Deborah 13: Servant of God

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A documentary about 13-year-old Deborah Drapper, who, unlike other British teens has never heard of Britney Spears or Victoria Beckham. She has been brought up in a deeply Christian family and her parents have tried to make sure she and her ten brothers and sisters have grown up protected from the sins of the outside world.

Deborah is a bright, confident girl who has big ambitions for her life and the film spends a summer with her as she ventures out in the world to see what life outside her family could be and starts putting her beliefs forward to a wider audience.

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  • wtf

    Oh Thanks! I always questioned what kind of people breed serial killers, psychopathes and preppers. Now I know.

  • NB

    Their arguments for not believing in the big bang theory makes my head hurt.. and I am sad people who believe in the bible so much are living in such fear

    • onelove

      I agree.. but….what argument? they didn’t even present one! It was difficult to watch at times. To live in fear was and is not our purpose here.. Religion is not the answer..

  • donna page

    I was so impressed with the courage of this child of god she really increased my faith, i do so hope her reward in heaven is as tremendous as her faith is. And she fulfills the scripture….a child shall lead them.

    • Jim

      What a waste of life

  • Florence

    I am a Christian too but this girl is completely unsocialized and imbalanced.

  • onelove

    In my opinion, religions were created to control the masses, to instil fear within people in order so that they can be CONTROLLED -it’s really that simple. If people truly want to know what’s right and wrong (I rarely use those terms but I feel it’s needed here)- they’d simply need to connect within and they’ll know immediately – one does NOT NEED A BOOK to inform them of these “rules”. We have instincts for a reason – they’re not just random feelings that pass through us; we all have God-like qualities within. All these rules, fears, control-mechanisms are nothing to do with “God”, that is all man-made. Experience is the biggest gift we have, that in itself is enough, think about it; sadly most ignore it and seek knowledge externally. i.e. places like the bible.

    I saw a mature, intelligent, passionate young girl, with the potential to live an incredibly full life and I think it’s quite clear that she is a very wise person for her age. At the same time, she clearly holds a very deep, intense, genuine fear of (the wrath of) God and clearly demonstrates to us how most of her thoughts revolve around Hell.. I am very sorry to say to those who agree with her upbringing, but is that a way to bring up a child.. to be in a state of CONSTANT FEAR??? I personally believe our thoughts/minds very much connect with our physical and spiritual bodies, and if at a very deep level, a 6-year old believes s/he deserves to go to Hell and is innately evil – I mean, come on guys, what kind of life is that? Even though it is important not to judge because we never know ones path, I cannot begin to explain how sad this made me feel. She did not look happy at all, the tears at the end were not tears of joy :( ; it’s very clear that her parents have provided their children with no other option. Some of you have said that all parents brainwash their children? Eh?? Most parents who I have met in my life (including my own), provided their kids with guided options, open establish in a loving way – who it was they wanted to become. Doesn’t that sound healthier? Ok, so some of you shall say, but if a child can do whatever he likes whenever he likes, he may hurt himself – but isn’t that life? Isn’t that how one grows, becomes, flowers into the person they’re “meant to be”? That’s the whole point. I don’t believe we are here to worship anything or anyone and be in a state of fear; we are here to evolve, become, experience, love, hurt, be sad, be happy…. everything, that’s the WHOLE POINT!!! Up there, all there is – is love.. we are Gods incarnate, expressing ourselves in whatever way feels right for us – hence why everyone is different, we all express different aspects of the divine whole. Can that be true?? Is it too good to be true? Why? Because it’s been instilled in you to believe that God cannot be this good. And why is that? Because of the love you have experienced from YOUR GODS – your parents, i.e. it’s most likely been conditional; we therefore apply that love to the love of God.

    If such a being (“God”) were to exist, in the typical way that most people who believe in religion view this entity; then why would it, with all its power, create beings, tell them what they can’t do, tempt them and then state that if they do give in to temptation that they will be damned for the rest of eternity? I am not sorry to say that if you are someone who believes this – I urge you, for your own sanity (and for everyone that you meet), to go within, and ask yourself (devoid of any biblical knowledge – consider for a second that it is man-made) “does THAT FEEL RIGHT IN MY HEART? Does that resonate with what my instinct tells me about what unconditional love REALLY IS?” Forget the Bible – what does your heart tell you…

    Hell does not exists except for in ones mind – I respect that some may disagree, in the way that I do with their comments, however, I urge you to ponder this: Where and when did this notion of heaven and hell come into play in your life? If we were all raised on an island without a spoken language, without any books (that includes any old scriptures), would you naturally assume there were such places once you died? Is that what your instincts would tell you? I doubt it! So why do some so passionately believe in it? I honestly believe that the average human has everything she needs to know instinctively within her – we all come from the same place, and that place is called love. If we all just aim to work together, devoid of all religion – things would fall and are falling into place. More and more people are waking up :)

  • onelove

    oh, and as a side note – I was not surprised to hear her older brother say that girls don’t turn him on.. if he doesn’t realise this on a conscious level (that he is gay) he definitely does on a subconscious one. Kind of ironic, a great challenge for him and his family. I’ve a feeling he knows and is fighting this battle within.

    • yes

      I was struck by this too. I hope he gets the context from the world he will need to be himself and doesn’t drag some poor women into the closet with him.

  • rudeboi

    What’s gonna happen when she finds out that the Bible is book of fairy tales and Jesus was just some alcoholic or homo that Di Vinci used as a model for the painting. Stick that to the fridge.

    • Byroniac

      Careful now. Mocking people’s imaginary friends and delusional beliefs will get you attention from theistic malcontents. :)

      • rudeboi

        I shake.

  • twrnr

    Abuse, plain and simple. Should be illegal.

  • Bryan Lammens

    Good documentary, that girl is so clever for her age, it saddens me a bit that she is so extreme in her faith.
    I wonder if the parents ever had a doubt about their son sexuality, I mean it is so obvious that boy is an homosexual, that would be a terrible news for them to learn…

    • nahid

      I am a muslim but i loved this show and i think the girl is an amazing girl. Here in America (midwest), families like this are common and of course Americans are far more conservative than the British. You do not have to drink, smoke, have sex, live out of this world to have fun. I myself spend most of my time with my family and relatives and i am very happy.

      • miss cheryl

        american’s are far more conservative than British? I pity you also for your naivety, but enjoy your sense of humour

  • Joshua

    She is incredibly intelligent it’s just sad because I honestly believe her parents are doing her and her siblings a disservice by raising them so extreme. Faith is a wonderful thing but so is open mindedness. Also i’m like 99% certain that the older brother is gay, poor fella ail struggle with that!

  • Arron

    Did anyone stop and think he didn’t agree with the song because it talk about a girl kissing a girl and therefor homosexuality. Don’t know him so can’t say if he is but just like her he was taught that practice was wrong. So he could sit that one out simply as his disapproval of the context. As for that whole family I wish them the best and hope all the kids don’t end up as depressing as Deborah.

    • mr x

      You guys have no idea what they’re capable of. I can tell you now, the man you see in this video ‘the dad’ is not a very nice person at all. It was his belief that Becky’s husband was entitled to sex from her whenever he wanted it, whether she did or not didn’t matter. I was going out with his daughter Becky for about a year in 2012 and yes, she was married but they were separated (for obvious reasons). Becky, who is Deborah’s sister, told me so many things about what her dad did to their mum and to all of the children and what he did to her when she was about 14. She’s had to go through a lot of counselling to try to get over it. Unfortunately counselling is not the answer for Becky. She is a product of this horrible mans’ ‘teachings’ and will probably never get over it. I know so much about them, most of which you would never think they were capable of. Trust me, it’s an eye opener!
      Clearly what you see in this video is a child that has been disciplined beyond recognition. They are taught by their parents how to ‘act’ in front of social services and the media. They have all been trained or conditioned by a wooden spoon. I don’t think God would approve of anything that these poor children are being ‘taught’.
      This man is clearly a bully, plain and simple.

      • Joe

        I do agree that the dad is not a nice man, he just has a bad vibe off him….11 kids and a brow beaten wife. I picked it up as soon as he started to talk about the state schools. There was subtle changes in his tone of voice…disgust/anger and a sense of him being more superior.

        The lyrics…I kissed the girl and I liked it….

        The brother says, if you listen to the lyrics you shouldn’t be dancing to it. Then says, “especially me” why? because he is gay. Just another away he is trying to come out.

      • Jim

        If the father is abuse (and he certainly shows the signs) you should inform the police because the kids are not safe

  • Dean

    Shes brainwashed…Hes camp as a row of tent pegs..domineering delusional parents…a sad indictment on todays modern world. Feel very sorry for both the kids.

  • Wendy

    I found it saddening that a girl of her age, Deborah is so obsessed with hell, and so negative in regard to life. I feel her parents have forced religion into their children’s minds day in, day out, they’re effectively brain washed. They are very judgemental, especially Deborah.Like 1 of the girls said “you’re trying to change us.. yet we would never think to expect you to change”,
    Sadly, that is the way religious people work. They want you to conform to their beliefs, and if you don’t.. you’re not good enough.
    I was a ‘born again’ Christian.. but the people judged me and wouldn’t accept me for being me.. I’m afraid I was hurt once too often by those who preach “what would Jesus do” .. yet to me their actions are the opposite.
    I’m now confused and withdrawn from the church.. and to those who say “you’re as close to God as you want to be” .. I say PFFFFT! I begged and pleaded and cried out for Him to help me. Nothing happened.. nothing changed. I actually felt even less self worth after having been in the church. If God knew all my days from when I was in the womb, like the bible says.. WHY did I suffer sexual abuse as a 7 year old child, for years, at the hands of my own grandfather? WHY do I suffer depression and anxiety?
    I was told “give your life to God.. and you’ll want for nothing.. you’ll have peace” .. well where is it?!
    GOD.. if you are up there.. PLEASE… change some of your followers heart attitudes, and stop them making those like me feel worthless.

    • Will

      See my above comment, Wendy. Sorry, I tried to post it directly to yours :)

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  • vali

    It saddens me that religion can still blind people in such way. It saddens me that people still have 11 children. It saddens me that parents are allowed to raise their kids in this way. The kids will be messed up in so many ways I don’t even want to think.
    I see a lot of people here think the girl is smart. Are you kidding me? She only speaks about one thing. I believe my cat has seen more places and movies than she did.
    May Jesus help her. Or the police.

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  • Servant Of God as well

    I am not sure what this young lady hopes to accomplish, but I saw her lead no one to Christ in this documentary as a matter of fact it seems as if she turned everyone away so she is doing a disservice rather than serving. Her approach is abrasive, Jesus was not abrasive in his approach He was frank but not abrasive in order to win people to Christ you must first have a servants heart. It seems to me this young girl was more about being the center of attention, I never once heard her say that Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly, not condemn the world but set us free from legalism. It doesn’t matter if your a good/bad person what matters is your belief system have you accepted Christ has your Lord and Savior, living a righteous life comes with sanctification and sanctification is a lifetime process. Just my thoughts…

  • Joe

    Initial thoughts:

    Child abuse
    The older brother is gay, has a creepy vibe off him too
    The aul fella has a cult type personality, and very controlling….
    Most of all I just feel sorry for the poor girl.

    • Jim

      I wouldn’t say “creepy”, he has a kind of aspergers vibe to him, but considering he was home schooled it’s natural to assume his character wouldn’t be like other teenagers

  • bop

    I think she missed the humility part of Christ’s message. But she’s young yet…

  • ajrt21182

    I was raised Christian and went to Church all through high school and college. I never felt it was my place to preach to people when they don’t care to know. However,I am atheist since I left college 7 years ago. It really saddens me that this family is so cut off from reality. While I do agree that children should be innocent and free from sex and drugs, I don’t think you need to scare them with hell. I scared myself with it when I was a child. Didn’t have sex till I was 22.That was a bit late, but I def don’t think 13 year olds should be having sex…. I hope that I can instill morals in my future kids without a religious background. I need to figure that out….

    That being said, this little girl is gonna have a horrible life in Britain. If she were in the US, she would be able to find groups of Christians her age and live a life of self hatred and repentance…but she will just be abrasive and friendless in the UK… :/

  • Will

    Wendy, there are many people who go through the sort of experiences you have and wonder where in the world God is. The problem of why there is suffering is one that practically everyone wrestles with. If people have taught you that becoming a Christian means you will have a happy life, then they’ve misguided you. What it gives you is a hope for the next life. I pray that this short video may be of some help to you.

    As a more general reply to the documentary, I invite everyone to put themselves in her shoes. IF there is a hell–just imagine for a moment that it was true, regardless of what you may believe–IF there is, and someone knew about it, wouldn’t it make sense for that person to warn others of its existence? If someone had cancer and a doctor had a cure, but the doctor never told the patient of his sickness until it was too late, wouldn’t we condemn the doctor? Won’t people condemn Christians if they go to hell without being told of a way to escape it?

    Sure, she seems awfully morbid and pessimistic. But if it’s true, then these years we live here mean very little in the grand scheme of things. She’s not losing anything by giving her life to God, even if she does die and just go to the grave. She’ll do so with a peaceful conscience. And are the parties and friends and fun and comfort she’s missing out on really all that important?

    So I commend her for doing what she believes is right, even though it exposed her to the ridicule and pity of others, and wish I had the guts she does.

  • david

    what a loser, she has so much to learn!!

  • Friedlon7

    I wonder how this family are going to deal with the eldest sons homosexuality when he eventually faces reality? By their criteria he’s definitely hell bound no matter what he does. It’s going to blow the whole thing apart so I suppose he’ll keep living the lie for as long as possible. In the past he would have gone straight into the priesthood, answered ‘God’s call’, (in other words – no interest in women/family).

    • Jim

      That was my first thought too, I’m gay and I knew straight away. I feel sad he will be tortured for who he is and be unable to be himself because of a 2000 year old propaganda manual.

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  • Ally

    I find documentaries like this very hard to watch.
    I find it somewhat sadistic and sick for ANY religion to claim others would go to “HELL” for not choosing that particular belief.
    I feel as though brain washing children is wrong, using fear to control is wrong.
    To see on the internet and on television young children who have succeeded in some areas of life, or young adults who have contributed to science etc. yet to see a thirteen year old girl so brainwashed in “beliefs” that she feels the RIGHT to judge others and then “witness” them to a greater existence. It is truly sad.
    Young girls and young boys should engage with peers. How do they develop into their own person with their own opinions and thoughts if they are groomed from childhood. This isnt just Christianity or any other forms of it, this isnt just aimed at Muslims it is aimed at any FUNDAMENTALIST religious person. Most of whom have a god or deity that dictates their existance. How can a non existant force control so many?
    It saddens me that in such a forward progressing world there are so many people “hell bent” on regressing humanity!

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  • Chelsea

    I pray that my children will be as well put together as Deborah is. There is nothing wrong with protecting your children from our sick society while they are still children.

    • Jim

      Actually there is something wrong with “protecting your children” by sheltering them from the outside world making them unable to deal with a majority of people and indoctrinating them into a fear based ideology that says they will burn forever; it’s called child abuse.

      Can you honestly not say there is anything wrong with a 13 year old girl saying she is the property of her father until he passes her onto another man who will then be her owner? What kind of woman are you?

      • Tom!

        Actually, by looking at the son, he made friends and seemed to be fine, so I don’t think there is a problem with getting along with normal society.
        Also, the kids don’t seem indoctrinated in the way you seem to think. I think they have picked up on the religious beliefs on their parents, much the same way any other kids copy or emulate the morals, or ideologies of their parents. I don’t think it’s going as far as indoctrination.
        She didn’t say she was the property, that’s not really how that’s meant especially in this day in age. More that you live with your parents then you move on and eventually get married and he gives you away on your wedding day, which is normal in any wedding! I don’t think it was meant in such a radical way.
        However, your thoughts are completely valid and I have to say this film did not make a good job of clarifying the position of the family or the children to be honest, it seemed more to just try and show case them as ‘different’.

        • Byroniac

          Here’s the problem I have with the whole thing, which is pretty endemic to organized religion in general. Parents believe X, Y, and Z. Children adopt beliefs X, Y, and Z, without accepting them critically (usually before they are even able to do so). That is not the fault of the kids, of course. But the parents usually believe X, Y, and Z, because, surprise, surprise, they also adopted those beliefs non-critically from their parents and/or culture. I’m a person who’s deeply soured on organized religion so it’s easy for me to see the various elements of crowd control and “fleecing the sheep” for what they are. Christianity has also done a lot of good for the world, but how much of that was by accident and how much was on purpose… well, let us just say I am thankful for good people in this world, even they are Christians (because I suspect they would be just as good of people without their religion).

          • Tom!

            We all adopt things from our parents it’s impossible for us not to. Parents all raise us with the systems they themselves believe to be important and right. Thats nothing to do with a religion. An Atheist might raise children to be vegetarian because they think killing animals is wrong.
            The son in the video didn’t follow the missionary stance so much because he wanted to be more socially acceptable and fit into university life. That is questioning the system and changing his outlook based on new information. He made that choice not his parents.

          • Byroniac

            It’s all part of a world view, which includes religion (hint: most people in the world get their religion from their culture, which includes their parents). Vegetarianism and atheism are not the same, and vegetarianism is not even a subset of atheism because they are different categories, unlike socialization and its effect on religion in how it spreads, etc. And good for the son. That’s the kind of thing you’re supposed to do when you enter adulthood, which is make rational decisions. Even if he had decided to follow the religion of his parents, fine, I guess, since as an adult he has the right to make that choice. I don’t care, unless by making that choice, he seeks to force me into his point of view down the road. I’m not willing to give religion a pass just because most people in this country practice their beliefs fairly. Of course they have the right to believe what they want, and I also have the right to freely criticize anything if I feel like it and defend my views.

          • Sana Ayisha Irshad Ahmed

            Yes I think you are right. It is important to believe what you feel like, But is alright to have a religion form your parent, which is your culture.

          • Byroniac

            If that is what you want, OK by me.

  • http://n/a Timothy

    Gah, there are so many things to discuss about this documentary there is just no way to get to them all with a comment. Deborah is 13, alright? Naturally some of what she says is going to be “parrot talk” and some theology isn’t extremely deep. Some things she doesn’t have deep understanding on. And she just has some surface knowledge of very deep issues it seems. Issues like hell, sin, and death, and that’s alright, like I said, she’s 13.

    But here’s the thing, she kind of nailed it anyway. I think there are a couple important things you should keep in mind when you watch this documentary. Firstly, I think you need to ignore the “gloomy” music, scripted questions, a few out of context voice overs, and the natural bias of the people editing and producing this documentary, right? naturally. You’d do that for any genre of film, ignore the bias.

    Secondly, get the point. You’re really going to die, that’s really going to happen. Ask YOURSELF what you REALLY believe is out there, and if you really believe what you claim you believe about life after death. Because I think a lot of people when they sit and really consider their life and their opinions of comes next they don’t really know. And I think if someone truly asks God to show them who He really is and what He’s about, what it means to be alive, why everything is the way it is He will answer.

    Like I said, so many things need talked about and clarified and expounded on in this documentary.

    Comments welcome

  • http://n/a Timothy

    Gah, there are so many things to discuss about this documentary there is just no way to get to them all with a comment. Deborah is 13, alright? Naturally some of what she says is going to be “parrot talk” and some theology isn’t extremely deep. Some things she doesn’t have deep understanding on. And she just has some surface knowledge of very deep issues it seems. Issues like hell, sin, and death, and that’s alright, like I said, she’s 13.

    But here’s the thing, she kind of nailed it anyway. I think there are a couple important things you should keep in mind when you watch this documentary. Firstly, I think you need to ignore the “gloomy” music, scripted questions, a few out of context voice overs, and the natural bias of the people editing and producing this documentary, right? naturally. You’d do that for any genre of film, ignore the bias.

    Secondly, get the point. You’re really going to die, that’s really going to happen. Ask YOURSELF what you REALLY believe is out there, and if you really believe what you claim you believe about life after death. Because I think a lot of people when they sit and really consider their life and their opinions of what comes next they don’t really know. And I think if someone truly asks God to show them who He really is and what He’s about, what it means to be alive, why everything is the way it is then He will answer.

    Like I said, so many things need talked about and clarified and expounded on in this documentary.

    Comments welcome

  • dylan

    disgusting,frightening children with eternal punishment,i was really shocked by this documentary.these parents are abusing their children with mental cruelty.those poor kids.would not suprise me if these kids have severe problems later in life.they have not been taught to love their god,they have been trained to be petrified of god,i mean seriously how can the parents live with themselves.hang your heads in shame.its 2014 you nutballs.i belive in god but me thinks the parents have just slightly overdone it.i am angry.

  • Tom!

    I have to say those kids do actually have some good morals and clearly the parents are raising some pretty intelligent kids. I mean, the only real fault I could find is perhaps that her fair was a bit too zealous but overall she was friendly and polite so I don’t honestly see the big issue. I think the maker of the film was trying to compare the situation to the WBC in America but it wasn’t there.
    To be honest I think the parents are trying to do their best and havn’t done a half bad job and should be proud of themselves. Maybe teach their kids to be a little less Zealous but otherwise she seemed intellegent, very nice, and thoughtful young women.

  • James

    I am not religious, but I think these parents are entitled to bring up their children as they see fit. I found the documentary patronising – this girl seems contented, intelligent and loving. Why knock it?

  • James

    Errrh – revision to my comment below. I remember why I’m not religious now and especially why I am not sympathetic to the despotic and vengeful Christian God that the fundamentalists get themselves into such a lather about.

    This poor girl is very bright and engaging in her own environment, i.e. in the bosom of her family. But she jars terribly with the outside world. Some of her brother’s housemates were barely able to hide their hostility – in fact they made no effort, so shame on them really. Not that I disagree with D’s disapprobation of the world outside of her farm. Only she clearly will one day have to engage with, integrate into and make some sense of it. It’s hard enough for the rest of us and we’ve had all our lives to get used to its madness and badness.

    This girl is also clearly troubled unduly by thoughts of her own mortality and that’s sad when her life has barely begun. This is what is so pernicious about those who sully the spiritual by presenting it in the language of a vicious uncompromising dogma – aka organised religion. I don’t blame her parents. They are too blinded by their faith to see that their hermetic existence will likely one day cause their children a great deal of emotional, intellectual and spiritual pain.

    Finally, I was wondering how they afford to live the way they do. Nosey I know.

  • Mei

    Is no one going to address the elephant in the room? The son is so obviously gay! Bless him! :)

  • Jessica Claire

    A very interesting, unbiased look at an intelligent, opinionated, yet in my opinion, deeply disturbed little girl. I hope she’s doing okay.

  • Haris Segetalo

    Poor, poor human being… =(

  • Karen Giardino

    I think she is perfect and lovely. I wish more people could still have that beautiful family upbringing, she is one of the lucky ones. Sometimes…ignorance is bliss. Who is that hurting? I envy her in many ways, and also, identify with her in many ways.