Friday, October 30, 2009


"To the individual believer indwelt by the Holy Spirit there is granted the direct impression of the Spirit of God on the spirit of an individual, imparting the knowledge of His will in matters of the smallest and greatest importance. This has to be sought and waited for."  - G. Campbell Morgan

When I read this quote this morning, my thoughts immediately went to a Christian Science practitioner I knew when I was younger. He was a close friend of our family. I don't talk about him much, because what he did is of no great importance to me anymore - especially in light of what happened to Katie - but this quote brought him to mind.

He was the man who molested me, when I was a child. My brother and I went on camping trips with him, as did the children of other members of our church. His name was John Grant, and he was a famous horticulture expert before he became a full-time practitioner, teacher and lecturer in the Christian Science church. He was raised in Shanghai, China, by missionary parents. He had a deep voice and a British accent, and spoke with great authority and gravitas, as if he believed he was an oracle of the Word of God - or wanted his audience to believe it.

I confided in my parents about the abuse when I was about 9 years old. I never confronted him. I could hardly bear looking at him. The thought of standing up in court to face him, even as an adult, was too terrifying to me.

I know of two other victims. The church refuses to acknowledge this, though they have heard from the three of us.

He died in a wildfire that swept the hills of Oakland, California, in 1991. I was told that he and his wife stayed in their house, trying to keep it safe by spraying it with water from their garden hoses. It was a huge, consuming fire. When I heard about it, my first feeling was awe. My first thought was, "Yep." It still amazes me. I'm not glad that he and his wife died what was surely an agonizing death, but I am not sorry he's gone, either.

I wonder if he sought and waited for "the direct impression of the Spirit of God." Looking at his behavior, I doubt it. I wonder if it would have stopped him, or led him to treatment, or healed him of the desire to molest small children. I don't know anything about the inside of his mind and heart. I just don't see God's impression in his actions - I see manipulation, violation and control.

One of the interesting side effects of having been molested is that I have a heightened sensitivity to creepy vibes in men. I cannot explain this, and it's possible that I've been wrong sometimes, but I know that I feel it, almost like an aura, around some men. I steer far clear of them, without apology.

Before Katie got sick, I was working through some of the after-effects of the molestation. The actress Teri Hatcher wrote an article in 2006 in Vanity Fair magazine about her experience of sexual abuse as a child, and it brought a lot of feelings to the surface in me. I realized that it was HIS problem, not mine. I made a collage and wrote a poem (above), and that helped me to "clear the air" inside of me. Getting it out in visual form felt good; I would recommend such "art therapy."  When Katie was diagnosed with cancer, this part of my past became a very small and insignificant thing, in comparison to what she was suffering.

"...comfort yourself with Him, who is the only Physician of all our maladies. He is the FATHER of the afflicted, always ready to help us. He loves us infinitely more than we imagine: love Him then, and seek not consolation elsewhere: I hope you will soon receive it."   - "The Practice of the Presence of God," by Brother Lawrence

That quote gives an impression of the Spirit of God. I'm thankful that there are many good-hearted prophets and spiritual mentors in the world who bear His image.


Kay said...

Wow, I had no idea all the things you endured at such a young age! I am so sorry. : (

I love the ending quote! I too am thankful that if we look, there are those that are genuine in their faith and really do bear His image.

Sis B said...

You have such a brave and beautiful spirit. Thank you for sharing your experiences and insight. Even when you talk about the painful things you have gone through, I feel uplifted by your courage.

I'm glad I blog know you. :)

Dawn ~ BJSMomma said...

Thank you for sharing....Keep PRESSING ON, as you have through many things.


Karen said...

That is an amazing post. I don't know where to start in responding because it raises so many thoughts in my head. The first one is to affirm and applaud your courage to speak out. It's wonderful that you can tell your story, and know you are not the cause of your abuse. When you do it, you help everyone who has ever stood in your shoes to become brave and able to separate the truth out and overcome their own fear and shame.

The second thought is regarding your statement that your abuse became small in comparison to Katie's cancer struggle. I have to concur that though both my husband and I had difficult childhoods, it hardly merits our thought anymore. When our children suffer, it seems to trump everything else.

The third is the outrage (I guess that's the right word for the deep protest wrankling my soul)I feel toward these hyper-spiritual men who abuse. I am allergic to hyperspirituality for that reason. It so often is used to cover up sexual deviancy in men and passivity in women, which perpetuates this rotten stuff in the church and world. Grrrr.

Fourth, I loved hearing that you have radar, now, for the offenders among us. How cool. If only there were a way we could hire you to notify the rest of the little girls of the world when they are in danger. The world would be a better place. I hope those closest to you, in any case, get to benefit from that 6th sense. It was hard-earned.

Finally, no wonder you are so wise and compassionate. Bless you for turning your suffering into good stuff for the rest of us.

Renee said...

Oh Karen I am so sorry that happened to you.

You are strong now and worse has happened and you are still standing.

He is a monster and I'm glad he is dead.

Please keep that sense you have of being weary, know what you know and if there are children around keep your eyes open.

Abuse is everywhere and I am sorry that you suffered it.

This is very important.

Thank you.

Love Renee xoxo

Anonymous said...

What a horrible thing to go through as a child. You are such a strong amazing person. You are my hero!

KBL 2 ORD 2 SAN 2 LUV said...

Well, it might piss some people off, but it reaffirms my own faith in God that he died in burning flames. I'm glad he's gone. I know greater fires awaited him. My God would not have allowed him to remain unpunished for the tragic misuse of his gift and leadership.

Hugs and much love to you Karen. You are so tiny now, I can only imagine how small of a child you must have been, and he didn't feel any compassion or a moment of shame before setting upon a small creature of God.

Bravo for being able to post this. said...

I am so proud of you -- and that image you shared -- so powerful. What a long walk, and what courage.

Elizabeth said...

This post has left me breathless. I have not had the experiences you have had, but somehow your faith and words drive deep into me. They are awesome in the true sense of the word.

Anonymous said...

i knew there wa a reason we have sooo much in expereince occurred when i was 4. He was a neighborHOOD 19 YEAR OLD ~ and my aunt WAS NOT the best BABYSItter! I connect to the creepy vibe commenT:) I have the same six sense too. MY hypersensitive nature is always on overdrive.....i do everything from my gut. The experience also tOOK SEcond stage to henry and his cancer. i was just opening up! I didn't telll my parents till i was 30....i didn't peep a word of it to anyone actualy unTIL FRIEND CONFIDED IN ME ~ i WAS 27. To think i held my owN POWER BACK FROM MYSELF....I LOVE THE COLLAGE YOU did...what beauty~ like you.



Renee said...

Karen I was thinking about this horrible man the other night and I just can't help think why these people get to live.

Two of my neices were molested by their father (my sister's husband) for years. My nephew was molested by his neighbour.

They have the ability to ruin lives and cause so much damage.

Sorry, just so angry.

Love Renee xoxo

AnnDeO said...

Oh Karen, can you please send me your email?

Leslie K. said...


I don't really know what to say because I have never walked in your shoes. You are very brave for sharing this. I applaud you for your strength.

You are truly an amazing woman :) Can't wait to give you a hug!


Anonymous said...

Oh Karen. I'm lost for words. All I can say is that I am continually shocked by the abuses of power that people in religious and educational positions commit. But my sense of anger about this is heightened to an extreme when I think of it happening to someone I "know" like yourself. What a tragedy - you are so brave to share and I do hope that you have found some peace about this. This post makes me so sad.

Irene x

Laurie Brandriet Keller said...

You are so brave and so real. I adore you.