I am 4th generation B&R. I “professed” at 14 and dropped out a couple years later. There were numerous issues. I had questions. We were not supposed to question. I had also been sexually abused.
My abuse started when I was 6 or 7 and lasted until I stopped professing. Two of the brother workers and one of the friends had hands that went where they didn’t belong.
I dropped out and no one seemed to notice. With the exception of Dan Sherrick. I was home sick from school, a teenager, in my PJs, in bed and he wanted to come in my room, shut the door and talk!!!
This was NOT acceptable!!!! I was freaked out by this! I got him to leave, but I thought the talk would happen at a different (more acceptable) time and place. It didn’t … not ever!
(Here… years later I will say in defense of my family that I doubt they knew what to say to me or how to handle me. I was a handful. In Dan’s defense he, I and Gaylen Van Loon, my cousin, were thick as thieves and spent a lot of time playing pranks and jokes. So he may have thought this was acceptable because we were close. But in my pain and hurt this just scared me.)
How could men I looked up to and loved do the things they did? That was a betrayal of God and the betrayal of my faith. I believed in a God who loved.
They kept telling me that God only loved people in the 2x2s. That didn’t make sense to me. That couldn’t be!!!! I saw hypocritical actions all around me within the system. And in the world, I found people who were so truly deeply honestly Christian…but they were telling me those people were going to hell. This simply did not connect for me.
They were asking me to believe that my abusers and the hypocritical people within the church were good and everything and everyone else was bad, and I was wrong for questioning.
I spent a lot of time being hurt and then being very very angry! I searched for a place to belong. I searched out churches and people. And in this process, I made a lot of bad decisions!! I tried to return to the 2x2s several times. I just wanted so badly to “fit in” somewhere—anywhere!!!
It was many years before I even told my mother what happened. First, I didn’t tell because…well who would believe a child? Then I didn’t tell because I didn’t want Momma to hate them. Hate is such an all-consuming thing!
I don’t want to talk about it much because, honestly, it’s just too hard to go back and re-live that. These men have been outed, and God will punish them in his way.
Talking specifically about my abuse sends me to a dark place in my mind. For my sanity, I have to leave that in God’s hands. Because I know he will deal with this for me. I have handed my pain and trouble to him, and I can live in the light.
When my parents left the 2x2s, I was in my late 20s. I was hurt. It was like they tossed my whole childhood out the window. And on the other hand, it was validation of my thoughts so long ago. (See I was right!) I again searched for where I belonged! I studied religion, faith and Christianity. And still, I didn’t belong anywhere. I was angry and confused and alone.
I had to come to a place where I was ok! I won’t say any of this is easy but with time and prayer I came to know that:
1. It was ok to be angry about what happened.
2. I would never get the revenge on those men on my own
3. God would do a much better job of punishing them. The Bible tells us to leave vengeance to him. And who else has that kind of strength to punish?
4. I didn’t have to have a “church” building. I have friends and family who I can have fellowship with.
5. I don’t have to fit in! I am who I am and that’s ok.
6. I have a VERY strong faith, I can lay all my wants, wishes and needs out to God and he REALLY will take care of me.
I don’t want anyone’s sympathy. I want to tell you all that no matter why you left the 2x2s, sexual assault or disillusion—whatever the reason—there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I have spent 40 plus years healing from this. I am strong. I talk to God all day long. Mostly I thank him for always being there for me and for the blessings He gives me.
My heart is broken that there are so many people who are hurting because of this “system” (I refuse to call it the “truth” because it’s not). I spent too many years thinking I was alone in this!
God is there for you! Reach out to him, ask him for help…and then know 100% that he will take care of you!!! In turning all my pain and problems over to God, I have found that my peace and my faith have only gotten stronger.
Pack up your troubles, hand them to God and let go of them. Let him have them. He will take care of them if you let him. But you have to let go of them and let him.
He will bring you the right people and situations to heal. It’s not easy…I still struggle with some things…but there is also peace.
I have found that when life seems to get rough for me…it’s in the times where I haven’t been as grateful to God for his blessings as I should be. Or when I try to take back that ugly box of troubles. But when I return to being thankful for all he has given me, and I allow him to take care of all my needs…well honestly, my peace returns!
I have rewritten this so many times…there is so much that could be said…but what I most want to say is:
He ALWAYS answers our prayers, and he is always there for us!!
I am so blessed!
Lisa Lynne Brown
February 7, 2024