Larry Tomczak Accused of Spanking / Depriving a Female of Food

"Carla Coe was repeatedly assaulted by Defendant Tomczak and his co-conspirators during a 25-year period spanning her childhood and young adulthood…. On several occasions, Defendant Tomczak imprisoned Carla Coe and denied her food for extended periods of time."

Amended Complaint Filed 1/11/13

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Spanking in Germany in 1935

 

Addendum 7/19: Please do not speculate on the identity of Larry Tomczak's alleged victim, no matter how sure you are.

The Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit continues to garner the attention of the media – both secular and Christian.  Earlier today Janet Mefferd, a nationally syndicated talk show host on the Salem Radio Network, discussed the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit with Attorney Bill O'Neal, who is co-counsel with Susan Burke.  You can listen to it here (starting at the 7 minute mark).  

Here is a portion of that interview:

Mefferd:  "Now what is notable I think here in this most recent story is the fact that the co-founder of Sovereign Grace Ministries, Larry Tomczak, is now named, and he left, didn't he, years ago and had sort of a falling out and ended up reconciling but he's not part of it anymore.  What is going with the actual naming of this defendant?"

O'Neal:  "Well, one of the plaintiffs who came forward and told us her story alleged that she suffered physical beatings at the hands of Mr. Tomczak.  It's also alleged that Mr. Tomczak kept her in captivity essentially without food and water for days on end, and so for that reason we named him directly.  His actual history with the church, you know we've been told various things consistent with what you've said, but we don't really know what his current relationship with the church is."

Mefferd:  "Well, it's shocking either way…"

The plaintiff who alleges she was beaten and abused by Larry Tomczak goes by the pseudonym Carla Coe.   Here is the portion of the amended complaint that concerns Coe.

Trigger Alert

"Carla Coe is a female who was repeatedly abused by Defendant Tomczak, primarily in Maryland and Virginia.  Due to the nature of the lawsuit, she wished to use the pseudonym Carla Coe to keep her identity confidential.  Carla Coe brings this action on her behalf of those similarly situated."

FACTS REGARDING CARLA COE

"43.  Carla Coe was repeatedly assaulted by Defendant Tomczak and his co-conspirators during a 25-year period spanning her childhood and young adulthood.  Defendant Tomczak assaulted Carla Coe with his hands, as well as with various instruments, including but not limited to, plastic and wooden sticks.

44.  On multiple occasions, including occasions after Carla Coe reached the age of majority, Defendant Tomczak forced Carla Doe to strip out of her clothing against her will, and be beaten on her bare buttocks.  Defendant Tomczak continued to engage in this forced undressing and beating of Carla Coe until she fled and escaped from the abuse.

45.  On several occasions, Defendant Tomczak imprisoned Carla Coe and denied her food for extended periods of time.

46.  Defendant Tomczak verbally admitted on one or more occasions to the individual Defendants and to the Church that he abused Carla Coe.  No one reported the beatings to the secular authority.

47.  The assaults by Defendant Tomczak and his co-conspirator’s assault primarily occurred in Maryland and Virginia."

The news media has been extremely busy covering this debacle.  The Tennessean featured this headline just two day ago:  Lawsuit Accuses Franklin Pastor of Abuse: Corporal punishment defender denies beating woman over 25 years (link)

That article begins as follows:

"A Franklin pastor known for promoting corporal punishment has been accused of physically abusing a woman for 25 years, beginning during her childhood.

The Rev. Larry Tomczak, an associate pastor at Bethel World Outreach Church in southern Davidson County near Brentwood, was named in a Maryland lawsuit filed against leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries, a denomination he helped found in the 1980s."

According to article, Tomczak denies the allegations, stating he had no involvement in any of it.

The Tennessean included the remarks of someone Dee and I greatly respect, David Clohessy of SNAP.  Here is the pertinent excerpt:

"David Clohessy, executive director of the St. Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a support group for clergy abuse victims, said that Sovereign Grace seems to have no structure in place to deal with abuse allegations.

That means victims have no place to turn inside the church, he said.

“These kinds of insular, secretive churches, outside the mainstream, with little or no hierarchy seem especially problematic,” Clohessy said.

According to the lawsuit, victims were told not to report the abuse to the authorities.

That’s a common mistake made by churches, Clohessy said. “Instead of saying, ‘Get some therapy and call the police,’ they are told to forgive their abusers,” he said."

Interestingly, Tomczak wrote a book decades ago that promotes corporal punishment called God, the rod, and your child's bod

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He has a newer book available on his website called The Handbook on Loving Correction.  It appears that spanking is a discipline that Tomczak has boldly promoted throughout his long ministry. 

Our friend Julie Anne Smith has written an excellent post called Sovereign Grace Ministries, Patriarchy, and the Spanking of Adult Children, which we highly recommend.  She has been immersed in patriarchy for decades on the West Coast, and she has a keen understanding of what has occurred in SGM.  Julie Anne writes:

"The important thing we need to understand is that while in the outside world, Carla probably would have graduated from college, might be living on her own, perhaps married, or living with friends, but most likely Carla was living at home with her parents.  She most likely did not have the freedoms that so many normal 25-yr olds have.  The life in a Patriarchal home is often sheltered from the outside world.  Most likely Carla’s circle of friends were from church where this teaching was normal.  She would have no need to question it as all of her friends were most likely in the same boat.

Former SGM member who writes at ChristianAgnostic blog said this about the how spanking was viewed at SGM:

"Some folks have reacted with disbelief that a young woman in her twenties would submit to this type of treatment.  I can tell you from my own experience in SGM, that many a leader in the movement spoke about spanking children that were of age.  I remember one conversation with Mark Prater, then a care group leader at Covenant Fellowship Church, in which he praised a teaching tape that spoke about a Father spanking his son who was in his late teens.  This idea that children could be spanked at just about any age, was certainly discussed by different leaders in SGM at the time that many of the alleged abuses occurred.

The other thing to understand, is that SGM preached that to obey God, one had to unquestioningly follow those put in authority above you.  For church members, it meant obeying your pastors, even when they were wrong (no kidding-I was told this by a pastor at Covenant Fellowship in my exit interview), for wives it meant their husbands, and for children it meant their parents.  Simply questioning or disagreeing with any of these “God-given” authorities was tantamount to being in full-blown rebellion to God.  This atmosphere of unquestioning obedience is a perfect breeding ground for abuse. (Be sure to read the whole excellent article here)."

As we wrap-up this deeply disturbing topic, think of a 21 year old woman being told to remove her panties so an adult male can spank her on her exposed bottom.  This is troubling on many levels and will raise a number of red flags…  We are so grateful that at long last this highly inappropriate discipline is being 'exposed'. 

Please join with us in praying for Carla Coe and others like her who have been abused.  May they muster the courage to come forward and be set free from the chains that bind them.

Lydia's Corner: Numbers 36:1-Deuteronomy 1:46   Luke 5:29-6:11   Psalm 66:1-20   Proverbs 11:24-26

Comments

Larry Tomczak Accused of Spanking / Depriving a Female of Food — 313 Comments

  1. "This is troubling on many levels and raises a number of red flags…" 

    Deb's gift of understatement is positively British :-)

  2. This is so disturbing and makes me angry!

    I grew up being spanked with a belt but it wasn’t very often and it was usually from my Dad. It was usually for something really bad, like when I had taken money from my Dad’s wallet or when I had lied to him. I also grew up in a home where there was physical abuse by my step-Mom. She would hit me so hard with her hands and scratch me that I usually drew blood. Most of the time she would just squeeze our arms so tight that her nails would draw blood as she squeezed and threatened us. So I am able to separate between the two. I eventually was able to get away and over to my Mom’s and step Dad’s and the grass wasn’t any greener. I’m not even going to share that segment. I am saying this because I can relate to abuse, physical, mental, sexual and now spiritual. It’s not pretty and it’s hard to hear and hard to believe people can do such things and the worst part is when no one helps the children. When people just make an excuse and adults just try to move past it and try to get you to forgive them and understand their struggles. That’s the part that is Bull shit, excuse my expression but that is what it is!! How in the world can adults expect children to forgive those who have violated them??Children and the children that have grown into adults don’t truly understand what has exactly happened to them. They think they deserved it and are told they do. So it’s dependent on others to help them. When others who know about the abuse stay quiet it just adds on another hurt. A hurt that you find out later in life that those around could have reported or helped them.

    This breaks my heart and Carla, you are in my thoughts!
    I’m thankful that The Lord can heal those broken areas. But, facing the Truth and dealing with it is what sets the abused Free and also the Abusers Free: facing what they have done, instead of running from it.

  3. I can remember hearing about people at SGM churches (though it wasn’t SGM as yet) talking about spanking teenagers and thinking it was *really* weird… And I also remember when LT 1st got national attention in the charismatic press for his advocacy of spanking – though he was certainly not the only person in charismatic circles who was promoting that during the 1970s and 80s.

  4. Pingback: Listing of Articles Related to Amended Sovereign Grace Lawsuit | Spiritual Sounding Board UNITED STATES

  5. Carla, whoever and wherever you are, some of us do understand and grieve with you. I pray that you have found freedom and comfort and hope, that you are now surrounded by loving and supportive people. Healing is a long, confusing and painful journey, and I think you are incredibly brave to come forward and make this accusation God counts every one of your tears

    So, did CJ agree with the beating of adult children, and did he practise it himself in his own family?

  6. The abject humiliation of Carla Coe is so difficult to take. :(

    I can barely stomach the title to LT’s book: “God, the Rod, and Your Child’s Bod.”
    Gag, barf. Such intense arrogance and “pride of ownership” seeps through those three words. Your. Child’s. Bod.

    I really like the Christian Monist’s blog that I found a while back thanks to a link on TWW. His central thesis is that American evangelicalism has a very strong impulse toward gnostic dualism, i.e. the belief of a great chasm between the spritual and the physical, and the superiority of the spiritual.

    How stark are the implications of this heresy! I’d venture that one of those implications is the elevation in some groups of the Pauline epistles (after the Lord’s ascension) over the Gospels (when He was right here with us :) ).

    Another implication is evangelicalism’s utterly dismissive attitude toward therapy or medication to assist those suffering from mental health issues (which, as science has revealed in leaps and bounds in the last decade, have many physical symptoms relating to both brain chemistry and specific brain trauma such as in TBI).

    As I’ve stated previously on TWW, the answer to depression, PTSD, anxiety disorders, etc. is to just have more joy joy joy in your heart heart heart, period. Anything else is secular and evil and oh – by the way – a sign you are not elect.

    And this “ownership of your child’s bod”, I believe, also stems from dualistic thinking. A parent (Father, of course!) has complete and sole responsibility for the child’s soul (“raising children in the fear of the Lord”) – ignoring, of course, God’s “pesky” and uncontrollable redeeming grace, but that’s another discussion.

    So Big Head Leader Patriarch Daddy along with God-fearing Perfect Submissive Mommy are so pridefully, intently focused on their management of the “superior” spiritual realm of their child’s soul that the kid’s “inferior” physical body, which is spriritually meaningless to a dualist, becomes mere … property.

    A complete denial of the totality of the child’s humanity (physical + spiritual), because the physical, of course, is totally depraved.

    Hope this leap I’m making from a very old theological heresey (dualism) to real-life outcomes makes some sense. I’ve been wrangling around with this stuff for a while now.

  7. “God, the Rod, and Your Child’s Bod”? That has to be the absolute WORST title for a Christian discipline book ever. Disturbing and cheesy at the same time.

    “I remember one conversation with Mark Prater, then a care group leader at Covenant Fellowship Church, in which he praised a teaching tape that spoke about a Father spanking his son who was in his late teens.”

    I’m pretty Michael Pearl has described belting his 18-year-old son while he stood in a doorway, too. I’m starting to think this is near-universal in really extreme corporal punishment circles. I didn’t know SGM was known for corporal punishment until the amended lawsuit came out.

    I was only spanked twice in my entire life. When I tell Christian homeschool parents that, their eyes bug out and they wonder how that is possible, because they’ve been told that kids who aren’t spanked will end up rebelling and imploding (drug addict, prostitute, atheist, etc.). When I point out the problems in their pro-spanking arguments, they get really upset and ask why I think children shouldn’t be disciplined. Spanking = discipline in their minds. The only alternative they can conceive of is ultra-permissive, anything-goes parenting where the children walk all over their parents and are little terrors.

  8. @ Rafiki:

    “just have more joy joy joy in your heart heart heart, period”

    DOWN in your heart. To stay. ; )

  9. @ Hester:

    Hester, you VBF song guru, you! :)

    Hester wrote:

    The only alternative they can conceive of is ultra-permissive, anything-goes parenting where the children walk all over their parents and are little terrors.

    Isn’t that bonkers? I can recall getting “formally” spanked maybe once as a teeny kid, maybe about age 4 or 5, and then a second bewildering spanking around age 7 or so that I swear was not linked to any behaviour that was even remotely worthy of corporal punishment. My mom dished out the spankings, BTW – I don’t think my dad, who wouldn’t even squish a bug, could do anything like that.

    Of the latter spanking, I remember feeling deeply deeply ashamed, and not out of any remorse for what I’d done, you can be assured of that! I just remember burning with shame, being all mortified and embarrassed and thinking “WTF?!” and that was the last time my mom ever ever doled out that kind of “discipline.”

    Most evangelicals nowdays do indeed think that if you don’t spank children they’ll end up being heroin-addled deviant menaces to society who read Christopher Hitchens, or something like that.

  10. @ Rafiki:

    I only remember one of my two spankings and it was for stealing money from our neighbor’s house (5yo). (My friend had convinced me to do it and I felt so guilty I confessed on my own only a few minutes later.) So that’s the level of disobedience spanking was reserved for at my house – actual embryonic criminal behavior. Life threatening or morally threatening, to use my parents’ terminology. Most of my friends got spanked for “being defiant,” though. I always felt sorry for them because even a kid, I recognized that the “offense” of defiance was based on nothing but the parents’ mood at the moment and the kid’s (perceived) body language/facial expression.

    I never stole anything again, BTW. ; )

  11. Whoops, that’s VBS, a.k.a. Vacation Bible School.

    I first heard said song as an adult when I went to pick up a nephew from VBS.

    I recall that I was struggling with some tough stuff, and walked into the church to a gaggle of little cute kids, all hyped up on cookies and apple juice, singing that “Joy In My Heart” anthem.

    So here I was, in a pretty dark place mentally, listening to the words to that song, and all I could think of was “I am fairly certain those lyrics are a load of crap and the repetitive singing of them is akin to brainwashing.”

    Then I quickly realized what a bummed-out degenerate I was and that SURELY my bad attitude toward the song was a total confirmation of the fact that most likely I was not one of the elect.

    At that point I might have chimed in on a verse or two to try to “snap out of it!” :) Pretty silly mental gymnastics, huh?

  12. Question: Does anyone know how old Carla Coe was when she was “imprisoned by Larry Tomczak and denied food and water?” I’m just wondering how something like that could happen and the parents not know about it.

    My spiritual abuse experience wasn’t in SGM, and therefore, I don’t have any experience with a culture that would allow such abuse to happen. That’s why I’m asking the above question. The more I read about this lawsuit, the more frightening the details seem. The leadership that either did the abusing or stood by while it happened will have a LOT to answer for on Judgment Day.

  13. Carla,

    Your lawyer described this aptly when she used the word “assault.” What you experienced crossed the boundaries of “child discipline.” This was abuse and assault- nothing less. You are right to bring attention to this. Please, don’t let anyone shame you for doing so. I weep for you. I hope you somehow know how many people support you and cheer you on your journey to recovery.

  14. This book was heavily promoted in the 80′s and, I am ashamed to say, contributed to my harsh discipline style at that time. Thankfully, we were never harsh enough to garner the approval of these people but I have noticed that every patriarchal system I know of incorporates physical beating in their parenting paradigm.

    Two reasons in my opinion is that 1) it humiliates the child and keeps them vulnerable and in place using fear. 2) It is dismissive of a mother’s intuition and her tenderness toward her children and reinforces the more alpha male tendency toward draconian methods.

    I have been involved in some debates over the past few days in which the arguements go….you shouldn’t spank adults but it is ok to spank kids. It is just as horrifying that six month old babies are spanked. 3 year olds, ok? 10 year olds?

    I have had to go to the older kids and apologize for listening to these false teachers going against the instincts God wove into my heart because we were taught not to trust our instincts because our hearts were sinful and wicked.

    Which eventually led me to (logically) wonder why an adult who so experienced in wickedness has any right determing how evil a novice child is and what punishment he deserves.

    Apparently LT among the most wicked far beyond self-reflection. How many more SGM monsters are still hiding in their respective closets?

  15. ‘I have had to go to the older kids and apologize for listening to these false teachers going against the instincts God wove into my heart because we were taught not to trust our instincts because our hearts were sinful and wicked.”

    Bingo. Even as a believing adult you are an enemy of God. This is what their whole paradigm teaches and there are no such things as God given instincts or that God would lead YOU. Someone who was raised in it, is going to need to get away from all of it for a long time before they can even begin to see there are things wrong with it. It could take years.

  16. As all this comes forth, I am reminded at how so many thought Larry Tomczak was the horribly wronged innocent party when it came to CJ. Thing is, they are more alike than different and bound to turn on each other.

    What sick perverted men who love power and position.

  17. Free

    Oh, my heart goes out to you. The pain of abuse is made worse by those who would keep it secret. They like to blame the kids like one elder in my former church who told a young teen “You knew it was wrong, didn’t you? Why didnt you tell your parents?” This man showed the typical cluelessness of churches that absolutely refuse to recognize abuse in their midst. And it is rampant. 

    I pray that God stengthens you and helps you heal from your past. I don’t know why what you said has me sitting here with tears in my eye. But I guess it is because I think of the little girl that you were and all the little boys and glrs out there who are alone in their pain.  Wish I could hug you…

  18. Lynne T

    As these revelations and allegation continues to increase, and Brent Detweiler thinks there are more to come, I have to believe that CJ, in some form or another agreed with this in some fashion. I also believe that there is stuff that has not yet been revealed.

    There is no way that there could be this amount of allegations coming from within the SGM system and nothing be wrong at the top. Just look at the Catholic church scandal and apply it on a smaller scale. Larry is the first crack into the leaders of that misguided group of men who led this dysfunctional family of churches. When a family is messed up, who do you look at? Well, CPS always investigates the parents first.

  19. Hester

    Great comment at 5:46AM. These parents were sucked into a system that appeared to believe that if you whack your kids enough, you will whack the sin out of them and raise “godly” children. Frankly, I am beginning to think we are dealing with a bunch of idiots. They ignore the very tenents of the theological system to which they adhere. Yes, we must discipline. But, children are going to rebel and make mistakes. I seem to recall two who did-Adam and Eve- and they had the perfect father. Last time I read the account in Genesis-God was not whooping them with branches from the Tree. 

  20. @ dee:

    Dee, you bring up something I’ve been thinking about all week, since last Monday when the amended lawsuit was released publicly.

    I’ve sort of been thinking about Brent Detweiler.

    I mean, on Tuesday he posted the following on his blog, in reaction to the amendment:

    I served on the SGM Board of Directors when all these alleged incidences occurred. Not one of them was ever brought to my attention. That amounts to a cover-up in my opinion. I should have been told.

    I don’t know, I guess I’ve had mixed feelings about BD and his documents since I first (tried) to read through them last year.

    His statement reaffirming his position on the BoD and his statement denying any knowledge are strong, no doubt. And of course it was his documentation that was a critical step after the victims themselves spoke out first on the blogs about the World According to SGM (TM).

    But on the other hand … I don’t know if its helpful at this time to hear from him on the recent developments. I don’t know, something about it just doesn’t sit right with me, maybe it’s more of a desire to keep the focus squarely on the victims here and the gravity of the new allegations?

    Does this make any sense at all? I do not mean to sound critical towards the man, I really truly don’t …. :( Maybe I’m off here.

  21. dee wrote:

    Last time I read the account in Genesis-God was not whooping them with branches from the Tree.

    :)

    There is something about the good old Southern use of the word “whoop” and “whoopin’” that makes me smile.

    Earlier this week I found myself fervently hoping that Susan Burke would open up a big can of whoop-a** all over SGM’s defense team on behalf of the victims. :)

  22. Rafiki

    Well, I tried spanking a few times. Once when my 2 year old ran into traffic. I did it about two more times since I was reading books that told my I must or I would raise heathens. My parents spanked when I was growing up.  I found I was just as upset if they got really mad at me.

    I didn’t like the way that spanking felt for me. So, I stopped and used the typical alternatives such as time out, no dessert, no Sesame Street, whatever. Much to my chagrin, I yelled a few times along the way as well.  My kids turned out no better or worse than my friends who were into spanking. 

  23. “But on the other hand … I don’t know if its helpful at this time to hear from him on the recent developments. I don’t know, something about it just doesn’t sit right with me, maybe it’s more of a desire to keep the focus squarely on the victims here and the gravity of the new allegations?

    I am right there with you. When I read sgmwikileaks I was struck by how ALL the men were totally wrapped up in themselves, their position and how fake they seemed with each other.

    Keep in mind, Brent was one of the architects of the whole movement. He just made the mistake of thinking he was on par with CJ.

  24. So, wait, she wasn’t his daughter? She was someone else’s daughter? So someone who was not a parent was doling out corporal punishment, all through childhood and into adulthood?

    I am no fan of corporal punishment even from one’s own parents, but this is seriously reaching a whole new level of creepy when it’s NOT EVEN YOUR OWN PARENTS.

    This is frightening. I look at that absurdly titled book and I see a cover page that was carefully crafted to send a negative message to parents: “Your child is gleeful about their evilness, so you need to retaliate when they do wrong things!” Notice how the photographer (or whoever was designing the look of the picture) has the kid sort of smiling as he’s getting into the cookie jar, but at the same time his eyes are wide and he’s looking around like he knows it’s wrong–they want parents to focus on the fact that kids KNOW they’re doing wrong, and they’re HAPPY about doing wrong, so goshdarnit you’d better beat the crap out of those annoying little critters!

    I came from a loving and patient family that almost never used corporal punishment. I was listened to as a child, and it made all the difference to my life and my self-esteem. I can’t tell you how MAD it makes me when I see parents being trained to deny their children that level of respect.

    Ugh. It makes me sick. Over and out.

  25. Hester

    It makes me shudder to think what would happen if i got spanked everytime I looked defiant. Since Larry seems to think whacking an adult female with her pants down is kosher, I want to know if he, or CJ, have been spanked yet. I volunteer.

  26. anon 1 wrote:

    Keep in mind, Brent was one of the architects of the whole movement. He just made the mistake of thinking he was on par with CJ.

    anon1, you are much more direct than I am, and I really appreciate it.

    That’s my point – the man is obviously hurt, his documents played a role in this whole thing, and he continues to provide insights into the “leadership” both in the past and in the present that are of value, etc. O

    But … he was on the BoD. When this happened.

    Maybe right now it would be best if he gently and gracefully just stepped back a bit from providing further commentary in light of the gravity of these new allegations.

    Others may disagree and find his P.O.V. and insights helpful, and I’m cool with that too.

  27. dee wrote:

    Well, I tried spanking a few times. Once when my 2 year old ran into traffic.

    Dee, when I think of spanking, this is one situation where I feel it is warranted and age-appropriate!

    Otherwise time outs and threat of revoking Big Bird are a mom’s best WMD. :)

  28. sad observer wrote:

    This is frightening. I look at that absurdly titled book and I see a cover page that was carefully crafted to send a negative message to parents: “Your child is gleeful about their evilness, so you need to retaliate when they do wrong things!” Notice how the photographer (or whoever was designing the look of the picture) has the kid sort of smiling as he’s getting into the cookie jar, but at the same time his eyes are wide and he’s looking around like he knows it’s wrong–they want parents to focus on the fact that kids KNOW they’re doing wrong, and they’re HAPPY about doing wrong, so goshdarnit you’d better beat the crap out of those annoying little critters!

    I noticed the same thing about the cover.. the little boy is mischievously sneaking a cookie, and parents are led to believe that this is “evil” and deserves “discipline”. “Discipline” = Spanking, usually with some sort of implement, always with a sit down discussion “Little Timmy, you stole a cookie which is very bad. God says that stealing is wrong, and God also says that I am to punish you for the things you do wrong. I’m going to give you X number of spankings, and if you put your hand in the way or try to escape, I’ll give you X number more. I love you very much.” *WHACK WHACK WHACK WHACK* The child screams, the parent hugs the child and consoles them after moments before hitting them unmercifully.

    It’s more than f*cked up. The child learns to associate love with pain and guilt, and learns to view God as the big tyrant in the sky who loves you but WANTS to hurt you, for your own good.

  29. So sickening and disturbing.

    Carla, you are in my prayers, along with the rest of the plaintiffs.

    I really don’t know anything about Tomczak. I googled. I found this interview he did on TBN about 2 years ago and found the first 4 minutes hilariously sad-knowing what we know about the start of TAG/PDI/SGM/??? with he and Mahaney. What a nice whitewash job he does in speaking about how he got started in ministry. Not even an honorable mention of CJ.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfG1SJ7jDa8

    Then he talks about some ministry of his (ICECAP) where he says he knows God’s vision for us and that is to be doing something…passion, or evangelism, or getting a vision for something, blah blah. I tuned out at that point because I thought…well, a “vision” God has for us is that we are kind to others, fair, merciful, compassionate, honest, caring for the weak who have no voice, and not worrying about how spiritual we look to others.

  30. Tina

    Your question/comment at 9:05 AM is spot on. Alert readers are going to start putting 2+2 together. Because of the delicacy of this situation, and the enormous pain involved, TWW is not going to post our specution on the matter. SGM Survivors had a commenter who revealed the identity of that individual. She did not do it to be mean. It was just obvious to her, as it will be to many. Kris removed the comment since it is such a difficult situation and the person wishes to remain anonymous in the lawsuit.

  31. @ Debra Baker:
    Debra,

    We bought into these teachings on corporal punishment that our church not only promoted but required. Several years later, one of the harshest disciplinarian ministers stood up in a service and said, “We will never tell you to use corporal punishment.” I was astounded! They were catching some heat at that time for the practice, and had no problem lying to cover themselves. Red flag. Ministers shouldn’t lie.

    I remember taking my little ones to the bathroom during church services, and hearing children getting spanked in the other stalls. Usually this was because they simply weren’t sitting still during the service. One time, as our family was getting into our car after a service, I watched and heard a mother whacking her child in the car across from us. I’m not talking about a few whacks to get the child’s attention so that you can speak to them. I mean a spanking that went on for a couple of minutes. I shudder now that it seemed acceptable to us then.

    That’s why my heart goes out to Noel and the other parents involved in this SGM lawsuit. It frightens my husband and I to think that we might have gone along with our ministry’s advice to keep it within the church if our child had been raped. We like to think that we wouldn’t, but we went along with their child discipline advice. We thought we were doing God’s will. (And we would catch serious heat if our children weren’t obedient.) Please, please, please let this lawsuit gain broad coverage. I want the light to shine far and wide to every “church” that promotes this abusive behavior.

  32. “Others may disagree and find his P.O.V. and insights helpful, and I’m cool with that too.”

    I don’t trust his “insights”. I think he has been valuable as to facts on the ground with the documentation, etc.

    His historical documentation was a treasure trove as it proved how these high and mighty men have way too much time and money on their hands. if you actually read the documents it was like reading the interactions of Jr High boys who were clones of Eddy Haskell on Leave it to Beaver.

  33. BeenThere

    I do like your handle. Years ago, my husband and I drove the road to Hana in Maui. It is one of the most beautiful drives in the world. But, once you get to the end, you must dirve back again. The switchbacks are many and nausea and fatigue are not uncommon.

    At the end of the long day, we stopped at Willie Nelson’s favorite restaurant, MaMa’s Fish House.  There were two hysterical guys sitting at the next table recounting their drive which they labeled the” Great Been There Done That Ain’t Gonna Do It Again Drive.” But I digress.

    Thank you for your sensitive comment to Carla. I have received emails letting us know that the victims are reading these and are deriving much comfort from our readers.

  34. I gave up on the rare spankings when my 6 year old said, just spank me! :o)

    I had used the method my mom used which means it was rare, major infraction and never done when angry at them.

    I like consequences that match the situation better as it helps them mature and take responsiblity. But that one is harder for the parents, too! You gotta be vigilent as that method is inconvenient. But I have found it works better as it teaches them that behavior is a choice and how we respond to things is our responsibility. (We believe in free will here and the responsibility that comes with it!)

    Every child is different. There is no one size fits all and that is the part that bothers me the most….with the parental books.

  35. anon 1 wrote:

    if you actually read the documents it was like reading the interactions of Jr High boys who were clones of Eddy Haskell on Leave it to Beaver.

    As noted, I started to read them … but I am afraid my grasp of the Christianese language is not advanced enough to really understand what they were even talking about most of the time.

    I felt like a WW2 Navajo code breaker trying to suss out what all the sins were and what actually happened, I guess.

  36. Debra

    The Bible indicates that teachers will be judged more harshly. There is a reason for that. They have the capability to affect so many people. Many of us, myself included, were told things that we accepted because such teachers can be quite convincing. Also, many of us wanted to be “good” Christians but did not know what that looked like. I grew up in a non-Christian home and was vulnerable to those who “told” me what to believe.

    There are many of us here who have changed our perspective given time and reflection. All of us have regrets in one way or another.Thankfully, there is unlimited grace and love and understanding from our Father. As you will see in a story I will write next week, He can turn a bad decision I made into understanding of grace for others.

    “How many more SGM monsters are still hiding in their respective closets?” Great question. How could an environment like the one being presented in the lawsuit just be a series of unconnected events? One only need look at the Catholic church to see how deep it can go.

     

     

  37. I remember taking that drive – the way back it was not just dark – it was raining. But the view at the end of the drive was certainly nice.

    Re the topic at hand – again I have no words.

  38. Retha

    First let me say, you did nothing wrong in your comment. You are an alert, intelligent person who put 2+2 together in a logical fashion.

    The woman to whom you referred wishes to remain as anonymous as possible. This has been a terrible experience of what appears to be betrayal and humiliation. We, along with the folks over at SGM Survivors have decided, through no coercion on the part of anybody, not to post the name or relation to any defendant at this time.

    Please do not feel bad. This same thing happened at SGM Surivivors. I expect that it is going to be difficult to keep this person’s name anonymous but we will try. I hope you understand.  :)

  39. Tina

    You have done nothing wrong and do not feel bad that your comment was removed. Please read my comment to Retha. This is a tricky, delicate situation and all of us are trying to do the best thing. I fear that the anonymity of this person will be difficult to protect but we are going to give it a try to the best of our ability. 

    Once again, I reiterate. You have done nothing wrong and your heart is in the right place. This is just a painful situation.

  40. “Thank you for your sensitive comment to Carla. I have received emails letting us know that the victims are reading these and are deriving much comfort from our readers”

    So, if you guys are reading I know you cannot get back the years the locusts have eaten and that infuriates me. At the same time, I am sooooo proud of you all. We will never know how many children will not have to endure abuse because of your courage. And I do know what courage it takes to speak up. So many view them as “great men of God” when you know different. And that it is a lie. I saw the same sorts of blind devotion, covering up of evil for ‘great men of God’ in my mega travels and it makes me sick. It enables them to hurt people, even children. This blind devotion provides cover for the horrors you endured. They CHOSE to do evil and others CHOSE to look the other way. .

    Thank you all so much. My prayer is for you to stand tall as justice loving people because loving justice is not a sin nor do they get to define it for YOU. And, that all accusations toward you will roll off your backs as you consider what sort of people they are coming from. Blind ignorant people. People who follow mere men.

    You have a grueling race ahead of you. I will be praying for your steadfastness and courage as you face these evil men who used Jesus for their own power and position.

  41. anon1

    Larry and CJ have been together for years.One only has to look at the culture of today’s SGM to see that it is merely built on that which came before. Eagle made a good point. One must question the discernment of today’s Calvinistas which allowed for this to continue after being told of the pain time and time again. The two of us have never been involved with SGM but the stories have concerned us for years. If two gullible and easily deceived women can see it, where the heck are the male leaders?

    I repeat this alot but Deb and I begged a local Calvinsta leader (he earned the title after our encounter) to talk to CJ about these reports over a year ago. He accused us of “character assassination.” All we did was ask him to say something, anything.  Then he excoriated us from the pulpit, without naming us. Where is his discernment?

  42. “As noted, I started to read them … but I am afraid my grasp of the Christianese language is not advanced enough to really understand what they were even talking about most of the time.

    I felt like a WW2 Navajo code breaker trying to suss out what all the sins were and what actually happened, I guess.

    Ha Ha! Exactly, they do have their own SGM language where definitions are different. I especially was impressed with “unentreatable”. They love that word, especially Brent. Not bad for a group that eschewed accredited education.

    Men with too much time and money sin sniffing each other. Spending other people’s money to fly to an airport just to say “sorry” to someone? Give me a break. You could tell by reading the docs it was all staged for effect. Oh, the big face to face reconciliation! (Are the cameras there?) Please! I lived in a world similar to this and I can tell you it is all fake.

    However, all the cheesy, “love you brother” stuff while being vague and stabbing in the back, sounded all too familiar to me and what I have seen from the mega industrial complex.

    One thing one can certainly glean from reading the docs is that Mahaney is one slippery eel. He says a lot of nice sounding words that communicate nothing of substance when dealing with the issues. He NEVER really commits himself at all but leaves a lot of plausible deniability depending on how things go. He is like the Artful dodger. He is good at it.

    I speculate we are going to see a big sob story about him and Larry and how he felt something was wrong but could not put his finger on it. he will try to paint himself as the big savior for splitting with Larry. It will be something clever. Or perhaps his defense can be that he really hates God and ignored Him. AFter all, that is what he teaches.

  43. @ Rafiki:

    I agree with you here. Unless BD has something to add to the case, he should fade away. In his latest post he did bring up the name of a leader that he thought should be added to the suit. It is quite possible that BD is correct on this. This particular leader has been unseen and unheard through the entire past 20 months. I am suspicious of the reasons for his silence. He was involved with CJ in the blackmailing of Tomczak. It’s likely he knows details of these stories.

    Aside from what BS might add to the case, he is a mixed back. Yes he exposed much, but he also bought into, taught, and furthered the system that created the environment for abuse, whether he thinks so or not. He also had issues with CJ and others for years but continued to stay within the ranks. He might have been brainwashed by his own (and SGM’s) doctrines regarding leaders, depravity, and sovereignty.

  44. I feel unclean reading what was done to this poor young woman…God only knows how she feels. I grew up in a strictly no corporal punishment home, because my Mum suffered a lot of ‘physical discipline’ at the hands of her Mother in 1940′s/50′s hardcore Catholic Dublin, where having the crap beaten out of you was quite common. She never raised a hand to us, & we are all doing fine for it, despite all the alcoholics in our family none of us are addicts or criminals…I think there can be a very limited usefulness to occasional spanking,quickly outgrown as soon as kids get older & more rational.

  45. “I repeat this alot but Deb and I begged a local Calvinsta leader (he earned the title after our encounter) to talk to CJ about these reports over a year ago. He accused us of “character assassination.” All we did was ask him to say something, anything. Then he excoriated us from the pulpit, without naming us. Where is his discernment?”

    It was about building the YRR brand. CJ threw his hat in the Reformed and that is all that mattered. Do you know how many years I had to hear the YRR excuse Driscoll because he “preaches the true Gospel” so we can overlook that other stuff? It was only because Mark and CJ stuck their fingers in the wind and saw that YRR was the movement gaining traction. It was producing stars…and LOYAL followers. (Loyalty was always a problem in the seeker mega movment so they used other tactics like totalitarian niceness. People tended to have free will there. :o)

    We really make a mistake when we think these guys are discerning or not realizing what a business it all is. It really IS a business…and it is not the money (that comes with it later and they get comfortable with it). It is building a brand, an image. It is about influence and power. And that is much more addictive than money, for sure.

  46. anon1 and Bridget: yeah, engaging in endless, detailed, anal retentive documentation of “unentreatability” (what IS that?!) at the same time you are on the BoD of an organization where these serious CRIMES are occurring?

    Time to step away, indeed.

  47. I agree with you here. Unless BD has something to add to the case, he should fade away. In his latest post he did bring up the name of a leader that he thought should be added to the suit. It is quite possible that BD is correct on this. This particular leader has been unseen and unheard through the entire past 20 months. I am suspicious of the reasons for his silence. He was involved with CJ in the blackmailing of Tomczak. It’s likely he knows details of these stories.”

    Brent is going to lose out on being the star of the survivor show with this lawsuit and will have to work hard to be relevant. People tend to forget that is the world he came from and helped to build. His focus has been on vindicating himself and making CJ admit his wrongs. his focus has never really been on those spiritually and physically abused.

    At the same time, the guy is absolutely the best historical archivist I have ever seen. He has kept and organized YEARS of communications. He missed his true calling, I think. He is a treasure trove of information. I hope he cooperates with the Plaintiffs if he has communications that are relevant. That in and of itself would be a great thing.

    One thing that stood out to me in the sgmwikileaks docs is that these guys did not like or trust each other at all.

  48. Dee,

    I’m grateful that we know that Calvinista pastor slammed us from the pulpit. He’ll be rubbing elbows with Mahaney in the Spring, if not before.

  49. Is this so plain to everyone that it isn’t being spoken plainly,

    CJ blackmails Larry to gain sole leadership os SGM.

    All this vile sickening news comes out about abuse in SGM.

    Larry is the prime perp in this most recent accusation.

    CJ knew the monster in Larry’s closet and actually benefitted from the secrecy that is characteristic of SGM?

    In other words, CJ benefitted from the 25 years of suffering this young woman endured?

    look into the future with Mahaney being interviewed..

    Oprah, Will you be a neo-calvinista big dog again?

    CJ, “Yes because I deserve it.”

  50. Hester wrote:

    The only alternative they can conceive of is ultra-permissive, anything-goes parenting where the children walk all over their parents and are little terrors.

    This is the typical “false dilemma” that I have seen in SGM used with other issues including dating/courtship. Google “false dilemma” and you will get various definitions. A false dilemma is along the lines of pointing out that there are so many problems and thus the only possible option to choose is this.

    They will say that children can be so disobedient thus the only option is to spank repeatedly for even minor infractions etc.

    For dating courtship, it goes along the lines of there are so many problems with dating that the only option is to always do things in groups and accept the courtship model. There is never an acknowledgement that one could just correct the problems with dating and that people could date with integrity.

  51. “Defendant Tomczak forced Carla Doe to strip out of her clothing against her will, and be beaten on her bare buttocks. Defendant Tomczak continued to engage in this forced undressing and beating of Carla Coe until she fled and escaped from the abuse.”

    I am taking a risk here by posting this comment but this is a question I have. Hopefully people won’t misunderstand what I am asking/saying. Sorry if this comment is a little PG13 but this is what we are dealing with.

    Though this doesn’t make it a whole lot better, the way this law suit is worded makes it sound like Tomczak forced Carla Doe to get totally naked vs. unclothe just enough to expose her bottom. There is a difference between making a child expose just their bottom vs. getting fully naked. I am hoping that it was the former (just the bottom) and not the latter with Tomczak.

    Again it doesn’t make it a whole lot better but there is a difference. It is shocking that Tomczak thought it appropriate to spank a teenager and especially more shocking that this continue till the woman was in her mid 20′s.

  52. Debra Baker wrote:

    Oprah, Will you be a neo-calvinista big dog again?
    CJ, “Yes because I deserve it.”

    Debra, this has been brought up by others, but last night I got to watch Part 1 of the Lance Armstrong interview. The guy’s entire countenance was that of barely controlled RAGE that he had to deign to submit to the interview in the first place and face her tough questions and give his “apology.” He left me cold cold COLD. Dude is a cold-blooded shark, no doubt.

    I couldn’t help but to think about the SGM “leaders” as I watched it.

  53. “CJ knew the monster in Larry’s closet and actually benefitted from the secrecy that is characteristic of SGM?

    In other words, CJ benefitted from the 25 years of suffering this young woman endured?”

    That is what I am thinking, too. The whole “blackmail” thing always had some problems associated with it that just did not ring complete. Why after all these years?. It also makes sense now more about Larry and the fake reconcilation they promoted. Anything to keep the secrets buried, right? But turns out CJ could simply pay AoR and they did the trick for him…along with the affirmations of Mohler, Dever and Duncan. And sharing stages with guys like Piper, etc. That is how he kept his influence at all even during those days.

    The sociopathy here is unbelievable. CJ benefitted from systematic abuse his doctrine dismisses because all sins are equal unless confronting a leader and that is worse. But in his warpedal doctrin paragigm, kids are not worth losing SGM over.

    And now he lives in my city recruiting people to his church from hell.

  54. dee wrote:
    local Calvinsta leader … excoriated us from the pulpit

    Sounds like you’re just b___ (word deleted by moderator) :) ;)
    From now on I’ll refer to him as LCL — kinda like CLC– instead of the pastor who shall not be named.
    Seriously, the names I look forward to coming out eventually are LT’s unnamed “co-conspiratorS” (during a 25 year period!) and (at least partly a distinct group) those among the defendants and “the church” to whom LT admitted the abuse. Just speculating, but hard to imagine CJ not in the latter group. But nothing about this, as far as I know, in 600 pages of documents. Hard to imagine he would not have used this in his blackmail, unless he agreed that it was *biblically* mandated *gospel* discipline.

  55. This false paradigm is used extensively.

    Parents can be relatively strict without resorting to draconian methodology. Our children are far from perfect but they exhibit qualities that are the product of a self-disciplined personality.

    To brag, she that didn’t homechool properly because I didn’t do things their way and eventually put them in (horrors of horrors, public school, among my children there is a teacher, a Neonatologist, an estimator and Marine, a CPA (passed his test in the high 90%tiles, a grad student at Berkeley (engineering) a member of the PA National Guard, and a robotocist that has competed at the world level.

    All of these things have taken a high level of self-discipline and they are, by and large, kind good people not the monster characture picture painted by the patrio-centric sin-sniffers.

    Steve240 wrote:

    Hester wrote:
    The only alternative they can conceive of is ultra-permissive, anything-goes parenting where the children walk all over their parents and are little terrors.
    This is the typical “false dilemma” that I have seen in SGM used with other issues including dating/courtship. Google “false dilemma” and you will get various definitions. A false dilemma is along the lines of pointing out that there are so many problems and thus the only possible option to choose is this.
    They will say that children can be so disobedient thus the only option is to spank repeatedly for even minor infractions etc.
    For dating courtship, it goes along the lines of there are so many problems with dating that the only option is to always do things in groups and accept the courtship model. There is never an acknowledgement that one could just correct the problems with dating and that people could date with integrity.

  56. @ anon 1: Anon 1: Thank you for your heart-felt encouragement. I don’t have every plaintiff’s email, but I will forward your comment to those that I have — not every plaintiff is reading on the blogs, because for some it is too painful for others they have a lot on their plates — in life and in healing. Thank you all for your prayers. Thank you all for your support.

  57. anon 1 wrote:

    As all this comes forth, I am reminded at how so many thought Larry Tomczak was the horribly wronged innocent party when it came to CJ. Thing is, they are more alike than different and bound to turn on each other.
    What sick perverted men who love power and position.

    Yep. I thought that too. With this allegation I now see that neither Tomczak nor Mahaney is a protagonist.

  58. Hester wrote:

    When I point out the problems in their pro-spanking arguments, they get really upset and ask why I think children shouldn’t be disciplined. Spanking = discipline in their minds. The only alternative they can conceive of is ultra-permissive, anything-goes parenting where the children walk all over their parents and are little terrors.

    Can anyone please post links to books, articles, info, on raising children that doesn’t fall into either of these extremes? I was raised being spanked, started off spanking my own children, and have heard comments on the results of being too permissive. Right now I am trying to follow my heart. I’m trying to approach it from the angle of me setting an example for my kids. But, we have some tumultuous years ahead of us, and I didn’t have any good examples to follow. Thanks to anyone who can offer some suggestions.

  59. BTDT, there is a little Christian book called Families Where Grace is the Place or something like that by someone with a Van name like VanVorten (I will look it up on Amazon but there are books most of which encourage parents to listen to their instincts because, instead of thinking our hearts are wicked, the emphasis is that God gave us our gut instincts.

  60. “God, the Gavel , and Larry T’s Bod?”

    “I had no involvement in any of this,” -Larry Tomczak, former co-founder of SGM

    ” Tomczak denies all of the allegations of physical abuse. He also said that as a parent, he was saddened to hear of the allegations. But he said he knew nothing about sexual abuse in the denomination.” -Bob Smietana ; bsmietana@tennessean.com

    “I served on the SGM Board of Directors when all these alleged incidences occurred. Not one of them was ever brought to my attention. That amounts to a cover-up in my opinion. I should have been told.”  -Brent Detweiler

    HowDee YaAll,

    Brent Detweiler is apparently a proverbial detailed SGM anal retentive knowledge bloodhound, and unless this is a little disclaimer action going on, if he did not know, what does that say for the depth of the PDI/SGM rabbit hole, Alice?

    Curious and Curious’r  

    mixed feelings? try belly ache.

    Pepto moment…

    (sadface)

    Sopy

  61. Debra Baker wrote:

    This book was heavily promoted in the 80′s and, I am ashamed to say, contributed to my harsh discipline style at that time. Thankfully, we were never harsh enough to garner the approval of these people…

    I’d never heard of that book, but Dare to Discipline was extremely popular. I now think I was overly harsh and spanked too much, but can recall people I barely knew “excoriating” me for not spanking when they thought I should, or not hard/long enough.

  62. @ Searching:

    Re: book cover, cookie jar, boy sneaking a cookie…

    good grief, the boy simply wants one of those wonderful cookies which are on full display in transparent glass cookie jar.

    How much of the SGM parental discipline/punishment world resembled temptation boot camp? Meaning, creating an environment forcing kids to make unnecessarily hard choices. Like, “no cookies!”, & then making the scrumptious-looking cookies extremely visible & accessible.

    I realize the art on the book cover was to illustrate a “no-no” taking place. Just wonder if it illustrates more than was intended.

  63. BTDT,
    Here are a couple of sites that I’ve recently discovered that deal with the challenges of parenting without resorting to hidings:
    http://whynottrainachild.com/
    http://everythingisknowable.blogspot.com/2013/01/elisa-story-youre-jerk.html

    Personally, I’ve found when I spank my kids I’m teaching them that it’s ok to hit other people, which is wrong, and that they tend to hit out more themselves, so I’ve decided that I need to do things differently. Trying hard to really listen to them and be consistent and firm in setting boundaries.

  64. Hello, this is my second comment here, my first was some time ago to wish Eagle God speed in healing. I have been reading & following for awhile. My words seem stuck in my throat as I choke back my tears, my stomach in knots for what was done to Carla & others. I once heard that it is not wrong to long for vengeance,only wrong to take it. So… I would like have my dad come back from the dead and pull these abusers pants down and whip them with the belt like he did to me through out my childhood. I know folks, that is not a acceptable Godly response, it is just a longing to have these abusers get a taste of their own medicine. I hope & pray that the courts will administer just & swift punishment… My heart goes out to you who have suffered, my prayers come rapid fire as what was done to you triggers a fire in my belly to expose this evil that it may never happen to another innocent again. I truly ache for you, and I imagine the GUTS it must take to take a stand & bring this horror into the light. God hold you in His tenderness & heal your wounds.

  65. Hester wrote:
    Can anyone please post links to books, articles, info, on raising children that doesn’t fall into either of these extremes?

    Debra posted a link to a good one. (Debra, I used to hang out with “Pam” I learned so much from that time!) Other good authors, IMO, William and Martha Sears books, especially “Discipline”. Clay Clarkson’s Heartfelt Discipline; and his wife Sally Clarkson’s books on motherhood. Also Parenting with Love and Logic, though it has been years since I read that one. There are others, but I am drawing a blank right now. (I do not recommend Ezzo, Tripp, Pearl)

    I believe I am the authority in my child’s life. They obey me, not the threat of what I could do to them. Discipline and punishment are not the same. I don’t punish my children, just like God doesn’t punish me. Respect, consideration, etc, are expected behaviour from/to all the members of the family.

  66. Estelle wrote:

    BTDT,
    Here are a couple of sites that I’ve recently discovered that deal with the challenges of parenting without resorting to hidings:
    http://whynottrainachild.com/
    http://everythingisknowable.blogspot.com/2013/01/elisa-story-youre-jerk.html
    Personally, I’ve found when I spank my kids I’m teaching them that it’s ok to hit other people, which is wrong, and that they tend to hit out more themselves, so I’ve decided that I need to do things differently. Trying hard to really listen to them and be consistent and firm in setting boundaries.

    That second link is beautiful! That first link is very interesting to me, because I read some of the Pearl’s material. I’m going to bookmark both of these. Thank you.

  67. @ Steve240:

    Steve240
    I know you meant no harm in questioning the details, but it doesn’t change the creep factor at all. I won’t go into details of how I know that, but I just do.

  68. Debra,

    “Families Where Grace Is In Place” is a book written by my friend, Jeff VanVonderen. He is the professional interventionist on the award-winning A&E television show called Intervention. In my opinion, (and Bill Hybels who says so on a blurb on the front cover), “Families Where Grace Is In Place” is the best book on family relationships from a Christian and biblical perspective that is currently on the market. I highly recommend it.

  69. Beakerj wrote:

    I think there can be a very limited usefulness to occasional spanking,quickly outgrown as soon as kids get older & more rational.

    Beakerj,
    I agree with you that a carefully crafted fulcrum point must be found between the two extremes. On the one extreme there are are horribly abused and damaged kids, and on the other, we have kids who are self absorbed monsters with no boundaries whatsoever.

  70. Searching said: “Little Timmy, you stole a cookie which is very bad. God says that stealing is wrong, and God also says that I am to punish you for the things you do wrong. I’m going to give you X number of spankings, and if you put your hand in the way or try to escape, I’ll give you X number more. I love you very much.” *WHACK WHACK WHACK WHACK* The child screams, the parent hugs the child and consoles them after moments before hitting them unmercifully.

    It’s more than f*cked up. The child learns to associate love with pain and guilt, and learns to view God as the big tyrant in the sky who loves you but WANTS to hurt you, for your own good.

    I completely believe that could give people a concept of God that make them want to be atheists. I wonder if that could not also be a precursor to accepting abusive partners and BDSM, as they believe that someone who purposefully hurt them could do it with love?

  71. Patti wrote:

    @ Steve240:
    Steve240
    I know you meant no harm in questioning the details, but it doesn’t change the creep factor at all. I won’t go into details of how I know that, but I just do.

    Patti I wasn’t at all saying it would remove the “creep factor.” I was asking since doing it the way implied in the lawsuit would make it even more “creepier.” Neither way is acceptable when one is a teenager or older just the one way makes it even worse.

  72. Retha Faurie wrote:

    Searching said:
    I wonder if that could not also be a precursor to accepting abusive partners and BDSM, as they believe that someone who purposefully hurt them could do it with love?

    Retha,

    I wonder about that too. I also wonder what the acceptance of this kind of treatment of adults by another adult who is the “authority” in the relationship could do to other adult/adult relationships, such as patriarchal marriage. Seems to me the lines could grow mighty thin.

  73. Wade,

    You gave Dee and me a copy of that book by Jeff Van Vonderen when we came to Enid last year. I'd like to write a book review for the benefit of our readers.

    His classic The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse which he co-wrote is one of the best resources Dee and I have read. Please let him know how much his expertise in the area of abuse has helped us reach out to the hurting here at TWW.

    I am beginning to understand why SGM would never allow women in leadership. They would have blown this abusive system wide open years ago in protest.

  74. Retha Faurie wrote:

    I completely believe that could give people a concept of God that make them want to be atheists. I wonder if that could not also be a precursor to accepting abusive partners and BDSM, as they believe that someone who purposefully hurt them could do it with love?

    I can see what you’re saying. It makes me think again of what Jeannette Altes said about the “double bind.” (Sorry to bring it up again, but it really impacted me.) I googled that term. It brought up results for ex-mormon sites, and, I believe, it was also mentioned in The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. It creates a huge conflict within a person, creating a no-win situation. It really does mess with your mind.

  75. One of the charismatic shepherding groups that i was part of – back in the 70s – advocated that husbands spank their wives.

    I wish I was making that up.

  76. The sad thing is, the “Little Timmy” conversation I wrote I have heard played out over and over in my lifetime, with myself, my siblings, and other kids my age at church. It really does mess with your mind, to have your parent tell you “I’m spanking (hitting) you because I love you”.

    Two of my siblings have repeatedly been in abusive relationships/marriages in their adult lives. They are attracted to abusive people.

    I struggle mightily with agnosticism. I would rather be agnostic than believe in the EVIL god that SGM promotes.

    I haven’t been sleeping lately, I feel so much empathy and hurt for the plaintiffs in this case. To the victims: I am praying for you, for what it’s worth. My faith in God is shaky at best, but my faith in good people is getting stronger every day. There are good people who are standing with you and doing their best to help you.

    To the parents in this thread that are seeking out gentler ways to discipline their children, I applaud you. It takes guts to admit that something you’re doing may be hurtful or damaging to your kids. I know my parent’s discipline style damaged my relationship with them, I don’t trust them and never have. It’s pretty hard to trust someone who can look you in the eye, and say “I love you” and then bend you over their knee, take your pants off and hit you repeatedly with a stick or belt.

  77. @ Muff Potter:
    Hey Muff, I hear you. I work with teenagers on both ends of that spectrum, but mostly the boundaryless ones, who have never had a parent step up to any kind of discipline or boundaries.

    I just hold to corporal punishment as a last resort (& probably you do too), especially in the kind of communities I work in (not christian, not by a long shot), where there might not be much discipline, & yet there is a lot of domestic violence. The possibility corporal punishment being used constructively in these contexts is very low.

  78. numo wrote:

    One of the charismatic shepherding groups that i was part of – back in the 70s – advocated that husbands spank their wives.
    I wish I was making that up.

    The mighty thin line erased completely.

    I wish you were making it up too.

  79. @ BeenThere:

    “Winning at Parenting Without Beating Your Kids” by Barbara Coloroso is what my parents used. It’s not overtly Christian (though I think Coloroso is an ex-nun) but frankly, since the products I’ve seen of overtly Christian parenting haven’t been good overall, I can’t really consider that a drawback. Link to Coloroso’s website below, where you can buy the CDs and her other books.

    http://www.kidsareworthit.com/Books__CD_s__DVD_s__etc.html

  80. @ Rafiki & Dee:

    Yes, I would definitely consider a spanking for a 2-year-old who ran out into traffic appropriate also! Like I said, my parents’ standard was life-threatening or morally threatening and that definitely qualifies as life-threatening. (Morally threatening = things like drugs and porn, not Harry Potter and American Girl dolls.)

    Also, personally I think the practice of spanking any child on the bare skin is kinda borderline no matter the age… I suspect it raises the risk of messing up their psychosexual development considerably (and there are multiple stories of this happening because of spanking). My parents never spanked me on the bare skin but lots of my friends, I think, were spanked this way.

  81. @ Numo:

    “One of the charismatic shepherding groups that i was part of – back in the 70s – advocated that husbands spank their wives.”

    Yes, I wish you were kidding too. Tip to the uninformed: don’t Google the above topic unless you have some bleach handy to apply to your brain.

  82. Hester wrote:

    @ BeenThere:
    “Winning at Parenting Without Beating Your Kids” by Barbara Coloroso is what my parents used. It’s not overtly Christian (though I think Coloroso is an ex-nun) but frankly, since the products I’ve seen of overtly Christian parenting haven’t been good overall, I can’t really consider that a drawback. Link to Coloroso’s website below, where you can buy the CDs and her other books.
    http://www.kidsareworthit.com/Books__CD_s__DVD_s__etc.html

    Thank you for the link. I didn’t see the Winning at Parenting in book form, but The Bully, The Bullied, and the Bystander sounds interesting. In fact, it reminds me of the SGM debacle that we are reading about.

  83. Hester,

    I wholeheartedly disagree with bare bottom spanking.  It is a form of humiliation and is wrong for so many reasons.

    Ted Tripp in Shepherding a Child Heart advocates this kind of spanking. Ugh!

  84. The big rage 10 or so years ago at the so called church I attended was Growing Kids God’s way. My friend was a director of the nursery who discovered a bruise on a 20 month old baby. She brought it to the attention of the parents who acted like it was no big deal because they were growing their children God’s way… Here are a few quotes:
    On page 216, the Ezzos list five passages in Proverbs where the subject of “the rod” appears (Prov. 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15; 26:3; 10:13). This is their Biblical basis for what they call “Biblical chastisement,” which predominantly occurs between 14 and 40 months. Though our infants and toddlers need to be controlled and corrected, we question whether these “rod” verses in Proverbs are to be applied so specifically to the tender ages of 14-40 months. A careful study of these “rod verses” would seem to indicate that the use of the rod was a very severe form of correction primarily reserved for grown male youths who evidenced an advanced state of rebellion by their involvement in adult crimes and infractions.

    4. It is generally agreed that one should not pick a Bible version for the translation of a verse that one finds more suitable to one’s own philosophy. One should choose that which is the closest to the original. Not so for Gary Ezzo. On page 213, Ezzo uses the King James Version translation of Proverbs 19:18 — “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” The KJV translation has long been recognized as an inexplicably incorrect translation of the Hebrew text of the second half of this verse. The Hebrew text properly translated reads like the New King James Version, which offers this more accurate revision: “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.”

    5. One mother shares her experience from a class she attended: “At the second session, during class discussion, one mother shared her frustration because she was spanking her child to make him take naps. Sometimes the spankings went on for three hours, because she felt her authority was at stake. Where was the help for this poor parent, who needed most of all to be told that her four year old child shouldn’t be forced to take a nap just because it made her life more convenient? Because the Ezzos miss the mark, and because parents’ hearts are not changed to become more Christlike, I am afraid many children will continue to suffer needlessly.”
    Sick sick sick at heart over what is done in His name.

  85. Thanks Deb,

    John MacArthur was my ex-pastor’s mentor ex as in I finally left that church. O, the damage done. At least MacArthur or someone in leadership forced them out.

  86. I just remembered a story in regards to Carla being denied food. My nephew was having problems with not completing homework assignments. One evening my sister withheld dinner from him as punishment for not doing his work. (Does anyone else remember the days when this was a standard form of punishment?) Well, the following day she met with his teacher to discuss the problem. She casually mentioned refusing him dinner. The teacher calmly replied, “Mrs. ________, I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that. We’re supposed to report things like that when they’re brought to our attention.” I don’t think my nephew has been denied a meal since. I wish someone could have spoken up for Carla.

  87. @ Deb & Gail:

    I’ve never read Ezzo, but I have a feeling that some people we knew used it. I had a sucking deficiency as a baby so the Ezzos’ regimented nursing schedule would have been very bad for me and probably would have pushed me over the edge into failure-to-thrive.

    Spanking babies is just wrong. Mom knew some people when I was little who complained that their infants were “manipulating” them. My parents also never let me “cry it out” – the one time my mom tried, I apparently wailed non-stop for 45 minutes with no sign of stopping and she gave up. (I would probably have worn out my voice daily if they had done “crying it out.”) Instead she wore me in a sling most of the day.

  88. I agree with Debra Baker’s recommendation. I have also found some very useful things onto the Love and Logic parenting website.

    Keep in mind folks we are not raising children in the 50s or even the 90s. The level of mass communication has been a game changer. I don’t think there is anything more important than talking with your child every day and just listening to them. I find many opportunities to make it a gentle teaching moment or to give another view…. without lecturing. My goal is to help them learn how to think. Nobody else is teaching them how to think. And everywhere they go from school even if it’s private and church…. the method is imparting information to them. I want them to question why they believe what they believe and not just because somebody with a title told them. Does not mean they are being disrespectful to authority either. I get so sick of hearing people say that.

  89. @ Deb:

    What I think is amusing is the vehemence with which spankers react when you bring up the possible psychosexual problems that could arise from a bare-bottom spanking. If we were talking about an adult there would be no argument, but try making the scenario a 10-year-old girl being bare-bottom spanked across her dad’s lap. It’s like inviting the Blitzkrieg upon yourself.

  90. Oneofthem, I just saw your comment to me. All of you have friends here. Words just don’t seem to get the point across How much my heart aches for each of you. You have chosen the Right solution.

    Our household is praying for each of you.

  91. ‘I once heard that it is not wrong to long for vengeance,only wrong to take it. So… I would like have my dad come back from the dead and pull these abusers pants down and whip them with the belt like he did to me through out my childhood. I know folks, that is not a acceptable Godly response, it is just a longing to have these abusers get a taste of their own medicine’

    Gsil, Have you ever seen this?

    When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters,[e] were killed just as they had been. Rev 6

    That might have been what you heard.

  92. Hester wrote:

    @ Numo:
    “One of the charismatic shepherding groups that i was part of – back in the 70s – advocated that husbands spank their wives.”
    Yes, I wish you were kidding too. Tip to the uninformed: don’t Google the above topic unless you have some bleach handy to apply to your brain.

    Unfortunately, I’ve read a little bit about husbands spanking wives. Your comment about bleach is very apt.

  93. Heather wrote:

    I believe I am the authority in my child’s life. They obey me, not the threat of what I could do to them. Discipline and punishment are not the same. I don’t punish my children, just like God doesn’t punish me. Respect, consideration, etc, are expected behaviour from/to all the members of the family.

    This is one of the biggest struggles I have. I expect God to punish me for simply not being good enough. And every time something bad happens (like my car breaking down yesterday, or dropping a can on my bare foot) my default mental reaction is to start searching me recent past for some infraction that is the cause for this ‘punishment.’ I know neither of these things were, but my mind still defaults there.

    I’ve realized through the last few years working on healing, that I really have a messed up concept on what love is. If someone tells me they love me, I wonder what they want from me. Telling me God loves me wasn’t always that much of a consolation because why would that stop him punishing me? The concept of being loved was a little scary. I am, ever so slowly, learning a different definition of love – and that what I got from my family was not (and still is not) love.

    But it still is an issue I struggle with in relating to God.

    ——

    To the victims of SGM, thank you for your courage. What you are doing will not only help prevent future abuses by these so-called ‘godly men and women’, it will help countless other victims/survivors by giving a voice to our collective pain.

    You have suffered much. I know the mental labyrinths that this stuff creates. I am cheering you on and am so proud of you. I hear you. I believe you. I pray for you. There is a light at the end of this tunnel. If I could, I would give each one of you a hug. Those who are for you are greater in number than those who oppose you. And you are stronger than those who abused you. And never let the frightened or arrogant convince you of this truth: you are doing the right thing.

  94. For the record, I was a non-spanking parent, when everyone around me thought that Dobson wrote the parenting gospel. I read a couple of his books and couldn’t stomach them. My adult kids grew up without any dramas at all, and are 2 fine citizens and committed Christians. By the time my kids were in their teens, a lot of the younger parents were getting into Ezzo. I copped a lot of flak for admitting my disapproval, but I’m so glad I did.

    For anyone who struggles with the teaching that the Bible says we HAVE to spank our children, I highly recommend the work of this guy http://samuelmartin.blogspot.co.il/ I understand that his book is currently out of print, but he is happy to send a free e-book of it to anyone who emails him asking for it. That is how concerned he is for the well-being of children.

    Without wanting to gossip or speculate, I just want to be put on record as saying I believe worse will emerge about CJ. An abuse survivor myself (though very minor compared to what the plaintiffs have been through) my spidey sense works overtime on that guy. I can watch youtubes of Driscoll and feel angry with his boorishness, I can’t watch CJ at all without wanting to throw up. I can’t explain it, I don’t want to make unsubstantiated guesses, but there is something deeply evil and he is at the centre of it. If that is speaking out of turn, feel free to delete it

  95. @ Lynne:

    I got a hard copy of Samuel Martin’s book last year online from an independent bookseller in CA. Has it gone out of print since then?

  96. Lynne T wrote:

    Without wanting to gossip or speculate, I just want to be put on record as saying I believe worse will emerge about CJ. An abuse survivor myself (though very minor compared to what the plaintiffs have been through) my spidey sense works overtime on that guy. I can watch youtubes of Driscoll and feel angry with his boorishness, I can’t watch CJ at all without wanting to throw up. I can’t explain it, I don’t want to make unsubstantiated guesses, but there is something deeply evil and he is at the centre of it. If that is speaking out of turn, feel free to delete it

    Lynne T, my spidey sense is up with C J, too. I have yet to listen to him speak, Just looking at his photograph, I get the creeps….I suspect there are some very dark things about to be exposed when this lawsuit really starts turning over the rocks….

  97. I have a friend who works with sexually abused children. She says with about 75 percent of the perpetrators, it is all about control. If that is accurate, doesn’t SGM’s patriarchy if not cause such actions due to their hierarchy of control, at least facilitates this behavior. I mean it is odd that so many people are being sued over abuse. This is a tiny denomination and way too many stories are coming out for such a small number.

  98. @ Jeannette,
    as one survivor to another, I think we know things that the all-male elite Calvinista Pastor Club hasn’t got a clue about. Unfortunately, their definition of evil is anyone who doesn’t kowtow to them, so they don’t know the real thing when they see it. They’re so high up they can’t see what’s right in front of them.

    @ Hester

    all I know is that on his website there’s an image of the book that’s supposed to be an Amazon link, but it says ‘no longer available’

  99. You’ve all been too polite to say it, but I’m clearly fallen (or British) enough to immediately think that this is entirely about a sexual motive. Certainly in jurisdictions where I have lived, this would be considered sexual abuse.

    Really, really shocking.

    Ted Altermeyer’s work on authoritarianism comes to mind very strongly here.

  100. Richard – We were discussing this on an earlier SGM thread here. I, too, believe there is something sexual. The abuse of spanking an adult in and of itself is control, certainly. But let’s be for real here, you are seeing far more than just a “bare bottom” when a grown woman is bending over.

    Being privy to see what you ought not be seeing is taking advantage of someone. There’s not much difference in pain level between bare skin and panties – give me a break. She didn’t need to remove panties in order to feel pain. Having a grown woman strip her panties off is done to humiliate and is a power trip with something sexual in there, too. And how does this occur, anyway? Does he tell her to strip off her panties while he turns the other way to give her privacy while she bends over? Or does he watch her take her panties down? If so, then he’s getting far more to see than a bare bottom. I know these questions are uncomfortable, but she had to get from fully clothed to bare-bottomed somehow. How much more abuse was there in the undressing process in addition to the spanking. I believe this scenario describes a grown man exerting physical, emotional, and sexual control over a young woman.

  101. “One of them”

    Ditto on Anon1′s comment. My Bible study group just prayed for all of you tonight.

  102. Tina

    Finally, their story is spreading far and wide. Praying for justice and for the truth of this horror to be revealed. 

  103. Jeanette

    You said” I expect God to punish me for simply not being good enough. And every time something bad happens (like my car breaking down yesterday, or dropping a can on my bare foot) my default mental reaction is to start searching me recent past for some infraction that is the cause for this ‘punishment.’”

    Praise God for the New Covenant. And keep praising God for it every time you drop a can on your toe or your car breaks or you get the flu. Repeat-I am free, loved and forgiven.

    The Old Testament was full of threats of punishment for disobedience. But Jesus ushered in the age of forgiveness. He is not sitting on the throne, thinking up new ways to punish us. The price has been paid. You were, are and will be forgiven. The bad stuff is just part of living in a fallen world. I whole heartedly disagree with John Piper when he says that tornadoes are sent for specific punishment. Tornadoes happen because of weather patterns in a fallen world.

    You are loved and cherished by a God who calls you His heir. Never default to the Old Covenant.

  104. Robin

    “This is a tiny denomination and way too many stories are coming out for such a small number.” I concur. 

  105. Julie Anne

     Totally weirds me out. Larry has smoked some bad substance if he believes that this stuff is normal. 

  106. @ dee:

    Hey Dee,

    Thanks Dee, I appreciate your words and you are correct. I have been told many times as an adult that I should have already forgiven those who abused me and my brothers. So now its my fault that now everyone has moved on, I should be able to forgive those who were suppose to care for me and my brothers.

    I’m not so sure why I ended up sharing what I shared, maybe its because of all this going on with this lawsuit and the victims and their pain and hurt. I can relate and I care about their struggles.

    Dee, you ended up bringing tears to my eyes when I read your words. I think it was mainly because I saw myself as that little girl again. As I think also of the other children alone. It truly breaks my heart.

    Thank you for making this a place for us to share. This lawsuit has touched my heart and I truly can relate to the pain and the secrets and the cover up. I would share more but not sure if this is the proper place. I am recently remarried and went through the spiritual abuse as a Single Mother in the church institution. You just get tired. Thank you for the prayers. Dee, I would take that hug……

  107. @ dee:
    Thank you. It is a work in progress. Galatians 5:1 is one of my favorites verses, especially in The Message.

    It’s not so much that I default to an OT position, though. It is a default to what I expect from a parental/authority figure. My childhood experiences (and some adult experiences) taught me that compassion and comfort were not a part of love – everything was about learning a lesson, obeying before I was told. Yes, the teachings I got in church didn’t help my perceptions of God, but the default has more to do with expected parental behavior being projected onto the Father.

  108. @ Jeannette Altes:
    Jeannette, I can relate. The way I was raised by my mother plus her abuse of me screwed me up in ways I’m not always aware of. Add her constantly telling me that bad girls like me were going to hell, blaming and punishing me for my sisters’ and imaginary sins, and her general fruitcakery and it’s a wonder I still believe in God at all and am still alive.

    My mindset can still go to what did I do wrong, who did I offend to have things go so wrong. I know intellectually it’s wrong but when that’s all I ever h eard growing up, the programming is bad in my brain. I’m learning to not listen but it’s not easy.

    I’m glad TWW is a safe place to open up about this and that people here are supportive listeners.

  109. Hello from Jerusalem,

    I noted your important discussion.

    Thank you for drawing attention to this very important issue.

    I was humbled by some of the discussion where my name was mentioned.

    Should anyone wish to learn more about my work, the link mentioned is a good place to start. http://www.samuelmartin.blogspot.com or facebook/byblechyld or @byblechyld.

    My book is not yet out of print but I have started to make it available without charge or obligation in an electronic format.

    Any person who would like to secure the book is welcomed to contact me. info@biblechild.com

    I continue to pursue and publish research which I pray is a blessing to all of the family of Christ, especially focused these days on children, mothers and families. My blog has a number of my most recent articles, book excerpts, etc.

    With most sincere respect,

    Samuel Martin – Project Director
    New Foundation for Biblical Research
    Jerusalem Israel
    http://www.centuryone.org/fba.html

  110. @ Pacbox:
    Pacbox, hey. Yes, it is difficult to override the programming. A very good friend has taught (and continues to teach) me that the only really effective way the override the programming is to replace it with new. Her family and her have treated me with consistent patience and real love that is slowly replacing the old….but it is a process that sometimes requires terrifying leaps of faith.

  111. @ Jeannette Altes:
    Thanks for responding to me. It was through reading a lot of psychology books and a couple of therapists that I am starting to understand what happened to me wasn’t normal at all. But healing doesn’t happen overnight. I have depression and anxiety which are currently bad and so things aren’t good for me right now. I wish I was blessed like you with a friend like you. But right now I don’t really have though I do have two supportive work friends.

  112. @ Samuel Martin:

    Good morning, Samuel – I am enjoying reading your blog, particularly the series on “Church One and Church Two” a la Thing 1 and Thing 2 in “The Cat In The Hat.” :)

    I particularly liked this:

    WELCOME TO CHURCH – COME IN, SIT DOWN, DON’T MOVE AND SHUT UP.

  113. @pacbox,

    I can relate to a small degree. I was blessed with loving parents, but my mother was extremely old-fashioned and was terrifed of everything sexual (except sex with my father — they had a robust and passionate relationship although they were reticent about it) as well as of many other things. I loved her very dearly; but getting past their good girl/bad girl dichotomy has meant a lot of work and pain for me. I’ve adopted this as my life verse (and asked my children to see that it is on my gravestone when that time comes) “Her sins which are many are forgiven her, for she loved much.”

    And, oh my gosh, “fruitcakery.” I love words and this one is GREAT.

  114. Lynne T wrote:

    I believe worse will emerge about CJ. … my spidey sense works overtime on that guy. … I can’t watch CJ at all without wanting to throw up. I can’t explain it, I don’t want to make unsubstantiated guesses, but there is something deeply evil and he is at the centre of it. If that is speaking out of turn, feel free to delete it

    I see your evil and raise you one *shudder*, five blechs

  115. Lynne T wrote:

    I believe worse will emerge about CJ. … my spidey sense works overtime on that guy. … I can’t watch CJ at all without wanting to throw up. I can’t explain it, I don’t want to make unsubstantiated guesses, but there is something deeply evil and he is at the centre of it. If that is speaking out of turn, feel free to delete it

    I see your evil and raise you one *shudder*, five blechs, an eye roll, and an “I actually think that dude’s truly crazy- literally, not metaphorically speaking.”

    Sgm survivors is starting to do some interesting financial analysis if you read over there. The “other shoe” has already dropped (abuse lawsuit) but the OTHER other shoe ( financial impropriety) looks to be poised as well.

    After spanking, blackmail, shanking, made up theology, organized and elaborate child molestation coverups, worship songs sung to the pastor, public statements in retrospect clearly intended to mislead, imprisonment, and now the oddly inflated “travel” budget in the financials, The only question at this point is, what else is still out there?

  116. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    I get the creeps….I suspect there are some very dark things about to be exposed when this lawsuit really starts turning over the rocks….

    The PR on CJ was instant a d deliberate. Someone has mentioned if you repeat a lie often enough you start to believe it. This is what happened constantly, all the time in CLC. You couldn’t get away from it. A huge part of the whole culture within SGM was based on the what everyone thought of CJ. Then, what others thought of CJ outside of SGM was influenced by how loved and admired he was within SGM

    and especially by his family.and the Pastors.

    I cannot emphasize the relentless force feeding. It was non-stop. Over and over and over we were told:

    CJ was HUMBLE
    CJ was AUTHENTIC
    CJ was a GIFTED LEADER
    CJ was a GREAT HUSBAND
    CJ was a GREAT FATHER

    The Pastors would constantly be saying this. I can especially hear Grant Layman repeatedly singing CJ’s praise. Everytime someone took the stage, the rule was you had to sing the praises of CJ, sing the praises of the Pastors, extol the virtues of The Leadership (and in turn make every member feel small, powerless and insignificant.) It was the same way if not worse with Carolyn Mahaney. All the Pastors wives and the women of the church had to think of her as the best wife, the best mother, the model of biblical womanhood. And she took all the praises in like it was routine, expected, appropriate, and earned.

    This is what made SGM a cult. What you believed about the bible was secondary to what you believed about CJ Mahaney. You were proud, full of sin, not welcome in the “church” if you questioned or had doubts about any aspect of CJ’s life or ministry.

    Everyone was manipulated into joining the chorus of praise be to CJ. Praise be to Carolyn. Praise be to the Mahaney family. Praise be to the Pastors. Praise be to SGM Leadership.

    As for what you were allowed to think about yourself? CJ would constantly praise CLC and say it was his happiest place on earth. Why would he say that? I can tell you it wasn’t because he respected the gifts, the strengths, and the wisdom of the members. It was because the members obeyed him without question. It was a happyplace for CJ as long as no one challenged him. And once that happened? PARTY OVER. He packed his bags and left. The relationship CJ & his family had with the people of CLC was self-serving. It was the members who served the interests of the Mahaneys within the mindset of believing in their greatness. Is it any wonder they all left? Is it any wonder they live in a world of pretty pictures along with the Kauflins who do the same?

    If you repeat a lie often enough….

    I guess it serves them right that theyre all together in Kentucky, propping one another up with daily affirmations. Like I’ve said before, CJ was the “Worst Sinner” when things were going swimmingly. Now that they’re not, he and everyone with him are the “Suffering Saints.” All they’re concerned about is their suffering as they gear up to vigorously defend themselves!

  117. Concerned for the kids wrote:

    The only question at this point is, what else is still out there?

    Great comment. Good question.

    Another thing I should add is CJ’s claim to ignorance about SGM’s financials. Or even his own income. Interestingly enough we learn from having read Detwiler’s documents that Carolyn managed the Mahaney’s money despite the fact they taught that the men as heads of the households should manage the money and not the women.

    But with all the money SGM was raking in, and with little invested in missionary work or community outreach but instead in planting churches with people who paid to be trained through the PC and then each of those churches had to send SGM a royalty check, where was all the money going? Off shore accounts?

  118. Evie,

    Your comment was excellent. CJ and those like him are case studies on narcissism. It’s all about them and their reputation. Maybe he can take notes from my pastor and start a True SGM Survivors blog.

    The abuse cases in the lawsuit are horrific, but think of all the masses of people who are taught this junk. This is the stuff that messes with your head for years, tears families apart, keeps people from understanding the love and grace of God so they are stuck in a spiritual depression thinking it’s all their fault.

    I hate spiritual abuse. This gets me outraged. So many lives . . .

  119. Evie and Julie Anne,

    Sometimes when I read your comments I feel like we were all going to the same church together. Just change the leader’s names, locations . . . And I thought my church was the only one like this. I’m thankful for the Internet and this blog for bringing us together.

  120. @ BeenThereDoneThat:

    You are so right. Blogs are powerful. My spiritual abuse was validated at sgmsurvivors.com almost 5 yrs ago. I’ve continually learned so much here. On my own blog this week as we were discussing spanking adults, I shared my personal experience with this kind of teaching. My daughter commented her experience as a victim of this crap, and several mothers shares their heartache as they, too, regret they followed these crazy parenting experts who told us how to raise our kids. I was moved to tears reading the comments.

    There are so many of us who are working through the abuse on different levels. Some of us also have to reconcile that we may have been abusers by following bad teaching. Blogs help people realize they aren’t the only one who feel this way. We can support one another. And that is what I see as the real Body of Christ, yes even on blogs, even when we have not met in person or only know each other by a pseudonym. Blogs are a powerful vehicle for processing abuse.

  121. Steve240 at 3:21, yes, that is exactly the way I understood what you wre saying the first time, and I was trying to answer that through my own experience my view is that their is no difference. I was just offering my opinion was all and that just as a commenter indicated after your 3:21 that the sexuality factor is still the same. I am saying that I don’t believe the scale is tipped further by the wording in the lawsuit and I am saying that no one should walk away with with one iota less of the seriousness of this if what you asked is true or not. It doesn’t make the perp’s actions any less sexually motivated or perceived, I just simply wouldnt even believe it, and if the pervert himself believed his motivations were not sexual, no matter, the demons involved know it is, and he obeyed them, not the God that he claims guides him into this diabolical behavior. As you can tell by my lack of repeating the details how troubling this is.

  122. @ Pacbox

    Besides Dee and Deb and all those who post such helpful comments here, you also have countless “silent” others who hear you, can relate to you and are moved to pray for you. I am so glad that you are part of this safe community!

  123. @ Julie Anne:

    I am forever indebted to the wonderful people over at SGMsurvivors. When I found them after my daughter became involved with an an SGM boyfriend, I ended up telling much of my own stories growing up with religious abuse. Even though they have more commenters that hold to different doctrines than I do, they are are an awesome group of loving, caring Christians. I am over 50 years old, and I just wept as for the first time in my life I wrote some abuse down, and on a public forum ‘to boot. I had gone through really good counseling over 20 years ago but putting it down in black and white takes courage.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the blog queens and kings for these public places.

    Thank you , thank you, thank you to all the victims from this most recent testimony for your courage. You ARE saving many from what you had to endure.

    And thank you, thank you, thank you to all the people here and at survivors,et al. who have never been victims but sacrifice your time and energy to blog your loving care to help continue the healing for the victims. I am amazed. I am not usually a very mushy person but….cyber hug!

  124. Patti,

    I remember reading your comments, and I am grateful for the blogosphere which allows us to communicate freely. We are committed to helping victims of spiritual abuse, and we pray that this open forum will curtail it in the years to come. Too many people have been hurt!

    And thanks for the cyber hug!

  125. I believe blogging and other means by which ordinary people get to speak their mind are in the process of revolutionizing our culture similarly to the way the printing press led to a change in medieval society.

    The people that currently have more power and influence than they warrant know this, have fought tooth and nail to silence the blogs, and are now howling like a wounded wolf.

    The truth has a way of asserting itself in the end.

  126. Greetings Samuel Martin!

    I am looking forward to reading your blog and your book. Thanks so much for logging on.

  127. Evie,

    I agree with Julie Anne. Your 1/20/13, 10:45 comment was very telling. How sad that so many have been hurt from this kind of idolatry. It is so heartbreaking!

  128. Samuel

    Welcome to TWW. Thank you for yoru kind offer. I need to make sure i readers see this and will try to put it into a post this week to highlight you and your work.

  129. Pacbox, MM and all

    You all bless my life in so many ways. I prayed for you today in church and last night in Bible study and want you to to know that there are many praying for you.

  130. Eagle,

    Thanks for the compliment. We do try to look at a wide range of issues.

    However, if it hadn’t been for SGMSurvivors and SGMRefuge, our blog might not have gone in the direction that it did. Months before we began blogging, we had been reading those two blogs and some others that helped us realize there were/are tremendous problems in Christendom. We are grateful to Kris and Guy and Jim and Carole for their sacrificial work.

    Dee and I are amazed by the power of blogging. May God be glorified.

  131. As we wrap-up this deeply disturbing topic, think of a 21 year old woman being told to remove her panties so an adult male can spank her on her exposed bottom. This is troubling on many levels and will raise a number of red flags… We are so grateful that at long last this highly inappropriate discipline is being ‘exposed’.

    Breaking silence on this one, from the internet room of an SF convention.

    Ever heard of “Erotic Flagellation”?
    (Paddle, whip, or riding crop?)
    It was very common in Victorian porn — and a specialty of Victorian whorehouses.

  132. I am ten years out of a spiritual abusive church and the fallout still haunts me, I went from being a wild worldly women at 28 years old into AOG, switched over to a fundy church (several years later) where I learned real quick what it meant to be a good girl or godly woman. I was naive & vulnerable, having no church background I didn’t know any better. The men that ran our church had bible verses after-all to back up their control. Even as I type this short blip I have fear that I am sharing too much or gossiping- I do know better- I know how important it is to share our stories- however that lingering thought that I am going to be told to be quiet and submit to those who are in authority over me sneaks into my thoughts as I type. I am 58 years old for goodness sake, and I am fairly new here and I just want to say I feel like I have found a safe haven. Thank-you Thank-you for letting us who lost our voices for many years- thank you for letting us speak.

  133. Gail,

    We are glad you are breaking the code of silence and speaking out. Jesus came to set the captives free, and we trust you will use this forum in whatever way necessary so that you may finally experience liberty in Christ.

  134. @ Rafiki:

    HI and Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it. I tend to write a bit serious most of the time, so I tried to lighten up a bit on a subject which is very close to my heart – my church experience growing up.

    Hope we can be in touch.

    With every good wish

    Sam Martin

  135. In regards to the issues of spanking – with my 4 kids, we did it for overt, serious rebellion, without anger, and usually it was no longer needed after age 3. I think there’s a case to be made for non-abusive spanking for a child to see the seriousness of an action. I always thought that they needed to listen, especially when things like going into a street meant they could die from not listening. But honestly, we only needed to do it a few times with each child, and in a calm way, and that was the end of it. I have a problem with older children being spanked…like the Tripp book. It made me nauseous that there were no OTHER kinds of discipline ever mentioned in that book at all…none. A few months ago I found it in my library…and tore it to shreds. It felt good.

  136. @ Gail:
    My eyes tear up reading your story. Many/most of us hear understand exactly what you’re talking about. I lurked here for a long time before gaining the courage to speak up. It is sometimes difficult to face the fears and insecurities that my prior church experience instilled in me, but, in doing so, I hope I’m learning to overcome them. And, yes, people here are so supportive. Hugs to you.

  137. @ Hester:

    Hi.

    Thanks so much for your kind words.

    I am honored that you bought the book. These days due to the immense need, I am giving away my book for free.

    My analysis shows that about half of the people who read my book permanently abandon corporal punishment/spanking/smacking.

    Blessings from Jerusalem.

    Sam Martin

  138. @ anon 1:

    Anon,

    It is true about my being a Kenneth Bailey fan. He used to live here in Jerusalem and is very widely respected for good reasons.

    His books on Jesus are fantastic and his latest on St. Paul is an absolute must read, especially for women.

    Anyone who has ever struggled with I Corinthians and how St. Paul supposedly treats women will rejoice in Bailey’s book.

    In fact, I will be giving away a copy of Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes on my blog very soon. Stay tuned. http://www.samuelmartin.blogspot.com

    Sam Martin

  139. justabeliever,

    I wholeheartedly agree with your comment. Thanks for sharing. I strongly disagree with the method of discipline prescribed by Tedd Tripp in his book Shepherding a Child’s Heart.

  140. @ dee:

    Hi Dee,

    Thanks very much for your very kind message.

    I look forward to learning more about your work.

    Please don’t hesitate to let me know if I may assist you in any way.

    In regard to my work, I give my book away free for the asking and while I don’t consider myself much of a blogger, I do try to put things on my blog that reflect where my current investigations and thoughts are going.

    I have just over 100 posts and many of them are connected to the work of my book and some expand on that research and move into other areas such as egalitarianism, women, children and families, nature/zoology, science and the Bible to name a few.

    I also have a newsletter which I send regularly.

    Be well and take care,

    Sam Martin

  141. “His books on Jesus are fantastic and his latest on St. Paul is an absolute must read, especially for women”

    I am looking it up now and hope it is on Kindle. I will share with readers here that Bailey is a scholar who lived in the ME for many years. He makes the historical context come alive and we realize how much we read scripture through our “Western” paradigm instead of the one it was written in: Eastern.

    Here is his website: http://www.shenango.org/bailey.htm

    You won’t read the Christmas story or even the parables in the same way but in a better way.

  142. Samuel Martin,

    Welcome to TWW! I have been checking out your website and am familiar with Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God.

    Years ago I met a woman who grew up in a church that belonged to Armstrong’s empire, and it really messed her up! She finally broke free when she became an adult.

    Looking forward to reading your insights.

  143. ” I lurked here for a long time before gaining the courage to speak up. It is sometimes difficult to face the fears and insecurities that my prior church experience instilled in me, but, in doing so, I hope I’m learning to overcome them. And, yes, people here are so supportive. Hugs to you.”

    I Praise God you and Gail spoke up. It is my prayer we all face these things, discuss them, pick them apart, debate them and emerge with only Jesus as our King.

  144. anon 1, thanks for the link to Samuel Martin and his post of part of Kenneth Bailey’s perspective. Samuel Martin, thank you! After my husband and I naively purchased the c**p pushed on us from the SGM we were in, especially about parenting, I for one will be happy to pay full price for the real deals.

    Gail, thanks for sharing! I’m still using monikers, knowing that some of the specific false teaching I’ve shared about in the SGM we were in, could have dangerous and or legal ramifications if I’m not careful, (not that I named names, etc., or did or said anything wrong). These are bad boys, imo, and all of the lofty lip service to God’s glory and “the Savior”, can never restore the trust I once had in them.

  145. As far as spanking goes, this is a relevent discussion for me. You may know that I have full custody of my son (3 years old), though my ex gets vistation (she lives in another state now). He visited her for two weeks over Christams (which is the longest he has ever been away from me, at least in the past two years) and she told me she “only had to spank him once”. This is interesting because I don’t spank him. Timeout is as much as I need to do to get through to him that he has done something wrong. He HATES a timeout and will avoid it at all costs.

    At any rate, today I was telling him he need to do something or else face a timeout and his response:
    “No Timeout, No spanking”.

    I asked him “Do you remember being spanked”

    And he said “Yes”

    I asked what for and he said, “Spit out the mac and cheese”.

    I was suprised that he remembers his once ever spanking and exactly what it was about. Seems it made quite an impression.

    Obviously this has nothing to do with the lawsuit, but I AM interested in the widom/effects of spanking. I just cannot bring myself to physically strike him, and fortunately it hasn’t come up because he is generally well behaved and responds so well to timeouts.

  146. Jeff S,

    I found that with my daughters the taking away of privileges worked extremely well (and my husband and I didn’t have to do that very often because they were so obedient). Children are different, but that technique worked well with them into their late teen years.

    Adults are highly motivated by the removal of privileges, so why not use it with children instead of spanking? I did spank on rare occasions when they were small.

    Both are now mature adults who are living out their Christian faith.

  147. anon 1 wrote:

    Hey guys, Samuel Martin speaks of Kenneth Bailey’s book, ‘Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes” on his blog. I highly recommend this book. Scroll down at this link to read a page from the book he posted:
    http://www.samuelmartin.blogspot.com/

    I highly recommend Bailey’s book as well. It is really helpful to get out of the REformed fog and view the scriptures through the culture they were written to. We westerner’s really don’t do justice to the Bible when we view it through our 2013 eyes and minds.

  148. You really need to take the individual child and the family dynamics into account when parenting.

    I have had to do a lot more punishing (generally taking away privileges or working off said deprivation of privileges.) Other children just need a look, I kid you not. Not enough boundaries would hurt the more willful kiddos but the heavier handed parenting would crush a sensitive child like my youngest who has never been hit or punished. Never had a tantrum, never has done anything that warrents anything beyong either a sitting down or take out of a situation (such as being tired and now is the time for getting ready for bed. But she is extraordinary.)

  149. Friends,

    There is also another option you have if you enjoy Bailey’s work. Come to Jerusalem and study with me at http://www.uhl.ac.

    I can say without doubt, one year in Jerusalem in our classrooms, you will never look at the Bible the same again :)

    I live here full time and find it a blessing to be able to learn about the Bible in its native context. You can too. Anyone interested, feel free to contact me: info@biblechild.com

    Blessings

    Sam Martin

  150. I’m glad everyone liked my use of “fruitcakery”.

    As for spanking, I have to mention that it can leave lasting scars, not just physical but emotional, mental, and spiritual as well. I still have anger issues.
    -I learned to be constantly afraid,worrying about setting my mother off because she was just so full of rage and I was her favorite target.
    -I learned adults could hit children without consequences and that my feelings and what I did didn’t matter.
    -I learned that I wanted to hit people, to hurt just as I had been hurt. I haven’t hurt anyone that away but when you are raised that way it sticks with you. The big anger lingers, always wanting out, wanting to lash out, and hurt someone like I was hurt. But then I was always told I deserved to punished, that I was only good for punishing and that if I stood up for myself or told anyone thst I would just be punished more. I also know it’s wrong to hurt people so I never acted on it, don’t want to be like my mother our like other abusers. It wasn’t always like that but after my youngest sister was born things just went downhill.

    I decided if I ever got married and had kids I wouldn’t spank. I would never put them through what I went through. I would not do anything that my mother did. And since I’m single and have no problem being single, I don’t think this will be a problem.

    I don’t know why I went on like that but I guess it wanted out. I’m glad people liked “fruitcakery.”

  151. It touches my heart to hear so many kind & gracious voices responding to my comment. Thank-you all so much.Hugs.

  152. @ Samuel Martin:

    “My analysis shows that about half of the people who read my book permanently abandon corporal punishment/spanking/smacking.”

    I’m not surprised. I especially liked the studies of the different Hebrew words for children and your analysis of the Jewish perspective on the rod verses. The last was especially relevant because, shortly before I read the book, I had been “informed” (in a quite self-righteous manner) by a Michael Pearl fan that Jews spank their children.

  153. I want to tell the victims of the abuse that I am so sorry for what they went through.

    I have apologized to my children for spanking them too much when they were young and they have forgiven me, thank heavens. Our older kids got spanked a lot more than the younger ones ever have. Yes, we read LT’s book and tried to follow what the pdi/sgm folks said. Fortunately we left before new more patriarchal views were applied. The Lord showed me that I needed to love my children and treat them with dignity and respect.

    Now, I would say that spanking children shows a definite lack of respect—not so much with the very young children,(I think they need to know who’s the boss–and it’s not them_) but with the older ones–7-8 and up. They need to learn to control themselves, their emotions and to reason together with parents …just like God reasons with us. There is nothing worse than a spoiled, self-centered 3-4 yr old who never hears the word NO…unless it’s a 14 yr old who has never heard the word no.

    We never spanked our children after 10-11 anyway. They hated to lose privileges and that’s fairly effective.

    We saw a family in Roanoke Va (grandparents, parents and 3 small children out to eat at Applebee’s last fall…kids were 7,4 and 2 1/2. The 7 yr old and the 4 yr old were not allowed to eat…or drink either. We were seated 2 ft away from them and were appalled by this…..couldn’t help over hearing…and then eavesdropped when we realized what was going on. The dad said to the 7 yr old that since you got into your mother’s stuff you couldn’t eat. They had come from church so the kids had to be hungry from breakfast. I don’t know what the 4 yr old had done but the grandmother wouldn’t let her eat. We could barely eat after that.

    We said to ourselves, if they do that in public what the heck do they do at home? They could have gotten the kids some water and some macaroni and cheese at the least. No ice cream or chocolate milk would have been a good discipline. But no food and no water…..wow. The server was appalled too.

    I had never seen anything like that. But from this lawsuit I see that it is not uncommon…just unknown to me and my husband. How can a parent deny food and drink to their children???

    I have denied them plenty of soda, chips, ice cream, etc etc but there was always cheerios, peanut butter sandwiches, milk and fruit all the time.

    Christians really give Jesus a bad name.

  154. Pacbox, you’re on a healthy road to be able to recognize it, to state the facts, and I think your recent post reflects almost exactly what people who have grown up in abusive environments go through. My mother abused me, too. Sadly, it seems like hyper-authoritarian, patriarchal churches like SGM and similar ones, attract people who have experienced abuse or neglect. That we can share on the blogs is a part of healing for many. So glad you shared! So glad God has perfect, constant love for us!

  155. Just a thought: the discipleship movement was about controlling adults; God as the ultimate control freak; people being lorded over by his (supposed) agents on earth.

    So *of course* shepherding/discipleship movement groups had (have) a very strong emphasis on spanking and corporal punishment – because the model must be replicated with children.

    No questions allowed, ever. Total and complete obedience is stressed in shepherding movement publications intended for adults.

    So children must absolutely be subjugated.

    The Spanish artist Goya (who lived in a very troubled time) made an etching titled “The sleep of Reason produces monsters.” I think that title is very applicable to the horrors propagated by SGM – and by other shepherding/discipleship movement groups.

  156. Tag on my last message: one of the posters at Survivors has a complete set of “new Wine” magazine (published by the Ft. Lauderdale Five).

    I subscribed too, back when I was in college. Even then, some of what they said felt wrong, but I was very young and had no other standard of comparison or proof re. what I sometimes felt about the articles in it.

    I am certain that many, many people who were part of the early iterations of SGM (and similar groups) had the same kinds of reactions… a few days ago I mentioned some folks I used to know who left TAG (SGM/earliest iteration) due to misgivings over certain ideas that Larry T. was promoting.

    My hunch is that the fallout has been tremendous from the year dot.

  157. Re. the Ft. Lauderdale Five, Google them if you’re not familiar with the name… they were *the* N. American instigators of the discipleship cult, though there certainly are others (from the same era) who are equally culpable for the spread of these beliefs and practices.

    The Ft. Lauderdale Five are *very* much a part of the SGM story, no matter how things have been papered over in more recent years – that’s cosmetic at best. But people who came into the group post mid-late 80s are often unaware of the groups roots and past.

  158. YES RB: “Sadly, it seems like hyper-authoritarian, patriarchal churches like SGM and similar ones, attract people who have experienced abuse or neglect. T

    In hindsight I kinda get why I went to patriarchal church- My EX pastor was a lot like my dad- Angry-abusive-controlling- my dad was not a Christian, but it sure was familiar. It breaks my heart that I took my children to this church, and that behind all my churchiosity ministries that I served in my kids didn’t have a healthy or whole Mom at home. We have unpacked a lot of together, and I have apologized and named my failings with them, but it sickins my heart that I took them there. They are agnostic. Prayers for you Pacbox.

  159. @ Numo

    “The Ft. Lauderdale Five are *very* much a part of the SGM story, no matter how things have been papered over in more recent years – that’s cosmetic at best. But people who came into the group post mid-late 80s are often unaware of the groups roots and past.”

    You are so smart to encourage people to look at the ROOTS of a organization. Sure, it can be a lot of work, but I am amazed at the connections I find.
    I am looking at this now-

    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:RKrT2TKCQa8J:deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/63926/1/williamson_david_2009.pdf+history+of+the+word+of+God+community&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgBMRdqbSGl5eN0tufGJFsAWbY5Xi5bF-adpkWKtzYqOcKrTiKqM-iUOuVg2eh4EpjUaqzTOE5eEtTLQR0B7YJhqvNARWAfGmEUcy9Oim9LognTtZ4fkd2xNQ6o2s1fM81EJR8s&sig=AHIEtbTC6gQnX7VhGYwZos-sdR6wwubjaw

    …because I read Larry Tomczak was involved somehow with the forming of RC charismatic shepherding communities…Word of God, Mother of God, under the umbrella org Sword of the Spirit. Very interesting.

  160. Julie Anne wrote:

    Maybe he can take notes from my pastor and start a True SGM Survivors blog.

    lol I’ve thought of that Julie Anne! But the Mahaney’s, you understand, are above the riff-raff. They’ve spent so much time decrying the internet. But if they did start a blog like the O’Neal’s did, what do you think the Mahaneys should call it? “The Real BGBC Survivors” – how lame was that!? :-P

  161. Debra Baker wrote:

    I believe blogging and other means by which ordinary people get to speak their mind are in the process of revolutionizing our culture similarly to the way the printing press led to a change in medieval society.
    The people that currently have more power and influence than they warrant know this, have fought tooth and nail to silence the blogs, and are now howling like a wounded wolf.
    The truth has a way of asserting itself in the end.

    Amen to that!!!

  162. @ Diane: Catholic charismatics were very ecumenical (it wasn’t long after VAtica II), and in general, that was a very *good* thing.

    The bad part: that they, too, believed what people like the Ft. Lauderdale Fiver were saying and followed through on it.

    I was part of an RC shepherding cult in the early-mid 70s, though I’m not Catholic. One good thing about it, though: I met and spent considerable time with some truly wonderful people, especially during the year that I lived in a small convent. (Yes, you read that right!) Actually, living with the nuns was a shield against some of the worst excesses that were taking place in other parts of the group.

  163. Yikes! “Vatican II,” not “VAtica.”

    And I can’t even blame it on a smartphone spellchecker. ;)

  164. @ Diane: There was also a Catholic charismatic mag published during the 70s-80s that was a *lot* like the Ft. Lauderdale Five’s new Wine mag. Am blanking on the name right now (I subscribed to it, too), but I’m sure that you’d find articles by larry T. – and maybe even CJ – in back issues.

  165. Not so coincidentally, Word of God (in Ann Arbor, MI) published the mag I just mentioned.

    To be honest, there were many good things about the charismatic renewal – as there were in other places (like the Jesus People movement) from the same era, but I think everyone was misled in the end… partly due to the youth and naiveté of many of us.

  166. Lol numo after living in a convent with nuns I can understand how you would freak at your misspelling of the word Vatican! To the confessional! Jk ;-)

  167. @ Evie: You’d be surprised about nuns – they’re not at all like what most people imagine, at least, not the nuns (9 of them) that I lived with.

    We used to go out periodically on beer runs, with whoever was driving wearing some kind of disguise (I kid you not! sunglasses, a scarf) so they wouldn’t be recognized. And most folks had had a fair amount of time to assess whether they wanted to go into a convent or not – had dated, etc. They weren’t at all averse to “cute” off-color jokes, either. (In fact, i 1st heard some good ones from them.)

  168. Numo, I agree there were good things that came out of the charismatic renewal. I was familiar with New Wine Magazine. There was so much energy in the groups I got attracted to as a young believer in college. There was this sense of revival, that we were changing things and ushering in something real, something much more New Testamant in its expression. I tried going to the college age group of my parents large denominational church after I got saved my freshman year, but after the Pastor tied a cold spoon to a long string and lined us up, having us weave the spon up and down each other’s clothing as a way of demonstrating being “knit together” I was out of there. I wish that my parents and their generation had been more influential, but they were too silent.

  169. Beer runs = picking up a case at the local distributor that was set up with a drive-through. That way nobody had to get out of the car.

  170. Lol beer runs with the nuns! That just sounds like too much fun!

    Almost all of my wild high school friends were catholics. While my church had polite spaghetti dinners, my friends Catholic church had full blown carnivals with the wine flowing and everything. So different than what I had grown up with. It was wild!!

  171. @ Evie: I bet it seemed crazy to you!

    I was raised Lutheran, so had no problem with people having a drink here and there, but grew up in a home where beer was a rarity. So I was a bit surprised at the nuns, though not really – why shouldn’t they be allowed to kick back with a cold one after a long day teaching school?

  172. @ numo~

    “(Yes, you read that right!) Actually, living with the nuns was a shield against some of the worst excesses that were taking place in other parts of the group.”

    I can believe that. I was raised RC but left it after high school. And, like most of my friends at school, I went through the wanting to become a nun phase during sophomore year. I spent my fair share of time with the nuns and actually liked going to their house. I had some wonderful, kind nuns for teachers.

    The church I was very loosely involved in with my future hub and his group of friends in college was encouraging participation with the RC charismatic communities in Ann Arbor and St. Paul. As a matter of fact, Jeff Huard, a recruiter from Word of God community, was successful in convincing the entire group of my husband’s friends to go to the community in Ann Arbor post graduation. We all went there to visit, but my husband was the only one in his group of friends who did not go. He did not think having someone tell him what to do to that extent was something he wanted to experience. I guess I am pretty glad about that.

    I just found our old recruiter Jeff Huard…seems he is a priest in a community of priests called Companions of Christ in MN.

  173. @ Diane: So many bright, talented people were in communities like Word of God – I mention them in particular because lots were UMich students. (I visited there, albeit briefly, as I had a cousin who taught at the university and was occasionally in town for visits.)

    Jeff Huard’s name sounds familiar, actually….

  174. @ Diane: One of the nuns (now retired from teaching) that I lived has gone to clown college – and is now an official member! She spends a lot of time volunteering at local nursing homes – and with little kids – and that works out beautifully. (She was always very funny, and creative too.)

  175. Numo

    Abbess Numo is a perfect moniker! It sounds lieka fadcinating year. I would love to hear more.

  176. Numo

    I used to go to Father John Bertolucci’s prayer meetings in upstate New York. The nuns in that group could really sing and lead music.

  177. @ dee: I think it might fit better than you realize, since I’ve never been married. : )

    One thing’s for sure: those women really cared about others, and they *acted on it.* Not only that, they were (in their own way) very independent and well-educated, and very dedicated to following Jesus.

    In some ways my living there was hard for all of us, but you know … I miss them, and their wonderful example. (which included understanding that people were different, that everyone had personality quirks… and that’s OK.)

  178. Bridget wrote:

    Jeff S

    I’ve been following the thread; however, I’m not one who needs to be convinced that spanking is good or bad. I just really can’t bring myself to do it, and I don’t think I’m going to start against my feelings.

    I did find out that one of his friends got a spanking earlier this morning, and while I’m certain his mother was discrete about it, sometimes children are more perseptive than we think. So it wasn’t just my ex’s spanking that triggered his comment as I’d thought.

  179. dee wrote:

    Numo

    I used to go to Father John Bertolucci’s prayer meetings in upstate New York.

    Me too, dee! What a small world! I lived in Rochester, NY for 27 yrs. and that’s where I went to his prayer meeetings. I think he had them at Mercy High School from time to time. I was a Nazareth Academy graduate.

  180. @ Jeff S:

    Well — the little ones talk about these things more than you might realize, too. His friend might have told him that he got spanked.

    I ordered a couple of the books myself, even though my kids are way past the age of spanking. I’m just interested in other perspectives and having something to offer my own children, when they become parents, and other young families that might be wondering. I went through the Ezzo classes myself, totally seperate from SGM. We didn’t implement their suggestions very well at all, and I thought most of their teaching for older kids was nuts. I chucked all the information I had from them a few years ago. The point is to do what is helpful for your particular child. As Debra said earlier, each child is different and benefits from different options.

  181. Breaking Point: “God, The Nod?, And The Healthily And Successful Raising Of Children.”

    HowDee YaAll,

    “If the court should find spanking (* in the strictly general sense) synonymous with assault … what does that do to the raising children?” 

    * Just saying.

    hmmm…

    Certainly the outcome of this trial, will at least heighten the sensitivity and awareness this issue, and as WadeB (PWB) has implied with his book recommendations along with Wartburg Watch’s book recommendations also, certainly pointing to a better way, with the possibility of pointing the way of counseling relief for stressed out parents who are at wits end on how to healthily and  successfully raise their children in an apparent culture of ‘death’ that is seeping out of every aspect of American media today. Isolation certainly is not the answer, as we see presently the blatant failure of the Sovereign Grace Ministries Church insular,  problematic patriarchal culture with Charles Joseph Mahaney at the helm. 

    “My mind wanders while I sit and ponder…”

    (sadface)

    S“㋡”py

  182. Victorious

    I was in school in Troy New York and did my training at Albany Medical center. However, I got my MBA at U of Rochester. I can’t believe you were there! Talk about a very small world. I forgot where he had the meetings. All I know is I drove with friend forever to get there.

  183. Diane wrote:

    Then he talks about some ministry of his (ICECAP) where he says he knows God’s vision for us and that is to be doing something…passion, or evangelism, or getting a vision for something, blah blah.

    “I SEE Things…”
    – Mark “Bee Jay” Driscoll

  184. I don’t know what’s Carla’s status is as far as her current relationships with husband or siblings or even friends. But if someone I knew that was a sister or wife or even a very close friend or relative, came and shared with me such abuse that happened as an adult woman and had left such deep hurtful scares, the accused offender would have plenty more to worry about than getting a good attorney.

  185. @pacbox – I have struggled with depression and anxiety, but I find that the best remedy for it has been becoming involved with truly godly and loving people who accept me for who I am and love and encourage me as I become who God made me to be.

  186. @numo – that sounds like a hilarious experience living with the nuns. I first became interested in reading scripture due to a nun who taught my confirmation class, and with whom I spent much time and shared many laughs. I came to the Lord in the Catholic charismatic movement and was interested in the Catholic communities, even though I had realized years before that I would rather not be in the CAtholic church long term, mostly because I felt it didn’t feed me spiritually like I desired. However, I have lived for many years in the community where the Mother of God community was based, and it exerted a lot of control over its members and wreaked havoc on people’s lives and faith.

  187. Holy mackerel!  ”…Knowing God’s vision” for us?”

    hmmm… (PU!)

    HowDee YaAll,

    This stuff sure ain’t it!

    Certain pastor folk sure got their head up their red caboose’s, huh?

    I recall a story of a man who senses something wrong on a highway he was traveling on early before dawn, he pulls over to the shoulder of the road and stops. The weather conditions were quite foggy anyway. He has his window down a tad, and as he sat there in his auto, other traffic was passing by him. He would see the tail lights enveloped a short distance ahead into the ‘fog’. Odd. He was disturbed by sounds of crashing noises in the distance, so he took his flashlight out and proceeded after putting his flashers on, to walk up the shoulder of road.  Again vehicles would pass him in the early morning prior to sunrise. Much to his surprise the trailing-off of the tail lights were being followed by a distant muffled crashing noise directly ahead. Amazed, he quickened his pace as his heart raced, again passing vehicles! As now anticipated, the same muffled metal crash noise followed by silence. The fog was pretty thick, as he approached the bridge.  He stopped at once! To his shock and horror, it was no longer there. For several hours during the night a procession of motor vehicles had traversed that seemly familiar road to pending doom. In his panic he ran back to his car waving his flashlight and his arms to the passing motorist and cargo trucks proceeding on their route… Nothing, they just passed him by, to their demise.  Finally he got the attention of a trucker and together they were able to put out flares to signal the passing motorists. Slowly they were able to slow all traffic and notify the authorities of their anti-intubative efforts. In the morning with the rising of the dawn and the subsequent abatement of the foggy conditions, one could look into the ravine and see countless smashed vehicles. 

    God bless the gentleman and the trucker who was able to get the attention of further motorists and notify the local authorities. 

    (Lives were saved that foggy morning because of their commendable efforts.)

    Bacuse the spiritual bridge is out, many a victim has met their fate in the jaws of debilitating monolith masquerading as a legit   church ministry. The road was suppose to be clear?

    The people, only to find out too late, the bridge to Jesus was out. 

    Danger Ahead!

    Beware!

    Pending Doom ahead?

    (i’ze don’t like da crashing noises, hurts ma heart.

    (sadface)

    The bridge is out…I will light a flare for ya!

    hum, hum, dis lit’l light of mine, I’ze gonna let it shine…

    let it shine, let it shine, , let it shine!

    S“㋡”py
    ___
    P.S. “Go Wartburg!”
     

  188. Sopy, I totally agree. That is a very clear picture of spiritual deception

    what makes it even worse is that in this case some people deliberately blew up the bridge, and now have a big fog machine so they can make zillions from all the scrap metal in the wrecks. They are totally unconcerned that real people are being killed

  189. Sopy,

    That was an incredible word picture! How appropriate to apply to abusive ministries. We, along with our readers, are setting out flares for passersby. I hope they are seeing them and changing course.

  190. Beakerj wrote:

    Numo & The Nuns….can I get this on Kindle yet?

    Hahaha! Thank you for a smile to start off my morning.
    Numo, you have a fascinating history.

  191. LynnT, 

    We know by experience that anyone with outside friendships, close personal or strong outside family relationships were suspect (to this group of people) in the late 80′s, to early 90′s. We were invited and encouraged to attend local PDI services by a business associate in another state. We attended both the services and a local church home group in our community.  We were amazed at how none of these families pursued outside relationships of any kind. (That certainly was a red flag for us!)  These were folks with degrees, articulate and educated. Yet they no longer had the ability to think for themselves. Everyone seemed to climb over every one to be accepted. No stone was left unturned. 

    We were assigned to a couple in the church. We were expected to have a relationship with them.  We did not know this. As we obviously had no shareable interests, we were polite by un-engaged. The AhHa moment came when we were invited to their home for dinner, only to find their questions intimate, out of place, and in our opinion, out of line. Whoa, what  gives, we asked ourselves? We found that the simple things we shared, and our natural unwillingness to share personal things with a couple we did not know, were frowned upon. Apparently nothing was private with this group of church people we had encountered.  

    (We simply chocked it up as a most peculiar church culture, and politely and respectfully, moved on to another church fellowship after we were cautioned to do so by a discerning  member.) 

    [We are today very grateful for that cautionary advice.]

    We never looked back until the newspapers accounts and the blogs got our attention. We we were astonished.  Apparently  so many are sucked into this debilitating, and demeaning culture, emptied, injured, and later discarded.

    Now the monstrous truth  is seeing the light of day. With so many witnesses coming  forth to tell their personal grieving experiences (with this group of churches), how can the general public not take notice.

    Tall Stories?

    hmmm…

    Listen to the testimonies…

    No one could make this stuff up!

    (sadface)

    S“㋡”py

  192. I will never forget the time I was facilitating a training in this beautiful Catholic abbey like retreat out in the middle of nowhere. I was standing on this Gothic stone porch looking out over the countryside one afternoon just taking it all in and spotted, in the distance, a group of nuns in habits carrying 12 packs of Budweiser to what looked like a picnic outing. It was so incongruous with the setting I have kept that image in my head for years. It was delightful.

  193. ” The AhHa moment came when we were invited to their home for dinner, only to find their questions intimate, out of place, and in our opinion, out of line. Whoa, what gives, we asked ourselves? We found that the simple things we shared, and our natural unwillingness to share personal things with a couple we did not know, were frowned upon. Apparently nothing was private with this group of church people we had encountered. ”

    Warning alert! Nowadays people are sharing personal details on facebook, etc. Our children have been raised on reality tv, etc. So they may not have the innate warning signs go off when people want private details. More and more churches, para churches are doing small groups where it gets very personal. PLEASE warn your children and teens to be circumspect with this even in venues you have been in for a long time. It is so easy to “trust the group” when you are in it and teens have so little wisdom discernment. I am drilling this into my kids heads. It takes a long time to develop ONE such relationship. Never mind a room full of people. It is ridiculous what personal information people think you should share about yourself in such a setting.

    These is exactly the tactics used at Mars Hill for the discipline, remember?

  194. Playing Wit Matches? : “Has SGM Ignited Its Own Pyre?”

    Deb,

    HowDee!

    Fortunately, we were warned, and ‘heeded cautionary measures. (As so, no harm came to us except a general sense of non-acceptance.)

    Alas, others have not been as fortunate. (boy, is dat an understatement!)

    Thank you for your tireless efforts for snatching another, and another, and yet another brand from the PDI/SGM combustionable flame! 

    …and giving ‘voice’ to its countless victims. (sadface)

    *

    Has SGM ignited its own pyre?

    hmmm…

    could b.

    *

    hum, hum, hum, All hail da power of Jesus’s name Ye soldiers of the cross, Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him: 

    “Lord of all…”

    “Go Wartburg!”

    Yehaaaaaa!

    S“㋡”py

  195. Honestly, you’d be surprised how many weird corporal punishment messages exist even in mainstream Christendom, not just within super-controlling groups like SGM.

    I can’t remember the book title, but there was some devotional I read a few years ago (from what I remember, it was pretty popular and mainstream) which began every chapter with an anecdote about the author’s life. One anecdote was a “humorous” (I cannot put enough quote marks around that word so I won’t even try) story of a time when he had to spank one of his sons. He and his wife had a policy that they would not spank a child until the child voluntarily laid down and allowed them to. And, of course, because children are afraid of being spanked, his little son cried and cried for minutes on end, begging his dad to please not punish him. Instead of just turning his son over his knee immediately and getting it over with, the incident dragged on and on and ON. He recounts how his son waited so long to submit that finally he told his son that he would get even MORE spankings because he had waited too long. (WTF?)

    At this point in the story, his son got so scared that he threw up. Yes. This poor little kid THREW UP. This part of the story is actually, horrifyingly, related as being FUNNY. Haha, those mischievous kids, if he’d just done what I asked the first time I wouldn’t have scared him so badly that he had to throw up. (The kid still got the spanking at the end of the story, after he was done vomiting).

    I was extremely shocked to find this weird and completely unnecessary and almost twisted approach to punishment being not only presented in a mainstream devotional but related as being FUNNY and humorous and something that surely all parents can relate to (gag). The author came off as a smug idiot who wanted to control his kids and had no respect for their feelings. By the time you got to the end of the story, whether or not the kid deserved a spanking was irrelevant because the method was so ridiculous and overblown and, frankly, probably traumatizing for the kid.

  196. And, while I’m on the subject, I think that this overall notion of “winning” and breaking your kids’ will is present in mainstream Christendom, even though it may not be called “breaking their will” and may not be used to the same extreme ends as some patriarchal groups.

    For instance, I was reading another devotional (again, very popular, very mainstream) with a female author. She relates the story of a time that she had a “battle of wills” with her kid in front of a guest. The kid asks reasonably and politely for the mom to bend a rule just for one instance, and the mom immediately threatens punishment and sends the kid on her way with no chance of compromise.

    Now, the moral of the story ends up being somewhat okay, I guess…the guest who was present for this points out to the mom “Why do you have such a need to be right all the time?” and the mom realizes that she could have compromised with her child. The problem is, the whole thing is approached from the wrong angle. The mom realizes that she should learn to compromise because it’s a better character trait for her personally, and NOT because she needs to respect her kids’ feelings. In other words, “I should develop the personality trait of being nicer to my kids” rather than “My kids are people, too, and when they approach me in a reasonable way, it’s my duty as a fair parent to listen to them.”

    I find this problem so much in religious families (luckily not my own!). Kids are viewed as being someone to conquer, and parents are socially conditioned to be smug when they can strong-arm their kids out of contradicting them. How does this reflect how Christ taught us to treat each other? What does it tell those kids about God and how He feels about them?

  197. Raymond wrote:

    I don’t know what’s Carla’s status is as far as her current relationships with husband or siblings or even friends. But if someone I knew that was a sister or wife or even a very close friend or relative, came and shared with me such abuse that happened as an adult woman and had left such deep hurtful scares, the accused offender would have plenty more to worry about than getting a good attorney.

    This is a great comment. And you have to wonder about all these church leaders who spout such lofty things about what it means to be a man. They put all this energy into making sure everyone understands they know what church order is all about, that their brand of Christianity is where its at, that they’re so masculine. They promote being leaders at home and in the church because “God has called them to provide and protect.” In their role they assume the ultimate responsibility for the welfare of the women and children in their ranks because they’re so strong. And they know better.

    Masculine my foot. These men all need their asses kicked. Their banding together and continued silence is disgraceful. They’re not a bunch of masculine men in TGC. They’re a bunch of cowards.

  198. Evie,

    Actions speak much louder than words.

    Hey you ‘manly’ Calvinista men – you’ve captured our attention, and we’re definitely watching you.

  199. Sopwith wrote:

    only to find out too late, the bridge to Jesus was out. 
    Danger Ahead!
    Beware!
    Pending Doom ahead?
    (i’ze don’t like da crashing noises, hurts ma heart.
    (sadface)
    The bridge is out…I will light a flare for ya!

    Of course, when you light the flares, the Men In Black show up with a red-light-thingy: “Doze crashing noisez youz heard were swamp gas reflected off da planet Venus.”
    Then the counsel for the defense arrive, saying, “You can’t light a flare until you’ve seen the other side. Can’t see the other side in all this fog, can you, Huh? Huh? The first one to state the case seems right until the other side comes along…”

  200. I’ve been stewing about Raymond’s comment. His response is the kind we’d hear in normal society (secular). Real men don’t tolerate this behavior. Deb is exactly right. We cannot isolate this behavior with SGM. I’m struck that it was 4 women who spoke out in my church situation and got sued (+one adult son). Look at the SGM lawsuit= again primarily women. The environment is the same in these churches. They preach from the pulpit about men leading their families in all aspects. But what we often see is they may be leaders in their own family only to some degree, but they have essentially turned themselves and their families over to the church leaders for oversight. Thus, the church leader is the “man of the house.” This is how the secrets have been squelched and abuse has continued.

    We will miss the lessons if we view this lawsuit as only having to do with SGM. This is a culture. I am seeing this pattern among Calvinistas, independent bible churches, family integrated churches, in the homeschool movement, etc.

  201. @ Dave A A:

    Dave AA,

    HowDee!

    “…The first one to state the case seems right until the other side comes along…”

    hmmm…

    Bet your sweet @zz, the other side has come along…

    (grin)

    hahahahaha

    “Hay camino que parece derecho al hombre, pero de esa manera lleva a la muerte.”

    S“㋡”py

  202. Julie Anne wrote:

    They preach from the pulpit about men leading their families in all aspects. But what we often see is they may be leaders in their own family only to some degree, but they have essentially turned themselves and their families over to the church leaders for oversight. Thus, the church leader is the “man of the house.” This is how the secrets have been squelched and abuse has continued.

    We will miss the lessons if we view this lawsuit as only having to do with SGM. This is a culture. I am seeing this pattern among Calvinistas, independent bible churches, family integrated churches, in the homeschool movement, etc.

    When I think about the church leaders whose teaching/leading trumps the husband’s authority in the home, I think it ties in with a concept I learned long ago on recovery from sexual abuse/incest. It’ll take a few paragraphs to lay this out, but hope it makes sense and that the points are helpful …

    About 20 years ago in the “recovery movement,” I first heard the concept of “emotional incest.” This is where a parent lacks relational boundaries with their children. It’s not that they’re living their lives through their children, but that they behave as if their children are their own peers. This lack of letting their child be a child can end up creating an “adultified child” who then serves as the main emotional confidante for the parent. These children often become what is called a “surrogate spouse,” being relied on for emotional support of the parent, being privy to too much personal information shared by the parent, and being called upon to help make decisions that only adults should be making. Sometimes it turns from emotional incest into more sexual forms. Either way, it’s considered a form of abuse.

    What we’ve seen happen in churches run by authoritarian leaders is almost the reverse. It turns that concept of “adultified child” on its head to demote men and women to the status of “childified adults.” These men and women are not allowed freedom to discern for themselves, make decisions for themselves, or choose options and consequences to live with for themselves. All is done on their behalf, by church leaders who dictate what to do and how, when they should be equipping disciples to do these things for themselves.

    Their position of power gives malignant ministry leaders the so-called authority to govern adults’ lives. This is the essence of the Law, and systems of legalism, perfectionism, authoritarianism. It sets up pedagogues – which were, in the ancient Greek culture, authority figures in a home who were responsible for overseeing the children (typically, just the sons, if I remember right from Ancient Civ class). The sons were required to obey the pedagogue and do what they said. The pedagogue held the equivalent authority of the parent.

    In authoritarian church cultures, the leaders act as pedagogues, and their status as pedagogue over the church’s families violates the domains that belong to husbands and wives. The husbands in the member families are required to be subservient to their church overlord. So, the men are expected to act like “childified adults” in order to live in harmony with a false system of über-authority. And the wives are expected to listen to the leaders more than to their husbands … So, does this almost make the women into a “virtual harem” to the leaders, as an indication of these mens’ authoritarian power and spiritual virility?

    It simply does not have to become overtly sexual to be considered severely perverse.

  203. Slightly off-topic, but kinda relevant – I just happened to see a Facebook post by Paul Medler, who is some kind of administrator for SGM. He says: “meeting with Kevin DeYoung, John Piper, David Platt, Thabiti Anyabwile, Matt Schmucker & others discussing the launch of a new conference — at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.” Oh, pu-leeze, not ANOTHER conference!

  204. @ Moniker:

    No surprise, really. They want to influence the young men with their beliefs and then let them loose into churches as the next generation of leaders. They will get rid of the mature pastors in the process. CJ/SGM has been doing this for years and is continuing to do it. It is easier to control the young leaders who have been raised and schooled in the same authoritarian/complementarian atmosphere. And the wives are coming through the same paradigm as well. It’s all very convenient.

  205. @ brad/futuristguy:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for that insight!

    I just sent it to my husband. This is exactly what we went through. There must be other husbands/men out there who read these posts. It's an awful position to be in, and I'm not going to pretend what goes on in your hearts and minds. Some of you were just as abused as the women were. Please don't be ashamed to speak up. You offer a valuable perspective to this conversation.

  206. @ Julie Anne:

    “I’ve been stewing about Raymond’s comment. His response is the kind we’d hear in normal society (secular). Real men don’t tolerate this behavior.”

    I’ve had this experience over and over again with a number of issues. When Horrible Idea X is presented to either a non-Christian or a mainline Christian, they immediately recognize it as horrible and can tell you exactly why it is wrong. But when Horrible Idea X is presented to an evangelical, they argue and dance and equivocate and hem and haw about it, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Oy vey.

  207. @ BeenThereDoneThat:

    Glad that was of help, BeenThereDoneThat. It was Raymond who sparked that train of thought, with Julie Anne and others who saw the importance in what he was saying. Maybe what happens with the spiritual emasculation of men in systems of legalism will be a post sometime … TWW and other survivor blogs have had some great stuff about what happens with the men in complementarianism, but it seems like the SGM situation is bringing out out some new angles on a very old problem.

    Although I have not been part of an SGM church, I have seen similar things to what I described earlier happen in a church plant I was part of in the 1980s. There was a similiar profile of “indicators,” such as … the pastor teaches about people needing to grow up in the faith and act like adults, and (since this was a complementarian church) men needed to take charge and lead their families. At the same time, behind the scenes, the pastor did all kinds of things that undercut men from doing/becoming anything in the church. He would ask for suggestions and ideas – but then veto basically all of them. He would say how men needed to lead – but then he kept all authority to himself. He would hire men as his associates – but none lasted more than a couple of years.

    It all sounded “right” and “spiritual” and “biblical.” But despite anything and everything this pastor said about “getting strong in the Lord,” in everyday realities, he conditioned us as men, as adults, to be weak … and to yield to him and his “wisdom” and authority. And then he would criticize us for being weak. Go figure – you simply could not win and move forward in life. It made no [spiritual] sense – except in a sick-sick system where the commodity is power, and the game is authority-opoly – not growth to become Christlike. And that makes it anti-biblical, even if it occurs in a “religious”/”church” setting.

  208. @ brad/futuristguy:

    Brad your last two paragraphs are very powerful and I think quite relevant to the current thread on SGM Survivors. Would you be willing to copy and post them over there, or I can so it with your permission.

  209. @ Julie Anne:I do want to add that with all their patriarchal teaching, when it came time for the CLC pastors to manipulate my husband and I to write a Letter of Leniency to keep our daughter’s perp out of jail — they called me, the woman.

  210. Diane wrote:

    @ Numo
    “The Ft. Lauderdale Five are *very* much a part of the SGM story, no matter how things have been papered over in more recent years – that’s cosmetic at best. But people who came into the group post mid-late 80s are often unaware of the groups roots and past.”
    You are so smart to encourage people to look at the ROOTS of a organization. Sure, it can be a lot of work, but I am amazed at the connections I find.
    I am looking at this now-
    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:RKrT2TKCQa8J:deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/63926/1/williamson_david_2009.pdf+history+of+the+word+of+God+community&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgBMRdqbSGl5eN0tufGJFsAWbY5Xi5bF-adpkWKtzYqOcKrTiKqM-iUOuVg2eh4EpjUaqzTOE5eEtTLQR0B7YJhqvNARWAfGmEUcy9Oim9LognTtZ4fkd2xNQ6o2s1fM81EJR8s&sig=AHIEtbTC6gQnX7VhGYwZos-sdR6wwubjaw
    …because I read Larry Tomczak was involved somehow with the forming of RC charismatic shepherding communities…Word of God, Mother of God, under the umbrella org Sword of the Spirit. Very interesting.

    I came across the Fort Lauderdale Five while reading a book on the history of the Crossroads/Boston Movement. That was the first time I’d ever heard of the “shepherding movement”.

    During the years when the Boston Movement was active, they made a point of saying that the movement began in 1979 with Kip McKean. They failed to mention that their roots went back much farther, to the Crossroads Church of Christ in Gainesville.

    Revisionist history, anyone?

  211. @ Julie Anne:

    Sgmnot & Julie Anne -

    It’s possible that they chose to appeal to the “weaker vessel” (in their opinion) thinking it would be easier to get what they wanted. In other words, they were cowards and didn’t appeal to the head of the household ;) In my world, they should have appealed to both of you together.

  212. @ Evie:

    Evie, BTW, you said the men needed their asses kicked. I don’t know if you’ve ever read Raymond’s story. He was basically kicking a$$ at his church when he saw his pastor apparently getting out of paying lots of $$ for sewer permits. Raymond called him on it, but then got his a$$ kicked out of church in addition to losing his wife. His story is different than SGM, but is spiritually abusive. When I posted the original story, he used pseudonym, Paul.

    http://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2012/08/07/can-spiritual-abuse-destroy-a-marriage-pauls-story/

  213. I am a former member of a Sovereign Grace church and was taught these heavy handed child discipline/spanking practices. I stopped when my child was twelve and left the ministry completely then, too. It still sickens me that I allowed myself to be brainwashed in this manner. I believe the allegations refer to LT making the person in question fast and it is being described as witholding food. When I left I knew eventually this ministry would be exposed for what it was. I hope what is happening now results in this ministry no longer existing. I believe it has severely harmed many people.

  214. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    So, the men are expected to act like “childified adults” in order to live in harmony with a false system of über-authority. And the wives are expected to listen to the leaders more than to their husbands … So, does this almost make the women into a “virtual harem” to the leaders, as an indication of these mens’ authoritarian power and spiritual virility?

    Well, in herd animals the Alpha Male takes all the females as his harem and only tolerates juvenile males, driving out any other adult males as competition for the females…

  215. sad observer wrote:

    I find this problem so much in religious families (luckily not my own!). Kids are viewed as being someone to conquer, and parents are socially conditioned to be smug when they can strong-arm their kids out of contradicting them. How does this reflect how Christ taught us to treat each other? What does it tell those kids about God and how He feels about them?

    “The only goal of Power is POWER.”
    – Comrade O’Brian, Inner Party, Airstrip One, 1984

    And that the only reason God is God is He is more POWERful than anything else.

    “I CAN BEAT YOU UP! I CAN BEAT YOU UP! I CAN BEAT YOU UP!”

  216. Retha Faurie wrote:

    Searching said: “Little Timmy, you stole a cookie which is very bad. God says that stealing is wrong, and God also says that I am to punish you for the things you do wrong. I’m going to give you X number of spankings, and if you put your hand in the way or try to escape, I’ll give you X number more. I love you very much.” *WHACK WHACK WHACK WHACK* The child screams, the parent hugs the child and consoles them after moments before hitting them unmercifully.
    It’s more than f*cked up. The child learns to associate love with pain and guilt, and learns to view God as the big tyrant in the sky who loves you but WANTS to hurt you, for your own good.
    I completely believe that could give people a concept of God that make them want to be atheists. I wonder if that could not also be a precursor to accepting abusive partners and BDSM, as they believe that someone who purposefully hurt them could do it with love?

    More than effed up indeed. It’s been decades and I am still having to unravel a more than effed up theology and understanding of who God is. And what he wants from me. And how he will respond to me if I (gasp) make a mistake.

  217. sad observer wrote:

    He and his wife had a policy that they would not spank a child until the child voluntarily laid down and allowed them to. And, of course, because children are afraid of being spanked, his little son cried and cried for minutes on end, begging his dad to please not punish him. Instead of just turning his son over his knee immediately and getting it over with, the incident dragged on and on and ON. He recounts how his son waited so long to submit that finally he told his son that he would get even MORE spankings because he had waited too long. (WTF?)

    Just like the Stalin Purges, where it was not enough to liquidate the thought-criminal, but the thought-criminal must be broken before liquidation. Utterly broken, to where he begs for liquidation. In public. Only when his knee bows and his tongue confesses “Comrade Stalin Is LORD!” would the bullet enter the back of the neck.

  218. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Well, in herd animals the Alpha Male takes all the females as his harem and only tolerates juvenile males, driving out any other adult males as competition for the females…

    Well … and there yuh go …

    So, “Beta Testing” takes on a whole new meaning when the Alpha Male overseer is in charge.

  219. I was reading some of Julie Anne’s comments defending the abused on Todd Rhoades’ website. This guy Chris is trying to warn Julie Anne and Todd about calling this sexual abuse. Julie Anne does him the favour of telling him what the lawsuit alleged, and that Larry forced his woman to pull off her panties. And this is what this man says to Julie AFTER having been given the info (trigger alert):

    Chris
    January 18, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Julie Anne,

    I type a longer response but crashed before I published. I am running short on time….so cleft notes will have so suffice. I did not read the lawsuit, only Todd’s article. I’m not a SGM follower, so really have no dog in the hunt.

    In the OT and NT there is a very careful system to ensure against spurious allegations at easy targets and leaving some judgements completely out of the hands of men and placing them straight in Gods hands. I have been a Pastor for 19 years. My younger brother is in the Corrections industry for almost as long. We have vivid conversations. There is in our culture a demonification of men who are accused of anything remotely sexual and a victimization of women. Just survey the sex scandals in schools Woman can admit to act and get lesser penalties. Men can be accused and vindicated, but are still vilified. There are many men damaged for life from a spurious allegation. As such, I would use great care in associating spanking and sexual items.

    If what you reported about the removal of undergarments by a 25 yr old is accurate. The problem is much deeper on both parts, hers and his.
    Reply

  220. Sorry, I hit enter too fast.

    I cannot in my mind, understand why this Chris person would think that there is a problem on the side of the woman (ed. chg)? If appears to me that he is also attributing some of the blame to her? Am I reading this wrongly?

  221. ” cannot in my mind, understand why this Chris person would think that there is a problem on the side of the victim (ed. name change)? If appears to me that he is also attributing some of the blame to her? Am I reading this wrongly?

    I used to read the stopbaptistpredators website quite a bit and this idea…from pastors no less….. of women falsly accusing men is a big one. We all know that is such a miniscule part of the problem and the bigger part is what is NOT reported for years. But anyway, it is part of the male Christian culture to promote this view on any blog that speaks of abuse.

    What they really want you to do is stop talking about it. He was simply using the censoring by using shame tactic.

    The reality is it is very hard to convict and prosecute for sexual crimes and abuse. Most abusers never see inside a jail. They get sentenced to anger counseling, EPO’s, etc.

  222. Trina

    Thank you for pointing this response out. I agree with your interpretation. I can assure you that this pastor is part of the problem of uncovering abuse in this country. he is one of the silent ones. I fear for any child or woman who went to him with a report of abuse.

    I made one tiny change to your comments. I removed one word that might lead to the identity of this woman. I know that it is obvious to many but I am abiding with her wishes on the matter. I hope you don’t mind. This is such an upsetting time dealing with the SGM stuff.

  223. @ Trina:
    If you’re reading it wrong then so am I. That’s a misleading conclusion that these abuses could be false, because some men have been falsely accused. Statistics show that 54% of rapes go unreported.
    http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates
    I think it’s best for the courts to decide based on the evidence presented. And, from what we’re seeing, the evidence doesn’t lean in favor of his opinion.

  224. Dee–

    OH, it’s no problem. I didn’t even think of it when I wrote it. YOu are right. Yes, I would like to honor her request as well.

    The only other way I could have looked at Chris’ response was to say that the problem with the woman was that she felt that she had to allow this to happen. Whereas I could agree that this IS a problem in and of itself, but the response implies that she is part of the problem and has equal responsibility for being abused. To me, that is just HEARTLESS. It also shows how ignorant this Chris person is of abuse victims and the mentality that comes along with it.

    Why is there always a point in this type of Christian culture to say that both people have responsibility or wrong in a situation. We all know that is really not true. BUt the more I see it, the more I feel that there are more hardened dangerous people in the church than safe ones.

    I dont want to get into anymore of my personal history here because it is very extremely painful. But the one thing that was so bad about my childhood other than my mother allowing my father to abuse me, was that members of my family and our church that I told or who even knew, did nothing. THAT did even more damage that the abuse itself, because it confirmed that I was fundamentally bad and evil. Which then follows why I had a frequent obsession of thinking that the world was ending and that I was going to hell. In addition to that, I used to “get saved” all the time. I dont know how many altar calls I’ve been up to in order to “get saved” because I really didn’t believe that God would ever accept me. How could he when the very things my father pointed out in his word to justify abusing me made it appeared that God agreed. So much for that.

    I tell you this, your children can ultimately forgive you. BUt I have no real compassion or love for my father. I never have. And I have no intentions on caring for him if he should become ill. He is still very evil and derranged and I’d be more than happy to put him in a home and move on with my life. I know that may sound hateful to many, and even unforgiving, but I have stopped caring what others think about my relationship with my father. THey didn’t have him as a father. And in addition, they haven’t had to suffer the results of abuse even as an adult. It is remarkable what I’ve been able to achieve in life, healing included.

    I often struggle to see where God was in any of that and sometimes feel it was of my own doing. But that’s an argument for another day… Regardless, I am overall happy and content and excited about life. BUt never ask me to be a child again. Never.

  225. @ Trina:

    I don’t see how you can call it simply “spanking” when it has gone on for 25 years. There is nothing normal or simple about it. It is abnormal and lording in a most derogatory way.

    Chris has his head in the sand.

  226. I dont know that I agree that it’s time for Brent to step to the side or in the shadows because if there was ANY responsibility on his part, then why would anyone want that to be hidden. In addition, I would hope that if he had any detailed documentation on any of these sexual assaults and offenses, that his documentation could be subpoenaed.

  227. Why is there always a point in this type of Christian culture to say that both people have responsibility or wrong in a situation. We all know that is really not true.

    Trina -

    I believe this is often inferred because of the concept of original sin and people who continue to say that “I/you are the worst sinners we know.” It is an attempt to level the field and say that we all sin equally. Of course, simple logic refutes this claim. You and I are not serving a life sentence for murder, while some are. The statement is often used to deter people from judging. But, again, the “do not judge” phrase is misused because we do have to judge between good and evil and we do it all the time — the court systems are set up specifically “to judge.” These are instances of people twisting scripture for their own purposes.

  228. @ Julie Anne:
    Julie Anne,

    I agree wholeheartedly! These questions are VERY uncomfortable, but they are a reality. And I believe there was definite sexual gratification on his part. THere’s a reason why (and I hate this word as it gets abused and overused) modesty is also important in the home. Not that men cant control themselves, but it is entirely inappropriate for a father to see his developed daughter naked. I know men who are entirely uncomfortable with seeing their youngest daughters naked. In fact, I know tons of men who are not really comfortable with that. They understand her body to be HER body, and really respect that. And that doesn’t say it’s wrong for fathers to see underdeveloped daughters naked. BUt my point is just that most men are repulsed by the idea. Why was Larry not repulsed by seeing this woman naked? Why did crossing that threshold not make him entirely uncomfortable and skeezed out?

  229. Trina wrote:

    BUt I have no real compassion or love for my father. I never have. And I have no intentions on caring for him if he should become ill. He is still very evil and derranged and I’d be more than happy to put him in a home and move on with my life. I know that may sound hateful to many, and even unforgiving, but I have stopped caring what others think about my relationship with my father.

    This does not sound hateful or unforgiving- it sounds like good boundaries. I am encouraged that you are able to establish and keep such boundaries.

  230. dee wrote:

    I made one tiny change to your comments. I removed one word that might lead to the identity of this woman.

    Dee, you should note that Anon 1′s comment quoted that portion and is still reflecting the original version.

  231. Trina wrote:

    The problem is much deeper on both parts, hers and his.

    Disgusting comment, unless by “problem” he means the effects that this has on her, because she’ll spend her life cleaning up this mess (because he sure won’t fix it). But I’m not naive enough to think that is what the comment meant.

    It’s more of the Nouthetic “Yes, but how have YOU sinned?” stuff that is a blight upon Christian counseling.

  232. Hester wrote:

    “God, the Rod, and Your Child’s Bod”? That has to be the absolute WORST title for a Christian discipline book ever. Disturbing and cheesy at the same time.

    Has all the signs of an overly-clever “See How Clever I Am?” title.

  233. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    This is one of the biggest struggles I have. I expect God to punish me for simply not being good enough. And every time something bad happens (like my car breaking down yesterday, or dropping a can on my bare foot) my default mental reaction is to start searching me recent past for some infraction that is the cause for this ‘punishment.’ I know neither of these things were, but my mind still defaults there.

    Still happens to me sometimes. Not as much as many years ago, but still on occasion. In my case, it seems to be a Christianese overlay on an existing Expectation of Utter Perfection from growing up as A Kid Genius. (No matter how much I do, it never feels like enough — “Couldn’t you have done THIS, too?”) Plus, I very vaguely remember my mother’s voice going “See! That’s how God Punishes You!” when I had some sort of childhood accident like bumping my head.

  234. Rafiki wrote:

    Then I quickly realized what a bummed-out degenerate I was and that SURELY my bad attitude toward the song was a total confirmation of the fact that most likely I was not one of the elect.
    At that point I might have chimed in on a verse or two to try to “snap out of it!” Pretty silly mental gymnastics, huh?

    The Moonies call that “Thoughtstopping” and the “verse or two” mantra used the “Thoughtstopper”. In X-Treme Islam, the default Muslim praise-phrase “Al’lah’u Akbar” (lit “The-God is Most-Great”) often gets used that way. And if the Thoughtstopper doesn’t work, repeat it LOUDER.

  235. Evie wrote:

    I cannot emphasize the relentless force feeding. It was non-stop. Over and over and over we were told:
    CJ was HUMBLE

    “LONG LIVE BIG BROTHER!”

    CJ was AUTHENTIC

    “LONG LIVE BIG BROTHER!”

    CJ was a GIFTED LEADER

    “LONG LIVE BIG BROTHER!”

    CJ was a GREAT HUSBAND

    “LONG LIVE BIG BROTHER!”

    CJ was a GREAT FATHER

    “LONG LIVE BIG BROTHER!”

  236. anon 1 wrote:

    if you actually read the documents it was like reading the interactions of Jr High boys who were clones of Eddy Haskell on Leave it to Beaver.

    I looked up Eddie Haskell on Wikipedia.

    I grew up with an Eddie Haskell in my family. Except this RL Eddie Haskell was a psychological manipulator and abuser.

    Now I know why to me politeness is the Mark of a Sociopath.

  237. Bridget, I’m glad you reminded me/us about sins not being equal. On 9/11 and again on the Newtown shootings, i kept thinking how awful I was for not praying hard enough. And HUG, I have also heard that thing about God punishing in small ways, but then I remember God is not monitoring my minutiae. No offense to the title God of the Mundane!

    On a side note, can you pray for me and my family? My father died today, after 15 years of Parkinson’s disease.

  238. VelvetVoice, I am so sorry for your loss. I am asking God to comfort and strengthen you and your family at this sad time.

  239. Bridget

    I, for one, have decided to believe CJ in this one area. I am going to let him be the worst sinner he knows. I assume he knows what he is talking about. :)

  240. @ Phoenix:
    That guy is a weasel!
    “Tomczak told Charisma this was a “disciplinary . . . issue” and it involved a “troubled . . . member.” He denied all allegations of physical abuse.”
    That was so predictable. This person was just “troubled.” It’s her fault. And spanking an adult female on the bare buttocks is “disciplinary.” Larry, you need to brush up on the law. It’s called assault. Tell your story to the judge who does know the law.

  241. @BTDT

    Yes, I wouldn’t buy a used car from him, and Mrs. T is no innocent wifey, either. Interestingly, though, I heard a confession there. And he still stands by his teaching on corporal punishment.

  242. Been There

    If this all pans out in the way that I think it will, Tomczak will be the one who is considered “troubled.” Embarrassing days ahead for him. This will not sell well in the press. Can you imagine the comments that will fly?

  243. Larry’s current book on corporal punishment isn’t available on Amazon; but while I was looking for it this came up.

    Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse [Paperback]
    Philip J. Greven

    LT is mentioned several times in the book.

  244. @Dee,

    I don’t think Larry and Doris have any idea how normal people will react. I don’t think they know any. Their children certainly haven’t been allowed to be normal. They were even more PDI/SGM aristocracy than CJ and Carolyn until CJ’s coup and it didn’t take LT long to find another bubble.

    Larry may have been a victim of CJ’s; but he certainly wasn’t an innocent victim. I’ve always thought Larry was just as much of a skeeze as CJ; just better looking, slicker, and more able to appear normal. He is a very gifted speaker and if CJ ever had that gift he has lost it.

    Then again, when all the truth is out people may shudder rather than laugh.

  245. dee wrote:

    Been There
    Can you imagine the comments that will fly?

    If it’s anything like the comments that fly on TWW, it will be a deluge. :-)

  246. Phoenix

    It all has the flavor of an evangelical form of the Godfather. These guys all screw one another and then call it faith, or better yet, “The Family.”

  247. @ dee: ah, but that’s not the same thing as The Family, aka The Fellowship. (cf. Jeff Sharlet’s excellent book.)

    However, since they’re all in bed with each other anyway…. (I’m having some amusing thoughts that I will not type here. ;))

  248. In the end, you will see this whole “testimony” is nothing but a rouse from a mentally challenged individual that has nothing to do with justice for misdeeds (that are false), but promised monetary compensation to feed a history lacking personal responsibility and outright lies to achieve public sympathy.

  249. Someone who actually knows something wrote:

    In the end, you will see this whole “testimony” is nothing but a rouse from a mentally challenged individual that has nothing to do with justice for misdeeds (that are false), but promised monetary compensation to feed a history lacking personal responsibility and outright lies to achieve public sympathy.

    Blame the victim, defend the perpetrator, I see. * * * * * TROLL ALERT * * * * * *

  250. @ Someone who actually knows something:
    Unfortunately, you have shown no empathy for the individual in question. You have essentially called her “mentally challenged.” I have heard this tactic before in another church which questioned the sanity of a young man who reported a sexually charged incident involving a church worker. Such ignorance led to the molestation of far more victims until he was caught by the police.

    If you gave a hoot, which I don’t think you do, you would show some modicum of empathy.

    Also, you are making a claim that a crime occurred. You have stated that said victim filed false charges in order to make money. If this individual was bribed, this could be a federal crime. So, are you really saying this? Why have you not alerted the police to this crime?

    Be careful, your name could be subpoenaed if you have information about bribery…

  251. Julie Anne

    Said person is claiming a crime occurred. Bribery for a false testimony I believe  can be considered a major offense. I hope said person knows what they are saying. They could be supoenaed.

  252. Of course, you’re right, Dee. What’s nice about WordPress is that you have ISP and e-mail address that you could turn over to Attorney Susan Burke if need be. Hopefully this was just a fly-by comment. We’ll see.

  253. My parents, particularly my father, were vilified in our church for not only refusing to spank us but for preaching from the pulpit against spanking. One Sunday, after many members of the church had been out on the Saturday to hear a ‘big preacher’ from America (LT!), my dad stood up and said ‘In the hands of a good father a rod should not be necessary; in the hands of a bad father it should not be allowed’.
    So, I was blessed that I felt safe at home but still now, even though I was asked to leave the church (long, awful story…) 15 years ago, I still suffer the after effects of being raised in a shepherding-heavy abusive church. I keep most people at arms length emotionally whilst having seemingly no boundaries on how much personal information I reveal to total strangers. I have raised 3 kids without any clear idea of how to give them moral guidance, other than constantly admitting to them that I really don’t know much and trying to work it out together. To their credit my older teens are well liked and respected, thank God!
    When I search the Internet for folk-like-me I find other church survivors networks, but not mine. There were 30,000 people at the Bible Weeks in the UK at the height but no trace of complaint on the net. I can’t be the only one out there?

    @ Julie Anne:

  254. Annie,

    Welcome to TWW, and thanks for your testimony.  I’m gonna do some research on Bible Weeks in the UK.  If you ever feel compelled to share your story here at TWW, just send us an email.

    So glad your kids have turned out well.   

  255. @ AnnieUKgal:I have an idea. Let me put the name of this group at the top of our home page for a few days and see if anyone has any information.
    This has me thinking…perhaps we could start a page that people could list what church they belonged to and some way to contact one another-perhaps through our blog email.

  256. @ AnnieUKgal:
    Hi Annie. I don’t know any “Bible Weeks survivors”, but I do remember hearing a lot about Bible Weeks years ago when Larry, CJ, and probably other SGM leaders would go there to preach. Didn’t Terry Virgo and Arthur Wallis have major roles in the Bible Weeks? It was basically a big campout/Jesus festival, right?

  257. AnnieUKgal,

    Now that I think about it, some years ago a gal I used to know (who studied in the UK) would often mention “Stoneleigh Bible Week”. It seemed to be very important to her. I look forward to doing some research into this.

  258. @ AnnieUKgal:
    Thank you for your suggestion. I’ll look into that. It’s encouraging that your own children turned out so well.

    I’m so sorry you had the misfortune of experiencing an abusive, shepherding church. Its effects are rather difficult to shake. I hope you can find other former members to connect with. But, if you’ve read enough of the posts and comments here on TWW, you know you aren’t odd for feeling the way that you do. There are enough similarities in all of these controlling churches to make this blog a tremendous support for anyone who has experienced spiritual abuse. Welcome.

  259. Thank you for your responses. :o)

    Funnily enough, the Bible Week (Stoneleigh) and people (Terry Virgo, Arthur Wallis) that you’ve mentioned were major parts of my childhood but were the least damaging of my experiences, I think. Some ‘middle management’ within Virgo’s church were pretty awful at it was from his church that I was asked to leave but he himself always seemed pretty genuine to me. I think his middle management concerned him too at times. Perhaps I’m exhibiting a religious version of Stockhom syndrome in defending him and Stoneleigh…?! They were, after all, the ones fighting my dad for claiming spanking wasn’t necessary or helpful.

    My damage, I feel, was linked to the heavier teachings of Covenant Ministries, Harvest time and Dales Bible Weeks, leaders like Bryn and Keri Jones and Tony Ling. That’s where I was constantly told I had an attitude problem and was unteachable when, in reality, I was just being a questioning child wanting to learn.

    I wanted to find other people who were struggling under the same teachings. It’s difficult to explain to a secular counsellor that you had been told so many times that God’s protection would be withdrawn from you if you left the church without the leader’s agreement that once you did leave you only planned for the next month at a time because you expected to die at any moment! Nice to find others that understand that’s somewhat logical, rather than crazy! So, thanks for asking around for others.