Linda (Hyles) Murphrey has begun a journey that will be exhausting and very hard in many ways, but enormously fulfilling in other ways. She’s writing a book. Recently, she issued Chapter One and Two of Healing from a God Who Wasn’t.
I read the chapters, unsure of what to expect. The first thing that struck me was the simple prose and the down-to-earth, almost conversational tone of the book. It was as if she were sitting on the couch in her living room, telling her story.
It was an impossible quandry. I realized then, the incredible conflict that was there. She wanted very much to speak out against her dad, to tell the world about the terrible lie she and her family lived, but doing so would mean certain death to her relationship with her mother, and probably her sisters. Added to that, she was very fragile, emotionally. Telling her story back then was something beyond her capability. She tells of that fragility right from the get-go in this book.
While I was disappointed that she decided not to speak out at that time, I also understood that it would come in God’s timing and not mine, nor hers. There would come a time when she’d speak up and show Fundamentalism the reality of the man at whose feet they’d all fallen. Oh, I know he had feet of clay. So do most of you. But, the truth is, back then most of us who followed Hyles believed those feet could walk on water, if he really wanted to; and, those feet had stood in the presence of God so often that they were “holy” feet. Some of you would have taken a discarded pair of Hyles’ shoes and made them into a shrine, if you could have gotten hold of a pair.
You know I’m right, if you’re honest.
But, Linda knew the truth. She knew her Dad in a way none of us knew him. She knew he not only had feet of clay, he had a heart that was far from God. She knew he was not what he pretended to be. Linda knew Jack Hyles, her father, was not the “real deal.” She came to know that he cared most about his image, not his family. She came to understand that his love for God came way down the list, beneath his love for his son, beneath his love for fame, and beneath his love to be loved and admired (which I personally think was at the very top, even above his love for his son). The adulation he received was, in many respects, his undoing, because it caused his heart to be lifted up and, like many before him, pride took over one day and changed him, just as it did his son-in-law, Jack Schaap.
Linda had a front row seat. She saw it all in real time.
God did that. He used Linda to help that broken-hearted daughter who’d lost her parents for so many years–lost them to an image of a man who did not exist. For others such as myself, Bob Sumner, and Victor Nischik, it will be vindication of sorts. She’s already validated what was said. This book will encapsulate that validation and make a record that will stand with man and God. But, far more important than that, I truly believe that her book will be of enormous benefit to those who have a need for healing in their lives.
For some, it will be an “eye-opener.” You’ll come to see Jack Hyles in a much different way and perhaps will even move away from the adoration to a much more practical, realistic view of the man. You will see him as many of us do. You’ll see Jack Hyles as a man driven by his passions, as all of us are, excelling beyond many of his peers, often failing in private, seeming at times to succeed, but at all times, just a man; and sometimes, a pretty sorry excuse for a man…just as some of us have been in our day, if we’re really honest about it. Chapter Two, The Peril of Pretending, is a vivid, black and white picture of the inside of the Hyles household that stands in stark contrast to the image that those of us who sat under Jack Hyles’ ministry had in our minds. It is, to say the least, stunning. Linda tells, in one part of that chapter, of the morning when her dad, at the breakfast table, informed the family of his decision to open a school. Hyles tells them how Beverly wants a divorce “even though she knows that a divorce would destroy my ministry, which is certainly not God’s will.” Hyles addresses his children, speaking “as if she were not in the room,” that the “only way for me to appease your mother and ensure that my ministry continues to thrive is for me to stay away from home.”
This chapter is very revealing in many ways. For one thing, it shows that the accusations of an affair had been made by someone other than Victor Nischik. Jack Hyles’ own wife had raised them. Even more disturbing, it shows a man whose “ministry” was more important than anything in life. It revealed that Jack Hyles was willing to sacrifice his entire family for his “ministry.”
The impact of Linda’s book is yet to be measured. There will be critics. Already, they’re judging her, angered that she’d “betray” her father and Fundamentalism, unable to accept the fact that she just might be telling the truth. Some of them have rejected her because she’s not a “Fundamentalist,” and “golly-gee-whiz, you know we cain’t take no fool girl’s word who ain’t one of us but is nuthin’ but a heathen in disquise.” (You think I don’t know the little minds of some of you out there? You forget, I got your hair-brained, godless, unbiblical hate-filled letters after Fundamental Seduction came out…and you hadn’t even read it.) Others have heard the myriad of lies and untrue stories about Linda not being a Christian, not believing in God, and have accepted them as true.
Some of Linda’s critics have what I call “convenient” memories. In condemning Linda, you’ve chosen to forget the fact that Hyles not only ignored the immoral behavior of his son, in spite of dozens of people coming to him and complaining, but he turned him loose on a church in Texas where he proceeded to nearly destroy that church, in spite of Hyles’ knowledge of David’s evil. (Oops, I’m sorry. You’d prefer I say “mistakes,” wouldn’t you?) Jack Hyles destroyed lives and he allowed his son to destroy lives. But, you’re willing to forget that, to ignore that, and instead, hurl invective you never hurled at him, at his daughter. You’ll speak up about her when you were silent during his reign. You’re brave and bold against his daughter, but were too cowardly to stand and oppose his evil.
Conveniently, you forget how he praised the deacon who was caught molesting a 7 year old child in her Sunday School class; and, you’re willing to ignore the fact that even after being convicted, Hyles and the entire church gave him a standing ovation upon his release from prison. It didn’t matter to you that Ballenger’s own niece was one of those who testified that he’d molested her. And, you conveniently ignore the fact that Hyles, from the pulpit, shredded the witness to the molestation, in spite of the fact that she was an eye-witness and a Sunday School teacher herself.
Linda (Hyles) Murphrey is an eye-witness here. You who still adore Jack Hyles, or who are still willing to overlook the evil he was willing to overlook and tolerate, can choose to ignore Linda’s evidence. God gives us all light. He gives us all opportunity to stand in the light of truth. He gives us enough light, sometimes, to stand alongside of truth.
So, for the critics of Linda (Hyles) Murphrey, here’s some truth for you. Linda Murphrey loves God–the Christian One, the Jesus God. Yeah, the same God you who purport to be Christians, claim to love. (Uh, the One that said “love your enemies.”) Does she have all the same beliefs about God you do? Probably not. But then, you don’t have all the same beliefs I do, either. In fact, if your own pastor were totally honest and transparent, I suspect many of you’d be shocked to know that you and your own pastor don’t share all the same beliefs about God.
I’ve learned, as I’ve aged, that I’ll never truly mirror someone else’s beliefs, convictions and standards, to the letter. My wife and I are pretty “simpatico,” that is, we are pretty much of the same mind about most things about God. But, there are areas where we differ about our views of God. I differ with my own pastor (who is also my son-in-law) about some things. I do not know what the rest of the book will say. I do not know whether or not I’ll agree with any particular doctrinal position she might take (if any). For me, what is relevant is that she is stepping forward and telling about her life as she saw it from inside the Hyles household, and the effects that her dad’s brand of Christianity had on her. She’s also telling of what she’s had to do in order to heal from that experience.
So, Linda isn’t going to mirror your Fundamentalist beliefs. Not ever. So, get over it. That does not make her a liar. That has absolutely no relevance as to the truth of her story. She is the one who lived her life: not you. She lived in the Hyles household, not you. She is the one who comes bearing a message. You can hear it and believe it, or reject it. That is your choice. Just realize this: We all will answer to God one day for the truth that He delivered to us, whether it was delivered from a pulpit, a book, a small child, or a Linda Murphrey. We will have to give account for every idle word we speak, and thus, how much more, the ones that are not so “idle?” (Matt. 12:36) And, you and I will have to give account to God for the facts He gave us and which we ignored, either deliberately, or ignorantly. We will render an accounting for that and so much more (1 Peter 4:17; Rom. 14:12).
Some of you will not accept Linda’s truths because you suffer from the same “disease” that Jack Schaap had and which is far too often displayed within the ranks of Fundamentalism. Schaap was asked by the federal judge if he knew he was breaking the law when he had sex with a minor. His reply revealed his “disease.” It’s the same one that infects many of you who are nay-sayers of the truth contained in Linda’s video and her book. He said: “I knew I was breaking God’s law but I did not know I was breaking man’s law.”
Jack Schaap did not fear God.
He feared man’s law and took many steps to avoid breaking it, or so he thought. He even had his secretary deliver the girl across state lines. He somehow thought that would get him off the hook about taking a minor across state lines. He would learn later, that was not a defense. But, Jack Schaap did not fear that God would judge him for his actions. He admitted his lack of fear in front of a federal judge. It is a record in the Court of Man and a record made in heaven itself, before the God Whom he displayed a total absence of fear.
Do you fear God? Do you fear that if you reject God’s efforts to show you truth, that there will be consequences from God? Some of you don’t. I know that. I’ve met some of you. I have talked with some of you. I have the letters. I know the mindset. I know you. I lived amongst you for nearly twenty years. And, since then, I have observed the destruction in your ranks again and again. I watched as some of you sat mute on a platform and in the audience whilst a purported “man of God” uttered blasphemous statements. I watched as some of you sat mute on a platform and in the audience whilst a purported “man of God” performed pornographic acts before thousands of children, including your own wives, your sons and daughters. Your silence was…and still is, deafening.
One day you’ll pay the price for your rejection of her truths, even as your former pastor paid the price for his rejection of truths given him. (Suggest you read the Letter to Jack Schapp written in 1993, which he ignored.) Some of you have already paid a price. Others of you are merely marking time with God.
For the rest of you, read the book. Linda’s a fine woman. Is she perfect? Like you are?
You answer that.
Meanwhile, read the book (digital only at this time) at this address: