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Prominent homeschool and Christian leader Doug Phillips has fallen. What happens with those he has led? Where do they find their foundation again?
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A comment came in yesterday and several of you have already left great comments. This morning when I woke up, I was struck with another aspect I see going on and think it is important to discuss. Here’s the original comment from Anonymous:
[EDITORIAL ADDITION, NOVEMBER 17: For those who may be new to some aspects of the patriarchy movement, the acronym FIC stands for Family-Integrated Church. In some of the articles on Doug Phillips, and movements involving homeschooling, Vision Forum, and/or patriarchy, you may also run across NCFIC, which stands for National Center for Family-Integrated Churches. Scott Brown serves as NCFIC Director, and other NCFIC board members are Don Hart and Jim Zes. All three of these men are also on the board of directors for Vision Forum Ministries, which is in the process of being dissolved.]
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I rarely participate in online forums, so I’m really sure how to suggest something without sounding really harsh or offensive, but some people from our church have been reading around the boards looking for some insight as to how we should feel about DPs resignation. It’s a huge deal for many FICs.
I’ve noticed a lot of people suggesting that somehow the female was a victim and DP was a sex offender. Although this issue is a HUGE scandal for the VF movement and patriarchal circles, I don’t really think many people understand how DP is viewed in his community, especially by women.
MANY women revere(d) him. Many young and even married women revered him. To them he was an idyllic father/husband figure. For some women, it’s even easy to cross the line into sin of the heart.
So, I’m not quite sure where the idea came up that DP was a sex offender or that she is a victim of sexual assault. The female involved was engaged in a consensual affair, and she wasn’t underage. Doug Phillips is offensive in so many ways to normal individuals who exist outside the patriarchal realm, and I have no question after watching him speak many times that he has a deeply evil side, but there are women that look to him like a beacon of hope.
And no, the woman involved was not an employee as someone stated about. She was doing service to one of the biggest and most powerful families in her movement. These people were like her family. Why she chose to go down this road may not be as much a mystery as some believe. He painted himself as the paradigm of strong leadership and, if people can think Hitler’s leadership was worthy of following, it’s not hard to see why DP achieved so much attention.
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I’m so thankful that Anonymous commented because I am certain that his/her comment represents many voices of those who have been strongly influenced by Phillips. This is a big honkin’ deal in the Homeschool Movement. It’s shocking. Many people are continuing to read these posts (hit counts on the blog have easily tripled ever since the breaking of the story). I praise God for that. Is there confusion among the camp? I’m sure there is.
If you read through the comment, you might be able to sense the confusion, although I do not believe that Anonymous felt he/she was confused. There is waffling, the blame is shifted to the woman (this commenter also rightly acknowledges some blame with Phillips, but it seems to be minimized).
“I don’t really think many people understand how DP is viewed in his community, especially by women.”
This sentence gives us a picture that says “we really know what is going on within the community, that outsiders aren’t privy to understand.” There is a sense that those of us on the outside and are talking about the scandal just don’t get it. This is part of the spiritually abusive pattern we see so many times. It ties in with the sense of elitism that many experience in spiritually abusive churches.
There are many people reading here looking for answers, looking for how the outside world perceives the situation. They now have a sense that all was not as rosy at it had once appeared. They may still believe the underlying or general messages of Doug Phillips, but the rug has been pulled out from under them. Now what?
For some, reading the words and comments on blogs will be very difficult. There will be anger and even outrage that some are saying such rude or cruel things. Some will say that those commenting against Phillips just don’t get it. Others will connect with some words they are reading and acknowledge there is some truth.
The Doug Phillips Scandal
has Rocked the Homeschool World.
For those who are new to my blog and reading, I want to quickly give a little background. I’ve been a homeschooling mom for 22 years. I am currently homeschooling 2 children – – the last of my quiver of 7. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a homeschool mom (although I readily admit that now I am somewhat tired – hey, keeping it real!).
In the late ’90s, we lived in Virginia. At my church, maybe 10% of the families homeschooled their children. I attended HEAV (Home Educators Association of Virginia). This was the only Christian homeschooling convention I knew of. It had keynote speakers like Mike Farris and Chris Klicka, Gregg Harris, etc. I cannot remember if Doug Phillips at that time was popular enough to be a keynote speaker, but my husband and I heard him several times at the conventions. I was drawn to his message and even bought my husband a series of CDs for fathers/husbands.
I liked what he was presenting and I wanted my family to look like the family that Phillips presented to us. I didn’t quite know how I was going to pull off the Victorian-dress thing, but I figured I could do a lot of the rest. It seemed very godly to me. I held Phillips and his message in high regard and wished that people in my church would get with the program.
Since I’ve been blogging, been privy to many stories of abuse, I’ve been able to see patterns that have been troubling and some have been alarming. These are situations that I never could have imagined before, but after reading the personal accounts and understanding what has been taught in Patriarchy, in the Homeschool Movement, the dots have been connected and now I see it as a system that can breed abuse if power is given to someone undeserving.
I have great compassion and empathy for those of you who are reading and trying to make sense of this. I get it. I was there. I’ve had to slowly shed the extra-biblical teachings and get back to basics.
If there is just one iota of something that you have read here that makes sense and confirms a suspicion, or answers an unanswered question, I encourage you to keep reading. Keep digging. Keep searching for answers. Search the scriptures and see if what has been taught to you lines up.
If you have questions, please feel free to ask here. I will be moderating carefully. I expect that my regular readers will treat you with utmost respect as so many of them have walked in your shoes having left difficult church situations.
If you feel uncomfortable asking publicly, you can also e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or request to join the forum at email@example.com where there is a special area set up for homeschoolers. This forum is private and many people only use their first name or a pseudonym. It is a safe place.
My heart goes out to those of you who are in a state of confusion. I remember that place well. I pray that God will reveal His truth to you and that you will not stop searching until you have that peace that surpasses all understanding.
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