Last week, I wrote a post about
Wisconsin GOP operative Brian Sikma’s lifelong participation in a cultish group
led by a man accused of using his spiritual authority to sexually prey on 34 different women and girls. Not surprisingly, my inbox was immediately filled with insults and sexually laced messages. One individual even suggested I was unqualified to write anything and instead suggested, “Miss Woodhouse, why don’t you just go back to nakedly cavorting on the beach with fireworks and other people’s husbands.” Excuse me??
This is not a “guilt by association” witch hunt. It is interesting, however, that conservatives think it is their duty to “vet” President Obama’s connection to the likes of Reverend Wright, but discussing Brian Sikma’s participation in Bill Gothard’s cult is “disgusting.” We don’t know if the President was present or even agreed with the Reverend when he said, “Not God Bless America, God damn America!” Despite this, Republicans made that clip a central part of their campaign to defeat America’s first black president.
On the other hand participating in Gothard’s cult is far more than just using a sexual predator’s curriculum and studying his teachings (As previously noted, before enrolling in Gothard’s non-accredited college, Sikma continually used Gothard’s educational materials for his entire grade school and high school education) Gothard sought to control every aspect of his follower’s lives. As one fundamentalist Christian phrased it, “Gothard's Institute has in fact become a system unto itself. This system covers teaching on counseling, ministry, home, family, worship, church structure, divorce, adoption, dating, even hiring a church secretary.”
For prospective parents, Gothard, a bachelor himself, taught a “methodology for birthing godly children.” In a practice that some would call occultist, Gothard instructed pregnant mothers to, “read the Bible to the embryos in their wombs for the purpose of relaxing the embryo” and subconsciously teaching it Biblical truth. While there is nothing wrong with parents teaching their children religious instruction, this concept of Freudian unconscious has been thoroughly debunked by science.
In regards to sex, Gothard used his Advanced Seminars to introduce his followers to mandatory sex regulations. In a chapter titled “Six Purposes, Principles, and Keys To Fulfillment In The Marriage Relationship,” Gothard “told married couples to abstain from physical relations: 1. During the wife’s menstrual cycle; 2. Seven days after the cycles; 3. 40 days after the birth of a son; 4. 80 days after the birth of a daughter; and 5. The evening prior to worship.” On pages 170-171 of his Research in Principles of Life Advance Seminar Textbook he uses Isaiah 53:4-5 to advise married men to keep track of their wives’ menstrual cycles and use it as a reminder of the sufferings and death of Jesus.
On page 171, Gothard also teaches on “Gods Hidden Design” for a woman’s monthly period. Here Gothard instructs his followers to live in “harmony with the wife’s cycle” and warns them “Satan’s Goal: Promote insensitivity to the wife’s cycle.” Gothard also teaches menstrual cycles are “A sign of promise between God and the woman”, “a monthly warning to the wife of the danger of beguilement”, and “a monthly reminder to the husband of his need for self-control and her need for protection and cleansing with the Word.”
Cabbage Patch and Troll dolls are just two more examples of Gothard’s obsession with controlling his follower’s personal lives. In a newsletter, Gothard’s ministry reported that “in two situations the existence of Cabbage Patch and Troll dolls in the home effectively prevented the mothers from giving birth! Once the offending toys were removed from the homes, the women were able to successfully give birth.” Gothard credited the midwives, who were members of his cult, with cleansing the homes “from evil influences.” As one person observed, “It is scary to think that a midwife's first inclination might be to "cleanse" a home of perceived evil influences, rather than call 911 in the midst of a challenging delivery. Attributing this much power to a doll goes beyond the pale of reason and lapses into pagan superstition.”
As heavily documented by ex-Gothardites at www.recoveringgrace.org, Gothard’s predatory behavior also was not some kind of secret. Sexual abuse at Gothard’s ministry has been rampant and well known since the 1980’s, when Gothard’s brother was embroiled in a sex scandal of his own.
So why did Sikmas’ family, his wife’s family, and then him personally as an adult continue to participate in Gothard’s “ministry?”
And how much of Gothard’s teachings does Sikma adhere to today?
This brings us back to President Obama and his alleged friendship with Reverend Wright. If conservatives believe a Democrat’s spiritual pastor reveals something about the said person’s beliefs and values, isn’t it fair to “vet” conservatives under the same criteria?
If conservatives are concerned that Obama’s association with radical individuals has impacted his policies and leadership shouldn’t they also be concerned that Brian Sikma’s spiritual and personal relationships have had a similar impact on him?
In the coming weeks I will be releasing exclusive audio and video recordings of Brian Sikma and his pastor.
Will the GOP care about this pastor's influence on Wisconsin conservatism as defined by Brian Sikma?
“The evidence is credible enough to merit action.” – Charlie Sykes
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