Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Introduction
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
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.