Daughter of the Patriarchy: Hairspray

by SierraI awoke with my lungs filled with something pungent and sticky. I sat up groggily in the upper bunk, fumbling around for a watch or cell phone to tell me why it was still dark when so many beds were vacated. A light shone dimly across the long dorm room through a hazy moisture hanging in the air. My hand closed around someone’s small alarm clock, and I squinted at it. 5:30am.It was hairspray, I discovered as I staggered toward the bathroom. Lithe, elegantly dressed young women gathered cheerfully around the bathroom mirrors as they unrolled golden-flecked curls that fell gently to their thighs. Each strip of hair, carefully unbound from a foam roller, was sprayed within an inch o … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 2: It was a beautiful vision of faith to me

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snowby Shelly CruzThe night before my dinner engagement was a nervous one. I wanted everything to be extra perfect for my get together the following day. I stayed up praying that evening. Morning came and I felt more at ease. After church service Cecilia’s family followed my family home and for the next 4 hours we talked and joked as if we had been friends for years. I seemed to connect really well with Cecilia even though I had nothing much in common with her. Cecilia was ultra conservative, modest beyond words. She was a skirts only, tailored neckline type of woman. S … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 1: The Model of a Christian Woman

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snowThis is a story of two very different families and how the Light of Jesus overflowed from one to the other. It is also a story about feeling rejected and very alone, when one family decided to end the friendship with the other.  Time heals all wounds though, or so they say.....by Shelly CruzI have always been known as a free spirit, an extrovert; I see life as an adventure. I made friends very easily and always attracted all different kinds of people. That was before I became a Christian, though. Something happened to me which no one saw coming, not even me.One … [Read more...]

I Am So Much More Than a Maiden of Virtue! Part 1 ~ I learned to keep my fear of hell to myself

by WanderingOneI grew up hearing about my grandparents' and great-grandparents' deep faith.  Religiosity was, for my family, an important family heritage that was carefully handed down to us children.  Christianity was the most important thing my parents and grandparents thought that they could pass down to us. On my dad's side, my great grandfather was a minister.  On my mom's side, my grandparents served on the mission field in Latin America for a few years after they got married.  There was no escaping religion—it was instilled in us from before we could grasp it.I can't really say much about how things got to be as “bad” as they did.  I know my family has always been conservative, B … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Two Snakes and a Virgin – The Serpent’s Seed

 by SierraI was about nine years old when I started paying attention to some of the doctrines that were slowly infiltrating my life over the past two years. I’d stopped wearing pants or cutting my hair by the end of the first year, following my mother’s lead. The last pair of pants she wore were a lovely pair of wide-leg trousers with a sheer lace overlay; they could pass for a skirt until she took a step. She wore them to church, then threw them away – she felt “convicted” for wearing a man’s garment. She threw away her makeup, too, keeping only a sheer moisturizing lip gloss as a token of her past.I liked my new dresses, and I liked the long hair slowly descended across my shoulders. I’ … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: “Hello, Miss Dog-Meat.”

by SierraEvery so often, a story circulated around Message churches. Our pastor related it with a twinkle of humour in his eye. The precociousness of little children was always a failsafe source of amusement in a world that afforded so many sinful entertainments. Children quoting scripture were even better. Out of the mouths of babes, it was oft repeated, the Word of God was made perfect. And so, it was with paroxysms of mirth that the following anecdote was passed around.One day, a minister’s wife was out doing the grocery shopping with her family. Her youngest boy, then only four or five, spied a worldly woman in the supermarket. With frank and immediate assurance, he called out, “ … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: A Jewel or a Trash Can

by SierraWilliam Branham with a woman in his prayer line. (He would lay on hands, pray, and they would walk away healed, allegedly.)If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always had an answer. If you asked again in ten minutes, it would be a different one. I wanted to be a figure skater, detective, veterinarian, zoologist, writer, astronaut and archaeologist – and not just one at a time. When I went outdoors to play, I climbed rocks and saw them as mountains. When I jumped over streams, I bravely bridged rivers. With stuffed animals as my companions, I sailed pirate ships and submarines and narrowly escaped devastating wars through wit and determination. I harboured r … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Scooby Doo and the Angel

by SierraBy my eighth birthday, Anna’s church had become our own. My father attended sporadically, but my mother and I adopted a weekly ritual of driving forty minutes through the woods, to the highway, passing numerous small churches on our way to the secret annex of the YMCA. No one would have guessed there was a church there, unless they happened by as we all bustled in with our flowing skirts and dresses and exited under the mid-afternoon sun. My mother was enthralled, talking excitedly to Anna and her new friend Sheila every day. A frequent topic of conversation was her journal, in which she recorded her thoughts and prayers as well as verses from the Bible that seemed to answer e … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Old-Girl in Young-Girl Disguise

by Sierra“What did you think?” My mother asked, as our blue Chevrolet rolled smoothly out of the parking lot, mingling with more expensive cars on a fresh-paved freeway.“I liked it,” responded seven-year-old I. “I actually listened.”We were talking about our first visit to Anna and Sven’s church, an informal affair that gathered weekly in the upper annex of a suburban YMCA. The church had begun in the pastor’s living room, hosting only two or three families. Over the next few years it had grown to six or seven. The pastor and his wife had six children, the youngest still a newborn. They’d welcomed a new child every two years since their eldest.Church wasn’t a new experience for me. … [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...]


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