This fall, the community of friends who, like myself, have survived extrication from a Christian Cult, experienced a wide range of emotions when our former cult leader, Doug Phillips, resigned from leadership at our former church, Boerne Christian Assembly, resigned from leadership at Vision Forum Ministries, shut down Vision Forum Ministries, and is now in the process of closing up the shop at VisionForum.com. I can’t say we didn’t warn people – in fact, many of us have known this was coming for years. Call it the Gift of Discernment. But those who remain to stay in the cult often call those that leave defectors.
This morning, through the conversation happening over at Jen Fishburne’s blog, I came up on this very well put together article about sexual abuse scandals in the church. Since I couldn’t have said it any better, I’m going to leave this post with a quote and a link to the original article, written by a former Vision Forum Intern.
If you’ve been involved in a church where you’ve been deeply wounded – spiritually, emotionally, physically, sexually, etc (or really ANY type of abuse – specifically sexual abuse that was covered up and not properly dealt with) this article may help you start to find your footing, start to heal, start to move forward. If you have friends who you think are in an abusive church, this article may help you know how to approach them. If someone you love and care about comes to you and tells you of the abuse – this article WILL help you know how to proceed.
Lastly: if someone you trust warns you of something – LISTEN. Quit dismissing people as being drama-driven, hurt, vengeful or gossips when they say to you something like, “I can’t put my finger on it, but something isn’t right. Something here is very very wrong. This is not of God. You should flee.” Quit calling them heretics and naysayers and so on and so forth. LISTEN. LISTEN – and trust what your gut (the holy spirit) is trying to tell you.
How Silence Enables Abuse
by Jordan Muela:
I'm a skeptic by nature and I admit I've looked cynically at claims about things like pervasive rape culture, victim blaming and other organized conspiracies that willfully excuse, tolerate or condone abuse...The reasoning was: if the abuse really happened and a significant number of people knew about it, then why hasn't something been done?My perspective has changed...While sex scandals are dime a dozen, there is a different, and particularly heinous way that victims are affected when the abuse was at the hands of a trusted Christian Leader...Supporting Victims and Holding Perpetrators Accountable......Realize you may be only person that listens to them. The worse the accusations, the more people will pass the buck. If you've never seen this in action, understand it's like looking for volunteers to attach themselves to a bomb headed to the heart of their church and community. Not a lot of takers...
Read more on Jordan’s public Facebook note. You do not have to have a Facebook account to read the article.
I’ve been following the story over at Jen Fishburne’s blog and commenting there regularly. In doing so my site traffic has spiked and so to clarify, for those coming by to see if this is the same Sarah that used to attend BCA…
- yes this is the same Sarah Walston that attended BCA during the early 2000′s.
- yes, I was married to Royce Walston, Jr.
- yes, we are now divorced.
- yes, I have moved away from San Antonio.
- yes, my kids go to public school.
- yes, I am now a working full time mom.
- no, I no longer teach ballet.
- yes, I am living with my significant other and together we are raising my children.
- no, I have not lost my faith.
- yes, I have lost my religion.
- yes, I used to run a family blog.
- no, I have no desire to link it here.
- yes, I affectionately refer to BCA as “The Village.”