Is the Volunteer at John Ortberg’s Menlo Church a NOMAP (Non-Offending Minor Attracted Person) and What Does This Mean in the Long Run?


Mars Panorama shot at the end of 2019 and just released.

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”  — Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and statesman


Before I begin the post, I want to make four points.

  1. I believe that pedophilia is a profound psychiatric disorder. It is not *normal* and I reject any attempts to make it appear normal.
  2. I believe that pedophiles, as well as those who have similar paraphilias, can learn to control their impulses with intensive help from psychiatrists, psychologists, trained counselors and the support of family, friends, and, for those who are believers, the church. I do not believe that it is curable at this time.
  3. I I have reason to believe that the volunteer is a male so I will use the pronoun *he.*
  4. I will not allow any folks who consider themselves NOMAPS or MAPs to hijack the comment thread at TWW or troll my Twitter account. Also, I will decide which comments will be allowed.

What in the world is a MAP and a NOMAP?

Over the weekend, I was made aware of a new advocacy group called MAP which stands for *minor attracted person*. At first, I believed that these were people who had accepted that they were pedophiles, had received and are receiving intensive psychiatric intervention and were doing the hard work of staying away from minors in order not to offend or reoffend. However, a MAP is merely a *minor attracted person.* This descriptor does not address their actions.

NOMAPS are MAPS who claim they do not consume child pornography or molest children. Since I have just learned about this group, I will be sharing information that I have gleaned from a number of articles.

However, it is important. to realize these terms, MAPs and NOMAPsa, may be sometimes used interchangeably so be careful about making assumptions.

The BBC, in 2017, posted The young paedophiles who say they don’t abuse children

The following article is about a man who appears to be a NOMAP, at least for now… However, he self identifies as a MAP.

Adam first realised that there was something different about him when he was 13. His friends suddenly started talking about girls and he just wasn’t interested.

He couldn’t reveal the truth. He didn’t think about girls at all, but about boys who were younger than him.

…he explains that he had always wanted to have a wife and children one day.

But something made him realise this just wasn’t possible.

“I got really worried that I’d end up hurting a child and go to prison. My life would be over.”

There’s a growing body of research into young paedophiles like him, including those who have never been through the legal system.

People like Adam have started to form online forums and chat groups where they discuss their struggle.

Many of them, including Adam, dislike the word “paedophile” because of the way the media uses it interchangeably with “child rapist” or “child abuser”.

Instead, he refers to himself as an “MAP”, which stands for “minor-attracted person”.

…He says he has never abused a child, either online or in person.

This sounds good, right? However, pay attention to this next part.

And yet when he is asked about the precise nature of his attraction, he starts to become uncomfortable.

He squirms, stammers and clams up. He can’t get the words out and the conversation moves on.

He admits to having “crushes” on young boys but he says he works hard to distract himself.

In a message, Adam explains his “age of attraction”.

Sorry for not being able to answer when you asked the ages, it’s something I was dreading you asking … I hope you understand. My aoa is 1-15, but the emotional side is a lot stronger than the physical side with the lower ages.

…”I don’t really think of a toddler in much of a sexual way, but rather, I want to cuddle one and make sure they’re happy. That is mainly it with younger children.”

….Adam wishes he was attracted to adults but he just isn’t.

…I ask if he thought he might end up abusing a child.

He admits: “I thought maybe at some point in my life, maybe I would. Not imminently. But I realised, hey this actually hurts children and I don’t want to be part of this.”

But did he view illegal images of children online?

He says that he hasn’t. Partly because he wasn’t “tech savvy” enough to know how to avoid getting caught.

In other words, Adam is conflicted. He claims he has not harmed minors but he admits that he might do so, one day.

Bethan Blankley posted, in 2020, Can MAPs, a move to make pedophilia normal, find redemption?

According to Urban Dictionary, MAPs can also include Infantophiles (being attracted to infants), Pedophiles (attracted to pre-pubescent children), Hebephiles (attracted to pubescent children), and Ephebophiles (attracted to post-pubescent children).

In other words, MAPs has a subcategory: IPHE.

...Pedophiles about Pedophilia, a site dedicated to explaining pedophilia written by pedophiles, hopes to provide insight into the “born this way” culture of adults sexually attracted to the body type of a prepubescent child.

Some of the site’s entries include, “Correcting Propaganda about Minor Attracted People,” “Ideological Spectrum of MAPs,” “Five lies about Pedophiles,” and LGBTQ & Pedophiles.

MAPs have attempted to be accepted of the LGBTQ communities, especially during Gay Pride marches but have found rejection in such groups.

The Daily Beast posted Do You Know What A MAP Is? I Just Found Out And Now I’m Warning Friends by Phaylen Fairchild.

No, it’s something much more horrific than I ever anticipated. MAP is an initialism, self-created by the proud individuals it references, as “Minor Attracted Persons.”

…MAP’s have been using social media under this self-identifier for some time, sprouting up and organizing mostly from the blogging site, Tumblr. Currently, there is a petition to have openly expressing MAPs removed from the site.

The author refers to two websites for MAPSs to engage with one another.* (ed. note: Both of those sites are not longer accessible.) I have been told by some folks that there is a movement to stop access to such sites in some search engines.

The author, who identifies as a trans women, wants to be sure that her readers understand two points.

1. The LGBT community does not wish to allow these people to identify with their community.

Since the burgeoning of my own self awareness and subsequently imposed shame regarding my gender as a result of seeing anti-LGBT evangelists and politicians behind their podiums using fear tactics to influence their audiences against me, I have lived in fear of this false equivalency. They would typically say things like; “This LGBT community is the downfall of civilized society, soon they’ll be adding a ‘P’ to include and protect child rapists and other atrocious acts like bestiality!”

I remember how scared I was that anyone would ever presume I was, or would advocate for those who victimized children and animals.

…I’ve been warning Parents I know about the uprising of MAPs, so that they can both protect their children from predators and prepare themselves for the inevitable onslaught of comparisons that will be made to the LGBT community

2. MAPs must not be allowed to identify as simply having a simple mental illness such as depression.

It is evident that she believes:

Do not let these sympathizers equate mental illness with child rapists or any violent act that robs a victim of agency

MAPs have taken over social media and it’s causing confusion.

Heavy.com posted How Pedophiles Silently Took Over Social Media

Their postings were removed from TUMBLR.

MAP’s, Minor Attracted People, also known as pedophiles, have long been present on the internet. Peaking on Tumblr pre-December 2018, when all of their child porn was finally taken down. Their blogs ended up being deleted on their own after a lot of shaming from other users.

Tumblr never addressed this issues which had been a continuous complaint from Tumblr users. After the Tumblr NSFW purge, MAP’s needed a new platform to form their community.

Their new platform of choice is Twitter.

There are many MAP minors on Twitter.

The most interesting thing about the MAP community is that they are not all adults. Teenagers as young as 15 identify as MAP’s, meaning they are attracted to smaller children. On some MAP profile you can find the acronym “AOA”, meaning “age of attraction”, followed by an age range. This can be especially harmful if they are also following people in their specified age range.

Even more disturbing, there are minors who consider themselves allies to the MAP community and think that what they do and who they are is not inherently wrong. That as long as they are not offending they deserve advocates. It must not be overlooked that these are minors advocating for societal norms to change and allow pedophiles to live their lives freely, doing what they must as long as no one gets hurt.

It can be difficult to identify the difference between a MAP and NOMAP.

The MAP community is both an interesting and stomach-churning community to observe. Most if not all refrain from posting child porn, and usually just advocate for mental health services for non-offending pedophiles. That may be a valid point as there is not much, if any, mental health resources for pedophiles.

Here is a link to one NOMAPs thread on twitter. https://twitter.com/hashtag/nomap?lang=en

What does this have to do with Menlo Church and John Ortberg?

I wrote several posts on the matter.

John Ortberg Is Place on Leave After Allowing a Man With Sexual Feelings for Kids to Work With Kids. I Think Everyone Missed a Cry for Help.

As John Ortberg Returns to the Pulpit, Menlo Church Leaders Should Be Ready to Answer Some Questions

John Ortberg, Menlo Church, Returns to the Pulpit But Questions Still Linger

  • The Menlo volunteer appears to be a MAP and is very close to John Ortberg.
  • Ortberg appears to truly believe that this volunteer has not harmed any children. If that is true, he would be considered a NOMAP.
  • It had been reported that he had not received intensive counseling for his pedophile feelings when he initially spoke to John Ortberg. Such feelings are deep-rooted and are a serious psychological disorder.
  • The young man, Adam, in the above BBC article, admits that he hopes he will not offend in the future but is not sure.
  • An alcoholic who wishes to stay sober should never work in a bar or a Seagrams’ packaging plant. The same goes for this man. He should never be allowed to be alone with children again. Yet, we know he was allowed to be with minors for some period of time. This was utterly stupid. This is one of the reason I believe that this volunteer has an intimate relationship with John Ortberg. Anyone else would most likely have been given the left boot of fellowship. If he is now allowed to come to Menlo, (and I believe that is highly likely) he should have an adult who is with him the entire time he is in the building when children are present.
  • I believe the internal investigation was botched. There is absolutely no reason to keep the name of the investigator private unless this person is directly representing the Ortbergs. If that was the case, there has been no independent investigation.

What should we think about NOMAPs versus MAPs?

There is very little written about the number of NOMAPs who do act on their paraphilia. Until such a time, one must be prepared for the potential of *acting out* on the part of the NOMAP. For such a NOMAP, this might be a one time slip up. For his victim, it could be a trauma that affects him or her for the rest of their life. Therefore, intensive psychiatric intervention is absolutely recommended.

b4uact.org

This is an organization dedicated to helping MAPs deal with their disorder.

B4U-ACT is a collaborative effort of mental health professionals and people who are attracted to children or adolescents to accomplish the following purposes:

to publicly promote services and resources for self-identified individuals (adults and adolescents) who are sexually attracted to children and seek such assistance
to educate mental health providers regarding the approaches helpful for such individuals
to develop a pool of providers who agree to serve these individuals and abide by B4U-ACT’s Principles and Perspectives of Practice
to educate the public regarding issues faced by these individuals
B4U-ACT holds workshops for mental health professionals and students, gives presentations at professional conferences, provides speakers for university classes, collaborates with researchers, communicates with professional organizations and journalists about the needs and rights of people who are attracted to children or adolescents, and runs support groups for both them and their friends and family members.

OUR VISION
B4U-ACT promotes competent and effective professional services and resources for individuals (adults and adolescents) who are sexually attracted to children and adolescents through education, outreach, communication, creativity, and initiative.  B4U-ACT will be a leader in the development of competent and specialized services and resources that will be sought by individuals (adults and adolescents) who are sexually attracted to children.

OUR VALUES
Individuals who are sexually attracted to children are the focus of everything that we do.  Compassionate assistance in dealing with the difficulties of living in society with an attraction to minors is essential to our success. Integrity is never compromised.  Diversity is recognized and respected.

Would I leave a child with a NOMAP?

At this time, I would absolutely not leave a child with a person I knew was a NOMAP/MAP. Nor do I think a NOMAP/MAP should ask to take care of a child.

There is a controversy about the so-called MAPs Pride flag/symbol

According to SN0PES, this rumor is false.

Rumors holding that MAPs (Minor Attracted Persons) created a pride flag in an attempt to join the LGBTQ community originated with a troll experiment on Tumblr.

…This picture does not represent a “MAPs Pride Flag.” Rather, the image was created as part of a troll experiment on Tumblr.

When pictures of this “MAP flag” began circulating on Facebook, the posts typically included messages warning other social media users to be wary of anyone displaying this flag:

However, there has been considerable pushback on this. So, be advised.

Finally, if the volunteer was truly an intimate friend or even had a closer relationship with John Ortberg, it seems to me that said person was given far more grace than the average church member. Am I wrong?

I look forward to your thoughts on this post.


Comments

Is the Volunteer at John Ortberg’s Menlo Church a NOMAP (Non-Offending Minor Attracted Person) and What Does This Mean in the Long Run? — 81 Comments

  1. Can a self-identified NOMAP/MAP be a Christian? Why do they go to church?

    “If anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP)

    Of course, I hold to the 80:20 rule for church members … 80% either don’t know Christ or they act like they don’t in their daily walk … only 20% appear to be the real-deal in the churches I have attended for the last 70+ years.

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  2. Brian: When you call something a disorder, you mainstream it, normalize it, creating sympathy. Some things are just a perversion.

    It does get worse than this when things God calls perversions are sold as perfectly normal, mainstream and you must accept this or we will club you over the head with our shame. I think our generation has totally lost its moral compass and we shall suffer the consequences of that. Societal norms keep changing so if we were born during a different era the majority of us would just follow the crowd into completely different ideals. This is why following the non-changing Word is so important for those who call themselves Christians.

    It is a shame that we have to educate ourselves about things like MAPs. I have to remind myself that soon I go to a place where such things do not exist. This world is a sewer proclaiming itself to be a beautiful rose.

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  3. Dee,
    This post of yours does not mention an excellent on-line source for the ongoing scandal with John Ortberg and the Menlo Church. Perhaps you have linked to it in previous articles. The article contains a timeline of events.

    https://ruthhutchins.com/post/menlo-church-john-ortberg-timeline/

    Additionally, the above source links to the attorney who conducted the “impartial” investigation. Here is that link:

    https://www.coblentzlaw.com/people/fred-w-alvarez/

    I find it disturbing that the Menlo church elders have chosen not to let the congregation know who this “MAP” is. I know if I were a member of the church and had children I would demand to know the identity of the individual who is attracted to children and has been spending overnights with church children. If the elders refused to divulge this information I would work to have them all removed from their positions. If I were unsuccessful at that I would find a different church to attend. There is a high probability that this “MAP” has acted on his desires and will do so again in the future.

    As a review, here is what Daniel Lavery (a son of John Ortberg) had to say about the situation:

    Statement from Daniel Lavery
    https://twitter.com/kiki40400470/status/1234552275886104576?s=20

    On November 15, 2019 a member of the congregation at Menlo Church disclosed to me that for most of their life, they had experienced obsessive sexual feelings about young children. This person further disclosed that they had sought out unsupervised volunteer positions with children as a method of treating this obsession, including volunteer work at Menlo Church as well as volunteer work that involves overnight travel with minors. Lastly, this person disclosed that although they had never spoken to a therapist about this plan, they had shared it with John and Nancy Ortberg in July 2018. John Ortberg has continually encouraged this person in their pursuit of unsupervised work with children.

    That same day, my wife Grace and I confirmed all the above with John Ortberg. We expressed
    the gravest reservations about this scheme, but were told (1) that pedophilia was like
    homosexuality; (2) that the most important thing was maintaining secrecy around this affair; (3)
    that we lacked standing to offer an alternative form of treatment for sexual obsessions with
    children because of our transitions. John could not offer credible reassurance when I asked
    whether this person had stopped traveled overnight with children, even though John claimed the
    two of them had spoken often and candidly. “I’m not sure,” he said.

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  4. Todd Wilhelm,

    I can’t even begin to see how anyone would think this was appropriate. Seeking out minors as a way of treating your obsession with them???!! This person clearly needs psychiatric intervention to understand themselves and their condition, and to be kept from being a danger to anyone.

    It’s impossible for me to judge whether that is a manipulation/excuse, or whether they are genuinely trying to solve their own problem, but either way something must be done immediately.

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  5. As a review, here is what Daniel Lavery (a son of John Ortberg) had to say about the situation:

    Statement from Daniel Lavery
    <a href="https://twitter.com/kiki40400470/status/1234552275886104576?s=20

    On November 15, 2019 a member of the congregation at Menlo Church disclosed to me that for most of their life, they had experienced obsessive sexual feelings about young children. This person further disclosed that they had sought out unsupervised volunteer positions with children as a method of treating this obsession, including volunteer work at Menlo Church

    This is what immediately struck me as I read this post:
    The MAP who confided in Daniel Lavery specifically indicated that their attraction to children was of a “sexual” nature and “obsessive”. This does not sound like the type of person who just wants to cuddle small children.

    And my second serious concern is that this MAP has taken it upon himself to “treat” his obsession by actively seeking to do “unsupervised”volunteer work with children in a church environment. Is it just me, but does not this sound like a very unwise form of self-assigned therapy, or rather more like a smokescreen to act on the obsession?

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  6. Todd Wilhelm,

    Great comment, Todd. It appears the elders, Ortberg, and the lawyer did everything in their power to downplay this ridiculous situation. That, in itself, is worrisome. Not only do I believe Lavery, I also believe that there is far more to this story.I feel bad for Lavery who came forward, knowing he might get kicked in the teeth which appears to have happened.

    The elders botched it. They should have called in an independent, third party investigator and told the church which person or group that is. This secret*lawyer* is baloney and points to a serious problem.

    I heard from one person via email that this *volunteer* may be still hanging around the church since he is a close person to John Ortberg. Does he have contact with children? If he goes to another church, have they been notified?

    The church now knows this guy has a serious problem. If (or maybe I should say when) something happens, it will be on them. Dumb decision all around.

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  7. Brian:
    When you call something a disorder, you mainstream it, normalize it, creating sympathy. Some things are just a perversion.

    This is a hard conversation. I agree with your sentiment, completely. But…

    I have a close relative with a mood disorder. In some sense, what they have is not “normal,” which is why they seek and receive treatment to work towards a functional and contented life. I think someone with this type of disorder deserves compassion and assistance.

    In this context, it disturbs me when, after a mass murder or some other human-perpetrated tragedy, some commentators quickly jump on the “scourge of mental illness in this country” bandwagon.

    Some things are not “mental illness.” They are just sin/evil/insert-word-of-choice-here, pure and simple.

    But are there other situations where it’s a “both/and” kind of situation?

    I think alcoholism, for example, is classified as a psychiatric disorder. Untreated alcoholism has wreaked havoc in parts of my extended family. Drunk drivers kill and maim others.

    Are alcoholics responsible for their choices and actions? Yes. Do they need help controlling their alcoholism with the goal to PREVENT HARM TO OTHERS? Absolutely.

    We almost need a spectrum of “disorders” definitions, going from “mostly self-harming” to “could be the next Hitler/Stalin.”

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  8. …”I don’t really think of a toddler in much of a sexual way, but rather, I want to cuddle one and make sure they’re happy.”

    I feel like he must be minimizing his attraction to toddlers here, because this sounds too normal? Except focusing on generic toddlers instead of kids he is related too or friends kids who are there. Or by age group/sex. Hmm.

    Or maybe it’s that he’s thinking actively about toddlers when they are not present that is the problem. I’m really bothered by this description and I dont buy his 1-15 deal.

    Are “MAP” really bothering you on twitter or here, Dee? That’s so disturbing.

    As for the actual situation, anyone who is not actively avoiding kids (and in the case of the volunteer actively seeking them out!) is not trying to control their attraction.

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  9. Liz: Seeking out minors as a way of treating your obsession with them???!! This person clearly needs psychiatric intervention to understand themselves and their condition, and to be kept from being a danger to anyone.

    I am not a psychologist, but was told by a Dr. of Psychology that one way to treat phobias is by gradual exposure to the trigger of the phobia. However, I would be surprised to find this treatment prescribed for pedophilia (being an obsession, not a phobia). Highlighting the need for a professional to be involved in the course of treatment. Highlighting (again) the poor judgement of Mr. Ortberg (and the elders) in dealing with this situation.

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  10. ToddWilhelm: hey had sought out unsupervised volunteer positions with children as a method of treating this obsession, including volunteer work at Menlo Church as well as volunteer work that involves overnight travel with minors.

    I know I read this previously but I literally cannot BELIEVE that Ortberg would accept this without comment, or stopping said volunteer work. He has EXTRAORDINARILY bad judgement and it makes me wonder about him as a person. Does he sympathize, or is this just someone he is connected to and protecting for that reason? Either way it’s just terrible. This is not a person running from their desires.

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  11. Brian: When you call something a disorder, you mainstream it, normalize it, creating sympathy. Some things are just a perversion.

    Calling something a disorder is a step toward diagnosis and treatment. A patient can seek help, and family/friends can inform themselves enough to cope.

    Normalizing and creating sympathy are two different things. I can sympathize with someone who has borderline personality disorder, but not normalize their behavior. And I wouldn’t want them to form a celebratory club.

    Based on Dee’s account (I’m too wary to click links), I agree with your NAMBLA comparison. NAMBLA is a club for predators who have highly abnormal and inherently harmful desires: their victims cannot consent.

    That’s different from an organization like AA, where they certainly don’t glamorize alcoholism, but face the harm and encourage treatment.

    So my hope is that MAP/NOMAP faces the horror of child abuse, and urges people toward treatment.

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  12. elastigirl: creation is beautiful and magnificent, even more so human beings.

    There have always been beautiful things and terrible things. Talk about ‘this generation’ being so much worse always throws me. There were terrible things in the past too.

    I would rather focus on the lovely things most of the time, but it is necessary to try to prevent the terrible as well and knowledge of these things helps.

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  13. Lea,

    “I literally cannot BELIEVE that Ortberg would accept this without comment, or stopping said volunteer work. He has EXTRAORDINARILY bad judgement and it makes me wonder about him as a person. Does he sympathize, or is this just someone he is connected to and protecting for that reason?”
    ++++++++++

    maybe faith is part of it. faith in these kinds of things:

    –“All things work out for good…”

    –“And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
    .
    .
    Faith has a risk component. Seems to me that risk component shouldn’t be taken when human lives (other than oneself) are put at risk.

    and even then, when people are dependent on you (like one’s family), seems unfair to them to put yourself at risk.

    the Great Commission comes to mind… a very noble cause. the thinking is, if anything is worth the risk it would be that.

    my grandparents were missionaries, their kids put in boarding school. they all were mistreated, one was raped by school staff.

    the consequences were devastating. the fallout extending to the next generation, too.

    the agency who sent my grandparents would say it was all worth the risk. they were seen as heroes.

    their kids whose lives were destroyed by degrees because of it? their grandkids who experience and see the fallout?

    no, it wasn’t worth it.

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  14. A few troubling items in this scandal:

    David Lavery’f father, John Ortberg, tried to silence David. Why?

    “That same day, my wife Grace and I confirmed all the above with John Ortberg. We expressed
    the gravest reservations about this scheme, but were told (1) that pedophilia was like
    homosexuality; (2) that the most important thing was maintaining secrecy around this affair;”

    Below is a quote from this link: https://ruthhutchins.com/post/menlo-church-john-ortberg-timeline/
    Feb 6, 2020

    Pastor John Ortberg attempts to silence David by telling him the perp may commit suicide if the story gets out and David would be responsible for the suicide. This is desperate and bizarre behavior by a pastor. The quote follows.

    “Daniel wrote that John pushed strongly for allowing the volunteer to work with children secretly, alternately cajoling and demanding he keep the secret. Daniel said John went to the extent of implying the volunteer’s suicide would be Daniel’s responsibility if he told the church:”
    =================

    The elders of the church slandered Daniel. I, and most likely anyone else who has spoken up for victims have had similar slanderous charges leveled against us. It is an attempt to discredit Daniel and get church members to doubt the truth of what Daniel had revealed. The elders slander of Daniel, IMO, make them complicit in the coverup rather than leaders attempting to find the truth. Additionally, it gives more credibility to Daniel in my eyes.

    Here is a quote from “Thoughts on the Menlo Church Town Hall.” This story can be accessed from the same link above.

    “2. Beth Seabolt, in particular, showed bias. “You know we love you,” she said to John at the Town Hall. Asked about Danny Lavery, she said he was “lashing out” and beginning his adult life angrily, as young people do, while avoiding using Danny’s pronouns. She said she identified with John and Nancy because she herself had had an estranged child. Beth was the lead for this entire affair—the chair of the elder board, part of the ethical misconduct subcommittee that handled this whole process, one of two elders authorized to select legal counsel for this process, and one of two elders authorized to select the investigator.”

    And this from “Two Sides to Every Story” also accessed from the link above:

    “The elder board position of “We are not going to get into a media battle with Daniel Lavery” is not surprising. But I wish I could convey the tone of that “Danny is lashing out” response in particular. It reminds me of the moment when Bill Hybels told the media that the Ortbergs and Mellados were colluding to ruin his ministry. That was a huge red flag. Why throw the messengers under the bus? Something else was going on back then—and I believe it is now.”

    =================

    Finally, I am very concerned that the third party investigator did not interview parents whose children were placed in harms way by John Ortberg’s handling of the pedophile. This is similar to the “independent investigation” done by Covenant Life Church, formerly the flagship church of Sovereign Grace and the church Mahaney was senior pastor at for years.

    The quotes below are from “Two Sides to Every Story.”

    “Parents and volunteers were not interviewed,” the elders responded when I asked, “The email mentions interviews with Menlo supervising staff but not interviews with volunteers or parents. … Were any parents interviewed by the investigator?” (correspondence)

    Parents were not asked for feedback during the investigative period. “Were all parents whose children were in the affected age groups informed of the potential risk (without naming names)?” I asked. The elders responded, “All parents who have children registered in our programs (I believe that is a requirement before parents can leave them during any service) were notified by the previous email you received. This was sent on the day following the email to the broader congregation.” (correspondence)

    The elders won’t answer whether or not the investigator looked into the volunteer’s non-church work with minors. When I asked, “What is the investigator’s experience with cases of pedophilia/CSA? Did the investigator interview the third party who reported to you? Did the investigator interview supervisors/peers of this person at other organizations where this person has worked with children?” the elders responded, “I cannot answer any more of your questions on this topic and would like you to direct them to [the Senior Director of Marketing & Communications].” (correspondence)

    If they didn’t interview Grace Lavery, they can’t have tried very hard to fact-find between John and Danny’s versions of events. What good is it to say there were no allegations of misconduct if parents and volunteers weren’t asked? The elders may believe they commissioned a thorough investigation, but they must see that isn’t what happened.”

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  15. dee,

    OT: COVID-19 has reached our community. Suddenly I feel like staying home more is a productive, compassionate way to safeguard others. We’re not panicking, and we’re not feeling cowardly or guilty about what we do or don’t do.

    Fortunately we chose a church that doesn’t insist on regular attendance. Said church has clearly stated how worship practices have been changed for the time being.

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  16. Todd: “Daniel said John went to the extent of implying the volunteer’s suicide would be Daniel’s responsibility if he told the church”

    A suicidal person needs help from immediate family, intimate friends, and maybe even competent and supportive pastors. A person in crisis needs a medical evaluation to determine whether antidepressants and/or psychotherapy are needed.

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has 24-hour service for people who are thinking about taking their own lives, and for those who want to help someone who has expressed suicidal thoughts or behavior. The phone system is overdue for upgrade, but the counselors have skill and compassion, as well as practical advice.

    The URL shows a toll-free number and a button for an online chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

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  17. I’m going to be blunt. The reason John Ortberg, Beth Seabolt and the rest of official Menlo Church are able to blow off Daniel and Grace Lavery is because they see the Laverys as sinful perverts since the Laverys are transgender. In other words, Ortberg, Seabolt and the rest diminish what the Laverys are saying because they see being transgender as a most heinous sin that completely warps a person’s ability to correctly judge other sins.

    This, to me, is bizarre thinking. Nobody is sinless. And, frankly, if “the world” thinks there’s a problem with Minor Attracted People, then maybe the church should rent a clue.

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  18. MuslinHolmes: I’m going to be blunt. The reason John Ortberg, Beth Seabolt and the rest of official Menlo Church are able to blow off Daniel and Grace Lavery is because they see the Laverys as sinful perverts

    I’m sure that true but like…they shouldn’t have NEEDED Daniel to tell them that what they were doing was reckless and dangerous and incredibly stupid.

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  19. elastigirl:
    Lea,

    “I literally cannot BELIEVE that Ortberg would accept this without comment, or stopping said volunteer work. He has EXTRAORDINARILY bad judgement and it makes me wonder about him as a person. Does he sympathize, or is this just someone he is connected to and protecting for that reason?”
    ++++++++++

    maybe faith is part of it.faith in these kinds of things:

    –“All things work out for good…”

    –“And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
    .
    .
    Faith has a risk component.Seems to me that risk component shouldn’t be taken when human lives (other than oneself) are put at risk.

    and even then, when people are dependent on you (like one’s family), seems unfair to them to put yourself at risk.

    the Great Commission comes to mind…a very noble cause.the thinking is, if anything is worth the risk it would be that.

    my grandparents were missionaries, their kids put in boarding school.they all were mistreated, one was raped by school staff.

    the consequences were devastating.the fallout extending to the next generation, too.

    the agency who sent my grandparents would say it was all worth the risk.they were seen as heroes.

    their kids whose lives were destroyed by degrees because of it?their grandkids who experience and see the fallout?

    no, it wasn’t worth it.

    This type of response from the sending organization makes God a monster who does not care about his children. Sickening!

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  20. This is ridiculous reading, this situation is so unbelievably unsafe, & it is LUDICROUS that he has retained his position as Pastor. How can he possibly be of sufficient character & wisdom to pastor a church when he has mishandled this so profoundly? This is a totally insufficient response to the seriousness of the risks. No child should be willingly put at risk like this, & psychiatric support could be put in place for the staff member.

    Holy cow I am outraged by this.

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  21. This is incredibly reckless and unconscionable behavior for any church. One thing I don’t get is why their legal counsel isn’t forcing real change simply to reduce risk and liability. Menlo is a pretty wealthy area with people who have the means to bring and sustain legal actions that could seriously hurt the church. So even setting all the horrid moral aspects of it aside (and they are truly horrific), this doesn’t make sense at all from a risk and liability standpoint.

    All of which makes me believe there is a whole lot more to this story, and likely none of it very pretty.

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  22. Beakerj: This is ridiculous reading, this situation is so unbelievably unsafe, & it is LUDICROUS that he has retained his position as Pastor.

    Only explanation I can figure is “TOUCH NOT GAWD’S ANOINTED!”

    With a possibility I’ve suspected in a lot of Superapostolic tolerance for MAPs/Pedos in his heirarchy:
    Superapostle Pastor is MAP but too Respectable (or chicken) to Do The Deed himself; instead (like that therapist in South Park‘s “Children of the Corn” parody) he does it vicariously through tolerating and “counseling” his court/pet Pedo.

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  23. SBC organ Baptist Press touts shift to nouthetic ‘counseling’ at MBTS:

    http://www.bpnews.net/54436/from-the-seminaries-mbts-center-for-biblical-counseling-sbts-conference-on-engaging-muslims-mandrell-at-swbts

    “KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — The Center for Biblical Counseling at Midwestern Seminary was announced on March 3…Dale Johnson, who will serve as the Center’s director…has been at the school since 2019. He also serves as executive director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC)”

    “Midwestern Seminary…transitioned from an integrated counseling model to the biblical counseling model in May 2019…Classes are available on campus in Kansas City, Mo., or via Midwestern’s Online Studies Department.”

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  24. Jerome: Classes are available on campus in Kansas City, Mo., or via Midwestern’s Online Studies Department.

    So you can learn destructive counseling techniques online now, instead of showing up in a classroom.

    This could be good, if the counselors don’t actually learn the method and end up relying on their own social skills and compassion.

    Somehow, though, these efforts always grow more harmful.

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  25. The Church as The Big Tent vs. The Case for Excluding Some from the Gatherings:

    from 1 Corinthians 5:

    “I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” NASB

    What exactly is meant by these 6 categories:
    an immoral person
    a covetous person
    an idolater
    a reviler
    a drunkard – (maybe more serious substance abuse than drinking?)
    a swindler?

    IDK.

    However, the case is made that some should be excluded from the fellowship by their behavior, mainly due to how they treat other people. They are a danger to others by overt actions that can be harmful to others in a social setting.

    Fellowship that overreaches God’s reach is human hubris.

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  26. Ava Aaronson: a danger to others

    A thoughtful comment, thanks. And 1 Cor 5 has to be examined in light of Jesus’ own mercy toward people who did scandalous and criminal things. Maybe a key distinction is that a church is an established community.

    The example in 1 Cor 5 is of a man who was living with his own mother-in-law, behavior offensive even to the local pagans. Verse 2 says, “And you are arrogant! Should you not rather have mourned…?”

    Paul is not criticizing the congregation for having mercy on a sinner, but perhaps for the kind of back-slapping and embrace of harmful people that we read about too often on TWW. Although we don’t know anything more about the man and his mother-in-law, Paul must have believed that the congregation was hurting its members and reputation through arrogance.

    One form of arrogance embraces predators. Another form shuns members for having the wrong hairstyle. Congregations need to avoid both temptations, and focus on mercy and protection.

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  27. Ava Aaronson: 1 Corinthians 5 … the case is made that some should be excluded from the fellowship by their behavior …

    1 Corinthians 6:11 goes on to say: “And such were some of you [before you believed]. But you were washed [by the atoning sacrifice of Christ], you were sanctified [set apart for God, and made holy], you were justified [declared free of guilt] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God [the source of the believer’s new life and changed behavior].”

    “Were” being the key word here. Those who are truly believers have a “new life and changed behavior.” If a church member is still dragging the old nature around with him, he most likely is not “in Christ” … he may be a member of a church but not a member of the Body of Christ. Judge those within the church? Certainly, it is a Biblical mandate to protect the flock.

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  28. Max: Those who are truly believers have a “new life and changed behavior.”

    Agreed, but change is not always instant. A lot of folks stumble and fall, including the “winebibbers” my grandmother used to talk about. Arrogantly expelling them would not automatically help anyone. It’s easy to point to a verse and say it’s a rule. (That’s not what you are recommending, I know…)

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  29. Friend,

    My church has a few homeless people who come to our services. They are always welcome; they are also supposed to behave themselves and not be in areas (like the children’s ministry area) where only certain folks with ID badges are allowed. Occasionally, they are asked to leave for a period of time if they really can’t keep it together (showing up “high”, for example).

    We want them to feel loved, and we want to be responsible. Over the years, a few of these people have gone into rehab and gotten jobs. Caring well can do great things for people.

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  30. Todd,

    I must say that there are aspects of this particular situation that are making my sicker in some ways then any of the other posts I have read on here.

    I keep saying that we will accomplish little good if all we do is point fingers at others without dealing with what is actually in the mirror. There is a lot wrong here and some of it actually has to do with us. What is coming as discipline from God, I am seeing more and more that we actually need it, or else we are not God’s children at all. In our day and age the fear and respect for Father God has reached its lowest in centuries I believe. The reason why things have gotten as far as they have in what calls itself a church is because we have lost that which we gravely need. We are not just people that are calling out a problem outside of us, but also participants as well on the inside. We have helped to make things what they are and as long as those of us with some conscience left do not repent then little change will happen that needs to. We simply do not believe that Ananias and Sapphira ever really happened or that it will again. Our own compromise with the evil world system must end. It is that compromise that has created the kind of situation where the Ortbergs both became victims of Hybels and willing and active promoters of that white-washed septic tank in the first place. In promoting him, they also promoted themselves which is the very root of our worst problems. We are not to promote ourselves nor are we to just go along with any worldly system, rather that is outside of what calls itself a church or it has been adapted for the inside.

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  31. Ava Aaronson: https://www.wrcbtv.com/story/41622063/proposed-bill-would-allow-sex-offenders-attend-church?fbclid=IwAR3K45WdksjwtBqvtyqDXSqgtu3J79Er8PZT_kRhzQ7DJUXPpptn37j-LaI

    What does this proposed law mean for churches?

    “they must provide written notice of their offender status to the leader of the church and receive written permission from that leader to attend”

    But it doesn’t indicate that the “leader” must notify church members of a sex offender in their midst by name!

    I guess it would work something like this:

    Offender: “Hey, Pastor Ortberg, I am a sex offender – is it OK if I attend your church?”

    Ortberg: “Yes, I’ll send you written permission – try to be good.”

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  32. “I believe that pedophiles, as well as those who have similar paraphilias, can learn to control their impulses with intensive help from psychiatrists, psychologists, trained counselors and the support of family, friends, and, for those who are believers, the church. I do not believe that it is curable at this time.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    so, how does this happen without the person being professionally and personally ruined?

    i have compassion for such a person. they have this predisposition through no fault of their own.

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  33. Beakerj: I agree, it must be utterly loathsome to find yourself in this position.

    One of the interesting things, if you read articles about this, is the variance in feelings. Some do feel absolutely awful about it. Others… don’t. They don’t see it as a bad thing – some even see it as a good thing (“I get along well with children”). The article about “Adam” linked in this post had a few different responses.

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  34. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Just as much difference as there is between rapist straight people and non-rapist straight people – the neurological differences (specifically inhibition response) between “MAPs” who offend and those who don’t has been well documented: https://www.jsm.jsexmed.org/article/S1743-6095(15)30969-3/fulltext

    Additionally, those that offend virtually never disclose their attractions. So targeting “MAPs” who do disclose their attractions actually offers a distraction for the real predators. I actually don’t know of a single case where someone disclosed their attractions first, then went on to commit sex abuse.

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  35. Richard: Additionally, those that offend virtually never disclose their attractions. So targeting “MAPs” who do disclose their attractions actually offers a distraction for the real predators.

    Three years ago I was sitting in a hotel lobby hearing how the same dynamic applied to “school shooters” instead of “MAP”s. The young guy telling me this got caught up in the panic after Columbine (school essays assigned for target identification) and had his life thoroughly trashed for years.

    The ones most likely to be the REAL predators probably answered all the questions and wrote their essays correctly. Because the REAL predators are masters of camouflage — what that Rabbi from Tarsus called “transforming themselves to appear as Angels of Light”.

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  36. The Designer Outlet churches, not only going about polishing their own image wrongly but in not nurturing and mentoring. Hasn’t Ortberg got discernment and hasn’t Ortberg got assistants? I’ve known churches in the UK with a secretive elite eldership model.

    Those churches don’t have enough grip on any gospel to develop the belief and maturity of the congregation nor to not only steer a potential volunteer into appropriate service – or away from service – but to help him develop as a whole person. One needs a broad spread of hobbies and to deepen one’s learning on non-church related activities. We serve God by serving ourselves well and wholesomely so that we can serve our neighbour.

    Then by a fashionable kind of defensiveness about crushes the young man has painted himself into a corner. At least, he should have insisted to this gormless pastor or subordinates that he was going to do something else instead. “Serving the church” is so often done fleshly and called for fleshly. Life is a steep learning curve and around the young we have got to give strong signs like steering ourselves elsewhere if we’re not suited. A big problem occurs when people say they are going to “sublimate” a crush by feeding it in the name of serving the Lord.

    There is legalism “I must (so called) serve the church” and there is legalism projected on another by proxy. The pastor has got hangups about “running” a church and his attachment to individuals and the majority of the congregation are to be condemned for not ensuring competent elders altogether. I’ve seen this (with numerous alarming variations).

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  37. I knew a man who learned to fall about laughing at himself (perhaps discreetly) whenever he got “a case of the DDGs” – (drop dead gorgeous – over 18 in his case) (and he went to a group founded under reliable guidelines and didn’t volunteer for the young or single).

    Now about this young man at Ortberg’s, say when he was only 13 himself I bet there was someone that was shaming him. Huge mixed messages come from the world and can be carelessly adopted by those around a growing young person. Congregations don’t model maturity and generosity but mind-numbing rock concerts.

    There is an egregiousness continuum. Youth minister is an authority position. If churches “promote” him, he will be in authority over 18+ as well, who can be “leant on” to attend training college, “oblige” advances, etc.

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