A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

What the Apostle Peter says about Doug Phillips the false teacher and false prophet

God’s word speaks volumes about how God is able to rescue and protect the righteous while simultaneously visiting justice upon fools and scoundrels. These truths have been foreground in my mind recently, because of our sister Lourdes Torres, the young woman who was abused by Doug Phillips, the former leader of Vision Forum. (Now she’s married, her full name is Lourdes Torres-Manteufel. Congratulations to Nolan and Lourdes — we wish you a long and happy marriage!)

Lourdes’s courage in commencing a legal suit against Doug Phillips and his former cohorts is tremendously inspiring to all who have been oppressed by abusive ‘c’hristians and church leaders. This post is for all victims who have dealt with spiritual wickedness in high places. What Lourdes has dealt with is analogous to what all of us at this blog have deal with. So while I’ll be expounding my scripture text in relation to Doug Phillips’s case, feel free to apply it to your own circumstances in as much as yours are parallel.

Before giving the scripture, I need to say that I personally believe Lourdes’s account of Doug Phillip’s actions. I do not believe Doug Phillips’ response to Lourdes’ petition, or his claimed “confession and repentance”  in his Statement of Resignation because to me his words and actions are typical of the feigned confessions / apologies / repentance that abusers do. We know the lingo. We know it so well at this blog that we’ve even coined a term for it — we call it the language of Abuserese, and it’s a lot easier to learn than Japanese or Chinese. 🙂  My comments on Doug Phillips are my personal opinion and are not intended to influence the process of the Texan courts where Lourdes’ case will be heard.

Our main scripture is 2nd Peter chapter 2, taken from the ESV.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.

False teachers who will secretly bring in destructive heresies. Phillips and his hyper-legalist Patriarchal teaching put men, husbands, fathers and the Institution of Marriage on such a pedestal that it was idolatry. Rank idolatry. They hooked people in to this false teaching by an airbrushed promotion of “Christian family values and godly manhood which puts women and children first” through Home Schooling conferences and the Mens’ and Boys’ Titanic Society, and then enforced it with the velvet-gloved manacle of guilt-inducing covert coercion, thereby getting people, particular females, to suppress and doubt their own consciences and guidance from the Holy Spirit in order to follow, like the brainwashed animals in Animal Farm, the Big Brother Leader Phillips and his Patriarchal henchmen.

Greed and exploitation. Phillips raked in the money via his for-profit organization Vision Forum Inc. He also got lots of free or semi-free labour from young male interns, and from young women like Lourdes who was for a time a nanny in the Phillips household.

Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

For

  •  if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;
  • if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
  • if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;
  • and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);

then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
[bullet points added for ease of reading]

Especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion . . .  Phillips sexually exploited Lourdes, lied to her in to attempt to suppress her resistance, and blamed her for his wrongdoing.

TRIGGER WARNING: graphic sexual abuse descriptions that may bring back traumatic memories for victims of sexual abuse. I am quoting this here because we need to remember how disgusting and abominable sexual abuse is — how sexual sin is supremely selfish, how it turns those who perpetrate it into worms, and how it desecrates the souls and bodies of victims.

Here are paragraphs 15, 43 and 44 from Lourdes’ petition:

15. As described herein, Douglas Phillips used Ms. Torres—against her wishes and over her objections—as a personal sex object. Douglas Phillips repeatedly groped, rubbed, and touched Ms. Torres’s crotch, breasts, and other areas of her body; rubbed his penis on her; masturbated on her; forced her to watch him masturbate on her; and ejaculated upon her. This perverse and offensive conduct repeatedly took place over the course of several years.

43. While Ms. Torres was living with Douglas Phillips and his family in October of 2007, Douglas Phillips entered Ms. Torres’s bedroom and without her consent began touching her breasts, stomach, back, neck, and waist. Phillips then began to masturbate and ejaculated on her. Ms. Torres asked Phillips to stop and broke down crying. Despite Ms. Torres’s repeated requests for Phillips to stop masturbating and ejaculating on her, Phillips proceeded to return and repeat this perverse and offensive conduct. Each night that Phillips returned, Ms. Torres requested that he stop. Defendant blatantly disregarded her requests but continued to masturbate and ejaculate on her each night.

44. Douglas Phillips, on the evenings he visited Ms. Torres, persuaded her that he was not doing anything wrong, that he intended to marry Ms. Torres, and that his wife would die shortly and enable him to marry Ms. Torres. He further repeatedly told Ms. Torres that he loved her, that he would take care of her, and that what they were doing was not wrong. He also stated that if it was wrong, it was completely her fault.

. . . and despise authority. Phillips aggressively resisted the admonishment of his male colleagues and friends, leaders in the circles he moves in, when they confronted him about his sins (link); and in typical abuser style he argued about the process the men used to approach him (link).

[back to 2 Peter] Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you.

Phillips boldly and wilfully continued in his public ministry at Vision Forum for at least eight months after he confessed his sexual immorality to the only other elder at his church. Moreover, in his resignation from Vision Forum Ministries he stated “There has been serious sin in my life for which God has graciously brought me to repentance,” but that claim of repentance is spurious because his actions do not bear it out. By using the name of God to gloss up his claim of repentance, he was taking the name of God in vain — which is blasphemy. He committed the sin of blasphemy without trembling, just as Peter’s epistle tells us. And Phillips continues to show the true colors of an abuser by using the name of God in his masquerade of being a “repentant sinner” whilst lying, evading, obfuscating and emitting half-truths. It is also reported that he is threatening to sue three of the men who tried to be Nathans to bring him, like King David, to full confession and repentance.

They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Many of the people who have been sucked in to Christian Patriarchy teachings are unsteady souls. . . those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. We read many accounts from people who were been abused in childhood, incest victims, people who grew up in domestic abuse which often was unrecognized by the victim spouse and children — and how these people got sucked in to cults like Vision Forum (see, for example, Fake Someone Happy [*Affiliate link]).

The loud boasts of folly, the promises of freedom, from the Doug Phillipses of this world have enticed regenerate (born again) but weak and unsteady souls into beliefs and practices that are way off beam from the pure and blessed truths of the rightly divided Word of God. And the unregenerate abusers and sociopaths — who the bible calls scoundrels  — have been attracted, like bees to a honey pot, to the abundant male privilege rights and ‘c’hristian camouflage available in Christian Patriarchy.

Philips recently reiterated the godliness of his repentance and reformation (while accusing Lourdes of lying) in an interview on Ken 5 [This link is broken and there is no replacement. Editors.], an American TV station. In the interview he blasphemed by posturing — like all false prophets do —  that he knows God’s supposed purpose. Speaking of his relationship between him and his wife Beall since his sin hit the fan, Phillips said (have your vomit bowl handy) —

“I think God wanted to draw us together and do something much bigger than us or our family’s story.”

Peter is right, these false teachers speak loudly and boastfully while being slaves of corruption. Phillips is a slave, a slave to sin. A slave to his self-chosen god — his own ego that lusts for power and adulation.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.  . . . Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.  (Hebrews 13:7-9, 16)

Lourdes did not neglect to do good. She considered the outcome of Doug Phillips’ way of life, his lies and manipulation, his blatant and repeated disregard of her wishes, his wicked abuse of her body and soul, and she chose, RIGHTLY, to not imitate his faith, because what he said and did was not in line with the word of God. She knew that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever. She chose not to be led away by diverse and strange teachings. And she has shared what she has with us, as one more  survivor of abuse who has come out of the fog. She is walking the path of truth and justice, like we all are, under the wings of our Lord who knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

* * * * * * *

Behold, a king will reign in righteousness,
and princes will rule in justice.
Each will be like a hiding place from the wind,
a shelter from the storm,
like streams of water in a dry place,
like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed,
and the ears of those who hear will give attention.
The heart of the hasty will understand and know,
and the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak distinctly.
The fool will no more be called noble,
nor the scoundrel said to be honorable.
For the fool speaks folly,
and his heart is busy with iniquity,
to practice ungodliness, to utter error concerning the LORD,
to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied,
and to deprive the thirsty of drink.
As for the scoundrel—his devices are evil;
he plans wicked schemes to ruin the poor with lying words,
even when the plea of the needy is right.
But he who is noble plans noble things,
and on noble things he stands.
(Isaiah 32:1-8)

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22 Comments

  1. Hope

    What I want to know is, why can’t we bring lawsuits against our own husbands for their abuses of us like Lourdes did here?

    • Laurie

      Check your state laws…certain states do have laws against treating wives like this, but it is very hard to prove. You have to have “evidence” and when you are married that is a difficult one to get around.

      • fiftyandfree

        I really wish I could have filed my divorce on the grounds of fraud and proven it, but my attorney told me it’s almost impossible to prove fraud in a divorce case. The guy intentionally misrepresented his true character, history and lifestyle in order to ensnare me, but my lawyers told me there really wasn’t any way to prove it. Sadly, in this country you can get prison time for mail fraud, bank fraud, insurance fraud, etc etc, but relationship fraud goes unpunished.

    • I’m sure you could file a lawsuit, Hope. You could certainly file a civil lawsuit.

    • Anon

      I can see why you would want to, Hope. Didn’t the descriptions – and thanks for the trigger warning, Barbara – sound just like what abusive husbands do regularly to their wives?

    • Hope, I have not heard of a victim of domestic abuse suing her ex for damages, but that does not mean it has not happened or cannot be done.

  2. Anonymous

    Well written, Barb. Pointing us straight to Scripture. At such a young age, Lourdes is setting an example for others to bravely stand up against wickedness. We must pray. The enemy of our souls will use Doug Philips and others like him to malign her. (more trigger warnings to come) AMEN to Isaiah 32:1-8.

  3. Nicola Muir

    Barbara, thank you so much for this. This all completely applies to my own situation. I was one of the ‘unsteady’, a brand new Christian, when I encountered my abuser and was trapped into a horrific nightmare. It was worse than I could ever have imagined life could possibly be. As encouragement to all those out there still trapped, at whatever level (marriage, post-divorce legal battles, continued abuse) God is faithful to replenish the years that were lost. I can never know what kind of faith I’d have developed had I remained single or met a good man instead. However, I am overwhelmed at times by the gift of faith He has given me and what I’ve witnessed God do in the battles behind me (and, I pray, what He will repeat in the continued battle I’m still in). Praying for Lourdes and for justice.

  4. Anonymous

    When I first realized my marriage had a serious problem I went to the woman I respected te most asking for help and insight. I didn’t realize at the time her family was part of this movement and followers of Gothard. So you can imagine the advice she gave. Two decades later I’m still not able to fully break free. I’m safe now but so surrounded by these teachings it’s hard to see a path to freedom.

    Last week I was told i should have no issue worshipping along side the man who abused and raped me nightly for years. Then this week from the pulpit I heard how my marriage is about more than myself and my spouse. Each marriage had a spiritual and eternal purpose that outweighs our own wants and needs. While people around me practically cheered I sank down in the pew questioning again why they believe Go cares about my marriage more than he does me or my children.

    It’s so hard to balance all of this out and figure out which way is up. All I know is my heart is hurting.

    • Anon

      “Each marriage had a spiritual and eternal purpose that outweighs our own wants and needs.” Hmm, sounds like This Momentary Marriage. My heart would sink if I heard that from the pulpit.
      On the other hand, I was uplifted by a recent sermon in which the pastor reminded us that Christ is the personification of God. The prophets revealed a rather imperfect picture but Christ said we only had to look at His life to see the Father. While the Pharisees made a big deal of keeping the Sabbath and condemned Jesus for it, Jesus’ position was that God cared more for the individual than an institution. Jesus’ highest priority was to love His Father and love humans. What about that don’t people understand when victims, like the crippled person healed on Sabbath, are seeking for wholeness? Why do we insist they stay in bondage? How does that love God and love our fellow brothers and sisters? It shows that some churches have no idea about the God they serve.

    • Dear Anonymous, I understand how hard it is to balance all of this out and figure out which way is up. That is why my book has the cover it has — see here [Internet Archive link]

      If you would like me to send you a copy of my book, just email me at barbara@notunderbondage.com

      The notion that “each marriage had a spiritual and eternal purpose that outweighs our own wants and needs” is a notion that comes out of Roman Catholicism and also out of Pharisaic Protestant ‘c’hristianity. It is not based on a sound reading of scripture. It is derived from the mistaken idea that the ‘one flesh’ of marriage is something that has a mystical or sacramental existence and purpose beyond the two individual persons in that marriage. The Catholic church got into that error by mistakenly translating the Greek word mysterion into the Latin word for ‘sacrament’.

      John Piper (with whom we strongly disagree) says that the chief purpose of marriage is to display the covenant-keeping love of God for the church; but that’s a wrongful and upside-down interpretation of Ephesians 5.

      See this post
      Abusive Marriages Portray God’s Covenant With His People? – Really?

      and in particular, my comment there:
      Abusive Marriages Portray God’s Covenant With His People? – Really? – Comment 29999

    • also Anon, I want to say how sorry I am that your husband abused and raped you repeatedly for YEARS.

      Rape is hideous. Rape is outrageous. Your heart is hurting because you have been cruelly violated and disrespected and mistreated by the very person who was supposed (he vowed in his marriage vows!) to love and cherish and protect you.

      God cares about you; he cares about you so much that he does not want you to suffer this abuse from your husband or those foolish ‘c’hristians who don’t know what they are talking about. They just don’t get it, they don’t get what abuse is. They’ve been brainwashed by myriads of foolish teachers who have been spreading unbalanced doctrine for a long long time.

      God does not value the institution of marriage above the individuals within it. God so loved the world that he sent his only Son to save individual human souls, not institutions.

      • And when a scoundrel is using an institution to destroy someone’s soul like termites destroying the frame of a house, the institution is not the important thing: the victim’s soul, health, integrity and wellbeing are the thing that must come first. The institution is only being trashed in a hideous inversion of what it is supposed to be, when it is being used to enable such cruelty. Better to end such a sham of a marriage than keep the shell of it going just to uphold the institution.
        Institutions do not have souls; people do.

    • Nicola Muir

      Anon – the church you are trapped in is welcoming the enemy and coercing you to accept him in a ‘marriage’ through justification by way of false teaching. I too was convinced that I had to accept whatever marriage contained, but that is a lie. Sometimes I think Christians do have to endure suffering for a Christ purpose, but that is not the same thing as tolerating abuse for the sake of a lie. The two things are so, so different. What you are suffering is the most disgusting crime that is packaged in a lie. Marriages based on lies are not marriages at all, and thus, although women like myself have had to become legally divorced, I don’t believe that I was ever married to my abuser, (even though I fully believe that my divorce is fully justified regardless). My marriage was the equivalent of being abducted and chained to a radiator for 6 years like a hostage, and even then it was a whole lot worse because of the twisted reality I had to exist in, the web of lies that imprisoned me. Wives are convenient prisoners because they can produce new, little prisoners to abuse, in the form of children. Domestic abuse is, I think, about convenience. Wives and children are convenient victims for the enemy in a patriarchal society such as we live in (because that is who is really exalted in the minds of these abusers). The enemy wants to keep us there and will tell any old lie to do it. Christ is all powerful, so whose teaching is better to thwart than His? Whose teaching will have the most power once it’s bent out of shape? Christ’s. These ‘churches’ are bowing to the teaching of the enemy. I’m not sure how helpful this is, but I hope it’s at least a comfort that you are not alone and you are being prayed for.

  5. Ellie

    “Each marriage had a spiritual and eternal purpose that outweighs our own wants and needs.” Good grief. That sounds like Mormonism. Do the people who say these things ever listen to the words coming out of their mouths? Anon, I am sorry that you are having to attend a church that worships marriage instead of Christ. That’s just wrong.

  6. thepersistentwidow

    Anonymous, My heart goes out to you for the pain that you shared in this comment. I am glad that you are safe, but the teachings of that church are false. The reason that their teachings hurt you so is because you belong to Jesus and you are not hearing His voice. His sheep know His voice and you are one of His lambs. You know that the voice in that church is from a stranger.

    Unfortunately, that is what you can expect from some churches and Pastor Crippen does a valiant job of calling those pastors out as false teachers. There have been false teachers in the church since the times of the apostles so it is not surprising that they are still there, preaching false doctrine and hurting Christ’s people.

    We have a lot of resources here that I am sure will give you further validation. No Christian should be forced to submit to abuse in their marriage.

    Praying for you.

  7. Heather2

    Excellent, Barbara!

  8. Charis

    I read the affidavit in its entirety and was struck by how many similarities spoke to my own upbringing. I was raised, initially, in the Quaker/Friends denomination. When I became a teenager, my family moved to the remote countryside and began home-schooling; an illegal activity at the time that was somehow justified because God’s calling superseded authorities and the poison taught in schools. The isolation and cloak & dagger type of movements (even ridicule) was intense. My parents faced jail if caught and we kids faced foster placement if our parents were caught – yet all this was their calling from God. I remember, even then, the Homeschool Legal Defense, the “quiver-full” philosophy and the underground “hush-hush” hype around it as my mom eagerly read everything she could get her hands on…back in the early 1980’s. It would seem, the foundational philosophy has not changed…and it explains so much about my own journey into abuse, unidentified and unrecognized, at the hands of the church movement.

    Para 11: “There is a pervasive sense within Phillips’s tight circle of people that they are engaged in a cosmic war, and that they avoid contact with the government and other outside groups that might hold them accountable or ask questions.”

    I cannot tell you how often I heard that phrase. We were fighting a war and the battles we won today would turn the tide for those coming behind. There was definitely a sense of not being held accountable to “outside groups” – especially in the homeschool movement at that time as they fought to make it “legal” and eventually did so, testifying in the state Senate to be “heard.”

    Para 12: “Thus, a person within a total institution is cut off from the normal world entirely. As a closed and tightly knit unit of people, total institutions lead an enclosed and uniquely administered round of life that is peculiar to its own characteristics and beliefs.”

    The homeschooling movement was one instance of this. Being so far isolated out in the country, with only one family car, was another. Only socializing with “approved” friends and when I did – I got 20 questions from mom. Not kidding. We didn’t go so far as to live with those we schooled with nor did the men work together…it smacks of the “Total Institution” all the same. This social abuse continued when I married my husband. He systematically erased every friendship I had and refused to integrated or form new friendships once married. I lived in total and complete isolation for 8yrs. His goal in life was to quit his job, move to the mountain states, live in a log cabin and start a ministry…”so we could spend more time together.” Creepy….

    Para 13: “Seeking advice from others would have been labeled as gossip and
    treated as a very serious sin.”

    Yes, enough said. I could quote you chapter and verse – mostly from Proverbs – how we were silenced. Gossip was a huge deal in the churches I was raised.

    Para 22: “Most couples in Christian patriarchy and quiverfull circles don’t kiss before marriage, and some don’t even hold hands or embrace. Furthermore, this virginity is more than just physical; it is emotional as well. Girls are urged not to “give away pieces of their hearts” by becoming emotionally entangled with boys their age. Every teenage crush becomes suspect and dangerous. Dating is out of the question, as it is considered to be “practice for divorce.”

    This. Wow. Yes…kissing was a big deal. I remember living in fear of ever telling my mom I had a boyfriend because if I did, it better be “the one.” So, I simply avoided boys and dating. Dating was not encouraged for exactly the reason described. Instead, a “guard your heart” philosophy was held up as a template. I don’t know that everything here is spot-on in my experience…but it is eerily familiar to me. I do seem to recall hearing before that dating simply is practice for divorce.

    Para 25: “According to Phillips, women in the “exceptional state” of being unmarried may have “more flexibility,” but it is not the “ordinary and fitting role of women to work alongside men as their functional equals in public spheres of dominion.”

    This concept was definitely present – growing up and in the university where I earned my first degree and later worked for a short season. I don’t believe it was ever taught. The undercurrent was there. I still struggle to understand how that message got across. It just WAS. I still recall coming back to work at the university after I had stepped away from organized religion for a season. I was working as a firefighter/paramedic and had been for several years but was transitioning into nursing, going to school full-time and earning yet another degree – so working at the school assisted the transition. My first week there serving as an administrative assistant, I was expected (like all the other admins) to make coffee, fetch coffee and wash out the cups. I refused and said as much to my supervisor – who had no idea the admins (all female) were tasked that way. My words to him and the senior admin were: “If I was a man, would they still ask me to wash your cup?” At that same university, no woman holds the role of VP or President over a department although several teach in faculty positions.

    Para 27: “The husband and father is the head of the household, family leader, provider, and
    protector; the wife and mother, created to be a helper to her husband, is a bearer of
    children and a “keeper at home,” remaining in her God-ordained and proper sphere of
    dominion for a wife, the home. The children are to remain obedient to their parents, even
    as adults.”

    I remember going to university my freshman year and telling my mom I wanted to major in Biology/Pre-Med. I wanted to be an ER Trauma Doc. Her answer to me was “Why would you do such a thing? You’re just going to meet some nice young man, get married, have babies and stay home to raise them.” That ended the discussion. I mean…how can one argue against that logic? What no one knew is that I wouldn’t get married until I was 35 and struggle through infertility…plenty of time to establish a medical career and have the flexibility to “stay home” with my son.

    This second piece – staying obedient to parents as adults – has probably caused quite a bit of harm in the “leave and cleave” or even just natural progression of relationship. I’m sure it explains one way my mom still exerts power and control over me. I know I have work to do in this area; reading it here in the affidavit turned on the light bulb.

    Para 28: “Daughters aren’t to be independent. They’re not to act outside the scope of their father. As long as they’re under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify or not the oaths and the vows. Daughters can’t just go out independently and say, ‘I’m going to marry whoever I want.’ No. The father has the ability to say, ‘No, I’m sorry, that has to be approved by me.’”

    I lived in fear for years that whoever I dated had to “pass muster,” the bar had to be so high that there was no man on earth who could meet such high expectations. I earned a reputation for myself as impossible to date – having such high demands in a date. My other fear was that if I finally “fell in love” with someone my parents would find “something” to veto the relationship and I would be duty-bound to obey their wishes – and thus, heartbroken. As it was, they failed to see through my husband’s thin veneer and I ended up marrying an abusive/manipulative personality frankly similar to my mother.

    So many ways that Scripture has been misused or misinterpreted. I’m not even sure where to start. I don’t know what is my fault (did I hear it wrong), what is Satan’s work in the church, and what was meant for good but poorly worded. This affidavit brought many pieces to light in what I suppose would be spiritual abuse from my childhood. ??

    Sorting through it all will take work. This, too, I have asked help from my pastor. I listed these very topics months ago specifically by name with Scripture references and key questions as a way to start the conversation. He challenged me that I wasn’t really seeking answers but that I wanted someone to blame because of the deep pain I was experiencing from my husband’s betrayal. No…I seek answers and who better but a pastor to help me walk the path and not end up in a ditch? I suppose this is work I must do alone and trust that God, as faithful as ever, will be my guide.

    • Wow Charis! Good for you. And I don’t think you have to seek answers on your own. The Homeschoolers Anonymous site will have a lot to help you, I’m pretty sure, and whole community of recovering survivors of that total institution. Julie Anne’s website Spiritual Sounding Board, should have a link to it. Or just try google. 🙂

      Your pastor is, I believe, wrong to say you “just want someone to blame because of deep pain from your husband’s betrayal.” You were betrayed and abused by your husband; but your were ALSO abused in your childhood, in particular your mothers over the top control and the legalism of the home schooling subculture which was enforced on you as your entire world in that setup. You are quite right to seek understanding of both situations (your marriage and your childhood). Your pastor does not seem to have much of a clue about the damage that abusive ‘c’hristian cults have on people, especially children.

      • Charis

        I’ve not heard of either website; I’ll look into them. Thank you so much!

  9. Finding Answers

    From Barb’s original post: The loud boasts of folly, the promises of freedom, from the Doug Phillipses of this world have enticed regenerate (born again) but weak and unsteady souls into beliefs and practices that are way off beam from the pure and blessed truths of the rightly divided Word of God. And the unregenerate abusers and sociopaths — who the bible calls scoundrels — have been attracted, like bees to a honey pot, to the abundant male privilege rights and ‘c’hristian camouflage available in Christian Patriarchy.

    I have read this post and comments a number of times over the last few months, and finally see a larger pattern.

    The pieces are not all in one puzzle box, but are scattered. A few from one box, a few from the shadowy corner box, and some loose pieces from under the bed. Place James Bond style into a martini, shaken, not stirred.

    In my case, the initial weakening started with a nearly deadly childhood illness, followed by sibling sexual abuse, and supported by an entirely abusive family of origin. I use the terms “semi-secular, patriarchal, authoritarian household”, because the household circumstances did not fit neatly into any single category.

    There are pieces of Charis’ lengthy exposition on the affidavit that resonate with me, but not because I was home-schooled or as heavily restricted in other areas. The limitations were coercive, under the radar, unspoken. And the expectations of adult children remaining under “parental” control has led me to going No Contact.

    Barb’s blending of Lourdes’ story with Scripture, untwisting spun verbiage, the kaleidoscope turns.

    If one grows up in abusive circumstances, unaware they are abusive, there is no solid ground ground from which to be Berean in many aspects of life. Everything evaluated becomes twisted, not just Scripture or the understanding and knowledge of God.

    Just as Scripture is placed into context for greater clarity and understanding, so too is each individual victim / survivor. Words, silences, breaks in narrative. All speak volumes….

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  1. What the Apostle Peter says about Doug Phillips the false teacher and false prophet

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