Creffield and Doctrine Over Person

"The pattern of doctrine over person occurs when there is a conflict between what one feels oneself experiencing and what the doctrine or ideology says one should experience," Dr. Lifton writes. "Personal history becomes reworked in light of group doctrine. Everyone must fit the doctrinal mode. If some human experience seems to contradict the doctrine an elaborate rationalization will explain the discrepancy and prove that the doctrine is right and the experience wrong."

One of the biggest personal conflicts Holy Rollers had to deal with was the love they had felt for their families before meeting Franz Edmund Creffield, and then after meeting him, coming to believe that those in their families who did not stay in Creffield's church were evil. Some of his followers simply denied that there had been any love in their families in the first place, and that statements others made to the contrary were false.


An excerpt from Chapter Nine of Holy Rollers,
a statement O. V. Hurt, now a lapsed member of Creffield's church, made about his wife

"She wouldn't even take care of the adopted child," O. V. said. " I cared for it in the morning, dressed it and looked after it until I left the house [for work]. Then I took it to a neighbor's and left it there until I returned home.

"My wife and my daughters refused to wash the child's clothing, or to wash its body. They refused to feed it, or to wash the dishes in which the baby's food was prepared. They declared that God would be displeased with them if they had anything to do with the child. Creffield had told them so. . . .

Oregon State Insane Asylum"My wife and daughters came to believe that I was defiled, and that this little one was defiled. At the suggestion of that viper, they talked of making sacrifice of the child; they would have burned her along with their clothing, their furniture and the cats and dogs which they declared to be of this world and unfit to live. They were all crazy--yes, all crazy. . . .

"I was pleading, threatening and trying all in my power to bring my wife and daughters back to sanity, but without avail."

On June 27th [1904], when the sheriff came to take Sarah to the asylum, she put up a fight and tore off all her clothes. O. V. struggled to get a union suit--long johns--on her, and it was wrapped about her neck as she was carried from the house screaming at him, "I hate you, but I love Creffield!"

She was declared insane because she "claims her husband is not related to her, and that God is her husband." O. V. was not a violent man, but now he said he "would like to hurt Creffield with a bullet."


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