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I Fired God: My Life Inside---and Escape from---the Secret World of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult Hardcover – May 14, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Zichterman provides an insider’s account of growing up under the influence of America’s network of Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches and educational institutions. Her personal experiences and those of her siblings appear to substantiate cultlike practices that isolate and degrade women and impose unholy terror on young men. Still, much of the personal horror relates to Zichterman’s mentally unstable father, who is prone to violent rages. The gut-wrenching accounts of physical and sexual abuse in the name of God and the IFB are disturbing, yet with or without this brand of Christianity, her father might have operated as a severely disturbed person. Also, Zichterman somehow pairs off with a kindhearted husband, who she describes as representing the highest IFB ideals (they were eventually forced to leave the church). Even so, the author’s allegations that the IFB provides a soil rich for abuse and domination are believable. This is one edgy, thought-provoking odyssey—from oppressed child to ultimate whistle-blower. --Susan DeGrane

Review

An incendiary piece of work. (Kirkus Review)

Zichterman's compelling and moving book will appeal to readers of memoir. (Library Journal)

This is one edgy, thought-provoking odyssey--from oppressed child to ultimate whistle-blower. (Booklist)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250026261
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250026262
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #462,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Reading this book was like looking back on my own childhood.
shymeggie
There may be a network among some "IFB" churches (pastors' conferences, etc.) but certainly nowhere near the extent that Zichterman suggests.
Tom
That does not exempt here from being a credible author and recording details accurately.
Dan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I almost didn't buy this book because of some of the reviews insinuating the author's rejection of God and truth but, I'm so glad I did.

From the first chapter I was drawn in. I have read many blogs and one other book recounting a woman and her family leaving fundamentalism, but never before have I read the account of someone who was raised in the exact same circles as I. My fundamental experience (from 1987 to 2012) includes everything from Pearl, Doug Phillips, Doug Wilson, Gothard, and that side of things - as well as strong ties with BJ, Northland, the Wilds, Patch the Pirate, and others. (My family of origin went from one extreme to the other, but in the reverse order of Jocelyn's).

Her name was familiar, but after Googling my jaw dropped as I pulled out my Majesty hymnal and Wilds songbook and realized I had grown up loving and singing the songs written by her husband. I was practically weaned on them. The "name dropping" that she apparently is so guilty of was incredibly helpful to me - in a very surreal and chilling way - having heard the vast majority of the men mentioned speak on one occasion or another at camps, Bible conferences, colleges, etc.

Her recounting of the lyrics of songs I grew up singing cast a far different light than I have ever considered them in - which was eye opening and chilling.

While I did not experience the physical or sexual abuse that she did, as graphic as the accounts were, I wasn't surprised to find out that this stuff went on. The older I get the more I realize that this stuff was rampant.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Harold Goodman on July 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This book needs to be read by everyone who cares about God and Christianity.

It details the abuse and evil perpetrated in the name of God by a group of people who have sold their souls to a group of men ( all men, since they despise and subjugate women) who love titles ( so many fake "Dr." titles from the very top guys down to the most ignominious cretin pastor and heads of "Bible" colleges) and power.

The author makes clear that the International Fundamental Baptist church racket has nothing to do with the many positive, Evangelical Christian churches and schools. In fact, it was loving and honest Evangelical Christians from these other schools ( ie. those not associated with Bob Jones University and its many subsidiaries) that helped her escape from the cult.

I commend the author for having the courage to break away from this evil cult. After having gone through physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father, Bart Janz, who sadly is still a pastor ministering to his brainwashed followers in rural Colorado, she escaped from the cult. Her father pursued her, threatening her with bodily harm and even had the gall to sue her after her children detailed his sexual abuse of them.

She was approached by 20/20, Oprah and other national news groups following the exposure of the rape of a 15 year old girl at a cult church in Concord, NH. The pastor of the church actually condemned the girl and cursed her in front of the entire congregation. So much for Christian understanding and love.

Subsequently, this incident helped break the dam and over 12,000 cult members contacted the author at her Facebook page detailing their own incidents of abuse at the hands of these "God-fearing" cult leaders and members.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ann Thomas on November 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
i grew up in an IFB church, took me years to get over the guilt. i never suffered the sexual or physical abuse due to the church but the control was
unbelievable. I tried to be the submissive wife i was supposed to be and my husband kept us broke until i took control, got a good job and put food on the table and took care of our family. His addiction to porn was what ended our marriage after 23 years.
I stayed at BOB JONES for 2 whole weeks. So I felt pretty much like a failure. I was so glad to be out of there but thought something
was wrong with me because i didn't love it! I do not attend church anymore but have a strong faith in God. Probably stronger
because of my experience. It teaches you to keep your eyes on God. Jocelyn lost me when she went into politics. I think she did that
to show that she was going to be so different from the IFB. She changed to free choice to kill your baby.She even supported OBAMA. I have been a conservative since I was the campaign manager for Barry Goldewater in the 7th grade. So I don't know what one has to do with the other. Your faith in God and your politics are two separate things. I guess she wanted to make her own decisions and just be at the other end of the spectrum. Not sure what that had to do with the book. I had a hard time getting through to the end but I wanted to finish it. She had about 2 or 3 pages of such vile language that I could not buy the book and send it to may sister who would have thrown it in the trash at that point. My sister is still in the IFB church and will never leave.
I knew some wonderful people in the church and some not so wonderful. You find bad people everywhere. But the overall
concept of this book is true and the IFB is dangerous with the extremes she described. Although not all are that extreme.
The book was well written but would have been better had she stayed on the topic and had not veered into her new political views.
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