SIA’s Convention (or: Is that Bettie Page on the book cover?)
Survivors of Institutional Abuse are organizing a convention for victims of teen behavioral modification centers. It will take place in Long Beach, CA on February 24-26 2012 at the Queen Mary. I have agreed to share half the monies made with the sales of Christian School Confidential to help make this convention possible.
Christian School Confidential is the story of a woman who learns her daughter has been molested by her former pastor. Her sister, who was also molested by the same pastor, was sent to a girl’s home so she would be kept quiet. Pressure is put upon my main character to send her daughter to a fundamentalist girls home. Hence, the appropriate connection with those who suffered similar abuse.
The drawing on the book’s cover is ‘Our Lady of Biola’. It was done by the late Kelley Renee, who did the illustrations for the original Christian School Confidential which was a zine sold on e-bay in the late 1990s.
It was inspired by Bettie Page. Bettie Page did not attend a fundamentalist Christian high school but she did attend three fundamentalist/evangelical colleges after her pin-up career. She rededicated her life to Christ at the Key West Temple Baptist Church in Key West, Florida. She attended Moody, Biola, Multnomah, and a little known place called Bibletown in Boca Raton, Florida.
She spent a good deal of her life not aware that she had become a pin-up icon. She eventually wound up at a fundamental Baptist home for senior citizens. That was where journalists discovered her. Hugh Hefner, being a fan of Bettie Page from his teenage years, stepped in to take care of her both legally and financially. She gained control over her images but, to my knowledge, still remained loyal to the fundamental Baptist home that helped her.
I don’t have a problem with that. I’m just amused by the thought that a fundamentalist ministry might have profited from Bettie Page bondage films. Bettie’s last interview with Playboy only adds to the frustration! Bettie’s final words to her fans consisted of trashing her photographer, Bunny Yeager, and calling for all to turn to Christ.
Well, the lady in my book is no Bettie Page! The woman in the picture is now ‘Lamora Gomorrah’, former fifties pin up queen who repents of her sins due to the meddling influence of her soon to be husband, famed evangelist R. Lee ‘Jules’ Cutswipe. Cutswipe abuses her and another teenager in his girl’s home which operated during the 1960s. This encounter ends with death. Lamora (now forced to call herself ‘Mary’) begins her quest to undermine the evil of the Fundamental Independent Baptist (FIB) movement.
That’s what I look for in my super-heroine pin-ups! Someone who uses the resources at hand to undermine and transform the establishment!
The focus of this satirical novel is Sarah Starr; a former missionary who learns her daughter, Chelsea, was molested by her former pastor, Dr. Roger Bunyan, Jr. Bunyan is the former pastor of Diadem Baptist Church, located in Crane City which is located about 60 miles north of Los Angeles, CA. He left under mysterious circumstances to become a missionary. Bunyan’s son is now the mayor. Pete Jackson, Mayor Bunyan’s friend, is the current pastor of this desert megachurch.
Bunyan has returned to Crane City. Sarah learns Chelsea had a disturbing encounter with him. She is equally afraid of pressure to put her daughter in a girl’s home for even talking about the abuse. If you want know how this saga ends, you have to buy the book.
Real life survivors of fundamentalist girls homes have been reuniting on facebook for the last few years. They are coming to Long Beach, CA in February 2012 where they will join those from other homes, not all of them operated by religious ministries.
This convention is hosted by the Survivors of Institutional Abuse. It can happen only with the generous donations of survivors and their supporters. I agreed to let half the proceeds from this book help to pay down the cost of the convention.
Christmas is around the corner! Buy one for your favorite Christian school and/or college student! Have them do a book report on Christian School Confidential, then send the report to me complete with teacher’s grade (and general reaction). I will post it on this site.
If you don’t know any students, buy Christian School Confidential to support a good cause. Donate a copy to your local public school or library. Donate one to your local Christian School or Christian College library!
I dare you. . .