Monthly Archives: March 2013

Women in the Early Church

Early church history has to be one of the most enlightening subject matters that one can endeavor to study. It is fraught with “truths” that expose false doctrines and dogmas that mankind, throughout history, has propagated in order to subjugate women and keep them from their rightful positions in the church and in society. Exposing these truths is paramount in order to undo the damage that centuries of male dominance has done. Because of ego, pride and control, man has relegated women to a place of servitude that God never intended. Church history is one of the best sources of study, in conjunction with scripture, to expose lies of the religious system and pilfer through the mess of twisted man-made doctrines, dogmas and rules that have affected our race of humanity throughout the ages. As a member of a race of people that has been stripped of honor and dignity throughout history and set up for abuse, the changes in the manuscripts, the twisting of scripture, the man-made dogmas and rules and every other “change” MUST be pointed out and brought to the attention of the masses. It is these “changes” and “man-made” theologies that have not only caused great damage to the cause of Christ, but they have led to the sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children throughout history.

Early church history puts a magnifying glass on “theology” and exposes the drastic changes that man has made in order to bring about this subjugation. The following excerpts are from “Early church history to the death of Constantine” by Edward Backhouse, 1906. I would like to point out some important things that this tidbit of history reveals, emphasizing them by making them bold.

The reading was followed by exposition and exhortation of a very simple character, those who ministered being mindful to speak as “oracles of God,” and “in the strength” supplied from Him. It was the same with prayer. What was offered was from the heart, under the sense of the present need. No such thing as a form of prayer is to be met with in the worship of the primitive Church. “We lift up our eyes towards heaven and spread out our hands because we are innocent; we uncover our heads because we have nothing to be ashamed of; we pray without a monitor because we pray from our heart.”  So far as can be known, not even the Lord s Prayer was used as a customary part of worship; neither the New Testament nor the earliest Church writers, until we come to Tertullian, give any intimation of its being so used.

The early church was “innocent” of many of the abuses that today’s church is guilty of. The fact that both men and women were equal and worshipped as such, prevented the abuses toward women that we see today in many religious sects. The church, over time, has “crippled” itself and, is turning masses of men and women away from God as a result of the “hidden” abuses that lurk underneath its mantle of righteousness. Needless to say, it has turned about and is no longer “innocent.” It has much to be ashamed of.

The ministry was not confined to one reader or one expositor, or even to the presbyters, the appointed teachers of the Church. [No CHURCH LEADERS or HIERARCHY] When the Holy Ghost, on the day of Pentecost, descended on the disciples women as well as men and they began to speak with other tongues, Peter declared that what was then happening was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel regarding the spiritual gifts of the New Dispensation. The free exercise of these gifts, thus predicted and thus inaugurated, continued for some time to adorn the worship of the Church ; as we find in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, when the congregation came together, one had a Psalm, another a teaching, another a revelation of prophecy, another a tongue, another an interpretation. Nor were the women excluded. The Apostle indeed forbids them to “speak” . . .), but he unmistakably sanctions their praying and prophesying, by directing that they should not minister with their heads uncovered.

The early church did not exclude anyone from worshiping, reading or speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Today, women have been completely removed from being able to do this in many religious sects.  Some are adamant about putting their “thumb of control” upon those women that wish to serve; keeping them from God’s work.  Women were never excluded due to gender as they are today. This change came about, as a result of ego, pride and control on the part of men. The end result of this is that women have been robbed of honor, dignity and respect in every place man has relegated them to a subservient position. This “subservience” has led to the sexual mutilation, exploitation and abuse of women worldwide.

Anyone who has read the many articles I have written regarding early church history and the different doctrines mainstream religion teaches, will notice that I constantly point out the roles of women in the early church. This is a MUST due to what has been done to women as a result of these changes.  This is yet another passage that shares with us the fact that women were not excluded from worshiping, praying and prophesying.  Other excerpts that I have made have shown that they had positions of leadership in the early church; all of which, have been done away with by “men” not God.  Every opportunity, I will hit this topic regarding women until such a time as people take notice and realize the dangers and abuses of such teachings and, how they have affected women everywhere in regard to “religion” and society.

“A Woman of Valor”

annfrankAll during my Christian life, the men behind the pulpits in the churches I attended, spent so much time degrading women that it affected my self-esteem. It not only affected my self-esteem, it affected the relationships within my home regarding how each of us treated each other and how we responded to each other.

I remember preachers preaching on the “Proverbs Woman” as if no woman could ever live up to that standard. All the while, they would preach that we were not allowed to hold jobs or have authority over men. Constantly, they came across with a “double standard”. We should be like the proverbs woman, yet were not allowed to be!  What they failed to recognize was that God allowed for women to be “business women” and “leaders.” You cannot be a successful business woman without having authority over men. God gives authority, position and power to both genders in the Old Testament. Otherwise, Deborah would not have been a “judge in Israel and the General of the Israeli army” (Telushkin); Huldah, would not have been a prophetess; Miriam would not have been a prophetess and called of God to help lead the children of Israel out of Egypt along with Moses and Aaron.

The valorous women is first characterized by her goodness to her husband. “She is good to him, never bad”; he in turn, totally TRUSTS her.

She also takes care of all her family’s needs: “She rises while it is still night, and supplies provisions for her household” (31:15).

[My thoughts: Providing for one’s household is not just a “man’s” position. There is nothing wrong with dual income households; and yet, fundamentalists preach that this is “wrong” and a “sin.” Proverbs 31:15, says otherwise.]

Unlike the stereotypical stay-at-home wife as the preferred model of womanhood, the woman of valor is a businesswoman, who “makes cloth and sells it, and offers (for sale) a girdle to the merchant” (31:24). In addition, she is:

  • WISE – “Her mouth is full of wisdom” (31:26).
  • KIND – “Her toungue with kindly teaching” (31:26)
  • GENEROUS – “She gives generously to the poor” (31:20).
  • HARD-WORKING – “Her lamp never goes out at night” (31:18).
  • A GOOD MANAGER – “She oversees the activities of her household” (31:27).
  • CONTENTED – “Her children make her happy” (31:28), and
  • LAUDED – “Her husband praises her” (31:28).

                                                   – – Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Biblical Literacy

It is quite amazing how men throughout history have subjugated women to the “roles” that THEY say is what God “wants” for them and “meant” for them to have. They have forgotten that God is “no respecter of persons,” and this includes gender. It is disheartening how scripture gets twisted because of “ego”,  “pride” and “control”; and, men’s opinions become the  “truth” and “standard” by which we are “forced” to live.   It has nothing to do with love, respect, dignity and honor.


Throughout the last few years, my studies of Bible and history have been invaluable in teaching me lessons of “truth.”  I find it amazing and refreshing to read perspectives from other scholars and authors, both current and past, that bring new  “meaning” and “application” of scripture. One such author is Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. Now, one might be asking themselves, “Why in the world is this author quoting a Rabbi?” My response to that would be this – Because many are endowed with wisdom and we must be willing to learn from those that God has blessed with not only wisdom, but knowledge. To gleen from the best of the best, is not only a privilege, but an honor. Though our perspectives and beliefs may differ, I can still learn truths that can teach me the right “application” of the knowledge that God has given me.

In Telushkin’s book, Biblical LIteracy, of which I quote often, there is a chapter written about King Solomon that I found very intriguing. In this chapter, Telushkin writes the following:

Solomon’s decline seems to have started with his decision to enter into numerous “diplomatic marriages” with other kings’ and princes daughters. Although such marriages help procure peaceful relations with Israel’s neighbors, they also bring into Jerusalem the thing God most opposes in Israel: idol worship.

To accommodate his wives’ religious needs (the Bible speaks, one hopes hyperbolically, of seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, see 1 Kings 11:3), Solomon erects temples at which they can worship their idols. One might have thought that this was intended to be a temporary measure, that a man possessing Solomon’s wisdom would be capable of winning over his wives to his monotheistic beliefs. Unfortunately–and the Bible never explains how this happened–the elderly Solomon is more influenced by his wives than they by him: “In his old age, his wives turned away Solomon’s heart after other gods.” In one of the Bible’s most shocking verses, we learn that this wisest of all Jewish kings, the man who built the Temple, became a follower of Ashtoreth, the goddes of the Phoenicians, and of Milcom, the god of the Ammonites (1 Kings 11:4-5).

The young man who had once esteemed wisdom over money grows into a man who is overly fond of wealth. “All King Solomon’s drinking cups were of gold, and all the utensils…were of pure gold, silver did not count for anything in Solomon’s days” (1 Kings 10:21). That Solomon drinks only from gold cups is not an impressive detail, certainly not in comparison to the lives of such biblical figures as Moses, Jeremiah, and Isaiah.

Solomon also ceases to be a wise ruler of men. He starts imposing high taxes on his subjects. To collect the taxes efficiently, he divides Israel into twelve administrative districts, each ruled by an officer appointed by him and each responsible for supplying one month of Solomon’s annual budget. Given that Solomon maintains, to cite one example, forty thousand stalls for his horses, and twelve thousand horsemen (1 Kings 5:6), there is reason to suspect that the taxes were onerous. — Telushkin, Biblical Literacy, Pgs 248-249.

Telushkin goes on to talk about how Solomon also imposed forced labor on the people and multiplied horses unto himself. All this, eventually making Solomon a Monarch that “ceased to be admired” by the people he ruled. He goes on to state that,

His power and prestige spare him from being exposed to much of his subjects’ rage, which in the end is focused on his arrogant, and far less wise, son, Rehoboam. Solomon’s father, David, had spent forty years consolidating the Israelite empire. Within weeks of Solomon’s death, that empire has been destroyed–permanently. — Telushkin, Biblical Literacy, Pg 249.

What a tragic story of how power, prestige and money can corrupt even the most well-intentioned individual. Not only this, the repercussions of this greed for power, prestige and wealth led to the destruction and downfall of an entire empire of people–permanently..

Today, the same tactics are on display across America. We have a government that has imposed high taxes on the people. Spending is out of control. Power, prestige and wealth line the pockets of those elected to look out for the best “interests” of the common people. The government “elite” live above the people they serve and are not held to the same standard. The “common man” has no more say so in the direction of the country he loves. What does one think the outcome will be of such things?

We also see this same scenario across America with many religious institutions and the leaders that run them. The power, prestige and wealth they have amassed have caused them to become arrogant and self-seeking. Abuses abound underneath the “righteous” mantle the churches wear. Countless numbers of women and children are being emotionally, spiritually, physically and sexually abused as a result. What does one think the outcome of this will be?

The repercussions of a person of power, prestige and wealth that has gone astray is always the destruction of people’s lives as well as the destruction of the individual’s life.  It causes people to become angry to a point of distrust. Thus, they will find themselves in a constant fight with any policies that the leadership tries to impose. In government, we see this happening. Our country is divided and the expanse of the division grows wider by the day.  In religious institutions, the division is wide and growing ever wider between the “church” and those they “serve.”  Many are turning their backs on the church and God as a result.  Those wounded by these “systems” find themselves broken, silenced and shunned while the  “system” moves forward with  a swath of destruction across America that is unconscionable; leaving behind many dying and wounded who will be permanently destroyed as a result. All this without regard to love, compassion, ethics, mercy and conscience.

The “Unwisdom” of Solomon can teach us “wisdom” if we allow it to. Is it too late to overhaul the “systems” and right our country? Can the abuses that lurk underneath all this power and wealth be eradicated?  Only God knows.



It’s always interesting to hear a differing point of view. What is even more fascinating than hearing those views, is hearing “why” someone believes as they do and they use documentation to support it. Sadly, we all know that some documentation such as “scripture,” can be used as support for differing view points. How does one decide which point of view to believe once presented with the facts of each if the documentation presented supports both points of view? I do not have the answer to that. However, I do realize that understanding opposing views can be beneficial in helping us to treat others the way we would wish to be treated. Changing “perspective” changes behavior and attitude.

One of the things that I have found difficult to do is to extract completely that mindset or belief system that was instilled in me after more than 18 years in an Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult. Although I have “de-progammed” myself, I have not completely “reprogrammed” myself. There are times that I find myself falling back into the same thought processes and, usually, these thought processes bring fear; ultimately, this fear causes much worry. In order to undo this pattern, it means that I have to reprogram myself by changing my thinking “on purpose”; refusing to give time and effort to the old way of thinking. Is this easy? No. Can it be done? I believe so.

Deprogramming requires replacing the “old” with the “new”. Doing away with all the rituals and habits that became routines in your life and changing them. Incorporating new knowledge, through books, magazines and seminars, can help in the deprogramming process; and of course, a good counselor makes a difference too.

All of this said, I came across a “different perspective” that I wanted to share from the book, Biblical Literacy, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. Although, I understand his perspective, what’s refreshing is that he also understands the “Christian” perspective. Throughout Telushkin’s books, he makes it quite clear that he has taken the time and effort to “understand” the way Christians believe. When I think about this, it makes me wonder how often I did the same with those that opposed my views. Truthfully, I didn’t. No one had ever set an example of this to me! Therefore, I never witnessed it before to learn to do it. Telushkin, through his many books, has shown me that it’s okay to learn about others and their beliefs while keeping to mine. By doing so, it affects my “perspective” which affects my “behavior” and causes me to treat others with more grace, respect and love.

Here’s the story with a different perspective from the book, Biblical Literacy:

“For fundamentalist Protestants, and for many other Christians as well (particularly in the past), what endows the Hebrew Bible with particular significance is its presumed prophecies about the coming of Jesus. For them, the Book of Isaiah is deemed particularly important, since it is credited with two of the most significant such prophecies. Christian translators have generally rendered Isaiah 7:14–a prophecy that Isaiah makes to King Ahaz (circa 785 B.C.E.)–as follows: “Therefore, the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Hebrew for “God is with us”; Matthew 1:22-23 similarly translates this verse from Isaiah as “a virgin…).

For several reasons, Jews have never understood this passage as meaning what fundamentalist Christians claim it does. First, and most important, almah, which Christians have usually translated as “virgin,” actually means “young woman.” The Hebrew word for virgin is betulah. While a young woman may also be a virgin, if Isaiah intended to prophesy the miracle of a virgin giving birth, would he not, if for no other reason than to avoid ambiguity, have used the word betulah, since it has no other meaning other than virgin?

Second, the prophecy’s context makes it clear that God was sending a sign to King Ahaz, and was not speaking of a child who would be born more than seven centuries later (would you be convinced by a prophetic sign given in 2005 C.E. that would be fulfilled in 2705?). Thus, Isaiah tells Ahaz that “the young woman,” not “a young woman,” shall conceive, thus implying that he is alluding to a young woman known to the king. Probably, Isaiah is referring to Ahaz’s young bride, the queen, and to a son who will be granted the couple as a kind of replacement for the little princes Ahaz had earlier sacrificed (II Chronicles 28:3). While one is free to question the justice of giving an infant to a man guilty of such horrific child abuse, Hezekiah, the child who shortly thereafter is born to the queen, is, unlike his father, loyal to the traditions of David.” — Biblical Literacy

When I read this different perspective, it made sense. Logically speaking, that is. All my life, I have heard people question “why” Jews cannot see the prophecy about Christ in Isaiah. Well, one reason could be because they aren’t reading English. They are reading Hebrew. Secondly, they are, by all accounts, looking logically at a prophecy given to the King that would be fulfilled at that time, not centuries later.

Perspective – It is definitely interesting to learn others’ views and perspectives. Does knowing this different perspective change mine, somewhat? Yes, absolutely! It makes me realize that I have a lot to learn and that I cannot be “dogmatic” about this issue and force “my way” on others.  Does it have to change my perspective? No. I don’t have to let it; but that would be very closed minded of me. A closed mind can show others that we have arrogance and pride, not humility.  Broadening our perspectives and genuinely understanding others’ points of view not only leads to treating others with more respect and grace, it leads to peace and unity. There are many people in the world that will refuse to even consider another “perspective” when it comes to “beliefs”. Mainly, this is because religious institutions all want total control over the masses with their “right way”. Those of us “indoctrinated” by these institutions into their “way” or “belief,” are usually not open to differing views. Obviously, when we look at all the thousands of religions out there, we must realize that we may not have what we think we have; or, our institution may have warped the truth just a bit to make it conform to “their way” of thinking or belief. If thousands are using the same verses to support their beliefs, how do we know which is the right one? Again, I do not know. But I will continue to expand my knowledge; which expands understanding; which brings about changes in me. God will do the rest. He can do in me, what I cannot do.

These are just my thoughts out loud to help others to sincerely consider their “perspectives”. Perspectives change as knowledge expands; doctrines and dogmas do not necessarily do that.

Global Scope and Magnitude of Violence Against Women

This past year has been a wake-up call to me that violence against women has a global scope and VAWmagnitude that the media is turning a blind eye to. As women, we must ask ourselves what we can do to help put an end to this epidemic that spans across all societies across the world. The global scope and magnitude of the violence is a direct result of the religious and cultural “indoctrination” that takes place to proliferate this “inequality” of the sexes.

Male-dominated societies push through the “belief systems” that enable them to continue to oppress and suppress women from positions of authority and power throughout the world. Women in positions of authority that have the power and influence to affect changes in law, would absolutely stop much of the violence. Women do not tolerate abuse or, abuse on their children; men do. If men TRULY desired to end the violence, they absolutely could by using “thought or behavior reform” and, the same methods they have always used AGAINST women, to reverse behavior and attitudes that lead to abuse. They could also put permanent laws in place to protect women.  They could prosecute 100% of the perpetrators.

The magnitude of the abuse:


Religious indoctrination plays a major role in the behaviors and attitudes of men toward women. The religious manuscripts in existence have been proven to have many thousands of changes; many of which, have eradicated women from the religious roles they once held in the days of the early church. Changes have been made in order to dishonor and degrade women. Interpretations of scripture are twisted to teach that men are “superior”.  Why would men do this? Why would men change “scripture” to eliminate women in leadership in any capacity within religious circles? This is not difficult to answer. It keeps women in a position of inequality and submission that leads to total control; that leads to sexual exploitation (see my articles on Sexual Exploitation of Women in Cults, How Submission is Obtained: The Cult Rationale and, How Submission is Obtained: Personal Abuse)

Thought reform (also known as behavior modification), has been a major tool used by men to keep women in a place of inequality and submission; thus, enabling the abuses talked about in the following study that I am about to give you.  This study reveals just how bad the war on women really is. Every woman must educate herself on the statistics, and the reality, of what is truly taking place in not only this country, but across the world. We must be exceedingly “aware” of the changes in law that affect our equality, freedoms and protections.  As a race of people, we must take steps to protect ourselves and our children from this abuse. We do not have to put ourselves at the mercy of abusive men in any situation. Unfortunately, oftentimes, we are “forced” into this abusive environment by men whose only real agenda is sexual control and power. Through “religious” laws (like Sharia) interwoven into civil laws, women are “forced” to endure the torture, sexual mutilation, physical abuse, incest, rape, humiliation and trauma that men perpetrate against them. As a result, of these religious laws, as a result of religious indoctrination, as a result of the forced submission and sexual inequality, women and children are left at the mercy of abusive and perverse men in all societies across the globe. MEN can STOP the VIOLENCE and bring EQUALITY – IF THEY WANTED TO!

Global magnitude of the violence against women.


What are some of the steps we can take to ensure our safety? Let’s put some thought to this and really figure out what is necessary to stop violence against us and our children.

  1. Women should be vying for positions of leadership all over America within Government. Women in Government protect themselves and children.
  2. Women should be ever alert to changes in law that take away their rights and protections. Many times men will enact “laws” using the “MORAL” excuse as a blanket to deprive women of sexual equality; thus, enslaving them to their agendas of “exploitation”, control and submission to THEM.
  3. Women that have been abused MUST speak out about that abuse! The STATISTICS are so badly understated that it gives the impression that it is not as bad as it really is!
  4. Women MUST be courageous in taking action against ALL perpetrators of abuse where there are laws in place to protect them from it.

IF we do NOT do this, these laws will fall away leaving us NO protection. Think about this! The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was not renewed last year because the religious “right” said it would cost too much money to help abused women. Do we really believe that they cared one wit about  money on this issue? Of course not! It’s about maintaining the power imbalance and control over women.

Here’s an excerpt from the Huffington Post online on February 14, 2012.

Protecting women from violence and abuse has been an issue of bipartisan cooperation since President Clinton signed the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994. It was reauthorized with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2000 and again in 2005. Not this year.

On Feb. 2, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation (S. 1925) reauthorizing VAWA. The bill was sponsored by Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) — who is not on the committee — and cosponsored by 34 senators from both parties. Nevertheless, the legislation attracted no GOP support among committee members and passed out of committee on a party-line vote of 10-8. It was, according to Leahy’s office, the first time VAWA legislation did not receive bipartisan backing out of committee.

“Helping victims of domestic violence shouldn’t be partisan,” said Leahy in an interview with The Huffington Post. “I remember when I was a prosecutor and I’d go to a crime scene at 2:00 in the morning where [there were] victims of domestic violence. … I never remember the police saying, ‘Well, we can only investigate this if it’s a Democrat or a Republican or whatever else. Their reaction was, ‘How do we find the person who did this?’ It’s outrageous to make this a partisan issue.” – Huffington Post, Feb. 14, 2012

“But VAWA is facing well-organized opposition, and as Jillian Rayfield reported, it’s coming almost entirely from the religious right movement [emphasis mine].

The socially conservative Family Research Council asked supporters to help it oppose the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act because, the group says, the “real abuse” is how much it will waste taxpayer dollars.” – MSNBC’s, Feb. 7, 2013

However, President Obama signed it back into law this year to provide women protection from domestic abuse. What if he hadn’t done so? Why isn’t this law PERMANENT? Why is it TEMPORARY and must be “voted on” at the end of its term? Does that make any sense at all? Let’s protect women “temporarily” until such a time as we have a man in office that decides it’s not worth renewing because his “religious” beliefs degrade women anyway? What is wrong with people in government that this needs to be voted on? This is a moral and ethical issue here. This should be a PERMANENT law here in this country.

If women across the globe are going to EVER gain their honor and dignity back, their rights and equality, then we MUST speak out about ABUSE of all kinds. WE MUST REPORT IT. We MUST strive to get into government positions that will allow us to affect changes in law. Why does one think that all these women were shot down by the MEDIA in the last four years? Katheryn Lane, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Hilary Clinton. These women were viciously “discredited” and “attacked” by the media and, it was not because they were not qualified for the positions they were vying for. They were discredited because they were WOMEN that DARED to run for an office that would enable them the POWER to affect change for women all over this country; changes that would stop the power imbalances in government, changes that would stop the abuse and afford women the protections they have been denied oftentimes, changes that would give women the courage to report ALL abuses because they would not have to worry about men shaming and humiliating them and hurting them any longer. WOMEN do not tolerate abuse. Let’s let that sink in for a moment.

If we women are going to change America and bring equality of the sexes, protection of women and children and, equality of power, then we must stand together as a WHOLE and do our best to put women in these positions! We cannot let ourselves be divided by MEN’S agendas as the media “portrayes” them. We cannot let the MEDIA “LABEL” those that try to make a difference for women everywhere.


Here is what “labeling” does.  It attempts to dehumanize a person or race so that dismissing them or their opinions is much easier.  Choosing not to address someone individually who challenges the toxic faith places a blanket negative label on all who would agree with that person.  Those who disagree with what is taught are labeled as “detractors,” “malcontents” and “traitors”, who would destroy the ministry or organization.  These labels then become rallying points under which other followers can be moved to action to squelch a revolt.  Once the label is placed, it becomes more difficult to see the person as a human with real needs and the potential for good judgment.  This is exactly what religious leaders have done to women throughout history!   — Religion’s Cell: Doctrines of the Church that Lead to Bondage and Abuse, C. McClaskey

These women showed the COURAGE to stand in the forefront and run for political offices. They were not only publicly shamed and humiliated (typical male tactic against us) by men, they were shamed and humiliated and mocked by other WOMEN!  They were “labeled” by the MEDIA and MEN. They were used to DIVIDE women everywhere across this country!  What is wrong with people? Only equality of POWER will stop abuse for us and give us the freedoms that we have been denied. If you don’t think we have been denied equality, then ask yourself why men are paid higher salaries than women?  Please, think about these things as you read this study that puts all of this into perspective. This is a WAR on WOMEN and always has been. This war is the result of “religious mindsets” delivered to people deceptively over time. It is time to wake up women of the world and realize that the time is NOW to do what we must do to change our positions in society and to protect us and our children. This will be the most important document you will every read to open your eyes to the global scope and magnitude of violence against women.

Violence Against Women Global Scope and Magnitude

Some “reality checks” for women:

What is the Texas Islamic Court?

Muslim Gang-rapes across Europe under-reported in press

Female genital mutilation on the rise in the United States

Saudi preacher gets fine and short jail term for raping and killing daughter

Court: Man raped 7-yr old inside Church, gave her Chlamydia

Why is rape in Syria being ignored by U.S.?

Rape is Rape: How the Culture of Shaming, Stigma, and Victim-blaming is Hurting us

Papua New Guinea woman burned alive for sorcery

The Magdalene Laundries: Forced Labor

When Violence Against Women is ‘Honorable’, ‘Religious’ and ‘Legal’

DHS Allowing Saudi’s to bypass passport and travel controls

Washington: Hamas-linked CAIR bullying middle school teacher, defending Hamas, Taliban

For the sake of the assault these bring on our conscience, I will stop here with the unlimited list of articles across the world that show beyond a shadow of a doubt that the abuses are real and need to be dealt with. They show the religious “attitude” toward women. They show the reality of the abuses. They show the “mindset” of most men due to religious “brainwashing”. There is so much more that it is mind-boggling. Violence against women caused by “religion” is the main reason I wrote my book, Religion’s Cell: Doctrines of the Church that Lead to Bondage and Abuse. I expose the tactics and mindsets that religion has used to ENLSAVE a whole race of people – women.  Why aren’t mainstream MEDIA covering all of these stories? Why aren’t mainstream MEDIA telling the real story that is taking place against women? Makes one wonder, doesn’t it? Power imbalance and inequality have caused these atrocities. It’s time for women to unite and work together to elect women in places of leadership across this country before we are “forced” permanently into the abusive roles that we once fought so hard to get out of. The time is short. Only unity between us will make the difference.

Healing from Psychosexual Abuse

The following excerpt is from the Cultic Studies Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1, 1997, pages  19-20. I nothumantoysgenuinely hope that this information is helpful in the healing process for those who have been abused and exploited emotionally and sexually in the “church” system.

Healing from Psychosexual Abuse

Bearing in mind that cults control their members through deceptive and manipulative techniques that induce dependency, anxiety, and fear, the recovery process for someone who has extricated herself from a cult is indeed a rocky road. Former members typically experience a range of feelings: fear, mistrust, and betrayal, as well as confusion and disorientation. At the same time, they usually feel relieved to be out of the cultic situation. Major areas of work will revolve around the following: reestablishing boundaries; regaining self-esteem and self-confidence; dealing with feelings of betrayal; learning to trust again; resolving identity crises (who am I? how did it happen?); and what I call exorcizing the “hindering” emotions of shame, blame, and guilt.

Given the sophisticated and totalist nature of thought reform in a cultic environment, it is hard to separate the effects of sexual abuse from the overall psychological rape perpetrated by the leader and the group. The sexual exploitation is reinforced by the psychological violation; as a result, the harm to the individual is twofold.

Another significant factor is that typically cultic sexual exploitation and abuse is not a one-time occurrence. Integral as it is to the cult philosophy and worldview, ongoing and persistent abuse is likely to be part of daily life; for some women, a decades-long reality. Therefore, the abused female cult member – similar to certain battered women who are also victims of mind manipulation – needs to unravel the psychological trappings that were imposed on her by the perpetrator to ensure submission without challenge to his authority.

In some cases, the feelings related to sexual abuse may be the deepest and last layer of cult-related trauma to explore. Acknowledging that one was sexually exploited in the name of a greater goal is often a painful process. Consequently, some cult members deny, rationalize, minimize, and distort the meaning of the experience, while others may dissociate, separate from, split off, and even “forget” what happened in order to tolerate continued membership in or loyalty toward the group. Part of the healing process will entail the recovery of such unpleasant or unwanted experiences as part of one’s own past. Without such reclamation, the negative experiences tend to come back later and disrupt healthy functioning and the opportunity for satisfying personal relationships based on equality and mutual trust.

Various forms of self-expression (art, music, poetry, dance, journal keeping, drama), support groups, individual therapy, public speaking, and legal action are all means by which women have rid themselves of residual cult thinking and the unnerving aftereffects of cult abuse. Each woman’s healing journey is different. But often with the help of friends, family, educators, counselors, clergy, or therapists, she will find her preferred means of working through the pain, guilt, and shame that is the inevitable legacy of cult membership.

How Submission is Obtained: Personal Abuse

How Submission is Obtained: Personal Abuseabuse

Previously, I touched upon the Sexual Exploitation of Women in Cults. One of the common threads that ties all cults together is this sexual exploitation of women. In my last article on How Submission is Obtained, we learned that their are specific control strategies that are used to bring about submission to the “rules” and “leadership”. These control strategies have been used throughout history to keep women in bondage to men. Nothing has changed as far as the “system” is concerned when it comes to religious abuse. The strategies used within the “system” today are the same strategies used centuries ago to bring women into bondage. These strategies span across cultures worldwide and are part of every “system” where there is a power imbalance between men and women. Where ever one finds a male-dominated society, group, or institution, one will find abuse of women and, even children.

One of the strategies mentioned was “Group Rules”. These rules are used to modify a person’s behavior and attitude and provoke individual’s to adopt the “system” or “leaders” beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. It is also known as “thought reform.” This control tactic is also found in cultures, groups and “systems” where there is a power imbalance between men and women.

The next control strategy that is used in bringing about submission to a system or leadership within a system is Personal Abuse.  According to the Cultic Studies Journal, when “the abuse is directed at specific individuals, in most cases, either the cult leader or the person’s direct leadership figure is the perpetrator. A variety of manipulations are used to get women to submit to these advances. These can range from subtle deceptions to outright rape. In almost every case, they are based on ploys that take advantage of the woman’s loyalty, trust, and belief in the leader, the group, and the overall philosophy.  More often than not, members submit out of pure fear. Given the imbalance of power, it is difficult to say no” (Lalich). The following are some of the most commonly used control tactics that cult leaders use in order to gain submission from women in the church.

A matter of honor. The woman is told that a sexual encounter with the leader is an honor, a special gift, a way of achieving further growth. This manipulative technique is a slick combination of sexual coercion and exploitation of the woman’s faith (Lalich). This tactic, for instance, was used on the Jack Schaap victim to manipulate her into a sexual relationship. She was told that “she was God’s special gift” to him. The reality is that this is a “tactic” to gain submission for sexual exploitation. Everyone that uses this tactic has an agenda in mind and it has nothing to do with “honor.” Lalich goes on to say that “this self serving logic is quite typical of some of the guru-based cults, where even the supposedly celibate swami justifies his actions by telling each disciple that theirs is a special relationship, blessed by God . . .” Typically, the woman is led to believe that she is the only one with whom the guru is involved.

The loyalty test. One of the main strategies employed in abusive cults is the “loyalty test.” Blind loyalty demonstrates the follower’s “righteousness” and, is blessed of God. After all, they are serving and protecting God’s “chosen one.”  Lalich states that, “The more a leader demands, the more power he gets. Soon he intrudes and controls every aspect of a member’s life. The rationale is that nothing is too sacred to withhold from the leader. Giving oneself, and sometimes even one’s children, is viewed as a noble sacrifice. Physical violence and sexual abuse are incorporated into elaborate rituals in some cults, where these activities are endowed with mystical and magical meanings. In some cults, the testing of loyalty may be done in a sexually sadistic manner, further debilitating the follower and increasing personal confusion and dependency on the leader.”

One must remember that each time a member forgoes their personal preference for the preferences of the leader or group, she loses more sense of personal control, and consequently, self-esteem.

Female subservience. This is strictly controlled in a cult environment. Many times, the woman is taught to become a slave to the husband and is expected to be completely submissive to all his demands or, the demands of leadership. If the demands of the spouse aren’t met, then this leads to physical abuse of the women and forced sexual intercourse. Refusing to go along, according to Lalich, is regarded as disobedience, and in a cult, disobedience is sin. This “sin” is used to shame and humiliate the woman publicly until submission is “forced” and the woman complies.

In many religious cults the attitude toward women that is taught is that they are “second-class” citizens. According to Lalich, “. . .the message taught from the leaders is that women are the cause of all evil in the world, the one who brings the man down, diverts him from his spiritual path. The woman is “of the flesh”, while the man is “of god”. She is lesser, spiritually inferior, negative. Women learn to take the blame, feel the guilt, and carry the shame of others’ behavior.”

All these “attitudes” are abusive. They are aimed at one thing; to degrade the woman and put her in a place of submission for exploitation by men. It leaves many women broken and defeated. They feel as though they are worthless and of no good use to God. Many suffer eating disorders, insomnia, depression, thoughts of suicide and may even have other mental disorders.

These attitudes and control tactics have been around for centuries. They have been used in every culture worldwide to submit women to men for sexual exploitation. This robs women of honor and dignity and equality. It’s time to put the truth out there and change this attitude that has permeated every sect of human society and set woman back into her rightful place to be treated with equality, respect, honor and dignity. The religious system of today needs an overhaul. More women in positions of leadership will stifle this type of abusive teaching and help to protect women and children from abusive power imbalances that lead to sexual exploitation and physical, emotional and spiritual abuse.

How Submission is Obtained: The Cult Rationale

As mentioned in my previous article, The Sexual Exploitation of Women, “submission” is an submissionintegral part of sexual exploitation of women in a cult environment. Throughout history, women have been raised and taught to believe that they are inferior to men; that God intended for them to submit to the authority of all men. This simply is not true and is a flagrant corruption of scripture and total disregard for history and culture to support this premise. One of the major issues that church leaders use to control women in the church and the home is “submission”.

According to the Cultic Studies Journal, “sexual exploitation in cults takes place on both the group and personal levels. Sometimes everyone in the group must exhibit certain attitudes and demonstrate certain behaviors.” For those of us that have exited an abusive cult, we understand this to be true. The “thought reform” process that was mentioned in my previous article, causes members to act and re-act according to the attitudes and beliefs instilled by the cult. This can be highly dangerous in a family unit. The concept that women are inferior, less intelligent and must submit to men can cause young teenage boys to rebel against the parental authority of the mother. It can even lead to the child blatantly treating that same parent with contempt to the point of raising their hand to strike her in times of disagreements. I know this to be true from experience. In the groups setting, we find that those that do not “submit” to the rules are treated with similar contempt as well. They are ostracized and shunned until the desired attitude and behavior change to match the cult “mentality”.

The Cultic Studies Journal also went on to say that, “Since cults are essentially mirror images of the central leader figure, how this transpires in each group will depend on the whims, preferences, and predilections of the man in charge.”  It even gave a list of control strategies used by leadership to enable the leader to fulfill his desire for power and control.   The following are control strategies that turn up repeatedly in Lalich’s study of cults and in reports of former cult members. This list reflects Lalich’s findings as published in The Cultic Studies Journal.

Group Rules

By controlling sex, marriage, and procreation, the cult is better able to control its membership. Rules of all sorts will be put in place to govern the member’s daily lives, including their intimate relationships. This can range from standards of free love and free sex to strict behaviors. Some cults literally instruct their members when and how to have sexual intercourse.

Oftentimes cult policies will clearly define personal and sexual behaviors. Female members may be expected to dress a certain way (e.g., wear long skirts and look “womanly”), behave a certain way (e.g., never look the men in the eye, always look down when in the presence of others, be passive and joyful at all times), and speak a certain way (e.g., refer to the leader as “Master”). Other regulations may provide specific guidelines for dating, cohabitation, marriage and divorce, sexual relations, and so on. Female cult members are sometimes used to procure recruits through seduction and sexual favors. Some cults force women into prostitution to help finance the cult leader’s personal lifestyle. In others, men regularly flirt with and seduce women into friendships or relationships in order to recruit them into the cult; once in, the woman is usually turned over to someone else to “handle.””

In many cults, leadership decides who should have children and how many. In some, women are discouraged from bearing children, with sterilization or abortion used as means of birth control. In others, childbearing is expected and sometimes ordered by leadership in order to bring about more little cult members. Cults that particularly deride “the family” will have children taken away from their birth parents to be raised by other cult members, or sometimes even sent away to non-cult relatives or foster homes. Marriages and partnerships are arranged and broken at the whim of the cult leader. Members merely become pawns in an abusive play, where the leader gets to act out.”

I would like to add to these statements by Lalich that leadership will also send children off to a cult-operated boys or girls home to be “forced” into submission to the rules and attitudes of the cult and its leaders. In these types of homes, the children are treated as if they are in “concentration” camps. They are severely punished for disobedience. They are isolated from anyone that could “save” them from the punishments. And, the very strict rules are oppressive and many times, abusive in nature.  How many countless children have been physically and sexually abused in these types of homes? We know of quite of few and they can tell the horror stories of that abuse. Please see: Simone’s Story, Kim Holt’s Story, and Aaron Anderson’s Story.

Another point that needs driven home that Lalich has stated is that “children are taken away from their birth parents to be raised by other cult members”. How true! Especially in the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult that I came out of. If the birth parents were having trouble making a child “conform”, that child would be placed in another members home to be raised and nurtured in the ways of the cult. Under this type of scenario, a false “love” and “acceptance” is employed by the cult family and used as a weapon to bring about conformity to the rules. This can often lead to the child looking at their own parents with a contempt because they do not live up to the standards and rules like the cult family does.

There are two popular control mechanisms: “The demand for sexual abstinence or celibacy, and the enforcement of certain prohibitions (for example, against homosexual relationships or other unsanctioned relationships). At first glance such rules may provide relief from the confusion of trying to master the intricacies of sexuality and intimate relationships, especially for young adults who may be struggling with these issues. In reality, however, the rules merely serve as yet another manipulation” (Lalich).

Ultimately, Lalich points out that once someone has been led to accept the cult leader’s philosophy, then just about anything goes. He calls the shots, and members are expected to go along with the program “or get out.” Threat of expulsion gets equated with losing a chance at salvation!

Tomorrow, I will talk about another strategy used by cult leaders to get members to submit – personal abuse.

The Sexual Exploitation of Women in Cults

There are countless numbers of cults in America and across the world. One of the common threads that ties them all together is the sexual exploitation of women. Not only this, but this common “thread” is actually a three-fold chord that’s strength is nearly indestructible! The second common “thread” that is interwoven with sexual exploitation is “submission”. Women in all cults are taught to submit to the authority of men. The third strand in this chord is “male-dominance and/or control” over every aspect of a women’s life. There is not one single area in a women’s life that men in cult religions do not control and dominate.  All this, aimed at women for one primary purpose – sexual exploitation.

The following excerpt is from the Cultic Studies Journal. I genuinely believe that this information will be helpful to victims of religious abuse in that it will educate them and give them the understanding that the abuse “was NOT their fault”.  The other aspect of knowing this information is that it will help victims to identify those that fit into the category of “Psychopath.”

Cultic Studies Journal

Janja Lalich, Community Resources on Influence & Control, Alameda, California

With approximately 5000 cults active in the United States today (Tobias & Lalich, 1994), and an estimated 185,000 new members being recruited each year (Martin, 1996), public or professional discussions and analyses of life inside a cult are surprisingly sparse. I define a cult as a particular type of relationship that not only is based on an enormous power imbalance between the leader and followers but also includes a hidden agenda….a cult relies on deception, manipulation, and exploitation, and almost certainly results in abuse. At the head of the cult is a self-proclaimed leader (or sometimes two or three) who demands all veneration, who makes all decisions, and who ultimately controls most aspects of the personal lives of those who are cleverly persuaded that they must follow, obey, and stay in the good graces (i.e., the grips) of the leader.

All cults, no matter the stripe, have the same common denominator as well. The leadership uses “thought-reform” (i.e. behavior control and modification) without the knowledge or consent of the person being manipulated. By attacking a person’s behavior or attitude, cult leaders manage to “dissemble and reformulate members according to the cult’s desired image (Lalich)”. In other words, they take away YOU and give you back a cult personality. They make you a CLONE of their system. And when the old you tries to rear its head, they punish you. When you conform to their ideals and standards, they reward you. Before you know it, you don’t who you are or how you got there. You only know that you have to stay there. (paraphrased)

In a cult, there is only one way – totalitarianism – set up to serve the leaders whims and desires, be they power, sex, or money (Lalich, 1996)

Sexual exploitation is defined as the exercise of power for the purpose of controlling, using, or abusing another person sexually in order to satisfy the conscious or unconscious needs of the person in power – whether those needs be sexual, financial, emotional, or physical. Sexual abuse can range from having to live in a sexually coercive environment (whether or not one is personally abused) to unwanted touching to rape. It may masquerade as a “marriage” to the leader or as some form of “spiritual” practice, or it may come about as the overt seduction of vulnerable females (or males) by those in power. In many groups, if not the leader, then the husbands are given absolute control over their wives ( and children), including a license for sexual activities without mutual consent. Marital rape is an accepted standard in certain cults.

Sexual exploitation includes reproductive and general sexual controls through such policies as enforced celibacy, arranged marriages, mandated relationships or intimacies, and regulated childbearing. Even if no such specific practices are overtly employed, most cults govern the sex lives of members with myriad rules and regulations.

According to the Cultic Studies Journal and one post-cult recovery workshop, “40% of the women present said they had been sexually abused in their cult (Tobias & Lalich, 1994, p. 171). If we were to take that figure as an indicator of the prevalence of sexual abuse in cults, I would predict that when solid research is finally done in this area, we will find that 40% is actually an extremely low figure. I base this on my own work as a cult information specialist and educator who meets regularly with former cult members to help them get some clarity on their cutlic experiences. The 26 female former cult members seen by me in the past 9 months came from a wide spectrum of cults. Fifteen of the women were directly abused (14 by their leader and on occasion also by others in the cult, and 1 raped by her cult husband at the leader’s orders). Eight had their personal, marital, and/or sex lives manipulated and controlled by the cult. The remaining three were not personally abused but eventually became aware of the sexual victimization of the other female members by the leader. In four of these cases, the sexual activity included lesbian and/or bisexual liaisons; and in three, the women were also subjected to physical abuse, one of which was ongoing and extreme” (Lalich).

From these data, it becomes apparent that the sexual exploitation of women in cults of all types is widespread, and, to date, is possibly the least talked about, and certainly the least researched, aspect of cult life. There is, in my opinion, a two-fold reason for the prevalence of sexual misdeeds in cults.

First, those who wish to dominate others discover that their power increases as their areas of influence over the other person become more intimate and personal. Therefore, controlling someone’s sexuality or sex life is an effective method of all-inclusive manipulation and control. Once sexual control is in place, no part of life is left untouched by the cult leader’s influence. the satisfaction of the leader’s desires (be they real or conjured up for the purposes of sheer display of power) becomes an expression of the cult member’s faith – her cross to bear, so to speak.

Second, many cult leaders fit the profile of the psychopath. Psychologist Robert Hare, a specialist in the study of this particular personality disorder, estimates that there are at least two million psychopaths in North America. He wrote:

Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret. (Hare, 1993, p. xi)

Certainly not all psychopaths become cult leaders, nor are all cult leaders necessarily psychopaths. Yet, when studied, the backgrounds, personalities, and behaviors of many of those who have led and lead cults fit quite nicely into the framework for this particular character disorder. Several psychopath’s characteristic traits lend themselves to acts of sexual exploitation and abuse of others. Those are:

  • Need for stimulation
  • exploitation and abuse of others
  • poor behavioral controls
  • promiscuous sexual behavior and infidelity
  • glibness and superficial charm
  • grandiose sense of self
  • pathological lying
  • lack of remorse, shame, or guilt
  • manipulation and conning, and
  • incapacity for love.

Sexual acting out of all sorts is frequent among cult leaders; and for them, as with psychopaths, sex is primarily a control and power issue. Such behavior goes hand in hand with more flagrant forms of irresponsibility. In one cult, for example, multiple sexual relations were encouraged even while one of the top leaders was known to be HIV positive. This kind of negligence toward others is not uncommon in the world of cults. Whether sexual behaviors are kept hidden or are part of the accepted and expected group practices, the fact remains that because of the power imbalance between leader and followers, sexual contact is never truly consensual and is likely to have damaging consequences for the follower.