Thursday, September 25, 2014

Teach The Children Well - Part 2

Remember I’ve explained that my father began to realize he might lose members from his very small church as we, his children, were beginning to grow up. My father knew we would naturally find husbands and wives and begin to live our own lives. And because the level of physical abuse we were suffering was something any normal child would seek to escape. What we couldn’t have predicted was that my father’s megalomania would manifest itself in his need to control not just our lives as we reached adulthood but to control us into our adult lives. My father believed he had the right to pick our spouses for us, veto any marriage that didn’t suit him, and that he had the final say in the major decisions in our marriages. That included what jobs we took, and the way we would go forward with our livelihoods. But one surprising way he chose to get compliance from his parishioners and his children as the largest group was to keep telling them God hated people. Well that God hated everyone else. But us! Strange methods my father used.

So, along the lines of controlling his children and his congregation my father continued to teach that God was the one who was this controlling God. And that this God was forever controlling people when all along it was my father wanting that control and “using” God as his henchman!

One way he did this was to instill in his children that God is always angry at us and it is terrifyingly unclear how to keep him from being angry. Therefore, you must live in a continual state of anxiety and despair as you try to live up to all the rules, while continually looking over your shoulder to see what horrible disaster is coming upon you next. Remember I said my father’s rules were like shifting sand?

We know through experience that many children wrongly ascribe characteristics to God that actually belong to an abusive earthly father or other unloving person. It makes perfect sense to me that without help to understand who God really was that I would easily default to thinking the real God was just like my earthly father. And that would mean in my case a God who was cold, unfeeling, unconcerned about the welfare of others, and one who chose to hurt at any time and for no reason. And my father desired us to have this view of God because it allowed him to control us.

Another teaching we all received was that God is dangerous, vicious and terrifying. My father made sure I knew God was my biggest threat and my biggest risk. Big trouble with God, he would explain to us, is impossible to avoid. No matter how I try, how hard I work, how vigilant I am, sooner or later I am going to miss a piece of dust on the floor, or fail to get an errand run quickly enough, or I won’t have the right words to say, at the right time, or I will make the mistake of any normal eight-year-old child, and because of my failure I am going to get beaten or hit or knocked down or experience God’s verbal tirade. (Oh, did I say ‘God’? I meant my father! Or did I? Did I really mean God? Maybe I did! I’m not sure. I’m so confused!) There it is again . . . a very short putt for the Phelps children to have to go from our mean-spirited abusing father to believing this about God.

This is one of the things my father passed on as a legacy that hurts the most. Not only did my father keep us all from knowing God, but he painted a horrible and wrong picture of him. So that even for my siblings, and nephews and nieces who have left the fold, without serious psychological and spiritual help of some kind they will find it very hard to undo that damage. What a damaging portrayal of the true God my father gave to us all . . . and what heaviness of soul that has brought to all of us who haven’t been able to heal from this.

And if this were not enough my father taught, repetitively, that God is after revenge and he has the power and wisdom to exact revenge continually and perfectly. It seems he sees everything and he is present everywhere. He has exceptional ability to find me and hurt me, because I did something wrong, though I did not know what it was I did wrong. This teaching about God that my father taught; actually that my father exploded into our psyches with his words and his fists and his oak mattock handle; took a huge toll on all of us. This level of poisonous teaching can take years and years to undo.

One time my father yelled at me to get some work done in the yard, and I ran out one door so scared I forgot my shoes. A yell by my father was actually a terrifying command to be obeyed immediately, and without question. When I ran back in the other door to get my shoes, my father was at that door and he knocked me up side my head and the hit threw me across the floor. I got dizzy and couldn’t get up for a few seconds so he started kicking me, yelling at me to get up. I didn’t expect him to be at this other door and I needed to get my shoes on to work in the yard. I never knew where and when the pain would come. Ever! I was nine years old and I just knew the pain would come!

See again the view a child has of his father and how it plays right into his understanding of the heavenly father? Oh, earthly fathers, if you are abusers, you need to seek help immediately because you are not just damaging your children’s little hearts and souls but you are dramatically damaging their ability to connect with the loving God of the universe. This is NOT something you should take lightly. Seek help!

My father also taught us that God would punish us for laughing and playing unless my father specifically said it was okay to laugh. So how were we to navigate the showing of normal childhood emotions and responses? We learned it was okay to laugh if my father was saying something clever. Always! But horse play around the house or playing as a child in the yard was punishable by beating, verbal rage, humiliation and isolation if it was not sanctioned by my father. In fact, God will punish me if I have any fun at all, unless He says it’s okay to have fun. (Did I say God again? Oh my, I keep getting my father and God mixed up. And this was very much by my father’s design).

I had permission from my father to have fun playing the organ for his ‘church’, or running his legal documents to the court clerk, or doing lawn work, or doing house chores or selling candy for his ‘church’ or beating one of my brothers or sisters for him or running long distances every day. What I never had permission for was the normal bubbling up, beautiful, spontaneous laughter of a child. And the sad thing is my father chose to teach this about God because this is what my father wanted in his controlled little world and not because it was what God wanted. God, who invented children and laughter and delight, would not be putting these restrictions on precious little children. But, who was there to teach me about a loving God? Not my father. Neither to me nor to any of my siblings!

The truth is, God by my father’s teaching wanted me working hard for Him . . . non-stop! I was to be at his beck and call at all times. If he rings his large brass bell I had better get in front of him as quickly as possible to learn of his newest demands, and comply, or there will be big trouble. My father skillfully wove his own demands and his own personality into his teachings about God so that at some point they became one in our minds. And we never had a fighting chance to develop our own relationships with God. The most beautiful, gracious, loving being in the universe was someone my father did not want us to know. And he made sure we would never try as he wreaked havoc on a true view of who God is.

My father also ably taught us you can't hide from God, no chance, no way, so there is only continual dread and terror. God is going to get me, sooner or later, one way or another, God is going to get me. It is impossible to go continually, day after day, without doing something that displeases God, and when you displease him, it will be like running into the hulk: “Don’t make me angry! You won’t like me when I’m angry!” God is going to punish me. I mean, he is really going to hurt me. He is going to devastate me. The punishment will very likely be extremely painful, far beyond the gravity of my offense.

Doesn’t this sound exactly like the dynamic in a home with a physically and verbally abusive father? Why would a normal father ever want to destroy any hope his children had of being in a loving relationship with a loving God by twisting the truth of who God really is? What level of damage or twistedness to his own soul would allow him to damage the souls of his children? We will never know the answer to this question but the immense damage he did to us and the pain we have had to live with is very real.

So I learned the clear lesson of individual, intimate, personal, precise judgment and accountability to an angry God and the punishment I had coming, which God had prepared especially for me. But I never, ever learned of a God who loved me just as personally and individually and intimately and precisely, who could forgive me and who intentionally paid the ultimate price to have a personal relationship with me. This beautiful, amazing truth was never taught to me. Why? It was there in the Bible as plain as day for anyone to read, especially the pastor of a church.

My father continued his abuse by teaching us that God scoffs and mocks at anyone who challenges him or disagrees with him. God expects unquestioning loyalty - God wants ‘yes men’, and that is all he will tolerate. And it is very difficult to be a passive yes man with God. You must have original, spontaneous ‘words’, ‘good words’ to offer in agreement and affirmation of him when he is upset or he will rail and curse and scream and rage all the more. Because this God needs his ego affirmed you are asking?

Here is where it got very twisted in my home. It was actually my father who desperately needed a “good word” from his kids. He would say “what’s the good word? Got any good words for me?” Some lists of symptoms for those with megalomania or Narcissistic Personality Disorder include that the person has a very fragile ego. On the outside it may have looked like my father had a fragile ego with what appeared to be his need to be told good things about his church or his mission on earth. Which was, remember, to tell people God hated them and to find ways to devalue them and show disdain for them.

I have come to believe that one reason my father chose to have us give him a “good word” was his ego, yes, but also because it was a great way to continue our indoctrination. He reinforced his constant teaching by requiring us to verbally feed his lies and deceit back to him while under duress from him! Never mind that we often had to lie about whatever we were saying because there was nothing to tell him he wanted to hear! This was a powerful way for my father to reinforce his deceitful teaching about God. This God was hateful yet he apparently wanted us to make up stuff about his pastors who needed to be bolstered. And wanted to indoctrinate their subjects…Are you as confused as we children were?

God/my father wanted me to feel ashamed and dirty and worthless and hopeless. He expected me to function in full operational mode, but he had a strong desire that I function while feeling dirty and worthless and full of despair and hopelessness. Only then were the effects of his rage temporarily assuaged . . . maybe!

God/my father had all the power and there was nothing I could do about it and he will always use his power to hurt me. Is it becoming clear that my father’s mind control techniques were so effective that I started to meld God and my father into one!? And I believed that my father’s attributes were God’s. What a sad state of affairs for young, defenseless children with no help to know the true, loving God.

My father was pulling verses from the Bible that painted this evil picture of God. And the scary, eerie reality of all this was my father was remaking God in his own image. And all the cruel, inhumane and evil tendencies my father had . . . he began to teach were true about God. And he would find verses to try to prove just that. The wickedness of this and its toll on my siblings’ lives is just incalculable.

Immediately following are a listing of some of the things my father said about his own beliefs and behaviors that he truly wanted us to believe were true about God, and that he truly wanted us to believe and comply with (my comments are in parentheses):

-I expect you to cut off all ties and relationships with everybody who does not attend my church, especially any family members who may not happen to attend my church.

-I practice what I preach. I rejected my own father and never spoke to him again after he tried to get me to ‘stop all this nonsense and get back into the Methodist church’ and because he refused to ‘get right with God’ by getting into my church. I also rejected my sister for trying to reconcile my father and me. She knew never to contact me again, ever!

-God does not love the world! Such teaching is drivel; mealy-mouthed, wishy-washy nonsense! This teaching is a namby-pamby fag-enabling belief.

-God did NOT give his only begotten son that whosoever believes on him will never perish but have eternal life. No, God did not do this, not at all! This teaching is a lie! (My father took on Jesus, the Savior of the world. The audacity of this is shocking to me now.)

-Everything I teach is exact, perfect truth. All others teach lies and you are to have absolutely nothing to do with them.

-I believe and teach Absolute Predestination – the destinies of all people are specifically and precisely determined by God, in every detail, from eternity past, and the individual human being has no say in their eternal destiny. (If this were true, my father was predestined by God to hurt us, just as other children were predestined by God to be hurt. This is such nonsense!) By the way, most every human being is going to hell because I hate them and I have the power to send them to hell! (Is the “I” in this last sentence God or my father? Exactly! Now you understand the dilemma we lived!)

-Once you are saved you cannot lose your salvation, unless you leave my church, in which case, you are going straight to hell. Of course, you are not going straight to hell because you lose your salvation. You are going straight to hell because you were never saved. The evidence you were never saved is, you left my church. (And if I drove you away by beating you and hurting you and demeaning you and mocking you, and that made you choose to leave, well too bad for you.) We will mock you from the pulpit for this decision. For years!

-If a person challenges you, disagrees with you, confronts you, argues with you or is in any way counter to or against you, that is specific, distinct, clear and unmistakable evidence that what you believe, what you are doing, or what you are saying is the truth! (No matter how outrageous and evil your words or behaviors are that would elicit those responses.)

-If you leave my church, you will not have children because children are an inheritance from the Lord and blessed is the man who has his ‘quiver’ full of them. No ‘The Place’, no children!

-Women are second class citizens and are to me absolutely, utterly dominated and controlled by men, who have complete God-given control and power over every aspect of their personal selves and lives! (Forget how much love Jesus showed women in his lifetime!)

-Any level of hatefulness is acceptable if it is done in God’s name. Any level of hatefulness!!

-Feeding the hungry of the world is not something a Christian or a Christian church is supposed to do. This is foolish nonsense, and worthless drivel. World Vision is a fag organization! (My father apparently never believed the truths talked about in Matthew 25 where Christ placed incredible importance on taking care of the hungry.)

-It is not important for my church to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”. (My father felt comfortable calling his church a church of Jesus Christ but he mocked this Jesus and his teachings in every possible way.) It is not important to preach the truth of God’s love and goodness and the sacrificial death of his Son to people at all because if a person is to be saved, God will get them to my church. An all-powerful God is certainly capable of doing something this simple.

-I’m telling you to hate your enemies and fight them with all of your might and resources and I expect you to join me in fighting my enemies. (Do not ever believe Jesus, the head of the church, that you are to love your enemies and pray for them!) You must ‘stand at the gate’, with me, against all my enemies, which is anyone who crosses me! Hate who I hate!

-When your enemy is sick or dies, rejoice and taunt them, insult them cruelly, and pronounce your righteous judgment on them! Actively humiliate them, publicly, and humiliate their loved ones who have just lost them and are suffering in their grief. (Do this in ever more public ways as the sickness and depravity of your church grows.)

-I expect you to hate most everybody, without fail! It is the right and proper thing to do! Kick your enemy in the shins. Hit your enemy in the mouth, hard! Get in the first blow and every other blow possible, and don’t stop kicking and hitting them!

-It is important to tell the world that God hates them and that they are going to hell! That’s what’s important. None of this lovey-dovey balderdash! (If you mock God in the doing of this, so be it.) I am the god of this church and will tell you what to think.

-It is eternally irrelevant what anybody thinks about my preaching; supremely and eternally irrelevant. I could not care less whether somebody agrees with me, or not. I am preaching the truth!!

-God is willing for virtually every person to perish, to die in their sins and to go to hell. The truth is he delights in this! In fact, he is “jumping up and down happy” about this important truth!! He’s so happy, he’s laughing! He is clapping his hands with delight! As far as God is concerned, the more people in hell, the better. (You all know what I am going to say, right? That these are wretched untruths my father was throwing at us and our culture through his picket signs and his actions!)

-Most of the 4 billion human beings on the earth are brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed.

-God is full of wrath and anger toward most every person in the world, and everybody else should be also. Certainly anybody who knows God should be angry at this world of sinners we live in! I know I am!

-The world is full of bad, evil, wicked filthy people and you are not to have anything to do with them, starting with our next door neighbors! Stay completely away from and have nothing to do with the people of the world. Don’t talk to them or get involved with them in any way, and do not attempt to have a relationship with them. The more you avoid them, the better Christian you are and the better off you will be. And the better you will get along with me! In fact if I catch you even talking to a neighbor child I will give you a beating!

-The most important thing is to have the correct doctrine; the correct beliefs; and to preach these correct doctrines. Good works are not important. Works can’t save you. Spiritual fruit is not important. Just make sure you are in my church, ‘The Place’! That’s what is supremely important. And be sure you believe exactly how I instruct you to believe! And don’t you dare question me!!

-People are made to be used and abused, not appreciated and loved.

-It is not important to maintain honesty or decency or integrity in your dealings with the people of the world. Take advantage of them, use them for what you need, and otherwise despise them. But don’t you cross me, or try to cheat me, or it will be disaster for you!!

-God hates Israel because they crucified Christ and turned their back on God. God is done with Israel forever! Israel is Doomed!

-God is not concerned with injustice all you evil people may experience in this world. This is nothing but a fag notion. God couldn’t care less about injustice experienced by all the fag enablers this world is populated with. But it is time for this world to be merciful to me and mine!! I could not care less about you! However God DOES justify all of my behavior no matter how hateful, mean, hurtful or unjust it may be to others!

-If you tell people God loves them you are a lying, mealy-mouthed, sissy telling fag lies.

-If you disagree with me you are a fag, and I hate you, God hates you, and you are going to hell!

-I am the head of the house of every family in my church, like it or not! That’s how it is! Don’t fill the air with empty words about the husband being the head of the house. I know better.

-All my children and all their family members must get permission from me to do anything ‘off the charts’ and if I do not agree with and authorize your plans, you are going to hell if you follow through with your plans. I expect all of my children to give their lives for me and my church!

-I require husbands to beat their wives and children severely, regularly and promptly; betimes; to insure they are kept in complete subjection to me and my church.

-If you beat a child he will not die. In fact the more the child refuses to obey your every command the more it is necessary to beat them. If a large leather strap does not get results, then get an oak mattock handle and beat them harder. If that does not get results, beat them with your fists and feet and knees and spit in their face. If your wife does not obey you, hit her in the mouth and throw her down the stairs. Slap your wife across the face! Beat ‘em all until they comply perfectly with your demands! Beat ‘em harder and harder. While beating ‘em, be sure to curse and rage at them and throw everything you can get your hands on. If all of this does not work, threaten them with a gun. If this still does not work, confine them and hold them in confinement, refuse them food for forty days or more.

-My church is the pillar and ground of the truth!

-Having concern for orphans, widows, and those in jail, is silly drivel, and has nothing to do with the ‘Church of The Lord Jesus Christ’, ‘The Place’, my church. The last things you need to be worried about are some fag orphans, fag widows and fag prisoners. God couldn’t care less about these fags, neither do I and neither should you! God hates all these fag churches who are always talking about helping orphans, widows and prisoners!!

-The fruit of the spirit in my life or any other person’s life is never an issue, it is not important and has nothing to do with anything that would matter or take up any of the precious room in my perfect doctrinal system or take up any of my time or thought. I behave the way I choose to behave and that, by definition, makes it the right behavior. Got it!?

-God’s curse and mighty hand of destruction and judgment is on every person not in my church! I’m telling you, God Almighty is going to get all of you!!

-I am not interested in what the Bible says, or what God has to say on the subject, IF I do not agree with it. I am only interested in those things God says, that I agree with! Got it!? Don’t come in here talking about some Bible verse or passage that you have twisted to your own destruction. Just shut your silly fag mouth and listen to me, if you want to know the truth!

-Every other church on the earth teaches nothing but a pack of lies. They are all reprobate, heretic, backslidden, pussyfooting liars anyway, and they are all going to hell and so are all the poor dumb fools who follow their teachings! Me and my church are the only place; “THE PLACE”; on earth who teach the full and complete truth of God.

-I am the head of Christ’s church on the earth. I have been given all authority on earth to bind and loose and what I bind or loose on earth is bound or loosed in heaven, accordingly. No one has the authority except me. I do not answer to a denomination, or some goofy board of elders, or certainly not the members of my church. If I say my children who have left my church are going to hell, then they are going to hell! That settles it!! I only answer to God, as the head of His church here on earth. I could care less what people think of me. What people think of me is supremely irrelevant!

-Wives obey your husbands!

-Women Keep Silent!

-Women wear a Covering – some type of hat – AT ALL TIMES - in ‘The Place’!

-Women, don’t you dare ever cut your hair, unless you want to go to hell! After all, your hair is given to you for a covering and demonstrates publicly that you are under my authority! But if you don’t agree with everything I say; everything I tell you to do; and subject yourself to me continually, I will cut your hair off to the scalp so the whole world will see you are a rebellious insubordinate sassy-mouthed jezebel!

-My daughters are under my authority, no matter their age, until I grant them permission to marry. Of course, whether male or female, there will be no marrying, unless both parties are in ‘The Place’ and living in subjection to me and my church and unless I say, specifically, that it is okay for them to get married! I reserve the God-given right to have my say in what goes on in the marriages of my daughters also. I am the boss of their marriages!

-Wives are good targets and containers for the cursing and raging of men.

-Wives are good for getting pregnant.

-Wives are good for making babies.

-Wives are good for throwing down the staircase, if you are in the mood to throw your wife down the staircase.

-Wives are good for having their arms pulled out of socket, when the whim hits you as you are raging and beating them.

-Wives are good for beating with an oak mattock handle if they ‘disobey’ or displease you or if they weigh too much to please you.

-Wives are good for humiliating – cutting off their hair in choppy fashion for the entire world to see – to teach them a lesson if not FULLY AGREEING with and kowtowing to their husband, continually!

-Women make excellent servants for men.

If you have stayed with me long enough to get through this list you are a brave soul. Because you have undoubtedly gotten a sense of the twisted way my father portrayed a loving God who wanted to save the world, and wanted people to live in loving relationships with him and with each other while they are here on planet earth.

The concept of ‘Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it’ from the Bible never crossed my ears or mind, while attending ‘The Place’. In other words, my father never taught this important truth from the Bible, ever!

Though the Bible teaches ‘The two shall leave father and mother and cleave to one another and the two shall become one flesh’ my father specifically said to my older brother, in front of me, on one particularly happy day, distinctly and clearly, that he (Preacher/Father) was probably going to be the head of their household any time he saw the need, and that my brother better get used to that idea right now! This was BEFORE my older brother was ever married.

You see, the Bible was applied rigorously by my father when it fit my father’s goals of controlling and intimidating those in ‘The Place’, and abusing those in the rest of world; and the Bible was ignored when it held no such helpful utility!

My father actually did something even worse than just twisting the truth of God and His truths in the Bible, cutting and pasting from the Bible and whiting out large sections of the Bible to suit himself. He actually “recreated” God in his own image and taught all of us as children, and any who would sit still for my father’s preaching, that God was essentially mean like Fred W. Phelps, Sr. That God hated people, and wanted to use them and hurt them and make their lives utterly miserable.

If my siblings and I could have flipped a switch at some point to turn off the horrible teaching of my father, about God and about us in relation to God, that would have been marvelous. But the damage my father did with telling us the most horrific lies about God and about ourselves are the kind of abuse that can take years to undo. I can tell you that it took about an equal amount of time healing from my father’s abuse (20 years) as I sat under it the first 20 years of my life.

Those of us who have been through my father’s hate mill have ended up with physical problems from the beatings, depression, suicidal thoughts, strained relationships with people close to us and people in the community, and an overall sense of wretchedness and despair that is hard to understand if you have not suffered abuse at the level we did.

But perhaps saddest of all for me is that my father so twisted who God is and preached his fake god so vociferously that people in my family and some in my culture actually believe the picture of god my father has painted. And have had no one who loves them to turn to in their darkest hour.

My father was a man of influence in his own way. He was not a Washington or a Gandhi but he influenced nonetheless. And the influence he wielded didn’t just affect peoples’ lives here on earth but for eternity. When you get the character of God as wrong as my father did you are going to hurt people. And continue to hurt them by causing people to fear and even loathe connecting with this loving God. That was my father’s influence on his culture ultimately. And it is one that did immense damage.

If any of you reading this blog have suffered abuse and especially abuse where God and His character have been destroyed by your abuser, I would really like to talk to you. In whatever way you are comfortable. I would love to encourage you to take steps toward your own healing; toward yourself, toward your fellow humans and toward God. If I can encourage you in this even a little bit, I would love that opportunity.

Mark Phelps


  1. Unbelievably sad. Do you think since your father died, there may be some changes coming? I mean, unless there is another leader in there who has the same intensity of hatred, it would seem that gradually these adults would begin to doubt some things? We can only pray this may be true. Blessings to you!

  2. It's worse than sad.How anyone can abuse their family and get away with it is beyond my comprehension.