Cover Image: Bleeding for Jesus

Bleeding for Jesus

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Member Reviews

Wow. I am still trying to process the gravity of all that I read. Graystone has given us a very well researched and detailed analysis of just how John Smyth was able to get away with his atrocities for so long. The cover ups, the sham investigations, the evasiveness of pushing this "attic matter" to anyone else, just so the higher elite could wash their hands of this messy business led to a trickle down effect with ramifications that are still being felt as I write this. They all have blame in this. The victims, on the other hand, I have nothing but empathy for. Their strength and courage in trying to overcome the abuse inflicted upon them, the severity of which is unparalleled to my knowledge, is quite remarkable. This was not an easy read, but I continued on because I felt that those who were abused had the right to be heard in what had happened to them, that they were no longer being ignored or shut out, in all it's devastating horror. I applaud Graystone for moving forward, even when the church washed their hands of this and decided to do nothing, that Graystone knew and acted on the injustice that he was aware of needed to be dealt with. I am also sad for the victims that they didn't get justice for what happened to them, nor got to face their abuser and confront him with the truth of his actions and consequences. Nevertheless, their story has finally come to light and John Smyth has been exposed. I am truly sorry that this happened to all of them.
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my own opinion*
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This is a heartbreaking, well detailed account of investigation and deception. It’s an interesting and analytical look into John Smyths case, and is a true crime book with an obvious amount of time put into it.
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Bleeding for Jesus is a harrowing account and only serves as a stark reminder of the corruption, indoctrination, and rampant homophobia that exists in the Church of England. John Smyth’s reign of ritualistic beatings, sexual abuse, gaslighting, and manipulation of young impressionable men surpassed 30 years and only really came to light due to Jimmy Saville’s heinous reign also being uncovered.

However you look at it, this was an institutionalised cover-up by the church, its ministers, priests, and any other bible bashers you can think of. It’s about time this archaic organised religion ceased to exist, and you can guarantee this indoctrination is still going on. As of July 2021, the church promised to publish a report about the Iwerne Trust and the findings of its cover-up. As of January 2022, no such report has been seen.
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Such a heartbreaking story. I had never heard of John Smyth before, and as a sexual abuse survivor myself, I wanted to honor the Smyth survivors by learning their stories and hearing their voices. 

My overall rating for this book is a 3.5 - the story is gripping, heartbreaking, and infuriating. For that reason I eagerly read through the sometimes dense and detail-crammed plot. There were so many names - so many names of church members (some never mentioned again throughout the work) that I quickly became overwhelmed. When the book took a more name-droppy route, I admit I skimmed those portions. The different church branches coupled with the countless names made for an overwhelming overshadowing to the overall story. 

I also found the non-linear timeline frustrating. I feel we jumped from 2013 to 2017 and back to 2014. It was a lot to keep track of throughout the text. 

Overall I enjoyed this work. I’m thankful that the author took the time to listen to victims and learn their stories.
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I started this book hoping to know more about the John Smyth's case which i did but was so heartbroken at what was left unspoken and looked into properly this was a well detailed account into the case which i think everyone should read
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Thank you to NetGalley for sending me a digital copy of this book.  This is a thoroughly researched book about the horrible physical abuse of young men and boys, spanning at least 3 decades and 3 different countries. Multiple crimes were committed.  First, the actual abuses of these men and boys, but then the actual cover up by countless people in the church and the Iwerne Trust, which then became the Titus Trust. 

This was a painful read because of the multiple abuses and lack of motivation to report said abuses from leaders in the church. Definite trigger warnings. The book overall, was an amazing read. Amazing in the sense that I just couldn't believe how long the abuse continued.
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A detailed and gut wrenching true story of the evil of John Smyth and the cover-up of the Church of England. The author does a terrific job of telling an honest and compelling story of what took place and how it destroyed so many people. It is not an easy story to read but must be told. This is not your typical true crime story - nor should it be.

Thank you to NetGallley, the author and publisher for an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Bleeding for Jesus by Andrew Graystone is the doubly shocking story of Barrister John Smyth . Best known publicly for representing Mary Whitehouse in her self-styled anti-obscenity campaign Smyth was meanwhile  living a perverse and hypocritical  double-life, abusing and degrading young men and boys. This under the guise of making them better Christians and many of victims carried the mental scars for life.
Almost as shocking is the way the Church of England knew what was going on but first ignored victims then help Smyth decamp to Africa when it looked as if he was going to be held to account,and where it became very obvious that he had no intentions of changing his ways.

This is a grim read but an important one, not least to expose some of the senior figures Church of England  as dishonest,hypocritical and a disgrace to their calling, Andrew Graystone names names,many of them very prominent indeed. Worse is the appalling litany of abuse ,case after case while those who have suffered were ignored, silenced and lied to while many of their abusers were helped by a Church desperate to keep the lid on things.

This isn't a book that will give you a warm glow inside when you've finished it, I felt angry and quite sick, but it's a detailed and incisive look into not only Smyth's crimes but how a self-serving inner circle of some quite often deeply unpleasant people appear to have hijacked a national institution.
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What a horrific story about a lawyer who used his position with Iwerne to groom and viciously abuse so many young men. It’s well written and lays out the details of the case. It also shows how the church leaders swept it under the rug and got rid of John Smyth to save their program (Iwerne) It was kept quiet for decades until recently by all involved.  Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Andrew Graystone and the publisher.
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