Patriarchy Across Cultures: What It’s Like To Sing The Blues

 by TapatiGod forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes 'Cause then you really might know what it's like to sing the blues--EverlastPreviously we had just received word that Mike’s mom had passed away. Mike wanted to go to her funeral but we were broke. We called his dad. It turned out he was nearby and he offered to take us to Chicago in his van. John said he felt bad for not being there while his son was growing up and that this was the least he could do. So we let Mike’s grandma Emma know we were on our way and drove off, all five of us crammed into their aging van, determined to make it to Chicago in three days, just in time for the services.We headed up through Nevada to High … [Read more...]

Patriarchy Acoss Cultures: From Generation to Generation

by Tapati    Grandpa Glen and Grandma Velma TallmanMy mother sounds like a horrible person as I write about her blocking my efforts to leave home, hitting me, and subsiding into depression and suicide. Of course there remains a stigma associated with mental illness and it’s difficult for most people to find compassion for people who act out when their illness is poorly managed. In the 1970s there weren’t any really good anti-depressants on the market and the ones offered to my mom came with some hefty side effects. Psychotherapy also wasn’t as sophisticated. I wonder how she would have responded to modern therapies but I can never know.Mom didn’t develop her illness in a vacuum. There i … [Read more...]

Shutting Off My Brain ~ Part 4

by JourneyWhen I shut off my brain and became willing to do whatever Mark said, he was delighted. Absolutely delighted. And everything changed. Everything. The first thing he did was give me a list on how I was to clean the bathroom. I had daily chores and weekly chores from him, down to minute details.I remember the first day I followed his list. I was humiliated. It was as if I was a child again and he was the parent. I told him that, too (in a humbled and submissive way, of course) and he smiled and said, “Exactly. Your parents did a terrible job of raising you when it comes to cleaning, and now God has given you to me so that I can raise you and help you become the way you s … [Read more...]

Shutting Off My Brain ~ Part 3

by JourneyAnother problem, a major problem, but one that I felt so guilty for, was that my husband was seeing another woman, and that woman was the Bible. Mark was obsessed with the Bible. I remember feeling so guilty for hating the Bible because, you know, a good Christian shouldn’t hate the Bible, right? Here I was, at Bible College, and casting dirty looks at the Bible. I felt like it was no different from him taking a lover, or being an addict, because he would read it non-stop.He didn’t want to eat dinner together. He would come home from work and class and then go into our spare bedroom and study the Bible until late into the night. I would lay there at night and quietly cry … [Read more...]

Vegetarian for God

by Tapati  A typical Indian-inspired meal at our houseI am often asked why I’m still a vegetarian if I left the Hare Krishna Movement. The only way some people can make sense of being a vegetarian for thirty five years is if religious conviction is involved. It is rare to find a vegetarian for health reasons abstaining as strictly. Don’t we all lapse from our commitment to do certain things for our health? Who avoids sugar all the time, even when they’ve made a promise or a New Year’s Resolution?My own vegetarianism came more from my upbringing on my grandparents’ farm than just from a rule given to me by ISKCON. While that helped me make the final commitment, I was thinking about b … [Read more...]

Anything you can do, I can do in a skirt!

by SierraYoung women following the patriarchal doctrine of William Branham’s “Message of the Hour” liked to refer to themselves as the “skirt girls.” Skirts and dresses were the only attire sufficiently modest and feminine for young ladies raised in the shadow of the prophet. Hemlines had to fall below the knees – and stay below them when the wearer was sitting down. Hair often besieged the knees from above, making them a kind of modesty battleground that should never, ever catch a gleam of daylight. Tanned knees were the mark of a harlot. As a little girl, I didn’t mind it much. I was convinced that my wrinkly knees were unsightly and ought to be hidden in the first place. What was I com … [Read more...]

Shutting Off My Brain ~ Part 2

by JourneyWhen we got back from our honeymoon, it was so exciting to set up our new apartment on our Bible College campus. The "married dorms" seemed so big and grown-up, and I put those thoughts about our honeymoon behind me...until Mark told me the news that “God” had told him I needed to give away my car.He said were going to be a one-car couple, and that one car was going to be his old van. This was brand new news to me. I was shocked. What? I tried to bargain with him, but he would hear none of it. Again, he was the male, therefore the one who was supposed to be the “leader,” so though I pleaded, I had no choice but to do what he wanted.The books and the teachings all sai … [Read more...]

Patriarchy Across Cultures: A Lifetime Commitment: Initiation

by TapatiTemple DeitiesIn January of 1977 Mike and I were preparing to ask for initiation. We were carefully composing letters to Srila Prabhupada to indicate that we understood the commitment we were making and hoped that he would accept us as disciples. Mike shaved his head, something he’d avoided up until that point. He knew he would not get a recommendation for initiation from the temple authorities if he kept his hair shoulder length. Embarrassed, he wore a cap over his head until it grew out again. We were more strictly abstaining from sex as well, trying to genuinely follow the instructions we had received from Srila Prabhupada.My initiation letter is dated February 2nd, 1977. W … [Read more...]

Shutting Off My Brain ~ Part 1

by JourneyThe overt abuse began the day we got married. The wedding was wonderful. I was so excited, so happy. As we drove away to our honeymoon, two Bible College students having just pledged to the Lord their love for one another, I had stars in my eyes.Then my new husband reached over and put his hand on my breast. Not fondling, not foreplay, just putting it there firmly, eyes still on the road, much like a robot.I left it there for a few seconds, stunned, and then tried to gently push it off. He pushed back, and held it tightly, right where he'd put it, firmly on my body. I pushed back harder, but Mark's large muscles were stronger than mine. I felt like I was going to … [Read more...]

Someone was trying to control every aspect of my life … including my clothes

by ErikaMe and my youngest brother, 1991 After being made to quit the basketball team and the FHA group, I was trying to find any way that I possibly could to stay close to my friends. I called them when I could, I would wait outside on my porch after school ended so that I could talk to my classmates that lived on my street as they walked home each afternoon, I would try to get down to the school or a friend's house when the chance came available. In the meantime, my parents were withdrawing us from as much as they could to be able to cut off as much outside influence and friendship as possible. I remember Mr. Thompson feeding my father the line, "Take away everything that is important to … [Read more...]


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