ABUSE & VIOLENCE IN THE CHURCH, ABUSIVE FAITH & PRACTICE, Biblical Counseling, Christian Marriage, CHURCH GOVERNANCE & POLICIES, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence and Churches, Doug Wilson, Leaving the Church, Marriage, Patriarchal-Complementarian Movement, Spiritual Abuse, Women and the Church

Domestic Violence, Jim and Doug Wilson, and Damaging Pastoral Response to Abuse in Marriages

Christ Church’s Pastor Doug Wilson, Jim Wilson, Domestic Violence, Pastoral Response to Abuse, Marriage

October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, is wrapping up. In my research on Pastor Doug Wilson and the abuses connected with Christ Church and New Saint Andrews College, I ran across a video with Doug Wilson and his father, Jim Wilson, discussing marriage.

In this video, Doug and Jim Wilson are discussing single men who do not have the “gift of celibacy” and who have obviously waited too long to get married in their minds. Jim Wilson gives his advice on helping these men find the “will of God.” Take special note to how women are referenced. The video is short, only 4 minutes long.

While there is nothing inherently abusive in the video, I think it might give a glimpse into the next story on how women are sometimes treated.

Also in my research, I found the following article about Jim Wilson. I’m grateful that Pastor Jeff Crippen, from A Cry for Justice blog, has allowed me to post the article. I’m still not finished sharing about my visit to Moscow, Idaho, and am very concerned about how women are viewed and treated at Christ Church, at all CREC churches, and any church that holds to Patriarchal teachings.

I believe that Patriarchal teachings allow the framework for treating women as objects instead of cherished wives. Additionally, the church governance structure of CREC churches with their strong Patriarchal stance can hinder a wife who is dealing with domestic violence. The default response we keep reading about is women blamed for not being submissive or some other sin when a wife shares about abuse to church authority. When this happens, wives often experience secondary abuse by their pastor/church leaders –  spiritual abuse. The abused wife is in a very difficult and isolated position.  ~Julie Anne

Abuse and the Wilsonian Theology: A Survivor’s Story

as originally shared at A Cry for Justice Blog

Jim Wilson, Doug Wilson, Domestic Violence, Patriarchy
Jim Wilson (screenshot from YouTube)

The following article is written by one of our readers who has told her story on this blog previously.  After we learned that she had been “counseled” by the father of Douglas Wilson, we asked her if she would tell of that experience here.  As you will see, just about every misapplication of Scripture to a case of abuse is illustrated right here by a man who was a pastor.  ~A Cry for Justice

* * * * * *

Jim Wilson is, in a way, a front-runner of Biblical or Nouthetic counseling. Jim (now in his 80’s) and wife, Bessie, birthed Doug Wilson, the hyper-controversial theologian, pastor and writer of many books, most notably, books on marriage. Doug is also a master debater. His wife writes books on homemaking …
I first met Jim when I was three. He led my father and my grandfather to Christ. This post is a difficult post because Jim had a tremendous impact on my life and family. There are things I learned from him that I carry around to this day. There are also things I learned from him that haunt me and make me sick to think about.

I first called him when I tried to leave my abusive marriage for the first time. I had been married for nine years. Because of Jim (and a few others – but mostly Jim) I stayed in my marriage two more agonizing years as things disintegrated badly. Jim was well aware of what my ex-husband was doing to me. The first thing I remember about Jim is that he assumed I was the problem immediately. I believe it took 6-8 months (and a lot of my husband “leaking” his abuse to Jim) for Jim to realize that Dan was “not a nice man”. But, even then, he convinced me to repent of my bitterness . . . or anger . . . or whatever sin of which I was guilty – and threw me back in. This probably happened two dozen times.

I think the most striking, over-arching memory I have of Mr. Wilson, is a pure lack of compassion. I remember crying into the phone (sobbing, rather) and saying, “Dan doesn’t love me. He doesn’t even know how.” To which Mr. Wilson replied, “Well, you don’t have to make it hard for him.” Other times, he would say that I must respect my husband. And, if I didn’t, I was in sin. Considering the fact that my husband was abusive, neglectful and a pornographer, I had a difficult time respecting him. This was held over my head time and time again. It was ALWAYS MY bitterness or MY anger or MY hurt and I was made to feel selfish . . . . I don’t know how many times 1 Peter chapter 3 was read to me . . . along with other Scriptures about how we are not to divorce. My husband would corner me, beat me down emotionally for hours, or physically abuse me. Three out of four times, I was “godly” – meaning, I would take it. I would not respond. That fourth time, I would break down, or cry, or yell back (never a good decision; only made things worse). Whenever that fourth time happened, I was condemned by both my husband and Jim. I have NEVER had any sort of darkness, confusion or break-downs since I left my ex-husband over a year ago.

To his credit, Mr. Wilson eventually saw that Dan was abusive. He then decided that Dan was not saved and he led him to the Lord six times (no exaggeration here – literally, Dan “got saved” six times). Each time, Dan would be sweet for a few days but then could not keep up the facade. My hope was dashed over and over as I tried to pick up and move forward again.

There were two horrible times where I would go into a very dark emotional coma . . .  where I was paralyzed with hopelessness and a complete misunderstanding of God’s will for my life. Dan was abusive and confusing and I simply could not press on anymore. According to Jim, this was my lot. With no parents or family who loved me, I was destined to be an unloved abused woman for the rest of my life. And God was good with this (so I thought). During these “comas”, Jim would encourage me to confess my sin . . . . after all, it was my sin that put me in those very dark places.

I spent hours searching the blogs of the Wilson family . . .  I looked at a blog called “Femina” – Doug’s wife, Nancy wrote it. I asked for her help. I saw that other women did, too. So, Nancy wrote a blog called “A Respectful Wife”.  It was there that I began to recognize the merciless philosophy of this family. Nancy wrote these words regarding women who simply cannot respect their husbands. And I quote: “Now some women will say, ‘I refuse to do that. My husband is not worthy of such treatment.’ Then why did you marry him?” It doesn’t work like that, Nancy. Abusive men are manipulators. Where, oh where, is a heart of compassion?

Here is a sample of a note Jim Wilson sent me after I left my husband. I tried with Jim . . .  I really did. I thought he was helping me . . .  thought he COULD help me. . . . Here is his note and my response:

Dear _______ ,

I was awake in the middle of the night thinking about you and praying for you. You know that for years I have been on Dan’s case weekly and sometimes daily. I am well aware of how he has treated you and how you have responded to this treatment. You have been very vocal about it. “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” You have been telling everyone of what is in your heart. You have been more conscious of what has been done to you than you have been conscious of what you have been doing to yourself. You do not seem to be aware that you are telling people more about yourself than you think. I think you have a sensitive conscience. You must be very unhappy. Here are a few pieces of scripture as I think of them.

Love is not easily angered: “It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered” (I Corinthians 13:5).

Love does not keep a record of wrongs: “It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (I Corinthians 13:4-7).

“’In your anger do not sin’, Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-7).

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31).

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times’…This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart”(Matthew 18:21-22,35).

Forgiveness is not related to the other person repenting. “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).

We have talked about I Peter 3. It is really about I Peter 2:21, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” It is being like Jesus. It is not by keeping quiet, but having a “meek and quiet spirit.” For all I know, you may have kept quiet. But, since I have known you, you have not had a meek and quiet spirit. You have shared your spirit with me many times. You have wanted me to speak to Dan many times and it may be having an effect through the Spirit of God. Your joy has to do with you, not with Dan.

You know I love you and the kids. I would love to see you.

With Love in Christ,

Your Substitute Grandfather

My response:

Dear Jim , I have ascertained that a true grandfather-like figure would have sought my protection and made moves for the kids’ and my safety. I went to you first. I was looking for help, wisdom, protection and comfort. I could not find that with you. You kept me with Dan, despite how you knew he was treating me. Since you insist on pursuing me to bring me back to oppression, I have determined that your voice is no longer valid and I desire that you leave me alone. I am uncomfortable with your pursuits. Please do not contact the kids or me again. Thank you, _________

Indeed, Jim Wilson has not been a gentleman – he has not left me alone. I have moved four times in the past year (out of financial duress) and he has found my address every time. He still sends me letters, books, sermons. I cannot seem to get away from the man. I believe that, at the end, Jim Wilson would have taken the kids and me in . . . . but he would have insisted on reconciliation with a monster of a man . . . . and NEVER would have allowed for divorce or any child custody hearings.

If I could sum up the Wilson philosophy in one sentence, it would be: “Thorough Wilsonian theology; zero mercy and zero compassion.” This is not how Christ was. This is not how Christ is. Praising Him that, despite my lack of discernment when it came to counsel, God still found a way to rescue the children and me. Because He is, after all, the greatest Deliverer we could ever know.

For helpful resources on domestic violence, marriage issues, spiritual abuse, please see the SSB Resource Page.

A Cry for Justice is a blog which deals specifically with domestic violence.

61 thoughts on “Domestic Violence, Jim and Doug Wilson, and Damaging Pastoral Response to Abuse in Marriages”

  1. Doug is certainly a chip off the old block. Jim Wilson is a pigheaded, stubborn, stupid, self-righteous, arrogant jerk of a man. Nobody should be listening to either of these two wingnuts for ANY reason. They don’t qualify as people.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. For the record, I understand that there are people, particularly women and children, who are trapped in Reformed communities because their menfolk are troglodytic mouthbreathers who have to be told by other men what to do. I get it.
    But frankly, if I wasn’t interested in Natalie Greenfield’s situation, or Jamin’s ex-wife, or the woman in the story above, or Katie Sitler and her child, or any number of other innocents… well, hell, hahahahahaha. I could give two shi*ts about Doug Wilson or JD Hall of John Piper or any of those other two-bit dumbasses, because they have no power over me. They don’t affect me at all. They can preach and expostulate and pound their pulpits and froth and get purple in the face, and I’ll always just laugh and walk away because THEY HAVE NO POWER OVER ME. You know why? Because I don’t accept their authority and I refuse to participate in their communities. They can all go f%^k themselves.
    Especially Doug Wilson. You don’t matter, you giant corpulent pale drunken pasty-faced blowhard baboon. I don’t even read your blog anymore for the lulz, because you just keep repeating yourself and it’s boring and wearisome, and there are more entertaining things to read on the internet.
    Doug Wilson doesn’t matter. At all. Those who are trapped in his community need to flat-out cut and run, and never look back. There’s no shame in bailing out of a sinking ship.


  3. The power dynamics are very obvious here, JA. This autocratic god/grandfather-figure is using his power to keep this woman under his control. I think she needs to tell this Wilson patriarch the same thing Dash suggests for Doug the younger.

    Whoever the woman is, I’m sending this message: It appears that you are finally thinking FOR yourself and ABOUT yourself and your children – those are your priorities. You’ve got one toxic man out of your life; work on the rest of them. YOU have the power, you yourself – exercise it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. “”I believe that Patriarchal teachings allow the framework for treating women as objects instead of cherished wives”.
    Absolutely nailed it! After 25 years of seeing this played out over and over, women as merely window dressing for their men. My 4 daughters remember the years of “king of the castle”. They would iron Dad’s shirts, pack his lunch, race to clean the house before his arrival home AND clean up and look presentable. This, after our day began at 6 AM with our “wisdom search” with Dad sharing the scripture of the day. I TAUGHT and MODELED this for my girls, because I thought this was biblical marriage. All the time this was unappreciated and expected!
    In 2005, I stepped out of our crumbling home, to return to college, renew my teaching credentials, put my homeschooled kids in private schools, and entered the work force to try to dig us out of financial ruins. Hubby was devastated and very angry, accusing me of being a terrible role model and mother. Ten years later, he still struggles to take care of himself.
    He does “cherish” his girls, but expected the royal treatment, as spelled out in all our IBLP/ATI/VISION FORUM/DAVID BAYLY 😦 teachings. Thanks God for setting me and them free of this LIE.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Wilson Sr’s behavior feels like stalking. Can this woman, who is still being abused by him, get relief via the law in Idaho? She’s made it clear that she wants no contact with him, but he tracks her movements and initiates unwanted communication. This has moved into the realm of sociopathic behavior. Wilson Sr thinks he still has control over her; perhaps the legal system can clear that up for him, say, with a restraining order?

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I read Dash’s comments before reading the article and, I confess, thought it would be over the top for me to have expressed myself thus. Now that I have read the article, all I can say is that I am in awe at Dash’s subtlety, at his restrained, and even irenic, approach. Thank you Dash.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. A huge THANK YOU to this brave woman for sharing her story! At the end, all I could wonder was what does Wilson Sr. gain by bringing her back into the fold? It’s all about power over a person and he can’t stand that he has lost one. He is as abusive and manipulative as this woman’s ex.

    Dear sister, stay strong! I hope that you have found friends who are able to support you through the rest of your journey.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. We cannot forget that the stalking behavior, incessant badgering by a spiritual leader is spiritual abuse. This poor woman was victimized twice by men. Many women put trust in their pastors (who should be trustworthy) and get coerced back into abuse, thinking they are doing the godly thing. Others get coerced back by threats of church discipline or excommunication.

    I know of some who have actually been excommunicated. What this does is isolate the woman who probably was probably already isolated to a certain degree in the church community. Now where does she have to go? Sometimes the familiarity of relationships is too powerful of a draw to go back to the abuse than leave the system of abuse and be completely alone with no support people on the outside. This is a horrific system for victims of abuse.This woman was amazingly strong.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Yeah, if JW has been tracking her and her kids over FOUR moves for more than a year and sending her unwanted communication, I hope she documents everything and slaps him with a restraining order.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I notice that the story was originally posted 3 years ago. I wonder if Wilson Sr. is still harassing this woman, and trying to bring her back into “the fold” (more like back into prison). If so, he’s even more foolish and warped than the post suggests.

    I also can’t help but wonder how far the apple falls from the ignorant, arrogant, unfeeling, self-righteous, misogynistic tree.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “In 2005, I stepped out of our crumbling home, to return to college, renew my teaching credentials, put my homeschooled kids in private schools, and entered the work force to try to dig us out of financial ruins. Hubby was devastated and very angry, accusing me of being a terrible role model and mother. Ten years later, he still struggles to take care of himself.”

    I don’t know if you’re the same Deb who helps run the Wartburg Watch, but either way, good for you! If he wanted to play the all-providing patriarch, your husband had plenty of years in which to prove himself.

    One thing that really makes me angry: would-be patriarchal church leaders telling Christian wives let the sky fall, lest they not submit and disrespect their husbands by playing Abigail to his Nabal, or be found to NOT be trusting God to miraculously intervene. And if the husband is grossly sinning or failing big time, do they actually step in and help? Not from what I’ve seen. If the worst happens, oh well, that’s just too bad. Must have been God’s will. So easy for a pastor to tell someone to just put up with an intolerable situation when he’s not the one living it, nor any of his own family. When she can’t take any more, that’s her spiritual failing. What a bunch of [censored] hypocrites, who would never put up with it themselves. >:-(


  12. Thankful for the strength this woman has demonstrated and hopefully it will encourage others that find themselves in similar instances. The shaming and blaming isn’t even subtle with this man. He really is a piece of work.

    “Thorough Wilsonian theology; zero mercy and zero compassion.”

    This is what pops out at me in reading anything associated with these Wilsonian people. The lack of compassion driven by the law is so toxic.

    BTW Dash’s comment:

    Especially Doug Wilson. You don’t matter, you giant corpulent pale drunken pasty-faced blowhard baboon.

    Reminds me of the courtroom scene in Fried Green Tomatoes (one of my favorites) 🙂


  13. I am a new poster here, I previously posted as Lisa but in reading further I realized there is another poster by that name so I will change mine.
    One thing I want to point out about these men (and the women who also support institutions like this) is that they are unable to think, they are unable to reason, they are unable to weigh a situation out and make any kind of wise response to it. They have not the courage to trust their *God-given* ability to reason. God has given us minds for a purpose. So many are afraid to trust their mind, afraid to think. Their lives are reduced to following a simplistic formula and even when it obviously is not working, they are unable to respond appropriately. It must be the woman who is wrong, otherwise his whole simplistic philosophy is not what he trusts it is and that would be too frightening to face.

    The followers of people like this are the same. They want someone else to just “tell them what to do” because it’s all too complicated for them to figure out themselves and they might make a mistake. They don’t understand it is all about the journey of knowing God. It is not about following a list of dos and don’ts to stay out of trouble. Trouble is going to find you regardless of what philosophy of life you are following. f you are not free to weigh out the facts and explore the options freely, in the light of all you understand to be true from the scriptures, you are crippled. Life is complicated and that is beyond the mental abilities of many people.


  14. I do think there are some inherently abusive things in this video:

    1. Who are they to decide what “the will of God” is and where do they get the idea that they have the power to reveal it to any other person?

    We know the will of God from the scriptures, specifically the NT scriptures- things like growing in the knowledge of God, being kind to one another, walking humbly, etc. These are things which apply regardless of whether one is married or single, where one chooses to work or live, and so on. These are things of the heart. Example:

    “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Nothing in there depends on you being married.

    2. In their quest to marry off this hypothetical man, they are encouraging him to lower his standards, to give up the expectation of love, and to marry someone he is not suited for. What a disastrous idea.

    3. How disrespectful of them to name names of men who “need a little help.” How demeaning.

    They seem to think it’s their business to make other men like themselves. It should be the business of pastors to help others see Christ and know him more fully- from the scriptures, not their own opinions.


  15. I’ve read your blog in the past, I just had to come back and respond to this post. I’ve heard about Doug Wilson in the past and although I’m not too familiar with his teachings from what I did read about him, his views seemed nothing but chauvinism. This was around the first time I actually learned about this Patriarchal culture among the Christian community and I found them quite disturbing. As I starting embracing my Christian faith more(although I grew up off and on in the church, I wasn’t really religious), I kept reading that so-called headship meaning that the husband has authority over his wife, which really put me off but I soon discovered for myself the true meaning of headship as nothing to with the husband’s authority but his duty to initiate a sacrificial and self-giving love for his wive in Christ-like way.just as Christ loved the church he gave up his life to it. From what I seen the in the video and from what I’ve read, Doug seems to be a product of his upbringing. I feel sorry for the woman who turned to Jim Wilson for help regarding the abuse she suffered from her now ex-husband. Unfortunately, I read similar stories where the church is ill equipped to dealing with victims of spousal abuse which sometimes ended in tragedy for some. Divorce is such a scary word to many Christians even to those who condone in case of spousal abuse and many churches have their agenda of proving that any marriage can be saved that may blind them to the reality. I’m glad the lady got out of that marriage and away from Pastor Wilson and is doing better. God Bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Dash, I believe your second comment in this thread “shoulds” on those who are trapped in toxic Partriachal enclaves.

    I get it that you are angry at the harms toxic Patriachy does — and have very good reasons for feeling that anger! I just ask you to consider what I am about to say, and to consider tempering and chanelling your anger so that you might be able to more effectively help and support victims. 🙂

    As a victim-advocate, I need to advise you that telling victims what they *need to do* is not helpful. Many women in Patriarchal circles who are living under the fog of domestic abuse and spiritual abuse will hear you as *telling them what to do*. They are already suffering from way too many people *telling them what to do.* When bystanders or outsiders (no matter how well meaning) also tell them what to do, this just replicates that dynamic.

    It is more helpful to gently and respectfully explain what is wrong with the beliefs of toxic patriarchy and invite and encourage by suggesting (not ordering) other options and choices that they may wish to know about and may wish to consider.

    Also, the women trapped under a toxic Patriarchy will hear your coarse language as very off-putting. They are likely to shrink from contemplating any of your advice simply because of the vulgar language you have used.

    As I understand it, the goal of victim-advocacy is to inform and empower victims to make their own decisions for their safety and wellbeing, in the own time, and at their own pace.


  17. Well, Barbara – that all sounds lovely. So lovely, in fact, that I’m wondering if you actually read what was written in Julie Anne’s blog post?

    In an ideal world, no one would ever have to raise their voice, use vulgar/coarse language, or speak sharply. In an ideal world, no one would ever get as hurt as Dash did, as victimized as some women do, or ever get angry. You might live in your own ideal world; many people don’t. In fact, this woman in Julie Anne’s blog post was telling us about her REALITY.

    I’ll tell you another thing – I have actually dealt with men like the Wilson cowards and they understand plain talk, make no mistake about it. You have a lot of credibility and I’m sure you mean well, but some of us have actually learned that assertiveness brings its own wellbeing.


  18. Hi, friends. Thanks for publishing my story about Jim Wilson, JA. It has now been almost 4 years since I wrote Jim Wilson this email and 3 since I wrote the post. I did receive several emails from him afterwards (some of them scathing). Finally, when I met my now-husband (wonderful man), he (my husband) contacted Jim to ask him to leave me alone (boundaries). Jim sent a scathing letter to my husband, accusing him of taking advantage of me and calling him a non-Christian. After the wedding, I guess Jim gave up on me. I’m sure he believes that I am anathema. I have since received wonderful counseling and my children and I are safe and happy. I also work as an advocate for women (www.giveherwings.com) and I have a job in the counseling field. Dash . . . with all due respect, I wish I could have said that his teaching’s and those of his son’s did not affect me. But, when all of those, in your life, hold to such teachings, it takes a miracle to come out of that abusive paradigm. Thankfully, God did a miracle for me. I stepped out . . .with my kids in tow . . . and it was the bravest thing I have ever ever done. I understand, now, that God loves me and that He does not wish for any woman to be abused. He is my ever-present Rescuer — then and now — He bound up my broken heart and set me free. I am still working on healing . . . I still have “cracks” in my mind and heart that God is healing. But, I am whole. And I have forgiven Jim for what he did to me and what he tried to do to me.

    Liked by 6 people

  19. Megan, I had no idea that was your letter. Wow. I’m so glad you found a husband who truly loves and cares for you, and that he protected you from Jim. Grateful to see what God has done for you and your family, Megan 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Barb,

    I read Dash’s two comments this morning. I know exactly where Dash is coming from and his anger is entirely appropriate. Truth be told, I’m glad he has this safe venue to let it out. We know Dash’s personal abuse story. We know how fragile his life has been and we love and accept him here.

    I’m wondering if you and Megan misunderstood his words. Dash was strongly affected and abused by the Patriarchy. He’s saying that he won’t let “them” have any hold over him anymore. Now he laughs because they don’t have that power like they used to have. Those words are “music to my ears” to see from a survivor.

    Please drop me an e-mail if you are concerned about the tone here. I try to be very careful about things like that, but it’s also important to know “the rest of the story.” Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  21. Hi Carmen, yes I did read all of JA’s blog post, and I am also very familiar with Megan’s post and her story of how Jim Wilson spiritually abused and stalked her. I have emailed JA privately and told her that she is free to remove my comment or edit if if she wishes.


  22. Barbara,

    I must tell you that I reacted to a person on another blog in much the same way you did – I felt that his language was a bit harsh, and that he needed to ‘tone it down’; for different reasons than the ones you stated, as he was reacting to a whole different situation in his life. It was pointed out to me that the fellow had every right to react that way; that HE was the one who had been victimized and that his language was coming from a deep place of hurt. It has made me a bit more sensitive to others’ pain and allowed me to see that victims should be granted the privilege of reacting however they want to. After all, THEY are the ones who ‘own’ the experience. As such, they need an affirming and accepting audience.

    You know what they say about teaching a teacher. . . 🙂


  23. I fully agree that assertiveness can bring its own wellbeing. I do not object at all to Dash being assertive. I rejoice if anyone who has been spiritually abused gets liberated from spiritual bondage. I rejoice when those who have been abused get to a place where they know it is okay to expresses anger about the injustices they were subjected to! My chief concern was that in one of his sentences it sounded to me like Dash was telling *other* victims what to do. (i.e, the sentence where he said, “Those who are trapped in his community need to flat-out cut and run, and never look back.”)
    And I know it was only my perception of that sentence, and others may well have heard that sentence differently.

    My secondary concern was the coarseness of some of the language Dash used, in case it could have created a small stumbling block to those who may be still in the fog and entrappment of abuse.
    Dash, I am sorry if what I said about coarse language has hurt you. Please forgive me.
    And readers of this blog, I am sorry if what I said to Dash about his coarse language has vicariously hurt you. Please forgive me.

    It might have been better if I had not made any comment about the coarse language, and only commented on Dash’s sentence which I perceived to be a ‘shoulding’ sentence.


  24. I’ve appreciated this dialogue. It’s important to talk about communication. It’s also important to have a very safe place where survivors can share their anger.

    Dash’s words are coming from personal pain, and a resolve to help others to never have to deal with the abuse that comes with Patriarchy again.

    I’m finding myself getting teary-eyed as I recall the first time I read Dash’s story, how he was welcomed and supported here, and now as I have seen him speak loudly against abuse on Doug Wilson’s blog, other blogs, on Twitter. My heart rejoices that his anger has an appropriate place and that his voice is speaking loudly against abuse.

    I appreciate you all as we fight against abuse that harms so many lives.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. I will never forget hearing women objectified in our former church, one day, when an elder made an announcement about the upcoming Christian Heritage conference. He was encouraging everyone to go, but especially the young men (who, by implication, might be looking for wife material), as they’d find it a “target rich” environment.

    He got some flak for it, laughed it off, even gave a sort of half-hearted sounding apology, but I will never forget that glimpse of the patriarchal attitude towards women. Targets.


  26. Jean – Your example reminds me of the video of Jim and Doug. You don’t hear them talking about a woman to love and cherish. Just take the first one after you get her name. Ick. Women as property, possession, for man’s pleasure.


  27. Megan and Barbara, thank you for your feedback. Let me clarify. I’m merely offering my opinion, not instructions or commands. You’re all free to ignore anything I say. You’re also free to be mightily offended by anything I say, including the coarseness and vulgarity and all the rest of it. By all means be offended! And then tell me about it, so we can have a dialogue. I’m happy to hear your opinion; it’s only fair trade, since I’ve gone and saddled you with mine.

    Having said all that, 1) I totally understand where you are coming from, and 2) I take none of what I said toward the Wilsons back, and I don’t apologize for it. Sometimes the best example of actual freedom is to show what genuine rage and outrage *really* look like. Not the watered down polite socially acceptable versions, but the part where you say what you *REALLY MEAN* for a change, right down to the last foam-flecked and rage-bespittled sh*t, hell, or damn. If you can’t do that once in awhile without apologizing to someone, you’re a slave. No thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Just for perspective: I spent nearly a decade on the corner of a vast internet message board at one point, letting off steam. It was extremely therapeutic because I was looking for people to take it out on and these guys were totally fine with it. They spent a lot of time laughing at me.

    Sometimes I would get into message board fights with people that lasted for weeks. We would prank each other, make up foul and disgusting nicknames for each other, tell the most nauseating stories we could think of, etc. I’m still friends with several dozen of those people on Facebook. Sometimes the best way to make friends with someone is to hate on them a lot first. I’m sure that makes no sense at all.

    Anyway I’ve been a *lot* more vulgar in previous internet incarnations. A lot a lot. So pardon me if I occasionally get carried away. I do try to respect the tone that Julie Anne sets here and observe a sense of decorum, but I get so angry with the abuse that we see out there that it’s difficult to express it without blowing a gasket.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Thanks Dash, and it’s nice getting to know you more. Unfortunately I don’t have time to hang out on SSB a lot, since I’m so busy on A Cry For Justice — If I had been hanging out her more I would have got to know you by now I’m sure.

    I appreciate you and the dialogue we’ve had here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  30. “Being in love is almost always love for yourself, not love for the other person.”

    And he knows this how, exactly? By this logic, nobody should get married to the person they have these powerful, wonderful feelings for. Maybe we should bring back the position of Matchmaker, or arrange marriages like they do in India.

    As for determining the will of God, JW speaks of this as though the man should be expecting personal, divine revelation on who he should marry, as mediated by his pastor, or whomever. Sometimes people need “help” from others in this area, according to the Wilsons. I wonder if that’s what Ed Iverson was trying to do for Steve Sitler and Katie Travis.

    Older bachelors: settle already! Forget about Barbie dolls and brains! After all…”because there aren’t many women like that”. Only a few of us lucky patriarchs get *those* women. 😀 Better to settle, fellas; you may not feel any love for your wife, but at least you won’t be looking at porn. (we hope) Seriously, it seems not to have crossed their minds that marrying someone you’re less than enthusiastic about is unlikely to mitigate porn use.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Barbara Roberts–I guess I am in the minority here, but I totally agree with your comment. During 9 months of counseling one of the biggest things I have learned is that when my husband and the church and acquaintances say I “should” it is a sort of condemnation that brings false guilt and is not helpful. Also, victims feel powerless and they need to make their own decisions so it is not helpful to tell them what to do. And finally, when you are raised in the church, the language can be a turn-off. Everything you said resonates with me–so thank you. And it’s ok if Dash has a very different experience and opinion than I have!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I have to tell you some of my story and why this is so so interesting to me. Last October my younger daughter told me she had met a man online who wanted to marry her if when he met her in person he still felt that way. She said they didn’t believe in love and she wanted to be someone’s wife.

    The man who visited was 30 years old and his dad said he hadn’t dated anyone. He lived in Scotland–the place Doug Wilson is so fond of. He was a HUGE follower of Doug Wilson, reading the daily blogs with my daughter and passing out his marriage books to us (because my husband has been neglectful and abusive to me for many years). So now the pieces fit together–this man who was older than 27 and not called to celibacy needed to “meet someone and ask her to marry you.”

    Before they married I objected to them following Doug Wilson so closely and asked them to just reassure me that they would follow Christ before Doug Wilson. No reassurance came.

    Now 9 months has passed and if I do get an email from her it has to be approved by her husband first. Oh…thanks for the additional clarification of what happened.


  33. Irene, I’m so sorry. So not only are you dealing with an abusive marriage, but also it looks like your daughter has married someone who appears to be controlling. Sadly, I share your concern about the Wilson influence. Ugh! I agree with Kathi – it must be difficult to watch from the outside.


  34. This is one of those things where I don’t think either Dash or Barbara Roberts were wrong in their posts above.

    I think it depends on the audience reading the comments.

    I think Dash was just writing out of his own experience, and people who have already recovered from abuse would get it. I don’t think his posts were necessarily intended for women in abusive marriage – possibly for anyone in a spiritually abusive church though (?)

    But I also understood Barbara’s points.

    One dynamic of women in abusive marriages is that they become incapable (or too scared) to make choices for themselves.

    That’s why experts on domestic violence will ask friends and family not to tell women in abusive marriage what to do (“you need to do thus and so,” or, “you should blah blah”) – but just do things like give them books about domestic violence (educate them), and leave the choice whether to stay or leave up to the woman in question.

    Having said that – and I think it’s good advice, I’m not disputing it –

    But in the end scheme of things, based on what all I’ve read on the topic – really, the only solution for a person in an abusive relationship (whether marriage, family, friendship, job related) is to leave or limit contact with the abuser, because abusers rarely change.

    The only alternative if a woman wants the abuse to stop is to leave the abuser (which usually means moving away from the guy or divorcing him)*, but it’s like the lady has to arrive to that conclusion herself.
    *but a lot of women are coached by friends or churches to just love on the guy and submit to him some more, cater to his every whim, and that will supposedly change him – but it never does, it only enables him and drags the abuse out longer.


  35. Irene.
    I’m sorry about your family situation.

    You wrote,

    “So now the pieces fit together–this man who was older than 27 and not called to celibacy needed to “meet someone and ask her to marry you.””

    Sigh. There is no such thing as a gift of celibacy (or “of singleness”).

    I wish Doug Wilson and others would stop teaching those concepts. They usually teach it in such a way as to suggest bogus things like adult singles who experience sexual urges must lack the gift of celibacy, and so must marry.

    That’s not how it works.

    I’m over 40 years old, celibate, still a virgin. God didn’t give me a “gift of celibacy.” God did not remove my desire for sex or marriage. I still have those things.

    Celibacy is a self-discipline one practices. God doesn’t wave a magic wand and remove the desire for marriage and/or sexual urges from a person.

    So, if one finds one’s self single at whatever age, the Bible calls that person to celibacy ,because it teaches that sex prior to marriage is a “no no.” It has nothing to do with a “gifting.”

    When Christians use the term “gifting” in regards to singleness or celibacy it is usually implied to be some kind of freaky Supernatural magical mojo that God gives to single adults like me. Nonsense. Being celibate is a choice a person makes. God doesn’t remove a person’s libido or desire for marriage.


  36. What really gets to me is this:
    In much of conservative evangelical protestantism fear of hell is a staple. Hell if your not ‘saved’ (according to their definition of saved), and worse yet, fear of hell if you don’t knuckle under and hoe the row the way they tell you.
    Basically, it’s a fear based religion, and I honestly believe that more of these abused women could escape their abusers if they would only realize that God is not an abuser and puts them UNDER NO OBLIGATION to stay with one.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. My, I just look at him–first time I’ve ever seen the man, by the way–and he looks the very type. The sort of fellow who hand paints 200 scriptures on the side of his panel van with a shaky, child-like hand…and understands the meaning of not a single one.


  38. The sort of fellow who hand paints 200 scriptures on the side of his panel van with a shaky, child-like hand…and understands the meaning of not a single one.

    Garrison Keillor very accurately and thoroughly describes a pastor like that in “Lake Wobegon Days.” The “reasoning” behind painting the Bible verses on the van is that after seeing the van, nobody can ever say they didn’t hear the Good News of Jesus and so are condemned to hell if they don’t repent… all for seeing a van drive by.

    Garrison Keillor understands this crap all too well; apparently it’s been going on a long, long time.


  39. I’d like to reiterate again for the record that 1) I’m not repeat *NOT* telling anyone what to do; and 2) If you’re offended by my words, fine by me. I’m not a preacher and I’m not beholden to anyone.

    I answer to Julie Anne on this blog because it’s her blog and I’m her guest, but I’ve been using any language I damn well please for as long as I can remember and I’m not about to stop doing it. I earned the right to say what I want by surviving my parents’ unspeakable beatings for a decade and a half. If you’ve ever been beaten with a 3/4 inch dowel rod until you can barely walk, you’ll understand.

    As I pointed out, I say what I think freely, whether here or elsewhere. If for some reason this avenue becomes closed to me I’d be bummed, but it’s not like I’d have no place else to express myself. The quest continues.

    One of the points those of you who are abuse survivor advocates may wish to consider is that demanding that everyone tiptoe on eggshells around the victim is PLAYING INTO THE ABUSER’S RULE BOOK. It really really is. If you can’t see why then I feel sorry for you. I threw that rule book out 20 years ago. I wiped my ass on its pages, set fire to it and flushed it down a toilet.

    My heart goes out to anyone who cannot understand the difference between rightfully expressed outrage and mere vulgarity. Try looking into it, you might learn something to help yourself with.


  40. Daisy–You are awesome, so faithful to God’s call. I wish I could meet you in person. I believe you that there is no gift of celibacy, but those are the Wilsons’ words and ideas from the video.


  41. Dash – Yep, I’ve read “Lake Wobegone Days” a couple times, Keillor nailed not only that type, but a lot of different small town types. At least his uncle or cousin-whatever with the painted station wagon (I think) had a lovable, earnest side to him. Doesn’t seem much cuddly about these guys, not when one considers what comes out of their mouths and the abuse that emanates from them.

    I cannot imagine what you’ve been through, because you weren’t betrayed and abused through your own stupidity, as I was, by leading my family into multiple abusive cults over the last decade and seeing the consequences in teen children who now wince at the thought of Christian fellowship, you were betrayed by those closest to you and had no choice in the matter.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Dash said,

    OCTOBER 29, 2015 @ 1:03 AM
    I’d like to reiterate again for the record that 1) I’m not repeat *NOT* telling anyone what to do; and 2) If you’re offended by my words, fine by me. I’m not a preacher and I’m not beholden to anyone. (etc)

    Dash, I’m not sure if you had me in mind when you types that post, but it wasn’t necessary for me.

    My post above – I was defending you, and I was also defending Barbara. I think both you and Barbara raised valid points.


  43. Irene said,

    Daisy–You are awesome, so faithful to God’s call. I wish I could meet you in person. I believe you that there is no gift of celibacy, but those are the Wilsons’ words and ideas from the video.

    Oh yes. I realize you were summarizing Wilson’s views and those weren’t your words.

    I’m sorry I didn’t make that more clear in my post. I didn’t mean to suggest those were your quotes.

    I grow tired of married (Christian) men who (I assume) have regular sexual relations with their wives for 20, 30, etc years lecturing other people about celibacy and singleness when they aren’t living it and get aspects of it so terribly wrong (such as Doug Wilson, his father, and guys like Mark Driscoll).


  44. The man who visited was 30 years old and his dad said he hadn’t dated anyone. He lived in Scotland–the place Doug Wilson is so fond of. He was a HUGE follower of Doug Wilson, reading the daily blogs with my daughter and passing out his marriage books to us (because my husband has been neglectful and abusive to me for many years). So now the pieces fit together–this man who was older than 27 and not called to celibacy needed to “meet someone and ask her to marry you.”

    Jerk-in-the-Kirk’s Groupie was looking for A Wife(TM) and Irene’s daughter was just the Necessary Piece of Equipment.


  45. Garrison Keillor very accurately and thoroughly describes a pastor like that in “Lake Wobegon Days.” The “reasoning” behind painting the Bible verses on the van is that after seeing the van, nobody can ever say they didn’t hear the Good News of Jesus and so are condemned to hell if they don’t repent… all for seeing a van drive by.

    So all those Bible verses were scribed Magickal Spells to put a curse of eternal damnation upon all who saw them? Isn’t that commonly called Black Magick?


  46. … lest they not submit and disrespect their husbands by playing Abigail to his Nabal, or be found to NOT be trusting God to miraculously intervene.

    Question, everybody:
    If Abigail HAD submitted to Nabal and/or TrustedGodToMiraculouslyIntervene, wouldn’t both Abigail and Nabal be dead by the sword? Nabal’s alcoholic logic had started a Blood Feud with King David, and in Semitic tribal culture there’s only one way a Blood Feud ends — with one side being Honor Killed down to No Survivors. Abigail’s “disrespect(TM)” and “not submitting(TM)” defused that Blood Feud before it got going.


  47. I was in a similar situation with Jim Wilson. In 1975, I had moved to Moscow as a brand new student Christian and Jim Wilson discipled me. What’s really weird though is that when my wife and I went to him for marriage counseling 32 years later after we were separated, I had expected him to counsel my wife to return to her husband but to my dismay his only counsel was that I return to the “cult”, Christ Church. Violence or abuse wasn’t our problem, it was just that I chose to no longer associate with Christ Church and my wife did. Doug had most likely advised his father to support the decision of the Christ Church elders who also counseled Pat not to return to her husband. The cult was already well established by then.


  48. Gary Greenfield,

    My heart aches & rages over all that your family has endured by Doug Wilson & Christ Church. Your daughter is remarkable, and I think she was blessed to have you as her dad. I am so glad you got out of that sick cult. God Bless you & yours.


  49. Gary, thank you for speaking up and defending Natalie. It’s very clear to most everybody outside the Kirk that Doug Wilson is unfit to be a pastor. I’m so sorry for the pain your family has endured because of this evil cult.


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