Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini — Two Kinds of Violence, Both Still a Prison

Pastor Saeed Abedini, #FreeSaeed, Released from Prison, Domestic Violence, Naghmeh


 

#freesaeed Naghmeh Abedini, domestic violence

It has been reported by the wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini and in many news sources that Pastor Saeed has been released from Iranian prison. Many Christians have been faithfully praying for Pastor Saeed’s release, some even changing their Facebook profile pictures on Wednesdays to bring awareness to the plight of this pastor, and to solicit prayer and support for Saeed and his family.

Pastor Saeed had visited Iran in 2012 to visit his family and work on an orphanage, but was arrested for compromising national security. He is serving an 8-yr sentence which could extend to a life sentence if more charges are brought forward. (Source)

A couple of months ago, Christianity Today published an article, “Pastor Saeed Abedini’s Wife Halts Public Advocacy, Citing Marital Woes and Abuse.” From the article:

In two emails to supporters, Abedini revealed details of her troubled marriage to Saeed Abedini, an American citizen and pastor imprisoned in Iran since September 2012.

Those troubles include “physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse (through Saeed’s addiction to pornography),” she wrote. The abuse started early in their marriage and has worsened during Saeed’s imprisonment, she said. The two are able to speak by phone and Skype.

This sent shock waves in Christendom. Pastor Saeed, who represented true Christian persecution, a hero, was now being publicly charged with domestic violence by his wife, Naghmeh? How could that be?

It’s important to note that the e-mails that were publicized were meant to remain private. Naghmeh Abedini sent the e-mail to a select group of supporters – ones she trusted could keep her confidence and pray for her. Sadly, one person betrayed that confidence and the rest is history.

Yet, also sadly, some people came out loudly against Naghmeh for publicizing this negative information. But keep in mind that she didn’t publicize it; it was released without her permission. Some questioned the timing of it, many doubted her story and said she was looking for attention. Even some people I network with on abuse issues were stumped by this disclosure and had similar thoughts: “We need more information before we can believe her.”

I sighed heavily each time I read such a response. I know what that feels like to be heard and not believed. For a victim, it is like a stab in the chest. People who study patterns of behavior of domestic violence victims know that it takes a survivor a L.O.N.G. time before they can get the courage to reveal they are being abused. One out of four women are victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. The Iranian culture is one of inequality for women. Yet the common question was, “Could her words be true?”

 

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It’s very conflicting to see “persecuted for Christ” and “abused his wife” in the same sentence, isn’t it?  

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Just because one is a Christian pastor and held prisoner in Iran does not remove the possibility that one can also be an abuser. Yet the thought of that scenario is too messy. The story of Saeed is like a modern-day “Voice of the Martyrs” story. The suffering Saeed has faced has been real and horrific. But for some reason, we elevate these martyrs to hero status and don’t want to think about or discuss the possibility that this seemingly godly man could also have done harm to his beautiful wife.

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Perhaps the real Saeed story is that Saeed represents many in Christendom who claim Christ, who witness and evangelize, yet privately, also abuse their spouse.

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I believe this is why domestic violence remains an overlooked sin in the church, and women remain in harm’s way. When women eventually speak up and use their voices, they are saying all is not well in their “godly” marriage. They are saying that their marriage doesn’t represent Christ and His church. They are perhaps saying their marriage is a fraud. Oh boy, I am really painting an ugly picture, aren’t I?

Sadly, while only some speak out and use their voices, many others remain silent in their domestic violence prisons. They continue to put on a good face when they go to church, when they evangelize, mingle with Christians. Husbands are still respected among the church leaders and men, and no one knows a thing or would dare to think of such a thing.

 

naghmeh abedini, saeed, domestic violence

 

 

Naghmeh posted on her Facebook page that she would step away from social media for a time:

 

 

Although Naghmeh never intended for her story to go public, I’m glad that it did. It means that the church will have to wrestle with this important issue. Hopefully it means that Saeed will get the support he needs to confront his sin, and Naghmeh will get the support she needs, separately.

Some people have dismissed Naghmeh’s  words angrily by demanding, “why now?” Some have said if she has been suffering for all of these years, why didn’t she come forward earlier?  Here’s one such comment:

 

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When you are in an abusive situation, you are struggling to stay alive physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You don’t have much spare time to think because you are recovering from the last episode and spending time/energy in trying to create normalcy for your family. Remember, a domestic violence survivor has to try to stay somewhat sane to protect her children. Think of the amount of mental and physical energy required to do this.

When a survivor is physically away from the abuser, she finally has time to breathe, relax, and perhaps see what normal is. This is often when many survivors come to the reality of what they have been living. They now see the contrast between life with abuser and life separate from the abuser. It can be a shocking revelation.

One observation I’ve noted is Naghmeh’s consistent response of love and grace towards her husband. While she has been honest about the abuse issues, she also has been consistent in the efforts for his release, her love and care for him personally. She has shown the love of Christ towards Saeed publicly in her responses about him.

Naghmeh posted another note on her Facebook page in December. You tell me if this is a vindictive woman, trying to ruin the reputation of her husband and draw attention to herself.



To my dearest friends,

After a month of resting and healing and sitting at the feet of Jesus, today I felt led to share.

Three years ago, when Saeed was put in the Iranian prison for his faith, the Lord called me to get up and not only advocate for Saeed, but also to share the Gospel message and to advocate for the persecuted church. I was freed from so much fear and it was a step of faith for me to get up and move. When I did obey, I could see that I could DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME (Philippians 4:13) That by Grace of God I could get on airplanes. That by God’s Grace I could speak in front of heads of governments, parliaments, the congress, thousands of people and our own president and I was able to open my mouth through the Grace of God and represent Christ and to share Christ with so many. It was overwhelming seeing how Jesus had become my STRENGTH through my utter WEAKNESS.

A month ago, the Lord asked me to stop and sit. It took another step of faith to stop everything and just sit at the feet of Jesus and to hear from Him. It was freeing to see that by Grace of God none of the fame and attention or praises of men had gotten to me and that I could drop everything the moment my Savior told me to drop it and to go back to being a single mom in Boise, Idaho. It was freeing to let go of the FALSE SENSE of SECURITY that money was bringing into my life (through speaking engagements) and to know that the only thing that all I desperately needed was Jesus. That my true security rests in Jesus. That Jesus is my day to day provider.

I had to turn off every voice including my own and only care about what Jesus was saying to me. It was hard. With the news that came out recently (an email I had sent to prayer partners was leaked to media), stones were being thrown at me left and right and many religious leaders who saw me wounded and bleeding passed on by afraid to touch me or this whole mess/situation. It was hard, but Jesus kept telling me to be silent and to look to Him.

The truth is that I still love my husband more than ever and my advocacy for him has taken a new form of interceding on my knees. The truth is I can not deny Saeed’s love and passion for Jesus and that he continues to suffer in the Iranian prison because of his genuine love for Jesus and his refusal to deny Him. I can not deny the amazing dad he has been to our kids and the spiritual truths he poured into their life until the moment he was arrested. But at the same time I can not deny the very dark parts of our marriage and serious issues Saeed continues to struggle with.

So I open myself up once again and become real and raw in asking you to join me in praying for Saeed. This time not only for his physical chains, but the spiritual chains that have bound him for so many years. Those chains that have stuck to him from the culture he was raised in (Middle East) and from his former religion (Islam). I believe that God will use Saeed’s imprisonment to break Saeed of these chains and to refine him and use him as a vessel for the work that He has prepared for him.

I am not sure how often I will be providing updates, but I will share as the Lord leads. Starting January 5, I am going to start another 21 days of prayer and fasting. It will be a time of drawing closer to the Lord and sharing what He lays on my heart. I hope they will be a source of blessing and encouragement to you as well.

I praise God for all of the ups and downs, excitements and disappointments, and for the many pains and tears. They have been good for me. They are a great tool to refine us and keep our eyes on Jesus.

With much Love in Jesus
Naghmeh Abedini


In the comments, another domestic abuse survivor, Diane, asked her a difficult question. I think what we read in Naghmeh’s response is a woman who has had time to come to grips with the reality of the state of her relationship with Saeed, and what must change. I’m grateful that Naghmeh has had the time to process what has occurred and make reasonable and appropriate boundaries:

Naghmeh, I’m an ex wife of an abusive ‘Christian’ man. I loved him 30 years. It was a fail. Are you positive God wants this?  (December 7, 2015 at 12:06pm)

Thanks Diane. I am not sure what the future holds. I just know I have to pray on my knees. At the same time, when Saeed comes back, I am not going to break the boundries that I have set for my protection. If Saeed is changed, it will have to be seen by me and my pastor and others before any steps are taken or boundaries are changed. Thank you for your message and concern.

 

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Friends, this is going to be a very challenging time for the Abedini family as Saeed recovers from his time in Iranian prison, meets his family after being gone for years, and for Naghmeh as she makes and maintains safe boundaries for her protection. Let’s pray for this family as they navigate these difficult waters, that Christ will indeed be close to the broken-hearted and will be their strength.

Let us also pray that the church will take a close look at abuse in their ranks and give real help to those in harm’s way.

 


 

Update:  A reader sent me this video Skype interview with Naghmeh in which she discusses what lies ahead.

Update #2:   Previous version incorrectly stated that after abuse became public, Naghmeh stepped away from social media. This has been corrected 1/29/16.

Related links:

69 comments on “Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini — Two Kinds of Violence, Both Still a Prison

  1. The original post:

    Even some people I network with on abuse issues were stumped by this disclosure and had similar thoughts, “we need more information before we can believe her.”

    I sighed heavily each time I read such a response. I know what that feels like to be heard and not believed. For a victim, it is like a stab in the chest.

    Yes, I know. 😦
    When the other blog did a thread about this topic about a month ago, 2 or 3 people were making comments there saying they want more information before they make a decision on what to think.

    A few of the blog’s regular pro- gender complementarians regrettably had to show up to that very thread to argue in favor of things like male headship, to argue that complementarian are really anti- domestic violence (compsy say that, but their beliefs tend to keep women trapped in abusive marriages), and other nonsense.

    Another point on the other blog that kept coming up:
    People were wondering how Saeed could be abusing Naghmeh over the phone (since her statement said something about him abusing her by phone while he was in jail).

    I sighed a sigh and rolled my eyes when I saw those comments.

    It is entirely possible for a person to abuse someone over the phone.

    Some abuse is emotional and verbal, not physical. So many Christians are ignorant of this point
    (well, some Non-Christians too, but Christians seem more dubious or reluctant to accept that a person can be deeply injured by consistent put-downs, head games, name calling, etc).

    Emotional and verbal abuse can be just as devastating or debilitating as physical abuse, especially if that verbal/emotional abuse is a constant.

    I don’t want to write in depth on this here, since I already discussed this in another thread on Spiritual Sounding Board, but I was emotionally / verbally abused over my life, in particular by my sister.
    I wrote about that here:
    _Personal Story: Bruised with No Visible Marks_

    In one or two posts in that thread, I gave a long list of links to web pages (some by psychologists) that describe what verbal and emotional abuse is, how it harms people, and how a person can recognize it and do something to halt it.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. From the OP:

    Just because one is a Christian pastor and held prisoner in Iran does not remove the possibility that one can also be an abuser. Yet the thought of that scenario is too messy.

    I do believe her when she says he has abused her.

    I find this so sad. I think in an older interview I saw with her, she said her husband shared the Gospel with some of the prison guards, which indicates to me he cares about his guards and wants to see them saved.

    I find it hard to reconcile how a man can show such caring and compassion to men who are holding him prisoner and/or treating him inhumanely, but still minister to them, but then turn around and treat his wife hurtfully and disrespectfully.

    He should be showing even more consideration (or at least an equal amount) to his wife than he is to those prison guards. It’s mind boggling to me he treats his wife worse than he does the prison guards.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. He should be showing even more consideration (or at least an equal amount) to his wife than he is to those prison guards. It’s mind boggling to me he treats his wife worse than he does the prison guards.

    It is mind boggling. They cannot mix, just like water and oil. That is why Pastor Jeff Crippen questions whether abusers are Believers.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My immediate response without having read any comments below:

    If he is out of jail, any chance we can send him back?
    If he’s still in there, can we please keep him in?
    Can we make some space in his cell for those keyboard warriors who have lashed out at his wife?

    Thanks.

    takes a bow

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Daisy, ugh.

    Emotional abuse.

    Ugh.

    It is two months’ since I have spoken to my unbelieving Mother.

    I could spend an hour talking about her verbal (non aggressive) emotional abuse that has gone on over the years. It has taken me soooo long to

    Identify it as abuse.
    Get strong enough to walk away and say “NO MORE!”.

    I completely understand why battered people don’t walk sooner.

    My narcissistic Mother never hit me or swore at me nor raised her voice at me. Not once.

    But her form of abuse was gaslighting and rejection in this most confusing and irrational forms.

    Making me sleep on a two seater couch instead of in the spare bedroom’s sofa bed.
    Letting her friends stay for a week at her beach house after denying my family the chance to do this (after she invited us!)
    Kicking me out of home at 17 so she could move her new boyfriend in.

    The hurtful non violent hurts go on and on.

    The gas lighting is her ignoring my tears and request for an explanation as to why she treats me so so bad.

    My friend only yesterday said, “her behaviour is despicable”.

    The “standard religious person response?”

    Quoting bible verses about honouring your parents and not gossiping about your Mother.

    I hate Christianity and what it does to people.

    I love Jesus and how he can change people and make them love the unloveable.

    But we who love Him are not emotional punching bags for bullies.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It doesn’t surprise me at all that he could be guilty of spousal abuse with his background. Becoming a Christian doesn’t not magically change our history. IMHO he became a pastor much too quickly if he only became a Christian a few years ago. He’s had a genuine baptism by fire in Iran and now he and his family desperately need our prayers for a time of healing and restoration.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am so glad that Naghmeh has had this opportunity to be closer to the Lord and come out of the fog of the brokenness in her marriage. I hadn’t heard this story before, but I believe her without question. Her husband is obviously warped in his belief system, his relationship with Jesus and he does not belong in “ministry”. He does not qualify. I have read of women that stayed with their abusive preacher/missionary husband for decades, even as long as 60 years so his “ministry” would not be harmed. They DO NOT qualify. They do not show the love of our Lord.

    I have been where she is in the respect that she finally realized that she needed to set boundaries and is not likely to go straight into his arms if he returns home. If she divorces him, I respect that decision and support her completely no matter of those that would condemn her. Jesus would not.

    The term ‘c’hristian has become so vague. Even in prison this pastor is supportive of men, but the woman he should show love only 2nd to Christ, he does not. He may be the husband of one wife, but he is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He does not. He would not die for her!! His time in prison has proved his endurance, but to what? There is only one true Gospel and abusing your spouse is not a part of that, NO WAY, NO HOW.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Naghmeh writes, “stones were being thrown at me left and right and many religious leaders who saw me wounded and bleeding passed on by afraid to touch me or this whole mess/situation.” This is but one more sad example of Jericho Road “Christianity.” Naghmed’s persecution by these supposed Christians, including her husband, is more troubling to me than Saeed’s imprisonment in Iran. If Saeed is released from Iranian imprisonment only to physically abuse Naghmeh, a return to prison, albeit an American one, is what justice requires.

    I am with lifewithporpoise when she says “I hate Christianity and what it does to people.” One can either be a Christian, as defined by common doctrine and practice (praxis?), or one can be a follower of Jesus. One cannot be both.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. “When you are in an abusive situation, you are struggling to stay alive physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You don’t have much spare time to think because you are recovering from the last episode and spending time/energy in trying to create normalcy for your family. Remember, a domestic violence survivor has to try to stay somewhat sane to protect her children. Think of the amount of mental and physical energy required to do this.”

    This deserves to be repeated over and over. There are judges here that once a woman has come to the place where she calls for help and files an EPO, will put a mandatory three year separation into place. This is the absolute best thing that can happen.

    It is amazing how long it takes to find normal after living like that. What this woman most likely experienced was every time they talked it brought back that life and she was teetering between what is her normal now and what is was then. And worse, she had both their public personas to keep up at the same time. It is like a world of black ops. I think people have to view it as living in psychological black ops to even begin to understand it.

    What I am hearing from her words is something akin to the toll it took living a double life. And that is what these sorts of situations are really about.

    People always want bruises and black eyes as proof. It also sounds like she gets it when it comes to Jesus Christ. It can be very lonely being a follow of Christ and not movements, gurus or churches.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “One can either be a Christian, as defined by common doctrine and practice (praxis?), or one can be a follower of Jesus. One cannot be both.”

    This.Is.It.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “That is why Pastor Jeff Crippen questions whether abusers are Believers.”

    Most evangelicals are not up for this sort of conversation. I just go back to what my mom always said, “A good tree does not produce rotten fruit”.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Sorry about all the comments but Seth Dunn’s tweet is cruel. Doesn’t he write for Pulpit and Pen? Isn’t he part of JD Hall’s crew.

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  13. It may be relevant that the Washington Post, in an article on msn.com, refers to “Naghmeh Abedini, 38, who attends the nondenominational Calvary Chapel in Boise.” If this is THE Calvary Chapel, and assuming Saeed is a Calvary Chapel “pastor,” he would not be the only disqualified, but undisciplined, “pastor” in the nondenominational Calvary Chapel denomination. Still, do I recall that Calvary Chapel Boise was mentioned some time ago, maybe here on SSB, in a not entirely negative light?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Gary, yes, Alex is still involved in the lawsuit brought on by his father/”pastor.”

    It sounds like Naghmeh’s pastor (and I assume she’s referring to Bob Caldwell) has been informed of the domestic violence and has been involved in the situation. I certainly hope that he supports Naghmeh in whatever decision she makes, whether it is separation or even divorce. So many times we hear about pastors counseling abused wives based on what they want and what looks good for them and their church. Perhaps the idea is that divorce is a stain on their record.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Julie Anne, this is a beautifully written blog on a very sensitive and multifaceted story. Thanks for keeping us up to speed while avoiding the sensationalism of othrs.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I agree with those pointing out Saeed’s background as part of his ill-treatment of his wife. We can see the same pattern in “pastors” in this country, who abuse their families, yet claim to be Christian.
    In neither case does their behaviour pass the “smell test”. And the poor woman is left there, looking for a way to escape……

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  17. When I hear a story of abuse and then hear the response of, “there are always two sides to every story”, that sends a red flag up for me.

    After posting on a blog written by a survivor of emotional abuse, I was contacted by the survivor’s ex-husband. The ex had been a classmate of mine in high school, but we weren’t friends, and with the exception of our class reunion, we hadn’t spoken in over 20 years. The man said “there are two sides to every story” and said that the survivor’s blog was “a well-written fantasy”. The survivor has more than enough documents to prove her story.

    In another case, a Facebook friend finally revealed that a relative had been abusive to her. I happened to be Facebook friends with the relative, and right before I unfriended the relative, I saw the words, “There are two sides to every story . . . just saying.”

    Now, in the light of Naghmeh’s revelation, another post . . .there are two sides to every story.

    I admit that I tend to be skeptical of just about every story I read these days, especially with the advent of social media. I see too many stories on there that are out and out lies or quoted just enough to make them say things they were not meant to say.

    But I don’t see vindictiveness in Naghmeh’s words. Just sorrow. And that says a lot.

    I hope the two of them can get the help they need and that Naghmeh will maintain the boundaries she’s put in place.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. If it was’t for the fact that I want to pray for this couple, I would wish I didn’t know about this. What a huge disappointment. Time for the church to take a REAL stand against abuse. To do that it must be willing to admit that it is occurring in homes of professing believers. We are all sinners, all of us. Why compound that with lies that this “doesn’t happen in OUR church” ?

    Or more honestly maybe it’s time we the pew crew & financial support network of the church & all ministeries for that matter, DEMAND that leadership gets honest on the topic. No more wimping out, looking the other way, telling your self “it’s not my business when you know you have a responsibility to that brother or sister. God commands us in the WORD of God to protect the weak. Someone being battered or abused had been weakened by the attack. That may be physical or emotional but they have been weakened . We are in sin to do nothing.

    Again, another article & a bunch of responses that has put me on my knees in tears repenting for not being more vocal, aggressive and proactive. This has to stop. Our evangelistic efforts are a waste of time if the World sees abuse in the church. How big of stumbling block is that. People will go to hell because we pretended it’s none of our business out of cowardliness. I repent, no more looking the other way to avoid the fight. Time to rejoice in the battle as it is a just cause demanded by our Lord.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I despise that “there are always two sides to a story” nonsense. It is one of those cute little sayings that stops rational thought–yet simply falls apart upon examination. There are most decidedly NOT always two sides to a story. The very Bible that Michael McGraw, he of the “immediate (and not very well-considered) thoughts” above, would claim to follow presents numerous accounts where there simply were not two sides to the story, unless one considers that there was a very clear right side and a very clear wrong side. Were there two sides to the story as between Caiaphas and Jesus? Paul and the Superapostles? Elijah and the Ahab/Jezebel unholy alliance? You can go right on down the list.

    It never ceases to astonish me how many Christians will pick up their Bibles and study and memorize and preach and teach and prophesy on this or that–and yet not understand even the least little bit of it such that they can tell their right from their left.

    Michael McGraw needs to start having considered thoughts and keep his immediate ones to himself. Would do us a favor.

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  20. I was in an abusive relationship with my ex boyfriend. It wasn’t physical but it’s all emotional and verbal abuse. It can happen on the phone only, even texts. I know exactly what it feels like. But Naghmed’s comment was that she was “physically and emotionally… ” abused and it got worst after the imprisonment due to his addiction to pornograghy. I’m confused, how is someone in Iran prison (not US) has access to porn?? How could he “physically” abuse her? Are they given conjugal visits?? I’ve read that he was abused all the time in prison and it’s like a torture kind of abuse using taser guns, etc. He was denied of simple medical treatment but he can abuse her physically?? It just sound too strange.

    I’m not saying just because he’s a pastor and a Christian, he can’t be abusive to his wife. He might have before he was in prison but it’s just kind of weird when she said it got worst after he got in jail. Anyways, I’m not taking sides because I do hope that our society supports and help women who have been abused. Yet, the situation here makes it a little strange.

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  21. Christine,

    I think you’re missing things here.

    I don’t think she was saying that he continued to be physically abusive while away from her, that would, as you say, be an absurd claim, a non-sequitur. I think she was saying the guy was physically and emotionally abusive before prison, but that the abuse in general took a turn for the worse after; it would be clearly implied that said abuse was emotional at that point, not physical, as the latter would be impossible. The reason for it getting worse was because the guy was sexually frustrated in prison at no longer having access to porn.

    Does that clear things up? Because that would be my first impression of her meaning–it does seem fairly obvious.

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  22. Christine, I don’t find anything she said to be at all odd. He was emotionally and physically abusive when they were together and he became more emotionally abusive while he was imprisoned. If she wasn’t able to see him in prison then of course she wasn’t saying he was more physically abusive (but he might have threatened her).

    I am sure he didn’t have access to porn in prison but perhaps his fantasies were not those of being with his wife again but of engaging in sexual activities that were objectionable to her but which he had previously become obsessed with online. If he spoke about doing these things when he was released, that would be how she knew.

    I believe her.

    Problems don’t go away just because someone finds Christ. People have to listen to the Holy Spirit, acknowledge that change is needed, and work on transformation. This man should have had therapy to deal with his anger. Doctors and therapists are part of God’s plan too.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. What I think is sad, is that she confided in a few that she trusted, expecting her works to go no further. And then she is betrayed. Had those she trusted in confidence not betrayed her, we never would have been having this discussion in social media. Be careful who you confide in lest you be betrayed and gossip ensues.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. By all means be careful who you trust, but I have to admit that when Darlene used the word gossip my hackles raised. Gossip is one of those words that regularly gets misused to shut down the legitimate search for truth and exposure of error. “Church” leadership regularly use the word in an attempt to stop thought itself. Paul did not sin when he confronted Peter’s hypocrisy.

    Likely Darlene was not using gossip with any such intent. In fact I will join her in advising caution when it comes to sharing confidences. It’s just that in too many “church” settings, one is at greatest risk if they share confidences with church leadership.

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  25. Regarding what Darlene and Gary W pointed out, I have run across too many similar stories on the Cry For Justice blog. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any foolproof way to ensure disclosure to only trustworthy professing Christians.

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  26. I agree with Gary and NJ, I think Darlene was using “gossip” in the best and most accurate sense. Agreed that illegitimate church leaders have almost made a fetish of the word in their attempt to ward off any legitimate inquiry into the evil many of them perpetrate.

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  27. Haha and utilise “prayer meetings” to slander those nasty gossip mongers.

    “Lord God Father Heavenly God, we just pray for Jane Doe over there. Please deliver her from the ‘spirit of gossip’ (whatever that is) and please bless the rest of us in our holy awesomeness amen thank you Jesus Father God (insert dramatic ‘oohh’ here).

    Yes.

    Gossip. Guilty as charged.

    I struggle with this sin.

    But calling out feral false teachers and abusers is kinda like hurling over merchandise tables in a temple.

    Kinda.

    I reckon it would make for great entertainment if Jesus came back now to deal with ‘our’ religious ‘leaders’.

    Definitely be bringing the popcorn for that spectacle.

    I can think of a few sitting in Moses’ seat who would be up for a heavenly blasting haha.

    Ugh.

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  28. @lydia00:

    “That is why Pastor Jeff Crippen questions whether abusers are Believers.”

    Either they’re not Believers who know how to wear the mask, or they are Believers whose heads are very screwed up.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Gary W: What I mean is that Naghmeh never wanted what she said in the emails to go public. And then when it does, there is chitter-chatter over the internet about her private life and her motivations, etc. I didn’t use the work “gossip” to infer that Christians shouldn’t expose wrongdoing within the church in the name of calling it gossip. Wrong behavior, especially by leadership who should be setting an example, needs to be exposed and dealt with.

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  30. And I know about Christians warning against gossip to keep egregious behavior from coming to the light and being addressed. I think Scripture is clear on the need to be living examples of honesty, integrity, and seeking the truth in all matters. “He who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.”

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  31. The use of the word “gossip” at 2 Cor 12:20 appears to me to be a bad translation of the Greek word ψιθυρισμοί/psithyrismoi. Dictionary.com defines gossip, in English, as “idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others,” and “light, familiar talk or writing.” At http://biblehub.com/greek/5587.htm, however, we discover that the Greek word translated “gossip” actually means things like: a whispering, secret slandering, a whispering to “quietly” spread malicious gossip, and to whisper, speak into one’s ear), a whispering, i. e. secret slandering.

    Lifewithporpoise almost certainly need not have confessed to the “sin” of gossiping, assuming she was using the word according to its English meaning. It is only to the extent that any of us have, with malice, engaged in secret slandering that we need confess sin. “Pastors” simply cannot legitimately attempt to shut down open confrontation of error as gossip.

    Finally, it is interesting to note that “gossip” and “gospel” appear to be be cognate, to share a common origin. They are both derived from “gos” which is Old English for “god”.

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  32. Pingback: Christian Links Volume 2 Issue 3 | Christian Links | Christianity

  33. Pingback: Spiritual Abuse – Deep Waters Ministries

  34. You wrote:
    “After the domestic violence claim became public, Naghmeh posted on her Facebook page that she would step away from social media for a time:”

    Naghmeh wrote that Facebook post on Nov 1. The article about the leaked emails describing the abuse did not break on Christianity Today until Nov 12, so I’m not sure that statement is true. I couldn’t verify when the emails were sent by Naghmeh.

    Great article btw! Really enjoyed your thoughts on this. Also by seeing some of the quotes from people, it’s no wonder women stay silent on these matters.

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  35. Thank you, Dana, for noting that correction. I have edited the article. You are absolutely right — women who are abused not only have to get through the abuse, but then they have to find people to believe them on the outside. If there are no bruises to show, it can be very difficult.

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  36. So when has pornography become physically abusive? Emotionally abuse yes, physical – NO. Also, I know too many who have gone over seas (combat) and Jody was always visiting the wives and comforting them. She talked about reconciliation though filed seperation papers the day before he got home. Her story changed A LOT since Nov 2015 – did it change after each Jody? As far as her releasing info to the public guess what people – AS SOON AS YOU SEND OUT AN EMAIL IT IS NOW PUBLIC! You have absolutely ZERO control.

    Some of her charges are from 2013 when he was imprisoned!

    How in the world could he look at a porn site in an Iranian prison?!?

    Her statements don’t make sense.

    Therefor: she is mentally insane, mentally unstable, unfit wife and mother, dangerous to herself and others…

    My suggestion to Saeed and I hope he takes it, get sole custody of the kids, prevent her from visitation rights, file for divorce and AFTER THAT then make her life misserable by ANY AND ALL LEGAL MEANS POSSIBLE!

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  37. “women who are abused not only have to get through the abuse, but then they have to find people to believe them on the outside. If there are no bruises to show, it can be very difficult.”

    MP101, Your comment is the problem with why it is so difficult for abused individuals to come out and say, “My spouse abuses me”. You have made yourself judge and jury and sentenced Naghmeh without knowing her plight. You would have her lose her children, which she has raised on her own for quite some time now, so I would thank you to leave them out of this. The porn that is spoke of could have been before Saeed was in prison. It could have been during as well. Those that held him captive have no moral compass!! They say one thing and do quite the opposite.

    BUT, Saeed has been able to write to Naghmeh and speak to her on the phone at times. If verbal abuse continues towards her while he is in prison, it WILL continue if he comes home. She may have lost part of her sanity, for a time, while they were together, but Naghmeh came out of the fog and most assuredly became the strong woman that God wants her to be through their separation. I know that comments have been made that she found someone else. BOLOGNEY!!! She spent her time making sure that she did the right thing by getting him out of prison, but that was for a crime that he didn’t commit. It is not a crime to help others and believe in the one true God. ANY form of abuse, whether Spiritual, physical, psychological, blame shifting, gas lighting, financial and any other form of abuse should be illegal if it is not already. I believe Naghmeh!!!

    You have a right to your opinion, but it is one that keeps women captive in another form of prison. Their prison is the MAN MADE version of ‘marriage’. They are degraded and further abused by the opinions and comments of others, much like yours. I know, I have been there. Comments are made like: this part of eternity is only a little while, or God Hates Divorce or Jesus said to forgive 70 x 7. Jesus was talking about a brother or sister in Christ. NOT your spouse. IF there is no abuse in the marriage, perhaps you would be able to forgive in that manner, but obviously you don’t understand abuse, choose to turn a blind eye to it or are an abuser yourself. I don’t know, but God does.

    God gave us free will and a brain to figure things out. He does not demand unconditional relationship!!! There are limits to what any person should endure!!! Marriage is not a ministry. Naghmeh did not sign up for marriage to be a martyr and neither should anyone else. An abuser does NOT love their spouse as Christ loved the church, willing to lay down his life for her. That is where people get tangled up. they do not see that marriage can be ended for abuse, adultery and desertion. Read your Bible, MP101. It is all there if you want to open your eyes.

    As Julie Anne asked: “Who is Jody?”

    Brenda R

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  38. Excellent comment, Brenda R! Just one suggestion. I submit that mp101 has NO right to the opinion he expresses above.

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  39. Gary W,
    I wish mp101,(I hope mp does not stand for military police, 101 being the basic course) had a different opinion and in this country is still allowed to express it. I don’t want my right to respond to his nonsense taken away and it did set my fingers to work. I’m afraid to find out that Jody is either his wife or ex-wife. If Jody is his wife……Run, Jody, Run.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. In 2007, Saeed pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic assault in Ada County Magistrate Court. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which was suspended, and placed on probation for a year, according to online Idaho court records. The case file was not immediately available for review.

    http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/community/boise/article57202263.html

    It seems the physical abuse is indisputable. I have little doubt that a man who physically abuses his wife is also verbally and emotionally abusive.

    My suggestion to Saeed and I hope he takes it, get sole custody of the kids, prevent her from visitation rights, file for divorce and AFTER THAT then make her life misserable by ANY AND ALL LEGAL MEANS POSSIBLE!

    Sounds like advice from one narcissist to another.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Brenda R,
    Splitting semantic hairs here, but, while mp101 may have a legal right to his opinion, I submit that it is self evident that he has no moral right to his opinion.

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  42. Gary W,
    I agree totally and after reading BTDT’s comment my thought was LOBOTOMY. It would be an easy way to get rid of their Stinkin’ Thinkin’.

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  43. “Jody” is slang for the men who have affairs with service men’s wives when they’re off to war. That’s the likely scenario here.

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  44. Pingback: Injustice: an Open Letter to The Gospel Coalition – Sparking Conversation

  45. Is she addicted to the limelight? How were the emails leaked out? A prayer chain? Why not go to a therapist or counselor right away? Was she give money to defame him and his testimony? Why not wait until he returned home to confront him with a pastor, privately that is, like an intervention?

    Hmmm. Interesting.

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  46. “s she addicted to the limelight? How were the emails leaked out? A prayer chain? Why not go to a therapist or counselor right away? Was she give money to defame him and his testimony? Why not wait until he returned home to confront him with a pastor, privately that is, like an intervention?”

    You would not understand.

    This entire episode and reading such comments reminds why I am so glad to be out of the corrupt institutions and can actually know Jesus Christ instead of put up with all the fake totalitarian niceness, deception and empty gestures that enables evil that goes along with it.

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  47. Thank you for your article. I did not know this was published months ago because her personal emails were shared! 😦 More abuse, although I am glad this opened the necessary dialogue regarding domestic abuse in the church–it exists!! A friend sent the post by Franklin Graham to me and suggested I write about it and I did immediately. Praying for Naghmeh. I stand with my sister. http://shepiphany.org/blog/franklin-grahams-disappointing-and-harmful-thoughts-on-domestic-violence/1/29/2016

    http://shepiphany.org/blog/a-letter-of-love-and-support-to-naghmeh-abedini/2/1/2016

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  48. Pingback: Injustice: An Open Letter to the Gospel Coalition by Nate Sparks: Part 2 | The Wartburg Watch 2016

  49. Pingback: The Gospel Coalition (TGC) Controversies As Voiced By Nate Sparks | Divorce Minister

  50. Hello, every one, I’m so happy that sawed got released. I’m 12 year old, i I prayed for you saeed abedini, ever day that those people who hrit sawed abedini would released him. And he did. Jesus is great. I will pray for all of you for my hole life. You mean lot. I love you all,
    Natalia Oeatman

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  51. Pingback: Resource Bibliography on the Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini Situation | Spiritual Sounding Board

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