Addendum on Wagner Hills Farm Society/Ministries

Some further commentary can come from the public feedback to Wagner Hills Farm Society[1]. In that, the ratings online can be useful. Here, its rating is decent with actual commentary on some online metrics. To Facebook, it is ranked 3.7 out of 5.0. To Google Reviews, it is listed as 4.1 out of 5. That’s not bad. It’s like a decent restaurant.

Wagner Hills Farm Society: Christian Ministry Posed as Recovery” covered the large swathe of the claims and the implications of its work in spite of the positive guitar-background music, smiles, and presentation of new activities, and spaces.

My concern is the main evidence is testimony, which is terrible, selective evidence, and the unethical behaviour of ministering or preaching & evangelizing one particular religious viewpoint when people are most vulnerable. In the Fraser Valley, or in Langley, British Columbia, specifically, it may not feel offensive to some of the public here.

It may not seem wrong. It may seem right. These people were missing God, missing the Gospel, missing the saving grace of Christ, the Saviour. I get it. Within the religious sentiments of much of the public here, it feels like the right things to have present in the community.

Why not have the evangelization to help heal sinners, while loving the sinner, hating the sin, and bringing them into closer union with God Almighty, Jesus Christ the King? Yet, imagine, if a local group of Satanists did the same, they opened a recovery centre decidedly self-defining, even calling itself, a ministry.

Its intent, at that point, would be the conversion of people to a particular religious viewpoint. It would be more obvious and become a point of public contention, rightfully. Yet, we have some of these Christian movements working to force themselves on the public’s most vulnerable, addicts at low life points. No one makes a mention of it, because it’s the majority, common religion here.

This seems a highly sensitive and charged time of life for addicts or individuals wanting a recovery path. To make this a time at which to attempt a conversion through bible study, worship, prayer, and farm work, which are actual methodologies proposed and practiced at Wagner Hills Ministries, seems immoral, it’s wrong.

The point is to acquire “disciples,” converts, to Christianity. Because we live in a simple majority Christian Township here in Langley, we see this as acceptable. Because we have a conservative culture here, we view this as nothing exceptional and simply shrug with what seems like a vast majority culture, Christianity, but only inches above 50% of the population now.

This should change the sentiment in the public decision-making process. We see some sentiments with the reactions to the pandemic with pretty much, as far as I know, only churches violating the public health orders in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 in the Fraser Valley alone, which was only on the last reportage. It could be more and, in turn, repeat violations.

The next largest segment of people is individual Langley-ites without a formal religious affiliation – 42.3% circa 2011 based on Metro Vancouver data. I would apply a similar reasoning to any and all recovery programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous, in the municipality, in the Township of Langley.

Here’s why, a ministry is something based on faith. Programs dealing with mental illness come with medical professionals, training, medications that have been tested through various phases of development, and care, fundamentally, based on evidence.

Some faith-based programs claim additional evidenced-based practices within them. Which leads to the question, why have the faith part outside of individual religious background for the individual when evidenced-based treatment suffices?

Because faith-based treatments, being based on “faith” or based without evidence (the basic definition of faith), don’t work; or if work, then work by accident, because they haven’t been robustly tested in rigorous scientific standards. If they had been tested as such, then they wouldn’t be faith-based; they’d be evidence-based, which is the issue.

A program of evidence-based treatment is not the full extent or purpose of even the best faith-based ministries working with addicts. The intent and dreams are sincere, honest, and wrongheaded, in my opinion. In that, the end goal is to make converts to a particular faith.

As noted, in this particular case, it is the Christian religion. This is where things seem wrong to me. In that, some of the most profoundly effective points of making a point in life come with making the point without the intent of conversion of another person or party.

Similarly, a program with an intent of conversion or making disciples is coercive and, thus, unethical, and should not be supported by public monies, because this is using public tax dollars for a particular religious purpose.

It violates the separation of church and state, fundamentally, and makes a mockery of freedom of belief. Is a belief free if you’re trapped in a context of recovery tied to a direct attempt at conversion through a Christian ministerial program for an entire year?

Matthew Claxton in “UPDATED: Wagner Hills plans expansion for Langley treatment facility” had reportage from 2017, which came from decisions of a different full Council, in part, compared to the current[2]. Many of the same and some different Cllrs., present.

The Council of 2017 voted unanimously – all 9 of them – to support a rezoning bylaw for the expansion of the Wagner Hills Farm Society. The sole purpose was an expansion from 50 to 119 beds. Bear in mind, it costs 100$ per day per bed filled in their capacity. The expansion is for the men’s campus in Fort Langley.

The Wagner Hills Farm Society Board of Directors is Kris Sledding (Chairman), Dan Ashton, Pastor Curtis Boehm, Allen Schellenberg, Kim Ironmonger (Treasurer), and Lanson Foster. Some of these individuals are directly connected to the Canadian Lutheran Church.

The staff is Jason Roberts (CEO & Men’s Campus Director), Tony De Jong (Operations Manager), Gregg Davenport (Program Manager), Stefan Kurschat (Head Counsellor), Dawn Bralovich (Director of Design), Jenifer Wiens (Program Assistant), and Kait Chambers (Care Coordinator).

Such an expansion, it would provide room for some more staff too, presumably. At the time, the first reading and second reading of the rezoning bylaw proposed were approved. Jason Roberts, the CEO, mentioned doing this slowly over the next few years, which would include now. The ALC or the Agricultural Land Commission of the Township of Langley approved non-farm use permit of the expansion at the time.

Roberts considered the overall response from the community positive. He noted Wagner Hills Farm Society has functioned within the community for almost 40 years, circa 2017. They have been trying to acquire the expansion since 2010.

The goal is to tear down an old building and put up a new one. Miranda Gathercole in “Wagner Hills plans to increase capacity at addictions facility” reported on the same progression with some quotes from councillors who happen to be on the current Council too.

At the time, Cllr. Kim Richter questioned if the expansion will alter the rehabilitation method. Mayor Froese didn’t think this would be the case. Cllr. Petrina Arnason asked if a large footprint would be left from the buildings. Cllr. Blair Whitmarsh supported the proposal and the tremendous work and fantastic expansion idea of the facility.

To be clear, Cllr. Whitmarsh is a dean and professor at the largest private, Christian, Evangelical university in the country. The view may be biased. For Richter, Arnason, and Froese, the concerns seemed valid, but too soft.

In personal opinion, and in the view of ethics, the facility does a disservice to the community posed as a service. It feels counter to the sentiments and evidence of the community and the testimonials.

Thusly, of the councillors who asked questions or made points, they missed the mark or made the opposite point to the evidence at hand, i.e., religious-based or faith-based recovery tends mostly to not work. This means: The methodology should be changed to evidence-based from faith-based, the footprint is largely irrelevant, and the work is neither “tremendous” nor “fantastic,” and others should have spoken out against it.

However, recovery programs, like AA, have a huge failure rate, blame the failures on the patients, and only record the successes to bring a sense of success in a sea of failures. Somewhere between 9 out of 10 to 19 out of 20 people fail in AA, so a 5% to 10% ‘success’ rate.

The community is largely Christian and has been since its inception. Thus, the sentiment, the culture, the mores and norms, institutional flavours, and the citizens feel as if Christianity is the default. It’s the proverbial water or air for us.

Yet, Wagner Hills Farm Society or Wagner Hills Ministries, is, as its name implies, a ministry primarily and recovery centre secondarily because, as they put it, the goal is to acquire “disciples,” so converts, to Christianity. That’s the point.

It’s not a ministry; and, I think, the complacency in going with the flow of the stream of municipal history can lead to the coercion into religious beliefs at vulnerable points in people’s lives to Christianity. It’s neither moral nor opaque. It’s transparent and unethical.

As far as I know, Cllrs. David Davis, Steve Ferguson, Margaret Kunst, Bob Long, and Eric Woodward, have not had a chance to comment on this particular case, recently.  If this arises in this case or others, their commentary would be helpful, especially as Long worked at Trinity Western University for a long time.

It is the largest Christian university in the country. Also, Woodward’s would be interesting too, because of the several years of business successes, so business savvy, in the past and an opposition to more taxes to the public. Why not focus on taxing such organizations properly?

Some examples might be a public benefits test for places of worship more robustly within the township, as has been argued by the British Columbia Humanist Association and Dr. Teale Phelps-Bondaroff.

Some of the commentary online about Wagner hills is positive, as with Katlin Henry being “thankful for Wagner hills [sic].” David Lemay saying, “This place is amazing. Good staff, amazing food…”

Pat K. saying, “Wagner Hills is the best thing that has happened to me in my life and mostly in my relationship with God and myself, also in my relationship with others especially the difficult people! If your looking for freedom in your life I highly recommend this place. God is at work here big time.”

Brandon Anderson saying, “This place helped save my life, before coming here I was losing a battle with depression and addiction. Taking a year out of my life to get the rest of it back was a no-brainer for me, considering the alternative.”

Vickie Sandover saying, “My brother’s life has changed for the better. I am grateful for Wagner Hills.” Kal Sidhu saying, “In November 2006 I came to Wagner Hills with no idea on how to change my life. I had the Revelation of who Jesus Christ is but I had no foundation in how to live a better life.”

Doug Young saying, “Wagner Hills changed my life. I am grateful for this place every day.” Wayne Montgomery saying, “Life changing.” A Doug Thomas and a Jim Jack – knowing the area, probably real names, funnily enough – gave 5-star reviews (out of 5).

Dave Williams said, “The best life changing program I ever did thanks.” There is, in other words, a positive sentiment about the state of Wagner Hills Farm Society or Wagner Hills Ministries of those coming out of it and then reporting to the public via Google Reviews. Even so, these become selective self-reports with extremes of positivity encouraged in most contexts and so a self-selection bias.

Having worked in the service sector, I understand ethics can go to the wayside in favour of some positive public commentary to improve the business. As in, “You work here. Please give a positive review online.”

I chose not to – in the case of some service work, because of the conflict of interest of working at the company and then this not being a genuine reflection of the external, organically driven customer base. However, what are the chances of this happening for another service sector seen in a recovery, discipleship, Christian ministerial context?

As argued before, it is a coercive environment in which individuals in vulnerable moments in life are brought into a discipleship context. They are looking for any lifeline.

This is coercive because of the taking advantage of individuals in vulnerable circumstances and then putting them in a discipleship program rather than recovery without coercion of a faith or religious belief system. Then this gets praised as tremendous and fantastic work by some councillors while other comments miss the point entirely – the ethics.

Alternative secular, non-coercive programs exist and can be built and implemented to serve all of the community rather than only some of the community strongly tilted towards the Christian community – non-biased evidence-based recovery is the necessity for addicts and recovering alcoholics, not Christ, discipleship, or other faith-based methodologies and philosophies.

The negative commentary can come out too, as in Troy Cross:

The place was a slave camp the 2 times I was there when I didn’t know better. Thank God for discernment. I had to learn the hard way but it taught me lots going through that HELL Hole! It is abusive and very controlling. A religious prison. Put a dog collar on people and teach them to obey! Once you remove the control and dog collar you will be right back where you started! Men trying to control other men. It was horrific to say the least! If God through the Holy Spirit cannot do the work no man will be able too.

Religious slave camp!

I have way more stories I could share but I won’t. I’ve given a basic summary of what was going on there.

Military Jesus the Slave Master is their version of God.

The place was majorly missing Loving Kindness and is very deceptive. Religious people will love it tho! 🙂

I hope they get a wake-up call and change. Seriously!

‘Lois’ too:

No real focus on recovery as the avoidance of matters pertaining to addiction doesn’t heal one of their addictions. Their committal to healing truly does vary upon the personality of the individual involved. If they anticipate hardship of any sort on their end they would rather kick an individual out of the program rather than work through it with them … even if that person hasn’t broken the rules. Free labor/slave labor anyone? If you’re up for that then jump on board with Wagner Hills Women’s Campus! They’re the pro’s at proclaiming their faith but failing to actively live it out. Truly shallow place where they try to divert attentions and employ unskilled staff who try and enrage and depress their clients back into active addiction. Guess what? It’s not going to work!

Those are articulate considerations without clear refutation akin to the positive commentary without clear refutation because these are self-reports or testimonials. Testimonials are the central theme of advertisement and marketing of Wagner Hills Farm Society/Wagner Hills Ministries.

It’s a weak basis for decision-making. What is the evidence to support the claims? What is the comparison? What secular, evidence-based alternatives exist here? A.A. or Alcoholics Anonymous has a well-publicized, in professional and not public, circles failure rate of 92% to 95%/success rate of 8% to 5%.

Some counter-commentary has been polemical against the range of percentages, but it’s based on a professional re-analysis of statistics and studies given out before.

Controversial psychiatrist Dr. Lance Dodes in “Review: The Sober Truth – Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12 Step Programs with Dr. Lance Dodes” said:

AA started in the 1930s, when Bill Wilson wrote Alcoholics Anonymous, it was actually widely panned by the American Medical Association and everybody else. But what happened over the years was there was a remarkable shift between roughly 1935 and 1945.

Bill Wilson encouraged people to join his program, and most importantly, he encouraged those people to talk about their successes. When people didn’t do well, they disappeared, which is still true today. We don’t hear about those people.

But eventually he got the ear of one of the major writers in the country, a columnist, Jack Anderson, who wrote for the Saturday Evening Post.

And he wrote what became a famous article extolling the virtues of AA and saying, “It’s marvelous. It’s a miracle.” And he justified that by talking about several people, individual cases, where people had transformed their lives.

Almost overnight, everybody bought into this…

…People were desperate to find something, and they latched onto [AA] the way people do with a lot of ideas which turn out to be not actually useful, but they’re exciting.

By the mid-1940s, the AMA had reversed its position and [the 12 Steps] became the standard in this country. Many people came to believe that AA was the treatment or the best treatment for alcoholism without any evidence, and that’s been true ever since….

…Now when we studied it in The Sober Truth …. we looked at all those studies and we also tried updating newer studies, and what we found was that if you accumulate all the data the success rate [of 12 Step programs] is between 5 and 8%, something like that.[5]

What is the relation of this Wagner Hills Farm Society consideration to A.A. in British Columbia[3]? Should the public of British Columbia support such non-sense, as seen in the pseudo-psychology of ‘sexual addiction’?

These exist in the same ballpark because of the faith-based histories and, often, foundations of them in spite of advances and adaptations to critiques and controveries.

Often, these programs come with theological or religious constructs behind them, to reinforce them, to then coerce and force them onto the vulnerable sectors of the public.

If care is to truly be care, then it would come without the string of a belief system. It would provide evidence-based care without religion in it. Yet, these programs do this. Another clear example is the sexual addiction industry, which is fundamentally pseudoscientific.

Clearly, it was rejected in the latest inclusions of the DSM. In turn, it is not a psychological diagnosis, so not a psychological construct. Yet, several centres claim to treat ‘sexual addiction’ in the province of British Columbia. Which is to state, they are engaging in malpractice.

Those include Burns Clinical Life Options Inc, Crossing Point -Affordable Addiction Recovery, Cedars at Cobble Hill, Together We Can – Addiction Recovery Centre, Chopra Addiction and Wellness Center, Manifest – Counselling for Men, Edgewood Treatment Centre, Top of the World Ranch Treatment Centre, Garuda Centre, Valiant Recovery Addiction Treatment Rehab Program, Pacific Intervention & Recovery Solutions, EHN Canada Outpatient Services, and Nomina @ Forbidden Plateau Residential Treatment.

Clearly, this comes from somewhere. What communities have had longstanding issues with sex? It is a theological or religious construct posed as psychological; thus, a religious violation of a secular therapy and so an illegitimate attempt at infusion of religion in secular counselling practice.

Dr. Darrel Ray of Recovering From Religion in “Conversation with Dr. Darrel Ray on Christian Fundamentalism and Sex: Founder, Recovering from Religionstated:

First, sex addiction is a religious construct. It is not a psychological or scientific construct. The reason I say that is in 25 or 30 years of research; nobody has been able to figure out how you would scientifically define and diagnose this notion of sex addiction.

Most addictions are questionable and difficult to define, but we found ways to define some of them. But let me ask you a counter question, “Do you believe in Facebook addiction?”

Okay, people who spend hours after hours online on Facebook. They waste a ton of time. It interferes with their work; it interferes with their life; it interferes with their relationships. Doesn’t that sound like an addiction to you?

And yet, those researchers aren’t concerned about Facebook addiction because sex has a special component to it. So, that’s my answer to the first piece. The second part of the sex addiction piece is, since there’s no science, we can’t diagnose it.

If you can’t diagnose it, you can’t treat it. So, anybody who claims to treat sex addiction is a charlatan; they’re selling snake oil; they should be disbarred. And yet there are people who advertise themselves as sex addict counselors.

They should be disbarred; they should have their license taken away. But it’s a powerful religious lobby. The religionists make a lot of money off the notion of sex addiction. DSM-5 does not have a category of sex addiction in it.

In fact, hypersexuality has even been severely changed and modified because: how do you define hypersexuality? Is somebody masturbating 10 times a day hypersexual? If it doesn’t interfere with his life or her life, then it’s not hypersexual.

But, in the Catholic worldview, masturbating even once makes you a sex addict. Masturbating to pornography makes you a porn addict, even once. I have quotes. I have a video of a Catholic spokesman for the Catholic Church of the United States saying, ‘If you’ve masturbated to porn once, you are a sex addict.’

Simply and purely, we have the infusion of Christian religion, and general theology in fact, into the therapeutic process. It is an attempt to evangelize a secular discipline in a manner of speaking. It’s not working, though. Because it is anti-scientific.

It should be noted. Organizations like Wagner Hills Farm Society acquires funds from the Township of Langley. Thus, this likely happens throughout the country. In that, the annual report of 2016 of the Township of Langley reported $5,307 for “Wagner Hills Farm Society” in its section “Community Halls, Facilities, and Not-For-Profit Organizations

In the same sections for the annual reports of2017, 2018, and 2019, Wagner Hills Farm Society received $4,908, $4,453, and $4,291, respectively. Naturally, this means a fundamental funding of public funds for a coercive setup for Christian religion, for the making of “disciples,” in the phraseology of Wagner Hills.

The public at large is funding efforts at evangelization by and large with the sideshow of recovery without a true basis in evidence-based practice. Individuals at vulnerable points in life are being coerced into taking a Christian or religious lifeline.

The arguments for Wagner Hills Farm Society/Wagner Hills Ministries come from testimonies or some of the weakest forms of argument for a program. Previous Council, in 2017, unanimously approved rezoning for its expansion in the men’s campus.

In my opinion, they were thinking on the wrong premises and came to the incorrect conclusions. The current Council can change this in the future and expand such considerations into other faith-based domains for general public benefit rather than particular religious – Christian – public benefit.

The community is dominant Christian; however, it shouldn’t run dominantly for Christians.

Two councillors, certainly, have biased histories or active employment with Trinity Western University: Cllrs. Bob Long and Blair Whitmarsh. Both of whom I’ve met, had a meal or few, and enjoy conversation(s). I genuinely like them and got along with them.

Finally, the evidence for such programs is highly suspect, as they aren’t truly data-based or evidence-based, as they note on their ministries website. It’s more qualitative, selective, hence suspect – open to wide questioning. As far as I know, none of this was scrutinized.

Which is on some levels a travesty, we’re dealing with local citizens in vulnerable moments of life. A coercive construct and faith-based methodology is used in it. Then this is given the veneer of something healthy, positive, even “tremendous” and “fantastic.” It’s not, personally, for the aforementioned reasons.

[1] Some of the others include Burns Clinical Life Options Inc., Crossing Point – Affordable Addiction Recovery, Valiant Recovery Addiction Treatment Rehab Program, The Center | A Place of HOPE, BC Teen Challenge – Okanagan Men’s Centre, LIFE Recovery, Teen Challenge BC – Abbotsford Women’s Centre, Teen Challenge BC – Chilliwack Men’s Centre, and Union Gospel Mission Recovery Program.

[2] The current Council of the Township of Langley is comprised of Mayor Jack Froese, Councillor Petrina Arnason, Councillor David Davis, Councillor Steve Ferguson, Councillor Margaret Kunst, Councillor Bob Long, Councillor Kim Richter, Councillor Blair Whitmarsh, and Councillor Eric Woodward.

[3] The public listing online stipulates these places: Abbotsford A.A. District 39, Abbotsford Intergroup Committee-A.A., Dist. 03 Answering Service, District 45 Intergroup, Dist. 04 Answering Service, Fernie Answering Service, Fort St John Intergroup, Kamloops Answering Service, Kelowna Intergroup, Langley Intergroup Office, Mission B.C. 24 Hour A.A. Hotline, Mid-Island Intergroup Society, Nelson AA Intergroup, South Okanagan Intergroup, Prince George Intergroup, Revelstoke Intergroup, Greater Vancouver Intergroup Society, Vernon Answering Service, and A.A. Central Office.

[4] The full answer to the question in “Conversation with Dr. Darrel Ray on Christian Fundamentalism and Sex: Founder, Recovering from Religion” states:

Jacobsen: You have written on “sex addiction.” Is it not a real thing? So, one of the major, or main restrictions, boundaries, borders that are put up, traditionally speaking, by religious texts and subsequently communities, and even societies, are strongly around sex.

So, why isn’t sex addiction a real thing? And what do you see as the main reason for religion in general, especially the Abrahamic ones, to restrict and direct sexual activity of the young especially, and even more especially the women?

Ray: First, sex addiction is a religious construct. It is not a psychological or scientific construct. The reason I say that is in 25 or 30 years of research; nobody has been able to figure out how you would scientifically define and diagnose this notion of sex addiction.

Most addictions are questionable and difficult to define, but we found ways to define some of them. But let me ask you a counter question, “Do you believe in Facebook addiction?”

Jacobsen: [Laughing] Not really.

Ray: Okay, people who spend hours after hours online on Facebook. They waste a ton of time. It interferes with their work; it interferes with their life; it interferes with their relationships. Doesn’t that sound like an addiction to you?

Jacobsen: It does fit some criteria that I would tacitly have.

Ray: And yet, those researchers aren’t concerned about Facebook addiction because sex has a special component to it. So, that’s my answer to the first piece. The second part of the sex addiction piece is, since there’s no science, we can’t diagnose it.

If you can’t diagnose it, you can’t treat it. So, anybody who claims to treat sex addiction is a charlatan; they’re selling snake oil; they should be disbarred. And yet there are people who advertise themselves as sex addict counselors.

They should be disbarred; they should have their license taken away. But it’s a powerful religious lobby. The religionists make a lot of money off the notion of sex addiction. DSM-5 does not have a category of sex addiction in it.

In fact, hypersexuality has even been severely changed and modified because: how do you define hypersexuality? Is somebody masturbating 10 times a day hypersexual? If it doesn’t interfere with his life or her life, then it’s not hypersexual.

But, in the Catholic worldview, masturbating even once makes you a sex addict. Masturbating to pornography makes you a porn addict, even once. I have quotes. I have a video of a Catholic spokesman for the Catholic Church of the United States saying, ‘If you’ve masturbated to porn once, you are a sex addict.’

That’s ludicrous. But not to a Catholic. I have a nice 50-minute talk on the myth of sex addiction. You can see it on YouTube. Google it, it’s right there. There’s a hell of a lot to talk about on that. But the main thing to know is that sex addiction is a religious notion, not a scientific one.

So, women and sex, all patriarchal religions have discovered over centuries that the best way to control people is through their sex and sexuality. I use the term in my book The God Virus, I call it the “guilt cycle.”

But religions, they teach that when you’re 5 or 10-years-old; that sex is bad; that masturbation is bad, touching your own genitals is bad. If you do it, then you’re going to hell: Jesus is watching you.

There’s a voyeuristic God out there that wants to see everything you do and is going to condemn you. I often tell Christians that if you’re a Christian, and you have sex, then you have a threesome with Jesus. He’s watching you the whole time.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Ray: So, patriarchal religions, once they realize that, they’ve taught you that your own body is your enemy: I mean look at the story of Adam and Eve. That is a signal that your body is the enemy and particularly women are the enemy.

Women were the temptress; women succumb to temptation. Women tempted men. All those are sins and crimes and all women are guilty of that crime in the Catholic worldview. Also, in the Islamic worldview, and to a somewhat lesser degree, even in Buddhism, Buddhists clearly are misogynistic, and male-dominated, patriarchal.

Hinduism, the same thing. So, you can name the patriarchal religion and control of women’s sexuality as number one in their list of priorities from their worldview. It starts early on with girls being taught about the religious concept of virginity.

Virginity is not a biological concept. At all. It’s a religious concept. So, what we do is we teach girls that virginity is precious, God owns your virginity; in other words, you do not own your own body, and losing your virginity is a dangerous thing.

You must guard it carefully. Of course, on the opposite side, it assumes that boys are out to get your virginity; that you must protect yourself; that you keep your legs together with an aspirin between them. All these messages.

In the purity culture, especially among fundamentalists, but it pervades our whole culture. And when we have people going into our schools right now teaching abstinence only, bull shit, the girls, most of the messages are guilt messages.

Now, why is that important in a patriarchal religion? Because when a child is taught their body is ba, they commit a sin, where they feel terrible about it. “I masturbated this morning, now I feel terrible, what do I do?”

A Baptist reads the Bible and prays. A Catholic goes to confession. A Mormon confesses to his bishop. Do you realize that bishop Mitt Romney of the Mormon church had to listen to 12-year-old boys tell him if they masturbated or not? Did you know that’s a part of the Mormon church?

12-year-old boys come in to get their talking to by the bishop and one of the questions they ask is, “Have you masturbated?” And if you have, “What are you going to do about not doing it anymore?”

This is a 12-year-old boy. They hand them an 8-page piece of literature. I even quote it extensively in my book, Sex and God. They even give them an 8-page a story or metaphor that does not mention the word sex or penis or masturbation, doesn’t mention it once, but the title is, “Don’t tamper with the factory.”

The metaphor is that your genitals are a factory for creating sperm. It’s going to do its thing and you shouldn’t mess with it. Don’t touch your genitals, [Laughing]! And Mitt Romney was giving this thing to people.

To 12-year-old boys, because the bishop in the Mormon church must do that, it’s one of their duties. Nobody said that during the election cycle, that’s for sure, [Laughing].

[5] The question from the interviewer:

Caroline McGraw: Let’s start with the surprising statistic that you share in The Sober Truth which is that AA, the quintessential 12 Step Program, has only about a 5 to 10% success rate. And obviously that’s a big problem, considering that about three-quarters of the residential addiction treatment centers in the US are 12 Step-based. I guess my first question is how did we get here?

Photo by Brad Barmore on Unsplash

Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Assistant Editor, News Intervention, Human Rights Activist. Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He focuses on North America for News Intervention. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere. You can contact Scott via email.

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