By Luke Ford Chapter Two  Chapter Three  Chapter Four Chapter Five  Chapter Six   Chapter Seven  Chapter Seven B  Chapter Eight   Chapter Nine  Chapter Ten  Chapter Eleven  Chapter Twelve  1994-1997 1997  1998 1998B 1999 2000 2001 2009

The youngest of three children, I was born on Saturday, May 28, 1966 (9th of Sivan, 5726 in the Hebrew calendar), in Kurri Kurri, Australia in the state of New South Wales.

My father, Desmond Ford chaired the Religion Department of the Seventh-Day Adventist Avondale College in Cooranbong, which is located between Sydney and Newcastle.

The night before my first birthday, my mother Gwen became sick. The doctors discovered she had bone cancer and over the next three years she wasted away to sixty pounds and died.

During her illness, my family fell apart. Because dad had his hands full looking after mom and his work, my sister Ellen (in her early teens), my brother Paul (not quite a teenager) and I (years one to four-and-a-half) stayed in different homes.

Living with about a dozen families during these years left me insecure and angry. My father remembers me as a child throwing horse manure at people and screaming, "I hate you. I hate you."

I once fell off a pier while throwing stones at my sister Ellen in a canoe. I almost drowned before she saved me.

Acting in anger and hatred throughout my life, I frequently precipitated what I feared most, the loss of friendships and the need to rely upon the very people I'd abused.

Not able to bond with my parents -- my mother was dying during my first four years and my father was busy caring for her and for his Christian mission -- I grew up having great difficult bonding with others. I never had many friends. I was rarely popular with my peers. I felt like home and the world were cold places.

I thirsted for attention and validation and went to extreme lengths to get them, never successfully for very long.

Some people remember me in those early years as looking like a Holocaust survivor. I had sunken eyes and seemed lost and angry.

Seventh Day Adventist officials pressured my father to remarry soon after my mother's death, despite his own inclinations to the contrary. They realized that as a prominent bachelor he'd be chased by "skirts." One woman told my dad that she had received visions that they were to marry. My father replied that if that was true, he would have received visions too and he had not.

Seven months after my mother's death, dad married his secretary and former student, Gill--n W-stell, on the day she graduated with a BA in Education from the Adventist Avondale College.

My family then left for England, stopping along the way in such countries as India and Israel. I graduated from diapers during our stay in the Holy Land.

I clung to my new mother. "I'm a lucky boy," I'd tell Gill. "Most boys have only one mother. I've had lots. But I don't want any more."

At night I knelt by my bed and prayed for dad's boss "F.F. Boose", which was my way of pronouncing the name of the famed Christian bible scholar F.F. Bruce.

Dr. Bruce at Manchester University supervised my father's second doctorate (New Testament Studies). Dad completed his first Ph.D. (Rhetoric) at Michigan State University. Each took him 18-months.

Following a three month tour of Europe, my family returned in 1972 to Avondale College. In the language of the Aboriginess, Cooranbong means "The place of the flies." As a schoolchild, my classmates and I amused ourselves by tearing off wings and watching the flies buzz in helpless circles on our desks.

After a couple of years wandering around the bush near our home, I entered school in second grade.

My previous social isolation did not prepare me for the classroom. Socially awkward, I made few friends outside my best friend, Wayne Cherry. His mother had to intervene that year to allow me to attend Gavin Brown's birthday party. Several boys made it clear to me that day that if they'd had their way, I'd still be at home.

This feeling of being an unpopular outsider persists in me frequently to this day.

Perhaps it was just as well that I didn't get too close to my schoolmates considering what some of them were into - each other and animals. By age ten many of the boys in my school had powerful sex drives which they released through mutual masturbation, oral and anal sex and bestiality. Not even goats, ducks and other farm animals were safe.

Being a big chicken, I stayed away from this wild experimentation.

The girls around me showed little interest in sex and correctly thought of us boys as barbarians. I liked to lift the girls' skirts and poke them with sticks. I also enjoyed lying beside the stairs so that I could look up the girls' legs.

"Mary's wearing green knickers (underwear)," I'd announce. "Jean has red knickers."

In my groin, I felt a dull ache to penetrate that mystery zone where the girls' thighs came together. Only the threat of punishment and shame stopped me from forcing my way in.

One day in fourth grade, a friend and I got caught looking at his brother's porn collection. I have never been so frightened. Lucky for me, his mother never told my parents.

I learned from my Adventist upbringing that the biggest sins were sexual. (Denying Christ was a sin so huge that it went off the scale.) Other biggies were theft, smoking and drinking, eating candy, and eating between meals. I committed such sins regularly (except for the drinking. To this day I dislike the taste of alcohol). I stole money from my parents and bought forbidden sweets -- candy, cookies, ice cream, sugary drinks... I consumed these goodies privately while wandering around the Cooranbong scrub.

Once, on a third grade campout, some of my schoolmates told my teacher about my large pile of forbidden sweets. Mrs. P. talked to my parents who gave me the following punishment for the next few years: I had to read 30-40 pages of theology every day and type one to two page summaries. I also could no longer eat lunch with my friends at school but had to eat at home.

Not only did my social graces develop behind those of my classmates, but I also felt behind them physically, emotionally and academically. Intellectually, however, I was generally ahead of people my own age for I read more books.

I principally used my brain in school to make fun of people. My fifth grade teacher Mrs. Mazzaferri wrote in my school report that "Luke is always willing to share his ideas with the class, but he needs to be more tolerant of the slower thinker."

My sister Ellen, born on the 29th of October, 1955, and my brother Paul, born December 20th, 1957, left home early so that they could freely explore the pleasures of the world. Both rebelled against the strictures of my father and his Christianity.

I've been like an only child through much of my life which accounts in part for my introspection.

My active search for a world-transforming career began at about age seven when I learned to read. I loved history, particularly of the British, American and Old Testament kind. I teethed on books of heroes such as Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and King David.

I believed that English-speaking people had a divine mission to civilize the world by making it western, democratic and Christian. This divine mission began with Abraham in Genesis and continued through Moses and the prophets Isaiah and Daniel to Jesus, Columbus, Martin Luther, democracy, capitalism and America. I believed in one ethic for everybody - a Bible-based English-speaking White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male ethic.

My historical bent should have merged with my Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) religion. Christianity, I learned from my father who chaired Avondale's religion department for over twenty years, was uniquely a historical faith. God had sent His Son into our history.

But I perceived that intervention diminishing the grandeur I wanted for my history. My religion and my ego were at odds. Christianity taught that the life and death of Jesus fulfilled history. The greatest hope of all my Christian friends was for the Second Coming which would end all history. The Cross was not an event in the temporal process that I understood by history. Rather, it was an event in the history of salvation, an eschatological moment in the realm of eternity when this profane history came to an end, just as history comes to an end for each Christian who is in Christ. (Eliezer Berkovitz)

Jews I first met in the pages of the Gospels. At the time, I understood the main figures of the Old Testament, such as Abraham, Moses and Isaiah, as proto-Christians. The Pharisees seemed a hypocritical bunch, "tithing thimmun and cummin yet ignoring the weightier matters of the law such as justice, mercy and faith." They were stupid too, unable to understand the parables of Jesus that foretold his coming death and resurrection.

Jews tried many times to kill Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. Eventually they brought him before Pilate, a kindly Roman, yelling "Crucify Him, crucify Him." It seemed as if all the Jews in the world were in Pilot's courtyard lusting for the blood of the Divine Savior who sought only to save them from sin.

Jews forced the Romans to crucify Jesus and in so doing they took an eternal curse upon themselves and their offspring. "May his blood be on us and on our children."

Christ fulfilled and superceded Judaism. My Church was now the true Israel. The few Jews around today were fraudulent representatives of the Old Testament tradition, sent into exile by God and tortured for two millennia for murdering His Son.

With the Crucifixion at the center of my religion, I felt ambivalence towards Jews and their bloody deed which brought salvation to the world.

I saw Jews occupying history's starring roles. My religion's God, Son of God, God Incarnate, Messiah, Apostles, Bible, and commandments all came from the Jews. John 4:22 said "salvation is of the Jews." Jews, Jews, Jews... They seemed to have done it all. What was left for me to do?

One option, which filled the life of my father, was to get out the word that the Jewish Messiah had come. But that approach was not for me, for I lacked faith. I didn't see how the life and death of Jesus made any difference in this world.

Not heavenly minded enough to appreciate that Christ's redemption was a spiritual redemption from the cares and concerns of this world, which was still in the grip of the Devil, I fell out of step with my eschatological (end of time) religion.

After hearing a powerful sermon on the End of Time, I once burst out to the evangelist, "If I make the world better, I'll only delay the Second Coming of Jesus."

"That's right," said my father.

I knew in my gut that something wasn't right. I did not want to reject religion as nonsense because life seemed to have no ultimate purpose without it, and most of the good people I knew were Christians. Yet, I could not reconcile my dreams with my Faith. For the next thirteen years my attention slipped to lesser matters, and the morality of my behavior and world-view dropped steadily below what it had been at age nine.

By Luke Ford Chapter Two  Chapter Three  Chapter Four Chapter Five  Chapter Six   Chapter Seven  Chapter Seven B  Chapter Eight   Chapter Nine  Chapter Ten  Chapter Eleven  Chapter Twelve  1994-1997 1997  1998 1999 2000 2001

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    Luke at KAHI/KHYL radio in 12/86

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    Luke w family, 1967

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    Luke with his mommy Gwen, 1966

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    Luke, Elenne 12/87

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    Luke, 12/87

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    Luke, 12/87

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    Luke 12/87

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    Luke, Paul, 12/89

  9. Luke in 1992
  10. Luke graduates Placer High School in June 1984
  11. Luke's 8th grade graduation from Pacific Union College Elementary School
  12. Luke's dad baptizes him and Wayne Cherry (right) in February 1982
  13. Luke's 8th grade graduation
  14. Luke (circa 1970)
  15. Luke (circa 1969)
  16. Luke (circa 1970)
  17. Luke circa 1976
  18. Luke with his best friend Wayne Cherry in early 1977
  19. Luke circa 1976
  20. Luke with his dad circa 1972
  21. Luke 1977
  22. Luke with his stepmom Gill circa 1976
  23. Luke, Elenne in December 1987
  24. Luke in 1994
  25. Luke on his GF's bed at UCLA Rieber Hall 1989
  26. Luke, UCLA, August 1989
  27. Luke in center (circa 1969)
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    Luke Ford (about age 6, 1972)

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    Luke at his 8th grade graduation (June, 1980)

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    Luke, age 11?

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    Luke in Australia

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    Luke, dad, Dr Zane Kime (1978)

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    Luke with my uncle Dennis, 1977
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    Luke w/ stepmom, 1977

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    Luke w/ dad outside PUC church

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    Luke w parents in Yosemite

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    Luke at PUC

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    Paul Ford, E*, dad, Luke in Brisbane, April, 1990

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    Luke w family 4/90

  3. Luke's dad - the preacher
  4. Boyne Island bridge
  5. Boyne Island soccer field 3/30/00, site of Luke's 1984-85 soccer exploits
  6. Luke
  7. Luke
  8. Luke in Gladstone, Australia
  9. Gladstone harbor
  10. Luke beside Gladstone harbor 3/30/00
  11. Luke outside his brother's nursery in Tannum Sands, 3/30/00

By Luke Ford Chapter Two  Chapter Three  Chapter Four Chapter Five  Chapter Six   Chapter Seven  Chapter Seven B  Chapter Eight   Chapter Nine  Chapter Ten  Chapter Eleven  Chapter Twelve  1994-1997 1997  1998 1998B 1999 2000 2001 2009