Two Liberty University Employees Convicted of Sex Crimes: Stop Being Shocked and Learn How to Assess Christianese and Courtroom Lingo

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“Home is behind, the world ahead,
and there are many paths to tread
through shadows to the edge of night,
until the stars are all alight.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


In two weeks, two employees of Liberty University were arrested (and both later convicted) of sex crimes.

Two employees of Liberty University, Stephen Kilpatrick, a professor physics, and Jeremy Whorley who was both an employee of Liberty University and an MBA student, have both been convicted of sex crimes. In some reports, Whorley is only listed as a student but he was also a paid employee.

Update: Lynchburg child-porn suspect is Liberty University employee, student states these two cases are not connected.

Whorley is the second LU employee arrested in connection with a Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigation in the past two weeks.

Stephen Kilpatrick’s crimes

According to police, Kilpatrick was actively attempting to solicit sex from a person on Craigs List who claimed to be 13 years old girl. In fact, he was corresponding with a law enforcement officer from the Southern Virgina Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Here is a description of Former Liberty University professor found guilty on child sex crime charges

Gardner said the conversations often were sexually explicit and Kilpatrick was told the person he was communicating with was a 13-year-old girl in the eighth grade named “Jenny.” Kilpatrick promised sexual acts to “Jenny,” drove to where he thought she lived and told her he’d thought about her sexually while in his office, according to Gardner.

Kilpatrick was a professor of physics at LU during the time of the incident but has since been fired, his family said from the witness stand Tuesday.(ed: Other reports said he was a professor of mathematics.)

Kilpatrick actively was trying to set up a meeting with the girl, Gardner said, and law enforcement officers staged such a meeting in June. When they intercepted Kilpatrick, she said he had cookies and lubrication in his car.

While awaiting trial, how was Kilpatrick portrayed by his wife and friends?

Bedford County trial begins for former Liberty University professor accused of child solicitation reported:

Kilpatrick’s wife, Sandra, said she was prepared to put their life savings on the line to get her husband out of jail.

She said her husband has no criminal history or allegations of sexual misconduct and is a well-written man who used to work as a research scientist for the U.S. government. The couple has been active in different churches they’ve attended and Sandra Kilpatrick said her husband would host small group meetings of church members at their home and help teach small children Bible study.

Kilpatrick’s friends and fellow churchgoers said Tuesday they’d be his support system if he was granted bond. When asked by Pack if his charges surprised them, they all said they were shocked.

Let’s go through the claims.

  • He had no criminal history.
  • No allegations of sexual misconduct.
  • Well written man
  • A former research scientist for the government
  • She and her husband had been active in different churches.
  • They hosted small group meetings.
  • They taught small children Bible study.
  • Their friends would be his support system.
  • Their friends were shocked.

The reality:

  • The majority of pedophiles are never arrested. Some guess that over 90% of pedophiles are never arrested,. That means background checks will never pick up these offenders. That also means that a negative criminal history means nothing in these situations.
  • Pedophiles are not creepy old men who wear trench coats and suspiciously lurk in parks. The reason they never get arrested is because they can appear as fine, upstanding citizens such as scientists or professors or a *well written man.* They are good at this stuff.
  • Pedophiles will go where there are trusting people so they can get away with their criminal activity. Churches and small groups are a great place to meet kids. And imagine teaching small children Bible studies? Little children are particularly vulnerable to a sharp pedophile
  • Church friends sometimes believe that all can be forgiven by them. They don’t consider that maybe they shouldn’t forgive in place of those who were the actual  victims. (We forgive you for raping those 13 boys. We don’t really care if the victims are consulted, we’ll just do it.) They also believe that the Holy Spirit will miraculously heal pedophiles on demand.  They don’t understand that pedophilia is crime as well as a dangerous psychiatric disorder. Some people don’t even consider that they are not equipped to help a seriously mentally imbalanced criminal.
  • Christians who read Bible should not be *shocked* that their supposed friend is a criminal. Take a look at David. Recently, a member of the SBC leadership made a statement on Twitter saying we need to *believe the best* about fellow Christians. Sadly, this means people are taught to ignore serious warning signs that a person is a danger to their community.

Let me state this loud and clear. Even I can be fooled by a pedophile and I’ve been dealing with this a long time. I am smart enough to know that I can be conned by an intelligent and charismatic pervert.

People with sexual paraphilias are adept at making up stories about their activities.

Let’s take a look at Kilpatrick’s excuse for what he was doing. After the *entrapment defense* didn’t work, Kilpatrick took the stand and offered this explanation: Former Liberty University professor found guilty on child sex crime charges

Notice his attempt to deflect the blame of his *home life* as the reason for seeking *entertainment* elsewhere. Basically, he’s blaming his wife. Then, he pretends that this was all a game and he knew what he was doing.

For the first time, jurors heard from Kilpatrick Wednesday. He took the witness stand and told the jury that he never thought he was messaging a 13-year-old girl, but was taking part in a fantasy with an adult woman who was pretending to be 13. He said that he was creating a persona and that he was messaging a persona as part of “fantasy communication,” never believing that it was an actual 13-year-old.

“The moment you question a fantasy, you terminate the fantasy,” said Kilpatrick, from the witness stand.

Kilpatrick added that he often scrolled through and responded to ads on Craigslist. He said it helped him get away from the frustrations of home-life and he saw it as a form of entertainment, trying to ascertain if the person who was posting was a real person or not.

“I was trying to get her to break her persona,” said Kilpatrick. “Everything can be fake in fantasy communication.”

The jury recommended he get 35 years.

Ex-Liberty professor convicted of trying to have sex with minor, jury recommends 35 years

The jury recommended he spend 35 years in jail. He will be formally sentenced in September.

Liberty said Kilpatrick, who was an associate professor of mathematics, was fired from his position.

I am so grateful to see that juries are taking this stuff seriously. The pedophile at my former church only got 13 years, one for each boy who testified. These young teens were molested in the most despicable ways imaginable. You can be sure that a couple of us will be there the day he gets out to remind him that we are watching him.

I hope Kilpatrick gets every one of those 35 years.

The viewing of child porn as it relates to possible sexual acting out.

Before we look at Whorley, it’s worth exploring an NIH study correlating the viewing of child porn to subsequent deviant behavior. There are many such studies out there however it is difficult to get large enough sample size since most people know. that viewing child pornography and don’t want to admit to it.

I once spoke with a deputy in Mississippi who tried to convince me that those who had viewed child porn and were subsequently jailed were not sexual offenders and could be safely released into the community. In our discussion, there was no consideration given for the ongoing debate in the psychiatric community whether the viewing child pornography should be included under the heading of pedophilia. Here is one such debate.

The Inclusion of Child Pornography in the DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Pedophilia: Conceptual and Practical Problems

The jury is still out on this one. Through my work at TWW I, I knew of one viewer of child porn was watching 8 month old babies being raped. I am grateful that more and more arrests are occurring in this area because I believe that studies will eventually show a definite correlation between viewing child porn and a sting on that possibility.

Here is one such study albeit with a small sample.

Viewing child pornography: prevalence and correlates in a representative community sample of young Swedish men.

A total of 84 (4.2 %) young men reported they had ever viewed child pornography. Most theory-based variables were moderately and significantly associated with child pornography viewing and were consistent with models of sexual offending implicating both antisociality and sexual deviance.

Jeremy Whorley was arrested and convicted of possession of child porn with children as young as 6 years old.

In 2018, according to LU student arrested in connection to LPD child porn investigation

Jeremy Cole Whorley is currently enrolled in Liberty’s Masters of Business Administration Program and is employed by the university.

Whorley was arrested Tuesday, July 10 after police got a search warrant at his home in the Heritage Circle area in connection to an investigation into the sharing of child porn online.

Police said he’s charged with 10 counts of possessing child porn.

Lynchburg man to serve four years for possessing child porn.

Take a look at the number of images found on his computer.

Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Bennett said more than 300 images of suspected child porn were found on his computer, and further investigation revealed he had deleted more than 1,100 suspect images.Some of those images, Bennett said, depicted children estimated to be as young as 6 years old in sexual situations.

Let’s take a look at how Whorley is portrayed during the trial.

By statement of his wife during the trial:

  • Her husband has expressed remorse
  • (He has) gone to two sessions with a specialized licensed counselor.
  • He hasn’t been accessing the internet — a condition of his bond —
  • The two have discussed the issue multiple times.

By the Commonwealth Attorney Jennifer Bennett

  • (He) has little risk of recidivism
  • But said he’s reported a “compulsive, overwhelming urge” to view child porn.

By his attorney:

  • Straw pointed out his client had no criminal history,
  • Never touched a child
  • Was gainfully employed when he was arrested.
  • He also said close to a dozen loved ones who came to Lynchburg Circuit Court were there to show support for his client.
  • While “it should be criminalized,” Straw added it’s a psychological abnormality.”

By Whorley:

  • He accepts responsibility for his actions
  • Knows viewing child porn isn’t a victimless crime.
  • He said he’d continue to seek help
  • (He)has plenty of support from his family.

By Judge Yeats:

Sentenced him to four years of active time, after which he’ll be on supervised probation for two years, will need to be on good behavior for 25 years and will need to register as a sex offender. In addition, he was prohibited from consuming alcohol, having unsupervised contact with minors and viewing any pornography. He won’t be able to use the internet except as approved by probation officers.

…He claimed that although it’s a crime, it is also a *disease.*

Let’s go through what was said.

  • The wife said he expressed remorse. Of course he did, after the was arrested. Did he ever express remorse prior to getting caught? Doubtful
  • He’s been to 2 sessions with counselor. This is just plain stupid.  This problem won’t go away after two measly counseling sessions. Get back to me after he has been on consistent counseling for 2 years and release the counselors report.
  • He didn’t access the internet because his bail would have been revoked. This tells me nothing. Was he watched 24/7 during that time?
  • So glad to hear he’s *discussing* this with his wife. Again, that tells us nothing.
  • The Commonwealth Attorney says he has little risk for recidivism. Based on what knowledge? I was once told that a pedophile in an Anglican Church had little risk of reoffending even though he had offended for 30+ years. Things didn’t go so well in that one either. Did the Commonwealth attorney believe that his 2 counseling sessions *cure* him?
  • Good night!! He still claims an overwhelming compulsion to view child porn but he isn’t at risk? Banging my head on the kitchen table. I suspect that he will reoffend as soon as he’s released if not before. Prisons can be sketchy places.
  • His attorney said he has no criminal history. Once again, most offenders are never caught so *no criminal history* is the norm.
  • How in the world does his attorney know he’s never touched a child? Because he said so?
  • Most child porn viewer are gainfully employed. Why did the attorney think that would make a difference? By the way, he was fired from LU.
  • So a dozen people showed up to support his client? My guess is that far fewer will stick around after they think about what this guy did.
  • What does it matter that his client’s porn addiction is a psychiatric disorder? This makes his problem even worse since it is a compulsion and the cure rates are questionable. Serial killers have a psychiatric disorder. What difference does that (or should that) make in their sentencing?
  • Whorley took responsibility for his actions. Well, he really didn’t have much choice, did he?
  • And he has so much support from the same people he conned for a very long time. That’s reassuring.
  • He promised to continue to seek help. Well, this is one to watch. Two sessions of counseling tells us nothing.

The judge is correct. Pedophilia and getting one’s jollies looking at little kids getting raped is a disease although I prefer to call it a profound psychiatric disorder. There is no cure at this time. But, did they know what they were doing was wrong? Of course they did. Did they seek out help to prevent them from going down this road? No they didn’t.

At the time of these crimes they knew they were doing something wrong and they didn’t give a hoot about the well-being of the children. They were only interested in getting their jollies, children be damned.

Folks, we cannot afford to be naive. The well being of our children is dependent on us getting a whole lot smarter.


Comments

Two Liberty University Employees Convicted of Sex Crimes: Stop Being Shocked and Learn How to Assess Christianese and Courtroom Lingo — 216 Comments

  1. How do we keep a sane and balanced outlook? I’m concerned that I’m almost to the point of considering every male a suspect. I replay conversations in my head and am starting to read into situations too much. Or am I? If a male family friend gives a compliment, I wonder if he’s grooming my child. If a man at church talks to my daughter, I wonder if he has ulterior motives. I wonder who among me (Family, friends, church members, etc.) is struggling with pornography. When my children mention doing anything with someone from church, I start to wonder and worry. When my teenagers attends youth group (which they love), I analyze every bit of information I can get about the leaders and chaperones. I know them well, but apparently it’s never well enough. I strongly believe in mother’s instinct, but this will put me over the edge if it continues. Does anyone else have this issue?

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  2. Sheryl,

    My good friend, Todd Wilhelm, always makes me laugh about this. We might be discussing a court trial or another situation and he will suddenly chime in ‘He’s probably a pedophile, too.” Doing what we do every day can make you crazy some times.

    I think we have entered a new era in which we actually consider the possibility that there are abusers in our midst. I think, over time, we will discover that far more people than we could have imagined are abusers. As people discuss this more and more openly, we will settle into our new reality that it exists. It’s far better than even a couple of decades ago when we didn’t even consider the possibility and our kids were unknowingly targets.

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  3. Sorry if I overlooked it, but also notice this wanna-be child molester (Kilpatrick) was MARRIED.

    Single, celibate adults are not all pedophiles (as so many seem to believe).

    There are a lot of men who are married to women who are pedophiles.

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  4. Sheryl:
    How do we keep a sane and balanced outlook? I’m concerned that I’m almost to the point of considering every male a suspect. I replay conversations in my head and am starting to read into situations too much. Or am I? If a male family friend gives a compliment, I wonder if he’s grooming my child. If a man at church talks to my daughter, I wonder if he has ulterior motives. I wonder who among me (Family, friends, church members, etc.) is struggling with pornography. When my children mention doing anything with someone from church, I start to wonder and worry. When my teenagers attends youth group (which they love), I analyze every bit of information I can get about the leaders and chaperones. I know them well, but apparently it’s never well enough. I strongly believe in mother’s instinct, but this will put me over the edge if it continues. Does anyone else have this issue?

    Yes. I do. My boys are in their 20s now, both about 6 feet tall, so I assume they can take care of themselves, and I don’t worry the way I used to. But when they were little, I definitely had my antennae up and on high alert.

    It’s crazy that we have to be this way.

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  5. I know someone who was arrested for physical sexual contact with a 17 year old over 30 years ago. The abuser was an adult leader of a church youth group at which the minor attended. Got off with community service and a psychiatric evaluation. That’s statutory rape in the law books. What might happen in such a case today? Jail time? Lifetime offender list? Long term counseling?

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  6. The moment the pedophile admits he has an “urge”, “desire”, etc after getting caught their shifting blame, trying to be the victim. “I was born this way, I couldn’t control myself when I saw the six year old,” yeah right.

    This post also relates to Guest’s comment in the previous post, asking Joyce Meyers hired a pedophile to watch her kids. My response, actually looks at Joyce’s rationalizing of her father’s raping of her. Nobody wants to say these men are broken and pure evil, no chance of fixing them short of God. Everybody wants to stick their head in sand. The Ward Cleaver father on the block is a bigger chance of being a pedophile than the screwy guy that talks to himself.

    In past post, others have advised me that the mindset of some Christians out there. Thinking if a man is born again, he can’t be a pedophile. But when he’s sentenced, it must have been the devil that got into him. Well, isn’t it once we’re saved we have Jesus by our side. The only way the devil can get at a stronghold is if we let him? At least that’s the way I understood it when I listened to Charles Stanley. It has never been the devil’s fault. It’s the man’s fault.

    You Christians with your head in the sand pull it out. Do you need another Balaam’s donkey to get you to see it?

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  7. Stephen Kilpatrick major area of research was certainly physics (nuclear fusion reaction at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, SEMs, etc.) though his position at LU was in the math department (it may also have been in physics since LU seems to overlap faculty in those two areas).

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  8. For those who would say that looking at pictures isn’t as bad as actually touching….

    Having been both molested and photographed as a child, i would offer this: after years of therapy and (by God’s grace, healing), the physical part has faded much and does not trigger so much anymore. But when I think of the Polaroids taken and where they could have traveled, it still causes anxiety and great sadness…and a prayer of thanks that there were no negatives and a prayer of hope the the pics did not survive…because the existence of the pictures is a crime that keeps on wounding, even 45+ years later.

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  9. Dee, you articulated the thing about these Christian situations where everyone wants to support the pedophile so well-

    he has so much support from the same people he conned for a very long time. That’s reassuring.

    That’s exactly it. These people have been useful to the pedophile because they bought the act and supported it. He couldn’t have played his con without their help. How many kids would come to a single man’s home for “Bible studies”? With a wife who comes across as a good Christian woman think how much more he can gain the trust of the church people.

    The supporters are still dupes and just haven’t realized it yet. They’re probably feeling so good about themselves because they’re so forgiving and supportive. Sigh.

    So who is supporting the children that were brutalized? To these people they’re just nameless nobodies, “pictures,” not actual human beings. How many of these good people have thought about these children and wondered where they are and what is happening to them now and what will become of them? The man paying for the material is literally paying someone else to rape a child for him, a heinous crime.

    If a person can look at that material and not want to instantly vomit, there is something seriously wrong with them. It’s not something counseling and “support” can change.

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  10. Also in the news: Jonathan Fletcher, an elder statesman of UK conservative evangelicalism and complementarianism proponent…

    https://www.christiantoday.com/article/jonathan-fletcher-responds-to-allegations-of-physical-discipline/132729.htm

    “Jonathan Fletcher is accused of hitting men ‘on their naked backsides’ and engaging in one-to-one massage with partially clothed or sometimes fully naked men as a form of ‘physical discipline in the context of discipling relationships’. The accusations were described in a statement delivered to hundreds of Christians at the Evangelical Ministry Assembly (EMA) this week by Rev Vaughan Roberts, minister of St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford”

    Video and transcript from the Evangelical Ministry Assembly:

    http://anglican.ink/2019/06/27/statement-given-to-the-evangelical-mission-assembly-on-the-jonathan-fletcher-affair/

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  11. In my morbid curiosity I follow postings of sites like TGC. I don’t know whether this recent post is their attempt to groom or evidence of how badly the author and editors have been groomed:
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-ways-respond-church-leader-found-guilty-abuse/
    It says nothing about holding the leader accountable, getting law enforcement involved, putting better checks and balances in place, or anything else that would expose and deter abuse. Rather, it tells victims to focus on their own sins, be glad for any good teaching they got from the abuser, and don’t participate in gossip. Wow.

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  12. SiteSeer: How many kids would come to a single man’s home for “Bible studies”? With a wife who comes across as a good Christian woman think how much more he can gain the trust of the church people.

    The supporters are still dupes and just haven’t realized it yet. They’re probably feeling so good about themselves because they’re so forgiving and supportive. Sigh.

    The predator seeks access. If the predator is a man, he will marry someone everybody trusts: a warm, naive Christian churchgoer, a woman with a well-established in-home day care, a teacher who takes kids on field trips, etc.

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  13. Catholic Gate-Crasher: My boys are in their 20s now, both about 6 feet tall, so I assume they can take care of themselves, and I don’t worry the way I used to. But when they were little, I definitely had my antennae up and on high alert.

    I don’t want to reawaken your anxiety. However, I know someone who was groomed and sexually assaulted as a strapping military man in his twenties. The predator took his time, cultivated the victim’s trust, got him alone on more than one occasion, and overall confused and isolated him. The victim did not report this, because of deep shame and because the predator was highly regarded.

    Predators often play the long game. They seek volunteer positions, jobs, and careers that will give them access, power, and protection. They excel at identifying people who will back them to the hilt, and at picking the vulnerable out of the crowd.

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  14. dee: I think we have entered a new era in which we actually consider the possibility that there are abusers in our midst.

    I talked to an elderly saint the other day (yes, older than me!) who has watched the American church spiral into chaos. We were talking about the continual string of moral failures by bad-boy church leaders, including those in our area. I asked him what he thought was going on. Referring to what he believes as the “end of the age”, he responded “Satan is getting his team in place within the church for the final battle.” I’ve been pondering that.

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  15. Friend: The predator seeks access. If the predator is a man, he will marry someone everybody trusts: a warm, naive Christian churchgoer, a woman with a well-established in-home day care, a teacher who takes kids on field trips, etc.

    This is exactly what happened in our community. A “trusted” music minister married a trusted school teacher … he is now sitting in federal prison following a child pornograpy conviction.

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  16. Ken F (aka Tweed): https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-ways-respond-church-leader-found-guilty-abuse/
    It says nothing about holding the leader accountable, getting law enforcement involved, putting better checks and balances in place, or anything else that would expose and deter abuse. Rather, it tells victims to focus on their own sins, be glad for any good teaching they got from the abuser, and don’t participate in gossip. Wow.

    Otherwise known as damage control, CYA.

    Moral of the story: don’t join yourself to anything unless you know that you know that you know all church leaders and members … tough to do in mega-church, in which sexual predators can hide in plain sight.

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  17. Sheryl,

    Ever vigilant….that’s how I was when our children were young. I put everyone on the suspect list and watched like a hawk. Even so we can’t be everywhere. We also tried to ( age appropriate ) teach our children their right to enforce physical boundaries with friends, adults, efc. And, we encouraged them to tell us if anyone made them feel uncomfortable, touched them.

    I was groomed as a young child ( starting at about age 7 ) by a 23 year old pedophile. He attended our church was a graduate student working on his Ph.d ,in chemistry, at a very prestigious college (MIT ) No one suspected anything, he was given carte Blanche with children.Unfortunately, he picked me to go after.

    It all stopped by age 12 and my abuse was mild compared to many. Still, just the thought of that man ( over 58 years ago now ) produces anxiety. I had not thought of him personally in quite a while but the experience forever left behind emotional baggage.

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  18. For the article, this just hit me: “When they intercepted Kilpatrick, she said he had cookies and lubrication in his car.” I have no words.

    Except this man’s wife needs an intervention from good friends, because her husband is trash and she clearly hasn’t figured out how to pull away.

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  19. “Church friends sometimes believe that all can be forgiven by them. They don’t consider that maybe they shouldn’t forgive in place of those who were the actual victims.”

    100 percent agree. You cannot forgive someone for hurting *someone else*. That’s just basic.

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  20. Sheryl: I replay conversations in my head and am starting to read into situations too much. Or am I? I

    I think being alert is good. My mom watched me like a hawk as a child, and i think i only realize it now. Because she knew what was out there.

    I would say unrelated people who are overly invested in your kids are a red flag but it’s so hard because relatives are an issue too. I don’t know what the answer is except to maybe talk to your kids and make it clear you will listen? I know i told my little niece as a child she didn’t have to hug me if she didn’t want to and I firmly believe that bodily autonomy is important for small children but other than that and listen to your instincts (hello gift of fear!) I don’t know. [I think the author of gift of fear has a book about protecting kids but I didn’t read it. The original gave me less fear because it said ‘trust your instincts and don’t let politeness stop you from being safe’ and that helped me]

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  21. Lea: I think being alert is good. My mom watched me like a hawk as a child, and i think i only realize it now. Because she knew what was out there.

    Life as a child in the 1940s-50s seemed so innocent. I don’t think my folks had concerns about my involvement with church groups, cub scouts or boy scouts … at least, I never knew it. But with all those groups now reporting abuse within their ranks, I have concerns for my grandchildren and watch them like a hawk, too. To counter the boy scout dilemma, some church organization came up with a Christian alternative called “Trail Life” … my daughter and son-in-law plan to look into it for our two grandsons. Does anyone have experience with or knowledge of this group?: https://www.traillifeusa.com/

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  22. Lea: i told my little niece as a child she didn’t have to hug me if she didn’t want to and I firmly believe that bodily autonomy is important for small children

    Our pediatrician gave clear info to our offspring very early: Don’t allow anyone, even a doctor, to touch the area normally covered by a bathing suit without your permission and your parent’s permission. She repeated and adapted this every year during annual checkups. Clearly this was only a partial answer, but it did help.

    You are right about hugs and autonomy. Even parents can accidentally violate boundaries; sometimes the most affectionate kid in the world just does not want to be touched. One can always ask, “Can I give you a hug?” and then back off if the child says “no” or “not right now.” As kids get older, this can help straighten out confusion about consent.

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  23. Ken F (aka Tweed): Rather, it tells victims to focus on their own sins

    Maybe I missed it. But I think Ash was avoiding an address to the victims of the abusive leader and just talking to the rest of the church. No matter though, he still gave horrific advice on how to respond to the news, that according to him, they should never have heard about in the first place. His piece was not so much about how members should respond to the actual crime perpetrated against victims in his church. He glibly says “of course” we should care for them first. Whatever he means by that, he said was beyond the scope of this paper. Still, his advice to members that they should be thinking about their own sins, instead of dwelling on the unlovely details of the crime at hand infuriates me. All his Bible quoting of the command to think on pure things only keeps any future perp leaders in business, victims quiet about details that must be presented in order to prosecute, and also keeps any “gossip” listeners from reporting. It infuriates me that his teaching on this is some of the very reason abuse is rampant in the church.

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  24. Lea: she knew what was out there

    Our 5-year old daughter came in from play one day exclaiming “There are bumblebees out there!” We took the opportunity to tell her about other sorts of “bumblebees” in life she needed to be concerned about. To this day, we still call the bad cast of characters that are out there bumblebees.

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  25. Thank you all for the kind words.

    Part of the process of healing – a big part, basic, even – is talking about it. Initially, it was with a trusted friend, then a therapist. The hardest part was telling family. They mostly didn’t react very supportive. But that was no surprise.

    Then speaking up in forums like this…which is risky. It’s still hard, knowing that you may be viewed as ‘damaged’ or ‘tainted’ by some. So your words of support have more power than you realize. 🙂

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  26. Jeannette Altes,

    When someone looks at child porn they are looking at pictures of child sex slaves. They are looking at a child that has just been raped or is going to be raped when the camera is set down. For anyone to not know this or minimize this is a truly sick, stupid, selfish, evil person.

    I am so sorry that happened to you. Much LOVE 😉

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  27. dee:
    Jeannette Altes,

    I am so sorry.I don’t know how you have the courage to go on. You have my admiration.

    Thank you. It’s interesting. Even after the years of therapy and healing, I still find myself, when someone expresses empathy, wanting to minimize and downplay… “oh, it wasn’t THAT bad.” That was one of the many defense mechanisms that allowed me to survive.

    As bad and as hard as my childhood was (and it wasn’t ALL bad, there was good, too), it seems the harder part was pulling it up out of hiding, looking at it, remembering and facing – including the fact all tjis happened in spite of being devoted church goers, etc. But without doing that, I would not have survived. And through the whole thing, from childhood through today, the only reason I’m here and sane is God, who even walked me through an attempt to check out 30 years ago.

    His strength, His love, are all I have, some days. But the bad days are fewer than the good days, now. And that gap is increasing. Whom the Son sets free is truly free indeed.

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  28. Max: Life as a child in the 1940s-50s seemed so innocent.

    The key word being ‘seemed’. They weren’t innocent. People just covered it up more.

    Coverups and secret keepings only help predators. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

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  29. Lea: It tells victims this. Wow.

    Not directly. He says people who have grown and been blessed by an abuser’s ministry should be thankful for that blessing even while acknowledging his failure. So while it does not directly tell the victims to be thankful, I believe it is implied. In any case, the article very much downplays the impact on the victims and the processes needed to expose and prevent abuse.

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  30. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    I finally got through this article after needing several calm down breaks. One of the things I found interesting is the grooming technique applied was the same used in the STEPS classes at TVC that I referenced on the last post. They too groomed victims to stay victims and focus on their “own ” sin as some how equal too and this making accountability an impossibility with their skewed theology. I do not think the author of that article accurately reprsented any of the biblical passages used. It’s sickening. Thanks for sharing the link. The timing is not a coincidence. Stuffs starting to hit the fan and they are trying to get out in front of it.

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  31. Isaac,

    Back in the early 00’s, I lived in Utah. The 15 year old that escaped a “spiritual marriage”, from Warren Jeff’s cult, by escaping to the police station in St. George.

    In Utah the ages were as follows:

    15 years and younger, statutory rap,

    16 years old, the adult couldn’t be older than 20. Over that statutory rape,

    17 years old, the adult couldn’t be older than 21. Older than that statutory rape.

    Again, these only applied to statutory rape cases.

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  32. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    I just finish reading the article. It is the same type of tone and verbage that urges the readers to self-thought policing, and self-censorship in authoritarian churches.

    This newspeak turns the focus from the abuser, victim, and the evil deed to the reader – you better watch out yourself – generating shame and guilt on the reader.

    This message of self-thought policing plays over and over in ones head will turn you into Winston in 1984, burying your own voice 6 feet under and love big brother(the local church) no matter want happened or who did what evil – facts, justice, abusers, victims do not matter anymore.

    It is like the Milgram experiment. The author of the article is the trainer, the trainer AND the person receiving the shock is the reader. The reader is nudged to shock yourself until your voice is dead!

    I want to puke after reading the article.

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  33. Shadowfax: They too groomed victims to stay victims and focus on their “own ” sin as some how equal too and this making accountability an impossibility with their skewed theology

    This is classic New Calvinist theology, often called “worm” theology. Everyone is deserving of hell, and anything nice you get in life is undeserved because of your sin, and anything bad you get is deserved. Worms have it better.

    However, if you’ve ever seen a New Calvinist leader go off the rails, you quickly learn that they strongly believe they deserve all the good in life. God is on their side and everyone else is working for Satan. How dare anyone question them, criticize them, and take away their toys!?

    One of the biggest problems I see with New Calvinist theology is that it’s used to keep people in bondage, and even those leaders who espouse it don’t really believe it wholeheartedly. It’s merely a tool for putting others under their subjugation.

    Worm theology only applies to peons and those going to hell, not leaders who spout worm theology.

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  34. Patti,

    Since I haven’t been in the Bible as long as some of the others on the blog, my response to over enforcement of the gossip passages would be the first few verses of Romans 13, child molestation and predation are civil matters. Also would be Ephesians 6, not bringing to wrath.

    Question for all, am I missing any others?

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  35. Brian,

    I agree, but I would also add they are also criminal matters.

    But to many of these churches, they groom their members that “civil” and “secular” are bad and never to trust them, only the church leadership. I don’t believe they are thinking of child molestation, but in members suing them. It makes me wonder how much they realize they themselves are predators, though I am guessing they are thinking more of the financial than other types of abuse.

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  36. Ken F (aka Tweed):
    In my morbid curiosity I follow postings of sites like TGC. I don’t know whether this recent post is their attempt to groom or evidence of how badly the author and editors have been groomed:
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-ways-respond-church-leader-found-guilty-abuse/
    It says nothing about holding the leader accountable, getting law enforcement involved, putting better checks and balances in place, or anything else that would expose and deter abuse. Rather, it tells victims to focus on their own sins, be glad for any good teaching they got from the abuser, and don’t participate in gossip. Wow.

    If read carefully, it reinforces passive group behavior. Sheep behavior.

    It would be stressful on the flock, because the underlying source of stress is not removed.

    Plus, there is an added bonus. Additional stress. To verbalize one’s feelings is carnal, fleshly or possibly worse.

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  37. drstevej,

    ishy: Worm theology only applies to peons and those going to hell, not leaders who spout worm theology.

    Worm theology makes god’s wrath/anger/punishment certain, but his love/mercy/grace uncertain. “For god so hated the world that he…”

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  38. Max: Life as a child in the 1940s-50s seemed so innocent.I don’t think my folks had concerns about my involvement with church groups, cub scouts or boy scouts … at least, I never knew it.But with all those groups now reporting abuse within their ranks, I have concerns for my grandchildren and watch them like a hawk, too.To counter the boy scout dilemma, some church organization came up with a Christian alternative called “Trail Life” … my daughter and son-in-law plan to look into it for our two grandsons.Does anyone have experience with or knowledge of this group?:https://www.traillifeusa.com/

    Max. I have no connection but can give an opinion about acquaintances involved with the group. I know some very wonderful people connected to it.

    So a starting point. Why is there a Trailife?
    Because there was an extream aversion by some BSA volunteers to gay friendly policy changes. That’s..policy…changes.

    Big enough aversion to create a new BSA? Absolutely. Big aversion, equals big motivation.

    Personally, I dont create a self identity based upon sexuality. When I wake up in the AM, I pretty much just get out of bed and start doing stuff. I never reinforced myself into believing I’m a man. And, I think this is normal.

    I would not want my progeny being approached by individuals attempting to influence male identity. But if it was just a canoe trip? Great! Learning how to tie knots? Love it! I sucked at knots.

    The direction of the Body of Christ, is a civic, nationalist, and authoritarian religion. There is enough push already underway to establish a society based on enforced Protestant traditions, and reject a salvation of faith. Why add more?

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  39. Max: Referring to what he believes as the “end of the age”, he responded “Satan is getting his team in place within the church for the final battle.” I’ve been pondering that.

    Revelation 12:12- “Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”

    depravity of humankind is certainly being helped and propelled along by the enemy of souls in our day.

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  40. Jeannette Altes: Then speaking up in forums like this…which is risky. It’s still hard, knowing that you may be viewed as ‘damaged’ or ‘tainted’ by some. So your words of support have more power than you realize.

    Thank you for taking that risk here to share. rejoicing in the healing you’ve experienced so far. And want to say you arent damaged or tainted. You survived and you have scars. Have you ever heard the Michael card song “known by the scars”? One line in that song, “When the kingdom comes with its perfected sons he will be known by the scars.” If Jesus bears the scars of the cross for all eternity perhaps that can give us hope and new insight into ours.

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  41. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    “In my morbid curiosity I follow postings of sites like TGC.”
    +++++++++++++++

    ha… morbid curiosity.

    makes me think of a joke gift my uncle received at christmas. “When Nature Calls”, with photographs of a wide variety of animals defecating or copulating.

    yes, morbid curiosity is what prompted me to peruse the book. can’t say it wasn’t weirdly & toe-curlingly entertaining.

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  42. Nathan Priddis: Why is there a Trailife?
    Because there was an extream aversion by some BSA volunteers to gay friendly policy changes.

    I would suspect this would be even less safe than BSA personally because their focus is probably not so much on abuse as separatism? But that’s just my guess. They also don’t have years of history and policies to protect, unless they are literally just using the BS’s.

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  43. ishy: And they name themselves the gatekeepers of God’s love.

    They will tell us that god hates sin so much that he cannot let it go inpunished (something the bible never says), and that everyone deserves his wrath. But not everyone deserves his love, and only some will escape eternal punishment. This is a very asymmetrical view, where his wrath trumps his love. How sick, but its a pretty effective teaching for controlling others.

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  44. Ray: I want to puke after reading the article.

    I find myself surprised whenever I find anything that is actually edifying on the New-Calvinist blog sites. I’ve wondered if I am causing myself more harm than good by this morbid curiosity of mine.

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  45. Jeannette Altes,

    “It’s still hard, knowing that you may be viewed as ‘damaged’ or ‘tainted’ by some. ”
    ++++++++++++++

    i’d say strong and keenly aware.

    you don’t make it through storms of glass shards without deep and unique strength, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.

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  46. Brian,

    “Back in the early 00’s, I lived in Utah. The 15 year old that escaped a “spiritual marriage”, from Warren Jeff’s cult, by escaping to the police station in St. George.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    you?

    i followed that story very carefully as it entered the news. part of how i found TWW.

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  47. Fisher: One line in that song, “When the kingdom comes with its perfected sons he will be known by the scars.” If Jesus bears the scars of the cross for all eternity perhaps that can give us hope and new insight into ours.

    Thank you. I’ve heard of the song. It reminds me of something a friend says: “Be careful trusting a Christian with a limp.” The context being that those with a limp (or scars) have wrestled with the Truth (like Jacob), and those who haven’t don’t understand…

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  48. Ken F (aka Tweed): In my morbid curiosity I follow postings of sites like TGC. I don’t know whether this recent post is their attempt to groom or evidence of how badly the author and editors have been groomed:
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-ways-respond-church-leader-found-guilty-abuse/
    It says nothing about holding the leader accountable, getting law enforcement involved, putting better checks and balances in place, or anything else that would expose and deter abuse. Rather, it tells victims to focus on their own sins, be glad for any good teaching they got from the abuser, and don’t participate in gossip. Wow.

    No way in Hades would I follow such ridiculous instructions. It’s not only encouraging and enabling the worst in leaders but it’s just plain stupid on every level.

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  49. elastigirl:
    Jeannette Altes,

    “It’s still hard, knowing that you may be viewed as ‘damaged’ or ‘tainted’ by some. ”
    ++++++++++++++

    i’d say strong and keenly aware.

    you don’t make it through storms of glass shards without deep and unique strength, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.

    Elastigirl, thank you for these words. They reach deep and I’ll hold on to them. 🙂

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  50. Lea: I would suspect this would be even less safe than BSA personally because their focus is probably not so much on abuse as separatism? But that’s just my guess. They also don’t have years of history and policies to protect, unless they are literally just using the BS’s.

    I can only guess at people’s motives. But one individual had a general fear. Not a specific credible fear, but general fear initiated by policy changes. The person’s son aged out of the BSA program, and I doubt the person continued voluteering because of the commitment level required.

    Next, another individual had lifelong desires to promote what they saw as Godly principles. Policy changes where a threat to principles. This person is more like a missionary, and it is doctrinarian.

    So segregation likely played a role. I felt these people represented a diversity of likely program promoters. They where more then just parents dropping off the kids for two hours.

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  51. Serious Question: When I was in High School in the early 1980’s, in an assembly they talked about abuse. They gave an estimate of those that were abused would later become abusers. It was above 50%. I don’t remember if there was a breakdown of the types of abuse.

    As far as those that were molested as children, how many become molesters themselves?

    For those molested who became molesters, were they ever able to mentally address it and stop themselves from doing it in the future?

    As far as criminal penalties, if a molester is able to reverse himself, he still needs to pay the criminal penalty.

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  52. Friend,

    I had a relative (a boy) that ended up in foster care because the state decided his mother had issues despite custody of of his two sisters. The state coerced the mother to let his foster parents adopt him “for the best”. The foster parents were a youth pastor and his wife who looked great on paper. The youth pastor eventually went to prison for molesting the boys in his care. The wife wasn’t charged as she didn’t know about it. She was just the cover so this guy would have access to young boys.

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  53. Fisher: depravity of humankind is certainly being helped and propelled along by the enemy of souls in our day

    Amen! We see evidence of it on the evening news and in the Christian blogosphere. As the church goes so goes the nation. In the current condition of the American church, churchgoers aren’t scaring the devil much when they get up in the morning.

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  54. Brian: hey gave an estimate of those that were abused would later become abusers. It was above 50%.

    I have heard a lot of questioning of some of these stats, if we are talking about sexual abuse. But I don’t have the proper ones at hand. I think men are more likely in general than women, but abuse itself hardly dooms someone. I think it’s a lot more complicated than that. Maybe someone else has the stats handy but I don’t think they are any where near 50%.

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  55. Brian: Serious Question: When I was in High School in the early 1980’s, in an assembly they talked about abuse. They gave an estimate of those that were abused would later become abusers. It was above 50%. I don’t remember if there was a breakdown of the types of abuse.

    The numbers I’ve consistently seen in my own reading are that around 12.5% of abused become abusers. I truly hate the phrase, “Hurting people hurt people.” I’ve seen abusers use it to twist the abused into feeling sympathy for abusers (after all, someone hurt them first) and apply guilt if the abused don’t properly commiserate with the abuser – classic blame shifting. The truth is (based on what I’ve read) 87.5% of those who are abused DO NOT become abusers.

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  56. Jeannette Altes: I truly hate the phrase, “Hurting people hurt people.”

    I’ve even heard church folks say that to justify their bad treatment of other church folks! The phrase shouldn’t be in a Christian’s vocabulary, IMO. But, I’m not a fan of Christian psychology either. I figure if I’ve been redeemed by Jesus, I ought to act like Him as best I can.

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  57. Jeannette Altes: I truly hate the phrase, “Hurting people hurt people.”

    Yeah me too. If you are hurting others you need to figure out how not to do that.

    I also remember somebody (lundy bankroft?) saying that they asked abusers whether they were abused and got mostly positive answers, and then they said they would be doing polygraphs and the people changed their answers. So sometimes this is just manipulation.

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  58. elastigirl,

    Incorrect verbage. Besides, I would look bad in a dress anyway (humor).

    I was working in St. George Utah when the investigation started. The polygamy was a scam. The ratio of men to women were such that some of the males at age 16 were booted out. There wasn’t enough women. Also, the underage female would usually get married off to a male in their mid 30’s or older. The 15 year old girl that escaped was married off to a 31 or 32 year old police officer.

    And even then you had Mormons calling the investigation an attack on Mormonism.

    The males that were booted out didn’t have an education commensurate to their age, no real work skills.

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  59. Lea: I also remember somebody (lundy bankroft?) saying that they asked abusers whether they were abused and got mostly positive answers, and then they said they would be doing polygraphs and the people changed their answers. So sometimes this is just manipulation.

    This doesn’t surprise me. Most abusers are master manipulators who make bank on turning themselves into the victim…and have no problem lying to do so. I’ve seen it in action more than once…

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  60. Lily Rose,

    When I worked in New Mexico, I saw the same thing. A woman who was a 911 dispatcher came to work for the airline I worked at. Her and her husband had three foster daughters in their early to mid teens.

    She was arrested a month or two after working for the airline. Her husband was molesting the three girls. The newspaper said she was totally aware of it and refused to put a stop to it.

    At the airline we wondered why she left a sweet paying, well respected, gig to take a pay cut to work at the airline.

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  61. dee,

    Every church I have ever been in is very careful about money. My current church has three people in the office counting the offering with the door locked. Two more people are out in the hall, to keep the office safe. After counting, a slip is filled out and the money is deposited in a safe. We need to start being as careful with our children as we are with funds. That means best practices, staff training, and really taking people seriously when they report a problem. If there is no problem, a bit of time may be lost. If there is a problem, you may have saved a life.

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  62. Max: I talked to an elderly saint the other day (yes, older than me!) who has watched the American church spiral into chaos. We were

    Sorry, Max, the American Church (pick your brand) was infested a long time ago. Everyone has an ‘uncle pervy’ story from the good old days.

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  63. LU also has a civil case filed in federal court against it currently, in which LU chose to believe the word of a sex offender over the word of an Adjunct professor/ PhD student. Oh and the student (me) reported being unsafe at previous placement and was forced to return.

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  64. Brian: I was working in St. George Utah when the investigation started. The polygamy was a scam. The ratio of men to women were such that some of the males at age 16 were booted out. There wasn’t enough women. Also, the underage female would usually get married off to a male in their mid 30’s or older. The 15 year old girl that escaped was married off to a 31 or 32 year old police officer.

    And even then you had Mormons calling the investigation an attack on Mormonism.

    The males that were booted out didn’t have an education commensurate to their age, no real work skills.

    I watched an episode of Escaping Polygamy about one of the sons of Warren Jeffs who was booted out. His mother was in hiding and he was trying to find her. When he did, she asked if he had sinned to get booted out. He explained in the narration that it was common for younger men to be kicked out to reduce competition for the older men. But they brainwashed the others into thinking it was due to sin.

    For only being out for less than a year, the young man was remarkably possessed and self-aware. He probably has had professional counseling.

    Cults like that are the result of men wanting too much and abusing others to possess them. Once they get going, they want more and more and abuse more and more.

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  65. Linn,

    Hmm…yeah, as a child, one of my coping mechanisms was to shut down and detach – dissociation. And you try to bury the memories. As I read what you wrote, I was reminded that there was an incident when I was 9 that was video recorded. That actually happened before the incident with the polaroid…and in different towns.
    I know it may sound strange that ‘I was reminded’ as if I had forgotten. But the truth is I don’t often remember that one as it was one of the harder ones to face. Whew. But….even with that, the remembering is not nearly as emotionally charged as it used to be. Healing.

    But, if I spend too much time thinking about…wondering if the video (or pics) still exist, it just brings pain and sadness. So I really don’t think about it much unless I read a story like this one.

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  66. A man in his late thirties was arrested while attempting to meet a THIRTEEN YEAR OLD he had solicited for sex on the internet. He also had a handgun on him. However, he was acquitted, and less that two years later is teaching Sunday school for toddlers at Alistair Begg’s Parkside Church.

    These people are everywhere.

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  67. (Humor) Elastgirl, in 2000 I returned to my natural home in Oregon, but I didn’t check in with the relatives. It was fun stomping around the fern covered forest.

    Serious Question: The percentages of molestation cases that get dropped and sealed or acquitted, due to a possible false charge, were they related to custody cases? If not, what type of molestation cases were they?

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  68. Clevin,

    I think the key is that churches are magnets for these perverts, especially when churches , Christian orgs, push cookie cutter “testimonies”. These pedos are quick to learn how to say all the correct things, express the correct emotions, etc, etc. It use to bug me in my Christian HS, and the campus ministry days that everything seemed so “scripted”…. If my goal had been to infiltrate the “system” to access to little kids, “the system” basically trains you how to talk the talk, and walk the walk…. Add in authoritarian/narcissistic leaders that want the underlings to be “yes men”, why is it surprising that pedo can easily infiltrate “the System”? I think it is important to remember that the Bible does not describe the devil in red with a pitchfork, he is the angle of light…. evil initially look and sound great…

    I use to chafe at “the system” because my life and “thinking” did not reflect this “cookie cutter” approach and I wanted to more true to myself….. but, boy, if I was totally deceptive, I know exactly how to “speak the party line”…. In fact despite my resistance, it has taken lifetime to “deprogram” allot of the interpersonally destructive ways of thinking that independent fundamentalist baptist trained me…

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  69. Jeannette Altes: Thank you. I am learning to believe that.

    Believe it Jeannette, Brian speaks the truth.
    The people who wronged you are the ones damaged and tainted, not you…

    “Our lives are not our own; from womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness we birth our future.”
    — Sonmi-451 —

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  70. Clevin: However, he was acquitted, and less that two years later is teaching Sunday school for toddlers at Alistair Begg’s Parkside Church.

    Does Begg or any other big name Protestant outfit think they’re protected by some magic sheen? — which will exempt them from their very own Spotlight (film) scandal?

    Sooner or later the gavel is gonna’ come down hard and heavy with hefty pay-outs and possible hoosegow time…

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  71. Ken F (aka Tweed): In my morbid curiosity I follow postings of sites like TGC. I don’t know whether this recent post is their attempt to groom or evidence of how badly the author and editors have been groomed:
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-ways-respond-church-leader-found-guilty-abuse/
    It says nothing about holding the leader accountable, getting law enforcement involved, putting better checks and balances in place, or anything else that would expose and deter abuse. Rather, it tells victims to focus on their own sins, be glad for any good teaching they got from the abuser, and don’t participate in gossip. Wow.

    Everything about this article is off. The worm theology, sin leveling, attempt to silence people, warnings that ‘it could happen to you’, etc.

    What these people are desperate to do is persuade folks that sexual abuse by religious leaders is simply a moral lapse, a falling to temptation in a weak moment. However this is entirely untrue in the typical sexual and spiritual abuse cases within the church. These cases involve predators, who deliberately seek out and groom victims, often more than one.

    It is bad enough that the abuse has occurred and been covered up for so long. We must not let them shape the narrative in such a manner that declares the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent. Abusers are vile, wicked people who do not deserve our sympathy or compassion. If a victim makes the decision to forgive his or her abuser, that is their right; but no abuse deserves human forgiveness or rehabilitation. Let God forgive; we who cannot see men’s hearts must remain wary.

    I’m sorry if that sounds cold and unforgiving, but I see no place for allowing a sexual abuser entrance into a church, or relationships, ever again. Particularly in a leadership role. Let them listen to or watch sermons online as shut-ins do, and allow the innocent to attend services without fear.

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  72. One more serious question:

    The molestation victims of the church and parachurch organizations, especially those who suffered long term molestation, are there any statistics on what their trajectory/life has been like? Other than continuing or not continuing to walk with Christ, is there any other data? Has any fell into risky lifestyles like stripping, drug use, etc?

    The reason I ask is to find out, hopefully, the churches that did respond properly in the last three or four decades, were they able to help the victims in the long term.

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  73. Lea: I also remember somebody (lundy bankroft?) saying that they asked abusers whether they were abused and got mostly positive answers, and then they said they would be doing polygraphs and the people changed their answers. So sometimes this is just manipulation.

    It’s just really impossible to get to the truth about these people because they are liars to the center of their being. They will lie for the simple purpose of feeling in control of the narrative. If they seem to be opening up and leveling with you, most likely you’re being scammed.

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  74. Brian: Serious Question: When I was in High School in the early 1980’s, in an assembly they talked about abuse. They gave an estimate of those that were abused would later become abusers. It was above 50%. I don’t remember if there was a breakdown of the types of abuse.

    As far as those that were molested as children, how many become molesters themselves?

    For those molested who became molesters, were they ever able to mentally address it and stop themselves from doing it in the future?

    Remember that child molesting is really about power more than sex. Those who are abused to the point that it interferes with their attachment tend to turn to power to take the place of love, which they are unable to experience. Living life through a lens of power seeking tends to lead to all sorts of bad things.

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  75. TS00: Everything about this article is off. The worm theology, sin leveling, attempt to silence people, warnings that ‘it could happen to you’, etc.

    You expect anything different from TGC?
    Those GOSPELLY(TM) guys have a LONG track record. Just check this blog’s archives.

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  76. ishy: He explained in the narration that it was common for younger men to be kicked out to reduce competition for the older men.

    Just like herd-animal harem behavior.
    The Herd Bull takes all the females as his exclusive sexual property, and drives out any and all male offspring when they hit puberty and thus become males, threats to his position and sexual rights.

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  77. Brian: And even then you had Mormons calling the investigation an attack on Mormonism.

    Playing the PERSECUTION!!!!! Card.

    Utah Mormons, most likely. I knew a couple California Mormons, and they told me Utah Mormons had a reputation for being strict and extreme. Like the closer you get to Salt Lake the more extreme it gets.

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  78. Lea: For the article, this just hit me: “When they intercepted Kilpatrick, she said he had cookies and lubrication in his car.” I have no words.

    Except this man’s wife needs an intervention from good friends, because her husband is trash and she clearly hasn’t figured out how to pull away.

    Right, and he also basically blamed her! “He said it helped him get away from the frustrations of home-life”

    It must be very hard to face the fact that you’ve sunk a huge part of yourself into a loss.

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  79. Brian: The molestation victims of the church and parachurch organizations, especially those who suffered long term molestation, are there any statistics on what their trajectory/life has been like? Other than continuing or not continuing to walk with Christ, is there any other data? Has any fell into risky lifestyles like stripping, drug use, etc?

    The reason I ask is to find out, hopefully, the churches that did respond properly in the last three or four decades, were they able to help the victims in the long term.

    It is well known that childhood sexual abuse creates lifelong anguish that affects the victims in myriad emotional and physical ways.

    The huge ACE study begun by Kaiser Permanente and the CDC in 1995 has basically been ongoing since, gathering information on the lasting impact of adverse experiences in childhood. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/acestudy/ace-brfss.html

    “ACEs [Adverse Childhood Experiences] are strongly related to development of risk factors for disease, and well-being throughout the life course.” Adverse childhood experiences, of which sexual abuse is major, lead to “disrupted neurodevelopment; social, emotional and cognitive impairment; adoption of risky behavior; disease, disability and social problems; and early death.”

    It is possible that many of the most troubled persons in our communities are carrying this pain inside them, and it’s possible that those who caused that pain may be respected and trusted persons in the community.

    I was struck by something I read in an article about sex abuse in the Catholic church in Pennsylvania https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/08/catholic-priest-child-sex-abuse-ebensburg-pennsylvania?CMP=share_btn_tw

    “And people may not have realized the extent to which tears in the fabric of the community were ripped by McCaa and his ilk, Burns said.

    “We have a large drug problem in our area, we deal with high driving-under-the-influence (DUI) arrests, and we just think that’s because the community is poor and unemployed, but it could be that a lot of these kids have had a hard time integrating into society because of the impact of this abuse. It strains family and sexual relationships, and it often takes years, especially for a man, to report something,” said Burns.

    A huge cost to individuals and to society as a whole.

    Certainly, if churches were to begin responding appropriately, it would have a huge positive impact on both individuals and whole communities.

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  80. TS00: It is bad enough that the abuse has occurred and been covered up for so long. We must not let them shape the narrative in such a manner that declares the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent. Abusers are vile, wicked people who do not deserve our sympathy or compassion. If a victim makes the decision to forgive his or her abuser, that is their right; but no abuse deserves human forgiveness or rehabilitation. Let God forgive; we who cannot see men’s hearts must remain wary.

    I’m sorry if that sounds cold and unforgiving, but I see no place for allowing a sexual abuser entrance into a church, or relationships, ever again. Particularly in a leadership role. Let them listen to or watch sermons online as shut-ins do, and allow the innocent to attend services without fear.

    It is not cold or unforgiving, it is wise and realistic.

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  81. Once again I say that there is a good case for pulling kids out of all children’s ministries at church. Just let them sit with you when old enough and have dad or mom keep little ones quiet out in the hallway. Let parents have the responsibility of the spiritual education at home. If everybody did this it would give less access to these wicked men

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  82. Abigail: Once again I say that there is a good case for pulling kids out of all children’s ministries at church.

    Except that this is a third-rail topic in so many churches. The SBC church I left last year requires a huge number of volunteers to support the “Next Generation” ministry. When I suggested that maybe that particular ministry had gotten too complicated I was cast as anti-children. I agree with you that churches would be much safer if they did not put themselves into a position where so many adult volunteers are needed each week. Youth ministry is less than 100 uears old, which means Christianity did just fine without it for more than 1900 years.

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  83. Ken F (aka Tweed): Youth ministry is less than 100 years old, which means Christianity did just fine without it for more than 1900 years.

    Agreed. You will not find this ministry model in the Bible. What you will find in Scripture is instruction about older folks teaching younger folks. Youth need to be under mature saints of God (men and women) for instruction, not young men fresh out of seminary with little to no experience. These young men need to be serving directly under and mentored by a senior pastor for a season to prove them before they are turned loose on the Body of Christ. This was the New Testament model (Timothy serving under Paul, Mark serving under Barnabas, etc.) … it should be the church leadership model used today. That also goes for church planters who become “lead” pastors as soon as they leave seminary – they are often handed these positions within SBC and other denominations without ministry experience in many cases. IMO, these are accidents waiting to happen – when flesh babies lead flesh babies. We need spiritually mature men and women of God in every church position, not preacher-boys. The SBC needs to seriously reevaluate its youth ministry model. In the churches I served in for 70 years, most of the youth pastors I knew were fairly shallow in their faith and served up equally shallow Bible studies with pizza parties and fun outings. The kids loved it, but missed the opportunity to grow in Christ unless they received that instruction at home.

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  84. Brian: The reason I ask is to find out, hopefully, the churches that did respond properly in the last three or four decades, were they able to help the victims in the long term.

    Brian, I don’t know how effective churches have been at helping and healing, but I know that God is the ultimate help and balm for the wounded soul. I utterly reject the theory that those abused become abusers themselves.

    My own experience was of emotional abuse, but when I became a parent I found myself looking for healthier ways to communicate with my children, and set out to learn what I did not know. I also protected them from my father, whose ways never changed, and never understood that his ridicule was hurtful. I set forth pretty strict standards as to what sort of talk and behavior was allowed with my little ones.

    I see great empathy and kindness in the spirits of my siblings, and I chalk it up to God’s work in our hearts, not the church’s.

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  85. SiteSeer: It is well known that childhood sexual abuse creates lifelong anguish that affects the victims in myriad emotional and physical ways.

    Some survivors go through life suffering and seeking wholeness. Some do things that harm only themselves. A few do act out in ways that harm others.

    Here especially we need to take care not to paint victims and survivors as suspects.

    I know that’s not where you are going, but the message “he/she comes from a bad family” is very old and still acceptable. On top of this, of course, many victims have been blamed, shunned, and called lots of creative names.

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  86. Brian: Has any fell into risky lifestyles like stripping, drug use, etc?

    My distant relative (a victim of horrific long-term abuse) did quite the opposite: moved across the country, stayed single, underwent years of therapy, built a useful career that never, ever brought her into contact with alcohol or churches.

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  87. Abigail: Once again I say that there is a good case for pulling kids out of all children’s ministries at church. Just let them sit with you when old enough and have dad or mom keep little ones quiet out in the hallway. Let parents have the responsibility of the spiritual education at home. If everybody did this it would give less access to these wicked men

    That’s the approach we took. Not so much out of fear of sexual abuse, about which we were very naive, but just the idea of people implanting who knows what ideas in your young children, and having no way of knowing or interacting with faulty teaching.

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  88. TS00: the idea of people implanting who knows what ideas in your young children, and having no way of knowing or interacting with faulty teaching

    Indeed, that is the other element of great concern in having young men fresh out of seminary teach your children, particularly recent graduates of SBC seminaries. You can bet they have been thoroughly indoctrinated in New Calvinism and will want to impart their newfound knowledge to your children (they alone have truth, you know). The New Calvinists have intentionally targeted youth ministry and church plants … to change SBC belief and practice of the next generation. They even came up with a title for youth ministers: “NextGen Pastor” … they know if they can indoctrinate young folks, they can change SBC’s default theology from whosoever-will-may-come to a predestined/elect reformed platform within one generation.

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  89. Max: We need spiritually mature men and women of God in every church position, not preacher-boys. The SBC needs to seriously reevaluate its youth ministry model.

    I am not a fan of Tim Challies because if how hard he pushes the New-Calvinist agenda and fails to address its abuses. But this recent article by him is very good: https://www.challies.com/articles/this-is-not-your-grandparents-church/. The SBC church I quit last year valued people from my generation only for our checkbooks and willingness to volunteer in youth ministry. The way my wife puts it is we “aged out” of that church after our kids were all in college. My experience and insight were not wanted, and my pesky questions made me as a person unwanted. The message I got was “what don’t you understand about your need to shut up and volunteer for children’s ministry?” I have tried helping with children’s ministry and found it is a definitely not an area where I am not gifted. I tried to volunteer for helping with the high schoolers at one point, but my old-earth view of creation made me unacceptale for that role. I was staying at that church only because of friends and because my wife wanted to stay. But when the pastor asked her not to sing so loud it was too much for me to continue.

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  90. Max: they know if they can indoctrinate young folks, they can change SBC’s default theology from whosoever-will-may-come to a predestined/elect reformed platform within one generation.

    I don’t understand why this crowed is so concerned about doctrinal beliefs, because if their doctrine is true it does not ultimately matter what a person believes because the only thing that can save a person is being on the list that was written in eternity past. No amount of believing or not believing can change that “eternal decree.”

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  91. TS00: the idea of people implanting who knows what ideas in your young children, and having no way of knowing or interacting with faulty teaching.

    The church should hold informational sessions to go over the curriculum with parents. Sunday school classrooms should have big windows in the doors, so anyone can see what is going on inside. Flexibility is key: a parent running late or leaving early should be able to go to the classroom. If a child becomes restless in church, the parent should have the option of taking the child to Sunday school.

    Random visits protect hospital patients and nursing home residents. They help with Sunday school safety too.

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  92. Ken F (aka Tweed): No amount of believing or not believing can change that “eternal decree.”

    Which, of course, is contrary to Southern Baptist belief and practice for the last 150 years … pre-Mohler, that is. SBC chose to retreat from the founder’s Calvinist theology which supported slavery following the Civil War and remained distinctly non-Calvinist for a century and a half. Whosoever-will-may-come was the message taken around the world by Southern Baptists … millions were brought to Christ by home and foreign mission efforts. That is changing – the reason I left after 70 years.

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  93. Friend: Random visits protect hospital patients and nursing home residents. They help with Sunday school safety too.

    It is a great mistake for any parent to blindly leave their children in ‘any’ children’s or youth group across America. They need to personally “interview” children’s workers, do background checks, check sex offenders lists, and sit-in on classes/events at every opportunity. Don’t trust church leaders until you know that you know that you can trust them. Yep, it’s come to that.

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  94. Max,

    I would take it a step further. We stopped requiring church participation when my own burnout frightened our offspring. Looking back, though, I think that some Sunday school teachers failed to love our offspring. If things went well, nothing was said. If offspring could not sit still, I got a tactful comment. All I can remember now are tactful comments. Someday I will ask offspring about this, but the time is not yet ripe.

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  95. Friend: I think that some Sunday school teachers failed to love our offspring

    Then they don’t need to be teaching Sunday School! “You will know them by their love for one another.” Folks shouldn’t volunteer to teach at church, unless (1) they have a spiritual gift to teach, and (2) they love as they ought. In 70 years of SBC life, I sat under only a handful of Bible teachers who I sensed were spiritually gifted for that office … and those were lay men and women who were actually better teachers than the pastor (it was their calling).

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  96. Brian: Serious Question: The percentages of molestation cases that get dropped and sealed or acquitted, due to a possible false charge

    Why do you say ‘false charge’ rather than insufficient evidence, or sometimes simply unwillingness to prosecute, which is why the vast majority of cases get dropped?

    I will also say I suspect this comes up in custody cases because the other parent is understandably pretty unwilling to leave a child with the molester parent and the only way to do that is to press charges.

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  97. Max: They need to personally “interview” children’s workers, do background checks, check sex offenders lists, and sit-in on classes/events at every opportunity.

    Wade Burleson tried to get them to institute these child protective protocols years ago and the SBC big whigs would have none of it.

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  98. Friend: Looking back, though, I think that some Sunday school teachers failed to love our offspring. If things went well, nothing was said. If offspring could not sit still, I got a tactful comment. All I can remember now are tactful comments.

    I actually signed up to help with a youth ministry because I overheard several of the parent volunteers talking about how “some kids” were tainting their precious children. They wanted to gatekeep who got into the youth group and were mad that the youth minister “just let anybody in”.

    While I was a volunteer leader, I noticed those parents telling students to leave out the undesirable kids. The parents didn’t speak to those kids. They tried to do trips with high costs so those kids would not be able to afford to go. Their kids, much to their own credit, did a great job of including the other kids even when their parents were angry about their inclusion.

    This was before New Calvinism really took hold, but that group eventually split off into a New Calvinist church.

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  99. Max,

    “In the churches I served in for 70 years, most of the youth pastors I knew were fairly shallow in their faith and served up equally shallow Bible studies with pizza parties and fun outings. The kids loved it, but missed the opportunity to grow in Christ unless they received that instruction at home.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    on the other hand, the youth ‘pastors’ at the churches we went to took their jobs and themselves too seriously, i would say.

    they were great in that were naturally young at heart and playful and genuinely fun to be around. but they put great pressure on the kids.

    all the things they have to do, all the things they have to be, all the things they absolutely must not do and must not be. and it is all so dire. on penalty of hell, a very clear implicit message.

    to the point that my son came away thinking he was no longer ‘a christian’. it was a devastating experience.

    (i put that in quotes because of meaning problems with the word, and how it has deservedly come to be associated with ignorance, stupidity, and cruelty)

    (professional christians have tons of power wielding the concept of God over others — some have no clue and are unaware of the damage they do; some understand this very well and use it their advantage)

    Jesus Christ deserves so much better.

    imagine what it would be like to know your name, representing who you are, was turned into labels that represent everything you detest and abhor.

    labels for a brand that people sell for money. labels for a brand that people use cruelly, against others to consolidate power and significance for themselves.

    hard to imagine seething furious doesn’t factor in.

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  100. Nathan Priddis: Max. I have no connection but can give an opinion about acquaintances involved with the group. I know some very wonderful people connected to it.

    Idunno, Max. From what little I’ve heard about Trail Life, the group has a vibe of “Just Like Boy Scouts, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!” And I’ve always been against Christianese knockoffs of mainstream culture. Inside the Christianese Bubble, it’s already possible to go from Altar Call to Homegoing(TM) without ever having to interact with a Real Live Heathen (except for drive-by Witnessing sorties).

    And as for Holiness groups with such Total Separation, let’s say the FLDS and Amish have their share of problems; we don’t hear anything negative from them because of the Separation. And once One-Upmanship comes into play, you can never have too many levels of Separation.

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  101. elastigirl: all the things they have to do, all the things they have to be, all the things they absolutely must not do and must not be. and it is all so dire. on penalty of hell, a very clear implicit message.

    Fear and Guilt Manipulation.
    Its pretty much everywhere in Christianese Alternate Reality.

    Like Slacktivist’s speculations about Kirk Cameron, Greatest Christian Actor of All Time (GCAAT) and his Excessive Scrupulosity OCD behavior. Slack’s theory was that GCAAT was catechized with Holiness defined in primarily NEGATIVE terms, i.e. More and More “Thou Shalt Nots”. Fear and Guilt Manipulation, with his pre-conversion growing up a child actor in Hollywood supplying the Guilt. Resulting in such Fear of Sin (real or imagined) that he goes to neurotic levels of Separation from Those Heathen.

    Fear and Guilt Manipulation

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  102. elastigirl: imagine what it would be like to know your name, representing who you are, was turned into labels that represent everything you detest and abhor.

    Like I’ve said in the context of Christian Reconstructionists/Dominionists.

    How after a generation or two of their Restored Christian Nation, the name “Jesus Christ” will have acquired the same baggage as the name “Adolf Hitler” among all but the Holy Commander Caste.

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  103. Ken F (aka Tweed): I don’t understand why this crowd is so concerned about doctrinal beliefs, because if their doctrine is true it does not ultimately matter what a person believes because the only thing that can save a person is being on the list that was written in eternity past.

    I do. Here’s my theory:

    PURITY OF IDEOLOGY/DOCTRINAL BELIEFS IS THE PROOF THAT THEY ARE OF THE PREDESTINED ELECT. Calvin also wrote about God Willing “false assurance of Election” to the “reprobate”, a False Assurance that was indistinguishable from True Election until J-Day. In such a case, how do YOU know that you are The Elect? (“Are You Sure? Are you Certain You’re Sure? Are You Sure You’re Certain You’re Sure? Are You Certain You’re Sure You’re Certain You’re Sure…?????”)

    So a lot of their behavior is frantically grasping for some Certain PROOF that they are among the Predestined Elect. (And YOU’re NOT — Politics of the Armed Lifeboat and all that.)

    At one time this PROOF was “material blessings”, i.e. God Making you Filthy Stinking Rich; of which the Prosperity Gospel is a toned-down remnant. Nowadays it’s Purity of Ideology, i.e. Perfectly-Parsed, Utterly Correct Theology and Doctrine. Now we add One-Upmanship to that level of PROOF and…

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  104. Max: They even came up with a title for youth ministers: “NextGen Pastor” … they know if they can indoctrinate young folks, they can change SBC’s default theology from whosoever-will-may-come to a predestined/elect reformed platform within one generation.

    “Give me your children and I will make them Mine. You will pass away, but they will remain Mine.”
    — Adolf Hitler, cult leader

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  105. ishy: I actually signed up to help with a youth ministry because I overheard several of the parent volunteers talking about how “some kids” were tainting their precious children.

    I remember youth group being sort of cliquish, split up between the ‘popular’ and the not as popular, with one of the leaders even acknowledging it. I didn’t much care about being popular, but it was dumb. That said, you can’t make people be friends who aren’t, really. So I think some of that is going to happen. But it shouldn’t be facilitated, approved, etc, by the chaperone/leadership which it sort of was.

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  106. Lea: For the article, this just hit me: “When they intercepted Kilpatrick, she said he had cookies and lubrication in his car.” I have no words.

    How about “I’m Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC and we’re doing a series on men who meet underage teens on the Internet for sex”?

    Because that sort of prepwork is straight out of To Catch a Predator; some of the guys busted in those stings not only had ready condoms & lube, but full-honk “rape kits” (including twist-ties, duct tape, and weapons) in their cars.

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  107. Lea: I remember youth group being sort of cliquish, split up between the ‘popular’ and the not as popular, with one of the leaders even acknowledging it. I didn’t much care about being popular, but it was dumb.

    i.e. “Just like High School, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

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  108. Headless Unicorn Guy: Calvin also wrote about God Willing “false assurance of Election” to the “reprobate”, a False Assurance that was indistinguishable from True Election until J-Day. In such a case, how do YOU know that you are The Elect? (“Are You Sure? Are you Certain You’re Sure? Are You Sure You’re Certain You’re Sure? Are You Certain You’re Sure You’re Certain You’re Sure…?????”)

    My son was in a TGC college ministry that was big on sin sniffing – it was a call-out culture that convinced him he was not among the elect. He walked away from faith and went through a very dark and suicidal period. He is doing great now, but completely innoculated against any form of faith. About a year after he left that ministry the star role model in that ministry killed himself. His suicide note said he believed he was not good enough for God’s grace. My son was being groomed to be just like that kid. I discovered this site too late – if I had known then what I know now I could have given my son the tools to avoid the pitfalls. Still, I am very grateful that he is alive and well now.

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  109. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Here are some words from Father Stephen Freeman (Orthodox), from his ‘Glory to God for All Things’ blog:

    “…it seems to me that we have an area of the brain that is stuffed fulled of dark, negative, angry things. I’ve heard it referred to as the “Lizard brain.” It’s a very primitive part and without any filtering through the higher parts, it’s frightening…

    …We do not worship the Lizard God – but some people clearly preach Him. When the image of God gets married to the Lizard brain – the result is purely toxic. There are a variety of ways to quieten that part of the brain – some of them are medication-based. But, I am certain that it is the least qualified part of the brain for doing theology.”

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  110. From the Westminster Confession, I believe Chapter 3, “God from eternity did, by most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and UNCHANGEABLY ordains whatsoever comes to pass”. So, should I just say, “God is in control,” and leave it at that? Heavens no! This statement is very upsetting especially in regards to those perverts who hurt people. What a horrible thing to put on God.

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  111. roebuck: “Lizard God… – Lizard brain… – I am certain that it is the least qualified part of the brain for doing theology.”

    This is a very accurate and applicable illustration. It’s exactly what happened.

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  112. Finegold: From the Westminster Confession, I believe Chapter 3, “God from eternity did, by most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and UNCHANGEABLY ordains whatsoever comes to pass”

    That’s why 90% of Christendom worldwide have rejected the tenets of reformed theology … it is a misrepresentation of God.

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  113. Headless Unicorn Guy: Like I’ve said in the context of Christian Reconstructionists/Dominionists.

    How after a generation or two of their Restored Christian Nation, the name “Jesus Christ” will have acquired the same baggage as the name “Adolf Hitler” among all but the Holy Commander Caste.

    On one hand that seems crazy . . . on the other, what would be more in line with the enemy of God? What more perfect plan than a ‘false church’ which will represent all that is anti-Christ, yet its members foolishly oblivious, having been slowly boiled like the proverbial frogs in a pot. It seems like a natural strategy.

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  114. Ken F (aka Tweed): He is doing great now, but completely innoculated against any form of faith. About a year after he left that ministry the star role model in that ministry killed himself. His suicide note said he believed he was not good enough for God’s grace. My son was being groomed to be just like that kid.

    That’s horrifying! I’m relieved he got out, though sad it drove another young man to suicide.

    I had someone ask me last week why I was so bothered by the New Calvinists. It’s because I see them driving people to this point. I can also see them eventually trying to turn the world into their version of the Handmaid’s Tale.

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  115. ishy: I had someone ask me last week why I was so bothered by the New Calvinists. It’s because I see them driving people to this point.

    They are not the only cult that gets this effect, but they are very good at it. If their goal was to make people suicidal they could not get much better results by other means.

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  116. When asked about a church member (who had a felony conviction of indecent liberties with a minor) currently serving as a deacon & teaching a Sunday School class, a local pastor stated “ God’s forgiven him, how can we not?”
    As far as the other staff members were concerned, the matter was closed.

    This fellow later was involved with the Upward Basketball program and it wasn’t until another pastor in the area who learned all of the issues spoke to the associational missionary and had him relieved of this volunteer duty – The associational staff had known of his prior conviction and still allowed him in this area of responsibility with children.
    What if it had been their child? How forgiving would they have been ??

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  117. ishy: I had someone ask me last week why I was so bothered by the New Calvinists. It’s because I see them driving people to this point. I can also see them eventually trying to turn the world into their version of the Handmaid’s Tale.

    They have always been lurking in the American fabric and experience:

    Addressing Jefferson (in a letter from John Adams), who had in 1817 complacently boasted that their country had averted a Protestant Popedom, he exclaimed:

    “Oh! Lord! Do you think that a Protestant Popedom is annihilated
    in America? Do you recollect, or have you ever attended to the
    ecclesiastical Strifes in Maryland Pensilvania, New York, and
    every part of New England? What a mercy it is that these People
    cannot whip and crop, and pillory and roast, as yet in the U.S.!
    If they could they would.”

    ~From Brooke Allen’s Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers~

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  118. Headless Unicorn Guy: I do. Here’s my theory:

    PURITY OF IDEOLOGY/DOCTRINAL BELIEFS IS THE PROOF THAT THEY ARE OF THE PREDESTINED ELECT. Calvin also wrote about God Willing “false assurance of Election” to the “reprobate”, a False Assurance that was indistinguishable from True Election until J-Day. In such a case, how do YOU know that you are The Elect? (“Are You Sure? Are you Certain You’re Sure? Are You Sure You’re Certain You’re Sure? Are You Certain You’re Sure You’re Certain You’re Sure…?????”)

    So a lot of their behavior is frantically grasping for some Certain PROOF that they are among the Predestined Elect. (And YOU’re NOT — Politics of the Armed Lifeboat and all that.)

    At one time this PROOF was “material blessings”, i.e. God Making you Filthy Stinking Rich; of which the Prosperity Gospel is a toned-down remnant. Nowadays it’s Purity of Ideology, i.e. Perfectly-Parsed, Utterly Correct Theology and Doctrine. Now we add One-Upmanship to that level of PROOF and…

    You’ve got the right idea.

    Regarding Ken F’s speculation of what’s the point if everything is preordained, why is doctrinal purity so important:

    Continued adherence to the Doctrine of Grace, is necessary for salvation and escape from the torment to come. For example:

    -Tom Chantry was found guilty of deviant felonies.
    -However, Chantry has made no public denouncement of the Doctrine of Grace. So we can assume he continues in his belief.
    – Chantry is declared righteous by Grace and forgiven. His calling as an Elect, is irrevocable.
    -But not if he renounces. If he does, it demonstrates the his Election was never real, but hypocrisy and fraud.

    […ARTICLE 12—THE ASSURANCE OF ELECTION
    The elect in due time, though in various stages and in different measure, are made certain of this their eternal and unchangeable election to salvation. They attain this assurance, however, not by inquisitively prying into the hidden and deep things of God, but by observing in themselves, with spiritual joy and holy delight, the unfailing fruits of election pointed out in the Word of God—such as a true faith in Christ, a childlike fear of God, a godly sorrow for their sins, and a hungering and thirsting after righteousness.]…

    How does he know he is Elect?
    -By observing in himself a continued faith.
    -A godly sorrow.
    -Ect.
    Right now, Chantry is one sorry man. And he needs to cling to his Doctrine with his cold dead hands, or he is gonna burn.

    Doctrine matters unless you want to end up in the hot place.

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  119. ishy: I had someone ask me last week why I was so bothered by the New Calvinists. It’s because I see them driving people to this point. I can also see them eventually trying to turn the world into their version of the Handmaid’s Tale.

    With the Predestined Elect (guess who) as Commanders of Gilead.

    As I remember saying above, one or two generations of living under such a Godly Christian State and the name “Jesus Christ” will acquire the same baggage as the name “Adolf Hitler”.

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  120. roebuck: …We do not worship the Lizard God – but some people clearly preach Him.

    When I heard “Lizard God”, the first two that came to mind were H.P.Lovecraft’s Yig and R.E.Howard’s Set. (I don’t remember the name of the AD&D Lizard Men’s god.)

    And over at TV Tropes, there’s a term called “Crystal Dragon Jesus”; it refers to fantasy religions that worship, say, a crystal dragon god (or lizard god) but have ALL the tropes and trappings of a historical Christian church (usually the medieval-period RCC). This sounds like Crystal Dragon Jesus in reverse.

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  121. SiteSeer,

    We went over the A.C.E. study my Pain Group therapy. What we covered never talked about the percentage of those incarcerated, how many came from A.C.E. environments, as an example. My nephew here in Colorado is a perfect example. That’s part of the reason I put the question forward.

    A little information before the next point. I’m not proud of some of my activities before I was saved.

    Roughly between 2005 to 2008 I frequented the strip clubs. I ended up making friends with some of the dancers (no longer being a mark, even meeting some family members) based on a common experience. It was growing up in abusive homes, victims of molestation. I heard alot of not nice terms in regards to CPS workers, again based on common experiences. The CPS workers coming in like the calvary promising oversight, then never coming around again. I never met or became friends with a dancer that was raising money for school. But I also never heard of any of them being abused by church workers or volunteers.

    Second piece of background information. 2010, I met a little nine year old girl, a foster child of my exsister-in-law’s best friend. The little girl sits in my lap and in an adult way ask if I would be her friend. Every fiber in my being said she had been molested. I defined to her what I considered a friend to be and asked her if that would be okay. She was happy with that and ran off to play with the other kids. I asked her foster parents if she had been molested. They said yes, that she had been passed around. They were her first foster parents out of her abusive home. Some of my conversations with my dancer friends also came to mind.

    I’ve seen the starting point and the point where they land farther along in time.

    My point: those throwing around I John 2:19, especially with teenagers, high school graduates, and college students, without taking in consideration of possible abuse at home, church or school are doing great harm. To brush off the kids who leave church as part of the 70% 🙁

    I was baptized at age six in a Disciples of Christ church. But, I honestly believed I was truly saved, no relationship with The Holy Spirit until I was 45 years old. I stopped attending church at age 17 because I was angry with God.

    Also, survivors will not go to into a place that doesn’t feel safe.

    I’ll stop typing. I hope I’m making sense.

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  122. Friend: ome survivors go through life suffering and seeking wholeness. Some do things that harm only themselves. A few do act out in ways that harm others.

    Here especially we need to take care not to paint victims and survivors as suspects.

    I know that’s not where you are going, but the message “he/she comes from a bad family” is very old and still acceptable. On top of this, of course, many victims have been blamed, shunned, and called lots of creative names.

    No, this is not where I was going. My point is that survivors carry a heavy burden which translates into real life affects on their health and wellbeing.

    The Original ACE study done by Kaiser-Permanente & the CDC surveyed over 17,000 people with long term followup. Numerous studies continuing since then continue to confirm the results.

    https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/acestudy/about.html
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adverse_Childhood_Experiences_Study

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  123. Ken F (aka Tweed): They are not the only cult that gets this effect, but they are very good at it. If their goal was to make people suicidal they could not get much better results by other means.

    No, I think at this present time, Scientology has a similar cultic affect and level of power. But it’s the level of power of those two groups that concerns me. Most cults are small and cannot control too many people, but it’s when cults gain considerable monetary and political power that they are very dangerous.

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  124. Brian: My point: those throwing around I John 2:19, especially with teenagers, high school graduates, and college students, without taking in consideration of possible abuse at home, church or school are doing great harm. To brush off the kids who leave church as part of the 70%

    This is another in a long list of verses that is often used out of context. But I think what you may be getting at (and if so, I wholeheartedly agree) is that even well intentioned messages can send daggers of guilt and shame into the heart and soul of a child being abused. I know, growing up in the church with a father and grandfather who were deacons and a mother who was the church pianist (and all of whom did not know what was going on), sermons about the evils of not waiting until marriage caused despair, even at the age of seven. It pushed me into living two lives from an early age: one that was the good church kid thay was the public face (which I even had to maintain with my parents), and the other that caused me to lay awake at night…

    Brian: Also, survivors will not go to into a place that doesn’t feel safe.

    This. Absolutely. I walked away from church when I was 16 and didn’t go back for over 20 years. Unfortunately, when I did, it was one with a predator in the pulpit. But now, 12 years out of that place, I have found a place that I’m willing to cautiously see how safe they are. For survivors (and really, for anyone, but especially survivors), safety is a huge issue.

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  125. Brian: Lea,
    I saw statistics on a study that said the only time there were false accusations of child molestation were during custody cases.

    I haven’t seen that, but I went searching.

    Found this article in pubmed that made this point – they did a lit search and ‘dditionally, methodological problems such as unclear or invalid criteria used to judge truth or falsity of an allegation, unrepresentative samples, and ignoring important contextual variables such as the stage at which an allegation is made, currently all render the determination of actual rates of false child sexual abuse allegations to be unknown.’ It came to the conclusion that there are a tiny number of false allegations but most are true, and that further study is needed.

    A second from the NCJRS Abstract, is titled ‘ANTAGONISTIC PARENTS IN FAMILY COURTS: FALSE ALLEGATIONS OR FALSE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT TRUE ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE?'(I’m not sure if we’re supposed to post links anymore but it’s easily searched.)

    They said “Child sexual abuse allegations surfacing in family court battles may be viewed more skeptically than other child sexual abuse allegations found in juvenile and criminal courts for two valid reasons. First, a vengeful parent may regard the allegation as a way of gaining advantage in a custody or visitation dispute, or at least as a means to harass an ex-spouse. Second, a false allegation can enter a family court untested, without passing through appropriate investigation and review by police, social workers, and prosecutors who typically screen juvenile and criminal cases. In actuality, allegations of sexual abuse occur in only about 2 percent of custody and visitation disputes, and most are substantiated.

    FWIW.

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  126. Lea: In actuality, allegations of sexual abuse occur in only about 2 percent of custody and visitation disputes, and most are substantiated.

    This is incredibly helpful, as it is often implied in SRA cases that a massive amount of false abuse charges takes place in divorce proceedings, or elsewhere. In reality, this is not true. I believe official studies (which I do not always implicitly trust) suggest that it is extremely rare for a child to make false sexual abuse claims.

    Sadly, in some of the most horrendous cases of wide-scale SRA child abuse cases children describe sights, smells and activities far beyond their ability to imagine. The wretched defense is that someone planted false memories in these young children – false memories that somehow managed to leave physical, as well as emotional scars. False memories that allowed them to recognize the faces of abusers when seen on television, often government and law enforcement officials, or accurately describe buildings which they had never supposedly been in.

    It is no wonder that abuse victims are reluctant to make charges, which, even when backed up with similar charges from others as well as compelling evidence, is often dismissed. Our society owes great debts to many severely abused people who have not been believed.

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  127. TS00: Wow, I never thought of it like that. Is this why such can never admit to serious wrongdoing?

    Without reviewing The Three Forms of Unity, public confession is not one of the evidences of election. Article Twelve predicates the assurance of the Elect on self examination and internal beliefs and faith. That is not general faith, it is faith that includes the Doctrine of Election.

    If one had an emotional breakdown or anxiety, it would not undermine previous doctrinal positions. It could be discribed as godly sorrow, or a thirst for righteousness.

    What man would not have these emotions after criminal or ethical charges? But a man still needs to sick with the program. The Doctrine program.

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  128. Jane,

    LU has a very sketchy history with reports of abuse and/or retaliation. When a victim opens reporting pages on LU’s own website they are confronted with the slogan “ YOU REPORT, WE DECIDE” …how sadly true this is. Is a closed system designed to protect reputation of LU and Is dismissive of student complaints. How many desperate abuse victims finally drum up the courage to come forward and seek help only to see this and have their worst fears of not being believed realized??

    https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2019/03/30/liberty-u-to-students-reporting-title-ix-violations-you-report-we-decide/

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  129. Brian: I’ll stop typing. I hope I’m making sense.

    You are.

    In some 44 years in various fandoms (SF, Gamer, proto-Comics, proto-Anime, Furry, and Brony) I have noticed that a lot of FIRST-GENERATION fen (plural of fan in this context) come out of abusive backgrounds of some sort. The fandom provides a safe space.

    Most of the abuse stories are emotional/verbal, either from family, school, or both. High School (which was not divided into Middle School and High School where I was) seems to be the peak of school-centered abuse by peers. In the mildest cases, these are just growing up extremely emotionally isolated, but the abuse stories can span the whole spectrum, emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual. (Don’t know where to place Spiritual Abuse on the spectrum, but it’s there somewhere.)

    Of the various fandoms above, Furry seems to have the highest amount of not only abuse survivors, but survivors of HEAVY-DUTY abuse. Anime/Comics/Gaming also seem to be below Furry on the scale, but still fairly high. Surprisingly, abuse survivors seem rare in Bronydom (My Little Pony fandom), but I have encountered a few.

    Note that the ones with the highest incidence of abuse survivors are those with reputations for extreme/obsessive fanboys. And reputations for kinky sex; a good chunk of Furry’s kinky-hypersex reputation came from “those looking for love in all the wrong places”, which would correlate to sexual abuse survivors. And the fact that such a prey-rich environment attracts bona fide sexual predators sure didn’t help.

    One of my writing partners (the burned-out country preacher, also SF/gamer/furry/Brony since G1) has done extensive online counseling of messed-up Furries. He says that every one he’s counseled – EVERY ONE – has come from a “literally Hellish family and/or school environment” (and he doesn’t use the word “Hellish” lightly) and that a lot of Furries got into Furry as a matter of sheer survival. His exact words were “obsessing over upright talking animals beats sucking a load out of your father’s shotgun”.

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  130. Nathan Priddis: Article Twelve predicates the assurance of the Elect on self examination and internal beliefs and faith.

    i.e. Internal and Subjective. That explains those surviving Puritan journals being all or nearly all navel-gazing sin-sniffing.

    If one had an emotional breakdown or anxiety, it would not undermine previous doctrinal positions. It could be described as godly sorrow, or a thirst for righteousness.

    Depending on Privileges of Rank, of course. I doubt the pew-peons are given as much benefit of the doubt as Celebrity Leaders/Ideologists.

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  131. TS00: Nathan Priddis: Right now, Chantry is one sorry man. And he needs to cling to his Doctrine with his cold dead hands, or he is gonna burn.

    Wow, I never thought of it like that. Is this why such can never admit to serious wrongdoing?

    Makes a lot of sense to me.

    Especially when you factor in my speculations in this thread that they’re obsessed with PROOF that they themselves are among the Predestined Elect. Because “admitting to serious wrongdoing” would cast that Predestined Election into doubt. Calvin taken straight on the rocks can get pretty crazy-making.

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  132. Headless Unicorn Guy: In some 44 years in various fandoms (SF, Gamer, proto-Comics, proto-Anime, Furry, and Brony) I have noticed that a lot of FIRST-GENERATION fen (plural of fan in this context) come out of abusive backgrounds of some sort. The fandom provides a safe space.

    I can attest to this in those communities. I was in a multi-fandom “Christian” group for some time, and there was constant drama. I was stalked by two different men in that group, one to the point of assault. The other repeatedly tried to hack me.

    Many people in that community speak of being abused, but there were quite a few who thought it was okay to abuse. Whenever a problem has arise in that group, the same “church” dynamics apply. If you complain or stand up for yourself, you are not being “nice” and “Christian” enough. People would “talk” to you about your lack of Christian-ness, especially if you were female. But those who did the worst offenses, who were hurting others, were almost never called into account and were never asked to leave.

    In fact, I think some of the Christians acted much worse than non-Christians I knew in those communities. They just used Christianity to keep others from calling them into account for the way they acted.

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  133. ishy: People would “talk” to you about your lack of Christian-ness, especially if you were female.

    I’ll just add a note that in my experience, the fandom communities are quite sexist despite claiming to be progressive or liberal. This goes all the way from your local D&D groups to major authors and convention planners. The convention I attended for many years was known for ignoring reports of assault, and often wouldn’t allow attendees to report to police.

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  134. Jeannette Altes,

    My brain isn’t prolific today. I’ll apologize for my bluntness. Off the top of your head, what are the other verses, when misused, are a trigger? Unknowingly I wouldn’t want to witness to an abuse survivor and trigger something.

    When I walked away from the Church when I was 17, it was over “back masking” of records. I couldn’t figure out how to someone church, not trusting anyone yet. When they had “beaten the dead horse” over “back masking”, all I could think was if this was their biggest concern, knowing what real hell kids were facing out there, I was waisting my time. My conclusion was God wasn’t there when I needed Him. I now know that was the wrong conclusion.

    Max, thank you for telling me about your experience. 🙂

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  135. Brian: When I walked away from the Church when I was 17, it was over “back masking” of records.

    Somewhere in the Bible is a verse that says not to lavish attention on evil or Satan.* A youth group night spent on back masking is NOT spent on Jesus. At our church, it was youth group nights with lurid movies about Satanists.

    When people get good Christian instruction—or even just a little instruction in critical thinking—they will not be harmed by words that might be there if you listen backwards.

    *If anybody knows the verse, please post.

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  136. Brian: When I walked away from the Church when I was 17, it was over “back masking” of records.

    Ah, yes.
    [reverb]”BACKWARDS…MASKING!”[/reverb]

    Yet another survivor of the Satanic Panic of the Eighties.
    (I got hit by the anti-D&D witch hunt.)

    You know, the guy that started the whole Backwards Masking scare in SoCal(PastorGaryOfEaglesNestLongBeach) was local to me; only 10-15 miles (15-25km) west of where I live. And he became quite a Celebrity with his traveling church show. Also how Rich Buhler (a Christian accidentally talk-show host of the time who had his head screwed on pretty straight) accidentally torpedoed Benny Hester’s career for a couple years when an on-the-air Backwards Masking joke introducing the next day’s interview with BH backfired into Satanic Panic gossip.

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  137. ishy: In fact, I think some of the Christians acted much worse than non-Christians I knew in those communities. They just used Christianity to keep others from calling them into account for the way they acted.

    God as Excuse Machine, which isn’t limited to “those communities” per se.
    I think one dynamic in play is when God-talk enters the picture, it elevates EVERYTHING to Cosmic Importance.

    And yes, the abuse-victim-to-abuser face/heel turn does exist. Much lower than the 50% probability quoted when the subject first came up in this thread, but you only need to encounter one to really ruin your day (and many days afterwards).

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  138. Friend: Brian: When I walked away from the Church when I was 17, it was over “back masking” of records.
    Somewhere in the Bible is a verse that says not to lavish attention on evil or Satan.*

    I’m definitely the wrong guy to ask when it comes to tracking down a verse, but I do remember an official Heresy called “Attributing Too Much Power to the Devil”. When the Spanish Inquisition rolled on a Witchcraft charge (a rare occurrence; Inquisitors were paid on a fixed salary instead of a cut of the take), that was usually the Heresy charge they brought.

    And you see a lot of that Heresy in the real far-gone Spiritual Warfare types. You know, the ones where God would be powerless against Satan if it weren’t for those Mighty Spiritual Warriors (guess who?) I figure the reason said MSWs are so shrill is that they have made the Devil so powerful (in their minds) that deep down inside they’re afraid they chose the losing side. (Double Down and Scream Louder.)

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  139. Friend: Somewhere in the Bible is a verse that says not to lavish attention on evil or Satan.*

    I also remember a proverb attributed to C.S.Lewis:
    “Satan sends sins in opposing matched pairs, so that in fleeing one we embrace the other.”

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  140. ishy: ishy: People would “talk” to you about your lack of Christian-ness, especially if you were female.
    I’ll just add a note that in my experience, the fandom communities are quite sexist despite claiming to be progressive or liberal. This goes all the way from your local D&D groups to major authors and convention planners.

    Same here.
    Remember the MZB scandal?
    Asimov’s reputation as a dirty old man groping women in elevators?
    The Campbellian trope of “Serious MEN doing Serious Things”?
    And how before “geek culture” went mainstream, the nerdy types you found in litfandom (itself heavily male) were not the most socially-aware of guys?

    And long before Gamergate, there were horror stories floating around of “local D&D groups” treatment of female gamers joining the group. The most extreme I heard was the DM set up a “run on rails” scenario where the female gamer’s character kept getting gang-raped by the male players’ PCs until she quit the group — No Gurlz Allowed with Extreme Prejudice. The Gamergate that got in the news a few years back was just the bits-and-bytes version instead of pencil/paper/funny dice.

    That said, it varied from group to group; my regular group of that period didn’t seem to have much problem with “girl gamers”. Except for the usual cluelessness from young socially-awkward, socially-inexperienced male gamers, but that seemed more of a nuisance than an actual threat.

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  141. Headless Unicorn Guy: Same here.
    Remember the MZB scandal?
    Asimov’s reputation as a dirty old man groping women in elevators?
    The Campbellian trope of “Serious MEN doing Serious Things”?
    And how before “geek culture” went mainstream, the nerdy types you found in litfandom (itself heavily male) were not the most socially-aware of guys?

    And long before Gamergate, there were horror stories floating around of “local D&D groups” treatment of female gamers joining the group. The most extreme I heard was the DM set up a “run on rails” scenario where the female gamer’s character kept getting gang-raped by the male players’ PCs until she quit the group — No Gurlz Allowed with Extreme Prejudice. The Gamergate that got in the news a few years back was just the bits-and-bytes version instead of pencil/paper/funny dice.

    That said, it varied from group to group; my regular group of that period didn’t seem to have much problem with “girl gamers”. Except for the usual cluelessness from young socially-awkward, socially-inexperienced male gamers, but that seemed more of a nuisance than an actual threat.

    I was big into D&D, had the dungeon master’s guide and tons of other expensive books, had all the different dice in all the cool translucent colors. I can remember being an outcast teenage boy full of hormones and getting a thrill out of the line drawings of some of the goddesses and heroines in the game, which were just racy enough to appeal to my nerd mind. But one thing we never had much trouble with 35 years ago was misogyny, because while we would’ve absolutely LOVED having girls get involved with our little group, there really weren’t any who were even remotely interested in us, so we never got the chance.

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  142. Russell Moore once noted this similarity, of YRRs to a D&D clique (he’s since joined up with them):

    https://www.russellmoore.com/2011/08/29/dungeons-and-dragons-and-doctrinal-debate/

    “Remember those Dungeons and Dragons people back in junior high school? Well, they grew up, got saved, and are now debating Calvinism”

    “This realization hit me this past week when I received yet another Facebook ‘invitation’ to a forum debating Calvinism…all too often, it seems to me that these debates are so intense for reasons other than just fidelity to Scripture”

    “The Dungeons and Dragons clubs came to mind because those guys, at least in my junior high school, seemed to be obsessed with something that seemed to have no relevance at all to their lives, or to anyone else’s. But D&D became their identity. Because it mattered, they mattered.”

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  143. Nathan Priddis: Right now, Chantry is one sorry man. And he needs to cling to his Doctrine with his cold dead hands, or he is gonna burn.

    I completely agree with you that this is why they cling so tightly to their doctrine and expect everyone else to do the same. However, it’s a fool’s errand because there is nothing a person can do to change the list. This is what I find so ironic. If they really believed in unconditional election they would not worry about doctrine.

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  144. Jerome: “Remember those Dungeons and Dragons people back in junior high school? Well, they grew up, got saved, and are now debating Calvinism”

    “This realization hit me this past week when I received yet another Facebook ‘invitation’ to a forum debating Calvinism…all too often, it seems to me that these debates are so intense for reasons other than just fidelity to Scripture”

    “The Dungeons and Dragons clubs came to mind because those guys, at least in my junior high school, seemed to be obsessed with something that seemed to have no relevance at all to their lives, or to anyone else’s. But D&D became their identity. Because it mattered, they mattered.”

    Drooling Fanboy Syndrome, transferring from one subject to another.

    Makes me wish they’d stayed with D&D or today’s online MMRPGs instead of LARPing Calvin in Geneva and casting all the rest of us as the expendable orc horde/NPC monster mobs.

    I remember saying the same thing about the End Times/Culture War types, except there the game analogy was LARPing Warhammer 40K — “WAAARGH! DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA!”

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  145. Law Prof: I was big into D&D, had the dungeon master’s guide and tons of other expensive books…

    I started out about as Old School as it got; the only version available (1976) was the brown box, three little books plus Greyhawk of garage-band operation quality. (Didn’t even have Blackmoor or Eldritch Wizardry at the time. Or any pre-genned scenarios or campaign backgrounds; it was the Burgess Shale period, where every DM had to homebrew his own from scratch. Wild and crazy times.)

    It was Eldritch Wizardry (book 5) that really lit the fuse for the Satanic Panic. Cover illo of “nekkid gurl on altar” and introducing “Demons” to the monster list. Tick tick tick…BOOM!

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  146. Brian: My brain isn’t prolific today. I’ll apologize for my bluntness. Off the top of your head, what are the other verses, when misused, are a trigger? Unknowingly I wouldn’t want to witness to an abuse survivor and trigger something.

    Off the top of my head, Ephesians 6:1-3, about honoring father and mother – I still get this one thrown at me occasionally – it took me a long time and wisdom from friends and therapists, to understand that allowing parents to continue in abusive gehavior was not honoring them.
    Another is Hebrews 13:4. Really, for me, any verses that talk about marriage and how adulterors and fornfornicators will displease God and not go to heaven – all of these were like a stick, beating me, reminding me how horrible and beyond hope I was. I know better, now, most of the time. I really am learning what the Love of God really is. But, growing up, those were the ones that pushed me further away.

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  147. Headless Unicorn Guy: I started out about as Old School as it got; the only version available (1976) was the brown box, three little books plus Greyhawk of garage-band operation quality

    I started in January of ’83, not long after AD&D came out. At one time, I had all the books that existed. Gave them all away during my immersion in the cult/church around 15 years ago. Sigh.

    Back in the 80s, I got some blowback from some family over playing – they were concerned I was going to get dragged into a cult. Cue ironic eye roll.

    I have started playing again the last few years with some old friends. I was always cautious who I played with, though. I learned early on that like most games, it was what you made of it and if someone was into controlling and dominating, they would bring it into the game. I’m thankful I never ran into the ‘girls suck’ types. Maybe because I started in college instead of junior high or high school.

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  148. Greetings,

    Over the past 5 years I have been working on a recently published book, The Uriah Syndrome: The Misuse and Abuse of Authority in the Church. As the subtitle suggests, the book addresses what appears to be an ever increasing problem in the church at large, and provides an explanation regarding its root cause, as well as a way forward to those affected by this pernicious problem.

    As a member of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) for 30 years, I spent approximately 12 of those years, before leaving the organization in 2012, exposing and confronting what I believed were spiritually abusive practices that were systemic of their organization.

    If you or someone you know has experienced The Misuse and Abuse of Authority in the Church, I hope you will consider reading and reviewing the book and/or passing it on to others who may benefit from the material. For your convenience, you can review the first chapter at http://www.BobDixonLPC.com or you can purchase the book at Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/s?k=The+uriah+syndrome&ref=nb_sb_noss).

    Thank you and God bless,

    Bob Dixon

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  149. Jeannette Altes: Another is Hebrews 13:4. Really, for me, any verses that talk about marriage and how adulterors and fornfornicators will displease God and not go to heaven –

    The Bible is a great and wonderful thing.

    And so far as holy books go, it has no equal on the planet (my opinion).

    And yeah, it (Scripture) does contain stark black and white binaries, such as the moral and humanitarian crisis along our Southern border.

    But when it comes to human sexuality, I no longer believe in a one-size-fitz-all-scribed-in-stone dogma.

    I’m now convinced that there are many gray areas, not easily resolved into strict binaries.

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  150. Jerome,

    “Religious garb” pinged another memory. I read a book on uniforms. Each profession has its uniform. College professors, tweed jackets. Religion, clerical garb and turned collars. Etc.

    I can only guess they were trying to project a falsely implied authority.

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  151. Brian: Who were the focus in these “Christian fandom groups”? I looked up the definition of “fandom”, a Christian fandom would seem to be an oxymoron, idol worship.

    It was a group for Christians who were into fandoms and went to conventions. The big convention they went to was Dragon*Con. I’m from Atlanta, so that was an easy one for me to attend.

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  152. Jeannette Altes: I started in January of ’83, not long after AD&D came out. At one time, I had all the books that existed. Gave them all away during my immersion in the cult/church around 15 years ago.

    Including the first printing of Deities & Demigods, i.e. the one that included the Cthulhu Mythos? Those things pull in medium-to-high three figures to collectors these days.

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  153. Headless Unicorn Guy: Including the first printing of Deities & Demigods, i.e. the one that included the Cthulhu Mythos? Those things pull in medium-to-high three figures to collectors these days.

    Mine did not, although the guy who started the group had one. He also had a Monster Manual where half the pages were upside down. I also had the more PC version of ‘Deities & Demigods’ where they changed the name to ‘Legends & Lore.’

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  154. Muff Potter:
    Jeannette Altes,

    I think also, that the Bible suffers from the same two ills as ‘Science’.
    Not giving it the credence it deserves at one extreme, and making way too much of it at the other.

    There is a tendency, among the Christians I have known, to elevate the Bible to the place of deity – to worship it as though it were God itself. For those who escape the cult-like churches, it is not unusual to go to the opposite extreme. I wrestled with this myself and didn’t even touch it for a couple of years – until I reached the point where I could read it without hearing my former pastor’s voice and twisting.

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  155. Friend: We give Satan too much credit for ideas that are purely human.

    Amen. Scripture says that there are three things which come against the church and individual Christians: (1) the world, (2) the flesh, and (3) the devil.

    Most of what we see with wayward ministers, ministries, and church members can be attributed to influences of the world and the flesh. They are doing such a good job tripping folks up that the devil doesn’t have to get involved.

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  156. Lea,

    There is a well-proven paradox that people don’t correct their mistakes, they double down on them (to use gambling parlance). On this very blog, I found confirmation of this when it turned out someone I knew in college was the wife of pedophile pastor….and is still his enabler! of a man who defiled her bed with a 14-year-old! the mind reels.

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