Apparently, out of a misguided notion of protecting his father's good name, Mr. Hymers has attempted to silence talented blog favorite Joy McCann (Little Miss Attila), who has had the courage to occasionally recount some of the sordid details of her time in the Open Door Community Church. Ms. McCann has shared some of these details in an effort to support others that may have come into the sphere of influence of this church body, and the leadership of one Robert Leslie Hymers, Jr.
The Open Door Community Church sounds a tad like Lowood School of Jane Eyre fame, with its misguided notions about chaste living and heavy emphasis on personal shaming. Here is an excerpt from their letter to Ms. McCann in December of 1977:
You have been excommunicated from the church for sexual sins that you refuse to repent of, and for continually missing church, and for denying Christ.
You have violated your enclosed covenant with God. There is only one way you can get right with God. You must come back to this church, repent, and publicly confess your sins. You cannot go to any other church and be absolved, for, even if they accept you, God will not. You must come back here to repent, even it is fifty years from now. Otherwise you can never be forgiven.
You were excommunicated by a unanimous vote of the membership of the entire church.
That's a bad start, and something not wise to draw attention to.
And what was the sexual sin of Ms. McCann that had to be discussed before the entire church body? At age fourteen she was date-raped by her 'boyfriend'.
Obviously, the Open Door Community Church under the leadership of Robert Leslie Hymers, Jr. was badly misguided in its understanding of the Christian faith. One does not have a sin to confess when one is raped, a church leadership does not discuss the sexual abuse of its young women with the church body, forgiveness is from God, and is in no way tied to any particular church body, and excommunication is a Catholic Church practice reserved for people unwilling to stop committing what that church considers to be 'mortal sins'. The theological mis-statements in this one letter alone casts the pale of cultism to the beliefs espoused by the Open Door Community Church, and being a cult of the Christian faith, it would be a most excellent church body for one to leave.
All that to say, any person with sense would leave well enough alone, and hope for it all to be forgotten.
Sadly, the hapless Mr. Hymers has taken to writing the FBI, claiming he is afraid of Joy, and further has had lawyers write to Miss McCann to request she 'cease and desist' from further writings on this sorry tale of misguided religiosity.
Fortunately better writers than I have taken to defending Miss Attilla, including Bob Belvedere, Robert Stacy McCain, Cynthia Yockey, Roxeanna de Luca and Da Tech Guy, among others.
There is much to choose from by way of response, but perhaps my favorite is from Cynthia Yockey, who writes:
"And somehow this proto-lawyer did not consider the remedies available to him and his father under the laws of libel — although, dagnabbit, one of the elements of libel is that the statements have to be false — which may be why he did not take that avenue of pursuit."
That is too rich!
The linky madness has firmly put the otherwise unknown Robert Leslie Hymers, Jr. in an internet spotlight to rival any of Robert Stacy McCain's mega launch efforts! That's impressive.
Nicely done Mr. Hymers!! You are my personal favorite to be this year's winner of the coveted Darwin Award.
Robert Leslie Hymers responds:
"I demand that she stop stalking my father. I demand that she stop attacking him on the Internet..."
What the...? No, really, that makes up the body of the prologue. (?!)
The bulk of the response is geared to responding to criticisms of Dr. Hymers and his church, now the Baptist Tabernacle, in which the respondents spend a great deal of time explaining that church splits are common and in no way reflect on things going awry in a fellowship of believers. Hmm. Well, yes and no. They go on to say that referring to Dr. Hymers as Mien Fuhrer is out of bounds, for Dr. Hymers has never been an anti-Semite.
Well boys, perhaps the references to Herr Hitler had to do with the excessive dictatorial style of Mien Hymers, rather than an impression of anti-semitism in his preaching? Is it possible that one just kinda slipped past ya?