Being Your Valentine

The above note was photocopied and distributed to every female student at Hyles-Anderson College on Valentines Day, 1990. The text reads:

Feb 1990

Dear Valentine,

During the last year, you have prayed for me, followed me, loved me, and been thoughtful of me. You have brightened my life, lifted my spirits, and encouraged my soul.

Thank you for every smile, for every note, for every Reese’s Peanut Butter cup, for every cheer in chapel, for every song expressing your love for me, and for helping me to make it during the past year.

I love you and glad you are one of my “Youngins.”

Your dad away from home,

Bro. Hyles

187 thoughts on “Being Your Valentine”

    1. It’s interesting to think that HAC might have still been using mimeographs in 1990, but I suspect it’s a photocopier with colored toner. I remember those things: You had to change the toner cartridge for each different color.
      Blue toner on pink paper probably yields the purple-blue hue you see here.

    1. Amen to that. Creepiest does not come close to describing it. I’d say more like deviously posessive and very perverse fundamental way. Need to take a shower after this.

  1. Valentines aren’t supposed to be about the person sending it. I’m surprised they even celebrated this pagan celebration honoring a dead Roman Catholic saint. Oh, I forgot – St. Valentine was probably Baptist!

      1. One word: evidence.

        Either in the legal sense or in the ‘I am planning on leaving once the semester is over, and if I ever wonder why I did it I want this available to remind me why’ sense.

  2. Words that make me everlastingly grateful that my parents never considered sending me to HAC:

    “for every cheer in chapel” (I’m so glad we didn’t wildly cheer Dr. Bob in chapel every day.)

    “for every song expressing your love for me” (I’m so glad I never sang ANY songs expressing love for ANY member of the administration at BJU; though I appreciated them, I didn’t sing to them.)

    “for helping me to make it during the past year” (I’m so glad Dr. Bob never expressed to me that it was ME who helped him “make it” through the year.)

    “Your dad away from home” (I’m so glad I was never encouraged to consider any administrator my dad.)

    I have a high-school age daughter. If a grown man sent her this note, even if it was mimeographed, I would find it highly inappropriate.

    I guess it’s like the parable of the frogs in the hot water. You don’t notice it while you’re in it.

    (And, just to clarify, no blame to any of you who attended HAC. This doesn’t reflect on YOU but on the adults around you who thought this atmosphere was acceptable.)

    1. “I have a high-school age daughter. If a grown man sent her this note, even if it was mimeographed, I would find it highly inappropriate.”

      If I had a high-school age daughter who received something like this I would notify the police.

    2. I went to a high school and a few colleges, and while a couple of them did have school songs, at none of them did anyone ever, ever sing hymns in praise of the principal or college president, nor any other person on the staff. Not even in jest.

    3. At Christian school, we got a new superintendent/high school principal one year and he decided to have a personal meeting with each high school teacher for “getting to know you” purposes. He informed all the single women in our meetings that he considered himself our “spiritual father” and we were to come to him with our personal issues in place of our own fathers. I was so creeped out I nearly quit on the spot.

      1. That is so scary. But, many fundy organizations subscribe to the “in loco parentis” theory. (I know, if you use a Latin phrase it makes it sound totally legit.) Of course, in real life “in loco parentis” simply pertains to the legal doctrine that some entity (usually the school system) occasionally stands in the place of the parent with respect to a MINOR child. (It used to be applied in the college context as well, but that application is almost completely gone today.)

        But in fundy culture, the term has come to mean, “we will control your children (whether adults or minors) on your behalf, thank you very much.”

        1. Bob Jones University used the “in loco parentis” argument even with its students who were over 21. If you were in the dorms for any reason (and I was, being several years late going to college), they claimed the right to tell you what to do, just like all the kids under 21.

          The night bell, making your bed, having to have permission to leave campus, pressure to go out on local mission or evangelistic activities — it did not matter what age you were.

          Even those who lived off campus were required to swear to adhere to BJU “standards” in all conduct. No movies. Only attend certain churches. Etc.

          Fortunately, I married after my sophomore year and returned a year later as a married student. That was a little better. There were still lots of things you had to get permission to do.

      2. There’s a whole complex of ideas that naturally fall into place once you accept what’s loosely called “patriarchy.”

        I have often noticed that a large number of the girls who fall into wierd ideas about courtship don’t have fathers, or have fathers who they have a poor relationship with. Since a central component of courtship is running the relationship past a male guardian, how can it be applied when these girls are teaching in a Christian school, working as a missionary, or studying in a Bible college or seminary? Some sort of authority figure becomes the male guardian. And from there, the girl’s daddy issues morph into a sexual relationship. Even if the man didn’t do it by design, if you put a man in a situation with an emotionally needy but much younger woman THINGS HAPPEN.

        Then you get into the whole “marriage isn’t about love” idea. I agree with some aspects I agree with (marriage is about family) but in our culture we try to form families with those we love. Once it’s not about love, the preacher or other figure turns into some kind of matchmaker. He’ll hold out the real prizes (the fairly attractive girls called to preacherwife) for his bootlickers, while entirely normal, stable young men with real jobs get shafted.

        There are other ideas that all orbit around each other once you accept one part but I’ve already gone too long for blog comment.

        1. As close as I was to my dad growing up, I not only did not ask his permission to marry (nor did my husband, for that matter), but he also did not “give me away” when I got married. I find both concepts to be somewhat demeaning, although I do understand why so many women participate in them, as steeped in tradition as the customs are. I was not my father’s property, I was not his to give away, and I was not his to “marry off.” I was an adult women, and I chose who I wanted when I wanted.

          Fundy or not. 😀

    4. “I guess it’s like the parable of the frogs in the hot water. You don’t notice it while you’re in it.”

      You hit it on the head, PW. Even reading it now, it doesn’t seem that weird to me because I’m used to it. It’s one of the examples of acceptance that draws in students and blinds them to the real nuttiness that’s going on.

  3. “…for every song expressing your love for me.” Gross! What about songs expressing their love for Jesus?!?!?

    I wonder how their “real” Dad’s reacted ❓

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  4. Sent to all HAC youth group girls from Federal Prison.

    Feb. 2013

    Dear Valentine,

    During the last year you have crossed state lines with me, “counseled” (lol) with me, and loved me.

    Thank you for every polished shaft, cute little sext, and stolen moment together.

    I love you and I am glad you are one of my “virgins.”

    Your first love,
    Dr. Jack Schaap

  5. Y’know, when I saw the headline, before I read the text, I figured it would be something “signed Jesus”, and be sappy and cliched and cloying. I wasn’t expecting stalkeriffic.

    How self-oblivious do you have to be to not see how narcissistic and genuinely disturbing this is? There are so many levels of wrong to this, it could be a Gygaxian dungeon.

    1. I am seeing a twisty, 3D, brain shaped maze. With devious traps and puzzles, where wrong turns could lead you into endless loops and one way dead ends.

      It is populated by lawful evil necromancers thrown into confusion by the loss of their overlord Ska’Ap. They barely control a legion of monsters drawn from the dark corners of our psyche. Here and there, hostage-acolytes fretfully flit about, knowing that each year only a few will graduate to full cult status. The rest? Well, necromancers have their needs….

      Deep in lowest part of the hind-brain, the head of their old master (in whose image this dungeon was built) is preserved in a jar. Hy’Elz itself still rules from beyond the grave. When it’s followers attend to it in their yearly dark mass, it has but one word for them, “Adore!”

      1. Makes me think of the moment in That Hideous Strength when the scientists suddenly realize the head has a life of its own and it proclaims “I need a new head!”

  6. Can there be any question in a reasonable person’s mind that the House of Hyles is not a CULT? What further proof is necessary?

    All the elements of classic characteristics of a Cult:

    Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups – Revised
    Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.

    Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.

    Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a “cult scale” or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.

    ‪ The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

    ‪ Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

    ‪ Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

    ‪ The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).

    ‪ The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

    ‪ The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

    ‪ The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

    ‪ The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).

    ‪ The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

    ‪ Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

    ‪ The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

    ‪ The group is preoccupied with making money.

    ‪ Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.

    ‪ Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

    ‪ The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

    This checklist will be published in the new book, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias (Berkeley: Bay Tree Publishing, 2006). It was adapted from a checklist originally developed by Michael Langone.

    1. “The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).” To this add “tells them what not to eat” and it’s so another Jack…as in Trieber. In a couple of “sermons” lately, he’s told parents what not to feed their children so won’t miss church due to illness and not exceed the acceptable number of absences per year. But per the staff handbook it’s okay to feed them cold cereal and Danish on Sunday morning so as to not be late. 😯

      1. Do these people not read 1 Timothy 4 or Colossians 2? How can any person who claims to study the bible create dietary and ‘sabbath’ rules who have read these passages?

    2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

      Oh my gosh. I’ve just realized that Corporate America is a cult.

      CGC, Corporate Wage-Slave

      1. I think this place is worse because they make it a matter of spiritual significance if you do any of those things. In a corporate environment, it’s just your job. In Hyles’s example, you would be the “damned sinner” and expelled or something probably.

  7. I didn’t check who this was to/from to start with, and so the beginning of it actually sounded ok. In a REAL valentine (say from a husband to his wife), this is actually quite poetic and not bad:

    “During the last year, you have prayed for me, followed me, loved me, and been thoughtful of me. You have brightened my life, lifted my spirits, and encouraged my soul.

    Thank you for every smile, for every note, for every Reese’s Peanut Butter cup…”

    The only bit that really grates is “followed me” (also I personally find peanut butter disgusting so can’t see that as any kind of gesture of love, but that’s just me).

    Then I read the (a) the context and (b) the rest of it, and suddenly felt very, very afraid. Maybe the charm of it (to begin with, at least), explains why he was such a terrifyingly seductive guy. 😯

    1. Not only are there needy young girls, but I have to imagine that, since they are at HAC, these particular girls will be especially confused about masculine affection toward them (in general). The masculine image I see projected from these pulpits is so overly aggressive, insecure, and (ironically) emasculating to the male audience, I have to believe that many of these girls come from very confused homes. For a ‘father figure’ to swoop in when they are so far from home at a time like this is very dangerous for them.

  8. What if Schapp wrote a Valentine’s letter:

    Dear Valentine,

    During the last year, you have prayed for me, followed me, loved me, and been thoughtful of me. You have brightened my life, lifted my spirits, and polished my shaft.

    Thank you for every wink, for every picture you texted me, for every trip to Michigan, for not wearing open-toed shoes in chapel, for every song expressing your love for me, and for helping me to make it during the past year.

    I love you and glad you are one of my “Targets.”

    Your predator away from home,

    Bro. Schaap

        1. “You’re listening to WLUV, late night smooth jazz, the listener request lines are open.” <- that voice

  9. Worshiped me seems to be the only line missing.
    I would like to express doubt, but I know better. I know a couple that went there in the mid eighties. His stories are bad enough. Hers make me wonder how the Dads, even with a cult mentality, allowed this to continue.

    Is there a hover-text, or is Mr. Asus acting up today?

  10. My sister attended HAC. He’d buy the girls pizza and take them for ice cream. Once, he took all the girls out and bought them new dresses — his dime. They’d line up and circle him and sing, “Oh, Bro. Hyles, we love you true,” and other such nonsense. This is real. This really happened. It’s not urban legend, even though it’s sick and disturbing enough to be.

    My sister is in her mid-40s, and she is STILL obsessed with him today. She believes NO wrong of him. She refuses to believe he could ever do anything wrong. She won’t even believe that what he did with her and her peers was wrong!

    Those people have a lot to answer for. 😥

  11. At first I thought that letter was ok. About halfway though, still seems ok. but not really sure where is was going, then, near the end the yuck factor started to rise. Wow is all I have to say.

    Talk about someone who was full of themselves. All I can say is, glad I do not have to answer for that…

    1. Yeah, initially I thought it was talking about GOD! Like, the girls were talking about God, thinking about God, praying to God. Then we got to the notes and the Reeses cups, and I was like … wuh? Then we get to the throwing-up-in-the-mouth Jack Hyles part. This dude had issues. It’s no wonder so many perverts came out of that church. It’s built on a very rotten foundation — not on God but on a very, very filthy man.

  12. One thing I find creepy about this letter is that it is written in the guise of being a father figure. A father should not send his daughter a Valentine like this.

    This is part and parcel of the whole “marry your daughter” culture, once part of the fringes of extreme homeschool culture, that is becoming fully entrenched in the evangelical church today. (E.g., the scene in the film Courageous where the dad gives his daughter the promise ring. Except that if you watch it with the sound off it looks just like they are getting engaged.)

    I have four sisters, all happily promised-ringed to my father, and in spite of the fact that three of them are adults (ages 19, 21, and 26), none of them is married or in any sort of relationship that might lead to marriage. “Daddy” is good enough for them. I am sure at some point today I will have to puke my way through their “I love my Daddy” facebook posts for Valentine’s Day.

    The conservative church (including, but not limited to, IFB) is lurching in a very twisted direction with all this daddy-daughter stuff. That’s why, although I was initially shocked by this “Valentine” from Mr. Hyles, I don’t really see that it’s that much different from the unhealthy father-daughter relationships that are being promoted in some circles today.

      1. Oh gross, gross, GROSS!!

        This is a Patch the “Pirate” abomination, isn’t it? All the more creepy when you think that the original recording would have had Patch’s own daughter singing this to him.

        1. Yep, that’s by Brother Patch himself. I’m not sure if he was thinking he’d like to marry his own father or his own daughter, but either way, it seems very wrong.

        2. Meh. The sentiment itself is common enough amongst children and certainly isn’t shameful, dirty or wrong. My own youngest frequently says he wants to marry me when he grows up. The line was crossed, though, when Mr. Hamilton made it into a song so that this sweet, precious childish sentiment could be made a joke and a mockery.

        3. It may be cute (and, for a certain age, normal) when a young child wants to marry Daddy or Mommy. After all, preschoolers have rather undeveloped notions of romance, love, marriage, sexuality, and kindred concepts.

          But it’s downright indecent for a grown man to write such a song, record it, and teach children to sing it.

          If a three-year old says, “I want to sleep naked with Mommy,” normal people don’t get upset. But if an adult says, “I want to sleep naked with three-year-old children,” it stops us in our tracks.

        4. Wow, I don’t even have a response to that.

          No, you know what? Yes, I do. First, nowhere in my comment did I defend that song. In fact, I said it crossed a line. Second, I’ve NEVER heard a child equate marriage with “sleeping naked” with someone. In fact, I’d probably have some questions about a child that young saying something like that. Sure, it might be innocent and the child may’ve just walked in on something, but I’d be absolutely squicked out by a comment like that.

          My child saying he wants to marry me isn’t pervy or dirty or wrong. He sees his father and me being friends, being companions, and he wants to grow up and be friends with mommy. He wants to snuggle with me on the couch and all that fun stuff. And quite honestly, since daddy’s always making jokes about having married mommy for her cooking, there’s probably a healthy dose of my kid wanting to marry me because he likes my cooking.

          But thanks for taking it right to the gutter. God. I need a bath now. I’m so glad I married a NON-fundy.

        5. True, you weren’t defending the song.
          I’m sorry if I made it sound like you were.
          I was just trying to make a point similar to yours, which is that it’s OK for young children to have child-like ideas about such things, but not OK for adults to mock those ideas.

        6. At PP: I agree with you that the sentiment coming spontaneously from a (very young) child isn’t wrong. But I don’t think Big G was being inappropriate here. The larger point is that in the fundy community, things that we think are cute for kids to do suddenly become okay for immature adults to do too and are sometimes used to justify inappropriate adult behavior.

        7. Do you even have kids, DS? It’s not WRONG for a child older than three to say he or she wants to marry a parent. The child literally has no concept of what marriage is. To the child, marriage means “happily ever after.” They get to live forever with mom or dad and be friends and do stuff together. It’s not sexual to them in the least, and it’s not WRONG. It just IS. And it’s pretty common in kids who have good, normal, healthy relationships with their parents.

          Not everything has to be dirty, perverted or pedophilic. It really doesn’t. You look hard enough for evil everywhere, and I guess you’re going to find it. But that’s not how I want to live my life. I’d rather look for sunshine, happiness and joy. I’m tired of living in hurt, grief and darkness. *shrug*

        8. At PP: no, I don’t have kids, but I think we are disagreeing about WHEN this sort of thing becomes inappropriate, not WHETHER it ever becomes inappropriate. But I stand by my larger point that there is something a bit “off” about some parents who enjoy and even encourage their children saying such things. It’s one thing to respond to a child’s spontaneous sentiment with an “aww, mommy loves you too.” It’s a whole other thing entirely to do something like make your kid sing a song about wanting to marry her daddy! Again, just my opinion but (maybe BECAUSE I don’t have kids) I find that latter sort of thing uncomfortable.

    1. Marry your daughter? That seems a bit much. I never seen the movie you referenced, but that seems weird too.

      However, I don’t know if it’s as insidious as you might think. The church seems to be very reactionary these days, and let’s face it, our culture isn’t that respectful of women or the differences in the sexes in general.

      All this ‘marry your daughter’ stuff is probably an attempt to protect them from a culture that could really hurt them. I don’t know very many 20 something men out there who have a solid character. They exist for sure, but they are not the majority.

        1. Agreed, there has always been bad people, however, you can’t deny there has been a cultural shift that seems to objectify and harm women.

          A Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue would have been considered pornography and kept behind the counter a few decades ago. Now I can watch rape porn (which is supposed to be illegal) on Game of Thrones. Who does that victimize; men or women?

          In the 80’s, we experienced the consequences of the sexual revolution and denial with the AIDS outbreak. Thankfully, education and science have reeled some of that in. When my generation had it’s own Woodstock in the 90’s, instead of the peace and love scene, it was rape and destruction. Who do you think suffered the worst; men or women?

          More kids are born out of wedlock every year now. This causes TONS of problems that we don’t have time to go into. Who do you think bears the brunt of those consequences; dad or mom? Do you know more single men with children living with them or women? I know of 0 men, but I know a lot of women.

          Again, all this promise ring, marry your daughter stuff is probably just a reaction to all of this in an attempt to protect daughters. Personally, I’m not much for symbols and such. I think a healthy dose of fatherly love, a good example in my own marriage, and a respectable character should give my daughter the tools to make wise and healthy choices, but I understand the reactionary stuff previously mentioned.

        2. Ok, I can’t contribute much actual knowledge to this discussion, but I’ll throw out some ideas anyway.

          Yes, the marrying your father/daughter is creepy. It’s given as common knowledge that girls marry guys like their dads anyway, so no need to take it any farther. My dad was interested in the promise ring for me, but I always understood it to be more a promise to God than to him. Not that either would stop loving me if I broke the promise…

          As for the protection factor, I agree there have always been evil men that women needed to be protected from. But isn’t it a recent thing that women don’t remain under their father’s authority until marriage? I mean the whole asking her father for her hand, living at home until marriage, very few women taking on life without a man… History is not my subject, so feel free to correct.

        3. Janet: It’s probably more common now for single women to live independently than it used to be, but it was never rare– at least in “western” cultures.

        4. The “hand in marriage” is an old custom… a very old one. Like, it dates back to the days when most of Europe was occupied by Celtic or German tribes that worshipped a pantheon of gods. Yes, it was customary for all women to “belong” to a man in some fashion.

          Fathers loved their daughters and didn’t want to see her married to a jerkwad. That custom has come down to us in our day and age, but it’s largely a relic of the past, like a woman taking her husband’s name at marriage. She passes from her father’s authority to her husband’s authority.

          You still see it a little… the stereotypical “shotgun wedding.” Living in Appalachia it was a very real custom as late as my parent’s generation. Or in the Godfather movies where the brothers beat up the sister’s abusive husbands. There’s an idea that men are responsible for women who belong to them.

          It’s not entirely a bad system. It is an ancient idea that was tested against human nature and survived because it worked. But promise rings and the such are a new invention and incredibly creepy. For one thing, even in ancient cultures girls have sex with whomever they want, and at the end of the day there was only so much dad could do. Rather than try to build some kind of fortress around daughters and keep them locked up in the house wearing a chastity belt, even backwoods hillbilly dads, or Mafia dads, realize that their daughters are adults and part of becoming an adult is making mistakes and learning the hard way.

          I find that most girls who are raised in middle or upper middle class, conservative families (evangelical, Catholic, Jewish, or secular) typically don’t date douchebags, or if they do it’s only once. Women are attracted to guys who are similar to their father– if you don’t want your daughter dating an asshole then don’t be one.

        5. This is a fascinating topic. My older son, a sophomore at Bama (ROLL TIDE!), is doing his Emerging Scholars project on social conditions in eighth-century Ireland. (Yes, I have a weird son. He is double-majoring in History and Classics, and, for some reason, he has developed a special interest in medieval Ireland. And he’s only one-quarter Irish. Amd he rooted against Notre Dame. Go figure.) Anyway, one of his main areas of interest is the status of women under the Irish Brehon Laws. He tells me that it was complex: Women were pretty much the property of their fathers until marriage, when they became the property of their husbands; but there were occasional exceptions and even cases where women inherited land. Which was all the more extraordinary because the medieval Irish clans did not follow the “oldest son inherits all” custom; rather, the land was parceled up among all the sons, which meant that, after a few generations, a land-rich family could become relatively impoverished.

          Anyway, older son is comparing these customs with prevailing customs in Germany and I forget where else. I can’t remember one tenth of what he has told me, but it’s all pretty interesting, and it just goes to show that social customs varied from place to place. AND that women, no matter how oppressed, were always inclined to balk a bit…there have always been independent women who flouted custom. :mrgreen:

        6. There were numerous cases in Europe and early America where widows had far more rights than either married women or never-married women. These included ownership of property and sometimes owning and managing businesses.

          Young widows were not unusual then, simply because the mortality rate was much higher than it is now. Most married couples did not grow old together– divorce and separation were less common, but one of them would usually die relatively young.

  13. When I was reading it I thought, “why this is so sweet!” b/c I thought it was from a husband to his wife (or sweetheart to sweetheart)…..and I was shocked to get to the explanation of what I was actually reading.

    It is a very sneaky way to ask for more favors and treats from young girls who should be thinking about their education and boys their own age.

  14. This is what I see here: girls and women are so subjugated and scorned in the IFB that when an authority figure bestows this kind of positive attention, he can pretty much count on claiming their loyalty and devotion forever. A narcissist is well aware of the power he holds over those around him or her and is very cunning in how to wield that power.

    It’s really not much different from a pedophile preying on a vulnerable and hurt child who craves love–this letter sounds very much like the grooming process that happens in child sexual abuse.

    I also see some similarities, as Deacon’s Son pointed out, with the daddy-daughter/promise ring/courtship culture–although I am NOT implying those relationships are sexual, there is the same sort of power differential and obsession with control and submission.

    More and more, I see fundamentalism as a vehicle for personality-disordered people and those who fall prey (for a variety of reasons) to their power.

    1. Sex is only one of the ways people control other people.
      In other words, you don’t have to be having sex with your daughter (or son) to have an unhealthy relationship with her (or him).

      1. Yep. I know that first-hand. Emotional incest is damaging, too; chances are, the promise ring/courtship stuff is just a more visible symptom of other unhealthy stuff going on. My apologies if that hits too close to home for others; I’m not personally attacking anyone’s family of origin here except my own 🙂

    2. Yeah, my own family doesn’t have any sort of perverted sexual thing going on (that I know of, anyway) but the obsession with power and control is absolutely paramount in every aspect of how my parents relate to their children, including their adult children.

      One of my sisters expressed an interest in giving dating a try and my father shamed her at a family dinner and said that she would have to give her promise ring back. She decided that she would rather keep the ring than grow up and be an adult. Funny how when my dad finally did pick a guy for her, he turned out to be a total dud and she (thank God) was smart enough to break it off with him.

      My parents also subscribe to the whole Bill Gothard “emotional purity” / “giving away pieces of your heart” nonsense, so now that two of my sisters have “courted” a man who was daddy’s choice and it didn’t work out, they now think of themselves as damaged goods.

        1. Well he lived with his mother until she died and then he sent us all a letter saying “I am now an orphan.” He quoted a bunch of Bible verses about God taking care of orphans and then said, “What a privilege to be part of such a special class of people.” So . . . I guess now he has to ask God’s permission to date . . . ?

        2. I wonder if he knows or cares how many people have been spiritually orphaned by his teachings. I don’t really feel like I belong to a special class, but good for him 🙄

  15. Wow. Does this trigger me. I’m ashamed to admit that while I was not at HAC that year, I did attend & graduate from there. And yes, I swallowed all the koolaid about Hyles. I mean, why shouldn’t have I? My dad didn’t want his precious little girl to have a job while she was in high school, and I was never allowed to interact with any one from the “world” or watch much TV that wasn’t Andy Griffith. Our church bowed toward Hammond and worshiped Hyles every year when he came for his two day meetings. I didn’t know otherwise. I had NO clue what the real world was.

    I was there in the mid 90s, and I didn’t know there was any problem with all the fawning and adoration we did. I was always so excited for Girls’ Meetings when Preacher would love on us and shower us with pizza, pop, money and gifts. I try to block out all that went on there. I still have nightmares about the place. I’m always late for class or I can’t find my class or I’m innapropriate dressed or something. ugh.

    And now I’m sitting here feeling sick. And I’m so ashamed. But I thank God that I am no longer under any delusion that any of that church/culture is okay. I’m so glad to be out of there.

  16. “In all relationships we ought to be careful that we work as hard to charm the people we know well as we do those we first meet.”-Dr. Jack (Daddy-Prince Charming) Hyles; The Science of the Christian Life,1994

    What better way to charm, flatter,and manipulate loyalty than with a ‘Thank You’ Valentine!

    1. “Who’s your Jack Daddy? Unn-hungh, that’s right! It’s me, I’m your Jack Daddy and don’t you forget it!”

      In 1990 “Jack Daddy” must have had a fine stable of street walk.. I mean Bus ministry workers. Puts a whole new spin on Christian “service” reports. 😈

  17. This one of those things where there is such a large gap between my world and the world in which something like this gets written, that I have no context for appropriating it. It is sort of like an alien artifact that looks like a toothbrush, but is really a star-gate (I’ve been reading Douglas Adams lately). I mean, I honestly can’t even fathom how something like this gets written. Seriously, were the girls so starved for affection that they accepted something like this? I have two sisters, and if either one of them received a “valentine” like this one they would laugh uproariously before flipping Hyles off and leaving unceremoniously. It really implies a very disturbed culture.

  18. Whoa….I’ll bet my sister got these letters from him. She would have been there around that time. It’s beyond creepy. I really wonder what his wife thought of this kind of stunt? And, his having all the female students fawn all over him. What about her? I kind of know the story, but still, it can’t have made her feel good.

  19. I’m trying to look at it in context. This was dated Feb 1990; it was May 1989 when Robert Sumner posted the article about Dr Hyles that caused so much stir throughout IFB-dom.

    In his own circle, he was still incredibly powerful and thought of as “the great leader”.

    I used to get Valentines from my teachers at school (more innocent times).

    Instead of being “creeped out”, most recipients would have been honored; it would be like getting a Valentine message from the President; there were generic messages after a very difficult year for him.

    While I think that having the young ladies at his college idolize him is wrong, I don’t believe that he had an inappropriate physical relationship with any of them (unlike Jack Schaap did).

    This just seems to be looking at something (meant in all innocence) after the fact and reading into it all kinds of evil.

    Would I like my daughter to get a note like that from the college president? It’s a bit odd, but if he’d had a terrible year, or the college did, and he was grateful that she had stayed, then I could understand.

    I am in no way a Jack Hyles supporter, but the comments here seem a little unbalanced (in my opinion).

    1. I don’t think my reaction was over the top.

      Thanking them for cheering for him in chapel and singing songs about him? They shouldn’t have been doing that to start with.

      Thanking them because THEY helped him get through the year? Honestly he’s an old man. His wife, his family, his children, his friends, his colleagues, his ministry, the power of the Holy Spirit, the truths of God’s Word — there are SO many things that could have helped him get through the year, but according to him, it’s the adulation and candy from college-age girls?

      Sorry. I think it’s warped.

      1. Exactly. He should be getting that kind of emotional gratification from family and peers– not from barely-adult young women over whom he wields tremendous power.

      2. He was, as far as I can tell, all about control. If he makes these girls think that he could not have made it without them, then that just exerts more control.

        I agree that the stuff he encouraged them to do was wrong; he was making them dependent upon him; he was not pointing them to Jesus Christ.

        It may well be “warped”, but not as fully perverted as some have portrayed.

        1. Faking emotional codependence in a cynical ploy to control them is better than expressing real, if inappropriate, affection?

          I’m inclined to differ there.

        2. My sister — my own sister — was taken out and bought clothes by this man. This old man who’d had at least one affair with a woman who was NOT his wife. My sister was among many girls who was taken out for pizza and ice cream by this man. My sister was among many, many girls who sang tributes to him — literally sang. They’d frolic around him — reminiscent of the Beetles, I kid you not — and sing, arms held high, while he walked through, them trying to touch “the hem of his garment.” He’d hand out money, favors, treats to these girls. And you think that’s not wholly perverted?

          I don’t know what he wanted from them. Perhaps nothing physical at all. But he clearly thrived on their adulation. My sister’s story isn’t the only one like that, you know. Many other women have shared some of the disgusting stuff that went on at HAC.

          If you are fine with your daughter being manipulated like that, cool as long as you’re down with whatever consequences end up in your lap and hers. Even as a high schooler, though, I knew that was F’d up beyond belief, and I flatly refused to have jack to do with HAC. Those people had issues.

        3. This guy took her out and bought CLOTHES for your sister? Ew, ew, ew, ew, EW! 😯 😡
          I’d burn them at the first chance I got!

        4. I completely agree that he was attention-starved (probably as a child – I’ve read someone’s analysis that suggested something along those lines).

          I don’t know if his ministry was always about him, but when I started hearing him in the 1980s and onward, it was definitely all about him.

      3. It may have been his way of trying to be a grandfatherly figure. It may just have been his way of building a cult following.

        Sometimes when a girl gets creeped out, she’s entirely, 100% in the wrong. Sometimes guys with the purest of motivations creep girls out.

        I my own life as a single guy, I can be some place, like say a bar or concert where there’s a lot of drunk guys, I can have attractive girls walk up to me because they perceive me as “safe” and give me their Facebook or phone #. The very same night, I can walk past and say “hi” to a girl and have her get creeped out and run to a male friend as if I’m some kind of danger.

        It doesn’t matter. We have instincts for a reason. We shouldn’t ignore them. We can’t let them treat people wrongly, by yelling or becoming hostile, but we can rightly choose to avoid someone and decline to associate with them. Ignoring insticts is a good way for a person to get into a really bad relationship. If they’re wrong then they’re wrong, but better safe than sorry.

        You weren’t out of line… the behavior may have been well intended but it’s totally, 100% inline with what a predator would do.

      4. @pastor’s wife: Unquestionably, it is warped.

        The primary issue I had was with the posts implying that he had a sexual interest in the girls (the “keep your pants up” comments). He exalted in their adulation. The group sessions with the girls are just wrong on so many levels.

    2. Um, I found your “President” analogy to be a bit unbalanced. First, comparing Jack Hyles to the President of the United States is simply ridiculous (no matter how self-important JH was in his own arrogant mind). Second, try to find an actual instance when the President of the United States has EVER sent a Valentine even remotely like this. I don’t think you’ll find one.

    3. If the principal of my public high school had sent such a message to the female seniors, it would have been nasty, creepy, and wrong. He would have been forced to explain himself to the school board and probably fired.

      If the pastor of my mainstream church had sent such a message to the older girls in Youth Group, it would have been nasty, creepy, and wrong. He would have been forced to explain himself to the vestry committee and probably fired. And quite possibly defrocked.

      Even if Jack Hyles had been anywhere near as important as the President of the United States 🙄 , it would still have been nasty, creepy, and wrong!

      Grown men do not send Valentines to young unmarried women under their authority!

      1. Today, yes; there is (with good reason) much concern about perversion. When I was growing up, people would have just thought it “nice” that the high school principal remembered the seniors… if it was sent only to the women, that may have raised some eyebrows.

        Presumably when Hyles was growing up, this kind of thing was common.

        I just found it a little unnerving how much people here were reading into the note; yes, Jack Hyles was all about Jack Hyles, and the note is very self-centered. But the comment implying he had affairs with many women is as wrong as Hyles’ note. He had a fascination (if not affair) with Jennie Nischik, but wasn’t (from what I’ve heard) a womanizer. I’m sure he (like most older men) enjoyed the flattery & attention of younger women.

        1. “Presumably when Hyles was growing up, this sort of thing was common.”

          I presume no such thing until I see a citation. Anybody out there ever seen anything like this from any member of Hyles’ generation besides Hyles?

        2. To Jenny Islander: My next birthday will be #70, so I assume I am in Hyles’ generation. NO NO NO, I have never seen anything like this valentine, not in grade school, not in jr high, not in high school, not in Sunday School or church, not in 2 years of college.

        3. I’m over 50, and I don’t think things have changed that much.
          When I was in school, it would have been considered quite appropriate for an educator to send a message to all students (not just one sex) saying something along the lines of “Have a happy and safe Valentine’s Day!”, but something like this “Dear Valentine” about how the girl students are his sweethearts and he’s their “dad away from home”? That could easily have gotten the letter sender fired in my day.

        4. I’m not a Valentine expert, but certainly some behaviors that were common when I was growing up — if you do them now, you’ll be considered a bad parent or a pervert.

          #1) As kids, we’d play outdoors unsupervised all of the time, and until well after dark… (but we don’t let our kids do this today; times have changed).

          #2) Hugs from teachers; no one thought anything was perverted about this at the time

          #3) My grade school spanked children who misbehaved… you won’t see this today.

          I know that I received Valentine’s cards from various teachers… I think they idea was that they didn’t want any kid to have no valentines. I grant that we were much younger than college-age, and, as far as I know, they were sent to everyone, not just the boys or just the girls.

          I’m not saying that Jack Hyles wasn’t wrong for doing so — it just doesn’t strike me as creepy as others have said.

        5. It’s totally different receiving a valentine with a cute picture of a puppy from your teacher when you’re in elementary school compared with receiving a love note from your administrator when you’re in college!

        6. Letting your kids play outside marks one as a bad parent? Since when? Someone better call dcfs on me!

        7. @Guilt Ridden: Consolation Valentines to grade-school kids, little kids getting hugs from grown-ups, little kids playing outdoors unsupervised . . . what exactly does this have to do with grown man Hyles sending an emotionally intimate personally composed Valentine to grown women under his authority, while married to someone else?

          Oh, right, these Bible colleges treat people like little kids. Little kids to whom the boss of the school can send emotionally intimate Valentines.

          Creepy, creepy, CREEPY!

    1. It is a good question. Having attended HAC in the late 90’s until Hyles’ death, it seemed that Jack wasn’t “buddies” with any men. According to his actions and teachings, every man he associated with was either someone he was influencing, training, or counseling. This was probably the case since the early 80’s once John Rice got to the end of his ministry and then passed away.

      The male college students were more like his “mighty men.” And he seemed to treat some that he favored like Uriah, get them drunk on his influence so that he could match them with his “chosen” girls. An imperfect illustration, I know (Uriah was already married), and I’m not implying that Hyles slept with all the girls. It just made me think.

        1. “to make matches” And now I’m thinking of the Little Match Girl, standing outside some Orlando Mall, trying her best to freeze to death in Florida… yes, I do need help :mrgreen:

  20. Never went to HAC, never read a Hyles book, never attended FBC, never visted Hammond and most certainly never had the “privilege” to attend a HAC chapel… so please, please, please tell me that no one actually ever sang a “song expressing your love for me” to “Bro” Hyles. If this is a true fact, I just don’t know if I can handle it. My head may literally explode as my neurons attempt to understand such perversity.

    On the other hand, if anybody has a recording (video or audio) of such a spectacle, I beg, plead and throw myself at your feet, asking you to please post it. A massive head explosion might actually do me some good.

      1. Enough times I started singing “Hail, AWANA” in my head the moment I read the words “AWANA theme song”.

        And I was only a member for two and a half years (they moved us to a room where it was impossible to memorize anything, so basically it turned into a ‘you could do this if you focused’ guilt-trip and noise-induced headache every week – Mom finally yanked me out when I hadn’t memorized a single verse in two weeks and came out to the car crying one Wednesday night).

        1. This is our kids’ 2nd year in AWANA. Actually, they started in the middle of last year, so this is the completion of their first full year attending.

          My older ones were accused of cheating for working ahead in the book, but they tell me other kids work ahead every week and the leaders just sign off. Maybe they missed something coming in part-way through before and now leaders assume they know the ropes? Regardless, there’s a perceived double standard.

          One of my children had to write what she would say when witnessing to a friend. (I had issues with this assignment already, because I believe witnessing should be a lifestyle thing and verbal witnessing should occur naturally, not be forced into a “witnessing format” where one regurgitates scare tactics and scripture on a mark. I digress.) A class leader told her in order to get credit, she would have to re-write her entire paragraph because apparently, a 5th-graders’ grasp of soteriology is not good enough to get someone saved. 😡 Spouse attached a note in her book asking for the leader to call him with any questions, as we stood by the child’s answer. We never heard from the leader – no call, no note back, nothing.

          Our youngest attendee is somewhat hyperactive and has separation anxiety issues, mostly due to being singled out for previous disruptions. We thought we had this handled by having either my spouse or myself stay in the (very large) Cubbies class to help keep him focused. We were recently told to “feel free to keep him out” if he couldn’t stay by himself. 😯

          We will no longer be participating with AWANA. After wasting decades of our lives in Fundistan, we have no patience for the shaming and conformity tactics this particular club uses. 😐

        2. I do “get it” about the Awana theme song and I think the words and focus of it should be changed. (Hey–I used to do homework listening to “The Banana Boat Song”! LOL) The song doesn’t seem to fit right. My kids were in Awana many moons ago and I was a helper for a while. To be fair, I think it all rises and falls on the leadership of each group. I’m saddened by the difficult situations reported here, especially from Kreine! They shouldn’t have happened!! Given the ‘fundyness’ of those kinds of churches, I’m not sure a parent’s complaint would have done any good. All that just to say I hear ya, and yet I do know there are some good Awana clubs out there. Sad how a parent must be so careful these days!

    1. Truethat,
      My parents went to HAC and by all accounts there were songs of adoration for him.
      I remember my mom speaking very highly of him for making sure the girls who couldn’t afford fancy dresses had something to wear to formal events. That seemed odd to me at the time, but it also seemed consistent with our philosophy of “life is ministry and is meant to be lived out in abject poverty, so if the MOG wants to buy something nice for you, it’s really God using him to give you a blessing.”
      Hyles also liked to play matchmaker and really pushed people to date. I remember observing that in chapel when we visited HAC – there was a formal event coming up and anyone who didn’t have a date yet was told to stand up in chapel and then the boys were supposed to look around and pick out a girl to ask and the girls were told not to say no.

      1. Elizabeth,

        Thanks for these examples. The matchmaker stuff… WOW!!!!!!

        As someone who never experienced theses things first hand, it can sometimes be hard to wrap my mind around the level of abuse and manipulation. I’ll be honest, at first I thought that most everyone on this site (and similar sites) was just a bitter minority, angry over some small slights. WELL… I was most assuredly wrong. The breadth and depth of what has and is still occurring is simply stunning to me.

        I’m still horrified that actual songs of adoration were wrote to Hyles. I would be highly interested to see several examples of these, no doubt, highly crafted feats of literary prose.

        1. My family and I attended a Hyles-clone church for many years. When he would come to preach, my kids told me how he was received in school chapel with shouts, cheers and silly songs. One tune was from the old movie Bye Bye Birdie, something like;

          Bro. Hyles we love you, oh yes we doooo
          To Bro. Hyles we will be truuuuuue

          Anyway, our Pastor worshiped the man and so did our church. When we finally completed our larger auditorium and the seats weren’t getting filled fast enough, Hyles was summoned to ‘rake us over the coals’ and shame us for not having, at least, 800 in attendance that Sunday! Within a few weeks we hit the 800 mark!

          The influence he had on so many pastors and churches over the past 40+yrs is staggering.

        2. My wife was on an HAC tour group in the late 90’s and she sang songs with Hyles name in them for youth conference. Pete Cowling wrote them and they weren’t the same songs of admiration that would be sung at ladies meetings, but the “come to the college of the great man” songs were in every YC.

    2. Truethat,
      Just try clicking on the “Jack Hyles” name in the list of “Tags” in the right-hand column of this page, and reading through the list of posts that have come up. You’ll get a small, but representative sampling of the poems, granite monuments, life-sized bronze statues, and other artifacts of Hyles worship produced by that branch of Fundamentalism.

  21. I went to Moody Bible Institute in the late 80s. It’s pretty solidly evangelical now, but at the time it was more fundy-lite. We had a new president of the college at that time who was quite handsome, and I remember the students being absolutely fascinated with him. In one chapel he mentioned he liked Oreos, and later some students lined the steps up to the platform with Oreos. I thought it was gross even at the time and wanted no part of it. The president did not, I repeat, did NOT try to curry this favor in any way, let alone the nasty behavior of Hyles, it just sort of happened. I think young people are susceptible to this sort of thing, and even moreso when people in power play mindgames with them. Or was it that era? I dunno, I work with college students now as my job and none of them pay a bit of attention to anything I say. Then again, I’m a woman.

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