Emilie Paige Dye: Part One

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” Joseph Campbell


Content warning: mentions of sexual abuse, sexual assault, suicidal ideation, and eating disorders.


A while back, my colleagues casually asked me about my high school experience, a culturally common question in the country where I now live. I was stumped. How do you keep things light-hearted when the answer to that question is: I went to a fundamentalist religious school in rural Idaho where I was sexually abused for years? I know how to ruin an after-work happy hour, but I’m not so sure how to explain that time of my life. Bear with me as I do my best here.

I started attending this classical Christian school as a freshman in high school, while my little sisters both started at the same school in sixth grade. Leaders at my school boasted that we were the first in the Classical Christian school movement.

My first day was overshadowed by the fact that I had accidentally worn the elementary school uniform instead of the high school uniform. Years later, I learned to laugh about the mistake when my peers brought it up, which, of course, as stereotypical, malicious teenagers they would.

At the school, it seemed like everyone knew each other. My parents had neglected to take me to the orientation day before the start of the year, so I didn’t know who the other new students were, and they did not seem eager to out themselves as being just as insecure as I was.

Students would save each other’s seats by putting their pencil bags on desks. No one ever saved a desk for me, so I usually ended up in the front row, or worse, on the boy’s side of the classroom. At this school, while it was co-ed, boys and girls did not associate. In my class of 25, to this day, there are guys I have probably said less than five words to.

I remember one teacher explicitly telling us that men and women could never be friends with each other. Her theory was men were only friends with women because they wanted to sleep with them. The school strictly forbid dating under threat of expulsion. We’d heard the horror stories about students who had dared to have a secret relationship. With this guideline strictly in place, I for one wasn’t willing to risk so much as a proper conversation with a boy.

I remember one teacher explicitly telling us that men and women could never be friends with each other. Her theory was men were only friends with women because they wanted to sleep with them.

The high school hierarchy depended heavily on whether you attended the church associated with the school, how much your family donated to that church, and whether your father was in church leadership.

But part of my struggle connecting with my classmates was simply logistics. I lived approximately 70 miles (112 kilometres) from where I went to high school. In order to cut down on commute time (it took one hour and twenty minutes to drive to school), my dad would fly us in our Cessna 172 to classes. I took ground school at the local university and learned to fly with my dad at 14. The distance, unfortunately, made extracurricular activities hard, and I couldn’t as easily in my first years of high school attend casual get-togethers.

My family and I next the plane we used to commute to school.

Even as a teenager, I was keenly aware of my parents’ sacrifices so I could go to this school. My mom, in particular, had bought heavily into the propaganda about a ‘Classical Christian education’ and the value of studying things like Latin. I wanted to make the time, the money and the long, unconventional commute worth it for my parents, and similarly to my mother, I believed in our education. So I poured myself into my studies and was rewarded with solid grades for my efforts.

I signed up for Mock Trial in my sophomore year, and my little sister did track and cross country. She has always been a talented runner and as someone who struggled with learning challenges running was one area where she could thrive. She was relentlessly bullied in class, but on the track, she was the best.

These extracurricular activities meant we started to spend more time at the school. I took driver’s ed and got my license at the beginning of my junior year. I learned that by the time I’d driven home, I was often too tired for homework, particularly in the winter or when the weather was bad, and we couldn’t fly. So I started doing my homework immediately after school.

My last two periods of the day were Rhetoric followed by Church Doctrine, both taught by one of the longest serving teachers, my abuser. Doctrine class was only three days a week, leaving a free period and an empty classroom the other two days. I found I could simply finish my homework right there in that classroom as I waited for my sisters to finish their classes.

I could have studied in the auditorium, but there were usually other students chatting; the elementary school would practice productions they’d later put on for their parents or grandparents; and of course, the bell would ring, and the area would suddenly turn to chaos as classroom doors burst open and children were freed from their studies. With a long drive ahead and college applications looming, I could not afford distractions.

I feel as if I need to justify my choice to study in my soon-to-be abusers’ classroom, as I was later criticised for the choice. I still remember the wife of the pastor who started the school, implying I’d asked for it by studying alone in a classroom with a male teacher. She’d asked me why I hadn’t chosen a classroom with a female teacher.

I feel as if I need to justify my choice to study in my soon-to-be abusers’ classroom, as I was later criticised for the choice. I still remember the wife of the pastor who started the school, implying I’d asked for it by studying alone in a classroom with a male teacher.

I cannot tell you how much I wish I had simply chosen a different classroom, gone to a coffee shop, or done anything other than studying alone with a predator. All I can say is: I should have been safe.

One thing regularly drilled into the girls at my school was their responsibility to ‘stop their Christian brothers from stumbling and falling into sexual sin.’ We were taught we had some incomprehensible power over men, which we could manipulate simply by how we dressed. If our skirts were half an inch too short, or if we forgot to wear our frumpy sweater vests, we could cause the boys and men to look at us lustfully. This was the extent of our sex education.

I believed what I was taught. Only now do I understand those teachings for what they truly were, a way of sexualising little girls and shaming women.

I believed what I was taught. Only now do I understand those teachings for what they truly were, a way of sexualising little girls and shaming women.

When I was probably 15, I spent the night at a friend’s house. A couple of days later, at school, my friend approached me with a message from their father. I wasn’t allowed to stay over again unless I wore more modest PJs as mine were ‘distracting’. To this day, I still remember the PJs I had worn, a pair of shorts covered in smiley faces, which I loved, and a green tank top.

I fully believed I had done something terribly wrong, just as I would later believe everything that happened with my abuser was my fault.

(Now is where writing this gets hard.)

My abuser was an elder at the church. He was my Church Doctrine teacher. I viewed him as both a spiritual and earthly authority.

I asked him as many questions about God as I asked him about school (though at this school, those two things were so intermingled every class had a religious element). I respected him and viewed him as a man of God, as did the rest of the community.

At some point, he started giving me side hugs. Side hugs were the church and community-approved way men hugged women. (My teenage self would be shocked that I now regularly greet both men and women with a hug and a kiss on the cheek… and there is nothing sexual about it).

Physical touch from older Christian men also wasn’t something that struck me as particularly odd or surprising. Since I started at the school, the superintendent would regularly approach his favourite girls from behind and rub their shoulders. He would give us side hugs and run his hand up and down our waists. I saw him do it to others, and so I thought it was normal when he did the same to me. I was one of the favoured few. I assumed he liked me because I was at the top of my class and never got in trouble.

Physical touch from older Christian men also wasn’t something that struck me as particularly odd or surprising. Since I started at the school, the superintendent would regularly approach his favourite girls from behind and rub their shoulders. He would give us side hugs and run his hand up and down our waists.

In a way, he spent two years grooming me and preparing me for my abuser. It wasn’t until years later when others started to tell their stories, that I remembered always being on high alert for the superintendent coming my way during lunch.

My abuser went through the same process of getting me used to his touch while I studied in his classroom. He would reach over and brush my hand as he walked passed to leave the room. He put his hand on my back. Finally, he had his hugs.

We’d occasionally chat about things that interested me: horses, science and God. My sisters would come into the classroom and goof off. They viewed him as a fun, cool teacher. Sometimes he’d even let us use his first name.

He gave me a full frontal hug the day before Christmas break, my junior year. He crushed me against himself, and I remember feeling small and uncomfortable. My chin was stuck at an awkward angle, and it felt like ages until he let me go telling me that he would miss me over the break.

The next semester continued on the same trajectory, but he gave me a long hug every Friday. I got used to the hugs and even enjoyed the ‘fatherly’ affection. Then, one day when the weather was poor, he asked me to let him know I had gotten home safely, and soon we were regularly messaging over Facebook.

Once when he was hugging me, his hand wandered down and cupped my butt. I didn’t know what to do, so I just went to my locker and stared into it, catatonic for a long time. I’d convinced myself to that point that he viewed me like he did his daughters. I decided to ignore the issue and pretend nothing had happened.

Once when he was hugging me, his hand wandered down and cupped my butt… I decided to ignore the issue and pretend nothing had happened.

Not long after that, I was sitting on the floor by his desk with the classroom door closed. My abuser had commented on my nylons and made an excuse to touch my legs when the pastor (his other titles included Founder of the school and the Chairman of the school board) walked in. I jumped up, and my abuser awkwardly introduced us.

At my school, the pastor was highly revered, and I felt special having gotten to meet him. However, my abuser later messaged me to chastise me for making him look bad in front of his pastor. He told me that the way I was sitting on the floor gave the ‘appearance of sin’. I was confused and startled by the rebuke, having convinced myself that everything was normal and that we were just friends. After all, my abuser always said I seemed mature for my age.

This was me during my junior year of high school. The photo was taken by my abuser and later sent to me during on of our Messenger exchanges.

I finished the year full of optimism. I was the only student that year to win the Faculty Award, recognising me as a top student. At the superintendent’s request, I’d also tried out for the school musical, which would show the following year, and had gotten a spot despite my complete lack of any musical talent.

In the meantime, I helped my parents on the farm by driving truck. As a result, I spent a lot of time waiting as my mom, who drove combine, filled the trailers with grain. In the downtime, I had long conversations over Facebook Messenger with my abuser. Still certain everything was above board, I cheerfully told my parents and sisters all about it. Knowing my abuser, they also thought everything was fine and appreciated that I had a spiritual mentor.

My abuser requested to meet me for coffee, and we discussed the next school year and everything I was looking forward to. He was teaching Calculus and Physics, both of which I was planning on taking. The conversation was cut short when his youngest daughter, who was a few years older than me, arrived.

Between my play practice and my sister’s cross country practice, I came to town quite a few times that August. Every time my abuser requested to meet up with me, and it was that month that I turned 18.

I’d never had formal sex education beyond abstinence training which perpetuated the ideas that:

  • A girl’s worth is connected to her virginity.
  • Boys only want sex.
  • If you get horizontal next to a member of the opposite sex or show your belly button, you are asking for it.

My mother had heavily pushed the idea of not only waiting to have sex until marriage but also waiting to have your first kiss until you stood at the altar. My cousin had allegedly succeeded in this feat, and my mother regularly mentioned how romantic her wedding was.

Because I believed everything purity culture taught me, I knew basically nothing about sex. I hadn’t even googled my questions about my body, fearing that I would stumble on porn and instantly damn myself to hell. I learned about periods by reading the Diary of Anne Frank.

Because I believed everything purity culture taught me, I knew basically nothing about sex. I hadn’t even googled my questions about my body, fearing that I would stumble on porn and instantly damn myself to hell. I learned about periods by reading the Diary of Anne Frank.

It wasn’t until my first year at university that I asked, ‘what’s a vagina?’ and shut down a dorm party faster than if the campus police had arrived. One of the girls got a whiteboard and walked me through my anatomy right then and there. I learned about masturbation and condoms in a similarly awkward fashion.

Purity culture had given my abuser a perfectly naïve teen that he could take advantage of without legal ramifications, and so things began to escalate quickly. He liked to meet me at the arboretum. He’d pick some secluded spot where he could ‘hug me’, feeling my breasts and butt. Before long, his hands were under my clothes.

I remember random details of these moments but forget many of the most relevant aspects of the encounters. For example, once there was a squirrel playing in what I think was an aspen tree and the light danced on the leaves as they jostled. There was someone mowing the lawns. I could hear them doing laps, but I couldn’t see them or they, us. My abuser was afraid the person would spot us and so made me lay on the ground. I think he might have laid on top of me. I can’t fully remember. I just watched that happy little squirrel in the branches above my head.

For some reason, when he touched me, my face went numb. My face would feel as if it was contorting, my lips would shake, my teeth would keep clunking unintentionally, and I always felt dizzy.

I’d never been taught about what actually happened when people had sex. We were only taught how to avoid sex. If this is what your body did when it was ‘turned on’, I didn’t like it.

I was also self-conscious. What would my abuser think if he saw my trembling lips? He didn’t say anything.

I don’t know how many times we met up. I do know that my abuser sweated a lot, and I was always afraid his sweat would drip on me. I know that day after I met with my abuser, my whole body would be sore from the prolonged clenching of my muscles. I guessed that must be a normal reaction. I remember being so tired that I couldn’t wait to die and just sleep forever.

One of the highlights of senior year was the physics trip. The entire physics class got to go to Seattle for a few days and tour Boeing, the space needle and a place that cut metal with water. My abuser, as the physics teacher, was in charge of the trip. He also took charge of my outfits. He dictated every piece of clothing I wore and had me first try it on and send him pictures. He liked my white shorts and a slightly translucent yellow top.

This is me on a field trip for science class. I believe this was my sophomore year.

During the trip, he told me that I couldn’t be alone with him as it would give people the wrong impression. But then it seemed that at every turn, he singled me out. Once, he went so far as to call me away from walking through the aquarium with my friends to be with him. I felt that no matter what I did, I was doing something wrong. I was anxious and isolated from the other students throughout the trip, but I also liked that I was the teacher’s pet and was given responsibilities like navigating.

My mother had joined the trip as a chaperone because she had become concerned about my abuser’s behaviour, but she got the flu, so hadn’t seen what was happening.

My abuser again lectured me on the way home in the car, telling me I needed to be more cautious as I would get myself in trouble with the school and could jeopardise his marriage. I was still trying to convince myself that everything was normal.

After the trip, one of the school secretaries, who had also gone on the trip as a chaperone, went to the school to raise concerns about the way my abuser was interacting with me. Her concerns were evidently ignored as the school’s only action was to tell my abuser that as a Christian leader, he needed to present himself better and not put himself in a position where others could interpret his actions as ‘sin’.

I learned about the complaint through my abuser. My parents were never told, and no one spoke to me.

For a long time, I was angry at the school secretary for saying something because that was the point where my life went from hard to unbearable. Sadly, she was the only person at the school who tried to protect me. This was the point where I could no longer get away with blocking out incidents and deceiving myself into thinking everything was okay and normal. I went from denial to self-condemnation. I believed something was wrong with me and that I had somehow caused my abuser to sin. I felt responsible.

This was the point where I could no longer get away with blocking out incidents and deceiving myself into thinking everything was okay and normal. I went from denial to self-condemnation. I believed something was wrong with me and that I had somehow caused my abuser to sin. I felt responsible.

I was harbouring a horrible secret about myself, and the only person who knew how evil I was was my abuser. He knew about my sexual sin, and yet he still told me he loved me. I became convinced that I was unlovable and that because my abuser had sinned with me, he was the only person that could love me. I was afraid that without him, I would be completely alone.

With the school now aware of my abuser’s ‘inappropriate way of relating to me’, the level of secrecy instantly in our relationship increased, as did the way my abuser shamed me and made me feel guilty for what was happening.

He regularly demanded photos of me. But until then, I had gotten away with sending clothed photos. No more.

I remember one time meeting him in his classroom, and he pinned me in the corner between the bookshelf and the wall. He took my shirt off and my bra. He then unbuckled my pants and put his fingers inside me.

I was frozen. After some time (I don’t know how long), he abruptly stopped, told me to get dressed and went to the bathroom for a while. My hands were shaking so severely that it took me minutes to clasp my bra. He came back, sat me down at one of the desks, stood over me, and lectured me on defiling myself for my future husband. He told me I needed to repent. I remember him asking me, “Don’t you want that? Don’t you want to be pure for your husband?” I cried and apologised, saying that I did want to be pure. He forgave me for leading him into sin and hugged me.

He came back, sat me down at one of the desks, stood over me, and lectured me on defiling myself for my future husband. He told me I needed to repent. I remember him asking me, “Don’t you want that? Don’t you want to be pure for your husband?” I cried and apologised, saying that I did want to be pure.

I felt exhausted and dirty. I went home and showered with pure hot water, believing I deserved the pain. I thought that burning my skin would somehow cleanse me.

I stopped eating. I was in charge of packing my sisters’ lunches, so I would simply make lunches for them and leave just an apple or maybe a yoghurt for myself. Part of me hoped someone would notice and ask if I was okay.

Close to Christmas, I left my phone unattended on my desk at home, and my abuser messaged. My mother saw the message and wrote me a letter telling me I needed to cease contact with him immediately.

I foolishly messaged my abuser to let him know my mother had found out. He interrogated me about what she had seen, what she knew, and what I had told her. He then told me to delete all our conversations, not to text him again, and avoid sharing anything else about our relationship. He said I would ruin his marriage and that I might get expelled for it. I did as I was told.

The next day my abuser didn’t so much as look at me. Unbeknownst to me, he had gone to the school superintendent and ‘repented’ for ‘inappropriately texting me’.

Shortly after that, the superintendent arranged a meeting with me and my parents in his office. The last thing I wanted my parents to know about was the extent of my relationship with my abuser. I felt so small.

The superintendent asked who had started the text exchange. I said I didn’t know. He said that my abuser had told him I had. I agreed, thinking that yes, it must have been me. My abuser had told me to message him and tell him if I had gotten home safely. At that point, I knew I was in trouble. If I’d started it, it must have meant it was my fault. He asked if I still had the messages. I said they were deleted. I was relieved that no one would read those messages or see the photos my abuser had asked me to send.

He then asked me one more question, ‘did he kiss you?’ That was one thing my abuser had not done. I answered honestly. Apparently, my abuser had been adamant that he hadn’t even kissed me. The superintendent was reassured that my abuser had told the truth.

I waited for the rest of the questions to come: “Did he touch you? Where did he touch you?” How did he touch you? Did he take your clothes off?” They never did.

I waited for the rest of the questions to come: “Did he touch you? Where did he touch you?” How did he touch you? Did he take your clothes off?” They never did.

I asked if I was expelled. I was told I wasn’t but that I couldn’t take Calculus or Physics anymore. He told me I was lucky that my abuser was repentant and that things could have gotten messy. He concluded the conversation by telling me that if anyone asked what had happened, I was to lie.

I went home, and my parents didn’t say anything about it. Shortly thereafter, they had a conversation with the pastor. He informed them that my abuser would resign. He assured them that nothing illegal had occurred, reporting that they had stopped the situation before anything bad had happened.

My parents took me to an Applebees and told me the news. Never before had I caused so much trouble at school. I felt so guilty for my abuser losing his job.

A letter went out to all the families in the school announcing the change. No adult talked to me about what happened ever again. The matter had been dealt with because my abuser had ‘confessed, was forgiven, and is in full fellowship with all of us.’ The parents were told to pray for my abuser and his family; I was ignored. He was in fellowship; I was alone. He was to be thanked; I was rejected.

The letter by the school superintendent to the parents announcing my abuser’s resignation.

My parents told me that when my abuser confessed, he had said he was flattered by my attention and let that cloud his judgment. The authorities at the school bought the story that I was merely a foolish teenage girl who’d become infatuated with my teacher.

I do distinctly remember having a crush at the time, and I can assure you it was not for the overweight, balding, 53-year-old teacher. There was this cute blonde boy who had a Justin Bieber haircut and bright blue eyes. Once my abuser had caught me chatting with him in the hall as we were both in Mock Trial. My abuser was angry and jealous that I seemed so animated with a boy my own age in a way I never was with him. Through out my time under my abuser’s control, he guarded who I talked to and shut down friendships with the opposite sex before they had a chance to begin.

At that point, I notched my anorexia up to the next level. I fantasised about just wasting away completely. I didn’t want to die, but I felt like if no one noticed I was starving myself to death, it would mean I deserved it. I liked how my hip bones stuck out, and my chest got a washboard effect. One girl said she thought it was creepy. My mom did once ask if I was losing weight on purpose. I said, ‘no’, and no adult mentioned it again.

I desperately wanted someone, anyone, to ask if I was okay. I wanted to talk to someone about what had happened. But no one was there for me to talk to or confide in.

I desperately wanted someone, anyone, to ask if I was okay. I wanted to talk to someone about what had happened. But no one was there for me to talk to or confide in.

For the majority of the last semester of my senior year, no one talked to me about my abuser. My classmates suspected it had to do with me and to cover my shame, I spent more time with my sisters’ oblivious peers. One girl mentioned that she was disappointed she would never have my abuser as a teacher. I was overwhelmed with guilt.

Ironically, the pastor defends his and the school’s lack of action by saying my abuser and I were, ‘covering up what we had done’. It is as if he assumes I was somehow an equal participant and equally guilty. What happened at that school was covered up, but not by me.

Ironically, the pastor defends his and the school’s lack of action by saying my abuser and I were, ‘covering up what we had done’. It is as if he assumes I was somehow an equal participant and equally guilty. What happened at that school was covered up, but not by me.

I felt as if everyone was talking about me, but no one would speak to me. I was turning invisible.

Eventually, I started to receive college acceptances. As the letters came in the mail, I began to think about my future. I would go far away. No one would know what I had done, and my abuser would no longer be in my life.
I started to eat again and, by the end of the year, weighed nearly 120lbs (I’m 5’7″). Two of my friends got up the courage to talk to me about what had happened, and I thought I might just be okay.

This was me at my high school graduation.

I was so ready to graduate and finally be free of it all. But when I sat up on stage wearing my gown, I looked out into the crowd, and there was my abuser. He messaged me later that day.

Looking back, I wonder how different my story would have been if the person in charge at my school, the superintendent, had done something to protect me instead of also feeling up teenage girls; if the pastor had reported the incident to the police; if I hadn’t been told to lie when anyone asked me what happened; if one of the female teachers at the school had taken me under her wing and asked if I was okay when I so clearly wasn’t; if my parents had been more present and if I hadn’t let my abuser put such a wedge in my relationship with them, how different my life could have been.

It could have all ended then. The man who groomed and molested me could have faced true justice and been forced to stop. I could have gone to university and dealt with the normal struggles young people face instead of holding on to shame. I could have gotten real help from a trained professional.

This is, unfortunately, only part one of the story. You can read part 2 here.

E.D. Paige now lives happily ‘in sin’ with her partner. Since leaving Christianity many of her PTSD symptoms have subsided and she no longer struggles with thoughts of suicide. Follow her on Medium at @ed.paige for more articles about her thoughts and experiences in religion.

Sexual Abuse Of A Child
Christianity
Purity Culture
Sexual Abuse
Deconstruction

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E.D. Paige

Comments

Emilie Paige Dye: Part One — 67 Comments

  1. Thank you, Emilie Paige Dye, for sharing your story. Courage is the word that comes to mind. God bless you.

    The Moscow situation, apparently, has tentacles that reach far beyond Idaho. Will there be a doc series some day? Like “Let Us Prey”?

    Re: Senior Pastors (and their wives) who are not predators themselves: The violated minors, now adults, who testified and share their stories in “Let Us Prey” said the senior pastors overseeing but doing NOTHING about their predator junior pastors, are even MORE culpable. The senior pastors KNEW FOR DECADES that their youth pastors were violating minors but they did NOTHING. Senior Pastors are in charge.

    Re: local LE & the DOJ: It sounds like in Moscow, local professionals in LE and the DOJ may also be members of the Kirk(s). Does this prohibit doing the right thing regarding the violation of minors in that region? Due process not happening? Addressing criminal predators denied?

  2. There’s really no way to buffer this horrific tale with any words that ring true, except for this:
    Dye’s abuser is a criminal, plain and simple, and if he’s not in jail yet, he certainly needs to be.

  3. Ava Aaronson: It sounds like in Moscow, local professionals in LE and the DOJ may also be members of the Kirk(s). Does this prohibit doing the right thing regarding the violation of minors in that region?

    What do you think?
    Their Loyalty is to the Kirk and its Head Apostle.
    “PENETRATE! COLONIZE! CONQUER! PLANT! PENETRATE! COLONIZE! CONQUER! PLANT!”

    We have seen this pattern before, in this and other church corruption blogs.
    Megapastor Superapostle makes sure the local authorities are in his pocket.
    Megapastor Superapostle makes sure HE is on the Cop side of the Cop/Not-Cop Divide, whether by becoming a Police Chaplain or giving off-duty cops creampuff security jobs. Great when LE and DOJ can be your personal Enforcers.
    “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED!!!!!”

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy: Great when LE and DOJ can be your personal Enforcers

    Mafia-esque, eh?

    A network, a cult leader + followers cult, actually, IF the org is harmful to participants. It is. Harmful. Obviously, by these testimonies.

    A web,arrangement, grid, system.

    They or He, the leader, set up a K-12 or PreK-12 school, so they have minors as customers and their parents as constituents. Do it right or it’s a minefield for children and families, with no small consequences.

    Jesus said harm against children is worthy of being cast into the sea shackled to a millstone. (Doesn’t the mafia shackle enemies to cement blocks, then throw them overboard? Jesus is suggesting their punishment for them, it seems. Serious stuff. No small consequences for those who harm or turn a blind eye to harming children.)

    Anyway, then the school they/he founded becomes the lead of a network of schools WITH their/his press marketing curriculum worldwide. So, influence. Again, do it right, or be held accountable for damaging more lives. (Bill Gothard’s systems and influence comes to mind, however Gothard was himself a predator instead of a married nonpredatory leader that hires and covers for predators. So, difference. But equally influential and damaging.)

    On top of these institutions with children, there are their institutions with faculty in authority over adults, which also include a type of seminary that churns out spiritual leaders with authority in their future communities. More influence. More potential damage.

    Now lace all of these institutions that he, the founder, or they, the founders, have created, with a heavy presence of Patriarchy, and the result is a network with long tentacles that invites and sustains predators. Whether intentional or not by the founder(s), this network results in predator heaven. Like John Piper, who is not an overt predator himself but he set up a predator protection program.

    Just another cancer spreading in our free society.

    In contrast, Jesus and His disciples did not spread disease or social ills or criminality or Patriarchy. Jesus healed people, rescued people out of social ills, and spread healthy social relationships everywhere. Everyone is on level ground at the foot of Jesus (Jesus on the cross, now Jesus on the throne). Jesus restores agency (instead of destroying agency).

    In this particular story, everything about how this predatory teacher and his superintendent boss (with wife) treated this student … everything was an attack on her agency.

    Jesus died and rose to restore our agency. As friends with God we are free agents. It’s the only way God wants to relate to us. God created each of us, man and woman, in His image, for primary fellowship with Him first, and then secondary fellowship with others. Agency intact, always.

    The moment someone attacks our agency, we run to God for health, safety, preservation, and restoration. We can breath.

  5. “The superintendent … concluded the conversation by telling me that if anyone asked what had happened, I was to lie … I wonder how different my story would have been if the person in charge at my school, the superintendent, had done something to protect me”

    Leaders who fail their function as a mandated reporter of child abuse are subject to criminal penalties.

    “if my parents had been more present …”

    … they would have never sent her to a “Christian” school connected to Doug Wilson.

  6. Ava Aaronson: Bill Gothard’s systems and influence comes to mind

    There have been, no doubt, lots of victims within the purity culture established by Bill Gothard, who turned out to be about as impure as you can get!

  7. Muff Potter: Dye’s abuser is a criminal, plain and simple, and if he’s not in jail yet, he certainly needs to be.

    I hope Part Two of this sad story doesn’t reveal that the man is still out there lurking in another “Christian” school.

  8. Ava Aaronson: Mafia-esque, eh?

    Remember The Godfather?
    One of the reasons for the big Mafia war in the book/movie was because Don Corleone would not share all the judges/prosecutors/cops/Congressmen he owned. All of them bought and paid for.

  9. Jesus said, “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

  10. Nothing about Emile’s story surprises me; that is EXACTLY how my fundamentalist school would have handled it. IMHO, the “whole structure” is depraved.. While I could go on and on, it would only disgust me more…

  11. Yikes. Not only was everyone at that school completely remiss (and that’s a mild way of putting it). Those parents were also completely remiss. And again, I could use much stronger language. Good grief. I’m in shock. What horrible people. What an insane, creepy cult. That poor girl. Lord have mercy.

  12. Jeffrey J Chalmers: Nothing about Emile’s story surprises me; that is EXACTLY how my fundamentalist school would have handled it. IMHO, the “whole structure” is depraved.

    As they say in reformed ranks, totally depraved!

    For a group of fundamentalists, they neglected to do the most basic of fundamental things … to love and protect the young and innocent among them.

  13. This is a horrifying story. Just to tell it shows such courage on Emilie’s part. I am struck by the extent to which she was groomed, not only by the perpetrator but by the whole culture. It seems very obvious from the behavior of every adult in this account that the goal was to build massive walls of ignorance around young people. Not for their protection, of course, but for the protection of the system.

    Learning basic anatomy and sex ed from a fellow college student at a party must have been humiliating. But, I am cheering that girl with the whiteboard. Arming a vulnerable friend with knowledge is such a perfect response, and it’s what the adults in Emilie’s life should have been doing for years but failed at miserably.

  14. Headless Unicorn Guy: Great when LE and DOJ can be your personal Enforcers.
    “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED!!!!!”

    A tweet from Dr. Ruth Ben-Ghiat last night:

    “Protecting criminals is the purpose of an authoritarian party.”

    Think about that … and the multitude of authoritarian “Christian” leaders and their orgs.

    @ruthbenghiat is the researcher and writer of the book; “Strongmen”.

  15. Max: For a group of fundamentalists, they neglected to do the most basic of fundamental things … to love and protect the young and innocent among them.

    Their loyalty was to #1 their leader (not Jesus) and #2 their leader’s org (not the Body of Christ).

    From Julie Roys 1.19.2021:

    “Certainly, loyalty, when directed toward someone who deserves it, is a virtue. Yet …, it [loyalty] can be a vice.”

    The Royce Report is clarifying when loyalty is evil.

  16. You can tell by how she writes that her words are real and raw and she is processing what happened to her. Nothing about this seems fake or exaggerated. I totally believe her. I hope that she has terrific counsel and can be healed from this madness.

  17. As soon as your superiors, in any org, appeal to your loyalty, run!

    As soon as your superiors, in any org, appeal to your loyalty, something unethical is happening, has happened, will happen – possibly all three.

    (And I’m not going to mention which politician told people who reported to them that he needed their complete loyalty.)

    Your loyalty is to the truth, and if you’re a christian, to the one who is the Truth – lying “for Jesus”, directed by liars “for Jesus” – that is the work of the father of lies.

  18. Terrible account. Too many teachers engage in this behavior. There needs to be a no tolerance policy and real consequences for such behavior.

    I have seen this kind of thing happen in public schools, nonprofit clubs, sports teams, youth groups, religious schools, and churches.

    I am glad this young woman survived. I hope she is doing well.

    There are often common practices and themes that exist in these settings that permit situations like this to occur. Each institution should do a self audit to look at how the organization is set up and whether it creates opportunities for improper contact and intimacy.

  19. Ava Aaronson: Their loyalty was to #1 their leader (not Jesus) and #2 their leader’s org (not the Body of Christ).

    To be in the inner ring was more important than living righteously in the Kingdom of God. Protecting the reputation of their school and its leaders was more important than doing the right thing in the sight of God.

  20. “Federal Vision: You are in a covenant with God by your baptism.You then maintin your covenant standing with God throughout your life by your good works of obedience and covenant faithfulness.“
    ++++++++++++++++++

    I am? Well yuck.

    I’m in a covenant with no one.

    My husband and I are a partnership.

    That’s how I see my relationship with God, too.

  21. Elastigirl: I’m in a covenant with no one.

    Neither am I.

    Elastigirl: That’s how I see my relationship with God, too.

    That’s the way it was intended from the beginning, but then religion got a hold of it, and effed it up. (my opinion)

  22. CMT – I agree. God bless the girl with the white board and knowledge, willing to teach another so she is no longer uninformed. This story was so heartbreaking. What a brave woman she now is.

  23. Emilie,

    I’m so sorry that you had to go through these experiences. I pray you are healing and have some way to expose these monsters for what they are . . . pedophiles clothed in lies.

  24. Gus: As soon as your superiors, in any org, appeal to your loyalty, run!

    After a while, most organizations take on the personality of its leadership. This is Doug Wilson’s school … think about it.

  25. Emilie,

    You deserved to be safe and protected. It is morally shocking how badly you were failed by all those who you should have rightfully been able to count on. None of it was your fault. Thank you for your courage in sharing your story so that others who have tragically also been victimized will find parallels to your story in their story and realize that they are not alone, and hopefully others may be prevented from experiencing what you had to go through.

    Jesus was speaking of “unclean” foods here, but it applies to sexual abuse as well:
    Mark 7:14-23 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”

    After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

    He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

  26. Emilie.

    You should have been safe and protected. The extent to which so many people did not protect you, but rather protected your abuser is morally shocking and infuriating. Thank you for your courage in telling your story because we know that it will cost you. May other victims of your abuser or others read your story and see parallels to their own and get some measure of healing in realizing that they are not alone. In seeing clearly how you were not at fault, may it help them to be freed of any notion they carry that they are at fault. And may some never be victimized because you told your story.

    Jesus was speaking of “unclean” food when he spoke these words, but I believe they apply to sexual assault as well:
    Mark 7: 14-23 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”

    After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

    He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

    He defiled only himself.

  27. Max: This is Doug Wilson’s school … think about it.

    And (Piper quote) – “he gets the gospel”. Just like Piper’s love for “Driskle’s theology”.

    Between “orthodoxy” (believing and teaching the ‘right’ things) and “orthopraxy” (doing the right thing), I’ll take the latter any day.

    But this actually should not have to be an “either – or” choice.

  28. Gus: (Piper quote) – “he gets the gospel”. Just like Piper’s love for “Driskle’s theology”.

    There’s a mutual admiration society within New Calvinism where these characters support each other for the good of the movement. After all, Gospel = Calvinism to the NeoCal bunch. They will stand by their man until the potato becomes too hot to handle .. it then becomes “Wilson who?”, “Driscoll who?”, “Mahaney who?” etc. etc.

  29. Elastigirl: “Federal Vision: You are in a covenant with God by your baptism.You then maintin your covenant standing with God throughout your life by your good works of obedience and covenant faithfulness.“

    Elastigirl, As I see it, I AM in a covenant with Jesus, because of His love. As with Abram, the covenant is one way and not conditional. Jesus proclaims His love for me, He initiated my redemption and He maintains the covenant regardless of my good works, obedience or faithfulness. It’s Who He is. Predictably, that inspires more obedient efforts on my part than anything imaginable.

  30. Eyewitness: You should have been safe and protected. The extent to which so many people did not protect you, but rather protected your abuser is morally shocking and infuriating.

    But very CHRISTIAN.
    So CHRISTIAN, you’d think it’s (yet another) Litmus Test of Salvation.

    Remember Boz T?
    In all his years as a prosecutor specializing in CSA/ChoMo cases, he NEVER saw a church that sided with and supported the victim. Always “RALLY ROUND THE CHOMO, BOYZ! GAWD SAITH!” With or without the “PERSECUTION!” card played off the bottom of the deck.

  31. Max: it then becomes “Wilson who?”, “Driscoll who?”, “Mahaney who?” etc. etc.

    AS OF NOW, THEY NEVER EXISTED.
    doubleplusungood ref doubleplusunpersons.

  32. Emilie,

    i finally read through to the end. (too much happening in life at the moment)

    i believe you, completely.

    it just totally sucks. (understatement, but there really are no adequate words)

    thank you for your courage in telling your story. silenced no more.

    I hope you are somehow able to continually be shedding the foolish nonsense that christian culture is webbed in.

    i’m fairly sure God/Jesus/Holy Spirit marvel in disgust at what happens in (their) name.

    justice is far too slow, as far as i’m concerned. Please pick up the pace, God.

    i believe you have no problem with a plainspoken prayer.

  33. Believer,

    i appreciate your comment, Believer.

    my friends and family love me unconditionally. no covenant required. the word is a loaded term and unnecessary.

    a weird analogy, but it’s sort of like a high-quality piece of meat prepared just right, and covering it with ketchup, assuming it needs it.

    or incredible ice cream and covering it with chocolate and caramel and more chocolate and more caramel and sprinkles and oreo cookie crumbs and m&ms and gummy worms…

    we just love each other. we feel the gravitas of these precious human beings that we belong to and who belong to us.

    my relationship with God is the same.

    it’s pure. nothing more could possible be needed.

  34. Emilie, your story is absolutely credible. I have known many instances of this kind of thing and you describe what happens in case after case. I also read Doug Wilson’s “Jim Nance Timeline” here: https://dougwils.com/the-church/a-jim-nance-timeline.html and it sickens me. Yes, Wilson reported him to the police, but even in his online post, he implicates you as covering up, and I quote “This repentance was false, in that he and Emilie were still covering up what they had done.” This man groomed, manipulated, controlled and abused you. You were an innocent high school student who had been sheltered and had absolutely no idea what was happening. You had no idea of how to cover up. And it appears that the shame of the incidents pushed you into freezing and anorexia, and probably nightmares and anxiety attacks.

    Wilson is wrong for saying that you were covering it up. He did not treat you as a victim, which he should have, and he should have known better as a man with 40 years in ministry. This makes me sick. Wilson needs to be removed from ministry. Jim should never be allowed to serve in any public capacity for many years, like 10 or 20, maybe never. It’s a shame he wasn’t arrested and proven to be a pedophile.

    My heart breaks for you. You will struggle for many years, and maybe your entire life because of this monster. May the Lord of Glory bring this man’s sins down on his own head. May he comfort you, heal you, give you hope in is loving mercy and grace.

  35. elastigirl: it’s pure. nothing more could possible be needed.

    I’m with you elastigirl.
    How did it get so byzantine and so complicated?

  36. Bob M: Unfortunately, Emilie is no longer a Christian.

    And you know this how?
    Simply because she no longer jumps through all the ‘approved’ Christian hoops?

  37. Muff Potter,

    well,…not that you’re necessarily wanting my answer,

    but i’ll share it anyway –

    my long-held thoughts are crystallizing into enough clarity to say weird co-dependency. cosmic co-dependency.

    institutionalized co-dependency.

    i flesh it out more on the liam golligher post.

  38. Muff Potter: Bob M: Unfortunately, Emilie is no longer a Christian.

    And you know this how?
    Simply because she no longer jumps through all the ‘approved’ Christian hoops?

    Because she Hath Uttered Blasphemy against the Mighty ManaGAWD, Head Apostle of the Kirk?
    (i.e. The Jerk with the Kirk who’s trying to pull a Rajneeshpuram on Moscow, Idaho.)

  39. Bob M: Emilie is no longer a Christian. She was shamed publicly at Capitol Hill (aka Mark Dever’s church) and left the faith

    Left the faith or left the church? There’s a big difference. Some of the best Christians I know (including many Wartburgers) may not go to church, but they are the Church. Being excommunicated by a church doesn’t mean you have been excluded from the Body of Christ. The religious kingdoms of men are often in conflict with the Kingdom of God.

    When the blind man gave testimony of Jesus healing him, the church threw him out but Jesus went looking for him. IMO, Jesus doesn’t go to a lot of churches … why would He?

    You can often find the “Church” in America caring for the poor, widows and orphans even if the “church” down the street doesn’t. TWW cares deeply about those abused by the church by being the Church to them. We would all do well to take our Bibles and explore what Church is and what church isn’t, without Scripture being filtered through the theologies of mere men.

  40. Gus: And (Piper quote) – “he gets the gospel”. Just like Piper’s love for “Driskle’s theology”.

    That sounds so much like the Jesus Ad Jingle “HE GETS US!” that was all trendy a couple years ago.

  41. Muff Potter: Yeah it is insane and creepy.
    And to think they want a fundamentalist dictatorship to rule the U.S. too.

    Because (just like “This Time We WILL Achieve True Communism!”) then the Right People (guess who?) will be giving the orders from on high.

    And after a generation or two living in such a Godly CHRISTIAN Nation, the name “Jesus Christ” will carry the exact same baggage as the name “Adolf Hitler”. And the Cross the same baggage as the Hakenkreuz.

  42. Bob M: Unfortunately, Emilie is no longer a Christian. She was shamed publicly at Capitol Hill (aka Mark Dever’s church) and left the faith.

    Running this through a Christianese-to-English translator algorithm:
    “ME SHEEP! HER GOAT! HAW! HAW! HAW!”

  43. Bob M: Wilson is wrong for saying …

    Wilson is wrong, period. If he came up to me claiming “2 by 2 equals 4” I’d make sure to double-check (at least double) the statement.

    What he does and how he deals with the weak, or those who – in fact or in his view – disagree with him, invalidates everything else he says, even the things that are not wrong on the surface.

  44. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    “the Jesus Ad Jingle “HE GETS US!” that was all trendy a couple years ago”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    ..that’s reason enough to opt out of the system.

    it’s like living in a pepsi commerical.

  45. Max: Bob M: Emilie is no longer a Christian. She was shamed publicly at Capitol Hill (aka Mark Dever’s church) and left the faith

    Left the faith or left the church? There’s a big difference. Some of the best Christians I know (including many Wartburgers) may not go to church, but they are the Church. Being excommunicated by a church doesn’t mean you have been excluded from the Body of Christ. The religious kingdoms of men are often in conflict with the Kingdom of God.

    (The bold was done by me.)

    I’m not criticizing you, Max, nor any of the other TWW commenters who commented on Bob M’s comment on Emilie Dye no longer being a Christian. 🙂 Bob M was commenting on something Emilie Dye wrote in a post and he’d provided the link in his comment.

    From Emilie Dye’s April 7, 2020, post from The Truth About Moscow titled Another Sexual Abuser — This One a Kirk Officer: Same Story Cover Up, Different Victim:

    It is a bit out of my norm to write posts over 100 words and definitely not about dirty laundry. But I have decided to explain why I am no longer a Christian. For many this will not come as a surprise; others may mourn the state of my soul; and some will wonder how/why I stuck to my faith for so long.

    (The bold was done by me.)

    https://web.archive.org/web/20230819093241/https://moscowid.net/2020/04/07/another-sexual-abuser-this-one-a-kirk-officer/

    Perhaps in the time since Emilie Dye wrote that she’s no longer a Christian, she — like others — has returned to Christianity….kinda-sorta like the kind that’s practiced on TWW. 🙂

  46. elastigirl:
    Headless Unicorn Guy,

    “the Jesus Ad Jingle “HE GETS US!” that was all trendy a couple years ago”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    ..that’s reason enough to opt out of the system.

    it’s like living in a pepsi commerical.

    These days I call them “Christianese Counterfeits”.

    You know, the knockoff T-shirts or posters or jewelry or anything that looks just like some pop-culture T-shirt/whatever on first glance but when you look close is some Christianese buzzword or verse or “Witnessing” that mimics the original’s format and style almost exactly? Like product counterfeiting with just enough changed to Make it CHRISTIAN(TM)?

    The example that comes to mind is a Christian Counterfeit T-shirt I saw once during the height of Twilight Mania. Same color, same format, same font, except instead of “Twilight” it read “TheLight”. That sort of thing.

  47. Bob M: Unfortunately, Emilie is no longer a Christian. She was shamed publicly at Capitol Hill (aka Mark Dever’s church) and left the faith.

    Wouldn’t you leave a faith that did THAT to you?
    While Virtue-Signalling how Godly they were?
    And how “This Is GOD!” by example?

    “Taking the Name of the LORD in Vain” originally meant doing evil (such as was done to Emilie) in the Name of GOD, NOT cussing. Justifying evil as Godly, creating a Shanda fur die Goyim in the process.

    When God Said “Thou Shalt Not”, He was saying “You do your own dirty work! Don’t drag ME into it! Not even with a mentionin of Me!” Because then God gets dragged into the Evil as an accessory.

  48. researcher: Perhaps in the time since Emilie Dye wrote that she’s no longer a Christian, she — like others — has returned to Christianity….kinda-sorta like the kind that’s practiced on TWW.

    There’s a pattern where the initial reaction is “TAKE YOUR GOD AND SHOVE IT!”, getting as far away from the abusive environment as you can get. It’s a matter of survival.

    After things cool over time, you can drift back into the faith – a lower-key, mellower version of the faith. A lot of abuse comes from an all-consuming, high-powered, high-controlling, More On Fire Than Thou RIGHTeous environment.

  49. Gus: Wilson is wrong, period. If he came up to me claiming “2 by 2 equals 4” I’d make sure to double-check (at least double) the statement.

    As you do with anyone known as a Pathological Liar.
    They literally CANNOT stop lying!
    Even when there’s no possible reason or motive for it!

    “Remember… It’s not a lie if YOU believe it!”
    — Seinfeld

  50. Max,

    i’m sure not.

    as i see it, overdependence on the bible has something to do with it.

    it’s kind of like learning to ride a bike or learning to swim with a how-to manual stuck in your hand reading it.

    no list of rules helps us get to know an invisible supreme being.

    just like centrigal force – you don’t learn to physically work with invisible centrifugal force by reading something.

    the bible is good and great.

    but it’s not a how-to manual, for starters. and you have to put it down for long stretches and learn by doing.

    skinned knees, choking, spluttering, thrashing & all. so what.

  51. “men were only friends with women because they wanted to sleep with them”

    She just defined body theology.

    I saw the start of it, from my ex-religion teacher (who left in a hurry)

    (when things were done to girls – by a friend of churches – in a TV studio – I thought there was something wrong with the atmosphere on that programme; I later met a traumatised studio cameraman)

    (when religion had to be spread by “influencing”)

    And we weren’t like that and that includes the agnostics

    Why would parents not buy for their children the books of classical authors and scholars second hand / borrow them from libraries.

  52. Max: There’s a mutual admiration society within New Calvinism

    I’d use a much stronger word than “admiration”.

  53. In the linked post, she said this:

    “It is a bit out of my norm to write posts over 100 words and definitely not about dirty laundry. But I have decided to explain why I am no longer a Christian. For many this will not come as a surprise; others may mourn the state of my soul; and some will wonder how/why I stuck to my faith for so long.”

    If someone else pointed this out, I apologize. I don’t have time to read every post.

  54. Believer:
    Jesus said, “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

    Or as Coffee with Jesus (online clipart strip) put it:
    “A millstone makes a poor flotation device.”

  55. Sarah Stankorb recently wrote a post for SLATE: That Moscow Mood, which was subtitled: How much culture war is too much for American evangelicals? Sarah summarized Emilie’s story within the broader post.

    The Slate article mentioned in passing about Doug Wilson and cigars.
    What is it with Real Alpha Males and HUGE Andrew Tate-sized cigars? Lit ONLY with a wooden match? Is it some kind of shtick? Or just a Tribal Recognition Mark?

    When YouTube’s Sacred Algorithm spotted some keyword and flooded my inbox with Manosphere videos, that was a recurring theme. I remember one popping up in my feed that began with a Real Alpha Male with sternum-length beard very ostentatiously striking a wooden match to light an Andrew Tate-sized cigar. At which point I know It Could Only Go Downhill From Here.

  56. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    “What is it with Real Alpha Males and HUGE Andrew Tate-sized cigars?”
    +++++++++++++++++

    -a need for attention
    -a need to be special and flaunting it for the
    pleasure of making others feel unspecial
    -something phallic (of course)