Forgetting the Here and Now

Easter weekend, April 5th, 6th, and 7th  Bob Jones University’s Living Gallery production is scheduled to take place.

Let's forget about the nasty here and now...yeah too messy

Here’s the quote from the webpage:

You’re invited to attend the fifteenth annual Living Gallery. This year’s new drama, “Somewhere Forever,” follows the story of three lives touched by the Gospel: A man facing life as a widower at age 30. An abuse victim unable to find peace. A 20-something who wants to break away from his past. When conversations in a local coffee shop turn to matters of life and death, failure and hope, Tyler, Lizzie and Chris must decide what to do with the claims of Christ and His Resurrection. How will each respond to the fact that they will all live somewhere forever?

“An abuse victim unable to find peace?”

BJU, how about dealing with helping those who have been abused find justice?  How about Bob Jones III live up to what he said in  this chapel message Bob Jones III answered.

Sexual molestation–it will not be swept under the rug, it never has been. It’s not the way we operate. It’s always reported to the authorities…Nobody would be kept on the Board or on the faculty who did things like that, who swept things under the rug.

Please open your eyes and ears that God created.  Look and listen to the 100’s of survivors pain with stories very similar to a anonymous survivor quoted at the end of this post.  Just one who went to Jim Berg for help.  Jim Berg who teaches others how to counsel those who have been abused in a video series. Churches buy this series.

Here’s how one church advertised Jim Bergs video course,

Bob Jones University offers the Biblical Counseling series to help pastors and Christian workers deal with the problems confronting Christians. Many feel unprepared and inadequate to deal with the problems of life that they face and that are faced by those to whom they minister. Consequently, the “cure of souls,” which used to be the domain of the pastor, has increasingly been delegated to “professional” counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. BJU’s Biblical Counseling series consists of six video courses designed to help prepare the Christian worker to handle such problems as anger, depression, addiction, immorality, child abuse, and many more.

In particular, I’ve watched Jim Berg’s Crisis Counseling video.  He spends a lot of time, talking about how many he has counseled.  The homes they came from–missionary homes, pastors homes, christian school teachers homes, even deacons homes from his own church–but he never once teaches these people how to walk through someone with reporting abuse to law enforcement.  Not ONE time, while teaching this series does Berg ever mention reporting.  NOT ONCE.

Now for that one survivors statement.  This is what Berg’s counseling did.

I just cannot keep silent. I am one of those “abuse victims” who “cannot find peace”, but the greatest part of my struggle is that when I went to BJU for help, they covered up the crime, shamed me and rewarded a sexual predator. I have now heard this story from so many others that it makes me physically ill. From all that I have seen and heard, BJU does not condemn rape. They do not condemn the rapists. They condemn only the victims. There are faculty members there who tell rape victims that it is their own fault, not the fault of the rapist. No matter the age of the victim or the circumstances, they state that it is solely due to the victim’s status as someone who is impure and their impurity “caused” the assault. The rapist bears no responsibility. He is to be forgiven. From BJU’s perspective, that means that the perpetrator should face no consequences – no legal consequences, no publicity, no shame. They can continue in their roles as teachers, pastors, etc. They are free to find more victims. The victims, on the other hand, have to endure BJU’s “counseling” which consists of forcing the victim to repeatedly recall every detail of the assault again and again while the “counselor” points out areas where the victim should have done something differently, in other words, they must carry the blame for any abuse endured. The victim is repeatedly shamed and humiliated. This is all done in God’s name, ensuring the victim will never see God as a possible source of hope, comfort, or refuge. As more and more find they aren’t alone and begin sharing their stories, it is shocking to find that our experiences seem almost common. How many are there of us? How many more were sexually assaulted because our abusers’ crimes were covered up? How many victims are there who know that someone could have helped, but refused to do so? Why is this?? BJU, if you read any of this, can you PLEASE explain why you didn’t help? HOW can you hear the pleas of victims begging for help and turn your back on them? How could you hear them beg you to help younger siblings and just ignore it? Is your heart that hard? that cold? that filled with hatred that you truly have no room for compassion? You have absolutely no right to put on a drama about abuse. You have turned your back on the abused. Your kindness has been reserved for the rapists and sex offenders. How can you now pretend that you care? You have dealt with us as if you enjoyed our shame. 

Lest you assume this is written out of anger, bitterness or hatred, let me assure you that it is not. I do not hate you, but the hurt from the decisions you made is intense. No matter how hard I try, I just cannot comprehend why you turned your back on so many. I want it to end to spare future students from hurt, but I also want an explanation. Why? Is it disgust because we are no longer “pure”? Do you see us as damaged, defiled and worthless now so it just doesn’t matter how much further we are hurt?

Hurtful Words

Yesterday. Many Survivors felt a lot of big feelings when they listened to Mr. Marshall Franklin’s statements. One survivor told us she cried for hours after listening. For many survivors his words went far beyond his dismissive tone about the protest.  His jokes were reminded these survivors how they were treated at BJU, in their churches by their pastor, by family or friends when the survivor told they had been raped.   Whether he  did so knowingly or unknowingly, Marshall Franklin’s statements illustrate secondary wounding.

 Will Galkin set the tone this year at BJU by shutting down survivors with one sermon illustration.  It appears, Franklin is staying on script.

In the December 9, 2011 Faculty meeting,  Marshall Franklin began, “Yesterday, it came to our attention that many of you have never heard of this.”  [Laughter.]  Franklin goes on to claim he said this to students who asked about Do Right BJU, “God Bless you, for studying on, uh on on other things.”

Franklin goes on to say that the group is current BJU students, but “they do include some alumni and former students.  Those outside posters are primarily negative.”  Please read this comment Mr. Franklin.   Faculty members who also laughed at Mr. Franklin’s words, please read that comment!

Franklin then goes on to joke about the group that is claiming it is going to wear green.  It is a counter-protest group.  Lecia Franklin, Marshall Franklin’s wife is one of the 30 members of this group. 

“….and another group that would wear white.” Frankin either is ignorant of or he openly mocks a national group whose goal is to bring attention to violence against women.

Someone had posted a comment about the “White Ribbon Campaign” on the Do Right BJU page. 

Then Franklin throws down the gauntlet on the faculty.
“…but we wanted you to know about these colors so you didn’t unintentionally participate in the protest.” [Laughter] “Okay?”

There you have it, it’s all a big joke, har, har, har. Hey faculty make sure you don’t wear the wrong color [Red] on Monday, December 12.  Wear red, and you’ll find quickly, I’m not joking about that part!

Evangelist Shuts Down Survivors With One Sermon Illustration

At the Beginning of every school year, Bob Jones University has opening exercises. Opening exercises consist of two evenings of evangelistic services that  faculty and students are told will set “the spiritual tone” for the school year.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 was the second evening.  The speaker was Evangelist Will Galkin.  This would be the last message the students hear to “set the spiritual tone” for the school year.  The offending example stars about 24:50. 

Evangelist Galkin chose James 4 as the text on which he would preach.  Chuckles will not go into the theological misrepresentations in this post.  Perhaps CP Traveler will take that up in another entry.

Will Galkin’s example is wrong on so many levels.  It is hard to determine where to start!

Let’s start with a few statistics.

  1. 1 in 5 boys, 1 in 4 girls by the age of 18 report being sexually abused.   Law Enforcement and Child Advocacy groups have known for years that most of these crimes go unreported for a number reasons.
  2. The Federal Bureau of Investigation Crimes Against Children’s Unit estimates every child has almost a 25% chance of being molested, with a sex offender living “in every square mile of the United States.”  It is known that many children are molested by someone who is known to the child and their family.  The FBI Crimes Against Children’s Unit further estimates that one in ten men have molested children.  Of those men who molest, they only have a 3% chance of getting caught for this crime.

Sigh….

Now that Chuckles has caused you all to be afraid to allow your children or grandchildren out of your sight ever again, let’s for the sake of making this simple focus on the cases in which molestation was reported.   Please bear with Chuckles since he is not a mathematician.  If 1 in 5 boys, 1 in 4 girls by the age of 18 report being sexually abused. Think about how many people who it would be if you walk past 20 or 30 people on the sidewalks everyday at Bob Jones University.   Chuckles finds it deplorable that Evangelist Galkin would use the one example of one girl making up this story because her life was “boring.”  Frankly, Chuckles saw so many discrepancies in Galkin’s illustration, he is left to wonder if Galkin is the one with the active imagination.

First off, “paternal father,” really Galkin?  What other kind of father would the girls biological father be?

To juice up the illustration, Galkin tells how the girl was estranged and “bitter” with (presumably) her paternal father, abused by her step-father.  Her “paternal father” (presumably), is killed in a car accident returning from visiting the girl at camp.  According to Galkin’s illustration, the girl then turns tail and claims she said all this because she was bored and wanted a more exciting life!

HOW DARE HE!

What will all the young ladies and young men do what were present in the amphitorium who have suffered through being sexually abused do?  The abuse story Galkin just told was so outlandish, yet some think to themselves, “my story is worse than that, but it’s true!   Maybe, these abused young people who were praying and begging God for years the abuse would stop, and it never did.  Finally!  Finally!  The student get’s to go to Bob Jones University!  Finally!  The student thinks, “I can tell someone about this, get some help.  I don’t know, maybe get some counseling!”  Most of these abuse survivors will never talk for a long time, maybe never!  Galkin just told such a survivor, no one will believe them!   Furthermore, Galkin planted the seed deeply in the mind of dorm counselors, other counselors, and Faculty/Staff at Bob Jones University, to question any abuse statements they hear because the victim might only have attention-seeking problems. There’s probably just “mental idolatry” going on.

Frankly, false reports of sexual abuse/rape are rare.  They do occur.  However, Galkin using such a dreadful illustration to speak about sex abuse, is like comparing the Susan Smith case to nearly everyone who has suffered the death of a child.  Most parents who suffer the death of their child, are not responsible for murdering their child(ren).

Of all the confirmed liars Galkin could have picked…

Why didn’t he pick this guy?  Or maybe, this one? 

[Stepping down off soap box!]

Can Anyone See that I’m Hurting?

This video addresses the issue of “Sexual Abuse“ performed by Missterious Janette…ikz. She powerfully addressing the sensitive issue of sexual assault.

No other explanation necessary.

The Horrors of Hephzibah House

The goal of this post is to educate fellow Christians and the public about Hephzibah House of Winona Lake, Indiana.  Hephzibah House has been in operation since the 1970′s and is operated as a “boarding school” for troubled teen girls from fundamentalist Christian homes by Ron and his wife, the late Patty Williams.  A few years ago, Ron Williams, son, Don Williams took over the ministry from his parents.

Hephzibah House is one of the longest continuously running such schools that was patterned after Lester Roloff’s “ministry” of Lighthouse Home for boys, and Rebekah Home for girls in Corpus Cristi, TX.

Most of these teen girls are not what most people would think of as juvenile delinquents.  None of them are placed at Hephzibah House by a judge for sentence. ALL of them come from physically and emotionally abusive homes, and most from sexually abusive homes as well.  Conservative estimates are that over 70% of the girls who found themselves at Hephzibah House were sexually abused before being sent to there.  Other estimates postulate that the number is actually closer to the 90% range.

Hephzibah House takes girls as young as 12-17 1/2.  The usual length of stay is 15 month, however some girls have stayed as long as 3 years.  Over the last few years it appears that Hephzibah House does not beat the girls anymore, but Hephzibah House does use psychological “white torture” methods that were used by the Chinese in POW camps during the Korean War are said to be more effective than beatings.  White Torture has seen a resurgence in recent years in Iran.

Hephzibah House and homes like it are not regulated by the state other than  fire inspections because it hides its abuse under a church and meets out abuse in God’s name.

Here are links to two Hephzibah House survivor blogs.

http://hephzibah-girls.blogspot.com/2010/03/lea-devers.html#comments

http://www.formerhephzibahgirls.webs.com/

I am quoting, in entirety, a pamphlet written by Ron Williams in which he instructs parents how to beat their children, even babies under 1 year of age.  He instructs parents how to beat their children and not get caught by authorities for abuse.  Ron Williams used to have this up on the net but has since removed it.

In Ron Williams own words

The Correction and Salvation of Children
By Ronald E. Williams

Believers Baptist Church, 508 School St., Winona Lake, IN 46590 (219) 269-2376

TWO DIRECTIVES OF SOLOMON FOR THE CORRECTION AND SALVATION OF CHILDREN

“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” Proverbs 23:13,14

THE FIRST DIRECTIVE: The perception of my duty and the promise involved if I carry out my duty

A. The perception of my duty

“Withhold not correction from the child.”

Through a negative admonition, “withhold not,” Solomon is encouraging us to perceive what our duty is with regard to our child. One might ask, Why is it necessary to be told what our duty is? Because we would naturally “withhold” instead of obeying. The Scripture indicates in Proverbs 13:24, “He that spareth his rod, hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Many parents today are in a position where they Biblically hate their children because they are not acting against their natural feelings and disciplining themselves towards the Godly habit-pattern of consistent correction. In other words, it takes work, wisdom, self discipline, and

Godliness to correct children the way the Lord wants.

Fight your feelings

The concept of having to be told what to do in order that we can combat our natural feelings is illustrated in other areas of our lives. The Lord Jesus, for example, taught in Matthew 5:28 that it is wrong for a man to look lustfully upon a woman, implicitly telling us to not do that. One could ask, Why does He teach such a thing? Because men naturally look upon women in a lustful way. In fact, any man who claims that he has never had a problem in this area is either a liar or he is dead! Just as the Scripture indicates “the eyes of man are never satisfied” (Proverbs 27:20). Therefore, the Lord, recognizing our weakness, has admonished men not to look lustfully at women. Men must not operate on the basis of their natural inclinations, but on the basis of what is right, controlling their feelings and the flesh in the process.

Another example would be in the area of a man loving his wife. The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it.” Why did the Spirit of God believe it necessary to instruct a man through the Apostle Paul to love his wife as Christ loved the church? Because a man would not naturally do this. A man is naturally in love with himself even as that same chapter indicates in 5:29: “For no man ever yet hateth his own flesh but nourisheth and cherisheth it even as the Lord the church.” A man left to his own inclinations and desires will love himself supremely above all others. A Christian, however, who is obedient to the Spirit of God and to the Word of God, will love his wife and not submit to the natural inclination to love himself first; even as the Lord Jesus demonstrated through His supreme example in His love for the church. Therefore, when the Lord gives a negative admonition to parents to “withhold not,” it is in keeping with this Biblical principle of instructing parents to obey where they will have to overcome their natural inclinations, control their emotions and do what is right even when they do not feel like.

Whose job?

Who is to perceive this duty that Solomon outlines? The Hebrew language indicates in this passage through a second person masculine singular suffix that Solomon is probably addressing a man. The context of course, would indicate that the father of the household is the subject of Solomon’s admonition. Solomon, in doing this, is underscoring and agreeing with the rest of Scripture when it teaches that child-training and education is the primary responsibility of the father of that child. The primary responsibility for this vital task is not delegated by God to the mother, Sunday School teacher, pastor, day school teacher, grandparents, or any other person, but is the primary responsibility of the father. Obviously, these other individuals are an invaluable help to the father, especially his wife, but they are helpers only. A father will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for the spiritual, emotional, and physical welfare and training of his wife and children. It therefore behooves a father to be extremely judicious and cautious in whom he selects to be his helpers in the vital task of training and educating his child. Why?

Dinah’s father was Jacob who was desired to marry Rachel.  Jacob was promised by Rachel’s father, Laban, that if he worked seven years he would be given Rachel in marriage. After working seven years, Jacob reminds Rachel’s father of their deal.  Laban however fooled Jacob and instead gave his eldest daughter, Leah to Jacob in marriage instead of Rachel whom Jacob loved.  Jacob was then forced to work an additional seven years for Laban in order to marry Rachel.  In this sermon, Ron Williams states incorrectly  that,  Rachel is Dinah’s mother.  In fact, Dinah’s mother was Leah. In his message on Dinah from the Old Testament, which Ron Williams teaches that the Bible says, Dinah was responsible for her own rape! The Bible does not teach this. As matter of fact, the meaning of the Hebrew name, Dinah means “justified”. In his sermon “How to Raise a Strange Woman” by Ron Williams, he states that Dinah (who he imagines is a young teen between 14 and 15) is a “strange woman.”  Not only that Williams preaches that Rachel was a strange woman as well who taught Dinah to be one.  Nowhere is this taught in the Bible. The term “strange woman,” that Ron Williams used is taken completely out of context here.  “Strange Woman as referred to in the King James Version in the book Proverbs as immoral women, seductress, adulteress, etc.

As I see it, Williams spewed an entire 120 minutes of  heresy.  Williams preaches things never intended or implied by this passage.

Now imagine being a young impressionable teenage girl who was sexually abused by your father, stepfather, grandfather, teacher, youth pastor, or other trusted male authority figure before being sent to Hephzibah House. Imagine being forced to listen to this and other similar sermons day and day out.  Imagine being a young girl who is told she would never be able to wear a white wedding dress because she had responsibility for being molested by a family member in a “counseling session” with Ron Williams while a student at Hephzibah House.  Imagine arriving at Hephzibah House and being strip searched and showered.  After this, imagine being taken into a closet where you are held down by staff members as a “nurse” preforms a forced pelvic exam without explaining what was happening to this scared, traumatized young girl whose parents had just left her in this place.  All of this has been reported to have happened to many of the teen girls who were “students” at Hephzibah House decades apart from each other.

Cathy’s Story of Kidnapping, Rape, Abuse and Cover-up~Part III

This is the third part in the series, Cathy’s Story. Please read Part one and part two before continuing.

For a long time I actually felt that I left God Himself when I left the church. It was one of the most depressing times in my life. Few of my former church friends associated with me other than to tell me I was in sin. I felt further isolation, abuse, and was fearful of the world. A well known Christian leader questioned me personally and to others that were still in the church about my salvation. One tactic that was extremely difficult for me to deal with was the “shepherding” philosophy. Other IFB churches may refer to this as discipleship groups.  As practiced in many IFB churches, this philosophy requires every member to be personally accountable to another “more experienced” or more “spiritual” person. To this person, one must “be transparent”, revealing all personal thoughts, feelings, and future plans. I now understand that this personal information is not used to help the member, but to control the member.
A few years after leaving the IFB church that I had attended, I again became involved in a  Shepherding Group that at first seemed harmless. I still did not understand that a person must be very careful about churches that insist members be accountable to some leader for spiritual and personal growth, especially if the group leader begins to demand transparency and accountability of the member regarding personal and or spiritual issues and personal decisions. The most upsetting thing that happened as a result of my departure from that group took place when my former shepherding group leader, his wife, and several others members of my former church became involved in my current group. This particular group was disbanded by the leaders almost a year before this time due to lack of interest and attendance of group members. Furthermore, two people in this meeting were never involved with me the whole time I was in the church.
One of my then- current church pastors asked me to meet him on a Sunday afternoon. He claimed he wanted to find out how the church could be of assistance to me because he had heard of my then recent surgery and beginning treatments for Clear Cell Chondrosarcoma a rare bone cancer. I had just returned to Greenville after being in another state for over two months for surgery and treatment.  I was still very weak and sick. When I went to the church that afternoon, I found my former Shepherding group leader and his wife there waiting for me. Soon the small conference room was filled with 8 other people. One of the pastoral staff was there, but quickly added he did not know me, “which is probably a good thing.” Only two others were ever directly involved with me. The others were people I did not know personally. I knew they were members of the church. None of these people, other than the Shepherding Group Leader and his wife, ever went to my Shepherding Group. I, in no way expected to experience this very painful “intervention”, or confrontation , by the leadership, which I now refer to as a “surprise party” or “gang-up.” I was lured to this meeting under false pretenses. I have heard from other former members that sometimes such meetings are in the home of an elder or other leader and sometimes in the home of the “problem member” himself. My “intervention” consisted of a hostile and accusatory “interrogation session” that lasted for 3 hours. The group’s objective was to persuade me to confess of the “error of my ways” and of my “need to submit myself to the discipline of the church.” They went on to question the reality of my medical condition. I was told to recant my “slanderous” charges against a “spiritual leader”, obviously referring to Jim Berg. I learned from previous encounters that if I became outwardly hostile during such a ‘process’ things would become worse.  I did, however, refuse to acknowledge any wrongdoing on my part. I showed copies of my oncologist surgical report as well as the actual XRAY film which clearly showed the tumor that was recently removed.
Even after all of the evidence I provided, a man who sat directly across from me and who had glared at me the whole time finally said, “Tell me about your salvation experience.” I finally lost it a little and replied, “No matter what I say, no one here will believe that I am saved. You worry about your salvation. Let God and me worry about mine. You are not the Holy Spirit in my life!”
After that outburst, the pastoral staff member said, “Cathy, you go across the hall with the women and we (the pastor staff member, my ex-shepherding group leader and the man whom I did not know) will talk about what we are going to do to help you or how we are going to deal with you. If I had not been recovering from major cancer surgery, I would have certainly handled this differently.  Most likely my response would have been to leave right then and there. I was hurt and bewildered by what the assistant pastor said. However, I did go across the hall with the women. The Shepherding Group leader’s wife then asked me about a family member who was also recently diagnosed with cancer. I was exhausted, but angered by then. I said something to the effect of, “Why don’t you call and ask him yourself?” They talked at me, not to me, for a few minutes. The Shepherding Group leader’s wife closed by telling me, “We all love you, lady.” I did not make any friends when I said, “I can tell how much you love me by all the lies you have told and the knife that is sticking out of my back!” Then the ladies went around the room and prayed for me to “repent” and asked God to “convict me of my bitterness.”
I did not stay for the whole prayer session. I just got up and left the room. When I went out into the hallway, I saw through a small window in the door the men sitting and talking around a conference table. At this point, I was tearful and angry. I knew, at this point, there was nothing to lose. I opened the door and asked, “Are you all having a good gossip fest? Why is it if you were talking about me, I could not stay and defend myself?” The assistant pastor said, “You need to submit yourself to the discipline of the church.” I asked, “For what?” He said he would get in contact in a few days and waved his hand as if to dismiss me. I told him not to bother. As expected, I never heard from them but instead, soon found that my name had been removed from the membership rolls.
© 2011 Catherine Harris

Cathy’s Story of Kidnapping, Rape, Abuse and Cover-up~Part II

This is the continues from Part 1 of Cathy’s Story.
I twice attended Bob Jones University (BJU), a fundamentalist Christian college in South Carolina. I went for the first time in the 1980’s. After leaving BJU the first time, I went to a community college and received my nursing degree.  For reasons I won’t go into here, I moved to South Carolina. I wanted to get my Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Unfortunately, many of my credits from BJU would not transfer to other colleges. However, if I went back to BJU as  town student, was promised those credits would allow me to obtain my BSN relatively quickly. I did not realize how intrusive BJU was in its student’s lives, even those  living off of the Greenville campus. During that time, I became severely depressed and experience extreme PTSD symptoms associated with the depression. I did not understand what was happening to me. But my most severe emotional problems were magnified when I went to Jim Berg for counseling while still a student at BJU.
In Jim Berg’s view, as I soon found out, people who had problems such as depression and PTSD were “un-spiritual” (his word, not mine). In the IFB world, depression is a sin. Taking medication for depression only covered sin. I plummeted into a even deeper depression. In June of 1996, during my last counseling appointment with Berg, he told me,
“I can’t help you, no one can help you, not even God can help you,”
because I was not making fast enough progress and still
“deep in the sin of depression.”
Will not begin to deny that I was having some serious issues.  Unfortunately, being discouraged from taking medications for these issues did not help. I am by no means proud of this, but I went home from this appointment and overdosed on medication. I realize that it was clearly a bad choice, and that was wrong. I was not thinking clearly, I was angry and in deep emotional pain. Of course, I was admitted to the hospital.
While I was in the hospital, I received a letter from Jim Berg stating,
“I hate to add more to your concerns, but this all comes from the consequences of your own actions, as a result you will not be allowed to continue as a student at BJU. I pray that God will break you of your sin of self-sufficiency and stubbornness and make you a usable vessel for Him.”
Fortunately, I received in the hospital the medical care and kind of counseling I needed from the beginning.  To add insult to injury, I was chastised by the IBF church affiliated with BJU (the same church Jim Berg attended at the time) because I was receiving counseling from a psychiatrist and licensed therapist.  In the view of the IFB church, secular therapy was wrong, and therefore sinful.  I was mortified to realize that Berg betrayed my confidential talks with him by “sharing” my situation with the pastoral staff, family members, and others in this church and at BJU as well.  In my opinion, Jim Berg made himself out to be “a great caring, godly, humble fellow” who tried at the best of his God-given ability to “lovingly” guide me to “trust God.” This betrayal of my confidence began a of a painful and difficult process of leaving the church and my circle of friends and family. When  I finally decided to leave my IBF church, I was especially afraid to leave because of intimidation, pressure, and threats of Divine Judgment. I was harassed by well-meaning church and family members. I was also pursued by not so well-meaning church leaders. Eventually, as former member, I was publicly chastised and humiliated before the church.  Unless it was to talk to me about the “errors of my ways,” members were discouraged from any association with me.  It seemed that all my friends and most of my support system went up as it were a poof of smoke when they were needed the most.
© 2011 Catherine Harris

Open Letter to Chuck Phelps From Robert Sheffield

“I am Cheryl’s uncle. It is I that took her in to my home in California and protected her from this abuse. I, along with my caring wife, Lauri, and my loving mother have waited fifteen years to see this man brought to justice. We tried to get Cheryl to press charges fifteen years ago but she was so afraid of her parents and the members of this church she could not do it. We have watched for fifteen years while my sister protected her perverted husband and allowed him to destroy her image among the other members of the Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, New Hampshire. Pastor Chuck Phelps is just as guilty as he knew the truth but allowed my sister and her husband to lie to the congregation and place blame on Cheryl. 

Cheryl’s molestation by her stepfather was hidden from the congregation and her reputation was destroyed by them. Cheryl was not sent away by them because she turned from God….Cheryl stayed with us against her parents desire because she was molested by her stepfather and then Pastor Phelps and my sister helped him cover it up. In this article Pastor Phelps states that he was told by

Chuck Phelps On the Stand at the Rape Trial for Tina Anderson Playing the Victim

 Cheryl’s family that state Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) was involved and that the allegations were reported to the Werner police. Really? Does he not realize that telling a lie is a sin? If this were true then there would have been no reason for him to tell me on the phone, after we took Cheryl in, that he was not required to report this to authorities because of Pastor/Church member confidentiality. He was informed of the abuse approximately a year before we took in Cheryl. 

Pastor Phelps, you lie and I look forward to facing you in court also. You allowed my sister and her husband to completely destroy my niece. You protected the abuser, you preserved his reputation within your congregation and you threw the victim to the wolves. Her stepfather molested her and you, with my sister’s help, finished her off. I wonder, does your God forgive those who do not show remorse? That will have to be between you and God as I do not even begin to believe that I can judge anyone’s salvation. 

I do, however, realize that I am very good at judging remorse. You, Pastor Phelps, do not show any and Cheryl’s stepfather has never shown any either. On the contrary, for fifteen years the only thing that we have seen from my sister’s husband is arrogance. They have lied about Cheryl, he has refused to apologize, and they have continued to tear her apart with their hatred. 

My sister did not protect her daughter, No, Betty protected herself. She protected her financial future, her husband, their image among the church congregation, and she threw her daughter in the trash. Betty, you might have succeeded in fooling your fellow church members, friends, and family in New Hampshire, but I wonder, do you really believe that you have fooled the only true one who counts? Do you really believe that you have fooled God? Go ahead and continue living in your little dream world, go ahead and continue protecting the abuser and destroying the abused. 

I will go to my maker with the knowledge that I did all I could to protect Cheryl, you can go to your maker with the knowledge that you defended the abuser and turned your back on the abused, your daughter. Shame on you all for the wrong you have inflicted on Cheryl. May God have mercy on your soul’s, I will not.”

Robert Lauri Sheffield
6/10/2011 9:30pm Update:  We have been notified that Chuck Phelps is once again dissing the victim and also the veracity of her uncle.  As we here at Chuckles Travels see it, Mr. Sheffield had nothing to gain by coming forward, and but instead they have a lot to lose if they are lying.  Those of us who remember the lies Phelps posted on his website about Tina Anderson that have been disproved by his under testimony under oath in a court of law.  Now Phelps is doing the same thing to Mr. Sheffield on the same site.  Chuckles Travels will not be linking to the site.  Anyone who desires to read it, please go to Chuck Phelps website and view it there. It is Chuckles opinion that Mr. Chuck Phelps is making himself look like he has no empathy for anyone but himself with that website.

Support Proposed Special FBFI Resolution On Abuse

The Tina Anderson case has once again shed sunlight on the problem of the seeming lack of willingness for Independent Baptist Fundamentalists to recognize that sexual abuse and rape is not only a problem for the Catholic Church, but a horrendous problem within the Independent Baptist Fundamentalists too.  Tina Anderson’s case made international news, however there are several less widely known  cases that were exposed recently as well. Here   here and here are just three cases, there are many  more. cases.

Pastor Jon Henry wrote The Special Resolution On Abuse Among Fundamentalists. Please join us with supporting this resolution. While we realize that no resolution will stop abuse, it should be apparent by now that the Vice-Chairmen of the FBFI has made some serious errors in judgement in Tina Anderson’s case, and now is alleged to have made the same errors in another case. Recognizing there’s a problem is the first step to fixing the problem.

Chuck Phelps Allegedly told another Teen Sexual Assault Survivor”Forgive and Forget”

According to the Stamford Advocate.com

Woman says NH pastor ignored sex-assault claims

LYNNE TUOHY, Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A woman says she was sexually assaulted as a teen and that the pastor of her church told her to forgive and forget instead of doing what the law required: report it to authorities.

The woman’s allegation surfaced after a recent trial during which a New Hampshire prosecutor suggested the same pastor, the Rev. Chuck Phelps, didn’t do enough to help a rape victim.

Phelps, former pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Concord and now a pastor at a Baptist church in Indianapolis, has not returned messages seeking comment.

The new accusations were lodged with police by a 34-year-old woman who says her stepfather repeatedly molested her from 1994 to 1996. She said she was 17 and a junior at Trinity Baptist Church’s high school when the assaults began. She left her home in Warner in 1996, when she was 19.

Warner Police Officer Scott Leppard confirmed this week that his department is investigating the woman’s allegations. Leppard said he did not think statute of limitations would be a factor because the allegations involve the potential sex assault of a minor, a felony.

“I think this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Leppard said of the recent conviction and the new allegations.

The AP doesn’t typically identify alleged sexual assault victims, but the woman spoke to the AP about the assaults and her interactions with Phelps on the condition that she be identified only by her first name, Cheryl.

“I would tell him, ‘no,’ ‘stop’ — and he wouldn’t stop,” she said of her stepfather. “I went straight to my mother when it happened. She acted like it was my fault. When my mom didn’t do anything about it I went to Pastor Phelps. He told me I need to forgive and forget about it.”

She said she hasn’t forgiven him yet.

“I still suffer from it to this day,” she said.

Asked about the allegations, the stepfather told the AP this week: “We’re not giving interviews. Thank you.” The AP is not identifying him, because he hasn’t been charged with a crime.

New Hampshire law requires clergy, among others, to report any suspicion a child is being sexually assaulted. Failure to do so can result in a misdemeanor criminal conviction.

Concord Police Lt. Keith Mitchell said Phelps made no reports of any alleged sexual assaults in 1994 or 1995 involving the woman or her stepfather.

Merrimack County prosecutor Wayne Coull said the statute of limitations on misdemeanors is one year, meaning Phelps couldn’t be prosecuted now even if he did fail to report suspicions of sex abuse more than a decade ago.

Cheryl came forward after the recent rape trial involving another Phelps parishioner.

In that case, Ernest Willis, 52, was convicted of multiple counts of statutory and forcible rape of his children’s then-15-year-old baby sitter in 1997. The girl became pregnant as a result of the rapes. Phelps arranged for her to move to Colorado to live with a Baptist family there and put her baby up for adoption.

Phelps reported the allegations involving Willis to police, but they could not locate the girl and the case was shelved for more than a decade.

Coull took issue with Phelps’ actions, telling jurors that the girl’s faith in him got her “shamed, shunned, silenced and shipped away.”

Phelps testified in Willis’ trial and said he felt like he’d been “thrown under the bus.” He said he had made the girl go before the congregation and apologize for getting pregnant out of wedlock but denied that amounted to church discipline or a public “shunning” of the girl.

Cheryl said she was not made to go before the congregation, but Phelps arranged a meeting with her and her stepfather. At the meeting, Phelps told her stepfather to stop assaulting her, she said.

She says her stepfather didn’t stop. Asked how many times he groped her, she told the AP, “I can’t even count. I really can’t.”

She said she is prepared to return to Concord to testify against him if needed.

Cheryl now has a criminal record related to a drug addiction and she now lives in a halfway house in Merced, Calif., where she’s on probation.

Her uncle Robert Sheffield, of Big Sandy, Texas, blames the abuse for her problems.

“It’s not a pretty picture,” he said. “And it irritates me no end because I know why.”

Sheffield said he once confronted Phelps. Sheffield said Phelps told him the issue had been “dealt with” and that confidentiality rules barred him from going into detail.

“I remember that phone call like it was yesterday,” Sheffield said. “I’ve been angry at that man for 15 years. He definitely told me that he told her to forgive and forget.”