I listened to my thoughtful critics. As a result I now believe I went too far with my post yesterday about revivalism. I do not want to suggest that the abuse was in any way similar to the horrific abuse suffered by indigenous people in Canada at the hands of the residential school system. They are too different to compare and I do not want to trivialize the suffering of indigenous people. As a result I unequivocally withdraw that part of my remarks. I will amend my post on my blog accordingly.
However I do not retract my comments about Mennonite parents and other elders who hired professional America preachers to manipulate their youth often with gross appeals to emotions like fear. I believe this was an example, among many, of powerful people, (in this case Mennonite parents, elders, and preachers) who exploited the weakness and vulnerability of young children and adults in order to impose a set of values on the young people. I consider what they did abuse. Not on the level of residential schools, but still significant abuse.
I know that most Mennonite parents thought they were doing the right thing. To that extent they meant well in what I believe was a seriously misguided way. They were not trying to harm their children. However I believe that they did.
I want to explore this subject further on this blog and would invite comments from my readers who disagree with me. Please give me the benefit of your comments.