Doug Phillips Refuses to Protect Woman and Children

Former HSLDA Attorney and Founder of the Christian Boys’ and Men’s Titanic Society Knows What His Duty Should Have Been

(Start with chapter one, if you are new here.)

Reserving Matthew 18 for only very serious offenses, I had only officially used it once, with Doug and Beall Phillips. Things were becoming so bad at home, however, as the emotional abuse escalated to new heights and we began fearing for our physical safety, that I decided to formally approach Mark in March 2004 in the spirit of Matthew 18 as well, pleading with him to repent from his anger and to turn his heart toward his family again. My words fell on a cold heart, however, so about six weeks later, I asked two witnesses to stand with me while I asked him again to repent. Richard and Reba Short, close friends with Doug Phillips and who both work at Vision Forum with their children, agreed to stand by and listen.

This attempt backfired as well, though, when Reba called me the next morning, strongly pressuring me to admit that it must all be my own fault, since problems in a marriage are almost always the woman’s fault. Although Richard agreed to counsel Mark after that, I later found out that his counsel was mostly along the lines of: “If you show Jen that you love her, then Jen will see how wrong she is and she’ll stop sinning.” Again being given an opportunity to blame the wife, Mark only continued to grow even worse.

By August, 2004, he had moved into the spare bedroom. Since Mark came to church every Sunday when he was in town, one family noticed that he wasn’t there that particular day and asked me where he was. Still not wanting to violate the rules laid out for me in that first meeting, I evaded answering them, several times. Finally, grateful that at least someone cared, I replied that Mark didn’t want to be a part of our family anymore.

Somehow this got back to the deacons, who pulled me aside to talk to me after church, reminding me that I promised not to say anything negative about Mark. By this point, Beall was refusing to speak to me at all, Doug Phillips was totally inaccessible, and I felt like no one cared. The deacons began asking some questions about the situation, apparently not realizing that anything was wrong. In a small church like that, when we would spend ALL day together every Sunday, they didn’t know anything was wrong. Although it took us an hour to drive to church, as it did most everyone when Boerne Christian Assembly moved to its third location way out in the boonies, not one person asked why Mark and I started driving in two separate vehicles each week. After almost one year of Mark leaving early after the service, one man did ask where Mark went after church. I replied that he went to the same place Doug Phillips did each Sunday after church.

But I digress. Upon finding out about Mark’s anger, Bob Sarratt, one of the deacons, asked me if I thought Mark was bi-polar. Not being fond of pop-psychology myself, yet being at a total loss for what to do, I had asked the other deacon, a medical doctor, if he knew if the term “bi-polar” was accurate biblically. He did not know. I told both deacons that I did not know what was the source of Mark’s anger: if it was mental illness, if it was demonic, or if it was just plain sin. Bob Sarratt then suggested that we get Doug Phillips involved. Not wanting a repeat of that first meeting, I declined. The deacons persisted, however, so I agreed as long as Beall Phillips was not going to be present. They both agreed to those terms. When they asked Mark to attend the meeting, he also emphasized that Beall Phillips not be present.

In the interim, however, two weeks before this proposed meeting, Mark nearly killed his whole family, late one Saturday night. Screaming for Mark to stop, my children were absolutely terrified. At church the next day, we attempted to ask for help. One man was greatly concerned and tried to help both my daughter and me, although since he was not in “leadership,” there was nothing he felt he could really do. When my daughter went to ask Doug Phillips for help, he did not believe her and laughed it off. Bob Sarratt merely suggested that we not get in the car with Mark for two weeks (the situation involved road rage, of sorts). Even when our lives were in danger, nothing was done.

Six weeks after suggesting a meeting, on October 7, 2004, Doug Phillips agrees to meet with us for precisely two hours in his office at Vision Forum. After greeting the two other men in attendance, we walked into Doug Phillips’ office and saw Beall sitting there as well. I did not say anything until Doug Phillips gave me an opportunity to speak. Then I kindly asked why Beall Phillips was present, when it was made clear all around that she would not be in attendance at this meeting, because of her refusal to speak with me for the last couple years. Doug Phillips assured me she was there to help me, so I asked Beall what her intentions were. When she assured me she only wanted to help me, I agreed to let her stay. Sensing the tension, Doug Phillips asked Beall to leave anyway. Not off to a very good start, I was then given an opportunity to talk. Knowing that I wasn’t prepared for the first meeting, I had taken the time to gather some evidence for this meeting. I shared with Doug Phillips about how Mark had nearly killed his whole family two weeks prior, but he just laughed at me. I brought an email where Mark was describing in detail how he would kill someone in a particular group. I brought the lyrics to a song Mark would sing about killing people, but Doug Phillips refused to let me read the lyrics. I described how he would attempt to teach the children specific methods for killing “enemies,” which had nothing to do with war. I described his constant talking of killing, especially around the children. I told how we each would greet Mark at the door when he came home from work, only to have him shove us out of his way. This was all in addition to the tremendous amount of screaming and yelling and constant false accusations we endured. I also told Doug Phillips of my attempts at following Matthew 18 so far, and asked for the church to please step in now. Doug Phillips listened, but he didn’t say anything.

After Mark spoke, Doug Phillips started asking Mark why he thought there were problems in the marriage, giving Mark plenty of opportunities to put the blame on me again, even though Mark was extremely angry in this meeting as well. I was not given another chance to talk. In the end, Doug Phillips said, “Mark is an angry man, and that is wicked; but you, Jen, you are very wicked, you are rebellious, and you are a Jezebel.” I still couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.

There were no decisions made, no instructions given. No plan was discussed, no protection offered. I went home with no hope left, fearing for my life.


9 Responses to “Doug Phillips Refuses to Protect Woman and Children”

  1. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Having lived through the ‘it’s all your fault this marrige is a mess’ for 6 years, I know all too well the pain, confusion and frustration that accompanies any sincere attempt to make things right.

    Amazing isn’t it…when we read Matthew 18 it sounds SO SIMPLE, and then this perverse reality sets in contrary to everything that Gods’ Word says. Its like living in some kind of time warp, a surreal world where nothing makes sense. Making simple everyday decisions becomes a nightmare because you are now fearing that YOU are the one who has lost it…after all EVERYONE says its your fault…..Holding onto the smallest speck of sanity becomes this incredible herculean task that must be repeated each and every second, minute, hour, day……

    Bless you dear Jen for being willing to share your experience so that others may learn from your horriffic ordeal. We love you….oh and Mark too ;).

  2. Joe Taylor Says:

    The problem with blogs like this is they tend to only make you look like a fool as a result of ranting about one subject over-and-over. Move on with your life lady. Its never too late to move on.

    Editor’s note: This is not the same Joe Taylor as the one who had the allosaur taken away from him by Doug Phillips.

  3. Jen Says:

    Berean, thanks for clarifying why I am doing this. I encourage everyone to read the “About” pages, which explain the biblical reasoning for this blog, but especially read, “Why We Are Here,” which explains why this blog is my last option after working hard for the last two years toward reconciliation.

  4. Always Batya Says:

    I want to thank Mark for what he is doing here. He is allowing a very negative story about himself to be told. He is publically showing his repentence. I cannot imagine how hard this must be for you all. Public repentence means public accountability. If more Christians did this, lives would be transformed by the witness of the transforming power of Christ.

    Do you know how many Christians hide their real lives? Living lies? And when the deception is discovered it is worse than if they had publically repented for accountability because so many have been mislead.

    Mark, by doing this, is more of a role model than any elder I have seen in years. People may scoff at that because of what the Bible says about elders but think again: If we really repent, then God forgets. Why can’t we? And if we repent publically, then we are under a microscope and can get by with nothing! We then, have to depend on God totally. It is one way God works and I am appalled that so few in church leadership understand this. I have seen quite a bit of sin covered up by elders because of bad publicity for the church.

    Who loves Jesus more? Those who have had much sin that was forgiven or those who have little to be forgiven (or think they have little to be forgiven…like the Pharisee that invited Christ to dinner).

    I can understand the anger thing because I have had it, too. It really is sin and we must take it to the cross daily. Because WE cannot do it alone.

    One other thing that has become very real to me. We cannot ‘be’ the fruits of the Spirit as outlined in scripture. We are too sinful and it becomes works. But the Holy Spirit can work these fruits in us if we deny ourselves and submit to the Lord.

    Thank you both for being living witnesses to real Sacrifice for sin and His redeeming love.

  5. thank you Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am only a short way through (start at chapter one). I do hope that you and Mark were able to somehow work things out and stay together (despite the churches contributing to the problem). And I thank you for sharing something so personal and difficult. It is helping me in my troubles right now.

  6. Sreya Says:

    My sympathy for your troubles but considering that in the bible god condones crime against women children and anyone else who gets in the way, what do you expect? Really, think about it.
    From almost the first page of the bible to the last every crime is commited. It is also overwhelmingly clear that the people – yes people – who wrote the bible thouroughly loathed females.
    Do you think cutting babies from womens wombs, burning pregnant women alive, fathers and brothers giving female family away for debts, selling them for income or handing them to men to be raped spells love? Do you think husbands draging women to the community church where she is tortured on the husbands whim spells love? Do you think dsallowing woman the right to make an oath, to select her own husband to seek divorce, move about freely spells love? Do you think the treatment of womans bodies as though they are community property spells love?

    Answer to all is an emphatic no.

    My hope is that those of you who are caught up in the horrid lies of religion will start searching for truth and shed the lies and perversions of fundamentalism.

    • Kenny Says:


      Painting with such broad strokes as you do exposes your ignorance of both history and religion. Your indictments may apply to Islam in particular for it would be illogical to pretend that man would ever recognize either virtue or evil without the Christian faith of the Bible. Non-religious folks are typically the more irrational or at best blinded by one ideology or another (feminism, progressivism, egalitarianism, globalism, environmentalism, climate change fanaticism, multiculturalism, diversity, tolerance, social justice. etc.) and therefore foreign to any coherent, comprehensive, universal and hence workable worldview. One of the symptoms of our age is the simplistic and narcissistic attempt to define reality according to one’s own experiences or according to some idealistic fantasy of how we “wish” the world should be. You need both the grace and inerrant truth found in Jesus Christ to address such issues as you have else you will never escape the hypocrisy which will attend your every indignation.

      • Nathan Says:

        Kenny, did you just seriously indicate that “tolerance” is a blind ideology, but Christianity is not?

  7. jak Says:

    Why Why Why would you let this happen day after day after day????? Life is short. live it happy!! This is an ongoing saga and annoying!! If you were abused, LEAVE!!!!!! It’s almost like you LIKED being in it and enjoy more telling everyone about it!!! It’s simple. All those people abused you and didn’t love you so why were you wasting your life trying to make it better? Leave. and find people who love you.

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