Thank you Linda for your boldness and for being honest and truthful about your "bondage." Just a few months after I was saved, I met your father and heard him preach in Wichita, KS in 1971. I instantly became addicted and went to BBC and later attended 4 Pastor's Schools, worshiping your dad and trying to "copy him" in the churches I pastored. Once the immorality and the lies surfaced, a Godly pastor friend taught me the Christ centered life, and led me to become liberated from Hylesism and legalism. I threw away all of your dad's books and turned away from Hammond. Jesus set me free and I know longer support or recommend any legalistic ministries. I thank God for your liberation and freedom found in TX. God bless you and thank you for telling the truth about this religious evil.
I went to fbc in Hammond years ago. I had suspicions for some time. I found out the truth when I joined miller road Baptist in garland. I kept quiet about what I suspected until I had full knowledge/truth. Not wanting to spread unproven gossip/hearsay.
hi everyone. I too stopped going to church years ago. I went to a baptist church one Sunday years ago, they said they don't allow visitors on Sunday am I was told to leave. I'm glad to know that Linda is OK. She was always very sweet. I went to high school with Linda.
I attended HAC 1979-1982, singing with many groups and touring for the college. I had been in the IFB life since I was 12 and was also dominated by a powerful father. I had been very zealous for the Lord and preached and taught the Gospel since I was 13 years of age. I was also very curious, scientific, and very sensitive to undercurrents of negative emotions. After touring and feeling like an imprisoned robot for 3 years, I began to rebel and lived a double life of my own for a while. Not for long, I decided to leave just as the first of the scandals broke that impacted the people I loved the most at HAC. It is still a well kept secret. I have struggled for years to be rid of guilt and doubt. I have healed and I have reached out to many of my "friends" from those HAC days, only to be shunned and ignored. Only one real friend has embraced me, but he is a "rebel" pastor who dares to lead with love, inclusiveness, and forgiveness. He even wears a beard! lol
I found your video and website just today...thank-you for being willing to walk away and help others recover. I attended HAC in 1987-88 and it changed me forever - and NOT for the good. I am a Christian writer too, and I would like to link my most recent blog to your site, if you'd take a look at it and if you approve, I'd appreciate you posting my comment and link.
I grew up independent Baptist and from time to time we would have Jack Hyles come speak a revival meeting. I was very young and always loved it when he would come! He was funny and kept my attention. As I got older we moved to another independent church and Jack Hyles wasn't promoted and I soon forgot about him. When I went to a Christian college I met my husband who had traveled with an evangelist from there who was over a camp under the ministry of First Baptist Hammond. I would listen to them talk and all I could hear was worship for a man! Around this time was when things were being said about Jack Hyles having an affair. The more I read and heard the more my heart and mind was telling me that it was true! I had seen the way some of his followers just blindly did and said whatever he did and said and how they would get so angry when someone would say that he was living in
sin! At that time I started to believe that First Baptist and Hyles Anderson was a cult! I have been taught from my Godly mother to only follow God - not man! Men will let you down and will not always do what is right, but God
will always be there and He is always right! She also taught me to think for myself and not go with the majority just because! It was because of that upbringing that I was not talked into thinking that Jack Hyles was someone who was being persecuted because of his stand for God and being lied about. It saddens me that someone who could have been such a mighty man of God and someone God could have used to bring about change let satan deceive him into thinking he was a god and the power he had over so many made him think he could do whatever he wanted. Thank you Linda for taking a stand no matter what and for doing what was right to bring out the sin that has plagued First Baptist Hammond for such a long time! I know there are still those who don't believe that anything you have said is true, but God knows and it looks like he's bringing everything to the light little by little. We all can learn a lesson from this - follow God and God alone! If the church you're in seems to be getting away from God's word and listening to the words of the pastor - get out! That's how cults get started. I pray that First Baptist will hopefully be on the road to recovery after everything they've been through and that they have learned a huge lesson so that all of this
will not be in vain!
Wendi, while I know you went through a lot of pain, you were so blessed to have a mother who was guiding you along and helped pull you out of the mind control and abuse of scripture. I am grateful for her and for the fact that you are now free! Thank you for sharing.
Hi, Linda: I hope you will contact me. I was voted out of (Baptist) membership after 31 years of abuse and divorce, because I let the x live in my house for awhile after the divorce. I fought the system for 18 months. I was called to a meeting of deacons (not allowed to have a woman with me) and asked:Are you still having sex with your ex?" No boundaries. Something positive (as throughout all of the "ashes" in my life of abuse, poverty, etc) came from the debacle: www.churchabusepoetrytherapy.com (over 22,000 hits). I am a Sophomore at 67 because I wrote about my life of overcoming (and thriving) and won a scholarship. "When good men do nothing, evil continues." We must all speak up! Please e-mail me, if you can. Sincerely, Alice, Overcomer, wounded healer
Alice, thank you for your comments and for sharing your wounds, so that others might find healing. I'm so sorry for your pain, but so grateful for your desire to reach out to others in pain. I wish you continued healing, which I believe is a lifelong process for many. I know it is for me. Thank you for being a beacon of light for others.
I'm sure you don't know me, I don't know that we've ever met. My dad is a HAC graduate from 1974 I believe. Our family attended FBCH when I was young and I still remember sitting in that great big auditorium, listening to your dad. I remember being baptized in that church. My sister Susan played the zither during some performance there I believe...it's been many years now and I don't remember what it was for now. I remember many people there, such as Bro. Boardway and Bro. Billings, although I don't really remember much about them other than their positions in the church. I remember going over to the Lapina's house as a kid, again I don't remember exactly what our family's relationship was with them. I remember visiting your dad in his office and feeling "important" that we got to spend some alone time with such an important person! My dad Tom Winningham worked in the sound booth making tapes of the services.
Growing up the name Jack Hyles was synonymous with greatness, to me at least. I spent hours listening to his sermons on tape. After graduating HAC my dad reenlisted in the Army and a few years later, in 1980 or 1981, your father, Wally Beebe, and Russell Anderson came to a military church here in Germany to speak. I still have tapes of those messages, two of my personal favorites that I'm sure you've probably heard dozens of times. One was "Jesus does not satisfy" and the other, the classic "Duty". In the first message, your father relates the story of how you came to meet and ultimately marry your husband Johnny. At one point in the sermon "Duty" he called me up on stage as an example to a point he was making. Once I gave him my name he said "Oh I know you, I used to be your pastor!" That really impressed me and made me feel so important!
However, as time and the years went by, much of what was going on behind the scenes at FBCH became public knowledge and I became very leery of the whole fundamentalist movement. I did end up attending Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida, but a few years after graduating I learned of Bob Gray's sins. Suffice it to say, I was grieved. The rock group Styx has a song called "Show Me the Way" and one of the lines in it is "all the legends and heroes I knew as a child, have fallen to idols of clay." That sums up how I felt about these men I had idolized as a child. Sadly, I still look at these men and try to remember the positives. That's all I have left as far as they're concerned.
I am truly sorry for what you've had to go through in your past, and for what you are still going through. I read your letter to FBCH and commend you for your bravery and open and honest candor. Unfortunately my parents refuse to acknowledge all of the events that led to the position FBCH and HAC now finds themselves in. As for me, I am glad that you have stepped forward and are taking the stand that you are. May God bless you and your family.
Dave, thank you for your touching, heartfelt message - it literally brought me to tears. I can appreciate your angst in wanting to remember the positives of all these men. To be honest, I think it's quite healthy to remember and be grateful for the positives. I also think it's imperative to recognize the negatives, in order to learn from them, grow and move forward. I've never been a "glass is half empty" kind of person, nor am I a "glass is half full" person either. I'm a realist and try to see both - the emptiness and the fullness - they always co-exist. While I saw the frailty and evil in my dad's ministry, I would be remiss not to appreciate the good as well. I am thankful for all I learned and for the good that was done to help others. I agree with you that the good is all we have left. I choose not to cling to either, but acknowledge them both, if that makes sense.
Again, thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts. We were all wounded. Many of us carry wounds that may be healing for a lifetime. But if we choose to move forward in a positive, healthy manner one day at a time - rather than wallowing in the negatives of the past, we can thrive in our own lives and choose a better path for ourselves and for our families.
God bless you, Dave.
Linda, thanks for your response, I really appreciate the thoughts you gave! One thing that really strikes me in all this is how disillusioned I became after all of these things took place. But, this is all about a personal relationship with God. As opposed to sticking with a particular "movement" or "denomination", I realized that my personal, one-on-one relationship with Him is what is most important in life. And, I believe it is for every Christian. I hope and pray that everyone affected by these events will turn to Him for comfort and guidance and strength...at the same time we all must do what we can to be there for others who are hurting. I will be praying for you and everyone who is dealing with these issues every day! Looking outside right now, it's a beautiful day, bright and sunny. It's a great day to start a new, fresh outlook on life and my walk with Him! God bless you!
Linda, your openness and candor is astonishing. Your dad was my pastor, baptize me as a child, and lead Miller Road Baptist Church until you all relocated to Hammond when I was 11. He was a different man and pastor during those years, I believe. Somewhere along the way he appeared to change. My dad noticed and noted how he began to play fast and loose with the truth and history of MRBC. As I viewed things as I continued within fundamental, independent Baptist community, Bro. Jack became increasingly self obsessed. As the stories began to circulate about his private administration assistant and then David, I was hurt but not shocked. The people of MRBC had our own disillusionment with the man that replaced your dad, Tom Landers, who appeared to have been cut from the same cloth.
Praise God that you have been able to find your way. So many of those who saw the hypocrisy left the faith and have not returned. There will be a reckoning.
Ron, thank you for reaching out to me and for sharing your thoughts. I agree with you - my dad was a different man in the early days. Was it the power that changed him? The money? The monstrous ministry? I don't know, but he definitely changed and, as you said, became increasingly self-obsessed to the point that the ministry revolved primarily around him. My heart just hurts sometimes to hear from all the people who were wounded by him in some way, although I also hear stories of people who were helped by him. He did good and evil simultaneously, which was all the more confusing to followers. I wish you well and appreciate your thoughts.
I grew up in two Bible Baptist Churches in CA--Central Baptist of Orange County and Calvary Baptist in Bellflower. Bob Wells and H. Frank Collins were the pastors respectively.
I left years ago before all the splitting and fighting became known to us sheep. That was maybe 1976. I went to a Grace Brethren church which seemed a little better.
I had a prescription drug problem and when I tried to quit the church rejected me. We go to church to prevent these problems. We bring sick people in from the outside to rescue them. We don't have these problems, right?
To make a long story kind of short I went to a Lutheran Church and when I told the pastor about my problem he said, "I'm a recovering addict." I knew then where I belonged. That little miracle kept me from giving up on God altogether. That pastor helped me find a 12-Step program and recovery.
That was more than 30 years ago. I happened on this site because I'm writing a novel about an associate pastor who loses his position in an IFB church when he discovers some financial misdoings. I chart his journey of recovery from there. So I was doing research the other day and found all this garbage about Jack Hyles--I remember the name from years ago--and Jack Schaap and others out there.
I started having nightmares again. Thirty years later! That's how hard it is to recover from spiritual abuse.
My writing is a big part of my healing process. This is my second novel. The first has a very angry tone. This one is about forgiveness and reconciliation and reunion. I can't believe sometimes that this good stuff is coming out of my wounded soul. I made $2.58 on the first one so I have no high financial hopes for this one. It's my novel and I'm writing it for me and will share it with those who need it.
Thank you, Linda, for speaking up and helping us fellow wounded souls to heal. For any of us it takes courage to admit that we were wrong and to turn around and go the other way, to speak up and risk the rejection and humiliation. For someone in your position it must have taken exponentially more courage. I'm glad I found your site.
I grew up in a "Hyles" type church. I only recently began to tell my story through my blog https://breakingfreeandstartingover.wordpress.com/ . I began to wonder if other people felt like I did. I started doing research and came across this. I am still very confused about a lot of things. But I know what a abuse is. I know when an environment is unhealthy. I know its not right. I am still working through a lot of pain and my feelings about church and religion. I hope that one day I can get past things and help others. Thank you for helping me not feel alone.
Hi, Linda. There is so much I'd like to write to you, and I'm sure it's nothing you haven't heard before, but I too grew up fundamental, independent Baptist (or F.I.B. as I like to think of it now-sorry, bad joke) and lived in that world of rules, regulations, and complete and unquestioned obedience. I was born up in Hammond, IN, and was at First Baptist. My dad graduated HAC and we moved when I was 4. We remained faithful IFB though, and I went in '95 to Hyles Anderson for a semester. Thank heavens I never encountered the kind of abuses you have spoken and written so bravely of! I can't imagine my life if I had. Having said that, my sister (who went with me to college) and I had recurring dreams after leaving that school of being trapped in the hallways. We still view our exit as an "escape". My parents are still in the IFB movement, but as of me and my 5 siblings, we have moved on. I'll always be grateful for the deep moral values I was given, but the man worship I witnessed-and was dismissed as a rebel for not participating in-will never again be a part of my life. I am deeply sorry for all you faced, but thank you. Thank you so much for sharing! You have given me and those like me an outlet to share our own experiences. It's so unbelievable to most people how we were raised. It's nice to talk to someone who knows why I wasn't supposed to have a zipper in the front of my skirt (for thise who don't know, it's because it was deemed to masculine looking) or why I didn't own a swimsuit. I can laugh about much of it now, but the healing still continues and probably will till the day I die. Thanks again, Linda. It is a dear wish that we can one day meet and talk some more. Not only of past issues, regrets or even the survival of all of it. I want to know that you are, as I am, thriving in spite of it all! I refuse to be broken by it, and, with appreciation to you as a role model, maybe I can help someone else who's been hurt.
All the best,
Wow. I go what is called by some, The greatest Church of our time. I Understand alot of your points. Now , you say that members loved you , treated you like a princess etc. Linda, they didn't fall off the tree that way, it takes instruction, love and personal preaching to produce that. We are strict with our young folk and are very careful to watch for their little souls as much as God allows us. I know it takes an unbelievable amount of pain to produce this as rarely I visit churches were young people are well behaved. Talking in church, eating, throwing fits. Even teens and adults have no respect. I didn't know your father but have listened to several messages that God only knows how it's helped me and sealed some things in my heart. I believe he loved God with all his heart, but My goodness, It's been said by many ,; Christian and atheist that a pastor has The most or one of the most stressful occupations. , and with a church of that size. I have no idea what went on at home, but I do have a stressful business and many times have sadly taken my problems home. To handle that many people, anything short of suicide is success to me. I can't imagine! Sometimes when we harbor things from a child , it's hard to ever get passed them. Even if they're wrong. I'm not saying there's not problems even in the best of churches. My family and others have suffered, lost children to the world, and to be honest , Noone is even looking for them , unless they are popular families kids. So I've got major beefs with some things. I don't think your 100% right on everything but I don't think your too far off alot of things either. Your daddy sacrificed alot and overall I think there's few that could deal with the hidden strains and the Hell that pastors and their families go through. From his messages I've heard, which are many, no one could ever convince me that he didn't love you. Maybe he did change but I believe his heart wanted what was right. Love in Christ.
John, I appreciate that you took the time to comment. I agree with you that my dad was a powerful speaker and some of his messages were quite inspiring. However, as the years went on, the messages became more self-centered and, well, quite bizarre. Yes, there was truth taught, yet other things taught that were quite alarming to many. I once heard someone say that a false prophet is effective because of the truth that he also speaks. There is enough truth intermingled that the overall message becomes confusing and often contradicting. Thus people more susceptible to brainwashing, as they cling to the good stuff, to the truth they hear, and desperately trying not to hear and absorb what their spirit is telling them is alarming.
I must also respectfully disagree that being a pastor excuses destructive behavior. Oh, yes, it is indeed one of the most stressful jobs ever, but that does not excuse harming others. You are correct - he sacrificed a lot - the greatest sacrifice he made was completely giving up his children. His words from the pulpit may have impressed you and convinced you that he loved us. But if you love your children, you don't sacrifice them "for the sake of the ministry." I'm sorry, but that is not love. He may have even convinced himself that in some warped way, he loved us. But as you said, you only heard him speak of love for us from the pulpit - but you were never in our home. So your are basing your opinion on words in a sermon, rather than his personal life at home - big difference.
Please know that I am not at all angry. But it is difficult to receive someone's opinion that is based only on sermons. Sermons can be mere performances and MANY of the illustrations my dad shared from the pulpit about his kids were simply untrue. It used to disturb me terribly that he would stand up there and lie. A sermon is not an indication of who a man is. In fact, it can provide a mask to hide who a man is. I believe actions and behaviors much more than words from a pulpit, and I encourage others to do the same.
Thank you again for sharing. I appreciate that you are sincere in your opinions, but I also realize that your opinions were formed by watching a man from afar - and that can be quite misleading. I wish you well. God bless you.
Hello my friend. I admire you for speaking out and taking a stand for the pain you have suffered. It is more then anyone should go through. I have wanted to reconnect and tell you what a strong woman you have become. I admire you for being strong and helping others. My life at FBC is something I don't look back on all I know the one good thing was having you as a friend. Thank you for that. I wish you well in all you do. Please respond to me on my email would love to hear from you.
Oh my goodness. Such a great blast from the past, Bambi! I have actually googled you before, wondering where you were. I have such fabulous memories of our friendship. You were always so real and so funny - one of the true joys of my childhood, and I am thrilled to hear from you. Your email address was not shown on the message, so I can't respond. Send me a message through this site with your info. Thanks so much for reaching out. I trust you are doing well, wherever you are, and my best to you! ~ Linda
Did you know a man by the name Elmer Lord (wife-Victoria)? If so, please contact me. I have so many questions!
Nancy - I knew Elmer Lord when I was a child, but have had zero contact with him as an adult, nor would I have any recent info at all on him. So I wouldn't be any help. Sorry. ~ Linda
I'm sorry. I wasn't clear. I don't have questions about my dad. I have questions about our dads and their church. Things that I'd rather not discuss in this forum. My email is email@example.com.
I just wanted to tell you i really love the way you are and how honestly you are speaking to people.
I recommendet your book of course and hope lots of people will have the chance to enjoy it.
Sorry for my english, it is not my mother tongue.
Hope you have a lovely monday
Thank you for telling your story. Our ministry is a support group for men who struggle with s3xual sin. Spiritual abuse is very common with our men and their wives. That kind of abuse can come from overbearing parents, promiscuous church leaders and pastors who are tyrants. I applaud your efforts and your website. We have been doing ministry for our whole married life (starting in 1971). We have been active in two IFB churches, but I would say it has been a good experience for us and our daughter. When times were tough, our church stood beside us and so has our pastors. It could have been different if we had unyielding pastors. Still, I have seen more than a few pastors that should have never been given the role of shepherd. I hope we can meet you and your supporters at an event someday. God bless you and all you do.
Thank you for sharing your experiences with FIB churches. I went to a similar church from age 16 to 30. I will be 60 in a few days and still struggling with being the kind, caring, and loving husband that Ephesians tells me to be instead of king in my home.
Linda, you probably don't remember me. We worked together in Aaron Manley's Insurance office when you first moved to Texas (LONG time ago!) I sensed you were in turmoil, but had no idea at that time how you must have been hurting. We were new to IFB at that time and attending Lavon Drive. We loved the teaching we received, but it didn't take long for me to feel like I was drowning in someone's "rules." As I heard your Dad, brother or other Hyles graduates I knew whose rules they were. It seemed I never quite measured up - from the way I dressed, wore my hair, even played the piano! One Wednesday night there was ice on the roads and since a good Christian NEVER MISSES CHURCH, I opted to go - wearing loose pants. I may as well have walked in with my hair on fire.
I believed myself to be a total failure as a Christian, a wife and mother. After 17 years of falling into deeper and deeper depression, My sweet husband finally realized he had to remove me from that pressurized atmosphere. We will probably never know the extent our 3 children were negatively impacted by our decisions to stay for so long.
I've never recovered the excitement of serving that I once enjoyed. It is as if those years damaged me in a way that I've been "guarded" ever since. My personal relationship with the Lord is stronger now that I've learned He loves ME - no matter what I do or not do. There is no judgement even if I miss a church service, or wear pants, or cut my hair, etc, etc.
I wasn't at all surprised to learn of all the men who've lived double lives. Anyone who can be that judgmental and set themselves as the rule makers obviously misunderstand Grace and the Father.
I am so glad to have found your site and know you have flourished
Gilda, of course, I remember you! You and Aaron were so very good to me, and I was really struggling during those years. That was about the time I was slowly starting to break away from my dad, and it was such a heart wrenching, painful time in my life. To be honest, I was a mess. Thanks for sharing your journey with me. I can completely relate to how you have felt and the transition you've gone through in your departure from IFB. It takes a very, very long time to heal from it all. Just about the time I think I'm doing great, my mindset can suddenly revert to thought patterns from long ago. I have to be aware of that tendency and very patient with myself, and I encourage you to do the same. Thank you so much for how kind you were to me back in 1983 - and for your kind words today. God bless you and your family, Gilda. So glad to hear from you. ~ Linda
In the early 1980's I was a typical Fundamentalist Preacher Boy aspiring to be great. My pastor held up a Jack Hyles Soul winning book and began comparing it to the bible. It didn't hold up. I began to see through the Wham-Bam-Thank you ma'am soul winning hype. The next year I actually got saved.
I often point out to people that despite all of the talk about soul winning, it is impossible to find a person who claims to have been saved under Jack Hyles personal ministry. Years ago, as I prepared a book, in an exhaustive internet search for anyone anywhere who claimed to be saved by Jack Hyles leading them to Christ, I ran across a detective who was being paid to canvass Hammond, Indiana to find just one person who would claim that they had been saved as a result of Jack Hyles' personal witness. He couldn't find one.
What good there is in the independent Baptist movement has almost been wiped out by this man's manipulations. I thank God for your healing and for your personal courage to speak out. I have a son who was harmed by a pedophile within the church. My family suffered greatly when we chose to speak out. At the time a social worker told my wife and I that one of the worst places for child sexual abuse was in Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches. They throw out all of the rules for a what they deem is a greater good.
I hurt for you and for myself. I was a member of Hope baptist church in Toledo Ohio. A group of us “men” went to “pastor’s school” week in 1982. Many here worshipped Jack Hyles also.
Our Baptist Church was also a cult, but only those that left were able to admit it.
There are many Baptist cults in this country.
If we who believe the Bible actually read it for understanding rather than brownie points, we could have left much earlier.
I reject eternal security now. I reject King James onlyism now. I am now a Spirit filled believer that only believes what I understand in the Scriptures.
Thank you for your honesty - revealing all this had to be unbelievably tough. I was there at an early age in the 60's and 70's every Sunday in the "left field upper deck" as we called it and went thru the Civic Center fun. I was a "non-member spectator of the madness" as I liked to call it - I never bought it and caught grief about my lack of enthusiasm for the spectacle, but not in a harmful way fortunately; however, I do understand the guilt aspect that had to be overwhelming for you. I still understand it to this day even though I never bought in - it was amazing how that card was played so perfectly. I went because I had to with family who were members; you and I met on a few occasions, but we were very young.
I could write a book on that place, but I prefer to keep it far in the rear-view mirror. What you did took guts - 99% of the people in that building were - and are - living in fear too much to ever see reality or think of breaking away. I hope you lead a very happy life and - like me - can now laugh, smile, and just shake your head about the crazy things that went on back then.
Whether it is healthy or not could be debated, but to this day I just start laughing whenever I think about that circus. Congratulations for escaping - and again, thanks.
Thank you for sharing. Although it may not be possible to respond to every post or email, please know every word submitted will be read.