Discussion: Thoughts on Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual Abuse, Church, Understanding

“You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.” Ezekiel 34:4


I was thinking last night about spiritual abuse. Do you think we are makingspiritual abuse, marriage, ATI, Doug Phillips, Vision Forum, Reconstructionism any headway on this subject? Do people understand what it is? Is the Body of Christ understanding it as a legitimate abuse within the church? Or is it getting brushed aside as whiny and/or complaining about conflict? Where are we today?

I’m wondering if people will only consider it as abuse if there is another conflict along with it:  ie, mishandled sex abuse, mishandled church discipline, etc.

We haven’t had a discussion like this in a while. What are your thoughts? Is there anything we can do to help legitimize this horrific abuse that affects people at their core?

SSB Gathering – November 22, 2015

Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

 by Kathi

alvord desert


Luke 10:25-37

On one occasion an expert of the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied, “How do you read it?”

He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn-keeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who feel into the hands of robbers?”

The expert of the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Do and do likewise.”


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We are thankful that you join us here on Sundays!


May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?


photo credit: Brian – Alvord Desert, Oregon

An American Missionary in France Gives John Piper a Word of Advice on How to Respond to a Grieving Country

Pastor John Piper, Tragedies, Natural Disasters, France Terrorist Attack, Religiosity, Compassion, Love, Grieving, Loss, Christian



Pastor John Piper wasted no time in writing a response to the terrorist attack in France in his article, France: a Fabric Torn. Here is an excerpt from it:

Oh, let us wake up from the stupor of thinking we know when we will be finished. We do not know. God has told us how to speak of our tomorrows. “You ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:15). If you are reading this, you’ve been given another day. Perhaps only one. Think on this.

To all of France, the hands of Jesus are extended. The risen Savior stretches out his bloody hands and says, “Come to me, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Revelation 22:17).

Vengeance will come. It need not come from private individuals. “Leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (Romans 12:19). There is a time for everything under heaven. Now is a time for France — and all of us — to hear the words of Jesus, “Do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem [or Paris]? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4–5).

Earlier, someone left a comment here at SSB, on an unrelated article referencing John Piper’s new article.  A Missionary Pastor, a new commenter, read it, and then responded to it.

John Piper is no stranger to harsh responses after natural disasters. After the 2005 Asian tsunami, he wrote, “Every deadly calamity is a merciful call from God for the living to repent.”  Piper explains further:

The point of every deadly calamity is this: Repent. Let our hearts be broken that God means so little to us. Grieve that he is a whipping boy to be blamed for pain, but not praised for pleasure.


John Piper has also used similar words after tragic events here and here.  I think John Piper needs to hear directly from someone affected by tragedy. He seems to be missing a part of humanity that connects us all together, that looks to help people after a trauma, even strangers, so that they are not alone in their greatest time of need.  He seems to be lacking a simple thing called love, and instead puts his religiosity above kindness and compassion.

Let’s read what A Missionary Pastor had to say:

Julie Anne,

I’ve only recently started reading your posts and have seen no need to post comments. However, after reading your comments about John Piper’s post about the terrorist attacks, and then having read the full post on his site, it’s time to speak up. Please tolerate a slightly lengthy response.

First a quick intro: I am an American missionary serving in France since 1992. My wife is French and my children were born here. French friends of ours lost friends in the terrorist attacks.

IMHO, someone who wishes to address a message to France should pay more attention to the need for compassion than to the formulating of poetic sentences. We definitely don’t need religious advice from someone sitting comfortably in his office. In order for France to hear, we need more believers who come alongside those who suffer or grieve, who pray for us more than just once on a given Sunday, than we do the “righteous” preaching at us from afar.

In the days ahead, people here need to hear those who “weep with those who weep.” They need to hear the compassionate words of a Good Samaritan as he kneels down on the bloodied, dirty road and tends to the wounds of the one whose body is broken. They need to feel loving hands holding theirs, no words need to be spoken. They need to know that God, the one true God, is not absent nor indifferent to their suffering. Yes, one day, His vengeance will come, but where is He today?

It is when they hear those words and see those acts of compassion, combined with our intercession on their behalf, that those we serve in France will be able to, or more honestly, willing to hear Jesus’ words and come to Him. Pray therefore in this way for us.




Moody Bible Institute Accused of Taking Advantage of Elderly

A class action lawsuit accuses Moody Bible Institute of taking advantage of the elderly

-by Kathi


Moody Bible Institute was started in 1886 by D.L. Moody as a way to train individuals in Biblical studies and evangelism. The Institute has since grown to include campuses in Chicago, Spokane and Michigan.  Moody Bible Institute has been very well respected around the world for its training of pastors, evangelists, and for its radio program.

A recent class action lawsuit in Atlanta is accusing Moody Bible Institute of taking advantage of elderly people in estate planning. This lawsuit was filed by Lisa Higdon on behalf of 89-year-old Hazel Turner who is suffering from dementia. Higdon, Turner’s caretaker, started to become suspicious of a Moody representative who frequently visited Turner. Higdon requested that the Moody representative not visit Turner to discuss her estate when she was not present. In the end, Hazel Turner signed papers that made Moody Bible Institute the trustee of her estate, a beneficiary, and the executor of her will.

Estate planning assistance by non-profits is not unusual. And, it is not unusual for non-profit religious-oriented schools to offer assistance in estate planning. Hope International University, my alma mater, has a very detailed section on its website in regard to planned giving and different ways an individual can incorporate charitable giving in their estate planning. Moody Bible Institute, however, has absolutely no information on its website about incorporating planned giving through an estate.

The lack of information Moody has available in regard to estate planning is not what concerns me, it is Moody’s response to the pending lawsuit from the news article that troubles me:

A spokesperson for the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago issued a statement saying:

“Moody Bible Institute is a non-profit, accredited institution of higher education based in Chicago that also includes radio and publishing ministries. Since our founding by D. L. Moody 130 years ago, we have trained thousands of men and women to serve as missionaries, church leaders, as well as founders and leaders of non-profits and humanitarian-based organizations around the globe. Because of the generosity of donors, we are able to provide a biblically based tuition-paid education to our undergraduate school students in Chicago. We have been made aware of the lawsuit recently filed in the Northern District of Georgia. A nearly identical lawsuit filed by the same law firm was recently dismissed by the Court earlier this year. Like the previous lawsuit, there is absolutely no merit to the Plaintiff’s case and we intend to vigorously defend against the unfounded allegations and are confident we will again prevail.”

Where is the concern for Hazel Turner? When informed by Lisa Higdon that she had signed over her entire trust to Moody, Turner replied, “I would never do that.” Somehow, a Moody representative was able to convince Ms. Turner to do that. Moody could do the right thing by stating that it will look into how their representatives consult individuals in estate planning in order to ensure that they are not taking advantage of vulnerable aging adults.

My concern is that as the aging population grows in the United States, we may see more cases of non-profits taking advantage of vulnerable adults like Hazel Turner.

During Tony Miano’s Social Media “Hiatus,” He Questions His Wife’s Salvation . . . on Social Media

Tony Miano, Social Media, Doctrine, Salvation, Spiritual Abuse


Tony Miano spiritual abuse

Courtesy YouTube

Tony Miano is a street preacher who is also a member of John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church. Earlier, he claimed he was going to take a break from social media until the first of the year because of his poor behavior (by the way, the above photo is a screenshot from a YouTube video he posted only 3 days ago):

To be frank: social media has been a thorn in my flesh since its inception. While I believe I have accomplished much positive ministry online, and I hope to accomplish more for the glory of Christ, social media has provided me with far too many opportunities to sin. Regrettably, over the years I have taken advantage of too many of those opportunities. At times, through social media I have engaged in narcissism, false humility, instigation, provocation, attention-getting, and other sinful behavior.


During a time of prayer this morning, it became very clear to me that I must hack Agag to pieces (1 Samuel 15:1-34). This is to say I have to stop coddling and toying with my social media sins. I have to kill them–hack them to pieces.

Today I deactivated my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I will not consider reactivating them until after January 1, 2016. At that time, I will confer with my pastors, ministry advisory board, and other men whose counsel I trust to determine if I should venture back into the social media waters. (Source)

Did his elders and pastors and ministry advisory board (including my suing pastor Chuck O’Neal) determine it was okay for him to get back into social media waters? He’s been back into social media the whole time he claimed he was taking a break. He did deactivate his “personal” Twitter and Facebook Account. However, he’s still been busy on Instagram, YouTube, his “ministry’s” blog, and his “ministry’s” Twitter account.

The following is an excerpt from a post in which Tony Miano publicly and spiritually shames his own wife, Mahria.  My heart goes out to Mahria who certainly must feel pressure to meet her husband’s spiritual approval and assure him she is saved.

Please read the article, When Confronted by Holiness to get the full context.

Here are some excerpts:

For Mahria, things came to a head on Saturday night–our last night in Iowa. As we sat on the edge of our bed, through tears cried into her hands, which covered her face, Mahria confessed a besetting sin. As she wept, she confessed sin that has likely plagued her since her profession of faith in Christ more than 27 years ago–one that she may not have realized, prior to Saturday night, she allowed and coddled in her life. , , ,

Mahria is now examining herself anew. She is testing herself to see if she is in the faith. She is struggling with a lack of assurance of salvation.

If she is just realizing sin that has plagued her, why does that discount her salvation? What kind of doctrine is Tony adhering to that says if a Christian sins, they lose their salvation?

As her husband, I would love to declare Mahria born-again. Everything in me wants to tell Mahria that she has no cause for concern. In my bones, I want to point Mahria back to the night she responded to the gospel. I want to point her back to the moment we were baptized together. I want to point her to the more than 27 years of love, care, and support she has given me through a career in law enforcement and more than 16 years of full-time ministry.

Oh, how easy it would be to act like an Arminian and tell Mahria all she has to do is “rededicate” her life to Jesus. But I can’t. The Word of God keeps getting in the way.

I cannot and will not be Mahria’s Holy Spirit.

Your actions prove otherwise, Tony.

Whether Mahria is not yet born-again or she is saved and struggling with besetting sin, my plea to Mahria is the same: “repent and believe the gospel.”

I find this post so, so offensive. Tony is putting himself in a position as spiritual judge of his precious wife’s salvation. And then he is parading before the world on social media that she has had some hidden sin for 27 years.

If I could speak to Mahria, this is what I would tell her:

Mahria, it took me a long time to learn this, but you do not need your husband’s approval. Your husband does not get to decide for you whether or not you are a Believer. That’s God’s job. Tony claims he is not your Holy Spirit, but he is acting like he is. Having sin in your life does not mean you are an unbeliever. If you’ve had sin that you didn’t realize for 27 years, and you repent and confess it, your work is done. Christ did the rest for you.  You can walk in that grace and confidence. I am so sorry that your husband has decided to use you to further his “ministry.” You should not be used like this. You should be cherished, loved, and respected.

Ideally, I would like to tell Mahria to seek help from her church elders/pastor.  Sadly, I’m not so convinced they would see things her way. I understand this kind of pain and abandonment. It is horrible.

Of course Tony would say there is nothing more loving than to encourage his wife to repent and believe the gospel. However, he shows no discretion, no respect, no decency, no respect of privacy. My heart literally ached when I read this. This it not love in action.




Three Pastors Challenge Dr. James Dobson’s Advice on Domestic Violence Which Could Put Victims in Harm’s Way

Dr. James Dobson, Love Must Be Tough, Domestic Violence, Spousal Abuse, Church, Jeff Crippen, Mike Sloan, Neil Schori


Recently, an article was posted at Dr. James Dobson’s website and Facebook page.  The Facebook post received a lot of push back, and interestingly (but not surprisingly), the article, along with all of the comments, has since been removed or hidden.  No comments are allowed on the blog page.  The article was an excerpt taken from Dobson’s book, Love Must be Tough: New Hope for Marriages in Crisis.

I will just say at the outset that there is no hope that I can see for a victim of domestic abuse by following his advice.

This blurb was posted on Dobson’s blog to promote the book. In the context of domestic violence, this blurb is saying that it only takes one person to cooperate in a marriage to draw “your partner back into your arms:”

Unlike most approaches to marriage crisis, the strategy in this groundbreaking classic does not require the willing cooperation of both spouses. Love Must Be Tough offers the guidance that gives you the best chance of rekindling romance, renewing your relationship, and drawing your partner back into your arms.

In the excerpt from the book, we read a letter to Dobson from Laura, a victim of Domestic violence. She indicates she has been married for 12 year to a highly respected lawyer and church leader, but his behavior is different when he is home.  Her husband has a violent temper and explodes once or twice a month, and the beatings are getting more violent and frequent. This woman still loves her husband:

I don’t know what to do. I really do love my husband. He’s a fine man when he isn’t mad about something. He never shows this side of himself in public, even when he is frustrated. No one has any idea he is a wife abuser. I haven’t told anyone, and my husband would blow up if I asked him to go with me for counseling. No telling what he’d do if he knew I was consulting you!

So what can I do? I don’t believe in divorce. I am trying to be gentle and cautious at all times, but inevitably I step on his toes and he explodes again. I’m so tired of being beaten and then having to stay home for days to hide my bruises.

How do I deal with this situation?

Dr. Dobson said that he only saw four options for this woman. I’ve tried to condense the four points below:

  1. “Remain silent at home, walk on cracked eggs, and be the eternal conciliator.”  Dobson acknowledged that Laura is already doing this and this is not a good long-term answer.
  2. Divorce her husband.  Dobson said, “As a Christian, I agree with Laura that divorce is not the solution to this problem. Our purpose should be to change her husband’s behavior, not kill the marriage.”
  3.  The third suggestion is to remain married, but keep emotionally detatched and independent from her husband.  Dobson calls this an “emotional divorce” and says that this “emotional isolation” will help to protect Laura from further pain, but the relationship will still be unhealthy.
  4. The last response Dobson gives is the tough love solution. Dobson suggests that this is the best solution:

This is risky and psychologically expensive, but it is my choice and my recommendation. In essence, Laura’s husband is emotionally blackmailing her. He is saying by his behavior, “Do what I wish or I’ll beat you.” She must break out of that tyranny while she’s still young enough to cope with the consequences. This might be accomplished by forcing the matter to a crisis. Change of behavior does not occur when waters are smooth, as we have seen; it sometimes happens after a storm. I would suggest that Laura choose the most absurd demand her husband makes, and then refuse to consent to it. Let him rage if he must rage. She should prearrange a place to go and ask friends or relatives to step in for assistance at that critical moment. Separate living quarters may be necessary until her husband settles down. He should be made to think that he has lost his wife over this issue, and in fact, I would recommend that she not return until there is reason to believe that he is willing to change. If that takes a year, so be it. When (and if) her husband acknowledges that he has a severe problem and promises to deal with it if she’ll come home, a period of negotiations should follow. One of the conditions for reconciliation is competent Christian counseling for the psychological problem that is now apparent to everyone but the husband.

Considering Dr. Dobson’s very wide audience, I found his words to Laura to be shocking and potentially harmful. Dr. Dobson’s words are respected far and wide and I wanted to hear what other church leaders had to say about his advice. I sought out three pastors whose ministries involve working with victims of domestic violence and abusers. These are men in the trenches who understand abuse, understand victims, and understand God’s Word on how to handle these life-threatening situations.  I am very grateful that these men speak truth about abusers and how to protect women who are in harm’s way.

The first pastor who responded to my request was Pastor Neil Schori. I met him on Twitter and so appreciate what he is doing to help battered women. Pastor Schori went to Drew and Stacy Peterson’s home for a counseling session and undoubtedly, Stacy’s disappearance has made a big impact on his life and future ministry work.

I recently saw a post about domestic violence on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk Facebook page. At first, I was excited because so few Christian leaders are willing to even address the issue…but my excitement was quickly replaced with the sad reality of the status quo.

Dr. Dobson “fielded” a question from a woman whom was a victim of her horribly violent spouse. He was violent to her in every aspect of the word, as he filled her with fear and beat her with the same body that should have been used only to comfort and protect her.

She asked a vulnerable question, and got (sadly) the most typical response that I’ve seen from most Christian leaders: A wife’s purpose is “…to change her husband’s behavior, not kill the marriage.” Sadly, this is precisely why churches and pastors are NOT viewed as allies of victims and the first-line defenses (shelters and advocates) that assist victims of violence each day. This is also why there are still 8-10 women killed each day by their intimate partners.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Churches should be the safest places on earth for victims of all kinds. It can happen! My church is “safe place” and I’m working to help others become the same. It is time for leaders to stand up and recognize that Jesus always stood with the oppressed, and because of his lead, so should they.

If you are a church leader, or just looking to make a difference, please join us in our movement to take the power of silence away from abusers.


Neil Schori

Pastor Jeff Crippen has been ministering to victims of domestic violence for a number of years now. This article, Abuse and Pastors: An Open Letter from a Pastor to Pastors, (which coincidentally was cross-posted here at SSB) explains Jeff’s awakening to domestic violence and the church’s response. He contributed his thoughts on Dobson and the Tough Love article:

Years ago myself and our church rejected James Dobson as a resource.  Why?  Several reasons, but the first was that Dobson built an empire in part by refusing to take a firm theological, A Cry for Justice, Jeff Crippen, Domestic Violencebiblical stand on the gospel. His message was one of human effort, not Christ. It remains so. That is why you have seen him promote “clergy appreciation day” in which he encourages people to show their appreciation for their “rabbi, priest, or pastor.”  When I challenged him on this, his subordinates contacted me and blew us off, telling me that Focus on the Family (Dobson is no longer with Focus) had a much larger and wider base of followers than any local church and so they had to be more inclusive.  All of that indicated plainly to us that Dobson is not truly concerned about the truth of Scripture.  His goal is not Christ, but a model of family and marriage that he perceives to be healthy to society.


Now, in regard to his “Tough Love” message from which his horribly damaging nonsense about a wife having to remain married to a husband who abuses and even beats her comes from – Dobson’s “tough love” is at best what the Bible calls Law, but more probably it is just plain legalism. Works righteousness. It is an improper use of God’s Law.  Dobson replaces the work of Christ and the Spirit in the regenerate heart with this methodology of “tough love.” That is how he sees sanctification. Is a woman’s husband an abuser?  Well then, apply the methods of tough love and change him. But surely anyone even slightly acquainted with Scripture knows that such a philosophy is doomed to failure.  It is letters chiseled in stone, not the work of the Spirit upon the person’s heart. It is Old Covenant, not New Testament. Yet Dobson would have it applied to an abuser even if he claims to be a Christian.


Dobson, you see, believes that white-washing tombs filled with dead men’s bones will clean up the tomb. And thus his message is a false gospel promoted by a psychologist mixing his own traditions with a dash of psychology and a smattering of Bible verses.


Dobson’s empire is a perfect example of how a false gospel sells and deceives. People like it. They can do it. It sounds logical.
Until of course, an abuse victim ends up dead.


Pastor Jeff Crippen

I met Pastor Mike Sloan through Boz Tchividjian. Mike has been a champion in encouraging the church have better guidelines in dealing with child sex abuse (here, here, and here). I’ve been observing Mike use his voice powerfully on Twitter against abuse and it’s clear that he also has a good understanding of domestic violence as you will surely note below. It’s important to read the words from pastors who have experience working with abuse, who understand the way abusers work, and who understand the frailty of the defenseless and oppressed, so victims can become survivors and can finally experience freedom from their abusers, and eventually peace. Here are Mike’s words on Dobson’s article:

What Dr. Dobson advocates here is sending a bloodied sheep back to the wolf. This man has shown that he is capable of life-threatening violence against her. She needs to get out with her children and her life as soon as she can. Telling her to return and force the matter to a crisis is recklessly endangering her life. There is no excuse for this and it betrays a lack of awareness of how domestic abusers typically operate. His behavior is criminal and once she is safe the police should be called. There is no doubt this road will be difficult, but at least this will allow her to an opportunity to escape this life lived under the shadow of terror. Dobson’s ministry should move to correct this potentially deadly counsel immediately before any more victims are harmed.

Dobson should know that in situations of abuse God calls his people to, “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:4) Abuse always involves a difference in power and unless someone more powerful comes in on the side of the oppressed they have only their tears (Ecclesiastes 4:1). God ordained civil authorities to bear the sword and punish evil like domestic abuse (Romans 13). This man needs to face the civil penalties for his crimes.


Dobson’s advice is also a form of victim blaming. Notice he says that she is responsible for keeping the marriage together, so she must go back and show “tough love”. But the abuser is the one who has broken the marriage covenant. He is called to love her as Jesus Christ loves. Would the love of Jesus pummel her and loosen her teeth? He has smashed the marriage covenant beyond recognition. He is the one who needs to be held accountable, and yet he puts the responsibility on her to keep the marriage together as if it is on her. This is not her fault. Her job is to get help and heal.


The church should also hold him accountable, but that seems unlikely as he is apparently in leadership. Most in the church aren’t prepared to accept that a man like this, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, would be anything other than his public persona. Churches don’t get that abusers cultivate a double life on purpose to avoid detection. I would be shocked if they did anything but side with him and advise her to return to him. So sadly I would not advise her to go to her church for help. Because they lack informed training, churches are easily deceived by abusers, accepting false repentance as genuine (abusers know the right words and many even shed tears on command!), so they can continue controlling their victims. This is a tragic reality in our churches and the need for training in abuse dynamics in all forms is desperately needed.


Pastor Mike Sloan


Pastor Neil Schori can be reached on Twitter at: @neilschori, @documentabuse, @napervillecc

He also has growing ministry work in the following:

  • DocumentTheAbuse.com:  “Created after Stacy Peterson disappeared, our goal is to empower victims of domestic violence and help them document the abuse
    SafeFaithCommunity.com: A challenge to the faith community to defend, protect, and support victims of abuse.
    SafePersonProject.com: A challenge for anyone who wants to commit to defending victims of abuse.
Pastor Jeff Crippen has a blog dealing with domestic violence at A Cry for Justice.
He is co-author of A Cry for Justice, which responds to the topic of domestic violence from a Christian perspective.


Pastor Mike Sloan tweets at @mikeasloan


You can find other resources on Domestic Violence at SSB’s resource page.



What is it like for a single woman over 50 at church? “Rejection is a deep wound.”

Single women, church, rejection, alone, SINK


A comment from “Love” came in on an older post and I didn’t want it to get lost in the shuffle. This woman’s voice probably represents many women who are experiencing similar thoughts and feelings.

6096758500_465ceaa962 single women in church

I wonder if I am the only Christian single, childless, 50-something, woman in the whole world who is not really focused on finding a man to marry. I can relate to other single women who have been made to feel like they have no place of significance in the church. I’ve even being asked not to attend a church that I poured my heart and soul into because the pastor thought “single women are a scourge on the church.”

I am involved in a much more loving church now, but I still feel somewhat isolated not only for being a SINK, but also for being older. Many contemporary churches don’t seem to have a place for older people, especially the very old. There are only a handful of people my age or older (all married), in a large church of 20-30 year olds. I do love the worship services, and take part in women’s bible studies and service projects (because they pretty much have to talk to me then :-), but any of the church social activities are just too emotionally painful.  Rejection is a deep wound.

Love’s words show incredible pain: “no place of significance,” isolated, rejection.

She also described spiritual abuse by a pastor who labeled single women as a “scourge on the church.” This makes me sick. That certainly was not a healthy place for anyone!

How can the church do better in this area? Are there any singles over 50 who have some thoughts or ideas to share?

Blogger Claims Because of our Culture of Death, Our Children Need a Belt and the Bible

Culture, Spanking, Bible, Lori Alexander, Abortion, Feminism, Divorce

Do we Have a Culture of Death?

spiritual abuse, clergy abuse, Psalm 23

In a recent article, Children Need a Bible and a Belt, blogger Lori Alexander complains about today’s children, our politically correct culture, and our culture of death which she concludes is caused by abortion, and feminism, which she claims leads to the death of marriage. She also mentions the death of hard-working men who used to provide for their families (not sure where she thinks they went). Getting rid of Bibles, she asserts, has led to the death of morality; and parents who fail to discipline their children have contributed “to the death of obedient and self-controlled children.”  Woe R us!

She continues:

Children used to be obedient, had self-control and knew right from wrong. Now, they have no moral compass and have no clue what is right from wrong. They need to be taught to be obedient, respect authority and the value of life from conception through old age.

While I do concur that not everyone values life, I disagree with her blanket statement about kids not having a moral compass or knowing right from wrong. The public school students I work with are, for the most part, respectful and obedient.

They need to be taught to work hard and be responsible. They need to be taught God’s ordained role for them as a male or female. They need to be taught to be covenant keepers until “death do they part.”

Covenant keepers?  What does she mean? God’s ordained role? I’ve never taught my kids how to be a boy or a girl. What does that mean? My boys and girls played with the same toys from dolls to Legos, bows and arrows, Lincoln Logs, train sets, climbed trees, you name it. My boys probably cook just as much if not more than my girls. I didn’t know this was something that people taught. Maybe I’m a bad mom. Sorry, kids.

She then recommends a song by a couple in which the title refers to a belt and a Bible. Out of respect for this family who is going through their own challenges with cancer, I will not be passing along the link.

But if that was not enough, at the conclusion of the article, Ms. Alexander recommends Mike and Debi Pearl’s well-known “parenting” book, To Train Up a Child.

For further guidance on raising children to be obedient and trained in the ways of the Lord, I highly recommend the Pearl’s book To Train Up a Child. If you’ve read my posts for very long, you know I have no desire to be politically correct. My only desire is to be biblically correct in everything.

Old Version

Old Version

This is what the book looked like when I read it years ago (on the left).

I remember families who bought this book by the case and handed them out. If you bought them by the case, they were around $2.00 a book, so they were given out at church, homeschool co-ops, etc. It seems most everybody had this book in its prime, and parents swore by it. It’s interesting because the kids who once were raised by this book are now some of the very same ones who are speaking out on Homeschoolers Anonymous or other online forums about the harsh, abusive, and controlling parenting influenced by the Pearls.

New Version

New Version

On the right, is the newer updated version.

Lori Alexander gave a link to a newer release of the book which only had two reviews. This link has 4,737 customer reviews and an overall rating of 2.2 stars.  Happy reading!

Interestingly, Ms. Alexander claims the world is a culture of death, yet recommends a book that has reportedly contributed to the deaths of at least a couple of children (see recommended links below).

While she claims feminism has caused divorces, I wonder if she has considered that Patriarchy (condoned by both the Pearls and the Alexanders) has caused emotional, physical, and spiritual death of women. We are just now reaping the repercussions of Patriarchy and harsh, abusive parenting by Christian families who followed these teachings. I think many adult children who were raised in this culture would say they experienced emotional and spiritual death, too.

But nope, according to Ms. Alexander, the bad stuff only happens because of the world and its culture, certainly not because of us, Christians. Right!

Related links:


“Do Good and Do No Harm” Project by Brad Sargent aka FuturistGuy


Spiritual Sounding Board and The Wartburg Watch are supporting a Go Fund Me Campaign to help Brad Sargent finish the first stage of  developing resources that will assist survivors of church abuse.

Most of my long-time readers know Brad aka “FuturistGuy.” I met Brad after spiritual abuse author Barb Orlowski pooled people together she thought might be able to support me right after I found out I was being sued by my former pastor. Brad, himself a spiritual abuse survivor, took special interest in my case. Because he had studied spiritual abuse and followed abuse trends in the church, Brad had a sense that my lawsuit story might represent a new and trending kind of abuse by pastors and church leaders. From the early days in which the media spread my story, he started documenting statistics, following news articles, interviews, blog articles, key people, court documents, and even following up on abusive activities by my pastor long after we won the lawsuit.

Sure enough, he was right about the lawsuit trend, and we have seen other pastors sue congregants (i.e., Pastor Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia and Pastor Steve Wingfield of First Christian Church of Florissant).

But the wonderful thing is that Brad had my case organized and documented so well, that others who have been sued could read it, get an idea of what a church lawsuit case entails, get ideas of possible issues they might encounter, etc. Now, the BGBC (Beaverton Grace Bible Church) Archives has become more than a helpful resource, it’s actually a template for other cases (see Lourdes Torres vs Doug Phillips case).  I have sent the BGBC Archives link numerous times as people contact me about lawsuits or potential lawsuits. A lawsuit a very scary situation to be in, and having good information is so helpful for survivors.

My case is only one example of how Brad has used his skills to help others. Since I’ve known Brad, he has gathered information and documentation on other public cases: Prestonwood Baptist case, Alex Grenier/Tim Taylor vs Pastor Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia lawsuit (Who Would Jesus Sue Campaign), Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit, Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church, Emergent/Progressive leader Tony Jones, Lourdes Torres vs Doug Phillips lawsuit, and that’s just off the top of my head. This guy knows spiritual abuse very well and is my go-to guy for information, brainstorming, support, etc. This does not include the many cases and documentation of abuse prior to the nearly 4 years I have known him.

Brad is like an encyclopedia when it comes to spiritual abuse and systems of abuse, and I was thrilled to find out a few years ago that he was in the process of writing training curriculum. I’ve read a lot of books out there on abuse. When you are new to the subject of spiritual abuse, they are very helpful, but Brad’s material is new and different. It puts tools in the hands of church leaders, Christian organizations, lay people, etc.

And I just love the “Do Good and Do No Harm” title because that is what what we should all strive to do as Christians.  The Do Good and Do No Harm message is the framework of the content. I’m excited to see this material in the hands of Christians who want to make sure their ministry work is based on the “Do Good and Do No Harm” motto as we walk out our faith in love and action in dealing with others. Let’s face it, when there is abuse in an organizational structure, the work produced there is rubbish. We want to be good stewards of our time and efforts in our ministry work and I think that is what this material will help accomplish.

Please pray and see if you feel led to help Brad get this work completed.  Dee Parsons of The Wartburg Watch is also spreading the word.  I am honored to do this for Brad. He has meant so much to me.  ~Julie Anne

brad sargent


Here’s the link for the “Do Good and Do No Harm” GoFundMe for Brad Sargent, and below is his description of his project:

In the last 7 years, I’ve been producing a training curriculum for social justice start-ups and church planting endeavors to “Do Good Plus Do No Harm.” I began it after losing my job when the economy tanked in late 2008, and have put many hundreds of hours into it.

The project started out as a curriculum about culture and ministry. But it evolved, because I needed to process a lot of experiences with spiritual abuse and in working with non-profits and church plants. I believe we can do ministry better, in ways that don’t inflict the kind of damage on others that we’ve unfortunately been seeing in the Church and community for many years. So, it’s now a 3-volume project on how to understand systems, discern trustworthy vs. toxic leaders and organizations, and set up sustainable projects.

I believe “Do Good Plus Do No Harm” will help other abuse survivors process their experiences, and find redemptive ways to make a difference so what happened to us doesn’t happen so often to others. I’ve also designed it with lots of “indicator scales” so it can be a base for evaluating how safe – or sick – a church, ministry, or organization is. (The need for some evaluation system like that keeps coming up in conversations among survivors.) And who knows, it might even end up as a ministry development guide for those who are “Done” with institutionalized churches and are looking for alternative routes for Kingdom service in their communities. It’s all kind of the outworking of what my business card says: “Superhero Sidekick: I help people identify, validate, amplify, and activate their superpowers. And, hopefully, help them keep from distributing their kryptonite krud on others.”

I’m finally very close to finishing the first 2 volumes, and could really use a boost so I can write full-time for a few months and get them done. I don’t have the “platform” that an established publisher would require, so I’m planning to just do print-on-demand publishing. Once the first two volumes are available, sales will hopefully cover my finishing the third volume and get into the other related trainings, technical tools, and measurement systems I’ve been developing. If you’re interested in sample articles, visuals, and workbook exercises, check out my Futuristguy’s Field Guides site.  I know some of my writings are dense and intense, and I hope you’ll see that I’ve worked hard to make these books accessible and practical.

Finally, thanks for considering helping me out – and my thanks to Dee and Deb at The Wartburg Watch, and to Julie Anne at Spiritual Sounding Board, for getting the word out. Their blogs have shaped the way I understand the larger landscape of authoritarian abuse of power, and I appreciate their work.


P.S. Feel free to leave comments and questions about Brad’s project. He plans to check in on this post and respond.

CBMW’s Gavin Peacock Claims Eve Was Trying to be King and Lost True Womanhood

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Bill Gothard Defenders Launch Website within Days of Civil Lawsuit against His Former Ministry, IBLP

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Domestic Violence, Jim and Doug Wilson, and Damaging Pastoral Response to Abuse in Marriages

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Attorney David Gibbs III Discusses the IBLP Lawsuit and Answers Important Questions

Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), Bill Gothard, lawsuit, David Gibbs III

Many are probably aware of the recent news that five very brave women have come forward and have filed a lawsuit against Bill Gothard’s former ministry, Institute in Basiiblp, bill gothard, sex abuse, lawsuit, Institute in Basic Life Principlesc Life Principles, Inc. (IBLP), and six men who serve as Directors of IBLP: John Stancil, Anthony Burrus, Gil Bates, Timothy Levendusky, Charles Stephen Paine, Jr., and David York.

The five women, Gretchen Wilkinson, Jane Doe, Charis Barker, Rachel Frost, and Rachel Lees, are seeking:

“redress and damages for personal injuries based on the negligent and willful and wanton acts and omissions of Defendants with regard to sexual abuse and sexual harassment and similar allegations of malfeasance suffered by the Plaintiffs.”

The complaint’s allegations:

  • All Plaintiffs either participated in IBLP programs, were interns, or employed by IBLP.
  • “Each of the individual Plaintiffs were the victim of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and inappropriate/unauthorized touching, many times while they were minors, at the hand of the IBLP, by and through its agents and employees, and suffered as a result thereof.”
  • Employees and directors of IBLP were aware of the sexual abuse/harassment allegations, and failed to notify authorities.
  • There was an internal “investigation” done by staff/employees who were not qualified to do such an investigation.
  • Apparently, no victims were interviewed in the internal investigation. The investigation was labeled as a sham cover-up (to the tune of $50,000).
  • Investigation summary reported that “no criminal activity has been discovered. … However, the review showed that Mr. Gothard has acted in an inappropriate manner, and the Board realizes the seriousness of his lack of discretion and failure to follow Christ’s example of being blameless and above reproach.”
  • IBLP plans to sell off and relocate their headquarters to Texas, “in an attempt to flee the jurisdiction (State of Illinois) where this wrongful conduct occurred.”
  • Each woman seeks $50,000 in damages.

There are quite a few articles covering the lawsuit, which was filed October 20, 2015:

The attorney representing the five women is David Gibbs III. Mr. Gibbs and I have had occasion to talk by phone when the Lourdes Torres vs. Doug Phillips case was breaking, and so I asked if he’d be willing to talk again, and he kindly agreed. The articles I have read above seem to present an accurate summary of what Mr. Gibbs relayed to me regarding the lawsuit. But I have seen other questions in the comments of the articles, and have had my own questions to ask, so I was able to address these with Mr. Gibbs.

iblp, Institute in Basic Life Principles, Bill Gothard, sex abuse, lawsuit, David Gibbs III

Interview with Attorney David Gibbs III

Are there plans to name Bill Gothard himself in a lawsuit at some point?

Mr. Gibbs responded, “Bill is not legally connected with the organization [IBLP]. It is the Board’s decision” if they were to bring him back into the organization. Gibbs noted that adding Gothard to the lawsuit would make it more complicated for various reasons, one reason in particular, that some “clients were less comfortable about suing him directly” because of the abuses. He also described that, typically, “litigation goes against an organization with the goal of compensating victims,” not against an individual, such as Gothard.

This makes a lot of sense. I am on the board of a local nonprofit, and as a board member, it is my responsibility (along with the other board members) to make sure the Artistic Director is doing what he’s supposed to be doing. The Board of IBLP was supposed to make sure Bill Gothard was behaving appropriately. If they had any indication that something was amiss, they had/have a responsibility to act on it immediately. According to the lawsuit, the IBLP was negligent in how they handled these allegations by failure to report to authorities, not removing Gothard immediately from his position, failure to seek sex abuse experts to conduct a thorough unbiased investigation, etc. By suing the Board, it sends a clear message to IBLP that there was negligence on their part. Bill Gothard is no longer with the ministry, but, moving forward, how will they address these concerns? Will children be put in harm’s way? Who will make sure they are protected and safety policies are in place so no child will be harmed, or if something does happen, there are procedures in place to report immediately to civil authorities and minimize further abuse?

Why is this a civil lawsuit instead of a criminal case?

Mr. Gibbs made the important distinction that this is a civil lawsuit, not a criminal case. Anyone can report sex abuse allegations to authorities and they (authorities) may decide to open an inquiry for a criminal case, but that is entirely different than this civil lawsuit. A criminal case is initiated by the government and sentencing can include jail time, etc. A civil case is brought on by parties who ask the court to make the defendants fulfill their legal responsibilities, compensate for harm done, etc. This article gives further information.

Child Labor Laws

There was discussion about children working for IBLP without appropriate pay and/or possible violation of child labor laws. Gibbs indicated that he and his firm always report any alleged criminal activity to authorities, such as possible violation of child labor laws; but once again, it is within the discretion of the government to pursue these allegations and decide if an inquiry is warranted, which may result in a criminal case. Mr. Gibbs is exploring labor violations, which might be a separate case.

Is there an ongoing search for victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault that fall within the statute of limitations for bringing criminal charges against Bill Gothard?

Mr. Gibbs indicated that his “office remains open for anyone” to report sexual abuse allegations. We discussed the Bill Cosby sex abuse scandal and how publicity helped to encourage more victims to come forward. Mr. Gibbs believes it is likely that we will see the number of plaintiffs increase as the case becomes more public and victims realize that they are part of a larger group and won’t have to fight this battle on their own. Based on the number of personal testimonies shared at the Recovery Grace site, I, too, predict the number of plaintiffs to rise.

IBLP Headquarters

We discussed the IBLP property which is currently for sale. There was recent news that IBLP is selling their main headquarters and has plans to relocate to Big Sandy, Texas. Mr. Gibbs indicated the property is worth approximately $100,000,000. The lawsuit requested that if the property is sold, some sort of trust fund is established until the case is concluded. The monies could later be used to compensate victims if the plaintiffs are successful in the lawsuit.

Survivor Lawsuits in General

Have you served as counsel for other lawsuits by survivors against the perpetrators, or is the IBLP suit the second one for you?

Mr. Gibbs responded that he has handled a number of litigations of injured (all types of injuries). This is not the second case.

Do you think there will be more such lawsuits emerging (e.g., negligence, emotional distress, etc.), given the current overall situation with survivors of abuse?

Yes, if someone is abused, they are entitled to compensation for their abuse. We will see increasingly more of this kind of litigation. With national leaders comes responsibility, and part of that is to protect children, keep them safe, and have zero tolerance for child abuse. They should be safe at church and in their homes.

Allegations of Vulnerable Children Revictimized at IBLP

We discussed a bit of the plight of some of the plaintiffs (in general). It’s important to think about these young children and what it was like for them. Some came from abusive homes and were sent to IBLP so they could be “fixed” by Gothard and his teachings. These were kids who were homeschooled and lived sheltered lives. Some of them came from abusive homes and were being sent to IBLP to help their character. They were sent far from home to a strange environment. Their parents trusted IBLP to take care of them. These children likely had no one they knew, which put them in a more vulnerable position.

If they were caught in a sin, there were serious consequences. Some were isolated and/or abused at IBLP. For some, IBLP became their second place of victimization. When they “misbehaved,” leaders would call home to the fathers (also perpetrators) and share the “sins,” and were sent back home. So some went from one abusive home to experience abuse at IBLP, and then back home in disgrace because they failed at IBLP. Just imagine what would happen to a child who returned to their abusive home from IBLP for discipline reasons! The child was to blame in both places! These children had no safe place for help.

The age range of our victims when abused by IBLP was 14 years to 17 years (and continuing for some as adults). Unreported home abuse ranged from ages 4-17.

For people to cover up, hide it, keep it in the family is victimizing children at unbelievable levels. When you see this pattern of a vulnerable child, they get sent to IBLP to a person with a position of trust, you isolate them, then abuse them, that’s horrific. Then when you cover it up – blame them – that’s horrific. Many people don’t survive [emotionally].

Mr. Gibbs went on to discuss the responsibility of Christian leaders:

I do believe religious leaders/organizations need to realize there is a high standard – and society is holding people more accountable. … I think you’re going to see more cases, but hopefully the national leaders will see there is a higher bar of expectations [for accountability].

Can you give an update on the Lourdes Torres vs. Doug Phillips lawsuit?

The case is currently in discovery and depositions are being taken. The case continues, and mediation will likely occur later in the year. Mr. Gibbs indicated that because this is a high-profile case, extra effort has been made to keep media distractions to a minimum.

I mentioned to David Gibbs that some were concerned about him taking the case based on his background and connections, and asked for comment.

Gibbs identified a possible point of confusion: his name. His father is David Gibbs Jr., and he is David Gibbs III. This often causes misinformation and he’s very used to the mix-up. (You can see a chart comparing the two Gibbs’ here.)

Mr. Gibbs then shared in more detail about the process of what happens when he meets a client:

I always sit down with any of my clients and share my heart, explain to them my perspective, my passion, why I’m willing to get involved. The easiest thing would be to do nothing and not engage in this arena. But I wouldn’t feel like I was doing the right thing. I view this as an honor and the right thing to do to represent these women who are victimized.

In terms of stepping forward, my actions speak fairly loudly. Are there things years ago I wish I weren’t involved in? Yes, but in terms of marching forward, [I have] zero tolerance for child abuse and encourage churches to build awareness, to step forward and do things the right way. The folks that have gotten to know me through litigation seem to have a lot of confidence in the sincerity of these actions. I want to encourage these ladies. I view it as my privilege, along with others.

I asked his views of women, especially with regard to the culture of Patriarchy which depersonalizes women.

I believe women are obviously equal to men, created by God – there is no question in terms of their value. [I believe] they should be educated, and receive every opportunity to achieve their full potential. They need to find their identity in God. Some of the dangerous teachings of the overdomination of males to break the spirit [of women] is not loving. It’s wrong and lends itself to abuse.

We have numbers of lady attorneys on staff and they do great work. Every person has to rise and fall on their own merits. Some of what has been taught in Patriarchal cultures puts ladies in positions where they feel horrifically trapped. People who are supposed to protect, turn around and abuse [women]. That’s incredibly sad.

Is there anything that hasn’t been reported in the media that you would like share?

Many of these women were in abuses at home and escaped to get free. It’s heartbreaking.

The vulnerability – once they’d try to pull away, skip one-on-one sessions, counselors were made to telephone their fathers, they were sent back with shame of being sent home where they were abused and having been told by IBLP officials all of the confidential stuff that went on during sessions. Imagine a girl who has never been to school/doctor – that had to be horrifically confusing. All the people you hoped to trust and then find yourself victimized. When you look at culture, many of these ladies felt like they had no place to turn. It’s frightening to step on the national stage and bring forward these claims. Family dynamics, personal dynamics, these cases bring up a lot of painful emotions and courage to come forward.

It was brave of [these] ladies to step forward – scary with abusive backgrounds – courage. It’s disappointing that IBLP forced them into this. We offered to meet [IBLP Board members] ahead of lawsuit being filed, but they refused. In some measure, they were counting on the victims not being willing to come forward. That was a calculated risk on their part. They are concerned about other women at risk.

Internal Investigation by IBLP

We discussed the internal investigation by IBLP. IBLP paid $50,000 for an investigation to be done. This investigation was a “sham.” The results were never publicly released. I was greatly disturbed to find that the no one asked questions of the victims:

No victims were spoken to in the investigation.  It is the lowest level of confidence or credibility if they don’t talk to victims.

The lawsuit will access findings of the “investigation.” They will have to produce who they talked to, the report, the details, so people can judge from themselves.

 There was a calculated effort by the Board to handle it disastrously wrong. Hopefully other churches and organizations will learn from this.

Do you have any thoughts on what it means in the Kingdom for you to participate in the dismantling of a system your father helped create that seems to have shielded these kinds of ministries from scrutiny and accountability?​

I am always honored to stand up for what I believe to be right, and I want to do it with a right spirit. That’s why we offered IBLP to talk. But when people refuse to do things the right way, you have to evaluate options.


The teachings of Bill Gothard and the abuses that have gone on for years at IBLP have harmed many. What many of us have known for years is finally being exposed publicly, thanks in part to the connection with the Josh Duggar sex scandal. Some have concerns about Mr. Gibbs’ involvement in this case. Others want Gothard to be criminally charged and brought to justice. The bottom line is that five brave women have joined together,  chosen Mr. Gibbs to represent them, and to call IBLP to account for the way they have mishandled serious abuse cases.

In my conversation with Mr. Gibbs, the underlying theme I heard was that churches and organizations must be responsible in how they defend and protect children, and they must have policies in place. At the beginning of my conversation with Mr. Gibbs, I asked him if he knew that the number one reason churches are brought to the courtroom is because of sex abuse of minors. Christian churches and organizations have failed miserably in this area. I believe Mr. Gibbs is doing what he can do to bring justice to victims and encourage leaders to make sure our children are safe. I can and will stand behind that. I hope you will all join me in praying for the five women and Mr. Gibbs and his staff as they are working hard on this case.

photo credits:  Peas n carrots at Free Jinger

Edit 10/25 Changed “criminal lawsuit” to criminal case” in subtitle for clarity.

Pastor Chuck O’Neal of Beaverton Grace Bible Church Taught Parents to Spank Adult Children

Pastor Chuck O’Neal of Beaverton Grace Bible Church Taught Parents to Spank Adult Children

One of the more challenging aspects about abuse is the recurring triggers, even years after abuse.

In the strictest sense of the term, trigger is used to refer to experiences that “re-trigger” trauma in the form of flashbacks or overwhelming feelings of sadness, anxiety, or panic. The brain forms a connection between a trigger and the feelings with which it is associated, and some triggers are quite innocuous. For example, a person who smelled incense while being raped might have a panic attack when he or she smells incense in a store (Source).

It started over a week ago when I heard the tragic news about brothers who were beaten by their parents and other church members in a so-called counseling session.

A mother and father whipped their 19-year-old son in church with an electrical cord and what appeared to be a belt during a deadly, all-night spiritual counseling session triggered by his desire to leave the fold, according to witness testimony and police Friday. (Source)

This  19-year old, Lucas Leonard, died from the beatings, and his younger 17-yr old brother, Christopher, remained hospitalized. If you’d like to read more on this story, my friends at The Wartburg Watch blog have written an article: The Fatal Beating of a Teenager in a New York Church – We Are Outraged!

trigger, trigger, trigger

The very first week we arrived at Beaverton Grace Bible Church in 2006, a sweet teenager forewarned me that all teens at Beaverton Grace Bible Church will have counseling meetings with the pastor – – – for discipline issues.  That struck me as odd.  The teens were that bad? The parents were okay with these meetings?  Why weren’t the parents in the meetings? I filed that thought away and it was after leaving the church that I recalled the conversation.

I do not remember hearing about 10-hour counseling sessions with Chuck O’Neal and teens, but we know first-hand they were long, lasting certainly more than an hour, sometimes 2 or 3 hours, and longer. Those in the counseling hot seat were often beaten down spiritually and emotionally.

Reading about the beatings of the brothers in New York also reminded me of the teachings of Chuck O’Neal. He was very clear that if you had children and even adult children living in the home, and they were in sin, they needed to be disciplined with the rod. He said it didn’t matter what age they were, but we, as parents, were responsible for their “training” while they remained at home. I even remember him mentioning that “legal adult” age of 18 should make no difference because the Bible does not refer to any legal age. We were to obey the Bible before the laws of the land.

In Oregon, it is illegal to physically harm a legal adult. I can think of at least a handful of young adults who could report their parents for abuse, including my own adults, based on following the teachings of Chuck O’Neal.  At least one of my adult children was spanked, possibly two. We, as parents, were trying to be godly and raise our children the way our spiritual leader taught us. I’ve discussed this topic here before, and it’s heart-wrenching to think about, and yes, sometimes I am still saddened and angry that we trusted Chuck O’Neal to guide us in our parenting when followed some of his abusive teachings.

When the story of the beaten 19 and 17-yr old brothers broke, I tweeted that it had triggered me. I also tweeted that Chuck O’Neal had taught us to spank our adult children. Chuck did not respond to that tweet. There was complete and utter silence. But in return, I have been barraged with tweets from Tonya O’Neal and Chuck O’Neal over the weekend and through the week on issues they have against me. No surprises there. They respond to my tweets with links to Chuck’s blog against me (cuz all pastors have blogs against former members who expressed angst against them, right?).

Rather than be a shepherd to his flock, O’Neal has been using his time revamping his blogging efforts against me on other fabricated stories aimed to destroy my image. This is how it works with Chuck O’Neal. I hit a nerve and now he is retaliating. I really don’t care what he has to say about me publicly. I think his public behavior speaks for itself. But he is a fascinating case study on narcissism. It’s interesting to look at how he words things to his advantage. He’s taught me a lot (and it’s a lot cheaper than my college tuition, I might add).

Chuck O'Neal, Spank adult children, Beaverton Grace Bible Church

Chuck O’Neal’s old Twitter profile

Me thinks he should change his Twitter profile picture back to the one which more accurately portray how he spends his time:

Chuck O’Neal even stooped so low as to publish personal e-mails from my husband and me on his blog in an attempt to show what a good pastor he was to us then. He apparently missed the memo on pastoral confidentiality when he went to seminary. Oh wait, did he go to seminary? He did get a degree in psychology (he’s against psychology, that’s a whole other story). He would have learned about confidentiality in his psychology classes there, but Chuck O’Neal has always been “special”  – the rules don’t apply to him.

The personal e-mails he posted publicly mean nothing. The e-mails were sent to O’Neal a year before we left his church, while our daughter was in an unhealthy relationship. We were drinking the KoolAid then, and so obviously we would have been supportive of Chuck.

Chuck and Tonya have gone over the top this week. If you’d like to take a look, just scroll through Chuck’s Twitter feed. You will see that he is now going after my friends, R. L. Stollar (of Homeschoolers Anonymous), and Dee Parsons (The Wartburg Watch).

Chuck O'Neal, Spanking adult children, Beaverton Grace Bible Church

Chuck O'Neal, Spanking adult children, Beaverton Grace Bible Church Chuck O'Neal, Spanking adult children, Beaverton Grace Bible Church


He also goes after people who follow me on Twitter, using their tweets in his blog against me (as if I have any control over those who follow me on Twitter).

So anyway, that’s what’s been going on with me lately. Sometimes I lose my writing mojo when I’m reminded of yucky times where my family was harmed. Sometimes I have to just roll with it and cut myself some blogging slack. That’s what I’ve done. Thank you for your patience and for your support.




My Meeting with Heather Wilson to Discuss Doug Wilson & Sex Abuse Scandals

“Now where is the scandal in this?” ~Doug Wilson

Steven Sitler, Christ Church, Moscow ID, New Saint Andrews, Pedophile

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The Blogger at “Biblical Gender Roles” is Taken To Task Proving that His Discipline Advice is Really Domestic Violence

How Biblical Gender Role’s Discipline Advice is Actually Abuse

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Doug Wilson’s Christ Church and Handling of Sex Abuse Cases to be Investigated by Insider?

Doug Wilson, CREC, Christ Church, Moscow Idaho, Randy Booth, Steven Sitler, Jamin Wight, Sex Abuse, Pedophile

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Long-Time Moscow, Idaho Resident Challenges Doug Wilson’s Claims and Provides Factual Information

Pastor Doug Wilson, Christ Church, CREC, New Saint Andrews, Moscow Idaho, Steven Sitler, Sex Abuse, Trinity Reformed Church

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Doug Wilson Responds to Rod Dreher Article, Defends Perpetrator, Shames Sex Abuse Survivor and She Responds Back

Doug Wilson, Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho, CREC, Jamin Wight, Natalie Rose Greenfield, Sex Abuse, Rod Dreher

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

-by Kathi

purple ribbons

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the color for this cause is purple. I’ve been busy making purple ribbons and would love to offer one to you! If you would like a ribbon, please send your address to the SSB email (SpiritualSB@gmail.com) and I will send one off. If you have a preference for a lighter or darker purple, let me know. I have plenty of yarn!

The best thing you could do, though, is make yourself aware of resources in your area so you can help someone who is looking to leave an abusive relationship. A good place to start is the National Domestic Violence Hotline. You can also do a simple Google search with “domestic violence” and the name of your city or county which should bring up resources in your local area. Finally, you can follow the National Network to End Domestic Violence (#31n31) throughout the month to read survivor stories.

Now, if we could get NFL players to wear purple socks for part of the month….