Friday, December 19, 2014

Speaking the Truth in Love, I Mean Disgust!

I have never been one to mince words and certainly now is not the time for me to start.  I have refrained from speaking out about the GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) report since its release out of respect to the BJU survivors who had the courage to come forward and for those who were not able to.  This is a sacred time for them to process this report  - many of them have waited decades to hear the validating words contained in this historic document.  Although the ramifications of this investigation affects all of us who were abused in the name of God and religion, this is not our time to speak – it is time for the BJU survivors to speak and be heard.  Everyone else needs to graciously step aside and give them their chance to be heard while they have the undivided attention of the media, alumni and administration. 

A few weeks ago, I became very concerned about those who were setting themselves up to speak on behalf of GRACE and decipher the GRACE report and tell us how we all should respond.  In particular, my concern was for the blatant attempts by Dale Ingraham, founder of “Speaking the Truth in Love Ministries” and Rebecca Davis, self-proclaimed victims advocate and author of missionary stories.  They preemptively set up a website and Facebook page that I will not mention because I don’t want to drive any traffic their way.  The name they chose gives the illusion that they are affiliated with GRACE.  The average person going to their sites will assume that they have the blessing of Boz Tchvidjian and GRACE to do so.  I pray to God this is not the case because frankly, I find their whole approach insulting.  People are fully capable of reading and coming to their own conclusions about the outstanding document that GRACE put together.  They don’t need pundits doing it for them.  And no one needs to dilute the clear message that the GRACE team has painstakingly put together after two years of thorough research and investigation.

Just one day, ONE DAY after the GRACE report was released Dale Ingraham and Rebecca Davis made an announcement about a new book they are peddling.  Seriously?  You are going to peddle a book at a time like this?  Who does this?  The BJU survivors I have personally talked to are feeling raw after reading the report.  And you Dale and Rebecca are going to use this time to peddle a book?  You couldn’t wait six months – you had use this time to exploit the survivors by peddling a damn book.   And you are bragging about how bang on your book is to the GRACE report.  Amazingly, you are now insinuating that you speak for Boz even before he speaks for himself!

Dale, I have known you since 2008 and I tried to deal with this in private but you refused to respond to my email. That was a big mistake Dale – a very big mistake. I have watched my survivor friends bleeding in pain after you lashed out at them when they expressed their outrage that you would peddle a book at a time like this. You refuse to even acknowledge their pain or apologize to them. I cannot and will not keep silent any longer. I must speak the truth – in disgust!

I believe Dale that you started out with good intentions but something has gone seriously awry with you lately. Many survivors know that Rebecca has been involved in attacking an abuse victim and discrediting her story. She is known to gossip to anyone who will listen. This is a survivor she has never personally talked to – a survivor who extended an olive branch to her and was flat rebuffed by Rebecca.  Instead, Rebecca continues to gossip and disparage the character and reputation of this survivor. Now would you call that “speaking the truth in love”?  By aligning yourself with Rebecca, Dale you have alienated some of the most solid and respected abuse survivors I have had the privilege of getting to know. And by announcing that you are now peddling a book with Rebecca and announcing its release on the heels of the GRACE report, you have completed the alienation in just one day. You destroyed years of trust that can never be rebuilt and being a pastor, you have shattered their faith on top of it. You will forever serve as an example of yet another pastor who betrayed them. I hope when you cash in on the pittance that you make on your book that came at the expense of these survivors that you have now betrayed that you feel it was worth it.  It won’t be. What you are doing is so tacky. It is exploitation and it is disgusting.

I don’t know what happened to you Dale. You are not the same man I thought I knew. You should have more discernment than this. I see some big changes in you and they are not good. You seem to be using Boz and GRACE to promote your own agenda and trying to be a wanna-be GRACE. If you want to start your own investigations ministry than go do it; but don’t take advantage of GRACE. You are confusing people with the name of your website and group. You are not affiliated with GRACE so don’t fool the public into thinking that you are. This is dishonest.

You may think you speak for Boz but let me be the first to speak the truth in love, I mean, disgust. Dale, I know Boz and you sir are no Boz. Therefore you can’t speak and shouldn’t speak for him. The message you speak and the message Boz speaks are as different as night and day. Boz speaks from a heart of compassion and love. He has no agenda. He speaks words that are life-giving, validating and without a hint of exploitation. Dale, your agenda appears to be to become a wanna-be GRACE and it shows. You want to be the “poor man's” version of GRACE for those organizations that don’t have or don’t want to spend the kind of money that is required to hire GRACE.

I am no longer in ministry Dale and for good reason.  I realize that I am not fit to be in ministry.  I have a lot more healing to do for myself before I am able to help others heal.  My time fighting for the PBI survivors showed that there was a whole lot more that I have not yet dealt with.  I resigned from ministry.  I am not speaking to you as one in ministry but from the perspective of a survivor.

Dale, if you have a shred of decency you will stop the release of your book out of respect to the BJU survivors. You will pull down your website and FB page and you wipe all references that make it sound like you are affiliated with GRACE. You will apologize to those survivors you lashed out at for having the courage to speak the truth to you.

And you will have the graciousness and humility to listen to us canaries in the coal mine who can smell the toxic fumes a lot sooner than you might be able to.

And that is what speaking the truth in love, um...disgust is all about.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Pass the Salt" a video by Matthew Abeler

Special Request to readers of my blog....I am friends with the dad in this video and want to help get his son's brilliant video the attention it deserves.  Let's get the family on the Today Show - we need about a million YouTube hits to make that happen....please watch this and share with your friends.  I promise you will love this!  

If I told you there is a hilarious video that is short (less than 2 minutes), brilliantly written and produced, cast by the director's own parents would you watch it?  Of course you would!  If I told you that it packs a powerful message that nearly every family can relate to would you still watch it?  You bet you would!  If I told you that soon nearly a half a million people will have seen this video, would you watch it?  For crying out loud!!  Why are you still here answering my stupid questions - go watch the video yourself and share it with your friends!  Here it is...a perfect video to share for the holidays!

"Pass the Salt" by Matthew Abeler

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Prairie Bible Institute: At Least This Time Maxwell Can't Say These Sexual Assaults Happened in the Privacy of the Home

I knew this day would come - it wasn't a matter of "if" but "when".  After spending several years hopelessly trying to get the administration at Prairie Bible Institute to deal with the many sexual assaults and abuse of children that have occurred on its campus over the years, I quit in disgust and never looked back.  I knew that there would be more sexual assaults on campus and I knew what PBI's response would be - and in particular, how President Mark Maxwell would react.  I see that nothing has changed - he still doesn't get it.

On Sunday, April 17, 2014 in the early morning hours several PBI students were sexually assaulted when a suspect broke into their dormitories and went from room after room assaulting both men and women.  He escaped on bicycle without being caught.  By 7:00 a.m., the RCMP was on site conducting interviews and doing forensic testing.  The suspect was caught on a surveillance video, and the RCMP issued this picture of him.  By the next day, he had turned himself in and was in custody.

For the many abuse survivors who fought to be heard by the school and were ignored and shunned, we knew that PBI was not a safe place for children and young adults.  We heard about the lax security - how doors were often propped open, that students were minimally supervised and how security guards were either non-existent or a joke. We heard the stories from rape victims how the crimes were not reported to police, and how the perpetrators were allowed to stay while the victims were either expelled or treated so horribly they quit.

Forgive me if you don't understand my next statement but I am also very thankful that these sexual assaults did not occur in the "privacy of the home".  President Mark Maxwell has dismissed so many of us who were abused as children at the school with the excuse that "this all happened in the privacy of the home and therefore does not involve the school."  Never mind that most of those individual homes were owned by Prairie and were inhabited by its own staff members.  Maybe this time, Mark Maxwell will have to actually deal with the situation and won't be able to use his lame excuses that somehow the school is not responsible.  The school is responsible because these sexual assaults occurred in their dormitories and their security failed.  It makes no difference why the doors or windows were left unlocked.  PBI failed to protect the students on the very first night these freshmen were on campus.  Welcome to Prairie Bible Institute!

What is bothersome to me is that no sooner had the first media outlet released the news and Mark Maxwell was already going into "downplaying/discounting" mode.  But at least this time the RCMP is involved and so is the media.  That means the public knows and the public will be watching.  And in particular parents will be watching.  Look at the first statement released by Mark Maxwell, and I will show you how he still doesn't get it.  Parents you need to really pay attention...


While law enforcement and the media are calling them "sexual assaults", Mark titles the school's press release "Intruder in Prairie Residence."  Many people will see this and think of common trespassing.  An intruder is someone who enters a building or premise without permission.  No big deal - juveniles do it all the time.  Nothing at all to suggest that anything nefarious took place involving the safety and wellbeing of precious young lives.

"The suspect proceeded to make contact with several students.."  Good grief!  A salesperson "makes contacts" with people.  What a lovely way to express a most terrifying experience for a young student fresh from home and at a new school that is unfamiliar to them.   The victims' parents should be comforted that their children were awakened out of a sound sleep to a stranger "making contact with them."  No, they were assaulted, terrified and violated by the presence of a stranger in their room. 

"...Touching limbs and asking for sexual favors..."  This is a real attempt at trying to downplay the seriousness of what happened.  In a subtle way, Maxwell is saying, "no one was raped, their arms and legs were just touched and they were asked for sexual favors.  It was really no big deal."  Try telling that these victims who will, no doubt experience nightmares, anxiety and any number of other issues because of this violation.

"It is unsettling that this event occurred during the freshmen orientation weekend..."  I bet you are upset Maxwell because any parent with a lick of sense will pull their students out of school.  And less students means less money at a time when the school is struggling to remain financially afloat.  Couldn't have happened at a worst time -what a way to start the school year.

"We are grateful for God's providential care in the midst of this crisis..." That's fine but you have to do more than thank God for his care.  You need to actually do something Maxwell.   You need to do more than pray for God to protect the school - you need to first of all protect the school yourself.  Although Maxwell has recently said that security has been beefed up, parents you need to ask some hard questions.  Don't just blindly trust that PBI is doing everything to protect your child - make them prove it to you.

"...and anticipate His healing in the days ahead, especially for victims."  Again, it is great to believe God for his healing but what is PBI really going to do to help facilitate the healing for these victims?  Are you going to pay for therapy for those who need it?  And not just counseling by a so-called "healing team" of alumni but real licensed therapy with professionals who are certified to work with victims of trauma.  And again Mark shows his complete ineptness of understanding the ramifications of these sexual assaults.  There will be some victims who will be able to quickly recover; others will not.  Measuring healing for the victims in "days" is unrealistic.  For some it may be months or years.  Regardless of how insignificant Maxwell tries to paint these sexual assaults, these victims were traumatized.

Because I know the mindset of PBI, there will be tremendous pressure on these victims to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and get back to the business of school.  The school will have little time or patience for any of them who aren't able to "get over it and move on" very quickly.  God help any of these victims who struggle to recover.  To these victims my message is simple but clear.  Leave and go home.  You will only suffer more pain if you stay because you will be made to feel inferior spiritually by others at school.  You will be told that all you need to do is trust God and pray.  You are not crazy, silly, or weak if you feel traumatized.  You deserve to heal and to heal surrounded by people who will not judge you.  You heard how many times Maxwell harped on "no one was physically injured" like it was something to be proud of.  I am here to tell you that if he can't see the wounds, then he isn't going to pay attention to the pain.  

To any parent of a student at PBI, this certainly is not an isolated incident.  There have been many sexual assaults of both men and women at the school in recent years.  There is currently a lawsuit against the school brought by a woman who was sexually assaulted by a PBI employee.  Even after repeated requests from the mother and the victim herself, Mark still refused to talk to them.  The victim wanted to tell her story to Mark and he just flat out refused to hear it.  All the while, Mark was telling the media that he had a welcome mat outside his door and was there to listen to anyone who had been abused at PBI.  We survivors who had been ignored and shunned knew the welcome mat didn't apply to us.  And it just might not apply to your child either.
I could tell you story after story of young students (both men and women) who were raped at PBI.  They left home to come to a place to learn more about God and ended up being sexually assaulted instead.  They came to the school so young, innocent and full of hope.  They left the school damaged and destroyed.  Parents is this what you want for your child?  Maxwell can talk a big talk about how he is taking this so seriously, but is he really?  What good were the surveillance cameras if no one was watching them?  By their own admission, the suspect was in the building between one to two hours before law enforcement arrived.  That tells me that the security is a farce.  What good are alarms if they can be ignored or disabled by leaving the doors open? 

Parents, anyone can talk a big talk but the proof of PBI's commitment to the security of your children occurred on August 17, 2014.  Next time the suspect might have a weapon; he might commit rapes or murder someone.  And no amount of "Aw shucks, we must have left the doors open because kids were moving in" will be of any comfort to you when your child comes home from PBI either immensely damaged or dead.  Think about that and decide if the gamble is worth it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Suicide is Never a Laughing Matter

Suicide is never a laughing matter - everyone knows that.  Or I should say, everyone should know that.   My nemesis, Sally Davis has decided that my dear friend and fellow survivor's recent suicide attempt is something to laugh about.  So she took to her blog to make fun of something that is never a laughing matter.  What kind of heartless person does this?

To those who have not been involved in this from the beginning, it might look like an ordinary cat fight between Sally and me.  But it is much more than that.  I am trying my level best to keep my friend alive while my nemesis is doing her best to silence her for good. 

When God puts someone in your life, you just flat out love them.  My life has been greatly enriched by knowing Cathy.  I so admire her courage and strength.  She is an amazing woman.  She also has come under intense attack from all sides after coming forward and reporting her abusers to law enforcement.  As a child, she was kidnapped by a church lady who then pimped her out to preachers and pillars of the church.  Sally has been vicious in her personal attacks on Cathy - even laughing about Cathy being raped.  So I should not have been surprised to see her mocking Cathy's recent suicide attempt.

I am going to spare you the details of Sally's blog, partly because I am not going to give her free publicity and partly because her words are just venomous.  Sally made fun of the fact that a friend saved Cathy's life by calling her as she was on her way to ending her life.  Sally had some snarky things to say about all of this.  I don't think there is anything funny about this at all.  I am grateful for Camille who listened to the Holy Spirit and made that call.  Thank God she made that call!   Just because Sally is an atheist and doesn't believe in divine intervention, doesn't mean I have to.  

To all of my fellow survivors who have stared into the black abyss and felt the tentacles of hopelessness and despair wrap around and choke the life out of your soul, please don't take Sally's mocking to heart.  Don't let the cruel words of this heartless cold woman cut your heart to pieces.   Consider the source - just don't even read her trash.  She will never offer you an encouraging word.  Never.

Sally has never met or spoken to Cathy in her whole life.  And yet she taunts her like this?  Who can have this much hatred for someone they don't even know?   Cathy has never done anything to hurt Sally - how could she if they have never even met or talked to each other.  Her hatred for Cathy is just irrational.

There is nothing good I can say about Sally.  I have looked but it just isn't there.  She is nothing but a bitter old woman whose passing few will even mourn.  I certainly won't shed a tear... 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Book Review From Hell

This past week, I got the book review from hell.  The reviewer is my nemesis, Sally Davis.   I first met Sally on-line because she is part of a hate group that is constantly attacking my dear friend and fellow survivor, Cathy Harris.  Cathy was kidnapped as a child by a church lady who pimped her out to preachers and pillars of the church.  The abuse she suffered was ghastly.  I have gotten to know Cathy well and I believe her story.  Sally does not.  And Sally has made it her mission to silence Cathy by mocking her story. I have confronted Sally for her cruelty and hatred towards Cathy.  In turn, Sally has made me an arch enemy.  It is a badge I wear with honor.

I am a lover of truth and hate to see anything written about me that is inaccurate.  Book reviews are very subjective and are based on people's opinions.  I am okay with that.  If Sally thinks my book was horrible that is fine; apparently it was not meant for her.  I was quite surprised that Sally bought my book and read it in the first place but not surprised by her review.  It was the usual vicious rant that Sally is famous for.  However, because she made so many blatant inaccurate statements, I feel compelled to set the record straight.  So here goes...

(From Sally Davis' website Romancing the Victims)

Sally starts with a preamble about her disgust for me and what a sacrifice it was to read my book.  She wants to make sure we all know that she is not a fan of mine.  Trust me Sally, the feeling is mutual.  Sally wants everyone to feel sorry for her that she had to read such trash.  But no one forced her to order the book and no one forced her to read it.  Nice of Sally to offer her BIASED review which can hardly be considered a public service.  Public service projects are not done by people with axes to grind. But I digress.

The first thing Sally needs to correct and fast is to remove the copyrighted picture of my book from her website.  This is artwork that I own and have copyrighted.  I have stated inside the book cover, the following: 

"All rights reserved except as permitted under U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise – without written permission from the publisher."  

I Am Whole, Inc. of which I am Founder and President is the publisher and I have not given Sally permission to use this image.  It needs to be removed from her website immediately or she will be in violation of copyright infringement.

The next thing Sally talks about has nothing to do with my book but with Facebook.  Are we ever going to get to the book review?  Out of the Miry Clay was published in 2008 and the second edition in 2013.  It has gone to over 43 different countries and has had a wide readership.  When the book was first published in 2008, I wrote in the preface the following: 

"My siblings have each learned to deal with their “daddy wounds” in their own ways. I have tried my best to minimize their pain by not exposing their experiences or issues in my story. I do not want to speak on their behalf because this is not their story but mine. They have not chosen to speak out so I will respectfully try to minimize details surrounding them as much as possible. I would ask you to respect their privacy as well."

In July of 2013, more than five years after I published my story, I posted a picture of my family on Facebook and entitled it "My Dysfunctional Family".  Here is the picture and the caption:

The reason I did this was because I am constantly being asked about my family.  I have given my siblings more than five years to get used to the fact that the "perfect family" charade is over.  I am no longer hiding the truth.  I have voluntarily given out my father's contact information to reporters without them asking even though I knew that he would not speak well of me.  And my father has certainly not disappointed them.  Nothing is going to ever make me hide anything anymore.  It is up to my family to deal with it, just as I have had to deal with the fact that they do not support me.  But again, I am perplexed what this has to do with a book review when pictures of my family were NOT included in the book.  Sally must be confused - Facebook is not Linda's book and Linda's book is not Facebook!  Are we ever going to get to the book review?

No, not yet.  I made a comment on Facebook about what my therapist noticed when I showed him this picture.  He commented on the body language and saw that everyone had their hands clenched in a fist but me.  My father's is half-way, the rest are clearly clenched.  My therapist thought their body language indicated anger.  I made the comment to a long time family friend.  Sally ran with that and had to add it to the book review.  Again, what this has to do with a book review, I don't know because the picture was NOT included in the book.  But I digress again, or rather Sally does.

(From Sally Davis' website Romancing the Victims)

The next paragraph is priceless.  Sally says this about my siblings, "Only, all the others seem to have just gone on and lived normal lives, while Linda has dealt with one crisis after another, including suicidal tendencies and self-destructive behavior."  Oh did Sally ever get sucked in by the phony Phelps family facade.  She says my siblings have gone on to live normal lives.  And it is pure speculation on her part because she never verified with any of them.  Although it is unlikely they would have told her anything anyway.   Normal, she says.  Well let's see...dealing drugs, growing pot in the house, getting kicked out of school, hit and run accidents, a rap sheet a mile long, jail time, being a fugitive from justice for nine years, getting thrown out of the house with no place to go, multiple affairs, abandoning wife and  kids, multiple divorces, domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, nearly dying of a mysterious disease, having to live with all the shades pulled down because your body can't tolerate light.  If you call that normal than my siblings have all gone on to live normal lives.  Yep, they sure have Sally!

(From Sally Davis' website Romancing the Victims)

Finally Sally gets down to talking about my book and says it was full of drama.  You better believe it.  But that tends to happen when you go directly from Sunday School and church to becoming a convict's wife in a maximum-security penitentiary.  I am sure Sally has never been inside the walls of a prison, but prison life is filled with drama.  It is also filled with immense boredom with absolutely nothing to do.  One minute someone could be threatening to kill you and the next minute could be quite ordinary.  A simple trip to the chow hall could end up in a riot.  The first year Gary was in prison, guards were getting stabbed and five inmates were murdered.  So "over the top" is a good description Sally.  I would love to dump you inside the walls of a prison for a few days and let you be traumatized by what you see.  I'm sure you would have a lot of "drama" to share too. 

Next Sally shares an experience from my book that she finds hard to believe. 

(From Sally Davis' website Romancing the Victims)

Sally wonders where this happened.  She apparently can't read because what I wrote tells exactly where this happened:

"The shock of entering a public school after being at PBI was very traumatic for me. One day in my seventh grade English class a girl overdosed on heroin. I saw her putting the needle in her arm. They got her to the hospital and she barely made it. I was not at all prepared to be around all the kids that were smoking, having sex and doing drugs."

I wasn't "stalking girls in the bathroom".  I was sitting in my English class - just like I said in the book.  And yes it was seventh grade.  And yes it was in 1970.  I remember it like it was yesterday because I had never seen a drug addict shoot up before.  Her name was Mary and I often wonder what became of her.

(From Sally Davis' website Romancing the Victims)

Well not exactly Sally.  Although Gary was arrested the next day by a determined cop who went against his peers and arrested him on a hunch; this case was no slam-dunk for the prosecution.  In the book I wrote:

"When the jury went out to deliberate the deputy sheriff came up to Gary’s lawyer and said, “I don’t know if the kid did it or not but they will never find him guilty.” There was such little evidence and it was all circumstantial. When the jury reached their verdict, Gary was convicted on three counts of second-degree murder. Later he was transferred to the Minnesota State Prison in Stillwater."  

The case could have so easily gone the other way and we learned later that the presiding judge did not want to send Gary to prison.  He thought the jury had gotten it wrong.  It was the first murder case that his prominent attorney had lost in that county.   Gary had not been read his Miranda rights and therefore many of his statements to police were thrown out by the judge.  The deputy sheriff had privy to all the information in the case - even what the jury did not hear and he didn't think the jury would convict Gary.  But they did.

(From Sally Davis' website Romancing the Victims)

This is a true story.  I love Gary's testimony.  Here it is from the book:

"Gary had only been in the county jail for a few days when my dad came in to preach like he did every week. “Guys, I am here to tell you about Jesus and how much He loves you and wants to change your life.” Gary turned around and stood face-to-face with my dad. Only the bars separated them. All at once, the rage inside Gary began to boil out of control. “Hey old man, I would love to send you to see your Jesus today. Now shut up and get the hell out of here!”

"My dad held his ground. He knew who Gary was. Everyone in Anoka County knew who Gary was. Dad reached into his pocket and pulled out a Gideon New Testament. “Here Gary, I have something for you to read.” Gary took it and threw it on the floor. “What kind of a fool do you think I am preacher? There ain’t nothing to that book!” and with that he kicked the New Testament and it sailed across the cellblock and landed under his bunk. My dad continued to preach and Gary vented all his rage at him. He called dad every foul name he could think of and tried to keep anyone else from hearing the message. Finally, my dad left but not before vowing that he was going to get through to this hardened convict if that was the last thing he ever did."

"One night Gary decided to commit suicide because he knew he was going to go to prison for a long time. He smuggled in some razor blades and there was a former paramedic in jail with him who showed him how to use them to “cut yourself so bad they will never get you to the hospital in time.” With that Gary waited for the lights to go out. Most people leave a note before they die but Gary realized that not a single person would mourn his death because no one cared whether he lived or died. But there was one thing he had never done and that was to read the Bible. He picked up the New Testament my dad had given to him and opened up to Romans chapters 6, 7 and 8. The only way he can describe it is that the Holy Spirit opened his eyes to the truth and he realized that the old Gary could die and he could become a brand new man. He knelt in the cellblock and wrote down every single evil thing he had ever done filling up page after page. He then asked Jesus to come into his heart and change him. He cried, “God, I don’t care if I never get out of prison, I just hate who I am. Can you just change me and make me new?” With that simple prayer he became a new creature in Christ Jesus. The jailers noticed an overnight change in him. He gave all his drugs away and flushed his cigarettes down the toilet. He started to read his Bible constantly as if he couldn’t get enough."

Gary's life speaks for the transformation that Jesus made in him.  Nothing Sally says to mock this will change that.  He is a new creature in Christ Jesus. 

(From Sally Davis' website Romancing the Victims)

Is Sally actually hedging on believing my story?  "Any of these things could have happened and much of what she writes about probably did happen."  Well there you go. 

(From Sally Davis' website Romancing the Victims)

Well not exactly Sally.  There you go embellishing the truth again.  There were no lights that flooded the room and not everyone was sobbing.  And I told you the reason why Gary didn't get the pardon.  This is what I actually wrote:

"The day finally came for our hearing. Bob and I walked into an impressive room and there they were – the Governor, Attorney General and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It was surreal to be at the same table with these men after only seeing them on television. These were the three most powerful men in the State of Minnesota. The Governor started out by saying, “Linda, I would like to have you tell us about your story and about Gary.” I said, “Your Honor, I understand that we only have five minutes for this hearing and this is my whole life and I just don’t think I could do it justice in so little time.” He said, “You take all the time you need.”

"I had nothing prepared to say. All of those nights I spent worshipping Jesus and praying made all the difference. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit came upon me and it was like I became a different person. Although I heard myself speaking, it was as if I was watching myself talk and not believing what I was hearing. I had a boldness that was not my own. I started to talk about how God had called me to love Gary and be his wife. The Chief Justice interrupted me and said, “Mrs. Fossen in your letter to this court you said that three people went to hell because of Gary. I found that very offensive. What gives you the audacity to say such a thing?” I was flabbergasted by his question. But the Holy Spirit was there and gave me the words to say, “Your honor, the reason I said that is not because of whether or not I thought Gary’s parents and sister were good people or bad people. The reason I said that is because of what Jesus said. He said that unless a person is born again, they would never see the kingdom of heaven.” The Chief Justice stared at me and then motioned for me to go on."

"The Holy Spirit became my voice and I was talking to the three most powerful men in Minnesota with such boldness and power. Before I knew it, I saw that I had been speaking for forty-five minutes. Just as quickly as the anointing came on me I realized there was nothing more to say. The presence of God had flooded that room and the three men were visibly shaken. The Governor had his glasses off and was weeping. The Attorney General had his head on the table and was crying saying over and over, “I have just not been so impressed with anything in my lifetime. I have just not been so impressed….” He couldn’t quit sobbing. The Chief Justice sat there speechless but nonetheless touched by God. I was so humbled with the way the Holy Spirit had used me. I just wanted to bury myself in the rug on the floor and cry."

This is exactly what happened Sally.  I had the former Governor and my multi-millionaire friend Bob read my manuscript and they verified that what I wrote was accurate.  Are you calling them liars?  It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  And also one of the most painful when we got news on the last day of the Governor's term that Gary did NOT get a pardon.  And here again Sally misrepresents the truth.  Either she isn't retaining what she reads or she is purposely lying.  The truth is that the reason Gary did not get his pardon was because of my father.  He had sabotaged Gary's pardon.  Here is what I wrote in the book: 

"It took us a long time to find out but a reliable source finally told us the truth. The Pardons Board had received a letter from my dad, which said that Gary had called him and threatened that he would kill the whole family as soon as he got out of prison. The letter was investigated and found to be a complete fabrication but the Pardons Board members did not have the political will to take a stand. My father promised to release his letter to the media if they released Gary and that would be the end of their political careers."

"We were devastated. It was one thing to be locked up and going through punishment for the murders Gary had committed – there was justice to that – but it was another thing entirely to know that Gary could have gotten out of prison early but would serve another thirteen years because of a lie!" 

Prison calls are recorded and there was no such call made to my father.  There was no threat made to him or anyone else in my family.  My father was lying and the Pardons Board knew it.  But my father was adamant that he would destroy their careers if Gary was released. And knowing my father, he would have found a way to do exactly that.

Sally then goes on a rant about Benny Hinn.  She thinks he is a charlatan.  No one was more surprised then me when God brought Benny Hinn into my life.  Although I am no longer attending his crusades or involved with his ministry, I will always be thankful how God used this man in my life.  At the time I was introduced to Benny Hinn's ministry, I hated preachers and had such disdain for them.  I was angry at God for not protecting me from my abusive father and angry that he had not rescued me when as a little girl I prayed and cried myself to sleep.  Benny Hinn's words about a merciful God who wasn't mad at me, about a kind Jesus who loved me without any conditions, and a Holy Spirit who wanted to be my comforter were like salve to my wounded heart.  I will not entertain Sally with a rebuttal to her mockery.   I am not asking anyone to like or agree with Benny Hinn.  I don't agree with everything Benny Hinn says or does either.  All I know is that God used him in my life and I will be forever grateful for that - end of story.

The rest of the book review/rant is about recovered memories.  Sally indicates that she doesn't believe my story:

(From Sally Davis' website Romancing the Victims)

My "supposed abuse" did happen whether Sally believes it or not.  I don't have to try to prove it to her.  Another victim of my father came forward five years before my book was published.  Police were convinced that we both are telling the truth.  I did not know this woman - she is half my age.  She was molested by my father for a year when she was a 10 year old missionary kid.

(From Sally Davis' website Romancing the Victims)

The last part of the book review goes completely off-track again as Sally goes off on her tirade to try to discredit my story by saying my allegations are "recovered memories" which she said have no basis of scientific proof.  Sally says that I could not possibly remember what happened to me at the age of three.  I don't remember much about that time but I sure do remember the "games" my father taught me.  I didn't know it was abuse.  I thought all little girls played the same games with their fathers.  Sally has no training or experience in the psychiatric field so she has no basis for evaluating whether I remembered my abuse or whether these are "repressed memories".  And what difference does it make anyway?  I did remember my abuse and kept stuffing the pain until I finally crashed and burned.  At that point, I could no longer stuff my pain.  I had to deal with it or die.  I don't care if Sally doesn't believe my story.  She wasn't there.  Only God, my father and I know what really happened all those years ago.  And I am confident that when I stand before God, I will not be ashamed.

In looking over Sally's other book reviews, it seems that she often gives negative reviews so I am in good company.  One thing is certain, Sally doesn't know how to write a book review.  They are used to critique an author's work, not to belittle or mock them.  Sally was not content to just put the review on her website, she had to also go on Amazon and continue her rant.

I think one Amazon commenter said it best when they said: 

This is not so much of a review but another personal attack by Sally Davis.  This should be removed by Amazon for the bile that it is."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Will The Real Sally Davis Please Stand Up

You've heard the saying, "hurting people hurt people".  Sally Davis proves this in spades.  I recently was on the receiving end of one of her rants and the outrageousness of it intrigued me enough that I wanted to dig a little deeper into her life to find out more.  She did a book review on my life story and made such a big deal of it that I couldn't help but wonder why.  I wanted to know what had set her off and more importantly what makes her tick.  The real Sally I found did not match the bad-ass atheist persona that she tries to portray.  

I first met Sally on-line when she was attacking my dear friend and fellow survivor, Cathy Harris.  Cathy was kidnapped as a child by a church lady who pimped her out to pastors and pillars of the church.  Sally made no bones about the fact that she did not believe Cathy's story and made it her mission to tear Cathy down with all the fervor of a fundamentalist preacher.  Sally says she isn't a fundamentalist anymore, at least not in the evangelical sense.  After graduating from Bob Jones University, Sally now professes to be an atheist.  

After spending a great deal of time attacking my friend on Facebook, Sally started her own website to "evangelize the world" with her hatred for Cathy.  Her website has devolved into an attack on three abuse survivors: Cathy Harris, Camille Lewis and me.  What is interesting is that she has called all three of us fakes.  Cathy is "The Fake Victim" because Sally does not believe her story.  Never mind that Cathy has a lot of corroborating evidence of her abuse - much more than most victims.  Camille is "The Fake Scholar" because, well there is no good reason why.  Camille is a brilliant woman who holds a PhD in Rhetorical Studies and American Religious History from Indiana University.  Certainly nothing to disrespect.   I am "The Fake Activist" because Sally thinks I am totally insane, plus she doesn't believe my story either.  I think there should be another tab on her menu called "The Real Fake" because Sally is one.  There is nothing real about her at all - not even her professed atheism.  Sally is a "white-knuckle wanna be atheist".  She keeps hoping that if she mocks Christians, the devil and the Bible long enough it will convince people she really is an atheist.

I have nothing against atheists, I have found many of them to be genuinely wonderful people.  Some of my atheist friends are nicer than most Christians I know.  Real atheists are comfortable in their beliefs and don't pitch hissy fits when Christians talk about their faith.  Sally does.  Real atheists don't go ballistic about what Christians believe - they just don't believe it.  End of story.  But not Sally - she has become a fundamentalist fanatic and makes a federal case out of everything labeled "Christian".  Just more proof that Sally is a fake atheist.

But more than that, Sally is hiding a secret that causes her a lot of shame.  Sally doesn't believe most survivor stories, in fact she is quite antagonistic towards survivors in general.  She thinks that survivors who wait years to tell their story are prone to "false memories" that they have conjured up with the help of therapists.  This is one of the ridiculous things she said on her website, and aimed at me:

(From Sally Davis' website Romancing the Victims)

First of all, any survivor who accuses their father of abusing them should report him to police - not look for "some sort of reconciliation".  That leaves the door open for him to abuse other children and that is exactly what the fundamentalists want you to do.  Where has she been with Bob Jones University alumni harping on "just forgiving and forgetting and letting it be".  That sort of enabling ifs what has gotten things into such a sorry mess with our churches and religious institutions in the first place.  And her alma mater Bob Jones University is a prime example of this.  Next Sally goes for the jugular and makes the snide remark about "doing so with no evidence of any kind".  Well Sally, I don't know how to tell you this, but it never dawned on me as an eight year old child that I should save my semen stained panties for forty some years so that I could prove my father raped me.  "Stupid" little girl!  What was I thinking?  All I have for evidence is my broken heart and the pain I feel inside from being used by my own father.  There is no machine doctors can hook up to me that will show what he destroyed inside my heart.  All I have is the memories and they are many.  I never had a therapist who did "guided imagery" or used "dubious memory recovery techniques."  I remembered.  Oh how I remembered!  All my life, I remembered.   And telling my story is "not criminal".  I have committed no crime - my father did.  If my dysfunctional family was destroyed, it was not me that destroyed them.  The truth is we were already destroyed a long time ago.  My father saw to that.  As I said in my story, "my siblings all have their daddy wounds and have learned to deal with them in their own ways."  

Sally is the reason so many victims have a hard time coming forward.  We are afraid of not being believed.  We are afraid that people will pick at the carcass of our pain and make fun of us.  We are afraid that our abusers are right and we will not be believed.  Look at what Sally had to say on-line about Cathy being savagely raped as a young adult:

I find nothing humorous about rape but Sally does.  She likes to tell people that she has just been misunderstood and that she has a right not to believe our stories.  The truth is it is hatred like this that makes us find her so despicable.  How anyone can laugh at a woman being raped is beyond me.  How a woman can laugh at another woman being raped is about as low as a human-being can go.

But the real reason Sally doesn't believe our stories happened a long time ago and it is her deepest shame.  Here is Sally telling it in her own words as only she can.  She said this back in 2011, and I am sure at the time she never dreamed these words would come back to haunt her.  

Sound like Sally is cold and heartless?  She is.  Let's unpack her statement from August 26, 2011.  Sally tells about her father being accused of sexual abuse by her step-neice.  Sally chalks it all up to "repressed memories".  Notice how she discounts the sister's question by a flat denial, "No. Because whether you remember being three or not, I was older than you, and I remember you being three.  'My father never abused anyone in his whole life.  He was the epitome of the Southern gentleman...and He didn't turn into one after I left home."  Now how in the world does Sally know this?  She is not omniscient.  She doesn't know everything.  She cannot say for certain that her father never molested a child.  It is not uncommon at all for children to be abused in the home and other siblings not know about it.  This statement alone just astounds me at it's ignorance and then chills me to the bone that she could be so insensitive to her step-sister and step-neice.  The fact that her father "was the epitome of a Southern gentleman" makes no difference.  We all know that most child molesters are very charming.  Now, I can't say one way or the other whether Sally's father molested a child or not.  I wasn't there but neither was Sally (ALL THE TIME).  Only God, the victim and Sally's father know for certain.  And sadly the father is dead and she doesn't name the victim.  So there is no way to know.  

But no one can deny that Sally is triggered by what she refers to as "repressed memories".  She is triggered by victims telling their stories years later.  And then to add to her insult to the poor victim she says it is all a dispute over money.  Seriously?  Like how many abuse victims do you know who would go through all the fear and shame of telling their story as some kind of scam for money?  It's not like abuse victims are lining up to be labelled as an abused child.  I don't know anyone who set out to be the poster child for abuse.  It just defies logic.  When abuse survivors tell their stories, they give up a lot to do so.  It is not something that they do lightly and it takes immense courage.  But Sally goes a step further and accuses the victim of paying off a maid to sue for her.  Seriously?  Finally, Sally asks a rhetorical question: "Now am I incredibly cruel because I simply did not accept my stepsister's daughter's silly tale?  Because I totally blew her off?  Because I knew she was completely full of shit?    If so, I will accept the 'incredibly cruel' label without apology.  I never especially liked my father but he never abused any child ever.  So don't tell me that people don't make these stories up, because they do."  Wow!  

Let's look at that question piece by piece.  "Now am I incredibly cruel because I simply did not accept my stepsister's daughter's silly tale?"  Yes, you were incredibly cruel Sally.  Your job was not to judge the victim's story but to show compassion and support.  And she is not your "stepsister's daughter", she is your step-neice.  And her story is not a "silly tale"!  Because I totally blew her off?   Yes you did - you sure did.  Are you proud of yourself Sally?  Did it make you feel superior to just shove aside a crying girl who wanted to be believed?  Are you proud of your cold, damn heart?  Because I knew she was completely full of shit?  And just exactly what was your evidence to prove that Sally?  You are always balking about evidence - where is your evidence that her story was 'full of shit'?  Are you claiming again that you are omniscient and know everything?  If so, I will accept the 'incredibly cruel' label without apology.  It's about time you said that!  Ok, you got the title you wanted - "The Incredibly Cruel Old Lady" title is yours.  Wear it with pride - you earned it.  Now quit bellyaching about to all your friends how mean everyone is to you.  You earned the label - and you said you would accept it without apology, so accept it!  No need to obsess on your Facebook wall how you are being persecuted so they can call me vulgar names.  Accept the title without apology Sally.  Put on a smile and hold your head up high.  Wear the title of "The Incredibly Cruel Old Lady" with dignity!  There is no one competing with you - you won by a landslide.

So Survivors, if you hear Sally say that she doesn't believe another survivor's story, just chalk it up to this.  Sally didn't even believe her own step-neice's story.  She doesn't believe children remember their abuse and she thinks that 'good Southern gentleman' ever abuse children.  So don't worry when she calls the next survivor's story fake - the only real fake here is Sally.  Behind all the bad-ass facade is a very bitter old woman who is estranged from family and has very few friends.  Sally hurts people before they have a chance to hurt her.  Ever wonder why Sally could hate Cathy this much when she has never even seen her?  It's because Sally hates vulnerability and Cathy is vulnerable.  She sees in Cathy's pain the pain she hates in her own life.  Cathy has no family and neither does Sally.  Cathy has been deeply hurt and so has Sally.  Cathy is rejected and that is how Sally feels.  Sally hates Cathy because Cathy is a mirror of what she hates in her own life.  But what makes Cathy and Sally complete opposites is that Cathy is not taking out her pain on everyone else - she is dealing with it and holding her abusers responsible.  Sally is taking her hatred out on all of us survivors.  She is holding us hostage and making us pay for how much she hates herself.  I don't feel sorry for Sally - she is a big girl and has chosen her path.  She delights in being hateful and hurting others.  She likes the praises and high-fives she gets from her mob of haters who follow her around like little trained chimpanzees.

After reading my story, Sally accused me of living in Fantasyland.  I might live in Fantasyland but Sally lives in La-la Land.

Stay tuned...this is not the end, we are just beginning to scratch the surface!