October 21, 2011

“Amish” Thugs; The Bergholz Gang

Category: News — Ira @ 6:42 pm

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“If every family would just do as they pleased,
what kind of church would we have?”

-Bishop Sam Mullet
________________

I was about as floored as anyone, I suppose. The media sure had a field day with the juicy reports. Amish people invading the homes of other Amish people and cutting off the beards of the men. And, at least in one case, forcibly cutting the hair of the women in the house. The news flashed in headlines all across this continent. And across the world. Befuddlement ruled, mostly. Such shocking stuff had never been heard before. Surely it was all just a farce. It wasn’t, sadly.

I instantly and instinctively realized the story would be good for my book sales. And almost immediately, my Amazon numbers, which had been languishing between 10,000 and 20,000 in the rankings, rocketed up. For a couple of weeks now, Growing Up Amish has pretty much been hanging right in there between 3,000 and 10,000 in the rankings (watch it plunge back to where it was before, now that I went and said that). I don’t know exactly what that means in real hard numbers. A dozen books a day, maybe. But when the subject of the Amish hits the headlines, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, not when it comes to sales of my book.

Along with a host of Amish and ex-Amish people, I read in disbelief as the details trickled out. And mostly, I won’t rehash those details in any depth. Just give my take on the entire sordid episode.

I did make some calls to few trusted contacts in Holmes County, though. Just to get a first-hand feel of all the buzz. And to try to sort the actual facts from all the media hype. My contacts were most helpful. One of them was very closely involved in the aftermath of these events.

It’s a terrible thing, to really grasp. People entering your home, and cutting off your beard. I mean, that kind of religious zeal went out the window, at least in the West, centuries ago. What is this, the second defenestration of Prague? Back then, they committed all kinds of atrocities during frenzied religious disputes. In a way, I couldn’t help but laugh at the mental picture in my head, though, of these beard-cutting incidents. How whacked can you be, to think you’ll get away with something like that in today’s world? Sheer madness, in every sense of the phrase.

It all stems from one man, and that one man’s decisions. Bishop Sam Mullet. From the pictures I’ve seen, a well-fed man. Not plump, particularly. But smooth. And well spoken. Looks Amish as they come. Large nose. Weathered but not unhandsome features. A patriarch with a full flowing beard that widens as it lengthens, well combed. Adds gravitas and all, such a beard. Could even be a source of pride, I’m thinking. Wonder how Bishop Sam would feel if someone forcibly cut that majestic beard from his face.

And there he stands, addressing the media. Confident. Arrogant. Smug. Yes, this was a church matter. No, the law shouldn’t be involved. And no, his group is most definitely NOT a cult. How could anyone suggest such a scandalous thing? And of course he didn’t order the attacks, didn’t order his followers to go cut beards and hair from Amish men and women in the sanctity of their homes. Of course not. But yet, his denials echo hollow. (Since that one hour-long interview, he’s been awful quiet. I bet his lawyer told him to shut up.) Why then, did his followers do such a preposterous thing? Did they just dream it up on their own? And follow through, without his blessing? Maybe. But I think not.

And here, it might be good to speak of a bit of background history. Of who Bishop Sam was way back when, and who he is today. My conclusions are my own, and should not be construed as anything other than my opinions.

The timeline of events seems a bit murky, so I didn’t spend a lot of time researching the dates and such. Because they don’t really matter that much, not to the essence of the story. From my Holmes contacts and from a New York Times article, I pieced earlier events together the best I could. So some of my background “facts” may be a bit off, as to exactly when they happened.

Bishop Sam emerged from the strict plain Amish settlement in Geauga County, up near Cleveland. The Geauga Amish have always had an unsavory reputation. Just a notch above the Swartzentrubers. “Low” Amish. Uncouth. Rough. Hard core, far more so than the mad bishop who tormented me all those years ago. Their laughter is hard and mirthless. Many drink. Or smoke. Or both. And their youth practice bed courtship. All the bad stuff my father raged against in his writings, all his life. That’s Geauga.

Some decades ago Bishop Sam moved to a similar settlement in Fredericktown, Ohio. Somewhere along the line, he was ordained, first as a preacher, then as bishop. I have no idea when. He relished his new position, and reveled in his newfound power. And ruled over his frightened huddled flock with a crushing iron fist. Old Testament style.

At some point, then, in Fredericktown, for some reason or other, Bishop Sam got restless. In time, he made plans to move away to another place and take his flock with him. And he did. Moved to Bergholz, Ohio, with around fifteen other families. And so they settled in the Bergholz area, Bishop Sam and his little group of pilgrims. Set up their own little world, and their own little community. Revolving around the dictates of one man. The man.

The Bergholz community may not have been isolated at its inception, but it soon was. Before long, the rumors started trickling out. Murmured stories of what went on. Brutal things. Despicable, horrifying things. I won’t recount them, because they may have been just rumors. Or maybe not. Inside the Amish lines of communication, details get embellished sometimes. A lot, actually. It’s called gossip. But the core of that gossip is usually based in some seed of truth. It is true that Bishop Sam successfully defended himself from charges of child abuse, and then turned and sued the local sheriff for $2 million dollars. He didn’t get that, but he did win some sort of judgment for a far lesser amount.

Then, about five years ago, there was trouble in Thug-land, uh, Bergholz. I have no clue what that trouble was, but Bishop Sam suddenly and stridently excommunicated some members of his church. Perhaps because they dared to stand up to him. Or maybe they just wanted to leave, to move out. Whatever. But he just kicked them out. Perhaps he really believed that was the right thing to do. Most likely, though, he simply could not brook any form of dissent. Or departure from his cultish enclave.

The excommunicated members were deeply grieved. Felt they had been wronged. So they approached some other bishops in their Amish fellowship. Told their stories. They must have seemed credible, because the bishops were concerned enough to launch an investigation. And they found that the excommunications had indeed been unjust. They stepped in to correct Bishop Sam’s harsh and hasty edicts.

And all was functioning as it should have, in the Amish way of things. There are structural safeguards. Sometimes they work; many times they don’t. This time, it seemed they had.

Bishop Sam, however, reacted in a manner most unbecoming. Some say his response was an explosion of raw rage and fury. Instead of accepting the rebuke of his peers, he refused to acknowledge their authority. Wounded, as a wolf among sheep, he simmered and stewed and chafed. He simply could not and would not let it rest. Or let it go. And his little frightened flock huddled low and endured the turbulent spasms of his deranged and egotistical rage.

His will was law in his little commune, by all the accounts I’ve heard. Still is, for that matter. The thing festered in him, how he’d been so mistreated by the other bishops. How his authority had been challenged. How his decision had been overturned. And somehow, through the years, someone in his group came up with the idea of extracting revenge. Cut the beards and hair of those who had wronged him. Not saying the plan was Bishop Sam’s idea. He denies it. I can’t prove it, one way or another. But I’d bet the farm that it was. Not that I own a farm. But if I did, I would bet it.

And so the nefarious plot played out like it did. In several different areas, within a span of a couple of weeks. Gangs of men forcibly entered the homes of several, mostly elderly, Amish bishops, the ones who had been involved in overturning Bishop Sam’s excommunications. Held them down and cut off their beards. In at least one instance, the gang included women. They assaulted the household women and at least one young girl and snipped their long hair. At least two of Bishop Sam’s sons, and one son-in-law, were arrested and charged. As were a few others. From what I’ve read in the news reports, all of them are free on bail.

Obviously Bishop Sam was a charismatic or otherwise mesmerizing man, or he never could have moved into the role of social-outcast leader and kept so many loyal followers. And obviously, his sons could never break free of him. They see with hollow, vacant eyes, believing in nothing but their father. They are enslaved to him. A man of his character would never release control of his sons under any circumstances. And they never developed the backbone to stand up to him.

That’s their loss. Big time. They could have been so much more. Could have been the men they were created to be. But they threw it all away. Sacrificed themselves to their father’s will. For nothing.

As far as controlling his sons was concerned, Bishop Sam wasn’t that different from a lot of Amish fathers, really. Not in the aspect of absolute control. He just took it further, pushed it way outside the lines. So far outside the lines that he now stands as a caricature of the Amish culture that birthed him. A bitter, violent controlling man. And this time, I think, he probably pushed it too far. It’s going to come back and bite him. It just is.

This time, he miscalculated badly. He figured his goons could slip in and assault his perceived enemies without any repercussions. That the news would not spread beyond the local Amish communities. The Amish don’t believe in calling the cops, or pressing charges. So he could get away with it unscathed, he figured. There was no way he or any of his thugs would face charges. That’s what he thought. He was wrong.

The law wants him, bad. As a libertarian, I am strongly inclined to leave people alone, mostly, to reap the consequences of their choices. As I strongly prefer to be left alone, mostly. And, perhaps stemming from my Amish roots, I’m usually extremely reticent to get the cops involved anywhere for any reason. But this guy, well, it would be good if they nailed him. Put him away for a while. Providing they can produce some hard evidence, of course. Hearsay and gossip alone are not enough. The evil in his heart is not enough. They have to be able to prove that his influence and his commands were the driving force in these attacks. An extraordinarily high hurdle. Absent that, the man cannot be judged guilty in a court of law.

He knows who he is. We don’t, not really. We can only surmise from what we see and hear. Sometimes, even in the most “clear cut” cases, our perceptions can be deceptive.

It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. Bottom line, though, is this. Bishop Sam and his little gang of thugs are not Amish. No more so than I am. Sure, they dress Amish. Talk Amish. Look Amish. But they have violated one of the foundational tenants of the Amish faith. Nonresistance. They have embraced violence, and there is not a single group anywhere in the “real” Amish world that would fellowship with these guys. Or have much of anything to do with them. Not one. They stand alone. As the renegades they are.

And that’s pretty much all I got to say about one of the most bizarre incidents ever to come down in all of Amish history.

*************************************************
All righty, then. A couple of book signings to announce. Coming up in November. On Saturday, Nov. 19, I will be at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore at the Red Rose Commons in Lancaster, PA. From 3 PM until whenever people stop coming. Hope to see some of you locals there. And maybe even some non-locals. Remember, a lonely author sitting there twiddling with his pen and smiling hopefully is not a pretty sight. Don’t let it happen to me.

And then, the following week, the week of Thanksgiving, I’m going “home” to Bloomfield, Iowa. First time since the book was published. My nephew, John Wagler, has invited all his cousins (my nieces and nephews, a good many of whom will show up) and several uncles, to his home for the holiday. I doubt I will hang much in the Amish community, except for stopping by to see my brother Titus. I’ll definitely do that. Otherwise, I’ll probably lay low.

Anyway, I will have a book signing in Bloomfield on Friday, Nov. 25, from Noon until 3 PM. (NOTE: THIS DATE HAS BEEN CHANGED FROM TUESDAY, NOV. 22nd TO FRIDAY, NOV. 25th.) I’ve rented the Get-Togather Room, a converted store front on the north side of the town square. All are welcome to bring their copies, and I will have a couple of cases of books with me for those who wish to purchase one.

I’m nervous and excited to be returning to Bloomfield. Most of the old haunts are gone now. Chuck’s Café in West Grove was demolished years ago. The community is no longer what it was. But the memories remain, stark and vivid. And many of my old English friends are still around. I can’t wait to hang out and reminisce.

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(24 Comments) »

  1. Well said, Ira. Whatever facts you may have wrong, one fact is undeniable: This guy has put fear into the Amish community here in Holmes County and embarrassed every Amish church in America. I have often knocked on the door of an Amish home and seen the timid, fearful person come to the door, but as soon as I spoke Dutch all fear was gone and the door swung open wide. Now, these goons have taken even that bit of trust from most folks. I hope they like country music, because I may be singing for them.

    –John Schmid

    Ira’s response: John was too modest to link to his site. I did it for him. He does great work in prison ministry.

    Comment by John Schmid — October 21, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

  2. Well written. I’ve never been able to understand how anyone can influence so many to basically worship him. I was 9 when my parents moved out of Geauga County but still have lots of relatives there. I never realized they have a unsavory reputation among… whom? That they are just above the Swartzentrubers, low , uncouth ,rough. I’m not saying you’re wrong but def not agreeing with you. I never saw them as such, guess I’m going to have to think on that for a bit.

    –Barbara Miller

    Ira’s response: Not saying you are wrong either, Barbara. That’s the perception we had in the Amish world I grew up in, especially in Aylmer. So maybe I’m a bit off about Geauga, as to the true reality. Aylmer always thought of itself as more holy anyway, than all other communities. At least, back then they did. Not saying it’s that way now up there.

    Comment by Barbara Miller — October 21, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

  3. Very interesting. What they did was wrong. But isn’t it somewhat the same as what some are doing and hiding behind church “rote”. No actual violence but using power and arrogance to throw very sincere people out of the church. Not just in the Amish church but also in others.

    Comment by Daniel Stoltzfus — October 21, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

  4. I normally give every plain congregation a second thought, and try to keep an open mind. The only word that comes to my mind is “cult”. And I am always hesitant to use the word “pride” because in Anabaptist circles it’s so overused. But “pride” is the only word to describe the catalyst for this behavior, is it not?

    Keep your ear to the ground Ira. I appreciate your perspective.

    Comment by Kelly Hunt — October 21, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

  5. This is a well written and informative blog. There are bullies in almost all organized groups and even in some churches. They are corrupted by a position of power which leads to a ‘do as I say’ attitude. Unfortunately it is the innocent who always get hurt.

    Comment by Carol Ellmore — October 21, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

  6. I’ve wondered what your take was on this whole bizarre thing! I had felt the same thing about “Bishop” Sam-not that I think he deserves the name of bishop from what I’ve heard! I saw a short interview that made me think this guy seriously was behind it all and your thoughts confirm my guesses-well, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Can’t imagine my Amish grandpa would have ever acted in this “thugged” manner…sad, really…thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Comment by Joyce from So. Hutchinson — October 21, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

  7. He sued the sheriff! Is that considered “kosher” Amish behavior? He’d have been dethroned for that in a New York minute for violation of non-resistance code in the “book” with which I’m familiar.

    Comment by Rhonda — October 22, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

  8. Great explanation of that whole story, Ira. I only got bits and pieces before. Never heard of that Bergholz bunch before. You’re right about them being Amish in dress only, but I’m not even sure you could call them Christians. Just look at who Jesus railed on the most while here on earth. The Pharisees and rule lovers. If that bunch and to a certain extent most of the Amish aren’t just like that I don’t know nothin’.

    Comment by Vern Herschberger — October 22, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

  9. I wonder if maybe you are giving the Amish a bit too much of a pass. My thought after reading this post was, “Yeah, REAL Amish control and lord it over their people with mental or emotional torture, not physical.”

    I also think the Sam Mullet thing is a natural product of that belief system. Mix unquestioning submission to an earthly authority (which is a basic tenet of the Amish faith) with a good dose of human, fallen nature… something like this was bound to happen. Really bad things go on in Amish communities all the time. This one came to light because it is so weird.

    Another quibble I have when you say they are not really Amish is that some folks take that statement at face value and get the idea that these Bergholtz people are outsiders pretending to be Amish or are play acting in order to attack the Amish. I’ve read such comments by people who don’t know much about Amish in discussions on Facebook. The Bergholtz people are real Amish (cradle Amish, you might say), but definitely rogue ones. A distinction that ought be made, I propose.

    When this first all came to light, I had to think of you and your saying to let the Kentucky Schwartzentrubers alone — the ones who went to jail rather than put a fanny flag on their buggies. I wondered if you were going to say let these (Sam Mullet group) lawbreakers alone too ;~) Ha ha

    Comment by a friend — October 23, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

  10. The Raber almanac has Sam E. Mullet, born 1945, ordained 1997, bishop 2001. The Bergholz district was settled 1995, and he was the first ordained (that still lives there, anyway). So when he picked up his toys and moved out of Fredericktown, he was not a minister, let alone a bishop.

    It’s embarrassing, but people will forget. The Quakers survived the shame of the Herbert Hoover AND Richard Nixon administrations….

    Comment by Kate H. — October 23, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

  11. To the issue of involving the law with religious matters: As a libertarian I also believe that the state must stay out of ALL religious business unless there is a crime against another human being, which clearly was the case here. There is a huge difference between a bishop who abuses his position of power by using excommunication or other church methods and someone forcing their way into another person’s house and assaulting their person.

    Bishops who brainwash their followers into blindly submitting to their authority are not violating anyone else’s rights and the law has no business being involved in disputes that arise within the church as a result of those people’s naivete. If members do not like it they are free to leave the congregation any time they choose.

    Although the case is a bit harder to make, I think the same goes for people who peacefully refuse to comply with the edicts of the state which says that their buggy – which is moving 50 MPH slower than other traffic – is unsafe until it has the state prescribed bright gaudy triangle on the back of it and then and only then is it safe to travel among fast moving cars. These people had religious convictions against bright objects before the SMV was even thought of and the state must make every accommodation possible to allow people to practice their religious beliefs as long as it does not infringe on other people’s rights.

    These thugs in Ohio are a completely different situation. In this case they initiated violence against other human beings and clearly violated their natural God-given rights. This is precisely when the law should be used and when the state has a role to play. The purpose of the state is to protect the rights of its people and to become involved when someone commits a crime against another person. To advocate the state’s involvement in this is completely consistent with libertarianism and is very different from asking the state to stay out of the business of people who are not hurting anyone by refusing to have a certain colored triangle on the back of their buggy – in my humble opinion.

    Comment by Ed Yoder — October 24, 2011 @ 9:22 am

  12. Very well written, Ira. A lot of the Amish here in Holmes want justice served. I heard the daughter-in-law of the 1 bishop attacked said it’s not for revenge that charges were pressed but that he (Sam Mullet) will get the help he needs. God tells “vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord”, so no matter what happens in court, he will be judged by the Lord of all.

    Comment by Miriam — October 24, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  13. Not sure why, but it seems you are singing a different tune here than you were in your blog on the Mormons. (April 18, 2008 Amerika, America) I’m referring to the fact that you want him nailed. Is he any worse than Warren Jeffs?

    –Jason Yutzy

    Ira’s response: On the Mormon issue, we heard only the government’s version of events. I don’t trust that version, because I don’t trust the state. In this case, the facts are spoken by those who were assaulted. Credible people. Big difference, nephew Jason.

    Comment by jason yutzy — October 25, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

  14. A very thought-provoking post, Ira.

    One of the concepts in the Amish community that I have never understood is…how do I say this without sounding offensive?…blindly following. I do understand that growing up in a culture where “standing out” is frowned upon, but to simply comply without questioning the validity of an edict is something I cannot understand.

    My Amish friend, Eunice, has actually told me she cannot understand the why’s and how’s of some of the things she does daily, and even the clothing she wears, but she said that perhaps it is because by following the rules, one can follow God. I would never challenge her beliefs, but it sounds to me as though she herself sometimes deals with thoughts…

    Ecclesiastes tells us there is nothing new under the sun. Every thought, every wicked dealing, every rebellious action…it really stems from the same old, same old. It is a shame that non-Amish folks tend to romanticize the simple lifestyle of the Amish. That is why a corrupt media loves this sort of sordid story to dish out. I remember many years ago, 60 Minutes or 20/20 did a show on how the Amish were abusing their children. Hmmm…maybe it was about Sam Mullet!

    Comment by Kae Catalano — October 26, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

  15. there are a number of first hand accounts out there by people who were victims of these creeps. See ‘Escape’ by Carolyn Jessop, for example.

    Comment by jason yutzy — October 30, 2011 @ 8:23 am

  16. The sad thing about it is, it’s not just in the Amish community that things like this can happen. It’s in each and every denomination that there is. I was born and raised in an Assembly of God faith – a branch of Pentecostal. However, our beliefs are a bit different in certain things. Yet, it amazes me each time a new church is brought forth under “non-denominational”. The only thing that it really tells me is that someone doesn’t like the way the Bible is being taught or being preached. I find it upsetting to see people try and word the Bible to their own accord.

    As horrible as this is, all we can do is pray for them. It saddens me to see that someone would think themselves above God.

    Comment by Heather W. — November 1, 2011 @ 12:47 am

  17. Ira, I am glad that you added this:

    “Bottom line, though, is this. Bishop Sam and his little gang of thugs are not Amish. No more so than I am. Sure, they dress Amish. Talk Amish. Look Amish. But they have violated one of the foundational tenants of the Amish faith. Nonresistance. They have embraced violence, and there is not a single group anywhere in the “real” Amish world that would fellowship with these guys. Or have much of anything to do with them. Not one. They stand alone. As the renegades they are.”

    You are respectful yet to the people from which you came.

    Comment by Tammy — November 1, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

  18. Age old religious zealotry knows no boundaries and only varies in degrees of depravity. These “cult” leaders come in all flavors, shapes and intellect. Some are easily spotted, and others not so much. But they have a fierce desire to rule over people. They may be well meaning at first. Yet later, when they have a bit more power they’re passionately promising their flock “nirvana”, eternal life, etc, if you will just become a door mat disciple. And damnation if you don’t.

    The Bible, [Re.2.6,15] calls it nicolaitanism, literally [nico] conquer, [laity] people. “Conquering the people” through man made religion. Hideous and dreadful.

    True Biblical Christianity is a relationship with the LORD JESUS CHRIST.

    Comment by e. s. gingerich — November 4, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

  19. Thanks for your thoughts. You must be David Wagler’s son. My dad used to do some business with him years ago, selling nylon socks and maybe other things. Dad used to sell cashew nuts too.

    And memories? Let me know. I agree the Bergholz thing is atrocious. Perhaps, demon possession. Will be interesting to watch it play out.

    Comment by Ben Hershberger — November 27, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

  20. This is a great article and so important to describe what happened, very thorough and fun.

    Comment by CK — May 1, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  21. Now that we’ve learned about Willard “Mitt” Romney cutting a classmates hair after chasing him down with friends help and they holding the terrified boy down while Willard cut away–would you also call him a thug. ;)

    Comment by Sandra — May 31, 2012 @ 6:30 am

  22. I surfed onto your site via googling for the Bergholtz clan. I was a little surprised when I realized you’re also the author of a book I found fascinating; small cyber world!

    Anyway thanks so much for the explanation. The whole situation is just so odd!

    Comment by barbara — September 13, 2012 @ 2:53 am

  23. Ira,
    Very interesting blog. Since I’m reading this a little over a year after the fact I’ll be able to do some research to find out what happened.
    Your nephew, Jason Yutzy, made an intelligent observation in his comments. I read the story called “Escape” and it was heartbreaking and very strange. Many people from the Fundamentalist Mormon group have spoken out as to what goes on behind closed doors. And from what I’ve witnessed in my 46 years on this earth- there are people who are weak, who can’t take care of themselves, who lack the ability to protect themselves. If these people have children, God help those children. Just picture a woman whos husband beats her. How many do you think take the b—— back? My view of libertarianism ideas-sometimes they reek of injustice!

    Comment by Francine — November 30, 2012 @ 12:44 am

  24. I found myself back on this writing from one written by Saloma. She referenced you. Ira, may I say, sometimes you can really be obnoxious. Sigh. And stubborn as a jackass! All right, now that that’s off my chest…

    I wonder how ole’ Sam’s doing now? You know, fresh meat and all that. If he exits prison with new loyal followers you can bet your bonnet he’s as mental as they come. I can’t believe I actually felt sorry for him. You know why I felt sorry for him? Two reasons- I didn’t know the full story, his possible past of child abuse. Let me pause here. You made mention of his sons being wimps. Dude, you have no idea what life was like being Sam Mullet’s sons. Mentally ill people like him can turn strapping boys with a future into impotent failures. I rage at the thought of it just sitting here. How dare he! Pig! Big pig!

    Secondly, because he was Amish. And aren’t all Amish innocent, unawares of the evils in the world? What a boob I’ve been. Actually believing this. Fool! From what I’m seeing of the Amish from ex-Amish recollections and the media, those folks are as messed up as the rest of the population. Hmmm, who knew? Well, you probably did.

    There is one thing though that I find worse. This business of the innocents (children) having no where to turn when they are being abused. That things are dealt with from within. That’s the problem, they aren’t being dealt with. Truth is what sets a person free. And when the innocents are being muffled and not allowed to speak all sorts of hideous evils slither around. Child abuse in its many forms is pure evil. Satan’s number one tool for destruction.

    What an ugly world this is. And yet God tells us to keep our eyes on Him. To be joyful, even in suffering. To rejoice. Well…sometimes it’s blasted hard!

    Comment by Francine — March 4, 2014 @ 3:10 am

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