CJ's Reviews > Jesus Land

Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres
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's review
Oct 18, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011-books
Read in October, 2011

I discovered this book because Scheeres has a new book coming out about the Jonestown massacre. While I was reading the reviews for that new book, I found this memoir and devoured it in a day. I am fascinated by people who live completely different lives while living similar lives to mine. I grew up in Michigan, Scheeres grew up in Indiana - how different could our upbringings be? Turns out, VERY different.

Scheeres' parents were strict Christians (sponsoring Missionaries, going to church more than once/week, kids went to a Christian school). They had very definite ideas about how kids should behave and Scheeres and her brother David did not fit into that plan. When Mom was really tired of dealing, she shipped David off to a reform school in the Caribbean and Julia followed shortly thereafter.

I was appalled at the treatment the kids received and what they had to do to survive. I wept for David, who wanted to believe his family would come together in the end and love and support him the way he deserved. I wept for Julia that she knew what David didn't and couldn't/wouldn't tell him the truth for fear of breaking him. A heartbreaking story that was impossible to put down.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Tesla That program in the Dominican Republic is NOT abusive. I was there, so trust me, I know. The staff there are wonderful and amazing and they love their students and truly want to help them. She just wanted to find a way to get attention.

message 2: by CJ (new) - rated it 4 stars

CJ Because your experience was different, there's no need to dismiss someone else's. Step back and examine your own motives before trashing someone in public.

Tesla My motives are to present the TRUTH. Like Julia Scheeres states that she is, I also am from a strict Christian upbringing, so I know what that is like. I don't think it's right to force that on people. HOWEVER, I was an atheist when I was at the program in the DR, and they did NOT try to force anything on me whatsoever! They even allowed me to stay out of a Christian class they held once a week. They also were respectful of my vegetarian diet. There's an armed guard at the gate, yes, but he's on the OUTSIDE of it, not the inside, and he's there at night to protect the campus from people trying to break in. Yes, you do a lot of cleaning there, but that's so everything stays sanitary and people don't get sick. Yes, you do a lot of outdoor work - but most of it is service projects for the local Dominicans who are very poor and having nothing. It makes you feel good to be able to help them, but helping to build a house for a homeless family, or even just playing baseball with the kids. If it's not a service project, it's just work on campus to keep it looking good and cleaned up (mowing the grass, raking leaves, etc. You aren't judged by the staff for your sexual orientation or religion beliefs for any of that crap. They accept you for who you are, and try to help you learn how to better yourself WITHOUT changing who you are. You get to go on a one week vacation twice a year with the house that you live in - we went to the beach. It's a lot of fun! We also took a lot of trips to the river to play around and get ice cream and stuff. Does that sound like abuse? NO! I WAS in an abusive program - Central Indiana Teen Challenge. They made me wear a jumpsuit and fed me cold beans mixed with large amounts of cayenne pepper, and took away all my belongings, and didnt allow me to speak for weeks at a time. THAT is abuse. Nothing like that happens in the Dominican Republic. My life was completely turned around, thanks to that program and the staff there who came along side me and guided me to a better path. I'm still very close to both the staff that were there with me, and also the girls I lived with there. We're like sisters. It's a wonderful program and I truly believe anyone with a struggling teen should send their child there for a year. I have told Julia that she needs to stop trashing the program - a LOT of people have told her. But she won't listen, so now we just have to do the best we can to get the truth out there so people see the truth and not just her lies. I wasn't there in the 80's when she was - maybe it was like she said back then. I doubt it, but I don't know for sure. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean she can bash the current program like she does, but I DO know for a FACT that the current program is NOT like she says it is at all in any way.

message 4: by CJ (new) - rated it 4 stars

CJ Again, I will say - because your experience was different doesn't give you the right to trash someone else for any reason. I'm going to point to one bit of your diatribe - "I wasn't there in the 80's when she was - maybe it was like she said back then. I doubt it, but I don't know for sure."

Your experience is YOUR experience and Julia's experience is Julia's. While you are the expert on you - Julia gets to be the expert on her.

So, step back and examine your own motives. You are young and you will learn, but for now back off.

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