Daughter of the Patriarchy: The Shift

by Sierra            Clear morning light filtered in the empty door of the bakery. I was alone behind the storefront, a wall of bagel baskets hanging like a curtain between me and the rest of the world. My mother busied herself in the front of the store, wiping counters and making coffee as I methodically drew and cut the clear plastic wrap in its long rolls. I wrapped another sponge cake, applied the golden bakery label, and set the finished product on a tray to be stored and sold for the Jewish holidays. It was normally one of the busiest weeks in the store: the owner was Jewish and had many connections with the synagogues in northern New Jersey. We were a hotspot for holiday … [Read more...]

I Am So Much More Than a Maiden of Virtue! Part 3 ~ Biblical Chastisement

by WanderingOne At this point, I think it's necessary to write something about how things changed after my sister was born. It's hard to know what to say here—I do not want to tell my sister's story for her, nor could I presume to do so. But it would be disingenuous to attempt to write about my life without explaining how and why things changed. My little sister was, in so many ways, my opposite. Where I was shy, quiet, reserved and even timid, she was outgoing, bold, adventurous, and confident. I went to her Sunday School class rather than my own; I followed her lead in so many things, even though I was the older of the two of us. This didn't always work very well, given that I was … [Read more...]

I Am So Much More Than a Maiden of Virtue! Part 2 ~ Cousins

by WanderingOne When I was four years old my cousin Aaron was born to my mom's sister. The next year, my sister, and three other cousins were born on my mom's side. After that, every year, two or three or sometimes all four of my mom's sisters were pregnant.  By the time I was eight, I had thirteen cousins on that side of my family. When my sister and I were added in, that meant there were there were fifteen of us, and I was the only one not the age of five.   More often than not (we lived relatively near one another), my mother would take my sister and I over to one of her sisters' houses to do our schoolwork, or to help out with housework.  And we might not be the only cousins over … [Read more...]

The Formula Ruled Above All

by Erika If you remember from one of my earlier installments, right before we started our first year of homeschooling, I had spent the summer in Uganda on a missions trip with Teen Missions International. It was an amazing summer and everything had seemed normal in my family before I left. I was promised that things wouldn't change much even though we'd be homeschooling. Of course, reading back through my story, you know that things DID change. I enjoyed that summer away so much. I had amazing experiences and the travel bug had officially hit. More than the travel bug, though, I enjoyed the satisfaction of helping others and telling people about my relationship with God. Hearing the … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 10: It's in the Lord's Hands

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow by Shelly Cruz I walked over to the phone, and dialed Cecilia’s number. My first thought was that it would possibly be disconnected, but who knows, maybe they finally moved. Cecilia always talked about how the time would come, and their house would be demolished, and then they would have to move. They were living rent-free in an old farmhouse. Someone had blessed them years ago with a property. They had to care for it, and in return they could live there for free, but once the owner passed away, they'd have to move. They were even given a 15-passenger van as a … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: “Why do you look that cow in the face?”

By Sierra Courtship took my church by storm in the 1990s. While I never read I Kissed Dating Goodbye, I was given a number of books about marriage and intimacy and taught explicitly that dating was preparation for divorce. Having never dated, I was not in a position to protest. I listened patiently to the story of the couple in my church who had married without so much as holding hands. They were the happiest couple after Eamon and Pearl, so clearly they'd done something right. I learned that smitten young Message couples would walk around holding each end of a shared stick, in order to express their affection without risking finger-to-finger contact. I thought to myself that it sounded a … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: The Sickness ~ Pt 2

by Sierra William Branham never claimed to be a faith healer. That is, he claimed that it was the power of the individual's faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that healed their diseases. Christ had finished the work; there was nothing left to do but believe. In a 1955 sermon entitled Jehovah-Jireh, Branham explained that faith was the force that brought healing to the believer: If I could heal anyone, I'd come down here, and go to each one and heal everyone. I would, if I could. But I can't. And there's no other man can. And--and if Jesus was here, He could not, only if you'd believe. Look. That sounds strange, that Jesus could not heal unless you'd believe. When He went to His Own … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 9: Draw Near to God

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow by Shelly Cruz It was not until a period of distance was placed between my family and Cecilia’s, that I began to see the blessing that Cecilia gave me. It was an ABUNDANT blessing in disguise! At the time, I felt sad, lonely, depressed and even angry with her and with her whole family. I felt that Cecilia divorced our friendship, and I had no idea why. I went from being a babe in Christ, to a woman, desiring nothing more, than to love my Savior Jesus. God was changing me little by little each day. I began to pray for specific things, and within weeks, sometimes … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: The Sickness ~ Pt 1

by Sierra As an adolescent girl, growing up under William Branham’s Message of the Hour, I stood poised before a great fall. Sometimes I felt a cold breeze rising from the pit in front of me. I knew that against my will I was edging closer, and would someday have no choice but to jump in. But I looked frantically for an outlet or a bridge, digging in my heels against the edges of the pit. The name of the abyss was womanhood. I was taught that the Bible recognized three classes of people: men, women, and children. In God’s plan for the family, authority descended directly in that order. Men obeyed God, women obeyed men, and children obeyed all three. For those living within this scheme, … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 8: Somehow, I Lost My Entire Identity

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow by Shelly Cruz There was so much to read about this man; I didn't even know where to begin. I stumbled across a message board that had a whole bunch of people who grew up following his teachings. They were adults now. The thing that perplexed me the most, was that these folks were calling him a religious cult leader, and that did not seem right to me. Cecilia and her family were very strong, mature Christians. They would never get involved with something cultish, would they? The time I spent reading about this man, seemed so déjà vu to me. Everything I was reading … [Read more...]


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