There were quite a few interviews I did, KPTV, KATU, and KOIN, and at one point there were a group of reporters and I think I counted five microphones in front of me with various reporters asking questions (yikes). This occurred during a break time at the court hearing which was much longer than we had anticipated.
I have only seen a couple of the interviews and readers have shared with me that the plaintiff’s side has now addressed the media.
There are two issues really important to me that I would like to discuss to make sure there is no confusion.
Last night, a group of us went out to dinner and we discussed this, too. I have spoken with many former members and one issue stands very clear: the former members do not have animosity towards current church members or even the pastor and his family. There is sadness, anger at what happened, but overriding those emotions, the bottom line is we have a deep love for these precious people. This former church was our family. I know my heart and others have expressed the same: our heart aches for what we know is going on there and what they are experiencing. Just as we have experienced shunning, they are too. I’m sure it aches their hearts when they see us in town and must turn away from us, avoid all eye contact with former friends with whom they were so intimately connected.
If anyone was in the area outside the courtroom at either hearing, they could surely feel the tension in the room, see the diverted eyes, the stone cold faces because they are shunning us. They are convinced what they are doing right and although we don’t agree with what they are doing and how they are following the pastor, we hold no ill-will towards them at all because we once were “them”. Last night we prayed for them, too. This is about spiritual abuse which we have experienced and so many readers have and are experiencing throughout the country and world.
The other aspect that has been frustrating to me is with the media. I can try to share what I want to share until I am blue in the face, but the media has an agenda and will only report what they want you to hear. I have discussed spiritual abuse in every interview.
The following statement is very, very important and I don’t believe people are fully comprehending it and as of yet, I haven’t heard the media reporting it very clearly, or at all:
I believe the lawsuit is an extension of the spiritual abuse.
Spiritual abuse occurs when someone in a position of spiritual authority, the purpose of which is to ‘come underneath’ and serve, build, equip and make God’s people MORE free, misuses that authority placing themselves over God’s people to control, coerce or manipulate them for seemingly Godly purposes which are really their own. –Jeff VanVonderen
When Meaghan commented on my blog using her real name, she was added to the lawsuit. I don’t know that I have discussed this publicly on my blog, but since it was mentioned in court yesterday, I will mention it here. Another former member was also threatened with a subpoena. This was done in error by the pastor’s original attorney. My understanding is that in an anti-SLAPP motion, no subpoenas are issued, yet paperwork was sent out in error regarding the subpoena of a former member. When I heard about it, I contacted the former member who was naturally quite disturbed at the whole idea. This was a huge disruption to their family.
We believe the lawsuits and threats of subpoenas are being used to cause fear in former members. I believe it is being used as a clear warning to former members that if they dare to comment negatively on my blog or anywhere else on the internet, they better be ready for a lawsuit. Although I seem to be the primary public figure in this lawsuit (because of the blog and the most complaints), it’s important to remember that the pastor has sued FIVE former members and attempted to subpoena one – so SIX people in all. The media has had little to say about the others.
Spiritual Abuse occurs when a leader, church or a belief system, whether well intentioned or not, dominates, manipulates or castigates individuals through fear tactics, mind control, or some other psychological or emotional abuse. –Spiritual Research Network
Two of the defendants were dismissed and of course the subpoena did not follow through, but please consider the intrusion in the personal lives of these families. Think of the two defendants and the financial burden placed on them, the emotional toll, physical toll, etc. Think of the person who was threatened with the subpoena, waiting for it to arrive, wondering what was to become of their family’s finances, etc. This is now six people. This is wrong! People have the right to express themselves. They should not be living in fear about what they discuss or share with others or what they post on the internet. Living in this kind of fear of what they can or cannot say publicly or privately is an extension of the spiritual abuse – – – and it is happening to former congregants who left the church months ago and even years ago.
* * * * Added note to regular readers: There is definitely increased traffic on the site which also means some visitors who may not understand spiritual abuse. You may see this in recent comments, too. After the media rush, things will calm down again, so please be patient 🙂