Jim Bob and Michelle and Josh Duggar release statements related to reports of Josh’s sexual infidelity
Josh Duggar reportedly had accounts at Ashley Madison for the intention of connecting with people who want to have extramarital affairs.
Sex abuse, identification abuse, social isolation, food deprivation – Is there a common denominator?
Pastor Matt Chandler gives advice on couples who are courting: “how far can we go?”
Sex Abuse, Incest, Truth and Reconciliation, Josh Duggar, 19 Kids and Counting, Purity Culture
Josh Duggar’s (nonfamily) sex abuse victim intends to file lawsuit against him.
Recent news reports claim that Josh Duggar, son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who was reported to have sexually abused five children as a young teen, will be facing a civil lawsuit filed by the non-related victim. It should be noted that Duggar confessed to the crimes, but the Statute of Limitations had expired, so he was not criminally charged.
There are still many questions surrounding this case. Who knew what and when? What did pastors know? What did they do? How much did his parents know? How did they respond? How was this case handled by people close to the Duggar family? What safeguards were in place? What specific counseling did Josh and the victims receive?
InTouch’s article included this important information which could certainly be helpful for us to understand how this abuse was covered up by people who should have reported:
The shocking development means that Josh and his parents Jim Bob and Michelle could be forced to give depositions and testify about Josh’s molestation scandal. The Duggars likely will have to answer every question as they will not be able to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination because the criminal statute of limitations has expired.
While the Statute of Limitations expired for Duggar to be tried criminally, Arkansas has a state law which allows for a civil lawsuit to be filed by victims after the Statute of Limitations have expired, even many years later: 1
6-56-130. Civil actions based on sexual abuse.
(a) Notwithstanding any other statute of limitations or any other provision of law that can be construed to reduce the statutory period set forth in this section, any civil action based on sexual abuse which occurred when the injured person was a minor but is not discovered until after the injured person reaches the age of majority shall be brought within three (3) years from the time of discovery of the sexual abuse by the injured party. (Read more info about the law here: Source)
This case is especially noteworthy because of the pattern of mishandling of sex abuse we’ve been seeing in the Homeschool Movement, a subculture in which families adhere to such ideologies as Patriarchy, Quiverfull (Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar family has 19 children), emphasis on purity teachings, courtship, etc. Here are some other notable cases of sexual abuse mishandling, all closely connected to the Homeschool Movement:
- Bill Gothard, a popular Christian leader was forced to step down from his position at Institute for Basic Life Principles after allegations of sexual grooming by dozens of women. The Duggar family highly respect Mr. Gothard and also used his ATI homeschool curricula for their family. The Duggars are currently scheduled to speak at ATI/IBLP events.
- Doug Phillips was forced to step down from his position at the popular Christian homeschool company, Vision Forum, after it was discovered he had an inappropriate relationship with the family’s former nanny, Lourdes Torres. He is currently in the middle of a civil lawsuit. Lourdes Torres, Alleged Victim in the Doug Phillips (Vision Forum) Sex Abuse Scandals Files Lawsuit
- The Jackson Family case – Six brothers from a large homeschool family were arrested for allegedly sexually violating their younger sister for 10 years. Parents, John and Nita Jackson, were also charged for failing to report. Two of the brothers were members of Scott Brown’s (NCFIC) Hope Bible Church (Scott Brown is a leader in the Homeschool Movement). Six Homeschool Brothers Arrested for Alleged Sex Abuse against Younger Sister
- A homeschooled girl is sexually abused by a Peninsula Household of Faith Community Church elder’s son, Patrick Rojas (WA state). This church is primarily homeschool families. Dee of Wartburg Watch covered this story and I later spoke with the mother, Danielle. Pedophilia and Deception at a Household of Faith Community Church
Having been involved in the Homeschool Movement for many years (and a homeschool mom for 23 years), I have had a growing concern about abuse victims who have slipped through the cracks because parents and church leaders have failed to report crimes. The pattern I have observed is some parents/church leaders think it is their Christian responsibility to deal with the sins involved, but fail to follow through with their civil responsibilities in reporting crimes.
The Homeschool Movement includes families who are anti-government, and because of this, children who are abused may not get appropriate protection they need. Additionally, these groups tend to be strongly against mental health and so their counseling might consist of only approved Biblical or Nouthetic counseling, if that. Many times victims do not get appropriate counsel by licensed therapists/counselors who are trained to handle sex abuse cases.
I am very sad about this Duggar case and am grieved that some of the victims have been named publicly and did not choose to have their story made public. However, because of Duggar’s celebrity-like status, the handling of Josh Duggar’s case will continue to be in the public spotlight. This is important because the Homeschool Movement must learn from their mistakes and take appropriate measures to protect and defend abused children.
Updated to add this important and recent video of Boz Tchividjian, discussing this case and sex abuse, how to respond appropriately, etc.
Bill Gothard, ATI, IBLP, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Homeschool Curricula
Kevin Swanson, Generations With Vision Radio, Josh Duggar, Incest, Christian Home Educators of Colorado
Bill Gothard, Mike Huckabee, Sex Abuse Coverup, Political and Social Influence, and an Agenda
This past week has been a whirlwind with the Josh Duggar sex abuse allegations from 12 years that recently surfaced. Josh Duggar is the eldest child of Patriarchical family and model ATI (Bill Gothard’s homeschool curricula) family. Josh Duggar and his family star in the popular reality show on TLC, 19 Kids and Counting. As this story has been brought to light, I have found myself caught up in intense debates, even with very close friends, on how this case should be handled, how we as Christians should be responding to this specific case, and how we as parents should respond if our child sexually abuses another child.
I recently posted the following (slightly revised) as part of a discussion with a Christian friend on Facebook. We came from very different sides, but because my response was so radically different from hers, I thought it might be good to post for discussion. I never mind push back, so if you disagree with me, please respond. I am open to the challenge and will consider your words just as I have been challenged to rethink many of my former ways/beliefs.
At the end of the post is a highly recommended article that helps to explain the culture and teachings which shaped the Duggar family. It will help to explain why these young female victims are true victims to more than just sex abuse.
I appreciate the opportunity to share my heart which is invested in the ministry to abuse victims. I probably would not have given you this same answer 10 years ago, or even 6 years ago.
I do not believe that Josh’s parents responded appropriately. I believe they did the best they knew at the time and their intentions and heart were right. However, since working the last 5 years extensively studying spiritual abuse and abuse in the church, networking with Boz Tchividjian (founder of netgrace.org), and many other professionals who deal with abuse in church, I am concluding that the Duggars could have done better.
Jim-Bob found out in March of 2002 and waited over a year before reporting. When police tried to interview Josh, Jim-Bob intervened and did not allow that to happen. The statute of limitations then kicked in and Josh was free from any civil repercussions.
I believe this was not a good witness to Christ. What does this tell the world – that Christians get to walk free and don’t need to go by the law? Repenting of sins does not remove someone from the consequences of the laws of the land. Scripture says that God is the one who ordained civil authorities/law. Knowingly harboring a sex offender without reporting is illegal in some states. Not only that, I believe it is circumventing what God has established for cases like this:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
Because of the statute of limitations, no civil court had the opportunity to intervene, convict, give recommendations on his criminal activity. Could this public outcry against Josh and his parents be sovereignly planned as God’s judgment as implied in the above Scripture? Could Josh’s defenders be interfering with God’s judgment or the natural consequences of his sin?
You asked would I report. Yes, I absolutely would report my sons to authorities if they were sexually abusing. I would allow the civil authorities to bring justice to the offender. This would send a very strong message that sin/sex abuse has consequences and will not be tolerated. And to the survivors, it would send a message that we believe them and the abuse they incurred was worthy of strict punishment. I’ve seen the tremendous burden lifted off of victims’ shoulders when they see perpetrators punished for their crimes.
I would also promptly seek qualified professional treatment specializing in sex abuse for the offender and their victims. I know about the lasting consequences survivors face. If not dealt with timely and by trained professionals, young ladies often have difficulty choosing good spouses, have difficulty with relationships, intimacy, etc. For the offender, it may be uncovered in treatment that he was previously molested. Trained professionals can be helpful in getting to the root issues.
I’m struck at how much time is spent defending Josh, and such little time focused on his victims. It’s disturbing to even discuss whether he touched them over/under their clothes (I read the police report and it’s not clear on all of the interviews). That has no bearing on the suffering the victims face/will face.
Throughout scripture God speaks of protecting the oppressed and defenseless. How is it protecting them when we are outwardly and vocally defending a perpetrator (even if he has repented)? Our first response must be to those who have no voice. You can be sure that sex abuse survivors all over are watching this case and observing how people respond. Any time a survivor hears of another abuse, it brings them back to their own story. We must think of all victims in our responses and model Christ’s love because many times they are questioning why God allowed this to happen. We must not be a stumbling block to the weak and oppressed, but a soothing balm, sharing with them the love of the Father.
The Duggars were the key family chosen by ATI/Bill Gothard to represent Bill Gothard and his homeschool curriculum. I read that they spoke even this year at an ATI conference (they are slated to speak by video tomorrow in Nashville, and later in Twin Cities, and Sacramento ATI conferences). You can be sure they hold to his teachings and it is important to understand these teachings in order to fully comprehend what the victims have faced. I encourage you to read the following and try to grasp what the victims have faced, the ones whom God dearly loves and wants to defend and protect. Here’s how the Duggars’ patriarchal homeschool world teaches kids to shame sex abuse victims
Thank you for reading. Grace and peace! ~ja
Former Vision Forum President and prominent Christian homeschool leader, Doug Phillips, apparently made attempts to evade process server
Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs Doug Phillips Vision Forum Lawsuit Update
The federal lawsuit was filed by Assurance Company of America (insurance carrier) to deny coverage to Vision Forum and Phillips. That case is set to end discovery in May and is set for trial in July of 2015.
The underlying Texas state lawsuit has been amended to include additional defendants Don Hart, Scott Brown, and James Zes (three men who were on the board of directors for Vision Forum Ministries). Discovery is ongoing in the state case and trial is set for March of 2016.
Lourdes Torres appreciates the prayers and concern of people from across the nation as she wants to rebuild her life and overcome the abuse she endured.
~David C. Gibbs III, March 28 2015
Personal Story of Abuse following the teachings of Bill Gothard, ATI, IBLP
Last month, “Dash” commented on an older SSB article, Bill Gothard’s New Program/Ministry: Total Success Power Teams. He used some strong words to describe his experience:
I am a survivor of Gothard’s cult. I experienced unspeakable physical, sexual, and emotional abuse from my mother and father, who were at one point among Gothard’s “model parents.” Gothard is not human. Gothard does not deserve compassion. Gothard is not a man, and he does not have the slightest shred of decency or humanity within him. Bill Gothard is a monster in human form, and as far as I am concerned, he can’t die soon enough.
Dash Explains Why He is Telling His Story Now
I have chosen to share my story with you because I’m 44 years old and it’s time for me to start talking, to anyone who cares enough to listen. I’ve already lost more than half my time to Gothard, and I want my life back. He’s 80 years old and I believe he is still damaging people in alarming ways, and he is leaving behind a deeply rooted, vile and secretively violent institution that seems to be poised to grind forth in his absence and continue churning out his awful work upon the next generation. I want to put a stop to IBLP, and I want to end Gothard’s legacy as utterly as possible. Everything he has ever written, touched, or talked about is poisoned and poisonous, and it must be destroyed.
Specifically, I’d like to talk about those aspects of Gothard’s teachings which were protocols for physical abuse: examples include blanket training, beating children with rods, and the sheer exasperation of parents whose children failed the rules of the program which would result in explosions of rage and indiscriminate hitting. In particular, Gothard’s distortions of the following verse were extremely detrimental:
Proverbs 23:13- Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
Gothard devoted a great deal of written material, both IBLP and ATI, to using this verse as a premise for encouraging brutal beatings, albeit using roundabout phrasing and “soft” language which absolved him legally of any actual responsibility. At least, that’s how my parents interpreted it.
Part of my frustration in confronting Gothard stems from the fact that my family threw out a lot of Gothard’s most offensive ATI literature, some of which included blatantly racist arguments encouraging white followers to apply the “Quiverfull” practice, and to avoid miscegenation (in addition to the pamphlets encouraging beatings). So I can’t document a lot of these anecdotes. The basic literature quoting Proverbs 23:13, however, is part of the Red Book I believe; so it begins there.
“Spanking” vs Beatings
Also, I would like to be very clear about this point: “spanking” was not what we experienced in my family. These were actual beatings, ranging anywhere from five minutes to an hour or more. The beatings were delivered to the buttocks, thighs, and lower back, and sometimes the hands, fingers, and forearms (defensive injuries), in response to any perceived slight, offense, or rules violation.
Depending on the severity of the of the punishment, anything from a wooden spoon to a 3/4″x2′ dowel rod was used. My parents actually had an array of dowel rods to choose from (at least a dozen) ranging from a thin one about 1/8″ thick to the 3/4″ terror previously described. Occasionally my dad would use his belt, a heavy leather belt with a weighty brass buckle. Not often, though, because the belt would leave visible bruises.
My sister and I would go to school with huge black and purple welts across our buttocks, carefully placed so that they were covered by our clothes, and we would sit at our desks in excruciating pain with tears streaming silently down our faces. This was during our initial participation in ATI, but before we enrolled full-bore in home-schooling.
My parents were very clear that these practices were part of our Gothard instruction.
On the few occasions when I met Gothard in person, he actually stated that he believed spanking made children healthier and more successful. He would then quote the proverb about beating. He was very good about mincing words in order to evade responsibility.
If you have questions at this point, it would help the dialogue. I’m happy to type everything I can think of, but I get so bogged-down and blinded with rage that it becomes difficult to think clearly. Answering questions is very focusing for me.
(JA note: On the next post, I have asked Dash specific questions and he responds to those questions.
I’m not interested in confronting Gothard on Christian terms, in accordance with church protocols. He forfeited that privilege decades ago. I want worldly justice. I want a genuine reckoning from the man. I want to burn his entire legacy to the ground, and stand amid the ashes and say to the world, “This was a man who ruined thousands upon thousands of lives. Nothing to see here. Please move along.”
The greatest and most dangerous fallacy that I keep hearing from Gothard apologists is the argument “Gothard my be imperfect, but his teachings are still right.” No, no and no. This is a lie: an ugly, flat-out foul and evil lie, intended to continue perpetuating Gothard’s abusive legacy. Everything Gothard teaches is wrong, all of it, even his direct Scripture quotes, because the CONTEXT is wrong. It places Gothard in the seat of worship instead of Christ. Everything Gothard ever taught or ever will teach must be discarded. If people want answers, they should listen to the Holy Spirit, and not any human teacher.
The Dangerous Fallacies of Gothard Apologists
I’ve stated this in a previous email, but it bears repeating. The greatest and most dangerous fallacy that I hear from Gothard apologists is the argument “Gothard may be imperfect, but his teachings are still right.” This is blatantly false. Everything Gothard teaches is wrong, all of it, even his direct Scripture quotes, because the CONTEXT is wrong. It places Gothard in the seat of worship instead of Christ.
Everything Gothard ever taught or ever will teach must be discarded. If people want answers, they should read the Bible and listen to the Holy Spirit. They should not listen to Gothard or any other human teacher; they should make up their own minds.
he second greatest fallacy I hear from Gothard apologists is “Many families have a great experience in IBLP and ATI. If your family had a bad experience, it’s because you misinterpreted Gothard’s intentions.” This is also blatantly false. I believe Gothard does in fact intend for parents to beat their children. I would argue that anyone who claims to have had a good experience with Gothard, IBLP, or ATI is either lying, deluded, or sadists themselves. If you got 4-5 years into ATI and you actually applied everything in the publications that Gothard sent you, especially the material based on Proverbs 23:13, you would have had an identical experience to mine.
I would argue that those who believe that they had a positive experience with Gothard are the ones who are in fact misinterpreting his intentions… just as I would argue that those who defend his behavior from the ongoing accusations of sexual misconduct are deluding themselves as to his true nature, and are blind to the damage he has inflicted.
Dash Believes Bill Gothard to be a Con Artist and Explains Why
I believe that Gothard is a consummate con artist. In spite of the endless documentation of the damage he has done, Gothard still manages to convince his inner circle of friends that he is a good man with good intentions who merely stumbled a little bit, and his victims are more to blame than he is for making such a big deal out of “nothing.” There are two explanations for this phenomenon:
- The first explanation is that genuinely hurting people, like my mother, who are desperate for real answers and a real connection with God, are easily misled by Gothard’s overpowering charm, his carefully crafted image, and his claims of secret knowledge and a special understanding of the Bible. These people are broken to begin with, and the hurt piled on hurt that Gothard inflicts is too much for them to comprehend; they defend Gothard out of reflex as all abuse victims will defend an abuser, due to Stockholm syndrome and an inability to comprehend their own damages and failures.
- The second explanation is that Gothard appeals to genuine sadists and sociopaths, such as your commenter Alfred who obviously has zero concern for Gothard’s victims and is committed entirely to defending Gothard and behaving as vindictively toward his accusers as possible. These people are reprehensible scumbags. I would use a more graceful word to describe them, but there isn’t one.
JA note: Alfred, who was mentioned above, is Alfred Corduan, who commented on this SSB post. You can also see his comments on articles at the Gothard survivor site, Recovering Grace website, where he continually defends Bill Gothard.
I would like to close at this time by saying that while I no longer call myself a Christian, I never gave up on Christ. I still believe in the Great Commandment:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I don’t do so well with the first part; loving God is next to impossible when I don’t know who God is, and I blame Gothard for that. I may yet end up in hell, and there’s nothing I can do about it. So I focus on the second part, and I try to love my fellow-man as best I can. That’s the best I can do. I can’t save myself. Only God can do that, if he wants to.
Update on Alecia Pennington, the homeschool alumna who has no legal identification.
Kevin Swanson attempts to tie together child abuse statistics from the Gen 2 Survey, a University of Oregon campus sexual assault survey, and stay-at-home daughters.
Alecia Pennington needs her birth certificate and social security card to help her in her adult life. Her parents, James and Lisa Pennington have not helped her obtain these important documents. Why?
Will Second Generation homeschoolers continue with the vision given to them by their first-generation parents, or will they stagnate and decay?
Posted on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/westernconservatory/posts/773859062683731
Second-Generation Homeschoolers: Will They Be Homeschool Dropouts?
Homeschool Dropouts is a documentary which features the children (Anna, Benjamin, David, Elizabeth and Isaac) of Geoffrey and Victoria Botkin. The Botkins have been long time leaders in the U.S. Homeschool Movement. This film was made in 2009 and the description of the film by the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences says:
Five years ago, the Botkin siblings produced this documentary about the homeschooling movement after talking to their peers around the United States. In discussing the future of this movement, the film raised a number of controversial questions, examining the history of the movement and the character that would be required to sustain it into the second generation.
Today, many of the problems addressed in this film are even more apparent.
If you have 57 minutes of your precious time available, please watch. If not, I’ve done the work for you. Allow me to present my thoughts below.
Please know that even though I homeschooled my kids for 10 years, I am still fairly new to people within the Christian Homeschool Movement. Julie Anne (and if Hester is so kind to offer assistance) would be able to answer specific questions about the Botkins. I still feel like I’m a bit of an outsider on the Christian Homeschool Movement.
The Botkin children open this documentary by lamenting about how they are hard pressed to find anyone within their circle of friends who is willing to follow their parents’ example of Biblical homeschooling. As a result, the Homeschool Movement is in a crisis. According to the Botkin clan, the young adults of today lack direction, lack vision, are moving away from their parents’ principles, and are abandoning what their parents sacrificed so much for. Young adults need to stop blaming, take stock of their own sin and take action.
In other words, this is nothing more than a propaganda film for the parents and the soon-to-be-fading leaders of the Christian Homeschool Movement. The entire focus of this video is how young adults are abandoning their parents’ views, which leads me to wonder (and wander off topic for a minute) if any of the parents’ parents homeschooled them?
I would guess that the First Generation parents were not homeschooled. Wouldn’t that mean that the homeschooling parents rejected and abandoned their parents’ views of education? Why was it alright for them to move away from what their parents thought about education, but it’s not alright for their children to educate differently? When I think about our family, my children were not educated the same way I was. Was I rejecting what my parents thought was important for education? Absolutely not. My husband and I are not my parents and we have different life circumstances and decisions to make. I don’t expect that my kids will homeschool their kids. They need to make their own life decisions based upon what is best for them and their family.
Since this video is more about the parents, it is not surprising that the problem with the impending doom of the Christian Homeschool Movement is the Second Generation: it is the sins of the Second Generation, not the weaknesses of the families or leaders, that are the problem.
These sins are:
- The Second Generation doesn’t seek God for ourselves. The First Generation had a desperate need for God because they came out of non-Christian homes. The Second Generation doesn’t have this desperation and displays false piety and are not truly saved.
- Second Generation Adults don’t take their sins seriously. They are careless, lukewarm, and hostile to God.
- SGAs are proud. Kevin Swanson enters the fray here (Yay!) by stating that homeschoolers talk all the time about higher test scores, admittance into good colleges, etc. However, God isn’t interested in achievements, but is interested in how kids honor their mother and honor God. The problem with this line of thought is that K. Swan and other homeschool leaders are constantly bragging about how much better homeschooling is to public school or Christian private school. At the end of this, one Botkin child says that pride is the silent killer of the Homeschool Movement.
- Second Generation Adults don’t engage the world. They are called to take dominion of the world (judge it, disciple it, overcome it) and Second Generation Adults are not contending for the faith.
- Second Generation Adults are defined by laziness and complacency. The First Generation knew that life is a battleground and that they were fighting a battle. The Second Generation doesn’t care about the war. There is no room for being laid back or pursuing one’s own interests.
- Second Generation Adults are bitter instead of grateful. Ugh! – my least favorite word ever – bitter. SGAs who were homeschooled need to stop blaming and despising their Christian parents’ homeschooling because they are despising the plan of God. The right response is to be grateful for everything done for them. My favorite line is, “Some of us were not given a very big vision, but we can take whatever we have and grow it. Even if we don’t have perfect parents.”
What will become of the Christian Homeschool Movement if the Second Generation Adults don’t follow in their parents’ footsteps? Of course, the freedom to homeschool will be lost. Statism will take over every aspect of our lives. And, if Second Gens are not homeschooling, they are not honoring their parents. I do not agree with this at all, especially since we are seeing a rise in homeschooling across the United States, as more parents are displeased with the school environment or curriculum choices. Where I work, I talk to parents all the time who are thinking about, or are new to homeschooling. Homeschooling is not going away any time soon.
I think the Botkin’s concern is that if the Second Generation Adults who were homeschooled don’t homeschool exactly like they did, the chance of Christian dominion over the world fades. And, as the First Generation homeschool parents and leaders age, their influence over the second and third generation begins to fade. Growing old stinks, doesn’t it?
K. Swan offers these words at the end, “I am very optimistic of the future.” He’s only optimistic if you Second Gens follow in your parent’s footsteps though. You better get busy – leading your own lives and making your own decisions!
Last year, I posted a personal story (A Young Woman’s Relationship with Her Boyfriend is Shattered by Christian Patriarchy) from “Bethany” who was struggling in a relationship with her boyfriend, whose family was involved in the Christian Patriarchy Movement influenced by the likes of Doug Phillips, Bill Gothard, etc.
I received a follow-up e-mail from Bethany, almost a year later who has written about what has happened since then. I like stories with good endings and this is one with a good ending, but it took a little bit of maneuvering to get there.
This time a year ago, I was torn down and heart-broken because the man I was in love with had returned to the fundamentalist teachings of Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard.
Having suffered from emotional, psychological, mental, and spiritual abuse in this relationship, it’s safe to say I was a mess. I had trouble eating and sleeping. I cried so much my eyes burned all the time and I was constantly worn out from this. I was distracted frequently from thinking about him. After being so close to someone for months on end, I found it extremely difficult to learn to live without him.
I thank everyone at SSB, especially Julie Anne, for being there for me during this hard time. Your comments and support helped me through this break up more than you can possibly imagine. During a time when my head was telling me he was not good for me but my heart was still yearning for him, the daily reminders were very helpful.
Returning to school after the holidays was hard for me. I was scared of seeing him because I knew the pain that it would bring. I was also worried about completing a 19-hour semester while still recovering from the traumatic end of a relationship. When I returned, I decided to make a change in my daily schedule. I figured any change that I could make to my environment would be good for me since I was forced to stay at the same school as him. I stopped going to the campus ministry where we met and were in leadership together. At this point, I had also made the decision to prepare and apply for physical therapy school again. With such a heavy semester on top of my emotional, mental, and psychological baggage, I cut way back on every aspect of my life besides church and school.
Little did I know that his plan was to try to get me back under his thumb.
Shortly after the semester started, I noticed that I ran into him an awful lot for it to not be planned. Eventually I concluded that he had figured out my class schedule and would sit around the campus buildings just to see me come and go from classes. These meetings were also confusing to me because I still had deep feelings for him and his behavior was so unpredictable. There would be days where he wouldn’t dare to look at me and there were days where we talked for at least an hour. I felt like I was walking on eggshells just like I did at the end of our relationship because I never knew what to expect from him.
On the days he decided it was okay to talk to me, he was not even pleasant. He was rude and always said hurtful things to me, which did not help my case given how fragile I was at the time. He mostly talked about how terrible aspects of my life were, from my friends and family to where and how I lived my life. He practically criticized anything he could about me. This caused me to not like him as much and helped me recover from him when I saw how unkind he was toward me. I learned, however, through my extensive study of these fundamentalist religious groups that this was his way of getting me back. I am firmly convinced that his father was feeding him instructions on how to get me back under his control. He was simply using the manipulative tactics on me that have been used on him his entire life: fear, control, and withdrawal of affection. The more I saw into his life, the more I wanted to be far from it.
Throughout this semester, I was still hoping that he would change and come back to me. I sought to meet with a man who was educated and trained to deal with people who have been influenced by churches with dangerous and cultic teachings. My mother came with me to this meeting for moral support. I learned a lot from this man and he educated me on the psychological tactics that my ex-boyfriend was subject to throughout his life from his father. It was a very eye-opening meeting for me but I still held onto that desire for him to see the light and come back to me. This man was more than willing to counsel him, so he asked me to open the door for him. I asked to meet him one day and was very nervous about it to say the least. I knew his response would be a defining moment in my recovery process. What resulted was very disheartening to me. When I first mentioned this man, he seemed willing to think about paying him a visit. It didn’t take him minutes, however, to talk himself out of it, become defensive, and make excuses for why he couldn’t visit the counselor. I gave him the business card anyway and decided that this ship with him had sailed.
By the end of the semester, I had watched him go down hill tremendously. He had dramatically changed his appearance and I knew he was not taking care of himself because he looked sickly. I knew by this point that there was no hope for us, but I wanted some answers and closure from him. I asked to meet with him one last time and he was even more unkind and rude than those little snippets of conversation I got from him throughout the semester. He gave me an ultimatum and said I had 30 minutes to speak with him. I knew he didn’t practice what he preached so I wasn’t too concerned about this time limit he had imposed upon me. I don’t remember the details of our conversation since this was back in April, but I do remember him trying to still put on his charm and act like nothing he did to me was wrong and that our whole situation was all the fault of my parents and me. I could truly see the crazy in his eyes and speech and I knew things were way beyond well with him.
In this moment I finally stood firm and called him out on his poor behavior and that I knew the truth about him and his family. I showed him that I had gained my strength back and he would never be able to control me again. Needless to say he was bewildered by my strength, but it was important for me to be able to call him out on his wrongdoings and show him that I could not be torn down again.
It took a whole semester for me to let go of him, but I saw him be so unkind that he made it to where it was impossible to miss him. I knew that I didn’t deserve to put up with someone like him. The Lord proved to me time and time again, and is still proving to me today, that I made the right choice to leave my life with him behind and start again. At the end of that horrible semester, I was given good news by my adviser that I was able to graduate a year early from college and apply for physical therapy school! By the grace of God, I was interviewed by this school in early September and was accepted just a few weeks later! After being told for months how stupid I was, I was overcome with joy to be one of the first picks into a doctoral program!
As I move forward in my life, I take a lot of lessons learned from this difficult experience with me.
For one, I learned that you can have a desire to help all people but that does not mean that all people will be helped. As much as I wanted my ex to be helped, he wouldn’t let anyone help him. This was incredibly frustrating, but I learned that people can only be helped if they want to. Second, a lot of people can be falsely mislead about you, but that does not mean that a manipulator can fool everyone. While some of the people in my life believed the lies my ex told about me, I still had friends that stood by my side and refused to be swayed by him. Thirdly, there are followers of these fundamentalist leaders that will always remain faithful to their movements, regardless of any evidence indicating that they are not good things to be associated with.
With the failures of Doug Phillips, Bill Gothard, and Mark Driscoll, I have watched my ex’s family continually defend their systems and teachings regardless of the abusive findings that have come out. I have also watched them slip further into madness and it horrifies me to know that there are still young children involved in this. I still love and miss all of my ex’s siblings, especially his two sweetest and youngest sisters who are around 11 and 7. Furthermore, I have learned to never put my faith in a religious movement or minister. I have noticed more how a person’s faith is completely shattered when a religious movement falls to the ground or a person is discovered as corrupt.
I have been asked on more than one occasion how I can still be a Christian after dealing with my ex and his people. My answer is simple: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (Psalm 18:2).” On CHRIST the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. I put my faith and hope in Jesus Christ only, not in people or religious movements. When I was told that I wasn’t living for God because I wasn’t serving the man in my life as a slave and having multiple babies, I understood that these people did not speak for God on my behalf. People today are fortunate to have personal relationships with Jesus and I am so fortunate to rely on Him above everyone on this earth.
I hope my story encourages someone who is going through hardship to not give up. More importantly, I hope by sharing my story with you that I can lead someone who has been discouraged by Christendom to find their way back to Christ. The true Christ. Our Lord Jesus who wants us to look to Him and Him ONLY for guidance, strength, and refuge. When I decided to give my life back to Christ and away from my ex and his family, I was amazed at the ways He worked through me to glorify Him. He gave me continual evidence that I was meant to be a light on this earth and that’s not something I can do if I am hidden away to be an eternal breeder. I was also meant to use my passions and talents to serve God’s people by providing them with healthcare through physical therapy. I hope to continue to achieve great things in the name of Christ Jesus my Lord, for I have so many things to be thankful to Him for!
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Karen Campbell’s interview with Lisa Cherry on sex abuse and the Homeschool Movement and how fear is leaving children in harm’s way
Christian Homeschool Curricula: How can we find safe and agenda-free material to use?
Vision Forum’s fallen patriarchal leader, Doug Phillips, has become a member of another church without obtaining the required “letter of transfer” from the church he established and formerly led, Boerne Christian Assembly
What is the appropriate response for Christian parents when our teenagers or adult children rebel? Do we intervene? Let them go? Do we shun?
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