The way of one Primitive Baptist preacher

Mentioned in a recent video that my ex-in-laws were Primitive Baptists, so let me elaborate a bit so people have a better idea of what I’m getting at here. My ex-father-in-law was a preacher (as well as owning his own bricklaying company and before that being a chicken farmer when his kids were young) and he came up in a Primitive Baptist family who all lived near one another in the same county, not too far off from where my own lived (my ex-in-laws lived for many years right directly next door to one of my Grandma’s sisters, coincidentally, years before I met my ex). I mentioned that my ex-father-in-law was a harsh man who took his position as the male leader of the family too far and wound up being very abusive to all of his kids and his wife, finally resulting in his wife divorcing him after approximately 24 years of marriage (when my ex was about 14, which is what freed him up to attend public school beginning in the 9th grade, the kids having all been home-schooled while the parents were together, with only one exception who paid for his own attendance at a local private school for his last couple of years).

My ex-father-in-law for many years now has been running a column in their local newspaper where he preaches his brand of fire and brimstone. I’ve noticed a little while back that he now also has a website with his sermons uploaded. I recall reading more than a few columns of his that were outright vitriolic against homosexuals (he completely and utterly detests and condemns them and states it loud and proud any chance he gets), but he’s a very judgmental man who takes issue with damn-near everything. When it comes to females, he and his family firmly believe women should never wear pants or shorts and must always wear skirts of long length. The mother is expected to only be a caretaker of the home and kids and vegetable garden, forbidden to work outside of it. Children must be home-schooled (as mentioned above) since they consider the rest of society to be filled with dangerous sinners, and religious education occurred every single day and ALL DAY on Sundays.

[And for the record, I’m not even opposed to home-schooling. Just didn’t care for how all they did it, though all 5 kids received educations superior to the rest of us attending the public or private local schools. Even though their mother only had a high school diploma, she did a good job there — I give her that. My ex-husband came up with familiarity with classic literature and understood human anatomy well enough that he was granted admittance into a rural medical scholarship program as a teen. Out of 5 kids, 4 attended college and I believe 3 completed their bachelor’s degrees. Though they obviously did grow up in a very insular environment, surrounded by relatives and cousins, except where they participated in local sports.]

When I speak of this man being abusive to his family, I am referring to excessive control and psychological mistreatment and bouts of violence. For example, choking out one of his sons out as a teenager. Another example that was mentioned in the divorce papers (which I read while dating my ex) was continuing to whip his adult daughters with belts when they’d return home for visits while attending college. My ex was particularly traumatized by events that he witnessed, he being the youngest of the kids, such as his father mistreating his mother and almost running her over with a vehicle on one occasion. We’re not talking mild or vague abuse here, and all of his kids (last I knew) and his ex-wife turned their backs on him and moved away (and all were seriously impacted as adults when I met them, having since abandoned the denomination they grew up with). By the time I met my ex-husband (when I was 17 and he was a senior in high school), he had converted to atheism/agnosticism and never again returned to Christianity (though he remained extremely knowledgeable of the bible and could quote scripture and explain verses in a way I found fascinating and illuminating).

To give a small taste of who my ex-father-in-law was, I’ll transcribe a portion of one of his columns that was printed in the local newspaper in 2013:

Some of you are so ignorant as to suppose that because you have not bowed to a statue of a heathen “deity” that you are not an idolater. But go read Colossians 3:5 and you will see that covetousness is idolatry. If you have something or someone that you love more than God, you are an idolater. Some of you have made money your god. Some of you have made pleasure your god. Some of you have made your base lusts your god. Some of you have made your children your god. Some of you have your religion your god. Ultimately, a lost man worships himself. You are not saved, because you have never turned from your idols to serve the living and true God.

Now God’s word is clear. “Idolaters… shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8). Dear reader, unless you turn this moment from your idols, and turn to God, you will spend eternity where the fire is not quenched, and the worm never dies. Sinner, turn or burn!

The man pretty much considers damn-near anything and everything a sin too. VERY hard for anyone (outside of his parents and certain relatives perhaps) to escape his condemnation. Very insular thinking. And he preaches to a congregation mostly made up of his own extended family these days (or at least last I knew).

In his view, divorce is completely unacceptable, even when exposed to cruel and unrelenting abuse. I noticed when I checked Wikipedia’s page on Primitive Baptists it didn’t go into much detail, and I assume that the extremes can and do differ depending on particular groups’ and individuals’ interpretations of scripture and whatever else, as is the case all across all denominations of Christianity. So this man represents only one small clan in rural Mississippi that I came to be exposed to.

But I offer this information just to help flesh out the points I’m aiming to make, one of which is that there are patriarchal setups still alive and well. They do exist and have for a long, long time. If you asked my ex-father-in-law if he considers himself a patriarch, he will unequivocally say “yes.” To him and his people, it is the proper order, because they deem men as closest to God, then women, then children. That is how they structure their own community and lives, and it’s what they preach as right and proper for all others as well. So this is not simply a myth fabricated by feminists, even as feminists have tended to blow it all out of proportion. For the record.

And I may have actually written about this man on here before, but ah well. Felt like adding a bit more. He appears to have mellowed out a good bit in recent years, so that’s positive at least.

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