Many of you will have read the news that accusations have been made against Isaac Bonewits (I will shorten too IB (founder of ADF, and well known, and quite well liked leader in the community)). If not, Moira Greyland (MG(, daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradly (MZB) released a book, which detailed her abuse by her parents, and apparently IB.
Such an accusation, while shocking (and it is, reading that book is horrifying, and to see a name of a person I held in deep regard, accused in such a manner …. Hurts) is not without precedent. My wife and I bought the book, read the book, passed our own judgement (wee believe Moira). What was shocking to me, was it seems the vast majority of ADF refused to even slightly consider Isaacs possible guilt. Some (who I will call the Truhter Brigade), went after the character of Moira Greyland (in typical Ad hominin manner). Because she (MG) is right wing, and apparently staunchly Christian in her stance, and that the publisher of her book is a known Alt-Right individual, she must be suspect, and making up.
This is what sickened and shocked me. Established leaders in the ADF, and Pagan community attacked a survivor of abuse (her father was a known paedophile and pederast), because their hero was besmirched.
ADF released an insipid statement, which many of us considered insufficient to address what was happening. Their excuse? That the Wild Hunt had given them a deadline to respond, and they had only seen parts of the accusations, not read the book, even the small chapter Isaac is mentioned in.
Being the individual I am, I knew a bit more, and I also dug around a LOT more. Moira’s sister inlaw posted a comment to the Wildhunt article, which I include, in all its horrid glory (along with subsequent replies, mine as well).
Moira made a reply, which a friend of hers relayed to the community. Where she claimed to have further knowledge of other victims, and that MZB had been approached by IB several years later, and that she (MG) had a witness to that event.
There are a great many of nasty things that come from this. For me the most nasty, was the rotten core of ADF members who would willingly attack a survivor of abuse, because they did not like her politics, or her accuastions against their dead god. Yep if I were to apply this situation to Isaacs famous Cult Danger evaluation frame what do you think I will get? Note I shall not link to Isaac’s personal page. Screw that.
ADF made Isaac the official first Ancestor (honoured dead) of the Church upon his death. So as founder, first ancestor (essentially a deification), that is no a good place to have a person who has consent issues, and liked sex with minors.
What comes from all this?
- Your Heroes probably should never be put on a pedestal, chances are if you do, they will fall off and break, revealing something rotten in the core.
- Don’t assume because you like someone, or their perceived actions ,that they are blameless! (footnote 2, 3)
- Organizations who are slow to respond, suffer (footnote 4)
- I interacted with Isaac, since the 1990s. All of this was online. MOSTLY in alt.relgion.wicca, Alt.Druid, and alt.pagan. Isaac posted there, till he made a total cluster fuck of his interactions. As did I. the alt. part of usenet was a cesspit. A fun one, but a smelly smelly cesspit.
I missed the chance to meet him in person, he travelled in 2005 (or 6) to Milwaukee, to give a talk. I was at work that night, and did not want to risk pissing off the CEO by having a life. Only 14 people showed up. That is an comment on Milwaukee, not Isaac.
I also talked with Isaac in his last year, over a number of things, mostly people making claims about his legacy. I’ll not name the fairly well known pagan who claimed to have taught Isaac, Isaac refuted it, that was co-oberated by others.
So did I know Isaac? Not even close. I did however know his ego, and style. If he was right in his mind, any who disagreed, were wrong.
- When I was still at university, I played Magic the Gathering (I still do on occasion, just to scare young folks with my Legacy Goblin deck, that will get you in 3 to 5 turns). After a tornament, the judge was missing some very rare (expensive) cards from his folder. A guy we played with at lunchtimes suddenly had the cards the next week. I was told “he’s my friend and he’d never do that” …. CTV footage proved otherwise.
- To this day, people still think Scott Holbrook was set up by the police. He was just streaming a movie, not looking at pictures of naked preteen girls, honest. Even though streaming would not have downloaded 400 plus images. Even though he pleaded no contest to “having used them for personal reasons”, allowing him a plea deal to not be registered a sex offender. Moral of story, people are not who you think they are.
- As of this writing, ADF is apparently working on perhaps removing Isaac as the first ancestor, and drafting a new Vision statement (which is actually still the one Isaac had decades back). Good for them. Can they step on the deniers? At least make them do their dirty work off of official pages?