Monday, November 11, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

New Horizons Youth Ministries Founded by a Pedophile

New Horizons Youth Ministries (parent organization of my reform school, Escuela Caribe) was founded in 1971 by Pastor Gordon  Blossom, a former juvenile delinquent who'd served a stint at Michigan's Floyd Starr Commonwealth Home.* By the time I arrived at Escuela Caribe in January 1990, Pastor Blossom was not active in the "ministry"  except during Spiritual Emphasis Week in the Canada branch, Missanabie Woods Academy. Then he would deliver a sermon in the chapel, segregated by sex, first to the boys, then the girls.  I don't even want to go into details here- but it was awful and we had to sit there and take it because the Pastor was speaking and he was always right. Scarred me for years.  I wrote a chapter about it this summer.

Yesterday a fellow alum rocked our cyberwaves- she discovered Pastor Blossom molested one of his daughters, Shirley Jo Petersen.  Petersen wrote a book, the Whisper, about healing from sexual abuse.  Petersen also alleges (and I believe her) that the pastor physically and emotionally abused her other siblings. She says that in part she has healed because she realizes that he was abused. Which I get on one level, yeah we all are constantly replicating trauma until we resolve it, but there is no excusing it, because at some point you have to face the monster within yourself and change. And I know that I probably am thinking more about my situation with my parents than hers. It is important to note- when she wrote my friend, Petersen said it didn't excuse what he did.

But I don't know what to do with the concrete proof that my parents entrusted me to a pedophile over my grandparents, who loved me and wanted me, to reform me, all because Blossom's "ministry" was Christian®.  And I don't want to think of all the predators who blatantly abused me and my friends.  I'd rather focus on how my writing is taking off in Sabrina Orah Mark's workshop, or the way right now the gingkos are my favorite gold, or that on Thursday night my guy and I saw one of Television's only U.S. shows.  

*Fun fact:  Blossom was once recognized for his civic work by Gov. George Romney, father of Mitt.