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Wallace’s Story

Kris says:  Wallace submitted the following story.

“All sorrows could be borne if we tell a story about them or write them down”

Isak Dinesen

To blog critics and all others who assert that bringing these issues to the light somehow undermines or weakens the cause of Christ, we would say the behavior of some in the leadership of Sovereign Grace Ministries does far more damage to victims of abuse and to a watching world.

We share our story with the hope that those with similar experiences will be encouraged to write their own and bring it to the light.

My wife posted numerous times on the Survivor blog under the name “Happymom.”

We left the Sovereign Grace Fairfax church in May 2007 because of the overbearing emphasis on personal sin and the cross.

During 12 years as members of the Fairfax church, two of our children were sexually molested by two different people who attended the church.  The molestations did not occur on church property.  We had completely forgiven the perpetrators.   However, the subsequent mental and spiritual anguish we endured both times in dealing with members of the Fairfax staff motivate us to write and “tell it to the church.”

Here is a brief description of how Fairfax has in the past typically handled sex abuse issues in their church.   This depiction can be affirmed by numerous former members who have had similar experiences.   The perpetrator of a sex crime and his family were brought under the care of a pastor.   This would involve counseling, accountability sessions and possible minor restrictions regarding movement in the church during services.   People “at risk” were not notified.   The victim and victim’s family however were usually confronted with opposition from leadership by minimizing and/or invalidating particular aspects of the victim’s story.

In 1998, we discover our child (child-A) had been molested by a young man attending the Fairfax church.  We did not press charges and regretted this later on.  The father of the young man was initially uncooperative in dealing with the situation until Steve Shank stepped in to handle it.  This took place during the time frame Benny Phillips was stepping down from leadership.  Steve Shank addressed our sin and asked the young man to apologize.

We forgave him; however, with minor restrictions imposed by the staff, he continued to intimidate our child during Sunday services to the point where our child was fearful of going to church.  The pastors involved had little to say concerning this as it didn’t appear to be a priority for them.

In October 2007, we discover child-B had been molested.  The molestation had occurred 5 years earlier.  Our child revealed to us what had happened only after being hospitalized 7 days for cutting and suicidal thoughts.  We eventually found out through our child’s counseling sessions that fear and shame were the two main elements for not telling us about this sooner.   Cutting was our child’s way of dealing with misguided guilt and self-loathing.

We then contacted the Police Department and pressed charges.  The detective assigned to the case came to the house and listened to our child’s story.  The young man confessed the crime to pastor SW (CJ’s son-in-law). We were given the impression that pastor DH had also heard the confession.  Two and a half years later in March 2010, we were told he did not hear the confession.  Pastor LG (our brother-in-law) was also in the loop as we had asked him to supply information requested by the detective but no information was given.  Pastor LG said to me, “Have them send the request to us in writing.”  The detective told us later on that Fairfax had been “uncooperative” in the investigation…. a fact they later denied.

During the investigation, pastor DH told us they “had a dilemma” because they were caring for the young man and his family.  There was no visible concern shown during this time for our child by the staff including our brother-in-law and his family.  No inquiring phone calls or emails.  Our child had just been discharged from the hospital.  When you leave a Sovereign Grace church for disagreeing with or challenging leadership in any way, all relationships you once had there are severed.

Sometime during the following months, my wife noticed her sister (wife of pastor LG) not speaking about anything associated with our child’s legal case.  She would consistently change the subject when our child was mentioned.  This led to a meeting we initiated with pastor LG in January 2008.  As no other logical explanation for the silence could be seen, we asked him 3 times if he had advised his wife not to discuss with her sister our child’s case.  3 times he answered no.  We were told in a future meeting by pastor VH that pastor LG was in fact legally instructed to inform his wife not to discuss the case with her sister for 2 days so that the police could complete their investigation.  When this was brought up to the leadership, our questions were ignored.  Pastor LG lied to us and was not held accountable.

As a result of our own research we became aware of the fact that pastor LG’s wife was not covered under Virginia’s clergy privilege statute.  According to the legal process, she could have been liable for any information she had regarding the case, and therefore could have been called to testify in court on our child’s behalf.  Pastor LG (our child’s uncle) put great effort into avoiding this possibility.   The truth is that this scenario presented a conflict of interest to pastor LG and members of the Fairfax staff as they were caring for the young man and his family as pastor DH had mentioned.  Exactly why this presented a conflict is a mystery.

The trial took place in March 2008.  Prior to the trial, not knowing how the young man would plead, we asked pastor DH to come with pastor SW ready to give testimony on our child’s behalf if needed.  Pastor DH made it known to us they were not coming to the courthouse.  I explained to him if the young man pleaded not guilty, our child would then have to get up in front of the court and reveal the entire ordeal along with answering questions from the attorneys.  It didn’t matter, they still weren’t coming.  His response to us was, “I have my church’s reputation to consider.” Not sure what pastor DH meant by this statement.  In a future meeting with the Fairfax pastors, he claimed not remembering making the “church’s reputation” statement and had no recollection of emphasizing the fact that he wasn’t coming to the courthouse.  I called the detective and asked her to issue a subpoena for both pastors to appear in court.  Fairfax would later claim there was no need for us to request a subpoena because one had been issued months before.  It wouldn’t have made any difference if we knew this information or not.  Pastor DH expressed to us they weren’t coming.  They also stated in a future meeting they knew the young man would plead guilty therefore coming to the courthouse wasn’t necessary.  In reality, there was no way of knowing how he would plead.  Nevertheless, he was not held accountable for this and it was put back on us.

Pastor’s DH and SW were at the courthouse for the trial.  Pastor LG came a few minutes before the trial and left.  His wife did not come.  She also didn’t make any attempts to call her sister during the days leading up to the trial.  My wife was abandoned by her family.  The young man pleaded guilty to a felony.…. Our child did not have to get up and speak to the court.

A short time after the trial, my wife attempted to communicate to her sister the hurt, frustration and lack of care she experienced from her sister and family and it was put back on my wife.

What followed during the next 2 years included a series of meetings, phone calls and emails involving Fairfax and Covenant Life leadership, 2 mediators, and an SGM pastor from South Carolina.

In December 2008, our child (Child-A) now 18 at the time, was greatly affected by Noel’s story after reading it on the blogs.  Our adult child contacted CJ Mahaney and asked him what SGM had to say about this.  Not sure what the response was however, our adult child also described to CJ what our family had endured from the Fairfax staff and as a result a meeting was arranged.  We met with CJ and he listened to our story.  He was grieved by our experience and asked permission to contact the Fairfax staff.  We asked him if he had any knowledge of our story.  He said he did not.  Over the next few weeks we received emails from him, thanking us for the opportunity to talk to us.  He assured us that the Fairfax staff desired to meet and discuss these important issues with us.

In February 2009, the first meeting was set up at our church with 5 pastors from the Fairfax church, CJ, and a neutral third party attending on our behalf.  Two days before the meeting pastor LG appears at our door wanting to apologize to our child.  We had not seen nor heard from him or his family for 11 months.  We asked him what specifically he wanted to apologize for and couldn’t get a straight answer.  He wouldn’t answer our questions.  Given the state of emotional torment of our child and to block any further confusion, we decided it would not have been in our child’s best interest and said no.    

During the meeting, the pastors apologized for not caring for us and poor leadership but avoided our questions.  We left the meeting confused and with a new list of questions.  A few days later, we discovered that CJ had given our neutral third party a check for $5,000……. 

A short time after, CJ urged us to begin meeting with pastor MM to iron out our difficulties with pastor LG and his family.

It is important to mention here that although we agreed to meet with pastor MM, we were well aware of Fairfax’s intentions to separate the mishandled sex abuse issue from the personal concerns we had with Pastor LG.  The opportunity to minimize the situation to a “family disagreement” had presented itself.  They could now step away from the spotlight of “sex abuse issues in the Fairfax church and the way leadership typically responds,” and let the light shine elsewhere.

A number of unresolved issues with pastor LG going back many years still remain.  Some of which are extremely painful for my wife and me. However, in March 2009, we began meeting with pastor MM with hopes of seeing some accountability leading to possible reconciliation with pastor LG.  We presented pastor MM with a list of questions for pastor LG. After 4 months of meetings and numerous emails, none of our questions were answered.  At the final meeting pastor MM said to us, “I find pastor LG to be a man of integrity.” And then he dismissed us.  (Simple logic would say, if pastor LG is a man of integrity, we must be liars)  We were stunned….Fairfax had once again put the issue back on us.

In a future meeting with the pastors, pastor MM apologized for not answering our questions concerning pastor LG ….but still didn’t answer them.

We contacted CJ and expressed our dissatisfaction with the meetings and final conclusion.  He suggested Peacemakers.  We declined.  He then offered to have SGM pastor JB from South Carolina step into the arena.  Our options were diminishing but we were not going to walk away from this.  For the next 8 months we spoke to pastor JB on the phone at least twice a month.  Our conversations focused on the “family disagreement,” and Fairfax’s response to sex abuse.  We had many questions regarding both topics.  Questions that had already been asked a number of times and not answered.  During our many conversations with Pastor JB, he assured us that Fairfax would now be handling sex abuse related issues differently.  After 8 months our questions for pastor LG and a few hard questions for Fairfax were still not answered.

There never were any changes made in how they handle sex abuse…our story proves the point.

In March 2010, a second meeting with Fairfax leadership had taken place.  Kenneth Maresco, Pastor JB, and Jim P., moderator for the SGM Refuge blog were also present.  We requested that pastor LG attend as well, but he declined. When questioned about this beforehand, pastor LG said, “I do not think my presence in the meeting would be helpful.” And Fairfax backed him up on this. The meeting was arranged in part as a follow-up from our time on the phone with pastor JB.  Some of our questions were answered however, a few of pastor JB’s answers had suggested that everything was just a big misunderstanding; that somehow we misinterpreted or perhaps judged motives incorrectly regarding both pastor LG and the Fairfax staff.  Also in this meeting pastor DH forgets important information and pastor VH reveals that pastor LG was in fact legally advised by their attorney’s back in October 2007.  But in the January 2008 meeting as mentioned above, pastor LG told us 3 times he did not tell his wife not to discuss our child’s case with her sister.  And Fairfax was ok with this.

In the same meeting the pastor’s would not let us ask any questions related to pastor LG. It appeared they did not want to deal with the fact that he had lied to us. However, they did want to apologize a second time for not caring for us and poor leadership.  We accepted their apologies but there were still unanswered questions.  But one hard question was answered; my wife asked pastor MM why they do not warn people at risk when a known sex felon is in their church. His response was, “that perpetrator could grow up and sue us for defamation of character.”  So in pastor MM’s mind, the possibility of being sued sometime in the future takes precedence over protecting children from known sex offenders.

An obvious pattern can be seen throughout the story; the pastors were eager to apologize for not caring for us and poor leadership expecting us to forgive, but they would not answer our hard questions.  And for some reason they were protecting pastor LG from having to account for the issues we presented.  Our forgiveness was premature.

In May 2010, we accused pastor LG of lying, specifically but not limited to the January 2008 meeting we had with him, and 2 consecutive apology letters he had written that were filled with deceptive statements.  This led to an “accusation against an elder.”  Fairfax’s solution to this was to hire an outside third party mediator to settle things. A professional conciliatory Christian mediator.  He was thoroughly impressed with the fact that CJ Mahaney was involved with this.  We reluctantly agreed to do this and had regrets later on.  I challenged Fairfax to show us where in the bible do we find that an accusation against an elder is brought to an outside mediator who gets paid for his services?  They ignored the question.  They were steadfast in maintaining that the struggles we had with the church and pastor LG stay separate and confined to a “family disagreement.” The reality is Fairfax had relinquished their responsibility in dealing with an accusation against an elder so they could walk away from the entire situation.  Maybe they were afraid of uncovering pastor LG’s pattern of deception.  We had 2 sessions totaling 9 hours in which pastor LG persisted in avoiding our questions and claimed not remembering key facts.  The mediator’s summation at the end was that pastor LG had not been deceptive and that we were “sinfully craving answers” according to James chapter 4.  We were put in the same category as murderer’s and idolaters!

How did we end up here?

We started out down this road as parents of 2 children who were molested and ended up being thrown into the ring with murderer’s and idolaters!

Only SGM could orchestrate something like this…..

Fairfax was indifferent to the fact that we disagreed with the mediator’s conclusions.    

In June 2010, we had our 3rd and final meeting with Fairfax, initiated by Kenneth Maresco and pastor JB as a follow-up to the March 2010 meeting.  Kenneth Maresco was not happy with the pastor’s apologies in the March meeting.   Apparently they needed to be a little more sincere.  They were given the opportunity to apologize once again for the same things they had previously apologized for, not caring for us and poor leadership.  But this time, the apologies were more detailed.

A short time after the meeting, our final interaction with SGM was at hand.  As a last ditch attempt to at least work out our family difficulties, I asked pastor LG if he would agree to meet with us and another SG pastor. He said, “that aint happening.” And Fairfax backed him up on this. We wanted a person he worked with to witness his response to our questions. We asked CJ, Kenneth Maresco, and pastor VH to intervene and be the witness and they all declined.

Pastor LG’s evasive behavior supported by a shield of protection from Fairfax is a symptom of a much deeper problem in their governmental structure…

The Fairfax church has a history of treating victims of sex abuse and their families in similar ways mentioned in our story.  We know 2 other cases and have talked with someone who mentioned knowing 5… all involving the Fairfax church.  Noel and Grizzly were told by pastor MM their story had inconsistencies… “Inconsistency” is an SGM euphemism for lying.  What pastor MM really meant to say was Noel and Grizzly were lying.

In the minds of SGM leadership they hear from God and tell us what God is saying.  If what ordinary people discern fails to line up with their program, they are dismissed.  This way of thinking allows them to continuously reinforce their spiritual agenda on a congregation conditioned to think they are being truly humble by accepting this.  Where in the New Testament do we find this type of church government?

***

“Who can endure a doctrine which would allow only dentists to say whether our teeth were aching, only cobblers to say whether our shoes hurt us, and only governments to tell us whether we were being well governed?”                                                                               C.S. Lewis

Summary:

The faith and well-being of child-B had been severely affected by the molestation and 3 year ordeal with SGM.  Our child’s professional counselors have documented the adverse affects of family abandonment and how this contributes to thoughts of guilt and shame in a young child’s mind.  Our child’s perception of a loving God had been distorted.

My wife feels the pain of family abandonment plus the abandonment of a church she was a part of for 12 years.

Child-A is grown up and doing very well.

For some reason Fairfax had chosen not to deal directly and not dig deeper into the claims we made concerning pastor LG.  He was not held accountable for lying to us.  Fairfax hired a mediator who ultimately made the decision as to who was lying and who was telling the truth.

A few of the pastors expressed genuine sorrow for the way our child and my wife and I were treated.  Their apologies are nullified because in the end we were the one’s “sinfully craving answers” – murderers and idolater’s according to the paid mediator’s assessment.

We assumed Fairfax was in agreement with this.

Fairfax would say our questions for pastor LG were answered.  Here’s the problem; we weren’t there to hear his answers….  They were now finally able to close the door and move on to more important things.

The Fairfax staff told us they have made significant changes in the way they now handle sex abuse issues in their church.  Assuming this is true, we applaud their efforts.

The question is how will Fairfax handle their past failures?  Will they publicly confess their past sin before our family and the other families who have been hurt by their failure to lead, care, and protect, or will they remain silent and hope no one else comes forward.  Will any restitution be made to the families involved?

In light of the damage done, has anyone involved disqualified themselves from professional ministry?

The clergy privilege statute exempts church leadership in Virginia from having to divulge any information to the authorities regarding sex crimes committed by church members.  We had contacted a Virginia state senator who had been in the process of pursuing legislation to change this law.

The actions of Fairfax leadership in handling sex abuse in their church are good examples why this law needs to be changed.  The senator from Virginia heard our story and agreed.

606 comments to Wallace’s Story

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  1. Pia
    April 8th, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Thank you, Wallace and Happymom, for having the courage to tell us your whole story. As I said in one of my last posts, I have been watching this system and those involved for 25 years now, from a starry-eyed hero-worshipping Christian newbie who poured herself into PDI/SGM and bought everything they had to offer– hook, line and sinker–to one who is just so so so sick and tired of all the lies and deception and obvious lack of true Christian concern and empathy for the wounded and the hurting. How far the yeast of the Pharisees has spread in this system! You might be interested to read my friend’s book “Kicked Out of Church” written by Darla Hannah Melancon. Her son was also molested by a church member and instead of protecting him, the family and other kids at the church–the senior pastor, Che Ahn (who once led a PDI church and actually helped start PDI)and other leaders showed more interest in helping the perpetrator and keeping the whole matter “hushed up” than anything else. When Darla and her family refused to simply “forgive and move on” (which was hard to do because the perpretrator was hardly disciplined and was allowed to continue attending church), the solution was to fire Darla and her husband (who were both on church staff) and kick them out. I am so so sorry for what you and your whole family went through, Wallace and Happymom. I pray that you find healing in this place and eventually find a church that truly cares and does not shoot its wounded. Meanwhile, know God is near and is not turning a blind eye to your pain…He looks at you with laser-beam eyes full of healing and love and says, “Don’t worry…I got you now!”

  2. acme
    April 8th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I am so sorry, Wallace and Happymom.

    I just don’t see the sin of “craving answers” in the Bible — it’s certainly not in the big 10 that Moses brought down from the mountain top. Must be in one of the lost books — 1st or 2nd Pharisees or something.

  3. Kris
    April 8th, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    If “craving answers” = “sin,” then you’d think God would have reprimanded guys like Moses and Job and some of the others who questioned or actually even argued with Him.

    I’m still trying to wrap my thoughts around the idea that CJ gave Wallace and Happymom’s impartial third party a check for $5,000.

    We all know – no matter how much CJ tries to prove his humility by making self-deprecating cracks about his lack of formal education – that CJ is nothing if not smart. So what was he thinking when he engineered that donation? He simply HAD to have known how inappropriate such a gesture was. And yet he did it anyway. How desperate must he be, to do something so inappropriate in a last-ditch effort to buy off an impartial third party?

    Crazy. Absolutely crazy.

  4. Lynn
    April 8th, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Happy mom and Wallace,

    I’m so sorry for what has happened to you. I do hope you have found a good church.

  5. Ellie
    April 8th, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Thank you so much for telling your story, Wallace. I pray this gives others the courage to come forth, so that justice will come about in this whole situation and no more children are hurt in Fairfax or any other SGM church.

    BTW: what’s the story behind CJ’s $5000 “donation”? Did you learn about this right away? Did CJ just slip this person the check & not say anything?

  6. Ellie
    April 8th, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    sin of “craving answers” = more of SGM’s twisted theology

    More smoke and mirrors and whacked out logic.

  7. Sidney
    April 8th, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks, Wallace and Happymom. Your courage is evident.

    Do you know if the payoff was before or after the meetings?

    Did they ever offer a payoff to you guys?

    Sid

  8. Kris
    April 8th, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Sidney,

    I think it’s important for us to keep in mind that Wallace himself did not call CJ’s donation to their impartial third party a “payoff.”

    From what I understand, it was presented to the third party as a donation or offering.

    (But…it doesn’t take much to put two and two together and come up with four, if you know what I mean.)

  9. Squirrel (Roadwork's Wife)
    April 8th, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    This is UNBELIEVABLE! Though I do believe you. We were at Fairfax for 11 years and was there part of the time you were. I remember you, though I can’t identify myself right now. We are still at an SGM church, but have been going though a process of God leading us to leave. I have felt we should give them our observations about some of the things wrong, but everyone we have talked to that we knew who has left advises us to leave as quietly as possible.
    Anyway I really want to express my sorrow and love toward you for what you have been through and especially the way your own family treated you. That is unbelievable! I will pray for you and your child that God will heal and restore you. I hope you are in a good church now where you can be ministered to. I don’t know what else to say. The $5k is also unbelievable! And the sinfully craving answers, :scratch

  10. Seeking Truth
    April 8th, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Happy mom and Wallace I am so sorry for what happen to you and your children! It makes me so angry that so called godly leaders would treat you in such a godless fashion!! It’s so wrong.Those of you who attend a SGM church should be very concerned. Hopefully you want buy into the crap that you shouldn’t question your leaders and follow whatever they say.For heavens sake get your head out of the sand and hold them accountable for all those they have allowed to be victimized and then victimized themselves.CJ $5000.isn’t nearly enough,but I guess you have to keep it low because if you gave all your victims that amount ,since there are so many of them,SGM just might go bankrupt.

  11. red crab
    April 8th, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    This is just so sad to read Wallace and Happy mom. I had a hard time reading it in one sitting. I am so sorry for what your family has had to endure. Thank you for your courage in writing this. God can not be mocked and those who are responsible for cover ups will be shown in the light in His time.
    Just before I read this, ABC news had a show on tonight about the AFB churches and one church in particular that covered up sexual abuse. It was also on 20/20 as well. I hope that God is bringing more and more of this to light. After the article in the Post I hope there will be no rock large enough for these churches to hide under anymore.

    Here is the link if anyone wants to see it.
    http://abcnews.go.com/2020/teen-rape-victim-forced-confess-church/story?id=13299135

  12. Lynn
    April 8th, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    not to change the subject, but on 20\20 there is a special on spiritual abuse and the are talking about IFB churches. Maybe this is a sign that maybe someone from sgm will contact 20\20 and tell them their story.

  13. 5yearsin PDI
    April 8th, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    I am so so so sorry for all you have been through. Thank you for speaking up.

    What wickedness, to put reputation ahead of a suffering child. I know a few folks don’t like the word “sociopathy” being tossed around on this blog, but the lack of empathy, the lack of remorse, the lies, and claiming to forget what was said, are all so typical.

    May the Lord work this for great ultimate good. The Redeemer can take even the worst things and work them somehow into blessing, but it is oh so sad that you all had to go through this. Prayers for you all tonight.

    I had to look up James 4. Ahh….

    “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.”

    OK, now I understand why you are murderers. Forgive me, I cracked up laughing out loud when I looked at that scripture. Talk about completely botched hermaneutics (bible interpretation).

    SGM….Ugh.

  14. b.anon
    April 8th, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Hi all. I just finished watching the 20/20 documentary on IFB churches which I was apart of before I joined my current SGM church. And I have to say that It sounds just like what everyone has been saying on this site. I’ve been reading this blog for a few months and I even commented. But I’m still torn, on one hand my heart goes out to everyone who has experienced abuse and control, and on the other hand when I go to church, I’m convinced that God is moving there. Like I said I went to a loving IFB church and I dont think they would have handled those situations in that way. I guess I’m hoping that my church would act differently. Even if they don’t I wouldn’t agree not to press charges with any case of abuse. I guess what I’m saying is that I have to see it for myself. I think things should be weighed on an individual basis. I feel that God has placed my family in certain churches for a certain season under certain leadership. I wouldn’t attend just any IFB church or any SGM or whatever denomination/Non-denomination. But I will start keeping my eyes open. Thank you to everyone here who has shared your experiences.

  15. Luna Moth
    April 8th, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Wallace and happymom, I am so sorry to hear about this. I can feel the sadness and frustration and futility of your attempts to get answers. You tried so hard.

    Feeling so sad.

  16. renee
    April 9th, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Wallace and Happy Mom —

    I’m just so sorry and disgusted for you. I have no words.

    You’re brave people. Thank you.

  17. Ellie
    April 9th, 2011 at 1:05 am

    Like I said I went to a loving IFB church and I dont think they would have handled those situations in that way. I guess I’m hoping that my church would act differently.

    You know, a child I know was abused in another denomination and it wasn’t handled in the best way. I said to my pastor, “I’m so glad my children are here at SGM because SGM is based on being “men of integrity”. And now I’ve found out how these “men of integrity” act when a child is abused. Some of these abusers were at Celebration conferences where my kids were at and we went to a different church, so it wouldn’t have mattered that I trusted the leadership at MY church at the time.

    Your SGM church won’t act in a vacuum if one of your children would be abused. You can bet there is most likely a protocol to be followed & I would imagine it involves the higher-ups & legal advice. (not for the abused & their family but for the church)
    You can “hope” all you want, but don’t count on your church “acting differently”. I NEVER thought this kind of thing would have happened in these churches. And I sure didn’t think the leaders would act the way they have to little children being abused. :(

  18. Nickname
    April 9th, 2011 at 5:00 am

    I haven’t been able to sleep tonight after reading Wallace’s story, so I’ve been praying, thinking, praying thinking….
    This is huge. HUGE. I’m flabbergasted that the head of this “family of churches” did not know about this public-record felony conviction until after the trial. This is the guy who supposedly loves, talks sports with, “cares for” (exactly what is that supposed to mean?) and “watches over the souls” of the pastors. Why weren’t they on the horn to him at the first inkling of a sex abuse situation saying, “Oh, man, we’re in deep water here – help – what would Jesus do?” Or even, “Ah, heads up, CJ. You might see something about us in the papers, and it’s not pretty…”

    Molestation in churches is rampant these days. (This statement is not meant to normalize or minimize. In fact, just the opposite. It should horrify.) Every church or denomination needs to sit down right now and write plans and procedures for what they’re gonna do when this stuff happens, because there’s no longer any “IF” involved. Churches are safe hunting grounds for predators, partly because this stuff gets swept under the rug. We’ve got to change that.

    Way back when the very first abuse situation reared it’s ugly head, SGM should’ve begun an in-depth study of the subject , then should’ve implemented a policy that prevents occurrences, protects victims, provides counseling to victims, perps, families, and those tertiary to the situation who are also damaged and confused. But they’ve been too busy, I guess, making modesty lists . Fiddling while Rome burns.

    The modesty-list mentality is part and parcel of the “blame the victim” behavior. Instead of realizing that lust is the sin of the one who lusts, and urging him to take every thought captive to Jesus, they blame somebody’s figure and the outfit that surrounds it. So, with that kind of warped thinking, it follows logically that they might believe, at some level, that a sex abuse victim was somehow immodest, which enticed the abuser to sin. Plain and simple, victim’s fault. This is dangerous thinking, friends. It made my skin crawl to type this paragraph.

    There were three situations in another Virginia SGM church where the police were immediately called. Perps were not allowed to come back to church for the protection of the victims. All three served jail time; two are locked up for a long, long time. These situations happened long before Noel’s and Wallace’s situations – these earlier crimes could’ve been used as case studies for what should or should not be done in future situations. But I wonder if Fairfax ever knew what had happened at other churches ? The no-gossip/slander misinterpretation served to preserve ignorance, and likely enabled boldness among perps who could be pretty confident they wouldn’ t be talked about. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE TALKED ABOUT. We need to teach kids to scream bloody murder if anyone makes an inappropriate move toward them. We need to teach kids that they can’t touch other kids. We need for pastors to say, “If you’re entertaining any idea of doing something weird to one of our kids, best take that thought captive to Jesus, or we’ll see that you get locked up. “

    Congregations need to be educated. Pastors ought to get on their blogs and in their pulpits and say something like, “We’ve got problems, folks. We live in a fallen world, and sadly, the church is not immune to criminal behavior. Here’s what we’re going to do if anyone commits abuse. First, the victims will be loved, protected, & counseled at all costs by people who specialize in this kind of counseling. They will not be shunned. They will always be considered faultless in the situation. They will not be put in the position to ever have to encounter their abusers again. Second, perps will be prosecuted. They will be loved and counseled, but they will be prosecuted and if necessary, removed from society so that they will not harm anyone else. Until such time as they are incarcerated, they will be excluded from meetings of this church for the protection of the victims. Forgiveness will be extended, but re-establishment of trust will take a lifetime – they will not be restored to any ministry within the church. Let this serve as notice to you that if you commit abuse against any child anywhere, you forfeit your right to be part of this particular church. We’re going to be honest and forthcoming with appropriate information. We’ll provide counselors who specialize in abusive situations for anyone who has been affected by the situation…..”

    Surely, some church, some counselor, somewhere has come up with a written policy manual on how to handle abuse cases. If anyone knows of something like this, please tell us. Until then, the Fairfax case is a sure example of what NOT to do.

    Wallace and Happymom – my heart aches that you’ve had to go through the nightmare of molestation, let alone the estrangement of family and those you trusted as friends. God bless you – I pray that He’ll restore your family relationships, and give peace to the children who were harmed. I’m thankful that in spite of it all, you can still call yourself a happy mom.

  19. A Kindred Spirit
    April 9th, 2011 at 8:12 am

    “I’m thankful that in spite of it all, you can still call yourself a happy mom.”

    Nickname, I agree. I have thought that since first reading Happymom’s mention of the molestation. Praise God that He has sustained Happymom and her family through this HORRID ordeal.

  20. A Kindred Spirit
    April 9th, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Wallace,

    Thank you for having the courage to post your story publicly. That’s the hardest – to relive it through the “telling.” I pray that the “telling” will continue to help you and your family heal.

    Praise God that you did not leave the faith! To be honest, I’m not sure how I would handle such a horrible experience. I deeply admire you guys.

    We have close family members who shun us because we disagree with their “arrogant-legalistic-condemning-faith.” The pain from their shunning is almost unbearable for us. We were an EXTREMELY close family. I simply cannot imagine the pain you guys have felt, and continue to feel, from your family’s response. What kind of “hold” can a church or belief system have on people that would cause them to do such horrible things to their own flesh and blood? It has to be straight from the pit of hell!

    Please know that I am praying for you all, ESPECIALLY your children.

    With deepest sympathy,
    Kindred

  21. Kris
    April 9th, 2011 at 9:03 am

    When I got to the point in Wallace’s story where he describes how the SGM pastors said that his and Happymom’s quest for answers was a “sinful craving,” I remembered something that might help those of us on the outside of SGM to make a little more sense of what happened to them.

    Check out this transcript of a teaching CJ gave to Pastors College students and their wives.

    SGM pastors are taught the principle that “all conflicts are caused by ‘sinful cravings.’” Therefore, if you go to an SGM pastor for help with a problem that you have with another person, you will automatically be directed to examine your own “sinful cravings” that might have contributed to the problem or conflict. It doesn’t matter if the conflict is caused by one party in the relationship committing a crime against the other – in the SGM mindset, there literally can be no victims. In the SGM mindset, “all conflicts are caused by sinful cravings,” so therefore, all parties involved in a conflict must have contributed to the breakdown of the relationship.

  22. Kris
    April 9th, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Here is another series of observations that will help to shed light on the way that SGM pastors treat victims:

    Awhile back, someone – and for the life of me, I can’t remember precisely who – posted a very insightful comment about Noel’s story and why it seems that SGM pastors tend to side with the perps more than the victims. I just spent several minutes searching through the old comments in a vain attempt to find the particular one I’m thinking of, but since it’s not coming up easily, I’ll see if I can try to recapture what the person wrote, because I really believe that they were onto something.

    Deeply embedded in the SGM mindset are some assumptions:

    1. All sins are just as vile in the eyes of God.

    2. One of the clearest signs of “rebellion” is when a person sees himself as an injured party, because no injury that can be perpetrated against the person could ever surpass the horror that the person’s own sin is in the eyes of God.

    3. The clearest sign of a “repentant” person is eager confession of wrongdoing.

    Taking those three SGM assumptions, let’s examine Noel’s pastors’ response to her family’s situation. In light of these assumptions, I think we can more clearly understand a bit of what went through those pastors’ minds as they offered more sympathy and support to the perp rather than the victims. Even though the pastoral responses are basically incomprehensible to a normal person, they sort of start to make sense when you think of it in this way:

    Because of SGM’s belief that each of us must always be “the worst sinner that we ourselves know,” we basically give up our rights to ANY victimhood, no matter how heinous the crime committed against us.

    In other words, even though what happened to Noel’s family was absolutely horrific, SGM’s foundational teachings would say that Noel’s only legitimate “biblical” response would be to examine her own sinfulness and see herself as “the worst sinner” she knows. Her pastors would see it as their duty to direct Noel’s attention first of all to her own indwelling sin, her own wretchedness in God’s eyes. I believe they sincerely think that this is “bringing the Gospel into” everything they do. For them, “the Gospel” is firstly and foremostly about our own sin.

    But instinctively, we know that something is jacked up in this view. God’s own Word would tell us that He does see some sins as having broader and more lasting consequences than other sins. Yes, all sin is an abomination in God’s eyes…theoretically. But we all know the REALITY, that if I go out and kill someone, there are far more ramifications all the way around than if I lie by calling in sick to work one day when I’m not actually sick and just want to go shopping with my friends. Both the murder and the lie are sins in God’s eyes and both are wretched, but if you lie to me, I’m probably going to be less upset than if you kill someone near and dear to me.

    In SGMville, though, this normal human reaction – one that the even the Bible would seem to support, if you examine how God outlined so many very specific laws and guidelines governing behavior for Old Testament Israel – is circumvented. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been the victim of a liar or a murderer. In your SGM pastor’s mind, you’ve got NO RIGHT to see yourself as a victim, of any sort. In order to “bring the Gospel in,” they’re duty-bound to remind you of your own sinfulness, like it’s some sort of tonic for the normal grief that you might feel because of the ramifications of the sin that was perpetrated against you…like somehow, if I as the victim can just focus on my own badness, I’ll forget that someone molested my child.

    So OK. In SGMville, all sins are created equal.

    Now, enter the perp. Perp expresses sorrow and remorse for his sin. He truly IS the “worst sinner that he knows,” so such a mindset comes easily and naturally to him. In the eyes of his SGM pastors, he automatically then becomes the “more righteous” person, since his response is the only “truly biblical” repsonse that they can find acceptable.

    It gets worse if the victim stands up for himself/herself in any fashion. SGM pastors immediately see this as unforgiveness, which of course is a sin, which then makes the victim even WORSE than the remorseful (and therefore righteous) perp.

    Again, I did not think of this myself. Someone else initially posted these general thoughts. But I thought these were some brilliant observations that did far more to shed light on Noel’s pastors’ really twisted and bizarre behavior than just about anything else.

    To me, this helps to make sense of why, in SGMville, the victims are minimized while the perps are protected. It’s because in SGMville, the only thing that is really righteous is seeing oneself as “the worst sinner one knows.” If one has had a crime – particularly a heinous crime like child abuse – perpetrated against one, there is NO HONEST WAY that one can authentically and enthusiastically embrace “worst sinner” status in one’s thinking. One instinctively knows that someone else’s sin (in this case, one’s perp’s sin) is greater than one’s own sin. So one naturally raises objections to embracing “worst sinner” status.

    SGM pastors sense this and seem to hone in on it, interpreting standing up for oneself as a sign of pride and sin and unforgiveness.

    Meanwhile, the perp is over in his corner crying his genuine tears of sorrow. Because he truly IS the “worst sinner he knows” at that moment, he is more righteous, and hence more worthy of protection.

    Yes. I know. :spin

  23. A Kindred Spirit
    April 9th, 2011 at 9:21 am

    You nailed it, Nickname!!

    The modesty-list mentality is part and parcel of the “blame the victim” behavior. Instead of realizing that lust is the sin of the one who lusts, and urging him to take every thought captive to Jesus, they blame somebody’s figure and the outfit that surrounds it. So, with that kind of warped thinking, it follows logically that they might believe, at some level, that a sex abuse victim was somehow immodest, which enticed the abuser to sin. Plain and simple, victim’s fault. This is dangerous thinking, friends. It made my skin crawl to type this paragraph.

    I also think the weird/whacked teachings on the way the opposite sex should interact with one another affects singles and the kids growing up in SGM and churches/families like SGM. It affects their relational skills. A friend and I just had this conversation yesterday.

    I find it interesting that you can observe young children being naturally attracted to the opposite sex. At times they even play and interact in such a way that reflects the fact that they know there’s a difference. Yet SGM (and those like them) teach that such attraction is wrong, and to guard against any desire to interact with the opposite sex (rather than as you would with a brother or sister) until you’re ready for marriage (a marriage that preferably comes as soon as possible).

    The flirty interaction you observe going on between the opposite sex is normal, folks.

  24. A Kindred Spirit
    April 9th, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Excellent, Kris!

    I have to run for now so I don’t have time to comment on your #21 & #22. I look forward to reading people’s thoughts.

  25. 5yearsin PDI
    April 9th, 2011 at 9:38 am

    “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

    Excellent post nickname!!!!!!!

    kris- good link. You post some comments about Noel’s situation soon after the main post and it is striking how much of a repeat the response to this situation is.

  26. Remnant
    April 9th, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Wallace and Happymom, I am sorrowed and shocked at what you have suffered at the hands not only of the evil-doing molesters but at the hands of so-called pastors who preach that they stand in the stead of God, keeping watch over you. Evil men. Each and every weenie who knows not the righteousness of a Holy God.

    Appalling behavior by these boys playing “pastor.”

    Boys playing church and mocking the Lord with their crafty manipulation.

    Boys pretending to be “he-men” protectors who protect not women and children but rather give asylum to child molesters and rapists.

    Boys pandering instead of preaching Truth, bowing to the house of CJ Mahaney instead of to the holy throne of God.

    Woe to those boys for Jesus is able to see their mockery of His Holiness and He declares that He loves righteousness and hates wickedness. If those boys sought after God, they would know the heart of Jesus, they would be knocking at your doors begging forgiveness, setting records straight, mourning over the hurt they perpetrate, shouting it from the pulpit, fasting and praying, repenting of deceit and incompetence.

    Hebrews 1:8 “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

    God is not mocked.
    He is the healer of the broken-hearted who are hurt by the hands of boys playing games.

  27. Kris
    April 9th, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Here is yet more exploration of the mindset of SGM pastors…

    SGMers – particularly SGM pastors – believe that a pastor’s primary duty is to “bring the Gospel into” everything. Everything an SGM pastor does ought to be “Gospel-driven.” Every interaction an SGM pastor has must be “about the Gospel,” first and foremost.

    To Bible-believing Christians on the outside of SGM (including all those who look up to SGM and CJ), this can sound great. To the Christians inside SGM, it has become a huge selling point, a point of pride for them.

    And yet…

    Well, in a peculiar way, the concept of “bringing the Gospel into everything” has become mind-numbing shorthand. It has become simplistic and reductionistic because of the aspects of “the Gospel” that SGM chooses to emphasize.

    In SGMville, “the Gospel” has been boiled down to drumming up a sense of the magnitude of our sinfulness, so that we can then appreciate “the Savior’s” death on our behalf. I think that CJ (and his followers) believe that a pastor’s job is to “care” for people by driving them to appreciate Christ’s death on their behalf. If people would just get to the point of understanding the magnitude of their own badness and the magnitude of what “the Savior” did for them, this thinking goes, then everything else in their lives – all other pains and problems – will recede, and they will have their minds aligned with God’s truth.

    But while this sort of abstract thinking about our sin and “the Savior” is NOT, in and of itself, WRONG or untrue, focusing on such a sin-oriented “gospel” and obsessing over injecting some kind of formula into every single human interaction creates pastors who lose their ability to simply relate honestly to people.

    Rather than simply interacting with and relating to the people whom God places in their paths, SGM pastors have been trained to reduce everything – as quickly as possible – down to the process of trying to help people drum up a greater understanding of their own personal sinfulness.

    It’s interesting to me how this supposed “Gospel” focus can actually create mind-numbed pastoral robots.

  28. Kris
    April 9th, 2011 at 10:31 am

    And here’s yet more. (Sorry…Wallace’s story has opened the floodgates of my thinking today.)

    I think another of SGM’s issues is that an over-emphasis on “the local church” has caused SGM leaders to blur the lines between “promoting the gospel” and “promoting their churches.” In many of these men’s minds, it has become logical to do whatever it takes to promote and protect SGM…because the “local church” is the only acceptable venue for “the gospel.” I think a good case could be made (a case I don’t have the time at the moment to make) for the idea that because of all that SGM believes and teaches about the importance and primacy of the “local church” in a believer’s life, anything that might detract from the “local church” or make “the local church” look bad is…well, it’s (in their thinking) bad for “the gospel.”

    So, in the case of what happened to Wallace and Happymom, their SGM pastors responded the way they did because they believed that anything that would reflect badly on their “local church” and themselves as pastors would detract from “the gospel.”

    Because in the SGM mindset, “the gospel” IS the “local (SGM) church.”

    We see this mentality at work in how “missions” funds have been used to pay for church buildings. We see this mentality at work in the way that being part of an SGM church plant is viewed as “sacrificing for the gospel.”

    In the SGM mindset, “promoting the gospel” is mostly about promoting SGM.

    So anything that might make SGM look bad would (in these guys’ minds) make the gospel look bad.

    That’s why Wallace and Happymom were told,

    Pastor DH made it known to us they were not coming to the courthouse. I explained to him if the young man pleaded not guilty, our child would then have to get up in front of the court and reveal the entire ordeal along with answering questions from the attorneys. It didn’t matter, they still weren’t coming. His response to us was, “I have my church’s reputation to consider.”

    In Pastor DH’s mind, his church’s reputation really was that important…because “his church” IS an extension of the “gospel” that SGM preaches.

  29. Fred
    April 9th, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Happy Mom and Wallace, Thank you for sharing your horrific story. Thank you for stepping out in courage and boldness to confront the wickedness and evil that is lurking behind the doors of SGM. I pray that God totally and completely heals your family and that our Almighty God brings justice to the crimes committed against your children. It is a travesty that the very shepherds who were supposedly “called” to protect and care for God’s children, your children, actually abused and mauled them making their wounds and injuries even deeper. The fact that your own family treated you this way, choosing SGM over their very own family, points again to the cultish nature of this movement. I am so very sorry that this happened to your children, to you their parents, and to your whole family. Words cannot adequately describe what I am feeling right now.

    Your story continues to confirm what we observed in the Chesapeake church. It also confirms what we have heard from good friends in other SGM churches across the U.S. The patterns of behavior by the pastors are way too similar to discount as story after story across the U. S. is the same: the perpetrator is taken under the wings of the leadership with care and concern and the victim is the one whipped and forced to look at their own sin. Ulitmately, the victim is the one found guilty, rejected and shunned. One must believe that the pastors have been trained to handle situations in this manner because words, behavior, and actions are so very similar in case after case.

    Sweeping this under the carpet just doesn’t get it. CJ paying the neutral party $5,0000 is more evidence of the corruption that is abounding within SGM. Again, I am so sorry. “Vengeance is mine,” saith the Lord.

  30. Lynn
    April 9th, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I was thinking. Some people may think this sight is slander. But if you were looking to buy a new car or a new phone, wouldn’t you look at the reviews for it before investing into it. I wish I would have known about this website long before. Also, they always seem to criticize Joel Osteen all the time. Sorry for this rant but that was on my mind.

  31. keepinstep
    April 9th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Kris, thanks for clearly stating the SGM gospel that would be unrecognizable to Jesus, Paul or Peter:

    “‘Bringing the gospel into everything’ has become simplistic and reductionistic because of the aspects of ‘the Gospel’ that SGM chooses to emphasize. In SGMville, ‘the Gospel’ has been boiled down to drumming up a sense of the magnitude of our sinfulness, so that we can then appreciate ‘the Savior’s’ death on our behalf.”

    Wallace & happymom: did the $5,000 check come from an SGM, CLC or C.J. Mahaney bank account? What was the explanation given for the check? Was the check cashed or returned uncashed? Did Mahaney offer any similar check to anyone else in this miserable affair?

    So much more to say, but the entire story is nauseating in the extreme. How can these men look themselves in the mirror daily, let alone believe they have any right to teach others what is (or is not) the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

  32. HighChurch
    April 9th, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Haven’t been on this site in a long, long time. Sad to read this story and see that this sad situation is still reeking havoc in the lives of the people affected. My heartfelt sympathies go to the victims and their families.

    Nickname: you highlighted the proper response to abuse in the church. Having been a part of the church for many years and having family members in full time ministry let me tell you….what you suggested is the NORM!!! Only in the goofy alternate universe of SGM would you find someone pinpointing the sins of the victims of abuse. Lord have mercy for (I hope) they know not what they do!

    God have mercy on those who are still under the heavy hand of SGM. If you are having “weird feelings” or “strange inclinations”…LISTEN TO THEM. Believer in the Lord Jesus Christ know this full well: The same Holy Spirit that is alive in well in your precious leaders of SGM is alive and well in YOU!!!!! Fathers stand up and take headship of your families, women speak up your “woman’s intuition” could very well be the Holy Spirit speaking to you!!!!

    Thanks Kris for keeping this forum up and running. It certainly helped me during a dark time!

  33. Wallace
    April 9th, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I need to bring some clarity to the 5,000.00 check questions. But would first like to say that Happymom and I are extremely grateful for the support shown here in your responses. It’s good to know there are people out there who understand and care…

    CJ gave the check to our third party mediator after the first meeting with Fairfax. The mediator (a friend of ours) told us about it few days after the meeting. He didn’t feel right about taking the check and asked us what we thought he should do with it. We left that up to him to decide. We don’t know if he kept it or sent it back.

  34. happymom
    April 9th, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    To second what Wallace said, thank you so much for you expressions of sorrow and offers for prayers for our family. This blog has made a huge difference, just knowing there are others out there who understand the insanity behind the facade of SGM.

    Also, while the $5000 check is alarming to say the least. Our intention in putting our story out there was to expose the shameful way Fairfax has treated victims/families and the deeper problems that plague the SGM structure.
    Since Fairfax made their final decision with us in September 2010, we heard of two more abuse cases that were mishandled. Our question remains: how many more are out there?

  35. golden
    April 9th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Never have posted, but a LONG time lurker.
    I was sick to my stomach and brought to tears as I read this. May God have mercy on your dear children as well as you and your wife (happymom.) And those pastors need His mercy in a huge way too for what they have done.
    There are many things that have my jaw on the ground.
    One is – your own sister?!?
    Crushing.
    Just took time to pray for you all,
    golden

  36. Pampy
    April 9th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Thank you so much for your bravery in sharing your story, Wallace. To echo what 5 Years in PDI said, the first words that came to mind while I was reading this were “wickedness” and “evil” through and through.

    To protect the reputation of an institution and show total disregard for underage victims of sexual abuse is a sickening act…it is horrid. To then attack the family of the victims is wicked beyond belief. I’ve seen this pattern before—where families with a history of incest have protected perpetrators and totally disregarded the needs of the victims in order to protect the overall reputation of the family where the incest occured. And then, when the victims start falling apart as a result of the abuse, they are attacked. In my mind, it’s almost unforgiveable.

    I can’t remember who commented on working through the process of leaving an SGM church, but all I have to say is that I’m not so sure a process is needed to get the heck out. About 30 years ago I just got up and left….period. No working through anything. They are evil and twisted and controlling and manipulative and there is no working through anything. Well, maybe that’s not totally the case….The “working through” part happened as I horrifyingly discovered what whack jobs they were and how twisted they were. Having discovered that, the easy part was saying “adios” and finally living the abundant life that Christ promised to us.

  37. Pampy
    April 9th, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    In response to the “lust” comments about sexual abuse, I will say from personal experience of being exposed to many seminars and counselling sessions as a result of being related to some who were perpetrators and victims of sexual abuse—it is rarely about “sex” and “lust” and is more about the need to feel in power and to control—no wonder SGM sided with the offenders. “Birds of a feather…… “

  38. A Kindred Spirit
    April 9th, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    SGM is so warped, in so many ways.

    All I can do is shake my head.

    I find myself angry today thinking about it.

    How can you get so far off base that protecting the church’s reputation or the gospel become more important than a child? How can you read your bible and come away with that kind of thinking? Can you imagine the face of the same Jesus who said, “let the little children come unto me?”

  39. PDI Past
    April 9th, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Hearing this most recent report from Wallace is heartbreaking. Seeing all the initials which are used to represent the so-called men and leaders that more than a decade ago, I mistakenly respected. Perhaps they are not evil men, just weak and unwilling to do the right thing . . . weak and unwilling to protect those that have trusted them and relied upon them.

    I watched part of the most recent 20 20 episode, but had to turn it off, because of my disgust for another group of “mighty men” who choose to victimize and control, rather than serve and protect. The current link to the episode is at: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/ but it will likely change in a few days.

    Here are some of the titles of individual parts of the story . . .
    Only on 20/20

    Compassion or Cover-Up: Teen Victim Claims Rape; Forced Confession in Church
    Now an adult, Tina Anderson isn’t angry at God but has left her church.

    Scarred Childhood
    Part 1: What happened to Tina Anderson?

    Secret Pregnancy, Forced Confession?
    Part 2: Alleged victim says she was forced to confess, then whisked away.

    Protecting Senior Citizens
    Part 3: Some accuse church leaders of advocating infant spanking.

    Leaving the Church
    Part 4: Woman describes agonizing process of extracting herself from her church.

    Help by Way of Facebook
    Part 5: Police contacted Tina Anderson after someone posted her story on Facebook

    ————

    This story could just as easily been any one of the tragic circumstances reported on Survivors or Refuge. The abusive child discipline; victimizing of victims; supporting predators . . . superiority of how they “do church” . . . its all there. :barf:

    When will it end?

  40. 5yearsin PDI
    April 9th, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    “How can you get so far off base that protecting the church’s reputation or the gospel become more important than a child? How can you read your bible and come away with that kind of thinking?”

    Easy. One word. MONEY.

    Money is the god of this world, and the fear of losing that paycheck when you have a family, well, let’s just say it isn’t easy to do right sometimes.

    This is why, as long as SGM continues to have all paid elders, instead of mostly elders who work at secular jobs and don’t depend on SGM for their income, the temptation to go along and play the game, and kiss the regional leaders and CJ’s butt, will continue to be overpowering.

  41. Stunned
    April 9th, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Wallace and Happymom, I couldn’t even finish your story. I will later but I am too sick to my stomach to continue for now. I don’t know how you were strong enough not to physically attack some of these people.

    They are evil.

  42. Stunned
    April 9th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Hey to all my brothers and sisters still at an SGM church,

    I BEG you to be cognisant of the fact that your SGM church will NOT inform you if there is a child molester in your church service, week after week after week. They have also proven that they will NOT inform you of whether the people taking care of the children are child molesters or not. I BEG you to flee your church and find somewhere whose policy it is to reveal child molesters in their midst. (There are tons of churches like that.)

    DO NOT PUT YOUR CHILD AT RISK. Do not take them to a location that refuses to inform parents of known molesters in their midst.

    You think it couldn’t happen at your church? Because of their refusal to protect children in their midst, you just can’t know, can you?

    PLEASE! I know of two men who have molested children who are at Covenant Fellowship. Why didn’t I think to warn people who are there before now? Why? I have no idea. And I am so sorry that it never dawned on me to inform the people who go to Covenant Fellowship. I have no desire for these men to be run out of town. I DO desire for these men to be in places where they will have NO contact with children.

    I do know that the recidivism rate for people who molest children is much too high.

    PLEASE do NOT trust your children to the care of pastors who will care for their own selves more than they do small children. This is evil and you need to protect your children from it!

    This is no scare tactic. This is the truth.

  43. Stunned
    April 9th, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Wallace, you said, “We had contacted a Virginia state senator who had been in the process of pursuing legislation to change this law.”

    Two thumbs up, my brother. I am sick that that even has to become a law, but so admire you for being willing to take up the responsibility of protecting other children from what yours suffered.

  44. happymom
    April 9th, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    and if anyone from SGM reads this and attempts to ask their pastor about it they will get:
    “well, they (Wallace/Happymom) didn’t go about it right”
    “they are bitter and unforgiving”
    “we did all we could to bring about a peaceful resolution”
    “there are inconsistencies in their story”

    etc, etc…….

  45. Remnant
    April 9th, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    happymom…..and if anyone with a grain of common sense is told those things, happymom, they will stand against the manipulative tactics to ask, “Who the hell CARES about how Wallace and Happymom ‘went about it’? What the heck have YOU done to protect and help their children and OUR children????”

  46. jedi
    April 9th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    #12 Lynn…I would call it a fact, that things are happening and at just the right time…… walah. CJ won’t reap the proceeds of this book and it won’t be sold in crazy CJ’s book store, and he will probably choose “not to comment”. I am glad we never signed the “covenant” and I am sure that makes them a bit nervous. I wonder if he will still be saying the blogs are insignificant and there is no need to pay any attention to them. At one point CJ said to me I was a joy to pastor. He won’t say that anymore.
    @#11 Red Crab
    I am so sorry for all you are enduring and you have my prayers, my love, and my support and always will. Thank you God for friends that stick by through it all…

  47. Stunned
    April 9th, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Remnant, your post 26 was so beautifully written.

    What do we do to inform people when the church refuses to do that? Do we do blow up sized posters and sit in the church parking lots? How do we protect children from the very men that the church protects?

  48. Sidney
    April 9th, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Kris, re your comment #22…about sin and claiming “worst sinner I know” status being first and foremost.

    I kept thinking about the recent (past 2-3 years) teaching at CLC and flitering down through to all the little sattellites….re-baptism. I sat across the dinner table of my husband’s lifelong friend who said “I couldn’t have been saved all those years while I partied and got high and slept around. I wouldn’t have done those sins if I were a believer. I was saved [when I came to CLC]…that’s why I got re-baptized last year.” (I only put brackets around “when I came to CLC” because I don’t remember what year it was exactly, but I experienced his life at that time and I know this was basically when he “stopped doing those sins.”

    So what gives? How do I get my head around the new SGM doctrine of “you never would have done that if you were saved”? This is what I was told by my pastor in 1996 when I joined CLC. I was saved at 10 at an Amway church meeting of all places. I KNOW I was saved. And if that wasn’t enough, I was “also” saved at Summit Lake Camp, a camp of Montrose Baptist Church, when I was 11 or 12. Then, when my parents went to CLC when I was 13, I hated it. I “rebelled.” I decided that if that’s what it looked like to be a christian, I wanted no parts of it. So, I “rebelled.” I did “those” sins. All of them. Then, when I was 26, I “got saved” again when I came to CLC? What? The pastor, MM, told me that I couldn’t have possibly been saved all those years because I never would have sinned like that.

    So what about the perps of the sex crimes against children? Why aren’t their sins “bad enough” to nullify their salvation? Why aren’t they called into question?

    What a twisted method of teaching. You teach that you cannot lose your salvation, but then if you sin “bad enough,” you were never saved anyway….oh wait! I think it’s “if you repent fast enough so nobody questions your salvation, then you slipped under the radar and you’re OK.” ?????????

    What?

    So there’s another level to this twisted SGM theology….

    Sidney

  49. Kris
    April 9th, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    HighChurch!

    Great to “see” you again, after all these years! :D

    Yet I’m sorry that the circumstances – Wallace’s story – have to be so gut-wrenchingly sad. If people wonder why we keep doing what we do here, they just have to understand that although there may have been some cosmetic changes within SGM in recent times, little has truly changed. Or at least, so it would appear by the junk that continues to flood my “in” box.

  50. Kris
    April 9th, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    golden,

    Thanks for coming out of lurkerdom. Welcome to the conversation.

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