Depressed and frustrated link
“…in addition to feeling sick and tired and feverish and nauseated, I also felt forgotten. And there was no easy cure for that.” ― Sarah Thebarge
Tiffany Thigpen: Darrell Gilyard tried to rape me and the SBC pastors, two still around, tried to shut me up.
Back then she was Tiffany Croft. I wrote about her years ago when I first started blogging. It is her testimony that led to Darrell Gilyard being convicted of molestation of teens in his church. Here is a link to her blog at the time let’s stop pastor darrell gilyard together
When I met an abusive Pastor, Darrell Gilyard, I was a 17 year old girl who was actively involved in my youth group and completely trusting of Pastors and leaders.
…I grew up attending First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida under Homer Lyndsay and later Jerry Vines. Jerry Vines “found” Darrell Gilyard in the 80’s while he was an attending member in our singles dept. Apparently he saw preaching qualitites in him and called his friend Paige Patterson and recommended him for a scholarship for seminary.
…. He would tell the story of “doing his homework at the service station” for light. All of this turned out to be a lie. I was a middle schooler and heard Darrell share his story from the pulpit and we sights on me – unlucky me. We trusted and respected Darrell because our Pastor and Paige both bragged on him and revered him, loved him like their son, Jerry Falwell as well. We blindly trusted because there were no warnings, no safety parameters. We all knew how Vines loved him. Our church was a mega church back then, boasting some 16,000 members and our Pastors were revered, we trusted whom they trusted.
…Patterson placed him in Pastor positions at local churches, the accusations and reports followed. Darrell came onto women, assaulted them and even raped. All were reported to Patterson. We all know the story, Patterson, in his own words “broke them down” and shamed them, and he stood behind Gilyard. There are many reports of this available. We know this part and how that went during the 80’s
…in 1990, my Pastor and Gilyards mentor, Vines, decided it was an appropriate choice to have Darrell Gilyard travel with our youth choir and orchestra
…one fateful night, Darrell knew something I didn’t and he saw what would maybe be his last opportunity and he took it. Someone close to me had confronted Darrell, his Pastor, about the ways in which he talked about me to him, about his frequent interaction into my life, phone calls and such.
…without anyone with me, I met the Pastor and he immediately got very inappropriate and his hands were everywhere, all the sirens sounded at once – he told me that he knew I wanted him and that is why I was there. Of course I protested and said this isn’t funny, you asked me here to warn me about something…I will spare the details, I do not want to even relive them though it plays like an unwanted movie in my head. I tried to get away from him and he was determined, he tried repeatedly to rape me and I fought with all that I had.
I managed to wrestle him and actually shoved him to the ground as he lost footing and got the door open just in time for him to hold the door and try to come in, I fought and fought again and somehow managed to squeeze the door shut on his arm forcing him to let go as I moved the car into reverse
Tiffany did not remain quiet and would eventually report this to police years later. She was a teen with a supportive mother. However, Jerry Vines had something to say. He told her to keep quiet since there was *nothing he could do about this.*
I was summoned back to Dr. Vines, he told me that he had flown to Dallas and he and Patterson were given some materials and that Darrell was indeed a “bad apple” and that when they confronted him, that he was evil, that he looked at them and said “I don’t care if Gabriel the archangel came down from heaven and told me to leave the pulpit, I won’t do it.” Dr. Vines told me that their hands were tied and there wasn’t much they could do. I didn’t know any better and was just a teenager so I thanked him for trying. We agreed that I wouldn’t talk about it and that no one at the church “needed to know” and that was that.
Long before #me too* and #caring well, Tiffany went to war with no help from the current SBC leadership, some of whom were (and some still are) good buddies with her former pastors.
I contacted local reporters and said I have a story to tell and I want my face and name put on this so that the girls have a voice (since they were minors). I interviewed with every local station and gave my email address for contact and quickly created a blog called “Let’s Stop Pastor Darrell Gilyard Together” and pleaded for other victims to come forward so that in numbers we could see him prosecuted.
Mac Brunson took over for Vines at FBC Jacksonville and continued the attack on Tiffany.
Mac Brunson became the new Pastor of my home church, FBC Jacksonville, when Dr. Vines retired. Brunson was a buddy of both Patterson and Vines. He also was once the Pastor of FBC Dallas and was Chancellor of Criswell College at one time. He apparently didn’t like me blogging about the predator Pastor who was at a neighboring church just a few blocks away or about how Jerry Vines had not reported it when it happened in 1991. He was asked in an interview, “What do you believe the next SBC president needs to focus on for the next two years?” “Saving his hide!” said Brunson, and then he brought up the Gilyard case all on his own.
He was quoted as saying,“…You know, here’s a Pastor right down the street here, all over the headlines, who is being arraigned today in this city…and of course there are people that have tried to blame Dr. Patterson for that …they tried to blame Dr. Vines…I can assure you they didn’t cover up anything, they’d have enjoyed exposing it too much…” In another he said “this lady is giving this pastor down the street a hard time, blogging about him” as he was doing a seminary taping which was heard on the radio and many people told me about it.
She began to receive threats and disgusting emails from *nice* SBC folks.
Many people from the church wrote scathing emails to me. I received nasty emails from Gilyards camp as well, threatening emails, emails wishing harm to me and my family, condemning me to hell, calling me horrible things, I even received emails claiming I seduced Darrell or “wanted it” or “asked for it”.
Dr Vines refused to help her.
I asked, practically begged, Dr. Vines to do what was right – to call out Darrell’s sin and help me push for accountability and also help for the victims, he would not. I asked him to write something and acknowledge that he wishes he could go back and do things differently and not even have to admit wrong or apologize to me (I let him off easy, hoping for good) and that if he would write something like that I could publish it on the blog. He would not.
Then, her private information was subpoenaed from Google and Comcast by FBC Jacksonville’s despicable Mac Brunson. My good friend, Tom Rich, had his info was subpoenaed the same time. (Tom won and Brunson lost, big time.)
my blog and email addresses, screen names and telephone and social security and address and registration, IP Address, log in data, posting etc etc etc. attached to my blog, were subpoenaed by the State of Florida, through our local law enforcement and granted by the State Atty’s office at the request of…duh duh duh…First Baptist Church of Jacksonville Florida, Mac Brunsons church, Jerry Vines former church, my former church where I reported my abuser.
And this was all subpoenaed through Google and Comcast. And because “no criminal activity was found” (of course) they were able to look, peruse, get what they wanted without my knowledge and then claim they didn’t find anything and destroyed the original file which showed the basis on which the subpoena was granted. What could they possibly claim I did to warrant this? I would never know. My blog, New BBC Open Forum blog (Memphis blogger) and FBCJaxWatchdog blog were included in these subpoenas. What did they claim we did? Each was blogging about abusive Pastors and hurts of the people of the churches they were blogging about – BBC was about Bellevue Baptist in Memphis, FBC Jax Watchdog about Mac Brunson and FBC Jax.
Jerry Vines reportedly lies about Thigpen and Gilyard in his memoir.
Jerry Vines writes his Memoirs which is published and promoted by Lifeway – I refused to even buy the book, but I begin to be notified by others that there is a chapter in the book about Gilyard and it is not truth. Vines writes the version as if Gilyard was just a single guy flirting with another single (referencing what happened to me) and he actually states it that way and follows up with “perhaps I was wrong”. I was sucker punched, I felt the world spin again and I was outraged. I’ve spent years telling the story and pushing for the predators punishment, he and Patterson try to silence me, Patterson was horrible to me, division in my family, in my church family, being attacked and threatened verbally, years spent gathering evidence and victims, sharing the truth and evidence and yet his final blow is this.
Tiffany didn’t do it nicely, something that appears to be a requirement for inclusion in the SBC Caring Well conference. Not only did she report her molester but also reported those who covered it up. Jerry Vines and Mac Brunson are still designated *untouchable* by the SBC powers that be. How awkward for the leadership…
Tiffany has critiqued Jerry Vines’ memoir-a major no no for those acceptable SBC leaders. Maybe the boys just want him to ride off into the sunset with his lying pride intact? Same with Brunson, maybe? Nice women don’t embarrass Baptist leaders like this, do they? If only she had stuck to Paige Patterson, she might have now been part of the in crowd.
Tiffany started a blog. (You know how those gospel™ boys feel about those.) She found many other victims and urged them to report. That was back in the good old days when women who were molested were supposed to know their place, submit to authority and never, ever bring out yucky stuff in public. Tiffany was a really strong woman, even as a teenager, and stood up for truth, even when it cost her.
I believe the ERLC/SBC wants to let Tiffany slip away into the background and not embarrass them by mentioning old wounds that are so awkward. Vines and Brunson are still running around in SBC circles. She was, and is, naming names of those who are still present. I think the ERLC wants to avoid such discomfort and keep things nice. Besides, Armani Floyd already has too much to do these days.
One thing to remember, Paige Patterson was fired over a quote from a CBMW conference in 2000 (CBMW-be ashamed!!) Surely the SBC leaders could condemn Vines and Brunson if they wanted to do so. I believe that they do not.
SBC: Apolgize to Tiffany
Anne Marie Miller: Telling the truth about anxiety and church attendance gets her the boot from the SBC.
Anne Marie Miller was a well known speaker. She was invited to speak at the largest United Methodist Church in the world, but she was not invited to speak at Caring Well.
As a high school student, Anne was molested by Mark Aderholt, an SBC seminary student at the time. He later went on to be a missionary along with his wife. Eventually he was recalled, admitted to the IMB that he had had a sexual relationship with Anne. He was allowed to resign from the IMB. But, the SBC gave him a new job as an assistant pastor in Bill Clinton’w old SBC church in Arkansas. He then transferred over to a South Carolina SBC association. Then Anne came forward. He was eventually arrested and tried , convicted and received a decidedly light sentence.
This was awkward because the IMB urged her to let it go. David Platt was then head of the IMB until he wasn’t.
Anne believes she is being rejected by the SBC for the following reasons.
By allowing me to share my story on their stage, they’d be admitting that what happened to me was a crime that they failed to appropriately respond to for many, many years. I imagine that would open them up to potential liability as well as the fear of financial loss. There have already been people who have withdrawn financial support to the cooperative program because of my story and the chronic failure to acknowledge it or act on it.
However, I believe it is her statements regarding her anxiety about attending any SBC church which is what the SBC leadership do not want people to hear. They want nice women who were hurt and are still doing just fine, thank you very much, due to the incredible support of the current leadership.
To further align with a survivor that has been so hurt by the SBC that I have extreme anxiety going to any church, and even moreso an SBC church (see: “a cold day in hell” on NPR) would undoubtedly stoke the fires of the faithful core. When the media was hot on my story and they were under fire, it appeared as if a genuine concern was the SBC’s leaders’ top priority. Emails with tons of encouragement flowed freely into my inbox.
It appears that her honesty was going to cost her. Lifeway Backs Out of Book Deal With Anne Marie Miller.
Remember, Lifeway is owned by the SBC.
it’s hard not to see the situation as yet another case of a Christian organization protecting itself at the expense of an individual. In the case of Miller’s book, it could be at the expense of several individuals who have suffered abuse within the church.
“It does feel like the same song on repeat where well-established values aren’t reconsidered in light of how the church—and the SBC [Southern Baptist Convention]—is moving to understand sexual abuse and trauma,” Miller told ChurchLeaders.
However, during the editing process, LifeWay told Miller they could not publish the book due to its suggestion that supporters of survivors should not always encourage a trauma victim to return to church, as doing so may be retraumatizing to the survivor. Miller knows this traumatizing feeling all too well. Even driving by some churches causes her anxiety to swell.
Lifeway learned I was
a) not active in a local church and
b) due to an abundance of research, I couldn’t recommend all survivors need to go to a church for healing
Then there is the awkward nature of her naming her abuser and helping him get convicted. How many people who are acceptable survivors did what Anne (and Tiffany) did? Yep-Mark Aderholt, bonafide SBC missionary and local SBC organization leaders pled guilty due to Anne’s efforts. How unpleasant.
Anne is no longer SBC and she was not *cared well by those *Caring Well* leaders.
My story is a perfect example of a failure to care well, so much that I can only assume that they are fearful to admit such would cause them reputation and financial loss. In actuality, letting me have a few minutes to encourage people to care well, as a survivor and as someone in the medical field who can offer professional insight, would only help those willing to listen to better care for those of us who may never walk into a church building again.
- Anne named her SBC abuser and got him convicted after the IMB wanted her to let it go.
- Anne believes that some victims have trouble going back to an SBC church and understands why some victims do as well. The Caring Well folks appear to want nice victims who have no problem with attuning church in the SBC.
- The SBC made sure her book deal was revoked for actually telling the truth of the pain that many victims experience.
SBC: Apologize to Anne Marie Miller
Dee Ann Miller: Exposing abuse on the mission fields before most of the people on the stage were born.
Dee Ann Miller was a long time missionary and outspoken advocate on dealing with sex abuse in the SBC. Like Christa, she’s been around for decades and is now 72 years old. She (as well as Ann) was featured by the Houston Chronicle.
Like others, she has also written a book. How Little We Knew: Collusion and Confusion with Sexual Misconduct
Here is a review of the book on Amazon. Dee Ann was a prophet long before today’s #churchtoo #SBCtoo movement.
SBC Apologize to Dee Ann Miller
It is my hope that the survivors on the stage will shout out to their sisters in these stories. It is my hope that the SBC stop looking for stories that resolve *nicely.* Instead, may the SBC leaders look in the mirror and take responsibility for allowing this stuff to continue and stop presenting stories that make them feel comfortable.
It’s time to name the abusers and name those who covered it up. It’s time to apologize for those who struggle with their faith. Not everything resolves in a rose garden with lots of hugs and kisses.
Today Jules Woodson spoke to a seminary class at Baylor University. She was also featured today in New York Magazine as well.
Yet, she like those others are not considered prophetic voices, most likely because they threaten a narrative.
SBC: Apologize to Jules Woodson
SBC: Apologize to Christa Brown.
Also, there needs to be some apologies on the part of others at the conference but I’ll leave that up to them to figure out which ones I mean.
…These women must not be forgotten as leaders attempt to put a nice spin on the pain of SBC sex abuse and coverup. They want everything to appear fine. Everyone who was abused believes, everyone goes to church without discomfort, everyone trusts pastors and everyone who walks away wasn’t really a believer anyway. And besides, it wasn’t (insert current pastors’/leaders names) fault even though, deep down inside, many of them know it was.