I recently watched a 20/20 report on abuses in the IFB church.
A Religious Sub-Culture Of Horrific Sexual & Physical Abuse...Right Here In The USA!
For years I just chalked up the abuse I witnessed and suffered at the IFB Church I attended in Jackson, Mich. as just part of the road I was walking in life. It had to be an isolated situation.....WRONG!
My mother was raised the same and attended Bob Jones University. She died a 3 time divorced drunk with no one. To get us out of the house she made us go to church with our grandparents...and so the indoctrination began.
As children we were taught:
1. All other churches and denominations are wrong, we were the only ones that were right, set aside and chosen. Lesson actualy learned: isolation, closed mindedness and how to be judgemental
2. Men are at the head of the church and the home. Women and children (in that order) fall under the male. Lessons learned: as a child, i am without a voice or opinion, silence is safe. as a male, learned to view women & children as subservient.
3. Scripture is literal, men using women, beating spouses and children, public humiliation & confession and spiritual perfection is attainable and expected. Lessons learned: guilt, fear, hopelessness, pain & confusion
4. (my favorite) Predestination: A term I became familiar with when the youth pastor told me I was no longer welcome at the private school run by the church, and he would rather I did not attend youth group anymore...reason, the pastor's kid and I got caught smoking behind the gym. He told me, it wasn't really my fault, I was a puppet of satan because it was obvious I was not predestined to be a christian...god had not chosen me...and with my evil influence gone, the pastors kid could get on with his christian life..(p.s. he brought the cigarette!) Lesson learned: hopeless, doomed to hell, born bad, depression & self hate
At around age 9, we all went to summer camp. On several occasions on that trip the camp counselor, and a deacon in our church back home, molested me. It seemed to be normal behavior to him, his demeanor was as if he was putting up a tent.
When I got home I told my grandfather, who was the head deacon at the time....he said "good christians do not talk like that, "don't let me hear anymore about it."
The over-all result of my birth into this extremist christian sect is that I am a militant agnostic, with no faith in authority or simplistic religious explanations for unexplainable reality.
This is of course the abridged version. The experience of being chewed up and spit out by these people has left me suspicious of all "religious" organizations and leaders, although I know that it is nuts to think all of them are dirt bags, I have never seen much reason to darken the doorway of another "House of Prayer".
I hope all those affected by these extremists and criminals will find peace and recovery.
© Mark H. (Maddad) Newsvine, 2011