I picked up a book that a friend of mine recommended: I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichterman. The title of the book threw me off, but as I read the following Amazon review on it, I was intrigued.
A compelling memoir and account of the Independent Fundamental Baptist church and its shocking history of religious abuse.Jocelyn Zichterman was born, raised, married into, and finally, with her family, fled the Independent Fundamental Baptist church. Founded by the fiery preacher Bob Jones, with several hundred thousand members, IFB congregants are told they must not associate with members of other Baptist denominations and evangelicals, with an emphasis on secrecy, insular marriages within the church, a subservience for women, and unusual child raising practices.In I Fired God, Jocelyn Zichterman systematically details the IFB’s disturbing history, exposing a cult-like atmosphere of corruption, greed, and abuse. Having been initiated into its innermost circles, Zichterman knows that the gentle demeanor America sees in the form of the Duggar clan on 19 Kids and Counting disguises the truth about the darker side of the church.With written documentation and sources so thorough that law enforcement has used her work as a foundation for criminal prosecutions, Zichterman exposes the IFB with revelations including:
- The disturbing world of abuse within the IFB and doctors and teachers who cater exclusively to church members and fail to report physical and sexual abuse
- The IFB-controlled Bob Jones University, which issues degrees of questionable value while making vast sums of money for its founders
- The way the IFB influences politics on the local, state, and national level, and protects its abusive culture under the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion
After reading that, I was sold. Let me give you a little background on myself. I was born and raised in a very strict, fundamental Christian home. Although I did not endure much of what Jocelyn describes in her book, many very key concepts and organizations she talks about played key roles in my childhood that initiated many problems, struggles, and situations I would face later in life.
I was personally involved in “Dr.” Bill Gothard’s Eagle Mountain Training Center, one of his little prison/child labor camps for boys. His brainwashing indoctrination was constantly used during my 9 months there. The IFB cult mentality was rampant there. The deception, lies, and hateful conspiracies were actually the reason I was forced to leave there. What it boiled down to is I did not fit the “mold” and was made to look like the bad guy in a situation and was forced out. Thankfully, years later the truth surfaced.
Disclaimer: Nothing written in this review/post is done out of hateful spite or intended to hurt individuals. These are simply facts that molded me in many areas of my life. I bring them up as a way of identifying with Jocelyn, giving credit to much of her book.
The home in which I was raised was a good home. There is no doubt that my parents loved my 6 other siblings and I. What I must bring to light however, is that the IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) indoctrination and mentality ran rampant in my childhood years. Extreme forms of discipline, blatant hypocrisy, and the “break the child’s will” philosophy that Jocelyn brings into the lime-light were rampant in my family. To be honest, this post is not about my childhood. Very few close friends, mainly my wife, know the many details involved. Going public with those details is not a thought that thrills me, nor the purpose of this post.
Jocelyn exposes the blatant lies and deception of the cult. She clearly expresses how extreme forms of discipline such as brutal “spankings” are used as power trips for the adults and can lead to sexual molestation. Personally I have nothing against spanking, but not the way it was done during my childhood or how Jocelyn describes.
Her book does a great job of explaining how hard it is for a family to get out of the IFB cult. The manipulation, use of illegitimate “Dr” entitlements, and the strategy of blinding the eyes of its members keep people in the dark to services such as law enforcement, Child Protective Services, and other government organizations. Many people that are “high ranking” in the IFB community are nothing short of pedophiles, abusers, and crooks. Women are rampantly degraded and abused.
There are so many organizations she brings into the broad picture of the IFB. Bill Gothard, Bob Jones and his “university”, Pensacola Christian College, Quiverfull, and many more are mentioned and exposed. I am a member of several Facebook and Google+ groups that try to help those who have been exposed to these blasphemous groups, people and organizations. Please message me if you would be interested in getting involved with any of these groups.
The only reason I could not give this book 5 stars, is I do not agree with the author’s personal outcomes of belief. While I cannot fault her reasoning for them, I do not support them 100%. I would definitely give her book a 4.5 star rating! The content was exceptionally well put together and presented. I want to thank Jocelyn for her courage and ability to rise above the fundamentalism and the hardships it brings to expose to the world the mentality and bondage of Satan himself.
I am an avidly outspoken person for the exposure of the IFB and company (most specifically against Bill Gothard, ATI, and IBLP). On the same token I also believe in grace and forgiveness. Much I have left behind and forgiven, yet there is much out there that needs to be battled and exposed. That is where I feel posts like this are necessary.
If you are haunted or involved in any of these groups or others similar, I would like to encourage you to flee no matter what the cost! There are those that can help you, including myself. The “god” of these men and organizations is not the same God I worship and serve. I say that boldly and with no apology of offense.
Please do not hesitate to contact me.