Curious and Curiouser: The Slow and Strange Descent into Fundamentalism
[The following is a work of fiction. As with all fiction, it may contain some truth.]
They were a close-knit family. Father, Mother, Son, Daughter. Went to church twice on Sundays and Wednesday evenings. Every week without fail.
Shortly after their second child was born, they were introduced to the book To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl. They were hooked from the very first sentence and were amazed at how much wisdom was packed into such a little book. Their only regret was not getting their hands on the book sooner, for their children ‘missed out’ on being trained from infancy. The Father liked the book so much he felt everybody should read the book and promptly ordered 100 copies to pass on to family and friends.
When it came time for the children to go to school, there was no doubt in the parents’ minds that they would homeschool. The Father spoke up in church proclaiming that homeschooling was the only reasonable decision a godly, Christian family could make. If, for whatever reason, a family was unable to homeschool, then Christian School was the way to go. There was just no justification in sending children off to public school, for it was the devil’s lair.
While the Family started out with a more mainstream Christian Homeschool Curriculum (albeit a bit dry and not very academically rigorous), they soon became acquainted with another home school family that introduced them to the Institute of Basic Life Principles and its home school curriculum, Advanced Training Institute. The Father was so very impressed with how the ATI-Family conducted themselves; in particular, the children were so very well-behaved and bright-eyed. The Family attended some Seminars and were ‘converted’.
By and by, the Family became disturbed by things they were observing in church. The Father contended that it was far too confusing to follow along during Bible Readings if John is reading from the NIV, and Mary is reading from the NRSV, and Joe is reading from yet another version. It would be better if everybody read from the same Bible and his personal preference was to use the KJV. He suggested that everybody do the same.
He got hold of a video that taught that only the KJV was the only correct version and that all other versions were corrupted. While it generated some interest, it did not fully convince all the other members of the church, much to the Father’s chagrin. A couple of people held back, including Jennie.
Not long after, the Father invited someone to come to give a talk at church. He told the church members that the speaker was going to touch on “How We Got Our Bible”. Everyone was encouraged to spread the word and tell their friends about this fantastic seminar.
When Jennie heard about the talk, she thought it would be a wonderful learning experience. She was interested in history and was looking forward to the event with great anticipation. One day, shortly before the Big Talk, she happened to bump into a Mutual Friend of the Family’s at the supermarket. They started talking and the Mutual Friend asked if Jennie was going to attend the talk on ‘The King James Bible’. Jennie was confused. The King James Bible?? Wasn’t it How We Got Our Bible? She wondered if she somehow misunderstood the Father and what he said.
Back home, Jennie did a quick search on the Internet to find out more about the speaker. Her worst fears were confirmed when it was revealed that he was an ardent KJV-Only proponent and that he went to churches promoting his ideas. When Jennie asked other church members about the upcoming talk, they were all under the impression that it was going to be on how the Bible came to be.
Jennie felt lied to.
Over time, Jennie felt more and more discomfited as she witnessed the bizarre way in which one family could have so much influence in the way things were run at church. They stopped singing contemporary songs and replaced them with older hymns. They kept the piano but threw out the drums. They suggested showing Creation videos as an outreach tool to the community. Sunday School was scrapped in favour of Family Integration. Throughout all this, Jennie stayed even though she disagreed, because no one was forcing her to conform and because of the many friendships she had there.
Slowly, even those friendships started to cool. The ladies stopped getting together regularly for Cake and Coffee because some of them could not get permission from their husbands. On the rare occasion that it could be held, the ladies were careful to talk about only ‘approved’ things. Sometimes the conversation got a bit silly, and someone would laughingly remark, ‘Ladies, I don’t think our husbands would approve!’ before steering the conversation back on track.
Jennie thought and thought about these things and wondered where it was all headed.
[The reader is encouraged to find his/her own ending to this story. Where do you think it was all headed? And, whatever happened to Jennie?]
Posted on Saturday, November 26th, 2011, in Bizarre, Fiction, Fundamentalism, Writing, Young-Earth Creation Organizations and tagged Advanced Training Institute, Christianity, KJV-Only, Michael and Debi Pearl. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.