223 thoughts on “Lester Roloff Redux”

  1. I had trouble paying attention to the video after the statement that Mississippi is “the most progressive state in the South.” 😯

    Anyhow, that Lester Roloff was one mean SOB (Son of a Baptist). Only a little of his core cruelty shines through in this video, but you can see enough of it to confirm all the abuse reports about his “homes” for troubled kids.

    1. They used the precise antithesis of a progressive state (the near anarchistic lack of education regulation on religious institutions in MS) to say it is in fact a progressive state! Ack! Also the opposite of a progressive state (as far as education goes): ranking 45th to 50th in reading, and science skills for decades.

    2. “the most progressive state in the South.”

      Yeah, that’s about as far as I got too. I was laughing too hard to hear the rest…

      1. This has nothing to do with the post, but as a Mississippian, stereotyping us all as backwoods racist rednecks is just ignorance.

        Yes, it is true that K-12 education in this state is beyond horrible as a whole, but there are pockets where it is very good, excellent even.

        The problem with Mississippi is that it is a revolving door state. There is way too much of this going on. Daddy isn’t around. Momma dropped out of high school and has 6 kids. 6 kids get to kindergarten and are even with their peers, but progressively get worse, By second grade, they are a year behind. By fifth grade, they are two years behind. By high school, they have no chance. They’ve grown up, thinking that money comes in the mail on the third of the month, so they drop out and the process starts again.

        The second congressional district in Mississippi is the poorest in the nation. It was the poorest in the nation 20 years ago when the current representative of that district was elected. It remains the poorest in the nation because the above is the norm.

        In the 90s, Mississippi’s education leaders made in my opinion the biggest mistake they could have made. They started a campaign to push everyone to go to college. College isn’t for everyone (fundies), but what happened is they pretty much did away with the occupational diploma program – where Johnny 9th grader, who can barely add 2 + 2, could take basic courses and learn how to weld or work on cars half a day. When he graduates, he has a skill that can be used in the workplace – The mindset was that Johnny 9th grader needs to go to college! They forgot that if Johnny can’t do basic math or read, there was no way that he would make it to college. Guess what? Johnny 9th grader drops out and starts dealing drugs because he is considered a failure.

        So, back to my original point, not all Mississippians are like this. I graduated from high school with an advanced diploma, went to large state U. and have made something of my life. It just irritates me when there is this stereotype that everyone in Mississippi is backwards. I’m not saying that the topic of the post is right – he’s an idiot, and I’m not saying that the comment was disparaging, but I think there are some thoughts there.

        1. I understand and agree with what you are saying. It’s just people like Roloff, Mack and Patterson who perpetuate the stereotype and take advantage of the rural South’s “poorness” and the fact that ‘ole time religion’ has its roots in the South, doesn’t help. While there is certain progress, the soul of the South is lived out in Fundamentalist Christianity, and until that is banished, people like Roloff, Mack and Patterson will thrive.

        2. Of course, there are lots of fine and even brilliant people in Mississippi. But I don’t think any sane person would say that the state’s government is “the most progressive in the South.”

          Here in Texas, we have a saying, “Thank God for Mississippi.” We say it whenever rankings come out showing Texas near the bottom of the nation in education, health care, and so on, and near the top in rates of poverty, teen pregnancy, and sexually-transmitted diseases. Usually the only state doing worse is Mississippi (although occasionally Louisiana is in the running), so that state keeps Texas from being the worst in the country. Lately, though, Texas has even beaten Mississippi in some of those measures of shame.

        3. Yeah, I didn’t really meant to take a cheap shot at Mississippi, but if there’s a single word you would pick to define the k-12 education system there it’s not “progressive”. That’s intentionally misleading for them to use that, and a laugh. I think we all would like to see Mississippi improve and aren’t looking to laugh at MS, just the idea of saying that it has a progressive education system is so mind boggling foolish, that you would think no one would ever lend credence to them, but alas…

      2. Also, after the happenings of Tuesday, the hottest name in the Republican party for the 2012 Presidential nomination is the current governor of Mississippi. He pretty much engineered the whole takeover.

      3. Speaking as a current undergrad in a large university in Mississippi, I must say that I do not feel that my education will be anything less above the American standard when I graduate this May. The education provided here is thorough and of good quality, and we have students that come from all over the country specifically to enroll.

        Apitome is exactly correct, it is the K-12 system that is corrupted; it is *not* the university system in general. Our graduates are favored in larger cities (most especially places like New York City and other northern destinations)and have been specifically recruited because they are, for the most part, some of the most courteous, respectful, and hard-working people you will meet.

        Mississippi has problems, yes, like many states. But we also have a lot of potential, and the university systems are proof of that.

        Also, I have seen several people reference “homeschooling” as if it generally always provided an inadequate education. I was educated at home, and I have to say that if what I have observed is correct, how well the homeschooled student turns out is, most often, dependent on how educated the parents are or how much they value “book learning.” Statistically, those who are educated in the home actually make higher scores on standardized tests.

        I’m not angry, and I’m not bragging (I hope 🙂 ). I’m just pointing it out.

        ‘K, getting off my soapbox now…

        1. I agree. My undergraduate education was superior. I was taught by graduates of Harvard and Yale. The problem in Mississippi education wise is in the corrupt K-12 system.

          The only thing wrong with higher education in Mississippi is that we have to support about three too many 4-year public colleges for a state our size.

          Hoping Beckyboo is of the Maroon nation.

        2. Nice! I actually haven’t been to RUF yet; but many of my BSU friends go there. They pretty much go to any Bible study, anywhere, at any time, Wesley included. 🙂

    3. You don’t have a clue! I was there from age 15 until I was 22 years old! Lester Roloff helped more people by accident than the likes of you would ever do, even if you tried, which i doubt you would…

    4. You don’t have a clue! Brother Roloff helped more people by accident, than you ever would if you tried, which I doubt you would! I was there from age 15 until I was 22. How many years did you know him, or what do you know, other than what the lying media put out?
      I don’t have time to go into the false abuse charges, but the sate of Texas admitted many times off the record, that the Roloff homes were cleaner, much nicer than the state homes. They admitted also that Roloff’s youth ate far better food, and the homes got way better results than any state home! But they wanted what the state always wants, Control,and money!

    1. Well, I’ll agree with the “against soda” part, the stuff they put in those cans… 😯

    1. His homes were VERY abusive. Do a little googling around. There’s a lot of dirt out there about him. I also imagine that there are Roloff survivors who read here and can comment more on the abuse they suffered.

      1. Roloff’s home were very abusive, and Roloff exported his ways of running these Christianized concentration camps… I mean homes… no I don’t… across the country. My former church runs one of these homes. I am now in contact with several survivors who have told all kinds of horrible things. The hardest thing about it for me is that I knew many of the staff before they went to work for the homes, and they were mean then. I was on the receiving end of a lot of their junk, and I only had to deal with them during school hours. Now I know what these same people did once the kids they singled out were completely under their control. Scary stuff.

        1. The homes weren’t perfect, but you sure seem like a jaded bitter person! I bet you were that way before you even went to the Roloff homes. Funny how none of you unhappy people ever mention the hundreds of success stories, because many broken lives were healed there. Most of the people like you that criticize him and the homes, were rebellious spoiled brats who hated =being told “no” and still can’t get over being told “no” you can’t do this or that, still can’t get past yourselves, or get past being told that anything you do did, or ever was wrong.

        2. “Googling around” something and finding wild stories doesn’t make it true, Amanda! Brother Roloff was filed on for abuse by the State of Texas, but it was proven through many state hearings (in which of which I attended some of them) that the they had nothing. Lynn Taylor, the state attorney was there along with the Communist Mickey Leland, who later became a state representative. They tried very hard, with no evidence whatsoever, to nail him to the wall, but they were collectively made to look like fools when Bro. Roloff testified. The Corpus Christy Caller Times would not even publish an accurate account of the testimony, because it made the state look so bad! If Lester Roloff had or done one any of the stuff that was alleged and drummed up by the state and the news media, he would have died in jail. If any of the staff had done what was alleged, don’t you think at least one of them would have went to jail? But none ever did, not even for one night!Lester Roloff went to jail for refusing to obey an injunction to close his homes, and not for “child abuse”.
          I still have many friends who went through the Roloff homes, (10 people, to be exact) and some were there for several years. None of them were “abused” and none feel anything like you do about the homes either. Most still have a deep love and respect for him.

      2. I am a survivor. I actually escaped after 25 hours of torture and called 20 20. I would like to contact more survivors. Can you help me.

        Respectfully, Richard

      3. Hi Amanda, I am a survivor. I actually escaped from the school in Zapata after 24 hours of torture and called 20 20. I would like to contact more survivors. Can you help me please –
        my email is foxstudio66@yahoo.com cell 213-700-1409

        Thank you,

    2. Like all Fundies he craved worship… his ego built an empire and he is still worshipped today by fundies worldwide. (3885 worshippers on his FB profile) Some may have been helped in his “homes” but the spiritual, emotional and physical abuse (that we know of) has done more damage to lives than the ones he fixed. [many may have been saved by Christ inspite of Lester and his homes.] Sorry, I have no respect for this self-proclaimed, self-anointed m-o-g. 😡

      1. While I don’t like Roloff personally, John Piper has over 105,000 worshippers on facebook (incidently, John Calvin only has 28,000). So… does that make reformed folk more inclined to worshipping men then baptists… or maybe IFB’s don’t have the internet lol.

        1. Or a lot of Piper’s fans are former IFBers who haven’t left behind all their IFB ways when they left fundyland (been there, done that, and seen it happen far too often).

        2. Right, because liking what someone has to say (and “liking” them on Facebook) is just like worshipping!

          (And no, I’m not one of the 108,000)

      1. Writer of article doesn’t know what they are writing about.

        NOTE -In 1997, then Texas Governor George W. Bush invited Lester Roloff back with open arms and money from his newly founded “Charitable Choice” program, a state level test drive for what would become President Bush’s nationalized Faith Based Initiative. Roloff relocated Rebekah House – after the Christian Alamo – to Missouri to escape any further child abuse investigations or state regulation (Jack Patterson has moved Reclamation Ranch, in one incarnation or another from Indiana to Washington and finally Alabama). The director of Roloff homes convinced Governor Bush’s newly established Faith-Based Task Force to recommend changes in state regulation of faith-based children’s homes and child care facilities.

        Roloff has been dead since November of 198? 1 or 2.

        1. In context the writer may have meant “Lester Roloff Enterprises” the legal entity that was formed and continues to direct the ministry of Roloff. The “Remember the Christian Alamo” article does a better job of tying the Religious and political parts together.

        2. I re read that after yu posted as well, pretty sure they are using it to refer to lester inc. I hate when people name their s corp after their name exactly. Prob would have been better writing to have specified that.

        3. Lester Roloff died when his self-piloted plane crashed on election day, 1982– interestingly, the same day that Mark White was elected governor of Texas. White was, until then, the Texas Attorney General who was trying to bring the Roloff Homes under state regulation.

          The article clearly makes an oversight– it’s referring to Roloff Enterprises and his People’s Baptist Church, not the (by then long-deceased) man himself. It’s a failure of copy editing (I used to be a copy editor).

      1. If you only read one thing about Roloff, read the Texas Monthly article. It gives a good, and, as far as I know, accurate, run-down of the whole Roloff saga.

    1. I talked to him on Facebook about a week or so ago and he’s doing fine. He got a new Droid phone and has been playing with that. As far as I know, recovery is on track.

    2. Well, perhaps not entirely random, since he is indeed a “graduate” of the Roloff system. He is doing well, back at work on a very part time basis, can care for kiddos while wife (me) works… all is going very well. 🙂

  2. All churches/homes/ministries etc have the ability to be abusive . We are imperfect people serving a perfect God. Was there potential abuse? Always a possibility anywhere you go. There were many stories of success as well and it is always easier to show what’s wrong than what may have been right.

    1. While that’s true there’s a major difference between people that make mistakes, hire a bad employee, go too far, and those who institutionalize severe beatings, physical and psychological abuse, hide from any form of inspection/regulation/supervision/accountability, and the worst part is using the Bible/Church/Christ to hide your sin. Lester was the latter.

      1. Exactly true. The “abuse can happen anywhere” excuse doesn’t cut it here. Bad things can happen anywhere, but when it is elevated as common practice then there is a problem and that seems to clearly be what happened here.

        You hear that excuse a lot especially in religious circles. It kind of strikes me as funny. What it is saying is that the ends justify the means. But if you talk to any fundy preacher worth his fundy salt and used that phrase (ends, means) you’d be castigated. Rebuked! and yet when the shit hits the fan on a fundy one of the first things we hear is “it could happen anywhere” or “don’t be so quick to judge.”

      2. So true, RobM. My church made the biggest fuss about the evils of state “meddling”, which is what they considered licensing and oversight. There were no inspections, no licenses. The people out there were not trained to work with “troubled” youth, many of whom were just normal teens whose parents couldn’t do their job. At best, these people were well-meaning bumblers. At worst, I have had former residents tell of horrible tales of abuse and medical neglect. Sadly, at least one person who worked there already had one abuse allegation against him, but nobody was willing to take the first kid through a trial at the time.

        And where could the kids turn to get help? Nowhere. They were living in the middle of the boonies. They couldn’t easily escape, and were often dragged back by the cops (who were friendly to the pastor) if they did. The church often dismissed their stories as made up, and the kids were a bunch of rebels anyway.

    2. Abuse was official policy in the Roloff homes, and Roloff never denied that the physical abuse was used daily (although, of course, he didn’t call it “abuse”). That’s different from a case where there are a few bad apples in an otherwise good institution.

  3. I have to say that this post bothers me a great deal. I grew up as a Christian hearing that Bro Roloff was a hero. I never met him; he died early in my Christian life.

    I do remember, years ago, hearing a girl’s group from one of the homes sing and give testimonies. At the time, I was a little concerned at the glory and honor they were giving to the home instead of to God Himself.

    1. I knew a lot of people I respect who adored Roloff growing up. It’s not always easy to realize how horrible of a human he was.

    2. I was just watching that video of Lester Roloff when he came to bethesda home for girls where I was left by my unsuspecting lied to propagandaed parents who looked at brochues of the home and the nice dorm rooms and uniforms and sweet christian young women that would grow up with a purpose ( I smoked a joint when I was 15- my parents thought i was a dope head) just wanted to let you know – you were right – the girls with the best testamonies saying they were the most druggie prostitute disrespectful full of the devil and how Aunt Dot and Uncle Burt and Bro Roloff and the home came along and change and saved our souls but there are so many more girls like us that need the Lord and can’t come to the home because there is not enough room and if we just could build on an addition or whatever they could get us to pump these sweet little old church going ladies out of their pocketbook – I will be 51 years old tomorrow and I still have nightmares about that place – I always knew if I had happened to be jewish and there was another hitler thing I could survive because I survive The Bethesda Home for Girls

      1. Dear Sandy Myrick,

        This is an old post, but if you come back to it, I hope you’re doing well. What happened to Beth was heinous: it’s too bad no one went to prison for that.

        You mentioned that you still have nightmares about the place. You didn’t mention how frequently you have them or what the dreams are about, but I hope the dreams and bad memories are fading.

        Although the homes must have been a lot worse for a teenage girl than for an adult male who legally was not required to stay, I went down there during the first half of the eighties on the advice of my then pastor. I only had one dream I remember about that time, but here it is:

        I was back at the farm and awaiting execution for stealing powdered orange drink. At first the pending execution seemed just and reasonable until, suddenly, the insanity of it all became apparent.

        In order to escape I put one man in a choke hold and inadvertantly killed him. I then put two rounds into a security guard with a large caliber handgun. The rest of the dream was spent running. There was someone behind me calling out and pretending to be a friend, but I knew he was only trying to trick me so I could be captured.

        Don’t know if there are any similarities there with your dreams.

        God bless you, and best wishes,

  4. Very interesting. I’m acquainted with people who think that Roloff is God’s gift to America. His last name reminds me of what people like him do after completing the act.

  5. One of the links led me to the Jack Patterson information; if you have the chance, check out Mr. Patterson’s academic ‘credentials’ consisting of Hyles-Anderson, Ruckman’s school and an honory doctorate form Pacific Garden Mission?

  6. Let’s really look at this nonsense:

    *The Roloff homes took in children who rebelled against their parents; Lester Roloff rebels against the state.

    *Lester Roloff didn’t want state interference via regulation of his homes as well as other Fundamentalist reject state or federal interference; yet, churches want the advantage of properties not being subjected to taxation.

    *Lester Roloff, like many ‘big name’ Fundamentalist, enjoyed the spotlight and all the trimmings of fame; one of the fruits of the spirit is meekness/humility.

    Interestingly enough, Freud and Erikson believed and taught that the father figure is were we form our image of God (I personally believe this is a valid hypothesis)…what image do you think the children sentenced to the Roloff or Patterson homes have of God? 😈

    1. I can answer that. I have no relationship with god and can’t find one. Funny that the people who wish to save you actually keep you from anything religious or spiritual. I can’t even walk into a church without busting into tears and shaking. Torture in the name of god is still torture. I’m 47, I was 14 when I was court ordered to Rebekah. I wish I could “just get over it” like so many people tell me to do.

      1. Lisa, I know that you posted this a few days ago, so I hope that you get this reply. I also hope that you have other people in your life to tell you this, but I have to add to that, from one abuse survivor to another: you do not in any way have to just get over it. I’m so sorry that people have told you that. I wish healing for you, but that is a different thing than “getting over it.”

      2. You are right you never get over it – NEVER – but one thing i do know for sure it turned me as i am sure it turned you into an advocate for children and for the abused – I’ll stand up in anyones face when humanity turns into insanity – be well my sister survivors!! We won!!

      3. Forgive me. What I meant by that is that you need healing, not to be told to “forget it.” That’s what I meant. I hope that’s been made clear now.

      4. I was also tortured at Roloff and I would love to speak to you?

        I was touched by what you wrote! You sound like
        an amazing person.

        Im Richard- a film maker

  7. didnt realize he allowed black ppl in his circle (being in the deep south and all) i wonder how they were treated, and i found the watermelon 😕 part kinda. . .yeah racist . . .

    1. I noticed that, too. There’s nothing inherently racist about watermelon– it’s a tasty and nutritious food enjoyed by people of all races– but there’s somtehing sort of weird about the main evidence that his school for boys is good being that he gives the boys watermelon (and smacks one of them in the face with a piece).

      1. Gary, you don’t know about watermelons? It is indeed a racist image. There’s a history there you should look up. Google, maybe?

        1. Of course I’m aware of the use of watermelons in insulting racial stereotypes of black people. But that doesn’t stop me from eating watermelons. It doesn’t stop my African-American friends from eating them, either.

        2. It seemed like you were disagreeing with Antoniomodesto, but his analysis is quite right. The context of that film certainly made me raise an eyebrow or two, and I’m white (ie, this isn’t even attacking me directly). The watermelon eating shown here has racial undertones; not surprising, it’s Lester Roloff. That “something sort of weird?” That’s racism. If you know the history, don’t say the object isn’t racist when it’s the racist context that’s under discussion. Nobody cares who eats watermelon; we care about how the image is being used.

        3. What I was trying to say is, I raised an eyebrow at the clowning with watermelon, too, but I’m not sure that wasn’t an overreaction. Both the blacks and the whites in that scene ate the watermelon, and there were no racist remarks in the scene.

          If I were staging a scene meant to show (among other things) interracial harmony in Mississippi, I wouldn’t put watermelon in it. Stealing watermelon is also a standard trope for the behavior of “bad boys” (including white “bad boys”), so that’s another uncomfortable connotation here, since the farm’s inmates were largely youth who had been in some kind of trouble. On the other hand, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Watermelon is a fine food, and it isn’t watermelon’s fault that people have used it to insult other people.

        4. Black guy: that seemed racist
          white guy: that’s probably an overreaction

          see a problem here?
          (white people don’t get to overwrite someone else’s experience)

        5. Yes, it’s a valid point. However, no black guy (or black woman), that I know of, has commented so far in this conversation about the watermelons. If any are reading this, I am interested to know how it seems. Of course, nobody speaks for a whole race, but it would still be interesting to have some African-American perspectives on this.

        6. I suspect Lester Roloff was just fine making lots and lots of watermelons and fried chicken jokes, probably bold enough to make them in front of the black teens, but I’m not really convinced this is that. The mere presence of watermelon and black people doesn’t always predicate racist insinuations. I suspect the black and white guys in that video all had bigger problems going on that trying to divine which fruit snacks were subtle digs at the black guys. I did when I first saw it think “great here comes another blatant racist,” but I just don’t think that materialized here. For the record am white, not that it matters much.

        7. @big gary – antoniomodesto is black, last i checked. i went to school with him at BJU.

        8. Stevius: OK. No way to know that just from reading his writing.
          For that matter, I’m not sure why Naomi assumes that I’m not black.

        9. Now that is funny. 😉 I had good reason to assume Gary is white by the way he wrote about watermelon, but when he referenced his “African American friends,” I knew.

        10. Don – Mora na maidine dhuit

          Fellow Irishman myself. I have a question for you….Prior to Rock Ridge, were you chewing gum on line? 😆

        11. Scorpio, a pox upon me for the lout that I am, not returning your greeting in a timely manner.
          “Agus cuid eile an lae dhuit fein.”

    1. There was a lady in one of the Fundy churches I attended who advocated using the glue sticks from hot glue guns – they don’t set off metal detectors and don’t make much noise, so if you have to spank your kid in a public restroom, no one will turn you in for child abuse.

        1. Yes, it’s scary that she’s put so much thought into evading detection when she batters her children.

      1. Let’s see … Mother’s Day … Father’s Day … Valentine’s Day … Columbus Day. Oh, and what about all those birthday spankings?
        Truly a versatile gift.

        1. Oh! I almost forgot baby showers! Just the thing to give parents-to-be.
          And weddings. The groom may need a little help getting the bride to “submit.”

  8. Honestly I don’t know much about Lester Roloff or his ministries. But something about this video creeps me out. I mean seriously something creeps me out. I think I’m going to go take a shower.

      1. Let’s see, Jim Jones’ Church was named <i<The Peoples Temple
        Lester Roloff’s church was named People’s Baptist Church

        The flavor of the kool-aid seems to be about the same only one was faster acting. 😯

    1. I know! I also thought the same thing, but the images brought to my mind Hitler youth, and then Jim Jones. Really sad, cause I had to get shot at the dr. earlier today for nausea…so much for that, because I am SEVERELY naueated now.

  9. Mississippi has been called many things, but progressive is not one of them. I had to roll my eyes just to start listening to him. And what was that story he was telling about Becky? (I think that was her name.) His sequencing was a little off. She ran away from home, got hit by a train and lost her leg (and lay there bleeding from a major artery for *four* hours??? I don’t buy that), got an artificial leg, ran away again, and ended up at Roloff’s home. What was going on at home that made her want to run away not once but twice? Did anybody ever ask that queston? Plus, when Roloff said that the guy with her got hit by the train and they only ever found a couple pounds of him, she smiled! Eeeewww! Smiled!!!

    1. Unquestioning blaming the victim is a common infuriating theme. Yeah, I really don’t get the train story. I think if got hit by a train could’ve done enough damage that would’ve had to amputate it later (and left her unconscious or unable to get to help). The idea of a leg being severed by a train, and then lying there bleeding out for hours and not dying is preposterous. Can almost guarantee none of the abusive parents who sent their kids there were ever questioned, scrutinized, or in anyway given a second thought. Always the child’d fault.

    2. Yeah. Roloff, along with a lot of other old-time radio evangelists, pretty much ran a freak show. And, as in most freak shows, not all of the exhibits were real.

      I also noticed in that segment Roloff said that girl survived because Jesus loved her so much. Apparently Jesus didn’t love the boy of whom “they only ever found a few pounds of him.” And, although it’s supposed to be her testimony, he never lets the girl say a word. It was all really, really bizarre.

      1. Yeah, I caught that too: the girl survived because Jesus loved her so much. Hmmmmm, I believe God so loved THE WORLD. I thought that sounded strange when I heard it.

    3. Did you notice that Roloff said her mother and daddy loved her… A Christian mother and dad who neglected their responsibility as parents and turned their child over to others to fix.
      I understand sometime parents need help and children have their own personalities and issues but to place your child in one of these quasi-religious behavorial modification camps is criminal. Especially one where there is no one licensed or trained to deal with Cchildren and behavorial issues. Where there is no oversight by a competent authority, and no accountability to anyone but the administrator…. That is the definition of Cognitive Dissonance… and I would add, criminal neglect.

    4. Her name was Beth- I was at Bethesda when she was there – she had prior been at the Rebekka home in Corpus Christie but evidently she was too much of something or another to be “good” enough to stay there so they sent her own over to Miss for Aunt Dot and Uncle Burt to “FIX” and yes there is a special hell for these two folks. Roloff had a religious track put out on Beth with an amtrack train in the background and her smiling sweet angelic Roloff soul fixing face in front of the train and it said ‘From the amtrak to the I AM TRACK” implying that the I AM is God and Beth had got her a dose thanks to old Roloff – he paraded her around like a prize dog never allowing her to speak or rather to say anything unscripted by him of course – the track read just like the story he told- Beth was the first young person i ever saw with a prostetic limb (her leg- going all the way to half her thigh or above her knee) We were not allowed to speak at the Bethesda Home – yeah a teenage girl going a whole year without having a conversation with the people who sleep in your room or eat at your table or the ones you can not comfort after they have been beaten or starved or had a bladder problem and wet the bed and was made to wear a big black garbage bag as a diaper for weeks ( i think that girl was 14 – she as many others cried everyday- but very carefully – you’d get slapped to the floor and major verbal emotional attacks) anyway Beth -all we knew of her story was what you all heard – Dot and Burt didn’t like her – she was purposely given a hard time – put on detention or something from Roloff that’s why he punished her and sent her to Mississippi – well if you were a great liar and told you were the worst devil’s spawn on earth and Burt Dot Roloff and the home saved your damned soul and turned you into whatever blah blah and we need more room girls are turned away they need the lord and we need money for more room- they trained us to extract money from these good hearted sweet little old christian ladies pocketbooks – the better you were at making them cry and dig in their wallets the better a chance of you getting to escape the home and go on a weekend tour – Beth wasn’t allowed to go however ole Beth and two other girls planed an escape on one of our tour weekends – when the tour group arrived back at the home, things were somber. after dinner and chores that night there was a mock trial or witch hunt of sorts that ocurred- at the head table sat AUnt Dot, that odd nurse chic who should have known better, a sadistic 18-19ish in charge person named Cleme, and a couple of the other higher up girls that had belittling and torturing and swinging a wooden board at anyplace from your bra strap to the knee backs calling them licks – and these girls could probably have hit a ball that would have clocked at least 145mph (angry young women-IN CHARGE) well the whole story was told of the escape plan – i remember Beth was tied to her metal folding chair and they had taken away her leg and at some point that evil Aunt Dot got up and was yelling at her marching toward her and hit her across her face with her fake leg!!!!! OMG this really really happened – of course it knocked her to the ground and she was not moving – she never got her leg back for the rest of the 3 weeks i was there -SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE- why didn’t anybody help us- I hope Beth survived and is now called tink tink

      1. Wow. 😯

        Thanks for filling us in on those details. There’s nothing like an eyewitness account.

  10. I did meet Roloff and heard him preach at BJU and my home church (the pastor had a nephew or cousin or some relation who got “straitened” out by Roloff). He was a kook. Like most Fundyland “ministries,” he wanted all the glory with no accountability.

  11. IDK about the rest of you, but when I watch LA Confidential I always find myself wishing Roloff had been Rollo Tomasai’d much earlier in his life than living long enough to have abused all the kids he did. Not an ideal sentiment, but the similarity of the names always comes to mind watching that.

  12. Am I the only one who finds the wreckage of Roloff’s plane at Hyles-Anderson to be pretty similar to the concept of “holy relics” one would find in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches?

  13. Would Roloff have laughed if one of the guys pushed a piece of watermelon in his mouth unexpectedly? I don’t think that would happen.

    I realize it’s a small thing, but it’ a demonstration of dominance, power. What choice does the guy have but to laugh about it.

    That’s my beef with these fundy preachers-all is wonderful til you cross them-then you see the ugliness.

    I remember Roloff visiting our IFB church w/ his singing girls back in the 60’s.

    With fundies, it’s all about authoritarianism. It’s their way or the highway. Nothing about humility, learning from others, mutual respect.

  14. My question is this:Why do we never hear anything about his wife Mrs. Lester Roloff?
    Why with the appearance of evil such a huge fundy issue die Lester routinely fly around the country with four women? Where was Mrs Lester? Lester died with four women and noe were his wife.
    But I forget Lester was a god and could do no wrong in the eyes of Fundydom. 😕

    1. george!
      “Why, with the appearance of evil being such a huge fundy issue, did Lester routinely fly around the country with four women?”
      “Lester died with four women and none were his wife.”

  15. (As I tried to post the below this morning, it seems I was “banned beforehand” which was to be expected. A little too soon Darrell, guess this means I won since you surrendered first? )
    Dear Darrell, SFL readers and posters,
    Well I think I have proven my point repeatedly enough (and had it proven for my by certain posters here).

    After being personally singled out by this site (I didn’t ask for it—you did by doing such Darrell) , then unethically being revealed, having my mother and my wife insulted and been judged repeatedly, it is oh so quite apparent that SFL is just as judgemental and critical as the so called “Fundies” you claim to separate yourselves from.
    The hypocrisy and hate has been enormous and obvious.
    Thos who wander across this site will see this not only on the surface, but especially if they happen across any of the comments made to and about me.
    (Act 7:54) ”When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.”

    Scripture is ridiculed here just for being quoted. Individual Christians, not just their behavior, is mocked and belittled. This is not always the case, but it often is.

    Outspoken defense of Atheism, evolution and Homosexuality have been applauded, and the majority saw no “need” to address those things, but a Pastor of a small local Church is bullied, insulted and ridiculed.
    In the course of a few weeks , I have been called a “Troll” while being stalked by a stalker, I have had e-mails sent to our Church webpage filled with four letter insults against me and my mother (who isn’t even a Christian BTW, …..I sure hope she never stumbles across theses exchanges here, or SFL at all.), and more…for what?
    I have not called anyone names, insulted anyone’s family . I have quoted scripture and made a few remarks. Even if you consider some of the remarks to be sharp or “judgmental”, there can be no doubt that far worse has been said to and about me—which is rank hypocrisy.
    (Jude 1:3) ”Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
    Ex-fundies? Hardly. Many here are far more “fundy” than most “fundies” I know…you have just found a convenient patsy and scape goat to blame for your carnality and hatred of God’s precepts.
    Do I remind you of some fundy in the past? (Usually a parent that loves you or a Pastor that tried to help you, but sometimes a predator or a dictator) That is no excuse to take your bitterness toward them out on me.
    Wounded sheep? Join the club. In my past, I have encountered a dictating Pastor who abused his authority and ruined a Church. Did it hurt me and my family? Very much. Did I let it ruin my life and dictate what kind of person I would be by allowing a root of bitterness to spring up in me? You bet!
    Yes, I sure did. And it was a horrible mistake that caused me years of regret. But thank God for His grace! After feeling and sounding alot like many of you, God broke my heart and showed me that abuse is no excuse for ungodly attitudes and actions.
    He showed me that I was wrong to allow being wronged to make me bitter.

    Though the posts of some professed unsaved folks, and some wounded sheep have been spiteful and vengeful here, this is not the case for most here, and some have shown Christian Character (I am looking at you Pastor’s Wife and a few others who, even when disagreeing with me vehemently, have not sunk to slander and insults-thank you, and thank you for showing others how it is supposed to be done.), but is this really the kind of crowd you want to be aligned with?
    If you don’t want to align yourself with Fundamentalism because of its errors and extremes, so be it, but to jump from the pan into the fire? Very counter intuitive and counter productive.

    Why is bitterness refused as even an option of discussion here? I think we all know why.
    Why are Christian institutions (which many of their most outspoken critics benefited form greatly in recent years past) routinely routed? The answers are pretty obvious there too.
    This forum has become no longer a fun forum of “poking fun” but it has often degenerated into a caustic cry against fundamental Bible truths —not fundamamentalist traditions/odd habits like Jon Acuff’s SCL which it mimics, but something entirely different .

    I apologize for the times I allowed my old nature to overcome me when I “fought fire with fire” per se. When my pastor and my family were attacked, I did occasionally respond in vengeance, and I was wrong to do so.
    Though I never succumbed to the insults and slander shown me by other (Or profanity) , I did occasionally say things just to get a rile out of those doing the same to me, and just caused them to get worse. I am sorry. More than once, I have hit “reply” , then went back and said—“I wish I could delete that” but alas, it was too late.
    It is for this reason (and others) that I am going to start “laying low”.
    As I have said before, I do not want to be guilty of Proverbs 26:4 while obeying Proverbs 26:5

    ….I will continue to read and make no promises not posting replies, but every time I check back there are tons of responses to my posts , and I simply don’t have the time to find them all, much less answer them all. Not to mention he above reason stated.

    I truly hope and pray (As I pray for some here by name) that you see what you have become and recognize what you are doing to be bitterness personified.

    A Voice Crying In the Wilderness

    As a favor to readers, I will save you time and post a few comments concerning mine:

    “Thank gid”
    “Good riddance”
    “Don’t let the “open door” hit you on the way out”
    “Thank you George!”
    “@#%&!!! John”
    “Stay away”
    “Don’t come back”
    “Happy snoopy dance”

    And maybe even something from someone pretending to be my mother.

      1. . <– world's smallest record player playing "My Heart Bleeds For You"

        Just another case of "dishes it out but can't take it". *shrug*

        Bye, and I hope you really do come out of Fundyland someday.

        1. Just curious, who ever mentioned his wife? I must have missed it.

          After giving it much thought, the proverbial “Swan Song” was little more than a parting jab(s), a plea for sympathy, assertions of hatred for God on our behalf, self-congradulation for “standing in the gap” and a variety of other whinny-baby stuff. In the end, he took his ball and went home. Could someone make sure the doors shut and locked?

        2. Whoever did “John’s Mom” mentioned his wife’s name once. That probably did go too far, although the information is public.

        3. Finally. He should have done that a long time ago. Seems to me he’s a glutton for punishment, or he wouldn’t have made so many abrasive comments. I honestly wanted to rip into him every time he went on his anti-liberal/feminist/gay/atheist tirades, but I’m glad I didn’t. Even though I myself am a feminist and a liberal (gasp!!). Pick your battles, I figure.

        4. Oh, but Melody, he had to feel like he was being persecuted for Jesus. (Yeah, I know he’s still reading.) Never mind he was bringing it on himself by deliberately being inflammatory.

          Since Fundies don’t have suicide bombers (at least not yet), they have to use internet trolls and those really out-there “campus preachers” who stand around campus and scream filthy insults at students (and I heckled those guys even when I was Fundy). Fundy martyrdom, lovely. 😛 Honestly, talk about making it tough for those who really do want dialogue!

      1. When someone runs out of things to say they often resort to…”well you are doing it too.” If a person is hypocritical then their arguments are moot right? Really its just another manipulation tool that gets thrown at us far too often. I don’t buy it. Can we all be a bit hypocritical at times? Absolutely…are there prime examples that happen on this website? Sure…does that make this website and its criticisms any less valid? Nope.

    1. @John
      I think you forget that this is not a site just for Christians of one certain stripe…there are different kinds of Christians and different kinds of non-christians that gather here and comment. This is not the place to “prove” each comment as being wrong, faulty or unbiblical.

      Just because I post here doesn’t mean I agree with everybody that comments here. Just because I don’t “stand up” on everything I disagree with doesn’t mean I agree with everything that is being said here.

      Besides the fact that the internet is really not the place to have heated debates because they are pointless. Sometimes I raise an issue because I am interested and curious what other people have to say about it. But the last thing I want to do is fight with someone in order to make him/her see my point. I let it go and move on.

      I don’t expect people to believe exactly how I believe in the same manner that I don’t believe exactly what other people believe. It’s mutual respect and that’s one way to keep this website fun.

      1. Hay-Men! Well said. The fact is there are Christians, non-Christians and everything in between here on this site. It is just the way I like it and what makes this website good. We don’t agree on all things, but we can agree to enjoy the website together. And that is a dynamic I’d like to keep.

      2. *Insert disclaimer here* This is not necessarily a Christiann site. It has made no claim to be a Christian site. Any opinions given by anybody on this site are just their own opinions, and do not represent the opinions of any group of people, real or imagine. ❗

        See post on SFL: Dislaimers

        1. “This is not necessarily a Christian site.”

          Exactly. People are here because they experienced fundyland. That doesn’t mean everbody here is a Christian. In fact, there might even be some atheists hanging around. Scary thought. 😉

      3. I agree, PvR. This is just not the place for me to play “teacher” and “correct” everyone else’s comments.

      1. now that was funny. On my screen it looks like gobbletygook until I copied it and put it in Word… then all was made clear. 😆

    2. Booooooooooooohooooooooooooooooooo! 😥

      I can’t write anything for all the tears dropping on my keyboard!

    3. OH JOY!!! I have my son back! You wouldn’t answer your home phone, you wouldn’t answer your cell, you were never at church! You were on this cooking site constantly! I’ve looked it over and can’t see the big deal – they never even talk about STUFFING THAT FUNDY’S LIKE! Don’t know what the point of that is anyways. If anyone cares . . . I like turkey.

      So thank you for returning to your momma! I’ve missed you so (your family too of course). And for the record I think you’ve behaved admirably here. What people need is a good dose of HARD PREACHING! You were great at that – just as we taught you as a child: no fancy theologicality, no fancy logic, no worldly reasoning, just plain proof texting. You got a little squirrely there using some hurtful words, but I know you remembered all those bars of soap I made you eat, and I appreciated the apologies. By the way, you mentioned someone insulted me??? I didn’t catch that, thank you for defending my honor, Johnny!

      I know you don’t want me on your little site here, but I didn’t want to leave another long voice mail, and I know you’d check here. So anyhoo! Welcome home my little man!! Can’t wait to see you at supper tonight!

      1. An aside to “John’s mom”: Great schtick, but maybe when you go after the next Fundybully, keep the family names out of the mix. Just sayin’.

    4. Finished reading…whew…
      Wow….just wow…… hit every single stereotype in my brain checklist….even ended with the ol’ I’m praying for you curse…well done John. Let the butthurt flow through you 😆

    5. Reading this was like experiencing a flashback to fundyland. And a good reminder as to why I left. It really hit all cylinders; bitterness card, separation card, martyr syndrome, random verse association, passive agressive comments etc. etc.

      John, I appreciate the time you took to write out such a thoughtful comment to us all. But you still seem to fail to understand why all of us are here at SFL. Like a true fundy you fail to accept people for who and what they are. Acceptance from you only happens when we agree with you 100%, just like in a fundy church. “All are welcome as long as you are just like us.”

      What you have done here is the equivalent of being a New York Yankees fan and going to a Boston Red Sox fan forum and telling everyone how great the Yankees are and how everyone should like the Yankees. It ain’t going to happen and you’re going to get “yelled at”, alot. Another analogy (which I think I have used before so sorry for the repitition) would be you showing up at an AA meeting with a 12 pack of beer. As you are being thrown out screaming how tasty and cold the beer is. Then you do nothing but complain about how YOU were treated.

      The internet gives everyone “beer muscles”. We all say things that maybe we wouldn’t say to someone face-to-face. But it is just the internet. Many of us don’t use our real names. Some of the people here know each other. I do not know anyone (not that I am aware of anyway 🙂 ). It’s a diverse crowd and not everyone agrees with everything that is being said. Most make a comment or two and move on.

      As you said somewhere above, SFL used to be a fun place….you are correct. But it still is fun and in my mind will always be fun no matter who joins the party. Even if we can’t all see the white piano 😆

      1. I actually skimmed the post, and totally flashed back to my fundy u days (pcc). Felt like what became bi weekly meetings with floor leaders/residence managers/deans/etc acting offended that I would dare to think anything that hadn’t come from the pulpit. I sometimes was able to supress my snickering, othertimes not. At the time I figured they were just trying to be the nice people they said they wanted to be. I think we all know the falseness in that now.

      2. I may have been applauded and backed up for comments I have made, but I have never mistaken that for anyone approving of homosexuality. I realize that most posters here believe that it is a sin, and I’m not threatened by that. I know who I am and am happy with that. I have appreciated very much that no one else has felt the need to, as Darrell said, hurl scripture verses at me like rocks. If I have ever seemed to flaunt who I am, I apologize. That is never my intention, though every aspect of who I am and what my experiences have been will obviously inform my posts and replies. In John, I have seen nothing but condemnation, hardness of heart, and the need to constantly threaten the fires of hell. In most of the rest of you, I have seen the love of God, the desire to grow closer to Him, the reflection of His grace at work in your own lives, and love toward the outsiders like myself. If it’s worth anything, you have earned my respect and admiration, and I will always consider carefully the things you see fit to post. Thank you!

        1. As far as I’m concerned, you have yet to flaunt it. The only people who would think that are those that are threatened by the mere presence of an openly gay man on this site. And yes, I’m proud of how well you’ve handled yourself. I appreciate how you’re open about your sexuality, but you don’t push it in people’s faces. Whatever you’re doing, don’t stop. :mrgreen:

        2. In general, I’m happy to read the perspective of a gay Christian. Personally, your comments are insightful, Diachenko.
          God made you gay for some good purpose, perhaps known only by God. You have a place in the Kingdom, too.
          That may not square with Fundy orthodoxy, but it seems to me that it should be clear to those who love the Lord (as opposed to loving rules and condemnations).

    6. @John
      You seem to keep missing what’s happening here.
      I think much of the negative reaction comes from how you handle yourself here. A number of your posts are rather juvenile. You do come across having a martyr complex. You don’t seem willing to grasp that you brought a lot of this on yourself.
      I went back and read the posts when you first popped on the radar here. You made positive comments about own sermon, while using the third person. Darrell was right, you purposely hid your identity. You don’t get to do that then claim you were treated unethically.
      You have, at times, behaved childishly. Rather than engage in reasonable discourse, and accept that not everyone will see it your way, you tried to bully, and when that failed, you took the martyr approach.
      John, you could have been a part of the conversation, but you chose instead to make the conversation about you. If you really felt that the faith was being maligned, then why didn’t you give a rational, adult-level defense of it?
      Bottom line, a large portion of the scorn heaped upon you, you brought upon yourself. You can, however, choose now a different way. You can choose to explain your positions rationally, with thought and reason, and accept that some simply won’t see it your way. You don’t have to compromise your beliefs. Instead, state your position like an adult. Engage in conversation like you would if someone were standing right in front of you. Treat other posters with respect (yes, even when they don’t treat you with respect). And quit playing the victim.
      I offer this on the spirit of 2 Timothy 2:25.

  16. I lived on the Roloff farm for three years. Mrs. Roloff was what we consider at church a “shut in”. I never understood what her physical ailment was, but she never left her house. She didn’t attend any church services.

    And all I can say about those testimonies is that the better you made your testimony the more chances you could “tour” which meant more freedoms and regular food. On the farm you could have no gum, no caffeine (health food chocolates and soft drinks could be found in the Country Store), and no pork. This applied to everyone-not just residents of the homes. We lived somewhat communally on the farm (the ministry owned almost all the housing). It seems more people had bad experiences than good.

    1. Kim, how would you describe your overall treatment there? Was it too harsh? Did you feel loved? Was it just a masochistic society? Did you think they had your best interests at heart? Please elaborate.

      1. I was not in the homes but only a staff kid. However, we were allowed to tour with the homes in singing groups when we were old enough. It was all very oppressive. There were “runners” and groups who had to then go look for the runaways. Gates, guard post. When the girls went next door to church the trusted girls would line the pathway on each side so no one could “run”. Many of these girls that I went to school with were not on drugs or alchohol before they came in. I think that’s a myth they perpetrated. Wally Beebe’s daughter was there when I was. They were all really nice girls. You were forced to eat too. That always bothered me.

        1. The myth of the “wayward teen” was prevalent in other homes as well, but the real stories never added up. Many of the people from my former church’s concentration camp were dumped there after a parent remarried and the new spouses didn’t want a teenager around. some were abuse survivors. One girl was completely abandoned by her parents. The kids who did act up weren’t always the druggies. Sometimes it was normal teenage angst and testing limits.

          The threat of being sent out to the home hung over my head for even the smallest and dumbest infractions. Knowing what I know now from the ones who did go there, there was nothing I could possibly have done to deserve the nightmare those other kids suffered, and they didn’t deserve it either.

        2. The kids who did act up weren’t always the druggies. Sometimes it was normal teenage angst and testing limits.

          But I would wager good money there was no one on staff who was professionally qualified to know the difference and treat it with objective compassion. (Who needs a psychologist when we have the meens to break the will and remold it to fit our template.)
          I would further wager any behavior outside the concrete limits of the “Rules,” and/or the subjective limits of any staff memember on any given day, or mood, were all treated as willful rebellion and punished far above the level the “crime” called for, just so next time they would know not to come close to the concrete line but stay back 3, 5 or 10 steps. (to avoid the appearance of evil, so to speak)

        3. @Don,
          I agree! Aside from the 10 Commandments, Christianity (aside from most, it not all religion) is subjective in nature and rests on the conscience and mindset of the hearer. I realize most may not agree with me on that, but, look at the fruit and look at how it plays out in our own lives. For instance, we pray for “God’s will” but in the end, we do what we feel most comfortable with…every time. For whatever reason, the people like Roloff have/had their agendas and USED the bible and The Faith to accomplish the desired ends, in this case, I believe Mr. Roloff had a problem with authority.
          I think in Fundamentalism you have a big problem with projection…most of the Fundy leaders mentioned on this board disciplined heavily for rebellion but they themselves rebelled by running off with other women, molesting children, stealing, etc.

        4. Don, you are correct. There were no trained professionals of any kind on staff. Any “training” many of these people received was while working at the church’s on-site school, over an hour away from the children’s home property. The teachers weren’t even properly trained, but that didn’t matter because it used ACE curriculum so who was really learning anything anyway?

          There may have been a nurse there at one point, but I can’t even prove that one.

    2. Kim, I’m wondering when you were there. Lester Roloff was a personal friend of my family when I was growing up. My father was on his board of directors for at least 15 years. We went to Corpus Christi many, many times over the years (approx. 1960-1980). On numerous occasions, our family flew with him in his plane, fished with him in the bay, spent the night at his house, kept him overnight at our house, etc. Marie Roloff was a mysterious and aloof person. I do recall one time when she came along with him to our house for a visit. Also, we saw her sometimes when we went to Corpus Christi (if we were invited to their house for a meal–of course, he always did the cooking). However, she and their two daughters distanced themselves from the ministry. It was all very peculiar to me at the time. Bro. Roloff (as we called him) always spoke of her favorably, but she obviously wasn’t “on board” with his work. I suppose in her later years, she did have health problems but before that, she just stayed out of sight.

      1. I knew a couple of women who were considered odd shut ins that the husband was the one who only ever left for some reason, and everyone just accepted the fact she was just shy or reclusive. Turns out after the fact, we learn the sever emotional abuse and isolation they were experiencing from the ‘him’s were horrifying. I strongly suspect this was the case for them based on the character of Lester.

      2. From your description, I picture the wife of the military neighbor in the movie American Beauty.

    3. As a kid, I always wondered what a “Shut in” was. It was always women, not necessarily old. Their ailments were not mentioned but they never left their home. Don’t know many “Shut in’s” nowadays.

      1. My church talks about visiting “shut-ins.” They are people who seldom get out of their homes, usually due to poor health. But I hate that term; it sounds like somebody has them imprisoned.

      1. Thanks, Dave. All the pummeling going on here has made me very sad. When it’s all boiled down, John is our brother. Jesus loves every one here with equal intensity. Every one. The exchanges with John have been highly acidic. I think Jesus is the one who got burned the most.

  17. What people like John don’t understand is that we’ve already been there, done that, and drank the Kool-Aid. We’re not going back.

    1. Right. I don’t attack John because I know he has good intentions. However, the purpose of this website is to receive validation for having left the oppressive Fundy movement, not necessarily to learn the Truth (although many of you have articulated the truth of the Gospel so well). I believe that if John truly believes in the gospel, he will seek to preach the truth (not the Kool-Aid) at his church, even though it will NOT be consistent with Fundyism. People will leave and the offerings might decrease for a while, but it will be worth it.

      1. “to receive validation” – that’s exactly it! When you begin to see where the IFB teaching you’ve always known DOESN’T line up with Scripture, you are often ridiculed and shunned. You wonder why no one else sees what you see. You feel alone and rejected, especially if you have no friends outside your IFB circles. You’re often told that you’re in rebellion against God when you question IFB traditions. Finding places like SFL lets you know that you’re not alone!

        1. You just described my situation perfectly! I am so thankful for the SFL community for that reason. Each of you are teaching me that, in the midst the things that fundies have stolen from me spiritually, I don’t have to allow them to rob me of a real relationship with the True God, too.

  18. I hope the Victorious Valley homes aren’t like that. I’ve heard the girls’ testimonies and had a friend who worked there. Though the homes are very strict, the ministry seems good.

    1. I’ve seen clips of them on youtube. I have no way of knowing, but am always suspicious of behaviour modification progs, especially ones that aim to get all students/clients/patients/customers to fit into a pretty concretely defined mold.

    2. I wondered about them as well. Unfortunately He has left his wife. The word is for one of the girls that had stayed on as staff after she aged out of the home. She was “older” meaning not a student any longer. (they say mid 20’s)
      This is from their website:

      As for Bro. McGill, nothing has changed at this moment. We do ask that you continue to pray for him and also pray for the church and home.
      and: In closing, we would also ask that you please remember to pray for my dad, Brother Johnny McGill, that the Lord will work in his heart and bring him home to his family. We are looking for God to do miraculous things! He is able!

      There is a string over at FFF.
      As it has already been said we are all sinners and we are all prone to fall in our own strength. I am not bashing McGill here. I am bashing the IFB system that allowed him to be set up for failure. The “Independent” mindset leaves the “misnistry” out one its own. Such autonomy is dangerous stuff.

      I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority. There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”

      Unfortunately the IFB movement plays into Lord Acton’s axiom… not awayfrom it.

      1. I’m afraid you’re right, Don. It invites excess and corruption in a number of ways. Two of them are by encouraging cults of personality and by lacking systems of accountability.

        1. Exactly! And here in the rusted buckle of the Bible belt that is precisely what we have, the Cult of personality drives the IFB. In my area on the way to my old church (sounds like the punchline of a bad desert island joke) which was maybe 3 miles from my house, I passed 6 other churches. 3 are baptist, 3 aren’t. Of those three only one is greater than 10 years old… Everywhere one looks around here there is an IFB church, and there is a man who believes God called him to take a small group and start another church… total Cult of Personality… and no accountability. The m-o-g is the only authority, just ask him and he’ll tell you. He claims God is the only authority until you question one of his rules, or his fundie worldview. Christlike is not the spirit that comes out when you do that.

    3. Not part of the VV home, but part of the church for nearly a decade. The girls and boys were/are treated very well, and many are happy there. Many of the girls went on to stay for 5-10 years by their own choice. Bro. Johnny’s life was very hard. Please don’t pass judgement based upon what has been made public. I don’t feel like I should share anymore on a public forum, but please understand that he was a hurting man.

  19. In Houston, My youth Pastor was a graduate from the Roloff Home program in Galveston. He had a great story about sin and drugs, prison and then salvation and a haircut. He worshipped Roloff and traveled with him, credits him for changing his life. Loved my youth pastor. Even though He says it was a great experience, the stories he told about the home sounded just horrible. No way I could live that way so I went to PCC. Ha!

    Roloff is a creepy guy. Didn’t realize it at the time because our church was all about Roloff back then.

    1. It’s called a gravatar. It’s basically a small photo tethered to an email address. (Don’t ask me how it works; internet magic.) The website to set one up is http://www.gravatar.com. You’ll find instructions there.


  20. FWIW–back in the 70s our pastor told a group of us that Roloff’s wife was obese and that Roloff was embarrassed by that. Roloff visited our church in Greenville, SC, once a year for a while there back in the 60s and 70s. I always wondered about the babies that were born at the home and what happened to them. Roloff often mentioned them and sounded as if he thought he owned them.

  21. Anyone recognize Bro. Jack Patterson in this video? (he’s a LOT bigger now than he was back then!)

  22. Someone asked in an earlier post if someone shoved a piece of watermelon in Bro Roloffs face would he think it was funny. Knowing him probably yes he would have loved it. One time we were eating dinner and afterwards we were at the table eating home made ice cream. There was a bowl of sour cream on the table and I snuck a spoonful of that and offered it to Bro Roloff. I know he was expecting it to be ice cream instead it was sour cream. The look of surprise on his face was priceless but he laughed along with all of us. Take some of the stories you hear with a grain of salt. Some of them are exaggerated.

    1. Just because someone has a since of humor, just because good times occur within proximity of abusive times, does NOT errase the abuse neither does it act as proof that abuse did not happen. People are not single dimensional beings. Sometimes abusers seem normal to others because they are expert manipulators…. Sometimes abused people believe that “less” abuse is good. Many who went to his homes came from one form of abuse into his homes of lessor abuse. NEVER makes it ok though. Abuse is wrong in all its sizes and forms. Even abuse candy coated as “witnessing”. “ministry” “discipline” and “descipling/teaching”. Sin is sin. Evil is evil. The man was wrong in his approach, application of scripture, and motivation. Lived at Bethesda about 2 years, dont need to read about it. Lived it.

  23. Brother Rolloff was a deamon hiding behind the name of GOD! I was in his Bethesda home for a year and seen so much mental and physical abuse it makes me wish they would shut all his homes down and sue the estate!!!! he stold and sold babies and tourmented teens!!!! So drastically I lost my monthly for 7 months and was NOT pregnant!!! He was SATAN himself!!!!!

    1. I am so sorry for what you went through in the name of God. That was so wrong.

    2. I’m sorry that happened to you, Angela.
      From what I hear, that kind of torture of teens is still going on in the Roloff legacy “homes.” I wish they would all be closed yesterday.

    3. Hi Angela,

      I’m assuming you were only there for 7 months. In Rebekah, not one girl had their period the entire time I was there. I looked this up once and there are almost no references that I could find to woman/girls stopping mennstruating, all references are to the “dormitory effect”. I did find this:

      Once the initial abominations had taken place the women who survived were handed clothing, generally of inadequate and ill-fitting form. In such shapeless and monochrome coverings, body and femininity were discarded and displaced. Inadequate food and the complete absence of sustenance for extended intervals meant that bodies became skeletal and dehumanized. Most women in the camps ceased to menstruate. There was a general consensus among women survivors that chemical substances were added to the meager food rations to achieve this end, though doubtlessly the lack of food, excessive hard labor and the horror of surrounding circumstances might also have been causally responsible for collective amenorrhea.

      I lost my period when I entered Rebekah and got it back about 6 months after leaving.

      By the way, that quote is from an article at the Law Library titled, SEX-BASED VIOLENCE AND THE HOLOCAUST–A REEVALUATION OF HARMS AND RIGHTS IN INTERNATIONAL LAW.

  24. Personally I studied when I left the home and found the faith for me, however it has NOTHING to do with the bible and I am very turned aginst ANY person that claims any faith and doesn’t walk it! Lester Rolloff was deffinately a wierd deranged person and his abuse is awful!!! If that is his GOD I want nothing to do with such mental illness!! I am now 44 years old, and my children and grandchildren will NEVER have some faith programmed into them by FEAR!!! and CONTROL and ABUSE!!!! Faith is by CHOICE! and should be out of LOVE! HE had no LOVE in his heart, just another HITLER!!!! hiding behind “GOD”!

  25. I just looked in on this site by accident and I must say that it most definitely is not a Christian site….not by any stretch of the imagination. I have never heard so much malicious gossip, rumor, and slander by such obvious hypocrits. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. You all need to be reading your Bibles instead to learn what true love is really
    all about. If you were true Christians and had the Spirit and love of Christ in you, this site ,which so prominently displays the spirit of the evil one, would not even exist.

    1. Why, because we do not worship at the altar of manipulative men who built their empires on legalism, control, and fear?

      Take ol Lestor here. Did he submit to the authorities placed over him as we are commanded to in scripture? Nope. And yet he created his own legend based on his rebellion. A gamble that put the welfare of children at risk… just so he could garner more support and increase his empire.

      Sorry, where was Christ in that? Having to take a back seat to Lestor as he fought his “Christian Alamo.” Not everything that is done in the name of Christ is. Just because someone claims what they are doing is Christian doesn’t make it so. Such as these need to be exposed.

    2. Lester Roloff was a wicked human being who demeaned and damaged countless individuals. What kind of person would ignore the wake of hurting human beings he left behind him, in order to cling to their hero? Hint: not one that understood the Bible they claim to have read.

  26. @ Mary,
    You sound more and more like Roloff Mary! Evil ones??? I was not the evil one! I was forced to be kept by YOUR so claimed to be BROTHER in CHRIST! you need to understand this site is telling the TRUTH of your so called brother and his different sides mentally!!!! Wake up and understand not all that claim to be CHRISTIANS are CHRIST LIKE! That is exactly why I do NOT claim to be a CHRISTIAN!!! You are setting a WONDERFUL EXAMPLE through wittnessing Mary!!! I’m tired of the PUT downs and being called EVIL for having to deal with circumstances that were BEYOND my control! Slander???? HARDLY!!! would you like my medical records from being in his home???? or the pictures of abused girls or testimonies of the BABIES he SOLD!!!???? WAKE UP!!! It’s people like you Mary that me SICK!

  27. Yeah…I was at Bethesda,

    This video brings back a lot of bad memories.

    Let me tell you how they really treated Beth.

    They “loved this little girl Beth” so much they would take her prosthetic leg away from her to prevent her from running away after they beat her and the other girls.

    They allowed Beth to wear her prosthetic leg in services in order to parade her out in this tear jerking speech from Roloff to fool the good church people would open their wallets and give to Roloff.

    The poor Beth would go back on the bus, or back to Bethesda where her leg was taken away, until the next service.

    Bethesda was raided by state and federal agents and finally closed in the 1980’s.

    I’m sorry, I’m too emotional right now. I have often wondered what happened to Beth….

  28. I recognize the writing style of rd. Roloff never abused anyone personally that I know of and he helped hundreds. He did however, turn a blind eye whenever anyone reported abuses to him. I’m a Rebekah survivor. I personally know of horrible abuses by the sadistic workers under his employment.

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