LTRP Note: Since its inception, Lighthouse Trails has included the topic of sexual abuse of children in our efforts to “bringing light to areas of darkness affecting the world and the church.” One area we have not often included is the abuse of Christian women (particularly wives) that can occur because of a misinterpretation of the Bible (which when applied can lead to abuse on both children and women). The letter to the editor below from one of our readers addresses this issue. It mentions a recent article we posted about the teachings of Bill Gothard and the Institute of Basic Life Principles.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
The Bill Gothard article, “A Look at Shiny Happy People and What the Church Can Learn,” was very good and very much needed. There are still families out there who follow his teachings, maybe not even knowing where they originated. I did watch the documentary (Shiny Happy People) about it, and that was hard to watch, but necessary! Those poor families. I know a young homeschool woman who grew up under that teaching. Her mother left her dad a while ago and has been seeking help from a local Christian ministry for battered and abused women. The Gothard teachings seems to attract manipulative, controlling men. I read Jessica Willis Fisher’s book Unspeakable.* I wondered if her family [the Willis Clan] was under that leadership as well? Ugh.
Talk about a little leaven leavening the whole lump.
I also saw a letter by a Brock Witmer on Facebook** who was raised in a similar style of misinterpretation of the Bible, and he had a lot to say about how it distorted his relationship with his wife. He always had to be strong and have all the answers, not show any signs of weakness, could never ask his wife’s opinion about anything because they believed that women were so easily deceived. Crazy stuff. Could cause such arrogance and confusion.
*The book details the sexual and physical abuse by Toby Willis, the father of the 12 Willis’ children who were a popular musical group.
**Below is a segment of Mr. Witmer’s letter:
“I was taught that as the spiritual leader of my home I was not only responsible for my own personal relationship with Christ, but also my wife’s personal relationship with Christ. I was supposed to do all the direct communication with God while she waited silently for me to tell her Gods will for her. I was to keep track of where she was in regards to the role we were taught that God had given her in our marriage and home. And I was to never let her stray from that role.
I was expected to keep complete control and domination of my wife and children at all times, and I was told I needed to “be a man” when it appeared I was not maintaining that control. I was taught that as a man I was to be the harsh displinarian with our children because “women are too soft hearted.” . . . I was taught that my wife was to make me feel good about myself at all times and always speak well of me no matter how I treated her or our children. She was to agree with and obey me and never question my decisions or judgement. If you have a Facebook account, you can click here to read the entire letter by Brock Witmer.
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(photo from istockphoto.com; used with permission; design by LT)