Lourdes Torres, Alleged Victim in the Doug Phillips (Vision Forum) Sex Abuse Scandals Files Lawsuit

 

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Lourdes Torres, alleged victim in sex abuse scandal with Douglas Phillips of Vision Forum, has filed a lawsuit against Douglas Phillips

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The victim in the Doug Phillips sex abuse case has filed a lawsuit and in doing so, has chosen to publicly reveal her identity:  Lourdes Torres. She is one brave woman.  Go, Lourdes!

 

Vision Forum Lawsuit, Doug Phillips, Lourdes Torres, Sex Abuse Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 8.19.29 AM

 ** UPDATE April 16, 2014. At the end of this post, we’ve added a series of key facts and links to select news reports and blog articles. We plan to continue to grow these lists as opportunity allows. **

World Net Daily has the full story and it is a long one with photos and lots of details.  In the first link below is the legal complaint:

In the complaint filed in Kendall County District Court in Texas Tuesday morning, Phillips is accused of using a woman named Lourdes Torres, now 29, as “a personal sex object” over a period of five years.

I was alerted on Sunday of another development – that Lourdes Torres (aka Victim) was married Friday evening to a former Boerne Christian Assembly member, Nolan Manteufel.

We first got a glimpse that something was up with this Facebook profile picture which was updated over the weekend:

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vision forum, Doug Phillips, Lourdes Torres, Lourdes Manteufel, Sex scandal

 

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The lawsuit gets into graphic detail.

***********Trigger alert – Sexual Content************

 

Here are graphic details in the complaint. Phillips claimed he didn’t know her Biblically.  The following paragraph shows that he knew her pretty darn well.  Scroll down to the line of asterisks to get beyond the graphic part.

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Doug Phillips Sex Abuse Lawsuit, Lourdes Torres Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 8.14.49 AM

 

 

 

 

 

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My thoughts and prayers go to the Manteufels as they start their new life together and also as their private life will become very public. This is a very sad situation for all.

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UPDATE:   I had someone ask where they can send support or gift cards. I would be happy to try to organize this. Nolan or Lourdes or David Gibbs, if you are reading this and can contact me, I think there may be a lot of people who would like to offer support in a more tangible way.  ~Julie Anne (spiritualsb@gmail dot com)

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Pastoral Confidentiality: Does it Still Apply after Church Member Resigns?

 

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What is the responsibility of pastors for those they deem have “gone astray?” Do pastoral confidentiality rules apply even when someone resigns their church membership?

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Pastoral Confidentiality, church discipline, church membership

What message are we writing on the tablet of human hearts?

 

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The other day, I read an article, Stabbed in the Back by a Cult Leader and it left me feeling sad and angry. “Sheldon” is a young man who met with the pastor of his church of which he was a member for 12 years. The pastor barely knew Sheldon as he had only been there a couple of years. The purpose of Sheldon’s visit was to resign his church membership and to explain some very personal details that led to his decision:

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Since the abuse of my past played a role in the life experiences that led me there, I told him about how I was beaten until I was about 11 years old, forced off medication for my depression, barricaded in the house of my “parents” and threatened with violence when I tried to leave at 21 years old, and about the most recent of the abuse, “The Confrontation,” where just this past December, when I was forced to cut them out of my life, and they tried to break into my home and nearly assaulted me in front of a police officer.

I told him even if I could believe in Christianity again (which is a massive remove possibility), I couldn’t go back to a church as conservative as that church, and I definitely could not return to that church, for my own safety. When I told him this, I explicitly told him that I expected this to be confidential, my exact words were “this should not leave this office.” He never once objected to this, and I went on with the presumption that it would remain confidential.

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There is a lot that we can tear apart in Sheldon’s post: the way the Christians deal with mental health issues, corporal punishment, the idea of adult children as personal property, etc. Each one of those topics can get my ire up, especially as it crosses the lines into abuse. But what I’d like to discuss is this:

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The pastor did in fact reveal Sheldon’s personal details to the church body without Sheldon’s permission.

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Sheldon contacted the pastor to ask for confirmation that he had in fact revealed Sheldon’s personal information, and here is a the pastor’s response (pastor’s name removed).

 

Dear (legal name)
 
 
I would encourage you to meet with me about this issue for little can be said in an email with such a sensitive situation as this. It is true that I informed the congregation of your decision to leave (church name) and, as is my pastoral duty out of love for you, concern for Christ’s flock, and adherence [sic] to His word, I did inform them of the reason for your resignation as you have pursued a different faith than the one to which we adhere.

 

I was obligated biblically [sic] to do this, as our Lord prescribes that the church body have an opportunity to restore a church member who has gone astray. I never submit to rules of confidentiality that are superseded by a higher authority whether that of the state or of God’s Word. Further, I tried to call you, but I could not reach you by the phone number(s) that we possessed.

 

Therefore, I wrote you to communicate my intentions as you resigned the day of the business meeting. Once again, it is out of deep love and in obedience to God’s Word that I have performed these actions. You are more than welcome to touch base with me about this issue if you like. I have tried to go by your house to see you, but have been unsuccessful thus far. You are in our prayers.

Sincerely, 

Pastor ________

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I corresponded with Sheldon to get more information. Sheldon was not in church discipline. He voluntarily left his membership. The pastor sided with his parents.

 

What is the appropriate Biblical response to Sheldon’s situation?

Was the pastor within his right to disclose personal information to the church body?

Is it ever appropriate to share personal information to the church body?

If you were Sheldon’s pastor, how would you have handled this situation?

If you could say something to Sheldon (I have a hunch he’ll be reading), what words would you share with him?

 

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 Update: Sheldon sent me a photo of the letter that his former pastor dropped by yesterday.  This is ongoing harassment.  Sheldon has already resigned his membership.

 

Sheldon, pastor confidentiality, church membership, pastor harassment

 

___________,

I am deeply sorry for the misunderstanding associated with our encounter and my responsibility toward God and the church. The last thing I want is for there to be something else in the way of you coming to the truth. Please know that I care very much for you as many at Grace also do, and I would welcome an in person conversation with you.

 Sincerely,

Pastor ________

The Photo Promotion of C.J. Mahaney at Together for the Gospel

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C.J. Mahaney is pictured in front-row seats at the Together for the Gospel conference after publicly saying he would not participate due to the distraction of the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit.

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Note: Brent Detwiler graciously allowed me to cross-post the following article which was originally found at his site. SSB has covered the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit for quite some time. This article shows you the heart of the men who stood behind Mahaney and who continue to support him.  This bold move by C.J. Mahaney to show up at the Together for the Gospel conference is such a slap in the face to all of the victims and their families. This behavior shows unbelievable insensitivity not only to the participants, but to the victims and families of victims.  ~ja

Late Edit:  I asked Pam Palmer, mother of a plaintiff in the SGM lawsuit,  if she had any comments to share regarding this situation and she sent me this reply:

Sometimes I am at a loss for words on what to say at the insensitivity and callousness of C. J. Mahaney and the men who support him. What other conclusion can observant people come to when they see a disgraced (yet undisciplined) leader sitting in the front row at such a prominent event other than the men sitting with him approve of his 30+ year record of covering up child sex abuse.  ~Pam Palmer, mother of plaintiff in Sovereign Grace Ministry abuse lawsuit.

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The Photo Promotion of C.J. Mahaney at Together for the Gospel
Brent Detwiler
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 303 PM

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The Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference is currently going on in Louisville, KY. This photo shows Al Mohler, John MacArthur, Thabiti Anyabwile, John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, and Kevin DeYoung sitting together in the front row (left to right). The other men are all speakers. C.J. is not.

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CJ Mahaney, John Piper, John MacArthur, Kevin DeYoung, T4G2014, Together for the Gospel, lawsuit
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Nine months ago, C.J. issued a statement about withdrawing from the conference. Here are his remarks.

“After much prayer, reflection and counsel I have decided to withdraw from participation in the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference. My reason for doing so is simple: I love these men and this conference and I desire to do all I possibly can to serve the ongoing fruitfulness of T4G.

“Unfortunately, the civil lawsuit filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries, two former SGM churches and pastors (including myself), continues to generate the type of attention that could subject my friends to unfair and unwarranted criticism. Though dismissed in May (and now on appeal), the lawsuit could prove a distraction from the purpose of this important conference. My withdrawal is not intended to communicate anything about the merits of the suit. My decision simply reflects the reality that my participation could create a hindrance to this conference and its distinct purpose of serving so many pastors. My strong desire is to make sure this doesn’t happen. I believe the most effective way I can serve my friends who have supported me, and continue to support me, is by not participating in the 2014 conference.” (C.J. Mahaney, July 1, 2013)

 

C.J. was forced to withdraw from speaking even though one of the four original founders (Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever being the others). He may not be an official participant but he is a participant. That aside, this photo is a clear endorsement of C.J. It was taken by Melton Duncan and put on the internet. Melton is Ligon Duncan’s brother.

C.J. claims he didn’t want to subject his friends to “unfair and unwarranted criticism” or be “a hindrance to this conference.” Really? Then why in the world did he agree to sit in the front row in front of thousands of people? He should be sitting in the back row. This is a loud statement by C.J. that he’s back! Honesty, this photo promotion is an affront to every conferee who was opposed to C.J.’s participation.

I have benefited from the writings of Mohler, MacArthur, Anyabwile, Piper and DeYoung but I am greatly concerned for them! They are promoting a man who betrayed Covenant Life Church, stumbled thousands of people by his hypocrisy, divided Sovereign Grace Ministries, and manage a conspiracy to cover up sex abuse for over 30 years. Those are the facts. None of these men have studied the evidence. In saying so, I am believing the best of these men in the parlance of SGM. If they knew the facts, and studied the evidence, they would remove C.J. from ministry; not have him sitting in the front row next to them.

An appeal. Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, John MacArthur, John Piper, Thabiti Anyabwile, Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor – please attend the May 12-16 criminal trial of Nathaniel Morales for the sexual abuse of boys in C.J.’s former church under C.J.’s leadership. C.J. knew full well about these abuses but did nothing. He did not report to law enforcement, alert others in harm’s way, or stop the predator. As a result, Morales went on to abuse other youth in other states including stepsons. This is all due to C.J.’s cover up of his crimes. Honesty, C.J. should be put in jail, not in the box seats at T4G. Your support of him is a betrayal of all the victims in Sovereign Grace Ministries. Like C.J., you need to repent!

A request. I want to meet or video conference with the nine of you in private in order to present the overwhelming evidence of a widespread conspiracy to commit and cover up sex abuse in Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Ministries. Your support of C.J. is unconscionable. This should meet with no objection if you are interested in the truth. C.J. is welcome to participate. I am also glad to talk individually. Please contact me at abrentdetwiler@gmail.com.

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Recommended Reading

C.J. Mahaney Withdraws from Together for the Gospel & Founders Remove Statement of Support
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung and Justin Taylor Defend C.J. Mahaney Against Charges in SGM Sex Abuse Scandal
Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Flagship Church of Sovereign Grace Ministries Announces Plans to Leave
November 5, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Grant Layman & the Conspiracy Surrounding Nathaniel Morales
Friday, July 26, 2013 at 5:10 PM

 

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Calvary Chapel Pastor Bob Coy’s Story of Moral Corruption Leads Calvary Chapel Members to Share Their Personal Stories

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The moral scandal of mega-church pastor Bob Coy leads others to come forward to tell their personal stories of corruption and abuse among the Calvary Chapel franchise of churches.

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You may have heard of the recent scandal by Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale Pastor Bob Coy.  The church elders called a special church meeting on Sunday where it was announced:

“On April 3, 2014, Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church he has led since its founding in 1985.” (Source)

58-yr old Bob Coy with his wife founded Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale nearly 30 years ago. The church reportedly has over 20,000 attendees and a staff of over 1,000 at 10 different campuses.

Michael Newnham at Phoenix Preacher blog reported:

We have confirmed  that Coy has admitted to at least two affairs in the past year alone and has had a long standing “problem with pornography”.

Word of this scandal was first leaked in an anonymous comment on the Calvary Chapel Abuse blog run by Alex Grenier.

Alex Grenier began Calvary Chapel Abuse blog four years ago to go public with accounts of alleged abuse and corruption among the Calvary Chapel family of churches and to give others an opportunity to share their stories.  Incidentally, Alex Grenier was sued by his step-father, Calvary Chapel Visalia Bob Grenier, for publicly speaking out about alleged abuse he, his brothers (physical and sexual), church staff, and church members (spiritual abuse) at Calvary Chapel Visalia incurred.  This defamation lawsuit is now in appeals.  (Calvary Chapel Visalia Pastor Bob Grenier Lawsuit and Sex Abuse)

Alex Grenier had this to say on his blog about the Coy scandal and the lack of accountability at Calvary Chapel churches in general:

Coy will suffer loss for his sin. He was a big boy and took risks and made the choices he made and now it’s time to pay the piper. Many don’t get caught in Calvary Chapel and they get away with their sin for many years. My step-dad is one such example. I have more sympathy for a “moral” issue like Coy’s appears to be than I do for someone who hurts kids…but regardless, we’re all sinners and we all need Jesus. None of us get “transformed” and none of us can meet the standard…even after we’re supposedly saved. That is the great myth of Calvary Chapel’s brand of Christianity*…there is no such thing as the “transformation” gospel. We’re all still sinners after we’re saved and we’re all just as capable of sinning as we were before we were saved…which is why we NEED ACCOUNTABILITY measures in place to protect kids and to have open finances to keep things on the up-and-up with the Jesus money. (Bob Coy to resign as senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale: Update 4/6/14)

This scandal has brought scores of people to Alex’s site, wreaking havoc on the server. At one point there were over 3,700 visitors at one time. Alex said that this amount of traffic is far more than when the story broke of Chuck Smith’s death. But large traffic is not new to CCA. It continues even when there is not a consistent flow of new articles. Why is that????

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It is important to note that Calvary Chapel churches use the Moses Model of church governance. This system of governance, I believe, creates an environment ripe for corruption and abuse to take place because there is little to no accountability among the pastors. Here is part of an interview from 2007 in which Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith (now deceased) describes the Moses Model system:

“We take the model from the work that God established in the nation of Israel,” Smith says. “Moses was the leader appointed by God. He took 70 men, and they assisted Moses in overseeing the mundane types of issues that developed within the nation. There was the priesthood under Aaron.” Similarly, he says, “we have assistant pastors, and they look to me as the senior pastor. I’m responsible to the Lord. We have a board of elders. We go over the budget. The people recognize that God has called me to be the leader of this fellowship. We are not led by a board of elders. I feel my primary responsibility is to the Lord. And one day I’m going to answer to him, not to a board of elders.” (Source)

For more information, including diagrams, on the Moses Model system and why it is problematic, please see this article:  Calvary Chapel, Chuck Smith, The Moses Model: Let the Little Dogs Bark!

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It’s interesting to note that in this franchise of churches of which each church is governed independently, they sure know how to come together quickly and efficiently to do damage control and internet scrubbing when there is a scandal. Michael Newnham made this observation:

There is no more bizarre, anti-Christian ritual in evangelicalism than the expunging of a man’s life work from the church and the internet when he falls. Coy has been deleted from the CCA website and they are wiping the CCFTL site as fast as they can. (Things I Think)

When you have a corrupt system, sometimes leaders will face the consequences of their sin or moral failure, sometimes they go on with life and continue their ministry work without getting caught.  In the comment section at Calvary Chapel Abuse blog, a personal story from Lianne shows us what it’s like when a leader does not get caught and she, the wife, and now victim, is left to face the consequences of that corrupt system.

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I am a former CC wife. Former is the key word! My ex husband was in ministry in South Florida. He was heavily influenced by CCCM Pastors who viewed me as too worldly to be his wife. They planted many lies in his head about me that had no merit but that he very much took to heart.

What I did not know was two years before we had met, my ex husband had confessed to the head Pastor his sexual issues including visiting strip clubs and buying pornography. His punishment was a month off and then right back into Ministry. Not once during marriage counseling did either one of them disclose this very important information to me.

What took place after our wedding was nothing short of a living hell. I had no clue the seriousness of his sexual addiction. He was still being encouraged to be in full time ministry. Yet I was the one being blamed for any problems he had.

We were later transferred to a Central Florida CC where he was on staff. The Head Pastor walked around with body guards! If you attempted to approach him, you were immediately swarmed by them. It was rather ridiculous considering the size of the CC. This is where I became very disillusioned with CC.

When you attend church as a member, it is far different than attending as a spouse of a staff member. You here [sic] them talk about people, you hear them being petty and cheap, spending money else where rather than helping others. It’s where you see church being ran as a business rather than as a place to help and minister to others.

My ex husbands sexual issues continued to run rampet [sic], so much so he was caught at church having viewed several pornographic material. Once again, nothing was done. I was scolded told I needed to be more sexual for my husband everything would be ok!

This same year I discovered his former Pastor was forced to resign from his position due to sexual harassment of another staff members wife. What happened after was sickening. He was called back to CCCM by the founder to serve as Associate Pastor. He was eventually fired from CC but not until the damage was done.

My ex was a fraud. He preached dating wasn’t of God. He preached not to be alone with any girl or to hold hands. Not kissing before marriage. Yet behind close doors he was having disgusting sexual conversations with woman online and had an active membership to a pornography store in town. Yes everyone makes mistakes and everyone sins. But that is why God holds Pastors and teachers to a higher standard than anyone else. If you can’t live it yourself, you have no business preaching it to anyone else. It’s spiritually damaging to believe in someone, trust someone, especially with your faith and to find out they are living a double life.

It took me years to get over the emotional brainwashing and abuse that took place while I was with him. Total character association placing all his faults on me because the church needed him. For a long time I believed I was at fault. I wasn’t good enough but God finally opened my eyes to the lies I was believing. He never intended for me to be hurt and used the way this man treated me. My ex chose it, not God. He will one day at judgement answer to God for what he put me through. My ex would not get help. Would not stop lying or cheating. He didn’t want me to leave, but he also did not plan to repent and fix what he was doing.

After much prayer, I took the out the Lord gave me and divorced him. I am finally healed from the damage both physically, emotionally and spiritually inflicted by these CC pastors.

I attended CCFTL for many years. Even before it was the mega church it is today. I loved Pastor Bob! Still do. I am very saddened to hear he himself was living a double standard. I ache for his wife and kids. It feels like a nuclear bomb is dropped on you when you discover your Pastor, husband and spiritual leader is betraying you. That he cared more about his needs than keeping the sacred vows he made to you before God. CCFTL’s staff did the right thing by asking for his resignation. When you marry a Pastor you would believe you’d be safe from dealing with any of this. After all, no one knows the Bible inside and out like they do, especially CC pastor’s who pride themselves on commentary and chapter by chapter vs by vs to keep it all in context. Unfortunately it’s not the case at all.

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Related links:

Calvary Chapel Pastor Bob Grenier: Stories of Abuse As Told by His Children

Calvary Chapel Visalia Pastor Bob Grenier Files Lawsuit against ..

Alex Grenier Responds to Notice of Imminent Lawsuit by Calvary Chapel Visalia & Pastor Bob Grenier

 

Does the Christian Newswire Support the Subjugation of Women? The Freedom for Christian Women Coalition Censored by the Agency

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Cindy Kunsman responds to the censorship of the FreeCWC’s petition demanding an apology from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

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Note from Julie Anne:  This article, by Cindy Kunsman was originally posted at her blog,  Under Much Grace, and she has given me permission to post it here.  Cindy has an encyclopedia of information at her blog on spiritual abuse she has studied and observed in the Homeschool Movement subcultures.  She has greatly benefited the Spiritual Abuse Survivor community and I’m so thankful for her work in this area.  ~JA

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Christian Newswire Image Blog

The Freedom for Christian Women Coalition (FreeCWC) and Jocelyn Andersen have used the Christian Newswire in times past to distribute press releases. The news service featured an announcement of the Seneca Falls 2 Evangelical Women’s Rights Convention on July 2, 2010, noting the formation of the FreeCWC.

 

Perhaps that is why the Coalition was so shocked to learn this morning that the Christian news distribution service, a subsidiary of the Christian Communication Network, has decided to censure their press release concerning the petition to the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). The FreeCWC decided to wait to submit a press release to celebrate the collection of 200 signatures, and the submission was made by co-founder Andersen on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 10:55 AM. Christian Newswire sent the notice of decline by email on the evening of April 6th.

Christian Newswire

Andersen spoke with an individual named Gary McCullough at the agency on the morning of April 7th. She was told that a committee reviews submissions, and it was their decision to “not distribute” the news release. McCullough would not disclose the reason for the censure.

Read the email that Andersen received as well as the original press release below.

We encourage the public to contact Mr. McCullough to let him know how disappointed we are that the Christian Newswire will only support press releases in favor of the subjugation of women.

And naturally, the reader is invited to sign the petition if they have not already done so.

Also of interest is the appearance of the Biblical Womanhood Statement arising from Southwestern Baptist TheologicalPetition Chorus of voices Seminary (SWBTS). One wonders how this substantially differs from the True Woman Manifesto and their program. The Associated Baptist Press published an article suggesting that this new initiative at SWBTS was a response to the FreeCWC petition. Read more about the president of the seminary, his wife, and their participation with CBMW at a recent article at The Wartburg Watch.

Apparently, they’re also preparing to make a submission to the Christian Newswire. May theirs be approved.

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From: Dan McCullough dan@christiannewswire.com

To: Jocelyn Andersen, newsdesk

Subject:We have chosen not to distribute your news release “Freedom for Christian Women Coalition petitions CBMW to repent of war against women”

Apr 6, 2014 11:44:12 PDT
Receipt No: 2601-5764-1199-0128

Dear jocelyn e. andersen,

Christian Communication Network just sent you a full refund of $140.00 USD for your purchase.  If you have any questions about this refund, please contact Christian Communication Network.  This refund will appear on your credit card statement as credit from PAYPAL *CHRISTIANCO. If you have any questions, please contact Christian Communication Network.

Dan McCullough,
Christian Communication Network
2020 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20006
202.546.0054
www.ChristianNewswire.com

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Freedom for Christian Women Coalition

petitions CBMW to repent of war against women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

In 2010, the newly formed Freedom for Christian Women Coalition (FreeCWC) sent by FedEx a demand that the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) apologize for their destructive teachings against women as outlined in the Danvers Statement, a harmful document released in 1987 which has united churches across denominational  lines and has been adopted and implemented within denominations and local churches worldwide.

To date, almost four years later, CBMW’s response has been dead silence.

Al's TweetHowever, in 2010, Al Mohler, a council member of CBMW and President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary which is headquarters to CBMW—an influential seminary that aggressively supports the oppression of women through the precepts of the Danvers Statement—did attempt to censure FreeCWC through a tweet suggesting that supporters of  the Apology Demand seemed to be “confused and poorly organized.”

After four years with no response from CBMW, the FreeCWC has now taken their demand to Change.org in the form of a petition to Owen Strachan, Executive Director of CBMW.

With 200+ signatures, and rising, Christian men and women are uniting in demanding change within the evangelical community regarding the derogatory attitudes and teachings against women propagated through CBMW, an organization committed to the complete subjugation of women both on earth and—according to Dr. Bruce Ware, a council member of CBMW, Professor of Christian Theology, and Father-In-Law to Executive Director Owen Strachan—throughout eternity.

The petition can be viewed and signed at: http://chn.ge/NrF3eV

Co-founder of FreeCWC, Shirley Taylor, and Special Consultant to FreeCWC, Cindy Kunsman, are both available for comment.

Shirley Taylor can be reached by email at: bwebaptist.women AT live DOT com

Cindy Kunsman can be reached by email at: undermuchgrace AT gmail DOT com

History of FreeCWC and the Apology Demand at ABPNews/Religious Herald:

Links to FreeCWC:

List of Christian Expressions or Phrases that Are Churchy or Christianese that can Trigger Negative Church Experiences

 

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Popular phrases or expressions heard in Christian churches or groups that now identify as “churchy” or Christianese and now sometimes annoy the heck out of those of us who have been hurt in church.

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CENTER

photo credit: Joshua Daniel O. via photopin cc

 

This is Sunday and some of you/us may have difficulty going to church for a number of reasons. The other day I was at praise and worship practice and heard an expression that I realized embodied churchy lingo. The leader asked for us all to gather for a “word of prayer.” A word of prayer? Why “a word?” Prayer consists of a lot of words.  Anyway, it was just an expression that just smacked of Christianese.  It made me wonder why we have strange lingo that outsider might not understand? Why do we have to be so “churchy?”

And then I was thinking about the fact that some church phrases annoy me for other reasons.  Here’s one: “with every head bowed and every eye closed.” Why did they want all of us to close our eyes? What was going on in the church when my eyes were closed? I had to know. Sometimes that phrase doesn’t bother me, but at other times, it does. It takes me back to a time in my childhood at an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church that was quite legalistic.  I got in trouble because my dress was too short. I was very tall and growing like a weed. My mom worked full-time and it was hard for her to find clothes to fit me. I felt humiliated and embarrassed, so sometimes, when I hear that phrase, it takes me back to that time and it feels very uncomfortable. I wish that phrase never existed. It really isn’t necessary to have every head bowed and eyes closed. That’s just extra nonsense.

I thought of a few more that might yield similar results:

Accept Jesus as your personal Savior

Ask Jesus in your heart

Let’s have a word of prayer

Offering plate

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Do you have any more phrases or words to add to this list?  What are some phrases or words that are churchy to you?  Do you have some that trigger bad memories or feelings?

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Tony Miano: A Case Study in Spiritual Abuse and Bully Behavior

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Digging a little deeper, analyzing the public words and behavior of Tony Miano. Does his behavior reflect a spiritual abuser and bully?  Is this a man who should be in public ministry open air preaching and evangelizing?

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Tony Miano’s Ministry of Honor, Genuine Love, and Righteousness by Truthful Speech? Or Not?

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Does Tony Miano’s ministry show kindness, genuine love, truthful speech and honor, or is he heralding slander instead of God’s Holy Word?

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Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 3 – The Timeline

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This is an account of the Douglas Phillips’ sex abuse scandal as told by sources close to Phillips’ former business and ministry, Vision Forum, and church, Boerne Christian Assembly. It chronicles when people discovered the depth of his adulterous relationship and describes actions they took.

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 Note: This article is Part 3 in a series:

  1. Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 1 – The Puzzle of Control
  2. Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 2 – The Victim

 

Introduction:  There will be a bit of overlap from the previous article in order to present a complete timeline.  This article has been compiled based on information I have gathered and a timeline of notes sent to me by a person who has had a birds-eye view of Doug Phillips and his ministry for many years. Before publishing, it was checked by other sources to ensure that the account is as accurate as possible. Doug Phillips’ victim will be referred to as “Victim” throughout the article, and the Sources will remain unnamed. ~ja

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Doug Phillips, Vision Forum Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.03.20 PM

Over the past several months there have been many articles published about the fall of Douglas W. Phillips. Much of what has been published by a certain blog covering these stories has been exaggerated and inaccurate, motivated by bitterness and hate against Doug Phillips and his teachings more than a pure desire for the truth.

Meanwhile, several sources within the community of Boerne Christian Assembly (BCA) near San Antonio, Texas, and Vision Forum have come forward with their personal accounts. These sources have direct contact with Victim. The desire of these sources and all the people involved in this unfortunate situation is to see that Doug Phillips is never again in a leadership or ministry position.

The Victim of Doug Phillips will remain unnamed in this article, as will the Sources.

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Background

Victim and her family were members of Boerne Christian Assembly (BCA) for many years.  She and her family helped out in the Phillips home over the years, but not on a consistent basis. She did work as nanny at times for the Phillips family and cared for children on trips, but this was not a full-time job.

Doug Phillips began grooming Victim after she was legally an adult. This led to an emotional affair, and later, a physical and sexual relationship. The guarding of this adultery is at the center of Doug Phillips’ eventual downfall.

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2007 through 2010: “Grooming” Becomes Adultery

In 2007, this illicit relationship became sexual. To be clear, Doug Phillips was honest about one thing and that was that he “did not ‘know’ his victim in the biblical sense.” In 2007, the victim began spending more time in the Phillips home and with the Phillips family. She was considered a close family friend at that point. Also in 2007, Phillips employed Victim to write Jonathan Park radio drama scripts with his daughter in an effort to spend more time with her. This was a paid position and provided Doug more opportunities to spend more time with Victim in his home after his children had gone to bed.

In 2008, Doug Phillips was confronted by a member of BCA and friend of Victim, but there was no evidence to prove his guilt. Many people at this time began to notice the relationship with Doug and Victim, but no one had real and hard evidence of any wrong behavior other than it just did not look right.

In 2009, Victim’s mother caught Doug Phillips and Victim having sexual-based chat sessions in the middle of the night. Doug, his wife, Beall, and Victim’s parents met. This was the first time Doug and Beall and Victim’s parents met together. Doug confessed to having romantic feelings for Victim, but there was no acknowledgement of any sexual impropriety. At the time, Victim did not disclose any sexual impropriety, but only the romantic feelings they shared together.

In October 2010, Beall Phillips was made aware of the adulterous nature of the relationship when Victim’s mother informed her that Doug and Victim had been kissing. Also in 2010, Doug Phillips sent Victim’s parents on a vacation, perhaps as an attempt to “buy” them off.

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2011 through 2012: First Private Confrontation; Double-Life Unravels

In the summer of 2011, while in Paris, Doug was confronted by Peter Bradrick (his Vision Forum Executive Assistant) regarding the inappropriate behavior Doug was exhibiting towards Victim in public. Doug denied that anything was going on. Many people were suspicious that there was something inappropriate going on between Doug and Victim, but no one had any proof yet.

Doug told Victim they were soul mates. He told her he loved her and had promised they’d eventually get married and have children together. During these years, the relationship with Victim ebbed and flowed. Doug worked very hard at keeping prospective courters away from his victim. Victim also affirmed her affections towards Phillips.

Despite what others have claimed, Doug and Victim were not seen holding hands at the 2012 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (founded by Doug in 2004), and Doug did not give her an engagement ring (Victim’s friend gave her a costume jewelry ring).

In December 2012, Doug’s double life began to unravel when he was caught trying to climb in Victim’s bedroom window. Victim’s father and brother chased Doug down the street with a gun until Doug stepped under a street light, revealing his identity. The relationship with Victim ended on that day, and reports that they were still seeing each other throughout 2013 are completely fabricated.

Around this time, Victim finally divulged to her parents the extent of her relationship with Doug Phillips.

After Doug Phillips was caught trying to enter Victim’s bedroom window, there was another private meeting between Doug, Beall, and Victim’s parents. They agreed to keep things quiet. BCA elder Bob Sarratt was not notified.

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January to August 2013: Cover-Up Efforts and Changes

In January 2013, Doug Phillips told Bob Sarratt that he was resigning from BCA leadership in order to spend more time with his family. This is the same reason Doug told the congregation of BCA for his stepping down. The Phillips family even sent an email to several friends and ministry leaders around the country, asking them to listen to the sermon Doug preached regarding his resignation. So, not only did Doug deceive his congregation and its elders, he misled and deceived others by leading them to believe this resignation was purely to focus on his family.

The week after Doug resigned, Victim and her family sat down with Bob Sarratt and told him the truth. Bob was understandably devastated and completely unsure of how to handle the situation. At that time, Victim’s family stopped attending BCA permanently and started attending a church in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Bob Sarratt, Doug and Beall Phillips, Victim, and her family all agreed to keep the sins of Doug Phillips confidential and tell no one. The elders at the Fredericksburg church became aware of the situation at the time but also had no idea what to do about it.

On February 28, Scott Brown, long-time Vision Forum friend, posted an article, “What does True Repentance Look Like?

In March, Jeff Horn becomes “provisional elder” at Boerne Christian Assembly.

Between February and August of 2013, life went on for Doug Phillips apparently as planned — until Victim started talking to people in August of 2013 and telling her story.

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August-October 2013: Cover-Up Collapses; Phillips Resigns

On August 7, 2013, Doug posted an article entitled, “True Repentance – A Key to Family Blessing.

Late August 2013, Jeff Horn at BCA found out about Doug Phillips’ sexual scandal.

On September 5-7, Doug spoke at a conference put on by FORGE Ministries, “Engage the Battle” and “Master’s Plan for Fatherhood.”

On September 9, Doug did some damage control. He met with the board of Vision Forum Ministries and confessed to them, saying he had only kissed Victim a few times and did not have intercourse with her.

In September and October, Doug was quietly planning his resignation, on his terms. He was going to step down from leadership and cancel all speaking engagements. Please be clear Doug Phillips was not doing this because he was repentant. He was doing it because he now had to.

In October, several people from the San Antonio community who had knowledge of the situation contacted one of the five men who eventually confronted Doug at his home on October 29. They alerted him to what Victim had told them. This man called the Victim to confirm what he had been told. He then called several other men to break the news to them and they went into action. This included contacting Pastor Joe Morecraft. Reports that Pastor Morecraft found out about Doug Phillips’ sins while on a trip to Greece in September 20-29, 2013, are completely false; he never found out until he was called and told about it in October 2013.

On October 29,  five men went to Doug Phillips’ home to confront him. These were: former Vision Forum associates/staffers Peter Bradrick and Jordan Muela, former Vision Forum assistant Bob Renaud, friend and pastor Joe Morecraft, and Doug’s old college friend Mark Weaver. These men took time off from their jobs, spent their own money for air fare, and flew in from various parts of the country in order to confront Doug.

Beall was present at this confrontation. Doug and Beall were furious that these long-time friends came to confront Doug. Instead of receiving the counsel of his friends, Doug spent time in the meeting trying to claim he did not commit adultery and that he was working through the situation with his local church and Vision Forum Ministries board. His longtime friends just wanted him to make a full confession and own his own sin, along the exact lines of his own email which he sent out back in August 7 entitled, “True Repentance.” Doug refused the counsel of his friends.  

On October 30, Bob Sarratt called an emergency meeting with the men of BCA so Doug could confess his sins. That same day, the Statement of Resignation by Doug Phillips was released on Vision Forum Ministries’ website.

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November 2013: Responses and Damage Control Attempts

The public posting of Doug Phillips’ resignation from Vision Forum Ministries on October 30th triggered actions on multiple fronts from organizations, prominent public figures, and private individuals. Many of these were paralleled by apparent attempts at damage control by Doug Phillips. There was also intense online scrutiny of and blogging about many of the people and organizations involved — or that were speculated to have been involved.

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Early Responses by Confronters, Victim, Vision Forum Ministries Board, and BCA

In early November of 2013, during the week after the release of Doug’s resignation letter, the five men who confronted Doug at his home revealed the details about the depth and deception of Doug’s sins to the board of Vision Forum Ministries. The Vision Forum board acted swiftly, deciding to close the entire ministry and giving the Phillips family 60 days to vacate their home, which Vision Forum owned. And, on November 11, the closing of Vision Forum Ministries was announced by the board. (Note: The board members of Vision Forum Ministries have been painted in a very poor light by a number of blogs. But, in reality, they acted very quickly and appropriately once they had received the truth. The same suspicion and speculation from a number of blogs also put in a poor light those men who confronted Doug Phillips privately and directly but to no avail.)

A week following the October 29th confrontation at the Phillips’ home, Victim had Doug and Beall Phillips served with a Cease and Desist letter in order to stop them from defaming her. This Cease and Desist letter gives evidence that there was no demonstration of true repentance from Doug Phillips. And, sadly, even his wife Beall was saying unspeakable things about the Victim to members of the community.

Also in November of 2013, Elder Bob Sarratt and Provisional Elder Jeff Horn publicly rebuked Doug Phillips in front of the BCA congregation for his adultery and his deception.  

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Some Key Response Pieces

On November 2, 2013, came the first news of anyone publicly saying they knew that Doug Phillips had stepped down as an elder at BCA. This was from Doug’s friend, Voddie Baucham — and it was published about eight months after the fact of Doug’s resignation as BCA elder.

On November 10, Scott Brown, a long-time friend of the Phillips, preached a sermon entitled, “The Smell of Apostasy.” This led people to believe Brown was preaching about the Phillips’ scandal.

On November 13, pastor and patriarchy proponent Doug Wilson mentioned the Phillips scandal in his blog post. He put the blame on the Victim, characterized her as a Delilah, and compared her to a stripper.

On November 14, Doug Phillips posted a follow-up to his original statement of “repentance,” a Clarification on Resignation. He issued this second follow-up statement because the Vision Forum Ministries board believed his first statement was misleading and deceptive. The first letter made it look like this was just an emotional affair, when in fact, Doug confessed to his board and church to a “long-term inappropriate relationship.”

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2014: Recent Actions and Concluding Thoughts

On January 1, 2014, the remaining BCA elders responded to the implorings received from several godly men for them to release a statement quickly about former BCA elder Doug Phillips. The result was a pitiful statement released by the elders of BCA.

On March 13, Doug Phillips’ attorney sent a letter to three former Vision Forum associates — Bob Renaud, Jordan Muela, and Peter Bradrick — threatening a lawsuit. According to a recent article in World magazine, that letter states, “The three of you have conspired together, and with others, in an attempt to destroy Doug Phillips, his family and Vision Forum Inc.”

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Final Thoughts

This is an account of the double life of Douglas Winston Phillips, as has been exposed to date. This is not the story of a simple “emotional affair” as he had portrayed it. In fact, Doug Phillips apparently continues to refuse using the biblical definition for this illicit affair — adultery — but that is what his church elders called it, and that is what it should be called. Also, Sources note that since the BCA elders rebuked Doug publicly in November of 2013, he has allegedly been slandering the various men who stood up against him. And now his letter to three men indicates potential legal action to protect his reputation and resources. Are these the humble actions of a repentant man, as Doug Phillips himself would have people believe?

The Victim was groomed to play the role she did. Although she was apparently over the age of majority when Doug Phillips began drawing her into his orbit, the fact that he was in a clergy role of authority over her still brings in legal implications of clergy sexual abuse according to definitions in Texas state law, as noted in an earlier post. Regardless of grooming and activity, she was still his Victim. Since choosing to tell her account of the facts, which she began doing in August of 2013, she has continued moving toward healing and health as a Survivor of spiritual and sexual abuse by Doug Phillips.

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Homeschool Mom Responds to the Doug Phillips Scandal and His Influence in Patriarchy, Christian Homeschool Movement and Conferences

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A homeschool mother responds to the influence of Doug Phillips in Patriarchy, in the Homeschool Movement, in Christian Homeschool Conferences, and how it has affected her family and her faith.

*** Continue reading

Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 2 – The Victim

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The Account of Doug Phillips and the Victim

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All forms of sexual behavior or harassment with clients are unethical, even when a client invites or consents to such behavior or involvement. ~American Association of Pastoral Counselors

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Note:  This article is Part 2 in a series.  The first part is Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 1 – The Puzzle of Control.

I have written the majority of this article in my own words based on information sent to me and many hours on the phone with a specific person who has had a birds-eye view of Doug Phillips and his ministry for many years.  Before publishing, it has then been checked by other sources to ensure that the account is as accurate as possible.  Doug Phillips’ victim will be referred to as “Victim” throughout the article.  ~ja

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Doug Phillips, Vision Forum Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.03.20 PM

Doug Phillips

Douglas Phillips, the man who founded Vision Forum Ministries, spoke strongly about family values, modesty/purity, about the role of fathers in Christian home, loving their wives, etc. He also got himself entangled in a sexual affair with a young woman from his church.  He continued speaking at conferences and conventions with his wife by his side, acting as if their marriage was fine for many years while his heart was with another young woman.

Who was this young woman? 
How did her family not see what was going on? 
What was their response when the truth came out?

The Victim’s family were long-time members at Boerne Christian Assembly (BCA). They were a humble and hard-working family. The father spoke in broken English, the mother had better command of the English language. They were passionate folks who lived within their means. Their work ethic and good character earned them respect within the BCA community.

Another notable man, billionaire James Leininger, was also friends with the Victim’s family through BCA.  Leininger, who previously attended BCA, donated a house to Vision Forum Ministries, which became the Phillips family home while Phillips was head of the ministry. The Victim’s family had worked for the Leiningers and the Victim’s brother is currently employed at one of Leininger’s businesses.

Over the years, Victim spent time with the Phillips family. It has been reported that she was a full-time nanny.  Although she did work as a nanny and helped them in other ways from time to time, it was never full-time or on a consistent basis. She did, however, travel with the Phillips on some of their trips and helped with the children on those trips and at home.

The victim was a simple young lady. She became interested in health and fitness and educated herself in those topics.  Health and fitness became a priority for herself and consequently she was healthy and fit. At BCA, special attention is given to appropriate modesty guidelines and Victim adhered to them, i.e., she didn’t wear skirts too short, or revealing outfits.  However, even with those guidelines, nobody could miss that she was in good shape, quite attractive, and made heads turn when she entered a room.

Victim’s parents were not opposed to her going to college. And perhaps this might have occurred had Phillips not been so involved with her.

Victim stayed closely connected with the BCA community and as a result, she was not very street-smart.  She was naive, especially about things of a sexual nature. Most likely it was because of this naivety that Doug Phillips was able to successfully groom her. It has been reported that she was groomed as a minor. This is not true. All of the sexual grooming occurred after she was a legal adult and this information has been validated by both Phillips and Victim.

What was it about Victim that attracted Phillips?  As previously mentioned, Victim’s physical beauty certainly played into the picture. But she also had an engaging personality, was kind, and loved to serve people and make them happy.

Phillips was smitten by her and eventually began grooming Victim.  The grooming of Victim eventually led to an emotional affair.  In 2007, the relationship became sexual.  Phillips was honest in that he did not “know” Victim in the physical sense, i.e., there was no sexual intercourse, but there was sexual touching.  This information has been corroborated by both Victim and Phillips a number of times.

During this time, the victim was spending much more time at the Phillips’ home and was considered to be a close family friend.

In 2007, Phillips began employing Victim to write Jonathan Parks scripts with his daughter in an effort to spend more time with her. This was a paid position. Despite what others have said, Victim was compensated for her work on Jonathan Parks project. This provided Phillips more opportunities to spend time with her in his home after the children had gone to bed.

Phillips was confronted by a member of BCA and friend of Victim in 2008, but there was no evidence to prove his guilt. Many people at this time began to notice the relationship with Phillips and Victim, but no one had real and hard evidence of any wrong behavior other than it just did not look right.

In 2009,  Victim’s mother caught Phillips and Victim having sexual-based chat sessions in the middle of the night. Doug and his wife, Beall, met with Victim’s parents. This was the first time the Doug and Beall and Victim’s parents met together. Doug confessed to having romantic feelings for Victim, but there was no acknowledgement of any sexual impropriety. At the time, Victim did not disclose any sexual impropriety, but only the feelings they shared together.

Phillips told Victim they were soul mates. He told her he loved her and had promised they’d eventually get married and have children together. During these years, the relationship with Victim ebbed and flowed. Phillips worked very hard at keeping prospective courters away from Victim. There is a story published on a specific blog about an engagement ring.  That story is not true.

There were quite a few men who expressed interest in courting Victim. But Phillips did everything he could to keep her affections turned towards him, even going as far as telling Victim, “that in every other generation of the Phillips’ family, the wife dies early, so she would only have to wait.”  This statement was not to imply in any way that Doug was planning on killing his wife. This was said based solely on the early demise of wives in the Phillips’ family.

In turn, Victim also loved Doug Phillips and was willing to wait for him so they could eventually get married.  She had a servant’s heart and seemed to “blow sunshine” in Phillips’ direction. Phillips loved this affirmation and his heart drew to hers even more.

Beall Phillips was made aware of the adulterous nature of the relationship at least by October 2010 when Victim’s mother informed her that Doug Phillips and Victim had been kissing. Beall, at this point, had enough of Victim, and began to get other young ladies to help her with the children at home and on trips.

Doug Phillips’ double life starting to unravel in December 2012 when he was caught trying to climb through Victim’s bedroom window. Victim’s father and brother chased Phillips down the street with a shotgun until Doug stepped under a street light, revealing his identity. The relationship with Victim ended on that day.

It is interesting to note that to this day, Victim admits that she has sinned, feeling that she herself should have stopped the relationship sooner.  As Victim has been sharing the story to her friends, she has made it very clear that she wants to confess her sins and wants Phillips to come clean and do the same.  She is not trying to play “victim” in order to gain anyone’s sympathy.

Where is Victim now?

Victim is living in her own apartment and attends a new church, the same church her parents attend.  She remains close with her parents.  She is employed and is doing as well as can be expected.

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Clergy Sex Abuse and Legal Considerations

This final section expresses my own understanding and opinions of this situation, based on the specifics that have been made known to me and the general patterns of abuse and victimization that I am all too aware of.

Victim’s response of accepting responsibility for “her part” in the sexual affair is very typical of those who have been sexually violated in a clergy/victim situation.  It is my firm belief that she is not to blame and she is a true victim.  She is not responsible for Doug Phillips’ fall in any way.  Doug Phillips was in a position of trust and authority over Victim.  He knew her for many years while she was a minor and earned her trust. Later, their relationship deepened and he completely crossed the line of integrity. Because of the sheltered environment in which Victim lived, Victim was naturally in a vulnerable position.  She did not have street smarts, she was unable to protect herself.  Emotionally and intellectually, Victim was not mature enough to make rational decisions that others might have been able to make had they understood the nature of sexuality, power, and control.  Doug Phillips knew she was vulnerable and he used his power over her and her vulnerabilities.

While Doug Phillips was emotionally grooming her, this did not make sense to Victim.  As Phillips made sexual advances towards Victim, she didn’t understand what was going on in her body sexually.  She was naive about sex (this, too, has been reported by Victim).  Doug Phillips stirred the feelings of sexuality in Victim that had never been awakened.  One of the challenging issues for sex abuse victims is that sex does sometimes “feel good,” even as a victim.  How does one make sense of this pleasurable experience, yet being done by someone who is an authority figure?   It can produce confusion,  shame, and guilt – and yet, we must constantly remember, Victim was the one being pursued by Phillips.

This relationship was not consensual and cannot be considered consensual by the fact that Doug Phillips was in a position of authority.  It doesn’t matter whether Victim received pleasure in her sexual encounters with Doug Phillips.  It doesn’t matter if she may have flirted with him (I’m speculating.)  The basis of this relationship can only be interpreted as abusive because of Doug Phillips’ position of authority in her life.  Doug Phillips used his position of power and trust to control and gain access to a naive young woman, and he used her for his benefit for many years while hiding under the public guise of promoting family values.  It is important to not shift blame onto the victim.  Doug Phillips, because of his position of authority, is the perpetrator here, period.

It is also important to note that, legally, the courts would see Doug Phillips in a position where he must ensure fiduciary duty.

The clergy/parishioner relationship is no different than other professional relationships where there is a fiduciary duty. The “professional”, whether it be a teacher, therapist or clergy has a fiduciary duty to whomever they have a professional relationship. A fiduciary duty is a relationship based on trust. The Latin definition for fiduciary is none other than ‘faith’. The trust or “faith” in a fiduciary duty relationship is established even before the relationship begins. The trust does not have to be earned. In most cases a person grows up with the belief system that certain professionals can be trusted with no questions asked. (Source, emphasis added.)

The most damaging myth is the belief that the sexual relationship between clergy and parishioner is a consensual affair. The reality is the sexual relationship is a sexual assault. No matter if it happened once or if the sexual relationship lasts for 30 years. A sexual relationship between clergy and parishioner can never be consensual. The power differential is too great. As with all victims of sexual assault, the parishioner victim takes on the responsibility of the assault. Thinking they must be the “cause” of this “holy man of God” falling from grace and going against his vow of celibacy or, in other denominations, the vows he took with his wife. That feeling of responsibility topped off with guilt keeps many adult victims silent. (Source, emphasis added.)

See also:

“Why Adult Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse Are Not To Blame” By Mark Scheffers, M.Div., M.S.W., Child Trauma Assessment Center, Western Michigan University.

Understanding sexual abuse by a church leader or caregiver.

It is also important to note that there are states in which clergy falls within fiduciary duty laws and codes of ethics:

Fiduciary duty refers to the responsibility of licensed caregivers (doctors, therapists, lawyers, social workers, etc.) to “do no harm.”  Society’s expectation of these caregivers is that they will attend to the needs of those in their care.

All forms of sexual behavior or harassment with clients are unethical, even when a client invites or consents to such behavior or involvement. Sexual behavior is defined as, but not limited to, all forms of overt and covert seductive speech, gestures, and behavior as well as physical contact of a sexual nature; harassment is defined as but not limited to, repeated comments, gestures or physical contacts of a sexual nature.

We recognize that the therapist/client relationship involves a power imbalance, the residual effects of which are operative following the termination of the therapy relationship. Therefore, all sexual behavior or harassment as defined in Principle III, G with former clients is unethical. (American Association of Pastoral Counselors. Code of Ethics, emphasis in the original)

Caregivers are prohibited by state criminal statutes, fiduciary duty laws, and by codes of ethics from exploiting their clients or patients to meet their own emotional and psychological needs.

One important note: This illicit relationship occurred in Texas, and Texas is a state in which it is a crime for clergy to have sexual relations with a congregant. The relevant section of the Texas Penal Code are below (emphasis added).

Texas Penal Code Chapter 5. (22.011)

Title 5. Offenses against the person.
Chapter 22. Assaultive Offenses.
Sec. 22.011. Sexual assault.
(b) A sexual assault [...] is without the consent of the other person if: [...] 10) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser …

Texas Penal Code 22.011(b)(9): “by exploiting [the patient or former patient's] .  .  . emotional dependency”; and (b)(10) “by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual advisor”

So, while Victim said her involvement with Doug Phillips was consensual, by law, it was not consensual in that Doug Phillips, acting as clergy, was in a position of trust to “do no harm,” but he violated this position of trust over her.  While Doug Phillips is on his high horse threatening to sue Muela, Renaud, and Bradrick, methinks he should drop the threat against those innocent gentlemen and lawyer up because he was in the WRONG state to be violating clergy ethics laws.

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Related links:

BREAKING: Doug Phillips Threatens Lawsuit Against Former Vision Forum Associates Who Had Earlier Confronted Him about His Sexual Sins

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BREAKING: Doug Phillips Threatens Lawsuit Against Former Vision Forum Associates Who Had Earlier Confronted Him about His Sexual Sins

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Months after issuing public apologies, Doug Phillips threatens legal action against three former Vision Forum associates, Jordan Muela, Peter Bradrick, and Bob Renaud.

*** Continue reading

Owen Strachan of CBMW Misses the Point Entirely – It’s Not about the Missing Article, but the False Teaching

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Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s Executive Director Owen Strachan Corrects the Record with Associated Baptist Press Regarding the Missing Article on Biblical Gender Roles in the New Creation

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Learn to Discern: Can Women Read Scripture Aloud to Men?

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Open Air Preacher Street Evangelist Tony Miano Gives Rules and Guidelines for Women Open Air Preaching and Reading Scripture to Men

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Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 1 – The Puzzle of Control

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Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight:  The Puzzle, Types of Control by Church Leaders, Vision Forum, Boerne Christian Assembly, and a Characterization of Phillips

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Continue reading

Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Removes Article about Complementarian Roles in New Creation

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Did they change their minds?  Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood removes Article about complementarian roles in new creation

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Is the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Drinking Mormon-Flavored Koolaid?

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Will there be Complementarian or Egalitarian marriages in heaven?  What about Biblical gender roles in heaven?  What in the world is Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) talking about?

*** Continue reading

Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Introduction

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Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight:  Introduction

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My perspective on his life is different —appreciation, gratitude, disagreement, sadness.  His life is a reminder that whether your name is Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, or Steve Jobs, in the end, your physical body becomes food for worms.  More importantly, your eternal soul faces the same Judge that every human must stand before.  This is just one reason why human idolatry is folly.  We must never worship men (future worm food), but only the Lord.

~Doug Phillips, on the occasion of Steve Jobs’ death

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Doug Phillips, Vision Forum Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.03.20 PM

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Doug Phillips grew his Vision Forum business and ministry upon the foundation of men leading the generational vision of the family, raising young girls into godly motherhood, boys into spiritual leaders of their families.  How could Doug Phillips speak and write of godly manhood/fatherhood, tell men to protect women and children first over the last decade, while at the same time harm women and children by his sexual exploits?  It has been unfathomable to so many who have watched this man and his ministry grow from its inception to now.

When Doug Phillips posted October 30th, 2013, that he was stepping down and the ensuing scandal was brought to light, there was a lot of interest in the story.  People of course were shocked that this pillar in the Homeschool Movement and his influence that extended even further into mainstream Christianity could have fallen so deeply into sin and disgrace.

Who knew what and when?  How could this have gone on for so long undetected?  Why hadn’t anyone done anything about it sooner?   Where were his church elders and why hadn’t they done anything earlier?  Who was helping him cover up this sin?  And, most importantly, why isn’t anyone speaking out now to shed more light into what happened?

As I’ve been reading commentary on various blogs and social media for the past few months, I’ve had some thoughts about this saga:

  • No one has been willing to publicly share what they know and identify themselves (except for minor details).
  • There are anonymous commenters on blogs and articles with bits of “factual” information.
  • There is a lot of back-fighting going on between people who have bits of information.
  • Different interpretations of events can confuse matters.
  • Some have been careless to disclose “insider” information to make a story and their motives are suspect.

Several weeks ago, I was sent an e-mail asking if I was interested in helping to “set the record straight” with regard to the Doug Phillips story.  I wasn’t exactly sure what this meant, because I didn’t know who the sources were, how close they were to the situation, what their intentions were, or even how to verify the sources, etc.  I wanted to know why they wanted to ask me to publish it and for what purpose.

After several back-and-forth e-mails, I eventually had a lengthy phone conversation with a person who compiled information to send to me to post.  But here was the problem.  This person was not a source – not a first-hand witness – but an intermediary.   This did not sit right with me.

Although, reading through the material, the information sounded much more legitimate than the stories I had read elsewhere, how could I with integrity and honesty post information from a third-party who had nothing directly to do with the Phillips scandal?  I couldn’t do it.  I told this person that I would need to speak directly with one of the key people involved.  This message was relayed to the primary source person.

So here is what has happened.  I have spent approximately 5 hours on the phone with 2 people in separate conversations regarding this information to be published.  I have gone through the document sent me point by point with the primary source person, typing my own notes to make sure I understand what happened correctly.  We have also exchanged e-mails.

But why did they reach out to me and ask it to be published on my blog?  What were their intentions?  While articles and speculations, alleged witnesses and testimonies have surfaced on various blog sites, some who have been close to the situation over an extended length of time have been dismayed at what has been portrayed as truth.  I was told that my blog was selected because I hadn’t posted farfetched stories and fabrications.  They saw that my goal was to only publish truth as best as possible.

Now, regarding this key person I spoke with:  I will not disclose any names, but I checked this person out pretty carefully.  One thing about Doug Phillips is he liked to be in the public spotlight and many of the people he worked with were also in the public spotlight with him. So, it’s quite easy to find key people online, hear their voices and compare those to the phone call voices for verification purposes.  I have done that.  I have also asked key questions in which I had answers from other sources to see if they could be answered correctly.  They were.

I am in the process of compiling the original notes with mine into new articles.  There may be 2-3 articles depending on the length.  To ensure accuracy, each article will be sent to the primary source, who will then send it out to others close to the situation for verification and approval before it will be published.

So here’s the deal: to the best of my ability, I have assessed to make sure that my source is indeed who he/she says he/she is and was close to the situation to have important details and know the inner workings of Doug Phillips.  I believe having one source this close to the situation is much more beneficial than making stories out of bits of information from various sources.  I think in doing so, we will get a better and more accurate picture of what has happened over a span of time.

Why is this important?  Some articles that have been published online have come about as a result of multiple sources.  What we’ve seen are stories and “facts” changing as more information has come available.  This is not a very reliable way of getting information and can lead to the necessity of cleaning up misinformation.

Another issue is very important that I touched on above.  Motivation is very integral in writing articles.  I’ve been very concerned that some online articles may be disingenuous because there seems to be an underlying motivation of revenge against Doug Phillips rather than reporting with integrity for truth.  Other source people involved with my source have been concerned about this as well.  People are hurt when there are exaggerations and untruths.  This should not be a mission to pull the rug out from under a ministry or person, but to expose the truth.

So, stay tuned.  Barring time constraints and back-and-forth e-mailing for verification among sources, I will try to get these posts up within the next two weeks.

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What is a Husband’s Role in His Wife’s Spirituality?

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What is a husband’s role in his wife’s spirituality?  Is he responsible for sanctifying her?

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Spiritual Abuse: Interview with Doug Bursch

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Spiritual Abuse, interview, podcast, Doug Bursch, Julie Anne, Spiritual Sounding Board Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 7.56.42 AM

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Yesterday I did an interview with Doug Bursch from Seattle’s KGNW radio station.  Doug describes himself in his bio as “a speaker, writer, pastor, teacher and evangelist.”  We spoke about spiritual abuse, healthy and unhealthy churches.  I’ve done quite a few interviews since the lawsuit, but this one is my new favorite.  If you know of someone who might have gone through spiritual abuse or wants to understand what it means, what it looks like, this would be a good interview to listen to because Doug really gets it.

Here’s a little excerpt I transcribed because I wanted you to get a glimpse into this guy’s heart.  His compassion made me tear up.  This is the kind of heart we want to see from a pastor:

Julie Anne, not to be sentimental, but I want to apologize, as a pastor.  I know that it doesn’t necessarily help with the harm that has been done to you or the people you’ve had to walk through with  tears and weeping as they’ve dealt with hurts, but at least I’d like say that I apologize for any pastor or person who has misused their power to harm you or harm your family.  My prayer is that we can facilitate a dialogue where there is healing and there’s love.  I think there’ll be more leaders rising up and there’ll be more safe places and I think that’s the ultimate goal.

I encourage you to listen beyond the interview as Doug discusses how not only did Jesus die for sinners, but He identifies with those who were sinned against.  He knew what it was like to be unjustly treated.  He understands our pain.

During the first few minutes, Doug introduces the program by talking about what’s coming up in the show and tells the story about someone who experienced spiritual abuse. The actual interview is right around the 42:25 mark.  You can listen to the interview here.

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How Influential Was Doug Phillips and His Teachings?

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Taking a look at Doug Phillips’ strong influence in the Homeschool Movement and Family-Integrated Church movement

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Brave: A Song of Hope for Survivors of Abuse

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Brave:  A Song of Hope for Survivors of Abuse

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you,  who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  1 Peter 1:3-6

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Ex-Wife of Pedophile Shares Update about Court Sentencing and Her New Reality

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Ex-wife of pedophile shares how she and her family are dealing with their new reality after his conviction and sentencing.

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David Bayly’s Ideas on Courtship and Marriage as a Battle until His Bride Surrenders

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David Bayly’s ideas on courtship and marriage as a battle and raging war of a man against his virgin bride to be conquered until she surrenders, similar to Doug Wilson

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Tony Miano’s New Digs: Grace Community Church

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Street Evangelist Tony Miano announced he’s leaving Faith Community Church and will be attending Grace Community Church.

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Restoring What the Locust Has Eaten: Two Years of Blogging Milestone Today and Gratefulness

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Two years of blogging, two years of growth, hope for those hurt by church abuse

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Kevin Swanson Defends Bill Gothard’s Sexual Harassment Charges While Publicly Trash Talks Blogs

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Kevin Swanson defends his friend, Bill Gothard against accusations of sexual harassment, while accusing Spiritual Sounding Board and Patheos.com blogs of dancing on the grave of Christian fundamentalism and Biblical Christianity.

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Who Will Take Care of Your Beloved Pets after the Rapture?

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Who Will Take Care of Your Beloved Pets after the Rapture?

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I’m sure this has been a great concern to my readers, so having you, my dear friends in mind, I am passing along this helpful information.  ~ja

Here is a brief excerpt from After the Rapture Pet Care, the great folks who will look after your pets after you have gone on.

I agreed – it’s a real concern, and a legitimate concern. Our pets are given to us by God for us to care for. We are stewards of their lives. Should we simply forget them at the Rapture, allow them to starve or worse?

While planning our system, we thought about the stories of pet rescues in New Orleans after Katrina. Imagine how many more pets would have been saved if there had been a database of pets and volunteers activated immediately. This is something we could do for Christian owned pets.

Carol began recruiting other non-Christian animal lovers nationwide to volunteer to take care of left-behind pets if the Rapture occurs. As a Christian, my role has been to put together a program that is Biblically appropriate and provides true value to Christians. I believe we’ve come up with a plan that is affordable, unique, Biblical and practical.

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For more information, click here.

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Learn to Discern: Response to the Doug Phillips Sex Abuse Scandal

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Learn to discern – taking a closer look at a response to the Doug Phillips sex abuse scandal

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When we are spiritually abused, are we partly responsible?

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Quick note:  Last weekend, I went to the Oregon Coast to a ladies retreat.  Knitting is my constant companion at retreats – - especially in case the speaker disappoints.  However, I did not get one stitch of knitting done.  The message was very good, convicting, refreshing, and motivating.  And you cannot put a price tag on getting together with long-time friends, sharing heart-to-heart conversation, laughing and crying together.  What a precious time.

This is where we were . . . . . .

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. . . but I would be lying if I said I saw this during the retreat.  The weather was stormy with strong winds and horizontal rain keeping me inside the entire time.  After driving away, upon realizing I not seen the ocean once during the weekend, I pulled over to get a shot.   Here’s the shot I took – the only time during the weekend that wasn’t raining/storming –  - – from my iPhone, with no photo editing.  The Oregon coast is gorgeous.  It is free for all to enjoy, and worth a visit.  This was taken in Cannon Beach.

Now this is kind of funny.  I took a picture of a tsunami evacuation sign, but had not looked at the fine print until getting home.   :)

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spiritual abuse

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What is our responsibility when we are spiritually abused?  Were we part of the problem?

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