The goal of this post is to educate fellow Christians and the public about Hephzibah House of Winona Lake, Indiana. Hephzibah House has been in operation since the 1970′s and is operated as a “boarding school” for troubled teen girls from fundamentalist Christian homes by Ron and his wife, the late Patty Williams. A few years ago, Ron Williams, son, Don Williams took over the ministry from his parents.
Hephzibah House is one of the longest continuously running such schools that was patterned after Lester Roloff’s “ministry” of Lighthouse Home for boys, and Rebekah Home for girls in Corpus Cristi, TX.
Most of these teen girls are not what most people would think of as juvenile delinquents. None of them are placed at Hephzibah House by a judge for sentence. ALL of them come from physically and emotionally abusive homes, and most from sexually abusive homes as well. Conservative estimates are that over 70% of the girls who found themselves at Hephzibah House were sexually abused before being sent to there. Other estimates postulate that the number is actually closer to the 90% range.
Hephzibah House takes girls as young as 12-17 1/2. The usual length of stay is 15 month, however some girls have stayed as long as 3 years. Over the last few years it appears that Hephzibah House does not beat the girls anymore, but Hephzibah House does use psychological “white torture” methods that were used by the Chinese in POW camps during the Korean War are said to be more effective than beatings. White Torture has seen a resurgence in recent years in Iran.
Hephzibah House and homes like it are not regulated by the state other than fire inspections because it hides its abuse under a church and meets out abuse in God’s name.
Here are links to two Hephzibah House survivor blogs.
I am quoting, in entirety, a pamphlet written by Ron Williams in which he instructs parents how to beat their children, even babies under 1 year of age. He instructs parents how to beat their children and not get caught by authorities for abuse. Ron Williams used to have this up on the net but has since removed it.
In Ron Williams own words
The Correction and Salvation of Children
By Ronald E. Williams
Believers Baptist Church, 508 School St., Winona Lake, IN 46590 (219) 269-2376
TWO DIRECTIVES OF SOLOMON FOR THE CORRECTION AND SALVATION OF CHILDREN
“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” Proverbs 23:13,14
THE FIRST DIRECTIVE: The perception of my duty and the promise involved if I carry out my duty
A. The perception of my duty
“Withhold not correction from the child.”
Through a negative admonition, “withhold not,” Solomon is encouraging us to perceive what our duty is with regard to our child. One might ask, Why is it necessary to be told what our duty is? Because we would naturally “withhold” instead of obeying. The Scripture indicates in Proverbs 13:24, “He that spareth his rod, hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Many parents today are in a position where they Biblically hate their children because they are not acting against their natural feelings and disciplining themselves towards the Godly habit-pattern of consistent correction. In other words, it takes work, wisdom, self discipline, and
Godliness to correct children the way the Lord wants.
Fight your feelings
The concept of having to be told what to do in order that we can combat our natural feelings is illustrated in other areas of our lives. The Lord Jesus, for example, taught in Matthew 5:28 that it is wrong for a man to look lustfully upon a woman, implicitly telling us to not do that. One could ask, Why does He teach such a thing? Because men naturally look upon women in a lustful way. In fact, any man who claims that he has never had a problem in this area is either a liar or he is dead! Just as the Scripture indicates “the eyes of man are never satisfied” (Proverbs 27:20). Therefore, the Lord, recognizing our weakness, has admonished men not to look lustfully at women. Men must not operate on the basis of their natural inclinations, but on the basis of what is right, controlling their feelings and the flesh in the process.
Another example would be in the area of a man loving his wife. The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it.” Why did the Spirit of God believe it necessary to instruct a man through the Apostle Paul to love his wife as Christ loved the church? Because a man would not naturally do this. A man is naturally in love with himself even as that same chapter indicates in 5:29: “For no man ever yet hateth his own flesh but nourisheth and cherisheth it even as the Lord the church.” A man left to his own inclinations and desires will love himself supremely above all others. A Christian, however, who is obedient to the Spirit of God and to the Word of God, will love his wife and not submit to the natural inclination to love himself first; even as the Lord Jesus demonstrated through His supreme example in His love for the church. Therefore, when the Lord gives a negative admonition to parents to “withhold not,” it is in keeping with this Biblical principle of instructing parents to obey where they will have to overcome their natural inclinations, control their emotions and do what is right even when they do not feel like.
Who is to perceive this duty that Solomon outlines? The Hebrew language indicates in this passage through a second person masculine singular suffix that Solomon is probably addressing a man. The context of course, would indicate that the father of the household is the subject of Solomon’s admonition. Solomon, in doing this, is underscoring and agreeing with the rest of Scripture when it teaches that child-training and education is the primary responsibility of the father of that child. The primary responsibility for this vital task is not delegated by God to the mother, Sunday School teacher, pastor, day school teacher, grandparents, or any other person, but is the primary responsibility of the father. Obviously, these other individuals are an invaluable help to the father, especially his wife, but they are helpers only. A father will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for the spiritual, emotional, and physical welfare and training of his wife and children. It therefore behooves a father to be extremely judicious and cautious in whom he selects to be his helpers in the vital task of training and educating his child. Why?
Dinah’s father was Jacob who was desired to marry Rachel. Jacob was promised by Rachel’s father, Laban, that if he worked seven years he would be given Rachel in marriage. After working seven years, Jacob reminds Rachel’s father of their deal. Laban however fooled Jacob and instead gave his eldest daughter, Leah to Jacob in marriage instead of Rachel whom Jacob loved. Jacob was then forced to work an additional seven years for Laban in order to marry Rachel. In this sermon, Ron Williams states incorrectly that, Rachel is Dinah’s mother. In fact, Dinah’s mother was Leah. In his message on Dinah from the Old Testament, which Ron Williams teaches that the Bible says, Dinah was responsible for her own rape! The Bible does not teach this. As matter of fact, the meaning of the Hebrew name, Dinah means “justified”. In his sermon “How to Raise a Strange Woman” by Ron Williams, he states that Dinah (who he imagines is a young teen between 14 and 15) is a “strange woman.” Not only that Williams preaches that Rachel was a strange woman as well who taught Dinah to be one. Nowhere is this taught in the Bible. The term “strange woman,” that Ron Williams used is taken completely out of context here. “Strange Woman as referred to in the King James Version in the book Proverbs as immoral women, seductress, adulteress, etc.
As I see it, Williams spewed an entire 120 minutes of heresy. Williams preaches things never intended or implied by this passage.
Now imagine being a young impressionable teenage girl who was sexually abused by your father, stepfather, grandfather, teacher, youth pastor, or other trusted male authority figure before being sent to Hephzibah House. Imagine being forced to listen to this and other similar sermons day and day out. Imagine being a young girl who is told she would never be able to wear a white wedding dress because she had responsibility for being molested by a family member in a “counseling session” with Ron Williams while a student at Hephzibah House. Imagine arriving at Hephzibah House and being strip searched and showered. After this, imagine being taken into a closet where you are held down by staff members as a “nurse” preforms a forced pelvic exam without explaining what was happening to this scared, traumatized young girl whose parents had just left her in this place. All of this has been reported to have happened to many of the teen girls who were “students” at Hephzibah House decades apart from each other.