Category: Memoirs from Canaan Land

  • The teenage lumberjacks of the 100-acre woods of Canaan Land

    The teenage lumberjacks of the 100-acre woods of Canaan Land

    The land that Canaan Land Big River sat on was just about 125 acres. As far as the eye could see, trees filled the property. The only clearing was where our housing occupied. Aspen, white Spruce, white Birch, Jack Pine, and Balsam Fir trees covered every inch of the forest we lived on. With such a…

  • Christmas time in Canaan Land

    Christmas time in Canaan Land

    With only a thin quilt and sheet on each of our single beds, the bitter cold of mid-winter nights was a constant companion. Our calorie-limited diet consisted solely of tea after our 6:30 p.m. meal, making the long nights even more challenging to sleep through. Lumberjacking every workday kept us lean and fat-free because some…

  • “911? Help, strangers are trying to take my children!”

    “911? Help, strangers are trying to take my children!”

    10 years before strangers came to my home and took me away from my single parent to isolate me to Canaan Land, a previous situation took place involving a sinister stranger from that same church-school. By the time I was born in 1981, Pastor Keith Johnson‘s abusive system was already established and on a collision course with…

  • The day they left my prison door open

    The day they left my prison door open

    …I realized my crushing reality; I had nobody. I felt like I was a youth outcast from my church and school community – I was somebody horrible that had to be in a program for bad people. “Are you running away too?” That question haunts me to this very day. Imagine a prisoner-of-war finding his…

  • I learned to shoot a tree, and maybe my roommate

    I learned to shoot a tree, and maybe my roommate

    There was no particular reason for Jim to have his rifle with him on his deck one summer afternoon. And I was not expecting him to ask me if I wanted to try shooting it at the nearby tree. Of course, I had answered “sure!” This was a random moment where I was offered a…

  • Killing an intruder

    Killing an intruder

    Early summer mornings for a week, the 3 dogs were barking furiously outside our lodge around 5 or 6 am for no apparent reason. The sun would barely start rising when the dogs would suddenly just start barking like maniacs and not quit. We checked on them to see if maybe some deer or porcupine…

  • My beet-red beach day

    My beet-red beach day

    For anyone who’s met me, there is nothing about my pasty pale ginger complexion that would suggest I’ve ever spent a minute on a beach in the sun in my life. But they would be wrong. In fact, the most painful days in my life were surrounded by laying in the UV rays of a…

  • Isolated mind-renewal program, and hideout for an alleged child sexual-abuser; inside a Sask. cult’s religious discipline center.

    Isolated mind-renewal program, and hideout for an alleged child sexual-abuser; inside a Sask. cult’s religious discipline center.

    “Hey Mark…come with me” Warning: The contents of this post include distressing details. Reading time: approx. 3 minutes. It was March 25, 1997. I was a 15-year-old student at Christian Centre Academy where I’d attended since I was 9 in 1991. It was a typical Tuesday school day as I sat at my carrel office…