I didn't sleep very well for several nights after reading Jocelyn Zichterman's book, I Fired God. As the subtitle says, "My Life Inside--and Escape from--the Secret World of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult". Then inside the cover; "A compelling memoir and account of the IFBC and its shocking history of religious abuse.

While somewhat familiar with the Amish (and their shunning practices), some Mormon sects, and, in general, far right wing fundamental religious groups, I didn't realize the extent, power, influence, brain washing, and downright brutality of these extremists. It is downright horrifying.

The author was raped by both her father and brother and tortured--both physically and mentally, all the time being told it was her fault (or duty). Her account of her childhood and young adulthood makes you sick, it is so disgusting. Even after she "broke away", she was besieged by her father and other church higher ups. She feared for her life. Even her own children were assaulted by her father. He was never prosectuted, thanks to stupid judges and the threatening power of the almighty church, its roots being Bob Jones University (and that's another story!).

Ms. Zichterman has told her story to CNN, ABC (20/20), and several morning shows. So the word is out. (I just never watch those shows, hence, my ignorance.) While Ms. Z isn't an official atheist, she certainly views her god as radically different than the one she grew up with. I highly support her cause to expose these cults and to save others like her from being subjected to such a vile upbringing. I encourage everybody to read the book, or, at least, "google" her. These creeps must be destroyed. 

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Comment by Richard C Brown on March 20, 2014 at 8:00pm

I finished the book this afternoon.It left me with the question ;what can I do.also pissed !! 

I did go to the face book page and liked it.

My thoughts about fundamentalism. They can tip the scale in their favor. It wouldn't take much to return to the Dark Ages."end Human bankruptcy" an idea whose time has come.

Comment by Billie Culver on March 19, 2014 at 8:45pm

Thanks everyone for your concern and advice. I do feel like a lone voice of reason when it comes to the harm that these cults can do to the young. It's comforting to me to know that you are all there with me and I'm not the crazy one!

Comment by Joan Denoo on March 19, 2014 at 2:36pm

Get non-religious help NOW! For yourself first so that you don't feel so alone. Then try to figure out a way to get a healthy professional assessment of the situation. Those kids have no voice, no power, no one who can recognize that they are in danger. It doesn't matter if it is physical or mental, they need to be assessed. Mental health problems are harder to assess. If physical abuse occurs, there may be bruising or behavioral indication of being physically assaulted. Be careful of the doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, counselors who hold a belief in god, jesus, heaven, hell, resurrection, etc. etc. They were my worst enemies, and I believe anyone's. 

Comment by Richard C Brown on March 19, 2014 at 8:43am

The book is getting more interesting as is the conversation here.

Comment by Randall Smith on March 19, 2014 at 7:15am

Billie: I am so sorry. If I were you, I'd seek help. Perhaps contact Ms. Zichterman or her group. You read the book. These people hide abuse very well. Even if it's not physical, the mental aspect is frightening enough. You can't turn a blind eye, despite your husband. There's not a minute to lose. 

Comment by Luara on March 19, 2014 at 4:04am

Is the abuse physical or sexual? I don't know.

They aren't necessarily being abused just because the cult apparently protects abusers.  How could you find out?  Perhaps, from the children - do they have symptoms of physical or sexual abuse?

The mainstream society also allows parents to abuse their children, although perhaps less so than in a religious cult. 

How would the people you know in the IFBC react if you mentioned the accounts of abuse in the church? 

Comment by Billie Culver on March 18, 2014 at 8:25pm

And a brief follow up, over dinner tonight I had a lively debate with my husband on this topic. My intent was to challenge him to think of the possibilities... We are certain the family is a member of this cult. There is a history of them keeping the kids from us while allowing trips and extended stays with family members in the bubble that share their godly viewpoints. My concern was met with hostility. My husband is certain that, if there were abuse in that family, he would pick up on it. I do not think so. He is convinced that the extended family would not tolerate it. I am not so sure. If it is "gods will"... and all that. The kids sure aren't going to tell. So, fellow atheists, please tell me, Is there a chance that there is a good, wholesome, loving family in the bowls of that cult? Is it possible? Am I rocking the foundation of my relationship with my husband by suggesting that his "one terrific mom" of a daughter is actually not such a terrific mom because of her fundi beliefs and her deference to a husband that holds his church above all. This is one of those times that being an atheist with eyes wide open hurts like hell.

Comment by Billie Culver on March 18, 2014 at 4:47pm
Randall, your post just turned my world on it's ear. I had not heard of Ms. Zichterman or the book before your post. I down-loaded the book, and have cried all afternoon.I keep setting it down, saying "I can't read anymore." and then pick it back up again. It's like a gruesome wreck, you can't watch, but you can't look away either. My step-daughter, her husband and her 7 children are members of the IFBC. The oldest kid currently attends BJU. Dad wants desperately to be a preacher, but he completely lacks any trace of charisma that would make him good in the roll (think earthworm). The grandmother (my husbands first wife about 40 years ago) is IFBC. Their aunt, my husbands oldest daughter, is also IFBC. Year after year, and child after chid, I see these kids being brain-washed. At birthday parties, the prayer is "Gawd, use this child to expand your holy church, make him obedient to your laws...." These are beautiful children that have been born into a regrettable family. Are they being abused? Absolutely. Is the abuse physical or sexual? I don't know. The kids would never tell. They are shielded in a bubble, surrounded and closely guarded by the church. We once asked if the older boys could have an overnight camp-out at gradpa's house. NO. We asked to take all the kids to a movie theatre one christmas, NO. We had family visiting from ND one year, everyone enjoying a big Chili dinner on a Wed.night. Can't stay, must do church (that night, one of the older boys tried to hide in the furnace room so his family wouldn't make him leave). I could go on an on. And it is just heart-breaking.

Randall, your last sentence says "These creeps must be destroyed." I whole-heartedy agree. Please, tell me how.
Comment by Richard C Brown on March 18, 2014 at 3:40pm

The book is a moving story.

Comment by Richard C Brown on March 18, 2014 at 5:58am

I like the book.

Randall the virus is difficult to to dispose.If, it could be packed into a disposal and the switched on.

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