The Wholly Liable is a disturbing book that must be read. It is the story of Ron Myers who is yet another victim of childhood molestation at the hands of the clergy.
Yet Ron’s story is different from that of many victims. It is his father that is a serial pedophile, his rapist, and a man of the cloth.
Ron was sexually attacked by his father at age 2. The consequent nightmares that have haunted him ever since were dismissed as messages from the devil, which could be resisted if he was good enough and called upon the name of Jesus.
His conspiring mother remained silent, as did many of the author’s family. Most of them, until today, do not understand his need to dig up the past.
Ron grew up in Idaho because, according to his father, God had told them to move there in a dream. Later, his father declared that he could feel the Prince of the Valley, a demon, although not Satan. Ron recalls being told that they had moved to fight these evil forces.
Norm Myers psychologically tortured his children as well as raping them.
The family’s pet rabbits were clubbed and skinned, and Ron was forced to dispose of the remains. When one of the cats clawed his father, Ron was ordered to gas them by placing them in a box and inserting the car’s exhaust pipe.
The book emotionally drains the reader with countless recollections of childhood abuse, torture and rape. Ron was not his father’s only victim; in fact all his siblings were abused. His father carried on a sexual affair with his sister for years, referring to her as his second wife.
With the help of his brother, the author sued his father. The law suit failed. His family wants to move on, but Ron is haunted by demons of his father’s making.
The story is more than the tale of a victim of pedophilia. It is the story of partial recovery and the author’s attempt to come to terms with the meaning of life. The journey is painful and continues until today.
The Wholly Liable is an indictment against many of the values of the Christian church, especially the belief of original sin. So disillusioned was the author he converted to Judaism and emigrated to Israel.
Today he works as a carpenter and lives with his wife and children just outside of Jerusalem.
Yet as we shared another meal last week with Ron and his family, I was optimistic. If you watch how he speaks and treats his wife and children, Ron is victorious. Despite his past he has a loving family that he honors, cherishes and protects. Despite the evil of his father, good has been victorious. Perhaps that is a too religious conclusion for Ron to grasp.