Patti Williams, along with her husband Ron, founded Hephzibah House, an unlicensed Baptist girls group home in Winona Lake, Indiana. Williams died several years ago, but her husband still continues to operate Hephzibah House. Despite being investigated by the state numerous times, Hephzibah House remains in operation. Hephzibah House operates under the authority of Believers Baptist Church in Warsaw, Indiana. (Please read Who’s to Blame For the Tragic Death of IFB Missionary Charles Wesco?)
Believer’s Baptist is pastored by Don Williams, the son of Ron and Patti Williams. Don assumed the pastorate of the church from his father — truly a family-owned and operated institution. Interestingly, Hephzibah House is not mentioned as a “ministry” on the church’s website. Girls at Hephzibah House are housed for a minimum of fifteen months, and during that time attend serviced at Believer’s Baptist three times a week. For the past thirty years, Dave Halyaman has served the assistant director of Hephzibah House and assistant pastor at Believers Baptist.
Three weeks ago, Dr. Phil featured Hephzibah House on his daily TV talk show. What follows are several video clips from the show.
After Dr. Phil’s exposé, Dave Halyaman publicly voiced his objections to the story. Here’s some of what he said:
When this thing aired, Wednesday morning guess who was at our door. CPS with Winona Lake’s police officer Joe Bumbaugh. I took them personally through every single room, downstairs, they wanted to see the storage area, the girls. Then they wanted to talk to the girls. I put Joe and the lady from CPS in a room and closed the door. They went through every single girl and talked to every single staff the day after it aired. And guess what??No problems whatsoever. The girls could have said anything. They could have said anything, they could have maligned us and bashed us, and all they did was praise us.
Sheriff Dukes has an open invitation anytime he wants, they don’t need a warrant, and same to Winona Lake police. If he [Ron Williams] was an abuser or a pedophile, I would know. I’ve known him for 30 years.
We’re helping parents get their kids back. Satan doesn’t want that. They’re [the accusations made on Dr. Phil] either blatant lies or complete distortions. Some of these very critics were there when I was here, and I counseled them. One of the critics who was on the Dr. Phil show, after she graduated and she left us, she invited all of us — the whole staff, months later — to her graduation party.
Would you want us to not do that [give pelvic exams] ? Would you want your girl to come and spend a year around other kids with STDs? It was done with written permission. It was discontinued because technology is so advanced, you can do blood work and figure out what’s going on. There was no way before. Wisdom says, maybe we should have just not done that.
I don’t hate anyone, because I know their influence is satan. The enemy here is not the critics of Ron Williams and Hephzibah House. I see it as an attack on Christianity.
Please take the time to read the Times Union article about Halyman’s response. Read carefully as he “explains” how Hephzibah House is operated and how the girls are and were treated. You can also read the FAQ for Hephzibah House here.
Years ago, Patti Williams wrote a pamphlet titled Schizophrenic Women. This pamphlet remains popular in some corners of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) world. What follows is an excerpt from the pamphlet:
Spelling and grammar corrected.
We Have A Problem
One of the hottest issues today among women is the pants issue and other areas of clothing. Just the way a woman reacts to the whole subject of pants, modesty and dress reveals to me the seriousness of the situation. There are many problems in the church today and I think women constitute one of the main problems.
A woman who is causing problems in the body of Christ is either not dressed properly or not under submission to her husband. In some cases she is neither dressed in a proper manner nor under her husband. A woman greatly influences and brings out the Godly qualities of her man by her actions and words.
Just as important are the fruits of her marriage: the children. Her dress and character will bear fruit in her children. I work with the Hephzibah House girls on Saturday evenings. As I listen to their questions, handle their problems and study the Word for answers, I see that the Bible holds us responsible as mothers for our part in helping or harming our children.
Mother, we are producing the ungodly generation. They are our fruits. We are the fruits of the last generation and this must stop! Stopping a curse can be accomplished by obeying God’s Word. We must repent of what we have done. Repentance means to turn around, change, be different. You may now be thinking or wondering what she is getting at? The Schizophrenic Woman, what has that to do with me? She must be crazy or something.
My Personal Experience
I am going to use myself as the prime example. Perhaps you will identify or relate to what I have to say.
I grew up in a typical American home. We had pants, shorts, bathing suits, immodest clothing, television, movies, dancing lessons, circuses etc. As a small child I desired to be a beautiful movie star and practiced the role by prancing and dancing all around the house. I have a clear memory that goes back to my preschool years. Even then I wanted to be beautiful. For what reason? Money? Other girls? My pets? Of course not it was for men!
The Inner Desire Of Women
I dressed for men, I desired to be beautiful for men. I wanted them to notice me and I learned how to please them, resulting in the character qualities of the Biblical strange woman in Proverbs. I knew what I was doing, I was not innocent. And I do not think any woman is innocent in this area.
A woman has an inner desire to attract men. Yet I was an ERA type woman to the core. No man would control my life! I would control his! I soon learned that I could control men with my eyes, voice, body movements and dress. This resulted in many personalities. I was a different personality for specific occasions and my dress fit the occasion. As I have worked with women and teens for years I see the same character in each female. I am not so sure any of us are really deceived deep down inside. We know how we are but we hide behind a spiritual mask and a civilized veneer.
I am very sorry to say I won my own husband by my dress and actions. This resulted In many years of heartache for our lives. I was proud and haughty at my catch but filled with doubts and suspicions afterwards. We were not saved until we were in our late twenties. Those early years of our marriage were a nightmare! The Lord has done a marvelous work in our lives. But you Christian mothers, why are you allowing your daughter to be a strange woman, a schizophrenic woman?
A Christian Mother Has A Heavy Responsibility
Perhaps you live a decent Chrlstian life, but why are you allowing your daughter to live like a strange woman? She will suffer all the rest of her life. The Lord will forgive and forget but her body and mind will bear nonerasable scars. Mother, you can avoid this by rearing her properly, or perhaps cleaning up your own life first and then cleaning hers up.
What can you say about my husband? Doesn’t he have some responsibility in all of this? Yes of course he does. But let us look at ourselves Mother. The Lord has shown me the role of the woman in the home. A mother is the primary Influence on her daughter. She will be the person you molded her to be and Dad will glow. Dad will burst his buttons with praise over a pure virgin daughter filled with Godly character if you do it God’s way.
How We Dress Affects How We Live
Dress definitely affects our personality. When I wear my housedresses, I feel like working on floors that need scrubbing, cooking and digging in the garden. I do not mind if I get dirty, which I surely do when I really dig into a project. For church and special occasions or a precious date with my honey, I wear my finest. I want to look special for the Lord and my husband. When I go shopping I try to take real care concerning my looks because it reflects on my husband. I do not want him to be embarrassed at how his wife looks but to be proud of me. I want to be different from the dress of the world. I want to please the Lord not man.
How We Dress Reveals Character
We can be dowdy and stand out in a ridiculous way or we can be sloppy which reveals a sloppy character or be so fancy we appear proud and haughty. The Bible tells us in I Timothy 2:9 that a woman is to dress in a modest way. Our clothes should draw attention to the whole being and not certain areas of our body especially areas that may arouse a man sexually. Some think that women do not really make sense. For example some women have hairdos with no makeup. The combination does not really go together. Or similarly lots of makeup and a bland or unkempt hair style is equally awkward. We ought to balance out what we wear.
I know this will step on toes literally, but these new sandals with three and four inch heels are not simple. They draw a lot of attention to the feet, ankles and leg. Besides being very hard on the back, difficult to walk in, and cold on the feet in the winter when there is snow and ice. We have allowed the world to dictate our styles. However, common sense is laid aside for the sake of style! How ridiculous. I really admire the dress of the Amish and Mennonite women who live relatively close to our mission. They are very beautiful to me and communicate a sense of purity. They wear balanced, simple and modest clothing.
Does it make sense for a Christian woman to cover her body with modest Godly clothing then take these clothes off to go in for mixed swimming? That is an absolute contradiction of standards and another aspect of a feminine schizophrenic personality. If a man’s eyes are filled with lust (Matthew 5:28 Proverbs 27:20), then how can we justify the wearing of swimming apparel in mixed swimming? You may say, “Well I am too old to make any difference. I have huge bulges, varicose veins, fat pockets. etc.” Dear lady, you are then gross in a bathing suit! If you still have retained your figure then you are attractive and you are defrauding men and you will stand in judgement before the Lord for causing a man to stumble (11 Corinthians 5:10). If you do not care then you are In severe rebellion and rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (I Samuel 15:23).
What Does God Say?
Deuteronomy 22:5 says you are an abomination to God if you wear the clothing of a man. Well you say we are in different times, they wore different clothing and besides they both wore robes. I personally believe obedient saints have always maintained the sharp distinction between the sexes God ordered in this verse whether in New Testament Palestine or In the modern era.
Our Thinking As Women Is Not Consistent
I tried something several years ago to see what would happen. The whole ministry was gone and I was alone in the house. So I dug out my pants and wore them for one entire day. I could not believe myself. Soon I felt bold, hard, haughty and unfeminine. I was very unsubmissive and I grew worse as the day progressed. As soon as I took them off I changed my personality inasmuch as I felt softer, meeker, feminine and gentle. I was conscious of how I walked and sat. That same year I tried something else. Those were the days of the ungodly provocative let’s-go-to-bed-look fashions. These fashions included the mini skirt.
I again pulled out one of my mini skirts and my shiny black boots and immediately I felt like a strange woman and I desired to dance and prance. Perhaps you have worn these and did not desire these things. That is wonderful but you were just as guilty because you caused a man to lust or to attempt control over his vision.
I also see this change in children. My daughter Naomi has never worn pants unless under a maxi and that is rare. She is so feminine. The girls call her a Holly Hobbie doll. Heather wore pants until she was five when we got saved. It is hard to imagine now but she was a real tomboy. Naomi is not a tomboy and I think it is because she has been in dresses and feminine styles from her birth. I put a dress on her within two hours after she was born over her stretch sleepers and she has had dresses on ever since. Our daughters are virtuous women because we have obeyed the Lord’s commands.
A woman is not submissive in a pair of pants. She becomes either bold or sloppy perhaps slobby. A woman is either attractive and causing a man to stumble or she is a slob and gross in appearance when she wears men’s clothes. Neither characteristic is a Godly one.
Perhaps you are wondering how you can have freedom of movement in a dress. Then you say women have been bound for thousands of years and they ought to be allowed more freedom. Perhaps we need to be bound up? ERA has definitely won a battle among Christian women. Our ungodly dress has resulted In our unsubmissive, bold, masculine spirits.
Anita Bryant is a prime example of what the Bible condemns. Many times I warned my husband about this woman and could not understand why Godly men across this nation followed her. The role she played was not and is not the role of a woman who is a keeper at home. Titus 2:5 says we are to be keepers at home. How can you be a keeper at home rearing your children loving your children, and your husband and at the same time leading a movement across the nation?
You Can Dress Feminine
Some say your job requires pants. If you are convicted and truly believe pants are a sin, then you are sinning against God by working at a job that requires you to compromise your convictions. I would suggest that you wear feminine culottes. These are easy to make or to have made. Have them made mid-length then wear long underwear or tights with boots if you are cold. We use a pattern that makes a culotte that looks exactly like a pleated skirt yet has plenty of room for movement. You can have them made for most jobs at which you work. Culottes can be worn for recreation.
There Are Problems We Must Face
A woman that wears pants is either rebellious or ignorant. Whichever is true, both will give an account to the Lord.
It is interesting to note that as far as I can tell, we have never had a girl or woman come into our program at Hephzibah House that did not wear pants. One of the greatest shocks our girls go through is to have their pants taken away! They do not know how to walk sit or act. We have noticed that after a few weeks their outward appearance changes. They are softer, sweeter and submissive. Yet inwardly they are not changed and would wear pants at the first opportunity. Just getting a girl out of pants changes their personality and they are not even aware of the change.
What effect do pants have on our children? Our children are being molded by our character whether we like it or not. They do an excellent job of imitating our bad qualities. A woman who wears pants or immodest dress will produce a daughter that will have either masculine character or rebellious character or the qualities of a strange woman. That daughter will reveal this in her marriage.
Lesbianism among teenagers is common and routine. Being bisexual is common. Because we are disobeying the Lord a mother who wears pants will produce a daughter that may not have a servant spirit to men or her husband unless she wants something special from him.
The effects of a pants-wearing mother is just as devastating on a boy. He does not know how to treat a woman. His role becomes more confusing with relation to a girl.
Change Is Difficult But Possible
Ladies it was and is hard for me to change. I had a lot to crucify in my life. It was not easy and I am still running the race striving to be like Jesus. Oh to be like Him! I genuinely desire to be like my precious Saviour. The position we have taken is hated not necessarily by the world as much as it is by fellow Christians. Our position does not win friends and influence people to love us. But the most important position in my life is to obey the Lord in all areas of my life and leave the results to Jesus.
Look At Our Responsibility
Mothers and single adult women, you are responsible for the molding of young girls and children. I have heard many mothers say they do not wear pants and do not believe in them but you know how it Is! Peer pressure forces us to allow our girls to wear them. No, I do not know how it is! If God tells me pants are sin (and He does) then my children are not wearing them whether they do at Christian Camp Youth Group Church or Christian School. Your children need to obey; you and your husband need to let these groups know where you stand on this issue. If he does not desire to speak out then do not speak out either but pray the Lord protect your child.
My dear Sister in Christ, look around our daughters are no longer pure. Oh how I pray some will stand for Jesus! I pray that some will stand for His sake and not let the world control our dress and our lives. Do not be a schizophrenic woman but a virtuous woman! Be willing to resist the pressures of the world and disobedient Christians. You will stand alone but then so has every earnest Christian since the first century.
Schizophrenic Women should give you a good idea of how Hephzibah House was operated and how incarcerated girls were treated by the Williamses. That Hephzibah House remains open till this day is nothing short of scandalous. I hope after the Dr. Phil exposé that Indiana officials will finally bring to bear on Hephzibah House the full weight of Indiana law. The Williamses and their lackeys have engaged in criminal behavior for decades. While it is unlikely they will ever be arrested and prosecuted, surely Indiana law enforcement and child protective services can find ways to eradicate the stench coming from Hephzibah House. (Though after reading comments from local law enforcement, it’s evident that any action against Hephzibah House and the Williamses will NOT come from local authorities.)
This story has an eerily similar feel to those told by the girls that were incarcerated at Mack Ford’s New Bethany Home for Girls. For further information on their stories, please read the following posts:
- Sexual Abuse in the Name of God: New Bethany Home for Girls
- IFB Preacher Mack Ford is Dead
- Teen Group Homes: Dear IFB Pastor, It’s Time for You to Atone for Your Sin
- The Dogma that Followed Me Home by Cat Givens
- NPR Story on Mack Ford, Sexual Abuse, and New Bethany Home for Girls in Arcadia, Louisiana
About Bruce Gerencser
Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.
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