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EP333: Lavagirl: Why She Quit Childhood Acting and The Salem Witch Trials and the American Puritans

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
June 2, 2022 3:00 am

EP333: Lavagirl: Why She Quit Childhood Acting and The Salem Witch Trials and the American Puritans

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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June 2, 2022 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, actress Taylor Dooley shares the story of when she played the role of Lavagirl and how now 15 years later, she has returned to acting to play the same role in the Netflix Film We Can Be Heroes. Dr. Stephen Nichols, president of Reformation Bible College, chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries tells us the story of the Puritans and the Salem Witch Trials.

Support the show (https://www.ouramericanstories.com/donate)

 

Time Codes:

00:00 - Lavagirl: Why She Quit Childhood Acting

25:00 - The Salem Witch Trials and the American Puritans

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It makes you look really smart. Even if you're not feet deserve a go to like that like to do to live comfy good to go to. This is where you have even this is our American stories we tell stories about everything here on the show from the arts to sports and from business to history and everything in between including your story. Send them to our American stories.com. Some of our favorites and now we bring you the story of Taylor Dooley is an actress most known for her role as love a girl in the adventures of shark boy and lava girl 2005 film is returned to acting today in the Netflix film.

We can be heroes use Taylor with her story. I went to the long haul big dream when I was probably about 10 when I caught the little that I had been through a few modeling classes and is modeling and having fun. My dad saw this thing to be able to take some acting classes and thought maybe you might like that as well so I did absolutely fell in love with it to parents dismayed that they didn't know anything about the acting world or anything about it nor wanted me really to be into it much, but once their daughter fell in love at that they can just really push me through that we are living in Arizona at the time and my mom was crazy and wonderful and you start driving me back and forth to audition for commercials such that we were driving hours a day to come to California to go on an audition just to drive back home which was absolutely insane and then my agency suggested that I should go on auditions for TV shows, movies there when one of my very first auditions was the adventures of checkpoint monochrome. I ended up looking, which was such a special special thing that became catapulting thing to my career over a little.

That which is absolutely amazing and I'm super super blessed for the growing up in the business is kind of very crazy and I think that people don't touch on it is much we can hear about it a little bit in the news and with people who grow up in the business. You can the media I think shies away a little bit from that growing up in and around with everybody around the same ages I was with everyone from Nickelodeon and Disney and all the shows and all those fun things after shark my monarchy and I was so much fine and I had like such an interesting childhood getting able to meet all these fine people, but my parents the entire time.

This thought that it just was a hard childhood they they thought that I should be able to be a candidate not be working and so that's kind of when people find me nowadays on Instagram everyone like where to go after shark boy and lava girl. I cannot banished a little bit from the entertainment industry, and it was because my parents had wants to take me out and make me live a normal regular life when you're a child actor. You have usually been even as an adult you honey a manager and an agent usually and when you're a kid. They don't really talk to you they talk to your parents, so I didn't really understand or know much of the business aspect of anything.

It just was my parents handling everything so they behind-the-scenes new of a lot of stuff that I didn't know what was going on, which is why I had in my brain were licensed to be angry at them when they did pull me out because I didn't know all the business and stuff that came from it, but my parents just felt like it just didn't feel like you could have an authentic childhood, you were busy being a little adult that 10 1112 even you know and even as a teenager because when you're a kid you just usually have to worry about connecting but when you're in the business you start worrying about things like you know how many auditions did you have before you got a call back or how many times you know you book something all your friends are working and you're not working but you're only 14 people are working at your age so there so many rejections that happen before you get one. Yes, that as a kid. It's really hard to swallow that because you're not usually dealing with that amount of rejection as enough as an adult you go on work interviews and you are prepared for that mentally and emotionally, but as a kid you don't, you can't separate the why didn't I get the but if you're kind you're selling yourself is after a little bit you know and it hurts when you don't get things consistently for a while.

I also twofold had something else going on where I grew really early in the business that they want older kids that look younger and younger kids that look older and so I had a lot of people want to book me for auditions right after shark when lava girl and then I got so old looking that they would what they were like she doesn't look 14 and I was 14 at the tentlike, but I am 14. So my parents were just looking around and just seeing all the how all this rejection was like devastating my confidence in who I was and I was such that my parents always describe me to my softball tell me that I was like a really self-confident super outgoing, they would say I was like little spark plug and a few years in the business and it was really I was getting depressed and I was getting sad because when you love something that much, I couldn't understand why I wasn't working when some of my friends were or things were happening for me and it just was really devastating to who I was. So my parents didn't like that and they were really worried about what that would look like and translate to into adulthood or young adulthood just having that self-doubt and so they wanted to put me in high school to just take a break from it and not worry about it to be in normal kids so that I could come back as an adult and be able to handle the rejection and everything comes with being an actor at the time I didn't agree with and I think I my mom put me in high school and I remember crying in the front office telling her that she did not love me because she was making me stop acting and go to school like a normal teenager and I remember just being such a rack in the front office of this high school, like if you leave me here. I promise you, you just hate me, you must hate me.

I was so upset with her. You must be tailored told the story of her experience in Hollywood as a child by the way everything she saying applies to grown-ups to the tough, tough life is a life filled with rejection mother when her parents. Luckily for her, saw the change in her life.

The depression from a spark plug to a depressed teenager and so the family interceded intervening and protected their daughter when we come back more with Taylor Dooley.

Her story on L American story view of the great American stories we tell them love America like you to become a part of the L American stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country. Please make a donation monthly gift of $17.76 is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters little L American stories.com now go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming tell American stories.com. Millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year and United healthcare can help you feel confident about your choices for those eligible Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7. If you're working past age 65. You might be able to delay Medicare enrollment. Depending on your employer coverage. It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be this UHC Medicare health plans.com to learn more United healthcare helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop for small business insurance.

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Why is that and I realized throughout the years. It was just because I had already always prayed and wanted an adult career and to be in adult actors because I never really wanted to do the kid fluff stuff.

I was always so much older age acting. I was like 13 I used to tell everyone I wanted to be like Natalie Portman. I was always very I just wanted a very serious adult career which doesn't happen when you're a kid usually so it kind of was, I think God's way of answering my prayer in a roundabout way just never know when you're in it and it feels emotional when you're in it.

Now that I'm on the other side of it. I'm thankful that I didn't work throughout those years and my parents pulled me out and I was able to take that break because it allowed me to as as I said it allowed me to kind of grow as my own person and heal from some of the ones that I feel like as a kid child actor I got from the rejection and all that stuff in and to be able to just cannot have a basis of who I am and it also helps shepherd kind of more of the CFR is my family has always been a kind of grew up, my parents found God when I was young I think it was like five or six when we started going to church. My parents started learning a little bit more about God. I am from originally from Michigan. My whole family. My parents had never left Michigan when until we moved for my brother's health and my brother was a twin born insanely prematurely. He was born 3 1/2 months early and we ended up losing my one of the twins.

When my brothers but my brother was a New York baby. My other brother who did make it on his name's Andrew. He needed and his lungs were to severely underdeveloped in the cold for Michigan was really hard on his lungs so we need to move someplace warm so my parents found Arizona which is insanely warm so it worked out perfectly and my brother who could barely walk because his lungs were so horrible were six and by the time we moved Arizona. We were there like two weeks and he was already's been able to swim and dive in the pool, his lungs and just develop so much better in the warmth which was such a blessing in and of itself, but that's my brother is kind of how my parents found God, because with the tragedy of the twins and not knowing my brother was in the NICU for over 100 days, because when he was born he was born just over a pound. He was the tiniest little thing they kind of through that experience in losing my other brother and trying to worry about whether my my brother Andrew was in a lead they they found God and found their faith and kind of kept it through all those years.

They really were.

What showed me what faith can look like, but was Kenneth crazy is that we are learning to do it together.

My parents when they call themselves baby Christians at the time because they didn't really know anything about it so they just we WERE learning together as a family, which I think made it so much closer for all of us.

We were always very close so I kind of always grown up knowing about that but I kind of really took my faith is my own as I was able to step out of the business and can it be a teenager away from everything and your kind of data each of Inc. Steve wanting to know what this world is about. It was nice to be able to be away from the industry and being away from not to be able to kinda cultivate my own faith in my own identity as to who I am because when you're in the business at such a young age is like such a sheltered people can't tell you who you are is it's it's like an oxymoron. You have to grow up so quickly and be a little adult like 11 years old, but then you they also tell you who you are. It's like as a kid.

It's really hard to muddle through what's what. And so it was nice to be able to take a step back and then when I went to high school. I didn't try theater for a little bit and I loved it but it just didn't feel like there was like always. This cattiness because I was an actress that the and because I used to work that I felt like some of my theater. The people in theater for so catty with me about that and I didn't want to deal with all that said, I was like yeah I'll quit because I just didn't have the time or want to do that so I instead found my own group of friends, which I still have to this day from high school and was able to in the very beginning they were. II got made fun of because I was law girl and it was usually in an endearing way people would call me love a girl. It was like they were ripping me but you know in high school. Everyone likes to make fun of everybody and at the same time Taylor Lautner play Chuck what was going on a school so people would make fun of us because shark when logrolling school knew that people are just ribbon us when they all love the movie so it just rolled right off my back and I was able to make friends that like is that I still have this day and all that space and time from the acting world allowed me to be able to make friends and people with people who had no idea who I was in a certain way because sometimes some people when they were older didn't necessarily watch our bilateral actually, when I met my husband fun enough he please call me love a girl and he had no idea ask my husband's 10 years older than I am. He had no idea what Obama girl was. So he thought it was some really weird nickname from high school and finally one day he was like how do people call you and have the right, I was like I'm an actor was a Child actor was this character while the girl he had absolutely no idea. Like the first think like five months that I knew him, which was nice. It was nice to just be you know a normal human being. Went to college graduated college met my husband with all of which would never happened and had to beautiful amazing wonderful kids and was able to kind of somewhat live a normal life until Robert Rodriguez called in 2019 because we shot in the fall 2019 for the new movie we can be heroes. I had just had my daughter and she was two or three months old when I got a phone call from Robert telling me that he was wanting to bring back sharp. I love a girl for this new film and it would have a daughter and all this really fun exciting stuff about this new movie and was asking if I'd be willing to come back in my life girl again after all these years and it had been 15 years since law girl first appeared in my life so I was totally gung ho for it. I was able to go right back to work. A few months later button to shake. Hector became pregnant so I had a few months to get back in shape and was in the fall filming we can be heroes, with Robert getting to be love a girl again crazy pink hair. They were so sweet to let my entire family come to Austin Texas to film so I had the kids with me and it was just such a wonderful tenant reintroduction back into the business into me just such a beautiful way that I felt like God was telling me that after all these years I did the right thing by stepping away.

My parents actually made me who did the right thing by making way because I was able to come back into the business from a new perspective.

As a mother as an adult as a wife as a adult woman to be able to make more decisions and know who I am now after all these years, it was just such a beautiful thing tonight.

I told Robert this, but I had like such special feelings for longer girl because she cannot. She started my crib twice now she is light that's her character look like her superpower is that she's not just that she's long life you see in the first movie.

It's all about the fact that she discovers that she is light and it's just me such a beautiful kind of symbolism in everything to be able to come back and slobber all these years later, his just might, and I just kind of feel like that's what I'd love to be in this world if I can just would like to spend love and light special first rubbing interface for producing and putting together a beautiful piece go to Netflix. We can be heroes is the movie good to see you love a girl 15 years later story of love a girl story of Tiller, who on our American story Medicare coverage decisions for next year and United healthcare can help you feel confident about your choices for those eligible Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7. If you're working past age 65.

You might be able to delay Medicare enrollment. Depending on your employer coverage. It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be this would UHC Medicare health plans.com to learn more United healthcare helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop for small business insurance. I need my State Farm agent make sure my business days piping hot and I think cool and confident. The small business owners to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on like a good neighbor. There call your local State Farm agent for quote today doing household chores can Artie be time-consuming and tedious. And there's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done can be overwhelming for anyone. If you want to get those larger laundry loads down right and get back to your life.

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That's because this big pile of dirty clothes is not all three clear maggot packs have your back purchase all three clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types stories about next piece of history. Mr. Truman's often emerge on your hush descended over to 63 Salem witch trials playwright Arthur Miller made off story, or at least his version of its 1953 the crucible is become a culturally accepted storyboard come to define Puritans Dr. Steven Nichols was president of Reformation Bible college academic officer of the new ministry is the author of Jesus made in America.

Cultural history Puritans passion for Christ is here to tell the story of the Puritans in the Salem witch trials Steven Nichols was we look over American history, probably one of the groups that is miss understood the most is the New England Puritans. Most of what Americans know about these New England Puritans. We have read in high school into books. The first is Daniel Hawthorne's classic text.

The Scarlet letter and then there is Arthur Miller's play the crucible. Neither of these books paint a very flattering portrait of the Puritans. The Scarlet letter portrays the Puritans as a bunch of hypocrites as self-righteous as mean-spirited people who are just full of gloom and doom jobs of the hero of the story. Hawthorne's book is one who actually subverts the community and subverts the sort of framed narrative that governed the Puritans community and we find the Miller's play the crucible. Miller wrote this in 1953. It was a very gossamer veiled criticism of McCarthyism purges red scare of the 1950s as people were in the euro. Speaking of the witchhunt that was going on in McCarthyism. So Arthur Miller turned his attention back to the original witchhunt back in Salem so the result of of coming to know the Puritans through the crucible through the Scarlet letter is that the Puritans have come to most Americans with a bad reputation to be Puritanical is certainly not a compliment. It was HL Mencken back in the 1920s who said that anyone who thinks that somewhere, someone might just be having a good time. That's a Puritan so what are we to make of all this and more importantly, what are we to make of the New England Puritans first. Who were the New England Puritans came from old England Puritans themselves were essentially legislated into existence. This was under the reign of Queen Elizabeth and her act of uniformity from 1558 intended to bring conformity to the religious culture of Great Britain. This was in the wake of the Reformation was a great divide between Catholicism and Protestantism England. Elizabeth needed a united country to withstand Spain and Britain's enemies and so she enacted the act of uniformity will there was a group that dissented to work technically called non-conformists because they would not conform to the church of England. One of the things they stressed was the nature of the church. They believed that the church should consist of not simply those who were baptized but those who also believe the gospel. They also believed an idea that we call this sainthood that is to say that the church should be made up of professing Christians who well who act like Christians and so immediately.

This group, these nonconformists were criticized they were given a name of derision, so they were called Puritans not the name they gave themselves with the name enemies gave they were seen as holier than thou people while we fast-forward to the King James I, and he did not like Puritans at all was the King James who quipped I shall make them conform or I will carry them out of my land. Well, he could make them conform and so eventually the Puritans left the first group was the Pilgrim's group landed 20 came on the Mayflower. This group formed the Plymouth colony of the more properly Puritans came in 1630 set sail on the Arbella when they landed in the New World. They formed the Massachusetts Bay colony was really during that decade of the 1630s there was a great migration of Puritans New World. Each week a new boat would arrive with Dr. there would bring in a whole fresh group Puritans of Puritans of New England formed the government the car to a society in what was, as they called it the howling wilderness of New England, and even after just six years of being there they found the college first college in the New World processes Harvard and so we can take a look at this first generation of Puritans, we can see what they were truly about one of the things we see is that they loved learning not only the established Harvard but they were very much for literacy for their children. The loved learning all learning is Puritans had a very substantial what we would call today a classical education Puritans were very industrious people. They had a incredibly impressive work ethic within the first generation establishing town trade networks, establishing all sorts of institutions, churches and schools and colleges.

There is, they carved out community in this society for them. New England well. This brings us, of course, to that subject of Arthur Miller's play the crucible and that subject is the Salem witch trials. These witch trials occurred from 1692 to 1693 now to understand these we need to sort of take a step back and look at a broader sort of European context and also look at the context of some of the ideas that really behind the Puritans so we go back to Europe. We see that witch trials go coursed back into the Middle Ages, but in the wake of the Reformation and the Roman Catholic Church's establishment of the Inquisition. There was an intense time of witch trials. This went from about 1570s or 1580s on, into the 1630s or 1640s is estimated by historians that tens of thousands of witch trials occurred over these decades, and that many were executed.

The numbers range anywhere from lower and estimates to about 50,000 people to upper and estimates of 100,000 were executed as as witches across Europe pretty much every single nation had a law on the books against witchcraft and was also an offense that was a capital offense.

So one was found guilty. They were punishable by death. So we have that context in your and you been listening to Dr. Stephen Nichols we come back more Salem witch trials and the American Puritans on owner can store millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year and United healthcare can help you feel confident about your choices for those eligible Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7. If you're working past age 65. You might be able to delay Medicare enrollment. Depending on your employer coverage. It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be this UHC Medicare health plans.com to learn more United healthcare helping people live healthier lives.

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All three clear maggot packs have your back purchase all three clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types we continue with our American stories and we just heard Stephen Nichols talk about the European witch trials, executed an estimated 50 to 100,000 people all over Europe to return to Dr. Nichols pick up the story as you come to the New England Puritans that the different colonies. The Massachusetts colony also had laws on the books against witchcraft and as with their European counterparts. This was also considered a capital offense with a lot of that is context. Now we can talk about the trials themselves think the first thing we have to say is these were wrong judges of the trial were wrong.

The townsfolk who accused these folks of witchcraft.

This whole episode of the Salem witch trials is not something we want to make an excuse for or certainly not something we want to say is inconsequential is very consequential and it was wrong, but having said that, I think it's always important for us to actually take a look at what happened and to try to do as much justice as we can to the event itself.

So we look now at the trials that everything seemed to start in the winter of 1692 and it was started with two young girls, one was just nine years old and the other was 11 years old one was the daughter of the minister there in the village of Salem and now these days the village of Salem is is Danvers, Massachusetts, daughter of the minister, and a niece of minister and they had these episodes of of what you would just call superior offense convulsions they be writhing on the ground they be making strange sounds. They were examined by a medical doctor in there seem to be no medical reason or at least they could that time discern a medical reason and so they look for another explanation and very quickly the fingers all started pointing to a slave that was in the home. This was a Caribbean slave from Barbados.

Her name was to Chewbacca and these young girls accused her of witchcraft and alongside to to bother work to women in the town. One was a widow in and from what we can understand was essentially sort of a homeless beggar and the other was also sort of in that category is as one. One historian I referred to these ladies name Sarah good and Sarah Osborne. He called them social misfits. But as he looked at to Chewbacca and Sarah good and Sarah Osborne.

They said these were witches and they had put these girls under the spell well course, they were questioned to Chewbacca actually confessed that she was a witch. The devil had come to her that the devil had seduced her and that she did practice infects witchcraft and now we sort of see how things begin to spread within this town.

There were trials in the ventral sort of snowballed out of control. People if they would question the testimony of these girls. They would then be accused of witchcraft and they would be arrested and brought into trial. When the others started turning on each other and turning in each other. These trials went on, up from 6092 through 1693.

Over the course of these trials, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of about 200 people were at one time or another arrested and and of those 200 people. 20 of them were executed. So all but 20 were released, but there were in fact 20 that were killed they were hanged, all except for the instance of one and they were sort of hanged it at particular times.

The first execution came in July 19, 1692 and then another group was executed on August 19, 1692 and then again on September 22. Of those that were killed there were 14 women. But among them were in fact six men and often what happened in these trials was that if someone actually confessed to being a witch and would repent, will they would be released and so the ones who maintained their innocence because they were witches in the cared about their reputation and their name meant a great deal to them so they would maintain their innocence. It was those case 20 of them that were executed during these trials. Well, how did all this come to an end and a key figure in all of this was increase Mather increase Mathers is probably of what we might call Puritan nobility. He's both of the Mather family and of the cotton family. He was in fact in during the time of the witch trials was president of Harvard as the trials were beginning he was back in old England petitioning the king to get a new charter for the colony and actually it was during this time that Simon Bradstreet of course is the husband of the poet and registry Simon Bradstreet was installed as a governor again in 1692 and as governor he actually put a stop to the trial seat was very pleased with what was going on was not aligned with it and so he just sort of hit the pause button want to keep anymore trials from happening. Well, eventually increase Mather comes back new governors put in the place and the tribunal was set. Trials commence from the very beginning, increase Mather and other ministers across Boston across Massachusetts caution Salem to be cautious as they looked at evidence as they made decisions to not be rushing their judgment and to weigh the evidence as you would in any court case and increasingly that set aside in the trials there. Salem focused on what was called spectral evidence, so maybe someone was testifying that they had seen one of these persons that was accused go off into the woods and practice witchcraft and also during the trial, which is sort of point to the person say look, there's a witch above the person well of course you can verify that right and so that's the spectral evidence and it was on a lot of those kinds of evidences that the judges nine of them in total. Overseeing Salem would make their decisions well when increase Mather heard about this.

He just wanted to put an end to this and stressed in no uncertain terms that this was, not biblical and that these folks these judges needed to conduct themselves carry about the law and the way that was a biblical and reject this notion of spectral evidence in so thankfully that brought these Salem witch trials to a really crucial story here is the story of Samuel Sewall, Samuel Soules's one of the nine judges and he sat on the court was part of the Salem witch trials, but later he was convicted of this, he repented of what he had done in his own testimony to how he came to this realization. He says that he was reading a biblical text. He was reading Matthew chapter 12 verse seven and that text tells us if you know what this means I will have mercy and not sacrifice you would not have condemned the guiltless and Samuel Sewall just felt the weight of that verse and he realized that what he'd done back in 1692, 93, was that he had condemned the guiltless. There were those were executed that were not witches, and when he realized that he had relied on bad evidence in making that decision. While he repented and he published a book that he just simply called his apology and spread it widely Sewall vendors committed himself to calling a day for fasting for the entire colony of Massachusetts for what it happened Salem. He worked almost tirelessly for reparations and for restitution of the accused is also fascinating that a few years after this. In 1703 Daniel soul wrote a book against slavery and he called for its abolition. So Sewall is one of those figures who who often just gets associated with the Salem witch trials and the need to sort gets written off as one of those bad guys in the pages of history but there's little doubt that the Salem witch trials was a difficult moment for Puritanism in New England.

You don't see much recovery of Puritanism after that. And so here we have this time. 6070 years of the New England Puritans.

It's easy for us. You know, I think we read Hawthorne again Scarlet letter, we read Miller. The crucible is easy for us to sort of just look back on these folks and sort of dismiss them and judge them for quite frankly being wrong but I think we also owe it to them took to look at the full context of the Salem witch trials, and when we do we do see a fascinating bunch of folks who were very pivotal, very integral to the founding of what would become America and very much a part of the American story of these American Puritans and a great job as always to Greg Hendler. Special thanks to Dr. Stephen Nichols is the president of the Reformation Bible college, and the chief academic officer your ministries complicated and rich history of America. As always told here on our American story


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