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02/13/2012

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As Dr. Phil says, "People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing,"

Thank you for this post. I had wondered about the same thing regarding their blogs & decided if they want control of who reads them then they are not worth my attention.

It takes great courage to be open about abuse & many people don't want to hear about it because their conscience may start to trouble them. Or, their rose colored glasses may no longer shield the ugliness that comes with all forms of abuse and control. People controlled by religion and one group's interpretation of it always fear outsiders or anything different from their own limited experience. It's why strict rules and distinctions are made to distinguish the "faithful" from sinners. It's also why sinners within the so-called "faithful" can continue their abuse. Exposing sinners (abusers) within the FALC is viewed as an attack on the entire church while the real culprit is left to continue his/her abuse. It's evident even in the way the law dealt with your father. Instead of him serving a sentence locally, despite what the victim's family asked for, he was banned to another area where he can continue his behavior. And, the local FALC can continue continue on as usual with the abuser out of sight. Unfortunately, he is not out of mind as the other half of that old saying goes.

I applaud your courage and continued sharing of your journey. I'm sure there are plenty of people who never comment but who have been helped by your blog.

I too grew up in the 1st Apostolic Lutheran Church. I, however, never once heard of abuse among any families from this church, and I know quite a number of people from the church. Sexual abuse is considered highly taboo within this church and culture; in fact, having sexual relations outside of marriage or before marriage is taboo as well. It is quite unfortunate that you experienced this from your own father. This was indeed a rare, abnormal occurrence. However, linking your perverse familial abuse with the church is really unfair and defamatory, as this personal experience of yours shows up when you Google the First Apostolic Lutheran Church. If you had been abused by other members within the church, it would be fair to defame the church; however, it seems you only have your father to blame.

While I appreciate your viewpoint, I am not coloring the whole religion based upon my father; but rather from the conversations I have had with many many victims. They come from so many different family trees, you would be quite shocked.

It is not a rare and abnormal occurrence within the church. What is more rare is for there NOT to be abuse.

The victims I have spoken to come from our local area, Minnesota and Zion Illinois. I have also spoken to many members of splits from the church such as The Old Apostolic church, and it too has a lot of abuse.

While it may be taboo, it doesn't stop it from happening.

I too, at one time, thought it was only my family. Only to find out, bit by bit, it was so far spread, it was completely overwhelming. It is rapidly spreading exponentially.

If only the members within the church would be a bit more concerned and work towards exposing the abuse and work less in trying to keep up the 'reputation of being a culture where it is a rare and abnormal occurrence, the children of the next generation may have a chance.

I am happy that if you google, the church, it sends you to a blog about the abuse. That is the truth that lies within its pews.

Oh, and Rim. While you say, "you have never heard of abuse among the families" I am here to say just that. Now, you can no longer say, "You haven't heard."

I am a young member of the FALC and your account of abuse is the first I have ever heard of within the FALC. I'm curious if your father is still part of the FALC. I'm a bit confused on how your relating your abuse to the FALC. What I can come up with is that you think behind the "walls" of the FALC a "sick disease is lurking". I'm assuming you mean abuse. You said in your post "A voice in the silence...speaking up about the abuse and the FALC". You keep mentioning this so called abuse going on rampantly within the "walls" of the FALC but you fail to mention anything about it beside your very brief statement about you which I am very sorry for. You talk a lot about Jim and Judy's blog and why they would dare have a private blog and no comments section. First off I don't know if this is true I have never visited these blogs but of course they are private. Can you imagine the comments that would be made on them if they were open. It actually sounds to me like you are nosy and want to get a peek into Judy's blog and behind the "walls" of the FALC. We both know everyone is welcome to come through the "walls" and join us.

Jim only had a few posts. Judy's was erased and ended. She still has a general blog, but it isn't about healing from abuse or even commenting on it. So, they are no longer relevant to the conversation of blogs, abuse and the FALC.

My blog is about my experience and my knowledge is based on conversations I have had with many other members (EX-members) of the FALC.

My father passed away.

How can there be a conversation if only one side is allowed to speak. The reason I keep mine open, IS i do want to hear from others.

Your experience "Anonymous" is yours. I am not even eager to speak with anonymous folks.
I much prefer to know who I am speaking to. Your failure to show your face, makes your comment less interesting.

I like transparency.

I do understand, that most are unwilling, unaware, or even uninterested in the darker side of a strict religion and the effects of unhealed abuses. Most are only interested in religion as being the end game of Heaven. Not the cost of what the structure leaves upon the lives of those who try and live under it.

The reason, in my opinion, that abuse is so rampant in the church is its inability to look at it. Even in your comment, you are more concerned about the blogs than the nature of the blogs.

You can't afford to believe that abuse is rampant. For your avenue to heaven then will be closed.

Interestingly, I most hear voices defending the church and the LACK of abuse.
When, my experiences are of victims sharing their stories.

I however, know that most will not share to those who are unwilling to listen to their 'church' religion be smeared.

You seem to just keep throwing out this word abuse. So tell me because apparently you know all about while I haven't heard of a single account.

Again, you are faceless to me. Your account means nothing without a face. What you are saying to me, is all who have shared are meaningless, because you yourself with your own ears and perhaps eyes haven't seen it. Is it then only true, IF it is true for you.

An interesting view of reality.

I'm a young male there is nothing more you need to know about me. I have no idea who you are, you are also faceless to me. The only reason I even visited and commented on this blog is because recently I wanted to call in and listen to church on the phone so I googled first apostolic lutheran church looking for a phone number and this was the second website that showed up so I visited it. It saddened me to see someone saying to my knowledge false accusation's about my faith. Your account with abuse is still the only one I have heard of. Was your's brushed under the rug because I would have never heard of it if it were not from this blog? I guess I will ask around to see if anyone else knew about your account and the infinite amount of other accounts of abuse apparebtly happeing constantly right under my nose behind these so called "walls" which is actually a open door. Because you won't tell me. I don't worship the church or the people in it. I follow the faith that I belive in that lives within the church that so many others even people who had no relation to others within the church or "outsiders" as Suzanne called them above do. We're still humans you will still always be let down by somthing or someone.

I heard on a podcast today, by the Professor who did the Prison Experiments at Stanford in the 60's. That if there isn't more than one shouting out what is wrong, most will see the One as fanatical.

Sadly, while I have heard many stories, few (if any) will stand with me speaking up about the abuse in the church.

Speak to the Mission Board Members in Calumet. Start with Carl Torola.

My father was arrested and tried in Houghton County.

What isn't said out loud, is real, whether you believe or not believe.

Oh, and I also heard, on the same podcast, that those who want to remain anonymous, don't want to be responsible for their actions/or non actions. Makes sense to me.

I just never have understood the disempowered stance of anonymous.

Dear Imperfect Lady,

I would be careful to use the First Apostolic Lutheran Church as a scapegoat for your father's crimes. Are you familiar with libel laws in this country? If you publish something defamatory, it's considered libel. I would hesitate to link the FALC to abuse you personally endured by your own father. You refer to cases by deviant individuals who happened to belong to the church-- this is NOT a case of priests or leaders committing crimes against members or children.

Is Bill Cosby being held accountable for the crimes he committed or is the church he attended at fault? Obviously, it would be absurd to blame his church for his crimes--or to in any way insinuate that they are responsible because they couldn't stop him.

Since the vast majority of FALC members may never see the libel you posted about them online, I feel compelled to defend this defenseless group of mainly good, honest people. When you link their group to your own sexual abuse, this is an unfair assault on their beliefs, way of life, and character. In no way do they advocate or protect this sort of deviant behavior.

Sure, freedom of speech is a blessing and it is good you speak out. But please, out the abusers, even out them by name rather than the innocent organization in which they happen to belong.

Please seriously consider removing the libel and defamation from your blog or you will add fuel to my fire. I feel the need to further defend this innocent organization--perhaps in court.

RIM, I am not even sure where to start; but perhaps contact David Taivalkoski, the preacher in Calumet. For, he has from the pulpit, preached about sexual abuse within the church.

I am sorry that my blog about abuse within the church members is upsetting to you. It is not my intent to upset; but rather to shed light upon a troubling issue.

Also, contact Carl Torola a mission board member. He may offer you some insights.

And, Please begin a fact finding mission. Start the conversations to prove me wrong. I would love there to be a formal investigation upon how the mandating reporters are not reporting. For Churches are like schools, if they hear of such abusers, they need to report to the laws of the land, and not just 'deal' in house.

Further, I am saying there is abuse with in the church community or FALC. I know this first hand....my own father didn't just abuse his daughters, but other little girls in the neighborhood, who the detective spoke to. These are in the records. These are church families.

Outing the members has been done. I have given many names to the Houghton County Detectives office. As for the innocence of the church, it is only as innocent as its members. That is the way of it. Not my rules.

I can't in truth say, that the church was helpful in my case of abuse. The detective was appalled by how many knew and did nothing.

In order to file a case of defamation, does it not have to be lies?
A formal investigation would be helpful in exposing much.

You speak for the majority and you are one.
Again, I apologize.

Dear Imperfect Lady,

I see you have read my post, but you refuse to listen to my message. The truth is often difficult to digest. What I say is true: Linking the 1st Apostolic Lutheran church to your father's crimes is indeed unfair and defamatory.

It would be right and fair for you to remove the church's name from your blog as the church had nothing to do with the abuse you endured by your father. Perhaps you fear doing so would make your blog less visible online? Maybe so, but isn't it more important to do what's right?

Because there's so little information online about the FALC, your blog posting regarding the church and sexual abuse is unduly prominent. It gives the impression to anyone who Googles the church that it's a haven for pedophilia or that sexual abuse is rampant "within your hallowed walls". Perhaps because it happened to you, it feels rampant to you. However, yours is the experience of a rare few.

I don't see that you have publicly outed any of the perpetrators on your blog; you have only publicly damaged this church. Since the church is not responsible for the perpetrator's crimes, this is libel. This falls under the category of defamation and libel which are: "Publishing or broadcasting said false statements as fact; allegations or imputations injurious to another; acts of malice."

Dear Imperfect Lady,
I am currently a younger female member of this church. I have to disagree with your assumption that sexual abuse is as rampant in the church as you claim it to be. I have only recently heard of any such claims and they are very few and far between. If you look at the world and folks who are from other cultures, communities, and religious faiths- I guaranteed sexual abuse is a lot more prevalent in the world community than it is within the FALC. Your false ideas that you claim are linked to the FALC Community only leads to distrust and hatred that from what I can see is untrue and fed by your personal anger towards your father whom you trusted and was betrayed.

Dear Carolyn, what you consider my "assumptions" are actually victim's words to me. From the ages of whom has spoken, the years passed, the same perpetrator often has been victimizing for decades. From your experience of only hearing of a few, has you seeing that there isn't that much going on. However, my viewpoint is much different than yours. I will not discount or ignore the victims who have come to me to share their experiences of abuse as members of the First Apostolic Lutheran Church. As you confidently believe that there is more abuse in the world community - what are you basing this on?

I do not feel that I am using my experience with my father to color the church, but rather the voices of those who break their silence with me.

My relationship with my father, isn't one of anger. I have accepted that he was an abuser. I had set boundaries prior to his death. I had no contact with him, after learning of my own abuse. I was in denial for 46 years. This is not uncommon among victims of abuse.

How many other victims are still unaware of their own abuse?
How can you be so certain that I am sharing "false" ideas?

You are defending your church with only a "few and far between" happenings of abuse, so it is there, but can you be sure that is ALL there is?

How vocal are members within your church community about the sexual abuse or physical or emotional abuse?

If you only knew, how many others like yourself have come forth and said, they know of a few. Are you all hearing of the same family? Or, are you all just hearing from within your circle? How many clicks and circles are there within the church?

My estimation, isn't just mine. I had spoken to a Mission Board Member, within your church and he agreed that the abuse was exponentially growing. It is out of control, from where it was in my time of abuse. That is 40 years ago. Same church and as you know, same families which have also grown exponentially. Due to the lack of birth control.

While it is easier to believe that it is my anger at my father that is fueling this, it will not help the victims past and present. What would it cost you to believe that the church you feel is of high morals and values is rampant with abuse?

RIM, I did answer your comment; but did so on another blog post. I did contact an attorney, and he said the truth needs no defense. To continue on writing.

I am not going to share the victims experiences on this blog. I have shared their names with the local sheriff department's detective.

I am going to share mine. I am also going to share my experiences of knowing, I am not alone. I am not rare and one of the few and far between; based on what I have heard from other victims.

Because they are not speaking to you, doesn't mean IT isn't happening.

What I marvel the most of, yet, is the amount of defense the church gets and how easily it is for you all to dismiss me and consider what I say false and defamatory. What IF you are wrong???

I personally, have nothing more to lose.

It matters not a wit, what happens within the church.

Yet, somehow I feel more concerned about the rising numbers of abuse; compared to those who still are within the circles inside. Why???

What, again, would you all have to lose to bring into your awareness that abuse is much more common than not?

How many victims do you all need to hear from, in order to believe?

If only, I was the one rare exception.

Dear Imperfect Lady,

Wasn't your abuse within your own home, not inside the church? This proves that you are misrepresenting your abuse as a product of the church instead of your father's fault. I'm not sure how your conscience can live with publicly blaming (and damaging) the wrong source.

RIM

Dear Imperfect Lady,

Perhaps you should consider following your own attorney's advice: "The truth needs no defense". It is not true that your abuse had any origin in the church you name; it originated in your own home, so why do you say this abuse exists within the church? You seem to think the church is responsible for things that went on in the privacy of your own home. Isn't it more fair to blame your mother for not stopping it, as she was in a position to do so? I doubt you would publicly name your mother and accuse her of not stopping it-- like you have the church!

You are setting yourself up for a defamation lawsuit by suggesting the church was responsible for your father's crimes. You may want to correct your imperfect allegations.

I hear what you are saying. While I was in denial of my abuse, years went by. In those years my father abused. The Minister of the FALC knew and he didn't report it. The neighbors knew and they didn't report it. Also, by the way members of the FALC.

When I did come to be aware, when my denial broke. I vowed not to be silent. I vowed to stand by the victims. I am now speaking out, where before my denial didn't allow me to.

While I hear that you want me to speak of my abuse and leave the church out. I feel that those who are in the church need to know, that there are families within that have abusers in them. Or, have ones who will not get involved and report abuse.

Also, there are victims who have spoken about being abused in church. So, the church isn't as innocent as you believe.

I, by the way, sleep with a clear conscience because I am now speaking up. I am no longer part of the problem; but trying to make a difference.

I welcome a lawsuit. It would mean investigators looking deeply into families, board members and preachers. Bring it!

I, myself have nothing to hide.

Hello Beth,

Thank you very much for sharing your story with others. It takes a lot of courage to share a traumatic experience with others. I was sexually abused myself more than once (not by someone from FALC) but I understand how traumatic the experience can be.

Praise God that He is a healer and deliverer!
("The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,.....Luke 4:19)


I also grew up in the FALC. I have since left and now go to an Evangelical/Pentacostal Christian church. I still care for and love the members of the FALC but left as I have desired to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. I would love to email you and have discussions and join a healing community with you.

-Maria

Thanks for commenting Maria. I am sorry you have experienced the trauma of being sexually abused.

Being open to discussions is the first step in healing. To have someone hear your story...and even more important to speak out. Breaking the silence is very important.

Dear Imperfect Lady,

You may not have considered that, as an adult, there would be many other ramifications to consider before reporting a suspected case abuse to authorities. Let's say, for instance, a friend of your familily was told about the abuse. Would she want to imprison your father, and as a result, leave your entire family without a source of income (assuming your mother was a full-time mom)? Would she also want to be responsible for splitting up your whole family (there would be a good chance the children would need to go into foster care). Would she want to also publicly humiliate your entire family (in the community, at church, and at school)? It is not fair, you see, to blame another for not reporting your case when the result easily could have been catostophically worse.

I personally would not want to meddle with publicly blaming a house of God for a crime my family member committed. My own conscience would tell me that is not right. However, if you feel compelled to blame to wrong source and publicly damage a house of God, that is your choice. You will have to deal with the consequences when it is your time. Good luck with that.

Interesting Rim. I am not ashamed and humiliated because my father was an abuser and everyone knows.

I feel that you are placing the shame upon the victims, instead of the abusers where it belongs.

You can't know the consequences are worse to report compared to not reporting.

What about the children who are at risk due to non-reporting?

How the chips fall, is not the responsibility of the reporter. It begins with the abuser. They are the ones who carry the burden of splitting up the family. For a family where abuse is allowed to continue isn't a family; but a circle of abuse.

Each of us will do what we feel morally inclined to do.

I am at peace with my choices.

You can't shame me or humiliate me for speaking out.

It is your reasoning that keeps others silent. Silent is what the abusers need in order to continue on.

And, in God's house, there is much silence going on.

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Books, signposts along the way.

  • Annie Rogers: A Shining Affliction: A Story of Harm and Healing in Psychotherapy
  • Elizabeth Gilbert: Big Magic - Creative Living Beyond Fear
  • Brene Brown: Daring Greatly
  • Martha Beck: Leaving the Saints
  • Glennon Doyle Melton: Love Warrior
  • Byron Katie: Loving What Is
  • Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor: My Stroke Of Insight
  • Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant: Option B - Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy
  • Brene Brown: Rising Strong
  • Patrick J. Carnes Ph.D: The Betrayal Bond
  • Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.: The Body Keeps Score
  • Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.: The Body Keeps Score - Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
  • Alice Miller: The Body Never Lies
  • Dr. Shefalie Tsabary: The Conscious Parent
  • Laura Landgraf: The Fifth Sister- From Victim to Victor
  • Brene Brown: The Gifts of Imperfection
  • Christina Enevoldsen: The Rescued Soul - A writing journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal
  • Annie Rogers: The Unsayable: The hidden language of trauma
  • Steven Pressfield: The War of Art
  • Alice Miller: Thou Shalt Not Be Aware
  • Rythea Lee: Trauma into Truth - Gutsy Healing and Why Its Worth It
  • Iyanla Vanzant: Trust
  • Rob Bell: Velvet Elvis
  • Norah Vincent: Voluntary Madness- Lost and Found in the Mental Healthcare System
  • Terry L. Wise: Waking Up: Climbing through the Darkness
  • Dr. Karyl McBride: Will I Ever Be Good Enough
  • Shonda Rhimes: Year of Yes

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