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THIS IS MY STORY: 
GOD WITH ME

Even when I did not know He was

World War II Survivor

Little Cricket was conceived because Pearl Harbor was bombed.

Her dad was on the destroyer, the USS Honolulu

“SHE”, (Navy tradition is ships are labeled, “she.”)

The Honolulu was anchored at a dock waiting for dry dock when a missile hit the dock December 7, 1941.

The ship did not suffer major damage.

My dad watched the bombing from the deck of the Honolulu.

All sailors were given leave to visit stateside.  I was born 9 months later.

The stress of war did not create security and safety in this toddler.

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Cricket Did Get Out of the Crib However.

Big Sister, “Bee”, walking her little sister, “Cricket”, while Mom waited to know if Daddy would come home from the Pacific Arena in the first year and a half of World War II.

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1943-1945

 

Stationed for the remainder of WWII in New Orleans.  

Daddy was retired with a full medical disability at 39 years of age due to a form of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis,5 which fused his entire spine and caused constant pain.

 

1945-1950

 

Lived in Navy Housing in Long Beach, California.

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1950-1960

 

Ten positive years living in the small desert town of 29 Palms, California.

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1960-1965

 

One year at the University of California was all this small town girl could handle when she was introduced to Beat Niks; protest marches against the French presence in Vietnam; and the fomenting of the Free Speech Movement which would become the Civil Rights Movement. 

 

When Claudia transferred to the small campus of Chico State College in central California in 1961, she found the God of peace and comfort for whom she had been searching since early childhood.

 

She graduated with a bachelor of science degree in nursing in 1964. 

Spent a year in San Bernardino County in southern California.

 

She answered the call to become a minister of the gospel in September of 1961.  She then was called to move to Alaska in 1965 where she roomed with s family in Sitka, AK in September of ‘65.

She began fulfilling the call to the ministry in June of 1966.




 

1966

 

Note: When I talk about my life before the work I subconsciously use the 3rd person.  When I talk about my life since being in the work I talk in the first person.  My whole life is defined by my call to God’s ministry. 

 

I began in our ministry in June of 1966.  I had been raised in an agnostic home to use my intelligence well, to be a knowledgeable, independent thinker who could make her own decisions and stand her ground in any dispute.

 

There was nothing in the successful life of the 23 year old young woman to enable her to blindly bow to a patriarchal system established in Victorian England culture - but God had called her; and God has kept her love for seeking to “feed His lambs and sheep.”

 

As a result of feeling “suffocated” by the cultural “norms” of the “narrow confines of acceptable behavior in the work”,  I began having a nightmare which cycled through my life for about 30 years. 

 

I would dream Satan was leaning down into my face with his hands around my throat, choking me to death.

I would awaken screaming a primal scream while leaping out of bed in the vain attempt to escape the suffocation.  

 

The isolation felt in having moved 3000 miles from home, with broken hearted parents who believed I was involved in a cult;

complicated by feeling rejected as a college educated woman 

plus other contributing factors, led to my being “ripe” for being “groomed” for sexual violation by the one person I felt able to relate to at that time - my violator, Bob Ingram.  

 

The Violation 1968/1969

 

 Bob Ingram showed me special favor and arranged times for me to be alone with him in order to shop for groceries for preparations for conventions, or for convention cooking.  

 

Sister workers are often alone in tasks during preps - doing laundry; cooking breakfast or other meals; preparing sleeping quarters, meeting sheds.  All empty buildings are watched by predators for the opportunity to stalk, embrace; kiss; fondle - or more -their chosen victim.

Caged

 

Administrative power coupled with sexual abuse for me meant living as though a caged animal.

 

Yet my particular cage left me able to be reached inside the cage.

 

God’s love for me, 

And through God’s love for me expressed through others

I could be reached within the prison of my cage,

 

Even while the terror within,

enforced by restrictions felt through administrative denial of the reality,

plus the powerful control of the violator, 

left the victim, silenced, isolated, in the cage.

 

Her dress reveals the entirety of her person was being suffocated 

within the cage.

 

It would take twenty years to begin to break out of the cage.

 

The Journey: 1968-2023

 

The journey through layers of healing over 54 years has been both a tortuous, and healing, journey as every survivor of sexual violation understands.  

 

We know it will not be  “completed” until our eyes close in death; but liberty can, and does, come, layer by layer.

 

The personal darkness is a black cloud surrounding us, 

alone in our hell. for

ten – twenty – thirty – forty – fifty - years 

Accompanied by shame/self blame/self hatred/fear of being found out 

for the awful thing “we’ve” done…

 

Finally, coming to grips with

 “telling our story,” regardless of what rejection/persecution/shaming/blaming/loss of position or “status”/isolation we will reap,

we begin to come out of the cage.

 

I needed, and continue to need, 

times of  professional help.

 

I also now know God is with me, 

and His Son. 

The Son, who  is our mediator before God, faced all suffering on our behalf.

Isa. 45:2

 

I had known aloneness without God for the first 19 years of my life.

 

Alone with God is not the same as

alone without God.

 

In 1961 I heard the sweet, and living, story of Jesus sent through 2 men through whom God began to open the meaning of salvation; 

what it means to follow the one perfect Shepherd; 

being given hope of eternal life.

 

Through, and since, the course of 18 years of psychotherapy, the cycles continue.

 

We do better - and then we can handle worse again for a season.  

 

The outcome becomes gold brick in our building on the one true foundation, Christ.

I Cor. 3:11,12

 

It takes years: it takes all our years of life.

 

The anguish became so profound following twenty years of silence, it became mandated I seek professional help, (outside those who are in our fellowship of faith).  

 

1983

A trusted friend confronted me at a convention the summer of ‘83,

“Did Bob keep his place with you when you were in Alaska?”

I “evasively” replied, “That is a very personal question.”

The visit ended.

 

It enabled the anger to begin to be released,

 which provided the energy, 

To begin to tell the story.

 

 

 

Talking

 

Convention days 1987.

 

Two beloved friends wanted to help me “with my anger toward men.”

One, a young brother, came and asked for a visit.

I told him a bare outline of what had been done to me.

 

He became as angry as I was and dumped the story on another brother who told

the story to a decision making brother in western USA.

 

During convention in August of ‘87, 

an older brother told the story of Esther.

 

A sister worker friend, sitting on the same bench as I, leaned forward, 

and looked me straight in the eye…

“Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for this?”

“If I perish, I perish.”

Esther 4:14,16

 

I  told a bare outline of the “story” to the older brother who had spoken about Esther.

His name is Harold Stewart.

 

He believed me.

 

He said, 

“I have always felt there is something wrong with that man.  

You have given me the answer.”

  

Oh, there never can be words to express what it means to a victim to:

Be heard.

Believed!

Have the story Embraced by the hearer.

 

That brother would die before I told my story to 

other administrative figures.

 

I went alone to the violator at the end of that convention.

 

On some level, the violator acknowledged what he had done.

He manifested no spirit of repentance or sorrow.

 

May of 1988

 

There was a fate filled day in the spring of 1988:

My violator was coming to the convention grounds where I was at preps., 

as was his yearly custom traveling from another state.  

He would check his ongoing power over me by word and spirit, although he

never touched me again once I left the state where I had been violated.

 

       The terror was overwhelming that 5:00 AM morning in May of 1988.

I walked.

It was a beautiful spring morning in central Washington.

 

I processed my lifelong sorrow for my dad’s emotional and physical pain in his own dark hell.  

God assured me I have no responsibility for my father’s pain.

Later that summer, my coworker and I were staying in a home in our field.

 

I “hit my wall”:

 

I made the decision to seek professional help.

 

 If it were to “cost” losing my place as a worker: 

if I were deemed to blame and unfit for the ministry by older brothers,

I had to obtain professional help.

I had to be set free from imprisoning relationships.

 

It would be men who would decide my fate - I “thought...”

God continues to keep me laboring in the work I love -

A different “position”;

But the same heart.

 

“Feed my lambs.  Feed my sheep.”

Jn. 21:15, 16, 17 

 

I WOULD TALK

 

(I still “talk”.)

 

It had taken twenty years from the physical violations for me to

 “hit the wall” and reject the “order” to keep the silence.

 

I had to tell the story, even to older men who could/would decide my fate in the ministry.

 

“How?  How?”

 

It took a series of events over a period of 4 years.


 

Summer 1988

 

My father died August 18 that summer.

I went home for the funeral.

 

When I returned to the state where I labored, 

I began the search for a safe therapist.

 

God added a special miracle.

He gave me a 25 year old companion,  

who supported psychotherapy.

 

I was led to two wonderful counselors, 

over a period of 18 years, in two states.

 

My first was a woman with a Master’s degree in Nursing 

and a Master’s in Social Work, 

Mary.  

She was my lifeline due to being emotionally isolated in life.

 

Oh, she was marvelous.

For the first time since beginning in our ministry, 

I could freely express emotion -

and be validated!

 

I’ve described previously the normal, “healthy” emotions of fear, anger, rage, bitterness, vengeance - connected to being violated.  

 

It was a relief to learn that emotions reside in our bodies...

 

 Following is what transpired in a life giving session for me.

 

 Mary said to me, 

“Imagine a home movie screen against that wall.”

(This is 1988, no computers yet.)

 

“Now picture the experience of being violated.” 

It was a summer day during preps. when I was taken to an isolated location 

near an empty barn.

I laid on a blanket in the sun as I stripped and was violated.

 

Mary: How do you feel toward that young woman?

I replied, “I hate her.”

 

Mary helped me walk the journey alone in darkness and pain through self hatred, self blaming, damnation…times of wanting to die instead of live. 

 

Forgiving myself…. and hope

 

1989

Telling our story to overseers.

 

What moves a victim to “report” to overseers?

 

For me it had been the series of events, 

over a period of the 4 years 

described above .

It was the Sunday between two conventions I was attending, having been there through preps.:

August 1989

 

      I told Sydney Holt my story Monday morning between Olympia I & II.  Syd told me the phone call had been made that morning 

to bring Bob Ingram to WA/ID/AK as the next "overseer." 

 

I told Jack Price Wednesday afternoon. 

 

Layers:

The personal darkness of alone in the hell of:

The black cloud over us for the first ten – twenty – thirty – forty – fifty - years of shame/self blame/self hatred/fear of being found out for the awful thing “we’ve” done…

Finally, coming to grips with “telling our story” regardless of what rejection/persecution/shaming/blaming/loss of position or “status”/isolation we will reap…

 

October 1989

 

I am reliving sitting in a master bedroom in an elder's home in Seattle in October of 1989, fulfilling, without choice, Jesus' instruction to go to your offender with witnesses if he has not responded with repentance

 I had fulfilled the requirement recorded in Mt. 18: 15, to go to the offender privately and alone.

 

    At the conclusion of Milltown convention1989, Bob approached me, (always checking if he continued to have power to keep me silenced), as I stood alone among the benches for sister workers following Milltown's final meeting that year.

 

       I talked to him about what he had done to me.  

There was an acknowledgement on some level, 

no evidence of the spirit or language of repentance.

 

         I related above how I had gone earlier in the day to Harold Stewart and shared pieces of my experience.

 

Harold had validated my story with the words, "I have always felt something was wrong with that man.  You have given me the answer."

    Harold was so angry, his heart condition prevented him from attending the afternoon meeting of Milltown that day.

 

             I knew I needed to get beyond the anger I now could feel before going to more older male workers.  

 

I fully expected to be put out of the work since the woman is always considered the seducer or compliant one in a Patriarchal system.

 

One of the violated sister workers has given me permission to use her name when I became ready to go to the brothers.

  

      

I had no choice in the second step Jesus commanded through Mt. 18:16,

to go with witnesses when there is no evidence of repentance.

The Trial

 

I was instructed by Tharold Ssylvester to come to an elder’s home in early October.

 

 I was required to go into the master bedroom where I was seated across the room from my violator within a circle of 8 overseers with the chair for me placed facing Bob.

 

At the last minute, Jack Price called in a sister worker who was helping prepare lunch to sit beside me.

 

The men were:

Eldon Tenniswood; Tharold Sylvester; Sydney Holt; Howard Mooney; Ernest Nelson, Paul Sharp; Williss Propp; and Jack Price.

 

I had been instructed to tell nothing about the violation.  

    To this day, I do not know the basic purpose for the gathering. I feel I was being judged to discern who was lying.

 

I pleaded with Bob to get professional help.

 

Paul Sharp, the only man to speak besides Bob, turned to him at one point and said, "You are so obtuse you would not be helped if you had ten years of therapy."

I don't know how long the session lasted.

The sister worker called in to sit beside me has told me that when the session was over I began to sob. 

Some of the men believed I was “putting on a show.”

 

I was a “child” of 26 years of age, 

7 years in meetings, 3 years in our “work”.

In the session following that horror, Mary said,

“You cannot heal because you keep getting re-wounded in the same wound.” 

 

Bob Ingram and Truitt Oyler were probated out of the work and  given full liberty to return to the state they violated without supervision.

 

During that period of time,  Bob and Truitt gathered elders and wives together to defend their positions with God's flock.

   An elder's wife would tell me Truitt's defense of Bob was that, "There had been no penetration."

 

When Sydney and Willis later were on their way to make visits to the traumatized state, I pleaded with them to be aware of lying and deceiving.

   Williss's response to me was, "When a man looks me in the eye and tells me he is telling me the truth, I believe him."

 

      I groaned within at the lack of discernment from decision-making men due to their inexperience in life. This woman raised in the world by a sailor understood more about Satan's lying angels (2Cor. 11)

than these two men trusted with the future of God's heritage. 

 

There was a second gathering of men workers in Oregon in April of 1990  with Bob & Truitt.   There were to be 13 men with men younger than the original 8 included.

 

   I and another witness were called to "sit in the wings" in a saints' home in case we would again be called to witness as women alone before an all male jury.

 

Bob “blew his cover”; and it was concluded Bob nor Truitt would continue in being preaching ministers with the gospel.

 

  They were unsupervised nor restricted in their movements, as far as I know, among God's heritage until Bob died in January of 2015.

Truitt is married and lives in Colorado.

 

This record is primarily being shared for the purpose of my own healing.  It is an established fact that victims need to be freed to tell their story.  

   

Further publication was accomplished when a letter was shared during 1989/1990 stating appreciation that a sister worker named Claudia Toppin had gone to the older brothers regarding Bob Ingram's rape of sister workers.

 

The other sisters’ names have never been exposed to my knowledge.

  

Following three years of therapy with never to be forgotten Mary Dunbar, 

 I was shipped out to labor in California.

 

Yet again, I was told only two words:

 

“DON’T TALK”

 

(I talked, I continue to talk.)

 

I would need more years of psychotherapy.

 

Through the course of 18 years of psychotherapy, the cycles continued

 - and continue to the present day.

We do better - and then we can handle worse again for a season.  

 

It takes years: it takes all our years of life.

 

The outcome becomes gold brick in our building on the one true foundation, Christ.

I Cor. 3:11,12

 

NOW

I have waited 54 years to "go public" with my side of the story.

 

I contentedly remain the “Little Old Lady” who has been a little old lady who sends “Lots of Love” to all of you as she has gained many opportunities to “Laugh Out Loud” regarding life. 

 

So this LOL sends LoL to everyone reading this (lol).

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