Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Sychophant for a Sociopath Does Damage Control: Understanding Doctrine Over Person Part II

Those Pesky Internet Assassins!
A few days ago, a man unknown to my friends within the IFB wrote a blog commentary that defended Ron Williams and Hephzibah House (HH). The blogger does not appear to be anyone of any great renown or notable influence.

I must admit that I didn't read his blog entry very deeply. I found it to be quite disjointed, difficult to follow, and it was especially difficult to get beyond its offensiveness. The author claimed that the 100+ girls who have formed a supportive community of survivors of the abject abuse that they suffered at HH were all liars or had greatly exaggerated their experiences to make them seem abusive when they were not. I'm not sure that he offers a motive, though I have read that people claim that the girls, former HH residents, were just rebelling against good discipline and that they harbored bitterness against their God-ordained authorities and against Williams in particular. They wanted to “do their own thing,” and they didn't want to answer to anyone for their actions, so they remained angry about it without cause for decades on end, I suppose. This blogger wants his readers to believe that the girls found one another some twenty or more years after they left the boarding home and reunited online for the sole purpose of expressing their alleged long-harbored and unsubstantiated angst.

Despite the fact that many women who were incarcerated at HH over the past 40 years have given online, public testimonies by name, the individual who wrote the blog commentary specifically stated that the critics of HH were liars who hid behind anonymity. As one who has been quite outspoken concerning Ron Williams and HH, I am also another who is most definitely not anonymous. Anyone who points this out to him in the comments section is called a liar and he accuses those who challenge him of also falsely accusing him of being a liar. As Lewis Wells describes it at The Commandments of Men blog, the man demands of survivors to essentially,“Show me the blood or shut up,” denying that people commenting there were lying about being at HH. Apparently, there's some great conspiracy to discredit Ron Williams without true, legitimate cause. He characterizes them like a bunch of restless and bored teens who are looking for some destructive diversion, and Ron Williams has become an unfortunate and undeserving target.

Blind Devotion

His responses to HH survivors who commented on the blog show a great deal of recalcitrance and a complete lack of consideration for any other viewpoint but his own. I almost feel embarrassment for him because his reactions demonstrate true cruelty and what I can only call an obvious ignorant and adversarial attitude to those who have offered polite but understandably passionate comments. Why? I think that you only ever intimidate the weak.

In the past, I've written about confirmation bias at some length, and I believe that this person demonstrates such. People tend to only accept the material as factual that confirms what they already believe, and like all people, I tend towards this as well. In addition, we tend to also work to discount, dismiss, and deny any information that contrasts, contradicts, or challenges what we hope to find to be true and that which we already believe. Toward that end and to verify his own predetermined beliefs, this blogger who championed HH this week dismissed communications from people who had negative opinions of HH, but he cherry picked and affirms the lonesome testimony of Lucinda Pennington who gives glowing reports about her own time at HH. He's picked the minority who weighs in as only 1% of the people who have come forward to talk about conditions at HH, and he accepts only her views because they confirm his own. (I think someone once called this the tickling of itchy ears.)
Note: Read more about Lucinda HERE in Part I and in Part II of just one of her online testimonies which are not always that consistent, depending where you look. Notice my own confirmation bias? :)
Sadly, manipulators conceal the truth from people from whom they can benefit from in some way, and then they play upon the loyalty of good people by exploiting their trust. This seems to be the case with this blogger who chooses to stand by Ron Williams, and in doing so, he chooses a position which condemns wounded lambs. People like Williams use the good character and the strong trait of loyalty of such followers, probably a very admirable quality that this man possesses and lives.  

But is that loyalty misplaced or unwarranted? It seems to be a question that the blogger fights hard to avoid. Many people devote themselves to leaders, and frankly, who really wants to think ill of a minister? I think that even people who are not religious feel disappointed when religious leaders, particularly Evangelical ministers fail to live up to standard expectations of virtue. Christians have even more reason to find honor and virtue in ministers, seeking to take no joy in the sins of others. It is a tremendously hard thing to overcome, and this type of trust can be easily exploited.

Exploring the Development of Doctrine Over Person:
How does it facilitate mind control?

In the previous post, I mentioned that I plan to explore why people who shared the same environment and the same general experiences could possibly have entirely different and disparaging views about matters. If you haven't read the post, I highly recommend that you take the time to do so. Trauma, stress, and social pressure feed into and facilitate what has been called Doctrine Over Person, a technique of the larger process of mind control either deliberately used or functionally created by manipulators that cause a person to recreate and redact their personal history and memory. In future posts, I will explore Doctrine Over Person using Lucinda as an example of the phenomenon.

Taking the Risk of Feeding the Frenzy

I'm always reluctant to give such critics much attention – the reason why I hesitated to post a link to the blogger and his post about what he calls “Hephzibah Haters.”. Do you give such people attention, even if it is through criticism? Sometimes that's a tough call, because it often just encourages them to produce more rebuttal. Many only become more polarized and see the attention as righteous persecution. I'd hate to help create online statistics which might be interpreted as popularity of his writings, perhaps encouraging him to write more with what was once called a poison pen. Perhaps now, we have fettered fonts or tainted text.

[9Jan12 Edit/Update]
Please keep reading here: there will be more to come. In the meanwhile, you might wish to follow up with more reading at Chuckles Travels who posted on this topic on Friday, as did Lewis Wells and Incongruous Circumspection.


Please listen to all of the Jocelyn Andersen's Blog Talk Radio episodes about Hephzibah House

To learn more about Hephzibah House, please link to these additional resources: