(Warning: if you are, or have been, a victim of abuse, this may trigger memories.)
Sexual Abuse in the
Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Church
Part 1 of 3
Written and Illustrated by Nancy Bicknell
I was raised on a small farm in the Kickapoo Valley, and had a yearning to learn about God before there was a teacher to tell me about God. I was given a special gift and interest in observing the nature found the beauty of the Kickapoo Valley in Wisconsin. I learned to draw and paint at a young age, and my family nurtured this gift. My sensitive spirit that nurtured the gift of art also fostered complications with anxiety and depression.
I searched for the comfort of God to soothe me, and God gave me that solace in the nature around me. Despite all this beauty, at age 15 I was in a diagnostic hospital to protect me from harming myself. During my extended stay in the hospital God gave me the gift of counseling and empathy for others who also suffered with life’s trials.
I left the psychiatric hospital feeling strong and ready to face the world again with a new, little piece of information in my pocket that helped me see the world in a more focused way. In the final session my psychiatrist said “Nancy, you do know there is something wrong with your mother.” I was surprised to hear that, because I had thought there was only something wrong with me. With this information, I was able to better determine what part was my problem, and what part was someone else’s problem with depression or anxiety.
College and Motherhood
I entered college at age 17. I was intellectually ready to study education and art, but emotionally I was too young. Being unable to set good sexual boundaries, I became pregnant, and we were married immediately. I loved being a mother to baby Scott and at times it seemed as though we grew up together.
Doug came along in the next two years, and I felt completed somehow. I continued my studies, and played with the babies through the art. We painted and created endlessly with clay. When I was 20 my sister, Joy, brought me a new creative idea about God from an IFB church. The idea was that God had certain things that had to be done correctly in order to be with Him in heaven. Salvation and separation from the world were two of these ideas. These were a strange concept to me since, as a child, I had tried to be connected to the world to find God. Joy invited me to the IFB church, and I heard that I was for sure going to hell. Well, I couldn’t go forward fast enough at the invitation. I made sure my parents, and my husband did the same so we could all be together in heaven.
Maranatha Baptist Bible College
My sister wanted to serve God full time, so we all went off to Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wisconsin to study education further. My husband was immediately offered a teaching job by Pastor Lincoln at Calvary Baptist Christian School. I was completing my undergraduate degree.
Things began to go wrong immediately when a professor who noticed my gifts and the rest of my body, took an interest in me. I was suddenly depressed and anxious again thinking I was causing him to have lustful thoughts. Depression set in, and eventually I overdosed while at MBBC. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where my stomach was pumped and I was put in a hospital room.
When Pastor Lincoln came to my room the next day, I thought I would tell him about causing the professor to lust. But he never asked me what was wrong. Instead, he asked me to have my medical records changed to have the over dose information removed from the chart. He said it looked bad, and I wouldn’t want something like that on my record or on the church’s insurance records. It was then that I realized that overdosing and depression was considered sin in the IFB churches, so I followed Pastor Lincoln’s direction. I denied the attempted suicide to the doctor, and refused his recommendation for psychiatric treatment. Eventually, I checked myself out.