Doug Phillips & Vision Forum, Homeschool Movement, Patriarchal-Complementarian Movement, Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches, Vision Forum

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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169 thoughts on “Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 3 – The Timeline”

  1. Excellent job of presenting the facts without an agenda! Thank you for all the hard work you have done to expose the true character of Douglas W. Phillips.

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  2. I get the impression that some powerful people takes steps to cover things up that some non-powerful people would also take if only they had the power to do so.

    Did that make sense? In any case, these types of scandals do at least one thing for the church – they reveal who should no longer be allowed to be a powerful person.

    Believe me, I’m in a profession where we keep a close eye on one another to make sure that powerful people don’t abuse their power.

    Cheers,
    Tim

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  3. Tim – I also get the impression that a lot of people have a little information, but not enough information to make truly informed speculations. Think about this – – you have a little nudge that something is NQR (not quite right). So you go with it for a bit. You may ask someone about it, but it feels awkward to do that because – – come on – – this man is preaching godly fatherhood/husbands. I mean, who in their right mind would be gallivanting with a pretty young thing right in front of everybody’s noses? RIGHT!!! only someone not in their right mind. That’s the problem.

    They did not realize how powerful this man was and his narcissistic-type behavior. Let’s also not forget that narcissists know how to schmooze and build up their inner circle of people who feed their egos so that their primary inner circle folks don’t want to reveal anything bad about them. There is something in it for them – a psychological catch for them as well. They are used in this system.

    Also, narcissists play games against the close inner circle folks. One minute they are buddy/buddy with their inner support person, the next minute they are not and move to the next inner support person. This emotional manipulation all plays into this narcissistic system making each inner support person vying for the #1 support position. So essentially, you have each inner circle person feeding the narcissist, but they may not be open and transparent with all of the other inner circle people. This creates an environment that makes it difficult to share information freely.

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  4. Interesting insights, JA. I just finished re-reading C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength where he takes the scenario you describe and turns it up to 11 when he describes the inner workings of the evil institute.

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  5. Julie Anne,

    You just described how Lifton’s Criteria of Milieu Control, Doctrine over Person, Demand for Purity, and the Dispensing of Existence work together in a thought reform program. And Doug was the enlightened visionary in this group, so Sacred Science (the leader is always divine and correct) plays heavily into the dynamics, too. It’s all very subtle, and in such groups you’ve been conditioned to derive your sense of personal worth from that which the group and leader give you. All of these factors together make for very potent manipulation. Most people do not even recognize these influences until something drastic or painful happens to them or someone close to them.

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  6. Tim,

    Lewis certainly understood the works of the flesh. I think of thought reform (or spiritual abuse) as the works of the flesh when used against a group, and this is just how we describe it in modern language.

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  7. Wow – Cindy, really? LOL – some of that technical stuff goes over my head, but I am familiar with Lifton’s name, just not all the fine details.

    I just know the pattern that I have experienced and seen first-hand (yes, I’m talking about YOU, Chuck – – – because narcissists are paranoid and always want to know what others say about them. You can be sure that Chuck reads all of my posts/comments or his chosen inner circle feeds his narcissism by copying my comments and sends it to him – hi, Stephanie!).

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  8. So… Your gut instinct says something is not quite right. You try to check it out, and either you come across as a gossip (if you as others); or if you confront the person directly,they can deny it and then throw you under the bus. Sigh. And getting thrown under the bus is quite painful.

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  9. So… Your gut instinct says something is not quite right. You try to check it out, and either you come across as a gossip (if you as others); or if you confront the person directly,they can deny it and then throw you under the bus. Sigh. And getting thrown under the bus is quite painful.

    WRNS,
    You got it!!!

    To protect yourself, your safest best bet is to remain silent. And then look what happens! How many (including me) have been saying: why isn’t anyone talking? They must have known something!

    It takes someone very strong to brush aside what will happen to them and come clean completely using their identity. Look even now how many are not coming forward. Narcissists are very powerful.

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  10. Well, in thought reform systems, too, any discussion of dissent is discouraged. You know that you’re not supposed to talk about problems, even amongst your friends because everything, even your natural and reasonable questions (your own good critical thinking) are seen as suspect. They label it as gossip. Group members will automatically begin to ostracize you if you start entertaining doubts. First, it is seen as sinful. And second, it will be punished if people find out that you participated. And it also becomes uncomfortable to hear. Survival in these groups depends on hanging on to the illusion that the group is superior and special (more special) to God. Doubts shake that house of cards that the group builds. It’s painful to listen to other people’s doubts, because doubting in any form (critical thinking) is discouraged.

    Groups like this use illusion and bait and switch to get you hooked, and they keep you hooked by your willingness to hang on to what Paul Martin called “the buzz” that you get from the group, your acceptance by the group, and your fear/grief/avoidance of pain of being ostracized or punished. If you’re not forced to stop and think about what has happened, you don’t want to and likely won’t. That’s confirmation bias, and we human beings are very good at it.

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  11. You’ll often see people in these circles clamoring to be part of leadership, too. It’s the opposite of the ostracism that comes from dissent, and it is offered as a reward to those who play the part. This is a big part of grooming, and it’s subtle. Doug groomed everyone, not just Victim.

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  12. And please note, this is just how sociopaths and narcissists learn to manipulate human behavior by taking advantage of human strengths and weaknesses. Most don’t start out by planning how they will control others, but the smart ones figure out what works with people. With Phillips, I don’t find him so innocent, however. One of his favorite sayings was “He who defines wins.” This is a manipulation technique. He went to law school to learn how to manipulate the application of the law and a judge and jury (which one can do for good or evil) to achieve a desired end. I believe that the history bears out that he did quite a lot of manipulating for personal gain.

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  13. Narcissists let the end justify the means. That’s at the heart of the problem. And I don’t know that Phillips taught this or not, but there is a contingent of Reformed folks out there who teach the principle of “Rahab’s Lie.” It is okay to lie when you are at war to preserve life for a righteous cause. For whatever reason, many out there let the end justify the means, and some justify what they do by proof texting this with Rahab’s example to ease the conscience.

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  14. The most revealing thing to me is Beall’s role in this…how sad to confuse supporting her husband with enabling and hiding his sin. Real support would urge him on to the repentance that is his only hope. But perhaps it is not confusion so much as a calculated choice to preserve her own way of life–no matter the cost to others.

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  15. So let me get this straight… he was “honest about one thing and that was that he “did not ‘know’ his victim in the biblical sense.””—but it was still an adulterous relationship? So, anal/oral I guess? Merely technicalities yet he tries to make it sound as though he didn’t do anything more than a little cuddling.

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  16. Well done, Julie Anne. Thank you to you and your sources for putting all of this together.

    It’s still shocking that Phillips was caught trying to climb into Victim’s bedroom window. Do your sources report that this was behavior that had happened before? If not, was this the night Phillips planned to take his abuse up to the “biblically knowing” level?

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  17. Brooke,

    My hunch is that he probably did this before and was getting careless and got caught. Again, only my hunch. As far as the Bibilical knowing part, I have to trust my Sources to be truthful in saying that both DP and Victim maintain the same story. However, biologically, I really have a hard time fathoming a man who has experienced sex being able to put the breaks on so to speak – especially with such a pretty young lady. It honestly leaves me baffled. Who knows whether that particular night would have been THE night for “biblical knowing.”

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  18. Mario,

    I have not heard any mentioning of oral/anal. The earlier post used the words “sexual touching.” So if Biblical knowing is the same as Home Run, would sexual touching be 3rd base? Lol.

    All I know is that key people involved in this situation who have heard both testimonies believe the sexual involvement was substantial enough to label it as adultery. I have to agree.

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  19. L.J.,

    The response of Beall is troubling. There was discussion of wives in the earlier post. This is not just a situation of a man who had an affair. This was a public figure and church/religious leader who had an affair and she had a role to play. Right now, it appears that she is standing by her man, defending him even when he deserves no defense. That is very troubling and makes me suspect the role she had with him most likely is a role she has maintained for quite some time. Be sure to check out the comments in Part 2 on this topic. If you can’t find them, let me know. I’ll hunt them down.

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  20. Thanks once again JA for this account.

    And thanks Cindy K too. I feel like I’ve been auditing a class on spiritual abuse and mind control, where you were expounding on a case study. Bless you!

    The way Beall sided with DP when he was being confronted by those five men, that is very wrong. If, before then, she had been pleading with her husband to show full repentance and godliness, she would most likely have stood with those men that day. She would have felt relieved and glad that they had come. She would probably have felt empowered to speak even more firmly to DP than she might have been doing before. She would have praised the men for trying to hold DP accountable. It was five against one (speaking of the men in that room) and any woman of godliness, no matter how conditioned to submit to her husband and to not speak her own mind, would have shown joy that those men were there trying to call her husband to righteousness that day.

    But I don’t want to villify Beall when the really BIG still unrepentant sinner is DP. Threatening to sue those men! Good grief. It’s ludicrous. But that is how sociopaths, even the most intelligent ones are: they are so self-centered that eventually they start to do things which are highly unintelligent, things which expose them for the fools they are. Give them enough rope (and time) and they almost always hang themselves in the end. The problem is, the damage they have inflicted on others along the way.

    God will most certainly hold DP to account.

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  21. “God will most certainly hold DP to account”

    Well, that’s all fine and dandy, Barbara, but what I see as the thrust of this series from Julie Anne is that there has been a CRIME committed here. DP needs to be held accountable in a court of law; only then will his Victim be totally vindicated and he’ll be labelled as the narcissistic, predatory criminal that he is.

    Too bad her father hadn’t been able to connect to DP’s retreating hind end after the famed ‘manly romp’ of his. .. . now THAT would have been justice.

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  22. “God will most certainly hold DP to account”

    Well, that’s all fine and dandy, Barbara, but what I see as the thrust of this series from Julie Anne is that there has been a CRIME committed here. DP needs to be held accountable in a court of law; only then will his Victim be totally vindicated and he’ll be labelled as the narcissistic, predatory criminal that he is. ”

    Further on this thought that God will hold him accountable. I think it is a cop out for Christians to go this route. God wants US to judge the Body. (Not the world). We are to police ourselves so to speak or why would Paul bother with so many warnings in letters and not just say, let God handle it?.

    And that would encompass quite a few options including making the information public, warning others, etc.. Legal is one of them despite how some interpret that passage which I won’t go into here but will say that many fake Christians actually use the “no sue” legalism to get by with lots of evil concerning money, etc. Seen it way too many times not to know the drill.
    It is proof texting at it’s worst. To get by with evil.

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  23. As to Beal, I have seen way too many of these wives respond in the same exact way. It is really hard for folks to understand why. Years and years of a certain lifestyle, power and couple that with totally “honoring” your husband (no matter what he does) is seen as pious. She most likely thinks God is pleased with her response. Because her salvation is connected to her husband. Not to Christ, really.

    It is a bizarre world but they really do think that way. Not long ago I saw an elders wife do something very cruel at her husbands urging. When confronted, she said she was “honoring” her husband. In her world, this relieves her of any responsibility at all including spiriutal responsiblity. Now think of a woman who has lived with that thinking most of her life. In her world, Doug will stand before Christ on her behalf. Doug is responsibile for her salvation. They don’t use exactlythose words but the thinking is there.

    Cindy K knows of what I speak. She saw this sort of thinking coming out of an SBC seminary. It has become more mainstreamed than people think in Christendom circles. It is, of course, a lie from the pit of hell, too. A very bad interpretation of Eph 5.

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  24. One of the reasons I so appreciate Cindy for teaching me about Thought Reform is that it allowed me to view these things with a more objective eye. When you do that it is better to take personalities out of it and focus on the tactics and strategies they used to suck you in. Without that, it is easy to get sucked in again because you like someone or relate to them in some way. And without understanding love bombing, it is easy to get sucked in when you are most vulnerable from another spiritual abuse situation. It is hard to believe but so many people will leave an organization with cultic thinking (thought reform) and end up in another one. It is because they did not analyze what took place and what attracted them to it in the first place adn why they ignored any red flags. This is why I have become such a Nazi about independent thinking.

    I was actually a bit sad to hear the victims parents started attending another church so soon. Perhaps I have that wrong?. And that they accepted a vacation from Phillips. I find this demeaning to their daughter. I am very glad to hear she is living on her own. Her parents got sucked into the Phillips cult and made it seem like normal Christianity to her. Let us hope they will take a good long hard look at the doctrine they were taught at Boerne, too.

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  25. As soon as I get done with praise and worship practice I have a comment connected with your thought, Carmen, but I need to get to my laptop. Can’t stand texting. But you are on to something regarding how this group looks at crime and how they handle it which is important to discuss.

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  26. 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.”

    As in “*I* Never Put Tab A into Slot B, So it Wasn’t Really Sexual, So It Wasn’t Adultery”? That’s still not a ringing justification.

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  27. Doug told Victim they were soul mates.

    Again, when someone talks about “soul mate”, assume until proven otherwise it’s not the one they’re married to; it’s always the honey/stud they’re doing on the side.

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  28. We’re all adults here. I think we can figure out exactly what sexual favour was being elicited from his ‘soul mate’ – there’s no way he was hanging around just for some heavy petting.

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  29. Just my initial reactions, all in one place:

    Doug and Beall were furious that these long-time friends came to confront Doug.

    “HOW!!! DARE!!! YOU!!!”

    Instead of receiving the counsel of his friends, Doug spent time in the meeting trying to claim he did not commit adultery…

    “It all depends on what the meaning of ‘sex’ is…”
    (See above re “No Tab A into Slot B, ergo Not REALLY Sex”…)
    Now that’s a Lawyer/ESQUIRE trying to fast-talk himself out of getting caught.

    And, sadly, even his wife Beall was saying unspeakable things about the Victim to members of the community.

    “STAND BY YO’ MAN…!”
    It’s always the Jezebel’s fault, not the Respectable Christian Goodwife.

    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.

    If this were Iran or Saudi or Talibanistan, the matter would have already been dealt with — a quiet Honor Killing or public execution (“With small stones, so that she dies slowly”) for Harlotry/Spreading Corruption Upon Earth.

    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.”

    And now The Conspiracy Theories come out. Just like when Cornerstone exposed Mike Warnke as a total fraud.
    And why is Douggie ESQUIRE hiding behind another lawyer? He always liked to brag about being a lawyer himself.

    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.

    For the fourth or fifth time, “It all depends on what the meaning of ‘sex’ is!”
    (Wipe mouth, announce “*I* Have Not Sinned…”)

    And now his letter to three men indicates potential legal action to protect his reputation and resources.

    “I’LL SUE! I’LL SUE! I’LL SUE!”
    (And from my experience here behind the Orange Curtain, there’s only one amount you ever sue for — “EVERYTHING THEY’VE GOT!” Douggie ESQUIRE probably needs big bucks to keep himself and Beale in the lifestyle to which they are accustomed.

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  30. As for the wife backing up an adulterous/abusing/pedophiliac husband, haven’t you noticed how much more common this is when the husband is wealthy or in a place of authority or highly recognizable and prosperous? The wife has a hard time become poor and disgraced. As human, sinful beings it is very difficult to give up the “goodies” the narcissist has acquired. So you can see where Beall is maybe coming from.

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  31. Ok, I think it’s very important to think about the doctrine that is taught by Doug Phillips and the common thought among Reconstructionists regarding issues of adultery, rape, etc, so we can understand why people responded the way they did.

    I’ve read numerous places that Doug preached that the death penalty was the biblical law required for adultery. So if we were to apply biblical law (I’m talking OT here), then Phillips should be stoned to death, right? For some reason, even though OT is clear on this violation, it’s as if those who could do something have been caught trying to figure out what to do. They seemed paralyzed in their response which is so odd since they are normally very vocal about their view of proper response to sin.

    However, another factor enters in. When we look at Deuteronomy 22, there is a part of that scripture that says if a woman is raped and doesn’t cry out or scream, then it is considered to be consensual.

    The automatic default of Reconstructionism is Old Testament Biblical Law. That’s why we hear from some of these folks about stoning those who engage in homosexual acts. (I’ve heard this from Kevin Swanson.)

    So, now it makes sense why there was a slow response to help Victim. They would immediately default to: Victim is responsible, she did not cry out, she did not cry out to witnesses, it went on for years, so it was consensual. She even admitted it. Many don’t feel sorry for her. Many say she should have known, etc.

    As I have been reading some Reconstructionist sites, one common response is very clear. They want to take care of these types of sins in-house and apply their understanding of Biblical law. Getting outside help is NOT the default response, whether that is outside reporting to authorities, outside counseling, etc. And it is also important to note that you don’t read much New Testament response to these issues, but Old Testament law. I don’t know what happened to the New Testament in Theonomy or Reconstructionism, but it seems they’d rather live in the age of stoning people to death and treating women as property than what we hear from Jesus’s greatest commandment which is to love.

    I believe that the Reconstructionism and Patriarchy is the absolute worse place for women/girls to be. Dogs probably would get a better life as far as respect and love.

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  32. Excellent work, Julie Anne. Well written, thorough, and easy to follow. Thank you so much for your enduring commitment to let the facts of this story be known.

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  33. “So if we were to apply biblical law (I’m talking OT here), then Phillips should be stoned to death, right?”

    Oooh, another good catch by JA! I was looking at it from the psychological control angle so much, I never even considered how the Torah would play into all this. If the VF crew really does want to live strictly by OT laws (as a kind of “Christianese Sharia”), the law of Moses might very well be a factor in Doug’s desperate evasion attempts, and in the treatment of Victim.

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  34. “As in “*I* Never Put Tab A into Slot B, So it Wasn’t Really Sexual, So It Wasn’t Adultery”? That’s still not a ringing justification”

    I have been quite amused that Doug Phillips used a Clintonesque defense.

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  35. “I’ve read numerous places that Doug preached that the death penalty was the biblical law required for adultery. ”

    Frankly, I was a bit surprised there was not more circling of the wagons from his patriarchal colleagues. Doug Wilson was one of his biggest defenders. Where is Paul Washer who loved Doug’s “man centered” manly theology just a few years ago.

    This could be part of the reason why more of the patriarchalists did not circle wagons around him. Although, I don’t think we have heard the full story yet at all. I think this is the tip of the iceberg and there is more to come concerning financial shenanigans that could land him in big trouble with the IRS. But then, I am sure there are board members…big names in that world…. who would not want that to happen because they are complicit as board members so they have to get rid of him somehow.

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  36. Great post, JA! You are awesome!

    As for the “biblically knowing” part, Jesus has an answer. If you look with lust on another, you have committed adultery. Let’s see Doug duck that one.

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  37. Thanks for this, Julie Anne. A lot of your blog really is dealing with our need for critical thinking skills so we can develop better discernment for making decisions about people and organizations that turn out toxic. Anyway, I think one of the great values in laying out a timeline like this with key facts in order is that you often notice patterns that are hard to see if you just have a jumble of facts, like a bunch of post-it notes in random order (although that format has its uses as well). And reading through the chronology led me to an unexpected find …

    Something that stands out to me in this narrative is how many times Doug Phillips was confronted about his behaviors in some form, regardless of how undeniable the evidence was becoming. There were at least five private confrontations in a six-year period, and yet it ended the way it did with public exposure and rebuke for him, and collapse of both the ministry and business organizations for Vision Forum — all because Doug Phillips himself chose for at least six years to continue on the same path of immoral activity involving Victim which, it turns out, is ostensibly illegal as well, due to Texas laws on clergy culpability in sexual involvements with a parishioner.

    According to this timeline, Doug Phillips was confronted with his actions:

    1. in 2008 by a member of BCA and friend of Victim,
    2. in a 2009 meeting with Victim’s parents,
    3. in the summer of 2011 by Peter Bradrick,
    4. in December 2012 by Victim’s father and brother, and subsequent meeting with Victim family members, and
    5. on October 29, 2013, by five concerned men with long-standing connects to him.

    It’s almost like an annual spiritual check-up reminder that you haven’t repented still. And yet, at the end of it all, in March 2014 the letter from his lawyer threatens a lawsuit against three men alleging: “The three of you have conspired together, and with others, in an attempt to destroy Doug Phillips, his family and Vision Forum Inc.”

    Five confrontations since 2008 for Mr. Phillips, serial opportunities to stop what he was doing and to go in the moral, legal, godly direction he surely must have known from his very own teachings. Hard to believe that anyone else but he himself destroyed himself, his family, and/or his Vision Forum Inc. business.

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  38. @CindyK:

    Lewis certainly understood the works of the flesh. I think of thought reform (or spiritual abuse) as the works of the flesh when used against a group, and this is just how we describe it in modern language.

    Problem is, Cindy, “works of the flesh(TM)” is nowadays an exclusively Christianese term/buzzword (like “fornication”). Fundagelical Christians (i.e. “Christians” without an adjective) have been walling themselves away from everyone else for some time, and that wall of separation includes linguistic drift into a dialect of Christianese jargon and buzzwords. So “works of the flesh” has no meaning outside of those four Kincade-decorated Christianese fortress walls. In addition, spiritual abuse survivors have probably experienced “the flesh(TM)” being used against them as a beatdown weapon.

    So for clarity and understandability, whenever possible speak English (“modern language”) not Christianese. If a Christianese term has to be used, identify it as a technical term, not a secret password only the Saved can understand. That’s the difference between a Technical Language and a Mystery Language; the first is just a specialized dialect with unique words for technical terms that come up in its specialty; the second is a secret code to Identify the Inner Ring and freeze out the Other.

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  39. Also, FWIW, sometimes what we reason as being *absent* can turn out to be as important as what is present. If something is missing that seems like it could or should be there, we can at least use that as a tip-off of other facts to watch for or investigate, hopefully instead of just speculating wildly about what might maybe coulda happened.

    So – there’s that preliminary cautionary note to preface the following.

    Although we do not know at this point the full contents of the March 13, 2014, letter from Doug Phillips’ attorney to three former Vision Forum associates, I do believe it is something to keep in mind that there is no evidence thus far of *Victim* being included in this letter.

    Nor is there any news report to date (at least not that I’m aware of) of Victim receiving a similar legal letter, for allegedly having acted, conspired, or suggested that the reputation of Doug Phillips be destroyed.

    If Mr. Phillips in any way held Victim responsible for the demise of his reputation, family, or business, I certainly find it curious that he is not attempting to hold her civilly liable for it and instead is focusing on former business/ministry associates.

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  40. @JulieAnne:

    Good one, Dee. That’s if he has a New Testament in his Bible.

    Assuming he’s using a Bible and not a Koran…

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  41. “Thanks for this, Julie Anne. A lot of your blog really is dealing with our need for critical thinking skills so we can develop better discernment for making decisions about people and organizations that turn out toxic. ”

    Yes! I really appreciate that about this blog.

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  42. “If Mr. Phillips in any way held Victim responsible for the demise of his reputation, family, or business, I certainly find it curious that he is not attempting to hold her civilly liable for it and instead is focusing on former business/ministry associates.”

    Oh very good point!!

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  43. Thank you Julie Ann for creating the timeline. Now I have a better perspective. About Beall-is there any evidence of her being an emotionally abused spouse? I have read in various places that she was estranged from her family. If that is true, I wonder what role Doug played in that situation. Narcissists and abusive spouses often start their relationship/marriage by alienating their partner from family and old friends. If Beall has been “turned” against her family by Doug, then her reference point would be Doug and his admirers. This would create a scenario which would make it almost emotionally impossible for her to break away. Cognitive dissonance sets in and she would only be able to experience the affair through a very distorted lens. I am not trying to defend her, but am trying to find an explanation for her behavior. I can’t imagine how his kids will be effected once they are old enough to understand. If Beall had the courage to leave, what an excellent role model that would be for all her children. Now all they see is that family loyalty is more important than boundaries, self-esteem, or even self-preservation. Sadly the whole family has to suffer to “protect” this preditor. Nobody wins.

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  44. The reporting on here has been painstakingly researched and presented in a charitable and factual manner. I wish more bloggers took the time to do it right. I am just really sad for all of those who were hurt by this scandal. I hope that no funds were misappropriated by Mr Phillips. That would just be more heartbreak upon the already devastated. There is no joy or gloating when someone like Mr Phillips is caught in a double-life scandal such as this. We need to pray for Victim and for those godly men who tried to do the right thing.

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  45. About Beall-is there any evidence of her being an emotionally abused spouse?

    Just the mere fact that Beall’s husband carried on a many-year affair would constitute as emotional abuse to me. Add to that the system of Patriarchy – – and yea, it’s a no brainer – – this culture cultivates a climate of disrespect and devaluing women to guinea pig status aka their worth is in their breeding and how many they can put out (all for Christ, of course).

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  46. Hey, Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Christianeze as you describe it is another one of the criteria of thought reform as you describe it: Loading the Language.

    I mention the works of the flesh because many people feel that these concepts are not “Biblical” (another term that some use like a trademark). Jesus noted and described these techniques of manipulation almost better than anyone else in Scripture, but because the language seems so much like “evil psychology,” many Christians will consider it suspect.

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  47. RE: “Julie Anne : March 29, 2014 @ 7:03 PM
    I have a question – was Beall on the Paris trip in the summer of 2011?
    I’m pretty sure the answer is yes. I found this picture from Becky Morecraft’s blog post which was looking back on the year 2011:
    The caption reads: Doug and Beall Phillips on the Seine in Paris.”

    The photo of Doug and Beall is sickening, surreal … even though it appears Beall is “standing by her man”; time will tell what her true heart is OR is she still being traumatized by the celebrity husband being “caught”?
    How many true victims have had to pose for photos for family and friends, outwardly displaying that everything is alright? As I continue to make plans for my future, I was recently put under such pressure and could not get out of it. The photo has been taken and I feel sick about it. I told my husband how I am so hurt by family wanting to ignore the sins and expecting me to just move on. His response was that I have to decide … if I can’t tolerate the way he wants to have our marriage function, then it’s my decision to move out. (this is after demanding I leave in 2013 when he felt I was to blame for trauma concerning his health)
    Thank you Julie Anne for updating this timeline …. as one who formerly home educated three now adult daughters, I was very much influenced by such teaching presented by Doug Philips. My husband would not be considered patriarchal; he controls by allowing others to rule me. He does not defend me or protect me but allows all matters of abuse to be thrown at me by others. My daughters blame me for being a legalist as we home educated. I became the disciplinarian as my husband stood by, desiring to remain friends with the daughters; all the while I was covering up for his sins as he kept “promising to change” — false repentance, etc … counsellors have now told me I am “way too trusting”.
    My comment could also be posted under: https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/07/23/divorce-dilemmas-in-the-church/ I am presently working through the fog of having been nurtured in the “permanence view of marriage”. I have truly just wanted to remain faithful to my vows, however, this marriage is not at all Christ-honouring.
    I apologize for rambling but submitting to un-Scriptural practices and teaching that my daughters “see it that way, too” … is very, very painful.

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  48. Anonymous, Please do not beat on yourself too hard. Jesus carries those burdens for us as we wake up and deal with the aftermath. My prayers go with you. Jesus Christ is full of grace and mercy.

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  49. Lydia – Thank you for your encouraging words. It will be a year in April that the Lord graciously allowed me to discover blogs offered by Julie Anne, A CRY FOR JUSTICE, Cindy Burrell, etc … There is literally no local church support in my semi-remote community, however as you stated, “Jesus Christ is full of grace and mercy.” Meeting many like-minded Christians via the internet has allowed me to gather many valuable Biblical resources to study the Word more fully and share with “those whom have ears to hear”. The marital stress, however makes it vey difficult as I attempt to keep up with household tasks, ill health, and now the prospects of finding a job and possibly leaving this relationship.
    I am praying for the Biblical ministries like this one and for the many like-minded commenters whom revere the infallible Word.

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  50. Anybody know where the Phillips family is now? If I understand correctly, the 5 guys suddenly showed up Oct. 29 to confront Doug, which did not go well. The next day, the Board has an emergency meeting and then informs DP that they are shutting down VFM and the Phillips family has just 2 months to move out of the house. That had to have resulted in some panic, fear, and an urge to act out of self preservation.

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  51. Anonymous,

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been put through all of this. I’m especially sad to hear that your husband has managed to turn your daughters against you, and after you’ve worked so hard to raise them, teach them, and prepare them for life in the world. My hope is that life will open their eyes and help them to see your love for them, and his manipulation.

    Thank you for sharing your story here. I pray that God will surround you with people who understand and love you, and will support you in protecting yourself through a terrible situation.

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  52. ServingKidsInJapan – Oh my, everyone is just so kind! – so much encouragement – May we all continue to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” JUDE 3 We do this by exposing the lies of the enemy; lies played out by abusers such as Doug Philips.

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  53. Anonymous – Welcome – – my heart really aches for you. The hooks in this system are so powerful and it sounds like your family and marriage has suffered because of this corrupt system. It sounds like you are in the midst of it still. Ugh. I get that completely. I am still dealing with repercussions of it. The difference now is that I know what it is and can identify it. But it doesn’t take away the pain. I’m so sorry that you are going through this yuck.

    I would like to personally invite you to join the private SSB forum. It’s not always really active, but it is available when you need it and whenever someone has something come up or wants to vent, there is always someone there to encourage and offer support/prayers. Feel free to contact me if this sounds like something that might be helpful for you: spiritualsb@gmail.com

    Edited to add: People are always welcome to share their story here as Anonymous has done. Spiritual Sounding Board means just that – – it’s a place for YOU to have YOUR voice and share with others. It doesn’t bother me at all to “hijack” a thread for this purpose. To me, the purpose of this place is to meet people right where they are and if you are at that point and ready to share your story, please feel free to do so! We want to hear it. Your story may resonate so well with someone else that it can cause a life-changing aha moment for them. I love personal stories!

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  54. NJ – Last I heard (which was pretty recent), the Phillips family still lives in the area and still attends Boerne Christian Assembly.

    Yes and to add to that……..they didn’t suffer TOO much……..they live in an extremely nice house in a very expensive neighborhood in the area.

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  55. Julie Anne – Eileen … I have to wonder how the children are coping through all of this? Are they having to put up a front and remain loyal to “the family name”?

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  56. @Eileen:

    Yes and to add to that……..they didn’t suffer TOO much……..they live in an extremely nice house in a very expensive neighborhood in the area.

    Which explain$ the $udden threat$ of law$uit$. With no more VF ca$h cow, Douggie ESQUIRE and Beall are going to need more income to remain in the life$tyle to which they are accu$tomed.

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  57. HUG,

    “Douggie ESQUIRE and Beall are going to need more income to remain in the life$tyle to which they are accu$tomed.”

    Might that explain the conspicuous lack of threatened litigation against Victim? Brad/futuristguy noted it above. Perhaps they figure she doesn’t have enough assets to bother going after… Just my speculation.

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  58. The threatened lawsuit makes no rational sense as a way to get money. Certainly Bradrick has no assets – he said something about a business failure on Facebook – and I can’t imagine that the other two have much to go after either. Either this is pure rage because they no longer hero worship him or there is more to come out and he wants to scare them into signing a non-disclosure agreement so it doesn’t.

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  59. Bradrick doesn’t appear to have any assets, but that hasn’t stopped Doug from going after him. Also, a lawsuit would make public the emails, chats, and texts between Doug and Victim.

    Stopping a nuisance lawsuit has driven people into the poorhouse before, and I’m sure that the chats would reveal that Victim was not totally passive in this affair. (Yes, Doug was a complete sleaze here, but this information could still make her look bad.)

    If I were Doug, I would want this all to go away, but Doug is acting like a man who wants to take everyone else down with him.

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  60. I am still unclear as to who actually ended the relationship after the climbing through the window debacle. Was it Victim? Doug? Parents? Beall?

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  61. “The automatic default of Reconstructionism is Old Testament Biblical Law.”

    I’ve never been a part of these types of movements and I really don’t understand the hyperfocus on the OT, instead of the New Testament. Aren’t True Christians supposed to focus on Jesus’ teachings, not the OT?

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  62. In reply to the comments that DP would not have been satisfied with anything less than anal/oral over such a long time period, remember Bill Gothard. People are weird when it comes to sex/power/gratification. Gothard apparently had a fetish for petting over clothes, or at least all of the victim stories I have read focused on that. It’s possible that DP had a similar obsession.

    It’s still adultery, spiritual abuse, and sexual abuse.

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  63. guest – you are absolutely right. I think Gothard had a thing about feet, too, he would play footsies underneath dining tables. I remember reading an account and thinking how obnoxious that must have been for a young lady to know she is sitting by her abuser and that at any time his feet may venture into her personal space. She would have to tuck her feet beneath her own chair the whole meal to stay safe. That is just crazy and an abuse of control/power.

    Someone just sent me this and I thought it was excellent:

    abuser

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  64. Brad commented on how Phillips was confronted yearly asking what was going on. Even after Phillips was caught climbing in the bedroom window, there was another meeting. Why did just Beall, Doug, and the parents meet? There is nothing to discuss with these 2 couples. It needed to be taken to a higher level. At this point, it would be time to bring in other people – -Sarratt, Vision Forum board members. Additionally, there was illegal breaking/entering. Police should have been notified. When there’s an intruder, you call the cops. But this group is special with a special leader. Even when their own daughter is being violated, they defer to their special leader and cut him some slack.

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  65. JA and Eileen, thanks.

    I’m glad they’ve got some stability, if only for the kids’ sake. I’d like to think that this whole thing would provide some perspective for each of them as they get into adulthood, as well as opportunities to break away from that whole subculture, but who knows. I can see Doug trying to get some new venture going later on, maybe involving them.

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  66. Thank you for this series of posts, JA! I’ve learned a lot from reading here. Last time I commented, I was offering support for a couple of bloggers who weren’t blogging with integrity. I can see the difference now. You offer a safe place for survivors.

    That pic, “baiting & bashing”, struck a chord with me. Been there, had that done to me. My question is, when that’s going on, what’s the best way to respond?

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  67. JustMe:

    I’ve learned a lot in this process. I’ve made mistakes along the way and still have moments of weakness where I want to respond to those who have harmed me and continually harm me.

    You ask, “What is the best way to respond?”

    I would say to quietly leave. Do not engage or respond. You owe nobody an explanation. Just quietly move on. After you have moved on, some may come to you later to ask why you left and you can see if it might be appropriate to divulge a little more info.

    Keep in mind that in some abusive searches, you can experience more turmoil AFTER you leave than while you were there. (JA raises her hand.)

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  68. The threatened lawsuit makes no rational sense as a way to get money. Certainly Bradrick has no assets – he said something about a business failure on Facebook – and I can’t imagine that the other two have much to go after either.

    Bradrick doesn’t have a pot to pee in so to speak……..

    I am confused as to why the Victim’s parents didn’t stop this when it first began and nipped it in the bud. I can see Beall being so under control of DP, that she had no power to, but I do NOT understand the Victim’s parents……..

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  69. But that is so hard to do! The not responding part, anyway. 🙂 There are times when I feel like they literally make me squirm!
    I so wish I could leave. I have gotten more distance between them and me recently, but they are extended family, so it’s complicated. And it seems there is no limit to who they will try and get sympathy from or try and convince that they are the victim. I feel like, if I close the front door, they go around and try and find a back door or window to climb in. It seems never-ending.

    Thanks for the good advice!

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  70. Good question, nowoolovertheeyes:

    I’ve been thinking about this meeting with the parents and Doug and Beall. Doug was clearly in the wrong – – he allegedly illegally trespassed and was pursuing their daughter, possibly sexually. This is damning for a pastor. Yet what does he do? He gets them all in a meeting??? You can be sure that he orchestrated the meeting – – under the guise of his role as pastor. Do you see how problematic this is? He is the guilty party and he gets to call the shots? Did Victim’s dad say, “No, Phillips, it’s not your time to talk, it’s my time to talk!” I highly doubt it. In this culture, the pastor role is so elevated.

    Also think about the culture difference that elevates Americans. One more thought – think about the fact that Victim’s father was at a disadvantage in that he did not speak English well. Again, that puts Phillips on top. The Victim’s family also became victims as they were nothing – – just mere church members. It was a big step for them to leave after been part of this community for so many years.

    This system of hierarchy and of handling problems in-house largely contributed to keeping this story under wraps.

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  71. A friend of mine (with a psych background) trying to help me with my own spiritually abusive situation pointed out that narcissists love a theatrical denouement, and are often driven to create one even when it isn’t in their own best interests. They are completely convinced that they can control any room, and welcome the chance to display their (perceived) power and skills. Doug’s call for a meeting seems to fit into this. My abusive pastor wanted to settle *everything* with meetings–in which he did most of the talking of course. Even when the meetings clearly didn’t work for him or for anyone else, he constantly wanted another meeting, sure that the next time he could convince everyone of just how right he was.

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  72. Exactly, L.J. –

    That reminds me of my former pastor who issued an 18-page manifesto that he called a “press release” with justifications for suing me and 4 others. Everybody who saw it laughed at how ridiculous it was. Negative attention is still attention and feeds a narcissist’s ego. Don’t feed the narcissist!

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  73. L.J. said, “They [narcissists] are completely convinced that they can control any room …”

    Well, perhaps any room but a courtroom. And that may be where some (much?) of this is settled. Part of what is a mystery to me is why Mr. Phillips would threaten a civil lawsuit … depending on what the issues are, doesn’t the “discovery” process go both ways, and the defendants could gain access to all kinds of relevant information and documentation from Doug Phillips and family and the now defunct Vision Forum, Inc.?

    (Perhaps someone with a legal background could help us understand exactly what kind of suit seems to be threatened here, and what the evidence-gathering process could include, should this go to a civil suit.) (And also whether any prior “non-disclosure agreements” are null and void if/when there are criminal issues at hand to testify about, such as here with the possibility of clergy sexual abuse.)

    A civil suit could yield quite startling “unintended consequences,” but could certainly provide the kind of “theatrical denouement” that L.J.’s friend talked about.

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  74. knowing Doug like we do, I am sure he had the family under control…….most people like him do. Not surprisingly, he used alot of mind control, intimidation and manipulation techniques. We have been on the back end of some of that. It’s not fun. Just ask Jen Epstein. Just like being in a cult, he had many confused and snowed under and deceived. But the parents (yes I know who they are) should have known the changes in their daughter from day 1, from the beginning, to stop this and nip it in the bud…….regardless of the consequences. I hope this man is never ever able to be in any kind of ministry or work like that again. I am thankful for both your site AND Jen’s……..this is about making sure that this man doesn’t abuse and do what he did for so many years. AND if people think that this is JUST about an affair with the Victim……oh there’s more layers than an onion. I am here to tell ya……

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  75. Brad – My understanding is it would be a defamation lawsuit which would mean that the defendants would likely file an anti-SLAPP which would halt any discovery.

    I keep comparing Phillips to my former pastor because there are so many similarities. Brad, I know you remember that in my first court hearing, both my pastor and his attorney seemed to be oblivious to the fact that there is no discovery during the anti-SLAPP. He WANTED discovery and trust me, if there had been discovery, all kinds of dirt would have been revealed about HIM. The same thing would happen to Phillips. But narcissists do not see negative information about them as bad. They always have a way to justify/explain away, etc. In a way, I wish there would have been discovery in my case, but it would have extended the case to a much longer period of time. (Which, btw, is the purpose of the anti-SLAPP to reduce frivolous lawsuits that tie up the court’s time.)

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  76. At the risk of offending some well-meaning, good-hearted survivors of abuse here, I have to take exception to calling the men who attempted to bring Phillips to account “godly men”. The entire reformed/reconstructionist/dominionist religious sphere is spiritually bankrupt. As I see it, these so-called “godly men” will simply regroup, remodel, and resume spreading their toxic religion. Abuse is inevitable.

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  77. Just me, I agree with Julie Anne on not reacting and not engaging. It is hard when it is family, especially when you don’t want to cut them out of your life. Maybe say something like “I understand you have a different viewpoint” and then change the subject or invent a reason to leave or get off the phone.

    When other people confront you about the so-called conflict or whatever you are supposed to have done, then react very calmly and don’t directly defend yourself, it keeps the drama going. “Yes, Harriet feels very strongly about that issue. My own approach is to agree to disagree, we are family after all, but I guess Harriet just can’t let it go.”

    Damn with faint praise if you get an opportunity. “Harriet is such a fine homemaker herself, I guess she just can’t help criticizing those of us who can’t meet her very high standards.”

    Use words like ‘puzzled’ or in the case of a really big deal ‘flabbergasted’ rather than words that indicate annoyance or anger. “I am frankly puzzled that this issue keeps being raised. I thought Harriet and I had resolved this long ago and yet you are telling me she is bringing it up to others. I wonder why she didn’t just come directly to me if she had ongoing concerns.”

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  78. Good point, square 1.

    The “godly men” phrase was the wording that was sent to me. I tried to keep most of the tone of the Sources.

    Oh, and by the way, the reference to the other blog in the first paragraph was reworded. The original notes named the blog and used even stronger words. The Sources who asked me to post the above info have strong issues with the misinformation that has been posted there.

    I have already posted my own personal issues that I have observed in my own articles, but want to be clear that the 1st paragraph is indeed from the Sources, not my personal opinion or thoughts.

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  79. “But that is so hard to do! The not responding part, anyway. 🙂 There are times when I feel like they literally make me squirm!”

    I know what you mean JustMe. I feel like I have to sit on my hands and tape my mouth shut. The following excerpt helps me understand what these kinds of abusive people want afa responses and why they want them. I figure, they make our lives miserable enough…why give them what they want in a response?

    “On page 37 of their excellent book, Aikido in Everyday Life, Terry Dobson and Victor Miller wrote that “Fighting back is one of the most counterproductive responses in most conflict situations.” That is even more true in verbal conflict than it is in physical conflict. What verbal attackers are usually trying to do is prove that they can get and keep your total attention, even if you had other plans for the time involved. They may have additional goals, but the main thing they want is your attention and the emotional charge that comes with it. If that attention comes in the form of fighting back, that’s okay; the attacker will be delighted. If it comes in the form of one of the other two ways our society teaches us to handle verbal abuse — pleading (“Oh, PLEASE don’t start that!”) or debating (“There are four reasons why you shouldn’t say that to me. First…..”) — the attacker will happy settle for one of those, too.
    Your natural tendency when someone starts using hostile language at you is to respond by counterattacking or pleading or debating, depending on the situation and your personal style of language behavior. The temptation to do that is very strong; the habit of doing that is very strong. However, when you do it you are giving the attacker exactly what he or she wants. If the attacker can get you to do one of those things and surrender your total attention, the attack has succeeded.”

    http://adrr.com/aa/whymastervsd dot html

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  80. “Well, perhaps any room but a courtroom. And that may be where some (much?) of this is settled. Part of what is a mystery to me is why Mr. Phillips would threaten a civil lawsuit … depending on what the issues are, doesn’t the “discovery” process go both ways, and the defendants could gain access to all kinds of relevant information and documentation from Doug Phillips and family and the now defunct Vision Forum, Inc.?”

    I thought it was a lawsuit that included a mediation/reconciliation option—their choice. Am I right?

    I you think about it, that is a perfect way for a manipulator to respond. If they do not choose the mediation route –they are responsible for the lawsuit. After all, Doug offered. But those of us who were following earlier mediation attempts by Phillips know he controls it.

    And when people go through mediation isn’t one of the outcomes that people don’t talk about it? I have heard this from several who have opted for that route. So not sure.

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  81. I think it was worded mediation and if that didn’t work, then lawsuit.

    Either way – – just as in the case of Phillips and Victim’s parents, there is nothing to discuss. Phillips is the one who admitted his guilt. The 3 who whom he is threatening are not responsible for his guilt.

    The only discussion should be from Phillips apologizing and repenting profusely and removing himself from any ministry permanently.

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  82. Mario,

    Thanks for posting what I hadn’t quite gotten the nerve to say. I, too, wondered if it was somehow a lot of “other than missionary.” Technically speaking of course.

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  83. @Lydia:

    I you think about it, that is a perfect way for a manipulator to respond. If they do not choose the mediation route –they are responsible for the lawsuit. After all, Doug offered.

    i.e.
    “SEE WHAT *YOU* MADE ME DO! IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!! IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!!! IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!!!!”
    (Screaming six-year-old voice optional.)

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  84. @LJ:

    My abusive pastor wanted to settle *everything* with meetings–in which he did most of the talking of course. Even when the meetings clearly didn’t work for him or for anyone else, he constantly wanted another meeting, sure that the next time he could convince everyone of just how right he was.

    And by the fifth or sixth meeting, he was the only one in the room completely oblivio to just how obvious and ridiculous he was making himself look?

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  85. @HUG, actually what happened was over the second trainwreck of a meeting everyone else (including ‘observers’) refused to participate. He then told the congregation that we were unwilling to reconcile. He has now used the same tactic on other congregants.

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  86. Is the Fredricksburg church the church of Bob Welch and Cody Carnett? Bob Welch was been a huge supporter of both Gothard and Phillips, preaching what they preach for years. What an interesting place for this girl’s family to turn… These men, also in the knowledge of what had taken place, kept silent and even spoke at a conference with Doug in August of 2013. It is so interesting/sad the deception, the hiding, and the facade that goes on in this thread of people.

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  87. Re: NJ said,

    “I’m glad they’ve got some stability, if only for the kids’ sake. I’d like to think that this whole thing would provide some perspective for each of them as they get into adulthood, as well as opportunities to break away from that whole subculture, but who knows. I can see Doug trying to get some new venture going later on, maybe involving them.”

    I have seen this scenario turn out poorly. My former pastor was caught, but instead of pressing charges, he was given “mercy” and told to leave town. The leaders said they didn’t want the kids to have to go through their dad being in jail and the loss of income.

    The former pastor left town, only to return within the year. He took that time to garner even more control over his wife and kids, lied to get some deep pocket$ to support him starting a new church, convincing them he wasn’t guilty, even when the facts are indisputable. Upon his return, he started a new church not far from the old one. He has his wife and kids dutifully performing, smiling, and never daring to ask questions or even think, I suspect. As long as they obey, they get money, stuff, privilege, power, special status …. selfish gain.

    My personal opinion is that the wife and kids would have been better off if the former pastor had gone to jail for his crimes. If the family had the chance to learn how to make an honest living and how to lower their standard from $300 jeans to Target. $1000’s of dollar purses to Walmart. If they had gotten a break for the constant brainwashing at home, they could actually grow and heal. To have had the chance to get to know God without the carrot and the stick to bribe and beat them, would have been preferable, I think. Instead, I’m afraid the pastor has multiplied his influence by each family member dutifully doing what they must to get their pay.

    We have to clean house. Whatever we leave undone, grows back … worse.

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  88. For the record, I just want to say that anytime a man is trying to climb into the window of a woman’s bedroom, there are SERIOUS issues. There is not a single good reason, with the exception of the house was on fire. That reason ALONE should have had Phillips terminated from all ministry and into some serious counseling.

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  89. Is the Fredricksburg church the church of Bob Welch and Cody Carnett?

    I don’t think it’s proper to ask this or for anyone to answer. She has been hounded enough and bombarded since this was released to the point where she has had to quit a job and move to a different town. She doesn’t need anymore “lookie loos” & Nosey people bombarding/stalking her or chasing her down in a place that’s supposed to be a safe haven. I DO know the answer, but I am not going to tell you……because I think she should be protected and this is a public forum. There are some crazy people out there.

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  90. Thank you, @Marsha and @Diane ! I know this is good advice, it is just so hard to do the right thing sometimes. I think they know this.

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  91. Someone said and someone else added:
    “Well, perhaps any room but a courtroom. And that may be where some (much?) of this is settled. Part of what is a mystery to me is why Mr. Phillips would threaten a civil lawsuit … depending on what the issues are, doesn’t the “discovery” process go both ways, and the defendants could gain access to all kinds of relevant information and documentation from Doug Phillips and family and the now defunct Vision Forum, Inc.?”

    I thought it was a lawsuit that included a mediation/reconciliation option—their choice. Am I right?

    Yes. But, the choice of a mediator is critical, and the narcissist in this case would want to control who the mediator is. I have mediated in Bexar County (San Antonio), and there are a number of excellent mediators there. And, as a Christian, I would be willing to mediate in this case, being able to maintain neutrality would be difficult, however.

    Discovery does go both ways, and can include sworn interrogatories (questions to be answered in writing), depositions (live questioning under oath on the record, often with video), documents that are potentially relevant including all that may be used in court (if not provided in discovery, generally not allowed to be used in court). And, unless a judge agrees to seal some portion, everything can be made available to the press and public, though generally not advised.

    A likely suit would relate to the NDAs [moderator note: NDA = Non-Disclosure Agreements], which are difficult to enforce if there were a crime involved or financial improprieties. Such agreements usually impose requirements on both parties, and usually require significant compensation for the NDA to be upheld, especially if they are signed after one has been employed for some time.

    A second area would be improper termination of employment or denial of some rights associated with employment, or abrogation of some golden parachute.

    A third area might be the degradation of some commercial rights that DP had or claims to have had — copyrights are an example — that VFI or VFM yet controls. That is difficult to sort out, since they would have been created while he was being paid, which generally means the payor keeps them, not the payee.

    A fourth area might be defamation (slander and/or libel). But if the three made only statements that cannot be proved to be false, there is no there there either.

    So I think it is a suit to discourage the truth from coming out and unlikely to succeed. And the three should hire an attorney to countersue for a frivolous suit being filed and seek compensation and attorney fees from whatever stash DP has.

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  92. Thanks for that information, An Attorney.

    Those details add insight to the legal part of how this is unfolding, and I really appreciate your taking the time and effort to let us know!

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  93. @ An Attorney Just to clarify again. Bob, Peter, and Jordan DID NOT sign NDA, also Doug HAS NOT filed a lawsuit as of today against these three men. He THREATENED to file a lawsuit. He sent them a letter. That’s where it stands right now. I should also add that these three men are extremely intelligent and are quite capable of handling Doug and his foolishness.

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