controversies, Duggars, religion, sexism, wingnuts

Creepy men who are obsessed with getting some “young stuff”…

The featured photo is a screenshot of part of Patrick Weaver Ministries’ post.

There’s so much I could be writing about today. So much, in fact, that I’ve been sitting here for almost two hours, trying to decide which comments to make regarding the vast array of potential hot topics. Ukraine has been invaded by Russia, and who knows what that is going to lead to on a worldwide scale. Whatever happens will probably affect my husband’s work.

Then there’s the arrest of the guy who killed my former colleague, Matt. I could write more about that, but I don’t know how interesting that is to people other than me.

Then there’s the evergreen issue of COVID-19, but who isn’t sick of hearing and reading about that? I know it’s a tired subject for me.

And then there are the Duggars… another wedding is on the horizon, and apparently, another baby is allegedly on the way. This time, it’s John David and Abbie who are reportedly expecting. And next month, Jeremiah Duggar is going to marry Hannah Wissmann– just ahead of Josh Duggar’s sentencing. Yeah, I could write about that, but I’m not going to… because this morning, I saw something that really creeped me out.

Someone in the Duggar Family News group shared this post by Patrick Weaver Ministries. It’s calling out a youth pastor/filmmaker named Joshua_Wesely, who posted a picture of his girlfriend, Isabelle, on her 18th birthday, back on November 17, 2020. Have a look…

Eeeww…

Perez Hilton has an article about this couple, in which it is revealed that apparently, the two started their relationship when she was 14 and he was 20. He’s now 24 and she’s 18, which sounds slightly less icky… until you realize that he’s been working on her since she was in puberty! Mr. Wesely and his wife have made their Instagrams private, but the front page does reveal that he and the young lady are now married, and have been so since August of 2021. He also has a YouTube channel, at which I am currently taking a look. Interestingly enough, it turns out that he is German, and his content on YouTube is all in German. Also, in Germany, the age of consent is 14. I suppose I’m not surprised, given the attitudes about sex here. Still, it does seem kinda gross. ETA: Yikes! He is from Mainz, which is 20 minutes away.

It’s not their age difference. It’s the fact that he’s been chasing her since she was fourteen… and he’s a “youth pastor”.
So, I guess what Mr. Wesely did was technically legal in Germany… but yucky to Americans.

I remember what I was like when I was 14. I was in no way ready for sex, or a committed relationship. I know there are exceptions. Loretta Lynn married her husband, Doo (Oliver Lynn), when she was somewhere between 13 and 16 years old, and he was nineteen. They had six children, and were together for fifty years, until he died at age 69 in 1996. However, Loretta Lynn’s husband was a violent alcoholic who beat and cheated on her. If it hadn’t been for Loretta Lynn’s extraordinary talents as a musician, who knows what would have happened to her?

Hell, I was barely ready for sex when I was 30, which was when I finally started having it, two weeks after my wedding day. This isn’t to say that my situation is the norm. It isn’t. I just think that kids shouldn’t be engaging in serious and sexual relationships. Isabelle is not a child now, but she was for several years before she and Joshua got married. I know that if I had a fourteen year old daughter, I would not look too fondly on some 20 year old guy wanting to date her. That sounds like a dangerous situation to me. There’s a reason why so many fundies like to marry young– especially when the female half is young. It makes them a lot easier to “mold”. Fourteen year olds tend to be more submissive and less worldly.

It looks like maybe Mr. Wesely is on the far right. Below is a trailer from a 2021 film he produced called 2025- The World Enslaved By a Virus. The film envisions a world in which communism and atheism have taken over, and meetings, Christianity, and travel are forbidden. Wesely starred in the film, which he also wrote. His brother, Simon, co-produced and co-directed it.

I notice the channel where this is posted is called “Wesely Bro’s”… Apostrophe abuse, too?

This reminds me of something I saw back in the early 00s, when Bill and I were newly married. At that time, a lot of men thought the Olsen twins were super hot. I once actually saw a countdown clock in a bar that showed how much longer it would be before Mary Kate and Ashley turned 18. I know there were a number of Internet sites dedicated to their 18th birthday, which was June 13, 2004. Granted, the Olsen twins are celebrities. They are fabulously wealthy, and apparently, nothing creepy happened to them offline– that I know of, anyway. But still, there were basement dwelling creeps who were actually watching a clock to see how much longer it would be before they were “fair game” for being pursued by horny older men.

Ugh… This is just gross.

I know a lot of people think church is the best place to find a mate. Sadly, the reality is, church is a place where a lot of people wind up victimized, because they are conditioned to trust church leaders due to their role in a religious organization. I think this is especially true in strict, culty belief systems that promote conspiracy theories. In fact, as I have referenced before on my blog, there are even Web sites that encourage “Christian” men to marry young women, so they can be properly “groomed” for submission. The link I provided is a blog dedicated to “Biblical Gender Roles”. I have written about that site before, and judging by my stats, a lot of people are interested in it, as well as “domestic discipline”.

Churches are not the only way older men wind up with younger women. Having watched many episodes of To Catch a Predator, I know that these types of guys come from all walks of life. It doesn’t take much for them to take the bait if an underage woman signifies her consent. A few weeks ago, I was watching a YouTube clip that involved a 48 year old married physician from San Francisco, who came over to a decoy’s location, hoping to score. The physician ultimately committed suicide some years later. Surprisingly enough, he was still married to his physician wife when he died.

This is unbelievable. Obviously, he didn’t care about his career at all…

Bill and I talked about this subject this morning. We are, after all, about eight years apart in age. I had just turned 18 when he married his ex wife. However, Bill and I are a hell of a lot more compatible than he and Ex were. When we married, I was 30, and he was 38. Age matters less when you’re older.

I would say there is a big difference between 18 and 24; however, according to recent scientific research, neither Joshua’s nor his wife’s brains are even fully developed yet. That might explain the bizarre movies he puts out, promoting right wing conspiracies. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, human brains aren’t considered fully developed until age 25. Bill did say, by the way, that he would have had a serious problem with a 20 year old man pursuing one of his daughters when they were that young. Not that Ex would have given him a chance to intervene.

And let’s not forget the case of Jack Schaap, a former “minister” at Hyles-Anderson College, a Christian school in Hammond, Indiana. He famously delivered a horrifying sermon in which he “polished” a rod, masturbation like, as he spoke about how God finds mates for the faithful. Mr. Schaap later went to federal prison for taking a sixteen year old girl he was “counseling” across state lines for sex. He was sentenced to twelve years in 2013, and is scheduled for release next February.

Part of Mr. Schaap’s defense was that the girl he abused was “aggressive” and had prior “extensive sexual experience”. He also alleged that she was a drug user. Apparently, in his feeble mind, that made molesting her okay. The girl was also reportedly a student at the private school run by Schaap’s former church, the 15,000 strong First Baptist Church of Hammond, since kindergarten. Based on Schaap’s comments, in spite of her religious schooling, she was “experienced”. I’d like to know who gave her that experience. Obviously, the staff at that church weren’t to be trusted. Or, at least that’s what I would think if I were that girl’s mother.

OMG… I would have died watching this.

I don’t understand what it’s like to be a man. I’m sure there’s a scientific reason why so many of them are looking for “young stuff”.

“You should be gettin’ that young stuff!” Eew.

Anyway… I don’t know if Isabelle is happy. She’s certainly young and pretty, and I can assume she married Joshua consensually. And I understand that German laws are different than US laws are, as are the mores surrounding sex. I do think it’s too bad she isn’t still single, though, and enjoying her youth… maybe doing something for herself, instead of jumping into marriage with a man who appears to be drinking some pretty strong right wing Kool-Aid in the name of “Christianity”. But, it’s her life. Still… eeew. Count me among those who disapprove.

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book reviews, Duggars, education, religion

A review of Lovingly Abused: A true story of overcoming cults, gaslighting, and legal educational neglect, by Heather Grace Heath

ETA: December 30, 2021- Heather Heath has reached out to me in the comments and explained that she was not actually interviewed by the Preacher Boys. My apologies! I often get sucked into videos about fundies and obviously got confused. Anyway, Heather was NOT interviewed by The Preacher Boys, and I still can’t find the video I watched that introduced me to Heather Heath’s story. It might have been Dr. Oz whose video I saw. Heather did tell me that he interviewed her. And now, I’ve seen Dr. Oz’s clip, and I think it was his show that I watched.

Interesting video, and you can hear Heather Heath’s interview. It’s too bad they focused on Josh instead of her book.

A few weeks ago, I was watching YouTube videos when I came across the Preacher Boys podcast, hosted by Eric Skwarczynski. I have watched the Preacher Boys’ channel a few times. It mostly focuses on videos about fundamentalist Christians and the abuses that come from that belief system. There’s a treasure trove of information about abuse within the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement on the Preacher Boys’ podcasts, so I highly recommend that channel to those who want to learn more about it. I am probably just moderately interested in fundies, so I only watch that channel when the mood strikes or when I am especially bored. I originally thought The Preacher Boys interviewed Heather Heath, but it turns out I’m mistaken.

In any case, I swear I saw an interview done with Heather Grace Heath, who, along with her editor, Lorna Oppedisano, just published the book Lovingly Abused: A true story of overcoming cults, gaslighting, and legal educational neglect. I see on Amazon.com, it first became available on October 21, 2021, so it’s a brand new book. I just looked for the interview I watched about this book, but I can’t find it. Otherwise, I would post it here for your perusal.

Anyway, it’s too bad I can’t find the video I watched, because it did influence me to buy and read Heather’s book. I do think it’s a book worth reading if you’re at all interested in what it’s like to grow up in a religious cult. And since Josh Duggar, a famous Gothardite, is currently on trial, this topic is very timely. As you can see from my recent posts, I’ve been thinking and writing about fundie Christians a lot lately.

As I was reading Heather’s story on the Kindle app, I found myself doing something that I don’t often do. I made a lot notes, mainly so I that I could refer back to certain passages in this review. I also shared some passages with my friends on social media, again so I could easily find them. I’ve read a lot of books about people– especially women– who have left religious cults. I’ve read some very shocking things. It’s not even so much that Heather’s anecdotes are necessarily more shocking than other people’s anecdotes are. It’s just that she has a real knack for describing what she’s gone through in a way that is relatable and compelling. A number of my female friends who are interested in religion– particularly the ex Mormons– were responding to the passages I posted. I suspect Heather might get a few sales from them, too.

So… what is Heather Grace Heath’s story?

Heather Grace Heath is a thirtysomething cisgender woman* from Connecticut who grew up in Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute (ATI) homeschool cult. Bill Gothard is an eightysomething American Christian minister whose teachings are very conservative. Gothard founded the Institute in Basic Life Principles. He encourages his followers to have many children and homeschool them. His focus is on teaching children to respect authority, memorize Bible passages, and adhere to strict gender roles. They are to stay under the “umbrella of protection”, pictured below.

A screenshot of a familiar diagram that explains the “umbrella of protection”. As we know, not all women have the personality for such a plan…

Under Gothard’s rules, women are to dress modestly, always wearing dresses or skirts and clothes that emphasize the “countenance” rather than the figure. Men are to aspire to be ministers or missionaries. Both men and women are to get married young, eschewing any beliefs that aren’t Biblical. It doesn’t seem to matter too much whether or not the couples are compatible, only that they are Bible believing Christians who follow Gothard’s strict rules.

*In her book, Heather writes that she doesn’t feel comfortable being called a “woman”. She refers to herself as a “girl” who is cisgendered and uses feminine pronouns. But, for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to refer to her as a woman and hope it doesn’t offend.

Heather explains that her mother grew up in a pretty screwed up family system. Her mother’s mom was the youngest in a very large family and she had a half brother who was also one of her cousins. Heather’s grandmother’s father was abusive. Consequently, Heather’s grandmother married an abusive man, and her mother also grew up in a “fucked up” situation. That was what had led her to Gothard’s cult.

Heather’s paternal grandfather died young. Her paternal grandmother was a first grade teacher who was horrified that Heather and her sister, Hope, were homeschooled. But Heather’s father was all in to Gothard’s teachings. Heather grew up being taught that there were certain things that girls weren’t supposed to do. She was taught that she would remain under her father’s care until she got married. And then she was expected to be a housewife, help meet, and mom to many children.

If this sounds familiar, it should, as this is the very same cult the Duggar family is in. Heather explains that not all people in the ATI belief system are Baptists, but they all subscribe to Bill Gothard’s ideas on how people should live, and children should be raised. In fact, Heather alludes to her mother running into Jim Bob Duggar before he was the stalwart Gothard poster child he is today.

They were at an Advanced Training Institute conference and Jim Bob complimented Heather’s mother on how well “blanket trained” Heather’s little sister was. Heather writes that her mom didn’t actually blanket train her two daughters; Heather’s sister just happened to like playing on her blanket. If you want to know what blanket training is, click here. I shared the passage below on Facebook and at least one person wanted to know what blanket training is, and was horrified when he read up about it.

She doesn’t mention Boob by name, but I think we all know who she’s referring to in this passage.

Heather Grace Heath explains some of the rules of the ATI and how people within it are supposed to behave. Young people growing up in the ATI cult are expected to be involved in certain gender specific activities. The boys go to the ALERT Academy (Air Land Emergency Resource Team), which is a program in which boys are taught rescue and medical techniques in a military style. The Duggar boys all attend ALERT, as it’s considered a rite of passage. Girls attend EXCEL, where they were expected to learn how to be godly women and make crafts. Heather was much more interested in what the boys were doing; she was, and still is, very attracted to medical and rescue work. But, because she was a girl, she was not allowed to attend ALERT. I suspect that might have been the first chink in the armor when it came to her decision to leave the cult.

A good example of the mind control that went on in the ATI.

Heather includes some pretty shocking details about her experiences in one of ATI’s training centers. The center she attended at age 17 was in Oklahoma City. She writes that the Oklahoma City center was supposedly one of the less oppressive of the ATI training centers, which was why she chose it. The actual center had once been a hotel, so it was somewhat “nice”, besides being more lenient. Nevertheless, Heather was repeatedly given “heart checks”, which meant she was locked in her room with just water and a Bible. A staff member would be posted outside her door to prevent her escape. This was so she would have time to think about her behavior and examine her heart for the sources of “sinful behavior”.

What’s an example of a behavior that would earn a “heart check”? Heather writes that the girls were all on the eighth floor of the former hotel. Boys were on the third floor. This was done deliberately, so that there would be no reason for boys to pass the girls’ floor or go to a higher level in the building. Heather got a “heart check” because she allowed males to share the elevator with her. She also got a “heart check” when staff members discovered that she had tampons, which were considered “Satan’s fingers”. She was ordered to repent for any enjoyment she got from removing them– (ugh, I can’t even imagine). She got another “heart check” for knowing lyrics to a Broadway song. There are other examples.

As Heather got older, she realized that she was very attracted to the healthcare profession. But working in healthcare went against Bill Gothard’s teachings for girls. Instead, Heather was encouraged to pursue more womanly pursuits– jobs in which she could wear skirts and dresses and be subservient to men. It was pretty clear to me as I read this book that Heather Heath does not have a particularly submissive personality. She’s very bright, naturally assertive (although Gothardites would probably call her rebellious), and courageous. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to overcome cult programming. She also had the misfortune of being homeschooled in a way that left her incredibly underschooled. I was impressed when Heather wrote about the experience of homeschooling her twins last year, because the pandemic required it. She wrote she was shocked by things that she didn’t know that little kids who went to school knew. Not surprisingly, that left her with what seems to be some pretty serious resentment.

The frustration of growing up in the Gothard cult, wanting something the system told her she could never have, left Heather with some pretty serious psychological problems. She also suffered from some “female” physical issues that made her miserable. She did attempt suicide a couple of times, and was at one point, hospitalized. Her father tried to dictate her care. Heather found the courage to tell her medical providers that she would not be able to give them honest answers while her dad was around…

She was definitely starting to find her way out of the cult.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking part of the book for me is when Heather writes about her decision to marry her first husband. Heather had sort of come out of the ATI cult stuff at that point, as she was working as an emergency medical technician and had been a “candy striper” at a local hospital. She had a crush on a guy she met when they were both “candy stripers” at a local hospital (though they aren’t called candy stripers anymore), and then they both became EMTs and worked together at an EMS company. Because of her upbringing, Heather had some difficulty being trained as a medic, even though she clearly had the talent and aptitude. She would answer questions with Biblical responses. So she had to overcome that, but she also had this crush on this guy… and she didn’t really know him before she married him at age 24. The marriage lasted a very short time and he decided to divorce her.

Because she was raised in a cult, she was brought up to believe that now, she was doomed to spend the rest of her life alone, or else be labeled an adulterer. To people who follow Gothard, being an adulterer is considered to be just as “sinful” as engaging in homosexuality (not that I, personally, think either is sinful). Still, even though Heather Heath was taught these things, she exhibits a delightful pluckiness in the passage below…

I loved this!

Heather also writes that she briefly considered attending Hyles-Anderson College, in Hammond, Indiana. I have written about Hyles-Anderson a few times in the blog. It’s definitely not a place for women with “pluck” and an independent spirit. She was going to study a nice “feminine” program at the school, because having been homeschooled through ATI, she would have otherwise had a terrible time attending a secular university where accreditation, grades, and test scores matter. Fortunately, officials at Hyles-Anderson had issues with Heather’s choice to work as a medic. They told her she needed to do more “feminine” work where she could be dressed like a lady (wearing skirts and dresses). So Heather wisely decided to withdraw her application…

Yeah… definitely culty!

And when a woman asked Heather to sell her on the idea of homeschooling, wanting to know all of the advantages Heather got from being taught at home through Bill Gothard’s system…

It’s hard to believe people still think this way in the 21st century. Good on Heather for setting that woman straight!

My thoughts

I took a whole lot of notes on this book, which, as I mentioned up post, I don’t do very often. I highlighted many passages, most of which I didn’t include in this review. I could have included them, but I want people to read the book for themselves. The passages in this review aren’t even necessarily the most shocking. They’re just the ones that fit the best.

In spite of her limited education, Heather Grace Heath is obviously very bright, funny, and articulate. Even with the help of an editor, I could definitely hear her authentic voice in this story. I really admired her strength, courage, and resolve to live her life on her own terms. At the same time, there were times when I could see how her education had limited her, and she often describes how she was cheated by not having access to books, qualified teachers, and broader perspectives. She uses a lot of profanity and sometimes comes across as angry, which could turn off some readers, although personally, it didn’t bother me at all. I don’t blame her for being pissed. She had no control over how she was raised, and she did endure some legitimate abuse and educational neglect that have affected her as an adult.

On the other hand, I loved this passage… It demonstrates some of the biting wit and humor Heather has– and sharp wit is a sign of raw intelligence, which it’s clear that Heather has. She clearly doesn’t belong in Bill Gothard’s cult.

Yeah… I can tell here that she was not destined to stay on the path her parents chose for her. She’s much too strong-willed and intelligent.

It may seem like I have included a lot of passages from the book in this review. But as I mentioned previously, I’ve actually only included a few passages that struck me and fit best. I imagine this book could be quite profound and even triggering to some readers. But I also think a lot of people will find it inspiring and educational. For that reason, I highly recommend Lovingly Abused to anyone who is interested in learning more about about what it’s like to grow up in Bill Gothard’s cult, or even what it’s like to be poorly homeschooled. To be sure, there are many parents who get homeschooling right and do a fantastic job. But there are a lot of other parents who should not be allowed to homeschool their kids. At the very least, there should be much more oversight as to what and how children are taught. I know the conservatives aren’t fans of that idea, since they see it as “government overreach”, but Heather Grace Heath is a living example of why undereducating children is a form of child abuse and neglect.

And… just as an aside, reading Lovingly Abused even gave me some insight into the Duggar family and the situation Anna Duggar is in right now. Anyone who wonders why Anna Keller Duggar hasn’t divorced her clearly deviant husband, Josh Duggar, yet, might have more understanding after reading Lovingly Abused. I didn’t get the sense that Heather Heath’s experiences were nearly as intense as the Duggar kids’ experiences in ATI have been.

While those of us who weren’t raised in a religious cult might think it’s obvious that Anna should leave Josh’s ass, it’s not such a cut and dried thing if you’re in a cult and have been taught that divorce is a pathway to Hell. Even though Anna has grounds for a divorce, it’s still an extremely difficult decision to make, as it makes her significantly less attractive to other men in the cult who are looking for godly helpmeets. Anna probably figures that if she divorces Josh, she will be alone. On the other hand, it’s many people’s fervent hope that Anna will be alone anyway, when a jury of his peers soon delivers a “guilty” verdict. But we shall see… sadly, it could turn out that he walks.

Anyway, below is a link to Amazon for those who want to read this book. If you purchase through the link, I will get a small commission from Amazon. Either way, I hope this review encourages some readers, and I hope someone else will interview Heather and leave up the video. She’s got a lot of important things to say.

And here’s a video by a lady on YouTube who also read the book. Sounds like she was as “triggered” as I was.

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religion, sexism

Repost: Good Christian ladies don’t need to be readin’…

This post appeared on my original blog on November 22, 2018. I am reposting it today, because I have a bit of writer’s block, and this post is a good one.

Yesterday, I happened to come across a screenshot someone took of Hyles-Anderson College’s Web site.  I have written about Hyles-Anderson College before.  It’s basically a fundie Baptist run college in Indiana, where young adults go to be treated like children.  That idea was really driven home when I took a gander of the screenshot, which details what men and women are allowed to keep in their dorm rooms.  Check this out.

Am I to understand that men are allowed to bring a bookshelf, but women can’t?

Notice that the shelf can’t have doors on it.  Why?  Because doors would hide any contraband books that these college students shouldn’t be reading.  Wouldn’t want a copy of 50 Shades of Grey to make it on campus, right?  I’m not sure if Hyles-Anderson students are allowed to use reading devices like Kindles or iPads.  I would imagine they would be off limits.

Someone did bring up the point that these restrictions might be about space in the dorm rooms.  I spent four years living in dorms myself, so I know space is a premium.  It still seems odd that the ladies aren’t specifically told they are allowed a bookshelf.  But then, I don’t think Hyles-Anderson College is that much about higher learning, particularly for the women who attend.  This seems to be more of a place for people to find their mates before becoming “ministers”.

Notice that the ladies are only allowed one refrigerator per room, while the men can have two.  Do people now bring more than one fridge to college?  And the ladies are not allowed their own microwave, but the men can have two microwaves in their rooms.  Wouldn’t want the ladies to eat too much popcorn, I guess.

No need for the ladies to bring their own cars, unless she has a job where college transport doesn’t go.  I’m actually surprised the women are allowed to work off campus.  The men can bring cars.  No sweat.

Some time ago, I posted some videos that were done by leaders at Hyles-Anderson College.  One of the leaders, Jack Schaap, is currently sitting in a prison cell for raping a sixteen year old girl.  Schaap also memorably preached a sermon during which he polished a rod as if he were masturbating, simulating a hypothetical conversation between God and a man.  It’s quite the spectacle.

I can’t imagine how I would have reacted if I had been listening to this live…  

Jack Schaap’s views on women…  of course, now he’s behind bars.

I would hope that any student in college would be encouraged to read.  Reading is fundamental to learning.  Maybe I watched too many episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale, but it does seem pretty sad to me that young women in college are not being encouraged to bring books… and bookshelves to hold their books… on all manner of topics.  That being said, I also realized that Hyles-Anderson College is a private Christian college and it’s not accredited, so people who choose to go there probably look for that type of legalistic environment.  Or perhaps their parents do.  This is the only college I know of that divides its curriculum by sex.  

A bonus video… Talk about a treasure trove of fundie weirdness.  I especially enjoyed the bit about “heifers wearing britches”.

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religion

“A problem that most ladies have…”

“Ma’am, I’ll do the preaching here. You’ll be quiet while I’m preaching.” says Jack Hyles to some woman in the congregation.

“Ma’am, I’m going to ask you to leave, now, if you don’t quit talking while I’m preaching.”

It occurs to me that I’m very lucky. My parents never forced me to listen to the likes of Jack Hyles when I was growing up. I never had to witness a man preaching behind the pulpit, condescending to people who don’t have the same sexual equipment he has.

I grew up mainstream Presbyterian, which was bad enough. Actually, it wasn’t that bad… it was just very boring. I spent many hours in church, not really listening to the message. I’m sure my parents made me go because they thought it was the right thing to do. My mom played the organ. My dad was in the choir. My sisters were grown and gone. So I showed up every week and sat next to the wife of one of the choir members. I played Hangman and Tic Tac, Toe, ate M&Ms, Nerds, Reese’s Pieces, and Ipsos, read or colored in books, and stood up and sat whenever appropriate.

A word on Ipsos candy– they were kind of a short lived thing. They came in colorful plastic boxes with a flip top and a Lego like edge, so you could collect and stack them. I think they may have been British, but they were marketed in America for a short time. They disappeared at some point, and I’ve found very little about them online.

I got very little out of church, except for exposure to church people, most of whom were very nice. And never once did anyone in my church act like Dr. Jack Hyles does in this video. I can’t imagine why anyone in the 21st century would allow someone to speak to them in this manner. If I had been that woman, I would have gotten up and left, never to return. But then, I doubt I ever would have gone to such a church in the first place. I can’t even fathom it.

But then I think of people like the Duggars, who obviously subscribe to similar teachings. The women folk are kept in check and publicly chastised if they misbehave. I don’t know if it’s as bad in the Duggars’ religion as it might be at Hyles-Anderson College. Maybe it is… or maybe it’s not. I think being on reality TV might have made them a bit more worldly.

Shocking… If you watch to the end, you hear the vile Steven Anderson say that homosexuals should kill themselves. He also says they are akin to child molesters. So much ignorance!

On my old blog, I wrote a piece about former Hyles-Anderson College official, Jack Schaap, who once practically masturbated in front of the congregation. He presented God as a megalomaniacal lunatic as he “polished” a shaft. Look at this…

This is bizarre. I don’t know what I would have done if I had witnessed this live.

Jack Schaap is now in prison for having a sexual relationship with a teenager. But just before he was arrested, he presented another lecture about sexuality to parents. These people are leading churches across America. They fool people into thinking they’re fonts of wisdom, when they are actually damaging those who listen to them. If they’re lucky, it’s just mental and emotional abuse. Some people wind up being physically and sexually abused, too.

Yeah… preaching to kids was his “world”… and now his world is a prison cell, because he was sexually molesting the girls in his congregation.

The older I get, the less use I have for organized religion. It seems to be about power and money more than teaching morality and decency. It seems like religions are full of people drunk on power, hurting others. And yet, every week, people willingly attend church. They dress up, donate their hard earned money, and listen to these messages of shame while the leaders are disrespecting and possibly even abusing their followers. When I was a regular churchgoer, I had no idea about these things. I’m so grateful my parents never forced me to attend an extreme church. I can’t say that I think all churches are bad, but I do think a lot of them are off track.

It’s not just the men who are doing this, either. A couple of months ago, a 49 year old modesty preaching kindergarten teacher named Shannon Griffin was arrested for sexually assaulting an underage boy. Griffin, who taught at Jordan Baptist School in Burbank, Illinois, was charged with five counts of criminal sexual assault, one count of solicitation of child pornography, one count of distribution of harmful materials and one count of grooming. And yet, Ms. Griffin was well known for chastising girls for dressing too provocatively. Incidentally, Ms. Griffin’s husband is the pastor who runs the school. Two of their daughters also teach there.

I think about what it must be like for the women in these legalistic, culty churches. They open their mouths to speak and are basically told to shut up by the men behind the pulpits. If they persist in being heard, they are threatened. He says he’ll have them kicked out of the room, or even “jokingly” refers to physical violence. Granted, Hyles is dead now, but his disciples are still among the living.

“Sit still, or I’ll beat the dickens out of you.” And people think this is funny.

It seems like there are a lot more extreme people these days, especially when it comes to religion. When I was growing up, it seemed like most people belonged to a church. A lot of the churches mostly seemed moderate. Nowadays, it seems more like people are either atheists or very extreme in their religious beliefs. It really makes me wonder and worry… because so many people have died in the name of God. And so many people have suffered in the name of God… or fallen prey to a supposed leader who claims authority over them, thanks to God. Just something I’m thinking about this Friday… as I try not to think about how much I miss Zane.

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