Friday, May 17, 2013

I Fired God, by Jocelyn Zichterman

I Fired God:  My Life Inside-- and Escape From-- the Secret World of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult, Jocelyn R. Zichterman.  New York: St. Martin's Press, 2013.  e-book, 308 pps.

The Independent Fundamental Baptist [Churches] is a supposedly "loose-knit" organization officially founded by "Doctor" Bob Jones of Bob Jones University.  [Westboro Baptist has been listed as being a part of the I.F.B.].  Although the word "Baptist" appears in their name, these folks are not Southern Baptists.  There is a doctrine of separation involved.  This means pretty much that folks belonging to an I.F.B.C. consider themselves to be apart from the ungodly watered-down Christian churches.  [Even the Southern Baptists are included as having watered down the Christian Scriptures].  Need more background info?  Try here at:  And yes, if you type in "Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult Survivors," you will find folks who have lived through the horrors of life as a member of one of their "independent" congregations.

Jocelyn R. Zichterman is one woman who lived through the horrors.  She was born into the religion.  She grew up in a household with two sisters and two brothers.  Her father was clearly abusive physically and sexually.  Her mother, like all girls and women in the I.F.B., had zero power.  Her brothers were abusive too to her and her sisters also.  

The reason why I put the "Doctor" in "Doctor" Bob Jones is this:  Bob Jones University has a habit of conferring honorary PhDs upon its' graduates.  The education offered by I.F.B. affiliated schools [now there are some schools for elementary-aged children and high school kids in the cult as well coming from families that for whatever reason don't homeschool their kids] is substandard.  They can say they are "accredited" however, much like the "accreditation" offered by some WWASPS facilities, the "accreditation" is by private regional organizations rather than by an individual state or public entity.  Zichterman had an irregular education growing up which continued into Bible College-- the only option she had for higher education.  In spite of the strictures against touching male students, she succeeded in finding a man to marry.  At first she did not love him, figuring that this man was "God's Will" but later on she did.

Zichterman was lucky.  She made it out with her husband and children.  Her husband was not raised in the I.F.B., but joined as an adult.  Thus, he was not subject to the same kind of physical abuse which is commonly practiced in I.F.B. households.  Here I will note that spanking as practiced by I.F.B. is clearly abuse in my estimation.  [Not all spanking is].

It took time for Zichterman to clear her head and to find a non-abusive faith that she could find comfort in.  She found it.

sapphoq reviews says:  If your interest in this kind of autobiography is limited to "those people who become atheists afterwards," then skip I Fired God.  The god that Zichterman fired was the god of the I.F.B.  If you are interested in people who have survived manipulative sects regardless of their stance on religious and/or spiritual practices afterwards, then this book is one you will enjoy.  I Fired God demonstrates the difficulty that survivors often experience on their way out and up the path to becoming survivors.  Highly recommended.   

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