John Smyth Allegedly Led Meetings in the Nude and Wouldn’t Let Boys at Camp Wear Underwear

“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.”― Dave Pelzer, A Child Called “It” link


Westminster Abbey

On Monday, I was in Washington DC at a meeting with a couple of members of the Episcopal hierarchy and Eric Bonetti. I am not at liberty to discuss what was discussed at this time. However, reconciliation between Eric Bonetti and involved parties, including his priest, is progressing. Eric has been heard and understood. I hope to be able to write a post about this soon because I think evangelicals can learn quite a bit about how to handle conflict from our Episcopal brothers and sisters.

I did alert that folks present at the meeting that PJ Smyth is the pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland just in case the Archbishop of Canterbury might be interested. (Talk about timing!)

Some of the issues involved

The Deebs believe this could be amongst the worse cases of child abuse that we have covered and we plan to keep everyone abreast of the developments.This situation in getting international attention. First there were allegation from campers in the UK. Then, serious allegations surfaced in Zimbabwe.

  • serious physical abuse,
  • probable sexual abuse,
  • possible racism since  the abuser(s) were white and some victims were black.
  • a drowning death,
  • an attempted suicide,
  • international attention with ties to the US
  • a son who came to  the US and took the job as senior pastor at CJ Mahaney’s old church (Covenant Life Church) and
  • victims who have been marginalized by the church and Christian organizations

Spanking and imposed nudity on young teen campers is not simple physical abuse.

As you will hear in the link to this video, (we are having trouble embedding them) the allegations go beyond serious physical abuse if that can be imagined. Here are a few of the allegations.

  • Boys were not allowed to wear underwear at the camp
  • John Smyth would stand near the showers in the nude when boys were taking showers.
  • John Smyth would give prayer meeting in the nude.
  • Smyth used corporal punishment while the boys were nude.

So, besides the serious beating that took place, there was an element that I believe was sexual. I would not be surprised if allegation of sexual molestation surface. Also, I doubt that such behavior suddenly ceased so I believe there will be more recent allegation. If these allegations are true, and I believe they are, then John Smyth is one sick cookie.

PJ Smyth “I saw nothing!”

In spite of a close relationship with his father, PJ (not to be confused with CJ, especially since the subject matter has eerily the same) denies knowing anything about the abuse that went on at these camps. We believe that more information will be coming out on this matter in the coming weeks and we will keep our readers posted. We find it hard to believe that PJ knew nothing.

It is not beyond the pale to ask if PJ ever suffered abuse at the hands of his father. These sorts of behaviors rarely show up suddenly and often escalate over time.

Covenant Life Church claims nothing came up in their vetting of PJ Smyth.

Here are some questions that I think the leaders of CLC  should have asked prior to hiring PJ. Given their rather questionable history, surely they would have thought of this.

  • “Have you ever knowingly observed abuse of any underage person and not reported it?”
  • “Have you ever participated, after reaching your majority, in any activity that could be construed as abusive?”
  • “Why have you decided to come to the States? Are you leaving behind any unresolved issues? 

In the meantime, here is Todd Wilhelm’s latest post PJ Smyth’s Open Letters – A Work in Progress

Special thanks to Todd Wilhelm for allowing to reprint his post.

Todd has been working incredibly hard behind the scenes and has made some valuable contacts. Please visit the link in order to view related videos.

My therapist likes to keep thing simple, which is useful for me. She tells me that there is a triangle in abuse: the ‘abuser’, the ‘victims’ and the ‘observers’ (observers are people who knew but never reported appropriately). I personally find it quite easy to think about John Smyth, the abuser. The victims too. But considering the observers is much, much more difficult. Technically speaking, as a victim, I am ‘excused’ from being an observer (no matter how much I feel like one) but the observers in the John Smyth case include my closest family, everyone who has supported me throughout the years.

They also include all the individuals in all the institutions who also know the story but did not report appropriately. Mark Ruston, your friend, in 1982, when he wrote his report in 1982 became an observer because he wrote that he believed that a criminal act had been committed and he was one of the many people, almost 35 years ago, who failed to report to the police. A decision that had terrible consequences. But a particularly well-informed one.

You, archbishop are also an observer. How and when you became one I know that you will want to tell me. And here’s the difficulty about being an observer. You have to ask yourself. “I knew about John Smyth. I become aware about some of the things that this abuser did, I have ‘observed’ them. Can I look myself in the mirror and honestly say that I did everything I could to report to the correct authority all the things that I knew? Did I give the people who might bring the abuser to justice every scrap of information that they might need? And, if I didn’t, then thinking very carefully about this – whose side have I been on, all this time? The side of the victims. Or the side of the abuser?”

It’s a very troubling position to find yourself in. I totally understand this and that was why, when Cathy Newman interviewed me after the showing of Channel 4’s second news report, I said on camera that I wanted to give you some time to reconsider the statements that you’ve made. I’d like to believe that you will find somewhere where you can be alone, without the advice of anyone else other than your own conscience and God. And when you have decided that you would like to talk, I’m now actually thinking that it’s not really important that we meet. In fact, there’s no reason for us to meet at all. Better not to. Because I know that everything that you tell me, you would happily say to the whole world.

Best wishes, and as we victims of John Smyth are always saying to each other – ‘I hope you’re okay’.
The Telegraph (Link)



Dear PJ Smyth: Can you look yourself in the mirror and honestly say you did everything you could to expose John Smyth?

PJ Smyth -Todd
PJ Smyth (Todd Wilhelm’s blog)

You, [PJ Smyth]  are also an observer. How and when you became one I know that you will want to tell me. And here’s the difficulty about being an observer. You have to ask yourself. “I knew about John Smyth. I become aware about some of the things that this abuser did, I have ‘observed’ them. Can I look myself in the mirror and honestly say that I did everything I could to report to the correct authority all the things that I knew? Did I give the people who might bring the abuser to justice every scrap of information that they might need? And, if I didn’t, then thinking very carefully about this – whose side have I been on, all this time? The side of the victims. Or the side of the abuser?” (Todd Wilhelm)

PJ Smyth has now published three “Open Letters.”  He has yet to speak truthfully. You can expect there will be at least one additional “Open Letter,” perhaps more. In due time the truth will be revealed. We shall see just how “firmly committed to reporting any form of child abuse to the authorities” PJ has been.

“If religion cannot tell the truth about itself, it has nothing to say. Hypocrisy – professing one thing and performing the opposite – is the greatest moral violation. In approaching the crisis of clergy abuse, truth must be the preeminent goal. Truth – wherever found, however discovered, whatever it exposes – must be the agenda for any exploration of abuse by clergy. Anything that impedes unflinching directness, honesty, or clear unambiguous communication and confrontation of the facts will perpetuate the secret system in which abuse can continue and flourish.

All concerned citizens have a stake in the honesty of religious leaders. They should be a moral and cultural resource. Religion needs the help of all concerned women and men. Everyone is victimized by a system that fosters or tolerates abuse. It is not unholy or unseemly to be vitally interested in the performance of moral leaders. If religion was taught anything by the German holocaust of the Jews it is that standing by silently does not absolve from guilt. Institutional structures and behaviors are not above question or challenge.”
A.W. Richard Sipe, “Sex, Priests and Power,” page 45

Open Letter From PJ Smyth on February 4, 2017

2nd Open Letter on February 4, 2017 PJ Smyth Addressing Questions

Third Letter Addressing UK Media Reports 2/4/17

(Can PJ Smyth answer the same questions asked of the Archbishop?)

“I wanted to give you some time to reconsider the statements that you’ve made. I’d like to believe that you will find somewhere where you can be alone, without the advice of anyone else other than your own conscience and God. And when you have decided that you would like to talk, I’m now actually thinking that it’s not really important that we meet. In fact, there’s no reason for us to meet at all. Better not to. Because I know that everything that you tell me, you would happily say to the whole world.

Best wishes, and as we victims of John Smyth are always saying to each other – ‘I hope you’re okay’.”

Stay tuned. There will be more coming shortly.

Comments

John Smyth Allegedly Led Meetings in the Nude and Wouldn’t Let Boys at Camp Wear Underwear — 153 Comments

  1. I don’t understand how Smythe avoided justice for so long. For example, how can a man flee a country after a charge of culpability in the death of a 16-year-old and go to another country to avoid justice and get away with it? Aren’t there extradition treaties between Zimbabwe & South Africa? As Herbert, the Zimbabwean prosecutor who was removed from the case, said in the Channel 4 interview, why wasn’t another prosecutor assigned to the case? Why didn’t Zimbabwe pursue the matter?

  2. Couple of observations after going over the post and materials.

    1- Thanks, Deebs and Todd for this heart-wrenching story that must be addressed.

    2 – Apparently the Evangelical Church moves its perpetrators around like the Catholic Church did/does with their priests. Thus, instead of dealing with the problem, they are spreading the problem. The law of compounding returns, in this case, with the end result of spreading suffering and evil.

    3 – The family members of the original perpetrators who witnessed yet cover up, bring to mind the wife of Jerry Sandusky, Dottie, who claimed she knew nothing even about the abuse of their own adopted son, Matt. Dottie blew kisses to her husband the perp during the court case.

  3. “He has yet to speak truthfully”.

    Really? Does Todd have additional information or was that just a judgement?

    Eagle, Todd, JLC on his site and Wartburg have made it a life’s work reporting on CLC and yet all are outsiders who have no first-hand knowledge of any of this, yet make one statement of “fact” after another. It gets tiring. No one is listening anymore.

    Todd has no more knowledge than any of us on here.

    Yet nobody chases the scandal at Immanuel mentioned on Survivors. If you’re going to get a cause, at least get a real one.

    Not saying Smythe’s victim’s stories are not real. They sound like they are. But neither you nor I have any idea what PJ knew and when he knew it.

  4. Father pastors set up their sons to join them in pastoring, setting them up to take over the family mantle of pastoring.

    [Do NOT get me started on how the Levitical priesthood is not a New Covenant provision, nor is it the Lord’s appointed plan for church pastors to inherit a mantle of pastoring – because it is a gift of the Spirit and not a matter of DNA….]

    So the father sets up his son to take over the family calling to pastor.
    The father falls.
    The wife/son knows about it.

    But to spill the beans, the wife/son would have to admit to themselves that the family mantle is tarnished.

    The calling is tarnished.
    Fraudulent.
    Sinfilled.

    What has the son inherited but a false facade?

  5. This is just terrible.

    I also just read a story about a pastor(ish) who gave a five year old gonorrhea. So I’m a little maxed out on disgust.

  6. Lea wrote:

    a pastor(ish) who gave a five year old gonorrhea.

    It seems that, for some, being a pastor is being provided with access.

    Whereas in the Bible, pastoring is a responsibility.

  7. Really wrote:

    Really? Does Todd have additional information or was that just a judgement?

    Well, in fact he does. Lots more. Let’s just say he is waiting for the right moment and the reason will be explained.
    Really wrote:

    yet all are outsiders who have no first-hand knowledge of any of this,

    Well, actually we might have far more info than you.

    Really wrote:

    No one is listening anymore.

    I only wish you were right. Then I could retire and hang around, reading and cooking. Have you seen how many hits our blog gets? Good night! ROFL.

    Really wrote:

    Yet nobody chases the scandal at Immanuel mentioned on Survivors. If you’re going to get a cause, at least get a real one.

    We are not fans of Survivors. They are always insulting us so we don’t read there much anymore. We are planning on helping the ex SGM folks who visit our blog in the near future.

  8. Remnant wrote:

    But to spill the beans, the wife/son would have to admit to themselves that the family mantle is tarnished.

    The calling is tarnished.
    Fraudulent.
    Sinfilled.

    What has the son inherited but a false facade?

    And thus, they come to a fork in the road: one way requires truth, the other way you live “as if” something was true. The difference between heaven and hell.

  9. Really wrote:

    They sound like they are. But neither you nor I have any idea what PJ knew and when he knew it.

    This is why perverts get away with this stuff. The naivety I see on the part of some folks is rather astounding.

    Never forget, Mrs Sandusky knew nothing as well….. But maybe you believe her because she just said it.

  10. I am glad that our laws are changing/statutes of limitations. In my state (California) the rape laws were changed so that there is no more statute of limitations (like murder).

    I wonder what can be done for these victims, criminally and civilly.

  11. “I did alert that folks present at the meeting that PJ Smyth is the pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland just in case the Archbishop of Canterbury might be interested. (Talk about timing!)”

    DEE, the ‘timing’ seems to me more providential, as the older I get the less I believe in ‘coincidence’; but in any case, good job

  12. On the Healing Journey wrote:

    I don’t understand how Smythe avoided justice for so long. For example, how can a man flee a country after a charge of culpability in the death of a 16-year-old and go to another country to avoid justice and get away with it? Aren’t there extradition treaties between Zimbabwe & South Africa? As Herbert, the Zimbabwean prosecutor who was removed from the case, said in the Channel 4 interview, why wasn’t another prosecutor assigned to the case? Why didn’t Zimbabwe pursue the matter?

    When I saw the name Herbert, considering the nature of the case, I of course thought of….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6uRQ0uslcM

  13. Really wrote:

    Eagle, Todd, JLC on his site and Wartburg have made it a life’s work reporting on CLC and yet all are outsiders who have no first-hand knowledge of any of this,

    Silence everyone!!! You don’t have all the facts!!!
    Are you related to “crumbled” who commented over at Todd’s blog “You have no relationship or experience with CLC and it is very obvious you have no idea what you are talking about.” If so please try harder and supply a useful critique, at least point out inconsistencies or errors, this type of silencing comment is tiring.

  14. Keep the heat turned up TWW…
    The more folks know, the likelihood of them getting caught in the gravitational pull of this sick and twisted religion is greatly reduced.

  15. To say I am gobsmacked is the understatement of the century. Not allowing underwear? Meetings on the nude? Standing naked near the boys’ showers?

    Whaaa-???

    I’m speechless. There are no words to express my disgust and anger that this illegitimate offspring of a cockeyed camel ( courtesy: Mind Your Language) will now be held up by the world as the “representative” of the evangelical world.

    And so they should. What gospel can we reasonably take to the world before we clean up our own Aegean stables first?!

  16. @ On the Healing Journey:

    I did an analysis of the situation in this post below. Zimbabwe is quite corrupt. Transparency Index which ranks all countries by corruption ranks them at 154 out of 176. The failed nation-state of Somalia is 176. I would be willing to bet there was corruption, perhaps a bribe or something like that occurring. In the course of time we will get more information.

    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/an-overview-of-the-situation-with-john-symth-and-the-disturbing-allegations-in-the-united-kingdom-and-zimbabwe/

  17. JYJames wrote:

    2 – Apparently the Evangelical Church moves its perpetrators around like the Catholic Church did/does with their priests. Thus, instead of dealing with the problem, they are spreading the problem. The law of compounding returns, in this case, with the end result of spreading suffering and evil.

    Moving difficult people around happens in all kinds of organizations, both sacred and secular. That’s why people are so often found to have abused people at multiple sites. Sometimes the perps move on before they are caught, and sometimes they give off a bad vibe, and although people are suspicious, they pass them on to someone else before the scandal breaks.

    I was part of a church years ago where it turned out the pastor was having an affair. It also came to light that he had affairs in his two previous churches, and the one he went on to from mine. Leadership knew, but they didn’t want to deal with it. Other churches of our denomination, where he had been ordained, also knew, but since our churches were each “self-governing” no one would do anything. It seems if you have been ordained in a denomination, that your ordination should be revoked. Someone finally made enough noise that he was removed from the denomination, but it took 20 years. He then went on to another church. He recently passed away, and I often wonder how much damage may come to light someday.

  18. Even the title of this blog makes me sick to my stomach. I’m not surprised that some of the young men who endured that abuse considered suicide as an escape. So strange that it was not exposed sooner. How could the Archbishop not know? There must have been rumors at least. So awful.

  19. What equally “empowered” consenting adults note the words equal consenting empowered and adults are one thing. I E want to run around in the woods exploring one’s “bohemian grove” complex is really none of my business. But kids, adults in relationships that are not equal or by nature of the relationship cannot be consensual that is quite different, kids even more so. A pastor/leader/elder etc. have a responsibility to protect not prey upon in any fashion. It really is not a difficult concept don’t be a “blank” to other people. The other thing is all the blog leaders I know who do this gain nothing except helping others. They sure take a great deal of grief and they have helped people, quite a few people. Far more than the “superheroes” of the church corp inc etc.

  20. On the Healing Journey wrote:

    I don’t understand how Smythe avoided justice for so long. For example, how can a man flee a country after a charge of culpability in the death of a 16-year-old and go to another country to avoid justice and get away with it? Aren’t there extradition treaties between Zimbabwe & South Africa? As Herbert, the Zimbabwean prosecutor who was removed from the case, said in the Channel 4 interview, why wasn’t another prosecutor assigned to the case? Why didn’t Zimbabwe pursue the matter?

    Going back to the start, when Smyth’s abuse came to light in 1982, Winchester College didn’t report it to the police, apparently because the victims’ parents didn’t want them to. The explanation was that a criminal case would cause further distress to their children. If this is true, I don’t blame them – it sounds like a reasonable decision by the standards of that time. But even in the absence of mandatory reporting laws, I don’t think the same approach would have been taken today, as we know more about abuse and abusers.

    I haven’t seen anything about why the leaders of the Iwerne Trust didn’t report Smyth in 1982, and this does concern me.

    But, above all, remember that Smyth is a barrister, trained in the art of manipulation.

    The Iwerne Trust ran evangelistic camps for boys from the most exclusive schools in England (the fees at these schools are more than most people earn in a year). We are talking about the highest levels of society. You simply don’t get to be involved in those circles unless you have an impeccable reputation. And Smyth wasn’t just any old helper – he was the chairman of the organisation. He must have deceived so many people, including church leaders, over a long period.

    Then there was the abuse itself. Smyth must have been able to groom and manipulate the boys and gain so much power over them that they would let him violently beat them, in many cases on more than one occasion. What sort of a man can do this? And whilst I haven’t seen anything suggesting he molested them, clearly he was experiencing some sort of perverted sadistic gratification.

    When it came to the events in Zimbabwe, again, Smyth must have been able to manipulate the system to escape justice. I can easily imagine that the criminal justice system of an African country would be at a disadvantage when face with a top barrister from England.

    What this revolting scandal says to me is that evil men can get anywhere, even into the most respectable parts of the church that seek to reach the closed world of the upper classes. And, despite all their claims of doctrinal purity and moral superiority, conservative evangelicals are no different to any other group when it comes to child abuse.

  21. PJ Smyth said:

    “…my father disciplined me in a manner consistent with the laws and cultural trends of the UK at the time, not in a manner alleged in the recent reports.”

    See, I have no idea what was typical child discipline in the UK by the time PJ was growing up. I’ve read horror stories about what went on in English boys schools in the first half of the 20th century, back when John Smyth would have been growing up. Who knows what he thought was normal? Not that that excuses him, but the sadistic English schoolmaster is still a stereotype for a reason. Carrying on tradition, perhaps?

  22. NJ wrote:

    PJ Smyth said:

    “…my father disciplined me in a manner consistent with the laws and cultural trends of the UK at the time, not in a manner alleged in the recent reports.”

    See, I have no idea what was typical child discipline in the UK by the time PJ was growing up. I’ve read horror stories about what went on in English boys schools in the first half of the 20th century, back when John Smyth would have been growing up. Who knows what he thought was normal? Not that that excuses him, but the sadistic English schoolmaster is still a stereotype for a reason. Carrying on tradition, perhaps?

    I’m about the same age as PJ and have lived in the UK all my life. I would say that “typical child discipline” at that time would be the occasional smacking if you were naughty. Yes, of course, some children would be beaten by their parents, more so in the past than now, and it probably wasn’t taken as seriously by the authorities back then, but I don’t think beatings would be considered a “cultural trend”.

    As far as the law is concerned, I think the legal position is that “reasonable punishment” has always permitted. Again, I can’t see how violent beatings would be consistent with this.

    Regarding boys schools, particularly boarding schools, yes, certainly there were undoubtedly a lot of beatings in the past, maybe even continuing to the latter half of the 20th century. Corporal punishment was only outlawed in independent schools around the year 2000.

    (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_corporal_punishment#United_Kingdom)

    You have to understand that these schools were (and still are) a key stage on your journey into the higher classes. You were in a very privileged position by going to one of these schools, and it was your ticket to becoming one of the great and good of society. Your parents were paying a lot of money for your education. All this gave the school huge power. If you got expelled it would bring great shame on you and their family, and it could ruin your future prospects. At the very least, you’d end up in a lesser-ranked school and have to mix with children you regarded as inferior. So teachers could get away with beating children. The children probably wouldn’t dare tell their parents that they’d misbehaved. Even if parents were told, their priority would be for the children to get through school with a good report at the end. So they’d accept a beating as a necessary evil, a small price to pay for what they wanted their child to become.

    I’ve no idea what John Smyth’s childhood was like. His Wikipedia entry says he went to school in Canada. It’s certainly possible he was abused and became an abuser, but that’s obviously speculation.

    I actually went to an independent school myself. It wasn’t a boarding school, and it was a long way down the ranks compared to the top 30 schools that Eric Nash targeted for evangelism. But it definitely shared a similar ethos. There was at least one slightly sadistic teacher there in my time. So I do have some personal experience of this whole system, and I hope my comments have helped people understand it.

  23. Really wrote:

    Eagle, Todd, JLC on his site and Wartburg have made it a life’s work reporting on CLC and yet all are outsiders who have no first-hand knowledge of any of this, yet make one statement of “fact” after another. It gets tiring. No one is listening anymore.

    REALLY???

    While a handful of commenters over at SGM Survivors may not be ‘listening anymore’, it appears from the commentary here that many ARE ‘listening’.

  24. Incidentally, I just came across this court case in the UK:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_(Williamson)_v_Secretary_of_State_for_Education_and_Employment

    In 2005, a number of Christian schools tried to get the ban an corporal punishment reversed on religious freedom grounds. Very sad indeed.

    Personally, I am opposed to physical punishment of any sort, in the home or in school. My view is that it teaches children that violence is an acceptable way of getting someone to do what you want them to.

  25. Ian, thanks for the comment. It really threw into bold relief just how entrenched the class system was and the lengths people would go to keep it in place. With modern political correctness, I wonder how much of that is still the case.

  26. Ian wrote:

    In 2005, a number of Christian schools tried to get the ban an corporal punishment reversed on religious freedom grounds. Very sad indeed.

    How deeply does the thinking ‘be afraid, be very very afraid’ afflict the evangelical faith community? Or is it something political? Or both? This ‘fear’ thing seems a recurring theme and shows up in so many ways: the character of God as ‘wrathful’ and filled with hatred, the fear of hell, the ‘you better believe and say this or you will not be saved’, the severe ‘discipline’ if one is questioning ‘leadership’, the abuses of women who are OPENLY disrespected from the get-go by permission of the BF&M 2K’s telling them their ‘place’ is to be ‘submissive’ to their husbands (and the implied ‘or else’) ….

    or is this something that is taken so for granted that nothing seems unusually about being in a culture of religious and political fearfulness????

    Those young men were abused terribly…. by an ‘authority’ who was greatly respected as a legal and judicial officer. But what kind of upbringing leads towards vulnerability to going along with that abuse??? I have trouble sorting all this out..

  27. Christiane wrote:

    But what kind of upbringing leads towards vulnerability to going along with that abuse??? I have trouble sorting all this out..

    Watching “Spotlight” gives us a clue how it can happen . . . movies could be made about the issue in every place where power is allowed to corrupt.

  28. @ Ian:
    On the other hand, Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus, famously said that his evangelistic organization did not work with minors. No sending kids to summer camp, no dropping kids at vacation Bible school, and no leaving them at Sunday school.

    In spreading the gospel or proselytising, he said that his group worked exclusively adult-to-adult. Young people, yes, but his workers – all age 18 and above, were instructed to only approach those 18 and over.

  29. @ Deb:
    Survivors doesn’t post any longer. The last post, in August I believe, said “We are still here.” That’s it.

    Except for one, the 5 or 6 that are left spend there time fussing about how TWW doesn’t help victims and accuses us of being feminist socialists. ROFL. Guess they have nothing better to discuss, so they go after a blog that actually tries to reach out and help people.

    No wonder CJ and gang, along with others, were able to pull the wool over their eyes and extract significant cash.

  30. Ian wrote:

    What this revolting scandal says to me is that evil men can get anywhere, even into the most respectable parts of the church that seek to reach the closed world of the upper classes. And, despite all their claims of doctrinal purity and moral superiority, conservative evangelicals are no different to any other group when it comes to child abuse.

    This is so true. Boz Tchividjian, an attorney and child abuse victim advocate is Billy Graham’s grandson. he claims the problem in the Protestant world is worse than in the Catholic Church. We are no different than any other group when it comes to abuse.

    Thank you for your insights. Are you the Ian I tried to persuade to do a post?

  31. Christiane wrote:

    How deeply does the thinking ‘be afraid, be very very afraid’ afflict the evangelical faith community? Or is it something political? Or both? This ‘fear’ thing seems a recurring theme and shows up in so many ways: the character of God as ‘wrathful’ and filled with hatred, the fear of hell, the ‘you better believe and say this or you will not be saved’…

    The fear of being Left Behind in the Rapture…
    The fear of Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War (It’s Prophesied! It’s Prophesied!)…
    The fear of The Coming Antichrist…
    The fear of The Other (whether Homosexuals, Secular Humanists, Darwinists, etc)…
    The fear of the Devil slipping his whoopee cushion under your butt when you’re not looking…
    The fear of DEMON-possessed Cabbage Patch Dolls and D&D dice…
    The fear of Witchcraft and Witches everywhere…
    The fear of The Vast Secular/Satanic Conspiracy…
    The fear of God Spewing Thee Out Of His Mouth on J-Day…

    In my time in-country, I smelled a lot of FEAR. Whether just a reflection of the surrounding culture or a deliberate Weapon for Soul-Winning. Nothing seemed to motivate Born-Agains (and seal off the Christianese Bubble) so much as FEAR.

    When I was listening to Christianese AM Radio in the Seventies/Eighties, one term I heard a couple times was “If You Can’t Love ‘Em Into The Kingdom, SCARE ‘EM INTO THE KINGDOM!”

    Problem is, you can only live immersed in FEAR for so long until you go crazy.

  32. JYJames wrote:

    @ Ian:
    On the other hand, Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus, famously said that his evangelistic organization did not work with minors. No sending kids to summer camp, no dropping kids at vacation Bible school, and no leaving them at Sunday school.

    In spreading the gospel or proselytising, he said that his group worked exclusively adult-to-adult. Young people, yes, but his workers – all age 18 and above, were instructed to only approach those 18 and over.

    I have my own beef with the Jews for Jesus types, but Moishe Rosen showed uncommonly good sense.

    That policy headed off the Shanda fur die Goyim we’re seeing over and over in the churches.

  33. dee wrote:

    This is so true. Boz Tchividjian, an attorney and child abuse victim advocate is Billy Graham’s grandson. he claims the problem in the Protestant world is worse than in the Catholic Church.

    Remember that when Pastor points so Righteously from the Pulpit and goes
    “I THANK THEE, LOOOOOOORD, THAT I AM NOTHING LIKE THOSE FILTHY ROMISH PRIESTS OVER THERE…”

  34. Ian wrote:

    I’m about the same age as PJ and have lived in the UK all my life. I would say that “typical child discipline” at that time would be the occasional smacking if you were naughty. Yes, of course, some children would be beaten by their parents, more so in the past than now, and it probably wasn’t taken as seriously by the authorities back then, but I don’t think beatings would be considered a “cultural trend”.

    Someone told me that “Erotic Flagellation” was the sexual fetish of choice for Victorian-era Upper Class and Wanna-Be Upper Class Men. And a popular subject in Victorian-era Porn (to the point that a lot of Christian Spanking Manuals unknowingly used said Victorian Flagellation Erotica as a source). My term for it became “Kink of England!”

  35. Really wrote:

    Yet nobody chases the scandal at Immanuel mentioned on Survivors. If you’re going to get a cause, at least get a real one.
    Not saying Smythe’s victim’s stories are not real. They sound like they are. But neither you nor I have any idea what PJ knew and when he knew it.

    I have a real cause, it is exposing child abusers and those who cover up and enable them.

    I actually have done extensive research on Charles Schmitt and Immanuel’s Church and plan on writing an article about that situation in the near future. Schmitt has been sexually abusing young men for years. In fact, that is the reason Tomczak and Mahaney kicked him out of GOB. The story has definite tie-ins with…. you guessed it, C.J. Mahaney and what became CLC. Corrupt from the beginning.

    As for having no involvement with CLC, you are quite right. I was a member of a Sovereign Grace church for several years, and I was never comfortable with the hero worship afforded Mahaney. That said, I reject your premise that one must be a passenger on the trainwreck to comment on it. Using your logic nobody in the press should have commented on Watergate because they weren’t a part of Nixon’s staff.

    Feel free to make suggestions for future subjects I should write on. I will take them under advisement and if they qualify as a “real cause” I may write about them. You can find my email on my blog. Unlike you, I don’t hide my real name from the public.

    Since you are offering suggestions to me, allow me to make one to you, and I am being completely sincere. Try visiting a few different churches in the future. You may be surprised by what you experience. There are literally hundreds of former CLC/SGM members that have been been astonished by the freedom they felt when they left.

  36. The title says it all. Im not ready to read this. To the boys who are now men as a mother im deeply sorry for what you endured at the hands that were swift to commit evil against you. You are better men than this wicked man and im truly praying for you as this story unfolds.
    Billys Mom

  37. @ Ian & @ Eagle
    Thanks for your explanations–they make a lot of sense about how Smythe got away with so much for so long. It’s easy to apply today’s Western values of justice & protection of children toward situations that occurred in the past & in a different culture & wonder why things happened the way they did.

    Even in the U.S., the cases of Dennis Hastert & Jerry Sandusky show that justice can sometimes take a long time to prevail, especially with people in high places or in high-profile schools or programs.

    Thanks, TWW and Todd Wilhelm, for bringing this information to light. Your efforts may prevent people from getting into those abusive situations in the future.

  38. Shauna wrote:

    The title says it all. Im not ready to read this. To the boys who are now men as a mother im deeply sorry for what you endured at the hands that were swift to commit evil against you. You are better men than this wicked man and im truly praying for you as this story unfolds.
    Billys Mom

    Preach it, Shauna!

  39. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    That said, I reject your premise that one must be a passenger on the trainwreck to comment on it. Using your logic nobody in the press should have commented on Watergate because they weren’t a part of Nixon’s staff.

    More than Watergate ……. no news reporters, no news broadcasts, no newspapers ~AT ~ALL. PERIOD! How many vetted news reporters are actually on the wrecking trains?

  40. Ian wrote:

    As far as the law is concerned, I think the legal position is that “reasonable punishment” has always permitted. Again, I can’t see how violent beatings would be consistent with this.

    My impression is that he worded that in such a way as to hope he would not have to specify what his father did to him, that others would fill in the blanks with the most charitable view.

    You have to understand that these schools were (and still are) a key stage on your journey into the higher classes. You were in a very privileged position by going to one of these schools, and it was your ticket to becoming one of the great and good of society. Your parents were paying a lot of money for your education. All this gave the school huge power.

    This explains so much. It sets up a situation that would be pure ecstasy to a psychopath.

  41. If the practices described in the title are true, then who in their right mind would ever think that was ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’??? I am not a trained therapist, but even I think that Smyth has some deviant s- behaviors that need to be professionally and judicially addressed, ASAP.

  42. Linn wrote:

    I was part of a church years ago where it turned out the pastor was having an affair. It also came to light that he had affairs in his two previous churches, and the one he went on to from mine. Leadership knew, but they didn’t want to deal with it. Other churches of our denomination, where he had been ordained, also knew, but since our churches were each “self-governing” no one would do anything.

    This seems like the norm with churches, and when they respond to corruption this way they are failing to be salt and light in the world. They act “as if” they were salt but in reality it is not happening. Which brings to mind Jesus’ words, “if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out.”

  43. On the Healing Journey wrote:
    I don’t understand how Smythe avoided justice for so long. For example, how can a man flee a country after a charge of culpability in the death of a 16-year-old and go to another country to avoid justice and get away with it? Aren’t there extradition treaties between Zimbabwe & South Africa? As Herbert, the Zimbabwean prosecutor who was removed from the case, said in the Channel 4 interview, why wasn’t another prosecutor assigned to the case? Why didn’t Zimbabwe pursue the matter?

    Ian wrote:
    But, above all, remember that Smyth is a barrister, trained in the art of manipulation.

    When it came to the events in Zimbabwe, again, Smyth must have been able to manipulate the system to escape justice. I can easily imagine that the criminal justice system of an African country would be at a disadvantage when face with a top barrister from England.

    Having spent time overseas in Africa on three separate occasions, one thing that was impressed upon me was that most African countries governments are corrupt (and unstable). Having witnessed this first-hand, especially during a two-year period while my parents were serving in Chad – it does not surprise me that a high-powered attorney such as Mr Smyth was able to slip past the the Zimbabwe justice system. Quite easily, I imagine.

  44. NJ wrote:

    Ian, thanks for the comment. It really threw into bold relief just how entrenched the class system was and the lengths people would go to keep it in place. With modern political correctness, I wonder how much of that is still the case.

    That’s a good question, and I’m sure books have been written to try to answer it.

    You may find this Wikipedia page helpful:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_structure_of_the_United_Kingdom

    I think the simple answer is the UK class system isn’t as pronounced now as it was in the past.

    But this recent story from the BBC shows that it’s still around:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-38744122

    Similarly, I would expect that most government ministers went to an elite independent school and then Oxford or Cambridge.

    However, I would be very surprised if pupils were still beaten at independent schools. There’s such an emphasis now on what we call “safeguarding” or “child protection” that I can’t imagine anyone could get away with it.

  45. @ Ian:
    All true, & many of these schools – esp those known as Public Schools – have a long dark history of physical & sexually abusive behaviour, whether that of the ‘fag’ system, where an older boy gets a younger boy to be his quasi-servant, or the history of peadophiles working in these schools. My Dad said of his & other public schools that they were there to teach you to be an Englishman wherever in the world you ended up. He was sent to one such boarding school at four & a half years old & took his dog’s slipper with him to keep under his pillow at night. As the son/grandson of High Court Judges it was expected. Alcoholism was the result. Nothing about this system was truly condusive to good mental & emotional health, psycho-sexual development & good relationships as adults.

  46. siteseer wrote:

    Ian wrote:
    You have to understand that these schools were (and still are) a key stage on your journey into the higher classes. You were in a very privileged position by going to one of these schools, and it was your ticket to becoming one of the great and good of society. Your parents were paying a lot of money for your education. All this gave the school huge power.

    This explains so much. It sets up a situation that would be pure ecstasy to a psychopath.

    And I forgot to say that it’s almost certainly the case that abusers were attracted to boarding schools. They are independent of the state system, and my understanding is that, until quite recently, they received far less oversight and inspection. If you wanted to live in a closed community, outside of regular society, with lots of children under your control, and very few questions asked, a boarding school housemaster would be the career of choice.

    I just found this story from someone who’s done a lot of investigations:

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/may/04/abuse-britain-private-schools-personal-memoir

    It is well-worth reading.

  47. NJ wrote:

    correctn

    NJ wrote:

    Ian, thanks for the comment. It really threw into bold relief just how entrenched the class system was and the lengths people would go to keep it in place. With modern political correctness, I wonder how much of that is still the case.

    NJ, here’s an extract from the Guardian article I linked above:

    Now, of course, the country has had four years of its own experience of the effects of boarding school. The majority of the 2010 coalition cabinet were privately educated, most of them as boarders. Boris Johnson went to my schools – Ashdown and then Eton, and Andrew Mitchell, the former chief whip, went to Ashdown before going to Rugby. Of course, there’s never been a government, even a Labour one, in which privately educated people were not among the major players. But, as critics like to point out, this clutch of male ruling politicians embodies the grand Victorian public school virtues – or failings – more than most: suppression of emotion, devotion to the team, distrust of women and minimal empathy for the weak and ordinary.

    And so it is interesting that so many senior politicians in government went to boarding schools, places that, by definition, practise on young children the techniques of “attachment fracture” – a psychiatrist’s phrase – that are key to removing early emotional ties and building esprit de corps. Of those politicians quite a few – including the chancellor, the prime minister and deputy prime minister, the Mayor of London and the Attorney General – were at private schools where teachers from their era have been accused or convicted of sexual abuse. The coalition is quite an advert for the old way.

  48. Having grown up and escaped an abusive church, I’ve been following this blog for a few years. Whilst most of the posts here have been based in US, this one is just too close to home. I grew up in Zimbabwe, live in Cape Town and was part of a church in PJ Smyth’s Advance network. This is extremely disturbing for me.

  49. Ian wrote:

    when Smyth’s abuse came to light in 1982, Winchester College didn’t report it to the police, apparently because the victims’ parents didn’t want them to. The explanation was that a criminal case would cause further distress to their children.

    In the 1980s, books about “good touch” and “bad touch” were being published in the US, to help adults teach youngsters to identify, if possible resist, and report abuse. I was spending a lot of time in the UK, and the absence of a similar discussion there was striking. I showed a couple of these books to British teachers and friends. Their shock was noteworthy. Typical reactions: “Well, you might have that problem in America, but it doesn’t happen here” and “I would never teach a child this sort of thing.”

    At the same time, I heard chortling stories from British friends about choirmasters grabbing young choristers, and also about violence in boarding schools (British public schools). People didn’t take the stories seriously–just as we did not take seriously those tales of executives chasing secretaries around their desks.

    I think that news stories caused Americans to become publicly aware of child s#x abuse somewhat earlier than the British. The problem, alas, is ubiquitous.

  50. @ Birdsong:
    Thank you for telling us about the connection. What was your view on PJ Smyth while in his church network? Did you know about these camps that are being discussed?

  51. @ Beakerj:
    This makes me sad. It makes sense that pedophiles and others with strange perversions would seek out those schools just as they seek our church youth groups.

  52. Burwell wrote:

    I think that Smyth has some deviant s- behaviors that need to be professionally and judicially addressed, ASAP.

    Darn straight.

  53. Friend, I think your comments are quite correct. I don’t remember anyone telling me as a child (1970s/80s) about the risk of paedophiles. There were warnings against going off with strangers, yes, but nothing about potential molestation by those you know and trust, such as neighbours, parents of friends, relatives, teachers, sports coaches, scout leaders, church people, etc. I don’t think anyone was aware that of the scale of the problem, or that most victims know their abusers. And yes, reports were laughed off in everyday conversation, and often trivialised by the police. In the UK, criminal checks for everyone working with children only began in 2002.

    As I said in the comment you quoted, I don’t feel I can criticise the 1982 decision of Winchester College not to go the police. The victims should come first, and if their parents wanted to spare them the trauma of a criminal investigation and trial, I can understand that. Also, 35 years ago, the police and courts were far less experienced in treating child victims with care and sensitivity, and the long-term effects of abuse on children weren’t really understood. I can’t imagine any parent today not wanting an abuser to face the full force of the law.

    I’m not an expert on US culture, but in Britain, talking about sexual matters has traditionally been a bit of a taboo. Again, the class system comes into play – the middle and upper classes are obsessed with politeness and respectability, and discussing anything sexual would be seen as rude and associated with inferior sections of society. The reactions you received well demonstrate this. My own parents also typified this – they were too embarrassed to tell me about the “facts of life”.

  54. Ian wrote:

    I’m not an expert on US culture, but in Britain, talking about sexual matters has traditionally been a bit of a taboo. Again, the class system comes into play – the middle and upper classes are obsessed with politeness and respectability, and discussing anything sexual would be seen as rude and associated with inferior sections of society.

    AKA an Upper Class Brit Purity Culture?

    It is also my experience that Sociopaths are also “obsessed with politeness and respectability”.

    “Not because of Heavenly Virtue, but Hellish Respectability.”
    — G.K.Chesterton, one of his Father Brown Mysteries

  55. dee wrote:

    @ Beakerj:
    This makes me sad. It makes sense that pedophiles and others with strange perversions would seek out those schools just as they seek our church youth groups.

    Where easy prey gathers, the Predators will swarm.

  56. Birdsong wrote:

    Having grown up and escaped an abusive church, I’ve been following this blog for a few years. Whilst most of the posts here have been based in US, this one is just too close to home. I grew up in Zimbabwe, live in Cape Town and was part of a church in PJ Smyth’s Advance network. This is extremely disturbing for me.

    That you may have dodged a bullet?

  57. @ Birdsong:

    I actually did an overview of the Advance Network at my blog. I started to write about PJ because he was the leading candidate for Covenant Life Church. Some of my posts may hit you hard also.

  58. Beakerj wrote:

    My Dad said of his & other public schools that they were there to teach you to be an Englishman wherever in the world you ended up.

    Is that anything like the cartoon image of the Victorian Englishman/Sahib/Bwana out in the jungle boondocks of The Empire, dressing and dining and behaving as though he were still in London? (Example: the opening prologue of the movie Daring Young Men in their Jaunty Jalopies.)

    He was sent to one such boarding school at four & a half years old & took his dog’s slipper with him to keep under his pillow at night.

    “Dog’s slipper”?

    As the son/grandson of High Court Judges it was expected. Alcoholism was the result.

    Even at 4 1/2 he was completely constrained by what was expected of him due to his Highborn Birth and Breeding.

  59. In my opinion, John Smyth is mentally ill. Normal people don't go around preaching to others in the nude. Then to insist that the boys not wear underwear, and to swim in the nude and swim with them that way, something seriously is wrong.

    Yes, he's a pedophile. Yes, he is a child abuser, and so much more. He needs to be locked up. Whether or not he was abused as a child and this caused his behavior, or it just happened because of some type of mental illness, he's an evil man.

    Like many others who are reading this blog, I was totally shocked. Nothing much shocks me lately, but this did.

    Did his son PJ know about his behavior? He had to have. John Smyth had to have done the same things to him and he did to the other boys. A leopard doesn't change it's spots. Maybe PJ blocked out a lot of what happened to him, I don't know. PJ needs to come clean with a tell all. In doing so, we would probably understand more about his life and his father.

  60. https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2017/02/statement-from-bishop-of-guildford,-andrew-watson.aspx

    “Statement from Bishop of Guildford, Andrew Watson
    I am one of the survivors of John Smyth’s appalling activities in the late 1970s and early ’80s. I am also one of the Bishops in the Church of England. This has placed me in a unique and challenging position when it comes to the events of the past few days. My own story is certainly less traumatic than that of some others. I was drawn into the Smyth circle, as they were, and the beating I endured in the infamous garden shed was violent, excruciating and shocking; but it was thankfully a one-off experience…”

  61. https://www.amazon.com/Orphans-Empire-Shocking-Migration-Australia-ebook/dp/B006MBICEC

    This is just the tip of the tip of just a very small part of the iceberg. Kids were abused by the thousands back in the day when the Church held the reigns and was the primary provider of services for children, the mentally ill, the disabled, etc. What happened to the Native peoples of North America under the church is very troubling at best.

    I am vetting an article that covers the abuse of Native peoples in Canada under the church and the government. The thing that scares me is that some of the Neo-calvinista folks want to go back to the bad old days with a Vengeance. This trail goes down some very dark history.

  62. https://books.google.com/books?id=fuCnw6GN69MC&pg=PA27

    “although all of the writers respond to criticisms of Bash and his ministry, none confronts the question of secretiveness. My seven years at Oxbridge in the CICCU and OICCU when both were known to be full of Bash men, left me feeling that I was not meant to know too much about the movement. One was never aware in what ways Bash men individually or corporately influenced either body.”

    Secretive infiltration of religious societies(at Oxford and Cambridge apparently). Now where have we heard that sort of thing before?

  63. More from a review of the 1983 biography “Bash: A Study in Spiritual Power”:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=fuCnw6GN69MC&pg=PA27

    “…a chapter by a woman, Mary Mullins, the wife of a close lieutenant of Bash, who herself for a few years headed the domestic staff at Iwerne (the only role women could play there) before being commissioned with Bash’s full blessing and counsel to start a parallel work among girls elsewhere. This is perhaps the most sensitive chapter in the book, acknowledging the’not altogether helpful’ legacy of Bash’s exclusion of girls and women from his sphere of influence”

  64. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    AKA an Upper Class Brit Purity Culture?
    It is also my experience that Sociopaths are also “obsessed with politeness and respectability”.

    The “Upper Crust” aspect of Nash’s experiment brings to mind what is coming out about Horace Mann in NYC, back in the day:

    http://theatln.tc/2kUhjFg

    A chaplain at an elite high school here in the US surveyed the student body about who they were closest to. Over half the students responded that they were closest to their nanny (yes, high school).

  65. After reading these posts, I looked up the Advance network and lo and behold, their North American conference will be held in June at Covenant Life Church. Interesting. I have always wondered what PJ had up his sleeve for CLC and his own ministry. Will they be merging? Will PJ continue in his ministry?

  66. brian wrote:

    What happened to the Native peoples of North America under the church is very troubling at best

    There was also a great deal of good* to come out of it. And that from a Native American commenter (me) here at TWW. A lot of the stuff out there is slanted one-way. And quite frankly? It’s more of a grotesque caricature than anything else.

    *Pastor Wade Burleson did an excellent article awhile back on the good things accomplished by the white Protestant people of faith in America in ministering to the Native peoples.

  67. Muff such feedback is very helpful for the perspective I found some of the articles “slanted”, the one article was focused on some issues concerning the Native people living in Canada and it was referring to RCC and CoE schools. I will be looking up your resource. There is always many shades of color in some of the historic events. The book referenced was very well researched which was also supported by several government inquiries especially the child migration from England to Australia post WW2. Thanks for the insight it is helpful.

  68. @ Headless Unicorn Guy</b@ dee:
    The church I was part of suddenly joined the Advance network out of the blue. To be honest nothing in particular stood out, except that to me the new set up seemed to be a departure from the church’s original vision. It felt different, more pretentious. So I left

  69. @ Birdsong:
    There was zero indication about what was going on. In fact there was a lot of hype about PJ being the one spearheading the vision. Celebrity culture

  70. Muff Potter wrote:

    brian wrote:

    What happened to the Native peoples of North America under the church is very troubling at best

    There was also a great deal of good* to come out of it. And that from a Native American commenter (me) here at TWW. A lot of the stuff out there is slanted one-way. And quite frankly? It’s more of a grotesque caricature than anything else.

    *Pastor Wade Burleson did an excellent article awhile back on the good things accomplished by the white Protestant people of faith in America in ministering to the Native peoples.

    Don’t forget Alaska, back when it was Russian territory. The Orthodox monks ended up taking something of a protective role, standing against the businessmen and oligarchs who wanted to exploit the native people for their labor. The monks acquired such a good reputation that some native villages _outside_ of Russian-held territory also decided to become Orthodox, and remain so to this day.

    Part of this might be because the monks were coming over to evangelize, not to colonize (unlike, for instance, the Puritans with their hyper-natalist lifestyle).

  71. Birdsong wrote:

    @ Birdsong:
    There was zero indication about what was going on. In fact there was a lot of hype about PJ being the one spearheading the vision.

    “WE ARE UNITED BEHIND THE VISIONARY!”
    — Furtick Coloring Book

  72. “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless she persisted”…

    Hats off to you both Dee & Deb!

    You are warriors! My prayers for your continuing strength.

  73. Ian wrote:

    Incidentally, I just came across this court case in the UK:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_(Williamson)_v_Secretary_of_State_for_Education_and_Employment
    In 2005, a number of Christian schools tried to get the ban an corporal punishment reversed on religious freedom grounds. Very sad indeed.
    Personally, I am opposed to physical punishment of any sort, in the home or in school. My view is that it teaches children that violence is an acceptable way of getting someone to do what you want them to.

    I agree on this. Some Christians abuse the proverb “spare the rod and spoil the child”. In this proverb the word child is a bad translation as it actually means “young man” and not a child. Sadly the UK based right-wing Christian Institute (supported by the many UK churches) defends the right of parents to give their children a “loving smack”. They argue that it is not the same as abuse but this argument, in my view, opens the door to it. I looked on their website for comments on where they draw the line and sadly they have not provided any answer to that.

    I hope that Justin Welby addresses the open letter published in the Telegraph and his response (or lack of it) will speak volumes. I go to a Church of England congregation and I am waiting to see my vicars response to this (he is a great guy with a heart for the poor, refugees and social justice).

  74. Hmm, if “child” actually means “young man”, that makes me think of Michael Fay.

  75. Yes I thought of that as well. Whilst his punishment was excessive and harsh Michael Fay was old and responsible enough for his actions. He certainly won’t be steal and vandalize property again.

    This is a world away from using a slipper to whack a child for spilling his porridge. The Bible nowhere advocates physical violence against children.

  76. ZechZav wrote:

    The Bible nowhere advocates physical violence against children.

    There are a few places that do say that. Proverbs 23:13-14 is one commonly used, but there are a few others also. When arguing with pro-hickory switch people it becomes a matter of dueling bible verses. Fortunately, that can be done successfully. Unfortunately, some people are so set on whapping on children that they never care that they have lost the biblical argument.

  77. molly245 wrote:

    “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless she persisted”…

    Hats off to you both Dee & Deb!

    You are warriors! My prayers for your continuing strength.

    Amen and Amen!! It is past time for other women to adopt this philosophy!

  78. @ okrapod:

    Proverbs 23 was the exact verse I was referring to in my previous comment. It does not give license to hit children it is referring to young men.

  79. @ Zechzav:

    Smyth was beating young men.

    ( I am not defending beating anybody and certainly not abuse. I am arguing their point as they may see it.)

    Also, was not the age of accountability under the law for the Jews an age which we would still consider childhood? What is the historical evidence (and I seriously do not know this) at which they started using the term 'young men'? 12? Jesus at the temple 12? For sure regardless of how one sees the translation of the word relative to age this will need to be addressed if the issue is to quit with the beating of anybody.

  80. Beakerj wrote:

    My Dad said of his & other public schools that they were there to teach you to be an Englishman wherever in the world you ended up. He was sent to one such boarding school at four & a half years old & took his dog’s slipper with him to keep under his pillow at night. As the son/grandson of High Court Judges it was expected. Alcoholism was the result. Nothing about this system was truly condusive to good mental & emotional health, psycho-sexual development & good relationships as adults.

    Four and a half. That is just unreal to me. Did his father and grandfather also get placed in boarding school at that age? Unless a kid has been orphaned, that is way too early.

  81. Jerome wrote:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=fuCnw6GN69MC&pg=PA27

    “although all of the writers respond to criticisms of Bash and his ministry, none confronts the question of secretiveness. My seven years at Oxbridge in the CICCU and OICCU when both were known to be full of Bash men, left me feeling that I was not meant to know too much about the movement. One was never aware in what ways Bash men individually or corporately influenced either body.”

    Secretive infiltration of religious societies(at Oxford and Cambridge apparently). Now where have we heard that sort of thing before?

    I guess it was the old boys network trying to conceal itself in an Christian environment where your upbringing should not matter. The whole independent school ethos is about creating the leaders of tomorrow, but within the system, there are clearly levels of prestige.

    For an example, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Prime_Ministers_of_the_United_Kingdom_by_education

    Just three schools educated 32 out of 54 UK prime ministers! Eton 19, Harrow 7, Westminster 6.

    Bash targeted the top 30 independent schools (possibly more as his work developed), so his ex-campers will have had a very strong belief in themselves as the officer class, who are (pre)destined to rule and reign. They wouldn’t openly say so, but undoubtedly believed as much.

    This is my interpretation, but I think it is supported by the facts. My own experience is a disproportionate number of British conservative evangelical Anglican clergy went to independent schools and then Oxford or Cambridge. They do seem to have the attitude that their privileged background somehow gives them a divine right to be in charge, but wouldn’t dare say so. However, I also have to say that they invariably have genuine concerns for evangelism and reaching the lost.

    I wouldn’t really regard it as secretive infiltration of the Christian Unions – I don’t think there was any plan to do so – rather, it was just the consequence of effectively taking the gospel to a small group of social elites.

  82. Been reading everyone’s links. Boy am I glad I was never sent to such a place. I already knew things like that happen too frequently to missionary kids being boarded, at least in the past. I’m beginning to think maybe these schools shouldn’t even exist.

  83. @ okrapod:

    I just thought of this while in the shower. You all help me on this because it is sure to come up, for me, in future discussion about spanking or hitting or hickory switching. I/we use the term ‘young man’ or ‘young lady’ routinely when addressing children in a disciplinary fashion. I want to know if this is just a southernism or if this is prevalent in our country.

    Example, from my own lips: A toddler is at that age when they no longer want to take an afternoon nap but not yet old enough to omit the nap and not deteriorate into disastrous behavior. They need to nap; they don’t want to. So parent or grandparent puts toddler in crib. Toddler decides to vigorously rebel. Not just cry and lament, certainly not comply, but rather defy the adult while screaming and trying to crawl over the side of the crib. Adult says to toddler: ‘Listen to me young man (young lady) you don’t know who you are dealing with here. Look at me when I talk to you. I am parent/grandparent and you are not in charge here. You will stay in this crib. Period.’

    Conversely when a child is verbally rewarded one often says that the child is ‘so grown up’. And when the child, now let us say in pre-K or K has to dress up for something special at school the child may be rewarded verbally for good behavior by ‘so grown up’ and rewarded for looking nice with ‘what a handsome young man’ or ‘what a fine/lovely young lady’.

    So I can see the argument about physical discipline going in the direction of what do the words in scripture actually mean when they say what translates as child and when they say what translates as young man, since we may be using them very differently from the ancient Jews.

    Anybody good at Hebrew and ancient Jewish customs? I certainly am not.

  84. Quote: “although all of the writers respond to criticisms of Bash and his ministry, none confronts the question of secretiveness. My seven years at Oxbridge in the CICCU and OICCU when both were known to be full of Bash men, left me feeling that I was not meant to know too much about the movement. One was never aware in what ways Bash men individually or corporately influenced either body.”

    Jerome: “Secretive infiltration of religious societies(at Oxford and Cambridge apparently). Now where have we heard that sort of thing before?”

    Me: “I wouldn’t really regard it as secretive infiltration of the Christian Unions – I don’t think there was any plan to do so – rather, it was just the consequence of effectively taking the gospel to a small group of social elites.”

    Having said that, conservative evangelicals do believe that they are theologically superior to the rest of us, so perhaps there was a sense in which the Bash-campers felt that they had the truth and it was their role to get it out into the CUs and then the church, and not to allow any alternative theologies to get a foothold. I could see them using stealth tactics to do so. Bash’s entire approach was to put Christians into positions of influence, and I can imagine that you might have a group of Bash campers at Oxford or Cambridge getting together to plan a secret mission to take over the CU. But this is speculation.

  85. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    Since you are offering suggestions to me, allow me to make one to you, and I am being completely sincere. Try visiting a few different churches in the future. You may be surprised by what you experience. There are literally hundreds of former CLC/SGM members that have been been astonished by the freedom they felt when they left.

    Very true! I feel like holding a sign at one of their entrances on Sundays to warn people.

  86. @ molly245:

    “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless she persisted”

    oh the sweet irony of it all.

    godspeed to the Deebs.

  87. Ian wrote:

    conservative evangelicals do believe that they are theologically superior to the rest of us,

    Yep, here too. Help me on this as to how it is in UK compared to here. In my experience conservative evangelicals do tend to be more knowledgable of the theological issues (whether right or wrong) and do tend to be able to field better arguments (just looking at the ability to argue or not) and do tend to be more conversant with scripture as in ‘the bible says’ (when indeed perhaps it does), and do tend to care about doctrine and be more enthusiastic about doctrines than those that we call ‘moderate’ over here.

    It would be so easy to call the moderates ‘lukewarm’ based on not being interested in the controversy in the first place. And in conservative evangelicalism ‘lukewarm’ translates into ‘not really saved or else why do we not see them ‘on fire’ for Jesus and why do we not see changes in their lives in half a gazillion areas?’ which would be to say why do they not follow the more or less holiness rules like the conservatives do.

    Does this go on in UK or is UK mostly about class and caste?

  88. @ okrapod:

    You raise some very valid questions. The case of Michael Fay, in my humble opinion, may fall into a correct application of this verse. The case of Smyth most certainly does not. Motive is a key factor. In the case of Fay it was a punishment for serious criminal damage to property but in Smyth abused young boys/men for his own gratification. I will come back to this later today.

  89. okrapod wrote:

    I/we use the term ‘young man’ or ‘young lady’ routinely when addressing children in a disciplinary fashion. I want to know if this is just a southernism or if this is prevalent in our country.

    Nope, this is not just a southern usage. A variant is to call the child by the full adult-sounding name: “Wilfred Randolph Wilkinson, you get in here right now!”

    These verbal tactics can have a nice chilling effect on kids. Most of us would rather stop them with a raised eyebrow than a raised fist. But the combination of grownup forms of address with physical force, no… just no.

  90. Ian wrote:

    Me: “I wouldn’t really regard it as secretive infiltration of the Christian Unions – I don’t think there was any plan to do so – rather, it was just the consequence of effectively taking the gospel to a small group of social elites.”

    That anything like the Trickle-Down Evangelism used to justify only going after the Rich and Powerful? Or in youth group/high school context, going after the Quarrterbacks, Cheerleaders, Muffies, Buffies, Chads, Megans,and Debbies on the theory that the Alpha Males/Females will attract others for the Salvation sales pitch? (This usually backfires in that the Muffies, Buffies, et al end up only interesting in holding court over the Kewl Kids Table with the Chads, Megans, and Debbies.)

  91. Church-on-Main(Cape Town) releases statement regarding the ministry of John and Anne Smyth there:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4209296/Lawyer-accused-beating-boys-sacked-church-leader.html

    “Andrew Thompson admitted that he and other church leaders ‘feel completely broken’ by allowing Smyth to mentor young men at the Cape Town church”

    “We had John and Anne as part of our broader leadership team – equivalent to small group leaders. They hosted discipleship meetings and met to council individuals predominantly young men of university going age.”

    http://churchonmain.org.za/announcement-regarding-john-smyth/

    “certain parts of John’s discipleship practice were, however, in our opinion, pastorally unwise. Specifically:
    His practice of meeting young men at a well know Cape Town sports club that began with a game of squash, was followed by a shower in a common shower, then lunch over which we were told John would make generally unsolicited enquiries about the young men’s experience of pornography, masturbation and other sexual matters.
    Offering his advice regarding sexual matters that left the person feeling uncomfortable. Mostly this seems to have occurred on John’s first meeting with the young men we spoke with.
    A heavy-handed style of leadership which was described to us in a way where John became upset with individuals when they failed to meet up to his suggested commitment towards his meetings and forums.”

    “In 2013, after a time of visiting Sunday services, John and Anne communicated to the Church-on-Main elders that they would like to join the Church….We also, at the time, questioned John about the issues raised about his ministry while in Zimbabwe, and John was of the opinion that jealousy towards his ministry was the reason for those bad reports. At this stage, we as elders had no knowledge whatsoever of any allegations of any kind against John regarding the time that he and Anne had lived in the UK.”

    “On the 15th of September 2016 Andrew Thomson spoke with John raising our concerns regarding his pastoral practice. We also took this moment to ask John why he had never told us about the court case in Zimbabwe. We also asked John if there was anything regarding his time in the UK, prior to him coming out to Zimbabwe, that we should be aware of. To these concerns John stated that the case in Zimbabwe had been brought by himself to the Supreme Court in order to clear his name of what he viewed as malicious rumors and unfair accusation swirling at the time. He also led Andrew to believe that there was nothing in his past in the UK that we needed to know about.”

    On Monday 30 January 2017 Andrew received a message from John requesting him to urgently meet John at his home in Bergvliet. At this meeting John revealed to Andrew that he had received an email on the weekend outlining what was going to be aired on Channel 4 in the UK in the coming week. This was the first time any elder at Church-on-Main was made aware of the nature and the gravity of the allegations about John’s ministry in the UK. Present at this meeting was a member of the NGO that John led at the time. John was requesting that Andrew as his pastor would call the UK and vouch for him saying that he was in good standing in the church community. At this point Andrew said this was not possible”

  92. okrapod wrote:

    Example, from my own lips: A toddler is at that age when they no longer want to take an afternoon nap but not yet old enough to omit the nap and not deteriorate into disastrous behavior. They need to nap; they don’t want to. So parent or grandparent puts toddler in crib. Toddler decides to vigorously rebel. Not just cry and lament, certainly not comply, but rather defy the adult while screaming and trying to crawl over the side of the crib. Adult says to toddler: ‘Listen to me young man (young lady) you don’t know who you are dealing with here. Look at me when I talk to you. I am parent/grandparent and you are not in charge here. You will stay in this crib. Period.’

    Given the situation/example, adult has obviously not accepted the Pearls and Ezzos as adult’s Personal LORD and Savior. Or James Dobson/Voddie Baucham as adult’s guru/prophets.

  93. Friend wrote:

    But the combination of grownup forms of address with physical force, no… just no.

    Yes, but. And I do not condone trauma. But one does use physical force when one straps a screaming child in a car seat, or when one buckles the belt on a high chair against childish objections, or when like a few evenings ago young son stopped his toddler in the midst of trying to run wild in the restaurant, sat her down kerplop in a chair and made sure she stayed there. There was no hitting or other trauma, but it was an adult physically overpowering a toddler. So, we have to specifically define where does being physical with a child end and abuse begin.

    There is a segment of our population which does a thing called a beat down on children including teens. If you have ever seen one you don’t want to ever see it again. But it is culturally accepted, and it is not illegal. So there is that also. And another rather large segment of the population which assumes that real men do or at least would use physical punishment on their children if necessary. If they do not then they are said to be ‘sorry’. As in a sorry excuse for a father.

    Shall we tell one segment of the population that they cannot swat a child on the bottom while at the same time being very careful not to offend anybody concerning the appropriateness of a beat down. That is thin ice right there.

    Hey, I don’t have any answers, but I do have some ideas about what a lot of arguments may be.

  94. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Given the situation/example, adult has obviously not accepted the Pearls and Ezzos as adult’s Personal LORD and Savior. Or James Dobson/Voddie Baucham as adult’s guru/prophets.

    You got that right. Not in this life.

  95. @ dee:
    Yeah, it’s horrific & disgusting to send kids off so young, & yes, deviants circled these places like foxes circle the henhouse. With their single sex pupils & ethos of cold showers, long runs & the cane, a bit of casual sexual cruelty would have fitted right in.@ NJ:
    I’m pretty sure they would have undergone whatever was similar in their day, I know my Granddad did the Eton-Oxford or equivalent route. it’s just brutal.@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    All of the above really. The slipper was Sally the Spaniel’s chew toy, an old slipper, which he kept under his pillow to remind him of her. The route marked out for him, which always included the law -he was a Barrister- was not a happy one. He was also what’s known as a Colonial Magistrate, & we were in Hong Kong as children back in the days when it was still under British rule. The last vestiges of Empire & the British Rulers & lawgivers needed to govern it.

  96. Jerome wrote:

    Church-on-Main(Cape Town) releases statement regarding the ministry of John and Anne Smyth there:

    “We had John and Anne as part of our broader leadership team – equivalent to small group leaders. They hosted discipleship meetings and met to council individuals predominantly young men of university going age.”

    i.e. “…predominantly John Smyth’s target profile.”

    “certain parts of John’s discipleship practice were, however, in our opinion, pastorally unwise.

    NO. SKUBALON.

    Specifically:

    His practice of meeting young men at a well know Cape Town sports club that began with a game of squash, was followed by a shower in a common shower, then lunch over which we were told John would make generally unsolicited enquiries about the young men’s experience of pornography, masturbation and other sexual matters.
    Offering his advice regarding sexual matters that left the person feeling uncomfortable. Mostly this seems to have occurred on John’s first meeting with the young men we spoke with.

    And nobody recognized this as a sexual predator’s Grooming behavior lining up potential prey?
    The Sandusky Showers and “unsolicited enquiry” subject matter (on first meeting) should have been a dead giveaway. And Smyth was way too old to plead cluelessness.

    Church-on-the-Main was really asleep at the switch on this one. Maybe Smyth was grooming them with his prestige and reputation. Maybe they didn’t know the signs of a sexual predator. Maybe South Africa hadn’t had any high-profile scandals along this line and/or an “It can’t happen here” normalcy.

    On Monday 30 January 2017 Andrew received a message from John requesting him to urgently meet John at his home in Bergvliet. At this meeting John revealed to Andrew that he had received an email on the weekend outlining what was going to be aired on Channel 4 in the UK in the coming week. This was the first time any elder at Church-on-Main was made aware of the nature and the gravity of the allegations about John’s ministry in the UK. Present at this meeting was a member of the NGO that John led at the time. John was requesting that Andrew as his pastor would call the UK and vouch for him saying that he was in good standing in the church community. At this point Andrew said this was not possible”

    Andrew-as-his-pastor may have been unaware of what was going on (or asleep at the switch), but when he found out the seriousness of the accusations, he did the right thing. Gotta hand him that – No “Rally Round the Perp, Boyos!” like you see so often in other similar scandals.

  97. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Someone told me that “Erotic Flagellation” was the sexual fetish of choice for Victorian-era Upper Class and Wanna-Be Upper Class Men. And a popular subject in Victorian-era Porn (to the point that a lot of Christian Spanking Manuals unknowingly used said Victorian Flagellation Erotica as a source). My term for it became “Kink of England!”

    Remember that movie that came out a few decades ago (maybe there was more than one, even?) where there’s a scene of a young man being beaten (spanked is too mild a word) and after every whack he’s required to say, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?”

    I can’t remember if the setting was a military school or a fraternity.

    And then there’s that scene from “Lawrence of Arabia” where the Turkish(?) commander is standing by, enjoying the sound of Lawrence’s beating…

  98. Jerome wrote:

    2017 Andrew received a message from John requesting him to urgently meet John at his home in Bergvliet. At this meeting John revealed to Andrew that he had received an email on the weekend outlining what was going to be aired on Channel 4 in the UK in the coming week. This was the first time any elder at Church-on-Main was made aware of the nature and the gravity of the allegations about John’s ministry in the UK. Present at this meeting was a member of the NGO that John led at the time. John was requesting that Andrew as his pastor would call the UK and vouch for him saying that he was in good standing in the church community. At this point Andrew said this was not possible”

    So, John Symth is an abuser and a liar who asks others to lie for him so he can continue the abuse.

  99. Ian wrote:

    Bash’s entire approach was to put Christians into positions of influence,

    Reminds me strongly of Doug Phillips and other Vision Forum speakers, as well as speakers from HSLDA at some of our local homeschool conferences.

  100. okrapod wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Given the situation/example, adult has obviously not accepted the Pearls and Ezzos as adult’s Personal LORD and Savior. Or James Dobson/Voddie Baucham as adult’s guru/prophets.

    You got that right. Not in this life.

    I remember the first time I heard about Voddie Baucham’s strange writings about ‘fathers and daughters’ and I thought at the time, ‘this man has no idea how perverted this sounds’. I don’t know if he did mean it in a perverted sense or not, but my goodness, it sure did come out that way.

  101. okrapod wrote:

    Yes, but. And I do not condone trauma. But one does use physical force when one straps a screaming child in a car seat, or when one buckles the belt on a high chair against childish objections, or when like a few evenings ago young son stopped his toddler in the midst of trying to run wild in the restaurant, sat her down kerplop in a chair and made sure she stayed there. There was no hitting or other trauma, but it was an adult physically overpowering a toddler. So, we have to specifically define where does being physical with a child end and abuse begin

    My daughter was a stubborn, adventurous, relentless child who would try anyone’s patience (don’t know who she got that from. ; ^ ) ….). She was a daring farm girl with access to tractors, horses, ATVs, and hundreds of acres of woodland. When she was small, I slapped her behind on numerous occasions to get her attention, but never hard enough to bruise, etc. When she 5, my dad bought a pony for her. When she was 8yo, her horse was born ……. a beautiful registered American Saddlebred high-stepping black and white paint, who still roams our pastures. That horse was all the leverage I needed to keep my daughter within reasonable behavior boundaries!

    Forget the Pearls and blanket training …… My theory on raising a child: Whatever stage of life they are in, give them just enough rope (freedom) to hang themselves. But, stay close enough to cut the rope if need be.

  102. Christiane wrote:

    I don’t know if he did mean it in a perverted sense or not, but my goodness, it sure did come out that way.

    My thinking is that he meant it in a perverted sense whether he knew it or not.

  103. Former CLCer wrote:

    After reading these posts, I looked up the Advance network and lo and behold, their North American conference will be held in June at Covenant Life Church.

    Begs the question: What and who are they advancing?

  104. I remember being a young mother and struggling to get the diaper on a wriggling baby who wouldn’t cooperate. Diaper changes were an exercise in patience and were quite time-consuming …. when a young nurse said to me: ‘try this: clap you hands loudly together to get his attention, and then lay your hand on his leg and he will be still for you’

    it worked

    it had something to do with the loud noise getting the baby’s attention long enough to get the changing done

  105. molly245 wrote:

    “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless she persisted”…

    Hats off to you both Dee & Deb!

    You are warriors! My prayers for your continuing strength.

    power to the Deebs!

  106. refugee wrote:

    Remember that movie that came out a few decades ago (maybe there was more than one, even?) where there’s a scene of a young man being beaten (spanked is too mild a word) and after every whack he’s required to say, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?”

    I can’t remember if the setting was a military school or a fraternity.

    Fraternity.
    The movie was Animal House.

  107. okrapod wrote:

    Yes, but. And I do not condone trauma. But one does use physical force when one straps a screaming child in a car seat …

    Shall we tell one segment of the population that they cannot swat a child on the bottom while at the same time being very careful not to offend anybody concerning the appropriateness of a beat down. That is thin ice right there.

    Excellent points. From what (little) I have seen, children who aren’t spanked are still intimidated by their parents’ size and role. This carries over to other adult/child situations too. Just recently I stared down a table full of gigantic teenage boys I know, after one of them uttered an “oath.” Believe me, they were uncomfortable.

    Adults need to make very sparing use of their power over youngsters. It’s horrifying to see the abuse of such power.

  108. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    refugee wrote:
    Remember that movie that came out a few decades ago (maybe there was more than one, even?) where there’s a scene of a young man being beaten (spanked is too mild a word) and after every whack he’s required to say, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?”
    I can’t remember if the setting was a military school or a fraternity.
    Fraternity.
    The movie was Animal House.

    Maybe the ROTC had a role, and that’s why I was thinking “military”? I saw that movie when it first came out, which was a long time ago… I don’t remember much else about that movie, except John Belushi (I think it was) eating jello, and the food fight scene.

  109. refugee wrote:

    Maybe the ROTC had a role, and that’s why I was thinking “military”?

    Well, in the movie one of the “bad guys”, Needermeyer the rich snob, is ROTC.

    The “Where are they now?” ending mentions he eventually got fragged in Vietnam.

  110. @ Ian:I wonder how much pressure was exerted from the school side on the parents “not to make waves”? Schools had/have a vested interest in avoiding scandal. Here in Australia we have a Royal Commission underway into child abuse and the extent revealed so far is mind boggling. Religious organisations, youth organisations, private schools the list goes on and on. Many of these have engaged in cover ups, going back decades in some cases.
    In the UK in addition to the Jimmy Saville/Rolf Harris cases, there have been stories circulating for years of rings of child abusers in the highest levels of politics and business. Several eminent politicians and captains of industry have been mentioned (usually after their death to avoid libel laws) and police involvement has also been alluded to. The rot goes deep and would appear to be throughout the world. this is just the latest manifestation.

  111. Beakerj wrote:

    @ dee:
    Yeah, it’s horrific & disgusting to send kids off so young, & yes, deviants circled these places like foxes circle the henhouse. With their single sex pupils & ethos of cold showers, long runs & the cane, a bit of casual sexual cruelty would have fitted right in

    A landlubber’s version of the ethos of “Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash”?

  112. cranston wrote:

    @ Ian:I wonder how much pressure was exerted from the school side on the parents “not to make waves”? Schools had/have a vested interest in avoiding scandal. Here in Australia we have a Royal Commission underway into child abuse and the extent revealed so far is mind boggling. Religious organisations, youth organisations, private schools the list goes on and on. Many of these have engaged in cover ups, going back decades in some cases.
    In the UK in addition to the Jimmy Saville/Rolf Harris cases, there have been stories circulating for years of rings of child abusers in the highest levels of politics and business. Several eminent politicians and captains of industry have been mentioned (usually after their death to avoid libel laws) and police involvement has also been alluded to. The rot goes deep and would appear to be throughout the world. this is just the latest manifestation.

    Cranston, yes, I would say that schools did put pressure on parents. But going back a step, there would be strong cultural barriers against making waves, even without the school saying anything. In British upper / middle class society, it is not polite to make a fuss, there is a strong aversion to complaining, and everyone knows their place and respects those in authority (such as teachers). Some of our independent schools are hundreds of years old and have produced many famous people, so they know all about educating children to succeed in life. It would be rude to question their methods. And, of course, if you did rock the boat too much, the school might find an excuse to expel your child, which would be devastating.

    Here’s a press report about abuse in an independent school:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2644715/St-Pauls-prep-school-betrayed-generation-Sinister-swimsuit-inspections-Senseless-beatings-Casual-cruelty-For-time-ex-pupil-lifts-lid-70s-regime-schools-investigated-sex-abuse.html

    Note the bit near the end about how a complaint was handled. The approach was “what happens at school, stays at school”.

    Regarding the stories of UK child abuse rings amongst the great and good, I’m a bit sceptical. I have no doubt that abuse was widespread in the past and there will be more horror stories to emerge, probably even some worse than this one, but I also think there’s a degree of sensationalising going on in the media. From what I know, paedophiles get themselves into positions where they have access to children and can groom them to facilitate long-term abuse in a relationship where the abuser has power over the child and can force them to keep silent. That fits the scenarios you mention – schools, churches, etc – but it doesn’t sound right for politicians and businessmen. I’m not going to rule it out – given the stories that have emerged so far, I think anything is possible – but these claims sound more like conspiracy theories than anything else.

  113. The Scottish Government set up an enquiry into child abuse in October 2015 and you can find the link here.

    https://www.childabuseinquiry.scot/key-documents/terms-of-reference/

    And only last month a former teacher at a private school was arrested in Australia for alleged abuse almost forty years ago

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-38718554

    I also think that the upper classes saw/see (as opposed to see/saw) “fagging” as character building rather than their being too polite to complain. And it wasn’t limited to the posh schools either. At our state school, our head of Latin was in the habit of throwing 9 inch Roman nails at us if we got a question wrong or marching down between the desks wielding his wooden gladius administering justice as he went.

  114. I first learned about “fagging” from reading Ronald Dahl’s autobiography. Roald attended Repton and had to be a “Fag” while there.

    I was very young at the time, and wasn’t aware of the other meaning of the word “fag”, so I didn’t think much of it.

    Looking back, though, some of the scenarios in that book seem really creepy. Roald had to sit on a cold toilet seat for half an hour early in the morning, in order to warm it up for the older boy’s use. The older boy told him, “Some Fags have warm bottoms, and some have cold ones. I use only warm-bottomed Fags to warm the toilet seat up for me”. The obvious entendres in that phrase flew over my head when I first read it; not so much now! That was one seriously messed-up school.

  115. cranston wrote:

    @ Ian:I wonder how much pressure was exerted from the school side on the parents “not to make waves”?

    Ian wrote:

    In British upper / middle class society, it is not polite to make a fuss, there is a strong aversion to complaining, and everyone knows their place and respects those in authority (such as teachers).

    In the 1980s I had a male friends who had attended several of these schools. Some of them–not all–appeared to be captivated by the secrecy of the institutions. At the time, I believed that the worst secrets involved older boys hazing the younger ones. The mentality seemed mainly about preserving the mystique, and making sure that the grand public did not learn about the adolescent habits of Future Important People.

  116. On the Healing Journey wrote:

    I don’t understand how Smythe avoided justice for so long. For example, how can a man flee a country after a charge of culpability in the death of a 16-year-old and go to another country to avoid justice and get away with it? Aren’t there extradition treaties between Zimbabwe & South Africa? As Herbert, the Zimbabwean prosecutor who was removed from the case, said in the Channel 4 interview, why wasn’t another prosecutor assigned to the case? Why didn’t Zimbabwe pursue the matter?

    Prior to 1979, Zimbabwe was known as Rhodesia. It was a nation run by a white minority who kept their position of power through brutal force.

    South Africa also had Apartheid until 1994. So there would have been a period of time where the new black-ruled nation (Zimbabwe) was at serious odds with the policy of the white-ruled South Africa.

    Also I think it’s quite possible that whatever criminal investigations existed in Rhodesia prior to the 1979 transition of power from whites to blacks were simply lost in the chaos.

  117. This review of a book by psychotherapist Joy Schaverian, “Boarding School Syndrome: The psychological trauma of the ‘privileged’ child” is worth reading.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jun/08/boarding-school-syndrome-joy-schaverien-review

    A couple quotes-

    In Britain, you don’t have to have gone to a private boarding school to be affected by them and their product. Schaverien’s experience comes from her father, who, in old age, told his family how he still ached at memories of being left at his boarding school in Brighton, in 1916, aged six. The fact that he arrived in short trousers and wearing a velour hat with elastic under the chin ensured that he was savagely bullied from the first minute. “If I was so precious that mother dressed me this way, why then did she part with me?” he was still wondering, 70 years later.

    emotional cruelty is what exacts the greatest toll on the developing mind. Children are resilient, they can recover from physical hurt: it’s clear from reading Schaverien that what most reliably damages children is long-term emotional neglect, the absence of safety, the failure of justice, the loss of love. We need the psychological abuse of children to be properly outlawed

  118. Remnant wrote:

    Father pastors set up their sons to join them in pastoring, setting them up to take over the family mantle of pastoring.

    “North Korea and evangelical empires have the same principle of leadership: nepotism to the nth degree. You may not get the call, but you inherit the mailing list.” – Frank Schaeffer

  119. JYJames wrote:

    Remnant wrote:
    Father pastors set up their sons to join them in pastoring, setting them up to take over the family mantle of pastoring.
    “North Korea and evangelical empires have the same principle of leadership: nepotism to the nth degree. You may not get the call, but you inherit the mailing list.” – Frank Schaeffer

    Spot on.

  120. siteseer wrote:

    Another good read on boarding school syndrome http://www.brightontherapypartnership.org.uk/impact-of-boarding-school/

    Siteseer, that is an excellent article – thanks for tracking it down.

    In relation to the church, this paragraph is highly pertinent:

    Boarding school may also lead to sibling groups. The bonding in sibling groups compensates for the loss of family and the significance of the sibling group continues into adult life as a sense of belonging is maintained. The powerlessness that children at first experience in relation to the rules may create a sibling bond and may also produce people who conform. This prepares them well to follow a career in the military, law or some highly formalised institution.

    (1) sibling groups – I think it’s true that Bash campers have formed a sibling group that has continued into the church.

    (2) conformity – the conservative evangelical movement has pretty strong doctrinal conformity, and it seems incapable of accepting that there are alternative views (for example on female clergy).

    (3) highly formalised institution – the Church of England could be described as such.

    The article made me think about the psychology of these camps. Does the trauma of boarding school make people more open to the gospel? Unconditional love to those in a system with no love. Forgiveness for breaking the rules. A saviour who was beaten and punished instead of you. And was there any reparenting going on? It sounds like Eric Nash became a father figure to his campers, taking the place of their absent fathers. He did the most loving thing possible – introduce people to Jesus.

    Quite fascinating indeed.

  121. Ian wrote:

    Boarding school may also lead to sibling groups.

    However, “Lord of the Flies” comes to mind.

  122. JYJames wrote:

    Ian wrote:

    Boarding school may also lead to sibling groups.

    However, “Lord of the Flies” comes to mind.

    “Maybe,” he said hesitantly, “maybe there is a beast.” . ……. “What I mean is, maybe it’s only us.”
    (William Golding, Lord of the Flies)

    “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?” The President replied.

    “The end of living, and the beginning of survival.” (Chief Seattle)

  123. okrapod wrote:

    Ian wrote:

    conservative evangelicals do believe that they are theologically superior to the rest of us,

    Yep, here too. Help me on this as to how it is in UK compared to here. In my experience conservative evangelicals do tend to be more knowledgable of the theological issues (whether right or wrong) and do tend to be able to field better arguments (just looking at the ability to argue or not) and do tend to be more conversant with scripture as in ‘the bible says’ (when indeed perhaps it does), and do tend to care about doctrine and be more enthusiastic about doctrines than those that we call ‘moderate’ over here.

    It would be so easy to call the moderates ‘lukewarm’ based on not being interested in the controversy in the first place. And in conservative evangelicalism ‘lukewarm’ translates into ‘not really saved or else why do we not see them ‘on fire’ for Jesus and why do we not see changes in their lives in half a gazillion areas?’ which would be to say why do they not follow the more or less holiness rules like the conservatives do.

    Does this go on in UK or is UK mostly about class and caste?

    okrapod, sorry for late response. Yes, UK conservative evangelicals do see themselves as theologically superior to other evangelicals. They would claim to correctly interpret the Bible and regard differing views as being in error. But “holiness rules” have been consigned to history over here.

    If you’d like me to say more, just ask…

  124. Ian wrote:

    conservative evangelicals do believe that they are theologically superior to the rest of us

    “Conservative” evangelicalism in America now means “New Calvinist.” The “Conservative” Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention has proven to be a “Calvinist” resurgence. They rule by the intellect, rather than by the Spirit. Most of them are not as smart as they think they are … they would have no sermons if they did not parrot the words of their reformed icons (Piper, Mohler, Dever, etc.).

  125. “John Smyth would stand near the showers in the nude when boys were taking showers. John Smyth would give prayer meeting in the nude.”

    Bottom-line: Never trust a pastor who can’t keep his pants on!

    If my father had done that, one of the boys would have told me.

  126. Reading through these comments, an experience I had at CLC came to mind. It doesn’t relate to sexual abuse, but certainly mental abuse. I was in the restroom and a mother came in with her son, who was about 3 years old. He innocently said, “I don’t like this bathroom”, and his mother said, “Do you want the ground to swallow you up?” (like the Israelites – the child obviously knew the story already!) I shudder and get angry at the same time thinking about it.

  127. “Apparently the Evangelical Church moves its perpetrators around like the Catholic Church did/does with their priests.”

    The Evangelical Church is the new Catholic Church. There used to be separate denominations. Now there is the Evangelical Church, constructed by councils and synods, and the signing of council documents like the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy. Its a new Catholicism emerging. Or, judging from its track record of sexual scandals, has it already emerged? The only thing lacking is for a council of the Evangelical Church to appoint a Pope. But in the interim, I guess John Piper is acting pope.

  128. There is a trenchant critique from the inside of the ongoing and pervasive public school influence on conservative evangelicalism on the Ugley Vicar blog

    “{English Conservatvie Evangelicalism] is dominated by an upper-middle-class culture. This is very much the legacy of EJH ‘Bash’ Nash, founder of the famous ‘Iwerne’ camps. Bash was a man of simple faith and strategic genius. Seeing that the leadership of England was drawn from public (US = private) schools, he specifically targeted their students and sought their conversion.

    Amongst the fruits of his labours were Dick Lucas, John Stott, Michael Green and David Watson, all of whom went on to become key evangelical leaders.

    Yet, inevitably, Bash campers produced more Bash campers, and so English evangelicalism generally, and in latter years Conservative Evangelicalism particularly, has been dominated by a public school ethos. Unfortunately, public-school upper-middle-class people are generally poor at opening their ranks to outsiders. The ethos of the upper echelons of Conservative Evangelicalism has thus often been closer to ‘old school tie’ than is healthy.”

    And an academic study on the psychological pressures in the Oxbridge chirstian circles can be downloaded here

    http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.425105

    It is impossible to assess the state of evangelicalism in the Church of England without understanding the background of its leaders. it is a close social circle with allegiances and an omerta that is almost entirely inaccessible to a state school boy (or perish the thought woman) like myself. This is the context in which a scandal like Smyth’s can remain hidden.

  129. Pingback: Why I Do Not Believe the Statements From P.J. Smyth and the Elders of Covenant Life Church - Zimbabwe Consolidated News UNITED STATES