This website is intended to be a resource for recovery and healing from religious or cult abuse. Rest assured, I will not impose my own religious/spiritual views. My intent is not to tell you what you should or should not believe, nor is my intent to spell out what I believe. My desire is simply that this website will be a source of healing from whatever religious or spiritual abuse you may have experienced.
My path was different from many who suffer at the hands of religious leaders who act as “God’s anointed men.” Why? Because my father was Jack Hyles, the kingpin amongst these men, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, with a proclaimed membership of over 50,000, most of whom were devoted followers of my dad.
Photography by Jeremy Lape
I grew up in a house where everything we did was a secret. As children we were sworn to never tell the truth about my father and his “activities.” Later my brother’s nefarious actions went into the same secret closet for none to acknowledge. This tradition was passed on to my brother-in-law, Jack Schaap, who became Pastor of my father's church after his death in 2001. Jack followed in my dad's footsteps by perpetuating the same type of lifestyle and cultish ministry, which led to his demise and arrest in 2012. On March 20, 2013, Jack Schaap was sentenced to and is now serving a twelve-year federal prison sentence for the sexual molestation and transfer across state lines of a sixteen-year-old girl in the church. The tragedies and the lives destroyed at the hands of IFB leaders are endless.
I escaped the IFB way of life at age twenty-eight, knowing no other life or point of view other than what was taught by Independent Fundamental Baptists. It took several years to completely make the break and was one of the hardest things I've ever done. My entire life had been 24/7 inside my father’s church, its oppression, its hypocrisies and lies. I knew nothing else.
It took years to recover; to build a life free from the emotional juggernaut the IFB teachings had on my mind and spirit that imprisoned me emotionally and mentally. Through a truly caring pastor in Plano, Texas, who introduced me to a loving professional therapist, and with the support of real friends, I found freedom.
And so can the others who realize they’ve been victims of my father, his legions of pastors around America, their brand of extreme fundamentalism and or other corrupted versions of religion.
This is how I healed from a god who wasn’t.
And you can too.
Linda Hyles Murphrey