Today I’m addressing the reasons for my interest in the Lynn Messer case.
For those who need a quick recap: Lynn Messer disappeared July 8, 2014. We now know that Lynn has been deceased the entire time and I have been told by law enforcement multiple times that Kerry Messer, her husband, has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death. Kerry is a Missouri state lobbyist who represents family, homeschooling, right-to-life, gun rights/safety, and Christian/Biblical values. Lynn’s remains were found on her husband’s farm property November 1, 2016.
Within the first days of Lynn’s disappearance the entire farm acreage was mapped out. The land was searched with GPS tracking equipment in the daylight and in the dark, by search and rescue teams. It was also explored by professionally trained dogs that should have picked up the scent of the remains; especially in the hot July and August heat. All structures were checked. Results were recorded on a grid to show the areas had been thoroughly searched.
I’m coming from a background of once upon a time living with a mentally disturbed man. A man who most people thought of as being godly, personable, funny, sincere, a dynamic speaker, a soul-winning preacher, politically savvy, a world traveling evangelist with a heart for hurting and needy children, and a terrific communicator and writer. He lived his life on a stage; acting out the role he believed people wanted to see; soaking in the accolades.
This is what I experienced living with this man: a sometimes dark, disturbed, angry, dishonest, abusive, unfaithful, controlling, woman hater and unbeknown to me: pedophile who suffered from mental illness and a personality disorder. I never told people for years what took place in my marriage. In the ninth year of marriage I began to tell those closest to me as I found out about his pornography addiction, mental illness, and a personality disorder. Why? See: My Destructive Marriage. I left him when our last two nights together caused me to believe it was probable our daughter and I would not again wake up alive.
Now he’s in prison, but I imagine he is still a grand actor.
So what if I’m not the only woman who lived a life where no one would have ever guessed what my home life was like?
The letters I receive from readers tell me the problem is global. And I’m not talking about wide-spread in the secular, non-Christian arena only. I’m telling you there are untold numbers of Christian women; including pastor’s wives and missionaries’ wives living in destructive, abusive marriages.
Because I read extensively on the subject of spousal abuse I can share that statistics report women who disappear under questionable circumstances are usually found dead; usually at the hands of their significant other and at the least, because of their significant other.
So when a local woman went missing almost four years ago my radar lit up. Of course the Christian community rallied around the husband because they believed this wonderful man would never have a role in his wife’s disappearance. I hope they were correct. Their hearts went out to him when he was being questioned about his wife’s disappearance. Friends thought time was wasting and should be spent trying to find his beloved, “bride” as he refers to her in his Facebook posts. He also refers to her as, “Ma.”
Please understand, just because you know a couple doesn’t mean you know what goes on in their home. I know from experience.
To be clear; I did not know what went on in this family’s home when I began writing about Lynn two years ago, and I had never talked to anyone in her family.
In July of 2016 a news article about the second anniversary of the disappearance of Lynn Messer was published in the Sunday, St. Louis Post Dispatch. After reading Lynn’s husband’s Find Lynn Messer Facebook page for two years, and noting my numerous suspicions and concerns I decided to publicly write about Lynn. I shared my opinions and concerns regarding this Christian, homeschool mom who has been missing for two years.
I had a different perspective on the subject than many friends, the homeschool community, and the Christian community at large. I wondered if I would take a large dose of criticism; I took a small dose, and was surprised that the majority of people took issue with Kerry Messer’s Find Lynn Messer Facebook page. In fact, it was the main factor that caused people to think he was possibly guilty of wrong doing in Lynn’s disappearance.
The husband’s writings reminded me too much of my former husband. Not fair, I’m sure, but I’m being honest about my gut feelings. The posts Kerry Messer wrote about his bride on Facebook were like reading ponderings, convincing arguments, and outright lies that my former husband would have written about me; to make people believe and understand how much he loved me, needed me, and could never go on without me. Non-truths; in the case of my former husband. I don’t know Lynn’s husband; I’m just saying there are oddities in this case.
I prayed numerous times for Lynn Messer while she was ‘missing.’ I questioned if she was dead when she first ‘disappeared’ but after reading the first few Find Lynn Messer Facebook posts, I thought she was dead.
Husband, Kerry Messer, Missouri State Lobbyist in Jefferson City. Photo credit: Public Find Lynn Messer Facebook page.
Shortly after Lynn’s disappearance I received a financial support letter in the mail asking for local Christian, homeschooling families to send financial gifts to help the man, as a state lobbyist for the homeschooling community, during his time of difficulty. I tossed the letter in the trash and told my husband, “I’m not helping a man who I suspect holds guilt in the disappearance of his wife.”
I’m basing opinions off my background of studying a specific personality disorder. You see, people with narcissistic personality disorder, or tendencies toward it, have the same order of operations. What I read on Facebook reminded me of narcissistic supply. Local friends and fellow Christians could have unknowingly been giving narcissistic supply. People were providing love, financial gifts, meals, written encouragement, man-hours searching the 250 acre property for the wife, praise for the man’s character and marital devotion, prayers, and help around the farm. Maybe the support was correctly administered. I don’t know.
I’m not saying the man has been diagnosed with a personality disorder; I’m stating parallels I saw, which concerned me.
I figured that no one knew the hundreds of acres as well as him and, if a possibility existed that Lynn was dead and her husband was involved, he would know where the body was located.
Domestic abuse is not a respecter of age, gender, socio-economic background, nationality, or religion. I homeschool my children so I’ve had several Christian, homeschooling moms referred to me in my little corner of the world; St. Charles County, Missouri. All of the women I minister to report living with abusive husbands. The following are a handful of ways some of the more subtle abuse happens: The man keeps her living like she’s dirt poor while he enjoys a higher social standing. She eats simple and cheap meals while he eats the finest of food. She wears the same old clothes for years or decades while he wears new clothes. He travels and goes on expensive trips while she stays home to keep the house. He has control of the finances and often the transportation. He keeps tabs on what she eats and makes fun of her weight. He enjoys friendships with other women away from the home while she is expected not to talk to men without her husband present. He withholds relationship as a means of attempting to correct her thinking or behavior.
I hear from women who live in defeat and depression while believing the lies their husbands tell them. Lies such as all his problems are her fault, she isn’t talented enough, doesn’t make enough money, isn’t pretty, is boring, isn’t a good mother, isn’t a good wife, should me more like a woman the husband holds in high esteem. So many women in these relationships live in despair.
One concern all of these women want someone to know is…if they turn up dead or missing, please know their husband did it. Most of these women have been threatened by their husband and they think he’s capable of following through on the terrorizing warning.
Many counselors don’t get it. The man seems so put-together at counseling sessions and many Christian counselors will not reprimand a man in the presence of the wife. Read more about problems with the false sense of male entitlement here. These women can end up suicidal when they fail to find understanding or help, or they can end up dead because the husband doesn’t want anyone to find out the truth she knows about him.
Couple with this a wife reconciling in her heart and mind a public man who boldly teaches the word of God and prays, with the private man who secretly treats his wife in the home with ridicule, resentment, the silent treatment, physical, emotional, psychological, and/or sexual abuse due to his addiction to pornography. This may leave a woman unable to grasp reality because she has been fed a constant stream of lies.
These women can’t give enough praise to make their man feel as special as he deems himself. The man in return doesn’t have kind works of affirmation or appreciation for who she is, nor does he recognize anything of value she provides. See: To Live But Not Exist.
These women may feel like they are crazy, will never be able to please their man, are only making life worse, and would be better off dead; or they may fear for their life like I did once upon a time.
If this was Lynn’s life I wish I could have talked to her. I would have embraced her, cried with her, prayed over her and told her, “It’s not your fault. Don’t believe it. You’re beautiful, capable, talented, sweet, fun, caring and needed. You are lovable.”
I wondered what their kids knew and thought; opinions, facts or questions that hadn’t made it to the media. They are grown adults and I couldn’t imagine how they endured through the two years of not knowing where their mom was or what happened to her. They are who my heart went out to; and the grandchildren.
My prayer was for closure to come to those who loved and valued Lynn.
As someone who had to learn to look for the thread of truth woven in a story or statement there were a few comments made on the Find Lynn Messer Facebook page, early in the investigation, that made me pause and wonder. These statements stood out to me and didn’t leave my memory. Maybe I have an over active imagination but I truly had to learn to read my ex-husband in this way in an attempt to keep myself and my daughter safe.
Located in a July 12, 2014, Find Lynn Messer Facebook post: “In closing: For those of you who know Lynn best – you understand when I say that she is the strongest work horse on our farm. And, for those of you who know me best – you understand from Luke 14:5 that I only paraphrase Jesus’ figurative teaching, when I say that the only reason I am not with you in worship this morning is because ‘my ox is in a ditch.'” I wondered if she was literally in a ditch or hole somewhere on the property! Where were the animals placed when they died? To me, it sounded like he knew where she was located.
Located in a July 12, 2015, Facebook post: “…to be honest, I am torn between two opposites. First is that I have to admit not being able to focus due to so many stresses, and the conviction to be transparent about it when I don’t want to be.” About what did he not want to be truthfully transparent; despite the conviction that he should be transparent?
Located in a July 12, 2015, Facebook post: “I am at a loss as to how to interact with our family members and even my own grandchildren.” Was there a sense of guilt keeping him from fully engaging and bonding with his precious family?
There were literally dozens, if not hundreds, of more glaring comments that were alarming to me. Some where I wondered if he was admitting to the crime. My former husband was exhilarated by dropping clues because he knew he was far more intelligent than people around him and it gave him a kick to think he outsmarted them right in front of their face. I’m sure he was astonished at how easily I was deceived and manipulated by his deceptions and sins against our marriage covenant. You may think this is sensationalism…but women who have survived abusive men know this is all in the realm of possibility. I hope the parallels surrounding Lynn’s case are simply coincidental.
If you disappeared or had mysterious circumstances surrounding your death, wouldn’t you want someone to persist until an answer was found and/or justice was served? This is another reason I continue to write about Lynn Messer.
The writer of the Find Lynn Messer Facebook page allows me opportunity to educate my readers on how there are multiple ways to look at a person. For teaching purposes the page can be taken at face value (true), or as an alternate reality (made up stories) or possibly coming from an unstable and/or criminal mind. Kerry Messer is a public figure which makes this a public interest case since he fund raises from the citizens of Missouri to provide for his professional and personal finances through his organization Missouri Family Network. People want to make informed decisions on how and where to spend their money. Lynn Messer’s sons and extended family continue to point out what they think are moral and ethical issues which they have witnessed by Kerry Messer. I do not write these posts or publish letters as a professional in any field of expertise, but rather to educate my readers from the life experiences through which I have lived. See the disclaimer in the side margin. I simply raise questions so we can consider different viewpoints. Opinions are solely mine.
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Top photo credit: Find Lynn Messer Facebook profile picture
Further reading on the disappearance of Lynn Messer: