Manure Pile

I don’t know how old I was when the following incident actually occurred.  I do know however, it was before I started Kindergarten at five years of age.  I know this occurred during late summer because that was when Cleo would hire extra farm hands to help bail hay and bring in various other crops, mostly corn.

There were always a lot of dogs and cats on the farm.  I remember sitting on the ground have a great time playing with a little tan puppy I had named Tico.  The thing I remember was Tico was licking my face and Cleo started screaming at me because I “was dirty.”  My sin, I had grass stains on my clothes.   The next thing I remember was Cleo picking me up enraged that I had grass stains on my clothes and hurled me into the manure pile.  This was the manure pile from cleaning out the barns.  Lou would then use the manure to fertilize the fields with a manure spreader.  This was not a cow patty or single horse dropping in a field.  I remember trying to get up and kept sinking into the pile.  Lou did come and lift me out of the manure pile.  Cleo was furious.  The next thing I remember I being placed in the dark basement in my manure stained clothes.

After what seemed like an eternity, Lou came and took me out of the basement.  Lou took me up to the bathroom, gave me a bath.  Lou’s baths are still traumatic for me to remember.  Lou used to wash me all over, even my private parts.  Lou used to spend a lot of time on my private parts telling me, “we need to make sure you are clean here.”  Lou used to “wash” his private part when he gave me a bath.  Lou then used to take me and lie me on his bed.  He would powder me all over then Lou used to teach me “how to be a good wife” when I grew up.  Lou had the same ritual every time he gave me a bath.

What is more disturbing is that even when Cleo gave me a bath, she had the same ritual.

Two of Pastor Richard Harris’ teenage sons were working for Cleo at the time as end of the season farm hands.  I most likely would not remember that they worked for Cleo had it not been for one of them to this day, laughing, apparently thinking it humorous that as he tells it to others and embarrass me, “she used to play in the manure pile.”  The one who thinks this humorous is now a pastor.

Pastor and Mrs Harris adopted me right before I turned eighteen.  I went to live in the Harris home when I was 12 for a period of time, and permanently placed in their home at age 14.  I will speak more about this in later posts.

Cleo’s cruelty was not limited to me.  She was cruel to animals as well.  Tico did not escape her wrath.  Poor Tico was also punished.  Cleo tied Tico up, kicked, rarely fed and constantly beaten by Cleo.  By the time Tico was about 6 months old he was a viscous dog that only Cleo would dare approach because Tico would cower from her.  Tico remained chained up until the day Cleo shot him. By that time, Tico’s ribs were showing.  Tico was a Golden Retriever which Cleo succeeded in turning viscous.  Golden Retrievers are known for their gentleness.

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Being Left Handed is Evil

Not long after I was taken, Cleo had a new mission.  I was left-handed.  Cleo believed that my left-handedness was an outward appearance that I had evil inside me, or worse yet the devil.

The following is my first vivid memory of  Cleo.  

I remember her screaming at me to stop using “the wrong hand.”  Cleo became enraged that I was eating using that evil left hand. Cleo decided she was going to break me of it for good.  I remember Cleo screaming out me to use the other hand to eat with.  I remember this particular meal was soup.  I was trying to eat with my right hand and spilled some of the soup on myself.  I remember Cleo getting enraged and tying my hands behind my back and telling me to lap like a dog.  She regularly told me I was an animal.  Of course, trying to lap and being terrified as I was, I accidentally overturned the bowl which further infuriated Cleo.  Cleo grabbed me by my bound hands and dragged me out to the front porch of the farm house where she found an old extension cord and beat me with it, until the welts started bleeding.  Cleo then put me in the dark basement of the farmhouse, locking the door behind her.  The only light that would come into the basement was what came from under the slit of the door.  I  curled up as close to that sliver of light as I could get.  I would spend a lot of time in that black basement over the next several years.

After this beating, Cleo went to her silver drawer, removed a heavy handled silver knife.  After this, whenever Cleo caught me reaching for something, or using my left hand she would strike my fingers with that heavy handled silver knife handle.  I learned how to use my right hand, but the joke is still on her, I just became ambidextrous despite all her efforts to beat the evil out of me.

Age 3

I was kidnapped as a three year old by Cleo Smith in Philadelphia, PA.  I have little memory of the actual kidnapping.  I do remember being carried up an escalator and being put in a green car.  I also have a memory of a blue wheelbarrow.  I remember being incredibly terrified at the very sight of that simple blue wheelbarrow.

In addition to those few little memories, Pastor Richard Harris who is now the retired pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Sellersville, PA has told me repeatedly that Cleo brought me to see him at his church.  Pastor Harris told me Cleo told him she had found me abandoned in one of her rental properties in Philadelphia.  Pastor Harris says he told Cleo she needed to call the authorities and could not just keep me.  The pastor never called the authorities himself, however.

Cleo owned an 110 acre farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  The farm was not listed under her legal name.  It was on this farm that I would stay full time until I was 12 with Cleo and Lou Canby.  Lou officially was Cleo’s farm hand, but Cleo and Lou were also lovers and much more.  Lou was an alcoholic.

Cleo was very active in support of Carl McIntire’s ministry.  Carl McIntire was a staunch fundamentalist pastor.  Carl McIntyre was well known for his fight against the FDC, communism, and speaking out against the counter-culture of the 1960’s and 1970’s, and greatly involved in politics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_McIntire Richard Harris had helped set up a “cow pasture rally” for Carl McIntire on Cleo’s farm in the summer of 1963, the year before I was born.  Richard Harris had also gone to Faith Theological Seminary that was run by Carl McIntire after Pastor Harris had graduated from Bob Jones University which also bestowed on McIntire an honorary doctorate.  Thereafter, it was Dr. Carl McIntire even though his doctorate was not earned.

This is background, in future posts I will tie these details together and tell more of my story.

U-Turn

I am going in a different direction with this blog from now on.  Recently I found old diaries that I had written from when I was a child.  At the beginning I thought I would post those diary entries as they were.  However, those diaries began when I was a young child.  I wrote as a child with incorrect spelling, grammar that one would expect to see in a child.  I have decided to tell my story in a different way by both telling my story before I was given my first diary and also using my diaries as the basis for this blog.

Forgiveness

There needs to be an understanding of what forgiveness – as taught by Jesus – is and what forgiveness isn’t supposed to be. Jesus never said forgiveness means you have to forget. He never said forgiveness means you decide that the forgiven person’s behavior is acceptable. Jesus never said forgiving someone means you have to be that person’s friend or buddy or hang around with that person and keep that person in your life. He never said forgiveness means criminals should not be prosecuted for a crime against another person. He never said forgiveness means someone can go ahead & commit crimes or sins against others because they can just rely on being forgiven later.

First of all, it is a twisting and/or misunderstanding – sometimes purposely ‘misunderstanding’ – of Jesus’s teachings when people act like they can do whatever they want to – because they think that later they’ll just be forgiven by God. Nope. IMO, That’s not how it works. And that’s not how it was taught by Jesus. That would mean a person planned to commit a wrong against another person or allowed themselves to commit a wrong with the idea – in mind – that they’d just get forgiven later. Well, later on, when they are expecting forgiveness or asking for it, that means they aren’t truly sorry. It’s like some kind of scam that person thinks they can pull with God or Jesus. Jesus never said you can be forgiven unless you are truly sorry. The arrogance of thinking one can manipulate God and others in this manner. This part of forgiveness is between God and the perpetrator of sin or crime – but Jesus taught that God knows what is in a person’s heart and mind. Repent means to feel true regret, to feel very sorry for something you’ve done, to change your mind about it, to truly wish you had not done it. It can include making amends as well. When Jesus forgave someone he said now “go and sin no more.” Unfortunately, something about the way the IFB teaches about forgiveness leaves people that attend those particular churches thinking that they will always be forgiven just by wanting to be forgiven. That is incorrect and it is dangerous. IMO, how the IFB goes about running a church and teaching, it leaves people with a feeling all they have to do is go through certain motions and they’re fine. Just recite this ‘prayer’ or repeat after me this saying and you’re forgiven. Again, that is incorrect and it is a dangerous attitude to teach and allow people to have. But what bugs me the most about it is it is a misrepresentation of Jesus and what he stood for – by some churches themselves – whether intentional or not. Jesus did not put his life on the line taking the risk of being tortured to death just to teach that people can do whatever they feel like now because they can rely on getting forgiven later just by just repeating some prayer. In fact, I think some of his disciples addressed this very attempt by some people to twist and distort Jesus’s teachings to their own purposes.

IMO, forgiving doesn’t mean you have to forget. Just an example: Suppose I find out the guy my 17-year-old daughter is dating was charged 2 different times with assault and battery, but he got off on technicalities. Then I somehow find out the guy recently got out of juvenile detention after serving time for raping someone when he was 15. Me forgiving him means I think something like this: something went wrong with his upbringing or he’s lacking certain ethics or knowledge that I myself have – so he’s highly imperfect. If someone else is capable of pulling wings off butterflies and not caring about the pain they inflict, then lack empathy that most of us have. Or maybe they themselves were terribly abused and/or neglected and they are transferring their own numbness and pain – or acting it out – or taking it out on someone else. Forgiving someone who pulls butterfly wings off means I acknowledge that that person is obviously ‘missing something upstairs’ – or whatever – Their cruel behavior is a symptom of something. I also must realize some people aren’t teachable or changeable (especially pedophiles).

So do I forgive the guy that’s dating my 17 year old daughter. What does this mean? I’ll tell you what it does not mean. Forgiving him does not mean I have to forget. It doesn’t mean I will forget that he served time for rape or was charged twice with assault and battery. It doesn’t mean I have to allow him to date my daughter. It doesn’t mean I’m sorry if he served time for what he did. In fact, I might think he should have served More time for it. It doesn’t mean I have to be his friend or buddy or allow him to remain in my family’s personal lives. It doesn’t mean I think what he did is acceptable. It doesn’t mean I have to hire him for a job if I’m a prospective employer of his. It doesn’t mean I can’t fight for tougher laws and tougher sentencing against rape and assault and battery. It doesn’t mean I have no anger against child abusers, etc. And it doesn’t mean I tell him God forgave him automatically. I can let the guy know that if he is truly sorry for what he did and asks God for forgiveness then he is  forgiven by God – but he still has to ‘face the music’ of the criminal justice system in mankind’s world. People are still to be held accountable according to mankind’s laws for their sins against others. And the person he wronged might or might not forgive him (on a spiritual level).

Well, what’s the purpose of forgiveness, then? What does it really mean? For example, when I say forgiving doesn’t mean I have no anger against child abusers, what I mean is: I will still continue to fight the crime, still want the criminal punished, and will put my anger or determination towards those ends- objectively – without making it have to be personal. For example, with my childhood-kidnap and rape case, remember my (biological) father said he thinks the perpetrator should have be skinned alive? If people had caught the perpetrator and done that to her I would not have felt sorry for her at all. But I am trying not to hold anger inside me against the ‘defective unit’ who kidnapped and raped me as a child. If I heard of such a case now, I would fight tooth and nail to get the kidnapper a life sentence in prison. Someone once said to me, “You become whom you hate!” That scared the bajeebers out of me, That would mean I allowed a perpetrator to make me more like her! That kind of spreading of anger, hatred, ugliness, etc., can be contagious. It’s better for me to see things with better perspective, objectively. If someone very much wronged me and committed abuses against me (which, by the way, I did experience) I still need to realize that if it hadn’t been ME as a victim, that person still would’ve done it to anyone else he could’ve gotten into that abusable position. Why take it as if it was personal against me? Why hold that hatred and anger? That only hurts me. I need to do something constructive to address what that person did. I need to see the whole thing objectively, from ‘above it’ with an even keel with a lot of perspective. This is even more powerful when it comes to effectively addressing these ills that exist in society (or in mankind). The perpetrator did it to me so it’s my place to make sure to educate parents that if something like this happens there’s a police report of it, etc., and I decided it’s my place to try to protect the next innocent victim by letting them know what kinds of people do this is by telling my story –

Chuck Phelps, Trinity Baptist Church Punish Rape Victim But Allow Rapist to Remain in Church

A former deacon, Ernest Willis, has now been arrested on sexual assault charges.

A woman alleges she was raped twice 13 years ago by a deacon of her church, Trinity Baptist in Concord, New Hampshire. Tina Anderson says the rapes resulted in her becoming pregnant when she was only 15.

Anderson also asserts that church officials, led by former pastor Chuck Phelps, covered up the crime. When she told of the alleged rape and pregnancy, church officials “blamed her…forced her to stand in front of her congregation and apologize for getting pregnant, and write a letter asking Willis’ wife for forgiveness.” As a pregnant 15-year-old, Anderson was whisked off to Colorado where, she says, she was forced to give up the baby for adoption.  Pastor Chuck Phelps had previously worked with the pastor of Tri-City Baptist Church in Westminster, Colorado, and that’s where the young Tina Anderson was sent.
Anderson says Olson made her write a letter to the wife of deacon Willis. “He made me sit down and write a letter of apology to the rapist’s wife for betraying her trust by seducing her husband.”

“Chuck Phelps and Matt Olson did a lot to systematically brainwash me,” says Anderson, “and make me believe this was my fault, to cover things and make people believe that it wasn’t Ernie’s baby, to make — even Chuck Phelps’ wife…asked me if I enjoyed it when it happened. And it’s not OK…. It’s not OK to make victims believe it’s their fault.”

But Tina was actually “brainwashed” even before the alleged rapes committed by the church deacon. She says she was also silenced in an earlier case.

Anderson alleges that “Trinity Baptist Church members had told her not to report an earlier case in which she had been molested by a convicted sex offender who was also a member of the congregation.”

“They told me that to be a good Christian, I need to forgive, forget and move on in my life,” she said. “And they told me that a good Christian doesn’t press charges on another good Christian.”

“Growing up, Anderson said, a family member molested her and beat her and her brother with a belt to ‘show us who was boss.’ When the man was imprisoned for an unrelated sex crime, Anderson, then 13, said she felt comfortable enough to tell church members that she, too, had been a victim. But she said church members told her to keep quiet.”

“Anderson said Phelps directed her to visit the man in state prison to offer her forgiveness.”

“He said if I didn’t forgive him and give him forgiveness, then I would get bitter,” she said. “It’s just kind of how things at the church go. The woman is blamed for everything.”

“At the state prison in Concord, Anderson said she was forced to confront the man with her mother. ‘It was horrible,’ she said. ‘It was awful.’”

Over the next two years, Anderson says she confided in Willis, who was then a deacon at Trinity. He offered emotional support and Anderson began babysitting for two of his children.

“I had gotten very close to the (Willis) family,” Anderson said. “At Trinity, your whole world revolves around the church and the people who are in the church, so those are really the only people you have contact with.”

“But according to Anderson, Willis raped her twice when she was 15 – once at her home and once in the parking lot of a Concord business during a driving lesson. Those allegations are the basis of the criminal charges the police have filed against Willis. Several months later, Anderson realized she was pregnant.”

Anderson’s mother called pastor Chuck Phelps for help, and according to Anderson, Phelps removed her from Trinity’s Bible school. “I was told that I was a bad influence,” she said. “I was told I was going to have to go up before the church.”

Anderson went to stay at pastor Phelps’ house, where she reports that she wasn’t allowed to see any of her friends or talk to anybody. “I had to stay there until they shipped me away,” she says.

Once in Colorado, Anderson was home-schooled. But before she left for Colorado, Anderson was made to stand before some 400 members of the Trinity Baptist congregation to ask forgiveness for getting pregnant….”I was completely humiliated,” she said. “I felt like my life was over.”“At Phelps’s urging, Anderson said, she gave her baby girl up for adoption”

Anderson “continued to be home-schooled until what would have been her senior year, when she returned to Concord for about six months. She lived with her mother again, and attended Trinity, sitting in the same pews as Willis. Anderson’s mother remains a member of Trinity today.”

Phelps, who is now the senior pastor of Colonial Hills Baptist Church in Indianapolis, claims there was “no cover-up.” But according to his recent statement in the Concord Monitor, Phelps admits that he told the 15-year-old Anderson to “be responsible.” “She knew this person was dangerous after the first time, but she continued to be around him… She needed to be responsible,” says Phelps.

[“Continued to be around him”? Anderson says that the second alleged rape occurred when Willis came to her house. And if Phelps was so convinced that Willis was “dangerous,” why did Phelps allow Willis to remain in the congregation with nothing more than a statement that he was unfaithful to his wife?]

Meanwhile, even as police are seeking to conduct an investigation, the current pastor of Phelps’ prior church, where this story began, sent an email to members of the congregation. As reported by the Associated Press, the email from Trinity Baptist’s current pastor,Brian Fuller, “contains two statements advising parishioners to remain silent.”   “I love you tenderly and am confident you will only talk of these matters to our Lord in prayer,” wrote Fuller.




Destroyer of Innocents thy name is Fundamentalism.

I am posting from this blog

Imagine for a moment that you’re a fundamentalist pastor who has just learned that a 15 year old girl in your congregation has been raped and is pregnant by a 39 year old member of your church. Now try to imagine what kind of thought process might lead you to decide that the proper way to proceed is to bring that teenager before the entire church to apologize for her part in being so thoughtless as to get raped and end up pregnant. Then imagine forcing her to write a letter to the wife of the rapist apologizing for your part in his crime. Of course you then send her away to another state and make sure that the baby is adopted off to another fundamentalist family.
What kind of person would do this? Surely this must be some pastor from the darkest fringes of fundamentalism, someone so far outside the “mainstream” that they are almost unrecognizable as an Independent Baptist. Or perhaps not.
For the pastor in question is none other than Chuck Phelps, who left the scene of this outrage at Trinity Baptist Church to become President of Maranatha Baptist Bible College. To be fair to MBBC, they quickly realized that they were dealing with someone a little too far out for their taste and gave him the boot in the nicest way possible.
Oh, but the story and connections don’t end there. For this paragon of fundy virtue now pastors on a church staff with none other than Bob Taylor, former pastor of the Campus Church at Pensacola Christian College. The ‘crazy fringe’ of fundyland is never as far from the center as it would seem.
Now let’s play another game of let’s pretend. Let’s imagine that you’re the current pastor of a church where all this happened. Let’s further imagine that you’re a favored son of Bob Jones University and that you were actually there at the church while this travesty was being executed on this victim. What do you do now? Apologize? Issue a statement condemning what was done to the 15 year old girl? Or do you do damage control and cover for your old pastor even going so far as to send e-mail to your church members instructing them not to speak to anybody about the situation?
And then lastly imagine you’re a fundamentalist type who is observing this situation from the outside? Does your heart break over the injustice and your anger rise to think of the victim in the case? Or do you flee to your favorite fundamentalist message board and question whether the 15 year old girl may have seduced the 39 year old man and is to blame for the whole situation?
I can only assume that these people involved in the humiliation and condemnation of this girl cannot really believe in a righteous God Who’s justice is terrible toward those who hurt the innocent. If I had a scrap of mercy to spare for these miserably failed hirelings, I would be very, very afraid on their behalf. But I don’t. All I have is a small voice to expose their evil to as many as have ears to hear.
Destroyer of Innocents thy name is Fundamentalism.

CBS Early Show Tina Anderson Interview from this morning
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/05/29/earlyshow/saturday/main6530160.shtml

So…Your a Christian, Are Ya?

This has been a particularly difficult week for me with the death of my brother.  I am going to write about something I have seen first hand.  To be honest, this grieves me, like nothing else, save the death of my brother.  

First know, I am a Christian. I am not attacking the Christian faith. I am strongly objecting to how more and more Christians are treating other fellow Christians they don’t see eye to eye with because of music, dress, etc. The list is well nigh endless. What is worse, in my opinion, is how non believers are treated.

This is my response to what I see as more and more judgmental Christians out there who seems to think they are something special and snub those that aren’t believers. The only people Jesus ever blasted were the religious leaders of His time. They put Him down for hanging out with ‘sinners’, for eating with them, for even being around them, yet Christ said He came not for the righteous but for the sinners of which we all are. The only difference between us and others is we are saved sinners. Of course we strive to be Christ like and through the Holy Spirit many of those sins are gone but we commit one of the worse sins by driving people away by being hateful towards them! Jesus said the world would hate us for loving Him…but is that the reason you are hated? Or its it because you bully and put down others and try to dictate their lives?

If you notice the Jews were being run by the worse nation in the world, Rome, yet Jesus did nothing to try to change Rome. He never fought against it, never ranted about their pagan gods, nor how badly they treated the Jews…why was that? Because change comes through the heart first. Eventually Rome fell, due to changed hearts but not by bullying or forcing their ways on them. We cannot ignore the teachings of Christ to love others, even our enemies saying well He is going to judge the world’s sins and smite ‘the wicked’! If He does, that is for Him alone to do…not us. I do not see one verse in the Bible that says we have the right to pass judgment on others or condemn them either.

Christians are becoming lost themselves and hearing too many Christian leaders telling us to ‘fight back’ and do this and that and we have gone past the defense mode, to the attack mode and this goes against everything Christ taught us.

Too many have become just plain hateful, twisting scriptures to justify it. The Bible only says we can judge other Christians, NOT outsiders. The only one worthy of judging is Christ Himself…not one of us can judge others salvation.

I realize Christians get worn down by the attacks we meet constantly on the net and at times in our day to day lives, but you cannot assume everyone is out to attack your faith and be so defensive all the time. Approach those that do want to know more with love and kindness! You are representing Christ in everything you do. This is in the Bible. One day you will have to give an account for how you treated people. I think this is something that oughta cause a lot of trembling knees…

The song is just the chorus of “Love them like Jesus” by Casting Crowns

July 6, 1974

Today is Sunday.  I got to went to Sunday school and church.  The D’s picked me up.  Dady sed his hed hurt.  He fell down drunk last night.  He went to drink with Pete C and when Pete C bot [brought] dady home we tried to git him to bed.  Dady nocked me down.  I hav a black nose and eye.  My lip was bleding. Mrs. D asked if I fell off my horse,  I sed I did because dady and momy be sad if I tell on them and be mad to.

I had fun in Sunday school.  Mrs. S says we are goin to hav a contest.  Who wins first will get a new bible at the end.  I am gona win!

I got 3 gold stars. One for being quite [quiet].  One for singing loud and one for just becuz.  Mrs. S is nice. tomarow is the first day of Bible school.

Shut Up!

Because I am so brain-dead due to my brother’s death. I am going to direct you to this bloghttp://www.drslewis.org/camille/2007/12/shut-up/

I will write more later.  I told to sit down and shut up.  Well, ain’t gonna happen.