This is the fifth in a series of posts about the disappearance of Lynn Messer; wife of prominent Missouri pro-family, pro-life, pro-homeschooling lobbyist, Kerry Messer.
Kerry’s son, Abram knows and reads the word of God; and therefore, he believes the way his dad treated his mom was biblically wrong. Women are not objects to be used by their husbands for unholy purposes. He knew his mom did not deserve to be yelled at, cussed at, belittled, constantly referred to derogatorily as, “Woman” and made to feel unworthy by his dad. His mom was not called to obey her husband as though she were a slave. She should not have had to worry about finances, how they were going to maintain their home, or feed the life stock on their farm while his dad refused to write a balance in the checkbook because he wanted complete control and didn’t want his wife to know how much money they possessed. Kerry reportedly hid money from Lynn for at least a decade.
According to Abram, his dad fit the patriarchal movement; a social system where men are in authority over women in all aspects of society. This is not a biblical doctrine. Patriarchy tends to be a lifestyle taught in some of the Christian and homeschooling community at conferences and conventions. I pray that the planning leadership of such conferences no longer allow such harmful principles to be propagated within the homeschooling movement. Opinions should not be presented as scriptural fact through the twisting of scripture. Some opinions are not worthy of debate. In the patriarchal movement wives and daughters are essentially servants in their own homes. Often times the wives go along with this instruction and mentor younger women in the same beliefs. Lynn worked as a mentor in her church where she was teaching younger women about submission, under a patriarchal background, causing concern among other female members who were talking about removing Lynn from the mentoring program.
“While people are entitled to personal opinions within a broad range, there are some views within the patriarchy movement that go too far. Women are not to be the de facto slaves of men. Women are created with dignity equal to that of men. Women have direct and unmediated access to God. Daughters should not be taught that their only and ultimate purpose in life is to be the “helpmeet” of a man. While being a godly wife is a worthy ideal, the only statement that is universally true for every woman is that she should love and serve God as her highest priority.” ~Michael Farris, HSLDA
Abram Messer mentioned experiences that have been happening the last few months. He, and his wife Elizabeth, are having memories that hold important clues to his dad’s behavior. I too have had the same experiences as I remember past events and conversations I had with my former husband, who is now in prison; conversations that were clues to his real self and his hidden life; clues that add up and now make sense. I told Abram, if he and his wife are like me, the experiences will likely occur for years.
While Abram was dating Elizabeth during their teen years, and their relationship began to grow more serious, he said that Kerry made a phone call to Abram’s future mother-in-law, Elizabeth’s mom. Stories were fabricated and embellished to paint a picture that Abram’s parents had problems with Abram in the past. In hind sight; this is confirmation to Abram and Elizabeth that his dad’s secret life was much deeper and more frightening than they ever realized, and that his dad was concerned Abram would spill the beans on their family life. Therefore he paved the way with… Abram can’t be trusted or believed so don’t believe him if he tells you anything questionable about my behavior.
Abram Messer worked with his dad, Kerry, for Missouri Family Network as a lobbyist for twelve years. Abram often found it unsettling the way he saw his dad mistreat his mom personally, at work, and on the farm. He was concerned about the dual personality of his father who could switch on the charm, charisma and polished professional mask to anyone who wasn’t family. Abram loved his dad and didn’t realize the depth and seriousness of what he was observing; after all, it was the normal behavior he watched through the years of growing up in the Messer family home. Abram continued lobbying with his dad, and tolerating his dad’s behavior, because he believed God called him to work in Jefferson City; trusting that his obedience to God was important enough to bear twelve years of being cussed out, screamed at, and belittled on an almost daily basis. Behaviors which only intensified over the last two years. Including telling Abram and his wife that their pain was, “insignificant.”
Through the twelve years of working with is dad, Abram was never allowed to see financial records or mailing information. Shortly after Lynn’s disappearance, unbeknownst to Abram, a fund-raising letter was sent out to the M.F.N. mailing list, requesting immediate financial help during Kerry’s time of trouble.
Kerry later told Abram it was the most money he had ever received at one time from a financial appeal, and he was thinking of sending out another mailing. In hind sight, this is appalling since Abram thinks his dad had stockpiled two and a half million dollars in assets and kept it hidden from his wife and sons.
Abram said he and his dad have had three confrontations over the last two years. The first was late in 2014, when after Abram told his father that he believed his behavior around Spring for several previous years was inappropriate; Kerry flew into a rage. In June of 2015 his brother, Aarron, discovered that their father was in an illicit relationship with Spring Thomas. After Aaron confronted his father, and demanded to know what was going on, they think Kerry lied. It was only after fifteen minutes or more of Aarron pressing his dad that Kerry did admit he had been hiding his relationship. Aarron insisted that his brother, Abram, be called and also told of the secret relationship. The three men sat around Kerry’s dining room table and talked for hours. Both boys expressed complete disapproval. Not because they had an expectation that their father should have to spend the rest of his life alone; but rather because of the months that Kerry had been lying to them and hiding his relationship with Spring. Kerry went on and described what he called a “covenant relationship.” Since Aaron refused to leave until his father told what was going on with Spring, Kerry also confessed that he deliberately had Abram drive separately to Jefferson City all legislative session because he was preplanning time to sneak off to Spring’s house alone, didn’t want anyone to know, and in fact had been going to Spring’s house two or three times a week—alone—since at least January 2015. Both Aaron and Abram expressed their disapproval and extreme disappointment; as well as, told him they believed he was in sin. Even if Kerry was not currently involved in sexual sin with Spring, as he claimed, the nature of his long-term deception and lies would only take him further down a road of self-destruction, and deeper into sin.
Weeks later when Abram discovered that Kerry was still lying to him and hiding his secret trips to see Spring; Abram and Kerry had another confrontation. The next day Abram asked his dad to tell the truth and come clean; and urged Kerry (because of his sin of deception, and his personal compromise) to step down as President of Missouri Family Network. Abram explained, “I am not asking you to turn M.F.N. over to me; there are plenty of other people who could run the organization until this situation is resolved.” But Kerry insisted that he would turn Missouri Family Network over to his son Abram; as well as, turn Abram’s home over to him, so that as the investigation continued they would not end up homeless. Again, this was not the answer Abram was looking for and after waiting five months for his father to tell the truth or do any of the things that he claimed he was going to do—they had the third confrontation. The third meeting was when Abram was able to persuade his father to meet with their pastor; where he found out that not only was Kerry still lying, but Kerry admitted that he never intended to do any of the things he said…and he never would. Kerry also admitted to writing a fake suicide note that’s sole purpose was to manipulate people who disagreed with him…by threatening self harm; tactics which Abram says Kerry is still attempting to use. An unhealthy warning of Kerry’s attempt to get Abram back under his control, and to manipulate people was truly sinking in and causing concern.
Once Abram could get his head above the clouds and see clearly; he realized more and more how emotionally damaging his dad was to him.
Sometimes it takes being removed from a difficult relationship to recognize how harmful it is and to experience freedom from the control and manipulation.
According to Abram, as the investigation around Lynn’s disappearance continued, his dad again used finances to try to manipulate and control Abram and his family. Since financial incentives didn’t work, his dad took it all back. He unilaterally dissolved the legal partnership, and used creative accounting to claim that Abram owed him $5,000. Which is roughly equivalent to the 5% ownership of Missouri Family Network which Abram owned. In firing Abram, his dad also forced Abram, along with Elizabeth and their four children, Kerry’s grandchildren, out of the house Abram’s grandfather gave them twelve years ago.
Abram’s point for sharing some of this testimony is, “There’s a reason tough love is called tough love. It is not because I hate my dad and I’m out to get him. I love him. My deepest desire is for him to repent of his sin and follow the example of King David when the Prophet Nathan confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 12. I have tried to follow biblical teachings for confronting my dad, but there are other issues. Churches have a moral and biblical responsibility to call sin, sin and protect the victims inside the church of Jesus Christ; however, churches aren’t willing to truly confront sin. If an individual refuses to repent, the church needs to be willing to cut ties and treat these types of people as unbelievers.”
Another reason for sharing is to put another perspective in front of hundreds of struggling families and retired individuals who struggle financially and still send money to M.F.N. Abram says, “They deserve to know that they are being fleeced—not the people who are so close that they can’t see the forest through the trees, but those who are sacrificially giving.”
Now I want to turn attention back to the, “Find Lynn Messer” Facebook page.
In a future post I will cover details about Abram’s argument with his mom; as well as, the note she wrote before disappearing.
Side note to a romantic, or potential romantic, interest: Has precedence has already been set? Many psychologists agree that if people with unhealthy ways of interacting don’t change by age 30 they will not change. “The 20th century Harvard psychologist William James said that after age 30, the personality has ‘set like plaster.’”¹ If they hid money from their spouse they will hide it from you. If they expected their spouse to cater to their every decision, command, and whim; they will expect it of you. If they gained a rise out of calling their spouse names, they will call you names—it’s just a matter of time. If they became bored with spouse #1 they will become bored with you too. If…they did the unthinkable to their spouse…well…they could do it to you. (Remember Drew and Stacy Peterson?) If a person will lie about their spouse and children to save their reputation; they will lie about you. People who recruit friends and romantic interests, eventually become tired and bored once they secure the relationship. What they are attracted to is your strength. What they hate after securing you in a relationship is your strength, and they will spend their energy verbally, emotionally and spiritually shredding your very being. You will likely feel like an empty shell of yourself; realizing your vibrant, bubbly, confident, capable, intelligent, energetic, outgoing, hospitable-self died; figuratively, and perhaps literally. Now would be the perfect time to pray, repent, and give God permission to insert His leadership into your life over this issue.