A damning memoir of life under the thumb of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church, from former member Zichterman.
Although it appears that the author’s father is a seriously disturbed individual in his own right, the teachings of the IFB leave little to the imagination regarding the place of women in their worldview, where submission is their due—and they pay for even the smallest infraction with bloody lashings. Not that the boys went unbeaten, and Zichterman would sing quietly to her doll as her brothers got the rod. Under the guise of godly discipline, the IFB nurtured paranoia, “a clandestine subculture that breeds fear and suspicion,” in which the members “have no idea that charitable organizations and government authorities exist that could offer them counseling and protection.” So they remain silent, and the girls remain silent before the physical and sexual abuse. It is unnerving—even infuriating—to read of Zichterman’s ordeal—all the fear, depression, guilt and pain, in a tone that is not so much unvarnished as vulnerable, the thrum of something evil playing right under the surface as she would curl up and weep at another episode of her father’s wrath. When she was 18, her father was still whipping her, ordering her to remove her clothes before administration, in a grotesque sexual sadism. But Zichterman’s story is more than a grisly tale of abuse. It is a glimpse into what is potentially happening in thousands of families caught in the IFB orbit. She eventually broke from the church, an act of heroism that it is difficult to imagine given such obvious brainwashing.
An incendiary piece of work that will hopefully encourage other victims to escape the IFB’s web.