Sexual abuse, spiritual abuse, wife spanking, Bill Gothard, Doug Wilson, Josh Duggar, Matt Chandler, Steve Wingfield, David McGee, marital rape
Here are my yearly top 10 blog posts. There were a few observations I have which will follow the top 10.
Note: these are the top 10 blog posts that were written in 2015. I actually had other blog posts with view counts that surpassed these top 10, and I will mention them shortly.
#10 Will Anna Duggar be offered as the next live sacrifice to save the Duggar Family Brand? Scapegoating, “Spread Your Legs Theology” and the Modern Molech
This has been such a tragic story to watch unfold. Josh Duggar is still at his “counseling” facility, which many believe is solely “Biblical counseling,” not specialized counseling with trained and licensed mental health professionals who can help treat someone with a history of sex abuse and sex addictions. His wife, Anna, is currently living at Michelle and JimBob Duggar’s home and sharing a bedroom with her children. I’ve watched the recent show on TLC. She says she loves Josh and it sounds like she’s willing to stand by her man. The Duggar’s hold to Bill Gothard’s teachings. Marriage is permanent, regardless of sex abuse, infidelity.
Brenda shares what it’s like for the wife of a pedophile. Wives of pedophiles are often lost and forgotten. Many times they are abandoned by their church, family, and friends. I’m thankful for Brenda’s voice because we continue to receive e-mails averaging probably once every few weeks from a wife who discovers they are married to a pedophile. Because of Brenda and Anon3, I am able to refer women in the midst of crises to two women who have walked this difficult path. This is a very unique ministry work behind the scenes at SSB.
#8 Former Youth Pastor Responds to Open Letter from Church Leaders Who Mishandled and Failed to Report Child Sex Abuse
This was a big case in a large church at First Christian Church of Florissant near St. Louis. Pastor Steve Wingfield filed a lawsuit against those who outed Wingfield for failing to report sex abuse. He later withdrew the lawsuit and took a leave of absence. I’ve kept in touch with church members. The church is not in a healthy state. While some members and church leaders have left, a core remains in support of Pastor Steve Wingfield. Wingfield’s leave of absence concludes in January [updated]. Not much has changed as far as leadership goes. However, church attendance and financial giving has taken a real toll.
JA’s prediction: Steve Wingfield will come back to the pulpit and continue to have a following, but a much smaller following. They will likely have to find a new place to meet because they won’t be able to keep up with expenses. The leaders have not learned their lesson and people have been hurt and are trying to recover. It’s a sad story of abuse, bad shepherding, and a leader who should not be a leader.
This story continues to have a large following because Doug Phillips was such a public face in the homeschooling community. We’ve heard nothing from Doug Phillips except that he and three family members joined a traditional mega-church in the area (which goes against Doug Phillips teachings on family-integrated churches).
Lourdes Torres-Manteufel divorced Nolan in the Spring. She is currently going to college. I believe her marriage to Nolan was an escape from where she was living. Nolan appears to have abandoned his faith and is having difficulty with the divorce.
#6 Victim of Bill Gothard’s Teachings Speaks out about Josh Duggar Scandal, Mike Huckabee: Bill Gothard’s Dangerous Agenda and Influence in Political Arena and Society at Large
I’ve posted several articles and let Dash tell us how Bill Gothard affected his life, his parents’ method of discipline, his political influence. Bill Gothard is still being discussed frequently as the organization he founded, Institutes in Basic Life Principles, is in the middle of a civil lawsuit with a growing number of plaintiffs (originally 5, now 9) who claim they were sexually abused/groomed by Gothard, and the Board failed to respond appropriately. I’m grateful for Dash’s personal account because his story represents many others that have been hidden.
This is the story of the pastor who acts more like a rock star, David McGee of The Bridge Church, who excommunicated four church members via his public Facebook page. Nothing has changed here. He is still pastoring, still has a following, and nothing has been done to make amends with the people who were harmed.
JA prediction: David McGee will continue to harm, silence, and run a 3-ring circus putting on the facade of a pastor at The Bridge. I heard several personal accounts of people who had meetings set up with him, yet he kept them waiting while he jammed on his guitar. He is another man whose charisma attracts a following, but the substance and fruit from his life show otherwise.
This story was spread widely, first by bloggers Amy Smith and The Wartburg Watch, then by others, before mainstream media jumped on board. It was only after this media attention that Pastor Matt Chandler apologized to Karen Hinkley for the way in which he and other pastors and elders handled her case.
In summary, Karen Hinkley was put in church discipline because she filed for annulment from her husband who was caught using child porn and covered it up. They said she should have gone to them for counsel. The church leaders did NOT put her husband in church discipline, but said he was repentant. They abandoned this woman at her greatest time of need and defended a sexual perpetrator (I believe anyone who views child porn to be a perpetrator because those children in the images are victims).
Would Matt Chandler have acted responsibly without the media attention? We don’t know. There have been other abuse stories I’ve heard coming from Chandler’s church, especially from women. It remains to be seen if things will change at The Village Church, and if women will be treated respectfully.
We continue to encounter ideologies that harm women from the Patriarchal camp. Men, who believe in “headship,” and rule over their wives sometimes believe they own their spouse’s body sexually and she has no right to decline sex. Our civil laws say there is such a thing as rape in marriage. These bully men think otherwise. I will continue to raise awareness of this issue that affects so many women.
#2 A Wife’s Personal Story: So, Let’s Actually Talk about What “Extramarital Affairs” Really Look Like
This personal story was so raw and gut-wrenching. Finally, we saw what it is really like for victims of infidelity. This is the kind of story that needs to be spread. So many women who have experienced this related to it:
Here’s an excerpt:
So, let’s actually talk about what “extramarital affairs” really look like:
- It’s me saving my virginity for a “good Christian husband” who ends up sleeping with everyone he can get his hands on.
- It’s me running screaming out of my bedroom at my parents’ house, hitting and kicking the walls, and having to be restrained by my dad while I lose control of my bladder and pee all over myself because I’m so devastated by what my husband just confessed.
- It’s me bursting blood vessels in my eyes and face from crying so hard after lying on the floor of my bedroom, curled in the fetal position, wishing more than anything in the world that I had a gun in my hand, and knowing exactly what I would do with it if I did.
- It’s me desperately wishing I wasn’t pregnant with my second baby when he confesses to visiting strip clubs and having “feelings” for a co-worker.
Where do we start here? This is systemic abuse at its finest. We have a system of a leader who shows narcissistic behavior, hand selects his leaders, and seemingly has his hands in everything from church, businesses, and his community. He and his elders show a pattern of cover-ups, defending pedophiles, failing to disclose sexual offenses, Patriarchy, and spiritual abuse.
Probably one of the most insidious actions I’ve seen by Doug Wilson is his public discussions about sex abuse cases in which he betrays pastoral confidence. Along with all of this, we also see typical patterns of spiritual abuse, bullying to silence voices who speak out, covering up sins of leaders and/or their children to save face.
Also, this is a man who created his own denominational empire with no way to be outed unless there is 100% vote against him. That won’t happen because he has yes-men he personally chose. This is a very dangerous cult-like environment and we are finally seeing people speak out. I suspect the following year we will see more people leave and sharing their story.
Because Mr. Wilson has attracted such a large audience outside his small town of Moscow, Idaho, I am thrilled that this is the number one story of 2015. It means that his empire is getting shaken. Good! Let’s keep talking, people!
Okay, I found it interesting that 9 of the 10 top blog posts had to do with sexual abuse or infidelity. 8 of the 9 posts on sexual abuse/infidelity referred to female victims and one post dealt with a male victim (see #8).
Aside from the top posts written in 2015, the top two viewed posts in 2015 (all years combined) had the common denominator of wife spanking:
Christian Domestic Discipline (Wife Spanking): A Personal Story, and a Closer Look at Patterns Connected with this Abusive Practice : This article had more views than 3-1/2 times the number of views as the #1 top post written in 2015. That is un-freakin’-believable!
The Christian Patriarchy Movement’s Dark Secret of Wife Spanking: This article had over 4,000 more views than the #1 top post written in 2015.
Every single day, many find my blog using search terms such as: wife spanking, Christian Domestic Discipline, stories of Christians spanking wives, disobedient wives, wives submit to spanking, etc. I wish I knew who these people are. I know that some are wives who are searching to find if what they are going through is “normal.” Some of them reach out to me privately, and so I am so grateful that they land here where they can learn that it is not okay, wife spanking when used as a method of “discipline” is abuse.
Whatever brings people here, the amount of hits shows me that wife spanking is an ongoing problem in the church and we must continue to speak out against it.