Raelians Push White House for Alien Embassy to Save Humanity



By Joseph Laycock

April 6, 2015

Although it seems like a late April Fool’s prank, a press release from the Raelian movement on April 2 announced that they were delivering a project file to the White House with plans to construct an embassy for extraterrestrial visitors. Copies of the file were also given to the State Department and the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Raelian movement has insisted for decades that Earth’s survival depends on the creation of such an embassy. The arrival of benevolent aliens will inaugurate a messianic age of peace; but if humans fail to build the embassy by a certain date, we will destroy ourselves. A petition to build an embassy of this kind has nearly 3,000 signatures, revealing that many are still compelled by the idea of salvation in a flying saucer.

The UFO phenomenon began in June 1947 when Kenneth Arnold reported seeing disk-like objects in the sky while flying past Mount Rainier in Washington State. Almost immediately, UFO enthusiasts connected the sightings to the advent of nuclear weapons and millennial expectations. One month after the Arnold sighting, the Buchanan Brothers sang:

And though the war may be through there’s unrest and trouble brewin’

And those flying saucers may be just a sign

That if peace doesn’t come it will be the end of some

So repent today, you’re running out of time

The man known as Rael (née Claude Vorilhon) incorporated the same elements of UFOs, nuclear anxiety, and Biblical prophecy. Rael allegedly encountered space aliens in 1973, who warned him that humanity had entered the “Age of Apocalypse” following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Possibly inspired by writers like Erich Von Daniken, Rael announced that the Elohim–a name for God used in the Hebrew Bible–were actually aliens who created humanity “in their image” using advanced genetics. Prior to Rael, the Elohim employed numerous other prophets including Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Thus all religions are actually the result of alien contact.

To show the Elohim we are prepared to receive their help, Rael was to oversee the construction of an embassy in Jerusalem that would serve as a millennial “third temple.” Originally Earth was given until 2025 to construct the embassy or face destruction, though a website describing the embassy has pushed the critical date back to 2035. It also features messages from the Elohim expressing frustration with Israel and threatening to move the embassy to a more worthy country.

The Raelian movement has a history of using controversial campaigns to remain socially relevant. (Recent examples include the Swastika campaign and the Clitoraid initiative). But the petition to build an embassy for the Elohim points to broader religious attitudes. Thousands of signatories left comments expressing grave doubts about the ability of humanity (especially governments and churches) to change the world and a longing for superhuman intervention. One wrote:

Despite all the bad choices we humans have made over time, I know we will have the good sense to accept this help and prevent the extinction of life on Earth. It’s our duty to save our children from the disastrous consequences of our bad decisions. Let’s build the embassy and welcome those who truly can help/save us.

These comments demonstrate the plasticity of millennial hopes. A quarter century after the end of the Cold War, fears of nuclear annihilation have been superseded by fears of a global financial collapse and environmental devastation. Whether they believe the “Elohim” is God or a race of benevolent aliens, many still long for a new sacred order founded on something more than human agency.

Curated from Info-Secte

Hate Mongering Pastor Manning Says Christians Should Be Willing To Kill Gays

Hate Mongering Pastor James David Manning

Hate Mongering Pastor James David Manning

In last week’s rant praising Anne Coulter, Pastor Manning makes these un-Christian remarks:

“If we’re going to win this battle for the lord God almighty, two things are going to have to happen in terms of our battle strategies. We’ve got to be willing to die for what we believe. If you believe the word of God, then there is no way you will not die willingly for the cause of Christ. But the other thing – if we’re gonna win this battle against Obama, the long-leggy mack daddy, the quasi-Muslim freak, the vice president of both death and hell, against the sodomites, against racism – we’re gonna have to be willing to kill as well. You can try to arrest me, saying that I’m inciting murderous behavior. Go ahead and try. See if that will stand up in court.  Let me tell you something, if you’re not willing to kill for what you believe, if you’re not will to kill those that are diametrically opposed in great evil against you believe, then you’re not worthy of his service. You gotta be willing to kill. You gotta be willing to die.”

Scientology’s lobbyist who works the halls of Congress for the church

Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

By: Hunter Walker

For over ten years, records show the Church of Scientology has had one man lobbying Congress on its behalf.

According to House of Representatives and US Senate disclosure reports, the controversial religious group has paid over $1 million to Greg Mitchell to lead its lobbying efforts since 2003.

No other lobbyist has reported working for the church during this period.

A spokesperson for the Church said Mitchell’s lobbying work is “aligned to our broad humanitarian social initiatives.”

In his disclosure reports, Mitchell provided extensive details about his lobbying for Scientology. These records show he has focused on several areas for the church — pursuing federal funding for Scientology’s educational programs and disaster relief efforts, promoting efforts to help prisoners re-enter society, working to promote programs to help religious workers immigrate to the US, and working to make “international religious freedom” a priority for the government.

In a conversation with Business Insider on Wednesday, Mitchell said his work on “religious freedom” is currently the main focus of his lobbying for the church. This work often involves working with other religious organizations to encourage the US to put pressure on foreign countries that are persecuting religious groups.

“The US government … they already do raise these issues with all these countries,” Mitchell said. “So, I work with like all the different faiths in order to keep working with the US government to get them to make it a higher priority.”

Mitchell said his efforts to pursue federal funding were limited to a few specific instances. He characterized his work on immigration issues as a “secondary thing” and said his work on prisoner re-entry mostly occurred during the early period he lobbied on Scientology’s behalf.

Mitchell explained that his efforts to promote prisoner re-entry were conducted in conjunction with Scientology’s rehabilitation programs for criminals and drug abusers, Narconon and Criminon.

Mitchell is the founder and chief executive officer of The Mitchell Firm. He is a member of the church and has been lobbying on its behalf since 2003.

“I have friends who are in it and they’re the ones who really introduced me to it,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said the church approached him to lead its lobbying efforts because of his personal belief in Scientology programs.

“That’s really why they asked me to represent them. I did it because I believe in the programs,” said Mitchell.

Along with support for “their reform programs like Criminon,” Mitchell said he appreciates the way Scientology works with and for other groups to support religious freedom internationally. He characterized this as a “multi faith approach.”

Mitchell entered the political arena as a college senior in California where he worked for former Rep. Carlos Moorhead (R-California) beginning as an intern. He went on to serve as chief of staff for former Rep. James Rogan (R-California), both when Rogan led the California State Assembly and during his time in Congress. Mitchell began working as a campaign consultant in 2000 and started his firm in 2003.

His company site features pictures of Mitchell posing with politicians including former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton. It also touts his “political instincts gained from vast experience organizing grassroots efforts, managing successful political campaigns, and getting bipartisan legislation passed and signed into law.”

Along with the Church of Scientology, Mitchell has represented other clients including the American Civil Liberties Union, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, and the Open Society Policy Center. He said his work with these other groups has also focused on prison reform and religious freedom.

Scientology has been in the spotlight in recent weeks following the release of the HBO documentary “Going Clear” last month. The detailed various allegations that have been leveled against the church by critics including that it bilks followers out of money and has subjected them to physical abuse. Scientology has issued extensive and detailed rebuttals denying many of the claims made in “Going Clear.”

One critic who appeared in “Going Clear” is Mike Rinder, a former high-ranking Scientology executive who left the church in 2007. The church has also released lengthy statements questioning Rinder’s motives and credibility. In a conversation with Business Insider, Rinder said that he was “not familiar” with Mitchell.

“Back in my day, the lobbying in Washington was really done through Hill & Knowlton,” Rinder said.

However, Rinder said foreign religious persecution was still the main focus of the church’s lobbying efforts before Mitchell began leading the operation. He connected this to what he described as the church’s belief its members were being mistreated in foreign countries where it has expanded over the years.

“What they primarily were dealing with was human rights violations, the persecution of Scientologists in Germany and France, or trying to get the State Department in the US to act to curtail what the church believed were abuses of its parishioners in those foreign countries,” Rinder explained.

According to Bloomberg, Hill & Knowlton “resigned the Church of Scientology account” in 1991 after some of the company’s clients in the pharmaceutical industry complained due to the religion’s efforts campaigns against psychiatric drugs.

Mitchell’s work for the church has included lobbying members of Congress and President Barack Obama’s White House transition team. According to Mitchell, officials in Washington have largely been “accepting” of him as he has represented Scientology in spite of the fact the church has been controversial. He attributed this to the fact many of Scientology’s lobbying efforts have been conducted in conjunction with other religious groups.

“They’re accepting because it’s really about the issues and not the client. I do issue and cause-based lobbying. And all the issues I work on are issues that they are interested in also,” Mitchell said of the officials he has encountered while working for Scientology, adding, “I do a lot of my lobbying in coalitions. … When I did meetings with the Obama transition team, I was there shoulder-to-shoulder with representatives of other faiths.”

Curated from: Info-Secte

I Grew Up in a Cult. Here’s What Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Gets Right.

Lauren Adams, Sara Chase, Ellie Kemper, and Sol Miranda in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Lauren Adams, Sara Chase, Ellie Kemper, and Sol Miranda in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

An excellent article written by Flor Edwards

Curated from Info-Secte

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

For most viewers who stream the new Netflix show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the story line will be an unfamiliar peek into what it’s like to emerge into the world after living in an underground doomsday cult. But for me, having grown up in an apocalyptic cult, which cut me off from the world completely until I was 14, it’s all too familiar. While there may be some plot points that are structurally incongruent, there are important details that are strikingly spot-on.

Set in rural Indiana in the time of viral YouTube videos, officers raid an underground bunker while four women inside, known as the “mole women,” cheerfully chant, “Apocalypse, apocalypse, we caused it by our dumbness,” to the tune of “Oh, Christmas Tree.” Kimmy Schmidt sees the light of day for the first time in 15 years, and her life goes spinning into a whole new orbit. Savior Rick’s Spooky Church of the Scary-pocalypse, was postapocalyptic. The cult that I grew up in, the Children of God, was preapocalyptic. “Father” David Brandt Berg, the leader of the Children of God, led his 12,000 followers to believe that we lived in preparation for the end-times that would come in 1993.

Like Kimmy, growing up, my days were tightly regimented, and I was constantly being watched. Unlike Kimmy, I never saw our leader nor knew what he looked like, as he lived in complete hiding. Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (an awesome name for a Netflix cult leader, by the way) is also enigmatic, and we don’t see his face until later in the season. When the mole women emerge from underground, they land a guest spot on the Today show with Matt Lauer, who questions them about their past. It’s in these first five minutes of the pilot episode that the stage is set: One woman sold her hair to Wayne on Craigslist; another was lured into his car to “look at baby rabbits” after he was a regular customer at the steakhouse she worked at. She joined because, as she put it, she didn’t “want to look rude.” These are all lighthearted spoofs that poke fun at the reality behind cult radicalism and religious extremism, but I’m curious to know Richard Wayne Gary Wayne’s motive: Is he just a womanizing pervert who gathers a group of women who believe his every word, or is there some ideology captivating them to stay? I can say from personal experience that no one would stay in a cult without some promise of utopia or change.

When 29-year-old Kimmy decides to stay in New York instead of going back to Indiana with the rest of her clan, her wide-eyed wonderment is met with all the typical conflicts of living in a big city: She has to find an apartment, a job, and, of course, a flourishing social life. These are the perfect obstacles for someone who has spent 15 years in an underground bunker (unlike me, she was forcibly recruited, i.e. kidnapped, at 14, the youngest member of the cult). These first few minutes of B-roll are spot-on—Kimmy runs alongside a random jogger because she’s just so happy to be outside (cult escapees are unrealistically grateful—for everything!). A quick clip shows her discovering water flowing out of a faucet and then laughing in glee at the hand dryer in a public restroom (a public restroom for an ex-cult-member is a novel idea—functioning toilets and running water are a first-class experience).

For a 29-year-old, Kimmy’s enthusiasm to be at a park and swinging in a swing for the first time might seem questionable, but it’s not. I remember the first time I walked on soft wood chips at a park in the suburb of Berwyn near Chicago. I will never forget the first time we stepped off the plane at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and my 11 siblings and I discovered a drinking fountain for the first time. We all gathered around and took turns pressing the button that magically spouted a clear fluid arch of drinkable liquid. We probably looked hilarious, but it didn’t matter; we had discovered water like it was life on Mars. Kimmy doesn’t care either if she looks ridiculous; she is discovering the world for the first time, and that is the appeal of the journey of Kimmy Schmidt.

When you’ve grown up in a cult your whole life (or since your early teens, as in Kimmy’s case), you want nothing more than to be “normal,” although you don’t quite have a grip on what this “normal” is. All you know is that you’re not it. At one point we hear Kimmy explicitly say, “I just wanna be a normal person.” She satisfies this desire by buying herself the coolest pair of tennis shoes that light up, throwing herself at guys trying to kiss them, and engaging in life with an uncharacteristic optimism that no doubt stems from her years in isolation. On my first day of high school, I wanted nothing more than to be normal. I had never bought clothes in my entire life, but I found a shirt I thought was cool. I was kicked out for showing too much cleavage—an offense I did not know was worthy of expulsion. This was just the first instance in an adolescence (and adulthood) full of misunderstanding and confusing miscalculations.

I resolved at some point that, as Kimmy so aptly puts it, “The worse thing that can happen has already happened.” I was going to have to find my way, like Kimmy, to cope with this world that I was unprepared for. (Sadly, I didn’t have the brilliant writing of Tina Fey or background music during my personal moments of triumph.) Like Kimmy, I learned to cope by learning to understand people. Maybe our backgrounds were different, but deep down, inside, we were all the same. I reasoned, at some point, that nobody really felt normal (in fact, there was no such thing!) and everyone was just trying to fit in.

Growing up in a cult gives you an abnormal zest for life, and Kimmy Schmidt exuberates this confidence fittingly (although being stripped of your identity and being told that you’re “garbage” and a “dum-dum” would lead to a less-than-sunny disposition in real life). But Kimmy’s optimism, coupled with her resilience, is what makes the show relatable and endearing. Her character will be the broad appeal of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Parliament member requests inspection of Russian Scientology Church

Scientology "Org"

Scientology “Org”

ST. PETERSBURG, February 19 (RAPSI) - A member of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, Vitaly Milonov, sent a letter to Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov requesting an in-depth inspection of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg and other Russian regions, the deputy’s press services reports.

According to the press statement, the request followed numerous inquiries from St. Petersburg residents concerned over the opening of the Scientology Church branch in St. Petersburg. The church followers are said to be aggressively promoting their pseudo-religious movement among the youth and students of nearby schools and universities
Milonov says that the Scientology Church “is a typical example of totalitarian cults that aim to brainwash people.”

“They have nothing to do with religion and the church,” he added.

The parliament member believes that the movement forces people to forget traditional Russian cultural and religious values, destroys their idea of their home country and replaces true morals with “a phony spiritual substitute.” He describes scientologists as “fanatics with a sterile consciousness,” who, he believes, lead all kinds of color revolutions.

Milonov claims that Scientology poses a threat to the state and Russian citizens and that this organization must be banned.

Dianetics and Scientology is a religious and philosophic movement established in the US in the early 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard.

The scientific community never recognized it as science.

A resolution passed in 1996 by the lower house of parliament, or the State Duma, classified the Church of Scientology as a destructive religious organization.

The Moscow Regional Court ruled in 2012 that some of Hubbard’s books be included on the Federal List of Extremist Literature and banned from distribution in Russia.ST. PETERSBURG, February 19 (RAPSI) A member of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, Vitaly Milonov, sent a letter to Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov requesting an in-depth inspection of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg and other Russian regions, the deputy’s press services reports.

According to the press statement, the request followed numerous inquiries from St. Petersburg residents concerned over the opening of the Scientology Church branch in St. Petersburg. The church followers are said to be aggressively promoting their pseudo-religious movement among the youth and students of nearby schools and universities
Milonov says that the Scientology Church “is a typical example of totalitarian cults that aim to brainwash people.”

“They have nothing to do with religion and the church,” he added.

The parliament member believes that the movement forces people to forget traditional Russian cultural and religious values, destroys their idea of their home country and replaces true morals with “a phony spiritual substitute.” He describes scientologists as “fanatics with a sterile consciousness,” who, he believes, lead all kinds of color revolutions.

Milonov claims that Scientology poses a threat to the state and Russian citizens and that this organization must be banned.

Dianetics and Scientology is a religious and philosophic movement established in the US in the early 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard.

The scientific community never recognized it as science.

A resolution passed in 1996 by the lower house of parliament, or the State Duma, classified the Church of Scientology as a destructive religious organization.

The Moscow Regional Court ruled in 2012 that some of Hubbard’s books be included on the Federal List of Extremist Literature and banned from distribution in Russia.

Curated from: Rapsi

Church of the First Born Cult

Travis Rossiter and his wife Wenona Rossiter convicted for Manslaughter.

Travis Rossiter and his wife Wenona Rossiter convicted for Manslaughter.

By: Linda Martin

Nov 12, 2014 — This last week I sat through a disturbing trial in Albany, Oregon. The parents were convicted of manslaughter in the death of their 12 year old daughter, Sybil. She suffered for weeks or maybe months before she died from untreated diabetes. The parents and members of the church did nothing but pray. The parents belong to the Church of the First Born. The Followers of Christ church that I was raised in has close family ties to this church. Their doctrines are almost identical. There are branches of Church of the First Born in Idaho.

If these parents had lived in Idaho they would not have been prosecuted. Their actions are legal in Idaho. Their daughter would have been buried and forgotten.
I want to thank everyone who have signed this petition. I can’t stress how important it is to keep sharing this petition. Idaho lawmakers have been resisting efforts to change their laws to protect children whose parents are unwilling to treat them. We need to show them we will not quit until all children in Idaho have equal protection under the law. Thank you for helping.

If you have not yet signed the petition to the Idaho government to change the religious shield law, PLEASE CLICK HERE

To read the story about the trial and conviction, please click here.

When Religious Belief Goes Too Far

I did it out of love: Satanic killer

I did it out of love: Satanic killer

Tracy McLaughlin, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:48 PM ET

BARRIE, Ont. Satanic killer Mark Dobson, convicted of partially decapitating two women, told a judge Friday he murdered them out of love.

Everything I did was out of goodness and love not evil, he said in a soft, boyish voice as he stood in the prisoners box. Im not a psychopathic killer.

Dobson, now 25, was sentenced to one term of life in prison for the murders of his girlfriend, Mary Hepburn, 32, of Barrie and Helen Dorrington, 52, of Cold Lake, Alta.

The women were found with their heads partially severed, surrounded with small dolls and satanic art in a room at the Travelodge motel in this city north of Toronto on May 2, 2012.

Dobson and Hepburn had met on a chat website called The Joy of Satan and eventually fell in love and moved in together.

Mary was my eternal lover, Dobson said. She was everything to me.

Together, along with Dorrington who believed Satan was her lover, court heard they planned a murder-suicide pact so they could travel to another galaxy and meet Satan where they would all live happily ever after.

The women each took a handful of drugs and the plan was for Dobson to strangle them peacefully while they were unconscious.

But the plan didnt work, Dobson told the court. They began to babble in a drugged state rather than slip into slumber, so he cut their throat, even as Hepburn begged him to stop and gurgled her pleas through her severed trachea.

It was the worst thing I ever had to do in my life, Dobson said. But I honestly believed I was doing the right thing…They made me promise that no matter what, I had to go through with it.

A medical expert testified that given several more hours, the women would have died from the toxic mix of prescription pills they took.

But Crown attorney Shannon Curry said the fact the women planned to die should not detract from the heinous act.

This was a violent, gruesome and frightful murder, Curry said. The very antithesis of peaceful and quiet.

Dobson admitted his act was a horror.

I will live with this for the rest of my life, he said. Without Mary, there is nothing for me.

As he spoke, Hepburns mother rushed out of court weeping.

To say he is sorry is like a slap in the face, she said outside.

When her daughter introduced her to Dobson she was happy for the couple, she recalled.

He seemed like a nice young man I thought they were a perfect match, she said. I had no idea he could do something like this.

Now she weeps at night as she thinks of her gentle daughter who loved birds and animals.

When I lost her, I lost a piece of my soul, she said. I miss her big, squeezy hugs.

Judge David Watt chose not to sentence Dobson to two consecutive life sentences because he considered Dobsons character, his youthfulness, his mental instability and the fact this was his first criminal offence.

I did it out of love: Satanic killer.

The Fundamentalist Baptist Cult.


Curated from Patheos

by: John Shore

Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFB) is a loosely-affiliated, cultish denomination of Christian fundamentalists. According to the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life, there are approximately 7.85 million IFB members in America. It’s unlikely there isn’t an IFB church within a half-hour drive from your house.

If you’re unfamiliar with the beliefs and practices of the Independent Fundamental Baptists, some of them are:

→ The King James Version is the only true Word of God; all other translations of the Bible are the work of the devil. Meant to be taken literally, the KJV is inspired, inerrant, infallible, and the supreme and final authority in all things. It is therefore literally true that God created the world in six 24-hour days; Satan is real, the enemy of God, and the instigator of all false religions; the theory of evolution is unscriptural and therefore without merit; hell is a real place where all who die without having accepted Christ as their Savior suffer consciously being roasted alive for eternity, and so on.

→ Each IFB church is wholly autonomous and free from any outside governance. Its pastor is divinely appointed and accountable to no earthly authority. He speaks for God, and God alone may judge him. To question the sovereignty of the pastor is to disturb God’s order and invite upon oneself separation from the church, and therefore from the very source of salvation and hope.

→ Men alone are suited to be the head of home and church.

→ For a woman to be pleasing to God she must always and in all things remain perfectly submissive, first to her father and then to her husband. The primary function of a woman is to have children, who then become her mission field.

→ It is sinful for a woman to dress in any way that might cause a man to spiritually stumble by having even the slightest lustful thought.

→ Human life begins at conception. Every abortion, without exception, is murder.

→ Homosexuals are evil perverts who despise God and should be kept away from society generally and children especially. There is no appreciable moral distinction between homosexuality and bestiality, incest, child molestation or rape.

→ Black people bear the indelible and wretched curse of the “mark of Cain.”

→ Christians are called to remain steadfastly separate from the world and its sinful practices and temptations, such as movies, dancing, and any music with an addictive rock beat.

→ Educating children at home or in IFB K-12 schools is necessary in order to protect them from the knowledge and ways of a fallen and corrupt world.

IFBs also generally believe that the will of a child must be broken before it ever has a chance to develop: a fussing or crying baby is exerting its selfish will. That will needs to be eliminated, since wherever human will is God’s will cannot be.

By way of justifying infant “training” and the continued “submission of the will” of children, IFB parents point to these lines in The Book of Proverbs:

  • Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. (Pr 23:14)
  • The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. (Pr 29:15)
  • Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Pr 22:15)
  • He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes [early on; speedily]. (Pr 13:24)
  • Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. (Pr 19:18)
  • The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil. (Pr 20:30)

To Train Up a Child, by fundamentalist Christian minister Michael Pearl and his wife Debi, is very popular within the IFB. This guide to “consistently rewarding every transgression with a switching” (from the book’s introduction) has sold over 670,000 copies. Here are some quotes from the book:

These truths [of this book] are . . . the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules, the same technique God uses to train his children.

If you have to sit on him to spank him then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher, more patiently enduring and are unmoved by his wailing. Defeat him totally. Accept no conditions for surrender. No compromise. You are to rule over him as a benevolent sovereign. Your word is final.

If God’s love is expressed by the “whippings” He gives, then can we not love our children enough to chasten them unto holiness? I have heard a rebellious teenager say, “If they only loved me enough to whip me.”

But what of the grouch who would rather complain than sleep? Get tough. Be firm with him. Never put him down and then allow him to get up. If, after putting him down, you remember he just woke up, do not reward his complaining by allowing him to get up. For the sake of consistency in training, you must follow through. He may not be able to sleep, but he can be trained to lie there quietly. He will very quickly come to know that any time he is laid down there is no alternative but to stay put. To get up is to be on the firing line and get switched back down.

She then administers [to a three-year-old] about ten slow, patient licks on his bare legs. He cries in pain. If he continues to show defiance by jerking around and defending himself, or by expressing anger, then she will wait a moment and again lecture him and again spank him. When it is obvious he is totally broken, she will hand him the rag and very calmly say, “Johnny, clean up your mess.”

On the bare legs or bottom, switch him eight or ten licks; then, while waiting for the pain to subside, speak calm words of rebuke. If the crying turns to a true, wounded, submissive whimper, you have conquered; he has submitted his will. If the crying is still defiant, protesting and other than a response to pain, spank him again.

One particularly painful experience of nursing mothers is the biting baby. My wife did not waste time finding a cure. When the baby bit, she pulled hair (an alternative has to be sought for baldheaded babies).

Select your instrument according to the child’s size. For the under one year old, a little, ten- to twelve-inch long, willowy branch (striped of any knots that might break the skin) about one-eighth inch diameter is sufficient. Sometimes alternatives have to be sought. A one-foot ruler, or its equivalent in a paddle, is a sufficient alternative. For the larger child, a belt or larger tree branch is effective.

This story is so horrifying I hesitate to link to it, but anyone questioning the harm done within IFB by the Pearls’s child-rearing philosophy might want to read The Tragic Death of Ethiopian Adoptee Hana Williams, and How It Could Happen Again, published five days ago as I write this.

IFB takes the “I” in its title extremely seriously; they are nothing if not independent. For this reason, IFB churches vigorously renounce the idea that IFB constitutes a denomination: each church, they hold, is a kingdom unto itself and obliged to cooperate with exactly no other church body, IFB or otherwise.

For “college,” IFB students are mostly sent to one of three IFB institutions: Bob Jones University, Hyles-Anderson College, or Pensacola Christian College. Each is led by men who themselves graduated from one of the three. Invariably these men insist on being called “Dr.” This is a purely honorific title, since out in the real world a degree of any sort from any IFB college has no value.

Here are a few pieces I’ve published about Bob Jones and/or the IFB:

Bob Jones University shuts down year-long investigation of sexual abuse on its campus.

A Christianity to make Satan proud presents a letter written by a young woman, raised IFB, who was a victim of her father’s serial sexual abuse. As she was destined to all of her life, she attended BJU. BJU handled this traumatized girl in its typical fashion, which is so horrendous that few outside of the IFB would even believe it.

Waiting for Bob Jones’s huge gay bomb to drop.

The patriarchal, ego-fortifying, psyche-destroying, soul-crushing, domineering, brain-washing, fear-inducing, manipulative, spiritually abusive world of the fundamentalism I know was written by a woman raised in the IFB.

“Dr.” Marc Monte: Satan called. Loves your work. is about a former BJU graduate and current IFB pastor’s cruel response to victims of abuse.

Wondering how/why anyone would attend BJU? Then read An ex-fundy responds to the question, “How could anyone attend BJU”?

About a year ago I was asked to write a word of support and love for IFB survivors, which could then be share with such Facebook groups as Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Cult Survivors (and their Supporters) and Do Right Hyles-Anderson. I wrote:

Our characters are forged in the crucible of what we survive. In surviving the worst survivors of IFB have become the best. The writings that I’ve read from former IFBs are some of the strongest testimonies to the strength and decency of the human spirit that I’ve ever come across. I appreciate being asked to offer you guys a word of support, but you should be offering support to me and anyone else lucky enough to hear what you have to say. You’re the power. You’re the strength. It’s you who are singing the songs that need to be heard.

The one thing I do want to say for anyone just making their way out of the darkness of IFB is this: that you once so thoroughly bought into IFB is a sign of your strength, not your weakness. Beside the fact that you were likely born into IFB and so never chose to believe anything about it one way or another, your allegiance to IFB means nothing more than that you love. You love passionately, deeply, and inexorably. And like everyone else in the world you want that love to mean something, to be incorporated into and desired by something worthy of it. And what can possibly be more worthy of a person’s love than God and family?

You brought the goods to the table. You showed up, ready to play. You brought the best of yourself. You brought all of yourself.

You gave. You trusted. You loved, and loved, and loved some more. You loved when you had no more love to give.

You loved when the cost of that love was to negate the best parts of yourself.

You did what you were supposed to do: you sacrificed yourself.

It was they who didn’t truly commit to the truths upon which they claimed to be basing their lives. It was they who lied—first to themselves, and then to you.

They didn’t sink deep enough. They didn’t give over their will over to God. They didn’t sacrifice who they were.

They kept what they wanted. They kept what they needed. They kept what worked for them.

They pretended to be something they weren’t. They insisted upon that ignoble facade despite the too-clear harm it was causing. For their own dark reasons they kept that wicked dance going.

They lied.

They lied, they lied, they lied.

And they used the best of who you are, and the best of what you have to give, to feed those lies.

They used you as fodder in the war between themselves and everything they fear.

And because of your trusting love for them, you let them. You served them that way. You loved them in that (and a million other) ways. And in a real and important sense you will always love them. And out of that love you gave them the best of who you are to do with whatever they felt they needed to. And if they failed to treat that greatest of gifts with the sacrosanct respect it deserves, then shame on them.

If they really loved God they would have loved you and everyone else in a manner befitting that love: properly, carefully, consistently. It really is that simple.

And despite all you’ve been through, here you are now! Dented, maybe, a little—but definitely not broken.

Slightly wobbly, but still on your feet.

Shaken, not stirred.

You were right; they were wrong; and no sane person in the world would say otherwise. And screw ‘em if they do.

You have left them now to themselves, and stepped into your own world. A world where you say what is and isn’t good. Where you write the rules. Where you claim what’s true.

Finally, now, it’s time for you to dance to your own song.

And how marvelous will be your dance.

How you will soar.

Thank you for being so strong.

The above letter is available as a downloadable pdf here.

By way of learning more about IFB generally:

→ On the day I’m writing this, Al Jazeera America published the superbly done piece about Bob Jone University, How the ‘fortress of fundamentalism’ handles sexual assault

→ In its January 2013 issue, Chicago Magazine published Let Us Pray: Big Trouble at First Baptist Church.

→ In April of last year, 20/20 aired the results of its year-long investigation of IFB. (You can read ABC’s condensed print version of the show here.) Among those featured in the report are Tina Anderson, very recently in the news. (Researchers digging into the Tina Anderson story will appreciate finding her original testimony to the Concord, NH police department.)

→ Last spring Anderson Cooper 360° aired Ungodly Discipline, a show about the child abuse within IFB.(Part 1; Parts 2 & 3.) Part 1 looks at To Train Up a Child and includes an interview with its authors. Featured in Part 2 is Hephzibah House, one of the many private IFB-operated homes across the country to which IFB families send their “troubled” teens to live and be disciplined back into obedience to God. Because they are owned and operated by churches, such homes are typically exempt from any sort of licensure or government oversight. Introduced in Part 2 of Ungodly Discipline is former Hephzibah resident Susan Grotte. Ms. Grotte’s website is Hephzibah Girls; her personal testimony about her experience at Hephzibah House ishere.

→ Jocelyn Zichterman is featured in both the 20/20 and Anderson Cooper 360° episodes referenced above. Founder of the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Cult Survivors Facebook page, her website is Freedom From Abuse. Her book I Fired God: My Life Inside—and Escape from—the Secret World of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult is a must-read for anyone seeking comprehensive knowledge of what goes on inside the the IFB.

Free At Last does a great job of exploring and discussing IFB spiritual abuse. It’s done by Dale Fincher, a graduate of Pensacola Christian College, which rivals BJU in its influence over the IFB.

Paradise Recovered is a superb independent film about a young woman tentatively making her way in the world after being kicked out of her IFB home. Highly recommended.

StopBaptistPredators.org takes seriously its mission of “shining light on Baptist clergy sex abuse.” You’re likely to share that mission once you visit this site.

Blog on the Way is one of the best online resources for assisting victims of church abuse in Christian Fundamentalism. (Note its heart-stopping sidebar, The Christian Fundamentalist Roll Call of Shame: Child Abusers in Christian Fundamentalism.)

→ Chucks Travels keeps an ever-vigilant watch over nefarious IFB pastors.

→ If you search for “Independent Fundamental Baptists” on the very popular site Stuff Fundies Like, you get these posts

Why Not Train Up a Child is just what it claims to be: a clearinghouse of information and arguments refuting the teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl.

→ Vyckie Garrison’s blog No Longer Quivering is a gathering place for women escaping and recovering from spiritual abuse. Garrison offers a wealth of sensitively presented information and insight about the Quiverfull movement, popular and growing amongst Christian fundamentalists, which posits that truly godly families should “trust the Lord” with their family planning.

→ Though not particularly brief, A Brief Survey of Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches, by IFB enthusiast Cooper P. Abrams III (whose literally very colorful website is Bible Truth), offers insight into IFB’s history and mindset.

→ Contradicting IFB’s claim of not being a denomination is IFB umbrella organization Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International (FBFI). Though the bulk of FBFI’s website is unsurprisingly closed to outsiders, its available constitution is a comprehensive expression of IFB beliefs. Another great overview of IFB beliefs is the What We Believe page on the website of Sword of the Lord, a main and influential IFB publication.

Here is a map showing links to more IFB churches than you can shake a Bible at.

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2013/11/the-foul-toxicity-of-the-8-million-strong-independent-fundamental-baptists-headed-by-bob-jones-university/#ixzz3RezvFeLF

Danny Masterson Toeing The Scientology Line

In a recent interview by PAPERMAG, Danny Masterson reveals that he is the perfect example of Scientology brainwashing.  My comments, where needed, will be in red.  

Beck once told a New York magazine writer that Scientology is “always the last question journalists ask.” And when Danny Masterson, actor, DJ, restaurateur and second-generation Scientologist, appeared on our cover six years ago, the topic of his beliefs was tucked into a single paragraph toward the end of the story. Reconnecting with Masterson last month, we asked if we could focus in on the religion — “religious philosophy,” as he calls it — and why it works for him. As it turned out, we spoke with him just after he’d arrived to Sundance, where the already-controversial documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief was about to premiere. All the more reason to hear a bit of Masterson’s story and ask some questions.

You’re at Sundance, where Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is about to premiere. 

I heard about that documentary; the documentary where they interviewed eight people who hate Scientology. Should be pretty interesting. I wonder if Sundance would allow a documentary of, like, eight people who hate Judaism. But you know, my religion’s fair game, I guess, ’cause it’s new.

Maybe Mr Masterson doesn’t know that whenever an author or production company is under a time line, Scientology never responds to inquiries in a timely manner so that later they can scream unfair.

When things like this documentary and the book Going Clear come out, does it make your life socially awkward?

I only heard about [the book] recently. I do read, I do go out, but no one had mentioned it to me. When I looked into it, I noticed that he couldn’t publish that book in Canada or the UK because the libel laws are so much stricter than ours. And so when I asked about it, they’re like, “Oh yeah, there’s basically like 200 lies in the book and so in England and in Canada he couldn’t even publish that book.” Anyone can say anything about anything. How true it is, I guess that’s up to the reader. If you’re going to write something and you don’t ask the people who actually do it, then what’s the fucking point? We could all interview the KKK about what’s cool about being white, but we don’t. I don’t know; it just seems retarded to me.

What are your first memories of Scientology?

I didn’t really notice anything different in terms of my upbringing till I was in junior high school, maybe a little bit before that. I grew up in New York and it was just sort of like, everyone hated their parents and was always cheating and lying, and I was able to just be friends with my parents. A lot of people have that in their life, but I noticed that all my friends who were Scientologists, kids I had grown up with, we all sort of had the same thing: easy communication. It wasn’t this whole “us versus them” thing. So I noticed that. I noticed that any times I had trouble studying anything, there was really great literature on how to study, which made learning really easy for myself and my friends. In Scientology, there’s no belief system or anyone who’s worshipped or whatnot; it’s all sort of like college of the mind. And so I grew up not having to go and pray to anyone. I grew up just sort of like, “Oh, if you’re thirsty, drink water. That’s a logical fucking decision, right?” And you’re like, “Yeah, OK, that makes sense.” And that was pretty much the basis of my reality as a child.

How old were you when you started coursework?

Probably eight, nine, ten. Just what every religion would have in terms of like, “Be good to thy neighbor,” that kind of thing. And then when I was maybe 15, I was like, “Oh, this is fucking awesome.” I finally was old enough to read Dianetics, which is an unbelievably not-easy book to read because it was written by somebody with a much bigger vocabulary than most of us, in 1950. It just blew my mind. I was like, “That’s the reason why I have the thoughts that I have and don’t want them, or why I behave in a certain way when something happens and I don’t know why.” Dianetics literally is the answer to that — just like, here’s what it is and here’s why, and here are the examples, and see if it works for you. And then when you notice, over and over and over you’re like, “Oh shit, that’s exactly that same thing, that’s that thing I read, that’s that thing I read,” that’s when I took it on for myself as like, this is what I want to study more than any other philosophy.

Yup.  Indoctrination starts early in Scientology.  Poor Danny doesn’t know he is a victim of child abuse.

Do you remember any specific situations where you saw it working?

It would be hard for me to explain to you, having not read that book. But you know, it’s just the study of the mind and cutting it into two parts: the analytical mind and the reactive mind. One is the one that we use and think with, and the other is the one that uses us, and we do things and like, “Why the fuck am I doing that?” or “Why the fuck am I thinking this thing?” Hubbard figured a way to get rid of the reactive mind so it doesn’t affect you and it doesn’t fucking take over your life.

Sounds like you found your own connection with it in your teens.

Yep. Yeah, everybody does. There’s tons of kids I grew up with who were raised Scientologists who now don’t do Scientology but are still totally cool with it, and then there’s lots of people who’re like, “Oh yeah, here, check out this book, it might help your life,” and then all of the sudden they’re like, boom, “Oh my God, I need this, I need this fuckin’ all day long, I want to know all about this.” It’s a religious philosophy, so when I’m sitting there, studying about something, I’m oftentimes sitting next to guys from Nation of Islam and friends who are fully Jewish and other friends who are Catholic and Reverend Alfreddie Johnson, who’s a Baptist minister.

Can you be any other faith and a Scientologist at the same time?

Yeah, you can be any faith you want to be and be a Scientologist.

Up to the point you actually become a Scientologist.  Then you find out that other faiths are called other practices which is forbidden by the “church”.

What are the things that you wish you could clear up — the most annoying things that people approach you about?

Nothing really. I’ve never been given a hard time my entire life about my belief system or my philosophy in life. Literally never once in 38 years. If people start like asking questions in a way where I feel like they have an ulterior motive, I’m just like, “Dude, just go buy a fucking book and read it and decide for your fucking self what it means. I don’t have time to have this conversation with you.” If you’re curious about something, I’ll give you my one- or two-minute version of my opinion on it, but it’s also like that’s my opinion on what I read. You should read it for yourself, and decide whether you agree or disagree with it. And that’s a big thing in Scientology: the shit that is there at this point has been tested over and over and over so that each thing actually works. It’s like what I said earlier: “Oh my god, I’m so thirsty.” “OK cool, go drink water. That’s your solution.” And everything basically in Scientology is like, “Here’s a problem; OK cool, here’s something you can study that will help you find the solution to that problem.” There’s nothing more to it.

You’ve used words like “toolbox,” “technology” and “study” to describe Scientology. It’s all very discipline-based…

Everything in Scientology is just based on logic. I mean, the word Scientology means the study of knowledge. So there’s nothing else to it.

Except that it’s also a religion, so there must be, right?

What must be?

There must be something more to it than any other scholarly pursuit?

No, not really. It’s literally just that. There’s books and lectures and whatnot, and then there’s the stuff in Dianetics, which is the auditing, which is basically going through painful incidents in one’s life and erasing them so that they don’t upset you. And that’s basically it. There’s the two different avenues of Scientology and there’s nothing else.

So then what would you say is your personal relationship to L. Ron Hubbard? 

He’s a fucking guy who wrote awesome shit that I love studying. That’s who he is. He was a very famous author. He basically spent his entire life studying every great religion, found everything that worked, found things that didn’t work, took the stuff that worked, started like questioning it and grilling it and drilling it, going over and over until he could find the things that worked every time, guaranteed. And he was like, “Holy shit, here’s a new discovery I’ve just made. What does everybody think about it?” Everyone goes and studies and checks it out and they’re like, “Yeah, actually that does make sense and it does work.” And he’s like, “Cool, let me try and check into this.” And he’d just like go through all these avenues and basically came up with his discoveries and wrote the book Dianetics in the 1950, which was his research into the mind. I mean, that’s literally it.

But he also had theories about the origin of the world, as I understand it, and the fate of our souls and superhuman stuff that would suggest he’s more of a like messiah figure.

No one in Scientology thinks he’s a messiah. Everyone thinks he’s the founder of a philosophy that we all agree with, basically, and he was a hell of a lot smarter than I was, ’cause I couldn’t come up with this stuff.

So does your family celebrate March 13?

My birthday?

Is that your birthday as well?

We celebrate the shit out of it. We have a massive party on March 13.

Is it not also L. Ron Hubbard’s birthday?


Is that part of your celebration every year?

No. [laughs] There’s no religious holiday of LRH’s birthday.

That was something I actually found on Scientology.org, that there were a handful of religious holidays including his birthday.

Yeah, the special occasions which are anniversaries of things, but then they’ll basically like, on LRH’s brithday, there’ll be an event where they talk about the things that’ve happened in the past year. On the anniversary of Dianetics, they’ll talk about, you know, what countries are now having places that deliver Dianetics. So there’s stuff like that, where it’s just sort of like updates on what’s happening in the world, but nothing really more than that.

It is clear that Masterson has never been a staff member.  All staff a under extreme pressure to get targets dome by Hubbard’s birthday or suffer the consequences.  Also, staff are under all hands call in to get as many public (non-staff) Scientologists to the big birthday event every year. 

Do you feel like it’s fairly democratic? Does the fact that there is coursework that people have to pay for make it less open?

No. I mean, most of the courses cost 20, 50 bucks. If you can’t afford to go sit in a room and have someone who’s trained in that course give you the lessons and help you study and learn it, then I don’t know what to say. I mean, it’s cheaper than college. You could argue how expensive college is and then the debt for the next 10 years — and then how often do you use all of that information? I feel like I got the better end of the deal on that one.

Another thing you hear is that Scientology and psychiatry are pitted against each other…

Yes. You will not find a Scientologist who does not fucking hate psychiatrists. Because their solution for mental and spiritual problems is drugs. So let’s talk about putting a Band-Aid on something that’s just going to get worse and worse and worse. And the thing is, I’m sure there are tons and tons of amazing human beings who are psychologists or psychiatrists. But it’s like, if you study that man is an animal and nothing more than that, and you basically have this fuckin’ manual that has, what, 5,000 disorders in it, that you just bill your insurance company — “Oh, you have PMS disorder, you have caffeine-addict disorder, you have mathematics disorder; here, take Prozac” — what the fuck is that? Scientology handles those things, those mental problems that people have. It gets rid of them. It gets rid of them by that person doing it for themselves. That’s the solution to depression, not fuckin’ Prozac and whatever other pill that makes the kid then walk into a goddamn school and kill other kids.

Paul Haggis left the church on account of gay marriage.

Yeah, which is so stupid. What Paul was angry at made perfect sense, but it had nothing to do with Scientology. There was some person who worked at some small church in San Diego who wrote his name and then wrote “Church of Scientology” on Prop. 8, which is the most fucked up thing I’ve ever fucking heard. That guy got reamed, kicked out, I don’t know what the fuck happened to him. But then Paul was just mad that, as a religion, we’re not going to come out and say that we are for or against anything, which is a political matter. You’ll [hear] over and over where people ask somebody in the church to give their opinion and it’s like, “We have no opinion in the world of politics. We are a religion.” So if you want to know about spirituality we will talk about that, but not on anyone’s stance on the politics of that. I mean, dude, there’s a fucking ton of gay Scientologists. There’s absolutely nothing on anyone in Scientology being against Prop. 8 in terms of them picking that as their religious stance. And so Paul then took that and went crazy about it, like, “You need to as a church come out and say that you’re for gay marriage!” And the church is like, “Well, we’re not going to do that, because we’re not getting involved in a political matter in California. It has nothing to do with us, so please just fucking drop it.” And the other thing is that Paul hadn’t done anything in Scientology in fucking 30 years. So Paul is that dude who did some Scientology in the ’70s and would hang out with Scientologists but never actually did any Scientology — never got any auditing, wasn’t doing any courses, literally for 20 years. And that’s the fucking truth of the matter.

L. Ron Hubbard said that homosexuals are 1.1 (covert hostility) and “Such people should be taken from the society as rapidly as possible and uniformly institutionalized; for here is the level of the contagion of immorality, and the destruction of ethics…No social order which desires to survive dares overlook its stratum 1.1’s. No social order will survive which does not remove these people from its midst.”  Almost sounds some some of the Christian Right Wing crazies we have today, eh?

Do you foresee a time when conversations like this will be moot and Scientology will be folded into the larger religions of the world as something that just is?

I think next week, it begins. [laughs] I mean, to me it already is. I haven’t had a conversation like this about my philosophy — I don’t think ever. But I love doing it and have no problem doing it. I work, I have a family and I’m a spiritual being who likes to understand why things happen in the world and want to learn more so that I can have them not affect me adversely. So if that’s weird, then, well, you can go fuck yourself.

Sexual Abuse in the Name of God: New Bethany Home for Girls

I have no idea how I missed this.  It is a truth filled article about Mack Ford of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church, and his sexual abuse of young girls over a period of decades.

Mack Ford

Mack Ford

As many of you know, I have long been an advocate for those abused at Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) teen group homes. These homes, some of which are still in existence, routinely used violence to force teenagers into submission. Some were sexually violated. Where was the state, you ask? Sitting on the sidelines, often ignoring the cries of those who were beaten, abused, sexually molested, and raped.

One such home was the New Bethany Home for Girls, owned and operated by IFB preacher Mack Ford. Ford was a protegé  of famed abuser Lester Roloff.   The Times-Picayune has published numerous articles about New Bethany. If you aren’t familiar with this story, I encourage you read The Long Road:To the Gates of New Bethany and Back.

Over the years, the victims of Mack Ford and the staff at New Bethany have tried to bring their abusers to justice. Unfortunately, Ford wears a Teflon suit and nothing seems to stick to him. Two weeks ago, a grand jury declined to charge 82-year-old Mack Ford.

A grand jury has declined to indict a man accused of raping girls who were under his care at a notorious religious boarding school in north Louisiana decades earlier.

Mack W. Ford, 82, of Arcadia, was the target of what law enforcement officials describe as a year-long investigation into reports he molested young residents at his now-shuttered New Bethany Home for Girls.

A written statement released Tuesday (Jan. 6) by Bienville Parish District Attorney Jonathan Stewart, said “the grand jury was given research and information regarding the statute of limitations with regard to each alleged act and, after deliberation, returned a no true bill.” A no true bill represents a grand jury’s decision not to indict.

Three women who lived at the home in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s traveled from three states to testify before a grand jury Dec. 18 about their experiences with Ford. Other witnesses testified Oct. 15 and Dec. 29, according to state officials.

The women said their grand jury testimony was the closest they felt they had come to achieving justice for the crimes they said were committed against them as young girls in the place Ford once described as “a mission project to the incorrigible, unwanted rejects.” But after a Louisiana State Police investigator notified them by phone Monday evening that Ford would not face charges, the former residents sounded variously dazed, outraged and despondent.

“If he had been indicted for just one thing, it would have been justice for so many people,” said Simone Jones, a 47-year-old police dispatcher in Kansas who told police that Ford raped her in 1982 or 1983. “Why does this man continue to walk free?”

The grand jury convened almost exactly a year after Jones and other former residents journeyed to Bienville Parish to support Jennifer Halter, an ailing woman from Las Vegas, as she fulfilled a dying wish to report Ford, who she said began molesting her shortly after she arrived at the school in 1988 until her 1990 departure. Their trip was documented in an April NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune series that chronicled decades of abuse allegations at the home for which no one was ever prosecuted.

Ford, who still resides at the former New Bethany compound at 120 Hiser Road, has declined to comment about the allegations against him. He could not be reached by phone Tuesday morning, nor could Jesse Lewis Knighten, a nephew who court records show assumed power of attorney for Ford in January 2013.

Halter and Jones said that Mike Epps, an investigator with Louisiana State Police, told them Monday evening that the grand jury decided that the crimes they described were not prosecutable under current law.

“The reason given in the short-term was not that the grand jury didn’t believe us. It was because of the statutes,” Jones said.

Jones told police she was 14 when Ford approached her while she was doing chores, asked her if she was “a pure lady,” unbuttoned his overalls and then forced her to perform oral sex.

Jones said that Epps explained to her Monday that though current law considers oral sexual intercourse to rise to the level of “forcible rape” in some circumstances, at the time she said she was victimized in the early 1980s, the law only considered it “oral sexual battery.” Forcible rape has no statute of limitations, while sexual battery does.

“They let us down again,” Halter said. “I can’t understand why it’s OK for these people to do what they do and walk away like nothing was done wrong. It’s like laughing in our face all over again. What is justice? When is enough enough?”

Halter told police that Ford was chief among her abusers during her time at the home. In interviews with NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, she described repeated abuse, including frequent sexual contact by Ford during choir trips he chaperoned to churches in nearby towns and states — information she said she also reported to police in 2013.

Louisiana State Police Capt. Doug Cain said Epps would not be able to discuss the investigation or the grand jury’s decision. “We have to respect the court’s decision,” Cain said.

Former residents who were aware of the latest police investigation, recalled decades of abuse allegations recorded by state social workers and local police that never materialized in criminal charges.

“This has gone on for years,” said Tara Cummings, a resident at the home from 1982 to 1983. She said that if the statute of limitations was an issue, the state attorney should not have convened a grand jury to begin with…

…Ford created New Bethany Home for Girls 44 years ago on a plot of land 50 miles east of Shreveport, on more than six acres he bought for $30,000 from a 60-year-old widow, according to court records. The site had served as a penal farm and later a nursing home before he turned it into a home for what he called “wayward” girls.

New Bethany was affiliated with the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church. Residents were subject to strict rules, harsh punishment and maintained restricted access to the outside world, according to interviews, news reports and legal documents.

“We are reaching out as a mission project to the incorrigible, unwanted rejects,” Ford told attorneys in a 1997 court deposition. “Destitute, lonely, prostitutes, drug addicts … These kids haven’t been loved and they haven’t had a chance in life.”

Ford was a high school dropout-turned-tire-salesman who said he was inspired to open the school during a retreat in Arkansas. There, he once said in a court deposition, he met two little blonde 12-year-old girls who had been impregnated by their father and was inspired to help such troubled children.

Until its closure in 2001, the school took in hundreds of children and young women from across the state and country.

To some who heard of New Bethany’s mission and others who encountered the school through its traveling girls’ choir it appeared a worthy charitable cause. But records, interviews, news reports and other documents show residents also went to extraordinary lengths to escape the home.

Stories of physical and mental abuse plagued New Bethany for almost as long as it was open, documents and news stories show. Girls who ran away from the school described brutal paddlings and harsh physical punishment. They were rarely allowed to call home and when they did, their calls were monitored, according to accounts.

Runaways often scaled the tall chain-link fence, crawling over the inward facing barbed wire at the top, and ran through dense woods to find someone who might believe them.

State and local officials escorted girls from the property during several raids. But the home was repeatedly allowed to reopen and reenroll children.

Ford became known for his resistance to outside interference. He filed federal civil rights lawsuits twice after state officials from child protective services and the state fire marshal sought to inspect the facility or question children and staff about their complaints of abuse. A federal judge in 1992 dismissed a lawsuit in which Ford asked the government to keep officials from interfering in New Bethany operations. Seven years later, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision determining there was no evidence that state officials were plotting to shut down New Bethany, as Ford complained…

…Joanna Wright, 54, of Houston, sounded tired when she spoke about the grand jury decision this week.

Wright, a preacher’s daughter, arrived at the home in the mid-1970s at age 14, excited for an experience outside what she describes as her insular, fundamentalist upbringing. But she said Ford soon began molesting her and, in 1977, forcibly raped her on the New Bethany compound.

Wright said news of the non-indictment left her feeling numb. She said she had told authorities about what happened to her on several occasions — she said she told a social worker about it in 1993 and spoke to a district attorney in 1998 — and nothing ever came of it.

But in July 2013, haunted and frustrated by her experience and the experiences of those she knows, Wright reached out to Jump, the assistant district attorney in Bienville Parish, and told her she was ready to make a police report in person.

On July 11, 2013, Jump wrote back:

“We are a long way from being able to arrest him. I have to sift through this stuff and talk to someone who was raped at the home and is willing to testify to that fact. And then determine if I can win the case. I don’t think it would be good for anyone [sic] of the victims to go through with what it would take to convict him if we can’t convict him. I will do my best and anything within my power to see that justice is done. But unfortunately justice for some of the victims will not be served on this earth. He will have to answer to God.”

I am personal friends with a handful of the women who were incarcerated at New Bethany. I know from talking to them that their time at Ford’s group home left horrible, deep scars. Some of the survivors have decided to put together a YouTube video about Mack Ford and New Bethany Home for Girls.

Victimized No More is a great repository of information about Mack Ford and New Bethany

Sexual Abuse in the Name of God: New Bethany Home for Girls | The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser.

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