Another Sovereign Grace Survivor Tells Her Shocking Story of Sexual Abuse!


Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions of sexual activities.

Shannon Clark is 36 years old. She is a survivor of sexual abuse. What follows is her story.

Below is a photo of Shannon and her siblings.  Left to right are Shannon, Shari, Suzanne, Justin, and their grandma.

In 1989, when Shannon was 5 years old, her older sister, Suzanne, began sexually abusing her, Suzanne was 11. The sexual abuse continued for 6 years; Shannon stated the abuse was “constant and progressive.” The abuse ended for a time in the Spring of 1995. Shannon’s mother, Siri, had found out about the sexual abuse when Suzanne confessed to her that she was pretending to “lay like we were married.” Shannon said “I was called into my mom’s room where Suzanne was also. I was basically told that my mom knew what was going on between Suzanne and I. She was very stern and stated this was to stop immediately and that we were never to speak of it again. After my mom dismissed Suzanne she told me I was to tell her if anything ever continued. Then we did not speak of it again until I was 21. I was forced into silence to deal with my trauma on my own. She never asked me questions or checked to see that I was OK. I was yelled at, chastised, and then silenced.”

Siri and Jeff Truesdale with extended family minus Shannon.

The Truesdale family was involved with Sovereign Grace Ministries from its earliest days. They were founding members of Covenant Life Church. Jeff Truesdale was, according to my sources, perhaps the best-known individual from Covenant Life Church (CLC) outside of the pastors. Jeff was known as the unofficial historian of CLC. He was a prolific photographer and his photos documented the history of Sovereign Grace Ministries/CLC. If you have seen any photos of the early days of SGM, chances are that Jeff Truesdale was the photographer. Below are a few of his shots.

Shannon told me that Suzanne moved out of the family home in 1996 and then at some point after 1997 she moved back home with her newborn son. Suzanne again molested Shannon!

Some of you are undoubtedly wondering what would cause Suzanne to start sexually abusing her 5-year-old sister, Shannon, in 1989 when Suzanne was only 11-years-old. The answer to that question is Suzanne herself was being sexually abused by both her father and some Covenant Life Church leaders. More on the CLC abuse later.  First I will lay out the evidence of the sexual abuse of Suzanne by her father, Jeff Truesdale.

Shannon advised me that “my mother was told of Suzanne’s molestation at the hands of Jeff sometime in 1996 when Suzanne moved back home for a week.” Shannon further stated that “Suzanne told me about Jeff molesting her sometime in 2005 when she was in CLC  pastoral counseling.”

Shari found out about her father’s (Jeff) sexual abuse of Suzanne when she was 15-years-old. Shannon said this would have been in 2004 or 2005. Shannon let it slip during a conversation with Shari in which their mother was also present in the room. Shari demanded answers from her mother, but Siri (their mom) would “only abdicate to my father.”

I asked Shannon if Jeff ever sexually abused her or her sister, Shari. She said she has no memory of Jeff sexually abusing her and Jeff has denied ever abusing her. Shannon similarly stated that Shari is not aware of being sexually abused by her father and Jeff has also denied abusing her.

I asked Shannon if she was aware of any other children Jeff had sexually abused. She responded, “I have reason to believe my older, mentally handicapped cousin was also abused but she won’t talk to me, and Law Enforcement won’t pursue unless the victim comes forward.”

Letter from Jeff Truesdale to daughters Shannon and Shari.

I had seen a comment on social media about Jeff Truesdale being an alcoholic up until a few years ago. Since one never ceases being an alcoholic I queried Shannon about this. Here was her reply: “My dad has always drank up until December of 2017. He had binges and struggled with addiction for my whole childhood. He has continued to smoke marijuana and denies it, though I’ve smoked with him more than once. He used alcohol as a huge catalyst for his molesting Suzanne. So why did it take him until 2017 to quit? He also has and had access to children he was related to living in his home, and Suzanne let him babysit her children, one of whom is a girl. All during this time my dad was still consuming alcohol.”

Shari raises a valid point. A man who is a drunk, pot-smoking pedophile is one of the best-known and respected members of Covenant Life Church! I understand Shannon classifying it as a cult! What a dumpster fire! Siri Truesdale’s comment concerning her husband being a pedophile is incredibly sad.

I asked Shannon about Jeff Truesdale’s seemingly close relationship with many of the leaders of CLC. She said that John Loftness “was our family pastor for many, many years, as was Chris Silard and Adam Malcolm. My father still corresponds with Larry Tomczak, went on weekly bike rides with Dave Adams a few years ago, and sympathizes with Steve Griney. My parents can see the Hoffman’s home from theirs.”

I asked Shannon specifically about Jeff Truesdale’s relationship with Gary Ricucci. (Ricucci is the brother-in-law of C.J. Mahaney and on the staff of Sovereign Grace Church Louisville.) Shannon replied, “My dad told me the story of demanding Gary to meet with him, that they had been best friends for more than 20 years and he needed answers. Gary was hesitant and fearful of retaliation. My dad supported Brent Detwiler and also was emailing C.J. Mahaney when they turned hidecoat and ran tail tucked to Louisville.”

Breakfast with a champion?  That’s a highly questionable description of Ricucci based on what you will read below.

Below are some key paragraphs from the SGM Second Amended Lawsuit. Keep in mind what Shannon has told us about some of her dad’s friends when you read this.


61. Griney and Hoffman began to lick Plaintiff Thompson all over her body. Plaintiff Thompson urinated on herself from fear. Griney and Hoffman then took off Plaintiff Thompson’s underwear, and performed oral sex on her. Defendants would alternate between screaming at Plaintiff Thompson and patting her on the head, saying she was a good girl.

62. Griney then untied Plaintiff Thompson, and placed her naked body on a short platform. He placed a strand of pearls and a pink feather boa around her neck. He directed her to pose. When Plaintiff Thompson failed to move, Griney climbed up on the platform, and began to poke and tickle Plaintiff Thompson to elicit movement from her.

63. As Plaintiff Thompson moved about on the platform, light flashes repeatedly went off, likely as a result of Plaintiff Thompson being photographed. Plaintiff Thompson perceived a third participant in addition to Hoffman.

90. During the 1985/1986 school year, Defendant Loftness, Griney and Defendant Riccuci brought Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas into an empty room with two other girls. Plaintif Roberts-Thomas recognized the girls, one of whom was Plaintiff Thompson. (The other is not being named here to protect her privacy.) Defendants directed the girls to strip off their underwear, and lay across desks. Defendant Loftness beat Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas on her bare buttocks. Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas heard the unnamed girl crying, and saw Griney hitting her on her bare buttocks. Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas turned over her shoulder to look for Plaintiff Thompson, and realized Defendant Riccuci had taken her out of the room. Defendant Loftness continued to beat Plaintiff Thomas -Roberts’ bare buttocks, and then he inserted his fingers into her vagina.


Based on Jeff Truesdale’s reputation of documenting everything with his camera coupled with his attraction to young girls, I thought it fair to ask Shannon if she had any inklings that her dad might have been the photographer mentioned in paragraph 63 above. Shannon responded, “I have no idea about my dad’s photo stuff.”

But in reference to paragraph 90, Shannon said she was told by Heather Thompson, one of the three girls being sexually abused in the room, that the unnamed girl was Suzanne Truesdale! Shannon “spoke to Suzanne about it at the time. She denied it and said she had no memory of anything ever happening at school.”

Shannon told me that one of the pastors her sister Suzanne received counseling from in 2005 was John Loftness! Of course, Loftness is mentioned in paragraph 90 above as one of the sexual abusers. He is also mentioned in numerous other paragraphs of the lawsuit.  This has not hampered the Sovereign Grace career of Loftness in the least. He is a senior pastor, a member of the SGC National Leadership Team, and according to Jon Payne, another leader in the SGC, one of the great benefits of “partnership with Sovereign Grace Ministries” is being able to have the pedophile-preacher come and speak to your church!

Back to Shannon for a minute – I wanted to relay a story involving her and Joshua Harris. (I have emailed Harris for a comment on this story, but as of the time I published this I have not heard back from him.)

I BEGAN THERAPY AT 21. I WENT TO FORCED PASTORAL COUNSELING FROM 21 TIL I WAS PUT UNDER CHURCH DISCIPLINE AND BLACKLISTED BY JOSHUA EUGENE HARRIS.
 I asked Shannon if she could relay the story about Joshua Harris talking to her at Starbucks?
Shannon said:
I was put under church discipline and blacklisted by Joshua Eugene Harris –I was put under church discipline in November of 2007 after 2 years of counseling where I basically refused to do anything the pastors said. John Smith informed me that due to me admitting to having sex outside of marriage and not going to church on Sunday or care group and participating that they were forced to act out Matthew 18. I was not permitted to attend the family meeting where my name was announced as being put under church discipline nor was I permitted to attend a private gathering of those in the church whom I was closest to where they informed them I was going to be put under church discipline. Joshua Harris had my parents stand at that family meeting and had other members lay their hands on them while they prayed for their wayward daughter. I could not go anywhere in Montgomery county without running into a concerned CLC member asking about how my soul was or trying to evangelize to me or running away in fear of being tainted by my presence. In the summer of 2010 I started working at the flower Hill Starbucks which was a major watering hole for CLC members to get coffee. Joshua Harris came into Starbucks one afternoon only to speak with me. He did not order coffee nor did he meet with anyone else who was there. he asked if I would be willing to meet with him at his office to discuss what had happened in my church discipline and for him to apologize. When I met with Josh he said that he was sorry for how he had handled my situation and he was wanting to make restitution. His half-hearted attempt at a suggestion was that he could write a letter to anyone who had attended that meeting that I could list that I may have remembered even though I wasn’t there and he would basically say that he was sorry for what he did. I didn’t see the point in him doing this because it had been 5 years approximately and I didn’t need him to reopen that wound and remind people of what he did. Josh asked me to then come up with a more appropriate apology and sent me on my way. I sought counsel from other members of CLC who I saw as mentors my father was one of them as well as Rick Malament who was a former Care group leader and brother to Larry Malament, former sovereign Grace pastor. I felt that due to the defamation of character and the fact that I had lost 90% of the community I held dear due to Josh Harris’s words and actions smearing my name and reputation that the only restitution I could find feasible was monetary.  My family has been a part of Covenant Life since the very first TAG meeting my dad took the picture of that TAG meeting. We were in a care group with Lori and Peter Russell whose son Keirin had had his story written in Josh Harris’s book boy meets girl. When Joshua republished boy meets girl he did not get permission from Kieran to republish his story and Kieran ended up settling for damages and I believe he got partial royalties or a lump sum to take place of royalties. by 2007 I had already been in therapy for approximately 2 years and I felt that I had spent enough money in therapy and would continue to try and process my trauma that money was also inappropriate request so that I could pay for my mental health. I emailed Joshua Harris informing him of this on December 4th of 2012. December 19th I followed up as I had heard nothing from them. I received an email from his secretary at the time Catherine on December 21st saying that he had not read my email and he was behind and that he was sorry for the delay. On Jan 7th she emailed me letting me know that Josh had not made really any more progress and that he needed to share the letter with other pastors to get advice as there was no precedent for what I was asking. 6 months later on June 8th I emailed back as I had heard nothing and requested resolution. I followed up on July 8th with another email requesting resolution and finally received an email back from Joshua on July 14th stating that he was sending another pastor to meet with me. this was the brush off I had been expecting since I hadn’t heard anything from them for 6 months. I was told in this meeting pretty bluntly that if they paid me it would set the precedent and they couldn’t really afford to do that and didn’t want to start that ball rolling.

Sovereign Grace Churches C.J. Mahaney hid behind the pending lawsuit when he made his statement of innocence in 2014. He claimed he couldn’t wait until the lawsuit was settled and he could speak freely. That lawsuit was dismissed years ago on SOL restrictions. We are still waiting for the Humble one to speak. As you will see below, Mark Prater, the guy who in title only is the head of the Sovereign Grace Churches denomination, has stated he believes their crisis days are behind them and they will now be able to move forward.

Personally, I believe until such time as they admit all their crimes, humbly repent, and pay restitution to the many victims such as Shannon, they will never be able to move forward. And I seriously doubt the prideful group of leaders will ever change their ways.

“During a time when CJ Mahaney was senior pastor of Covenant Life Church and in leadership in the parent organization he founded (SGM),

1. SGM had an internal policy of not reporting sexual assault allegations to law enforcement, and instead handling them internally. This is evidenced by statements made by multiple SGM pastors, including in official police reports, and in internal SGM documents.

6. Additionally, three of the elders directly involved in known instances of failure to report were close relatives of CJ Mahaney, two brothers-in-law and a son-in-law. Internal church documents also state that every elder is to be notified of any claims of sexual assault. During many of the known and alleged failures, CJ was an elder in the church in question. Specifically, he was the head elder.

  • Mr. Liebeler failed to disclose that other children, who the alleged victims from the civil suit reported had also been victims of this abuse, had themselves become sexual abusers at a young age. Some of this abuse is documented in emails to pastors, others were convicted. While this is certainly not conclusive evidence that these additional victims-turned-perpetrators were, in fact, abused as alleged, there is a well-known correlation between sexual assault victims becoming perpetrators themselves. This correlation is particularly indicative of previous abuse if the abuser begins acting out graphic sexual acts at a young age, which these alleged victims-turned perpetrators, did in fact do. It is evidence a prosecutor would examine and consider probative given the correlation between being victimized and becoming an abuser, especially at a young age. Mr. Liebeler did not disclose, nor according to his own oral report, even consider this information.”
    Rachael Denhollander, “Public Response To Sovereign Grace Churches”

 

 

“The Regional Leaders I do thank God for. They are a very important part of leading in our family of churches. As you mentioned, I presented a 5-10-year strategic plan to the Executive Committee back over the summer. And the very first component of that strategic plan is for the Leadership Team to change its voice from, you know, being more, more policy driven, and crisis management driven to one that is inspirational, vision casting and theologically equipping.

There are so many expressions of that leadership that we’ve begun to implement or are implementing, but a very important part of that is our Regional Leaders. And I just want to take a moment to thank God for them and mention them by name. Jared Mellinger leads the Northeast region, John Loftness leads the Mid-Atlantic region, Mickey Connolly, the Mid-South region, Keith Collins the Southeast region, 98 the Great Lakes region, Greg Dirnberger leads the Midwest-Northwest region, Eric Turbedsky leads the West region, C.J. Mahaney leads the East Central region, and then the South Central region is led by Darrel Schiel. Now guys may not know that Jon Payne led that region for a number of years, but when transitioning onto the Leadership Team, he resigned, and that region chose and voted to affirm Darrel Schiel. For you guys who don’t know Darrel, he’s the Senior Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Pearland, Texas, which is a southern suburb of Houston. He has done a great job of leading that church. And I believe he’ll do a great job of leading that region. So, I thank God for those nine men here in the States who lead their regions so well. And they’re just so important part of what we do as a Leadership Team in strategically leading our family of churches.”
-Mark Prater, Executive Director-Sovereign Grace Churches
December 28, 2020


Comments

Another Sovereign Grace Survivor Tells Her Shocking Story of Sexual Abuse! — 93 Comments

  1. Unbelievably sad.

    Shannon and Shari, I wish I had words to communicate the respect I have for the two of you. Calling you ROCKSTARS feels trite, but that’s the word that keeps coming to mind.

    Thank you for your courage and care for others. I can only hope that the many brave people who endured the abuse of these cowards can one day get support and care as you all are so deserving of it.

    And I hope the perpetrators and their minions are stopped for good.

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  2. From Shari Jean’s account of happenings up top:
    “The fact that most of my dads friends have now been informed and literally give O fucks…”

    What is an O fuck? Is it a regional dialect euphemism? Something with common usage below the Mason Dixon line?
    Curious minds want to know.

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  3. “I wanted to relay a story involving her and Joshua Harris. (I have emailed Harris for a comment on this story, but as of the time I published this I have not heard back from him.)”

    I followed up on July 8th with another email requesting resolution and finally received an email back from Joshua on July 14th stating that he was sending another pastor to meet with me. this was the brush off I had been expecting since I hadn’t heard anything from them for 6 months. I was told in this meeting pretty bluntly that if they paid me it would set the precedent and they couldn’t really afford to do that and didn’t want to start that ball rolling.“

    Lots of “Oops, mistakes were made, we good?” priorities seem to mark such occasions. People have no problem distancing themselves from their Oopsies, as long as they can dodge consequences, including financial. The ones who strolled away yet still kept the money they received as well as ongoing book deals speaks volumes.

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  4. Wow, what a story. I remember that family meeting when Joshua announced that Jeff’s daughter was under church discipline. I had no idea who she was at the time. Joshua was crying and so contrite. I also remember Suzanne because her son was the same age as my daughter.
    What a bunch of fakers those leaders were. I always knew something wasn’t right and there was something sinister going on behind the scenes. Its only a matter of time before it all comes out. God bless you, Shannon. Please don’t think that Christ approves of any of their behavior.

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  5. Muff Potter:
    From Shari Jean’s account of happenings up top:
    “The fact that most of my dads friends have now been informed and literally give O fucks…”

    What is an O fuck?Is it a regional dialect euphemism?Something with common usage below the Mason Dixon line?
    Curious minds want to know.

    LOL Muff. That’s a “0” as in the number zero. Shari is saying they give zero fucks about the situation.

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  6. 1. Is forgiveness letting myself off what I’ve been “impaled” on

    2. Do some individuals (including ladies) seek a Josephite marriage but don’t have the courage to circumvent the illegitimate “authority” of their pastors. Is indelible “christian doctrine” sex-obsessed per se instead of oriented to degrees and kinds of chastity in accordance with one’s estate, closely allied to purity and continence, and in balance with all the many other unfashionable virtues especially discretion and individuality

    3. Were the groups engineered by the big shouts too steered away from discussing realities and only onto the official agenda for the week and of course not June to October nor 6 weeks around Christmas

    4. Was the bad amplifying to destroy our brain functioning

    GLORY BE TO THE FATHER AND TO THE SON AND TO THE HOLY GHOST AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING IS NOW AND EVER SHALL BE WORLD WITHOUT END AMEN

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  7. John: This is too complicated to follow. I recommend breaking it up into a series and connecting the dots with context.

    I respect the effort and the courage to describe these horrific things – what I read I take very seriously and not lightly. But I also found it hard to follow. A simplified version that more clearly defines the people and relationships would help.

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  8. Todd

    Incredible post. The videos are stunning and heartrending. I’m sitting here wondering how Mahaney and BFFs could continue, knowing that these things happened. The SBC Executive Committee continues to allow Mahaney’s church in Louisville to be a member of the SBC, in spite of story after story. I have to wonder if the SBC Executive Committee has things to hide.Is it possible that they don’t go after churches because they are afraid that more secrets will be revealed.

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  9. Todd does do good research but I agree with others here that the presentation is confusing. If you want people to understand your posts you will have to organize them in a fashion that people who have not done all the research into all the names can follow.

    The principles involved and the coverups are certainly a brood of vipers. The fact that such a sick thing can happen and so many pretend that nothing wrong at all happened is just the purest form of evil you can find anywhere.

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  10. JDV: Lots of “Oops, mistakes were made, we good?” priorities seem to mark such occasions. People have no problem distancing themselves from their Oopsies, as long as they can dodge consequences, including financial.

    That stuck out to me as well. Good ol’ Josh Harris was oh-so eager to make amends to Shannon. Right up until the point when making amends might cost his precious church something — or at least, something that actually mattered to the leadership.

    I wonder if Harris even remembers the part he played in Shannon’s anguish. As you reminded us, he has a lot to answer for.

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  11. Shannon: “I felt that I had spent enough money in therapy and would continue to try and process my trauma that money was also inappropriate request so that I could pay for my mental health….
    .
    .
    …I followed up on July 8th with another email requesting resolution and finally received an email back from Joshua on July 14th stating that he was sending another pastor to meet with me.

    this was the brush off I had been expecting since I hadn’t heard anything from them for 6 months.

    I was told in this meeting pretty bluntly that if they paid me it would set the precedent and they couldn’t really afford to do that and didn’t want to start that ball rolling.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    agreed — it was a very appropriate request, Shannon. Especially since Josh Harris explicitly asked you to come up with ‘a more appropriate apology’.

    i expect that legal action is the only thing that will motivate churches to do the reasonable & right thing.

    but, of course, it’s so convenient that legal remedies are ‘unbiblical’.

    yet considering evangelical culture does not hold its leaders accountable, tolerates and doesn’t seem all that bothered by the leaders’ lowest integrity standards in society, lets leaders circle the wagons to shield each other from consequences,….

    i trust ‘the saints’ to not do the right thing, simply because it costs too much.

    legal recourse is the only option left.
    .
    .
    how feasible would it be to set up discounted legal services for underdog parishioners? it’s an emerging market, after all. lots of business to be had.

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  12. dee,

    Dee and Todd,

    Thanks again for allowing Shannon to tell her story, and for your research presenting an even bigger picture of toxic organizations, evil leaders, & wayward sometimes also evil followers, with innocent children being assaulted at every turn.

    Shannon’s videos of sharing are amazing, as well as the photos and other documents included in this very complex story.

    IMHO, this is an excellent post, well presented.

    Personally, I write novels about abuse in the church and God’s deliverance of victims. One of my professional editors told me that abuse in the name of God is so complicated that it feels like a rubik’s cube, where each reader picks it up and manipulates it differently – same material, but observed & arranged differently. Many facets. All true.

    In your post there is a lot going on. You’ve provided much material that we can return to for insight here online. One of your commenters even provided a link for us about the gentleman named Harris – more background, more context.

    Perhaps a note in the beginning of a post would help: that there will be a lot of documentation, in various forms, going different directions, involving different people at different times, all true to the thread of a toxic network that has depth of evil and expansive reach to many people.

    Icing on the cake here at TWW, of course, is when readers comment with more corroboration. You have an astute audience.

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  13. I also had trouble following this :(. Specifically, keeping track of all the different people involved. After back and re-reading a couple of times I finally did get the sisters straight, but then gave up trying to figure out all the different men and what all the pictures were about. Since these guys are part of a known scandal that has been written about many times before, maybe that part wasn’t as challenging for others.

    That said, I did get the general picture. What Shannon said about having a happy childhood in general, having many happy times, that though she was being abused and traumatized at the same time, that didn’t register as such with her at the time because she didn’t know any better- wow, I can so relate. I’ve been thinking about just that for awhile now and have never heard anyone else say it.

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  14. Succy,

    “having a happy childhood in general, having many happy times, that though she was being abused and traumatized at the same time, that didn’t register as such with her at the time because she didn’t know any better”
    ++++++++++++

    i think we associate abuse and assault with what we see in movies and on tv. the mood, music & other sounds, tone, etc. are all crafted to convey something dripping with sinister evil and terror.

    in real life, it’s often not like that at all.

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  15. Succy: I can so relate. I’ve been thinking about just that for awhile now and have never heard anyone else say it.

    YES! So many posts and comments here at TWW are exactly like this! I know the feeling.

    TWW covers a wide range of experiences with one common thread, it seems: what the institutional?/local?/pastored? (whatever) church often REFUSES to discuss and address. Thank God for TWW.

    I do believe Jesus cares about every post & each comment here, and finally here is a place, albeit online, where we can acknowledge what is close to the heart of our Lord and within the realm of human experience (a variety of unacknowledged experiences).

    Blessings to Dee & Todd & every testimony-sharer & each commenter. God love you all.

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  16. Mr. Jesperson,

    I think it is good as one post to show the extensive relationships at once. We could do with a few extra words of re-explanation every time a previously described individual other than the two sisters with whom it starts, recurs.

    There was probably something (for me) about the big squarey inserts to make continuity less obvious. There fore subheadings A La Dee?

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  17. This is what I have been able to put together both reading this blog post and some other posts by Shannon on Facebook etc. Both Todd and Shannon have reviewed this for accuracy.

    SUMMARY OF EVENTS:

    – Suzanne (the oldest Truesdale sister) molested her younger sister Shannon starting when Shannon was age 5 and continued to molest Shannon until Shannon was 11.
    – Shannon described this abuse as “constant and progressive” thus not a one-time occurrence.
    – The probable cause given for Suzanne molesting Shannon (the younger sister) was that Suzanne herself was molested by her father (see below).

    I discussed this blog post with someone who knows a lot about young children and their development (Early Childhood Education). This person indicated that for Suzanne to be molesting her younger sister like she did Suzanne would typically have been due to Suzanne being molested before the age of 6. Usually after that age and especially past age 8 a girl has more of a sense of what is right and wrong and would have been less likely to do this.

    Thus, Jeff Truesdale was probably molesting Suzanne before she was 5.

    Sadly, Jeff Truesdale’s actions taught Suzanne that sexual contact with a sibling was something acceptable to do and then sadly Suzanne did just that.

    Note I am intentionally referring to how girls develop (vs. children in general) since according to the person I talked with boys typically develop differently.

    SIRI TRUESDALE’S (MOTHER) RESPONSE:

    What is sad in this situation is according to the information presented when Siri Truesdale (Shannon & Suzanne’s mother) found out about this situation when Shannon was age 11, Siri’s response was:

    – She now knew what was going on between Shannon and Suzanne
    – Said it was to stop immediately
    – It was never to be spoken of again
    – Never to be talked about
    – For Shannon to let her (Siri) know if this ever happened again
    – Shannon was “yelled at, chastised, and then silenced” (according to Todd’s post).
    – At that time Shannon was not offered any counseling or pastoral help.
    – What occurred wasn’t discussed with her mother for another 10 years when Shannon was 21 and starting counseling for this.
    – This lack of offering any help and demand it not be even discussed forced Shannon who was 11 at the time into silence and forcing Shannon to try and deal with what occurred to her on her own.
    – Ironically, Shannon’s older sister Suzanne and her father Jeff both had pastoral counseling while it was not offered to Shannon.

    NO COUNSELING OFFERED TO A 11-YEAR-OLD MOLESTED GIRL??

    If nothing else, her mother not offering any assistance to a child who was age 11 shows a real lack of empathy or perhaps someone being embarrassed and note wanting to deal with it. Anyone who has gone through this kind of trauma needs to talk about this to try and process and heal. This is especially true for a 11-year-old girl.

    I would be curious what motivation the mother Shiri had for this. Was Shiri afraid that getting her daughter Shannon counseling would reflect poorly on her parenting? Was Shiri that afraid of her husband Jeff’s actions if she arranged counseling? According to what I have seen posted is that it was not until 1996 that Shiri found out about Jeff molesting Suzanne. That might explain Shiri possibly thinking this was more a reflection of her failure as a mom vs. something external happening to cause Suzanne to do this.

    Then again, a young woman rarely if ever just decides to molest her sister. There must be some external reason for Suzanne doing this to Shannon and not due to poor parenting by the mother

    It also is something for a mother to chastise the younger girl who was molested starting at age 5. Blaming the victim is one way to put it. Especially at 5 years old a girl wouldn’t know any better especially when it was something her older sister did to her.

    INFORMATION ABOUT JEFF TRUESDALE

    Some interesting items about Jeff Truesdale:

    – Was at CLC when it originally started in 1977 and was there up until a few years ago.
    – Gave up a career in the Army so he would not be relocated and thus not be where CLC was located.
    – Jeff Truesdale association with Larry and C.J. went back to the TAG Days (at least the mid 1970’s).
    – Jeff did a lot of photography for both TAG and CLC and was “known as the unofficial historian of CLC.”
    – Took the picture of the original CLC meeting (was called Gathering of Believers) in the (older) Bob Patton’s home where they originally met.
    – Jeff Truesdale was an alcoholic with binge drinking until about 3years ago. It was claimed by Jeff to be a major factor in his molesting Suzanne (alcohol was always involved).
    – Interesting how Jeff was able to be an apparently unconfronted alcoholic for all that time while at CLC.
    – Also is something that Jeff seem to admit that alcohol was a major factor in his molesting Suzanne but did not do anything about it until about three years ago. Jeff’s drinking had quite a devastating affect on this family. One would think that if alcohol caused you to molest one’s own daughter, they would have been willing to do something about it vs. wait so long.
    – Association with Gary Riccucci even when Gary was “fleeing” Gaithersburg with C.J. Mahaney when C.J. Mahaney’s hypocrisy was exposed.
    – Reportedly a well-respected member.

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  18. Thank you Todd and Dee for giving Shannon and Shari a place to share their voices. And for giving some of the background information around the story so that readers can get a picture of the networking and pedophile behaviors involved and those complicit with it.

    Shannon and Shari, I agree with others here , in noting your courage. I’m sorry that you’ve had to go through these horrific experiences. Shari, I can follow every “F…” word in your video and texts. And can relate to the confusion for children who are expected to live and “behave” in dangerous environments, especially when the environment is embedded in a seemingly religious context. It seems like some supposed “Christian” leaders think children are expendable. I wish you both well in your healing and helping others journey. May those types of “leaders'” influence decrease as the voice of witnesses increase.

    I’ve known friends and family who have gone through being molested as children with the lack of family or community acknowledgement in order to protect abusers and family reputation. The settings for the people that I’ve known personally did not involve any church leadership perpetrators that I know of, although some of them had families belonging to churches. I didn’t know about the child molestation events of these friends and family until college.

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  19. Steve240,

    Thank you, Steve240.

    i’m perplexed about a few things.

    i found this very striking:

    as of 2013, Suzanne said of CLC, “Remembering great times there. Glad that unfounded claims cannot taint my fond memories.”

    -Considering her own background, she saw the claims as unfounded?

    -Amazing, the friendly interaction to her dad’s posting.

    -And amazing, the apparently different experiences & treatment Suzanne and Shannon had at CLC.

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  20. Steve240,

    ““My dad told me the story of demanding Gary to meet with him, that they had been best friends for more than 20 years and he needed answers. Gary was hesitant and fearful of retaliation. My dad supported Brent Detwiler and also was emailing C.J. Mahaney when they turned hidecoat and ran tail tucked to Louisville.””
    ++++++++++++++++++

    jeff trousdale was demanding Gary Ricucci to meet with him because he needed answers, & was supporting Brent Detwiler because….

    he was upset about the allegations because of the horror of it all and was in favor of the accountability Brent was trying to bring?

    even considering the allegations against him?

    or was he concerned about his own acts? if so, why would he be supportive of Brent Detwiler?

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  21. elastigirl: he was upset about the allegations because of the horror of it all and was in favor of the accountability Brent was trying to bring?
    even considering the allegations against him?
    or was he concerned about his own acts? if so, why would he be supportive of Brent Detwiler?

    Good question. I will have to see what I can find out. I do know from someone else that Jeff was pushing for repentance of CJ and all. Sadly CJ didn’t do that and apparently Gary is just a follower especially with his marriage to CJ’s sister.

    Interesting how Jeff would summarize Gary Riccucci as being the most influential and godly man in Jeff’s life. Maybe that was a more political statement vs the truth. One could take that a number of ways based on the record of these two men.

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  22. Wow. I check in here every now and then to see if any of these organizations has finally collapsed. But I never expected another bombshell like this. Shannon is to be commended for her bravery and her common sense. It’s amazing that she has been able to untangle her thinking to such a degree. But that explains why it took so long for this story to come out – I have no doubt it’s taken years to be able to see this clearly.

    Regarding Jeff appearing to be for accountability of others, I’m sure he was scared of what might come up about him. Perhaps he was creating an external profile for himself of supporting those who were wronged, while also (perhaps) attempting to see if there was anything out there that might implicate him…? Maybe he wanted to talk to Gary to be sure he wouldn’t say anything about possible prior confessions…? All speculation, btw.

    It goes without saying that Shannon and Suzanne should have received help when they were children. But can you imagine being a mother who finds out this has been going on? Siri’s response was not good, but within that culture, there are so many things mitigating against any other response that it makes me angry at the entire setup. If something like this is happening under your own roof, the SGM/SGC/CLC way is to think it’s because of something you are doing that doesn’t please God, which then means you are in full control, and the power to fix it is on you – just pray, or figure out what sinful behavior needs to be eliminated, or whatever. Outside counseling – in addition to costing money that might be hard to come by because of all the donations you are feeding to the church – is banned. Inside counseling requires you to admit this horrendous thing to people you know, people who will likely bring everything back around to pointing out that you, as a mother, are probably responsible (because you know God, you should be able to set everything right – which you didn’t do, so your faith must be lacking). And maybe even the girls are responsible. Etc. etc.

    This is in addition to all the basic fears that probably would flood anyone else confronted with this situation – fear of feeing shame and of losing friends in the only community you have been a part of.

    SGM/SGC/CLC creates a very judgemental environment that harkens back to medieval times. Yes, the adults in this situation bear responsibility for their actions or inactions, but the responsibility goes back to their devotion to SGM/SGC/CLC in the first place – it’s an insular environment that prohibits growth. They (we) only ever tried to educate people by looking backwards through rose tinted glasses, “rose tinted glasses” being the key problem: Evaluating the past is useful, but there was no evaluation.

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  23. elastigirl:
    Steve240,

    ““My dad told me the story of demanding Gary to meet with him, that they had been best friends for more than 20 years and he needed answers. Gary was hesitant and fearful of retaliation. My dad supported Brent Detwiler and also was emailing C.J. Mahaney when they turned hidecoat and ran tail tucked to Louisville.””
    ++++++++++++++++++

    jeff trousdale was demanding Gary Ricucci to meet with him because he needed answers, & was supporting Brent Detwiler because….

    he was upset about the allegations because of the horror of it all and was in favor of the accountability Brent was trying to bring?

    even considering the allegations against him?

    or was he concerned about his own acts?if so, why would he be supportive of Brent Detwiler?

    No one except for a few pastors, knew of my father being sexually abusive. This was a long and well kept secret in our family. I don’t believe my dad operated out of fear of exposure for his own sin. I believe he felt very confident and safe from being exposed.

    A few other comments I have from other comments I have seen: my father was one of the people emailing CJ Mahoney repeatedly (I believe) for answers and an apology. He loves to self righteously point his finger at the leaders he believes have wronged the church in some way, while also being good buddies with many of the abusers in the church.

    My sister Suzanne’s comment about “unfounded accusations” is confusing since she is a victim herself. Suzanne has forgiven my father and fully reconciled with him. To the point where my father was like a father to her first child. That child, just found out about my fathers history a couple years ago when I told him myself. He was 21 at the time I believe. He had no idea before that. When I found out at age 15 (2005) I was instructed not to discuss it with anyone ever again. I couldn’t even discuss it with my mom. The only time my father would discuss it was verbally, when meeting with us one-on-one. I believe this is because he gave each one of us only the information we needed and most likely giving each one of us a different version of the story. When I started the process of working through these issues I decided that email was the only communication I felt comfortable with. When I meet with them in person they don’t let me speak much, I get talked over and shut down. So I thought the only way to communicate and be heard is through email. That process made it clear there was no progress to be made and that led me to where I am no – no contact with anyone in my family except Shannon and Suzannes oldest child.

    So coming back to Suzanne – she would deny the accusations against any other member because she “drinks the koolaid” so to speak.

    Thank you to everyone for your words of encouragement. We appreciate every one. This has been a long and difficult process, one that we thought we couldn’t see out on more than one occasion because of the emotional labor it required. We are both happy with this article and glad the truth has been brought to light. My sister Shannon is one of the strongest people I know and in my opinion, is the ACTUAL best example of how a Christian should act in day to day life, despite the fact she’s not longer a Christian. I look up to her in many ways and I am grateful that we have eachother. Thanks all for your support.

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  24. OutThere: GM/SGC/CLC creates a very judgemental environment that harkens back to medieval times. Yes, the adults in this situation bear responsibility for their actions or inactions, but the responsibility goes back to their devotion to SGM/SGC/CLC in the first place – it’s an insular environment that prohibits growth. They (we) only ever tried to educate people by looking backwards through rose tinted glasses, “rose tinted glasses” being the key problem: Evaluating the past is useful, but there was no evaluation.

    Out There

    Your whole comment was good and in my opinion right on. The Covenant Life Church/Sovereign Grace environment certainly contributed a lot to both this occurring (both children being molested) and help not happening when it should have.

    Though Jeff still has responsibility for his drinking I am sure the environment made it hard for him to be honest with anyone there about his drinking problem and and his sexual attraction to little girls. Maybe in a different environment Jeff’s issues would have been able to have been addressed long before there were consequences like Jeff molesting his oldest daughter that sadly led to that daughter molesting her younger sister. For all we know, Jeff had some internal issues from his childhood that caused him to be the way he was that in this environment weren’t able to be addressed.

    They say that alcohol’s affect is only to loosen one’s inhibitions vs. creating new ones. Thus it is pretty apparent that Jeff Truesdale had a sexual attraction to little girls including his own daughter. Thus based on this, Jeff would only act on this attraction when drinking.

    In this type of environment it was quite frowned on for a wife to leave her husband or even separating to get the husband’s attention. Just look at how poorly CLC Leaders treated Peggy Adams when she left her husband over David Adams molesting one of David’s step daughters. I am sure part of the problem is how intimidated the married women are in the CLC/SGM culture.

    Again I am not excusing Jeff Truesdale’s behavior but am commenting on what caused all of this.

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  25. One other point here is one person I know said on her blog post:

    “Counselors for adult children of alcoholics will say that one of the features of a dysfunctional, codependent family is the ‘don’t talk about it’ message.

    Be quiet. This is family business and no one else’s. How dare you talk like that about your father?

    Keep the secret. Sweep it under the carpet. No one must see. No one must know.”

    This poster told me that

    “Any book on codependency will include this. The one I used was Love Is a Choice by Minrith and Meyer”

    Thus the don’t talk about it environment that you hear about in this family and typically within Sovereign Grace certainly didn’t help.

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  26. Todd: The headline “Another Sovereign Grace Survivor Tells Her Shocking Story of Sexual Abuse by Founding Member of Covenant Life Church!”
    is misleading and should be changed. The survivor tells of HER sexual abuse by her sister, who she apparently alleges was the victim of the founding member, And THAT alleged abuse is very poorly and unclearly documented in the article. Hopefully Shari can clear some things up. Also, the possible abuse of Suzanne at the school, of which she has fond memories, seems like sheer speculation.

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  27. Shari Jean,

    “My sister Shannon is one of the strongest people I know and in my opinion, is the ACTUAL best example of how a Christian should act in day to day life, despite the fact she’s not longer a Christian.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    i believe you.

    i have long observed that the best human beings (integrity, kindness, honesty, sincerity, generosity), the healthiest and happiest human beings, the best and happiest marriages, the healthiest & happiest families, are not in church and not ‘christian’.

    it has deeply troubled me.

    i think that ‘christian’ has become a religion about itself and its luminaries, not about God/Jesus/Holy Spirit. a religion about rules, methods & processes.

    it’s almost like shark-tank-but-christian: who can come up with new rules, methods and processes the powerbrokers want to promote because they see their potential for them to be embraced, which in turn will enrich the powerbrokers?

    in my mind, ‘christianism’ and ‘christianist’ seems suitable.

    i believe God/Jesus/Holy Spirit notice and are moved by honorable choices made in daily living, regardless of the label or no label a person wears.

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  28. Shari Jean: No one except for a few pastors, knew of my father being sexually abusive. This was a long and well kept secret in our family.

    I’m very sorry for all you’ve gone through with your family and the CLC cult. If you don’t mind, can you clarify whether the few pastors knew about the abuse at the time, or sometime later, and how you know they knew? Do you know which ones? It’s important, since these guys have a history of coverups.

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  29. Dave A A:
    Todd: The headline “Another Sovereign Grace Survivor Tells Her Shocking Story of Sexual Abuse by Founding Member of Covenant Life Church!”
    is misleading and should be changed. The survivor tells of HER sexual abuse by her sister, who she apparently alleges was the victim of the founding member,And THAT alleged abuse is very poorly and unclearly documented in the article. Hopefully Shari can clear some things up. Also, the possible abuse of Suzanne at the school, of which she has fond memories, seems like sheer speculation.

    The title is a bit misleading now that you point that out. It was my suggestion they lead with a title about a founding church member. But the way it’s worded is indeed confusing.

    The alleged abuse of Suzanne at the school IS speculation. Not confirmed. I have just recently learned of this theory. While I believe it’s definitely possible, I have no way of knowing if it is true or not.

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  30. Dave A A: I’m very sorry for all you’ve gone through with your family and the CLC cult. If you don’t mind, can you clarify whether the few pastors knew about the abuse at the time, or sometime later, and how you know they knew? Do you know which ones?It’s important, since these guys have a history of coverups.

    My knowledge is only what I’ve heard years after the fact. I know John loftness was their main pastor. On several occasions, as a child, John would make comments to me about what was going in my life. So I know firsthand he knew of the details of our family struggles. Shannon mentioned a few other pastors. I just can’t give a solid answer because by the time I had any knowledge of this, it was long after the fact. And I was fed very little information. Most of what I now know is because Shannon has answers my questions over the years. Adam Malcolm was my pastor when I was in the youth ministry.

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  31. Shari Jean: But the way it’s worded is indeed confusing.

    My mind inserted another “her” between “of” and “Sexual” about 6 times. 🙂
    I know a woman who was sexually and physically (tried to kill her once) abused by her sister as a child. If I were to ask Sis about it right now she’d likely deny she did anything at all. Or, she might blame her Dad, and would almost certainly be lying. Obviously your oldest sister is different from the oldest sister of my acquaintance. So I don’t want to pry, but the article is so unclear. Did your Dad confess to anyone?

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  32. Dave A A: My mind inserted another “her” between “of” and “Sexual” about 6 times.
    I know a woman who was sexually and physically (tried to kill her once) abused by her sister as a child. If I were to ask Sis about it right now she’d likely deny she did anything at all. Or, she might blame her Dad, and would almost certainly be lying. Obviously your oldest sister is different from the oldest sister of my acquaintance. So I don’t want to pry, but the article is so unclear. Did your Dad confess to anyone?

    Yes my dad confessed to my mom, pastors (which ones I am not entirely certain besides John loftness). He openly confessed to me also. I’m sorry if I was unclear but that’s what I meant when I said he would only speak on it verbally and one-on-one.

    He told me that, always under the influence of alcohol, he “just fondled” her over the course of many years. Later, my mom said she was told it just happened once. This is why I believe my father gives each one of us a different story to “satisfy” our curiosities. But yes he has explicitly confessed to molesting my oldest sister. He’s not entirely stupid. He will never put in writing his crimes.

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  33. Also of note, he never confessed to his crimes until AFTER my oldest sister confronted him about it in front of my mother, 4-5 years after the abuse had stopped. I believe that was in 1997. I believe he would have never confessed unless she had “spilled the beans.” This has been the case in every other area of his life. He never comes forward and confesses his son on his own. Someone “outs” him and that’s when he puts on his “Repentant Christian” disguise. In my unprofessional opinion, I believe my father is a sociopath who bases his reactions on the actions of others. Everything he says and does is like a game of chess. He says the things he knows you want to hear, in order to get you to cooperate with his agenda.

    Other names of note- Joe Huff helped get him to AA in 2017.

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  34. Dave A A: Todd: The headline “Another Sovereign Grace Survivor Tells Her Shocking Story of Sexual Abuse by Founding Member of Covenant Life Church!”
    is misleading and should be changed. The survivor tells of HER sexual abuse by her sister, who she apparently alleges was the victim of the founding member, And THAT alleged abuse is very poorly and unclearly documented in the article. Hopefully Shari can clear some things up. Also, the possible abuse of Suzanne at the school, of which she has fond memories, seems like sheer speculation.

    Upon further review I agree with you about the title of the article and have changed it.

    As for the sexual abuse of Suzanne by her dad, Jeff Truesdal, this is a quote from the article:
    “Shannon advised me that “my mother was told of Suzanne’s molestation at the hands of Jeff sometime in 1996 when Suzanne moved back home for a week.” Shannon further stated that “Suzanne told me about Jeff molesting her sometime in 2005 when she was in CLC pastoral counseling.””

    Seems pretty clear to me, Dave.

    Additionally, not included in the story is information I received from Eric Simmons, a man who was a pastor at CLC during this time period. He stated:

    “To be clear I did not know about Shannon until you just told me. Just heart breaking. I found out about Shannon (he corrected this to “Suzanne.”) and Jeff when I left CLC and that was heart breaking. The whole thing is just heartbreaking!

    I can’t comment if CJ or Josh did or didn’t know about the issues with Jeff, but honestly It would be really hard for me to believe they didn’t. CJ ran a tight ship. One of the reasons I left in 2010 was because I just couldn’t handle the CYA and lying anymore.”

    Follow-up email from Eric: “Sorry, correction—Suzanne and Jeff.”

    I then wrote this to Eric:
    “Hi Eric,
    It looks like you left CLC in 2010 to plant the Redeemer church. Do you remember who told you about Jeff Truesdale sexually abusing his daughter, Suzanne?

    Would you know how this person knew?”

    Eric responded:
    “Honestly, If I remember correctly, I think my wife told me because her mom told her. My wife’s mom was friends with Mrs. Truesdale and a long time member of CLC, at that point she had left CLC.”

    As to your statement, Dave: “Also, the possible abuse of Suzanne at the school, of which she has fond memories, seems like sheer speculation.” Again, I quote from my article:

    “But in reference to paragraph 90, Shannon said she was told by Heather Thompson, one of the three girls being sexually abused in the room, that the unnamed girl was Suzanne Truesdale! Shannon “spoke to Suzanne about it at the time. She denied it and said she had no memory of anything ever happening at school.”

    I have found throughout my research for this article that Shannon has been totally honest and factual. I also have been told by an individual whose word I trust that Heather Thomas is an honest, articulate person. Further, this individual confirmed Shannon’s story – Heather Thomas said Suzanne was the third girl being sexually abused in the situation described in paragraph 90 of the lawsuit.

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  35. Shari Jean: I believe my father is a sociopath who bases his reactions on the actions of others.

    Sounds very much like one from what’s presented here. Your description of him talking to each of you verbally, one-on-one, and probably telling you different things, is telling. That’s a controlling, manipulative way to handle it- tailoring the story a little differently for each person and keeping control of the narrative that way, also keeping all of the power by not speaking to the family as a group, a scenario where he’d have been not just outnumbered but also possibly held accountable, a situation where you all would have been more likely to discuss it with each other afterwards.

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  36. Serving Kids in Japan: That stuck out to me as well. Good ol’ Josh Harris was oh-so eager to make amends to Shannon. Right up until the point when making amends might cost his precious church something — or at least, something that actually mattered to the leadership.

    From what I have seen, money and perhaps reputation are all that seem to matter to Sovereign Grace Leadership and those who were the CLC Leaders at the time. Their concern with reputation was also related to money since a good reputation meant more $’s and bad one would mean less $’s.

    I hate to say this but sadly that is the way see it having been one around for quite a while including being around when SGM Survivors started (was called SG Uncensored or something like that originally).

    Sadly you see little care for people or even feeling that they should practice what they teach and demand of regular members.

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  37. One of Shannon’s accounts in the blog post:

    I permitted to attend a private gathering of those in the church whom I was closest to where they informed them I was going to be put under church discipline. Joshua Harris had my parents stand at that family meeting and had other members lay their hands on them while they prayed for their wayward daughter.

    I wonder how Shannon’s parents felt standing up like this for their “wayward” daughter. I wonder if it ever occurred to them that maybe a reason for their daughter being “wayward” was what happened to Shannon? I wonder this especially about Jeff.

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  38. elastigirl:
    Shari Jean,

    “My sister Shannon is one of the strongest people I know and in my opinion, is the ACTUAL best example of how a Christian should act in day to day life, despite the fact she’s not longer a Christian.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    i think that ‘christian’ has become a religion about itself and its luminaries, not about God/Jesus/Holy Spirit.a religion about rules, methods & processes.


    it’s almost like shark-tank-but-christian: who can come up with new rules, methods and processes the powerbrokers want to promote because they see their potential for them to be embraced,

    i believe God/Jesus/Holy Spirit notice and are moved by honorable choices made in daily living, regardless of the label or no label a person wears.

    Had posted a link to Dee’s article on Harris leaving his wife and Christianity with someone asked how he fit into all of this. Rereading the comments, there was somebody claiming to have been involved in Harris’ church and knew him know (even going as far as to float the notion act than Harris was ignorant to the goings-on, which was challenged), adding that they also transitioned away from the faith. Matthew 23:14-15 came to mind:

    “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of the heavens before men. For you neither enter, nor even do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you traverse the sea and the dry land to make one convert, and whenever it may happen, you make him twofold more a son of Gehenna than yourselves.”

    Earlier in chapter 7, Jesus warned against those approaching in sheep’s clothing but inward were ravening wolves, who needed to be identified by their fruit rather than outward appearances. It’s been discussed over and over about having to make such evaluations without self-censoring amidst accusations of gossip, slander, etc.

    A worthwhile ministry goal that might not be at the top of the list for seminary training would be showing how people can have a direct relationship with God through Christ that’s not dependent and centered on a 501(c)3 construct and endless book studies held up as bulletproof doctrine as an indispensable, nonnegotiable part of the equation.

    The last time I checked, John the Baptist seemed to have a healthy relationship with God without brick and mortar and coffee bars. His model doesn’t have to be the rule, but it needs to be recognized that many are not willing to be absorbed into the Christian Industrial Complex collective in order to re-explore their faith perspective and worldview, especially when the version of “the faith” and “biblical Christianity” from which they are detached might have been fundamentally deficient in their teaching, as has been evident here and elsewhere time and again.

    Legitimate ministries getting out that message may be able to get through to some of those who are being bewitched like the Galatians before and open their eyes before they’re burned deeply. It may not be as lucrative as providing concerts, daycare, and activities and outings for young adults and couples, but it has a necessary place.

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  39. Ava Aaronson: JDV: Joshua Harri

    Is he the star that left the church and renounced his faith, as well as divorced his wife for a new partner?

    Just for clarification, Josh Harris did separate and divorce his wife. I am not sure that the divorce is final yet.

    As far as I am aware of Josh Harris didn’t leave his wife for another woman. It was presented by I believe both of them that they had something like irreconcilable differences. Josh Harris also stated around this same time that he was no longer following Christ. So much for Josh Harris’s teaching on “kissing dating goodbye” were the answer to higher divorce rate.

    I am sure one factor in Josh leaving the faith was him seeing the hypocrisy especially with his mentor CJ Mahaney. When the documents came out exposing sin and hypocrisy within CLC/SGM, Josh called it the Lord’s discipline while all other SG Leaders denied it was the Lord’s discipline.

    So here you have Josh seeing all this hypocrisy including in his mentor CLC. Thus not really surprising Josh left the faith.

    Another possibility is that Josh was always a good speaker/sales person/promoter. Maybe Josh never really believed what taught. He was born into a family whose father who was prominent in the homeschooling movement.

    I think this is along the lines of what JDV recently shared in that passage of scripture.

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  40. While I am thinking about it, here is a good book the history of Sovereign Grace and SGM’s Leaders warped view on their authority:

    https://www.amazon.com/Uriah-Syndrome-Misuse-Authority-Church/dp/1644718731#customerReviews

    The book methodically exposes the abuses of SGM and ends with supporting Rachel Denhollander’s appeal to SGM that they submit to an independent investigation.

    The title is “The Uriah Syndrome” who was the person murdered by David after David committed adultery and to Uriah’s wife pregnant.

    The book tells the sad story of Sovereign Grace and the group’s fall.

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  41. Steve240: The book methodically exposes the abuses of SGM and ends with supporting Rachel Denhollander’s appeal to SGM that they submit to an independent investigation.

    Question: The book preview had “Study Notes” at the end of each chapter.
    What is it with Christians and Study Notes?
    Is this intended as a textbppk?

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  42. Dave A A,

    It is known that he confessed. It is, in my opinion, another fail on the part of thee CLC leadership. Truesdale was part of the inner crowd at CLC. Asd I say in my post for today (It’ll be up in a few hours-SGM/Mahaney and bros was the worst sex abuse scandal in a number of years. However, it has been surpassed, in my opinion, by the abuse in the SBC.

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  43. Thinking about these multiple stories of extreme wickedness in sheep’s clothing and the wicked coverups by those who are of the brood and not the fold, I just finished listening to a song by the Swedish Christian heavy metal prog rock group 7days. From their latest is a song called “When Your Heroes Fall.” These are the lyrics:

    “They have reached so far, there is nothing left to trust
    We’re confined to a a people disarmed
    They leave us polarized
    And fear composes our law
    Every little thing is now so obvious

    How can we not see their agenda?
    Hear now, the truth will set us free

    Chorus: From their false agenda
    When the heroes fall
    The truth will set us free
    From their propaganda
    When your heroes fall
    How will you ease the pain?

    Can’t you hear them now?
    The sociopathic lies
    Breaking down, desecrating creation
    When will you see?
    That they own and control the system of information

    Exploitation, the civil unrest
    Stigmatization, but The truth will set us free”

    It is nice to know that some are getting it out there. Even the likes of Markus Sigfridsson. Jesus cannot rise over His Church because we have replaced Him with our own licentious heroes. Only when we are willing to call our own righteousness, and those of the leaders that are telling us only what we want to hear, as rubbish leading to ultimate destruction will the truth that we heard actually start to set us free…

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  44. Pingback: The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 Helps Us to Understand Why the SBC Executive Committee and Leadership Will Never Substantially Deal With the SBC’s Problems With Abuse. | The Wartburg Watch 2021

  45. For those that had trouble keeping track of the various family members in the post, below is a summary.

    This is the Truesdale family:

    – Jeff: Father

    – Siri: Mother

    – Suzanne: Oldest sibling molested by her father Jeff Truesdale. Being molested is the apparent cause of Suzanne subsequently molesting Shannon.

    – Brother 2nd oldest sibling; 3 years older than Shannon

    – Shannon 2nd youngest; was molested by Suzanne.

    – Shari Youngest child. Not molested by either her father or sister Suzanne.

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  46. This is so grievous to read about. I’m praying for the Lord to pour out his mercy on this situation; for justice to be accomplished, to whatever extent possible in this fallen world, and in the age to come. Also praying for comfort and peace from the Holy Spirit upon those who have been sinned against.

    I was a part of a SGM church in California in the late 2000s for a few years. If I’m honest it was one of the best churches I’ve ever been involved with. Their love of Christ, passion for making disciples, hospitality and genuine care for people were almost unmatched in my experience. This church left SGM shortly after the sex abuse at CLC began to come to light.

    I know the Lord used SGM and their ministries to mature me in my faith in Christ, and I believe many other can say that as well. But they are a fallible institution and they really set themselves up for failure when the leadership decided to not have a policy of immediately getting local authorities involved when there was an accusation made. There is nothing unbiblical about this, as far as I can tell. I think some of this was a holdover from some of the imbalances that were present in the Jesus people movement, which tended to be reactionary in some respects.

    While I wish these accusations would have been made public and investigated long ago. I take refuge in that God will carry out perfect justice at the coming of Christ, both restoration for the oppressed and eternal torment for the wicked.

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  47. Sòpwith: Excuse me Folks, ya gotta understand that once you join this sgm sgc religious cult group, independent thinking simply goes out the window. The damage done is undeniable even before they strapped on Calvinism around 1991

    Sadly, that is basically the truth. SG either attracts or develops people that don’t question. Those who question typically leave.

    Lack of independent thinking is what allowed the group IMO to easily move to Calvinism with few dissenting.

    Some have called Mahaney the Pope and from what I have seen it is true.

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  48. Headless Unicorn Guy: Except no Pope has ever claimed that level of Infallibility Ex Cathedra.

    That might be true but then many Catholics will take and follow what the Pope says about certain items without questioning it. Thus almost an implied infallibility or for Catholics possible eternal consequences if you don’t do what the Pope says.

    Sovereign Grace Leaders will also claim they are “imperfect” and devout SG members have been trained to parrot this statement. Despite leaders making this claim, rarely do you ever of a Sovereign Grace Leader admitting an “imperfection.” If an “imperfection” is admitted it takes a while and under a lot of force typically IMO.

    One example is the “kissing dating goodbye” and courtship. Pope C.J was one to dictate this even both Josh Harris’s book. SG members blindly followed it. Despite all the problems it created leadership was quite reluctant to admit the problems with it.

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  49. Hi everyone!!! I have been out for a long while. As i’m reading about SGM again these events are still disturbing beyond words. Billy and I are and have been doing great! many here may not remember us. Anyway my heart go’s out to these girls. It’s terrifying to see the depths of the abuse and by so many. Those who have been complicit in the abuse. Dee what kind of world are we living in? I truly feel like an alien.

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  50. From what I understand, Jeff Truesdale was never a Care Group Leader for the entire time he was at Covenant Life Church(CLC).

    One would think that for someone who was a long time member with at least some reasonable leadership skills he would have become a Care Group Leader. Jeff apparently has the leadership requirements for being a care group leader. Maybe this was due to CLC Leaders realizing Jeff had issues either with alcohol or even worse.

    It is a shame that CLC Leaders never helped Jeff or did what was necessary to either protect the children in the family if they did know of Jeff’s issues.

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