Horror Stories From Christian Group Homes For Troubled Youths

xtian1x400Via Mother Jones, a look into the networks of unregulated, fundamentalist Baptist troubled-teen boarding homes active across the South and Midwest. Worst summer vacation ever…ex-residents describe programs of brainwashing through violent punishment, sensory deprivation, lack of contact with the outside world, and memorization of the bible:

New Beginnings describes itself as a character-building facility for “troubled teens,” and what Jeannie Marie heard in church that day was that this might be a place for her daughter to heal. While jogging earlier that year, the 17-year-old (whom I’ll call Roxy) had been pulled into a vehicle and assaulted by a group of men. Since then, she had begun acting up at home, as well as sneaking out and drinking. Two weeks after seeing the girls in church, Jeannie Marie and her husband left Roxy in McNamara’s care with the promise that she would receive counseling twice a week and stay at New Beginnings no longer than two months. “It sounded like a discipleship program,” Jeannie Marie recalls. “A safe place where a daughter can go to have time alone to find God and her direction.”

Instead, Roxy found herself on the receiving end of brutal punishments. A soft-spoken young woman, blonde and blue-eyed with a bright smile, Roxy confided to me that she found it easier to discuss her ordeal with a stranger than with the people closest to her. She told me how, in her first weeks at the academy’s Missouri compound—a summer-camp setup in remote La Russell, population 145—she and other girls snuck letters to their parents between the pages of hymnals in a local church they attended, along with entreaties to congregants to mail them. When another girl snitched, Roxy said, McNamara locked some girls in makeshift isolation cells, tiled closets without furniture or windows. Roxy got “the redshirt treatment”: For a solid week, 10 hours a day, she had to stand facing a wall, with breaks only for worship or twice-daily bathroom trips.

She was monitored day and night by two “buddies,” girls who’d been there awhile and knew the drill. They accompanied her to the shower and toilet, and introduced her to a life of communal isolation and rigid discipline. Girls were not allowed to converse except from 6 to 9 p.m. each Friday. They were not allowed contact with their families during their first month, or with anyone else for six months. By that time, Roxy said, most girls are “broken,” having been told that their families have abandoned them, and that the world outside is a sinful, dangerous place where girls who leave are murdered or raped.

The girls’ behavior was micromanaged down to the number of squares of toilet paper each was allowed; potential infractions ranged from making eye contact with another girl to not finishing a meal. Roxy, who suffered from urinary tract infections and menstrual complications, told me she was frequently put on redshirt, sometimes dripping blood as she stood. She was also punished with cold showers, she said, and endless sets of calisthenics after meals.

A week or so after the disastrous conference call, Jeannie Marie traveled to La Russell with a friend who’d heard about places like New Beginnings—sketchy teen homes drawn by Missouri’s laissez-faire policy toward faith-based residential facilities. Authorities in the state are barred from inspecting the homes or even keeping track of them. (New Beginnings has operated under multiple names in Florida, Mississippi, and Texas.)

The school’s effects on Roxy were striking, Jeannie Marie told me. When they stopped at a restaurant on the way home, she robotically asked for permission to speak or to use the bathroom. After months of punitive mealtimes, including five-minute “force feeding” sessions for girls on redshirt, she wolfed her food. Back in Maryland, she showed signs of an eating disorder, self-destructive behavior, and severe depression.

Desperate for a way out, she’d attempted suicide—many of the girls did, she added nonchalantly, if only for the chance to get taken to a hospital and beg for outside help. “They take away any feeling that you are capable of doing anything outside the home,” she said. “You have this sense of total isolation: There’s no way out of it, you’re there for the rest of your life.”

Read the rest at Mother Jones

, , , , ,

  • Disgusted

    On today’s episode of Sick Sad World…

  • Disgusted

    On today’s episode of Sick Sad World…

    • justagirl

      …justagirl gets a cramp in her mouse hand and the internet just went out …again.

  • Golko

    Anonymous! here´s your new target!!

  • Golko

    Anonymous! here´s your new target!!

  • Anonymous

    Hell, these guys are just the bottom feeders of the 1000 pts of light Christianist child sacrificial alter – move up the food chain and you get to play coach.

  • Calypso_1

    Hell, these guys are just the bottom feeders at the 1000 pts of light Christianist child sacrificial alter – move up the food chain and you get to play coach.

  • Imagine

    This is why I teach children religions and Jesus are evil. I explain how they are used to control you and trick you into giving up responsibility’s to an imaginary being. I also teach them how God is used instead of science to explain “unknown” things to ignorant people. In the end I teach them some trigger words to look for in a person. Like the use of Jesus over and over again in a sentence for example; most likely that person is a danger to themselves or you, maybe both, but they could also be insane.

    Don’t get me wrong though, spirituality is something everyone should learn, feel and understand. Just don’t use some imaginary “super being” to get yourself there.       

  • Imagine

    This is why I teach children religions and Jesus are evil. I explain how they are used to control you and trick you into giving up responsibility’s to an imaginary being. I also teach them how God is used instead of science to explain “unknown” things to ignorant people. In the end I teach them some trigger words to look for in a person. Like the use of Jesus over and over again in a sentence for example; most likely that person is a danger to themselves or you, maybe both, but they could also be insane.

    Don’t get me wrong though, spirituality is something everyone should learn, feel and understand. Just don’t use some imaginary “super being” to get yourself there.       

  • Rage it

    Im not a violent person, nor an angry person. But reading this story actually brought up emotions inside me that i havent experienced in a very long time. I wouldnt trust myself in a room with these christian extremist fucks. Shit might just hit the fan

  • Rage it

    Im not a violent person, nor an angry person. But reading this story actually brought up emotions inside me that i havent experienced in a very long time. I wouldnt trust myself in a room with these christian extremist fucks. Shit might just hit the fan

  • Rage it

    Im not a violent person, nor an angry person. But reading this story actually brought up emotions inside me that i havent experienced in a very long time. I wouldnt trust myself in a room with these christian extremist fucks. Shit might just hit the fan

  • Rage it

    Im not a violent person, nor an angry person. But reading this story actually brought up emotions inside me that i havent experienced in a very long time. I wouldnt trust myself in a room with these christian extremist fucks. Shit might just hit the fan

  • Rage it

    Im not a violent person, nor an angry person. But reading this story actually brought up emotions inside me that i havent experienced in a very long time. I wouldnt trust myself in a room with these christian extremist fucks. Shit might just hit the fan

    • Andrew

      I’d pay to see that.

  • EyeoftheAxis

    I survived this BS… my sister didn’t, & two friends didn’t. One
    friend is now IFB himself, complete with M-16, and FB page dripping with
    religion and how he hates Obummer. This bunch has been around since the 60’s.
    They are organized, they have lawyers, guns, money, judges, politicians and
    police. They trade favors, trained in military and brainwashing methods,
    and they still make me paranoid. They are all gung-ho for the rapture or end of
    the world, and believe we are the ones to see it. – They did teach me how to
    take a beating and bounce back fighting ( bad move fuckers ). Here is the
    kicker… the part I REALLY love… back in 1964 when the cornerstones of this
    IFB crap was being set, my grandfather burned the original First Baptist Church
    to the ground. http://hhs59.com/baptist.htm –(
    RIP Gramps, I’m so very proud to know your efforts ) Unfortunately the
    church rebuilt ( my mother and father helped ) and Jack Hyles from Texas
    ( google him ) went on to be the leading founders of the IFB . And from that, we
    get home schools and the likes of G.W. http://www.texasmonthly.com/preview/2001-12-01/feature2 insuring
    that the IFB keeps brainwashing kids that grow up to brainwash kids. — Did I
    mention they have a problem with pedophiles? I could go on with how much I hate
    this bunch, but I tend to block it out to preserve my sanity.

  • EyeoftheAxis

    I survived this BS… my sister didn’t, & two friends didn’t. One
    friend is now IFB himself, complete with M-16, and FB page dripping with
    religion and how he hates Obummer. This bunch has been around since the 60’s.
    They are organized, they have lawyers, guns, money, judges, politicians and
    police. They trade favors, trained in military and brainwashing methods,
    and they still make me paranoid. They are all gung-ho for the rapture or end of
    the world, and believe we are the ones to see it. – They did teach me how to
    take a beating and bounce back fighting ( bad move fuckers ). Here is the
    kicker… the part I REALLY love… back in 1964 when the cornerstones of this
    IFB crap was being set, my grandfather burned the original First Baptist Church
    to the ground. http://hhs59.com/baptist.htm –(
    RIP Gramps, I’m so very proud to know your efforts ) Unfortunately the
    church rebuilt ( my mother and father helped ) and Jack Hyles from Texas
    ( google him ) went on to be the leading founders of the IFB . And from that, we
    get home schools and the likes of G.W. http://www.texasmonthly.com/preview/2001-12-01/feature2 insuring
    that the IFB keeps brainwashing kids that grow up to brainwash kids. — Did I
    mention they have a problem with pedophiles? I could go on with how much I hate
    this bunch, but I tend to block it out to preserve my sanity.

  • justagirl

    …justagirl gets a cramp in her mouse hand and the internet just went out …again.

  • DeepCough

    Involuntary religious indoctrination is explicitly illegal under federal law, because separation of church and state is THAT important. But, alas, the War on Terror is only fixated on the “Islamofascists” and not the Christofascists, too.

    • quartz99

      Sadly it’s actually not illegal. It’s only illegal for the state to do it. If you do it to your own kids or a private entity does, it’s legally a-ok.

      I don’t think it should be. But it is.

  • DeepCough

    Involuntary religious indoctrination is explicitly illegal under federal law, because separation of church and state is THAT important. But, alas, the War on Terror is only fixated on the “Islamofascists” and not the Christofascists, too.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6AIS2IBPPEUUIYTHK3LU4W357Y Don Blackshock

    Jesus says, “kick your own ass…”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6AIS2IBPPEUUIYTHK3LU4W357Y Don Blackshock

    Jesus says, “kick your own ass…”

  • lifobryan

    I was raised in fundo-land, and even went to a fundo-christan college. I’m well aware of who Jack Hyles is. Screeching hate-monger who liked to thump his Bible, but probably never read it. I suspect he also paddled bare juvenile arses with its faux-leather binding. My cousin was sent to one of these group homes for her egregious sin of “kissing a boy” when she was 19 years old (at another fundo-college). Her joy, will, humor, & vibrance was destroyed at that place. Now she is a meek, mousy, fundo-lady, subservient to & constantly pregnant by her godly neanderthal husband. She spends her days either in Bible “study” or squirting out future fundo-abuse victims. My only hope is that if there is a heaven, it’s just as creepy as the the Book of Revelation describes it: (A sterile celestial mausoleum with concentric circles of genuflecting elders gathered around a dead & bleeding sheep, singing hymns for all eternity, accompanied by monstrous insectoid seraphim). Hyles & his wackos deserve to spend eternity in a place like that. 

    • EyeoftheAxis

      According to his own teachings from the pulpit, Jack Hyles is now burning in
      hell for having a long running affair with his secretary, the wife of his head
      deacon.

      • EyeoftheAxis

        His son David is also burning in
        hell ( according to Hyles teachings ) for molesting teenage girls before getting
        caught and eventually committing suicide

        • Calypso_1

          I am always bemused at the utter lack of insight that the church going masses have regarding the core groups of con men and molestors which run throughout their assorted denominations.  Anybody that wants a ‘love offering’ really should set off warning bells.

          • Jin The Ninja

            and this is the very reason, although quite ‘religious,’ i am very wary of hierarchichal religion whether in my own faith or in any organised faith.

        • lifobryan

          I heard of “Brother Dave’s” serial adultery and the suspicious death of his son. (Apparently Bro Dave was a suspect and pleaded the 5th during the trial). I didn’t know about the suicide …. anything online about that?
          Yikes, treading these old putrid waters is full of icky memories for me, but I’m still morbidly curious about those fuckers …..

  • Lifobryan

    I was raised in fundo-land, and even went to a fundo-christan college. I’m well aware of who Jack Hyles is. Screeching hate-monger who liked to thump his Bible, but probably never read it. I suspect he also paddled bare juvenile arses with its faux-leather binding. My cousin was sent to one of these group homes for her egregious sin of “kissing a boy” when she was 19 years old (at another fundo-college). Her joy, will, humor, & vibrance was destroyed at that place. Now she is a meek, mousy, fundo-lady, subservient to & constantly pregnant by her godly neanderthal husband. She spends her days either in Bible “study” or squirting out future fundo-abuse victims. My only hope is that if there is a heaven, it’s just as creepy as the the Book of Revelation describes it: (A sterile celestial mausoleum with concentric circles of genuflecting elders gathered around a dead & bleeding sheep, singing hymns for all eternity, accompanied by monstrous insectoid seraphim). Hyles & his wackos deserve to spend eternity in a place like that. 

  • Lifobryan

    I was raised in fundo-land, and even went to a fundo-christan college. I’m well aware of who Jack Hyles is. Screeching hate-monger who liked to thump his Bible, but probably never read it. I suspect he also paddled bare juvenile arses with its faux-leather binding. My cousin was sent to one of these group homes for her egregious sin of “kissing a boy” when she was 19 years old (at another fundo-college). Her joy, will, humor, & vibrance was destroyed at that place. Now she is a meek, mousy, fundo-lady, subservient to & constantly pregnant by her godly neanderthal husband. She spends her days either in Bible “study” or squirting out future fundo-abuse victims. My only hope is that if there is a heaven, it’s just as creepy as the the Book of Revelation describes it: (A sterile celestial mausoleum with concentric circles of genuflecting elders gathered around a dead & bleeding sheep, singing hymns for all eternity, accompanied by monstrous insectoid seraphim). Hyles & his wackos deserve to spend eternity in a place like that. 

  • Lifobryan

    I was raised in fundo-land, and even went to a fundo-christan college. I’m well aware of who Jack Hyles is. Screeching hate-monger who liked to thump his Bible, but probably never read it. I suspect he also paddled bare juvenile arses with its faux-leather binding. My cousin was sent to one of these group homes for her egregious sin of “kissing a boy” when she was 19 years old (at another fundo-college). Her joy, will, humor, & vibrance was destroyed at that place. Now she is a meek, mousy, fundo-lady, subservient to & constantly pregnant by her godly neanderthal husband. She spends her days either in Bible “study” or squirting out future fundo-abuse victims. My only hope is that if there is a heaven, it’s just as creepy as the the Book of Revelation describes it: (A sterile celestial mausoleum with concentric circles of genuflecting elders gathered around a dead & bleeding sheep, singing hymns for all eternity, accompanied by monstrous insectoid seraphim). Hyles & his wackos deserve to spend eternity in a place like that. 

  • mysophobe

    Huh. Who would have thought that religion would be used to systematically torment and destroy children. Never saw it coming. A simple state inspection of the facility could have prevented this, but they were Christians and everyone knows Christians are good. Sickening on all fronts.

  • Anonymous

    Huh. Who would have thought that religion would be used to systematically torment and destroy children. Never saw it coming. A simple state inspection of the facility could have prevented this, but they were Christians and everyone knows Christians are good. Sickening on all fronts.

  • Anonymous

    Sadly it’s actually not illegal. It’s only illegal for the state to do it. If you do it to your own kids or a private entity does, it’s legally a-ok.

    I don’t think it should be. But it is.

  • the snake has spoken

    You terrible, terrible people don’t you know that the ‘God’ that loves you (but has a chosen people) will throw you into an everlasting pit of fire and torment for questioning the teaching of his (personally called to teach) ministers.

  • the snake has spoken

    You terrible, terrible people don’t you know that the ‘God’ that loves you (but has a chosen people) will throw you into an everlasting pit of fire and torment for questioning the teaching of his (personally called to teach) ministers.

  • Investinourftre

    I’ve been to one of these camps before.  This is where I got my “dark passenger” or demons whichever you wish to call em.  They taught me about drugs and sex and many other evil things, the pressure inside of me is still so great trying to come out, I cut deep into it just to let the pressure out at times.  I know God is real, and I know this was a test.  These people don’t know God but as we cross paths in my pseudo freedom, they will meet him one by one.  Mere words can take away your ability to walk, as this story has done so to me just now.  You should never remind those who are us of this, you awaken something that rarely sleeps.

    • EyeoftheAxis

      I’ve heard that Gandhi said something like, “I could have been a Christian,
      … had it not been for the Christians”. — And so I like to say, I could have
      easily been an atheist had it not been for repeated large doses of L.S.D.
      produced in a Kansas missile silo. It would be hard for me to say “God is Real”,
      but I will say try ecstasy and read Carl Sagan for religious P.T.S.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been to one of these camps before.  This is where I got my “dark passenger” or demons whichever you wish to call em.  They taught me about drugs and sex and many other evil things, the pressure inside of me is still so great trying to come out, I cut deep into it just to let the pressure out at times.  I know God is real, and I know this was a test.  These people don’t know God but as we cross paths in my pseudo freedom, they will meet him one by one.  Mere words can take away your ability to walk, as this story has done so to me just now.  You should never remind those who are us of this, you awaken something that rarely sleeps.

  • Andrew

    I’d pay to see that.

  • Andrew

    I’d pay to see that.

  • EyeoftheAxis

    According to his own teachings from the pulpit, Jack Hyles is now burning in
    hell for having a long running affair with his secretary, the wife of his head
    deacon.

  • EyeoftheAxis

    His son David is also burning in
    hell ( according to Hyles teachings ) for molesting teenage girls before getting
    caught and eventually committing suicide

  • Anonymous

    I am always bemused at the utter lack of insight that the church going masses have regarding the core groups of con men and molestors which run throughout their assorted denominations.  Anybody that wants a ‘love offering’ really should set of warning bells. 

  • EyeoftheAxis

    I’ve heard that Gandhi said something like, “I could have been a Christian,
    … had it not been for the Christians”. — And so I like to say, I could have
    easily been an atheist had it not been for repeated large doses of L.S.D.
    produced in a Kansas missile silo. It would be hard for me to say “God is Real”,
    but I will say try ecstasy and read Carl Sagan for religious P.T.S.

  • Jin (仁)

    and this is the very reason, although quite ‘religious,’ i am very wary of hierarchichal religion whether in my own faith or in any organised faith.

  • Jin (仁)

    and this is the very reason, although quite ‘religious,’ i am very wary of hierarchichal religion whether in my own faith or in any organised faith.

  • Lifobryan

    I heard of “Brother Dave’s” serial adultery and the suspicious death of his son. (Apparently Bro Dave was a suspect and pleaded the 5th during the trial). I didn’t know about the suicide …. anything online about that?
    Yikes, treading these old putrid waters is full of icky memories for me, but I’m still morbidly curious about those fuckers …..

  • okokay

    This is horrifying. If the “War on Drugs” became the “War on Christian Radicals”, I might start having faith in this country.