“My Life as the Daughter of a Cult Leader”

In the wake of Jack Schaap’s removal as pastor, here’s a TEDx talk by Linda Murphrey, daughter of Jack Hyles. Hyles was a pastor at First Baptist Church in Hammond before Schaap, and grew the church into a megachurch. During part of the 90s, First Baptist was probably the largest Baptist Church in America. And, according to Linda Murphy and a large number of other people who knew it, the church was a cult.

Listening to this, I’m reminded of a saying: the first rule in an abusive home is “don’t”. Don’t talk about it, don’t think about it, don’t write about it. It couldn’t happen, it doesn’t happen, and if it did it wasn’t that bad anyway.

(Note: this video was taken down and is now back up. It may go down again. I’ll keep an eye on it.)

Via The Way Forward

  • vasaroti

    I was disappointed that she didn’t speak directly about the problems with the church, other to say that it was a cult, implying that it was more exploitative than the average church. While we all appreciate that she was able to free herself, I’d respect her more if she was a whistle-blower. And, of course, I’m amazed that she didn’t declare her atheism. It’s great to have courage, but I look for something more intellectual from TED.

  • Nox

    The thread about Schaap did seem to attract a more insular and obsessive form of crazy than we usually get here.

    • UrsaMinor

      I missed that thread while I was on vacation. Darn! Judging by the number of posts that were redacted out of existence by teh srvr monkehs, it must have been great fun.

  • Ravyn Guiliani

    I feel everything she speaks about. I was third generation Jehovah’s Witness, the daughter of an anointed elder growing up in the shadow of the Watchtower near Brooklyn, I was baptized at age 12 and pioneered for 16 years (full-time local missionary). I lost everything to leave, am shunned by thousands including family. And I still have to deal with accusations of apostasy and there are times I fear for my safety. This has even affected my husband’s job (he has never been a JW–but he has had bosses who were and once they found out who he was married to–the jobs did not last long.) You just can’t know what it was like unless you lived it. Good for you Linda. I wish you much success and joy.

    • Gretchen Robinson

      Thank you for writing Ravyn. I want everyone here to know that every word Rayvn writes is true. I’ve known her for 2 decades and have worked with others who have escaped JW. The stories are horrific. Look up “religious shunning” on wikipedia to learn more. Parents disown their children and make a vendetta to get them to come back to JW. It’s a form of persecution. (I worked as a chaplain for many years so I’m familiar with most all religious groups).
      Everyone has Freedom of religion and that includes Freedom FROM religion. I send best wishes and hopes for a full life ahead for anyone who has disentangled from this paranoid cult.

  • Dave

    All I can say..is “Wow!”. I can definitely relate to this because I grew up in that place and knew her…although she would not remember me I’m sure (one of the masses). I saw the lunacy of FBCH and left in my teens. For her to come out and admit this now…takes a lot of guts. Anyone that could think for themselves knew these things were going on, but the guilt angle played by Hyles and others was very controlling. Thank you for your honesty.


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