Horror Show Sunday: The Messiah and his Maidens

Victor BarnardDon’t let it be said that I only focus in the abuses of big religions, even the small guys have the same problems.  Take the case of Victor Barnard, head of the “Maidens of River Road” cult in Minnesota, who is on the run, accused of molesting at least 59 young girls who were sent by their parents to live with him while he taught the “maidens” spirituality.  Barnard is currently believed to be in the Seattle, Washington area, hiding from authorities.

According to those close to the cult, Barnard and the girls lived in a place called the “Shepherd’s Camp”, dedicated to teaching young girls who pledged to remain virgins and never marry. However, when some of the girls started coming forward and reporting that Barnard had pushed them to have sex, the floodgates opened.  According to the complaint, “Barnard repeatedly preached to (B) that he represented Christ in the flesh, that Jesus Christ had Mary Magdalene and other women who followed him, that King Solomon slept with many concubines, that the firstborn child was to be sacrificed to God, and that it was normal for Barnard to have sex with her because it was in God’s Word.”  B was the first girl to come forward, claiming that Barnard had molested her repeatedly over the course of 19 years.

Of course, as we shouldn’t be surprised, police in the Twin Cities area say it will be difficult to get victims to come forward.  This is a very tight-knit religious community and no one wants to admit that they were wrong for following this sexual predator.  As with many religions of this sort, talking to authorities is akin to committing a mortal sin and sending yourself straight to eternal perdition.

It gets even worse though, as investigators are now finding clues that suggest that Barnard wasn’t the only molester at the “Maidens of River Road” facility.  At least one girl has come forward reporting that another man molested her and Barnard defended his right to do so, as well as punishing the victim for coming forward with allegations.  In fact, after the man was convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree in 1994, Barnard showed up in the courthouse to beg forgiveness.  He  got none, but when he was released, he was welcomed back into the fold with open arms, while the victim and her mother were shunned as outcasts.  Barnard even told the victim’s mother that she needed to get rid of her daughter, but luckily she did not and both escaped the cult.  Investigators have found at least three other families that Barnard instructed to put their children up for adoption.  It is unknown if these children were sexually abused in the cult.

I know that I say this all the time but it just has to be repeated.  I have no idea if Barnard was just some pedophile opportunist who fooled a bunch of gullible religious types into buying into his nonsense and getting access to their daughters.  That’s certainly possible but unlikely given his long-time involvement with other Christian cults.  However, it’s the religion that’s really to blame here, the automatic pass that people give to supernatural beliefs and the people who peddle them.  If Barnard hadn’t pretended to be Jesus, hadn’t acted like he was speaking for God, nobody would ever have turned over their children to him.  It is that automatic pass that religion receives that makes these stories possible.  No religion = no story.  So long as religion is treated like a positive thing and peddlers are treated with unearned respect and admiration, I have no reason to doubt that we’ll see even more stories like this coming down the pike.

And they say religion doesn’t hurt anyone. Welcome to Horror Show Sunday.

27 thoughts on “Horror Show Sunday: The Messiah and his Maidens

        1. It is a cult that doesn't actually follow the teachings of Christ.
          So, it's a cult that hides behind the name of Christianity while not being actual Christians.

          mohammed did worse to many women, including Aisha his 6 year old bride.

          1. I bet they'd call what you believe a cult too and say that you don't follow the teachings of Christ. It's funny, with more than 36,000 sects of Christianity out there, virtually all of them have to be wrong and the odds that you're right are slim to none.

          2. It doesn't matter what any one Christian says, what matters is what the Bible says.

            And no one is perfectly right, being a Christian doesn't hinge on that. Just that we're working in the right direction.

          3. But you do not follow what the bible says. So you hide behind the name of christianity while not being an actual christian

          4. It isn't for you to judge. And since you don't have any moral authority as a leader in my church it's really none of your business, is it?

          5. Anyone can judge if they want to, they don't have to be part of your church to make judgements about you, your actions and your beliefs. Try again.

          6. I don't answer to just anyone. Only Christ, and you don't speak for Him, particularly if you don't know Him or admit He exists. Try again.

          7. Well I just did and I judged it based on your comments and actions which can't be found in the bible

          8. And I could read texts in the Bible and do worse for the things you've said.
            Do I? Nope, Christians aren't supposed to throw pearls to swine for one thing, and for another I wouldn't presume to be a large enough donkey hind end to boss people around like that.

          9. You are the biggest ass on the internet. You claim to be christian and "follow the teachings of christ" but your actions and comments show otherwise. I have never seen in the bible where christ harasses and stalks people.

          10. And people have for centuries.

            I've found from studying with different churches that most are sincere, but I sincerely don't agree with them. I like to use a concordance and find out what it actually says myself instead of having someone tell me what it says.

            That can be a substantial difference.

          11. Nope, I read it to see what it says.

            That must be a foreign concept, in islam clerics don't give muslims that freedom.

          12. What "any one Christian" says matters a great deal. You and I and anyone else who claims to be among the faithful are the face of Christianity on earth. How our faith is perceived is more directly a result of our words and acts than it is a result of what appears in the Bible, at least to those who have not come to faith.

          13. Yet to most, your faith is perceived as irrational because you can't back up any of it with objective evidence. It doesn't matter how much of it comes from the Bible or how much comes from you, there's still no reason to take your beliefs seriously.

          14. Well, then, I guess we'll be missing you at the fellowship brunch this Sunday. Too bad, there'll be some great casseroles there.

          15. Some don't want to try, after dealing with Christians. Gandhi had a quote something about Christianity sounded interesting and would try it, if he met one…. after dealing with missionaries. (Ouch, that must have smarted).

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