To the one from whom much was despoiled and plundered, the gaze of God goes most directly, and the holiest help He gives. ~Marie Hosdil~



Friday, April 10, 2009

Out of Darkness ~ The Cross I Carry

Sometimes, I'd like to be someone else. I'd love to be someone without controversy and "drama" in their life. I day dream about living somewhere where only God and the local wildlife know me. This is one of those times. I wasted 20 minutes of my morning today watching a very distasteful video my brother posted attacking me and a Catholic friend of mine, Steve Ray. Vilifying my integrity and Steve's, my brother spewed lie after lie about my own life. Yes, my own brother wasted his time and mine on this disgusting display of frenzied egoism, emotionalism, and fury, none of which are fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes, I wish I was someone else's sister.

But I firmly believe in the Lord's Divine Providence. I believe it was for a divinely decreed purpose that I was born into the family I was born into. I believe it was by providence I was named Patricia. I see the wisdom of God in all the many chapters of my life. I didn't see His hand in those times while I was living them, but from the 20/20 point of view of hindsight, I definitely see His hand of wisdom and mercy at work.

But, yes, I admit, at times like today I'd love to have a different family heritage. Even so, I am sure that this too is part of His plan. I am Patricia Ann White Bonds. I was born into the same family as my brother, James R. White. Our parents were both victims of abuse as young people. They carried those scars as people in those days did: silently. Silently, and without resolution, because no one talked about those things. You just toughed it out and did the best you could.

But the problem with that is that when dysfunction isn't corrected, it gets passed along. It victimizes the next generation — my generation, and specifically me. It skews every part of the lives of those who come from those who have not dealt with the past. This is definitely true of my brother and me. We are both the product of our distorted, dysfunctional, abuse-ridden upbringing. We bear the scars of that dysfunction, and those scars have no doubt affected our own children.

Rewinding to about 1996 or so, when God started helping me work through the wounds of my childhood, my relationship with my brother started to become an issue. After spending a lengthy time working through the sexual abuse that my father subjected me to for years, I had to confront my brother with the truth. Whether out of ignorance or a simple denial of what he knew to be true (I am not sure which), he began making false accusations against me to the elders of my church at the time, demanding that I be brought up on charges for having confronted my parents with an elder of my church to discuss the sexual abuse I had been subjected to. As you have read before on this blog, that visit to my parents' home was not met with any openness or willingness to accept counsel concerning the incestuous behavior I had endured for some ten years. My father and mother violently resisted the subject and denied any wrongdoing, other than my father's vague acknowledgement of having "sinned against me." His vague acknowledgement was accompanied by a denial that what he had done to me was wrong. So, no real progress was made in reconciling our family members to one another. Fortunately, my elder board refused to accept my brother’s accusations unless he had heard my story straight from my lips. So, I met with him at Diane’s house and told him the whole story. I not only described my father’s sin in detail, I also discussed the steps I had taken in order to find healing and peace.

Even after hearing my story, my brother James was hostile, defensive, and threatening. He warned me to "watch what I said" about my parents. He also made a very feeble comment about hoping he could "help me" someday. Help me? I had just told him how God had taken a woman who had experienced one of the most soul-damaging sins that can be experienced and had taught her to forgive, to overcome the residual damage to her spirit, and become a joyful, thankful woman of God. I wasn't asking for my brother's "help," I was showing him the miracle God had already done in me!

What grieved my heart after that meeting was that I had just opened my soul to James, allowing him to see a miracle of grace and he had seen it as lies and insanity. It reminds me in a very unsettling way of the story in Matthew 12:22-32 where Jesus performed a miracle of grace by healing a man, yet the unbelievers around him claimed He was casting out demons by the power of Satan. They looked right at a miracle of grace performed before their very eyes and yet they refused to admit that it was the work of God. Some went so far as to call it "evil."

You have to understand one thing about my brother and me. Before I began studying, really studying, for myself, I believed everything he told me about Scripture, theology, church history, everything having to do with our Protestant beliefs. The truth is, James wielded more power in my life than the Pope has in the lives of faithful Catholics. He was the author of all my "we knows" that I applied to those Scripture passages that simply made no sense at all from the Reformed Baptist perspective; those same passages that fell into place with the rest of Scripture when I began to understand them from the Catholic perspective. Back then, I accepted everything he said about doctrine as though it was from the mouth of God.

I don't remember for sure now, but James either bought and gave me my copies of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, as well as a book discussing Calvin's Institutes, or he provided me with the information on how to order them. But one thing is for sure, and no amount of James's historical-revisionism denials can change this fact: I read the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith completely and carefully. I marked my Bible with the proof texts and cross references. I asked James questions about what this document contained. He answered my questions and others I had from reading sections of Calvin's Institutes, as well as James's book Drawn by the Father, which explains the Calvinist/Reformed view of predestination. Truth be told, back then, I was a disciple of James White. He instructed me in my Reformed Baptist beliefs.

But when it was time (as you can read here in the Out of Darkness Series and in my conversion story) for my family to choose a different church, he was reluctant for us to visit his little church. I could see that he enjoyed being there without any family entanglements, especially from our family, a family that was (and is) extremely dysfunctional, due mainly from the incenstuous sexual abuse my father perpetrated on me (which my mother knew of and remained silent about).

So I asked James what other church he would suggest I attend. He suggested I attend Northwest Community Church, because, as he stated, most of the elder board was Calvinist. In other words, they were Reformed, and he knew that I had been looking for a good Reformed Church, because James's instruction to me had led me to become an adherent of the 1689 Confession he held to. So, after leading us to the Reformed Baptist position, James recommended that I attend Northwest Community Church because he felt I would be "more compatible there" than at the Southern Baptist Church I had been attending. I spent several years at Northwest Community Church, until my conversion to the Catholic Church in 2001.

While there, I enjoyed the fellowship of others who espoused Calvinist beliefs. In fact, Diane, my counselor and the pastor who worked with us were both extremely Calvinist. About the time of my conversion to the Catholic Church, there was a migration of members from Northwest to another even more Calvinist church, including many of the folks I had been close to.

I understand that Northwest Community Church has since returned to a more moderate version of Protestant theology. But during my years as a member there, it was decidedly Calvinist and in agreement with the 1689 Confession.

I mention this simply because my brother now claims that I had never even read the 1689 Confession, much less owned a copy of it. This claim of his is completely false. I not only had a copy, I studied it closely, and my brother, James R. White Himself, explained its contents to me. Those are the facts, regardless of what revisionist-history version of events he's pedaling to his followers now.

Also, contrary to what James is now claiming, I had read key parts of Calvin's Institutes, and he (James) made a point of discussing with me his appreciation of what Calvin taught, as well as a few areas where he disagreed with some of Calvin's teachings (such as his belief in infant baptism, which James rejects). It seemed strange to me then that James would champion the theology of someone, John Calvin, he did not completely agree with. But then, that was before I realized that, as a fellow follower of Calvin, I had become just a part of a schism of a schism of a schism.

So, no, James, my dear brother, I was never a member of a Reformed Baptist Church. You were glad of that. You made sure of that. But I was Baptist, and then Reformed, and I became a member of the church that you yourself recommended I join because most of the elder board of that church was in agreement with your theology. You made me a Reformed Baptist. That is the fact, whether you are willing to admit it or not. You can't re-write history. I won't let you. Not when it's my history you're attempting to rewrite.

I'd like to address something that my brother alluded to in one of those uncharitable letters he sent early after hearing that I was becoming Catholic. He accused me of becoming Catholic in order to "hurt my parents," to "get their attention" somehow. I'd like to set the record straight here, too.

The repugnant sin that cripples my family has absolutely nothing to do with the Catholic Church. In fact, if we had been raised Catholic, I would have known that I had the right to blow the whistle on my father's sexual abuse against me and call the police. The Catholic Church has stood the test of time and will stand the test of time, and it will be here, loving and longing for Christ's return, when He comes in glory. Countless converts to the Catholic Church have recorded their reasons for becoming Catholic, and none of those reasons have anything to do with Patty and James White's father.

No. There is one primary reason that I became Catholic. I discovered that the Reformers were arrogant rebels who did violence to the Church Jesus established and rejected her. I discovered that if Christianity is historic, Christianity is Catholic. I discovered that those men I trust so much to have selected the very books I had seen as the sole rule of faith in my life were full-blooded Catholics. They were men of God who knew Him in the Eucharist, who honored the Saints and asked their intercession. They honored the Blessed Virgin Mary and asked her intercession and help. They would never have dreamed of running off willy nilly in rebellion against the Bishop of Rome. (Who on earth is Mother Rome anyway? Never heard of her.) They passed the relics of martyrs from diocese to diocese as Sacramentals. They faithfully guarded the Traditions that were passed down from the Apostles and never dreamed that someday people would believe that we were only bound by what was written down. They were Catholics! And you have trusted them all your life to have chosen the books you hold up as your only magisterium. When we were children we weren't even allowed to play with the children of people like that! But the early Church was Catholic! It was as Catholic as St Thomas the Apostle in Phoenix where I will venerate the cross with my family this evening.

I'll tell you what I saw in the little 5 x 4 screen this morning. I saw a man who is terrified of discovery. He is terrified that people will realize that he came from such dysfunction and that he has spent his whole ministry covering up for his father and denigrating his sister in order to save his own reputation. I saw a man who is fighting for his identity. Who believes that he is a champion of the Reformation. Who is too busy attacking others to realize he is defending an indefensible position. Too busy waging war to realize that anyone who takes an honest look at history can see that the Catholic Church IS the Church. That everything else is a perversion of what had always been and what was delivered by mouth to the Apostles. No honest person of integrity and intellect can look at history and not see this. There has to be some other reason to be so resistant to the truth.

I'll tell you what James White is fighting for. He's fighting for the honor of his father who dishonored his sister. He's fighting for the protection of his mother who abandoned his sister to his father and who will never find the peace she so desperately needs until the truth is out and dealt with by the grace of God. She desperately needs to know she has a Mother in heaven who loves her and wants her to know Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. He's fighting to protect his self image as a near genius. (His second grade teacher called us one evening and told my parents that his IQ score had been just shy of genius. Unfortunately for his soul, he was on the other line and heard it. I believe it might actually be the thing that costs him his soul if he's not careful.) He wants to be seen as a champion of the Reformation and of his parents. I just want them all to know that Jesus knows the truth and loves them anyway. That He wants to heal what the world and psychology says can't be healed. I want my brother delivered from his pride so that he can learn the humility of a Saint Francis who wanted to know nothing but Jesus. Yes, James, converts to the Catholic Church are converts to Christ. But they aren't converts to a truncated, distorted Christ. They are converts who learn that they can plunge into the ocean of His Divine Mercy. They are converts who almost without exception came home because they gave history an honest look and decided to abandon mother and father and reputation and their occupation and everything to follow Him. That's called discipleship. That's true conversion to Christ.

I beg you before God and man to stop persecuting the Church of God and take some time to be silent before Him. I beg you to put down your sword and allow God to silence your fears and show you the truth. But more than anything, I have begged and will beg my father to let the truth be known for the sake of his own soul and that of his wife and son. Life is brief at best. And I no longer believe in the kind of "grace" that just covers up sin and lets it sit there unaddressed. You may believe that you are forensically, legally declared righteous, but hidden sin like this does not enter heaven. Please, before it's too late, let God heal this family.

One more thing before I close. I did consider my brother's work before becoming Catholic. I've told him that but he would prefer to believe what he wants to believe. But the truth is that from where I stand, I have no interest in the teachings of someone who will not or cannot recognize the grace of God. If you can't see what God has done is making me whole from something that the world would tell you would never heal, then you are not spiritually alive enough to know truth when you see it. You may know Greek, you may know Hebrew, but you don't know the amazing work of God in a heart who will abandon all else to know and love Him. So for me, you can argue all you want, I know sharp Catholic apologists out there who can defend everything you try to tear down. But the thing that disqualifies you as a representative of truth is your spiritual blindness. Open your eyes, James. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.

17 comments:

Light of Faith said...

Hi Nana , first I wish you a very blessed Holy Saturday and Easter . I read your truly sorrowful family story , about the sad drama in your life , about the cruel abuse your father subjected you for years and more than this about the inderscribable attitude of your brother James . God , I feel so sad about all these , may God give you strenght to forget and may Jesus heal your physical and soul wounds , through His lifegiving Passion . I will pray right now Divine Mercy Novena and chaplet , for you and for your sinful father and brother . A true sister in Christ , Danielle

Anonymous said...

Dear Patty....
I am so sorry for the pain your brother is causing you and for the slander he is speaking against you and Steve Ray....
But all of that aside Patty, I must THANKYOU for helping ME understand what it means to be a VICTAM of sexual abuse. My husband was sodomized/abused by a non blood relative from ages 6 to 11 and he carries such pain on his soul to this day. My prayers for him have been that he trusts Jesus enough to give Jesus the pain for him to be healed.
Also your openess about speaking about a difficult and yes embarassing subject of masterbation has help ME understand why I did the same thing to myself.
No matter who we are we need Jesus's healing touch, and THANKYOU LORD the Catholic Church has the Eucharist and Adoration of this great gift to get us thru this "valley of tears" here on earth.
And thankyou LORD that you have servants such as Patty who accepted your grace to carry this cross and use it to help her fellow servants. Patty please put this in a book, and get published.
Thankyou again
My name is Theresa and I live in Alberta, Canada

chimakuni said...

Sr. Nana - I will put out that your mother (by her complicity) and father not only victimize you, they victimized your whole family. I also put forth that James may also have been physically sexually abused. By either your father and or your mother.

James's fear is not the fear of defending his parents from his sister's accusations, his fears are much deeper than that.

He needs desperately for his father and mother to accept him, Jimmy, their son, who was not supposed to be molested. He desperately needs his mom and dad to be okay and the feelings of inadequacies that he feels to be dissolved.

Alas, he will not ever resolve these issues until he, himself, is able to speak about the sexual abuse he suffered by their hands.

He HAS to be his own authority because the father authority he had failed him in the abuse.

A parent does not just abuse one child, it is a sickness that goes throughout the family and I am praying for James.

I don't know whether you will accept this comment, and that is fine - but perhaps a way to pray for James is by asking God to reveal to you the abuse that James suffered. He is as much a victim as you are - his actions scream it!

I pray peace for all of you - and remember... YOU get to choose who speaks into your life...(that saved my life one day, lady!) Stop watching garbage that James does, stop reading anything that he writes and start praying for James, your wounded little Jimmy, the victim, as you prayed for your own healing. Love you -

deb said...

Oh terribly sad. I don't understand your brother's intense anger toward you. I have two siblings who I am drastically different then, but we still love and cherish one another.

I have been praying for your brother for a long time and I will continue to do so. It sounds as if he has some hidden burden on his soul.

Leslie K. said...

May I simply say that I am proud to know you, proud to call you sister and prouder still you call you friend......and here in Modesto, you are LOVED!!!!!

James Morris said...

'a schism of a schism of a schism',

that stood out for me. I watched james's Youtube video, where he was saying that there isn't a unified truth in the Catholic Church.

When |I listen to him it is at that point where I feel so strongly that he goes wrong.

I mean I am listening open minded but then he'll come to that point and my whole interest goes.

It happened not long ago when he reffered to the Church as a 'cult'
How utterly disastrously wrong he is.

What I am trying to say it comes home to me most powerfully at that point.

And now his sister has come up with this a felicitous arrresting phrase;''a schism of a schism of a schism'

Which is the problem with Protestanitsm.

I suppose what I want to do is encourage you to keep writing BECAUSE you are a good Apologist.

James Morris

deb said...

I wrote about your series, Out of Darkness, on my blog. Hopefully, more adults who have suffered abuse will speak out.

kmerian said...

Patty,

You are in my prayers. Living with the pain of sexual abuse is hard, dealing with the hostility of those who will not believe you can be worse.

Rest assured, those of us in the Catholic apogetics community join our prayers with yours and will gladly stand by you in your troubles, Mr. White may not consider you his sister, but you are ours.

Anonymous said...

Full disclosure, like you I am a practicing Catholic and a survivor of child abuse.

Patty you write...

“After spending a lengthy time working through the sexual abuse that my father subjected me to for years, I had to confront my brother with the truth. Whether out of ignorance or a simple denial of what he knew to be true (I am not sure which), he began making false accusations against me to the elders of my church at the time, demanding that I be brought up on charges for having confronted my parents with an elder of my church to discuss the sexual abuse I had been subjected to.”

My question to you is why? Why did you have to drag your brother into this? After working through the abuse that your father subjected you to you had to confront your BROTHER? Why for goodness sake? If he was ignorant and you confronted him how do you think that the information hurt HIM? And you went public. If ever he had an inkling to look Into the Catholic Church I'm betting that that thought has gone and may never return. Why did you have to confront him and why did you have to make it public? Does "sticking It" to someone make you feel better.

Detraction is the unjust damaging of another's good name by the revelation of some fault or crime of which that other is really guilty or at any rate is seriously believed to be guilty by the defamer. If I had done this, I would have to go to confession and then start trying to make amends.

You should have dealt with this and offered up the pain In union with Christ's suffering.

Patty Bonds said...

Dear Annonymous,

I will respond directly to your comments:

I’m assuming that you have not read my “Out of Darkness” series on my blog. My parents brought my brother into this when he was 14 years old by telling them that I had been brainwashed at Moody Bible Institute into thinking I had been molested. As you can read above, the purpose of my meeting with him to tell him my side of the story is that he had brought charges against me to my elder board. He had never heard the truth at that point, he had only heard my parents’s lie about false memory syndrome.


If you want to talk about hurt, Annonymous, try being molested for ten years, having your mother allow this to happen and then defend your father, and then have your brother turn against you because “you’re a liar and a freak.” You have no clue what hurt is until you have been first wronged and then lied about. It’s an amazing feeling. And the only thing that will ever bring healing to this family is truth. The lies aren’t working.

Wow, you truly feel free to judge someone you don’t even know, Annonymous. If I had wanted to “stick” it to someone, I could have. Instead, I am calling for truth and repentance before my father passes into eternity. I miss my family, Annonymous.
My Confessor is aware of the efforts I have made to reach and reconcile with my parents. Again, you are standing as my judge. Rather you’re trying to.

If offer up the pain of this continuing situation constantly for my brother, father and mother.

In the future, no ANONYMOUS comments of this nature will be posted to the blog. If you want to be hateful, you can write directly to me at waycatholic@yahoo.com and deal with me directly. I don't care to have people "stick it to me" in such a cowardice fashion.

Anonymous said...

Hi Patty,

I emailed you, and I hope to hear back from you! Though rest assured it was not to insult you, or anything like that.

In short I wanted you to know that I have a lot of respect for your brother, and I admire him. I think he is very good at what he does. That being said I admire you too. Keep up the good work.

God Bless,

Father Dave Bechtel

AndreaM said...

Hey Patty,

God bless your continued working through of this horrible disrepair of your soul. If I read correctly, your anonymous commentator is a priest? Unfortunately, priests are human also, and it is my opinion that his dismissal of your pain and accusation against you was certainly not Christlike, no matter how highly he regarded your brother.

I go to a wonderful priest for spiritual direction once a month. He is young but extremely talented and holy - if you are familiar with Fr. John Riccardo, he has told me what a holy priest my Fr. Anthony is. I highly recommend a good spiritual director, as well as a good counselor - nothing like going to confession before therapy! Such intervening graces abound!

I sense so much pain and confusion on behalf of all you mentioned. Obviously a lack of humility is there - which I have always struggled with myself - it's so tempting to shelve a problem and live like it never happened - like you are better than the rest. But things don't stay on a shelf, they rot your soul!

I hope you can find some peace ion your relationships, even if you have to respectfully sever some for now, and give your family to God, and continue to pray for them.

Fr. Anthony helps me to see how I keep certain wounds to myself, even as I grow closer to Him each day. He encourages me to have God's finger touch the wounds, though I know it will hurt, it's the only way to heal. Each one of us has these wounds in some way - but it is the enemies desire to keep them away from God!

I am a cradle Catholic - I love my faith. I have strayed many times, but the Church has always been my Pillar. We have a wonderful Holy Father in Rome, and one praying for us in Heaven leaving just recently. Hold strong to your faith, keep your scripture and Catechism close, and spread His love to all!

Love in Christ through Mary,
Andrea

deb said...

After reading the comment by annoymous, I would like to point out that if your brother has female children it would be irresponsible of you to not 'drag him' into the affair. He needed to understand the potentially danger that his children were facing.

Patty Bonds said...

Just a note here: There were two people who posted comments under "anonymous." One was a very nice Priest and the other was a person who I attempted to no avail to communicate with by email.

I would ask that before you comment on just the last piece in "Out of Darkness" you read most of the posts under that title in the margin. The purpose of the series is to share steps to healing, not to just share the pain of my childhood. Don't miss out on reading about what God has done in my life. This is a story with a happy ending!

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

No matter what anyone says to you Patricia you have my respect and admiration. You are an Ayatollah (A Sign of God).

Indeed there is suffering in this world, as a Christian you understand that Christ had to suffer in order for many to find grace and peace.

So many people reject the creator because of the pain and suffering of this world. But you are a voice and a light in the darkness of a world that denies the creator, a hallow world that is slowly losing it's beauty.

You are a flower and true you were violently plucked at the roots, but the flower is still here fully blossomed on her spiritual path towards the one creator, the world shares the sweet fragrance that emenates from a fragile flower, beginning in darkness but growing ever brighter, ever stronger towards the light, with the love of God's rain may you always be kept strong, and be a source of hope and strength in a world that may wither in pain, your petals unfold to show all...
God is stillness
God is stillness

scotju said...

I just ended a relationship with a friend who behaved like your brother. I suspect, based on things he has said abot his family, that sexual and physical abuse played a large role in trning him into a warped bigot. Please pray for him, and I'll pray for you.

Squirrel Fantom said...

Sorry that you had to go through what you went through. I pray that God keeps and encourages you. My brother accused me of lying on his father who was my stepdad. My mother let him believe it. As a teenager I could never understand how he would think that since he lived under the same roof I did and I believe that he may have even suffered worse than me. I can only imagine that it may be denial. I don't know. Thank you for sharing your story. Blogs and stories and comments like these help so much in the journey of healing. Especially to feel that I'm not alone. I started my own blog last year coming out about this. I just started a new one that's more anonymous so that I could be more honest. I wasn't transparent and honest about a lot of things because I was scared of what the people I knew reading it would think. http://therealsquirrelfantom.blogspot.com/ Thanks so much again. Even to those who leave comments, it really helps a lot.