An Update on Bethany: Almost Trapped in the Christian Patriarchy Movement

***

Last year, I posted a personal story (A Young Woman’s Relationship with Her Boyfriend is Shattered by Christian Patriarchy) from “Bethany” who was struggling in a relationship with her boyfriend, whose family was involved in the Christian Patriarchy Movement influenced by the likes of Doug Phillips, Bill Gothard, etc.

I received a follow-up e-mail from Bethany, almost a year later who has written about what has happened since then. I like stories with good endings and this is one with a good ending, but it took a little bit of maneuvering to get there.

~JA

 


 

medium_7810009486***
This time a year ago, I was torn down and heart-broken because the man I was in love with had returned to the fundamentalist teachings of Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard.

Having suffered from emotional, psychological, mental, and spiritual abuse in this relationship, it’s safe to say I was a mess. I had trouble eating and sleeping. I cried so much my eyes burned all the time and I was constantly worn out from this. I was distracted frequently from thinking about him. After being so close to someone for months on end, I found it extremely difficult to learn to live without him.

 

I thank everyone at SSB, especially Julie Anne, for being there for me during this hard time. Your comments and support helped me through this break up more than you can possibly imagine. During a time when my head was telling me he was not good for me but my heart was still yearning for him, the daily reminders were very helpful.

Returning to school after the holidays was hard for me. I was scared of seeing him because I knew the pain that it would bring. I was also worried about completing a 19-hour semester while still recovering from the traumatic end of a relationship. When I returned, I decided to make a change in my daily schedule. I figured any change that I could make to my environment would be good for me since I was forced to stay at the same school as him. I stopped going to the campus ministry where we met and were in leadership together. At this point, I had also made the decision to prepare and apply for physical therapy school again. With such a heavy semester on top of my emotional, mental, and psychological baggage, I cut way back on every aspect of my life besides church and school.

Little did I know that his plan was to try to get me back under his thumb.

 

Shortly after the semester started, I noticed that I ran into him an awful lot for it to not be planned. Eventually I concluded that he had figured out my class schedule and would sit around the campus buildings just to see me come and go from classes.  These meetings were also confusing to me because I still had deep feelings for him and his behavior was so unpredictable. There would be days where he wouldn’t dare to look at me and there were days where we talked for at least an hour. I felt like I was walking on eggshells just like I did at the end of our relationship because I never knew what to expect from him.

 

On the days he decided it was okay to talk to me, he was not even pleasant. He was rude and always said hurtful things to me, which did not help my case given how fragile I was at the time. He mostly talked about how terrible aspects of my life were, from my friends and family to where and how I lived my life. He practically criticized anything he could about me. This caused me to not like him as much and helped me recover from him when I saw how unkind he was toward me. I learned, however, through my extensive study of these fundamentalist religious groups that this was his way of getting me back. I am firmly convinced that his father was feeding him instructions on how to get me back under his control. He was simply using the manipulative tactics on me that have been used on him his entire life: fear, control, and withdrawal of affection. The more I saw into his life, the more I wanted to be far from it.

 

Throughout this semester, I was still hoping that he would change and come back to me. I sought to meet with a man who was educated and trained to deal with people who have been influenced by churches with dangerous and cultic teachings. My mother came with me to this meeting for moral support. I learned a lot from this man and he educated me on the psychological tactics that my ex-boyfriend was subject to throughout his life from his father. It was a very eye-opening meeting for me but I still held onto that desire for him to see the light and come back to me. This man was more than willing to counsel him, so he asked me to open the door for him. I asked to meet him one day and was very nervous about it to say the least. I knew his response would be a defining moment in my recovery process. What resulted was very disheartening to me. When I first mentioned this man, he seemed willing to think about paying him a visit. It didn’t take him minutes, however, to talk himself out of it, become defensive, and make excuses for why he couldn’t visit the counselor. I gave him the business card anyway and decided that this ship with him had sailed.

 

By the end of the semester, I had watched him go down hill tremendously. He had dramatically changed his appearance and I knew he was not taking care of himself because he looked sickly. I knew by this point that there was no hope for us, but I wanted some answers and closure from him. I asked to meet with him one last time and he was even more unkind and rude than those little snippets of conversation I got from him throughout the semester. He gave me an ultimatum and said I had 30 minutes to speak with him. I knew he didn’t practice what he preached so I wasn’t too concerned about this time limit he had imposed upon me. I don’t remember the details of our conversation since this was back in April, but I do remember him trying to still put on his charm and act like nothing he did to me was wrong and that our whole situation was all the fault of my parents and me. I could truly see the crazy in his eyes and speech and I knew things were way beyond well with him.

In this moment I finally stood firm and called him out on his poor behavior and that I knew the truth about him and his family. I showed him that I had gained my strength back and he would never be able to control me again. Needless to say he was bewildered by my strength, but it was important for me to be able to call him out on his wrongdoings and show him that I could not be torn down again.

 

It took a whole semester for me to let go of him, but I saw him be so unkind that he made it to where it was impossible to miss him. I knew that I didn’t deserve to put up with someone like him. The Lord proved to me time and time again, and is still proving to me today, that I made the right choice to leave my life with him behind and start again. At the end of that horrible semester, I was given good news by my adviser that I was able to graduate a year early from college and apply for physical therapy school! By the grace of God, I was interviewed by this school in early September and was accepted just a few weeks later! After being told for months how stupid I was, I was overcome with joy to be one of the first picks into a doctoral program!

 

As I move forward in my life, I take a lot of lessons learned from this difficult experience with me.

For one, I learned that you can have a desire to help all people but that does not mean that all people will be helped. As much as I wanted my ex to be helped, he wouldn’t let anyone help him. This was incredibly frustrating, but I learned that people can only be helped if they want to. Second, a lot of people can be falsely mislead about you, but that does not mean that a manipulator can fool everyone. While some of the people in my life believed the lies my ex told about me, I still had friends that stood by my side and refused to be swayed by him. Thirdly, there are followers of these fundamentalist leaders that will always remain faithful to their movements, regardless of any evidence indicating that they are not good things to be associated with.

 

With the failures of Doug Phillips, Bill Gothard, and Mark Driscoll, I have watched my ex’s family continually defend their systems and teachings regardless of the abusive findings that have come out. I have also watched them slip further into madness and it horrifies me to know that there are still young children involved in this. I still love and miss all of my ex’s siblings, especially his two sweetest and youngest sisters who are around 11 and 7. Furthermore, I have learned to never put my faith in a religious movement or minister. I have noticed more how a person’s faith is completely shattered when a religious movement falls to the ground or a person is discovered as corrupt.

 

 

I have been asked on more than one occasion how I can still be a Christian after dealing with my ex and his people. My answer is simple: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (Psalm 18:2).” On CHRIST the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. I put my faith and hope in Jesus Christ only, not in people or religious movements. When I was told that I wasn’t living for God because I wasn’t serving the man in my life as a slave and having multiple babies, I understood that these people did not speak for God on my behalf. People today are fortunate to have personal relationships with Jesus and I am so fortunate to rely on Him above everyone on this earth.

 

I hope my story encourages someone who is going through hardship to not give up. More importantly, I hope by sharing my story with you that I can lead someone who has been discouraged by Christendom to find their way back to Christ. The true Christ. Our Lord Jesus who wants us to look to Him and Him ONLY for guidance, strength, and refuge. When I decided to give my life back to Christ and away from my ex and his family, I was amazed at the ways He worked through me to glorify Him. He gave me continual evidence that I was meant to be a light on this earth and that’s not something I can do if I am hidden away to be an eternal breeder. I was also meant to use my passions and talents to serve God’s people by providing them with healthcare through physical therapy. I hope to continue to achieve great things in the name of Christ Jesus my Lord, for I have so many things to be thankful to Him for!

 

photo credit: Filmstalker via photopin cc

88 comments on “An Update on Bethany: Almost Trapped in the Christian Patriarchy Movement

  1. I am amazed that you know so many important truths about life at your young age. By young, I am referring to the fact that you did not fall for the lies of this young man, marry him, begin the unraveling process in your 40’s, and then start to face the reality of what you are living in. So many women, including me, took this path in life.

    I am thankful that you took the time to return to SSB to share your journey with us. Your descriptions of this man are interesting, pinpointing for us what to observe as being untruthful, manipulative, sick…. patterns of relating. You have certainly made it clear how another young women can recognize the clues of a very destructive relationship and hopefully have the courage to walk away. In other words, you have probably saved at least one other life.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Congratulations to the writer for moving forward, and getting into the school of her choice. I am glad she shared her story, too, because it can be of help to other women in a similar situation.

    I realize that as her stalker ex boyfriend was a Christian fundamentalist, she would naturally be focused on problems with fundamentalist types of the Christian faith. That is totally understandable.

    One thing I’d like to bring up is that, IMHO, single women who are dating need to judge a man by his character and what he does, rather than his profession of faith, or what “type” of Christian he is (i.e., which denomination does he belong to, is he fundamentalist, liberal, emergent).

    In my early 30s, I was engaged to a Christian man who never physically abused me, but he took advantage of me financially and emotionally. (I’m not sure if my ex would consider himself a fundamentalist, but I don’t think so.)

    After that experience, my mother dying a few years ago, and other things, I started on a journey where I began doing a lot of reading, first on the internet, and then through books, by Christian and Non Christian psychiatrists and counselors the last few years.
    The content I read pertained to domestic abuse, mourning, dating, marriage, codependency, and other life issues.

    One or two themes I picked up in all this reading (among several other things) is that 1. you have to judge a man by what he does, not by what he says.

    2. There are bad apples in every group, not just Christian fundamentalists.

    There are Non-Christian, poetry reading, Mr. Sensitive types who love rainbows and pretty sun sets, who are also verbally or physically abuse women, for example.

    There are Christian men who belong to sensitive, touchie feelie brands of Christianity, such as the liberals and emergents, who abuse their wives or who have affairs on them.
    A guy does not have to belong to any one particular type of church or theology to be abusive.

    It may be that certain types of faith expressions or churches that hold to particular doctrines are more appealing to men already prone to be controlling or abusive (such as neo Calvinism, gender complementarianism, fundamentalism), so certainly single women may want to be on extra special guard if dating men from those backgrounds, but one thing I learned in all my reading about all these topics is that abusive men come in many shapes and sizes, and from many types of religious backgrounds.

    There are atheist abusers, Jewish ones, Muslims, Christian emergent ones, Christian moderates, Christian fundamentalists, agnostics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, New Agers – they’re every where.

    Always judge a men by what he actually does, not by what he claims or says about himself or his beliefs about God.

    Any man can lie and tell you he loves Jesus, and you can see him reading his Bible every day, and you can see him go to church every week, but in the rest of his time, he can be having affairs, or molesting kids, or beating up on his wife or girlfriend.

    Putting religion aside in this particular story – that this guy was doing things such as stalking this young lady around and would not respect her boundaries after they broke up is red flag enough that something was wrong with him, his behavior, how he views women and relationships.

    You don’t have to even touch the topic of religion. The religion is just a side issue here.
    The man discussed in the original post could have just as easily been a Xenu worshipper, a Zoroastrian, an atheist, a Warlock, or a New Age, crystal-wearing hippie.
    It’s the same cake underneath: entitlement and controlling behavior. The icing on the outside, Christian fundamentalism vs. say, Islam, Judaism, whatever, is not completely irrelevant, IMO.

    I’m not saying this to knock the post at all by saying any of this, just chiming in with some ideas that were eye opening to me that I learned from my own life experience, from reading tons of books/blogs by psychiatrists, and reading about other people’s life experiences.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. From the male perspective looking into the Patriarchy system, watching the control, lies and manipulation used on my ex girlfriend to break us up; I can identify with this testimony. Sadly Gothard’s system hasn’t changed

    Like

  4. Whoop! Whoop! Your news has made my sunny African day even brighter! I was just wondering the other day how you were doing, Bethany. So glad you have been able to put the break up behind you and move on with your life and career and follow your dream. I am sure you will be a wonderful and compassionate therapist. Thank you for sharing how God has kept you close through this time and for encouraging us all to keep our faith fixed on Jesus.
    Doing a happy dance!
    Much love
    E

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have several thoughts:
    1) This young man might actually suffer from mental illness.
    2) The term “fundamentalist” is handled too loosely in our discourse.
    3) Missdaisyflower makes an excellent point that the theology doesn’t necessarily make the abuser. Many examples of Lib/Prog abusers can be found.
    4) I have read a couple of times about an adult college student being forced to attend a particular institution. How does this occur?
    5) This young man cannot be “fixed” by this young woman.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dear Precious Bethany, THANK YOU So much for taking the time to share your story with us and how this has all unfolded. Since reading your original article I have been praying for you. So much of what you shared tugged at my heart in such a powerful way. It reminded me of my own story and some very painful days. It reminded me of why I have come to totally despise churches and organized religious movements that emphasize “religion” over relationship. The relationship with our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, and relationships based on unconditional love for our brothers & sisters. I’m totally repulsed by what you went through, angry (and honestly guilty) that we as Christians don’t do more to stop this insanity. These groups should be publicly slammed at every opportunity so the Christian community is warned constantly to avoid them and protect their families from these dangerous people. They obviously put control of others above service to the body of believers and even worship of GOD. I’m overjoyed at how far you have come in running from these dysfunctional types and your ex. You have ran the race well my Dear Sister. I’m encouraged by your determination and the conclusions you have reached with respect to your future and how you feel about all this now. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to hear your story and for the privilege to pray for you. I’m glad you came here to share, you have blessed us. GOD BLESS YOU and I look forward to hearing of the great things the Lord has in store for you. I have NO DOUBT that a special man that truly loves GOD, can love you more than his own body as commanded in scripture, and is walking in the freedom that Christ won on the cross for us will be coming into your life.

    Julie Anne, this is yet another incredible example of how important this blog / site is. You sure went through a lot of stress & pain to get to this point of notoriety and influence, but the final outcome, WOW. When I see how much good has come from your situation I’m astounded how God used what was meant as a vengeful attack on a couple of Christian ladies for such healing and peace. I hope your battle scars are wiped away by seeing the end results of your battle in the lives of those you have help restore through your work here.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Bethany,
    I am so glad that you came out of the fog before you were completely in it!! So many of us don’t figure it out until we’re married and have completely lost sight of who we are and with an abusive type for 20 years or more. We became Stepford wives and not a Daughter of the King.

    You have your whole life ahead of you and have the ability to move on and perhaps one day find someone who will appreciate you for who you are and not what they can train you to be. Your story of redemption is a light for me. I wish I had figured it out when I was younger. Keep on standing on the Rock.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Love is not present where there is domination. Attachment perhaps, but not love. Read 1 Cor 13. Love does not seek to control, but to support and give.

    God will answer your prayer for a life partner. Do not be aggressive in seeking a romantic relationship, but be a friend to those you encounter, and be open to friendship. More than 36 years ago, I was in that situation, and God brought a young woman into my life. Be strong, be yourself, and remember that God loves you.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. An amazing and heartening testimony. Very pleased that “Bethany” found the wisdom and strength to walk away from a relationship that, had it ripened into marriage, would have seen you condemned to live out a fundamentalist hell on earth.

    Like

  10. @Keith Blankenship– You have several good points; I am curious, however, why you object to the use of “fundamentalist”. It seems a good descriptive term to me, and it is the term they often apply to themselves, so in my opinion it keeps things straight. I would like to hear your thoughts if there is a different/better/more descriptive term that could be used.

    As to how adult children are forced to attend certain institutions–it is actually pretty easy, given the correct circumstances. No matter the age of the child-adult, if a complete institution is in place, i.e. Church, family, and social circle all hold the same values and place pressure on the child to submit, it is difficult for the child to buck the system. It is even more difficult for the child when they have been raised in such a system, with little outside (“worldly”) contact or influence. I was 18 when I figured out that I was in a cult, and it took me until I was 21 to assemble the resources and the courage to completely leave. When I was 20, over the course of about a year, I got permission from the church (due to my Dad’s illness) to get a job, bought my own car, and moved out with my own money, and still I was punished when I announced that I was dating a man without my parents permission. When I told my family that I was pregnant, I experienced grand-scale manipulation, emotional abuse, and loss of contact with my parents, the siblings who I raised, and all of my childhood friends. Fear of that kind of reprisal was what kept me in their control for so long. I know plenty of girls and guys in their 20’s and 30’s who still live at home and submit completely to their parents, because they fear that God himself would punish them for anything else. A good article on this subject is by Katie Botkin: http://kbotkin.com/2014/04/15/in-which-lourdes-petitions-for-a-lifeboat/. I hope this helps. This type of Christianity is a diabolical system, no matter what you call it.

    Bethany, you are so strong, and I admire you greatly for the journey that you have survived. Life ahead is beautiful, to be lived with people who truly love you and will allow the freedom that you were meant to have. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    Like

  11. Scott said:

    I hope your battle scars are wiped away by seeing the end results of your battle in the lives of those you have help restore through your work here.

    Scott, thank you! Bethany’s stories and others like her really, really encourage me to keep this blog going. There are so many other Bethanys out there.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Song of a River: Thank you for your response. The term “Fundamentalist” refers to a very specific movement within US protestantism. While certain theological heirs to this movement use the label themselves, I have seen it applied as a sort of theological epithet, without regard to the actual views of the person or church to whom it is applied, even non-fundamentalist denominations, such as creedal churches which were never a part of Fundamentalism per se. (I could name some of these if you like, but don’t want to get too off-topic.) The overuse of the term has eroded the meaning, and divorced the term from its historical context.

    It may well be that the group to which the young man belongs would accept the label. The group is not named in the article, so this is not known.

    Regarding adults being “forced” to attend a certain college or university, I took it from the article that his parents were the spiritually abusive ones, while hers were not. Thus I am puzzled as to how she was forced to attend this particular school.

    I still think this young man might suffer from some kind of mental illness. Growing up in a manipulative and oppressive home would aggravate such a condition. The young lady in this article really dodged a bullet.

    Like

  13. Keith, Bethany’s home was not oppressive. It was her boyfriend’s home that was oppressive and fundamentalist, highly influenced by Doug Phillips, Bill Gothard and the Christian Patriarchy Movement.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Really liked what Daisy and Keith said; this kind of thing is regrettably not unique to patriarchal fundamentalism, and it’s worth noting that (per Song’s comment) “fundamentalism” is by no means a monolithic system. Properly speaking, it’s five principles of faith–authority of Scripture, Virgin Birth, death on cross, bodily resurrection, second coming–and a great number of people who hold to these principles do not identify as fundamentalists (e.g. Doug Phillips, believe it or not), while a great number of people whose faith or practice violate the theological fundamentals identify as fundamentalists. Like Islamic “fundamentalists”, for example.

    If you don’t totally understand, don’t worry; neither do I. It’s complex. I might add as well that I saw a lot of the same things when my decidedly non-fundamentalist parents divorced.

    Regarding the case at hand, I would agree with Keith Blankenship that the young man is showing some signs of needing competent counsel, and that he could be mentally ill. Bethany was wise to part from him, as I’m pretty sure that counseling and courting don’t mix well.

    A final note is that it strikes me that many parents, faced with a son despondent over a girl, would simply pull him aside and say “hey, son, she isn’t into you. You’ll be OK”, or some such thing. So it would seem this particular brand of patriarchy Bethany saw had the interesting side effect of somehow separating father and mother from son. Not good. Hope the kid is OK–his behavior does not seem to have been good, but there is a bigger story there.

    Like

  15. JA: “…since I was forced to stay at the same school…” this is the puzzling line to me.

    What really troubles me about the spiritually abusive is the ability to suck in earnest, well-intentioned people, like Bethany. She sounds like someone who cares about people a great deal. She will make a fine physical therapist.

    Bike Bubba: I think the term has become imprecise. It certainly should not be applied to anyone who agrees with the five fundamentals, which as I understand were formulated to deal with theological liberalism in e.g Northern Baptist, Presbyterian, and other churches. I think that most RCC, EOC, LCMS, ELS, WELS, URC etc. would agree with the “Fundamentals” but are not “fundamentalist”. It is just a peeve of mine.

    Like

  16. Keith, I understand what you mean about use of the term “fundamentalist”. I do agree, perhaps more care in the use of specific terms might help in conversation over these issues. When specific terms are used, it is helpful to victims trying to make sense of their circumstances. For example, when I read a story of a victim whose parents displayed narcissism, it helped me realize that my mother displayed narcissistic tendencies. Thanks for bringing up this point.

    As for the point that you and Bike Bubba mentioned, that this young man might be mentally ill, yes, that is possible and probable. It is wise to remember that these oppressive religious systems often create mental illness, such as sociopathic and narcissistic disorders. Tell a man that he is superior to every other creature, more like God and closer to God than a female, responsible for leadership and yet culpable for no wrong, and you have a recipe for insanity. I have seen it happen in my own family, sadly.

    It is all complex, but thankfully there are good people in this world, such as Bethany’s family and counselor, and the friends I made outside of my family’s cult-church. Blogs like this one have helped me understand so much that hurt and confused me all my life.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. No problem, Keith, from what I understand, Bethany has wonderfully supportive parents who tried to guide her, but allowed her to make her own decisions and come to her own conclusions.

    Like

  18. Keith: peeve shared. I treasure fundamentalism properly speaking, but cringe at what people like Jack Hyles have made of it. Ugh.

    Song; we want to make sure we’re using the same terminology as those we criticize are using. Now granted, many who have seen Doug Phillips’ teaching would come to the exact same conclusions that you and many others make. But if you told them point blank that they teach that men are always superior and the like, you would get a hearty argument if they didn’t just say “nonsense” and walk out the door. it’s the difference between de facto and de jure in law, for example. Gotta use their terminology if you want to have a hope of reaching out to them, really.

    And we want to make sure that we differentiate between a movement causing mental illness, and a movement which would possibly enable the mentally ill or wicked. Given the young man’s apparent experience–that he was all about putting Bethany into what he thought was a patriarchal home, but his father wasn’t there to step in and counsel him–I’m guessing that whatever theology was taught enabled what was already there, but did not cause it.

    Put gently, I’ve seen a lot of the same control tactics used by those who cannot be termed fundamentalists by any definition, and had the perplexing experience of a guy living in sin and not in church trying to use the Bible to defend it.

    I don’t discard the idea that religious movements might cause some forms of mental illness, but I think we’ve got to be very careful about establishing a clear, statistical correlation before we try to argue causation–and the latter, of course, requires quite a bit of work to prove as well.

    Like

  19. Thanks for the update. I was wondering about the ending to this story… it is always encouraging to see how God is working in the lives of His people.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Song of a River – I am always looking for people to share their stories. If this is of interest to you, let me know: spiritualsb@gmail.com

    I think that reading personal stories is one of the most powerful and effective ways that someone can identify their abuse situations – – far better than someone telling them they are in an abusive church. Reading personal stories is what helped me to “get out of the fog.”

    Liked by 1 person

  21. When I think of the term fundamentalist, I think of not just the original “fundamentals”, but of a certain subculture within protestantism. Think support of Prohibition due to teetotalism, denial of anything but young earth creationism, a complete eschewing of dancing, going to the movies, use of tobacco in any form, listening to the “devil’s music”, as well as a tendency toward insularity and negativism.

    Obviously, the parallel between that and the neopatriarchy movement is not exact, but there is enough legalism and ghettoization happening to warrant the comparison. Perhaps it could even be considered a type of neofundamentalism.

    Like

  22. “there are followers of these fundamentalist leaders that will always remain faithful to their movements, regardless of any evidence indicating that they are not good things to be associated with.”

    To me the Muslim religion spears the patriarchy movement in some ways as I see large family and ‘sometimes’ no personal relationship with Christ the redeemer and knowledge of the truth. (homeschool dropouts anonymous). Followers of a fundamentalist leader can continue to follow them despite being shown the ‘Muslim religion’ is dead and empty works….

    I don’t believe patriarchy movements will ever go away as women are designed by God to ‘be fruitful and multiply’. When we show fear to it, or lack of concern for those of large family….. seems we miss out on abundant life and point finger at creator.

    Any woman who would like a relationship in marriage must first ‘count the cost’ of what it means to be a mother before tingling knot or she can deceive herself.

    Christianity needs to have a Jewish foundation. Some patriarchy movements don’t even recognize messianic.

    Like

  23. NJ: absolutely. But hey, I am the cause of this distraction, at least in part, and I’d like to try point this thread back to where our gracious hostess had it.

    My apologies, Julie Anne; I only wanted to do an aside!

    Let’s discuss the story of Bethany and what she noticed about her ex-suitor’s behavior when she recoiled at some of the teachings that he had absorbed from the likes of Vision Forum, Bill Gothard, and the like. It is of particular interest to me–I’ve seen a fair amount of Vision Forum but not Gothard–when she notes that it seemed as if her ex-suitor had been trained in control methods.

    For my part, I remember a CD series from VF where the theoretical topic was how a man ought to shepherd his household, but it struck me that the series did not specify any means by which the man ought to lead his household. So apart from the discussion over male headship, there is a reality that the structure of the teaching left all of the implementation up to the wannabe patriarch.

    Now perhaps this was “fleshed out” in other documents that I didn’t read, but someone (like me) who only heard the CD series/attended the conference were left to make up the details themselves. Now my life as a quality engineer speaks up here; when you don’t specify the details of a plan, those implementing the plan are going to simply do things the easiest way they can.

    OK, if I’m reading this right–would love to hear from Bethany or Song on this–for many, the tool, the easiest way they know, is going to be physical and psychological manipulation.

    Like

  24. Bethany, congratulations on getting into your doctorate program. Glad to hear you avoided the neopatriarchal prison. It sounds like they expected you to marry this guy, then stay in the home while having as many babies as possible to be homeschooled and indoctrinated into their ideology. Praise God for supportive, healthy people—and manipulative, abusive people who cannot conceal forever who they really are!

    When I was in college, I went through a situation of being stalked, although I was not emotionally attached to him–in fact, it was the other way around. This Christian guy (a student at another college) who was just not my type had become smitten with me, and found ways to spend time with me. In retrospect, there were things I should have done differently but didn’t, out of not wanting to appear rude, unfriendly, or even unChristian. At one point I let him know I was not interested in him romantically in the least, and wanted him to direct his attentions elsewhere. In the end, after he threatened to force an in-person confrontation, I had to notify campus security of what was going on as well as communicate to him that I had taken this step. For a while, every time I had to leave the dorm for any reason, I was looking around and over my shoulder. He made one more attempt to contact me via email to which I did not respond. After that, praise the Lord, it stopped. I am still thankful for the friends I had around me who were looking out for me, as well.

    Like

  25. Bike Bubba,

    “For my part, I remember a CD series from VF where the theoretical topic was how a man ought to shepherd his household, but it struck me that the series did not specify any means by which the man ought to lead his household. So apart from the discussion over male headship, there is a reality that the structure of the teaching left all of the implementation up to the wannabe patriarch.”

    You may be right about that being a factor. But if that’s the case, I can just see the true believers of this movement using it as an excuse to say that patriarchy wasn’t the problem, it was the way certain people were implementing it. If properly tweaked (biblically, of course), we can have True Patriarchy.

    Like

  26. NJ; agreed 100%. So what you do is ask the “true believers” of the movement what you do to prevent headship from becoming abusive, right? And what will churches in the movement do to step in when someone takes the easy way out, and how will they know to step in, right?

    And then the ball is in their court. If they give a flaky answer, you warn that their system is designed to produce bad results. No?

    Not a bad set of questions to ask about any authority, really.

    Like

  27. BTW, I have personally been a witness to an intervention where a young man was approaching a young lady in the way similar to that that NJ describes. Thankfully it turned out well, and it was made clear from the Scriptures why his behavior was wrong.

    Like

  28. I am SO thankful that Bethany was able to walk through this experience into the light of truth – truth about who her ex really is, truth about how manipulators work, truth about who she is to Jesus!

    How lovely to read this story, knowing she won’t be at A Cry for Justice in ten or twenty years, trying to figure this all out with the added complications of a lifetime with him, and children who are confused and victimized by him.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Bike Bubba said,

    Really liked what Daisy and Keith said; this kind of thing is regrettably not unique to patriarchal fundamentalism, and it’s worth noting that (per Song’s comment) “fundamentalism” is by no means a monolithic system.

    I did not mean for my observations to be used as a defense of Neo Fundamentalism.

    I don’t want single women to let down their defenses and think they can trust a man just because he is not a self identifying “fundamentalist,” since so many abusive men can belong to various theologies.

    But I do want to reiterate this point of my post:

    It may be that certain types of faith expressions or churches that hold to particular doctrines are more appealing to men already prone to be controlling or abusive (such as neo Calvinism, gender complementarianism, fundamentalism), so certainly single women may want to be on extra special guard if dating men from those backgrounds, but one thing I learned in all my reading about all these topics is that abusive men come in many shapes and sizes, and from many types of religious backgrounds.

    It does appear to me that certain types of denominations or theology are more attractive to men who abuse women.

    And it’s easier for abusive men to justify the abuse under, say, Gender Complementarianism, than it is other types of doctrines or biblical interpretations.

    It’s two sides of the same coin. Your fundamentalists or gender comps will quote things about “the wife shall submit to the husband” to justify why they get to boss their wife around or beat her…

    But your liberal theologian guys will come up with flakey, tutty fruity, granola hippie interpretations to rationalize affairs, domestic abuse, like with the recent Tony Jones dust up, where he apparently feels justified to have a mistress because there are “two kinds of marriages” and his alleged mistress is her “spiritual wife.”

    I think the liberal guys have to be more creative to come up with their dross as to why they mistreat women, but it’s a bit easier for comps and fundies, as they can claim, “We’re just taking the Bible literally!!”

    Like

  30. After reading through most of the comments, I did want to add something.

    Narcissistic personality disorders (sociopaths, narcissists, possibly psychopaths, depending on who you read) are beginning to be reclassified away from mental illness as a definition, and categorized as a problem of morality.

    The best explanation I’ve heard is that things like clinical depression, bipolar, OCD, schizophrenia are actual illnesses that can be demonstrated by both clinical and, to varying degrees, physical evidence – are actual illnesses. Someone living with these kinds of illnesses can’t just decide not to be afflicted, even with work. They respond well to specific kinds of counseling, but often require medications at least for a time.

    Personality disorders, OTOH, are defined by a lack of character. They involve lack of empathy, considering the self above all else, and are not a result of any organic cause. Narcissists *actively choose* their behavior, and could certainly change it if they wanted to…they just don’t want to. They may need counseling to achieve effective change over time, but they choose not to pursue that sort of assistance because they don’t really want it. They *want* to be supreme in their world.

    There isn’t as much overlap between true illnesses and moral failure as we used to think even ten years ago. Knowing this helps victims of these people find healing and peace, knowing they could never “help him change” (or her) because he doesn’t want to change. But he’s more than happy to keep her thinking he might.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Miss Daisy Flower:Re: Tony Jones. “But your liberal theologian guys….” was one of the best paragraphs I have read in a while. Amen, Sister!

    Like

  32. Thinking about…

    You may be right about that being a factor. But if that’s the case, I can just see the true believers of this movement using it as an excuse to say that patriarchy wasn’t the problem, it was the way certain people were implementing it. If properly tweaked (biblically, of course), we can have True Patriarchy.

    Yes, exactly. That is exactly the argument we heard when we “failed” at patriarchy. If we just tried harder, if we just “did” it “right” we could have the strong, happy (maybe I mean joyful), productive family blessed of God that the leaders of our ex-church exhibited to the world. They put on a good face, anyhow.

    …and…

    So what you do is ask the “true believers” of the movement what you do to prevent headship from becoming abusive, right? And what will churches in the movement do to step in when someone takes the easy way out, and how will they know to step in, right?

    And then the ball is in their court. If they give a flaky answer, you warn that their system is designed to produce bad results. No?

    Not a bad set of questions to ask about any authority, really.

    But, no. That’s not how it works in these systems. The “true believers” excel at putting others (you) in the wrong. The answers aren’t always flaky. They can sound so practical and loving and reasonable and scripture-based, but their foundation turns out to be legalistic and soul-numbing.

    Like

  33. One can feel “forced” to attend a particular school by such factors as the difficulty of transferring credits to another school. I remember when a move caused me to consider transferring schools. I had a lot invested, but the schools in our new area would only give me credit for a fraction of the coursework I had completed. This was not because the school I had attended was inferior in any way. I’m pretty sure it had to do with finances; they wanted the money for tuition — they weren’t going to *make* me take the same courses over again in their school, but I had to make up the credits either by taking the same number of courses, or by taking the same courses I’d already taken if I couldn’t get enough courses in my specialty to make up the difference.

    Faced with practically starting over at any other institution, and negating what might have been a significant financial investment in studies to date, it can feel like you have no choice but continue to attend the school where you’ve already “banked” the credits.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Refugee; agreed that advocates of any point can be very persuasive, and you’ll probably never convince the true believers but by prayer. That said, every true believer is surrounded by a number of “unconvinced hangers-on” who can be pointed to the evidence of how things are working out in practice.

    Like

  35. Hi everybody, sorry for my slow response. Long day here.
    @Bike Bubba–you said earlier that you “treasure fundamentalism”. Here already you and I are different, but I respect the fact that you frequent and support a site such as this one. So far as causative factors of mental diseases and disorders are concerned, it is complex. Having experienced true fundamentalism interwoven with patriarchy, quiverfull and SAHD theologies, interwoven with Southern Baptist and Presbyterian theologies, along with emotional manipulation/abuse and neglect, it is difficult to remove one from the others in my mind. So I may be calling out the wrong villain, but in my experience, I have always seen fundamentalism as the root of other ideologies, and the full picture has been one full of destructive forces. In my mind, if a context brings out abusive or sick natures in people, then that context is a causative one. If someone could have lived outside the given context, in “normal” circumstances, and not become abusive, mentally ill, mental disorder, etc., then, wasn’t the context (church, cult, school, whatever) the causative factor? Of course, it is sometimes doubtful whether the person could have lived alone on the moon and not been an abuser.

    So far as terminology goes, I don’t believe that we necessarily need to use the same terms as those we are criticizing. Many men who are clearly patriarchal, such as Ken Alexander, who has been recently discussed here, absolutely refuse to use that label on themselves. We need to call a spade a spade, no matter what the spade calls itself. As NJ points out, there is also the colloquial understanding of the definition of fundamentalism, which needs to be taken into consideration. There is not much hope of “reaching out” to someone who is an abuser. Of course, I believe in grace for all, BUT there is a point of no return, and there is a point when discussion only feeds their twisted ego. Ask me how I know. I believe in reaching out to victims, and I believe in using specific terminology, but only to those whose hearts are soft, not to proven abusers like Ken Alexander, Doug Phillips, or my former pastor.

    As for the CD series from VF, yes, it is likely that they didn’t discuss specific implementation on recording. Those discussions are left for after church, between the men, or in closed-door “counseling sessions”. Within the church-cult communities, very specific social expectations are placed upon how a man implements his patriarchal leadership. Within other communities I am sure it is different, but that is how I experienced it.

    I appreciate the comments from NJ, missdaisyflower, and Persephone. I am still learning about personality disorders and mental illness and the particulars of abuse, and all insight is helpful in calming my confusion and hurt.

    @Julie Anne, I would feel honored to share my story here. I will email you soon. Thank you.

    Like

  36. Persephone,

    I liked your insightful comment. It just made sense to me. I am taking the liberty of reposting it over at The Wartburg Watch since it very much fits into the conversation which is going on, and on, :0 over there. I hope that is OK with you.

    Do you have any helpful links to suggest, as well, to support these perspectives? Thanks a bunch.

    Like

  37. How about this possibility? She had a full ride scholarship. Without the financial assistance, perhaps a college education would have been out of her reach. We know that she had many years of education ahead of her. Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. @NJ:

    When I was in college, I went through a situation of being stalked, although I was not emotionally attached to him–in fact, it was the other way around.

    I’ve been there — in the role of the guy. Back when this seriously socially-retarded nerd was first coming out of his shell back in the Eighties, I was clueless enough that some of the stuff I did (because that’s how I thought I was supposed to act when trying to date) would probably have gotten me up on stalking charges today. Mostly due to sheer cluelessness and total inexperience. The fact that this guy finally backed off makes me think there was a lot of cluelessness on his part too, and he finally got a clue. (Note that sometimes it takes a two-by-four clue-hammer over the head to get it.) A lot of Christian guys are just as isolated and socially-retarded with bad information on how to act as I was, even though mine came from a completely-different (and non-Christian) source.

    Like

  39. Song, I understand the tendency to generalize pretty quickly. Am guilty of it myself, to be totally honest with you.

    Regarding whether fundamentalism leads necessarily to Gothard patriarchy, girl doesn’t leave the house until she’s married, must homeschool, must try to do a family business, woman shouldn’t work for someone besides her husband, pastor/father is unaccountable authority figure, and the like, my take is that if we look closely at the Scriptures, all of this is either not stated in Scripture or flatly contradicted by Scripture. You will not find a requirement to homeschool in the Scripture (though my family does), nor will you see a command to have babies until the wife dies “be fruitful and multiply” does not mean “get your wife maimed or killed in the process”), and the like.

    So my contention is that if one really values the first fundamental, the authority of Scripture, one will come up with some very different conclusions than most “fundamentalists” arrive at. I would guess that Keith (of our “shared peeve”) would agree and note that you will tend to find many of the most truly “fundamental” people outside of churches that identify as fundamental.

    Make sense? I’ve personally been working through the issues of why many so-called “fundamental” churches deny their theology through their practice, and am convinced there are a number of reasons, historical and sometimes theological, but mostly historical.

    (Julie Anne, again, sorry for this diversion, but hopefully it is edifying)

    Like

  40. Headless Unicorn Guy, I’m sure you are correct about the cluelessness. This particular fellow was definitely on the nerdy end of the scale, which was one of the biggest reasons I was not attracted to him. Until the end of things, he was always polite, if rather socially awkward. I can’t be attracted to a man I barely have anything in common with, doesn’t fit my physical preferences (I like ’em tall dark and handsome), and after general pleasantries have been exchanged has NO CLUE how to make conversation.

    The trouble was, he kept pestering me about why I wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship with him. I really didn’t want to tell him that I found him boring, or wasn’t attracted to his looks. Who wants to tell somebody that? I felt like Elizabeth Bennett repeatedly saying no to Mr. Collins (Pride and Prejudice), and finally having to spurn him in the most effective way possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Bethany’s story jogged a memeory I have from college. A friend of mine who was so kind of a “Normal” guy, i.e fairly conservative, but not extreme, attended church some with his parents etc, met a girl. The girl was a Branhamite. The two began a romantic relationship. By using scriptural arguments, she got him to do a variety of things, such as getting rid of his small animals (hamsters, i think) and other things she persuaded him were idols. He did not know how to argue against her views from the Bible. He became pretty miserable. He soon left the college.
    Odd postscript: I looked the guy up on FB, and it seems he is now into Daoism.

    Like

  42. Very happy to hear about Bethany’s academic success, and that she finally broke free of someone who wasn’t right for her. She ought to be with someone who treats her right. Anyone else, she doesn’t need in her life.

    Here’s hoping her story will be an encouragement to many.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Bike Bubba and others,

    I guess that I would need to ask, “What is fundamental?”

    Many times that I go to church, or hear sermons, etc., Jesus and the spiritual and the supernatural is being preached less and less and less and less these days.

    What I seem to find, almost everywhere, is sermons on “How to live a better life”. And that seems to be the new fundamental. The Bible tells us that the Jews are a light to the Gentiles. Paul states that there is GREAT ADVANTAGE to being a Jew, as THEY hold the Oracles of God. The Pharisees did not discern from scripture that Jesus was the Messiah, because they could not SPIRITUALLY discern scripture. And it seems that much of Christendom can’t either. Jesus is the focus, not us. So why has fundamentalism changed from Jesus to “How to live a better life”?

    Jesus said to Nicodemus:
    John 3:10-12
    10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

    11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

    12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

    2 Cor 4:18
    While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

    The only thing that I see as CARNAL fundamental is “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. That statement states that you already love yourself. So, how you treat yourself is how you treat others.

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. How do people want to be treated?

    But where is the SPIRITUAL (eternal) fundamentals?

    So, what is ultimately fundamental?

    Ed

    Like

  44. I related to what NJ was talking about and had that happen to me.

    Some men won’t back down or take no for an answer, maybe because they are socially awkward, but, some men are very entitled.

    Some come from the school of “if I just pester the women enough, she will back down,” and that can stem from an entitled mentality, but from other reasons.

    I’d recommend the book of “The Gift of Fear” by DeBecker. It (among other books) explains how girls and women get stalked, raped, and killed because most of us ladies, in our culture, are socialized to be nice to men, even at the detriment of our own safety.

    We ladies are often taught being blunt with a guy and flat out saying to one, “Not interested, creep-o, move along” will either infuriate the guy (so he will hit you), or, more likely, will crush his feelings and make him cry.

    So most of us women have been taught to be super in-direct and super nice in letting a man down. And Christian women get three times the pressure by most churches and Christian indoctrination to be even ten times more sweet and indirect than Non-Christian ones.

    Instead of saying, “Not into you at all, bub, go away,” we might say to a man we have zero interest in, “Oh gosh, I’m really busy this Saturday night, washing my pet iguana Hank; can’t date you, sorry,” to gently let the man down.

    Some women will date the guy just because they are too afraid to say “no,” not because they want to date the guy.

    Regardless, if a woman has told you “no” twice, or gently rebuffed you (given you a super polite code speak for “No”), -as in, “Sorry, I spend Saturday nights polishing my silver ware” – please stop buzzing around the woman, standing physically by her, tracking her down, or asking her out more.

    She has expressed that she is not into you and does not want to date you, but it’s amazing the number of men I’ve had in my own life, and what I’ve seen happen to other ladies, who don’t get this, and they will keep hounding a woman and hounding her and hounding her. And it can be frustrating when not creepy and scary.

    If you keep hanging around a woman, and after she has given you a No or a gentle rebuff, or you keep asking her out, that is when the red flags pop up, “we have a stalker or mentally troubled guy here.”

    There was yet another news headline from a week or two ago of a frustrated young man in the UK who tried to stab three women to death because he was a virgin, couldn’t get dates or sex, and was angry at women for not wanting to date him or sex him up.

    I’m seeing more and more of those stories in the news. Women are getting punched or knifed by men they don’t even know out in public for not smiling back, not giving out their phone number to interested men, etc.

    (continued next post)

    Like

  45. NJ said,

    The trouble was, he kept pestering me about why I wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship with him.

    Yes, I’ve had that happen.

    You turn the guy down (even politely), and he keeps wanting to know specifically WHY.

    If someone keeps hounding you for a WHY, that can be a boundary violation. Just accept that woman’s “no” and move along.

    I have a sister who is like this. If I disagree with her, or say “no” about anything she asks of me, she will sit there for 20 minutes demanding me, in a huffy, angry way, to justify my choice.
    She will sit there like, “But WHY? Why won’t you do thus and so? Why? Why do you do yada yada?”

    It’s maddening. Just accept my “no” the first time and stop demanding me to rationalize my “no” to you. A lot of men do this when it comes to dating, break ups, and romance.

    My ex, when I dumped him, he wanted specific reasons as to WHY.
    First of all, he should have already had a good idea why (after several years together) why I was breaking things off, that he acted clueless about it was another tip off of what was wrong with him.

    Secondly, I don’t want to sit there and run someone down. You’re really putting someone in a romantic relationship in an awkward position when you basically are asking them to run down a list of your flaws.

    Anyway, some people -whether family or people who want to date you and hate hearing “no” – will demand specifics, exactly WHY you are saying No. That bugs me. I don’t like having to explain, defend, or justify my “no” to people (depending on what the topic is).

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Julie Anne,

    Looking forward to it. For me, it fundamentally (see what I did there?) stems from a theological error. No genuine fundie I’ve ever run into would deny justification by faith alone; their long lists of how every Christian must live are all about how we must live out our sanctification to avoid God’s displeasure or chastening.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. What was really odd about my college friend’s experience with the Branhamite girl was that they teach the serpent seed doctrine, and thus have a really low view of women. Still, she apparently felt it was OK to impose her views on him.

    Like

  48. Keith B said,

    By using scriptural arguments, she got him to do a variety of things, such as getting rid of his small animals (hamsters, i think) and other things she persuaded him were idols. He did not know how to argue against her views from the Bible. He became pretty miserable. He soon left the college.

    WHAT?! Oh no no no. I’m nuts for animals. If I had pets, there is no way I’d give them up for that or for anyone.

    There are verses which say a righteous man cares for his animals. God saved the animals on Noah’s ark. Revelation says Jesus returns on a white horse. Bible says in the future, the lion will lay down like a lamb.

    Being interested in animal welfare and taking care of an animal is not “idolatry.” What a loon she was.

    If I had been that guy, I would have said, “I love my pet hamster Geraldine more than you, I choose my pet over you, there’s the door, good bye!”

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Whoops! Time to go check out the Wartburg Watch.

    How in the world would Brian McLaren have standing to bring a suit against her?

    Be back later.

    Like

  50. Don’t know Brian McLaren, but if he is one of those hip, Lib/Progs, it is rather unseemly of him. Perhaps he belongs to the authoritarian wing of Lib/Prog theology.

    Like

  51. Ed: Serpent Seed is a good one, very southern Appalachia gothic/horror, i.e any woman could be carrying the literal descendant of Satan. Women are the cause of most sin, etc. I will have to look up Shepherd’s Chapel.

    Like

  52. Keith, Arnold died last year, but his son took over. They are a very strange bunch. He has a very early morning hour long “paid religious program” on various local TV channels. I used to watch him ONLY for the purpose of hearing what crazy thing he was gonna teach next.

    Ed

    Like

  53. Ed: I just looked them up. I was pleased to see they espouse one of my favorite heresies, Anglo-Israelism. It is loads of fun to read. It lacks the “ick’ and gothic of Branhamism, but makes up for it in geographic and linguistic ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Bethany

    Thank you for telling your story. ===Sadness=== 😦 😦

    So sorry you experienced this mess.
    I know what it is like to cry like this and be ”constantly worn out”

    “Having suffered from emotional, psychological, mental, and spiritual abuse in this relationship, it’s safe to say I was a mess. I had trouble eating and sleeping. I cried so much my eyes burned all the time and I was constantly worn out from this.

    Thank you for telling your story. ===Joyful=== 🙂 🙂 🙂

    So glad your experience taught you valuble lessons…
    About looking ONLY to Jesus and “NOT in people or religious movements”

    And, I also, “Having suffered from emotional… and spiritual abuse”
    I now know what it’s like to “put my faith and hope in Jesus Christ ONLY”
    For that I am forever thankful, and joyful. 🙂

    Jesus is the best – Yes?

    I really appreciate how you say this after all the pain…

    “Furthermore, I have learned to never put my faith in a religious movement or minister. I have noticed more how a person’s faith is completely shattered when a religious movement falls to the ground or a person is discovered as corrupt.”

    ‘I put my faith and hope in Jesus Christ only, not in people or religious movements.”

    “People today are fortunate to have personal relationships with Jesus and I am so fortunate to rely on Him above everyone on this earth.”

    “The true Christ. Our Lord Jesus who wants us to look to Him and Him ONLY for guidance, strength, and refuge.”

    Mat 11:28
    Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
    and I (Jesus) will give you rest.

    Liked by 2 people

  55. @ carolsnider,

    Good stuff at both links. I’m thinking too that Paul Simon’s Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover puts a lot of it into focus as well.

    Like

  56. So most of us women have been taught to be super in-direct and super nice in letting a man down. And Christian women get three times the pressure by most churches and Christian indoctrination to be even ten times more sweet and indirect than Non-Christian ones.

    Instead of saying, “Not into you at all, bub, go away,” we might say to a man we have zero interest in, “Oh gosh, I’m really busy this Saturday night, washing my pet iguana Hank; can’t date you, sorry,” to gently let the man down.

    missdaisyflower, your point is well taken that church culture often leads to great confusion. I personally got a number of no responses at all when I asked young ladies out back in the day. When I figured that no response/”I’m washing my lizard” meant “no”, I started getting dates.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. @Daisy:

    Some come from the school of “if I just pester the women enough, she will back down,” and that can stem from an entitled mentality, but from other reasons.

    Including “but that always works in the movies”.

    I had a double whammy — the movies that influenced me were Forties & Fifties ones. And I hit puberty and got interested in girls in the early Seventies — when the Sexual Revolution was changing all the rules. The disconnect and results weren’t pretty.

    So most of us women have been taught to be super in-direct and super nice in letting a man down. And Christian women get three times the pressure by most churches and Christian indoctrination to be even ten times more sweet and indirect than Non-Christian ones.

    Which I can tell you flat-out wouldn’t work with me. I have always been VERY direct and associate indirect methods with underhanded manipulation — that is, when I can recognize them. I expect directness, I literally don’t understand indirection, and indirectness breeds serious distrust. In my hindbrain, I Have Been Deceived and I react accordingly to the Deceiver.

    Like

  58. @MuffPotter:

    @ carolsnider,

    Good stuff at both links. I’m thinking too that Paul Simon’s Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover puts a lot of it into focus as well.

    I’m old enough to remember that song. And that it didn’t mention what was to me an obvious tactic (in a sick farce-comedy way): Bondage & Bugout.

    Like

  59. @KeithBlankenship:

    Ed: Serpent Seed is a good one, very southern Appalachia gothic/horror, i.e any woman could be carrying the literal descendant of Satan. Women are the cause of most sin, etc.

    Sounds like Serpent Seed Branham was channeling Bob Howard’s “King Kull” or something. “KA NAMA KAA LAJERAMA!”

    And a Serpent Man origin because “Eve F’ed the Serpent in the Garden” — all I can say is Kookarama + very dirty mind.

    Though when I first heard about “Serpent Seed”, this pic came to mind:
    http://www.furaffinity.net/full/1256203/
    (Note — do NOT go off this page; artist does a LOT of NSFW on Steriods and What Is Seen Cannot Be Unseen. I know this piece because I bought a print of it at an SF con art show. Which is a story in and of itself.)

    Like

  60. Barb Orlowski, I apologize for the delay in answering :-). We’ve moved recently and I have had only very occasional internet access. Hopefully sometime next week that’ll be remedied.

    I read at WW all the time (when I have internet, that is). I’m happy to have the comment posted there.

    I’ll have to do some digging for the resources I’ve used. We’re not terribly unpacked yet, and I also don’t haven’t had time to do internet searching lately, but I will see what I can do.

    Off the top of my head, cryingoutforjustice.com is a great place to start. It deals specifically with do with domestic abuse, which they do a great job of defining as so much more than physical battering.

    Like

  61. Missdaisyflower said: “I’d recommend the book of “The Gift of Fear” by DeBecker. It (among other books) explains how girls and women get stalked, raped, and killed because most of us ladies, in our culture, are socialized to be nice to men, even at the detriment of our own safety.”

    I second that recommendation. This endangerment becomes even more extreme in circles where girls are told that men have actual authority over them, and must not just be tolerated with politeness, but actually obeyed.

    Though very conservative theologically, my parents taught me that if a man ever made me feel uncomfortable, I didn’t need an excuse or an explanation to trust my own instincts and get away. And they backed me up, even when it happened at church.

    The interesting thing to me theologically is that along with their conservatism (which might even be termed fundamentalism!) they had a deep and abiding respect for the Holy Spirit’s work in the individual life of the believer. Many times I saw them trust that in my life, in my sibling’s lives, and in fellow church members, even when it didn’t fit conservative rules or expectations. I think this gave their lives a balance that many conservative believers lack, and I wish more fundamentalists would consider being fundamental about letting the Holy Spirit do his work, rather than trying to do it themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  62. @missdaisyflower and L.J. I definitely second the recommendation for “The Gift of Fear”. That was a book that I gave to my younger sister, who suffered from the taught naïveté that exists in many conservative circles. I think it helped her to be wiser, safer, and bolder about refusal.

    L.J., your parents sound cool. I have often wondered why more Christians don’t actually seem to believe that the Holy Spirit has any function at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  63. Song of a River,

    L.J., your parents sound cool. I have often wondered why more Christians don’t actually seem to believe that the Holy Spirit has any function at all.

    SOAR (I really like that!),

    I have found that abusive and controlling pastors rarely give credit to the Holy Spirit – – because they are too busy trying to BE the Holy Spirit. They can’t have people hearing from God for themselves when they think they have the only direct line with God (or right interpretation of Scripture, right doctrine, etc). Allowing the Holy Spirit to work means they have less control, so I think they act like the Holy Spirit is non-existent. I don’t recall my suing pastor saying anything about the Holy Spirit when we were there except maybe if he had to when reading Scripture.

    Liked by 2 people

  64. JA,

    “I have found that abusive and controlling pastors rarely give credit to the Holy Spirit – – because they are too busy trying to BE the Holy Spirit. They can’t have people hearing from God for themselves when they think they have the only direct line with God (or right interpretation of Scripture, right doctrine, etc). Allowing the Holy Spirit to work means they have less control, so I think they act like the Holy Spirit is non-existent. I don’t recall my suing pastor saying anything about the Holy Spirit when we were there except maybe if he had to when reading Scripture.”

    This is a good thought. I remember the same failure to mention the Holy Spirit in my former church. My former pastor literally scoffed at my younger brother when my brother said that he felt the Holy Spirit leading him to make a particular life choice (that, incidentally, was against the pastor’s wishes). I suppose the pastor felt threatened by something that might be the actual work of God. How ironic and sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  65. Agreed, SOAR and JA! My abusive pastor believed that the Holy Spirit’s work was related to salvation only, and didn’t apply to day to day situations/decisions. That was lived out in the congregation by his denial of the liberty of individual members (I Cor 6:3 Where the Spirit is, there is liberty…) which extended in my case to denying/destroying my specific ministry within the church body. A diminishment of the Holy Spirit’s work, or an attempt by the pastor to take on the Holy Spirit’s functions, is now a big red flag for me.

    Aside to JA…the scriptural consequences of speaking against the Holy Spirit are very serious. My former pastor is absolutely miserable, though he continues in the pulpit, and I daresay your former pastor is as well.

    I LOVE how understanding the Holy Spirit’s work forces us to trust our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and his work in them. That’s my favorite thing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  66. I didn’t mean to cause confusion over using the term “forced.” My parents are anything but forceful. I made the decision to return to the same school because I didn’t want my ex to feel like he had won some victory over me. I didn’t want him thinking that I was too weak to see him on the street. I also had tremendous opportunities on the campus and wasn’t going to let him get in the way of that. I had scholarship money, honors, projects/research, and internships to tend to. The classes at my university prepared me for physical therapy school, and I didn’t want to leave that prestige. I was also making an impact in the community in church and volunteering at an early intervention center. I simply had too much that God allowed me to contribute in the community and university that I knew I didn’t want to leave. Plus, he didn’t own the city or college and I wanted him to know that. So yes, “forced” was probably a poor choice of words. My parents said I could give up my scholarships, transfer, and get a fresh start. That’s just not what I wanted, although it was very tempting that first semester I went back.

    As to how I refer my ex’s group, I typically use fundamentalist. That’s a more understandable term to the general population than the names such as Gothard and Phillips. I also use Calvinist since this is part of their belief system. They have a strange combination of beliefs, I know they have also been influenced by the Plymouth brethren if anyone has ever heard of that group.

    Liked by 1 person

  67. I have also seen some comments talking about mental illness. There is NO doubt that this is abundant in my ex’s family. I could see a crazy look in his parents from the beginning, I just talked myself out of my gut feeling because I was in love and didn’t want to face the truth. The parents also had a strange fear of the study of psychology. I mentioned my classes when we met and they were very threatened that I was studying psychology. Now I know why. They use psychological tactics on their children to force them into submission. I took abnormal psychology the semester after the break up, and I learned a lot about how the minds of him and his parents really work. I unfortunately diagnosed my ex and his father with the personality disorders mentioned previously like narcissism as well as paranoid disorder, specifically for my ex. I believe the mother’s illness and poor behavior towards others has to do with simply being beaten down by her husband for so many years. It’s scary for me to think that I would probably be just like his mom one day if I had married my ex. All I can say is with the way she treats people, this is not a goal to strive for.

    I also saw a clinical psychologist after the break up just to tell her my story and get her input. Without any knowledge of the religious background, she warned me that both his father and my ex were mentally ill and to stay far away forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  68. Also to clarify, the mother is mentally ill as well. I just think it has more to do with the trauma she has been put through through the years. As the wife, she’s probably had it even worse from the father than my ex did as a male child.

    Liked by 1 person

  69. Bethany, Thank you so much for your input. I am sorry that you had to go through all of it. Once again, I am so glad that you didn’t wait until after the “I do’s” before figuring it all out.

    Liked by 1 person

  70. Thank you, Bethany, for clarifying the word “forced” for us. From our communication over a year ago, I only recall you saying how supportive your parents were (particularly you mom). Thanks also for taking the time out of your busy school schedule to check in. I think your story (both the first one and this followup post) really touched a lot of people.

    Liked by 1 person

  71. Bethany: Thanks for the clarification regarding “forced” to attend. It had been a puzzle to me. Also thanks for a little confirmation regarding the connection between Plymouth Brethren and some of the spiritually abusive groups/movements. I have an interest in the influences on Gothard. What little information is out there seems to point to a connection, perhaps tenuous, to the Plymouth Brethren.

    Congratulations on being accepted into the Physical Therapy program, I think you will be a blessing to a lot of people in your career!

    Like

  72. Hi Bethany, perhaps a bit late to the party 🙂 but I came across your update today and it resonated with me in so many ways. I can just feel your pain through your words. I also went back and read your story from a year ago.

    What you describe with your boyfriend’s behavior post breakup is very, very similar to an experience with a young Christian man I met in college, fell in love with and was briefly engaged to. He was not involved in anything like patriarchy or Gothard/VF (he was Lutheran turning evangelical) but as was pointed out upthread, abusers can be of any religious conviction or of none whatsoever. However, I do think that his treatment of me was with the aim to get me back to my proper place as his future wife, something that he felt God had ordained, because he saw everything in world as controlled by God. How dare I change God’s plan?

    Dealt with having to see him and the resulting pain after returning from spring break while handling a heavy course load. The stalking, alternating between the silent treatment and rudeness, also with a smear campaign thrown in, with him telling anyone who would listen “what I had done to him”.

    Over time, I realized this was not just abusive, it was blatantly disrespectful and my love for him waned after I realized that. It was from that experience that I learned that love is indeed not enough, respect is just as important. He eventually did ask me out again but I turned him down because I couldn’t go back, I still had feelings but the tide had turned.

    This experience has made you stronger, you have regained your future and it will serve you well in future relationships. Thanks for sharing and God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

Thanks for participating in the SSB community. Please be sure to leave a name/pseudonym (not "Anonymous"). Thx :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s