Family Man, Family Leader: The father-god in Lamb’s Wool

by LivingForEternity

My parents were luke-warm to the idea of their grandchildren being home schooled. Desperate for their approval I convinced my mom to attend a state home school convention with me. I had been to one previously and was so impressed with what the people had to say. Like a fool I had bought the books. I had not had time to study them thoroughly, but no matter I had them.

The speakers at that year’s convention were the Denton Family. The mother and father would speak at the general sessions and the breakout ones. Their many children would be in charge of a children’s session. There had to be at least 200 – 300 children attending. There were other teenage helpers, but not many. When I dropped my kids off I thought how in the world will this work. There are so many kids. It worked with only one hiccup that I knew about. Some kid pulled the fire alarm. Want to guess whose it was? Yep it was one of mine.

At the final session all of the children filed quietly on stage and sang several songs. I can still see my angels standing still and singing their little hearts out. All of the kids were so well-behaved. This program was achieved in only one day. I was impressed and so was my mom. Wow, finally my mom’s heart was going in the same direction as mine. I had her approval.
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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 bit contrived.

I was sure, however, that the first man to touch me would take away something of my purity: a commodity I was given at birth and must guard throughout my life. I was spiritually dressed in a sparkling white wedding gown, which I must constantly defend against the oil of someone else’s hands. Kissing was out of the question. Branham taught that there were “sex glands” in the lips of men and women, and that the two sets should never meet except for marital procreation. But it wasn’t just physical contact to be avoided: broken hearts came, too, from loosely guarded emotions. I must never say the words, “I love you,” to anyone until I was engaged. True love could only happen to the pure.

And so it was with dread that I, at age 15, received and read an email from my friend Karl. I’d known him online for a couple of years – we had joined a message board and discussed our shared love of Japanese anime there. He had been left hanging when I purged my life of secular influences – indeed, I had also purged my life of him, along with the anime and my other very close friends. But on a whim I had logged into AIM, we’d talked, and he’d got my email address. He wrote to me about a dream he’d had where everything was right and beautiful, where I’d come back from my strange and sudden disappearance and told him that it was all okay, now I could finally be with him. He said he loved me. I stared at the email in helpless frustration. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t date! Especially not an unbeliever. With my cheeks burning in the shame of hypocrisy, I clattered out a terrified reply. “It’s not me you need,” I wrote through gritted teeth and tears. “It’s Jesus.” I never felt like such a liar.

Feeling sure that God would bless my efforts to fully commit myself to Him, I deliberately cast Karl out of my mind and immersed myself in a mythology of my own making: a story running from the time I entered the Message to the present. I rejected the name I’d used online, telling myself all that was “Sierra” was sinful and rebellious. “I will not be Sierra again,” I wrote in my journal furiously. I would rededicate my life to Christ, and revert to my childhood nickname, Tara. And onto the set of my little drama waltzed Sven.
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Dispelled ~ One Girl’s Journey in a Home School Cult ~ Part 2: The Early Years

Please note: The content contained herein does not necessarily reflect the values and opinions of the NLQ blog and its administrators.

Grade school. A time of innocence, that captures the magical essence of childhood. A time of wonder, excitement, and joy; unadulterated by social concerns and pressures of adolescence. My grade school years were different.

Most homeschool mothers are proponents of making learning enjoyable, easy, and memorable for their students, using “real-life” experiences and hands-on activities to reinforce concepts. My mother was no exception. Using a combination approach, she adored and followed Charlotte Mason and loosely implemented Konos unit studies. In her mind, and in her heart, she believed that she was teaching my younger brother and myself. She had read the books by Charlotte Mason, and had underlined nearly every page in For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer McCaulley. Better Late Than Early by Raymond and Dorothy Moore and Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt were books she recommended relentlessly to new homeschool moms in years to come. She swore by these methods.

Practically speaking however these concepts took root in a very different form. My mother had no formal training in education and had no idea what a child needed socially, physically, or mentally, apart from what these select authors were telling her. Practically, what she took away from these methods was “Don’t push your kids. They will pick up on what they need to know academically if you allow them to play and read.” Teach them to read is all they need, is a main tenet of the homeschool religion.

And so, my brother and I did nothing. We did one unit study on Jewish feasts and Old Testament history while I was in grade school. We did another when I was in seventh grade on Medieval history that Beautiful Feet books had published. My math was shameful. Between kindergarten and twelfth grade I completed A Beka’s 3, 5, 7, Algebra ½ curriculum. My younger brother completed half as many as I did. The thesis behind this was, “Don’t push your kids. If you teach them to read, they will be able to teach themselves anything. Workbooks are boring and not the way to foster a love of learning. They are tedious. Your children do not need repetition. As the parent you know whether your child has gotten the concept or not.”
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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 country, the Bible said, “Many mighty works He could not do, because of their unbelief.” Now, if He was standing here tonight on this platform, just like that you’re looking at us, and you’d come up to Him, and say, “Jesus, will You heal me?”
He’d say, “Child, can’t you believe that I have already done it on Golgotha? I paid for your sickness. If you believe, go and receive.”
For here’s what He said. “As thou has believed, so be it unto you.” He said, “Now, for Myself, I can’t do nothing. I do what the Father shows Me. The Father shows Me a vision, then I do what He tells Me. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Now, you just ask. It’s your faith. … Just go out believing and you get well. Isn’t that simple? It’s God’s love. Now, we will call a few people up here at the platform to pray for them. You know why I do that? Is to get the anointing, Spirit started among the people. It begins to build their faith. And as their faith comes up, He speaks to me, just like He did to the Lord Jesus. The woman that touched His garment and she went out in the crowd, Jesus said, “Someone’s touched Me.”
And everybody said, “Not me.”
And then He looked out; He seen the woman. He said, “Thy faith has saved thee.”
Now, it was her faith, not Jesus. She–she drew the power from–from God through Jesus. Now, watch and see if He doesn’t do the same thing. See? As soon as the Holy Spirit gets anointing the people, the prayer line as good as stops.

Believing was evidently an imperfect process, as I slowly watched the demon of cancer waste away the life of one of my dearest friends. [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, God’s blessings were assured, but stepping out of line meant incurring a curse.

As I reached puberty, I became acutely aware that I was leaving one class for another. I was transitioning from childhood to womanhood, and the latter was not a class I wanted to join. As a child, I was never specially commanded to obey my male friends. I could assert myself if they tried to act “bossy,” and a parent would rebuke the offender. We were all equals as children; we all had to obey our parents. None of us had the right to order one another around. This was a short-lived world of equality, however. When my breasts began to bud at nine years old, I angrily flattened them with a tight sports bra, disgusted by the reminder of what I was to become. I wore that flat swath of spandex all the time, even to bed, although I sometimes endured shooting chest pains as my lungs struggled against the constriction. I set my jaw in disappointment, warding off the tears when my period arrived at age 11. I didn’t want to be a woman.

Women in my church had one purpose: the “highest calling” to which we could aspire was indeed our only acceptable calling. At our best, we could be “jewels” in the crowns of our husbands – pretty, docile objects men cherished and admired for their beauty. We were to be keepers at home, obedient to our husbands, clothed modestly with “shamefacedness and sobriety,” forever repaying Eve’s debt with the agonies of childbirth. William Branham taught that men and women were placed on equal footing before the fall, but also that Eve’s sin was a natural consequence of her creation as a “by-product” of Adam. She was defective from the start: not even a part of the original Creation, Branham said. Before the fall of Lucifer and his angels, God had allowed him to design one facet of the universe, the only thing He hadn’t already created: the woman’s body.
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