Criticism

When our son Nathan was about 17, he began writing music seriously. He would disappear into his bedroom, and not emerge for hours. Our office was in the adjacent bedroom, and I could hear his guitar as he played the same phrase again and again. Then there would be a brief pause while he made a notation or wrote a line of lyrics, and then the same phrase.

After an extended period of time, he would sometimes appear in the office, plop down in a chair and say with a grin, “You wanna hear it?”

I’d reply, “Of course.” And he would play his new song.

That’s how I first heard Bittersweet.

And when he finished and looked up, I said, “That’s my new favorite song. Play it again.”

Over the years, that became a family joke. “I know, Mom,” he’d say. “It’s your new favorite song.” And it was. It always was. They still are.

But I was his mother, and mothers always think their children are brilliant. The day came when the music and the fledgling musician had to go out into the big world and let people listen who weren’t his mother. Or his father. The first time we ever saw him perform publicly was at an outdoor concert at Sandhills Community College. The stage was a flatbed truck. The song was Bittersweet. We were proud.

I remember vividly going to his first gigs at local bars and watching, with mild dismay, as the crowd would listen pretty attentively when he played cover songs, songs they were familiar with, but then begin to talk over him when he’d play Bittersweet. As he would write years later:

What do they care if you’re tired?
Sometimes the jukebox gets more courtesy.

From Broad Street by Nathan Davis

And I, being a mom, wanted to spare him any disappointment, and spent a while one day trying to convince him to play cover songs. It seemed to me that if the audience wanted the familiar songs, well, learn them, and play them, and make those tips. Nathan just listened politely and totally ignored me. And continued to play his music. Gig after gig, slowly increasing the percentage of original material and getting the audience used to the idea that Nathan Davis plays mostly Nathan Davis and a smattering of covers. Over time, even the cover songs took on a Nathan Davis flavor of their own.

But the risk was always there. The music was put out there, in the public arena, and subjected to the whims and criticisms of the not-always-totally-sober crowd. He had people who yelled at him when he refused to play their favorite song. He had people who came up on stage and tried to take control of his microphone. He smiled and firmly removed them from his stage. He learned to let the criticism roll away from him. I never saw him down about it. Not a single minute. Those two lines from Broad Street are the only references he ever makes to anything like it.

Not all of Nate’s lyrics are autobiographical, but a good bit of it is. Some of it is confabulated, or heavily morphed, and some of it is based on the experiences of others, but he’s often putting his life, his emotions, his angst out there for everyone to see. And of course, the music is all his. So there was always risk.

The risk of criticism. The risk that people wouldn’t like his songs, that they would either actively hate his music, or maybe worse, totally ignore it. It was always there. It always is when you go public with your story.

So that leads me right to this.

I’ve been asked why I shouldn’t have to reveal every single detail of my life since I’m criticizing Cathy Harris and Camille Lewis and Linda Fossen.

There’s a really good reason.

I have a blog, right here. Wanna criticize me about anything I’ve said here? Have at it. Fossen does. In fact, she does just that, quoting large amounts of my material and refusing to even credit me in any meaningful way. She wants to criticize me without allowing anyone to see what she is criticizing. I link to her stuff. She won’t link to mine. Think about why that might be and what that might mean.

On this web site, I have offered commentary and evidence regarding information that is readily available on the internet. You won’t find me discussing, for example, Cathy Harris’ current place of employment (if any), since she’s never talked about it that I know of, and it’s not addressed in any of her various public blogs. I don’t discuss Linda Fossen’s current savings acount balance, or speculate about who her neighbors might be or what her husband’s favorite TV show is. She doesn’t address any of that in either her blog, her web site or her book. I do not talk about Camille Lewis’s children. I don’t even know how many she has or what their names might be. She doesn’t discuss them on her blog or in her writing. (NOTE: She actually does discuss her children endlessly in the early years of her blog, but I still consider kids to be forbidden material.)

Fossen says above that Cathy “has had her whole life torn apart.”

No, she hasn’t. Cathy put her story on so many blogs and places on the net that I trip over them. She discusses her alleged abuse and various mistreatment and victimhood endlessly. She did it. I didn’t do it. Nobody else did it.

Over the years, I’ve watched her hijack threads in the Survivor’s forums to talk about her alleged rapes and beatings and kidnapping and on and on. If nobody will talk about it, she pouts. I’ve watched her do this repeatedly. She quite obviously wants to discuss it. Fine. I’m discussing it. I’m going to discuss it some more.

Think about this a second. If Cathy hadn’t discussed her alleged “story,” how would I have known about it? Nobody else was talking about it. I didn’t know about her blog(s). I found out about it because Cathy talked about it. From there, I found her blog(s).

The same thing applies to both Fossen and Camille Lewis. I know about them because they, themselves, directed me to the place to find out about them. Their blogs. Their papers. Their books.

How do you suppose that people find out about Nathan’s music? When he was alive, they came to gigs and heard him, sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident. Now, they find out via the web site and Facebook. We advertise. On purpose. So are these three women.

But there’s a difference, you see. Nathan put his music out there. He made it available for public consumption. And he took the lumps when they came. He didn’t get nearly as much negative commentary as was possible, but he didn’t know that going in. If he’d wanted to stay all private and safe, he could have just played his guitar in his room at home and nobody would ever have been able to say a word, or yell at him to play something else, or criticize anything.

What Cathy and Fossen both seem to want is to have the right to put their stories out there publicly and insist that nobody ever criticize a word of it. Buy Linda’s book, she says. Absolutely. But good golly Miss Molly, don’t review it. Don’t do so either on a web site or at Amazon. Nope. Pay your money. Buy the book. But do not have an opinion unless it’s the one Linda Fossen wants you to have.

Let me explain something quite clearly, so there’s no mistake. If Cathy Harris would like for her entire section of this web site to disappear in about an hour, she has it totally in her power to make that happen. All she has to do is take down her blogs. Take them down. Done.

One other thing. I am not demanding that anyone answer any questions. Getting your questions deleted, being ignored – that’s already happened to me. I don’t care one bit if any of these folks even read what I write. When I ask a question on this web site, it’s rhetorical.

I’m providing commentary, not seeking answers from anyone. If you don’t like my commentary, don’t read it. It’s quite simple.

Suicide

 

Suicide. The word is chilling. I recoil from it. We all do. In my world, it’s especially terrible, because I do not believe anything comes after death. So if a person chooses to die, he’s choosing to go into oblivion rather than hang out and see if it won’t get better.

It’s final. You can’t take it back or say, “Gee, that was a mistake” or get a second chance. It’s done and over.

For that reason, as a society we go to great lengths to try to prevent it. We will make almost every effort in the world to get suicidal individuals the help they need so that they don’t feel that jumping off a bridge is the only solution to their problems.

And we read and hear that we should take every suicide threat seriously. This is not an exaggeration. It’s not incorrect information. It’s true. We should. Even people who threaten suicide repeatedly or make half-hearted attempts often finally succeed.

So, it’s serious stuff. It’s not something to be blown off or discounted.

Everyone knows that.

Everyone knows it, including people who wish to manipulate other people.

And anyone interacting with or near such a person has no way of knowing if they are just being manipulative or are serious. Maybe they don’t even know themselves.

Regardless, it’s unnerving at best and irritating as hell.

I, along with some of my friends, have been accused of “driving” people to the “brink of suicide” so many times in the last few weeks I’ve lost count and have quit bothering to make screen shots of any of it. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about what it means to be accused like this over and over again.

One accusation is clearly and demonstrably false. It involves Beth Murschell and the whole DJ Forrester “she abandoned me” debacle. Regardless of what claims are made or how many times those totally false claims are made, there is first, no evidence whatever that DJ committed suicide, and second, no evidence to suggest that Beth was somehow responsible. Even if you bought into the whole “Beth abandoned DJ” nonsense, that happened in August, 2013, and DJ didn’t die until well into 2014, months later. During that period, Beth had no contact with DJ.

So, when I read stuff like this:

I have to wonder what is going on.

And I’ve noticed something while watching this unfold. The only person who seems to have been contacted by these supposed “survivors” who are on “the brink of suicide” or who have attempted suicide is Linda Fossen. Nobody else has said anything, that I recall, about actually knowing about any of this. They’ve all contacted Linda.

One wonders why she doesn’t just call Benny Hinn, but I suppose he’s busy.

Why are alleged survivors from Bob Jones University contacting Linda Fossen to tell her they are in such despair that they are going to try/have tried to kill themselves because bad people have said mean things about totally different people? Why would they do that?

Update

Well, right here. It’s right up there, next to the bottom of the list. In plain English. I never claimed there were five of them. Fossen did that.

But this is an excellent example of what these women do. You make a statement calling them out on something. They don’t like it. They then accuse you of lying and not only insist you lied about the original stuff, but they fasten something totally fabricated in there, like five supposed suicidal people. And she won’t retract it. Watch and see.

There’s one other little story that I want to address. It’s from The Fossen FantasyLand Blog.

It goes something like this: Beth was mean. Cathy decided to kill herself, so she wrote a note revealing the names of all her alleged abusers and also naming Beth and me, along with several other people, as the reason she was suicidal. She got in her car with the note and a gun and was driving to her adoptive father’s house, planning to shoot herself on his lawn. On the way, Camille Lewis telephoned her and told her that some unknown person had started the web site informally known as 2nd Edition. Cathy then called her therapist instead of killing herself. And God is good.

Let’s get this straight now. Cathy Harris decided to kill herself because somebody said some stuff about her on the internet. Cathy Harris. This is a woman who has posted her life story on various blogs all over the damn internet, in graphic detail, and basically accused nearly every adult in her life of having abused her dreadfully. When anyone dares question her veracity about anything, even stuff not related to her alleged pitiful childhood, she goes ballistic and calls that person every name in the book. That Cathy Harris.

She’s written a note. In the note, among other people, she names me, Sally Davis, as one of the people who has driven her to do this. What an evil person that Sally Davis is! She has done this terrible thing.

And while she’s on her way to do the dastardly deed, she gets a call from Camille Lewis, who is there to save the day. This sounds a little like one of those novels where the guy rides in at the last moment to stop the duel, but no matter. Camille saves the day by telling Cathy that somebody, some unknown person, has started a new Facebook page in support of her. Seriously. That’s what she tells her.

And Cathy is so overwhelmed by this outpouring of whatever that she calls her therapist instead of offing herself.

Whew. Just in the nick of time.

This is the start date for the now defunct Facebook page called informally “2nd Edition.” May 23, 2014. Note that. May 23, 2014.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Camille didn’t know it started on May 23, but found out on May 24. Surely she called her dear friend Cathy Harris the second she found out about it. Surely she knew that her dear friend was terribly upset about all the mean things that people were saying about her on the internet. Surely.

Surely, she would call her before Cathy Harris could stew herself into a tizzy and blow her brains out because Sally Davis, who is named in the suicide note, said all the awful things she said? I mean, Cathy would have to have gotten upset about what I said, along with all the other stuff from other people, and just flipped out. This takes more than four minutes. I would assume this might take a day. Maybe longer.

Oh, yes, this. Cathy needs to “address something else” and explain that she is notthe administrator of the 2nd Edition page. Nope, she isn’t. She didn’t start the page. No. The way Cathy knew there was a page was that somebody tagged her in a post, a few days after the page went up.

Wait. I thought she found out about the page when Camille called her and told her and stopped her from killing herself. And before I hear the argument that of course, she lied about how she found out about the page because wouldn’t you do that rather than admit you were trying to kill yourself, all she had to say is “Camille told me about it.” But no, she was tagged in a post. I mean, if you’re gonna lie, why not embellish it nicely? And we would be shocked to know who it was. I guess. We’ve never known, of course.

This is the evil, awful thing I said in private to Dan Keller. This got my name in the “suicide note.” This. Which I wrote on May 24 at nearly midnight. Only wait. That is Central Time. Dan’s screen shot of the same conversation reads May 25. Dan had to forward that entire conversation to Cathy, and it was lengthy. Cathy had to read it all, get upset, stew a while, decide to kill herself, write a suicide note, get her gun (what is a suicidal woman doing with a gun?) and get in her car.

My guess, looking at that whole conversation, is that doing all that would have taken several hours. Did Dan forward it all to her in the middle of the night? Did he pick out the juicy parts and just send those? Why did Dan forward such inflammatory rhetoric to a supposedly dying, suicidal woman? Was he trying to goad her into killing herself? Remember, I made the comments in private. He gave them to her.

But more importantly, how did Cathy put my name in a suicide note saying I was one of the causes of her wanting to die when I didn’t say what I said until two days after 2nd Edition went live?

Is Cathy Harris a mind reader? Did Camille Lewis withhold the information that 2nd Edition had started for two days? Don’t try to tell me that nobody told Camille that it existed for two days, because that’s just ludicrous.

Some observations

Years ago, a friend of mine (“Mike”) was talking to another friend of mine (“Bill”). Mike was totally peeved with me for some reason. It’s been so long ago that I don’t remember what it was about, and I bet Mike doesn’t either. In course of Mike’s anger, he called me a pretty unflattering name. Bill then came straight to me and told me about it.

Decades later, I cannot remember what the argument was about, but I remember the unflattering name. I’m not obsessed with it, but it’s there, in the back of my mind, whenever I have an interaction with Mike.

In contrast, when we left the Fundy Church From Hell, we began getting anonymous letters. They were quite obviously from church people, and were basically hate messages. (Leaving that church was seen as a huge sin and just wasn’t acceptable.) Anonymous letters are terrible. Like fake identities, they often leave the target bewildered and suspicious of everyone around them.

Suddenly, they ceased. It was a relief. We went on with our lives and the sting subsided. When Dave was confident that I no longer cared, he told me what had happened. There were more of those letters, but I never saw them. He got rid of them. He didn’t even read a couple of them. He just burned them.

He did it because he loves me and didn’t want me to feel badly.

I point you back up to the comment I made in private about Cathy Harris. The one that her dear, dear friend, and champion, and supporter, Dan Keller, like my friend Bill, forwarded straight to her.

As far I have been able to see, nobody has mentioned suicide at all (until now) except Cathy’s dear, dear friends and champions and supporters. And they have hammered away at it almost nonstop. Is it possible that repetitively suggesting the possibility of suicide can become prophetic?

Ultimately, if someone chooses to kill themselves, it’s nobody’s choice but their own. When we interact with other people, we are going to run into folks who disagree with us, sometimes vehemently, and folks who don’t believe us. That is just the nature of life. We’ve all been dealing with it since we were children. Using some supposed status as a “victim” or as a “survivor” does not give one license to pull out the “I’m going kill myself” threat every time you don’t get your own way or somebody doesn’t see things from your point of view. I refuse to take responsibility for somebody else’s mental health or their ability to adjust to life in society. If you’re too fragile emotionally to be on the internet, you probably should get away from it.

The bottom line

Suicide threats are serious. And I don’t take them lightly. Nor should anyone else.

cell phone

Suicide is the legal term for killing oneself. Homicide is the legal term for killing somebody else. Both involve violence. And very often sometimes suicidal people are homicidal people before they commit suicide. So, there’s really a very good reason from a purely selfish viewpoint to make sure a suicidal person gets some help, pronto.

And by pronto, I mean really quick. Like now.

Little teensy update

Well, Linda Fossen is just terribly upset with me because of my sentence about the incidence of murder-suicides. And that’s just awful. I don’t like getting her upset. After all, she’s such a reasonable person generally. But that comment of hers made me go look this shit up.

I found figures slightly at odds with hers, like triple the rate. The article’s rates come from 2010, Linda’s from 2011. Who knows why there is so much difference.

But this is case where I will concede. My use of the words “very often” was wrong. However, know this. If you start threatening to kill yourself around me, where you can get at me, if you’re carrying on about bringing a gun to my house and blowing your brains out on my lawn, believe me, I’m leaving. I’ll get you some help, yeah. I’ll do what I can. And then I’m gone. Linda can do whatever she likes, as can anyone else.

But this illustrates what these folks are so good at. Do they address the issue of why my name is in the alleged suicide note two days before I ever wrote anything? Nope. Not a word. Just some bitching about two words that are wrong.

This is why I’ve made a new commitment. The next time somebody tries to tell me that Cathy Harris, or anyone else, is suicidal because I’m mean and nasty, I’m going to find the phone number for the nearest police station to that person’s house and call them. I’m going to tell them I want to forward them a screen shot of the suicide threat this person seems to have made, along with as much contact information as I can find for the person who posted the information about the supposed threat, and ask them to do a well check.

I would suggest that all of you commit to the same thing. If you’re such good friends with these folks, surely that’s the least you can do.

 

“Recovered Memories”

image courtesy Goodreads

A little background

I am a retired registered nurse. When I took my state board exam in 1969, I scored very high on the psych segment. It’s a subject I did well in, and it  interested me. I chose not work in a psych unit after graduation for various reasons, but I’ve remained interested all my life. I am well aware that my training was a very long time ago. I do know how to read, though.

Several years ago, not long after I entered Facebook Land, a friend who knew I’d attended Bob Jones Academy sent me a link to a group called “BJU Survivors.” It was the old original group, I think, and had the old Facebook forum format. I went over there, out of curiosity, and joined. I then posted an account of my experience with the school and Dr. Bob Jones III.

I was unprepared for the reaction.

While I knew that some people would believe my story and others not so much, I wasn’t prepared for a couple of the people on there going over to my profile and snooping about. One of them asked me if I “liked” atheist pages because I was an atheist, or if it was so I could follow them and comment and perhaps witness to them.

What commenced was a rather lengthy debate on the merits of religion vs. atheism.

As a result, I got a few friend requests, without realizing that I was opening myself up to a “community” and would come to regret doing so. One of those new “friends” was Camille K. Lewis.

One day, Camille posted something on her wall about sexual abuse “survivors,” and I commented. I had no idea at the time about so-called “recovered memories” nor did I know much about the current “survivor” fad that has permeated much of the nation. I just made an offhand comment about an incident that had occurred in our family when my father died. A caretaker came forward at the last possible minute and filed a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment.

The claim was totally ridiculous, and was simply an attempt to get some money from his estate, but we had to deal with it. And we ultimately decided, for a number of reasons, including concern for the health of my uncle, to settle with her. Ultimately, it was a whole lot cheaper than going to court. Even if we’d won, and the court made her pay our costs, she had no money, and we’d never have seen a dime. The settlement was for a very tiny fraction of the amount she’d demanded, and her lawyers very likely walked away with most of it.

My point was that the woman was simply lying. We knew she was. She knew she was. All the lawyers on both sides knew she was. My dad couldn’t have sexually harassed anyone. The worst he could possibly have done during the time she was there was tell a dirty joke. She remained in his employ as long as she was needed, and she did not initiate her termination. She wasn’t fired. She was just no longer needed.

I was unprepared for the vehement reaction that I got to my comment. I was told by both Camille and another person that no one ever lies about sexual abuse and that if this woman said my father harassed her, then he did. No exceptions. No arguing about it. That was it. And I was further told that if I did not agree, I could leave, but that there would be no discussion of the subject on Camille’s wall.

That was my introduction to the bizarre world of “survivors of sexual abuse.” That day, not knowing what the hell they were talking about, I simply left.

And because I didn’t know much about it, I said nothing for a long time, like years. Until now. But I quietly watched and educated myself. I read. Not just web sites, but books. This is what I do when I don’t know about something and want to know. I ask questions when I can, but when I can’t even ask a question without getting bashed over the head for daring to think something heretical, I just quietly read.

What is a “recovered memory”?

It’s a widely spread idea, although hotly contested in the medical community. Supposedly, when something really horrible happens to a person, she can be so traumatized by it that she cannot bear to remember it, so her mind just buries the memory, often for many years. Only, the mind doesn’t do such a hot job at it, because the memory manifests itself in other ways — she has difficulties small and great. She might have physical problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, or obesity. (Yeah, obesity.) She might have various types of relationship problems, or emotional issues like substance abuse or eating disorders or depression.

The list of supposed symptoms of these repressed memories omits almost nothing apart from the common cold. Nearly anyone could find something in the list to point to if she wanted to do so. And a great many women seem to want to do that. Or their therapists want them to.

Anyway, the memory is suppressed. And years, decades, later, the woman (and it’s almost always a woman) begins to remember stuff. Well, not actually remember, the way you remember what you did on your trip to Europe after high school. No. She has nightmares, or she gets “flashbacks” (episodes where she’s just sure she’s remembering something), or she undergoes hypnosis and relives the memory, or she does a sort of mindless journaling and the memory pops out, or the therapist puts her through “guided imagery” (therapist asks her to imagine stuff and keeps asking suggestive questions until she “remembers”) – and slowly these buried memories rise to the surface like dead fish.

Once the client has properly dredged up these memories, she is often urged by her therapist to confront her supposed abuser(s). This is the point when very astonished family members find themselves on the receiving end of a shotgun blast of accusations. The usual story is that Dad did the molesting, Mom gave tacit assent or ignored it, and the siblings were either also molested or knew about it. The fact that absolutely none of these family members remembers a single thing about any of this simply means that they are all “in denial.”

And at this point, the nightmare can take on epic proportions. In many cases, the woman cuts off all contact with any family members who do not believe her every word. In other cases, supposed victims have tried to sue their parents for living expenses and/or therapy expenses for life, on the grounds that they are “disabled” and it’s all the parents’ fault. Occasionally, the alleged victim will for some reason lose contact with her therapist and this is sometimes the catalyst for her recanting. Without the constant flow of encouragement from the therapist, some women start to realize they’ve been programmed and that the so-called abuse didn’t happen. In one case, a woman realized she’d had some very false “memories” when, after accusing her father of impregnating her and sacrificing the baby in a satanic ritual, she was shown medical records proving that her father had had a vasectomy when she was very young, and a medical exam by a gynocologist showed that she had never been pregnant.

Therapy can go on for many years and bankrupt everyone involved.

The controversy

The summary above (and it is a very brief summary) is written from a fairly negative perspective. I’m doing that on purpose. I had to look pretty hard to find anything on this subject that wasn’t extremely biased in support of “survivors.”

I also had trouble finding much in the way of hard evidence in support of this stuff as well, which is why red flags went up all around me. Here are some of the problems.

Recovered memories are supposedly almost always accurate. Depending on who you talk to, it’s claimed that they are always accurate to nearly always accurate. As Camille and her friend informed me in no uncertain terms, “survivors” are not mistaken about their abuse stories.

This is why Linda Fossen could state, without even being slightly embarrassed by it, that she thought that all accused abusers should be publicly identified and declared “wrong” even without evidence or a conviction or any charges brought. They’re all guilty. They have to be. “Victims” are never wrong.

But folks have recovered “memories” of abuse that occurred in a past life. They have recovered “memories” of having been abducted by aliens. And during the peak of the hysteria surrounding all this, a common accusation involved recovered “memories” of satanic ritual torture and often murder, all completely without any evidence of any kind.

They can’t have it both ways. If these “survivors” are almost never wrong, then the people who recovered memories of a past life, or alien abduction or satanic rituals are almost never wrong, too.

It is impossible to tell the difference between a recovered false memory and a recovered true memory. There is no way to determine it. When you cannot falsify something, it cannot be examined scientifically. How would you go about testing such a thing?

This means that if Susie recovers a memory that her father abused her when she was five years old, absent any concrete evidence (and migraine headaches and promiscuity are not evidence) and/or a confession from her father, nobody can ever tell (including Susie) if her memory is true or false. Simply saying “I remember this” isn’t enough. Dave and I often tell stories about stuff that happened years ago and discover that we have different memories about what actually happened. The older we get, the more memories we have, and the more muddled they get.

Accusing your father of having abused you is one thing. If he admits it, perhaps some sort of reconciliation can occur. Doing so with no evidence of any kind, basing the claim on these dubious memory recovery techniques, and making it public, thus destroying an entire family in the process, is criminal.

And thankfully, the courts seem to agree that it is. In a case about three years ago, parents of an alleged victim sued the therapist and won. This is good news indeed, as it might put a little caution into the hearts of “therapists” regarding the techniques they are using and the recommendations they are making to their clients.

In a YouTuble video, Linda made the assertion that one out of three women would be sexually abused before the age of 18 to 20. While I’ve read some pretty amazing claims about this, that is the most bizarre.

In part, it illustrates something that is happening with all this, and that is a redefinition of the word “abuse.” It’s come to mean almost anything, to the point that the slightly drunk guy nearby who gets a bit carried away with the holiday spirit and plants a big kiss on you at a New Year’s Eve party at midnight is guilty of sexual assault.

When it comes to these “recovered memories,” though, either we have the biggest epidemic in history of this sort of thing, a national crisis that should have us all hysterical, or there’s something wrong here. I see nothing at all that convinces me that a large percentage of men are molesting children.

It also hurts the actual victims. It even hurts some of the alleged victims, who might well be right in some of their accusations, but not all. But their stories become so extreme that they are unbelievable, and so they are not believed about anything.

In looking about on a few Facebook pages devoted to “survivors,” I noticed that a whole lot of the people posting (mostly women) are so-called “victim’s advocates.” Many of them offer materials for sale, have web sites, offer “counseling” and all sorts of advice, and have written books. It seems Linda Fossen has a lot of competition. How many of these people are qualified to do what they are doing? How many are charlatans out to make a quick buck? How many are well-meaning, but still out to make a quick buck? How many are taking advantage of wounded people? I have to wonder.

Anyone who doesn’t believe a “victim” is considered to be “in denial” or even worse, either a molester or covering up for a molester. There are no other categories. That means that I will inevitably be accused of something like that.

Simple disagreement is not an option, not a possibility. You’re either with them or you’re with the molesters.

When this kind of position is taken—subscribe to our theories or else we’ll try to ruin you—something is very, very wrong. My bullshit meter goes off big time.

The bottom line

So, why is this an issue requiring a whole page here? Why do I care?

My entire crime – the reason that I was lumped in as a member of the so-called “evil cabal” or whatever name they’re using for it now – is that I dared to make a couple of comments in a private message with Dan Keller. One was that I do not believe some of Cathy’s stories. The other comment was about Carl McIntire and Bob Jones Jr.

I dared to not believe that. And I dared to say so in a private message. Dan Keller took the entire thing public within a few hours, and I’m to blame. How dare I not believe a victim?

Keep in mind that I did not post this on my wall (until after Dan went public with it). It was said in private. Yet, supposedly this remark upset Cathy so much that she decided to kill herself (I’ll address all that later), and it’s my fault. Mine.

Why isn’t it Dan’s fault? After all, he ran to her with the comment, thereby upsetting her. I didn’t.

It’s very simple. I have some real doubts about this whole “recovered memory” thing. I have other doubts about the details of certain victims’ stories. I can have those doubts. I can even express them.

And Cathy Harris, Camille Lewis, Linda Fossen, Dan Keller, and all the other people who are frothing at the mouth with anger at me about this can just get over it. There would be no web site in existence right now if Dan Keller had kept private messages private.

I simply will not be bullied into silence by these people, no matter how loudly they yell. These people are not “victims” nor are they “survivors.” They are accusers.

Some resources

Here are some web sites and articles. There are many more, of course. The few I’m listing here are from the “anti” side of the argument. If you want information from the “pro” side, it’s easy to find.

The False Memory Syndrome Foundation – The “pros” pitch fits about this group and insist that it’s a group of people who are all abusers or those who would support abusers. I don’t care who they are. I was looking for information and found some there. It’s actually an organization started by horrified parents who’d been accused by their children and had no idea how to handle it.

Reading list – This page is at the site listed above, and is just a short bibliography. I have read several of these books. I also have ordered and will read The Courage to Heal, which is the bible of recovered memory movement. [Update: Have the book and have read it. I will review it. Coming. ]

Religious Tolerance.org – This is a pretty good quick easy summary of the basic situation. There’s a pretty decent set of references there as well, some online and some books.

The Reality of Repressed Memories – a lengthy article by Elizabeth Loftus about the nature of memory and how it relates to the whole issue.

Weighty Matters

Camille tells her Facebook friends a little sob story about her life.

She begins by telling them that she’s planning to put this story in her “Proof is in the Product” Storify page.

She says it’s bizarre. She’s not wrong about that. It is bizarre, but what is weird is her, not them.

She has little to say about the husband, Gordon, but it’s clear from the start that she has a beef with the wife, Cheryl.

So, we learn that this beef dates back 23 years. Twenty-three years. Camille remembers all about this. Must have been really awful.

Cheryl, we’re told, “confronted” Camille about her weight. We’re not told what that means, exactly.

Did Cheryl say, “Hey, Camille, I see that you’ve gained what looks like about 25 extra pounds. You need to shed that weight to travel with Dr. Bob. I can help.”

Or, was it more like, in the context of a general conversation about how hard it is to eat healthy while traveling, Cheryl said, “You know, I’m a Weight Watchers counselor. I’ve had to learn about dealing with that stuff. If anyone needs any help, let me know.”

We don’t know because Camille doesn’t say. If her comments were something like the former, they were shitty indeed. If the latter, well, not so much.

And Camille was humiliated. So she says.

Who knows how much of this is true, or how much is exaggerated, or what the real story is?

Is it possible that this happened just like Camille tells it? Sure it is. Bob Jones University sucks dirt. Thoroughly sucks dirt.

But this experience was so awful, so humiliating, so perfectly terrible that Camille remained in the school’s employ for the next sixteen years.

Pardon me if I simply cannot find my violin right now.

But then we see that Cheryl, going by the name “Cherie”, now has an IMDB listing, meaning she’s doing some acting.

This is what Camille wants you to see. A little short film.

It’s okay. It’s tawdry and amateurish, but it’s not porn. You can watch it.

Notice Camille carrying on. “This”, she says.

Really, I was expecting hard-core porn. I was almost afraid to click the link because I thought I’d get all virused or something.

And then, because Camille does some extremely childish things from time to time, she links to some gifs she made.

Cheryl said “fuck.”

Only being a good Christian, Camille uses symbols so you don’t have to read that offending word. I am not a good Christian, so I just type the word. Sometimes I say the word.

::shrug::

And the next one is presumably Gordon, in his little cameo role, being escorted out of the parlor.

I’m not sure what is wrong with being filmed while walking, but oh well. . .

“She taught kindergarten.” How awful. She taught kindergarten 23 years ago, and now she’s doing this.

Then we have the Marilyn Monroe movie, another short film.

I fail to see what might be the problem with that one.

Camille feels “vindicated” because Cheryl Mason “gets a pass.” For doing what? Living her life? What?

I don’t call Camille “the Great Evil Witch that all of Christendom loathes.” I call Camille the Queen. And actually, I have called her a witch once or twice. But I don’t think “all of Christendom” even knows she exists.

We’re treated to one more short video.

Corny jokes, amateur acting. So what?

Keep in mind that Camille says she’s planning to put this couple up on her Storify page. She’s doing this, not because these folks have dabbled a little bit in amateur film-making, but because Camille is carrying a grudge that is 23 years old.

Not long after I gave birth to Nathan, Dave and I saw an old friend that we hadn’t seen in quite some time. The person said when first seeing me, “Sally, you look like somebody blew you up with a bicycle pump.” I had gained a good bit of baby fat and I hadn’t lost it.

That was more than 30 years ago. I didn’t use gender-specific pronouns when describing the incident, because I can’t remember if it was a man or woman who said it. I do not know who it was. I just don’t remember.

The remark stung. All remarks about people’s weight sting. [A bit of advice. Be sensitive and don’t make them.] But all that remains in my memory is the remark itself, totally separated from the person who said it, and even from the place where it was said.

I understand hurt that lasts for years. I understand the sense of jubilation that you get when somebody who hurt you appears to stumble a bit. It’s absolutely human and completely impossible not to feel that from time to time.

But Camille intends to put these people’s photographs up on a page on the internet as though they are criminals of some sort. She’s going to blend them in with people who were arrested or convicted of sex crimes and embezzlement.

Apparently, judging from the first little film, Cheryl and Gordon Mason have moved on a bit from their former lives. So what?

Here’s another person who left Bob Jones University and moved on a bit from his former life.

His name is Rich Merritt.

He’s a friend of mine. I suspect he’s also a friend of Camille’s.

The book is about exactly what you think it might be about. It’s explicit. It’s pretty raw. And it’s fascinating reading. I own a copy.

And I have never seen Camille criticize it a single time.

So, if Camille’s criticism of the Masons is about tawdry filmmaking, why isn’t Rich on her Storify page?

Every now and then, via the miracle that is Facebook, I “run into” somebody from the Fundy Church From Hell, where we went to church for years. It’s a weird experience for me when that happens.

For one thing, how did they get so old?

But I’m also often pretty astonished that they are right there where I left them, still sitting in those same old theater seats in that same little church, listening to the same bullshit Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. They’ve been doing it for years and years.

And I am not the same. I’m so different that I might as well be living on another planet.

It happens.

It happened to Camille. She writes at length about it on her blog, in excruciating detail, as her religious ideas changed from the Baptist fundamentalism of her youth to the Calvinism she embraces today.

The difference between us, me and Camille, is that I morphed right on out the door of Christendom (as she puts it) and she didn’t.

I have no idea about Cheryl and Gordon Mason, and don’t care. I doubt they care about Camille. Cheryl might or might not even remember who Camille is.

But there you have the gist of it all.

Offend Camille Lewis, and 23 years later, she’ll still be trying to get even.

Footnote:

Pardon me while I do a wee bit of advertising.

This is another of Rich’s books.

It’s about everyone’s favorite university.

I loved it.

Camille likes the book, too. Ignore the poor review. It’s a great book, way better than the other stuff that comes out of BJU, you know, like some tedious thing about romancing differences.

A Widow in Distress

I cannot imagine what period in a widow’s life is more accurately described by the word “distress” than the first few weeks (month?) after the death of her spouse – especially if the marriage was long-term.

The religion espoused by Camille Lewis and her Court has, as its handbook, the Bible. Here’s a verse from the handbook. I don’t think you can spin it. It says just what it says – that “God” wants you to look after widows in their distress.

We can argue that “distress” really means “poverty” in this case, but that’s not what it says. It says “distress,” and distress can take a lot of different forms.

Besides, it’s just the decent thing to do. Even an old apostate like me recognizes that it’s good and honorable to look after orphans and widows in their distress.

I received some screen shots the other day. They were from somebody who wants to (and will) remain anonymous. They are from Camille’s Facebook wall. I don’t have access to Camille’s wall – she has me blocked – but somebody was irritated enough about this to send me the information. This person was the only one to send me screen shots, but not the only one who was concerned.

Here’s the original post. It’s a link to the Amazon page for Elizabeth Handord’s book entitled Me? Obey Him?

This is clearly posted to get conversation started. Camille had a reason for thinking about the book, right at this particular time, on January 16, 2015.

What could have prompted her to do that?

Perhaps this?

And they begin to comment, which is, of course, the reason for the whole thing.

I am blocking identities here except for those who I think don’t deserve to have their identity blocked. Hey, I get to make these kinds of executive decisions around here. It’s one of the perks of being the boss.

“I wonder how much money. . .”

The issue here is not the merit of the book. That’s an entirely separate thing which anyone can rightfully discuss endlessly. You can even comment on Amazon if you wish.

The issue is the timing.

And it is entirely possible that some of these folks had no idea that Walt Handford had died, according to the obituary, somewhere around 24 hours before these comments were made. But Camille knew it. That’s why she posted it.

According to the obituary, he actually died Thursday, but either way, she knew it.

And she has to bring it all around to her favorite and only subject of choice: Bob Jones University.

“. . . sorta.” Whatever in the hell that means.

And race. She tries to move the discussion to Bob Jones University and race. Of course.

And she appears to give up, since nobody seems to be taking the bait. I am very glad they didn’t (except in the beginning) and that a few people managed to deflect the conversation a bit.

Walter and Elizabeth Rice Handford were married for 66 years. I would imagine that she is beyond being “in distress.”

No matter what you think about her or him, or her book – leave her alone for now.

Paranoid Pontifications

The Paranoid and Possibly Pregnant Professor Proudly Pontificates

The Queen is outraged. Just outraged. It seems that currently-employed-and-actively-teaching Dr. Brenda Schoolfield at BJU made a silly comment. When going over the roll, she said that absent students were probably “pregnant.”

She quite rapidly made a public statement about the incident, explaining that it was a slip of the tongue and she really didn’t know why she said it. I do not know Brenda Schoolfield, but I know people who do, and they pretty much unanimously assure me that she is a very nice person and there is no reason to doubt her explanation and her assurances that she is beyond embarrassed.

People say dumb shit all the time, and that includes the Queen and her Court. In fact, they say dumber shit than most, much of which is documented right here for your entertainment.

Never one to let an opportunity slip past her, the Queen begins to rant. Students are being called “sluts,” she informs us. Nobody is “safe.” Camille, that is getting old. You really need a new phrase.

Not to be outdone, St. Catherine of Victimhood chimes in. Dunno where she’s been lately, by the way. She hasn’t seen fit to offer anything about the accusations of plagiarism that have been a hot topic of conversation over there lately. I wonder why.

Somebody asks a question. The thing to remember here is that comments have to be approved by Camille before they are allowed to stay. I’m not certain if they are set so that they appear briefly and then are removed if they don’t meet her high standards, or if they simply don’t show up until they are approved, but either way, she only allows comments that she wants to be seen. She wanted this to be seen, so she could explain to this poor person how dumb he is. Which she does at length. It’s over there if you want to go read it all.

What you won’t find over there, though, is this comment from James Bow. James is not an Approved Person, however, nor was his comment one that Camille found palatable, so it was removed. This happens all the time. Regularly.

TSGoBJ is not a discussion board. It’s not a place for free and open debate or commentary. It’s a Place for the Paranoid Professor to Pontificate. That’s all it is.

What’s sort of awkward, though, is that somebody decided to disagree with James and defend the Queen, and of course, the Queen left that totally out-of-context remark in place.

Censoring is hard work.

Maytag has to chime in, albeit a bit late after all the fun was over, with her assessment. She is seriously giving Dr. Schoolfield a lecture on how to go about apologizing. Seriously.

Maytag, when are you going to apologize to Beth Murschell for the unfounded accusations you made against her? They were far worse than simply making an off-the-wall comment you shouldn’t have made. We’re waiting. Putting up a “retraction” in small type while leaving the accusations in place unaltered won’t cut it. Where is the personal apology from you to Beth? She’s never gotten one.

If you don’t know how to do it, follow your own advice about David and the Psalms.

But then this whole thing takes a bizarre turn. We go suddenly from “the professor is slut-shaming” to clandestine pregnancy tests.

It seems that “everyone knows this is true,” however nobody seems to remember the reason given by the school for the collection of urine specimens. They just did it. Every fall.

And we’re told that we know that those urine specimens were actually pregnancy tests because some Barge employees (plural) released that information. We have no idea who the Barge employees are. We aren’t told that. Maybe it’s the same ones who told Camille that another graduate had a psychiatric history, was on medication and was seen preaching to an empty chair. This, of course, was completely false. There was no Barge nurse who told Camille anything at all. The person in question has no history of receiving psychiatric care ever, anywhere.

In short, when people tell you that some employee at Barge leaked something, discount it.

Lara now gives us a little lecture about the reasons for doing a urinalysis, because she surely knows about this.

Only she left out a big one.

For decades, a urinalysis was part of a routine physical. I got to pee in a cup every fall, too – when I was in nursing school. And I had to pee in a cup every time I went to my doctor for an annual physical. My husband played high school football and he had to do the same before every football season. He had to do so for every employment physical he ever had.

It was standard procedure to get a urinalysis on every patient who entered the hospital, no matter what the reason.

In recent years, the idea that getting a urinalysis on everyone in sight is probably not a good use of assets has swept through the medical community along with the demise (or at least severe sickness) of the annual physical itself. A normal urinalysis tells a doctor almost nothing. It costs the patient and the insurance companies money. It can also give a false feeling of security. If you have your physical and everything is normal, you tend to dismiss symptoms you might otherwise report that occur two weeks later.

A very good article on this subject is here, in case you’re interested in why your doctor probably no longer asks for a urine specimen unless you are symptomatic. There are a lot of formerly “routine” tests that are no longer routine. I am over 65, and was delighted to find out that I no longer have to have that dreaded annual PAP smear. [You younger women do, though.] My husband sees his doctor pretty much every six months or so, but he’s on medication for blood pressure and cholesterol and needs to be seen. I don’t, because I am basically healthy and take no medications.

But it was just the girls, we’re told. Just the women. Only, wait. It wasn’t.

It is much more difficult to obtain a urine sample from a woman than from a man, for anatomical reasons. It’s fairly sensible, if you’re going to collect them, to have the girls take the bottles with them to the dorm and return them later. It’s certainly the procedure I’d follow if I was put in charge of doing that.

Remember, we’re talking about Bob Jones University. This is the school that proudly served vanilla pudding with fruit cocktail stirred into it and called it “Lady Baltimore pudding.” The worst stuff on the planet, but it was cheap.

They foisted tomato sauce over rice on us and called it “shrimp creole.” Unlike the photo, they used those horrible little canned shrimp and there were only about six of them in each bowl meant to serve a table of eight people.

In short, they are cheap.

So, why in the name of common sense, would they do an expensive relatively-complicated test on every girl at the school which would tell them almost nothing? If it was negative, they wouldn’t know if it was a false negative, which were common. And what would have prevented her from getting pregnant two days after the urine specimen was collected?

In spite of all the negative feeling I have toward Bob Jones University specifically and fundamentalism in general, I don’t think they are that stupid. They would have been spending money for little gain, and putting themselves in possible legal jeopardy.

Somebody then made a simple suggestion. Why not ask?

Okay.

UPDATE:

From the Facebook group “Overheard at BJU”, we get the following commentary from the students themselves, who don’t appear to have been particularly upset by Dr. Schoolfield’s slip.

The comments are almost entirely from girls, who don’t appear to know that they were being labeled “sluts.” And please notice the number of “likes.”

30 4 30 Day 5

You know, these would be brilliant in their execution even if there was a committee someplace coming up with the ideas and Deb was simply making them come alive.

But that’s not happening.

This is entirely, totally Deb.  Start to finish.  I never know what they are until she sends me the link.  We have 25 more days of this.  Will she run out of ideas?

Go ahead and laugh.  It’s okay.  And then go here to bid.