Remembering back over my formal education I recognize patterns that I did not see when I was engrossed in the process. I began my undergraduate years asking, “What is a healthy family?” 1977.
In graduate school, my question was, “Why is it so hard for women to break away from an abusive relationship?” My masters thesis was “Toward a Theory of Family Violence: its antecedent, treatment, and prevention.” 1979
In my doctoral training I asked, “Given that women have difficulty breaking away from an abusive relationship, what role does religion play in what they have to unlearn and learn in order to be in a mentally healthy, mature, adult relationship with a partner?” My dissertation was “A Splendid Heresy”. My dissertation committee denied me a degree; as two of the priests on my committee stated, I was “biased”.
Many of my professors in undergraduate training were fundamentalist Christians and Mormons who seemed to be reading from the same philosophy of what I now call “The Passive Gospel”: “yield, pray, submit to authority, obey, turn the other cheek, crucify myself daily in imitation of the crucified Christ and rejoice in my crucifixion.” These were the same sentiment my grandmothers and mother heard.
There was not one book in any of the colleges or public libraries about family violence, child abuse or wife abuse or spouse abuse. I had to send away to other libraries around the USA to find any definitive study on it.
Dr. Henry Kempe and his colleagues in an article entitled “The Battered Child Syndrome,” which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association defined “Battered Child Syndrome” in 1962. Child abuse is the physical, verbal, sexual or emotional mistreatment of children.
As I wrote a review of the literature, many of my professors denied that I had a valid issue even as I earned the highest grades in my classes, I molded my answers to the professors’ lectures, avoiding the dispute I presented. However, I learned what I needed to learn. DOUBT AUTHORITY. THINK!
My graduate years were at Whitworth college, a Presbyterian institution that was just beginning to look into the contradictions of the bible and science. They brought in a scientist from the Apollo Moon Project and gave him authority. He created a masters program, Leadership Institute of Spokane, that was evidence based and required finding linkages to values, beliefs and behaviors.
My doctoral studies were far more traumatic at a Roman Catholic University, Gonzaga, in Spokane. My professors included priests and adherents to the Catholic faith. Many of my compositions were returned unacceptable because I demonstrated linkages between rigidity linked to values and behaviors. I also challenged the professors by requesting to read female philosophers and two of them rejected my proposals stating, “There are no women worthy of being read.” I responded the same way as I did for the undergraduate degree and spit back their lectures and principles. For my dissertation I wrote using the process I learned in graduate school.
Null Hypothesis: Beliefs do not make it hard for women to break away from an abusive relationship.
Alternate Hypothesis: Beliefs make it hard for women to break away from an abusive relationship.
My dissertation refuted the null hypothesis.
My education was learning how to doubt, question, seek evidence, define it and then defend my thinking. My undergraduate and doctoral training convinced me that for women to trust authority, beliefs, faith, traditions and values of others is the glue that keeps women in vulnerable positions and creates what I now call “Mindbinding”.
Whitworth University under the leadership of Edward B. Lindaman, provided me the opportunity to break out of traditional values and think through to a conclusion based on evidence.
In that process, I became a free thinker and then an atheist.
Guide to the Edward B. Lindaman Papers