the NY not-for-profit BJUnity (the affirming alternative for LGBT+ alumni and students of BJU — and their families and friends) which I lead. It is time for a conversation change. It is time for the people we support to know that they are not alone. It is time for compassion, dignity and hope. It is time for the love that Jesus espoused and commanded to work its healing and saving power in the hearts and lives of all those wounded by fundamentalism’s harsh distortion of the gospel.

    Jeffrey Hoffman

    Executive Director

    BJUnity

    the affirming alternative for LGBT+ alumni and students of Bob Jones University

  • Peet

    Dear Letterwriter— I can’t even start to imagine the pain you went through, but at least I can share with you –at a much smaller level — what it feels like when no one is listening. I hope you’re free right now, physically safe, away from your ‘parents’ and away from the ugly and hateful world in which you experienced your trauma. Please know you’ve found a safe place here, where people will listen to you and hear you and support you.

  • Camille

    Thank you so much, John, for shining some much-needed sunshine on this albatross. Another good source for up-to-the-minute information on all the goings-on at BJU is the Truth-Seeking Graduates of Bob Jones University on Facebook here:

    https://www.facebook.com/TellTheTruthBJU

    Our group is more alumni-centric but as committed to justice as Do Right BJU.

    Thanks again.

    Camille K. Lewis

  • Karin Kloppers

    I feel ill. This poor woman.

  • Eliot Parulidae

    “Some Christians are extreme, but they don’t act like those fundie Muslims. We’re the real religion of peace!” – the argument I’m sick of hearing

    The only reason that fundie Christians don’t act like fundie Muslims is that they have secular governments (which they constantly complain about) watching them.

    • Camille

      I’m afraid they aren’t watching enough.

      • Sally Davis

        Oh, but you and we are. Watching. Closely. And then we’re yelling loudly.

  • Jill Joiner

    This is why I turned my back on anything to do with Christianity. My mother is agnostic but still couldn’t believe it. I went a youth pastor and he told me to repent.

    • Wanda Violet

      “I went a youth pastor and he told me to repent”

      I am so sorry, Jill.

      So much evil is done in God’s name.

    • DR

      Jill, this may sound odd but I think Jesus himself cheered when you turned your back on that, if that is how Christianity presented itself to you. That sounds like a sign of an emotionally and spiritually intact human being. xoxo

  • Miriam Widenham

    I hope she walks away from such a legalistic faith. Seeing that she commented on your post, she knows there is more out there. As a child and well into my teen years I was molested. Instead of that person being turned in and prosecuted, I was told that I had to forgive him and move on… and to not dress to where I was going to “tempt him”. Unbelievable. And my parents wonder why I’ve walked away from being a conservative evangelical. 20+ years I’m still dealing with this.

    • D

      I’m sorry that happened to you. That’s appalling.

  • Tina Badger

    I believe there are many more deeper darker secrets held in churches. My heart goes out to anyone who has had to deal with this kind of trauma in the “name of the Lord”

  • Cori Yee

    Wow. I feel for this young woman and hope she and her sister can find someone who will listen and understand and help them work through what they have been through. It is appalling that anyone would handle this woman’s confessions this way. The police should have been called to investigate. That a grandparent would refuse to look at the soiled nightgown and take it seriously is HEINOUS.

  • Mike McLatchey

    Thanks for giving this greater visibility, my heart goes out to her.

  • Donna Willis Kinnaird

    This is just awful and unacceptable. But, I know several girls this has happened to and NO ONE would listen or do anything to help them. That was years ago. Their lives have been ruined.

  • Al Pinto

    How can any of those adults equate what they have done with living a good Christian life? How can that man, in the process of abusing his little girls, be thinking to himself “this is what God wants me to do”? Please – call the police. Call the UN. This is a gross breach of human rights, or children’s right. It sounds like a huge cover up – a community evolved to perpetrate sin. It needs to stop. Anyone involved in telling this girl that she was deluded or lying or whatever is perpetrating sin. It sounds like the propaganda used by the Nazi party before and during WW2 to allow for the institutionalisation and dehumanisation of certain sectors of society.

  • Beth Appel

    Horrible. Evil. This girl needs to go to the police herself.

    • Camille

      Beth? Are you Ed’s daughter?? Ed Appel?

  • John C Hoddy

    Horrifying and heartwrenching.

  • Laura C. Minnick

    Her mother should be ashamed of herself. She failed to do the rock-bottom duty of any parent- to protect her children. He should be charged for his crimes, but she should be charged as an accessory.

  • Attitude Catt

    @John Shore: I re-posted this with one of your quotes directly below the story. It is my hope that folks who read this article will be smart enough to understand that abuse and molestation thrive in an atmosphere of denial,secrecy, and silence,etc. regardless of any denomination or religious belief system.

  • Faith Lefort

    No words.

  • Maria Lillian

    We need to stop pointing fingers at the Catholic Church and start taking responsibility for all institutions that believe they have a “higher cause” and should not report abuse to the proper authorities. I hope Penn State can stand as an example that NO cause, religion, sport, reputations, university etc. is worth protecting more than a child.

  • Steve Schunk

    Nauseating. Good Lord, Deliver Us. from the evil that is real.

  • Camille K. Lewis

    It is as evil as you say. It is. I am in the middle of writing a comprehensive history of Bob Jones University — a kind of sequel to my dissertation from Indiana University. I have amassed quite a big chunk of data that still blows my mind. Bob Jones Sr’s connections with the KKK, alone, make my mind reel.

    And there that campus sits. Just up the road. And South Carolina just gives it its tax dollars to fund the terror.

    Here’s my latest catalog of their spin on the GRACE investigation:

    http://www.drslewis.org/camille/2012/11/30/just-the-facts-maam/

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

      I live north of Greenville, and did a short piece on their art museum for an creative non-fiction class. As i was doing the research on the history of the museum, I was struck by the timing, of that trip to Europe. Knowing what we know now about what happened to so many, and how much art was essentially stolen from the victims of the holocaust, I do find it at least interesting. The story is that Baroque art was not all that popular during post ww2… but Im just not so sure. They did pick some beautiful masterworks for an apparent song.

      • Camille

        All the “connections” that Bob Jones Jr. had in acquiring that art — all of the ones he has praised and name-dropped — all three of them worked for Hitler. Not just Germans. Not just alive around that time. They all three worked for Hitler:

        Max Friedlaender, Hermann Voss, and Robert Longhi.

        Max Friedlaender is a man Hitler called “an honorable Aryan” even though he was Jewish, because he worked so hard for the SS. Those who look to recover art list Friedlaender as a big red flag. If you have art from him, you’ve most likely got a looted piece.

        In March 1943, Hitler named Hermann Voss to succeed Posse at the Dresden painting gallery and as provisional director of the Linz museum. Between 1943 and 1945, Voss purchased approximately twelve hundred paintings for Linz, mainly nineteenth-century German artists, and “as Posse’s successor he inherited a vast store of confiscated works.”

        In Italy, art historian Roberto Longhi acted as advisor to Eugenio Ventura, a Florence collaborationist dealer who was involved in transactions with Marshall Goering and the ERR.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

          Damn! I suspected it wasn’t as easy a “find” as they reported. And my favorite two religious themed works hang in their gallery

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

      I am also curious, exactly what does South Carolina fund at BJU? Its a private college, and an unaffiliated one, so state funding is going to be limited. I am not sure if they qualify for the state financial tuition programs.

      • Camille

        Oh dear me, no. It’s not limited funding. In fact, this is a huge sore spot.

        They get this:

        http://www.sctuitiongrants.com/colleges.htm

        And this:

        http://www.che.sc.gov/New_Web/GoingToCollege/LIFE_Hm.htm

        In 1998, locals were upset that the Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery was receiving tax payer support even though local citizens were banned from visiting the Gallery because of their sexual orientation:

        http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=zGJWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=4vEDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6740%2C2477874&dq=bob-jones-university-museum-and-gallery&hl=en

        BJU provided an exception for them.

        Recently, BJU M&G opened a satellite museum in downtown Greenville. They sold it back to the city, who now pays them a nice chunk of change to manage it.

        BJU has several members of its “community” on the local county council:

        http://www.greenvillecounty.org/county_council/

        It’s a pretty sweet deal for them all the way around.

        If you read about what it was like in the Jim Crow South 100 years ago, well . . . you don’t have to read much. Just come to my neck of the woods.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

          I live in Spartanburg, so just a bit north of the place. When I lived in Western NC, I know a few kids who went there. One lasted a semester when he realized how limited the music options for personal enjoyment was. I didn’t really get know know about the place till my first visit to the campus when I visited that museum with my daughter who was taking an art history class. I’d forgotten about the satellite museum.

          So essentially between what they charge for tuition. (19k a year), what they make from the city, the sales from the BJ press, what they get from fund raising, Its a for profit institution

          • Gregory Smith

            It is absolutely a FOR PROFIT organization. It has been since 1983 when it lost its tax exempt status permanently via SCOTUS decision. The reason they lost is their blatant racial descrimination which they defended by claiming the Bible commands it. They stood firm with their racial descrimination after that, but really put the for-profit wheels in motion. The fascinating follow-up is Bob Jones III, current chancellor and president at the time of Bob Jones University, appeared on Lary King Live on March 3, 2000 to announce that the University had droped its racist stance and lied by claiming that the school had never discriminated based on Biblical principle but rather southern social construct. (Proof to the oposite is everywhere.) The reason for the sudden about-face? George Bush the lessor had just been on campus campaigning for election and his visit had created a huge stink in the media because of the School’s racial history and stance. For Bob Jones III and for the University, the Bible’s principles change when it is expedient for their pockets.

          • Camille

            But it isn’t for profit according to South Carolina. This is an important thing to understand. Again I’ll get the document out this week or next.

          • Dan Keller

            Camille probably has done the most scholarly research on BJU than anybody else who’s not an “insider.” Seriously, if she doesn’t know it, it can’t be known. She also has every yearbook the school has ever printed. If you want a picture of Billy Graham as a student there, she can find it.

        • DR

          I’m fascinated by what you’re writing, will you keep us posted and let us know when it’s available?? Thank you for doing this.

  • Marianna Smith Bond

    That is not Christianity in any way, shape, or form. That is a cult, and every one of those individuals who tried to make the girl believe something other than the truth about what happened to her should be in prison!

  • Brian W

    I sure hope someone calls the authorities to start a formal investigation and possible criminal charges. For a father to abuse his daughter like this is incomprehensible. The writer won’t be “ripping the fanily apart” that father has already done it and the mother has also by sitting around and doing nothing. What awful parents.

  • Tim

    And I thought the catholic abuse stories were bad.

  • Mindy

    I’m not sure there are actual words strong enough to describe these despicable excuses for human beings. I want to scoop this young woman and her sister into my arms and bring them home with me and keep them from ever having to endure the sight of that bastard who dared to call himself their father. And the one who called himself their grandfather. I can’t begin to describe my disgust with every employee of BJU – because they are ALL complicit. The two picture here turn my stomach, but they are ALL culpable.

    Young Letterwriter, your strength of spirit is astounding. Your heart is powerful – to have endured such pain, such betrayal and not have succumbed to it all is a testament to that. You told your story well. Painfully well. It needs to be told to legal authorities. It needs to be done to protect your sister or any other child to whom your father, such as he is, might come in contact. That should not have to be your burden, but your strength tells me you can do it. You can save others from what you had to endure. You can make him pay, and your grandfather pay, for what they did to you. That is not family, dear girl. That is not love or faith. That is nothing but evil, and the only way it can be stopped is for news of it and understanding of it to be heard outside the bubble of control they have created. Women will surround you and love you, I promise. You will be protected, and you will be loved. You and your little sister will be in my thoughts and prayers every day.

  • Steve Olson

    I wondered if I was numb, if maybe too many of these stories of abuse, of girls, of boys had made me just numb to it. While never feeling the violation myself, I have had too many people who trusted me relate their own stories of horror and helplessness. Some of the numbness derives I think from the universality of this abuse. We who are always willing to hear of the horrors inflicted by a Fundamentlist mindset in cases like these also need to remember that this is not only a “Bob Jones” problem. Abuse happens anywhere and the pattern is not that a religious structure labors to supress the victim but that our whole society is complicit. Woe to us who point to the failings of our Fundamentalist brothers and sisters when we can’t see the same issue happening in our own house. What I felt initially was that maybe we were participating in a benign voyeurism and that we were losing sight of the victim. This woman needs our suppor, personally and actively. We can deal with the structure also, but we need her to see God’s people are attendant to her and her sister first and foremost.

    Still, I was reading and feeling these things until I came to the part where she related the wife who asked her if she enjoyed it. I was in a state of revulsion and felt my anger rising. As impossible as it seems though I realized that despite the horror of that questioning, God had reminded me even in these places of deepest evil and despair He can manage to make it Holy and Sacred. In our collective intake of breath, in our disbelief we need to see that God is impelling us to action and that even though our mind rebels that he is intent on turning evil into good. It is up to us now to listen to the little ones who come to us, trusting us to believe and trusting us to protect.

  • Dan Keller

    For another interesting story about BJU – that is “Bob Johnson University,” read my friend Rich Merritt’s book “Spiritual Probation.” He did change the names to protect the guilty, but, it’s from the same hell hole: http://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Probation-Rich-Merritt/dp/1479190101

  • http://thaliasmusingsnovels.com/ Amethyst

    To the letter writer, if there is anywhere at all that you can go, any women’s shelter you can get into, anyone whose couch you can surf on, GET OUT. Leave the university, don’t look back, don’t tell anyone in your family or IFB networks where you’re going, just go. Start applying for any jobs you’re remotely qualified for. Jobs with no religious affiliation whatsoever. Just, please, get away from these toxic people and this toxic environment.

  • Jill

    And Pres. Obama just signed Violence Against Women Act back into law. A law that ought not to be necessary.

  • BJUAlum

    Dear god who may or may not exist:

    If you’re out there, and if there’s even an ounce of justice in you, then please let the exposure from this post bring to ruin the perpetrators of this heinous crime – the father, grandfather, Hummell, Berg, and anyone else who contributed to the abuse of this young woman. May they be publicly shamed, and may this father find himself behind bars for duration of his life. And may there be a legion of inmates eager to unleash on him their sexual urges. Repeatedly. For years to come, that he might experience a taste of what this poor woman has suffered. And may the exposure of this post bring down an avalanche of legal trouble for these supporting institutions – especially Bob Jones University – that reinforce such crimes by perpetuating a theology of abuse. Please, for the sake of all who have endured the rampant abuse of fundamentalism. And especially for the sake of this young woman’s sister, who apparently is still living the nightmare.

    Yours,

    Ashamed alum of BJU

    • LN

      I wish I could get my diploma revoked.

      • ash

        Also ashamed of BJU. They have deeply wounded countless people. The worst part of all of it is that it was done in the name of God.

  • Elizabeth

    My goodness, there are no words. I, too know of the injustice and the judgement that goes on inside the church and inside of a lot of Christian homes. You can never, ever say that anything bad has happened to you, or that you have done any wrong, without being called a liar. No one believes you. My story is similar, but not nearly as bad as hers. I feel your pain, and I am so, so sorry. I am praying for you. I hope you and your sister get the help you need. I hope and pray that you know, that this is not how we are supposed to be as Christians, and that these people are definitely not Christians. I hope and pray that you know that God is love, and that He sees your pain, and that even if you do not see it now, justice will be served to these horrible people. I am so sorry sweetie. I hope you feel all of the love that is coming your way.

  • http://thethreews.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

    First of all, to the young woman who has been victimized by so many people who should be caring for her: I am so sorry that this has happened to you, and I want you to know that you are believed. You did not deserve this, and in no way did you cause it. You did not tear your family apart. Your family was torn apart by an abuser and his enablers.

    You have shown the tremendous courage and strength not only to survive, but to escape. I thank God for that.

    I’ve known people from the cult of Bob Jones University, and I completely believe that this kind of thing would happen. It is very much like what happened within the Catholic church, with abuse victims being branded as attacking the Church for reporting crimes and worse. The institution is more important than the people or the message that the institution supposedly promotes.

    This is tribalism at its worst, and beyond disgusting. Jesus came and delivered a message of caring for the weak, the victims, the down-trodden, and those in need from the powerful. There is no room in anything remotely Christian for protecting powerful institutions from those in need. Indeed, John, it’s almost enough to make me wish that there was a hell so that these (censored) would be sent there.

    What these people are inflicting on their families, the BJU community, and the world is not Christianity in any meaningful sense.

  • Elizabeth

    To the young woman who wrote this – You are so so brave. What you have lived through, your continual fight for truth, your sharing of your story.

    You are incredibly brave.

    Please know that the Jesus you prayed to has heard you. And we have heard you. And are loving you from all over the world. We are holding you in prayer and asking God for your healing. I know it is late honey, and I am sorry for that.

    Please accept our love and our prayers and let us know if there is something tangible that can be done. You and your sister will be in my prayers from now on.

    John – thank you for being trustworthy enough to have this story told to, and for sharing it.

  • http://Wordofawoman.com Michelle

    We hear you. We believe you. We stand with you and say NO MORE!!

  • http://lostchildnowfound.wordpress.com/about/ Cathy

    It seems as Rand Hummell has been blaming the victim for years. http://www.stufffundieslike.com/2011/03/blaming-the-victim-video-version-2-0/

    I attended BJU and was a victim of sexual abuse/rape. The counseling Jim Berg gave me is very similar to what this girl received.

    I wasn’t just sad. According to Jim Berg I was just “hurt.” I was, you know, a minor victim of sexual assault. Jim Berg has the basic advice for me. http://www.scribd.com/doc/128405511/19990000-Berg-Basics-for-Hurting-Believers

    • Jill

      Cathy, I wish I could hug you and remove all this hurt you’ve endured. I wish I could change it all, make it not happen. I hope that you have found your voice and your power to make your life yours again.

  • SojournerTruth

    [Unbelievably nasty fundy-troll comment blaming the girl deleted.]

    • Camille

      Oh boy. Here it comes, folks. Fasten your seat belts.

    • Gordon

      I would rather err on the side of trust than on the side of cynicism.

    • YC

      So because you were not abused, this girl couldn’t have been either? Did you also get a degree in “Bible” at BJU?

    • Michelle P.

      ARE YOU KIDDING? Sexual abuse is far, far more UNDERREPORTED than it is ever made up. Your timeline is also entirely wrong. She didn’t “make anything up” after she got kicked out of this “school.” She got kicked out of the school for being honest about what happened to her. SHE and her sister are the victims here, NOT the school.

      I feel sick.

    • mike moore

      Hey, Sojourner Truth … change your name. You’re a disgrace to the real Sojourner Truth.

    • Patrick

      And if she was sexually abused and all these people were covering it up, what then? Does it make it ok because that happens in all walks of life? Does it make it ok just because they were trying to keep the family together? I wonder if there was ever a medical test for rape… It sure doesn’t sound like it to me. I further wonder if such testing would prove the situation right. I mean this is all word of mouth, but if the girl was having constant nightmares, I would put money down that the situation was real and her subconcious was reliving it every night. How would you feel if you found out that it was all true and yet you defend the people committing such terrible crimes? Would you quote the bible saying that if a man rapes a woman he is to be married to her (Deuteronomy 22:29) or should she have turned the other (butt)cheek?

    • http://lostchildnowfound.wordpress.com/about/ Cathy

      There are too many details in her story to be made up, imo.

    • Kelly

      AND many people try to hide anything distasteful unpleasant or that just “looks bad” and manipulate victims into silence on a regular basis

      I believe her and wish she had someone she was able to turn to that would have actually protected her and not the image of the family and church

    • Elizabeth

      Just because you didn’t have this problem, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a problem. Give me a freaking break. Why would she, her sister, and apparently quite a few other girls from there old church just make this stuff up? Why would she drive to her grandparents house in the middle of the night to show them evidence, if there was none. Use your brain, use your heart, stop being such a cynic. It’s because of people like you that victims are too ashamed to come out with their stories and get the help they need, so why don’t you just shut the hell up.

    • DR

      I was so gut-wrenched reading this that I could barely get through it. And then these comments, I’m so stunned. Honestly, some of you people are so tightly gripped in evil – you’re so completely unconscious of what it means to be a victim of systematic sexual abuse, you are so profoundly ignorant and hostile and defensive when called on it that it terrifies me. This is going to sound odd, but dealing with all of you makes me want Jesus to come back again desperately, you’ve perverted His death and resurrection to such an evil degree that a miracle is the only thing that will save you and save us from you.

    • Gordon

      Thanks for making this one go away, John Shore. Ick.

      • Michelle P.

        I’ll second that! Thank you, Mr. Shore, and ick!!!!

  • heather

    This girl was 14 years old and it never occurred to her to call the police herself?

    • Michelle P.

      She was emotionally abused, too, and told not to do anything that would break up the family. Calling the police would be a betrayal of the concept of feminine submission to the male head of the household.

    • Barbara Rice

      “He told my mother not to go to the police (because those evil police and social workers will come out and investigate our home)”

      When you’re 14 and raised in an extremely controlled environment, no, you would not call the police.

    • renee

      People who are victimized by a family member will usually not call law enforcement. She was told by her family members not to call or her father would go to jail. Children, even teenagers, love their parents and victims will usually defend the one who is hurting them if it someone they love. She hoped beyond hope that the ones who loved her would believe her and protect her. It takes strength to make a phone call like that. When you are victimized for years, the way she was, it robs you of your self-worth, your self-esteem and your courage. So, even if it did cross her mind to call, she would not have done so.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Really, heather? That’s your response?

    • ash

      I was raised in this kind of environment and it is almost completely isolated from the outside world. We were taught that everyone outside our group was evil and wanted to destroy us. Even if we were terrified of our families, it was a known thing. Sometimes the unknown brings more fear, especially when we were warned constantly to not trust the “world”. Most of us didn’t know that others outside our community lived with families who were loving and kind. I vividly remember the first time I realized that some families actually were kind to their kids. I was 15 or 16 and it was a brand new concept.

    • DR

      Do you know how hard it is to call the police when your own parents don’t believe you? If you were in my immediately air space, I’d tell you to f*** off. How dare you even question a traumatized kid’s decisions in this scenario, this comment is repulsive.

    • Angie

      When I was drugged and raped I didn’t really want to report it for multiple reasons that you probably wouldn’t think of unless you found yourself in that situation yourself (some things I did and said and thought after the rape even *I* couldn’t understand or explain), but a friend talked me into going to the hospital, where they called the police. The police officer walked into the ER, strongly insinuated that I was a slut who was having second thoughts after the fact, and straight up accused me of being an alcoholic because I’d been drinking when it happened. (I was 21 and it was a Friday night… and if someone IS an alcoholic, does that mean it’s okay to rape THEM? Sadly I was too overwhelmed at the time to think to pose that question to him.) He made a big show of calling his sergeant to determine if it even qualified as ‘rape’ and was worth taking a report about. It took a lot of counseling to get over blaming myself–and I still usually can’t bring myself to refer to it as ‘rape,’ because something in me still thinks I don’t really have a right to call it that–and I had friends and family who supported me. Were something to happen to me again, I would have to think long and hard about whether I could consider it worth the effort and humiliation and psychological toll of contacting the police again. I can’t imagine being as young as 14, living in the bubble of your (obviously incredibly controlling) parents’ world, and having the people you trust most in the world (forget the dad for a minute, but mom and grandmother and grandfather and pastors) either minimize what was happening to you, tell you it’s not happening at all, or tell you it’s your fault. That, heather, is psychological control, and it’s often much harder to escape THAT than it is to escape the actual physical act of abuse.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        Angie: thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU for writing this.

      • DR

        You are remarkable for surviving this and sharing this. You remind me of what a dear friend who works at a hospital says, that sometimes, a rape victim is raped twice. That the second time happens when she has to explain it to authorities who don’t believe her. Much love to you, this is incredibly powerful.

  • http://thefirstmorning.com David Weber

    For the record..

    I believe her.

  • Bubble

    I bet the grandfather had abused his own kids as well, and this was a generational thing. There is more going on here than just religion. Sadly people with control issues seem to be drawn to hard-line religion. The university are probably legally liable in some respect for failure in duty of care.

  • Bethany Keesee

    I believe her, why? Because I experienced the same thing, almost EXACTLY. The only exception is that the church that his my abuse was a Calvary Chapel. I was kicked out. There are many more details but not necessary here. I just want those that haven’t experienced something this tragic to understand that it really exists. I am also proof of that.

    • Jill

      Bethany, it breaks my heart that you have endured such horror. I truly hope that you are now safe and that you have gotten the care and support you need and deserve. You are not alone.

  • Kathleen Schwab

    Abuse is rarely made up. It mostly goes upreported. And no, a girl that age does not think to call the police. Many, many victims of abuse cooperate in the abuse – pyschologcally this is a survival mechanism. They commonly bond with the abuser, even taking on the abuser’s goals as their own. Some call it Stockholm syndrome. This is NORMAL behavior of an abused child.

    Her story is 100% beleivable. Sadly.

  • Megan

    I believe you, dear girl. I pray you see the support you are getting here, thanks to your bravery in reaching out to John. I pray you and your sister get out and find safety and love. I pray God heals your pain and gives you rest from the horrors that haunt you both. You are loved, not only by Jesus, but by all of us who believe your story and support you.

  • Cattie

    Because I hope that the more voices who speak up and say this, the more your sweet heart will be soothed: I believe you!

    This “Christianity” described here is not Christianity, and I believe Jesus has no part in it.

  • Valerie

    This young woman’s story breaks my heart. All we want as humans is to be loved and believed and this beautiful child of God did not have those things growing up. I hope and pray she is able to find them now that she is out of that toxic environment.

  • Robert

    I have been working with homeless, abused, neglected kids of 22 years… and this story… is one of the worst I have heard… because every single adult in this young woman’s life completely and utterly failed her. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM… I am utterly disgusted by them… utterly… I have never heard an abuse story where all the adults in a child’s life have acted with such a degree of contempt and wanton disregard for the well being of a child. There isn’t even a place in hell for these people… they have sucken a whole lot lower than hell.

    As for the writer… there is help out there. I have seen hundreds of children survive the abuse and with the right care… and I do me care… they have been able to move forward with their lives… many of them have also found solance in testifiying against the abusers and putting them behind bars.

    And there are a great many people in your story that really may need some time in prison to really think about their utter failure to protect the innocent.

    But ultimately… this kind of behavior has been repeated time and time again in organized religions. It happens in the catholic church, it happens in conservative jewish temples, it happens all over… so for the rest of us… we might want to ponder why religion fuels this kind of collective abuse… what does it say about the power that the clergy have over the people in the church… why do we give them this much power… why do religious communities feel the need to white wash abuse… and to deny what is happening right in front of them…

    Makes me glad I walked away from christianity years ago… cause there aint no GOD in this story.

    • Matt

      Religion doesn’t fuel it. It enables, protects, helps the abuser justify to themselves, but it doesn’t fuel it. If we abolished all religion in an instant, I can sadly guarantee things like this would still happen.

      People, not religions, feel the need to deny and whitewash. They hide behind their religion like the cowards that they are, but it is them who do these things. Only until we address the toxic people, the root of the problem, do we actually have a hope of ending this kind of agony.

      • DR

        You have to listen to what he is saying. He’s saying this happens a lot in the framework of organized religion and he’s absolutely right. It is something we need to get to the bottom of.

        • Jill

          Exactly. In some situations abuse happens in spite of the religious beliefs, that the guard was down. There are just far too many cases where the abuse happens because religious organizations have fostered sexism, genderism, racism, dualisms of all possible kinds. And then hiding the scandals for fear of bad press.

          My old cult just got slammed with a 28M settlement last June for failing to protect a young girl. Their by-laws have clearly defined there must be 2 witnesses to the criminal act. So yeah, you can tell that doesn’t work out well for the abused.

          When the code of silence and respect your elders is the Law of your life, and the only ones telling you about good and bad touch are maybe the public school (if you’re allowed to go), then the organized religion is the problem.

      • Christy

        Matt, there are toxic sects of religion. Because religion is a human construct and a system organized and run by people – religious systems too can be toxic. John explained this here:

        “Do I believe that it is God’s will that women be subservient to men? If your answer to that question is yes, then you are consistently helping to perpetuate the exact same value system that inevitably dehumanized this girl—which made it easy to grossly violate her, and even easier to insist that afterward she shut up about it.”

        That’s their culpability – Their teachings and actions that perpetuate the understanding consciously and subconsciously that women and children are less than, not to be trusted, and are by their gender and position in the God-ordained hierarchy of the natural order of things meant to submit and obey to male authority.

        That’s rape culture perpetuated by religion. So yes most definitely – bad religion fuels it. Any faith with an Authoritarian Patriarchal structure with rigid dogma where women are inherently perceived as less than fuels it.

      • Brena

        Pedophiles gravitate to places that believe once you are old enough to talk you are inherently sinful and so are naturally a liar. They gravitate to places where questioning men is suspect. They gravitate to places of harsh discipline so unhappy children are not unusual. They gravitate to places that believe their version of the truth is so powerful they can save any sinner and so the pedophile can come to the leaders early on and confess their weakness and talk the talk and walk the hypocrisy and put a lot of money in and the church will work with them instead of persecute them as long as they can keep the problem “in the family” and keep the public out of it.

        Original sin is not in the Bible as such but the story of how the attractive person, Eve, caused Adam to sin is retold and retaught and sure does lay the foundation for the attractive child or woman to cause/force a man to sin. Harsh discipline of children is in religion. The idea that “we” have special instruction from God that trumps anyone else’s instruction is in religion. The idea that it is powerful to forgive and lead those otherwise condemned by the world’s laws is in religion. And when you add it up then pedophilia can easily hide in religion.

        It doesn’t have to be like that but we do like to set our own priorities in what will be our religious priorities. I cherry pick the nice parts while others cherry pick the oppressive parts. Since it’s easier for organizations of religion to make more money being oppressive of anything that is not in whole agreement with their ‘vision’ it is a festering fertile ground for pedophilia.

    • Allie

      It’s not religion specifically, it’s any situation where adults are trusted. That’s why teachers and Boy Scout leaders also end up being problem spots. Predators go where the prey is, and most predators are smart enough to figure out what the top ten best jobs for unsupervised access to children are. Number one on that list? “Stepfather.”

      However, Bob Jones and the Catholic church and the Boy Scouts have the additional issues of being corporate entities which band together to protect the guilty. Again, it’s not that religious people particularly like child molesters, it’s that SJ type personalities tend to form patriotic entities which require loyalty from members.

      • Matt

        Thanks, Allie. That was my point. I did not mean to minimize the huge role organized religion can play in this kind of abuse.

  • http://frenchizal.blogspot.com Jenni

    To The Person Whose Comment is Quoted in this Post:

    I am so sorry you had to deal with this. It sucks that all of this happened to you. I wanted to tell you that I’m a survivor, too – of abuse and of BJU. You’re not alone. If you need a listening ear sometime, send John Shore an email and ask for my contact info. I can’t make all that yucky hurt go away, but I can listen.

  • http://frenchizal.blogspot.com Jenni

    When I went to a BJU “counselor” for help in dealing with flashbacks to the abuse, I was told that the flashbacks were sin b/c I only thought about those things because I wanted to relive them. Also, the only solution they gave me to the flashbacks was to stand up and recite Bible verses really loudly when they happened. Yes, really.

    Fortunately for me I found a real therapist later who was able to give me better advice and help than that.

  • http://www.faithbasedtherapy.com Deborah Vinall

    Dear woman,

    My heart breaks for your suffering and how you’ve been silenced by the very ones that should have been protecting you. You are and were always right to speak up. You should have been believed. No one makes this sort of thing up and goes through the humiliation that you did for no reason. You are not alone. In fact, 1/3 women are sexually abused before the age of 18! What you describe is very believable. I hope by now you have found people, or even one person, who you trust, who believes you, who can help you sort through the memories. God didn’t approve this. God weeps with you at the perversion of authority used against you.

    prayers ~

  • ash

    To the woman who experienced this horrific ordeal, please know that so many of us grieve with you and would do just about anything to support you. We believe you. Many of us have experienced the same types of abuses and the same coverups. I think it is just an integral part of the IFB world. I don’t assume that all IFB families abuse their children, but from my own experience, it seems very common.

    There are many stories of those reporting their abuse to BJU. They do NOT care. No matter what their new policies say, they still have faculty members who are still high level employees who have covered up abuse situations. They consistently treat abuse victims without the slightest hint of caring and hide the offenses of abusers.

  • Matt

    I am so sorry you had to go through this, Commenter. So, so sorry. I went through similar abuse from family for four years, and it took all my strength to tell about it at 16. I still struggle with the damage, the nightmares, the flashbacks, the nervousness around men. And yet I was believed immediately, and removed to physical safety at the very least. The fact that I can understand just a fraction of your feelings only makes it harder to read your story.

    I so hope you’re in real, true counseling right now, or have met a friend, a partner, someone you can lean on. Someone you can tell your feelings to. Someone who can reassure you, and answer every question, no matter how strange, horrific, or silly it sounds to you. If you’re struggling to feel safe even though the abuse is over, that’s normal. It will come, with time. It’s the best feeling ever, and worth fighting for. It’s warm, and soft, and calm, and relaxed. There are people who can be trusted, there are people who will genuinely care no matter what. They are worth seeking out.

    Best wishes on your journey, Commenter. You are a person, and a precious one at that.

  • ash

    “A Christianity to Make Satan Proud”

    I can’t think of a better title for what I have seen happening at BJU as they continue to cover up sexual offenses. They STILL have no problem with sex offenders! The new policy means nothing if those over the seminary, over the counseling, over their Bible program, in administration, etc. continue to believe that sex offenders should be protected and victims should be blamed and shamed. I don’t know why it still hurts to see their reaction, but it does.

  • Dana

    My heart is so broken for you young woman. I am sick and disgusted by what was done to you both physically and spiritually. I pray that you will find peace. The Lord be with you.

  • Elayna

    I don’t know if the girl that was mentioned in this message is reading these comments, but just in case she is, I’m sorry that all the adults in your life had utterly failed you. I admire your fortitude and integrity in still sticking in your beliefs, even though you have had many valid reasons to shun and turn away from them. I myself have gone through abuse (although not nearly as bad as yours), and can agree with you that it’s something that should never be tolerated in any form. I hope you find the peace and understanding you need, and that all adults are not as narrow minded and deluded as these adults were. If you are still searching for the kind of high presence that seems to feel right with what you believe is right, don’t feel alone. I am too.

  • spinning2heads

    Please know that we’re pulling for you. You’re strong. Very, very strong. I can tell by your being willing to write about your experiences, by the clarity with which you write them, and by your empathy and concern for your sister. I’m sorry you had to learn to be so strong. Life should not require such things. But they have, and therefore I’m glad that you are. Let that strength pull you to a place where your strength is no longer needed.

  • Brenda in La

    To the young lady who wrote the post, I am so very sorry that you have had to endure such pain. I believe you, and you have found an entire community of loving, caring people who believe you. I am worried about your younger sister, also. To the other commenters here, WHAT CAN WE DO? Somehow making reassuring comments doesn’t seem like anywhere near enough. There must be some recourse for her and the others. Those people need to be brought to justice. Surely there is something we can do. To allow the adults involved to continue to prey on young girls while knowing about it makes me feel complicit. I don’t like that feeling ; this young woman deserves a voice. JOHN, are you planning something? I don’t have to know what it is, but I sure hope so. Something has to be tried, at least. Remember Edmund Burke.

  • DR

    Dear comment leaver,

    When I read your story I did not doubt it for a second. Not a second. It’s a really common experience and you are NOT alone. Let us know how we can help you. We are listening to you and we are ready to help in whatever way we can.

    • FishFinger

      [deleted]

      • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

        Agreed, Fish Finger. I for one do not believe any of those stories about you and goats.

      • Christy

        Fish, the reason stories like this are believable is because 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 guys will be sexually abused in their lifetime and we know people with stories exactly like this one. As horrible and awful and desperate… as completely and utterly as her entire family failed her again and again and again – at every turn – she reached out for help and people who should have been there to love and protect her FAILED her…we know other horrific stories just. like. this one. They are our friends, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, husbands and wives.

        Some people totally suck in the most evil and vile ways possible. The abuser is in one pit all their own. But the “good” people who are supposed to keep the boogey man away and the monsters and yet choose the monster over their own child – they are the most dangerously, violatingly, soulessly despicable.

        Once you learn this is true…and you see it happen over and over and over again…where the minister knows and covers it up, where the mother knows and covers it up, where the family knows and covers it up… You know that evil exists not in the tattooed dude at the biker bar, but it is sleeping in the bed down the hall and preaching from the pulpit of your church on Sunday.

        • Brenda in La.

          Exactly, Christy. I can’t sleep tonight, and I know this time it’s because of the horrors that you describe. i am appalled, saddened, sickened, and angry as hell.

          • Christy

            I have had those same eye-twitching, heart-fluttering, muscle-quivering, nauseating, migraine-splitting, tear-filled, sleepless days. I have been angry, sad, depressed, infuriated, livid, despondent, hopeless, rage-filled, and disillusioned. We who know have lived this normal, healthy, obvious, necessary emotional response. We’ve done it with Jerry Sandusky. We’ve done it with our friends who were raped in college. We’ve done it with every new story of Papal and Priest deceit and callousness bereft of compassion. We’ve done it with that one overly affectionate uncle who always had the kids sit on his lap to dole out money and sloppy kisses.

            We’ve done it with every story of every asshole jerk-off minister who made a 12 year old girl repent for being raped and forgive her rapist.

            The time for being angry has passed.

            The time for action is now.

            With knowledge comes responsibility. We must no longer live in fear of the Church, its leaders, the Patriarchy, and Authoritarian religion. The only power they hold is the power we give to them and we can take it away.

            We aren’t asking politely anymore for change. We, like the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Rights Movement, and the Abolitionists and the Suffragettes and LGBQT Rights Movement and every other progressive social movement – are *demanding* change. This is a Human Rights issue. This is an Equality issue. And I refuse to waste any more energy being mad about this any longer. That righteous anger has to be used as fuel for action.

            We are the ones who must make this change happen. We are the ones who must save the children from the wolves.

      • DR

        bullshit

  • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

    Just did a quick Google check under “how to gather evidence if you are sexually abused” & several variants; found nothing telling minor victims how to gather / preserve evidence if they are molested by a relative or family associate (plenty of good links on how to identify abuse in minors and what adult women should do after a sexual assault, however). Someone who knows the legal / medical / psychological niceties of this area should put out a webpage that can show minors >exactlyexactly< who they should contact and what they should say to get police and local prosecutors to act on that evidence.

    And of course every institution — religious or secular — with a history of protecting child rapists should be mentioned on the front page of this site so a Google search on this topic will light up like a Christmas tree.

    Put some fear in the rapists' hearts for a change…

    • Allie

      Oddly enough, having DNA evidence against my father didn’t help my foster daughter much. Because she had physical evidence, the court was unable to ignore her, but her father was sentenced to no time served, only six sessions of counseling. And then she was sent home with him that day.

      • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

        That is a crime in & of itself, but as you say, at least she proved she was telling the truth. What happened re sentencing & being sent back with him is terrible & horrific, but there could no longer be any denying what happened. The young woman who wrote the original letter and so many others are denied even that tiny moment of affirmation & justice, finding themselves labeled liars or mentally ill instead.

  • Carol

    One of the saddest ever stories. It was a travesty of Christianity. It is not the real thing. All Christians are not like this.

  • Jay Joy

    Ahhh yes, Man Made Religion rears it’s ugly head again!!! And destroys peoples lives, messes with their heads and fills people with Fear based theology so they can attempt to control the masses….But truth and Love always prevails, hopefully this poor girl among thousands in this world will come to know that the Real God is nothing like what she was taught and that His Unconditional Love and Grace never fails….Hopefully she’s got out of that religious box and is now enjoying some freedom!!! :)

  • Allie

    I’m so sorry.

    My foster daughter was told when she told her mother about her father raping her, “He doesn’t ask you to do anything he doesn’t ask me to do, so shut up and do it, he pays the bills.” She then ran away, for which crime she was placed in a mental institution and forcibly drugged until she promised to drop her allegations. So she went to the police, who brought charges against her father, who was found guilty and sentenced to six counseling sessions, which he did not attend because at the time Mississippi had no budget for counseling sessions. So she ran away again, which is how she ended up with me.

    I’m leaving some bits out, but that’s basically the story. Both her parents are church-goers, and her mother is extremely active in the church.

    One in four adult women reports having been sexually molested as a child, with molested defined as genital contact between the child and an adult parent or authority figure before the child reaches the age of eighteen. There are of course many other possible definitions, which get you different percentages. My point, though, is this is not just common, but as common as flu. If your child is in a class with 40 children, ten are being molested or will be molested.

    • Hannah Grace

      O.O

      Unbelievable.

  • Katie

    Like other(s) have said, I am so sorry that everyone failed you so miserably–your father in perpetrating this crime against you, your mother and grandparents and many at BJU in failing to take your side. How can so, so many people be more concerned about how things LOOK than how they ARE?

    I pray that G.R.A.C.E. is able to help you, that your father and others like him will be brought to justice and repentance, and that you will find healing in Christ. He was innocent, too, and was hated. He knows what it is to be reviled.

    I had my own hard times now and then at BJU, but I cannot even imagine…I have had people upset that I kept them awake (coughing), and I would definitely have been sympathetic to not *try* to get someone in trouble over it! (Seriously…that person’s not sleeping well either. Why be so selfish?)

    I have thought for quite a while that the BJU system encouraged gossip, in a sense. Why does everything have to go through all these levels of authority–APCs being encouraged to talk to the PCs about room problems that may have *nothing* to do with the PC, etc.? I think that meetings about someone who is not present should be the rare exception, not the rule. (Yes, of course, occasionally there is one person who refuses to reconcile, who yells and screams and won’t meet peaceably, whatever. But that is not the case the majority of the time.) But with all that, it doesn’t really surprise me that the dorm sup told Miss Baker, and on and on. I just don’t think there was any reason forthat outside of the VICTIM’S permission and wishes.

    We all feel violated when personal things are discussed without our consent. It’s happened to you. Think about it. (Long sigh.)

  • Cathy

    Love and God’s blessing to you and your sister, sweetheart. You have done nothing wrong, and I applaud your strength and bravery in the face of overwhelming evil.

  • Jim Stanley

    It’s not just Independent Fundamental Baptists, either. I remember hearing a preacher in the Christian & Missionary Alliance (often a very caring group of folks) preach that women who get beaten should not leave their husbands…even temporarily. In order to witness to their abusive spouses about forgiveness. Thank you for shining a light, John. It was a very painful thing to read but having traveled in those circles…everything rang true; right down to the way the author used titles and names.

    • Christy

      Abuse surely is possible anywhere. Those groups whose social structure are Authoritarian and Patriarchal, who do not have an egalitarian view of marriage, who use physical punishment to break the will of their children, who see male authority as reflective of the godhead – they enable abuse. As John wrote:

      “Do I believe that it is God’s will that women be subservient to men? If your answer to that question is yes, then you are consistently helping to perpetuate the exact same value system that inevitably dehumanized this girl—which made it easy to grossly violate her, and even easier to insist that afterward she shut up about it.”

  • Barbara Andrus Trainer

    Barbara Andrus Trainer It’s so ugly…I am sick of cover-ups.

  • Christina Scroggins-Shipley

    John, thank you for shinning your light on this issue!

  • Alma Almodovar

    OMG! There’s one of those churches close to my home and just recently I considered visiting it… thanks for the timely eye opener. The lady who wrote the letter, may she find peace and happiness.

    • Mark

      Avoid the IFB churches like the plague.

      • Jill

        I just wish they didn’t hide in plain sight so easily like they do. Their church names sound so…innocuous.

        • Christy

          Independent = intentionally not affiliating with a denomination so there is no oversight. This magnifies their control and power to one man. Deacons are usually appointed by the minister, sometimes voted on by the church. There is usually no board. And the minister has ultimate veto power. It is the perfect storm for abuse.

          Fundamentalist = a pejorative in most other circles. It is a badge of honor in theirs and indicates an adherence to strict doctrinal creeds as well as separatism from modern society and culture as expressed by certain outward appearances and abstentions like no modern music, dancing, alcohol, tobacco, R rated or other “inappropriate” movies, mixed swimming, clothing, hair and makeup, strict gender roles, home or private schooling, sometimes many children, very selective television viewing, shunning/forbidding mainstream literature, corporal punishment required for children.

          Baptist in doctrine and theology. Biblical literalists. KJV only or often KJV preferred. Young Earth Creationists. Apocalyptic end times eschatology.

      • otter

        Avoid them??? And let them carry on??

        Why not infiltrate, expose and eliminate them??

  • Lyric Crossborn

    Grew up in a BJU independent Baptist cult. What this person experienced is not uncommon.

    • Darryl Corcoran

      Six girls from my IFB church were molested by the pastor and deacons between the late 70′s and early 80′s. All of them ‘came out’ years later as adults. the church is still going strong to this day although i haven’t entered it’s doorstep in 30yrs

  • Carol Lynn Thomas

    Quite an appalling letter. I am so sad that the writer had to suffer the way she did. I hope that God blesses her life and she is still able to trust in God. I hope the perpetrators mentioned are held publicly responsible in their communities. What horrible people.

    • Michelle P.

      Unfortunately, their communities are structured to protect and enable this abuse. I hope they are held publicly responsible by the law, and serve jail time.

  • Pat Long-Gilbert

    My heart just breaks for this young woman and her sister. No-one should ever have to live through what she was forced to deal with. I hope they both get real help and all the people, from her dad to the “people” that refused to help her are charged and convicted criminally.

  • Charles Maynes

    thanks for posting that John…. It is a reality check.

  • Dennis Wansitler

    This is horrific but not surprising with the sexual abuse by priests in the Cathilic Church. I hope this story can be told over and over until those responsible for the act and the cover up are exposed and held accountable. Hopefully they will repent and make corrections so that this is never done again. God help and protect this young woman and her siblings.

  • David Shaffer

    I posted this article on facebook. I was called “demon possessed” by Andy Rogish, a BJU grad with a MDIV from Bob Jones University. These people are all taught to protect the system. This is a cult, there is no way to deny that. And cults do anything to control people and protect their system.

  • Rev. Doug Price

    I’ve seen variations of this story and/or or exactly copied and pasted on multiple forums for several months now. It makes me ask why.

    • http://chucklestravels.wordpress.com Chuckles Travels

      Why does it make you wonder? Abuse victims finding their voice make you uncomfortable. She also posted I my blog. I have her name. I’m sure if John Shore and I compared infomation (email address, etc) the contact info wold be the same. http://chucklestravels.com/2013/02/17/willful-ignorance-brave-responses/

      • http://walking-by-heart.blogspot.com/ Amy

        Good on her for posting it everywhere! I would too!!

        I was a victim of sexual abuse.. insest in my family… secrets and not telling took my voice away… well now, I have no more shame, because what was done to me is not my shame, but my abusers. I have come to see NOW, that my wholeness includes my voice.. I have to share my story. It is my greatest glory and tool against shame. I am not small, and will never let any person make me feel that way again. Nor should this brave heart who shared her story here with Jon.

        So good on her for sharing her story everywhere she can. My prayer for her is that she finds wholeness and healing…and that she knows she is valuable and WORTH hearing!

        I want to curse at those s.o.b’s that shunned her, punished her, made her feel little and small, and didn’t believe her. What kind of monsters do that to a child?? Sick sick sick…

        Religion and sex are the most perverse combinations. All of the most heinous sexual crimes committed have been done by people who have lived under the shame and condemnation of religion. Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy.. all were raised in strict religious homes.

        Jon, thankyou so much for your heart and posting this story.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

      Copy/pasted? Or maybe is seems similar because so many women and girls are experiencing the same thing. Its a pattern, its tragically, horribly repeated.

      You ask why? Maybe its because we are tired of it. Tired of the hiding, the pain, the suicides, the lost innocence, the stolen hopes. Maybe we are also tired of the cover-up, the lies, the pointing fingers at the innocent, the knowingly ignoring, the smugness, and the outright blatant smugness perpetuated by the attackers and their allies.

      Good for this young woman, and others like her for fighting back, and telling the world. “This happened, and I want to do what I can to stop it from happening to others. Will you help?”

    • Bethulia

      Doug, I keep hearing abuse survivor stories strikingly similar to my childhood friend’s where the minister and the mother covered up the abuse and no Justice ever came to the male perpetrator from within Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches affiliated with Bob Jones University for nearly twenty years now. It makes me ask why.

      So, I decided to do some research, and from what I can find, as well as from my own experience in this form of Fundamentalism, the reason is that this is the modus operandi of this sect because they are inherently Patriarchal; Authoritarian; non-egalitarian; and Misogynistic; viewing obedience, unquestioned following, and submission to male authority as godly and righteous; have a conditionally loving worldview; a high regard for men; a low regard for our nation’s government and legal system; a low regard for Justice and Equality; and seem willing to sacrifice the emotional, mental, spiritual and physical well-being of women and children in order to protect the reputations of men, their faith communities and the power and control this system affords them.

      Ultimately, it’s because they are ego-filled, do not have the mind of Christ, and their fruit reveals that the Spirit of the Lord is not within them. This does not at all sound like the Kingdom of God that Jesus taught we were tasked with helping bring about.

      So, as a reverend, if you would like to help address these egregious wrongs this worldview perpetuates, those of us who have been abused by it would appreciate ever so much an ally rather than a doubter.

      Will you help right these wrongs within the Body of Christ?

      • mike moore

        Gee, Rev Doug, how astute … because one never sees the same (legitimate) news stories covered by every network, blogged and re-blogged, and generally put out through multiple media channels.

        Rev, if you are one (why should we believe you?) you might consider starting by assuming there’s validity to it until shown otherwise.

      • Jill

        Speechless. So perfect, Bethulia. Thank you.

    • Lymis

      “It makes me ask why.”

      It ought to make you ask whether they are true. Because if they are, then they certainly should be trumpeted far and wide, right? Right?

      sigh.

    • Mark

      About the death, burial and resurrections of Christ “I’ve seen variations of this story and/or or exactly copied and pasted in multiple gospels for several years now. It makes me ask why.”

    • Allie

      Okay, playing Devil’s Advocate for a moment.

      This is the internet and people are capable of inventing terrible stories. It makes sense to check the source of a story and not believe everything you read. Look at Manti Te’o and his “girlfriend” for an example of what can happen. In my earlier, more naive, internet days, I was part of a forum which tried to help an “abuse victim,” who claimed to be being tormented by her husband. She told us she was being attacked and then logged off. Someone in our group was savvy enough to obtain her physical address and sent the police to her, where they discovered she was in a happy marriage, sitting eating snacks at the computer and laughing at all our concern for her. People do things like that. Not every sad story is a true story.

      However, if you have in fact seen this exact story copy/pasted and attributed to someone else, not just a similar story, or the same story told by the same person in another place, that’s a serious allegation, and you need to back up your words and inform John by including links to the other places in which you claim to have seen the story. That’s not too much to ask. Otherwise, you are just disparaging the writer without cause or evidence.

      • Allie

        And… searching for a random sentence from that post reveals that it has indeed been posted to other sites, however, the originator is always the same person, calling herself “Kim.”

        So the reason you have seen it in more than one location is more than likely because Kim wrote her story once and has told it in many places.

  • Caciona Bernstrom

    I am literally sick to my stomach and my heart hurts so much for this girl. What is bizarre to me is everyone is willing to say they hate The WBC and there is only 40 of them! These are millions of people abusing their children and shrouding it in religion. Where is the outcry!!!!

    • Cherie

      WBC = Westboro Baptist Church?

  • Tracy

    Nothing to say except that I believe her,–because I know this sort of thing can happen, (though it took me years into adulthood to let myself believe it) and I am so very sorry she suffered for so long. Hoping and praying she is well in her life now — loved and loving.

    And praying and hoping that somebody blows the lid off this place.

    • mike moore

      Tracy, tone can be so hard to read, so know I’m coming from a place of caring, not judgment.

      It sounds like you know enough that you could help blow the lid. I remember how vilified were the molestation survivors of the Catholic Church … and then more and more survivors came forward, blowing the lid off of that. Perhaps you could be one of the public voices speaking out against these abuses.

      It may not be the right thing for you, and that’s OK too. Godspeed.

  • Hannah Grace

    My heart breaks for the commenter who was not rescued from her situation. I wish I had been there to protect her. I wish I could have done something. The image of some innocent little girl crying out to Jesus for help in a situation like this makes me unable to bear the idea that people pretending to represent Christ could have done something so evil.

    I can’t believe people have used the word “abomination” to mean lovely LGBT people, because this is a time when that word should be used. This is what is unholy, putrid, evil, and false.

    If the commenter is reading, I wanted to say that when I had to deal with abuse, this is what I wanted someone to say to me: “I believe you. That sounds incredibly, unfathomably hard. I admire you so much for getting through it. It wasn’t fair that it happened to you and it doesn’t sound normal. It’s legitimate to be hurt by it and you’re not making a big deal out of nothing at all.” I think all abused children want to hear this.

    Really, I mean each of the above sentiments, but above all, I admire your strength – the strength of your character is standing up for yourself, and in continuing to have such a good heart and such strength in an environment more poisonous than any I can think of. I can’t imagine someone more worthy of admiration and honor than you.

    I pray these people are brought to justice, and that you have friends and loved ones surrounding you with the love and care you deserve.

  • Laurie

    Tell her if she ever needs to talk, to contact me. I understand. I applaud her courage. She and the countless others victimized by people behind a veil of righteousness are in my prayers.

  • anjali

    Dear Sister in Faith,

    I understand your pain & confusion how someone you love can do such horrible things. I can’t even begin to comprehend the betrayal you’ve felt coming from the rest of your family. Please speak up to the authorities.

    I pray for your heartache to be healed in God’s warmth. Any scars be seen with affirmation that you still , with every breath, worthy to live and love with purpose. I pray, if I ever meet you, I can hug you. Further praying to hear your unchecked, unbridled violin playing.

    Thank you for sharing your Joseph journey. Your light shines through in true, beautiful colors.

    anjali

  • Mark

    I graduated form my IFB school in 1981. I was already aware that there was a different set of rules for different students. This happens in many organizations, the rich, powerful, attractive and well connected can often get away with murder.

    I once received a demerit for throwing a paper airplane at the Christmas party. I was then sent to the principal’s office, where he said he heard stories about me and told me he was afraid I would grow up to be a criminal. (Because in fundie logic paper airplanes lead to a life of crime.)

    It was only six months ago I found out that my IFB School covered up the rape of female student by a star jock. In typical IFB style the victim was blamed. She was blamed for inviting the rape on herself for being too pretty and too ambitious. She wanted to go to a real college and make something of herself and not just get her MRS degree after high school, this of course would make most fundie boys mad. So the rape was view as a way to put her in her place.

    Then more from the IFB cover-up playbook.

    1. She should not report the rape to the secular authorities, according to the bible disputes between Christians should be settle in the church.

    2. If the secular press got wind of the rape, they would report the rape in the newspaper and hurt the body of Christ.

    3. She would destroy the rapist’s life by sending him to prison. He only did it in a moment of weakness. And it was partially her fault.

    4. She should forgive the rapist as god has forgiven her for killing Jesus. Murder is a far worse crime than rape. She just had to forgive and forget like god did.

    5. The rapist had better reputation. No one would believe her. Her reputation could be dragged thru the mud in court.

    She capitulated and was transfer to another IFB school in the same network.

    I am not sure who the parties involved were. But heard about from a trusted friend who help me stay sane during my 6 years in my IFB school.

    Also in the six years at my IFB school, some teachers were fired for dating students. Two of these teachers later married their former students.

  • David Shaffer

    BTW, there are rumors floating around the internet about Bob Jone University being under investigation by the federal government.

  • usingmyvoicewell

    Dear Woman who wrote to John,

    I’m so glad you told the truth; God bless you for that. God bless your strength and your courage, your vulnerability, and your willingness to tell the Truth. It WILL set you free.

    I have a similar story (not about BJU, but a similarly-warped “religious” scenario). I totally related to you referencing yourself as a 14yo who prayed to Jesus for help; I have vivid memories at age 9 of looking out my bedroom window into a starry night sky and praying, “God, please, help me get to heaven before I die.” My abuse was a combination of sexual and physical. Good for you for running away! I didn’t, and used to wish I had. Also know you are not alone in your feelings of leaving home, while knowing that your younger sib is next in line. I did that too. You can let go of the guilt. Your leaving had NOTHING to do w/his choice to hurt another child.

    I am so glad you wrote to John, and glad he chose to share it with us. I believe you. For sure, I believe you.

    My prayer is that you experience deep healing, that God will bless your woundedness as you continue to heal. We never forget, but we can move on, knowing it wasn’t our fault, knowing we did not cause or deserve it any of it, and knowing that men who do these things and/or participate in coverups to any degree, are absolutely and totally depraved. May God forgive them. I couldn’t for a long, long time. And then FINALLY, and only with grace (truly!) in a process that took years, I was able to forgive. I don’t have any regrets about taking that long to do it either – God knows. God understands. And God doesn’t have a problem with it. At all.

    It took me a long while to realize that a MAN did this, NOT God. It shook my faith to the core, and it still causes problems in my faith walk sometimes. But I believe now that God cried when I cried. And God didn’t do it. A wicked, lying, perverted man did. And a completely dysfunctional family participated in the coverup. May God have mercy on their souls.

    You have done a beautiful thing by sharing this. Because of you, I am reminded once again that I am not alone.

    with much love and gratitude,

    i am

    usingmyvoicewell

    (and so are you.)

    • Harrisco

      Amen. To the writer, please know that you deserved better. You did nothing to merit this kind of treatment. Nothing. You are infinitely precious to God. May God forgive all of us who have ever treated you or any other person as something less than precious. May God bind up your broken heart. May you know healing. May deep love exist in all the hurt places, in all the places the people who loved you failed in their love or turned it to poison. May God go with you, step by step, as you journey on.

  • Shannon

    This story brought tears to my eyes.

    To the writer-

    KEEP SPEAKING UP.

    The only apology you owe-is to yourself IF and only if you ever once felt you were guilty-apologize to yourself for the confusion and let yourself rest in the knowledge that YOU did NOT do anything wrong and owe NO ONE an apology.

    Running away from abuse is NOT wrong. It’s ABSOLUTELY 100% right.

    I am so sorry for the abuse, the lies, the manipulation-the cruelty and vile evil perpetrated upon you.

    I hope in reading comments, that you will see, there IS a world out there that supports YOU and all like you.

    What was done to you, said to you, all of it-was wrong.

    Love yourself.

  • Heather

    There is nothing and NO ONE more powerful on the planet than a person who has been surrounded by evil and does not crumble, but rises to challenge it! Thank you for being one of the very bravest people I’ve ever heard of.

  • ~ Sil in Corea

    Evil justifies itself. This happens over and over again. All we can do is stand up and speak the truth, speak up for the abused and give support to them. My heart aches for all the abused children, girls and boys who are robbed of a decent childhood by predatory adults with sick and twisted minds.

  • Judy Volkar

    My heart breaks for her. I grew up in such a church, where my entire youth group went on to Bob Jones, except for the few that felt that school was too liberal and attended Hyles Anderson, an even scarier school. ( Oh yeah,,, and me, who attended a sinful secular university because I wanted to get into medical school and didn’t think going to an unaccredited college would get me there.) I was told the only reason a woman would go to medical school was to marry a doctor.

    The youth group leader/Christian school principal married a half-his-age teaching assistant 6 weeks after his wife died. Those in the church who objected were told that it was necessary so that he did not burn with lust.

    I know John you don’t believe in a literal hell, but it gives me some comfort to think it exists and these false prophets are going there.

  • otter

    What a strong spirit to have survived such helplessness and pain!

    Stories like this indict the Christian church…How can anyone put their faith in a belief system that perpetuates such horror and is not checked or challenged by the leaders of the faithful or the scripture?

    This blog is the most courageous example of challenging the disgusting misuse of Christ’s teachings that I have ever seen. Jesus got it right…..but those who worship him and do not FOLLOW him are lost…

  • Elizabeth

    My heart aches for this woman and her sister. What saddens me most is that God was with her throughout, guiding her to escape from the evil where she was enmeshed, guiding her to seek help and speak out to help her sister, but the people she was surrounded by refused to listen to her testimony. It was her ability to hear the Lord that caused her to seek freedom from her suffering. But everyone around her was deaf.

    Why has God placed us here if not to listen to and soothe the pain of our fellows?

  • thereasa

    This is a heartbreaking story. I pray for peace and justice for this young women and her sister. I pray for change and that Christianity would wake up and see where the true evil is.

  • shadowspring

    Thanks, John, for sharing this with us all.

    Everyone needs to know who these people are and what they really stand for, in contrast to who they claim to be and what they claim to stand for. I appreciate you publishing names.

    • Brenda in La

      Yes, so do I appreciate the truth exposed here by naming names of the institutions that need to be guarded against as well as exposed. I called my grown daughter who attends a Southern Baptist church with her husband and children to make sure that the private school where one of the three children attends does not use books published by Bob Jones University. Thankfully, it doesn’t, and thankfully, she knew all about IFB and BJU. Lest you worry that her church is like any described in ths discussion, we have visited it often enough to know it is not.

      I live in Louisiana where the Governor and his Supt.. of Ed have put the BJU books in our new charter/voucher schools. Yes! These books teach about dinosaurs and man co-existing among other outlandish falsehoods. I say the governor, but it’s someone with a crazy agenda who he has given permission to do it. Our governor is extremely questionable and disliked here, but I doubt he personally chose the books. He is culpable, though, because of how he has handled education here, but that’s a discussion for another day.

      Thank you, John, for exposing such unChristianlike behavior in those churches masquerading as Christian while using it to justify such horrible acts against their members. The main concern is still that the letter writer get all the help she needs and that those vile places and people are stopped and brought to justice. My prayers continue to be that this happens for her sake and all others harmed by these “vipers.”

      • Gordon

        Bobby Jindal is a boob.

  • http://julesrivest.wordpress.com/ Jules Rivest

    This woman’s story is so incredibly unfathomable and yet – sadly true. I know friends who endured church cover-ups of this sort, though none quite this devastating. But, all sexual abuse is devastating.

    I hope GRACE investigates and finds a way to help this woman. But, she can go to the police without GRACE. In fact, nothing can happen (legally) until she files a report with the police which she likely fears doing given the response of every single person so far. I’m fairly certain that she may feel guilty that reporting her father and other family members will lead to criminal prosecution. She’s going to need a ton of support from friends to get through this. I hope GRACE is as helpful as they say they are on their website.

    I hope with all my heart that she understands the enormous sinkhole of a gap between the people who used their man made god as their sin shield and the real God who is with her and always was. Free will is a blessing and a b**ch – two sides of the same coin. I am also a survivor of incest. Thank you to the woman for being brave enough to keep coming forward. Thank you John for posting this and for trying God’s patience since 1958. You’re awesome.

    • Gordon

      She needs an advocate to stand with her every step of the way.

  • Red

    This poor young woman doesn’t specify exactly what her situation is now. I sincerely hope that she’s escaped her family and is in a safe, supportive environment? Does she have any kind of support system?

    Grace and peace to you, sister!

  • Tiarali

    Well, the IFB school attached to the church I used to go to had a teacher who started dating a 14 year old student. She married the student later. Oh, she wasn’t fired though. She’s still working there, as far as I know. Definitely was as of 2011 – and this was years after she married the student.

  • http://dreamsofdunamis.wordpress.com C. Dunamis

    I would like to offer, a different point of view, one that I have not yet seen in the comments section of this posting.

    As far as my background, I was physically and emotionally abused by my father as a child. My mother was also abused by my father. She finally divorced him in my senior year of High School. I have been married to my first and only husband, for over 25 years. We have home schooled all our children. We have always refused to use the BJUP curricula, (even when the curricula was free,) because we discerned that it was not true to God’s Word. We are believers, unaffiliated with any denomination.

    When my children came to Christ, they were given a strong gift of spiritual discernment. For them, this means that they can SEE into the unseen world. They can see the demons, and they can see the angels. This leads to a very different view when it comes to incidences between people. They see, that the struggle, is not between one another, but between the demonic forces and God’s angels. They SEE, that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph, 6:12) (For an example of this see: http://dreamsofdunamis.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/this-is-satan-attacking-us/ )

    This has caused our family to look at the topic of submission VERY differently.

    When you can SEE the demon controlling and manipulating the person, you realize that it is SATAN that is the enemy, not the person he’s using to hurt someone else. Both the perpetrator and the victim, have been abused by satan, and are in need of restoration.

    Having seen such spiritual warfare, brought up an interesting question. If I see a demon attacking my husband, telling him word for word what to instruct me to do, should I still submit to my husband? Just who would I be submitting to? My husband? Or a demon? What does the bible say we should do concerning demons? Should we submit to them? The bible tells us that as believers, we are to: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7, NIV) Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thess. 5:22 KJV) Cast out unclean spirits. (See Matthew 10:1, KJV) Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21 KJV) I ask the readers who are still undecided about this, to read the whole post on this here:

    http://dreamsofdunamis.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/who-would-i-be-submitting-to/

    Besides showing my own personal struggle on this, it also brings up the subject of submission, offers some links on the topic, and even gives an example of a woman from the bible who did NOT do what her husband told her to do, and was thought highly of by God because of it.

    Perhaps the weakness within the Independent Fundamental Baptist church that comes from their views, is not just on a woman’s blind submission to her husband, but also of their beliefs on the possibility of a Christian being able to be affected so by a demon…

    I ask Jesus to give the woman and her sister His Father’s perfect Shalom. (Meaning peace, health, prosperity, and restoration in Him.) Blessings to all who read this. Amen!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Wow.

      • mike moore

        Honestly, Ms. Dunamis,

        I am terrified to think what kind of visions you have implanted into your children’s thoughts and dreams. I am terrified to think about what you have taught them to “SEE.”

        Please stop. Fill your children’s dreams with love, not demons.

        Please stop before you do irreparable harm, if you haven’t already, to your kids.

        • mike moore

          I should have read her blog before my prior comment … I wonder if she knows she is the Demon in her family?

          • http://walking-by-heart.blogspot.com/ Amy

            O my goodness… I just read this blog post, and came down to comment section to comment and started reading Ms. Dunamis’ comment… shit!

            The teaching to children of demons and hell IS 100% abuse.

            I lived under this same doctrine as a child, and it has taken a very long time to heal my mind from all of that crap. These teachings cause actual PTSD in minds of children and then continues into adulthood. There are so many documented cases of this. It’s devastating to a child’s mind.

            I echo Mike’s plea… Please stop! God is love… speak love to your children. Speak of goodness and beauty to them. Seek THAT out, rather then demons and evil.

            Wow.. that is just scary scary stuff…

          • Jill

            Dear Amy, I just poked around in your blog, oh my heart! How beautiful, what you write, sharing your family’s journey. I read your loving kindness, and it brings tears. I will visit again when I have more time. Hugs, Jill

          • http://walking-by-heart.blogspot.com/ Amy

            Jill… BIG hug for your words.. you are welcome to poke around anytime! I hope you find hope and encouragement for your journey.. xo

    • Gordon

      A devil on every doorknob, huh? Yeah…I heard all about that at the Assembly of God church in Brookings, Oregon when I was a kid. I feel sorry for your kids. This is a great example of why alarm bells go off in my head when somebody says they are “home schooling” their children.

      • Harrisco

        The same preoccupation with demons and spiritual warfare leads many church-related counselors and pulpit fulminators to say that mental illness is a spiritual problem. Pray it away! I feel sorrow about this fact, for it is, again, abuse clothed as righteousness. It is the hard edge of power, cutting into the soft, exposed places of another human being–the sexual innocence of a child, the intellectual newness of a young student, the mental frailty of a person struggling with deep illness. Abuse is abuse. It is made no better by being dressed in the finery of piety.

    • Jill

      Ok, I’m gonna start something I probably shouldn’t, but then that’s just where I’m at right now. *John, because this is your blog, I take no issue if you remove this. Truly.*

      So you’re telling me, us, that demons are influencing, even controlling people, any of us? That we don’t have actual people making horrid decisions of their own choosing, but that we should blame the devil on their back?

      Ok, suppose I buy that– then where’s God, where are the angels of all of heaven? Why are we just fodder for those pesky demons, playthings for the evil hordes? Are you saying demons have the free will to royally screw the human race over, and we just have to quietly take it while fervently praying to a righteous and just God that sits back and quietly feels bad for us? Does nothing?

      In my book, that makes God the Great Enabler. And that makes human beings the biggest puppets ever made. Please do not insult me with this fear-mongering. I’ve had my full share of fear-based rhetoric in life, I’m not listening to more.

      • mike moore

        Well said.

        (ps Jill – this woman bought a one-way ticket on the crazy train. I think we’re dealing with the Mom from “Carrie” … Piper Laurie version.)

        • Jill

          Yeah, and Carrie’s mother was a personality quite familiar to me. I shouted in vengeful glee at the closing scene. Suppose that was me being possessed as well. ;)

      • Allie

        Well, the demons are in the Bible. And although it’s not exactly the fashion, there is no indication that Jesus’s words about them or the stories involving them were in any way meant to be allegorical or other than historical stories. It’s one of those cases where you either decide the Bible is lying, or you believe that demons can possess people and drown pigs.

        However, it’s also in the Bible that Christ was their master, and they fled away at even the mention of his name. It’s not necessary for any Christian to be terrified of demons.

        Before heaping scorn on this woman, why not look at the actual results of her beliefs? The results, in the two pages she linked, are that she correctly identified and subdued her own anger during a fight in favor of a rational, polite discussion when both parties were calmer, and that she read the Bible and decided that it wasn’t necessary to submit to her husband when her husband was advocating something wrong. Both of these behaviors seem fine to me. Stating that she is the demon in her family strikes me as both rude and untrue.

        • Jill

          Allie, I didn’t intend to argue whether demons are players in the biblical drama, whether they have/do exist or merely as literary references, or the impact, positive or negative, on this woman’s personal experiences.

          Without intending to start an argument with you now, I’m guessing you’ve either never been exposed to or scared shitless by ‘demon doctrine’. It was demon doctrine that convinced me to tolerate abuse happening in my home because it was made very clear that the entire world was in the vile clutches of the Great Deceiver. In other words, I had no where to go.

          I won’t debate the truth or allegory issue, but I will push back on people who offer convenient excuses for abuse, the devil made her do it. This story only tells victims that they have no power, no escape, and that God isn’t interested or invested. And that’s pure bullshit.

    • http://www.fussybudget.wordpress.com Ribbons Undone

      I can’t even begin to start with this. It would take way too long.

    • http://facebook.com elanor

      you know I believe her I have had similar experiences to and no one brain washed me or taught me how to see anything in fact my parents didn’t teach me much of anything scripturally and as a result I was plagued by demons but through the power of Christ I was saved from them and now I have a real gift like her and her children too and I plan on stopping evil like this too I have brought several pastors to justice and cleansed them of there demons and sin when they got out of prison none of them have relapsed in fact they have changed into completely different people some don’t some are fakers liars sinners wicked men corrupted by evil they share some blame in this and they get caught I make sure they go to jail and never come out but some a good few make good lives of them selves so that’s my gift as well you can choose not to believe all you want but its not gonna help slove the problem God bless

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        WOW.

        • Jill

          Thanks for a punctuation mark. Refreshing.

      • mike moore

        time to cleanse her of the anti-punctuation demon

      • Christy

        So, I’m curious, elanor. If your parents never taught you much of anything scripturally, how did you come to the understanding that what was plaguing you were demons and that it was through the power of Christ that you were saved from them? In other words, how were these religious ideas introduced to you in such a way that you frame your experience in these terms?

  • Stella Jonsson

    I don’t have to be a Christian to respect your wisdom and that of the others who have written here. I will say God bless you for this post, John.

  • Judy

    I went to a Bible college which considered BJU to be “too liberal.” Yes, such places exist, and it wasn’t Hyles-Anderson.

    All the abuses noted by this young woman are not unknown by people in these churches. They just don’t say anything, because they’ve been brainwashed to believe that the pastor speaks with the voice of God and should never be disputed. It took me years, but I finally disputed, and after a long, terrible battle with all kinds of guilt, shame and fear, I managed to exit to a saner life.

    Anyone who attends one of these churches, schools or camps is to be pitied. You have to treat them gently, because the brainwashing is thorough and most of them truly believe they are the only holders of Biblical truth. Their heaven is going to be a lonely place, but I suspect their hell will be one hot crowded pit.

    May God forgive them.

    • Gordon

      The church you were raised in sounds a lot like the church my husband was raised in. It’s called The Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints. They have this hyper-focus on “The Priesthood.” Men only, etc. But, to his knowledge, there isn’t any physical abuse that has gone on. Just psychological abuse. And that goes on every single damn day.

      • Deborah

        It’s a similar structure.

    • Deborah

      Ditto, Judy!

  • Brianna

    “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

    I havent been christian for several years, and its because experience keeps driving me away from it. My own natural instincts get a little edgy around a church or christians in general.

  • Katherine

    I do not know if you are in touch with this young woman and her sister or not. If so, please let them know they are not alone. There are scores of us who have suffered in the name of Christ in ‘Christian homes’. I urge both of these women to get the help they desperately need (preferably secular) None of the things that happened were their fault..and that is the most difficult to believe. In my own life, I found peace when I let go of the notion that I had to ‘forgive’ my abuser….forgiveness then and now means reconciliation and an ‘it’s all good’ type of attitude. My life was ruined and I am still paying the price for the many wrongs done to me in the name of ‘family’ and ‘Christianity’. Perhaps one day I will be free from paying the price of my abusers…one final note…for those who would say to me that if I cannot forgive then God will not forgive me…so be it…that is not the God I worship or believe in anyway.

  • Jean Baller

    “Do I believe that it is God’s will that women be subservient to men? If your answer to that question is yes, then you are consistently helping to perpetuate the exact same value system that inevitably dehumanized this girl—which made it easy to grossly violate her, and even easier to insist that afterward she shut up about it.”

    The headship arrangement is of divine origin. After Adam was created, Jehovah God went on to say: “It is not good for the man to continue by himself. I am going to make a helper for him, as a complement of him.” Following Eve’s creation, Adam was so delighted at having a companion and helper that he said: “This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” (Gen. 2:18-24) Adam and Eve had the marvelous prospect of becoming the father and mother of an entire human race of perfect people, who would live forever in happiness in a global paradise.

    Because of the rebellion of our first parents, the perfect situation in the garden of Eden was lost. (Read Romans 5:12.) But the headship arrangement remained in effect. When properly followed, it brings great benefit and happiness in marriage. The result becomes similar arrangement to how Jesus felt about being in subjection to his Head, Jehovah. In his prehuman existence, Jesus was “glad before [Jehovah] all the time.” (Prov. 8:30) Because of imperfection, men are no longer capable of being perfect heads, nor are women able to demonstrate perfect subjection. When husbands and wives continue to work at doing the best they can, however, the arrangement results in the greatest possible contentment in marriage at this time.

    Crucial to the success of a marriage is that the marriage mates apply this Scriptural counsel meant for all Christians: “In brotherly love have tender affection for one another. In showing honor to one another take the lead.” (Rom. 12:10) Also, both husband and wife should work hard to “become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another.”—Eph. 4:32.

    Consider now Peter’s counsel to married men. He wrote: “You husbands, continue dwelling in like manner with [your wives] according to knowledge, assigning them honor as to a weaker vessel, the feminine one.” (1 Pet. 3:7) To honor someone means to hold that individual in high esteem. Thus, you would consider the opinions, needs, and wants of such a person and may defer to that one where there is no vital issue at stake. That is how a husband should deal with his wife.

    When telling husbands to honor their wives, Peter adds a warning: “In order for your prayers not to be hindered.” (1 Pet. 3:7) That clearly shows how seriously Jehovah views the way a man treats his wife. Failure to show honor to her could hinder his prayers. Moreover, do not wives generally respond positively to being treated honorably by their husbands?

    On the matter of loving one’s wife, God’s Word counsels: “Husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies. . . . For no man ever hated his own flesh; but he feeds and cherishes it, as the Christ also does the congregation . . . Let each one of you individually so love his wife as he does himself.” (Eph. 5:28, 29, 33) To what extent should husbands love their wives? “Husbands,” wrote Paul, “continue loving your wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation and delivered up himself for it.” (Eph. 5:25) Yes, a husband should be willing even to lay down his life for his wife, just as Christ did for others. When the Christian husband deals with his wife tenderly, considerately, attentively, unselfishly, it is easier for his wife to submit to his headship.

    Another thing to consider is the fact that subservience in role does not equate to subservience in essence. For example, consider an employer/employee relationship. The employer has the right to make demands of the employee, and the employee has the obligation to serve the employer. The roles clearly define a subservient relationship. However, both people are still human beings and share in the same human nature. There is no difference between the two as to their essence;

    There are morally disgusting abusers in all walks of faith and in all walks of life. But that does not mean that one has to blame Christianity. Christianity as it is supposed to be is meant to teach, heal and encourage healthy families, and happy blessed people. As for the subject of a woman being subservient, I hope that all of you will follow this up with further reading in the bible for God does not condone any form of cruelty and commands the husband and wife to love one another as he loves us.

    • DR

      If that were critical Jean – if that’s how God designed men and women to operate with one another in a marriage? There wouldn’t be a higher percentage of divorce in Christians than there is in non-Christians.

    • Jill

      It’s deja-vu all over again. If you sprinkle in the anglicanized name of God, you must have all the right answers.

      Jean, viewing your opinion through this wall of monologue does not prove anything other than you’re not here to listen or to share, but to assume readers are ignorant of scripture and require someone else to interpret. That’s not going to win you converts. How about putting down your shield of faith and sword of righteousness for a moment and talk between fellow human beings?

    • http://julesrivest.wordpress.com/ Jules Rivest

      God gave us free will. I believe that humanity’s free will effected the many transcribed versions of religious text that we now call the Bible. I read the Bible because I believe its pages contain God’s truths but that I must discern between text that delivers actual truth and text that had been written to serve the political and patriarchal agendas of that time.

      God gave me life and with that life came a responsibility to question everything. The church didn’t teach me to use my mind, but to blindly follow ancient precepts that conflicted with who I understood God to be – love. Everyone matters and everyone is equal. I am no greater than the person who possesses the lowest IQ score. If I help them or lead them in any way, it’s to keep them from harm or to meet a basic need because they do not possess the requisite ability to do this themselves. They are not subservient to me. Subservience is not equality. Women are not the weaker sex (spare that of physiological differences). I am of the opinion that, categorically, women are the stronger sex. Many sacrifice everything and then some to raise their children in single family households. Many endure unthinkable brutality during war (see Congo, Darfur, and Syria to name a few) and in peace and if they survive, many find the strength to seek healing as they rise above it.

      It is my belief that some of the verses you quoted are likely man’s first attempt at a no-compete clause, rendering women incapable of holding a position of leadership or offering an opinion that carried any weight. I don’t claim to know everything about God, but I do know that God is love. Equality is an attribute of someone who loves. Love can be shown through subservience when it’s a choice and not because someone told them it was God’s idea of holy and peace on earth. A system that relegates people to a particular role within society, the church or the family based on gender and not their individual strengths and weaknesses is oppression. Oppression is not love.

      I hope I didn’t offend you with these comments. I used to believe as you do – and buried the reluctance I felt until I could no longer reasonably conclude that 2+2 equals 6. I discovered that, like parts of the Bible, logic is also a tool that God intended for us to use.

      • Kaitlyn Murray

        I love this response Jules. I applaud you! And I completely agree. God is a God of love. Not division, inequality, and hypocrisy. Just love.

    • Allie

      The word you’re translating as “helper,” I am told by Jewish people, is more accurately rendered partner. It means an equal, not a servant. As the proverb goes, God didn’t take Eve from Adam’s head to rule over him, or from his foot to be under him, but from his side, to be beside him.

      Regardless, God is not an asshole. If you read a part of the Bible where God is an asshole, there’s either something wrong with that part of the Bible (human beings putting things in that God never said or did) or some failure of understanding what’s being said on your part. For God to say that women must be subservient to, as you said it, imperfect men, would indeed be God being an asshole.

      • Jill

        I love this, Allie.

        It looks to me like Jean’s trying to fill her service quota for the month by copying the Watchtower out here, so it’ll be interesting to see if she comes back and steps beyond what she’s been told to believe to speak with people, and not at them.

      • Gordon

        “God is not an asshole.” I think I’m going to have t-shirts made!

      • Deborah

        My husband plans to write a book with that title. “God is not an asshole.”

        • Andy

          I would like to check this book out.

    • James

      Speaking to the Adam and Even verses, nowhere does it say that Eve was meant to be subservient to Adam. The words “helper” and “complement” do not imply a lesser being, but an equal. All of the other verses suggesting subservience come from men who lived in a misogynistic, patriarchal society that put the needs of men above that of everyone else. This is a cultural attitude and I do not believe for a second that it comes from God, who the book of Genesis says made Eve as an equal helper and complement to Adam.

  • Amy

    Please let the young woman who posted that story that my thoughts and prayers are with her. I’m saddened that this kind of coverup is still going on in this day and age. I was abused by my father in the 1960′s and told no one about it, because that wasn’t talked about back them. I’ve since been through counseling and have come a long way in the healing process. But to hear that there are “churches” today where sexual molesters are still protected and the victim is not believed is appalling to say the least. The courage of this young woman is to be applauded and encouraged. And it was not your fault…at all…ever.

  • http://knowthyself.org.nz julie

    Thank you for bringing this out in the open. I personally know of others who have been through this and I experience similar with an abusive husband.

  • http://www.theword.tk Darryl Ward

    When dark secrets are covered up, it just worsens the damage that occurs when they do get out. Which they usually do. And given the Church’s [by 'the Church', I mean the collective Body of Christ, and not any specific denomination] historic practice of trying to be society’s moral guardian, the media has a field day whenever the Church gets it wrong. So it saddens me when people tell me that the Church’s moral failings mean they think it is no longer a relevant part of today’s world.

    It would no exaggeration to say that not a day goes by without there being something in the news about children having been abused by Roman Catholic priests, or ministers of other denominations. Now I am not for a moment denying the monstrosity of this offending, or the tremendous amount of healing that is required by the victims. But I am pretty confident the overwhelming majority of clergy are innocent of such horrible actions.

    And I can’t help but wonder whether disproportionate media attention is paid to the failings of the Church over the failings of other institutions. When I was at primary school, I observed behaviour by some teachers that today would definitely be considered sexual abuse. Now don’t get me wrong; I believe the overwhelming majority of teachers, just like the overwhelming majority of clergy, are good people, who would never harm children. But some teachers, like some clergy, are not so innocent. And it seems to me that schools do not get anything like the hammering in the media that the Church does when its dirty linen gets exposed to the light.

    Finally, please allow me to reiterate that I am in now way trying to trivialise the terrible experiences of those who have lived through sexual abuse in the Church. But there are other institutions that also need to be exposed.

  • pastor

    I was a graduate of Tabernacle Baptist College. 89 was the year. I have pastored a small church for 20 years. While I was a student and church member there, our relationship with BJU was a loose one . I was in a class that ranged from recent high school graduates to men of 40 or more. I went there with one ,(ONE) purpose in mind and I believe others can say the same. To prepare for the ministry. Many of the groups, colleges, or preachers mentioned in the pages are people I know, or have known. I have 5 grandchildren who are the greatest and have watched other children in our church grow from infants to adults, and go on in life. I have watched many in these 20 years whom I cared for and still do succeed and some make messes of their lives. In the years I have encountered a few Monsters. Remember one in particular that wanted me to testify” for” him after being accused of molesting his daughter. I asked him to come in my office and told him behind closed doors that I would not be testifying on his behalf Because I believed he was guilty. He immediately left. I went to the home of a man once who wanted to work in our childrens church. His daughter came out of the pool completely naked and greeted me as if this was normal behavior. Had the home investigated . I have said so many times I can’t even count, in 20 years that if I get wind of ANY mistreatment of a child, I will personally deal with it no matter who it upsets. I know that there are good men that graduated these colleges. Wall street execs with degrees from prestigious schools have been thieves, policemen have been felons , and people in the ministry who work with vulnerable people daily have fallen into the same category. I have been very careful all these years of who I’ve had contact with, or invited to preach for me. I AM an independent Baptist, we are self governing, I don’t need a DR. attached to my name to minister. I learned a lot of good things at Tabernacle and one was a quote from a skinny little professor from Alabama, “Eat the chicken and spit out the bones” meaning not everything you see, read, or hear is Gospel. I am ashamed that preachers with such BIG reputations are wolves among little sheep. The more I read the more nauseous I become. I did enter the ministry because I felt directed of God to do so and I think the years have proven that to me anyway. Probably 10 percent or more of the people around you, policemen, politicians , teachers, pastors, waiters, etc. are the kind I people that I wouldn’t lay my wallet down, and leave the room. Sometimes I read these things and I am so disappointed I could quit, but then who would step in (OR WHAT). My heart goes out to this young lady. By the way I do use these KJV and I know why I do, and FYI , BJU is not strictly KJV.

    • Elizabeth

      Nothing wrong with the KJV. BJU is not inherently evil, although as educational institutions go, it’s pretty darn close. I haven’t worn my skirts at “proper” length since 1985. You don’t need a doctorate. You need a heart and a mind, what God gave us. Sounds like you’re on your way. Thanks.

  • Elizabeth

    One of your most moving posts. Thank you.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      It was just so painful to deal with. But, yeah. Thank you.

      • James

        This letter was so heartbreaking… The fact that this child in pain, was told she was a liar and to shut up about it is atrocious, and it pains me to my soul that these people call themselves Christian… I can’t imagine the psychological damage that has been done to this girl and her sister… I just pray that the loving Jesus that I know is revealed to her and that he can help heal her from this damage… Thank you for posting, it gives me yet another reason to speak out against these fundamentalist “Christians” and lets people know to pray for these girls.

  • Mario Strada

    This was a very moving post and it hit home because my wife was also abused by her dad and disbelieved by her mom and other people in her life. Their parents were cafeteria Christians so her story lacks the overbearing, stomach churning religious aspect of this story, but it is otherwise very similar especially in the damage it has done not only to my wife’s life but to our family.

    As the father of a girl I am hard pressed to understand how a father can violate the trust of his daughter and then, rather than repent, make amends and seek help, double down and make sure that the already damaged girl is punished for actions she never committed.

    I think it is the injustice of it all, along with the religious overtones, that make this story revolting.
    It makes me want to go back in time and take this once little girl into my arms and vow to her that anyone wanting to do her any harm would have to go through me before he could get within a mile of her room.

    It is the job of you Christians to make sure not only that this things never happen again, but that those guilty of committing these actions are punished by the law and prevented from extending their crimes to anyone else in the future.

    These people in this story are still around. Some hold the same jobs, some are victimizing other little girls.

    Shame them, report them to the authorities. Make sure that all children, but Christian children in particular are aware as to what to do when these things happen to them.
    The story of the drive to the grandparents house is particularly devastating. The hope for justice and the subsequent lack of it are hard to read. I can’t imagine how hard to live they must be.

    Unfortunately, this is not my battle. I can only make sure that I will protect my own daughter from her grandfather, as I have done for the past 20 years. But I am not a Christian, in fact I am an lifelong atheist and I am as far from your world as anyone can be. Anything I say or do would be discounted on its face.

    So you are the ones that have to take up this torch and make sure that things like this never happen again.
    Maybe some of you should make your god a bit less important and your people a bit more. I don’t know. Maybe religion for these people is just a convenient way to make a living and “sin” unpunished knowing that repenting fixes all. Obviously it is not a source of morality.

  • Guest

    God does not accept child molestation, homosexuality and all lust of the flesh are totally and utterly deviant and disgusting to God. And those who agree with and promote will be burn forever in Hell!

    • anakinmcfly

      Will no one else feed the troll with me? :( I got this whole bag of troll feed at a discount, and I’m willing to share! *scatters*: ….,,..,……!…,;.,,…..

      • Andy

        I apologize for emasculating your cromulent response by deleting that post, but I’m tired of hateful shit like that. I hope you’ll understand.

        • anakinmcfly

          Sure, it’s cool. Plus you taught me a new word! ‘cromulent’. Excellent.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I had to look up the word myself. Now to find a way to work it into a sentence.

          • Andy

            It’s from The Simpsons again.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Ah, the brilliance of The Simpsons. Who would have imagined how much a kid with spiky yellow hair and his family could teach us so much

          • Andy

            Good to know I have embiggened your vocabulary.

  • Guest

    God does not accept child molestation, homosexuality and all lust of the flesh. They are totally and utterly deviant and disgusting to God. And those who agree with and promote such behaviors will be burn forever in Hell! Please find and put this pervert were he belongs, out of society all together!

    • Aaron Smith

      This website seems to support LGBT, child molesters will go were there are children… Churches are targets for molesters, and schools public or private… and even parks, youth sport leagues… Molesters will even seek to adopt.. Which is the attention of any LGBT member that adopts… They have no conscience of wrong or right… I feel so sorry for any child that is adopted by this group… Just ask the adopted daughter of Paula Poundstone!

      • anakinmcfly

        This site doesn’t support child molestation at all – pretty much the opposite, which makes me wonder about your reading comprehension abilities. I empathise with your English teacher. I used to teach English for a bit, and students like you are pretty hard to educate.

        But that aside, given that the vast majority of child molestation and/or sexual abuse is committed by heterosexuals, does this mean that you consider heterosexuality likewise disgusting and wrong? It’s something to think about.

        Sometimes I do think that God finds heterosexuality disgusting, especially given the *hundreds* of times some version of it is condemned in the Bible. I mean, it includes regular lust stemming from simple attraction rather than any act; vs the mere six times that only certain versions of homosexual acts are condemned, namely rape, pedophilia, and shrine prostitution. None of which are the regular sort expressed by actual gay people.

        So, if you take the Bible at face value, being straight *itself* is a sin, even if you never act on it and simply look upon a woman (presuming you’re male) with lust; as is raping boys in worship of pagan gods. Whereas there’s nothing at all against being gay in and of itself, i.e. the non-practising homosexual is less sinful than the non-practising heterosexual.

        What are your thoughts on that?

        P.S. how do you include photos? Never seen that before on this blog, and it’s cool. The aspect ratios seem skewed though, unless that green face was meant to be a squashed oval rather than a circle…?

        • Aaron Smith

          My reading comprehension abilities far exceed yours… my English, language arts skills are something to be desired… I am a product of the public school educational system…. I do believe that this site promotes LGBT… here is this better… This website seems to support LGBT. Child molesters will go were there are children…

          • Andy

            My moderating abilities far exceed yours… watch it.

          • anakinmcfly

            “I am a product of the public school educational system”

            Ok, fair enough.

            “I do believe that this site promotes LGBT… This website seems to support LGBT.”

            Support? Yes, it does, definitely. It’s not even subtle about that. But I’m not sure what you mean by ‘promote’. It accepts LGBT people as human and just as capable of being good Christians and having a relationship with God.

            I have no idea what child molestation has to do with this at all, because all the examples of child molesters featured in this particular article are straight, not gay.

  • Aaron Smith

    God does not accept child molestation, homosexuality and all lust of the flesh. They are totally and utterly deviant and disgusting to God. And those who agree with and promote such behaviors will burn forever in Hell! Please find and put this pervert were he belongs, out of our society all together!

    • anakinmcfly

      Agreed on the child molestation thing (*any* molestation, really, and it makes me side-eye you that you only specified the child variety), but – if you’re going to consider homosexuality ‘deviant and disgusting’, it’s only fair that you do the same for heterosexuality, given that both feel pretty much the same where the person with that particular sexual orientation is concerned.

      P.S.: Adult molestation is wrong too, just so we’re clear on that.

      • Aaron Smith

        ? Ok Include rape and all and I mean all sexual deviant acts… or lusts of the flesh… which include… Adultery, Sodomy, homosexuality, bisexuality, trans-gender … It is all disgusting to God. He destroyed Sodom-Gomorrah and Noah’s generation for the same thing….. Our is coming…. The Tribulation is just around the corner!

        • anakinmcfly

          But homosexuality, bisexuality and being transgender are not acts of any kind, sexual or otherwise, and as a gay, transgender, non-masturbating (ok, 6 times so far this year because willing spirit weak flesh, but I swear I’ll do better) virgin who’s basically having about the least amount of sex that is possible for a human, I can attest to that a thousand times. Although I guess one can argue that the very act of *not* engaging in sexual activity is deviant in itself, in which case okay I plead guilty.

          You need a better dictionary, man. You also need to read the Bible, because nowhere in it does it say that Sodom & Gomorrah or Noah’s flood were the result of those things.

          • Aaron Smith

            What part of them trying to molest the Angels and Lot trying to offer his daughters instead to save the Angels don’t you understand? God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for the lust of the flesh evil alone! He states that Women were marrying Women and Men marrying men and not giving any attention to God, when he decided to flood the earth! Grow up!… Hell is real, Keep up the act and that is where you are headed! If you have two men that never have sex in a friendship relationship then you have to good friends… If you have two women that never engage in sexual activities then you have two good friends… the second you cross that line… Is the second you give into the flesh! and become Homosexual. Pretending and prancing around trying to be something your not is just nonsense, distorted childish behavior. We must put away childish things! There are plenty of scriptures that deal with that also…. Grow up or Burn as well!

          • anakinmcfly

            “What part of them trying to molest the Angels and Lot trying to offer his daughters instead to save the Angels don’t you understand?”

            I see you referred to attempted violent gang rape as ‘molest’. I’m not sure I’d feel safe around you. I’m also not sure what you’re asking. The verse in question goes:

            “Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
            - Genesis 19:8

            So: a mob (“all the men of Sodom”) attempts to gang rape Lot’s guests, and he says no, they’re my guests and have trusted me for their protection, which I will not betray, so here are my daughters instead (because they would have been considered his property). What’s that got to do with homosexuality? If those men were gay, it would be pretty much pointless to offer girls to them, wouldn’t it?

            Go read Judges 19, which is more or less the exact same story. Only in that case the mob did accept the offered non-guest female alternatives, and raped them to death. Not exactly homosexual behaviour.

            “God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for the lust of the flesh evil alone!”

            The Bible disagrees with you: “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” – Ezekiel 16:49

            Every other verse on Sodom and Gomorrah falls along those same lines. In none of them is homosexuality listed as a sin. Mistreatment and abuse of foreigners (e.g. attempting to rape them) is however considered one of their huge sins.

            “He states that Women were marrying Women and Men marrying men and not giving any attention to God, when he decided to flood the earth!”

            Now you’re just making up stuff that isn’t in the Bible. The book of Revelation says “don’t do that” (paraphrased).

            ” If you have two men that never have sex in a friendship relationship then you have to good friends… If you have two women that never engage in sexual activities then you have two good friends”

            Would you say the same for a celibate straight couple? When was the last time your grandparents had sex? if it’s been a while, does that mean they’re just “good friends” now?

            “the second you cross that line… Is the second you give into the flesh! and become Homosexual.”

            You have very creative punctuation and word-definitions. No, being homosexual is being attracted to members of the same sex. It has nothing at all to do with actually having sex, same for straight people. And if gay people having gay sex is “giving into the flesh”, then it’s the same thing for straight people having straight sex.

            “Pretending and prancing around trying to be something your not is just nonsense, distorted childish behavior.”

            Precisely. So why are you advocating that very thing, i.e. that LGBT people should pretend to be something we’re not?

            p.s. It’s “you’re”. “your” is a possessive term. “you are” = “you’re”.

          • Aaron Smith

            Thanks for the language arts lesson. I am not proof reading, just typing and posting. I like how they have started correcting some misspelling it would be nice if they could automatically do grammar as well. :) It’s seems as though you have a pretty good grasp of scriptures. I tend to generalize as does God, when it comes to sin. I can’t remember the scripture but he tells us to come to him as little children if we wish to enter into the kingdom of God. I actually get very uncomfortable talking about such perversions and honestly the thought of any of them including homosexuality makes me want to puke. I will say it is a fail, to read scripture and try to figure the wording around an act that you are trying to approve. Here’s a question for you, see if you can find the scripture that answers it. What does it mean to love God?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            “What does it mean to love God?
            Sharing love with your neighbors.

          • Matt

            Here are a few tips: if the subject makes you uncomfortable, then trust that it’s not something for you and leave it be. Lay off speaking for God; as an omnipotent deity, He can do it Himself.

            What does it mean to love God? Loving other beings teaches me how to love God, for they are all of Him. Loving God teaches me how to love others, for they are all precious to Him. Simple to write. Hard to do. A life-long work in progress. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

          • Guest

            Matt, when you have God living in your heart, you have no problem speaking on his behalf. To love God is to hate evil. Psalms 97:10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.11 Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.12 Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

          • Matt

            That verse is nice. I’m very fond of the Psalms. But it doesn’t explain why you’re trying to speak for God. I believe God lives in every person, so there’s no “when.” Anyone can be with Him at any time. To me, it’s less about speaking than listening, less about being God’s spokesperson and more about calming my mind to hear that still small voice.

          • Guy Norred

            Beautifully said. Mr. Smith’s Psalm (it is Mr. Smith, right?) is something I have no problem with–in even the most straight forward manner, it is speaks clearly and beautifully of our loving God, his attitude toward evil, and how we should feel about it ourselves. I only wish Mr. Smith might step back and wonder why he is so certain what actually is evil.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Quoting scripture is not speaking for God, its just repeating scriptures, that some person had written down. The Psalms is poetry, written by people, beautiful poetry. We even know some of the authors.
            AND as Matt has already said, God doesn’t need us speaking for him, because we do it so poorly anyway. If he wants to get someone’s attention, he will with no help from us…even using such odd things like shrubbery and jackasses.

          • anakinmcfly

            You’re welcome.

            “I actually get very uncomfortable talking about such perversions and honestly the thought of any of them including homosexuality makes me want to puke.”

            That just means that you’re straight and cisgender. The problem is that you’re projecting your own experiences onto other people and assuming that just because *you* would need to be perverted in order to, say, have gay sex, gay people would need likewise. But it’s the opposite. A gay person would need to be perverted in order to have *straight* sex. That’s kind of the point of sexual orientation. Sexual deviancy is chasing attractions that go against that and are unnatural for you. What’s unnatural for you might be natural for a gay person; what’s unnatural for a gay person might be natural for you.

            Same with gender identity. A trans man being forced to live in his birth-assigned female gender would feel the same as you would if you were forced to live as a woman. If that thought makes you puke, then… likewise. And vice versa for trans women.

            “I will say it is a fail, to read scripture and try to figure the wording around an act that you are trying to approve.”

            I do no such thing. That Bible scholarship has been around for ages, some of it from traditional, conservative interpretations. The Bible wasn’t written in English, and it makes no sense to ignore the original language and historical context it was written in.

            Also, there is not one single verse in the Bible that condemns trans people.

        • Andy

          Good riddance, Aaron.

    • Andy

      Alright, Aaron, you’re done.

  • Aaron Smith

    Good Luck!… If you truly believe the evil of homosexuality: Lesbian, Gay, Bi- Sexual Tran-gender thoughts, actions or otherwise are ok with God you are so sadly mistaken, it will be your death and eternal destruction.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Ah. So nice to be condemned to death and eternal destruction by someone who’s decided they are the just the one’s for the job of doing so, despite an utter lack of qualifications, or ability. It isn’t even mid-week yet.

      Your little threat holds about as much weight as my wishing your mansion in heaven was in a culd-e-sac, and your round about neighbors included, Libarace, Paul Lynn, and Michalangelo .

      • anakinmcfly

        …what did those guys ever do to deserve having him as their neighbour? :(

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          True. I was trying to demonstrate an opposite, and it went off poorly, didn’t it?
          They were all true artists, who excelled at their craft, and brought delight to millions. If there is a heaven, I think they are at peace, free to be who they were created to be, and filling the place with more of their delightful versions of art.

    • anakinmcfly

      Well, see, I don’t believe evil thoughts are ok with God, but neither do I believe that being LGBT is evil either, thoughts or otherwise. Also not sure if you meant to put that colon there, because being transgender is not a homosexual thought. Trans people can *have* homosexual thoughts, same as heterosexual (or asexual) thoughts, but so can non-trans people,

      • anakinmcfly

        1. There is nothing at all in those verses that mention homosexuality. Nothing. Not one. It does mention sexual immorality, but first you’ve got to prove that that includes homosexuality, and you haven’t done that.

        2. I was raised in a Christian family and have been a Christian for as long as I remember. My relationship with God is going well, thank you very much. God has healed me and removed a lot of genuinely filthy dreams from my heart, but my sexual orientation and gender identity are not under that category, and you have yet to provide any evidence or reasoning that they are.

        3. I don’t know what you mean by ‘not [my] actions’. My actions are pretty gay too, and every time I do an injection my actions are pretty trans. I just haven’t had sex.

  • Arakiba

    Makes me happy I don’t worship the “God” of Abraham.


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