Daughter of the Patriarchy: The Sickness ~ Pt 1

by SierraAs 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 … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: The Atheist

by SierraWilla was an atheist. A self-styled “unschooler,” she attended homeschool conventions and activities with her two children, Alexis (9) and Steven (5), and it was there that she met my mother. Willa’s husband worked in a field that I knew only abstractly as something involving computers and sales. He was a passive, taciturn man with whom I never exchanged a single word. Their children were boisterous, especially Alexis. Willa attached herself to my mother very quickly. Since Alexis was my age, we were an automatic source of play dates, which often really amounted to tea parties for our mothers. Common interests seemed to abound at first: homeschooling, books, and bargains. Both ador … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Barren

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.-Isaiah 54:1by SierraThe first time I saw my mother cry, she was hunched over the dresser in her bedroom, silent, her shoulders shaking. I had almost walked into the room, but when I noticed her posture I paused and silently backed away, then ran, on tiptoe, to escape the jarring sight. I had not yet turned ten, but I knew what her tears meant.She was crying for my brother, the one lost in miscarriage just before she’d begun taking me to our new church. Every C … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Signs

The end of the world I never had the chance to knowby SierraWhen I reached the age of nine, I began seriously worrying about the age of accountability and the Rapture. There was no magical number attached to the former; indeed, the fact that I was old enough to worry about it seemed evidence enough that I should worry. I was obviously old enough to understand sin, and consequently was old enough to miss the Rapture. And the Rapture was coming. Of that we all were certain.William Branham taught that only the elect, or Bride of Christ, would make it to Paradise in a dramatic snatching-away in the last moments of time. In a 1958 sermon entitled “The Sudden, Secret Going Away of the C … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Casualties

by SierraSoft breaths of cinnamon and vanilla wafted down into the basement from Anna’s kitchen. Laughter chorused over our heads as Sven and I busily fortified our Lego castle with rubber animals: his were the dogs, mine the cats. We worked together to fend off a motley invasion of snakes, hyenas and whatever other ugly miscreants we could dig from the toy bin. Pirates were only ever united by a common love of money. Bare light bulbs hung glaring over our heads, but we ignored them. Tiring of the siege, we took refuge under the stairs and ripped open a bag of butter cookies. Chessmen. We spared no cavalry or foot soldier in the cookie massacre. We were eight years old.Sneaking upstairs t … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X