Thursday, February 10, 2005

Credo

I came up with this a few years ago and still like it a lot. If I had been thinking, I would have used it as my blog's first post:

I believe in one God: a Force omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and eternal, that created the universe and all that is in it, that sustains all, that permeates all, that transcends all.

I believe that while the full nature of the transcendent God is beyond our comprehension, God’s presence is manifest in love, compassion, truth, justice, harmony, and beauty, and is further revealed through worship, study, and contemplation. I believe that devotion to these develops the element of God present within each of us, and in so doing, binds ourselves more closely to God.

I believe that God is opposed by Evil: a lesser, yet likewise omnipresent and transcendent, Force, that seeks the corruption of God’s works and purposes, and that exploits the limitations of human nature through undetected cunning, falsehood, and deception. I believe that Evil prospers parasitically, by manipulating the power of God to its own ends, and withers when it is recognized and isolated from God’s vital, sustaining strength. I believe it is our sacred duty to learn to recognize and resist the many subtle guises of Evil.

I believe that God created Earth to sustain life, that the presence of God infuses all life and all creation, and that the land, air, water, natural systems, and wild places of Earth, being of God and with God, are sacred to God and mankind.

I believe that in diverse times and places diverse societies receive insight into the nature of God; that these disparate insights are both uniquely informed and uniquely constrained by cultural and historical context; that each of these distinct insights nevertheless contains a valid apprehension of the one transcendent God; that the differences among them, arising out of perception and not substance, are illusory; and that as these many experiences compound over the course of human history, a deeper, richer relationship with God becomes available to successive generations.

40 Comments:

At February 10, 2005 at 10:09:00 PM EST, Blogger fausto said...

And here's another one, that we used to recite every SUnday at the summer camp I attended as a kid, and that I still like:

My Creed of the Out-of-Doors

Rudolph Carl Stroll

I believe in the wonder of the out-of-doors,
In the inspiration of the stars
And in the allurements of life in the open.

I believe in the strength of the hills,
In the silence of the night,
And in the music of the birds in the trees.

I believe also that my body was made for action,
That my mind was made for thinking,
And that my heart was made for loving
In unison with the life of nature.

I believe that to laugh and to sing,
To swim and to walk, to study and play,
To eat and be happy, to be kind and free,
To grow strong and good is my God-given right.

I believe, too, that to be happy I must be good,
That to be worthy I must be kind,
That to be loved, I must think love.

I believe that God is as near as man,
That I can hear Him in the brooks and the pines,
And that happiness and lasting peace are mine,
As I live in the atmosphere of kindness,
So near me in the life of the open road
.

If you read between the lines, you can see that the damned "camp" was really a secret brainwashing facility for future generations of Pelagian nature-worshipers -- and they were good at what they did, too.

 
At February 11, 2005 at 7:48:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your creed, except for the word Force in the first line. Could you say Being or Presence instead? Just a thought....

 
At February 11, 2005 at 8:30:00 AM EST, Blogger fausto said...

"Presence" is already in there. "Being" implies an individuality and personal quality that I'm not ready to bear witness to, and that in some respects limits the divine qualities of immanence and transcendence. However, "force" implies directed power, and I do think divinity is both powerful and directed.

 
At February 11, 2005 at 12:43:00 PM EST, Blogger PeaceBang said...

Hey Fausto, how do I find your e-mail address?

 
At February 11, 2005 at 1:46:00 PM EST, Blogger fausto said...

Peacebang, you could ask your favorite Persian mystic. The one I know is very good at e-mail.

 
At February 14, 2005 at 11:26:00 AM EST, Anonymous unity said...

Fausto,

I like your stuff. Both yours and the Pelagian nature poem! Do I know you?

 
At February 14, 2005 at 5:08:00 PM EST, Anonymous Art said...

By the way, I find it very refreshing that you believe in a force of evil.

 
At February 14, 2005 at 10:58:00 PM EST, Blogger fausto said...

Unity, no, I don't think we've ever met, but my sister-in-law did live around the corner from your church on Schaller Street a few years ago! And word has it that you're in some kind of clergy-parents-of-toddlers group with the minister of my church, Peacebang's favorite Persian mystic.

 
At February 14, 2005 at 11:08:00 PM EST, Blogger fausto said...

Incidentally, Unity, your Inauguration Day confession was hot stuff too.

 
At July 17, 2006 at 4:14:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brewster?

 
At September 14, 2007 at 7:34:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you go to Forest Acres?

 
At September 14, 2007 at 9:24:00 PM EDT, Blogger fausto said...

No, Camp Sangamon.

 
At November 12, 2007 at 7:46:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attended Camp Sangamon as well. How long ago did you go there?

 
At November 12, 2007 at 10:58:00 PM EST, Blogger fausto said...

Wow, you're poking around some old threads!

Speaking of old, I attended Sangamon from 1967-1972. Woodcraft and fly tying were my favorite activities. (They've since stopped teaching both of them.) And as I understand, the old Sunday service notebook with the homilies about "everything's better in Jonesville" and the guy who built his future father-in-law a shoddy house, only to receive it back as a wedding present, has been lost.

However, when Larry Smith died two years ago, they did recite "My Creed of the Out-Of-Doors" at the memorial service in the little Congregational church in Pittsford. I wasn't there, but I heard it was standing-room-only with old campers.

My son and two nephews were there last summer. There was a Buzzell or two on the staff -- just as there was in my day. And my daughter went to BC a couple of years ago with Skeeter Lee's daughter. Higgity, haggity, hoggity, hi, pioneers just never say die!

 
At May 27, 2008 at 4:42:00 PM EDT, Blogger Toronto-Condos said...

Do you have an email?

Real Estate Toronto...

Creed Of The Out-Doors?

Ralph Carl Stroll

 
At March 27, 2009 at 5:24:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that the same Larry Smith who was a serial molester of young boys and did time for it?

 
At March 27, 2009 at 7:47:00 PM EDT, Blogger fausto said...

There were always rumors among us kids about Larry's, um, inappropriate interests, but they were also always overblown as far as I know. I do know of one lesser accusation for which he pleaded "no contest" and agreed to step down as camp director for a few years, but I've kept in touch with the Smiths over the years; my son and nephews now attend Sangamon; my daughter and niece attend BC; both camps are still owned and run by the Smith family; and I've never heard of Larry "doing time".

Are you merely perpetuating the same old unsubstantiated rumors we all knew and discounted when we were younger? The poor man's dead, for goodness' sake, and he helped form the character of a lot of good kids. He deserves to rest in peace. Or if not that, at least someone who is willing to drag a dead man's name and reputation through the mud in a publicly published forum like this one ought to be courageous enough to put his own name on the accusation.

 
At April 10, 2009 at 9:56:00 AM EDT, Blogger fausto said...

Hey Anonymous, do you suppose the writer of Mark Trail went to Sangamon too? (Click the link.)

 
At August 29, 2010 at 4:44:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a current Sangaman. I came across this site looking for the Creed and couldn't help but wonder when your last year at Sangamon was.

 
At August 31, 2010 at 6:19:00 AM EDT, Blogger fausto said...

1972

 
At October 21, 2010 at 3:37:00 PM EDT, Blogger Skeeter said...

Thanks for My Creed of the Outdoors. I am the Skeeter who is referred to in a previous post. My daughters both attended and have worked at Betsey Cox. I have visited Sangamon for the last ten years and it is doing well. Sangamon was a powerful place that was so positive for so many. Like any place that involves a wide variety of people, there are differing opinions. We would agree that Larry was an unusua person who had his weaknesses, but Sangamon did a lot of good for a lot of people.

 
At December 1, 2010 at 3:08:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fausto,

I'm not perpetuating an unkind runor. Larry was a serial pedophile, fact. I was one of his victims at St. Albans School, an all-boys private school in D.C. where he taught 4th grade. I was not alone. He was asked to leave in approx. 1970. I was sad to hear that he continued to run an all-boys camp, especially when I read that one of the camp's "traditions" was a morning skinny dips by all the boys. But I took some comfort in hearing that he may have eventually been prosecuted. Apparently not, at least not in a meaningful way. You obviously have fond memories of Larry, and so clearly was never personally exposed to his "inappropriate interests" (as you so euphemistically put it). But out of respect for his many young victims, please don't make him out to be something he wasn't -- nor dismiss as mere "unsubstantiated rumor" his acts of pedophilia. It's offensive.

 
At December 3, 2010 at 9:33:00 AM EST, Blogger Stanley said...

Fausto,

Unfortunately, it's not rumor. I was one of Larry's victims in 1970, at St. Albans School for Boys (where he taught 4th grade before being asked to leave). I witnessed it occurring with another young boy during a Sangamon Spring ski outing Larry organized for STA students. It's hard to see his pedophilia characterized as you do, with euphemisms like "inappropriate interests," or discounted as "unsubstantiated rumor." And I cringed when I read that one of Sangamon's traditions back then was a morning skinny dip for all the young boys. But I'm very glad you were not exposed to his sexual advances as a Sangamon camper. I would bet any amount of money that others were not so lucky, however.

Stan

 
At December 4, 2010 at 4:47:00 PM EST, Blogger fausto said...

Anonymous, I not only attended Sangamon for 5 years as a camper and junior counselor, but I was a Lower School student at St. Albans for 5 years myself, so we probably know each other. I also went on most of Larry's weekend ski trips and several of his spring vacation ski trips to Vermont.

I was also there at Lower School Prize Day in 1970 when Larry took "early retirement" and was given his service award despite being one year shy. (Skeeter, who posted above, was another student at StA and a veteran Sangamon counselor, who now heads an Episcopal middle school himself.) There were rumors all through my StA years about Larry's tendencies that coalesced into speculation about the reason for his retirement, as I recall. Yours is the first time I have ever heard of a direct accusation from an actual victim, though.

I do not mean in any way to deny or belittle your traumatic experience, or make excuses for Larry's personal weaknesses. It's just that nobody I knew at school or in camp ever experienced actual sexual molestation -- or at least spoke to me about it. So all I have known of until now are the whispers we all remember, and snickered at, to beware of "Larry the Mo". Now, it's possible that I was sheltered, and that where there's smoke there's fire, but it has been my assumption that with all the time I spent in his orbit at a vulnerable age I would have heard or even experienced something more substantive by now if anything truly scandalous had actually occurred.

I didn't want to use my blog to publicize and perpetuate decades-old deprecatory rumors of possible criminal behavior that I have heard but cannot myself confirm -- especially when the man's faults, whatever they may have been, were mitigated by genuine good that he did for a whole generation of kids at his camp. I would certainly expect that, if the Vermont authorities had had strong enough evidence, they would indeed have seen that he "did time". They did not, so that accusation at least is untrue. And it was that accusation in particular that I was rebutting.

 
At December 4, 2010 at 8:27:00 PM EST, Blogger fausto said...

Same reply goes to Stan, too, if you are not the same person as "Anonymous", although I imagine you probably are. I have enabled comment moderation on this blog but do not check it frequently; I found the "Anonymous" post and replied to it first.

 
At November 27, 2011 at 3:14:00 PM EST, Anonymous Duffy said...

Larry Smith tried to mo me up in his cabin house atop of the hill at Sangamon in the early '70s. He was dry humping me on his bunk, a naive 10 or 11 year old at the time when a year older kid named Josh from CT. saved my ass by calling me out of the cabin. The rumors were true. Thanks Josh!

 
At June 12, 2012 at 12:13:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen Duffy. Too many kids were too scared or ashamed to come forward, or when they did it was hushed up, and thus a pedophile was allowed to exist among boys for years and years....

 
At June 29, 2012 at 11:08:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Ben said...

Hi,

I have been looking for some other victims for YEARS and I am trembling as I write this. Larry created a heaven on Earth in Sangamon.. I went for 4 wonderful summers... and would have gone more had he not molested me twice in the summer of 1974. He molested me. He stuck his finger in my behind with vaseline. He made it all seem like part of the "natural fun" of men and boys in the woods. I am beyond livid. and still going through therapy to untie the knots in my psyche that he made.

Let em be clear.. Sangamon is perfection, Larry was deeply flawed and committed a horrendous crime, unfortunately. If you do doubt my sincerity, I and my therapist placed a report with the state of Vermont back in the 90's. I am so sorry this has to be a blot on the reputation of the Camp which certainly deserves better.

 
At June 29, 2012 at 11:11:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Ben said...

Duffy... omg.. he did the dry humping thing to me too! it was so weird.. I had blacked out and when I came to, it was happening and I couldn't understand it and I thought, "Well at least I'm still wearing my bathing suit!" Then later it got worse.

He'd come around at the time we changed from bathing suits to clothes and sit us on his lap pretending to be fatherly while he rubbed out bodies, dipping below the waistline.

 
At June 29, 2012 at 11:15:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Ben said...

fausto,

a couple points..

The Vermont authorities told me they had no prior reports and so could not take action until one more came in and when I mentioned his rumored conviction (another camper told me about that at college in 1982) they told me they did not have the resources to look it up.

This was all before the Catholic church thing made us all pay more attention to molestations.

and, molesters work very hard at hiding what they do from the people around them. They are very good at deflecting and only choose victims they are fairly sure they can convince to not squeal.. there's a lot of literature one can read on this.

 
At June 29, 2012 at 11:17:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Ben said...

and.. Skeeter... you were the coolest man I had ever seen when I was there... Your performances as the Native American shaman spitting fire at the fire ceremonies were AMAZING! and will always be remembered. I still hold the wonder and belief in ritual I got from those, thanks.

 
At July 6, 2012 at 9:00:00 AM EDT, Blogger fausto said...

Anonymous, Ben, Duffy, Stanley: I just found out that some of your recent comments had been awaiting moderation, and allowed them all. Sorry for the delay.

 
At July 6, 2012 at 9:10:00 AM EDT, Blogger fausto said...

What I remember of Larry's trouble with the Vermont authorities was that a report was made, but (according to scuttlebutt at the time) the case was not very strong, so in a plea bargain he was allowed to plead no contest on the condition that he step down from managing the camp for three years. During that time it was managed by Bud Warriner and Ernie Bareham, I think (it was after my time there). I am guessing the files would be expunged or sealed after the fact if he maintained good behavior during that time, which might be why there is nothing on record today.

More recently, my brother and I (and Skeeter, and the Buzzells, and others) have sent our kids to Sangamon and BC (my niece is there right now). I am pleased to report that they have preserved many of the fun and character-building qualities that some of us, who did not share your devastating (and I think atypical, no matter how real and horrifying for you) experiences, still remember fondly.

 
At July 6, 2012 at 9:34:00 AM EDT, Blogger fausto said...

I see that some of you would like to be able to share your unfortunate experiences with each other, but this is a difficult conversation to hold in a public forum like this one. If any of you wants to continue talking to each other offline, you can get my email address through my Blogger.com profile. Email me with a recognizable camp codeword in the caption (so I know it's not spam) and I will forward your email address to anyone else who responds.

 
At July 14, 2012 at 12:23:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Ben said...

Fausto,

Thank you for your compassion, understanding and generosity. Just typing my posts releived me in ways 20 yeas of work in therapy had never yet done. I am truly freer for your allowing me to say my peace here. Thank you.

I am so glad Sangamon retains the character building parts. For me, the best of it was the connection to the nature of Vermont, the freedom to go on, and invent adventures in nature, and the deeply satisfying experiences of ritual. By ritual I mean everything from large bonfires and Native American(esque) ceremony to small ones like daily swimming, sleeping under the stars, singing all together at meals, and the Saturday scavenger hunts we had. These really instilled a peaceful goodness in me.

 
At July 14, 2012 at 12:27:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Ben said...

fausto, I'm having trouble locating your email address on the blog profile. If any others desire to have contact about larry as discussed above, they can feel free to contact me at ekata@aol.com.

 
At March 29, 2013 at 7:51:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always wondered if what Larry Smith did at Sangamon was reported or not. I saw him molest, he tried to with me, there is no doubt that some kids came out of there traumatized.

 
At December 14, 2013 at 6:13:00 PM EST, Blogger mwsnyc said...

Fausto, I would be interested in making contact with other victims of Larry Smith, as he molested me on one of his ski trips to Sangamon. I was also a summer camper and student at St. Albans.

 
At August 25, 2014 at 7:58:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not know if anyone on here can help me out but I was at Sangamon in the early 60's and although not dramaticly invasive, I was indeed inappropriately touched by Larry many times over at least one summer.
Overall I LOVED Sangamon and most of the staff. I am sure Larry did a lot for many. And, it is critical for those who were damaged by him to honor that too. I am not familiar with blogging much but I would appreciate it if I could be put in touch with folks who want to be in a healing, non-blaming discussion about all this.
Thanks

PS I am not familiar with the "choose identity" part of blogging so I chose anonymous although I am not needing to be

 
At March 27, 2016 at 5:21:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Larry was a pedophile. I was there for four years (64-68) and it was common knowledge. You just had to avoid getting into his arms. He was never forceful. It took me years to tell my mother. I have wonderful memories of Sangamon, it was simple, just avoid Larry.

 

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