Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stuck on Part 11

I'm experiencing writers block on Part 11. Please bear with me.

In any case, today has been a real mind trip. I came out of my morning class and walked but to the dorm. I'd hoped to take a quick catnap. My message light was blinking, so I had to go get messages.

It was my mom. Brother broke his promise to me and let her call from his house. It was an interesting conversation that revolved around mom asking me to give up this blog. She's worried that I'm getting too close to people I don't know. Shes' worried that I'm putting my dating life out there. Most of all, she's worried that I'm leading people away from Christ. Mom said that I should consider taking the blog down to help Dad and the rest of the kids deal with it.

My responses were short and sweet. I tried a new approach that someone told me about. I kept my answers to "yes" or "no", for the most part. I also made sure that I got to ask a few questions.
1) Are you and Blessing well?
Yes. Blessing is doing very well. She's had a cold for a few weeks and doesn't sleep as much as mom thinks we all slept. I suspect we all slept the same, but mom has gotten older.
2. How is Dad?
Dad is apparently vexed by this blog. He hates it and he is using it in prayer group to "work out a way to reconnect". I wonder if his church group knows about his comments?
3. The engagement has been cancelled and she has been told that she can either find a way out or stay, but live as my parents want her to live (waiting for marriage).

I need to stop thinking about me and start figuring out how to get her out. Like yesterday.

Harris update, per request:
It's going well. We've spent a lot of time hanging out with each other (usually in public). We've acknowledged that we ""like"" each other.

64 comments:

  1. You're doing ok, sister, you're doing ok.

    The "break" away from a negative family situation is a tough one.

    Just remember you are doing the right thing for you.

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  2. PART I: Ruth, first off, I'm so glad to hear that you and your mom were able to talk again. :)

    I'm going to say just one thing: save yourself first, Ruth. I know that there are a lot of things that you would like to "fix" at your house (no doubt, there has been a wreckage, starting with your mom, for the last three or so decades), but you're still in the process of healing yourself. Your therapist will be able to explain that to you if she hasn't already.

    To Ruth's father, this is going to be a long one if you're still reading this blog: Ruth says that you want to find a way to "reconnect". I have a large family too with my oldest being slightly older than Ruth, and the best way that I've found to "connect" with my children is to let them live their own lives once they become an adult. Do I worry about them? Yes. I worry about them a lot. I worry most about them making the right decisions and I worry about their safety, etc. Every parent wants the best for their children. However, I know that they're good kids. My husband and I have taught them the best that we can to the best of our abilities. At some point, you have to let them go and live their own lives.

    You and your wife lived your own lives, in spite of the protests of your wife's parents on some regards. You kept plowing ahead with your own will and your own intent. Some of the things that you did were not so good for your family. Consequently, when your children became of age, they left because they couldn't take being under your domineering thumb anymore.

    Based on what I've read about your child discipline methods, I can imagine that they will all have some sort of internal healing to do; this could take years because you've added layer after layer of hurt on them.

    Donna

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  3. PART II (To Ruth's Father):

    You don't lock children (or adults) in dark, enclosed spaces in order to have them "get closer to God." Dark, enclosed spaces are very scary. They are NOT prayer closets, they are dungeons and prisons. You don't lock those that you supposedly love in dungeons and prisons in order to brainwash them. That's exactly what you did. You wanted to strip your wife of her own God-given mind and free will and have her become totally and utterly submissive to YOU and YOUR will. That's how you show that you love your wife??? I have NO idea what kind of man wishes to do that to the woman that they love to begin with. I mean, are you serious? You fell in love with a joyous, lively, beautiful woman, didn't you? Why did/do you have a need to subjugate her, make her into a Stepford wife? I mean, why????? You need to do soul-searching to figure out why you did that and then figure out what you can do to rectify the situation. My answer to why you did that is because you made the wrong choice by getting involved with ATI. ATI is the problem, not your wife or your family. I don't really care what "position" you hold in that model, that model stinks to high heaven.

    It's a wonder that your wife, Ruth, and probably your other children didn't crack from that alone. By the way, before I forget, have YOU ever locked yourself inside of a dark prayer closet??? Or maybe you and/or Bill Gothard just reserves that for the young and innocent and helpless? How many more young lives are you guys going to mess up? What does Bill Gothard care? He has no wife or children that are going to have the burden of this bad model inflicted on them, he simply marches forward by destroying OTHER people's lives and their families. YOU, sir, and your family, are the casualities. Recognize this.

    Furthermore, all the sinister bible verses that you can conjure up won't change the past one bit. In fact, if you do decide to post some guilt-inducing, fear inducing verses here, you will simply be making yourself more inaccessible to Ruth and your other children. I think the time has come for you to realize that that form of intimidation is NOT going to work anymore.

    You, sir, are being outnumbered now. Your kids aren't small and defenseless anymore and unless you change your ways, they will stand up to you and probably leave.

    As others have said before in this blog, one day, you will be old(er) (as we all will be), and you WILL find yourself totally and utterly alone. You don't know how long you or your wife will live or who will go first, but one thing is for sure, if you don't change your controlling and domineering ways, you're going to lose your family.

    Donna

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  4. PART III (To Ruth's Father):

    Ruth's father, I don't know you from Adam. You probably don't care what I have to say considering that you feel that we're all sinners, going to hell, and have no idea what we're talking about. I'm here to tell you that you need to mellow out, sir. Relax! Put your family FIRST for once in your life. I know that you think you've been putting your family first for all of these years and have tried to save their souls, keep them away from evil, whatever. Trust me on this on, let it go! Ruth knows right from wrong. She is a grown woman. I realize that to parents, no matter what age their children are, they are still "children" to them and they want to protect them. Still, Ruth is here on her own journey, she has own God-given mind, soul, and spirit and has her own guardian angels that look after her and her well-being. The fact that she had to run away from her home in order to extricate herself from the hellish life that you imposed on her own mother IS WHAT IS WRONG, sir. You had her almost married and into life-long gulag, just like you imposed on your own wife. If I was Ruth, I would have run away too. Guess what? If the same would have been imposed on YOU, you would have done the SAME!!!! You're no different!!! However, I guess it's okay when YOU are the lord and master in your own mind!!!!

    You CANNOT crush someone else's spirit and soul. They are NOT yours to begin with. I do believe that you stripped the laughter, joy, and life out of your beautiful wife because you were so intent on proving that the new model you became attached to "works." The model I'm speaking of is the ATI/Bill Gothard model. I can't imagine smart people taking marital or child-rearing advice from a bachelor who has never married nor has had children; this guy hates women. Only someone who totally and utterly hates women would come up with ideas he's come up with and then PERVERT old testament verses to support his crazy ideas.

    Maybe you should try loving your wife and daughters for the beautiful, intelligent women that they are and quit trying to suck the life and spirit out of them. Same goes for your sons.

    You have been blessed with a beautiful family. You can't erase the damage from the past, whether or not you did it with intent or without; you can only live in the present.

    If you want to "reconnect" with Ruth, you have to let her heal in the way that she wants to and you have to trust that the world isn't out to "get you" or your family. Satan isn't creeping around in every corner. Yes, I know that you don't believe what I'm saying for one bit, but that's okay. Satan has as much power as you give him. I know about this because I grew up with the idea that the world was evil and Satan was everywhere. Finally, I was able to let go of that by believing that God and goodness were greater than all of that and that I would no longer let fear rule my life. I didn't acquire this fear on my own, it was through my family. I won't get into my story, but I'm telling you that you have to let it go.

    You need to do serious soul-searching and come up with your own answers by listening to your own soul and spirit, NOT that of Bill Gothard

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  5. PART IV and the conclusion (To Ruth's Father:)

    Frankly, I could go on and on, by why waste time and bandwidth. If I was there, I would tell you AND your prayer group to calm down. Neither you nor your prayer group hold the inventory on self-righteousnes, nor are you perfect, no matter how often and how long you pray. God loves ALL of us, not just the ones that follow ATI/Bill Gothard. I've already told you that the model that you've tried to institute for three decades or so does NOT work. Quit taking advicing from a confirmed bachelor who has neither married nor has had children and follow your own instincts as a LOVING parent and husband for a change. Keep LOVE in the equation, not the need to dominate and control. No one (including you) likes to be controlled or dominated.

    Finally, Ruth's father, the only one that you have any control over is yourself so stop trying to control your family and the rest of the world. If you believe in God as much as you purportedly do, then you would know that there is a much higher power in the universe and you don't have to try to keep up with it. Just live your life with happiness, joy, and love and let Ruth live her life as well. Maybe through time, you will be able to reconnect with her. It won't happen if you keep quoting antiquated bible verses that you conveniently seem to pull out and twist them to your own liking and agenda. When you start talking about stoning disobedient children, etc., that will NOT endear you to Ruth or anyone else. Quite frankly, if I was Ruth, I'd stay away from you as far as possible. Wouldn't you? Would you want to reconnect with someone that has possibly the intent to harm you or kill you? Come on!! Let's use common sense here. Bottom line, Ruth's father, you have made some serious and profound mistakes that have impacted your life. Go forward with healing.

    Based on what I've read, you need healing yourself. Most of all, you need love and joy in your life. Please love your family, make it a joyous home, not one that people are forced to live in fear and/or punishment. No one wants to be controlled either. Your daughters don't want to be married off to another control freak; it's NOT for their own good. They want to use their God-given minds, they want their own vision, their own truth, their own happiness. Don't tell me that they're not entitled to it because they're "sinners" or some other nonsense. They don't need a "man" to save them; for those who believe in Christianity, there is only ONE savior, and that is The Lord. We don't want any other lord or master over us. We want our husbands to love us and we want to love in return. We want our fathers to simply love and us too. If you want to reconnect with Ruth, simply love her.

    Donna

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  6. Hi Ruth,
    I came across this blog doing some research for a friend whose church is advocating this Gothard stuff, and who is worried about being told to submit to her husband (who doesn't want her to!)

    Please don't give the blog up - you have a right to be heard, and what you say needs to be heard. There are people who need your strength and courage. Don't let yourself be beaten down or manipulated into being silenced, and please make sure that phone calls such as the latest one are discussed with someone you trust who can help you see what may be behind them.

    I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.(All the way from the UK!)

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  7. You are not leading people away from Christ, only ATI. ATI is not the way to Christ.

    Keep talking to your therapist. He/she can help you put this all in perspective.

    Pam

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  8. You know what? As much as I am NOT a fan of anything Gothard, we can't blame Ruth's dad's actions on Gothard, really. My pastor and his wife-who in the past were members of the ATI group-I know they used the homeschooling materials and you have to go to the conferences to do that-never acted like this guy did. Altho I would not and did not raise my kids the Gothard way like they did, they didn't lock their 8 kids in closets or micromanage their lives. As I said before, my pastor-a pastor of a really large church-still cleaned toilets to help his wife in the house. Treated her-and still does-like a queen. Sees to it she gets rest and gets to do things she enjoys. Their children-most grown and married now-still love them, respect them, and have all turned out pretty well.
    My pastor and his wife are not legalistic goons. If they had ten minutes to talk to Ruth's dad I imagine it would be a very interesting conversation. Because my pastor gets very very very stern with men who do not treat their wives as Christ does the church. With men who provoke their children to wrath. With men who use God as an excuse to bully and threaten his children. With men who seek to manipulate their lives.

    Ruth's dad doesn't make a very good Gothard advertisement, for sure. Again, as much as I think Gothard and his stuff are nuts (Yes, I've seen his material. So I know what I'm rejecting) But I think the problem here is what is in the dad's heart, and Gothard or no Gothard this man would have been problematic.

    One more thing. God doesn't have grandchildren, first, and second, you cannot force someone into the Kingdom. Even the Bible states you cannot NOT be around unbelievers because then you would have to go out of the world. I think her likelihood of actually having a healthy relationship with God is much greater NOW than it ever was. Because now she gets to find out for herself that God is not what her father or Gothard has portrayed. Because God can certainly keep her where she is at right now. Because our God is an awesome God who managed to find ME in the middle of a very secular art school, and He had no problem with me being there.

    Hang in there, Ruth. A lot of us Christian folk out here are rooting for you and praying for you. God is in the process of bringing healing and hope not just to you but to your whole family. Even-if he will accept it-your dad.

    -Connie
    -C

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  9. Hi Ruth,
    I found your blog earlier this week, and I was compelled to read it in its entirety from the beginning.

    Ruth, please know that you are not, in fact, leading people away from Christ. Many Christians have come along in the comments and stated that THIS way of living is not ever, ever what Christ intended for the family. This is fear-inspired, fear-induced, fear-driven bondage to legalism.

    You are exposing ATI for what it can be (and probably often is) in families.

    There are so many Christians who are reading your story and are APPALLED. I know when your dad reads that statement, he will think to himself that the Christians who are appalled are fleshly, carnal, and tainted by the world. I assure you that is not the case. The Christians who are appalled and hurting over your story are those of us who fully, truly understand the grace and mercy of the Cross of Jesus Christ.

    Blessings on you, sister. I'm praying, and many others are, too.

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  10. Please don't take down your blog ~ I check in every day to see if you've posted. Fascinated by your experiences in an even more fundamentalist religious atmosphere than the one I was raised in. Wishing all the best for you and your family.

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  11. Dear Ruth,

    Thank you for this blog. I understand your mother's concern for you because the world can be a scary place. I hope she realizes, however, that you have so many people you have never met that pray for you and care for you.

    Your posts are thoughtful, honest and interesting. They certainly do not lead me from Christ. Quite the opposite. After reading one of your posts I often reflect on what I can do to be more Christlike in my life.

    So, thank you again for this blog.

    Prayers and hugs,
    Cynthia

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  12. I wondered how long it would be before someone in your family accused you of leading people away from Christ/God/Christianity. And I'm in complete agreement with the other commenters that you aren't doing any such thing. What your father is involved with has NOTHING to do with the love, warmth, compassion, and basic HUMANITY that Jesus taught. You, yourself, are a far better example of the teachings of Christ than your father will ever be.

    Hang in there, kiddo, we're all behind you. :-)

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  13. Time to echo some people again: Ruth, please keep thinking about yourself in all of this. It's a bit like the procedure for emergency oxygen masks on a plane: if you're travelling with vulnerable people, put your own mask on before helping them with theirs. This means that you don't pass out while rescuing others, and you all end up safe.

    I can't see what the question is for 3), but if it concerns your engaged sister, and she was in the same position as you were, I'm glad she now has more choice. I hope the two of you still have some contact.

    Without wanting to intrude on his privacy, can I ask how your family gets on with your ex-ATI brother? I've heard hardly anything about how the movement treats men who question or leave.

    As for 'leading people away from Christ', I'm no Bible expert but I can say that fear destroys love and makes respect impossible. You have made yourself an example, but not the way your father (I assume) recently suggested. You're being an example of hope, sanity, strength in a debilitating situation, and grace in response to childish intimidation.

    That said, I hope that you continue the blog for as long as it's helpful to you (being a good example for other ex-fundamentalists is amazing, but, as always, your wellbeing is the most important thing. Think oxygen mask). I can't imagine you'd take the blog down just to placate your family, but I hope that whatever you do, you do for your own good reasons.

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  14. Hi Ruth,

    I just want to encourage you that God is NOT afraid of truth. If you don't believe in God, then I know I sound silly but in case you do or think there's a chance that he/she exists, I want you to know that as far as I believe God is NOT afraid of truth. Truth will set people free. Truth will allow people to use the brains I think God gave them. Truth will allow people to make wise decisions. Keep speaking your truth, Girl. Let God deal with the results. He/she is not up in heaven quaking in his/hers boots when your father makes those threats. God is, also, not falling of the throne because you are speaking your truth. If someone is a believer (no condemnation for those who aren't) they don't think for a moment that they have to "control information" in order to protect God. God's a big boy/girl. He/she can take care of themselves. You just keep speaking truth and let God sort out the consequences. The consequences of speaking the TRUTH of your life will be a good thing in the long run. Good for you. Good for your family (whether they recognize it right now or not) and good for those of us who read it and are warned.

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  15. In spiritual communionMarch 10, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    The Bible says to pluck out even your eye if it causes you to sin. God doesn't say tolerate it, He says remove that which causes you to sin. (Mark 9:47) 2 Corinthians, God tells us not to be yoked with sinners or unbelievers. The Lord says Honor your father and mother so that you may live in the kingdom they and your Father have prepared for you (Exodus 20:12). Matthew 15:14. The Lord says honor your father and mother or be put to death. I don't threaten Ruth because that would be against the laws of man and God would not ask me to violate this law which is not for this time. She should fear for her eternal life in His Kingdom because she does not honor the Word of the Lord.
    It's sad how she changed her number to avoid being given the light and the truth. She has always been allowed to contact her mother but her mother has consented to be under my umbrella of authority. Her mother knows speaking to Ruth upsets her so as her protector I DO MY GOD APPOINTED DUTY to keep her from heart ache. How ugly is the daughter that causes her mother to cry every time they speak? Consider if you think it's right that my wife must go through her son to speak to a daughter.

    I AM WALKING IN THE LIGHT. CAN YOU SAY THE SAME?

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  16. Ruth's dad, how ugly is the father that locks his child in a closet for hours on end. Maybe your wife is crying because she knows the damage YOU have caused and she is so terrified of you she does anything you ask her? How ugly is the dad that would put his daughter to death if not for the laws of the land? You, sir, are not walking in the light, you are walking in the darkness of control, manipulation, and fear mongering. Have you ever heard the term unconditional love?

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  17. Buddy, your world is so dark I'm amazed you can see well enough to type your hateful words.

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  18. @In spiritual communion: if your "walking in the light" involves lowering a boom of guilt and judgment on a child then no, I can't say the same.

    Nowhere in the Bible is one person told to prevent another's heartache.

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  19. " March 10, 2010 8:15 AM
    In spiritual communion said...

    The Bible says to pluck out even your eye if it causes you to sin. God doesn't say tolerate it, He says remove that which causes you to sin. (Mark 9:47) 2 Corinthians, God tells us not to be yoked with sinners or unbelievers. The Lord says Honor your father and mother so that you may live in the kingdom they and your Father have prepared for you (Exodus 20:12). Matthew 15:14. The Lord says honor your father and mother or be put to death. I don't threaten Ruth because that would be against the laws of man and God would not ask me to violate this law which is not for this time. She should fear for her eternal life in His Kingdom because she does not honor the Word of the Lord.
    It's sad how she changed her number to avoid being given the light and the truth. She has always been allowed to contact her mother but her mother has consented to be under my umbrella of authority. Her mother knows speaking to Ruth upsets her so as her protector I DO MY GOD APPOINTED DUTY to keep her from heart ache. How ugly is the daughter that causes her mother to cry every time they speak? Consider if you think it's right that my wife must go through her son to speak to a daughter.

    I AM WALKING IN THE LIGHT. CAN YOU SAY THE SAME?"

    How ugly is the man who locks his daughter in a dark closet for fourteen hours.

    You disgust me.

    -Jenny

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  20. The Lord says honor your father and mother or be put to death. I don't threaten Ruth because that would be against the laws of man and God would not ask me to violate this law which is not for this time. She should fear for her eternal life in His Kingdom because she does not honor the Word of the Lord.

    You don't threaten Ruth? Horse puckey. You claim the threats come from God, but He hasn't been by to chastise Ruth, harass her, or leave nasty comments on her blog. It's all been you. The threats, despite your attempt to phrase them as concern, come from you. The commands you want so desperately to attribute to Divine Providence come from you and nowhere else. The duty you claim was appointed to you by God is purely self-assigned.

    I think Ruth can see that now. Your lies will no longer work on her, and the power of your threats is fading. What then will you try? I worry that you will resort to violence. Be aware, then, that the world is watching now.

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  21. In Spiritual Communion: it appears that your 'walking in the light' casts a giant shadow over the rest of your family, especially with that umbrella of yours. (Talking in the allcaps doesn't help either). How sad it is that Ruth had to change her number to avoid being constantly berated, and that anyone who wants to simply contact her must risk this miserable fear of God in order to do so.

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  22. I'd like to know, Ruth's father, does Ruth's ex ATI brother get this treatment or is just something extraspecial for Ruth?

    Jean

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  23. Considering his actions, or the fruit by which one is known, I have to wonder just what "in spiritual communion" is in communion with.

    It certainly isn't God.

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  24. How ironic that old Darthy Poo himself thinks that it's Ruth words are leading people away from Christ. I'm sure that not one person has read his responses here and thought "I want to be JUST LIKE THAT GUY!".

    Ruth, I know it's got to be very difficult, but stay strong and stay on the right path. Do what you can for your siblings, but take care of yourself first so you don't all fall back into the hole together.

    This may sound mean, but it's ok for your mom to cry and be upset. Your mom's tears are no more important than your own. Don't let your father's manipulation convince you otherwise.

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  25. Ruth,

    I am a follower of your blog and am so amazed at your courage. I can only encourage you to continue to take of you. That is so important. I think this blog gives you a good amount of support and ideas that support your adult choices no matter what your fathers thoughts are about it.

    I too am glad that you were able to talk to your mother. I hope you can foster that relationship sometime in the future as it seems you truely are worried about her well being. That being said, just remember, YOU are choosing to live the life You want to live just like every other adult is entitled to do. Your parents are not in agreement, but it is not their choice to make for you. This holds true for all adults, not just those that are ATI. Your mother made a choice to live the life she has had as an adult and her parents were not in agreement. This is called life.

    I wish you all the best and continued success with your quests in school, with Harris, and anything else you strive to accomplish in the future. Remember that we are all hear cheering for you.

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  26. Ruth, I'm curious, why was your sister's engagement broken off? There probably isn't much you can do for her, but maybe try to help her get in contact with relatives that could help her or take her in for a little while.

    And to Ruth's Father, you keep making these pronouncements about Ruth being sinful for writing this blog, but you have NEVER refuted anything she has said about they way she was raised or how you treat your family.

    If Ruth is lying, why don't you tell your side of the story. You explain the prayer closet. You explain Kay. You explain what was wrong with Ruth not wanting to get married.

    Please go on, tell your version. No one is stopping you - Ruth obviously is not censoring your posts.

    If you are so righteous and holy, tell your truth and quit hiding behind Bible verses.

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  27. Total agreement with Lauren H. Tell YOUR side of the story, Ruth's father, and without the bible verses. Tell us why YOU are in the RIGHT & Ruth is in the WRONG!

    Jean

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  28. Ruth,

    I don't claim to know much about the bible, but I showed Daddy Darth's posts to my very religious coworker. He was shocked at all the old testament quotes and the misapplications that were made.

    I hope this doesn't turn you away from religion. I'm not religious but I have to think that something guided you to post your blog and that may very well help others in your situation, or shine light on those seeking information about this cult.

    I know you love your family very much. It must hurt to know that you have to limit your answers to your own mother to yes and no. That's what I do with my boss at times, and it's not the way family should be.

    You can love people and not love the way they live their life. I'm sorry that you have to experience this on a regular basis.

    Daddy Darth, the rest of us walk in light regularly, but it's because we aren't vampires. You cling to the shadows like an un-god-ly creature. Read the New Testament some time. It might do you a world of good.

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  29. Ruth,

    The best thing you can do for your siblings is to keep doing what you're doing.

    When they see you succeed despite your father's best efforts to thwart you, they will realise that they too, can break free.

    Hang in there! And take care of yourself first, you can't help them unless you're in a good place! I'm wishing you all the best!

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  30. Darth Dad, you are a fool. Plain and simple. Ruth is not the only child who has left, do you treat them the same? Calling down the wrath of God to smite them? Get real.

    Take yourself to a midweek Lenten service at a liturgical church and meet the Lord as he walks through the 40 days of contemplation and thought before he enters Jerusalem riding on an ass going to his trial and crucifixion. Where he died and took our sins past and present with him. Rose glorious and reigns with the Father today.

    For Ruth,
    When I think of growth I think of this song, it' eloquent and simple. Let the seed of love grow:

    Some say love it is a river
    that drowns the tender reed
    Some say love it is a razor
    that leaves your soul to bleed

    Some say love it is a hunger
    an endless aching need
    I say love it is a flower
    and you it's only seed

    It's the heart afraid of breaking
    that never learns to dance
    It's the dream afraid of waking
    that never takes the chance
    It's the one who won't be taken
    who cannot seem to give
    and the soul afraid of dying
    that never learns to live

    When the night has been too lonely
    and the road has been too long
    and you think that love is only
    for the lucky and the strong

    Just remember in the winter
    far beneath the bitter snows
    lies the seed
    that with the sun's love
    in the spring
    becomes the rose

    A season of new life awaits.

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  31. If she is of age, she can leave. Even if she is not of age, she can leave.

    I had a friend I was very close to whose father was very much into ATI/Christian Liberty Academy. He "lost" every single one of his children because of his domineering, overbearing, control-freak attitude. They escaped as quickly as they could from his 'umbrella of authority.'

    When they wanted to get married, he didn't approve of their choice of spouse, so he forbade them ever seeing that person again.......and guess what happened. They got married anyway.

    He eventually committed suicide. His wife, whom I always looked up to as a very strong woman to put up with his crap (she pretty much supported the family through home-based childcare because he couldn't keep even the most rudimentary of jobs due to his 'ethics' and 'morals'), bought herself a brand new car and went to Vegas with her sister post-mortem, shocking her children.

    Who knew mom had such a wild hair? I love(d) that woman and I still respect the way she handled her marriage with such grace.

    I am a christian. Your blog has not led me astray, if anything it has helped me to examine myself even more carefully so that I do not put onto my children the legalistic mores of my childhood.

    "if anyone causes these little ones to stumble, it would be better if a mill stone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than for him to cause the to stumble"

    Thank you.

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  32. To In spiritual communion,
    What if Ruth is not the one disobeying God, but you are the one?

    Rom 12:19 - Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord

    Matthew 7:1-6 - 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

    2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Mk. 4.24

    3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

    5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

    6 ¶ Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

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  33. When I first went online in the blogging/bulletin board community, my parents were concerned about me getting too close to people I don't know (in fact, they still do, and I'm your age). I also put my dating life on my blog.

    IMO, they were overreacting, I was very careful to always change names, or give nicknames to everyone, and never mentioned where I lived (not directly anyways). People do need to be careful about what they put out there on the 'net, and you do.

    Some of my best friends are online friends. Some of them I've eventually met, some I may never met. There is an extra level of trust you have with people online, since you have to trust they are telling the truth since there is no face-to-face contact to pick up social cues, but you can also meet some extraordinary people (like yourself).

    I've formed friendships with everyone from Hollywood writers to fellow students such as myself. I've known them for years and years. It's kind of how our generation contacts other people now. It's no more different then forming a friendship with the person who lives down the street.

    I don't think your leading people away from Christ. ATI yes, but Christ? No.

    *hugs* Hang in there.

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  34. Dear Father,
    Respect, hmm? Have you not by your own example taught all of your children to find the loopholes to disrespect you as you have disrespected their grandparents? Your standards are not ABLE to be judged, because you are the ultimate unquestionable authority.
    There is no military chain of command here...God, you, mother, then brothers, then Ruth & her younger sisters.(I do find the hammer-anvil analogy very much like the stories of the husband-wife relationship used to chip away at your children's spirits.) If God is God then he is God to ALL equally. If you are God, ut oh. If we want an umbrella analogy, then God is that umbrella and we are equally covered under it. If you are an umbrella, then again we are all in trouble as long as we believe that you are God, equal to God, or have some inside direct line which Ruth has been denied access to. (BTW - I don't believe in your equality with God if even if YOU said/implied SO!) You are either both God's children or Ruth is off the hook, 'cuz you are entirely responsible for her actions. If she has actions of her own, then she is directly responsible to God, but no, you say that she is responsible to you. If the respect is an issue that she is responsible to God for, then why are you trying to enforce it? You still seem to think that there is some implied application of the enforcement allowed to Ruth's father. Stoning?
    You implied above that you as parents help God with the preparation of heaven?!? "The Lord says Honor your father and mother so that you may live in the kingdom they and your Father have prepared for you (Exodus 20:12)" Please check again - no parental or Ruth's dad's assist in the preparation of the promised land of Israel.
    I've done extensive searching, but need help with chapter and verse on this... "Her mother knows speaking to Ruth upsets her so as her protector I DO MY GOD APPOINTED DUTY to keep her from heart ache."
    You state contact is allowed, but imply YOU have the control?!? "She has always been allowed to contact her mother but her mother has consented to be under my umbrella of authority." Consensual umbrella protection? Meaning unclear!!
    Let's talk analogies... ATI is good for that still, right? Cause and Effect. "How ugly is the daughter that causes her mother to cry every time they speak?" Speaking with ugly daughter results in mom's tears :: Locking 5 year old in dark results in godliness
    Let's consider something, shall we... "Consider if you think it's right that my wife must go through her son to speak to a daughter." That your wife "must go through" her son" is a causal effect of your "GOD APPOINTED DUTY to keep her from heart ache". I assume that you weren't there this time when they spoke; was there crying? So ugliness may not cause crying after all?
    BTW I'm not sure that you understand ugly as an adjective. Your daughter is beautiful, your daughter has overcome. Your daughter has already contributed to the well-being of many through her blog. She has been more of reflection of "Christ" and his healing, than I think you will ever understand; proof that the truth can set you free. Most parents would be proud of someone who champions the truth and the underdog in such a gracious way. She has not overtly attacked your family. She is making a genuine (flawed with humanity like all of us) effort to communicate, but you are only RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT. There is no conversation (two-way dialogue)to be had with you. You are spewing attacks, verses and hatred! So many readers are cheering for you to be human!!

    ex-ATI Pilot daughter

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  35. To break focus on Darth Daddy, Ruth I watched the Duggar ep last night related to "education" and Jimboob said they found home schooling appealing based on the character qualities they wanted in their kids. It was a QF bonanza episode. I couldn't help but think of your posts.

    BTW, breaking news: Ruth's dad still sucks.

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  36. Your mom is worried because you are forcing change. That's not a bad thing. Change needs to happen. Waking up is a painful process. If she cries, it isn't you that's made her cry. It's the reality of what her life has become.

    I lost contact with my mother for several months because she chose to blame me for 'leaving' her (i.e. escaping the state in the wee hours of the morning when I thought my father was going to try to shoot me in my sleep). Then she blamed me for not 'forgiving' my father for two decades of abuse and domination (by forgiveness she meant acting as though nothing had ever happened). Then she worried about my soul because I was so 'bitter' and 'angry' whenever she talked about how much *I* was hurting *him*.

    My point is, you'll get your mother back. But right now, you do need to put yourself first. That doesn't make you selfish or evil. It makes you a survivor.

    Hey Darth Daddy, put away your goddamn umbrella. The sun is shining. You're the one providing all the shadows.

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  37. Ruth,

    Don't shy away from this blog or the internet just because your mom is afraid of all the "bad" people out there. Meeting people online can be a good thing. In fact, I met my husband on a Christian fourm.

    Keep on sister! You worry about you and your family, especially your parents, are going to have to work out their faith on their own.

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  38. Ruth's father, if you consider what you're doing as "walking in the light", then I don't really know what to say in response to that. People who walk in the light don't have their children all leaving one by one. They don't have spouses who have to be brainwashed in order to submit to their umbrella of authority (who wants your umbrella of authority to begin with?).

    I get SO sick of reading your twisted old testament verses. Who in the world recorded the tapes/CD's you listen to? I'd like to find that person and wring his/her neck personally. It appears to me that your model/system is very messed up and consequently, your family has been messed up too. Now, Ruth has to heal from all of this warped/twisted Christianity you've imposed on her and the rest of your family.

    Maybe Ruth will one day do a blog posting on why you became the way you are (what got you involved in ATI/Bill Gothard). I really wonder what in the world happened in your life in order for you to adhere to such a rigid form of Christianity. Honestly, you make "walking in the light" sound like spending an eternity in hell. Who wants that? If I was Ruth or anyone else, I'd pick the OPPOSITE of what you're advocating because your version of Christianity is really weird, twisted, and sounds horrible.

    In spite of all of this, there are some of us who are actually cheering you on for some weird reason; probably because Ruth has been able to touch so many hearts and minds. Maybe you can't be all bad. Maybe there is a shred of goodness in you. I wish that you would let that side of you out more often instead of appearing like a cold-hearted monster. You had to have some sort of appeal to you at some time or your wife wouldn't have fell in love with you. I wish that you would check yourself and dispose of all of this baggage you've been carrying around for years. I can't honestly believe that God wants you to do this; it sounds like a bunch of made up balooey. Can you just be yourself - PRE-ATI/Bill Gothard?

    Donna

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  39. I'm still waiting for Ruth's dad to publically repent for child abuse. Because putting his daughter in the closet like he did (and Heaven alone knows what else) is surely that.

    Ruth's dad, I won't even consider you born again till I hear you say publically here that you repent for that. I mean it.

    -Connie

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  40. Ruth,

    I wouldn't worry about driving people away from Jesus. Actually you've probably driven me closer to Jesus, I've never been so happy to have been raised a Catholic then after reading what this supposedly Christian group believes. As for "walking in the light" I'd love to go at it with Ruth's father about the validity of our two religions, cause frankly he hasn't got much to stand on.
    (To be clear, I'm not saying my religion is the only correct one, I actually think most religions are just different paths to the same destination, ATI/Quiverfull as it is describe in this blog, however, appears to lead somewhere else...)

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  41. Oh look, yet another Daddy Darth post filled with "look at me, look at my power" narcissism. Seriously, you disgust me. It's people like *YOU* that originally drove me away from the church, you self-righteous asshat. Yes, that's right, people like you with your fear-mongering, Bible-thumping hell fire drove me away from church for a long time. I became Pagan! It's only recently that I decided to give God another try. And what did I find? True Christ-like people who care about me no matter what I do or who I am. Want to know who those people are? PEOPLE LIKE RUTH! In fact, Ruth's blog has led me to be closer to God than I have been in over a decade. So as for her leading people away from Christ? I'm sorry, but for me, she's doing the exact opposite.

    Walking in the light and umbrella of authority? What kind of light do you walk in? It has to be a black light because it sure as hell isn't the same light I see. I bet you only have that umbrella of authority to keep the sun off of your skin because you'll probably burst into flames the second you step into a sunbeam. Wait, that's it! I've figured it out! Daddy Darth is in fact a vampire! Now that we have discovered your true identity, take your umbrella and your ass-haberdashery and go back to the darkness where you belong. Stupid prat.

    Ruth, you are such an inspiration to so many of us here. But please make sure you take care of yourself first. I know that you might feel like you're being selfish, but you can't help others if you don't take care of yourself. I know you care about your sister, and you want her to experience your precious freedom. But still, make sure that you look after yourself before you start looking out for someone else, even your own blood relative.

    *big hugs* Keep getting the truth out there. The world is hearing your story, and we love you.

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  42. We've got more light on this list than ATI ever thought about having. We can pray circles around any vengeful, bigoted, mean-spirited church group any day.

    I have been praying for you, Ruth, and Ruth's Dad, since my first reading of a Dad venom-spew. I pray that Ruth continue to see the love that motivated her family to come together. I pray that Dad be as holy and blessed by God as he thinks he is.

    I pray that you, Dad, meet face-to-face with the God who is the Source of all Truth and Love. I pray that you are so filled with the Light of God that everyone around you sees the afterglow. May you have to put a veil over your face as Moses did after he saw the Lord on the mountain. I pray that you have such a full and deep experience of Love that the hideous, clawing, aching fear that pours out of you in such rage and violence is transformed by that Love into pure and precious peace, joy, kindness, gentleness, humility and self-control. May you radiate the Spirit of the Holiness even more than you now radiate the Spirit of Self-Righteousness.

    God loves even you, Ruth's Dad. May you know that so deeply in your soul that your life becomes a by-word for grace.

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  43. Wow.

    Un-freakin-believable.

    How can Darth be so CLUELESS?!?!?!

    The evidence is all around him. The happy family ATI promised is a farce. Instead people in his family are oppressed, depressed, hard-pressed and miserable as they slowly come to the realization that Daddy Darth has been BAMBOOZLED!

    Flim-flammed! Conned! Ripped off! Decieved!

    The ATI promises are in the end vapor-ware. Following Bill Gothards teachings has not resulted in peace, contentment, unity and joy.

    It is destroying the hearts of his entire family: husband (what a caricature of a human being HE has become!), weeping wife, children desperate to get away, terrified to do anything to take up for themselves or make life better.

    All that ATI promised is a lie.

    Face it, Daddy Darth. Bill Gothard has screwed you over royally.


    Ruth, beautiful Ruth, precious Ruth, we are all praying for you, supporting you, sending loving thoughts your way, and cheering you on. It is right for you to LIVE! It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand fast, therefore in your new freedom, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

    (I have never heard or seen anything that looked more like the "yoke of bondage" than being in a relationship with Daddy Garth. Yuck!)

    Stay free, Ruth!

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  44. Margaret/CappuccinoLifeMarch 11, 2010 at 7:51 AM

    Ruth, God loves you! You are not leading people astray. I am no less dedicated to Christ than I was before I found your blog. You've also given many Christians the opportunity to get the word out that Christianity is not ATI. :)

    Ruth's father: as a conservative Christian woman, I repudiate your representation of Christianity. And if you think a woman's opinion is worth nothing, then be sure that my husband would be disgusted by you as well. It wasn't anything Ruth said but your own foolish posts on her blog that gave ample evidence to the fact that your motivation is not "walking in the light" or obeying God but getting people to bow to you and your whims by force or manipulation. For shame.

    I am so thankful to have married a man who has the humility to recognize his own faults, and who does not see the Bible as a stick to beat other people with, most especially not his family. From the very beginning my husband has taken seriously God's command to men to love and care for their wife as they would their own body. He pays attention to God's command for *him* to honor, care for, and cherish his wife. God's command to me as a wife is between God and myself. The Bible does not tell a husband to force his wife into obedience or subservience. And in regard to children it specifically commands a father not to exhasperate his children or be harsh with them. I would say Ruth's stint in a dark closet rather blatantly violates this direct command, and that's only one instance in many years of fatherhood.

    My husband is not perfect, and neither am I. We struggled a lot in our early years but his heart, unlike yours, was open to the Holy Spirit and he was not too proud to make changes. Perhaps people on the outside might look at our two families and see many similarities, but there are some huge, essential differences. Mainly the existence of selfless love, and a demonstration of the fruits of the Holy Spirit by my husband, that are all apparently lacking in your relationship to your wife and children. You will be a lonely old man indeed if you do not repent of your arrogance and abuse.

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  45. Hey Ruth, if you are stuck on Part 11, perhaps you could go back and maybe explain where your Dad came from. How he ended up in ATI. I'm very curious who he was before he met your mother.

    Of course, this is assuming none of this would out him or your family.

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  46. How did your dad find your blog in the first place?

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  47. How did your dad find your blog in the first place?
    *********************************************************************
    I was wondering that too, isn't he supposed to only look at "encouraging" and "God honoring" ATI approved media? Or does that rule only apply to women and children?

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  48. I've been thinking about your situation Ruth and wanted to chime in and agree with the others that you need to save yourself first. You have a right to live your own life in the way you decide works for you. You are allowed to make yourself your priority. Please don't feel guilty.

    One thing abusive families do is mire you in the FOG (fear, obligation and guilt). Darth Daddy has tried fear and obligation without any luck and now he's working on guilt.

    The abuser relies on everyone playing their roles so he or she can control and dominate. They use the FOG to keep you in line, keep you oppressed, keep you abused. By pulling away you have left your assigned role and there's nothing an abuser dislikes more than when one of their victims seeks autonomy and a life of their own. Your mother's tears are tears of her own shame as she has been complicit in your abuse by standing by and doing nothing to save you or your siblings. This is nothing more than guilt thrown at you at your father's bidding.

    If she truly loves you and wants what is best for you she will let you live your own life by your rules. She's just perpetuating the FOG. I know you love her but don't be fooled by her pleas to toe the line. It's a shame that a woman as educated as she is has allowed herself to be so broken by a man who claims to love her. Maybe if she sees you succeed she might be able to find the courage for herself to leave.

    It's never too late.

    I write this as much for her benefit as yours.

    Thanks for the Harris update. he sounds like a lovely person and a wonderful friend!

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  49. Matthew 11:6 "Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."

    Ruth, you are NOT pulling anyone away from Christ. If anything, your love for your mother, your protection of your siblings, and your grace in dealing with your father reveal your Christian spirit.

    Matthew 19:14 14 says, "Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

    Think of this verse in terms of your father and the prayer closet. Wait, maybe you shouldn't. My point is that for every verse your father can post about obeying, there are at LEAST as many talking about the love and light of God, and grace to sinners.

    I hope you'll have a chance to share these things with your mom someday. I can hear some of your sadness and grief, as you clearly love her.

    Sunny

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  50. Daddy Darth is set in his ways. It doesn't matter how we react. In his mind, we are all wrong and he is right. So we should simply respect his belief's. He can't understand that most of us believe in and love God. And I guess that he thinks that God will forsake all of us, send us to Hell for all of eternity because we are not following Bill Gothard.

    Really, after 2000 years, God deigned to speak to us through the teachings of Bill Gothard?

    God loves everyone. He welcomes everyone. Jewish, Muslim, Amish, Buddhist, Catholic, or Atheist. We all have our own belief's and our own relationship's with our personal God.

    I'll see you in Heaven Daddy Darth. You did the best you could. I did the best I could. And while my best may have gone against everything that you believed was wrong, there is no way God wouldn't welcome me.

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  51. Isn't it funny? Who has all the power now, hmm? It's Ruth. Why? Because "daddy" (because he wasn't/isn't really a dad, more a tyrant) is going nuts not being able to control Ruth. Now he's trying to bully her through the internet.

    Ruth, by the time your youngest sibling is 18, your parents will be in their 70's, yes? That will make it much easier (hopefully) for escape.

    To quote Stuart Smalley (a character created by Al Franken when he was on Saturday Night Live): "You're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it! People like you!"

    Oh, another part of cultural catch-up would be to watch Saturday Night Live - even the "bad years." It is a *wealth* of pop culture info & satire, along with political satire as well.

    Stay strong, Ruth.

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  52. I hope no-one minds me posting this. I'll accept any rebuke if you think I have merited it.

    I too don't like Ruth's father's vengeful attitude. But to help Ruth might it not be better if, no matter how much anger we feel on her behalf, we refrained from making fun of him by likening him to Darth Vader or being rude to him?

    Ruth doesn't do this: her speech is restrained and courteous. If we behave in a less than courteous or kindly way, we are reinforcing this man's view that everything outside his 'normal' is evil, and giving him fuel to attack Ruth (and her mother, for whom my heart really hurts: she must be so confused and despairing now).

    Those of us who follow Christ (I do) need to display His love and grace and remember to 'judge not lest ye be judged'.

    Those of us who don't (I used not to) need to show that grace, love, kindness, courtesy, truth and honour are not the preserve of those who do, but are qualities that can be shown by everyone who is human . . .

    Ruth, can I suggest that you look up 'Stockholm Syndrome' on the internet. It's a psychological state where people come to identify with their abusers because it's the only way of surviving. (I have personal experience of it.) You may find that it helps you to understand why your mother is asking you to take the blog down.

    Again, I hope I have not offended people by suggesting that imflammatory and derisive language is modified a little. One can't condone Ruth's father's violent and vicious speech and actions, but one does not have to emulate the language to reprimand it.

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  53. Joanna,
    Your point about calling Ruth's father "Darth Daddy" is well taken. You are correct in many ways. However, there is a purpose to satire. By pointing out the similarities between Ruth's father's bombastic diatribe and the controlling voice of Darth Vader, we underline the fact that his threats are really just 'smoke and mirrors'.

    The intent is to help Ruth step back from the situation and see it from a bit of emotional distance. It is less intended to put Dad down than it is to diffuse his impact so that Ruth can think more clearly.

    I would bet that although most of us are angry and appalled at Dad's behavior, we also feel sad for the man. He is so eaten up by dogma that he has denied himself all joy. Participating in the growth and development of our children is a blessed and wondrous thing. He has so many children and has not been able to enjoy a minute of the miracle of life.

    At least for me, I feel sad because we are getting the privilege of seeing Ruth grow and change and fly on her own, yet her parents are denying themselves this joy. It is the triumph of Ruth in this coming of age story that makes me root for her, cry with her and cheer for her. Her parents have turned away from this. I am angry with Ruth's father for hurting Ruth and her sibling. But I also see the tragedy of the parents as well.

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  54. roflmao.....this is hilarious!

    Joanna, I am not Ruth but I do have a few things to say to your post.

    1) You do not control the internet.

    2) You do not control the people who post on the internet.

    3) Although you are entitled to your opinions, so is everybody else!

    4) You do not get to monitor other people's opinions anywhere on the internet except your own blog.

    5) Many people disagree with you. I am one of them. I find the snarky comments hilarious, and laughter is the best medicine for heartbreak that there is!

    6) I can't speak for Ruth, but I know in my own life, my snarky, witty, strong-minded friends who supported me whole-heartedly by pointing out what an ass my abusive parent was, they SAVED MY SANITY!

    7) Even though I am a Christian, I find your sanctimonious , self-righteous meddling highly offensive. Your last line IN NO WAY excuses your self-important moralizing about other people and the way they express themselves.

    8) Count me among those who DO NOT CARE about Daddy Darth'w widdle feelings! When I post, it is in support of Ruth against her abuser!

    9) Your comments are so typical of abusive religion- ignoring the victims of ABUSE! Lecturing them about how much more important the feelings of the ABUSER are than the mental health of the victim, and worst of all, IMPLYING THAT THE VICTIM IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ABUSER! You imply that he will be a changed man if somehow Ruth is super-spiritual enough to bring about his repentance. Bullsh**.

    Your entire post and the ideas expressed, the religious posturing, blame the victim, pity the abuser sentiments, disgust me!!!!

    10) Finally, your ideas WON'T WORK! Daddy Darths's whole family has been tip-toeing around him, deferring to him, spending their whole lives trying to avoid ruffling his feathers and soothing his ego- and all that accomplishes is to support the ABUSE!

    Your thinking is backwards! It is a classic example of crazy-making behavior.

    NO, being nice to Daddy Darth will not bring him to repentance! Confronting him with reality is his only hope!

    To everyone else: KEEP SPEAKING TRUTH!

    Don't soften it or compromise it.

    KEEP IT SNARKY!

    Laughter is good for all of us who have escaped from abuse, and especially Ruth.

    KEEP THIS BLOG ABOUT SUPPORTING RUTH!

    If Joanna wants to start a blog pandering to Daddy Darth, let her.

    To Ruth,

    Don't let Joanna guilt you or any of your internet friends! You have a right to be who you truly are, and to live free from being shamed and manipulated by religious meddlers. This blog is for you, and MOST of us are here to support you and you only.

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  55. Dear Shadowspring.

    I'm sorry I came across as sanctimonious. It wasn't my intention. I have no desire to control anyone or anything: I was simply expressing an opinion that the more people descend to calling silly names the more ridiculous they look, the less controlled and rational and strong they look, and actually, the more unlike Ruth they look, since I don't see her descending to name calling.

    Satire is a powerful weapon against abuse:it's just important to see it doesn't backfire on the user.

    I've suffered from abuse - I don't condone it. I also work against abuse in my work.I am not in the least interested in saving Ruth's father's feelings nor am I the apologist for any sort of abuse. His behaviour is vile - what is there to argue about in that?

    Unfortunately, when you express an opinion on the internet it can be misconstrued, and I suggest that you may have misconstrued mine.

    I nowhere implied that there is any way Ruth can bring about his repentance if she is 'superspiritual'. Frankly there's only one 'person' who can bring about his repentance and that's God. I simply suggested that the name calling might not help her mother, who is obviously under pressure to put pressure on Ruth to stop the blog. Blunt, honest and polite verbal opposition to her father might be more use to her, and to Ruth.

    I've asked Ruth to check my post and take it down if she doesn't like it. I actually asked her that straight after I posted it, (and before you answered me so discourteously)as this is her blog, and she has a right to remove opinions she doesn't like. How is that controlling?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the comments section is enabled to allow all of us to express opinions. You're entitled to disagree with mine, obviously, but I don't think it is fair of you to class me with the abusers simply because I suggested that a little more verbal restraint in fighting RUTH's cause might be an idea. Verbal restraint does not mean less truth - it simply means truth plainly and hard spoken, without silly insults that weaken a cause and detract from the point being made.

    I too have spent my life being 'shamed, manipulated and guilt-tripped by religious meddlers'.

    That's why I commented on this blog - something I rarely do on any blog (not that I have time to read many) because I was so moved by Ruth's strength, clarity of voice, honesty of purpose and the charity with which she, who has been more injured than anyone by this man, still tries to speak about him, while maintaining her right to live as she chooses.

    I suggested verbal restraint and dignity, which does not equate to not speaking the truth strongly, clearly and vehemently, and fighting abuse wherever it is found.

    Let me say very clearly that I believe Ruth's father has abused her, and his family most evilly and cruelly - as obviously do you. Even if we differ in the way in which it can be countered, or the way in which it can be spoken about, I hope that you will accept that this is my stance, as I accept that it is yours.

    I'm sorry to cause contention on your blog, Ruth. I won't post again if it upsets so many people so much.

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  56. "the way in which it can be countered, or the way in which it can be spoken about"

    My whole point exactly.

    There are no rules about the way others can speak or confront truth. It can be countered, and it can be spoken against in any way that any of the myriad people in this world can speak and confront.

    You are not helpful, imo, in making Ruth or her posters in any way responsible for anyone else's feelings or responses to what is written here.

    Whether it is her mother (who is also abusive in that she has willingly complied with all of ATI/Daddy Darth's edicts) or the Big Cheese Himself, you are clearly counseling that people who blog here are responsible for these abusers feelings about Ruth's escape from the family cult, and that we are all somehow responsible to moderate reality so as to make it easier for them- easier to change their ways and get out of the cult themselves.

    Noble of you? Perhaps. Realistic? Not in my experience. Helpful? Nothing is more helpful than bumping up against unmoderated reality, imo.

    And I am only speaking as a child of abuse myself, I am not speaking for Ruth.

    I think that while your motivations seem admirable in that you want to rescue Ruth's mom, I don't see it as admirable at all that you want to rescue anyone.

    I think your are encouraging Ruth to become an enmeshed codependent when that is not helpful to anyone.

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  57. joanna, shadowspring likes contention and satire, which is perfectly fine, but don't think she is greatly bothered by you! You have a different idea of how much confrontation is a good idea in an interaction, and since she thinks more is ok, you are I think perhaps mistaking her for being more upset than she is.

    I really like *both* of your points. I don't know which one is right. I tend to personally prefer the snark and satire, but I appreciated your post.

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  58. Joanna, one of the down sides of ATIA is that it removes simple joys from life. You are made to feel guilty over every. little. thing.
    You learn to second guess every laugh, every chuckle lest you have sinned in some way by doing so.

    When we point and laugh, we do so because we are no longer held hostage by this controlling mindset.

    I chose to be happy. I chose to laugh in the faces of those who kept me as a virtual prisoner in my own family. By extension other people who hold the same beliefs.

    I understand what you are saying but I would ask you to broaden your perspective.
    Not all who read here are Christians. We do not adhere to the same life rules you do, nor will we stop what is normal to us because it makes you uncomfortable or Darth Daddy...not even for Ruths Mother.

    I dont pity Darth Daddy and my patience is wearing down for her mother.
    They choose this lifestyle. They perpetrate it on the remaining children.

    The hope I would offer them is that they can still turn this all around. They dont have to lose all of their childrens respect and involvement like my father did.

    I will not coddle them (my parents or Ruths parents) like Gothard does. I will not lie to them about my disdain for the treatment and abuse of their children. They have enough people around them who are willing to fill those shoes.

    You see, Joanna, I trust that the honesty of these posters will bring real light to the lives of Ruths family.
    That at some point, real truth and freedom will win out. I know its a stretch but I have that hope.

    We will not be doing this family favors, though, if we are not who we are. If we conform ourselves to make the abusers more comfortable.

    Its my hope that life is becoming uncomfortable for Darth Daddy. Its my hope that Ruths Mother is thinking long and hard about what is happening.
    Its my hope that they will just let go of the need to abuse, to control.

    Gothard isnt worth losing children over.
    He is just not.
    I wish Ruths Mother, at least, would realize that.
    Men like her husband are replaceable but your children...no. They are your heartbeat. To deny them love, to deny them support is messed up.

    Joanna, I would not ask my fellow commenters to be anything other than what they are, honest.
    I would not ask you to be something you are not on this blog.

    I am who I am and I wont modify my comments to soften the blow to a man who was okay with locking a child in a dark closet for fourteen hours.

    -Jenny

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  59. Shadowspring,

    I too am a child of abuse and of a codependent destructive relationship. I do not want to rescue anyone - I am not a rescuer. I am commenting on a blog.

    Please may I point out that I said I admire Ruth's strength, honesty and courage. Where have I said that I want to 'enmesh her in a co-dependent relationship' or, in fact alter in any way what she does, says or thinks? If I didn't have the greatest respect for her I wouldn't have gone on reading this and hoping that she has a much happier life now she is free. I would instead be moaning somewhere else about 'wayward daughters' or quoting scripture at her to 'encourage' her back.

    I am not counselling or dictating. I suggested that ad hominem attacks weaken a case that presumably we all think needs to be made against Ruth's father and needs to be made with all the force everyone has.

    Other people on this board, not just me, have expressed empathy with Ruth's mother's situation, and in fact, the rest of her family's situation.

    I have been made to feel guilty about getting out of my own abusive situation often enough myself never to want to put anyone in the situation of being emotionally blackmailed into going back to an abusive co-dependent relationship because they feel sorry for someone in it. Why would I try to do this, given my own history?

    I agree with you that abuse can be spoken against in any way that people want to. I simply expressed an opinion that some ways might work better than others, and that certain ways in this case might not be helpful.

    I would never approve of any moderation of reality. Abusers need to be made to face their abuse. My reason for stating my opinion about a moderation of language was because if Ruth's father is unwilling to hear anything at all about the extent of his abuse and the extent of the damage he has done, if he wants to close his mind entirely, it is easy for him to do so by focusing on how something is said, to the exclusion of the truth in what is said.

    So instead of having to see how truly despicable his behaviour has been he can focus simply on the way in which those views of his despicableness have been expressed and use anything he doesn't like about the language used by posters here to force an invalidation of the truth of what they are saying, which is that he has behaved in a cruel, abusive and vindictive way.

    I am not suggesting that any blows should be softened, any harsh reality moderated, any pretty veils be drawn over the truth of the terrible abuse that has happened her, and happens to so many. Abuse is evil, period. And 'All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to say nothing'. Silence in the face of abuse condones and colludes with that abuse.

    I am sorry that my views and speech are unacceptable to you. I am not trying to be noble, to be a rescuer, to allure, enmesh, coerce, or anything else: I am stating an opinion.

    Perhaps as you seem to be quite clear about my motives in commenting, and also sure of my reasons for speaking, we should agree to differ as to my motivation and character, and keep this off Ruth's blog, as it's not fair to her to engage in this sort of contention.

    As I said, I am sorry that I have not been clear enough to be correctly understood.

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  60. Ruth, in light of Joanna's post, I'd like to tell you that as part of the healing process when one has been abused, it is vital to allow yourself to experience anger. It is also vital for those of us who have experienced abuse to hear feedback from people about the insanity of how we lived. We need to hear the perspectives of others from many angles (and from many angels).

    Please, don't allow wanting to be nice, shut down that process. Go ahead and when you are ready, get angry. Get good and angry. And stay angry until you have worked through it. (But by all means, work through it.) The anger may last a moment, a day or a decade. In my belief, the length of time it takes is in God's hands. Trust Him with the process and don't try to shorten it so that you're playing nice. No playing nice here. Don't allow someone to misues the scripture, "In your anger do not sin."

    Would you say taking someone else's belongings is sin? Would you say destroying someone else's belongings is sin? Would you say being snarky is sin? Yeah, I know all ATI people would. Yet that is exactly what Jesus did when he overturned tables in the temple and yelled at the people. This man was ANGRY. It was appropriate anger and the religious pharases (as if I could spell Pharasee). It's OK when you feel anger and express it. Over time you'll get the wisdom to know what's appropriate and what's not. I know that sounds scary because you've been taught your whole life NOT to trust your gut. That the human heart is wicked above all things. But guess who gave you that gut? Guess who put in you that sense of right and wrong? "Don't go down that alley." "Run!" Or "It's OK, you're safe with that person." I think God did. We get into the most trouble when we stop listening to that God given gut and start listening to perverted religion.

    Please listen to your gut. Please learn to trust what God put inside of you.

    And as far as the snarkiness goes, wasn't it Paul who was the snarkiest of them all? In his time there were some relgious zealots that were preacching that in order to be saved, you must first be circumcised. Paul told them (publically and in writing that has existed for 2000 years so far!!!) that he wishes they would go all the way and cut off their... sorry, don't want to get your blog censored. And no one has gone anywhere near that far in suggesting that happen to your father. (Not yet, though I'm sure plenty of us have thought it. Probably your mother has, too.)

    E

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  61. What if we ignored Daddy Darth's posts by not responding to him? Wouldn't that drive him crazy because he isn't getting the attention he wants so badly?

    Just a thought. :)

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  62. Ruth,

    Congratulations on your first tone/concern troll. That's got to be a milestone for any blog.

    One belly laugh is worth a thousand syllogisms - H.L. Mencken

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  63. Dave,

    So that's what that was! Sheesh. Thanks for the fyi.

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  64. Concern troll for sure. Good grief.

    Ruth, I am so grateful for your blog. A friend of mine was in ATI as well and your writing is helping me understand her experiences better. Thanks for sharing your story.

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