Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Word of Faith and the Rift of Torn Apart Families Due to Repressed Memories

The rift in my family that I largely attribute to the 'word of faith' religion has really caused me to examine so much of my childhood, my family and my faith.

When I was a child, I remember looking forward to holidays at the relatives.  Each year, we'd attend Christmas Eve at my grandmother's and another evening to celebrate at my grandfather's house (they were divorced).  One year, that changed.  We were told that grandpa had done something terrible to my mother and that was that.  As I got older, I pieced together that she had accused him of sexual abuse.  The rift in our family was massive.  People weren't talking to other people and relationships were hurt and strained.  

I've always been a believer that if somebody says they are being abused, believe them. 

So why don't I believe her now?

Over the years, I'd ask questions.  My mother didn't offer much and I only found out bits and pieces over time. I found out she believed it happened only once when she was about five or so.  She told me the memory had been 'hidden'.  Many years later she told me that she, in fact, had always remembered it.  When I asked her once as a young adult, why, knowing her father was a molester would she have left me alone with him on so many occasions as a young child.  She told me she never did.  I know she did because I have fond memories of he and I playing with his model trains in the basement (and, no, I was never abused by him).  Keep in mind, when asking all these questions over the years, I absolutely believed her without a doubt.  Years later I brought up again how she had left me alone with him and that I remembered being alone with him numerous times and then she said she allowed it because she *knew* he would never molest me.  

I think that is when I really started to question her memory.

Come to find out, these accusations came about after being in 'christian' therapy during the 80s.  I've since learned the 'repressed memory therapy' was all the rage then.   Do a search on 'false memory syndrome' and how many of these cases have been debunked. These 'memories' tore families apart.  I've seen that firsthand.  

So, I started wondering, what did these repressed memories have to do with our church?  While I can't remember for certain, I do remember there was a 'revival' happening at our church for an extended period (months and months if not longer).  We were there all the time.  I remember people being 'healed' of abuse.  Did this revelation come during that time?  Could be.  It was certainly close to that period.   I've also been told that this about the time my mother was in therapy.

And, when I think about it, it seems the women who played the biggest role in our church or my mother's subsequent church were all sexual abuse survivors.  Look at the 'Super Apostles' (as I like to think to them ref: 2 Corinthians 11), some of the biggest names (and the richest) were sexually abused women (i.e Paula White, Joyce Meyer).   Were they really abused or was it simply due to repressed memory therapy which has since been debunked?  I do not know.  As for my mother, I do believe everything was exacerbated by her church family where I know she has received so much attention due to her 'testimony'.

My grandfather died many years later and never spoke to our family again after the accusations.  Even on his death bed, my mother knew he would apologize.  I'm sure she spoke faith and pronounced that God told her he would. He never did. 

As for my mother's 'abuse'.  Difficult for me to say, but I am just so skeptical that it happened.  Other than my father, probably my sister and, of course, my mom's church family, I do not know of anybody who believed her story.  My mother's stories do change over the years to make herself sound more believable not just in this situation but in so many.  When confronted, she'll always accuse other people of lying even when they confront her with some 'truth' she has since changed.  I did grow up thinking of my mother as a 'Super Apostle'.  Imagine my surprise when as an adult, I found the term for her in my Bible.  It wasn't what I thought it meant.

2 Corinthians 11:4-6
For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge.