Debriefing and Processing Recent Church Scandals


The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalms 18:2



My place of respite.


These last few weeks with never-ending stories of pastors mishandling sex abuse, celebrity pastor behaving inappropriately and then blaming wife, celebrity Christian caught on the Ashley Madison site, Patriarchy and women who are trapped in a system, has gotten me emotionally drained. I find myself feeling fatigued, needing more sleep, down, and sometimes weepy.

I want to scream, I want to drive to Moscow, Idaho and rescue Katie Sitler. I want to call Anna Duggar and tell her it’s okay to leave Josh. I want to rescue the victims and show them there is another way, that not all Christians treat women like this.

I’ve heard from some of you who are trying to make sense of these troubling church scandals, so I’m opening up this post for that purpose.

How are you doing?  How are these stories affecting you?


110 comments on “Debriefing and Processing Recent Church Scandals

  1. Well, it makes me just want to curl into a ball and cry . When several of 8 of my grandchildren who were raised in this cult say ” Why did Dad want to have so many kids if he didn’t want to get to know us'”. , it more than just breaks my heart. These so called leaders have brought so much misery. My thoughts about such leaders are very unchristian.

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  2. What troubles me JAS, is how this is affecting the mainstream elements of the church. Too many people are ignorant, don’t care and only think of themselves apparently. I feel sick over what is transpiring and baffled by how much of a problem it is. I was drinking water at work today when I saw that CJ Mahaney is going to be headlining at T4G. I almost choked and was livid. Either Mahaney threw enough money that they were purchased, thus bribed or God has foreordained child sex abuse in Sovereign Grace and this is his will. If its God’s will then I want to go back to agnosticism/atheism. I’m tired and angry for all of this. What needs to happen is that someone needs to head to prison. Someone needs to be prosecuted and charged for criminal activity.

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  3. its especially hard to process things this time of year and its also a huge stress but a huge relief to find out that i am not the only one abused by patriarchy and churches. i wish you would go rescue those women but sadly, the brainwashing is so intense in situations like theirs that even if the Lord opens the prison doors the captives are usually too fearful to leave.

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  4. Maybe being over emotional here, but I think maybe organized religious institutions need to start being ignored. Certainly Mega churches and celebrity pastors. Home meetings, Starbucks meetings, etc, money involved. Any money collected to go to missions, maybe the mission down the street. Christianity needs to stop being big business and get back to small church accountability.

    Sorry. , but I have seen so much collateral damage, and have been damaged myself.

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  5. The good thing about opening up our hearts to truly see and care, is it helps us see the world as God sees it. We look beyond the veil and find brokenness, hurt, desperation, violence and madness. When we care, hurt people will share with us their sacred stories, the stories they can’t trust with anyone else. It is good to truly hear and see what others refuse to hear or see. But it is also difficult and painful to see and hear but to also feel limited in our ability to change the situation and help those who need to be rescued. As a pastor, I’ve often felt the sorrow of abiding with someone in their pain but feeling unable to help enough. Regardless, I remind myself that it is good to open my heart to people and pain that seems too great to help. It is good to share in part with the fellowship of Christ’s suffering and to gain a better understanding of the love people truly need. Sin should break and trouble our hearts. We should never grow comfortable with abuse and spiritual violence. It should sicken our hearts and sadden our souls. And from this place of truly mourning with those who mourn we try our best to find a altar of hope and healing. A place for us to find the Christ who identifies with those who’ve been sinned against. Much love to you, Doug

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  6. This is the place to let it all hang out, Leslie. I don’t see your comment as over-emotional at all. I think we’re all frustrated with the church-as-business model we’ve seen. It’s maddening. Didn’t Jesus turn tables over for that?

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  7. Julie Anne,

    First, I wish I could make you dinner. I wish Kathi could join us. And others. I wish we could just hang out up there.

    I join you in wanting to SCREAM, weep, etc. Somebody else said curl up. Sleep more. Definitely. I have to look at some stories and posts and say, “Lord, send some brilliant person to refute that, answer that, etc.” I want to do so much…and I can’t.

    Glad The Lies Of Patriarchy, Authoritarianism and Legalism Are Being Undone
    I am GLAD that all of the lies of patriarchy are being undone. Train wreck after train wreck…the stories. The Duggars and their *perfect life*, all of their advice, their Stepford-wifeish way of behaving. Undone. A lie. The authoritarianism and legalism doesn’t work. The non-stop rules don’t work. And they lied to keep it all together…to make themselves look better than they were.

    I want to save Jana Duggar and the rest of ’em, including Anna. I want to save Katie up in Moscow and that baby boy.

    I want to know what is wrong with those elders that any of them thought this was a good idea…matching a young woman up to a pedophile. Seriously, guys? When the Apostle Paul was talking about getting married so you didn’t burn with sexual desire, he meant healthy sexual desire. Not a young woman who was to *be sacrificed* to cure a pedophile who has a sexual desire for children.. And guess what, elders, it didn’t work!

    A Better Way To Choose A Spouse For Katie:
    I just want to scream at them: a) You could have closed your eyes, opened up the phone book to ANY page, pointed your finger at a name with YOUR EYES CLOSED and probably chosen a better husband for Katie than you did with all of the info you had and dismissed (pedophile who sexually abused kids in multiple states); or b) confessed your incompetency and even enlisted unbelievers to choose a decent spouse for Katie. I wish those elders had the decency to put on sackcloth and ashes for what they have done.

    Can Christian Men/Conservatives Ever Get It Right?
    Added to the unconscionable conduct of the pastors/elders, have been the blogs and tweets from like-minded pastors across the U.S. defending them. And finally Tim Bayley took down his article and changed course. I have no problem with conservative Christians. I have a problem with those who won’t do the right thing.
    We have plenty of conservative Christians who comment here, and over at The Wartburg Watch (Gram3, GovPappy, Daisy, and others) who can still tell right from wrong and will do the right thing. Why can’t these others do that.

    When will churches ever take abuse seriously? Child sexual abuse. Domestic violence.

    Thanks for listening.

    I have never prayed so hard…for all of us, for those who have been wounded, for those covering this story, for those getting it wrong (to get it right).

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  8. Doug Bursh, thank you for your comment. It meant so much.

    This past year, I have prayed one of those dangerous, reckless prayers that no one with a lick of sense should ever pray: “God, break my heart with the things that break Yours.” So, yeah, this stuff has just added to the breaking.

    My can be as heard-hearted and selfish as the next person — hence my willingness to pray that God would radically tenderize me — but I’m shocked at the extreme lack of compassion I keep encountering towards the “least of these”. I sometimes wonder if some of these other Christians know the same Jesus and read the same Bible that I do. How can they side with oppressors over the oppressed? How can they act as if it is innocent children who deserve millstones around their necks instead of their abusers?

    On top of this, I’me struggling to face the possibility/reality that someone I love is a victim of ongoing verbal abuse. I HATE having to put that label on it, but…well, it fits.

    What happened to the fruit of the Holy Spirit, that love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, and self-control we should exemplify?

    I’m grieving.

    And clinging to Jesus.

    And I’m begging Him to transform me more and more into His likeness so that I might bring people something besides more hurt and harm. I want to love like He does. We all need that.

    God have mercy.

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  9. Oh…and I have had to listen to a lot of music to save my sanity. Here is a flash mob – music students – in France at an old square honoring a French composer’s birthday with a Beatles tune. About love.

    Why are we doing what we are doing? Because we love people!

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  10. I’ve seen it all and read it all, so really, nothing should surprise me any more. Yet whenever I hear a new story my first response is anger. Then I’m glad when the story gets out and abuses are made public. Then I’m disheartened by the response from those “in leadership,” the circling of wagons, and the blame shifting. It really is tiring.

    So, to everyone out there, please make sure you’re taking care of yourselves. Make sure you allow time to walk away for a while if you need to. I love this community and care for everyone here, so process here if you need to. You will be listened to and supported.

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  11. I’m tired and the tears are always so close. A song at Church or even if someone asks me how I am going I will cry. However, the stories you share keeps the fire burning in my belly. Julie Anne we cannot do everything but we can be faithful to what we are called to do and you are certainly doing that. Galatians 6:9 says: ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up’. Praying for you.

    The Lord bless you and keep you;
    the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you;
    the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”’ Numbers 6:24-26

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  12. All this just makes me angry and tired. And angry. Mostly angry. I can’t afford to feel sad, because I might not live through it. So I feel angry instead.


  13. I have been crying at the drop of a hat over every story. I see the Duggar’s story escalates daily on Yahoo. I want to rescue not only the ladies and their children from the Sitler’s, DW’s, and Duggar’s of the world, but the many others who’s stories are still in secret. It is paralyzing at times. I have no way of helping them. I can’t get in a Ryder truck and say get in and we’re getting you out of here. That would probably be construed as kidnapping. BUT, God can. He can lift the fog from around them and rescue them the same way he did me from abusive “marriage” and easing the pain from the sexual abuse in my childhood. It is all in His timing. Anna and Katie need to hear new voices. They need to hear that God did not institute staying in a marriage where the vows of their spouses were obviously fraudulent.

    Over time, I have begun to agree with church at Starbucks, someone’s kitchen table or the neighborhood restaurant. I see what I call my home church bringing in books by Sproul Jr, John Piper and Matt Chandler to use for adult class discussions and it makes me sick. I don’t belong to a mega church by any means, but they are being allowed in the door. My voice opposing these things falls on deaf ears. The content of a book whether Biblical or not does not excuse the writer. If the writer is a fraud, the book doesn’t need to be read.

    I am thankful for you. Julie Anne and your righteous anger. If we are not angry over these situations of abuse, I must ask “why not?”. Why are you not angry over women and innocent children being seen as pawns and invaluable? Why are these men to be looked up to when being caught in such heinous sin? We need to be angry and rattling cages over this mentality of entitlement. We need to be speaking these truths that God will be given the glory and the false prophets will be silenced.

    I am with Kathi in that we have to walk away, take care of ourselves and love one another. The best thing that I do for myself is stay in the Word, get my knees bent at the foot of the cross, plead for those that cannot defend themselves and look to Jesus to quiet my thoughts and listen for his voice.

    I just took my 5 am walk with my honey across the hall. What a beautiful morning God has painted across the sky!!!

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  14. I don’t have direct ties to any of these stories, but a good portion of my family and extended family are into the patriarchy thing, and/or have ties to authoritarian church movements. I’ve only fairly recently been opened up to the fact that it is just evil – with not only potential for abuse, but inherently it is a system that tramples on the weak, that you’re lucky to make it out of unscathed. I’ve had a lot of anger over these things – especially the Sitler story. DW seems like a classic NPD, as does my first pastor. You never win against such people, you never get broken humbleness or real acknowledgement of wrongs done. Your feelings, your life, is simply a game to them. His actions and words have bothered me a lot. It hurts to see a woman and child stuck with the consequences of a sick man’s theological ego games. I know what that means, if not on their scale of pain.

    But if I may offer a little encouragement from my own life, your blog and stand for these people has been an encouragement to me, as has Dee @ TWW, and a friend by the name of Janeway. By being awakened to these issues and being able to make sense of my own past a bit, I’ve been able to direct some of my anger over it into helping others, and I’m keeping an eye out for more. Just recently we had two extended family members (sadly stuck in patriarchy) into our home to discuss an awful incident with their child which they are still broken over. We were able to just sit, listen, and let them pour their hearts out to my wife and I, and we were able to give them good advice on where to go next (status pending on what they do).

    Quite simply, we could not have and would not have done that without my connection to y’all. We did not have the courage or the knowledge beforehand. Y’all are passionate about helping the hurting, abused, and under-privileged, and it’s infectious. What you are doing matters, it does help people, and I thank you.

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  15. I mainly hope someone from “outside” the cults (or whatever they are) can reach Anna and Katie, and others. I want them to try to get away from their past sad lives and be embraced by people who love and honor them (and their children).

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  16. Honestly, I am just grateful that I got out of this patriarchy nonsense. I blame myself entirely for getting caught up in it and, by association, encouraging others to live that unfortunate lie. I wonder how many people’s lives I affected in the wrong way by encouraging patriarchy.

    When I read about Doug Wilson and Josh Duggar and similar, it brings up memories and at the same time shows me where patriarchy is still a part of my psyche. Literally, I have to fight down daily the lies and speak to myself the Bible’s truth. I feel hopeless in a way, because honestly? Anna Duggar and Katie Sitler are so enmeshed in it that I really don’t see them coming out of it. Anna is more likely because this is rocking her world, in a bad way. But no, as much as I wish I could get in contact with her and speak truth to her, patriarchy infiltrates thinking so much that it would not do any good. They have to figure this out on their own but it is unlikely to happen (and I bet if I looked hard enough, I could find the statistics to back me up) when surrounded by the very people who entrenched them in the first place.

    I feel for both of those women.

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  17. men. men did these crimes. men decided the criminals were “forgiven” then allowed them around more children. men decided to marry a woman to a pedophile. arrogance of men. these churches need some women pastors and some of these men desparately need to be in prison. for life. to keep the rest of us safe

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  18. I am finding I get more angry at ‘christians’ who excuse/justify/blame the victim/just keep your eyes on Jesus/just pray/just love/we all sin…I’m like ‘do you all not see what is going on in the church???’ Good gosh people, stop freaking out about what’s going on in the world when there are things going on in the church that are just as bad!!! I hear ‘well, not all churches are bad, that behavior is few and far between…’ I want to scream “NO, its not!!! Do some research people!!” I too and moving closer to the home church model. I love the church I am in…but I am tired of trying to force relationships. I’m tired of having to reach out all the time when others KNOW my situation and my phone never rings with someone saying “How are you?” aside from one or two people who have been very good to me in a church of 300+.

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  19. My comment above needs clarification- regarding me saying I love my church, I should say I love my church but it’s starting to get to the point where I am having to force relationships. My pastors are awesome, and they have helped me recover from many issues. But the people tend could do much better at reaching out.


  20. I, too, find myself emotionally down. Wishing there was something I could do. The reality is that the vast majority of people in churches think that if the person confesses and repents, then God has healed them. Seriously, I called a friend from college and asked her how she thought a church should respond to a pedophile. Her answer, “well, if he has repented and changed, I know God can do that, then we have to accept him and love him and thank God for His work”. A long conversation ensued wherein I attempted to explain the statistics and the science behind pedophilia to no avail. “It’s not in the Bible”, she would say. Well, antibiotics aren’t listed there either, but we gladly take them them when needed. To say that conversation was a downer would be an understatement because I think her thoughts on the subject are indicative of most churched Christians.
    Ironically, I used to live near and be friendly with a family that were huge DW fans. They have even moved to Idaho to be near him. Her FB page linked to DW’s article and expresses thanks for a pastor that “deals with us sinners so faithfully”. Us sinners…like pedophilia is just another sin.
    I am thankful I didn’t go down the rabbit hole with her!


  21. Welcome, Lisa. You raised the most common arguments I have run into. In fact, I sent Boz Tchividjian a note about my frustration about repentance = healed, and he responded with this (and said I could quote him):

    Only God knows the heart of one who claims to be repentant. However, one who is repentant knows the darkness of their own heart more than anyone else and should be the first one to acknowledge that he is capable of recommitting such dark offenses. The church demonstrates love by knowing this and taking steps to insure such abuse never happens again.

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  22. men. men did these crimes. men decided the criminals were “forgiven” then allowed them around more children. men decided to marry a woman to a pedophile. arrogance of men.

    I think the key identifier of these men is arrogance. Of course not all men are like this, but we can certainly help identify them by looking for arrogance. If we see arrogance, then I think perhaps we should next look at how they treat all women.

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  23. “I am thankful for you. Julie Anne and your righteous anger. If we are not angry over these situations of abuse, I must ask “why not?”.”

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Quite simply, we could not have and would not have done that without my connection to y’all. We did not have the courage or the knowledge beforehand. Y’all are passionate about helping the hurting, abused, and under-privileged, and it’s infectious. What you are doing matters, it does help people, and I thank you.

    govpappy, thank you! You are such an encouragement to me. I love your persona on Twitter, the pictures, the memes, the Southern talk – – you lighten things up, yet still acknowledge the reality of these abuses. So, thank you!

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  25. Well, I decided to come over here and express my feelings. Yesterday, after dealing with the Sitlers, two serious behind the scenes stories, thinking about the Duggars (Josh apparently is not remorseful according to some reports), Amy Smith tweeted about a pastor at FBC Bedford (Texas), who knowingly hired a music minister who is awaiting trial for 26 counts of sex abuse against a teen.

    I do not know why that one story threw me over the edge into a bit of depression. It is better today but the blahs still linger. Sometimes it seems hopeless and then other times, I see a little light on the horizon.

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  26. 26 counts of sex abuse. What are these people thinking with? I think a goose has more sense. A steady stream of this kind of information is enough to depress anyone.

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  27. Dee, sometimes certain stories do it for me. I think for me recently, it was my conversation with a pastor who is outside of DW’s camp, but still defended him and was okay with what would befall Katie. It all clicked for me that women who they claim as “weak” really are not their primary concern for protection. These men protect their own first. That is contrary to scripture and of course it makes me think of the many women who have contacted me privately about their stories of living in Patriarchy.


  28. These recent events are infuriating and depressing. I just want to cry about all the evil and stupidity. I am trying to think of things in this way. What used to be done in the dark and remain hidden, leaving victims to suffer alone, is now being brought to the light. Once that happens we can help victims and refuse to stand for their further abuse whether it is by pastors or judges or police or politicians. We can make a difference and we are. We can not afford to despair and lose our determination.

    I am struck by the commonalities between aspects of Christian culture and the broader culture. In a comment yesterday, Lydia correctly pointed out the hypersexualization of the national culture but we also see an over emphasis of sexuality in patriarchy and the purity culture that also brings about victimization. We see the devaluing of women, children, and the poor in the church and in the broader culture as well. Clearly the solution won’t come from following celebrities or systems of rules designed to make us look Godly.

    What is the answer? Jesus already told us, we should be loving our neighbor as ourselves. No one who does that will put children at risk of predators, blame victims, and fail to comfort and aid the suffering. We will instead see the worth and value of all of God’s children. We will be known by our love.

    I will quote Julie Anne from years ago on this blog when someone asked what we can do. “Run to Jesus.”

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  29. I’m a bit whooped from spending the morning teaching my 5th grader to divide three digit dividends by two digit divisors, so apologies if this is not quite coherent.

    It saddens me when people continue to defend abusers even when there’s irrefutable evidence that abuse has taken place. (The Duggars, Sitler, Doug Wilson, The Village Church, etc.) It doesn’t really surprise me anymore, though.

    When the media exposed my former cult 3 1/2 years ago, people who had never been a part of it or subjected to their mistreatment, rush to defend them as “nice people.” Some of them are, but the growing number of “bitter,” “malcontented” ex-members speaks for itself.

    Every time I see people rushing to defend an abuser or abusive institution, it triggers the anxiety in me of seeing my own abusive cult defended. I get angry. I get depressed. I want to type things I shouldn’t type. (Though you can be sure I am thinking them.)

    I appreciate all the bloggers and commenters who share their thoughts. We help each other to process our own experiences and to then comment clearly about what we see taking place in other situations. When I saw what moscowid dot net had put together for the Sitler case, I wanted to do something similar for my former cult. I don’t have the time or energy for that right now, but I was inspired.

    I’ve enjoyed watching these abuse survivor communities grow. It seems our voices have become collectively too loud to ignore anymore. I hope it brings change to our churches and communities. And I hope we find some measure of peace along the way.

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  30. I think the most telling outcome of these stories, for me, is that they continue to ever petrify my rejection of the modern church. The modern church is a snakepit. It’s not a fellowship of Christians, it’s a gathering of zombies. Furthermore, when I was much younger I was such a “nice” guy, easily swayed by other supposedly “nice” people until I realized I was being manipulated by complete whackos. No more.

    I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone these days who is a bigger a$$hole than I am. I’m OK with that. I don’t need to be liked. What I need is to be feared just enough that I can do my job with impunity and go home to my cats and collapse in a puddle of my own clinically depressed drool. My colleagues like and respect me for the most part (or so I hear occasionally), but then none of them are particularly cringing and servile either. My boss is a great humanitarian and an absolute terror. I wouldn’t have it any other way.


  31. Church leaders definitely need help since they can’t seem to get it right themselves. Could it be that they need( gasp) women in leadership beside them to balance them out?

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  32. Sad and tired. But still hanging in there.

    Sometimes surprised at myself, when I say something articulate in response to one of these events. It seems as if my capacity to separate reality from Stepford is growing.

    Bless you, JA, and Dee, and Deb, and commenters, for helping to bring clarity and sanity and just plain compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I think the thing that bothers me so much sometimes is how I can share some facts and details of these stories, like the Sitler case, with other people/family and non-christians and they get how crazy it all is. They give me horrified looks as if I’m making this stuff up.


  34. I have found a lot of Christians don’t really want to hear about it. Or believe it. Or they think it is an anomaly .Then when it hits the headlines they say “well that’s not here in Californua, that is somewhere else. It couldn’t happen here”. Then when it DOES happen in their church or community they are completely shocked and unprepared on how to deal with it. This one really fundamental church we went to over 20 years has a series of really terrible events which included an affair and a suicide of one of the church leaders. The horrified reaction of all the church members was ” Satan is attacking us”. I said to one of the church members that maybe God was judging us. She was absolutely horrified that I would even think such a thing. The church handled these incidents by getting even more legalistic. My family handled it by moving. Two years later one of the male teachers was convicted if sexual abuse of one of the students. That was the last straw for my husband and I. After our youngest child graduated from high school we pretty much became Dones


  35. Here’s a response that’s bad.

    I’m sure y’all remember Robert the no such thing as marital rape guy, when that hit the fan.

    I casually brought it up to my best friend of many years.

    Me: “So I read about a guy who doesn’t believe there’s any such thing as marital rape the other day. Crazy right? Thought I’d seen it all.”
    Him: “Actually he might be right – I don’t think biblically it is possible.”
    Me: *Blank stare* Seriously? Ummm, NO! Think about it. What is the definition of rape? Is it possible to force your wife to have sex with you?
    Him: “well hmmm, if you define it like that…. Yeah.”

    GAH. This one still blows my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Excellent point, govpappy, about marital rape. I have to point out that it’s an crime in all 50 states. I can’t believe there are people who think forcing a wife to have sex is Biblical and loving, let alone legal!


  37. When I am in a funk, I listen to Black Gospel. Here is a grandmother playing the piano and singing “I Know The Lord” at church:


  38. I have read Wilson’s letter. If that letter were part of a movie script we would see a glowering menacing villain speaking with a threatening smile on his face and all his teeth showing. Wilson certainly takes his gloves off! Scary!


  39. To: Julie Anne, Kathi, Dee and Deb at The Wartburg Watch, Amy at WatchKeep, and all of the other dear folks who advocate for the abused (and have been abused).

    Mississippi Mass Choir “God Is Keeping Me”. (I am praying day and night for ya’ll and for all of us. And I’m feeling better.)

    Liked by 1 person

  40. JA,

    Having Wilson’s letter posted online is a wonderful, fantastic development. Thank God for Natalie Rose and her father. The letter shows very clearly that Wilson basically threatened Gary to shut Natalie up. What he means by “protect your daughter” is “keep her quiet.” This is just @#$%cking AWESOME. Wilson is going to take some real hits over this. How could he not?

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  41. I love all you guys. I do. That’s why I’m here. And it’s these moments of occasional victory that I live for, because if I still end up in hell after all despite everything, I want these moments to remember: The moments when we all defeated the Evil that hangs over our heads like a thundercloud. Even one triumph burned into my memory will make an eternity in hell bearable for me, and that’s all I’ll ever need.

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  42. Dash, what you experienced was fraudulent. I’m glad you are encouraged by this. I am angry about a lot of things, but let God take care of that business. But I am very glad that truth is being exposed.


  43. Dash,

    Love you. Love your angry sarcasm, love you being here. You say some of the things that I think. Still unlearning all that lady like, step-ford woman crap. For the record, I didn’t swear out loud for 20 some years, just a guess that holding it all those years is why I sound like a sailor on steroids when I process these stories with my husband.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Is Katie Botkin related to “the other Botkins”? I had heard they had a cousin who did not believe the way they did. Is this her? I am glad this is coming out. My family was in a CREC church for 4 years. One thing that I think sets them apart is the fact that in that church I felt like I had a church family for the first time in my life. It was very community-oriented. The church we go to now is not like that at all. I feel like I am going to church with strangers who could care less if I am there or not (the pastor included). I know the teachings are toxic in the CREC church, but the feeling of wanting to belong is hard to let go of. However, the secrets that are kept so well hidden take precedence if it will wake people up.


  45. Dash – If you ever ended up in hell I think there’s enough of us here to stage a break out! Actually, that sounds kind of fun.

    Gail – I’ve been a good girl all my life and didn’t start swearing until a few years ago. I keep it tame here and rely upon sarcasm (which is my spiritual gift – I’m sure that’s somewhere in the Bible) when all I’d really like to do is lash out.

    Wilson has been on a word explosion this week on his blog. Holy cow! I’d love to put his posts into word counter. I think he’s broken a world record for highest word spew count in a week.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. lalacy1: One thing that I think sets them apart is the fact that in that church I felt like I had a church family for the first time in my life. It was very community-oriented. The church we go to now is not like that at all. I feel like I am going to church with strangers who could care less if I am there or not (the pastor included). I know the teachings are toxic in the CREC church, but the feeling of wanting to belong is hard to let go of.

    One of the teens was talking about our old church, and said something like, “They were so close… they had such potential for good… but…” (and I can’t remember what was said after that, something about the toxic doctrine. You’re right. That makes it hard to leave. So many of the people are lovely people. It’s like that rabbit community in Watership Down, the one the farmer takes care of (not the escaping rabbits seeking to find a safe home far away from man), where the rabbits’ life is safe and comfortable. They just don’t talk about the occasional traps…)

    Liked by 1 person

  47. gm370, my husband is disapproving and disappointed when I swear (I assure you, it’s not that often). It seems I’m a bad influence for the teens, who in actual fact swear on a regular, conversational basis (though they tone it down around their dad). I guess by swearing I am validating their communication style, or something.


  48. Even one triumph burned into my memory will make an eternity in hell bearable for me, and that’s all I’ll ever need.

    Dash, you remind me of this:

    Liked by 1 person

  49. @lalacy1

    I know the teachings are toxic in the CREC church, but the feeling of wanting to belong is hard to let go of.

    I also came from a cult that is a very tight-knight community. I understand how you feel. I still feel that way much of the time. I’m neither here nor there. I don’t really belong anywhere right now except on the blogs. It’s not a substitute for real relationships, but it’s much better than nothing at all. I can share my heart here.

    I guess I’m just empathizing. It’s hard, I know.

    Liked by 2 people

  50. @ Julie Anne,
    To all of you women of valor (Eishet Chayil): Keep the heat turned up on these kinds of religious regimes which promote dogma instead of a shared and common humanity. Many of these women (and men too) are in chains of fear, fear that if they don’t knuckle under and continue to hoe the row, it means that they were never ‘saved’ in the first place and are destined for hell.
    This is what bothers me the most, that human beings made in the image of God, live under this kind of fear based misery.
    Strike off the shackles !

    Liked by 1 person

  51. refugee, Wouldn’t it be wonderful if folks were more concerned about the condition of their hearts, the ability to bless, love, give, help others, than a few choice words. I suspect that you already know this!


  52. Kathi- I was a bad, wild, girl till I was 28, till tada, I had a encounter with Jesus. Got churched, learned a million rules, tried really, really hard to be a good girl. Just got more anxious and depressed. Got out of church, repented of being a phony, fake, plastic good girl and in spite of myself Christ is being formed in me. Without SSB & TWW I wonder where I would be? When I first commented here my user name was scared. I love sarcasm, trying to get better at it. Maybe you could mentor me. ( ;

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Thank you, Muff. I keep going. I keep Twittering, but I have to tell you that my writing mojo is spent as I’m getting triggered. In his recent blog post, Wilson disputed there was “child rape” as his “accusers” have said on Twitter. He’s trying to make common lingo into a legal term and you just cannot do that. He then he linked to the ID state code of which Sitler was convicted:

    18-1508. LEWD CONDUCT WITH MINOR CHILD UNDER SIXTEEN. Any person who shall commit any lewd or lascivious act or acts upon or with the body or any part or member thereof of a minor child under the age of sixteen (16) years, including but not limited to, genital-genital contact, oral-genital contact, anal-genital contact, oral-anal contact, manual-anal contact, or manual-genital contact, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, or who shall involve such minor child in any act of bestiality or sado-masochism as defined in section 18-1507, Idaho Code, when any of such acts are done with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust or passions or sexual desires of such person, such minor child, or third party, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term of not more than life.

    This is exactly the type of thing CON does. He has a website against me and provides links to back up his words. The deal is, if you click on the link and actually read the words, you will see that CON is wrong. CON twists words to present a horrible picture of me and assumes people will not click on links. I cannot believe how much alike these two men are.

    So, thanks, CON, for preparing me for Wilson. I’m ready for him just as I was ready for you. Neither one of you will win against me. I have truth on my side. ::::Waving to his wife, Tonya O’Neal and the whole gang who still stalk me. :::::

    Liked by 3 people

  54. ***Very triggering and upsetting detail. JA, please delete if you see fit***

    JA, Wilson is splitting hairs. From what I read of the two-year-old (poor baby! My heart breaks for her) and her encounter with Sitler that led to the conviction, he didn’t actually penetrate her private parts. He made her kiss his.

    I think Wilson is equating rape with penetration. So people calling it “child rape” are “obviously” overstating and misrepresenting what Sitler was convicted of. Thus he is able to minimize Sitler’s crime. It was just one count, and it wasn’t child rape. Therefore, it was practically nothing, and why is everyone getting so het up about it? Must just be that they see it as a convenient weapon to wield against God/the gospel/righteousness/Wilson.


  55. gm370, it would be wonderful. I suspect my husband knows this as well. He just is steeped in this culture, to the point that he doesn’t even recognize how deeply it has soaked in.

    My g*d, he completely enjoyed the movie War Room! That movie made me so sick at heart! I wonder if we saw the same movie, even if we were sitting in adjacent seats.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. Hi Brenda R.,

    I am so glad that these beautiful Black Gospel songs brought peace to your heart! Black Gospel has always brought peace to my heart…in the hardest of times, in the darkest of times.

    Have a wonderful day and weekend!


  57. Hi gm370,

    I am glad you have been stirred by these beautiful Black Gospel songs. They really help me during sad and bad times and have for decades. I figured that others might be encouraged by them too. Have a lovely weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  58. Hi Julie Anne,

    Thanks for all you do! Thanks for using your previous bad church experience to help so many others.

    Is there any way that some others could help you with the writing of these difficult subjects, like Kathi? It’s understandable that it’s triggering. (It’s given me nightmares on a couple of nights.)


  59. I think it was Brenda R. who mentioned Clara Hinton’s website the other day, Finding a Healing Place. Clara was married for 40 years to a pedophile pastor.

    Son Jimmy Hinton, a pastor, turned in his pastor-father for sexually abusing children in the church they have both pastored. The father is serving a life prison sentence.

    Kudos to the Mrs. Hinton, Jimmy Hinton and their family for ministering to victims of abuse, handling it up front in the church, putting safeguards in place, and not even letting a member of their own family *off the hook*. Good folks!


  60. Velour,
    Yes it was me. Clara has been through hell and back again and recently lost her oldest son on top of all else. She and Jimmy are joining a group called Hopefully, this will see their ability to get in the doors of more churches. I just ordered a Church Protect t-shirt to help with spreading the word and fundraiser.


  61. Son Jimmy Hinton, a pastor, turned in his pastor-father for sexually abusing children in the church they have both pastored. The father is serving a life prison sentence.

    Especially when (according to the article) Jimmy Hinton inherited his church and pulpit from Daddy. Has anyone heard of any other Pastor Junior doing anything like what Jimmy did?


  62. I think Wilson is equating rape with penetration. So people calling it “child rape” are “obviously” overstating and misrepresenting what Sitler was convicted of. Thus he is able to minimize Sitler’s crime.

    “I did not have sex with that woman.”
    “It all depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”
    — William J “Slick Willie” Clinton

    “I did not know that woman in a Biblical sense.”
    — Doug Phillips, ESQUIRE

    Liked by 1 person

  63. Wilson has been on a word explosion this week on his blog. Holy cow! I’d love to put his posts into word counter. I think he’s broken a world record for highest word spew count in a week.

    Sure Merlin wasn’t practicing the Curse of Babel on him before infiltrating N.I.C.E.?


  64. H.U.G.,

    I thought it was pretty amazing that a son (Jimmy Hinton) and wife/mom (Clara Hinton) DID NOT defend a pedophile husband/father/pastor in their own family. This family’s willingness to be candid and protect victims, hold dear-ole-dad accountable (a life sentence in prison) is AMAZING. Kudos to them for *getting it right*.


  65. Awwww. Doug is a little perturbed that Katie Botkin posted his letter to Natalie’s father. He made a point to comment on her post why he is unable to answer questions about it. You know, confidentiality and all.

    Katie, I will state here what I said in the comments on my blog. If you post a release in writing from Gary, Pat, and Natalie, giving me permission to answer the question posed by this letter — e.g. why did we say Gary failed to protect his daughter — I would be delighted to answer the question.


  66. I don’t really care what he says about why he blames the father. The family was asked to take in a seminary student and they did. They didn’t expect him to molest their 13 year old daughter. If you allow another adult to board with you, no matter how you time things to avoid it, the boarder and the teenager will find themselves alone from time to time. People in the household are busy with school and work and church and errands and visits to the doctor and dentist plus people get sick and plans are changed. He saw opportunities and took them.

    There is nothing Wilson COULD say to justify that letter (with the exception of the father seeing the abuse and doing nothing which did not happen or Natalie would have said so). Wilson just keeps spinning with his only-convicted-of-one count-of-a-heinous-act-which technically-wasn’t-rape nonsense. He already told us Sitler confessed to multiple offenses with multiple victims and we don’t care about technicalities. And now he wants to pretend secret knowledge justifying his behavior in the Wight case. So what? Wight subsequently got married and abused his wife. He is not now nor was he then either a good person or a repentant sinner. Wilson thinks he can judge character and intervene in the legal system on behalf of the offender. Well he can’t and he shouldn’t and women and children pay the price for his ego.


  67. Wilson is a vile, disgusting human being who appears to value the welfare of a pedophile over the lives of the pedophile’s victims. He has made that very, very clear at this point. Furthermore, he appears to do so because he *genuinely* believes that the potential future value of a grown male pedophile as a patriarch outweighs any crimes the pedophile might commit, past or future.

    Wilson also appears to make it clear that he believes all men possess such rampant lust that the role of a woman in marriage is to service that lust with total disregard for self in order that she might perpetually rescue the man from any errant consequences of that lust. It’s a belief on par with radical Islam, and it’s just as unforgivable.

    I hate Doug Wilson, I really do. With every fiber of my being I hate him. I hate him *precisely* because he presents his depravity under the guise of warmth and niceness and a portly, fatherly bearing of affection, but beneath that appearance is a howling wind and an abyss without measure. I honestly cannot begin to fathom what makes such a cowardly shadow of a man, except that he very clearly chooses at every step to be what he is. He is to be utterly despised.


  68. And for the record: I know that my hatred is not Christ-like, and I do not care. At all. I am not Christ. Those who are looking for Christ-like behavior should look elsewhere. My sole interest is exacting justice from Doug Wilson and others like him, any way that I can get it.


  69. Honestly, Dash, I don’t hate Doug Wilson. I vehemently disagree with him. But I have been praying for him all of this week, increasing my prayers for him, Julie Anne, Dee and Deb over at The Wartburg Watch, the victims, their families, the district attorney, and others. You have to be one pathetic, sorry, miserable human being to inflict the kind of damage Doug Wilson has inflicted on other people. Do I think Doug Wilson should face consequences? Yes.

    I will just as fervently continue to pray for him…that healing happens in Doug Wilson’s life. As the saying goes, “Hurt people hurt people.”


  70. Whenever I need some inspiration in the Forgiveness Department, I watch “The Hiding Place” about Corrie Ten Boom and her family in The Netherlands, hiding Jews during World War II, their being turned in, the Nazis sending them to the concentration camps, some of their beloved family members dying, and then Corrie having to forgive a Nazi guard who came to Christ.


  71. @Dash,
    I have also, since I was a teenager, read a lot of the stories of black Christians in The South, former slaves, those who endured Jim Crow and racism, and how they dealt with it all…to learn how to forgive. Their stories have helped me. (Sorry I can’t remember the titles to most of the books, as I gave them away to other people over the years whom I thought would be helped by them.)

    Then I read other stories…like Nelson Mandela. Just folks who have been through terrible trials and how did they forgive. I have, over the years, put together binders of positive stories to help me and inspire me.


  72. The Little Rock 9 (black students, who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1950 after a court order, being interviewed and forgiving their tormentors.


  73. Velour, thank you for all of that. I don’t disagree. But if I set aside my hatred, then I have nothing left to prop myself up with. And then I do well and truly want to die, and I have nothing to defend myself from taking my own life. Hate is all I have. I’ll prefer hate to death at this point. I’m not ready to die just yet.


  74. Hi Dash,

    Dude, do what I did! (And trust me my childhood was as brutal as they come.) Honestly, get yourself a binder and start putting together the stories of people who seemingly had no hope, were angry (rightfully) and found their way out of it. I hung on to their hope when I had none of my own.

    Oh, do something nice for somebody else tomorrow. Say *hi* to a neighbor. Buy somebody a coffee drink in line behind you at the coffee house or a meal at the drive thru. Anything. One small thing, free or paid.

    Write a gratitude list tonight before bed. 5 things. Your cats, your job. Anything.


  75. Hate is all I have.

    Dash – You know what? I see you giving love here. You have loved others enough to share your story and expose Gothard. Exposing the truth is showing love. You have connected with others in their grief and pain. You did this because you care. I’m not trying to be argumentative with you, friend, but you’ve done a heck of a lot of good here with your presence and I am so very grateful. Oh, and you are well-loved here. Make no mistake about that.


  76. I know, Dash, that is why this place exists. Please avail yourself. If you want to say some strong language that might not be appropriate here, you know my e-mail. I can handle colorful language 🙂


  77. Nice post, Julie Anne, to Dash.

    So Dash, some good things about you are:
    *care about human beings
    *care about people being hurt
    *care about justice
    *have a sense of right and wrong
    *show love for others
    *have empathy
    *have helped others by telling the truth about Gothard’s abuses, your own personal story, your own struggles
    *good writer
    *owner of awesome cats
    *other stuff.


  78. Velour, thank you as well. I live for my cats. My lady cat of 14 years likes to put her chin on my leg and drool on my when I’m playing guitar.


  79. Dash Dude,

    Write a Gratitude List tonight! 5 things.

    Awesome. You’re a musician too. You have these cool cats. Your cats feel safe with you. I have made some serious headway on your Gratitude List for you! LOL.


  80. The scandals remind me of the sons of Eli the priest in 1 Samuel 2: “Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord. … This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.” (Verses 12 and 17.)


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