Yet Another Doug Phillips Sex Scandal

A Unique Case of Clergy Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment

This is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. The names of the guilty have not.

For several years I’ve been hearing rumors of clergy sexual abuse at Boerne Christian Assembly. Those rumors, if true, would prove far worse in their ramifications than Doug Phillips’ so-called “extra-marital affair” that resulted in his resignation from Vision Forum Ministries. I say “so-called” because, although many have termed it that, including the Press, in point of fact it was a classic case of clergy sexual abuse. The name of the young lady victim should remain confidential with those who know her, and unknown to those who don’t.

However, the name of the woman who is the subject of this particular story will be divulged herein, since she is guilty. Likewise the name of Doug Phillips is disclosed herein since he is directly responsible for all the sexual abuse, as well as the sexual harassment, that took place at Boerne Christian Assembly. In anticipation of the Matthew 18 Police, yes, numerous BCA families did everything possible to follow the dictates of Matthew 18:15-17 to put an end to the rampant sexual abuse and sexual harassment in their midst.

Bob and Cathy Johnson recently emailed me a lengthy and detailed narrative of the years-long unimpeded sexual exploits of Jennifer Grady at Boerne Christian Assembly. Their narrative completely confirms the shocking rumors I have long heard. Upon reviewing their narrative I arranged a phone interview to clarify some key points of their story and to discuss the specifics of how they wanted their story told.

In writing the Johnson’s story I realized that many people would be shaking their heads in disbelief while muttering, “Why didn’t those people just get out of there? What held them back? Have they all lost their minds?” Those are questions that don’t get asked by anyone who’s ever been in a religious sociological cult. They can easily relate to the Johnson’s story. For those that haven’t been in a cult before it will require some explaining. As such, this will be a two part article. This first part focuses on sexual abuse and sexual harassment at Boerne Christian Assembly, as well as the actions Doug Phillips took that ensured it would continue long term. The second part, which will be posted later in the week, focuses on the other clergy abuses perpetrated by Doug Phillips — emotional, psychological, and spiritual — that enabled him to create an environment ripe for sexual abuse and sexual harassment. The second part will also show why Boerne Christian Assembly is not a church but a religious sociological cult.

Any number of current and former BCA members are likely to read this story. This may be difficult for them by bringing up painful old memories. To them I wish to express my deepest sympathies for what you have endured. Most of you have suffered in silence, trying hard to forget the nightmare that is BCA. But you need not suffer in silence, fear, and shame any longer. You too have stories to tell, and friends here who deeply care for you. Each former BCA member has their own vantage point and own unique history. In telling your story you can help others in their recovery, and by doing so you will find it therapeutic for yourself, as well. As any competent therapist knows and would tell you, sharing your story is a vital part of abuse recovery.

To quote from Bob and Cathy Johnson’s narrative:

“What we are about to share further supports T.W. Eston’s ending to his article stating this is only the tip of the ice burg. Well here is another huge chunk we will drop in the sea and expose. This is related in many ways to Doug’s ‘romantic and affectionate relationship with another woman other than his wife.’ It also shows an abusive pattern in the way he treated Jen Epstein, Joe Taylor and countless others including those of us who are now sharing our stories.

“Our purpose in sharing is not to gossip, nor to try to ruin Doug Phillips, but to make sure that Doug is held accountable for all he has done and not think he can only confess to part of his sins and state he is contacting those he has offended to make amends when to our knowledge no one we know he offended has been contacted in any way…

“Unfortunately this man’s actions have been so severe we must bring out our stories in order for Doug to not think he can confess to just part of what he has done to hide his sins.”

The Johnson family became members of BCA in 2007 by signing a document known as “The Covenant.” It stipulates various terms and conditions of BCA membership. According to Doug Phillips’ broad interpretation of The Covenant, “There are only two ways you can leave BCA. You can die or the Elders can agree to transfer you to another church.” If you want to leave BCA to join another church you must first obtain a letter of transfer from Elder Doug Phillips and/or Doug’s sycophant-Elder Bob Sarratt. However, church transfers are seldom granted unless you have a job-related or other necessary reason to move out of state.

Upon arrival at BCA, Jennifer Grady, with her husband and seven children, were warmly received. The family became members and took up an active part in the life of the church. In the fall of 2007 Jennifer’s brother, Michael Billings, was killed in an automobile accident. This was immediately followed by a drastic change in Jennifer’s behavior. She became inappropriately friendly with the men. Jennifer’s behavior stood in stark contrast to all the other BCA women, this in a church where modesty and a decorum of distance between the sexes was expected.

Stan Rogers, father of 18 year-old Joe Rogers, found evidence of an inappropriate romantic relationship going on between Jennifer and Joe late in 2007. He took the matter to the elders of BCA, Doug Phillips and Bob Sarratt. Stan complained repeatedly to Doug and Bob about Jennifer Grady coming on to young Joe. Stan had cause to believe that Joe had succumbed to Jennifer’s seductions and was involved in an adulterous affair with her. From all appearances Doug and Bob took no action.

In the Spring of 2008 Doug Phillips called the BCA men together for, what the men later described as, “a secret members-only camping trip.” Once secured on the private property, the men were informed that all the gates would be locked and no one could leave until Doug said they could. That evening in the cabin Doug spoke cryptically to the men of his doomsday end of the world prognostications. They were each to prepare their families for the resultant societal meltdown. Paranoia of an uncertain future is a common mind control technique used by cult leaders. Things were getting more cultish by the month at BCA.

Stan Rogers and son Joe were not at that secret camping trip. Stan was at home, remotely keeping an eye on Joe, and he had good cause. Stan Rogers was convinced that Joe was being bedded by Jennifer Grady. He’d provided evidence of the affair to Doug and Bob in the form of dozens of emails. Once again, nothing was done by the Elders. In desperation Stan hid a GPS tracking device in his son’s car. Shortly after the conclusion of Doug’s doomsday talk that evening, Stan had tracked his son’s car to the Grady’s tiny home. Stan called Elders Doug Phillips and Bob Sarratt and pleaded with them to meet him at the Grady’s home. Bob agreed to come but Doug dismissed Stan’s pleas for help. Bob Sarratt,  Michael Gobart (Elder in training) and Mr. Grady raced to the Grady home and surrounded the house. Young Joe, in a panic, attempted to sneak out the back window of Jennifer’s bedroom where his father was waiting. Busted! The Elders soon claimed that Jennifer had “repented.” She apologized to the Rogers. However there was no indication of genuine repentance, and this was soon proven by her continuing predations.

Jennifer had morphed into a cougar — a woman who preys on younger men. But she also wasn’t always that particular. Her advances often occurred in the homes of BCA families. Fathers complained to Doug Phillips and Bob Sarratt, but they did nothing about it. This encouraged Jennifer to bring her predations right into the church Sunday morning where she became ever more overt in her intentions. Neither Doug Phillips, Bob Sarratt, or Michael Gobart dissuaded her in any way. Her favorite come-on was, “All great men have many women.” She would touch and caress the men inappropriately, run her hands through their hair, stroke their faces and necks, and rub her body up against theirs. Fathers were outraged and mothers were afraid for their sons.

Within the same time frame that Stan had brought his complaints to Doug, at least seven other fathers also made the same complaints to Doug and Bob about Jennifer’s advances on their respective sons. Neither Doug or Bob did anything about the men’s complaints, other than to warn the men from even speaking to one another about it lest they be brought under “church discipline.”  By that point most of them were eager to leave the church altogether, and some did request letters of transfer, but all were denied and told they would be excommunicated if they attempted to leave. All the men could do at the time was exclude Jennifer from their homes.

JenniferGradyCaptionJennifer Grady should have been the talk of the church as she escalated her seductions with more of the men and boys and became ever more brazen about it. But as is typical of religious sociological cults, no one was permitted to talk or complain about it for fear of being “put under church discipline” as “gossips.” The sin of gossip is frequently preached on at BCA by Doug Phillips as being “one of the most wicked of all sins.”

Jennifer Grady found herself excluded from one home after another. But it’s hard to stop a determined cougar. Jennifer Grady found other ways of accessing the young men — what some might perhaps characterize as “stalking.” For example, she would find out where the Vision Forum Interns, and other young men (all of them BCA members), would have their outings and join them, uninvited. In one case Jennifer showed up at a VF Intern rock climbing/repelling excursion in a skirt. I’m a rock climber myself, so I have no idea how a woman in a skirt can strap on a climbing harness at all, let alone do so without indecently exposing herself. Perhaps that was the whole point. Later at church she showed the pictures of the outing to the young men and stated they were getting a “free show of my legs.” One young man replied in shock, “Mrs. Grady!” Complaints were directed to Doug Phillips but, again, he did nothing about it. The message to Jennifer Grady was loud and clear: she was free to seduce and sexually harass any BCA men.

By this time more than a full year had passed of BCA having to endure Jennifer Grady’s brazen seductions. Fathers, mothers and children had been conditioned by Doug Phillips’ to trust their Elders. Everyone wanted so very much to believe that the Jennifer Grady problem would be taken care of. But as month after month crept by it became more apparent that Doug Phillips would not intervene. Multiple attempts were made by multiple fathers to seek Doug’s intervention. He evaded all such attempts by the fathers to meet with him by subterfuge and failing to show up at church for weeks at a time. In one case he finally did agree to meet with a father, telling him, “I’ll meet with you in four months.” But shortly thereafter the man received a letter informing him that he was under church discipline and would be excommunicated if he didn’t repent. No explanation of what he was to repent of was named.

Early in 2011 a father confronted Doug and Bob and pleaded with them to discipline Jennifer Grady. He was excoriated (in a manner similar to what Peter Bradrick described on a November 27 posting on his Facebook). The father tried again later, this time by appealing to Matthew 18:15-17, saying that the Bible required him to now bring his witnesses, but he was forbidden by Doug to bring any witnesses, thereby preventing the father from confronting Doug with the other fathers. This was the last straw for this father.

It also proved to be the last straw for eight other BCA fathers who had personally witnessed many of Jennifer Grady’s predations. Some of these eight fathers had also been sexually harassed and/or their sons sexually harassed. They had repeatedly complained to Doug, but they were threatened with church discipline, and this only because they had pleaded for protection from a cougar. One by one they just stopped attending BCA without formally announcing their intentions. But after several months of absence they were each threatened with church discipline if they didn’t start attending again. Ultimately the families all left for good, some by announcing their intentions to become members of other churches whether or not they ever received a letter of transfer, some by asking for transfers which they never received, and others just refused to come back again. They are technically, still to this day, considered “Members not in good standing, under church discipline.” They lived for many months under the constant threat of being excommunicated at any time.

BCA was already a small church and the departure of eight families qualified as a significant reduction in the size of the congregation. The lives of each of these “dishonorable covenant-breaking” families (the label given to all who leave BCA without Doug’s permission), from adults to small children, have been devastated emotionally and spiritually. Most of them are still deeply wounded and grieving years after the fact. This is a textbook case of the devastation that so often happens at the hands of a religious sociopathic narcissist.

Like all gifted cult leaders, Doug Phillips is all about image. It, therefore, is completely consistent that this hypocrite of hypocrites would include this photo on the BCA web site. It portrays a kind and benevolent shepherd watching over and guarding his sheep, protecting them from predators — like cougars, for example. Needless to say, Doug Phillips is no shepherd at all. He is, at best, “a hireling” (John 10:13). But even that is too kind. Doug Phillips is a wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matt 7:15), a predator animal who aided and abetted another predator.

Most anyone would have to ask, “But why? Why would Doug Phillips allow that to go on for years? What was his incentive? What did he get out of it?” This is a unique case of clergy sexual abuse and sexual harassment that would necessitate that Doug Phillips be in full-time psychiatric care for months before anyone could really know the answers for sure. At this juncture all anyone can say with any certainty is that Doug Phillips’ conduct is completely consistent with other sociopathic narcissistic abusive cult leaders.

Needless to say there will be much speculation. The first question I would anticipate in the comments below might be “Were Doug Phillips and Jennifer Grady having an affair?” The answer is I don’t know. Plenty of people at BCA were suspicious of that very thing. Flirtation is one thing. But catching two people in the act can be quite a challenge (just look at all the trouble Stan Rogers had to go through to catch his son). The necessary eye witness testimony hasn’t come forward yet. If there was an affair between Doug Phillips and Jennifer Grady, or even just a one night stand, it might have made it impossible for Doug Phillips to ever get rid of her for fear of her publicly exposing him.

The next question I might anticipate is, “Did Jennifer Grady have something on Doug that made it impossible for him to make her leave BCA?” There remains considerable speculation in BCA over that very thing. There’s also been much speculation over the fact that the impoverished Grady family, deep in debt and struggling to pay bills, suddenly and inexplicably enjoyed a dramatic increase in their standard of living. With Doug no longer an Elder, the term “Payoff” can now be spoken of at BCA without fear of Doug’s reprisals. But there may be other reasons than sex and payoffs for why Doug Phillips acquiesced to a cougar remaining while he threatened excommunication against members for leaving. The whys aren’t nearly as important as the whats.

Doug Phillips’ behavior in the Jennifer Grady case stands in stark contrast to his reactions to far less egregious transgressions within the BCA congregation. In other cases Doug never hesitated to accuse any woman of being a “Jezebel”, women who were never guilty of anything even remotely approaching the sins of Jennifer Grady. Jennifer Grady likely had something very damning on Doug Phillips, and perhaps on Doug’s hand-picked yes-men Elders too. That most certainly is the case with Michael Gobart (Elder in training) who made a regular habit of “counseling” Jennifer Grady after church in his Suburban. Quite often they would disappear together down to the river five minutes from the church. Those “counseling sessions” often lasted several hours each, and many at BCA knew it was going on, including Doug Phillips.

In January 2013 another mass exodus occurred when half of the remaining church (approximately ten families) left BCA. Around the same time, the young lady that Doug Phillips had been carrying on a long-term “inappropriate relationship” with also left BCA, as did her family. In February Doug Phillips stepped down as Teaching Elder.

To the best of our knowledge Jennifer Grady remains “a member in good standing” at Boerne Christian Assembly, to this day.


Post Script

For current and former BCA members:
For any who do want to tell your BCA stories, feel free to email me, just as the Johnson family has done. As always, I never divulge the identities of my sources unless they specifically request to be identified. For any current or former BCA members who would like to comment below on the Johnson’s story, if you’re comfortable doing so please let everyone know your BCA membership status (past, current, excommunicated, etc.), and feel free to use an alias if you’re not comfortable using your real name.

For current and former VF employees and Interns:
There is one significant element to this story which I must leave unnamed at this time, and can only allude to. It concerns a key piece of physical evidence that exposes Doug Phillips to significant additional public shame were the contents of it to become widely known. That evidence confirms what some insiders already suspected — Doug Phillips’ clergy sexual abuses had been going on for years even prior to the discovery of that physical evidence in 2007. That evidence first came into the hands of a VF employee who, through reviewing it, found out about Doug Phillips’ “inappropriate relationship” with the young lady. Other important facts are also revealed by that physical evidence. That piece of evidence is now in the hands of someone unknown to me. It might even be in the hands of Jennifer Grady, and if it were it would explain a lot as to why Doug Phillips sacrificed the sheep to save his own skin. One or more VF employees and perhaps one or more VF Interns know exactly of the evidence I now allude to. They are the only ones who know, and who need to know about what I speak of, and they require no further clarification.

I’m now making a formal request to receive either the original or a copy of the original. Please contact me via email (anonymously, if you prefer) and we can make arrangements. Whoever now possesses it should understand that if they were to destroy it, there could be serious legal consequences.

845 Responses to “Yet Another Doug Phillips Sex Scandal”

  1. Latoya Says:

    Were any of these young men boys under the age of 18? If so, law enforcement must be contacted. Sexual abuse against boys is just as damaging as it is to girls and needs to be treated with equal weight under the law. Why didn’t the men confront Jennifer Grady’s husband first if they weren’t going to the cops, if appropriate? Doug, really? Maybe they did and I missed that part. Does Grady’s husband “enjoy” or get a “thrill” from his wife acting out her fantasies publicly? I’ll speculate that Doug was in a friends with benefits relationship with her too. He loves to play Puritan judge, after all.

    • Johnny Says:

      Many of the young men were under 18 and young ladies as well. However, to my knowledge nothing ever happened that could be considered criminal with any of those….inappropriate comments, etc. definitely, but nothing that would stick as criminal. For example, one time Jennifer Grady had her hands all over a young man at an event, but it would be hard to prove that what she was doing was criminal. She is a very slick operator and she grooms young men by “touching” them and by testing their responses to her comments. Knowing Jennifer Grady, the “touching” is sexual in nature and part of the grooming of victims, but at the same time, it doesn’t cross the criminal line, e.g., she would run her hand down a young man’s arm or rest her hand on his shoulder, etc. To an outsider, this would look like the tender touch of a mother but to those of us that know Jennifer’s appetite for young men, it is definitely sexual.

      • Jen Says:

        Criminal or not, does Jennifer Grady’s behavior line up with patriarchy — the Doug Phillips’ version? Did Doug (and Bob and Michael) treat her differently than anyone else who would have directly gone against all patriarchy values? It is the pattern of Doug Phillips’ hypocrisy here that seems to be a problem. He preaches modesty, but Jennifer Grady flaunts it. Doug Phillips teaches the importance of saving your heart for only your spouse, but not only was Jennifer Grady’s heart shared with many men, apparently, but some of the men seemed to return her attention as well. I can guarantee you that if I had so much as inappropriately touched one man in BCA, that would have been reason enough to call me a Jezebel and excommunicate me. So I was excommunicated for nebulous sins, but hers were continually overlooked, even to the point that several other families felt the need to leave over it.

        What power did she hold over Doug (and Bob and Michael) that they allowed her to cause a church split and continue her sexual advances in a Family-Integrated church?

        • Sarah Says:

          @Jenn, as much as I want to see some Justice don’t you feel you need people who are willing to give their names and stand by the above accusations about Jennifer Grady?

        • Jen Says:

          Sarah, there are many reasons people are not willing to use their real names. It used to be fear of Doug and his minions, but BCA is still alive (and well?), and Jennifer Grady still knows each of these people. I pray that she does not try to retaliate, but that is a real concern. Also, Bob Sarratt and Michael Gobart, as well as many members who have chosen to stay in spite of all the drama, know where all these people live, work, and all about them. They could make life very hard for them. But the more they are ALL exposed, the more anyone associated with BCA will be free to live their lives once again.

        • notsurprised Says:

          personally, I think it’s because she’s beautiful……..have you seen some of the flour sack wearing, no make up, plain jane women there? I mean modest doesn’t mean not to take care of yourself….and use some personal hygiene.

          btw for those that comment on her photo, there’s lots of alcohol drinking and cigar smoking that flows in and amongst the people of BCA including Doug (and connected with Doug)……LOTS.

          it doesn’t matter if it’s half of the church or several families that left BCA in January……..the point is, that the impact that Doug has had on BCA, Christians, homeschoolers, families, etc is devastating. It’s about time he’s being held accountable (and all those associated with him as well). I am glad people are speaking out……..and hope he NEVER has a chance to be in “ministry” again!

        • Jen Says:

          Notsurprised, yes, she is beautiful and that is to her credit! Frumpy is not much of a turn on! Most of my BCA friends wore make-up and most did their hair nice. Some wore beautiful dresses while others were a bit more frumpy. It was a mixed bag there.

          If even ONE family left BCA disgruntled, it was a major event. If two left at the same time, it would cause great turmoil. To have more than two families leave at the same time, knowing the hoops that must be jumped through in order to leave, means there was something extraordinarily serious going on, and it wasn’t being properly addressed in the least. Jennifer Grady had something MAJOR over those men.

        • notsurprised Says:

          If even ONE family left BCA disgruntled, it was a major event. If two left at the same time, it would cause great turmoil. To have more than two families leave at the same time, knowing the hoops that must be jumped through in order to leave, means there was something extraordinarily serious going on,

          the more I hear………the more blatant this church, DP and all of this mess is a cult…….plain and simple

        • Liquored up for Jesus Says:

          Okay now this makes sense! I could never figure out how the Baptist Doug Phillips could be such good friends the boozehound R.C. Sproul Jr. At least RC Jr isn’t a hypocrite about his drinking.
          Drinking With RC Sproul Jr

        • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

          It is the pattern of Doug Phillips’ hypocrisy here that seems to be a problem. He preaches modesty, but Jennifer Grady flaunts it. Doug Phillips teaches the importance of saving your heart for only your spouse, but not only was Jennifer Grady’s heart shared with many men, apparently, but some of the men seemed to return her attention as well.

          Rank Hath Its Privileges.
          And one of the Privileges of being a Cult Leader (or Court Favorite of same) is using the Cult followers as your personal Sexual Smorgasbord.

      • Mrs. W Says:

        Johnny – you said “young ladies as well.” Was she harassing the girls as well or was that being done by someone else? Just trying to understand what you were implying.

        • BlowItWideOpen Says:

          During this time she would not visit with the other women at social events and church. She hung with the young crowd and greatly influenced them with her examples and speech.I believe this is where he is referring to young ladies She appeared to always be the life of the party and center of all their attention.

    • Jen Says:

      Latoya, in Texas, the age of consent is 17. From what we’ve been told, they were all 17 and older. The legal aspect is not at issue here; the hypocrisy of Doug Phillips is. Yet another hypocrisy in a LONG line of such.

      • Latoya Says:

        Just checking. As a mom of a son, I don’t like the pass that female predators get. But yes, the hypocrisy is ridiculous.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

        P.S. That’s Doug Phillips ESQUIRE(TM).
        He always insists on the title of minor nobility in his public statements and blogs, let’s give it to him and then some.

        • Jen Says:

          Or, we could go all out, and go with what he used to call himself — Douglas Winston Phillips, Esquire. 🙂

        • Donna Says:

          In DP’s case, the title Esquire refers to that of a lawyer. (Though I know what you mean with the nobility reference! 😉 ) But DP hasn’t practiced law in many years that I’m aware of… anyone know if he’s been disbarred or anything like that? He left HSLDA (as a lawyer) to start VF back in the 90’s, right, Jen? (Btw, the first thing I thought of when I read his Oct. 31 supposed “confession” was that he wrote it just like a lawyer…. word choices and all that. Barely admitting only that which he *has* to admit to, and surrounding it with many fine words. I bet he has a LOT of legal concerns right now. BCA has legal concerns, too, and that would be one of the reasons DP has been put out. Somebody else there is trying to watch their own backs.) (I used to work for lawyers, and my husband studied church discipline and the potential legal problems with church counseling in Bible college.)

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Donna, it’s been several years since I attempted to pull Doug’s bar records. To the best of my knowledge he’s currently only licensed to practice in Washington D.C.
          Doug Phillips bar license

        • Jen Says:

          Yes, Donna, he left HSLDA under not-so-good terms in order to start up VF in the 90s.

          I guess I hadn’t thought about the legal situation BCA could now find themselves in as well. What a huge mess!

    • BlowItWideOpen Says:

      Many men personally went to her husband. . He did not seem bothered from what we understood by her behavior.. All we know is men were told to go to her husband by the elders not her (typical Patriarchy thing) and he was very nonchalant about the whole thing adding more mystery.

  2. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Being a long time member of Jens Blog I can only say that I for one, am glad that this has fonallu come around, as all our lives are really and truly an echo in the Universe. Thanks for sharing….all the more to rejoice that another monster hs been removed from the shepherd field. (I can’ t bring myself to call him a wolf, as wolves kill for food not pleasure).

    • Jen Says:

      Thanks for being there in the beginning, Morgan, helping me find my own way out of this mess!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

      ….all the more to rejoice that another monster hs been removed from the shepherd field.

      At least until he hits the Comeback Trail with a new Church Plant. (God’s Predestined Will, you know.)

  3. Johnny Says:

    While some of the material facts are wrong, the basic story here is true. I cringed when I read some of the inaccurate statements, e.g., the stated number of families that left BCA in Jan 2013 is way off. Of course, some will focus on what they know is wrong here and use that to discredit the entire post. I wish the article had been better qualified but no matter how you cut it, people cannot escape the fact that the whole Jennifer Grady scandal is very real and widespread. At this time, I cannot say what I would really like to share, but if I did, I could help blow this thing wide open.

    I am glad that Bob Sarratt and Michael Gobart are finally getting the attention they deserve. As Sarratt was so-called co-elder with Phillips, he bears “co-responsibility” for the mistreatment of the sheep and for not protecting the sheep from the cougar. Sarratt needs to resign from BCA eldership immediately and join Phillips in the category of those never to lead God’s people again. Gobart, was/is one of Phillips key hatchet men. Gobart can and does erupt in terrible anger when anyone challenged Phillips on these matters. For years, we have wondered about Gobart and Jennifer Grady; maybe the truth on this one will come out eventually also.

    My hope is that Sarratt, Phillips, the Grady’s, and/or Gobart would file a lawsuit over what has been stated here. I would love to have them all under oath. There are between 50 and 100 people that could be deposed and validate the basic story here. I would love to see it all come out into the open. I say bring on the lawyers and let’s have our day in court!

    • Jen Says:

      Johnny, it sounds likes you are a (former?) BCA member. Each person who witnessed this hypocrisy of Doug, Bog, and Michael allowing a cougar in their midst while knowing full well that it goes squarely against EVERYTHING they taught, will have a different perspective. That is why they have as many different witnesses as possible in a court of law. As you can see, we fully protected the identity of those who came forward with this story. If you would like to share anything with us, anonymously or otherwise, you can be assured of the same confidentiality. We realize that each person will see things a bit differently, so thank you for filling in some blanks for us.

      How many families left in January 2013?

      • Johnny Says:

        I have no idea how many left BCA, I just know that it wasn’t anywhere near what was stated.

        • Jen Says:

          Thank you, Johnny. It is a very small church, so when two or more families leave at the same time, especially with the “Covenant” in place, it is a BIG deal.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Johnny, I believe your public challenge is, once again, wrong. It is wrong both in fact and it is inappropriate in spirit. Furthermore it’s quite confusing. I’ve wanted to contact you via email. You are unusual in that you’ve been an insider, yet judging from the absurd email address you’ve chosen to use here, it’s apparent you don’t want to be contacted. I’ll respect that if that’s what you want. I’m sure you must have your reasons.

          It seems that you approve of my articles but, at the same time, you are highly critical of the slightest inaccuracy as you perceive it. When you are then asked to provide a precise figure, or more accurate detail, such as Jen has just requested you do, you respond, “I have no idea how many left BCA”. This is peculiar behavior.

          Once again, you force me to have to publicly refute you, and I hardly believe this is the appropriate venue for it. But you leave me with no other option: “the stated number of families that left BCA in Jan 2013 is way off.” No it is not way off, it is very accurate according to at least one of those families that left in January. That family is different from the family who is my source for this article. That is their figure and they’re confident about it. It sounds like you weren’t there? They were. As such my confidence in them is much higher than in you.

          I take no pleasure in having to, once again, publicly refute you in this manner. I do admit to taking a certain pleasure in refuting adversaries, but you don’t strike me as an adversary. Yet you are quite critical, as an adversary would be.

          I request that you please contact me via email so that we can begin functioning as allies. I won’t promise that I’ll use every fact and figure you provide. But if your intel is good it will probably be used.

      • EyesWideOpen Says:

        I was one of the families that left in January 2012. I can attest that at least 9 families left within 2-3 weeks of each other at the same time.

        • EyesWideOpen Says:

          Since we were just “regular attenders” they didn’t care about us…ever. But we do know of many friends who left as covenant members and are still discussed as “disobedient covenant breakers and publicans….whom the existing members of BCA are NOT to ever associate with.”

        • Jen Says:

          Thank you, EyesWideOpen, for confirming this. Be glad that you never entered that “Till Death Do Us Part” Covenant! It sounds like we need to form an ex-BCA group. There is no need to live in fear and condemnation any longer. 🙂

        • notsurprised Says:

          we do know of many friends who left as covenant members and are still discussed as “disobedient covenant breakers and publicans….whom the existing members of BCA are NOT to ever associate with.”

          First of all, thanks for confirming that and speaking out EWO! Secondly…….this is DISGUSTING! Classic signs of a Cult right there!

        • Anna Kelly Says:

          Just trying to clarify, are we speaking of January 2012 or January 2013 that these families left? I find this so difficult to digest that if this all started so quickly after the death of Michael, he passed away in Nov. 2007, correct? That means this has gone on for 5+ years!

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          The first mass exodus occurred in 2011 when eight families left. Then: “In January 2013 another mass exodus occurred when half of the remaining church (approximately ten families) left BCA.”

          You are correct about it going on for 5+ years.

      • notsurprised Says:

        Gobart can and does erupt in terrible anger when anyone challenged Phillips on these matters. For years, we have wondered about Gobart and Jennifer Grady; maybe the truth on this one will come out eventually also.

        I wonder what Michael’s wife thinks about these new, now public Revelations? What about the other spouses/wives?

        • Jen Says:

          NotSurprised, I am sure that all the BCA folks are still being told not to read my site. Michael Gobart is reading this and he will do everything possible to keep his wife from seeing this. Most, if not all, of the other wives will be told not to read this either.

        • notsurprised Says:

          well both he & Jennifer Grady are on Fb! His fb has all been Bible verses here and there and at random. They are very interesting as well!

        • notsurprised Says:

          does anyone know if Jennifer is still married to her husband?

        • EyesWideOpen Says:

          Yes she is.

    • JPGR Says:

      “At this time, I cannot say what I would really like to share, but if I did, I could help blow this thing wide open.”

      Why not?

      What is anyone afraid of at this stage?

      (I think I’m actually figuring out the underlying “thing” here, incidentally).

      • Sarah Pressler Says:

        I don’t know why anyone is afraid at this point. This has all been very liberating for me on so many levels. As a good friend once told me: vomit it all up on the kitchen table. Then – and only then – can you clean off the slate and start fresh. There’s no reason to hold onto secrets, past pain, or shame. It was a cult. It was The Village to the Nth degree. Say what you need to say.

        • JPGR Says:

          My reply and quote was from Johnny above. He is the one who said he could “blow this thing wide open.”

          (Sorry the reply wasn’t in the right place….I’m sort of new with technology….).

          But I do think for whatever reason Johnny is not willing to “blow this thing wide open.” I don’t know why, but I agree. It should all be said sooner rather than later.

  4. Jackie C. Says:

    Interesting her behavior changed after her brother died.

    Have to ask – she dresses like this? I think I assumed it was a church where you couldn’t show bra straps, or even shoulders. Is that an alcoholic drink in her hand? Love the nail polish too. This is how Doug’s wife needs to break out – without the accompanying behaviors of course.

    • Jen Says:

      Jackie, thank you for picking up on that. Yes, that would be wholly inappropriate clothing for a patriarchy wife at BCA, even outside of church events. Although there were no specific rules about alcohol, it was greatly frowned upon. It was kind of an unwritten rule that no one spoke of. As for the nail polish, Beall would love it, too. 😉

      • JPGR Says:

        “It concerns a key piece of physical evidence that exposes Doug Phillips to significant additional public shame were the contents of it to become widely known.”

        One thing has struck me as odd about all of this. To be blunt, I was “relieved” that Doug was having relationships with a woman. But with this cryptic message, I’m inclined to wonder about my prior suspicions.

        Has Doug had inappropriate relations with men, also?

    • notsurprised Says:

      Jackie C: see my comment above………there’s LOTS and LOTS of alcohol & cigar smoking that was held by Doug and his minions……..LOTS. Those associated and are in Doug’s Circle have no problems with it as well.

    • notsurprised Says:

      Interesting her behavior changed after her brother died.

      It IS interesting but there’s NO excuse for her behavior and the behavior of those around that didn’t hold her accountable!

    • Keith Blankenship Says:

      Are you referring to pictures of these people? Where can they be found?

  5. David Clohessy Says:

    “to my knowledge nothing ever happened that could be considered criminal. . .”

    With all due respect, Johnny, you’re probably not a prosecutor. . . so this is not your call to make. . .the experienced, independent professionals in law enforcement are the only ones who can determine whether criminal laws were broken and/or whether criminal charges can be levied. . .

    David Clohessy, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 314 566 9790

  6. D.L F Says:

    Could anyone please give more detail about the fact that Doug had a secret meeting to discuss the end of the world? What was said at the meeting? Did he feel that he had a special revelation of some sort? To me, the secret meeting and Covenant is the most frightening and cult like aspect of this story.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      To quote the article: “The second part, which will be posted later in the week, focuses on the other clergy abuses perpetrated by Doug Phillips — emotional, psychological, and spiritual — that enabled him to create an environment ripe for sexual abuse and sexual harassment. The second part will also show why Boerne Christian Assembly is not a church but a religious sociological cult.”

      I’ll go into more details on that in the second part.

    • Not Fooled Anymore Says:

      This camp out was for members only. It caused some hurt at BCA as there were others who attended BCA who were not yet members and at the time would have liked to have been, but were waiting on a membership class (typical). The men thought this was to be a fun father son thing but soon found out it was rather creepy. Once again a lot of say as I do and not as I say going on there. Got there to have Michael Gobart ranting and yelling at the men as 3 non member men had heard about it and they were not happy in turn with all the men as it was to have been secret. Why not speak privately to the men who had informed the 3 though it was so silly to have a secret thing anyway? Funny how non members with privileges were there though- Don Hart, Michael Gobart’s brother and a local anesthesiologist who attended BCA was free to come and go and leave his oldest son when not there, but others were forbidden to attend. Go figure.

      Wesley Strackbein and Michael Gobart did the majority of the speaking and spoke on things like how to purify water, what to do when things fell apart and where to go and how to protect your family and Michael’s brother gave a talk on how they can find folks, etc. Doug spoke of the older version of the movie Red Dawn (the new one was not out yet obviously) and generally the whole thing was a really odd, creepy event. They gave the impression that someone could come to get us all and how we should respond and be prepared. They never really stated why they thought this though. Wesley also spoke of not reading things on the Internet and specifically addressed Jennifer Epstein’s site as evil. Another way of controlling the flock. \

      • Jen Says:

        To clarify here, BCA is divided into two groups: covenant members, and regular attenders. Covenant members have certain privileges that regular attenders do not. Apparently, a men’s camping trip with Doug was one of those privileges.

  7. Andrew McDonald Says:

    It is time for all those involved in a ‘house church’ to begin trusting any misgivings they might have felt before they saw all this unfold. Especially if the leadership are involved with or follow Doug Phillips. We were members of one where the events were right out of the DP Playbook. (Later the leaders sent their son to be an intern with DP.) I imagine they are pretty depressed about that now… sort of like sending your kids to the temple of Baal.
    At any rate after two years we got out but not after some turmoil. Believe me, it is very hard once you’re ‘in’ the system to not do almost anything the leaders asks just to keep their favor. Especially once you’ve seen how those who do not behave are treated. Then there is the shame of having been involved in that mis-treatment personally. Yet God is good, He forgives.
    We eventually had what we later called ‘the last supper’ with our leaders, were told how deeply, deeply disappointed they were in us and by us, how much we’d hurt them and we were pretty much gone after that. Although they did allow us to do some work activities afterwards. They were sure to tell those in the group that we were ‘bad’ and to leave us alone.

    Is it time to leave yet? Do this:
    1. Get out of the group. Even though it will be hard, leave the group. Don’t try to fix it as the leaders are not interested in that. Yes you have deep friendships there but the real friends will remain; in fact some may have the courage to leave once they see you do it but don’t hang your hat on it. We’ve had three couples come out. Two of whom we’ve spoken with about it and one who we are cordial with but never addressed the issues. You will survive. It is likely that the leaders made sure to isolate you somehow, like by telling you everyone else is wrong. It took us two years to go to church again. Don’t wait that long. Find a good church.

    2. Ask forgiveness from those you’ve hurt along the way. Asking forgiveness is never easy, it requires humility, but do it anyway, it will help the healing. I called those old members who we shut out and asked forgiveness.

    3. Consider your salvation. The part the house church has played in your life may very well be the journey to finally arriving home! I had gone from Bible Church to charismatic church, to really charismatic, to legalism looking for the answer to my flesh. I was never a new creation just domesticated and not really well house trained. (lol). I got saved after all this. Did I enjoy the journey? No. Was it apparently required for me? Yep, because now I know what Peter Bradrick and others are is going through and can assure them, that as they look to Jesus, He WILL see them through! He did it for me, He’ll do it for you.

    4. Pray for the leadership. Remember they are on a journey too. Many have been fooled by the ilks of Doug Phillips. And every christian is charged to reconcile. My pastor told me we have the ministry of reconciliation and that is Biblical so just do it.

    Be ready to share your story in a way that will not be gossipy but will be a warning to those who will listen. God did not take you through anything for nothing. It will serve a purpose, somehow, someday. Trust.

    • Jen Says:

      Andrew, you remind me of what the apostle Paul said in II Cor. 1: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

      Sometimes we go through trials in life so that we can comfort those who go through something similar. You have shared some very wise words here. Thank you so much!

  8. Andrew McDonald Says:

    p.s. We believe that house church is now over with and that the leadership is on the mend. These latest events will allow closure (I hope) for them: to see things clearly, to move on and maybe even to seek forgiveness from former members. That is between God and them.

  9. Sarah Pressler Says:

    As a former BCAer… I’m so glad I left when I did — and so thankful to have missed all of this drama. What a mess.

    • Jen Says:

      What? Sarah, I thought you wanted more drama in your life. 😉

      I am trying to imagine what would have happened if this woman came on to your son at church. Oh, my. You would have been excommunicated on the spot!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

        Don’t forget “And Honor Killed once America had been Reconstructed as a Truly CHRISTIAN(TM) Nation”.

      • Sarah Pressler Says:

        SON?? I’m sure Royce is sorry that we left – considering his hobby activities. I’m sure he wishes he and she could have done some “counseling down by the river” as well. He probably would have finally gotten into religion. LOLOL

        • Fred Turner Says:

          May I suggest that you are the one that needs to get some “counseling”.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          Been divorced for a while and now live with my boyfriend. Going on two years of good old fashioned counseling. Life is grand!

        • notsurprised Says:

          wow Frank…….that’s pretty “smug” of you to throw Sarah “under the bus”………..leave her alone dude

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          HAHA Thanks! I thought it was kind of funny. I don’t really care about those kind of comments. I think Maybe Frank is jealous of all this counseling he’s missing out of in both the church and in shack up relationships. It must be hard to be so godly and so unhappy at the same time.

          Oh wait.

          Yes, it is. Been there, done that.

          Perhaps his comment re: counseling was meant for someone else and threaded incorrectly. Who knows.

        • Keith Blankenship Says:

          You state below that you live with your boyfriend. Have you left the Christian faith because of the experiences you had at Phillips’ church? Do you know of people who have left the faith because of their experiences with this church?
          If so, can you provide a rough estimate?

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          1) Yes, I live with my boyfriend – more like a husband than I’ve ever had before. Maybe I’ll marry again. Who knows! Time will tell. He’s awesome. And daily, he restores my faith in the God-ordained mission field of marriage and the rearing of children. I love him so much. He’s been the restoring salve to my wounded heart. Who knew people could love each other so much??

          2) I have not lost my relationship with God – in fact, through all of this – it has become significantly more real than ever before. He has been with me through the whole of my life. I believe that I spent a season in the fundamentalist church(es) for a specific reason: to grow. And I’m thankful for that time. I never bought into all the religiosity of the church(es) and haven’t regretted attending, or leaving.

          That said – I have NO desire to EVER step inside a church again. I have, in 37 years, never had a good experience. I have experienced abuse on many levels – spiritual, sexual, emotional – at the hands of church leaders and their children. I have no intentions on placing myself back in that kind of bondage. The fact that my sexually-screwed up ex-husband continues to live a double life WHILE leading a men’s sexual purity support group at Max Lucado’s church is another huge issue for me re: church + abuse. I live my faith out day by day. If ever I feel that God is calling me back to the church building, I guess I’d go. But I can’t see that happening…

          3) I know PLENTY of families who have been destroyed by the teachings and practices not just at Doug Phillips’ church, but also Little Bear’s church, the Fredericksburg gathering, the church that gathered at Singing Hills – all spinoff’s from the main group – and all of these churches are corrupt and out of balance and destructive.

          4) I do not know people who have turned away from God. I know plenty of people who have turned away from religion. Actually, I find that’s a redeeming quality of this situation. Religion is worthless.

          5) Rough estimate: Back in the day when I was super connected I had counted 20 FAMILIES where I personally knew, because the wife had confided in me, that the family was suffering in the church – or in the home – and that they had asked leadership (Doug or any of the other “sister churches”) to step in and help – and things were unraveling. That’s 20 families were the average family size is 2 parents and 4+ kids.

          BUT…. That was 10 yrs ago. By now – the number is probably tenfold.

        • Jackie C. Says:

          Keith, are you stating a fact about Sarah having left the Christian faith or asking a question?

          The way you tie it to stating she lives with her boyfriend implies that because she lives with her boyfriend, you assume she’s left the Christian faith. Just trying to understand your worldview.

        • Mike Race Says:

          Sarah, thank you for your honesty in answering those questions. There are many who have been hurt and turned away from traditional churchianity but continue to serve and honor God with their lives even though they no longer step into a church.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          OMGosh I just checked your blog and WOWZERS!!! I want to buy an RV next year and travel with the kiddos!!! I’m so inspired meeting other people who have done this/are doing this. I’ll be back for sure!

          Churchianity is a good way of putting it.

          After watching my marriage crumble, then my family unravel….and now this whole thing with Doug… I guess it propels me to just speak candidly about my life. It doesn’t seem that different from everyone else’s really.

          God is a God of Restoration. He restores what is His and He lets what is not go asunder. I’m so thankful for that. And for the way HE is restoring my life, my family, my walk. He’s so faithful in spite of us!

        • Jen Says:

          Sarah, God brings healing in ways we would never dream, if we let Him. I am so glad to see you enjoying life again!

        • Keith Blankenship Says:

          Jackie C. I was merely asking the question about her current beliefs, and also trying to find out how many people leave the Christian faith altogether after being in this type of church.
          As regards my worldview, I am a Confessional Lutheran who is a member of an RPCUS church due to the lack of LCMS/WELS/ELS churches where I live. I took the fact that she was living with a man as an indicator that her beliefs had changed.
          I think her answer was good, although she and I would not be in theological agreement. I have an interest in the outcomes of this VF/BCA group. Ms. Pressler provided some good information in that regard.
          I have asked other posters whether their parents were baby boomers, and whether those parents had been exposed to Bill Gothard.

          Sorry, but the board would not let me respond to you directly.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          To be fair, my beliefs on marriage have changed dramatically over the past 4 years after watching my marriage crumble and finding restoration in living with my boyfriend – of all things. But for me, that’s how life has always been. Full of irony and obfuscation.

          Have you ever read the philosophical stories by Unamuno? The story of Don Manuel de Santiago was a pivotal moment for me. I was never the same after reading that – I’ll never be the same. That, and then, all the other short stories he wrote. He has become a major influence in my belief system which I think some would align more with existential Christianity and/or utilitarianism. If those things can be aligned with core Christian beliefs. I suppose. I don’t know… There is an existential Christian philosopher whom I studied for a time but cannot remember his name and I found that I agreed with a lot of his beliefs. I think I align better with philosophy than theology in a general sense. But the two are so closely inter-twined. It’s hard to really separate them.

          Also the book Whatever Happened to Good And Evil was a game changer for me. SO good… so powerful. I wish every Christian would read it. Along with The Journey of Desire by Eldridge.

          Anyway – I digress. I appreciate the conversation and am not afraid to speak openly about my life. I didn’t feel like your questions were judgmental in anyway. Thanks for the conversation.

        • Keith Blankenship Says:

          I have not read Unamuno, but the Spanish Civil War era is one of my interests. Since he wrote during that time, I am sure he would be interesting. Thanks for the suggestion!

          Thanks for understanding that my question re: marriage was not a critique at all. I cannot understand what you have gone through, since my wife and I recently celebrated our 20th anniversary of a good marriage. Also, you seem to be aiming mostly to critique hypocrisy, which I certainly appreciate!

        • Jackie C. Says:

          Keith, thank you for clarifying. I just found it odd that you assume because someone is living with a boyfriend that her beliefs have changed. Not all Christians believe marriage is required. That doesn’t mean they have any less faith than yourself. Living by the law and having an attitude that I determine what is Christian for everyone is precisely what got Doug Phillips into trouble and it’s what is driving the younger generation away from the church.

    • Mommy dearest Says:

      The issue concerning marriage has easily being put into the realm of moral relativity. God’s standard is fixed & we as believers can rightfully wonder if someone divorced living with a boyfriend is still holding on to the faith. It is a fair question.

      • Sarah Pressler Says:

        God’s standard is NOT fixed. Religon is fixed.

        But I do believe the question was legit and I, personally, was not offended by it. It is a fair question when asked for the purpose of learning – not judging others. However, labels are judgmental. “We as believers” have no concern over “someone divorced living with a boyfriend.”

        Dear, “Mommy Dearest” 1) Your piety is showing. 2) The handle you have picked for yourself becomes more amusing to me the longer we converse. 🙂 I’m sure you have seen the show and know the cultural relevance – in light of the obvious judgmental spirit you live under and are currently directing at me in these conversations – is quite humorous.

        If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was talking to Deborah Korpi.

  10. Scott Says:

    So Sarah did they excommunicate you for leaving ( makes a lot of sense, ” you’re not coming to church so we are kicking you out” ! )
    or did you get approval from the evil midget before you escaped.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

      “Evil Midget”?
      So Doug Phillips ESQUIRE, Supreme Commander of his own Gilead, is yet another Short Man?
      Or are we talking Lord Farquaad from Shrek?

    • Sarah Pressler Says:

      No, I was neither excommunicated nor did I get permission from anyone before leaving. I never signed the covenant. I thought that was the most ridiculous thing ever and I wasn’t going to sign some piece of paper. Even if I had, I couldn’t have cared less. There is no such thing as “excommunication” because there is no such thing as a “covenant body.” Not in the way Doug wishes there to be.

      What’s funny, really, is that they are anti-catholic. Doug refers to the Pope as the possible Antichrist. But they are the most Catholic church I’ve ever been to outside of the Roman Catholic Religion. **rolls eyes** Whatever!

      No – my ex husband is a struggling sex addict. Our marriage was ruined because of his adulterous behaviour. I left the church after listening to a sermon Doug gave on David and Bathsheba in which I correctly discerned was his attempt at being transparent with his church while maintaining order. I saw right through him that day, never went back, haven’t looked back. I feel sorry for my friends who were hurt then, and now, by this corrupt church and these corrupt teachings. My ex-husband is currently leading a men’s sexual purity group over at Max Lucado’s church in San Antonio. Perhaps he and Doug can meet for coffee. LOL

      • Jen Says:

        Oh, the irony of it all, Sarah.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          I know!!! It makes me laugh when I think of it. Maybe Royce can mentor Doug in ways to be more slimy without getting caught. Royce is pretty good at that by now.

      • Leila Says:

        There is no such thing as “excommunication” because there is no such thing as a “covenant body.” Not in the way Doug wishes there to be.

        Kind of like the “Double Secret Probation” the students were threatened with in the movie “Animal House.”

      • Mommy dearest Says:

        Sarah do you forgive your x for to me it comes across as very bitter concerning him.
        I have lived through similar circumstances, God can help change them and keep the marriage. I hope your can recover from the tremendous pain that has been afflicted upon you… you still sound so hurt. Sarah you seem to be regarded highly here & many of the points about others has to do with breaking the law of God, as in Doug Phillips adultery & your husbands.
        We need to be careful about judging others while living in sin ourselves. We as believers are suppose to be accountable to each other also. If you are living in sin with your boyfriend it is of concern to others here for your judgement is given in your posts for many to many to read.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          Thanks so much for the response. I’m going to speak frankly…

          Yes, of course, I’m still tremendously hurt by the divorce and utter betrayl I have experienced at the hands of my husband. The abuse I endured equates to emotional, physical, sexual, spiritual and psychological. I spent 18yrs w/a man who lived a complete double life for ALL of those 18 yrs. and in the end when I said, “I cannot do this anymore.” He said, “There’s the door.” He’s happier for the divorce. He gets to live his double life now with no guilt! There were lots of other issues that accompany addiction – especially sexual addiction at the level Royce deals with it. He was not JUST a perpetual adulterer. Of course I’m still hurt. Probably will be for a long time.

          Staying WITH my husband would have been sinful as it would have resulted in the utter destruction of my children’s lives. I got out in the nick of time, too. The whole of the story is very very sad. And in the end – he turned his back ot us and stretched out his hand to another girl friend. He is sick. He needs a lot of help. But, thankfully, I saw the light. Thankfully, I got out.

          And then…thankfully, John was willing to step up to the plate and help bring restoration. He’s awesome. If this is living in sin – and all the children are secure, protected, loved, nurtured, cared for, provided for, and being shepherded into solid young adults – I’m TOTALLY ok with that! 🙂

          So…now I’m going to say the snarky part:

          I do not believe I’m living in sin. And I think your suggestion that I am is highly judgmental. Which, of course, is what you are basically admonishing me for.

          I hope you can see the total hypocrisy in what I do believe is your genuine and warm desire to admonish me in love. I often times refrain from pointing out the obvious flaws in others character when posting in public forms because I do NOT believe it is MY responsibility to admonish another person – in public, or private. I also don’t believe others have the right to take that liberty with me, or anyone else. My walk is mine to answer for. Personally, I’m SO thankful I don’t have to worry about yours – or Jen’s – or even Doug’s! Doug Phillips and false leaders such as my husband are, however, exempt from my restraint. I will poke fun at their expense because we all need to laugh during times like this. And I will speak openly and honestly about my life and my experiences. Glean from that what you want – and what you don’t like – let it in one ear and out the other. There’s no need for you to express to me your concern about “If [I am] living in sin with [my] boyfriend….”

          Kind Regards,

        • Jackie C. Says:

          Sarah, I have to apologize as it may have been my calling Keith into question when he made the comment to you about your faith since you were living with your boyfriend that brought Mommy dearest on. I certainly did not mean to sidetrack the conversation or draw attention to you, I just am irritated by assumptions. When I saw her comments I said a nice little swear word then decided to see how you would once again amuse me. You have not failed!

          It’s wonderful that you are open about your experiences – it allows others who may be hurting in silence to feel less alone. And as a Christian with a strong faith and many years of walking in faith, I have to say I’m with you on the whole living in sin deal. How we define a marriage may not be God’s way is my conclusion and I trust others to have it figured out. But I wouldn’t care to judge you anyway. I’ve got enough of my own issues without worrying about anyone else’s!

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          I thought the whole conversation with Keith was handled brilliantly and did not feel attacked, in anyway, from you or Keith. I also do not need Mommy Dearest’s approval. I did the “godly reformed christian” moves my entire life and all it got me was a heart full of hurt and nearly broken children. So. This time I’m just going to trust God more than I ever have before.

          Merging my household with my boyfriend was no small decision. It’s not like one morning I woke up and went, “Man – I’m really tired of this whole celibate thing – let’s shack up!” It was a huge decision. And not one I’m flaunting either. And not one I’d encourage others to make. But then, I don’t encourage others to make decisions. I encourage them to seek truth. … there’s a huge difference…

          I’ve known many “Mommy Dearests” in my 37yrs. I understand where she’s coming from. 10-12-14 yrs ago… I would have had enough prideful audacity to make the assumptions and judgments she is making. I don’t think she’s intending to be so … off-putting. But, never the less, she is.

        • Jackie C. Says:

          Meant to add I’m so glad you escaped abuse and found joy with John. Your story is the story I hope for all those who experience spiritual abuse at the hands of people like Phillips – joy when the morning comes.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          Thank you, I really appreciate that. It’s been a long … life. :/

        • Jen Says:

          I would only like to add that what most people are thinking about Sarah’s ex is probably fairly mild in comparison to what he has really done. If Mommy Dearest knew even an inkling of what went on there, she would be amazed at how much Sarah has grown and healed in the last year. Most people cannot even imagine the tremendous horrors and trials Sarah has endured in the last few years. She is one incredible woman, and I am proud to call her my friend!

          No one who knew who ever wish that Sarah’s marriage would be healed. Sometimes there just comes a point where it is beyond repair. Sarah chose sanity and her children’s safety in a horrific situation.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          Jen, that means a lot to me. The feeling is very much mutual. I have always been genuinely grateful for our friendship: a huge redeeming bonus from our time in The Village! Lol We have both endured so much more than anyone would ever believe…

        • Jackie C. Says:

          Jen, I’m replying here because your reply isn’t showing on my phone. Like with your story, Sarah’s has the ring of truth. First, if she wanted pity, she would have bled out details long ago. And second, once you open your mind to the stories of others, you hear a lot of similar pain. It sounds like you’re fortunate to have each other. It must be difficult to have a story others doubt. I thank the Lord you are both willing to speak. Your story isn’t mine but I’ve known many who were victims of clergy abuse and rejoice with all who speak out.

        • Jen Says:

          Thank you, Jackie C. Unfortunately, in both Sarah’s and my cases, we have both experienced multiple extremely painful times, one right after the other. There have been a couple times where it was completely overwhelming for each of us, but we are in the healing stages and moving forward now. Sarah, it is strange how much we have in common in those experiences. 🙂

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          Oh and – Ditto re: “How we define a marriage may not be God’s way is my conclusion and I trust others to have it figured out. But I wouldn’t care to judge you anyway. I’ve got enough of my own issues without worrying about anyone else’s!”

          Couldn’t agree more!

        • Mike Race Says:

          I would agree. Over the last few years I have learned so much of what I have been taught in churchianity really isn’t correct if you take the Scriptures as a whole and let them speak for themselves. Each denomination seems to have their own pet doctrines and those may not take all of Scripture into account. Even with my own daughter’s marriage I had to rethink and reexamine the Scriptures alone to find out what to believe concerning someone who has been divorced and wants to be married (and I have been a pastor). I think we all have a lot to learn about what the Scriptures actually teach without adding our own spin or someone else’s to them.

        • Jen Says:

          Mike, I think we are just beginning to understand that what we have always believed our whole lives might not actually be what the Bible really says, or means. 🙂

    • Keith Blankenship Says:

      Why comment on his stature?

      • End it Says:

        I agree. My husband is short and is nothing like what is being described. Stature, looks, etc have nothing to do with it.

  11. Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

    “Most cults are started so the cult leader can (1) get rich, (2) get laid, or (3) both.”
    — My old D&D Dungeonmaster, at an after-game back-and-forth about cults, late Seventies

    • Jen Says:

      Headless Unicorn Guy, that is one of the funniest things I’ve heard all day! I just wish it weren’t so true.

      To be honest, however, I don’t think Doug Phillips ever set out to start a cult, but that it grew into that gradually over the years. And once the fame and fortune set in, that can be quite addicting. It is time to break that addiction cold-turkey now.

      • steve240 Says:

        That is why checks and balances need to be put in place realizing how one can start off meaning will but become addicted to the power what it does to ones morals.

        • Jen Says:

          When you’re at the top, you choose the checks and balances, and can manipulate them at will.

        • notsurprised Says:

          steve240 Says:
          December 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm

          That is why checks and balances need to be put in place realizing how one can start off meaning will but become addicted to the power what it does to ones morals.

          Well Doug had NO one to hold him accountable. His elder is a pansy and was a “yes man”. No one has held Doug accountable until recently with this affair and that’s a huge huge problem.

        • Jen Says:

          Yes, it is interesting that Peter Bradrick, who left years ago, is the one to actually hold him accountable. Where were all these other men?

        • notsurprised Says:

          Yes, it is interesting that Peter Bradrick, who left years ago, is the one to actually hold him accountable. Where were all these other men? AMEN…….if people knew the details, they wouldn’t JUST question Doug. They would question ANYONE associated WITH Doug & whom he called “his friend”. They are responsible to some extent!

        • BlowItWideOpen Says:

          No it appears no one has ever held him accountable. What about all these men who have served side by side and in the trenches with him all these years? His co-elder was a literal puppet on a string and was bound and gagged by him to do his bidding it appears. . We cannot believe not one of them saw anything nor suspected anything. Even putting the affair aside his behavior towards others in general should have been a red flag to others.close to him as to his true character.

        • Jen Says:

          BlowItWideOpen, it sounds like you know a whole lot about this situation. Thanks for speaking out.

          Those who supposedly held Doug “accountable” were nothing more than “yes” men. “Yes” men never hold someone accountable. Doug was a master at surrounding himself with “yes” men, and getting ride of those (like me) who weren’t.

        • watchfuleye Says:

          Blowitwideopen: We cannot believe not one of them saw anything nor suspected anything. Even putting the affair aside his behavior towards others in general should have been a red flag to others.close to him as to his true character.

          Even if People did see something that raised red flags, I doubt they would have been successfully able to hold Doug Accountable with all of the evidence that we have been seeing/hearing.

      • Sarah Pressler Says:

        I agree – I don’t think he ever set out to grow a cult. I don’t even think he liked what it had become by the time we had all settled into the church building out in Welfare, TX. I think he tried, on several occasions, to get out of leadership. But it just got out of hand.

        • Jen Says:

          I don’t know Sarah. I had a conversation with Beall shortly before I was excommunicated and she was emphatic that Doug would NEVER step down from being elder, and that he would NEVER resign from Vision Forum. She couldn’t have been more convinced of anything in life.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          Oh there were plenty of times he stood at the pulpit and talked about not wanting to be the leader.

          I’m sure SHE was convinced – and HAD to believe that he would never do those things. Beall is, at this point, a puppet. I wouldn’t consider anything she said to have any merit.

        • Jen Says:

          That was false humility on Doug’s part, Sarah. 🙂

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          True – but I think there was some truth to it as well – I think he got caught up in his own fantasy. As time went on, the web was too tangled. The crimes to great. He was fighting for self preservation. However, I do think there were sincere times when he did not want to be involved in any of it anymore. I could be wrong – but having been married to a less cultish person who thrived on secrecy, denial, and anger/rage and lived the double life that Doug led – He has said there were many moments when he just felt the sin was too big and he had trapped himself into a lifestyle that he could not shake. He had to do what he was doing b/c it was this huge lie he had bought into. It’s complicated for sure….

        • Jen Says:

          I suppose that is possible. Only Doug could answer that one for sure.

  12. DesiringToDiscern Says:

    Peter Bradrick – work history on Facebook-
    Vision Forum Executive Assistant to the President · San Antonio, Texas · 2003 to 2009
    Is it possible that he knew nothing of this?????????????????

    • Andrew McDonald Says:

      Of course it is. He had a title. It caters to the male ego. I was on church staff once, got me a free health club membership. I had 30 guys on the staff. Sounds great huh? I was in charge of the ushers. (lol) It was also a shepherding church, like BCA. All part of the journey folks, all part of the journey.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Not possible. Peter Bradrick was a member of BCA throughout his tenure as Doug Phllips’ personal assistant/ chauffeur (Doug has no driver’s license and has to be driven everywhere). Peter Bradrick knows where all the bodies are buried.

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        Interesting TW. Why no driver’s license?

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          But DP has a passport !

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          I’m not sure why Doug doesn’t have a driver’s license, or how long he hasn’t had one for. It’s been for some years. Jen can confirm. Maybe it was taken away from him years ago (DWI) and he never bothered to go through the necessary legal steps to get it back. Only Beall is likely to be able to answer that since it goes back so many years.

          I think the most likely explanation is that he had a driver’s license years ago and deliberately allowed it to lapse, giving him the perfect excuse to require that his Interns be at his beck and call 24/7. Then again he may just be lying to everyone and he really does have a driver’s license.

        • Jackie C. Says:

          Anyone ever had Doug investigated? Amazing what one can turn up.

      • notdrinkingthekoolaid Says:

        What?!?!?! DP dosent drive? That is crazy. Did he flunk the test too many times or something? Who drives his family around?

    • notsurprised Says:

      absolutely NOT possible……..Doug’s assistants are with him like the secret service are with the President…….He knows a TON

      Jen: so many people have questioned you over and over about leaving BCA……..after reading the covenant “til death do you part” I can see why it was so SO hard for you & others to leave. AND not just leave, but the shunning and the way that they made your lives miserable………good grief.

      • Andrew McDonald Says:

        So when he came to BCA his interns drove him? Did anyone there know or meet Peter Bradrick? Was he in on the cigar, distilled beverage circles? Having been in a similar situation I still think he may have not known much. ‘uh, Pete drive me to this ministry thing and you wait here. I’ll be right back.”

        • Jen Says:

          Andrew, Peter was Doug’s personal assistant, and as such, was also Doug’s “bodyguard.” Doug went almost nowhere without Peter, and a slew of interns as well. When they went to ministry events, Doug was always surrounded by these young men. They would never wait in the car for him.

          When I was there, I heard rumors of the drinking and smoking, but it was all hush-hush and done behind closed doors. In public, it was frowned upon.

        • notsurprised Says:

          all I can say is look at who Doug’s friends are and what they do………and you will see Doug. Rc Sproul & Jr., Joe Morecraft, Bill Potter and mister Slimey himself, Matt Chancey and the likes. Their presbyterian model of “let’s smoke cigars, eat of unclean meat and drink hard spirits and be he man and have he man bonding”…….Doug’s NOT the only one

        • NC Says:

          When Peter left SA to pursue Kelly Brown he came to town with both guns slinging. Using his own words, his “fierce loyalty” to Doug (now transferred to Scott Brown) was indeed a badge he wore. He made no excuses for his desire and willingness to follow another man. His cowboy style left most who came in contact with him a little taken back. Most laughed behind his back while some confronted his arrogance. It was clear to most people that he was/is being used by older men to help advance their own agendas. In these groups they like to call guys like Peter “Interns” (never quite figured out how a movement that calls men to be the patriarchs of their homes also convinces fathers to send their boys somewhere else to be raised). Bottom line, Peter knew something was wrong, but for some reason failed in his duty to God and looked the other way.

          I know he enjoys beer, cannot comment on smoking,

  13. ColleenInWis Says:

    What on earth was Mr. Grady doing during all this drama?

  14. Jackie C. Says:

    Jennifer needs major therapy. That is just odd behavior. To bad no one at the church with power cared enough to push her to get help. She might have done it then. She could have a personality disorder or she could have been a victim herself as a child (or both). If she was committed to change, she might be able to with professional help. Not that any past abuse gives her a pass on her behavior. Her poor children. How embarrassing to have a mom like that. I wouldn’t take my boyfriends home. Or my husband.

    • steve240 Says:

      Does this group hold to similar beliefs that C.J. Mahaney taught disavowing psychology and psychiatry such as C.J. Mahaney calling it “psychobabble.” If so, it might explain why this woman didn’t get help. It could be that she wasn’t allowed to grieve like someone needs to do when someone close to them dies.

      • Jen Says:

        Steve240, while pop psychology was definitely frowned upon, I don’t think the main issue was Jennifer needing help. I think she holds some deep dark secret over certain people that allows her to get away with behaving however she wants.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          Jen, I agree.. Sometimes people *snap* when something hideous happens. Interesting that DP’s tribute to Michael Billings has been removed from the VF site. Seems this *accident* may tie in. Michael was a very sincere and devout follower it seems, BTW

        • JPGR Says:

          What was Doug’s relationship with Michael?

          Was it inappropriate? If it was not appropriate, is that the evidence (photos? letters?) that Jennifer G lorded over Doug Phillips? This is a sordid mess. But ….if you start to interpret things through that lens, all of a sudden things start to make sense – including the take down of DP’s tribute to Michael.

        • Jen Says:

          Michael Billings was one of Doug’s interns.

        • EyesWideOpen Says:

          Wesley Strackbein wrote a book about Michael Billings called “Life Is a Vapor.” VF sold it for years.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          I got the link to work on the tributes page

      • Sarah Pressler Says:

        Yes, psychobabble was frowned upon. Any kind of mental health assistance was frowned upon. In fact, it was preached from the pulpit that it was wrong for Christians to have anything to do with modern psychology or mental health services. It was a HUGE problem for a lot of families. It makes me mad to think about it because so many women and children – and men – have been hurt by this stupidity. They wouldn’t tell a diabetic not to take insulin, but they believed psychiatric medication was sinful. “THEY” as a whole / leadership… I don’t know what individuals thought. I know a lot of women didn’t get the help they needed because of the teachings of this church.

        • Keith Blankenship Says:

          This is an area that I really have to agree with you on. Although Thomas Sasz’s “The Myth of Mental Illness” makes some fine points, a lot of mental illness really boils down to issues of brain chemistry. When I hear these pastors say that no one should be on medication, I have to wonder if they have ever been around mentally ill people at all.

        • Keith Blankenship Says:

          I also meant to note that there is nothing wrong with taking anti-depression medication. God created us to be able to research illnesses and find cures. If a person is depressed for a long period of time, it seems to me to be anti-Christian not to help them with medication, if it is indicated.

  15. Jackie C. Says:

    There is no excuse. I was just commenting on the correlation. It’s odd she’d wait til then to exhibit this kind of behavior, unless her brother held her in check. Or, going on other theories proposed here, that’s when she somehow acquired something on Doug.

    [This should have been in reply to notsurprised Dec 2, 12:16 pm]

    • Jen Says:

      Probably the last one.

      • roxy Says:

        could doug have had anything to do with the cause of accident?

        also, jen and t.w., how closely associated are the duggars with doug? do they hold similar beliefs? (speaking mostly of this bca stuff…not the feneral homeschool, many children, etc) based on what I’ve read on your sight, it sounds like the duggars would be considered flaming liberals to doug. but I know there is some sort of acquaintance/friendship. I love watching their show and have been greatly positively influenced by them. but I’m trying to reflect on and evaluate everything.

        • Jen Says:

          Roxy, no, I am sure that Doug did not have anything to do with the accident. He truly loved Michael Billings.

          Doug and the Duggars are friends and have many beliefs in common, but not all. I think Doug loves them just because they have so many children, they are public figures (he loves to be in the limelight), they homeschool, and the father is exemplary in being a godly father. He praises Michelle for being a godly mother because she has so many children. I’m not sure about what else.

          I didn’t watch the show because it was too close to home and it was painful to see a bit much control and legalism, although not to the extent we were subjected to.

  16. That Bad Dog Says:

    The more the awful story of DP unfolds, the more I think of 2 Peter 2:19ff

    “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”

  17. Angela Wittman Says:

    This was child abuse for the teenage boys – plain and simple. Sounds very demonic to me.

    • Jayhawk (@Jayhawk1991) Says:

      Just imagine if one of the husbands of that church ran around abusing teenage girls! :O

      ……Oh, wait a minute….

      • Jen Says:

        Jayhawk, it sounds like patriarchy, in its truest sense, is alive and well at BCA!

      • Angela Wittman Says:

        I’m astounded at the revelations coming out about the group in Texas… It seems to me that whenever groups get too focused on themselves they fall into hideous sin and error. I don’t think God made us to live in some sort of Christian ghetto – we need to be out in the world – yet not of it- declaring and living the Gospel message.

  18. Jen Says:

    This is the strangest Christmas/Cyber Monday sale I’ve seen yet:

    Monday, December 2, 2013
    Save 60% Off ALL In Stock Items!

    We want to sell EVERYTHING, so now through Saturday, December 7, we’re offering you 60% off every single item in stock! When we sell out of our products, they’re gone. We don’t have any plans to bring them back. So if you want some of our family-friendly books, CDs, DVDs, and toys, use your 60% off coupon 60OFF and shop now.

    This offer is valid only online, may not be applied to past offers, and ends at midnight (CST) on December 7, 2013.

    Shop Now and Save 60% Off All In Stock Items

  19. Jayhawk (@Jayhawk1991) Says:

    This situation gets more and more bizarre. So how did her family’s standard of living dramatically improve? Did they move into a nicer house, nicer cars, etc? When did all this go down with them improving their lot so dramatically. Are we sure they didn’t inherit some $?

    The men in the church surrounded her house and the teenage boy jumped out the window to escape? She has 7 kids? Where were they at this point? The husband travel a lot? Where was he? Just wow…To top this off the church seemed to just give her a quick slap on the wrist. This is beyond weird now.

    Getting back to the husband-How did he act during this time when his wife went off the deep end and started to act like a hooker during church events? Where was he? She’s off getting counseled by an elder privately one on one for hours. WHAT? The husband allowed this?

    • Angela Wittman Says:

      Is anyone buying their stuff at this point?

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        It is possible that many do not know yet and are buying. I have spoken to 2 homeschooling pastors in the last few weeks who had no idea…. other that DPs *repentance* notice on VFM

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          Well, I guess the sooner his stuff is gone, the quicker he’ll be out of business… Hope someone is monitoring his finances and his family isn’t left out in the cold.

        • Jen Says:

          Angela, I doubt if anyone is left to monitor his finances now.

  20. notsurprised Says:

    did you post this on the closing Dec 31st post? especially for those “naysayers”

  21. Required Name Says:

    I’m sorry that I read this article. I feel dirty now.

    Jen warned me – this article is for the people involved and/or directly affected. I hope that it does help others that need it.
    Since I am not either, this has been gossip to me. Again, my own fault. So sad for all those involved. Many prayers. 😦

    • Angela Wittman Says:

      I’m not certain this is gossip as it involves a “church.” Is it gossip when the media carry’s stories about priest and clergy abuse?

      • Jen Says:

        Angela, Doug Phillips is a public leader who leads a very public life. People who got involved in the public aspect of that will be drawn into the public eye as well. The public deserves to know who their idol truly is.

  22. SamuraiKatz Says:

    All of this smacks of the Salem Witch Trials. Instead of accusing with Witch! Witch! I’m hearing Cougar! Cougar! Cotton Mather much, Mr. Eston? You need a history refresher course, sir. This lady looks like somone in need of compassion and some psychiatric help. Not judgement and scorn. Those VF “Men” who were so sure their patriarchal teachings would sin proof their sons sure headed in to freak out mode! They should all take a step back and check their own hearts and motives before the cries of Witch! Witch…oh yeah Cougar! Cougar! ring forth.

    Another recommendation watch M. Night Shamalan’s “The Village.” There are lots of correlations between VF/ATI and the plot of this movie.

    • Jen Says:

      SamuraiKatz, I think you have missed the entire point of this post. It is not about Jennifer Grady, but about what hold Jennifer has over Doug. Perhaps you should read it again with that thought in mind.

      • Says:

        Nope..don’t think so. That point could have been made in a paragraph with no salacious hearsay. No disclaimer at the top about protecting the innocent and naming the guilty. Again, I recommend “The Village”.

        BTW, I think Doug Phillips is a tool. I’m firmly not an apologist for him. I just don’t like seeing people who may or may not be involved in his fall dragged by name into this chaos.

        • Jen Says:

          Samurai, if there wasn’t an implicit connection, TW Eston would not have gone to all the trouble to write such an outstanding article, laying out how all the pieces fit together. They DO fit.

        • SamuraiKatz Says:

          The connection could have been made without National Enquirer word play.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          You are THE ONLY other person who has correctly equated The Village to BCA! I seriously want to write a thesis on the whole thing. But alas… no time. LOL

        • SamuraiKatz Says:

          Thank you. I’m glad someone else sees “The Village”. Connection.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          I watched this show when it came out – in 2004 – shortly after we had left BCA. I sat with my jaw hanging open and kept saying, “OMG OMG OMG That’s DOUG!!!! That’s the church! OMG OMG OMG” It was soooo liberating! That – and the story of Don Manuel by Unamuno … two things that propelled me out of that whole mindset/lifestyle.

    • Jackie C. Says:

      SamuraiKatz, of course she needs help. I would say the same of an older man attempting to seduce every young woman. But if it was your daughter and an older man in the church, would you give him a pass so easily or not be angry at the church at allowing him to stalk young women? Face it -older women like this often get a pass because it’s an ego trip and a fantasy for a young man and all the men “get it.” People can’t be allowed to abuse their situation just because they have a psychological issue, even if they act out because they were abused themselves. That’s how cycles get repeated. Plus the guilt those young men probably feel at being turned on by her in that culture must be tremendous and is itself abuse.

      • SamuraiKatz Says:

        I’m not giving any one a pass. We need to remember that people with agendas can make all sorts of things appear true. If she was inappropriate she should be called on it. If there were minors involved, then the police should be contacted. However, in this culture a smile or being too familiar with someone can be construed as something evil when it isn’t. Everyone in the BCA seemed to have an agenda…very Lord of the Flies or some such. Definitely not an emotionally healthy atmosphere for anyone.

        • Jackie C. Says:

          I wouldn’t call an 18-year-old climbing out her bedroom window the same as smiling or a friendly touch. How do you stretch to that from a smile?

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Samuraikatz, my apologies for not having seen your comments sooner. Let me now respond, as best I can.

      You say in one of your comments, “very Lord of the Flies or some such. Definitely not an emotionally healthy atmosphere for anyone.” I agree that BCA is not an emotionally healthy environment. That’s precisely the point the Johnsons are attempting to make. In fact “unhealthy atmosphere” is too kind a thing to say. My term for BCA is “toxic church” or “religious sociological cult.” I completely concur with your comparison of BCA to The Village.

      The second part to this article, which I’ll probably post later this week, has a reference to The Village in it. I’ve recommended it to many, many people. I recommended to Jen years ago as it so closely parallels BCA. I saw it shortly after it came out. To put it mildly, I was stunned by the sociological similarities of the movie to my own cultic church at the time that, after considerable difficulty, I was finally able to extricate my family from. Many others before me hadn’t been so fortunate. The pastor is friends with Doug Phillips and he ran his church much like Doug Phillips did with a “Till death do us part” Covenant agreement. No one knew that in joining the church there was no way out.

      As to your objections with my using the name “Jennifer Grady” in my article, that was a decision made after considerable deliberation, and it wasn’t made lightly. I agreed in advance to tell the Johnson’s story the way they wanted it told, and the way other BCA members expected it to be told. This included naming the woman who had sexually preyed for years on the young men, and many of the older men, in the church.

      I completely agree with you that Jennifer Grady needed help, and she needed help of a professional nature. No one at BCA was qualified to give it to her, least of all Michael Gobart who “counseled” Jennifer for hours at a time down by the river. If anything Michael’s conduct only made a bad situation worse. Doug Phillips should have given Jennifer a referral to a licensed therapist. But at the same time she needed to be be removed from BCA. That was a bad environment for her to be in. Well, it was bad for anybody to be in it, but especially bad for someone who was already exhibiting such obvious signs of emotional neediness.

      I’d like to ask you a question, SamuraiKatz, and I’d like an honest answer. If this story had been about a 30 year old man who had been preying on young ladies for years in BCA, and all the while he was being protected by Doug Phillips, would you now be making the same vociferous objections about him being outed? I’m one who believes in equal treatment of the sexes. I don’t play favorites with men or women. That’s why I mentioned, for example, the name Michael Gobart. I take note of the fact that you didn’t object to me using his name.

      Aside from the fact that I was duty bound to tell the story the way that BCA members required that it be told, there was also the matter of how concealing Jennifer Grady’s name would be interpreted by those who know her. They would have been extremely offended. I think especially of the young lady that Doug Phillips sexually abused. I think you’d agree, as do most, that the young lady’s identity should remain confidential. Why? Because from all appearances she’s a victim. We show her respect by not outing her. She knows that and appreciates being given that courtesy.

      How would that young lady feel if we were to treat Jennifer Grady with that same respect? I’m confident she’d be greatly injured by it, which is the last thing an already devastated and betrayed sexual abuse victim needs. The young lady knew Jennifer Grady and personally witnessed Jennifer Grady’s predations. I’m quite confident that she in no way shares your sentiment that outing Jennifer Grady is some sort of a “witch hunt.”

      The two cases are in stark contrast with one another. Yet you are demanding that both women be treated with the same courtesies. I think your reasoning is faulty and bears a reexamination.

      As to other comments posted in this thread as to how this article will affect the Grady’s marriage and her relationship with her children, I’m confident it will make no difference at all. If I had explained every possible detail in the article it would have had to be three times longer than it is. I hardly thought that appropriate, nor was Mr. Grady and the Grady children the focus of this article. The focus is Doug Phillips. Yet yourself and perhaps a few others have chosen to come to the defense of Jennifer Grady. I find this peculiar.

      Mr. Grady appears to have been perfectly fine with his wife sleeping around on him. He needed to have been confronted by Doug Phillips, just as Mrs. Grady should have been. Mr. Grady witnessed what was going on, and was even asked why he didn’t do anything about it. The men in the church repeatedly turned to him to stop his wife. He didn’t care and he didn’t do anything. For example, he knew of Michael Gobart’s “counseling sessions” down at the river and did nothing to prevent them.

      The question came up in a comment below, how will this story affect the Grady children? I’d considered that before naming Mrs. Grady. But the Gobart children are hardly in the dark about their mother. Their house is quite small, probably less than 1000 sq/ft. Is it possible for Joe and Jennifer to be having sex in a house that tiny and none of the seven children could have known what was going on? Unlikely. There’s nothing divulged here they didn’t already know was going on. They’d witnessed their mother many times coming on to young men.

      Yes, BCA is a toxic church. But Jennifer Grady isn’t the cause of that toxicity. The cause is, and always has been, Doug Phillips.

      • Turkey Says:

        TW — I know this was several days ago, and you’ve responded to loads and loads of comments– but were you perhaps a bit hasty in these imperatives, with need of rewriting them?
        “Doug Phillips should have given Jennifer a referral to a licensed therapist. But at the same time she needed to be be removed from BCA.”
        My rewrite, “BCA should have given Doug Phillips a referral to a licensed therapist. But at the same time he needed to be removed from BCA” (if BCA had been a real church this would have been possible)
        “Mr. Grady appears to have been perfectly fine with his wife sleeping around on him. He needed to have been confronted by Doug Phillips, just as Mrs. Grady should have been.”
        My rewrite, “Mrs Phillips appears to have been perfectly fine with her husband sleeping around on her. No one needed to have been confronted by Doug Phillips, in need of a licensed therapist himself.”
        (BTW, just how do you propose Mr Grady ought to have stopped his wife, or Mrs Phillips stopped her husband?)

  23. Sarah Says:

    I was able to find this online:

    “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)

    Dearest Loved Ones in Christ,

    With tears of sorrow, but with the life-affirming hope of the promise of eternal life, the staff and families of Vision Forum mourn the loss of our dearest brother — Michael Billings.

    Since Sunday evening when the news arrived of Michael’s God-appointed death, we have gathered at our office and in homes to pray, sing, weep, and mourn over the loss of our fallen comrade — an uncompromising warrior for God, our dearest brother, and a true son of Reformation. We are now preparing to bury our departed brother. In time to come, I will post a fitting tribute to Michael, but for now please permit me to offer just a few inadequate thoughts.

    Michael Billings was a bright shining star in our lives. He was my student, my assistant, my comrade, and a spiritual son. There is no way I can describe the sense of loss and mourning we are all experiencing now. But this loss is made joyful through the certain hope of God’s absolutely perfect timing, the incredibly singular and ongoing spiritual impact of the life of this man of principle on so many others, and the unshakable confidence in the fact that Michael is not only in the presence of his many heroes (the Martyrs, the Apostles, and the Reformers), but with the love of his life — Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

    Michael first came to Vision Forum as a promising intern, but he quickly distinguished himself and ultimately joined our staff on a full-time basis. He was known to everyone as a passionate Christian, an honoring son, an indefatigable student of the Word, a brilliant thinker, and the man we all believed most brimming with potential.

    Michael served Vision Forum as our Home School Conference liaison, and more recently, as my personal teacher’s aide for the 2007 intern class. Michael’s passion was teaching and Christian discipleship — and he did both very well. He assisted me with my classes on the apologetic methodology of Dr. Greg Bahnsen and Dr. Cornelius Van Til. But Michael was a noteworthy teacher in his own right. For the last two months, Michael had been teaching courses on systematic theology to our interns, drawing heavily from two books, The Attributes of God and The Sovereignty of God, by A.W. Pink. His courses were remarkable for their precision, their passion, their thoroughness, and their focus on studying the character of God so that the students can learn to love Him better.

    This summer, Michael joined Mr. Dan Ford as an historical tour guide during the Jamestown Quadricentennial celebration where the two men brought a series of memorable messages on the providence of God. (His biography and image are featured in our Jamestown Quadricentennial Commemorative Brochure.) Michael was planning on bringing his teaching talents to the 2007 Faith and Freedom Tour in Plymouth in two weeks — but the Lord had other plans for him.

    On Thursday, I spent the day with Michael. We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. We taught a class to our interns. We sat in a beautiful garden, graded papers and tests, and spoke of life and future plans. Michael left the next day for Dallas with a large contingent of Vision Forum men in order to attend a theological conference and listen and learn from one of his heroes, Dr. R.C. Sproul, Sr. The last sermon Michael ever heard was delivered Saturday night by Dr. Sproul and concerned the glorious hope of the Cross in light of the doctrine of justification.

    Michael was a devoted and faithful churchman who loved the fellowship of the saints at Boerne Christian Assembly where he worshipped, and who insisted on leaving Dallas early Sunday morning to attend the meeting of the church. On his way home, he pulled out of a dangerous intersection and was hit by a car, killed instantly and ushered into the presence of his Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ.

    He leaves behind his father and mother, Dr. and Mrs. Michael Billings, as well as sisters Jaimie Billings and Jennifer Grady. Also to be remembered at this time are his devoted nephews and nieces, into whose lives Michael poured so very much — Dillon, Dakota, Justice, Isaiah, Gabriel, Liberty, and Isobeleh. Please pray for our staff at this time of mourning. More importantly, please remember Michael’s family — especially his dear father and mother who devoted so much of their lives to preparing Michael to be a great warrior for God.

    Michael was the oldest young man I have ever met and the single most passionate champion of truth to emerge from the ranks of the Vision Forum students. He died without regret, justified, uncompromising — a righteous man if ever we knew one.

    “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).

    Mourning, Broken-Hearted, But Praising the Lord Jesus Christ Who gives Eternal Life to Those Who Believe, I am

    Your Persevering Friend in the Cause of Christ,

    Douglas W. Phillips

    P.S. Before they graduate, I often require my interns to prepare and preach a sermon. I have attached Michael’s short sermon. The prophetic message he delivered on that day — at the age of seventeen — says more about the vision and character of this man than I could ever communicate in print. Please listen to it and share it with your children so that they will remember the brevity of life and the necessity that we redeem the time for our Lord.

    (To view this video clip, you must have QuickTime 7 installed.)

    Posted by Vision Forum on November 6, 2007 | Permalink

    • notsurprised Says:

      let me just remind everyone that Doug is a master manipulator, who likes to lie, romtanticize stuff that’s not there and has a HUGE HUGE gift of exaggeration…….

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        I may be way off but…. I sense a serious piece of this sordid mess may lie with Michael. (Just a gut feeling) I want to be wrong. God knows the truth. I pray that the darkness will come to light in all of this and people will be set free. This whole explosion of information has us searching and sifting our own beliefs. Jen, Thanks for having this *outlet* for info and input.

  24. Catherine Says:

    How old is Jennifer Grady? Is it true there was a 15 yr age difference between her and Michael? Maybe he wasn’t her “brother” after all? How long has DP known Jennifer Grady?

  25. Marian the Librarian Says:

    I think the focus should return to Doug Phillips’ publicly-admitted extramarital affair with a young woman – the affair which, per commenter notsurprised on November 26, 2013 at 12:51 pm, “started when she was 18 and she is now 30.” Without naming her, all prevailing wisdom on this site indicates that she began nannying for the Phillips family in her teens. Another widely-acknowledged fact is that Doug also signed her father’s paychecks, making her entire family beholden to him for their livelihood, and her the ideal victim for his sexual acting-out.

    Given that leaders set ethos and tone, I have no doubts about all the rest – inappropriate behavior on the part of some other BCA members, the degeneration into *really* bad soap opera, and Doug’s “la la la, I can’t hear you” response to it all. But the spotlight should first and foremost be kept on the young woman, and on resolving whether or not she was subjected to criminal behavior.

    • Jen Says:

      Marian, no, her father was not employed by Doug. The rest of the family was, though, or they willingly “served” Doug Phillips.

    • Corrine Says:

      Does anyone know if this poor girl has “seen the light” so to speak ? Did she break it off ? Does she realize that she is a victim or is she still loyal? I suppose this is unknown, but thought I would check.

      • T.W. Eston Says:

        Does anyone know if this poor girl has “seen the light” so to speak ? Yes
        Did she break it off ? Yes
        Does she realize that she is a victim? Messy clergy sexual abuse cases have no easy answers for that.
        Is she still loyal? That would be a big NO.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      “But the spotlight should first and foremost be kept on the young woman, and on resolving whether or not she was subjected to criminal behavior.”

      Marian, I share your concerns entirely “on resolving whether or not she was subjected to criminal behavior.” Unfortunately, we haven’t been afforded an opportunity to speak directly with the young lady. We’ve reached out to her, offered aid and comfort, and an opportunity to tell her story. She’s not interested in help from us or anyone else in the blogosphere. That’s her decision and I will fully support her in it.

      She’s going about resolving things in her own way, and her way is to do it privately. We’re all very curious about details; but if we care about her we should think first and foremost about what’s best for her. What’s best is that no one put pressure on her by demanding answers that only she can provide. When the time is right she may very well come out and tell the full story. If it happens it won’t be for months yet.

      It’s in no way an advantage for her to speak out publicly at this time. Speaking out would likely compromise her well laid out plans by giving up valuable intel to the perp. She’s thought it through very carefully. If I were in her place I’d make the same exact decision that she has.

      Doug will get what is coming to him.

  26. Keith Blankenship Says:

    Has Joe Morecraft responded to this?

    • Jen Says:

      Keith, why should he? Do you think he has some sort of obligation to respond here? Have you asked him to?

      • Keith Blankenship Says:

        No, I have not asked him. However he is also a very public figure, and thus I was curious as to his view on the events. As regards an obligation to respond, I really can’t answer that question. If it pertained merely to events within the RPCUS, his obligation would be to the RPCUS. But it seems he shared the podium with Mr. Phillips with some frequency, thus my interest in whether he has addressed these matters publicly.

        • Jen Says:

          Keith, to some extent, every man who “shared a podium” with Doug Phillips over the years should make a public statement. I was just curious as to why you singled him out, that’s all.

    • notsurprised Says:

      he’s one of those that has been very very QUIET……..unusually oddly quiet.

      • so confused Says:

        Joe morecraft responded through his wife to peter Bradrick on fb…he agreed with Peters assessment of the situation

    • ExilePastor Says:

      I can shed a little light on Morecraft. The reason he responded through Becky is that he doesn’t even know how to turn on a computer. Joe does not do internet. He does not do email. He is generally negative toward the majority of computer related things. This thing with Phillips has pretty much ate his lunch. But Joe has generally kept quiet when those in his own movement have fallen into scandal. His modus operandi usually is to just act like he doesn’t know them. Ken Gentry is an example, who was convicted of a sex crime in CA. Another would be a man who was ordained by the RPCUS but was defrocked and excommunicated 24 hours later for being a practicing homosexual. Another would be a NC pastor in the RPCUS who was defrocked and excommunicated for serial adultery. I could go on. But the point is, that’s how Joe often operates. I’ve known him for years. We are not on speaking terms however. We are both Reformed pastors but of an entirely different persuasion. Other than the fact that we are both Calvinists who baptize infants we’re basically from different planets.

      • Keith Blankenship Says:

        Do you have a good source for information regarding the Gentry conviction? I cannot seem to find much about it.

      • Keith Blankenship Says:

        Regarding Gentry,I looked at the link you provided, but the police report was printed in such small type, i could not make it out. It appears that he did plea to a misdemeanour. Was he ever in the RPCUS? It looks like he was in the RPCGA for a time.

        • ExilePastor Says:

          First off feel free to get my email from Jen. I understand you are in the RPCUS. You being a confessional Lutheran makes this seem bizarre to me considering I know of no other Presbyterian denomination more confused on law/gospel than the RPCUS. Gentry was never RPCUS. He was PCA, OPC, and now (last time I checked) RPCGA. However, being a leading Reconstructionist especially in eschatology, he has a long association with Joe and RPCUS. The charges against him were serious enough to warrant two years as a registered sex offender. Plus he was convicted by PCA of perjury basically. My point was Joe usually doesn’t publicly deal with the scoundrels he has association with. But he does divorce himself from them quietly. As I said, most of my knowledge is first hand. I used to be ordained in RPCUS (God forgive me and I promise never to do it again) and had Gentry as a seminary prof at one time. In other words, I was an insider and can attest to everything I know, even under oath, if necessary. Again feel free to contact me directly.

        • Keith Blankenship Says:

          Thanks for the response. Sorry for the late reply, as I was in Roanoke for a couple of days. The history of how my family came to be members of this church is kind of lengthy. There are wonderful people in our congregation, but they and the pastor know that my beliefs are quite different on sacraments, eschatology, and other matters.

          Something odd that I have found about Reformed/Presbyterian circles is that new ‘movements’ and “isms” seem to arise with some frequency. It really is true that Lutherans don’t like change, but some Reformed/Presbyterians seem to relish it.

          If you were ordained in the RPCUS we may have met at some point. I post under my real name ( my first name is Michael, but only my parents used the name, and then only occasionally).

          I think it would be hard to trust a sex offender. In fact, I simply could not trust one. It is a shame that we have to watch our children closely around people who are supposed to be Pastors. I will ask about your e-mail.
          Christ’s Blessings!

  27. Graceandmoregrace Says:

    I experienced spiritual abuse in a “sister church” to the Boerne church, so I do understand. Like many, I also want to see the hurting end and to have Doug Phillips “outed.” However, while Doug Phillips is a public figure, Jennifer Grady is not. Evidently, she has been sinful and should have been dealt with in her place of worship. In fact, now she and her family are victims too. If her behavior had been dealt with biblically, she would not now be facing public humiliation. Think of her husband, her children, her parents. What chance does her marriage have of surviving now? What of her children’s reputations?
    I am definitely okay with calling out Doug Phillips and all those who have public personalities for their public guilt. But Jennifer Grady’s sins should have been kept private. I think it would have been equally powerful to share the situation without using her name with our understanding that you knew her name and could prove the story.

    • Jen Says:

      Grace, I understand your concern, but Jennifer put herself in the limelight, and there are reasons why it was necessary to use her real name. We seriously considered all the options first.

    • Sarah Pressler Says:

      The “sister churches” are just as dysfunctional. I went to several of them. And left for many of the same reasons I left BCA. I’m sorry you had a bad experience. I wish they’d all just shut down and go away. They feed a very unhealthy and ungodly energy.

  28. End it Says:

    Is it possible Jennifer Grady had a relationship with one of Doug’s sons and that is why he never went after her? Fear that she would bring one of his sons into it?

  29. Geoff Says:

    Strange minds make for strange apologia. This from Tim Baily.

    My comment there:

    “Evangelicals, Reformed or otherwise, hate any man who has faith, particularly when that faith is demonstrated in the most earthy and organic matters of sexual body parts and what we do or don’t do with them.”

    “There’s little that Reformed gnostic Evangelicals hate more than men who live by faith in the flesh and blood matters of sexuality, and that’s the reason they attack Doug, RCJR, and Doug.”

    I have to believe that RC Jr and Doug Wilson would be cringing over your tossing them in the same category with the now notorious Doug Phillips. No doubt King David too would cringe at your comparisons.

    In light of “Yet Another Doug Phillips Sex Scandal” your apologia is just mind numbing.

    • Retha Says:

      What a nonsense comment. Doug Philips did not “live by faith in the flesh and blood matters of sexuality”, if he had a relationship with “an inappropriate physical component” with someone he – by his own doctrine – was supposed to protect.
      Doug Wilson, instead of living by faith in the Jesus who said believers should not lord it over others, believe that men should “conquer” and women “surrender” – there should be a winner and a loser in the bedroom.

      • Keith Blankenship Says:

        What does this man mean by this comment? Was there also some unusual teaching regarding sexuality in these circles?

    • Jen Says:

      Geoff, thanks for the heads up on this one. He probably didn’t read this article before he wrote his.

  30. Traveler Says:

    Goodbye Douggie! After leering at my sister and telling my parents she was an angel. (Naturally they were leaders in the homeschool community who lapped it up.) I can remember how obsessed he was with my sister and Jeanine Erber, I think it was on a faith and freedom tour, but that was a long time ago. Bout time another one bites the dust!

    • Observer Says:

      The kind of situation that Traveler speaks of has been repeated over and over again, where a person observes a sexual predator and there is nothing that person can do (just does not have the credibility) due to the authority figure involved.

      • Keith Blankenship Says:

        If the pastor of my church had flirted with my wife or daughter I would have gone up to him and told him to quit. If had touched them inappropriately, I would have punched him as hard as I could.

        • Jen Says:

          Keith, and in Doug Phillips’ church, it was ten times more inappropriate. No, it was ten times more “grievous” sin.

        • BlowItWideOpen Says:

          This behavior went against everything Doug said he stood for and built his empire upon. He alone has made a total mockery of everything he ever preached, taught and shared at church and conferences. Once again it it so hard to believe that others supposedly never caught on. We are certain Bob Sarratt and Michael Gobart must have known to cover up for her in the manner they did and to give her such a pass.

        • Jen Says:

          It is unbelievable the control this one woman had over all these patriarchal men.

        • notsurprised Says:

          Touche’ Jen………it’s also unbelievable how much control that Doug had over his “victim”

        • DaMom Says:

          Keith, you and my husband (and sons) are on the same page.

        • Traveler Says:

          Keith, with Doug’s penchant for the old fashion, perhaps I should have challenged him to a duel. 🙂 At the time Doug’s praise of the young ladies in our homeschool circles was the sort of limelight our parents craved. It wasn’t until years later that I realized it was leering and just how creepy it was. What grieves me the most is that my parents still buy into all this stuff, VF, Gothard and the rest. At least the family left ATI years ago, but they had Doug at the homeschool conventions in our state as often as they could. BTW I don’t remember any inappropriate touching on his part.

          However I do remember visiting BCA when we were in San Antonio and just hating the church. I could sense such fear and authoritarian dictatorship. Yet I somehow still adored Doug at the time.

          I can’t remember if it was Doug or one of the other courtship flunkies who encouraged fathers to give affection to their daughters, but I know they way Dad treated my sisters creeped me out.

          Sorry to ramble, there is just so much pain associated with these nutcases and all the people they misled.

          Due to Doug my parents pushed myself and a whole lot of others to avoid college.

          I personally went through two failed courtships, which were confusing, horribly painful, humiliating and certainly not worth kissing dating goodbye. I also saw how it turned the “young ladies” into mindless robots, controlled by their fathers who had absolutely no idea who they were and had cut themselves off from their own emotions and passions.

          I feel such a sense of relief that some light is shining into this mess.

          I wish I could say that it’s R.I.P. to Vision forum, but I don’t sense a genuineness or honesty about Doug’s confessions. I feel that this might just be a ruse de guerre to throw us off the scent of the real scandal. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Doug move and crop up in another community, in another form later on. I would rather see Doug removed from the public eye permanently and focused on his family. It’s really too bad he is not part of a greater church body, there really should be an investigation of VF, BCA and all the rest to get to the bottom of this mess. DOUG, IT’S TIME TO COME CLEAN.

        • Observer Says:

          Traveler: My heart aches for you. There is no way you could have done any confrontation. God bless you.

    • Jen Says:

      Traveler, it sounds like there is a bit more to this story. What happened?

      • Traveler Says:

        There’s not really much more to the story that involves Doug. He is just someone I looked up to and many people I know still follow(ed) him. I have not been involved with the Homeschool movement for years. My wish is that homeschoolers would stop following all these nut cases. As an educational form it seems reasonable, but it has pulled in so much junk over the years that I want little to do with it.

        I especially grieve for all the girls I grew up with, who are still stuck at home waiting for handsome to ride by on a white pony, sword in one hand vision forum catalog in the other. Many do get married and escape, but many just seem to fade away as their joie de vive drys up and future passes them by.

        I only lived in San Antonio for a short time, but I’m glad my family did not get sucked into BCA.

        • Jen Says:

          Traveler, I think you are describing one of the covers of the Vision Forum catalog! You paint a funny, yet sadly accurate, picture. Glad you didn’t get sucked in!

        • Molly Says:

          We somehow got on VF’s mailing list, and we would get those catalogs. My husband and I used to try to think of new and creative ways to destroy them. Burn it with fire, let the dog chew it up, etc.

        • Jen Says:

          Molly, too funny!

          My 18-year-old daughter has the mind of a two-year-old and so she thought the catalogs were photo albums of all her friends at church. 🙂 She still cherishes them that way and has no idea why they don’t speak to her anymore.

    • Keith Bkankenship Says:

      Were your parents of the baby boom generation? Do you know if they had been exposed to Bill Gothard before?

      • Traveler Says:

        If I remember correctly, I think my parents were exposed to Gothard in the 70’s around college age.

        • Keith Blankenship Says:

          Thanks for the reply. I think there is a pattern here. Maybe not a direct connection in every case, but I think these folks have been influenced by Gothard.

        • Eva Says:

          The tentacles of Gothard are far reaching. We first heard him in the late 60s or early 70s. I’m now nearly 75 and still find it hard to get some of his thoughts out of my mind. He didn’t have to have direct contact with anyone but just contact with someone who knew someone who knew someone……..and pretty soon you have a DP.

        • Jen Says:

          Eva, it is amazing how far reaching brainwashing can be. I am sorry that you still have Bill Gothard in your thoughts all these years later! I hope this lesson with what happened with Doug will help us all reevaluate all the teachings we have each been exposed to.

        • Molly Says:

          PLEASE, anyone who has been hurt by the teachings of Gothard, check out It’s a great resource for survivors of Spiritual abuse.

  31. Observer Says:

    Jen, T.W.:
    Due to attention to detail and technology, this is probably one of the best documentations of cults/cultish behaviors from the inside. Kudos.
    1. The manner in which one is permitted to leave
    2. Control of money
    3. Control of sex and sexual mores
    4. Fear
    5. Doomsday predictions
    6. Obvious signs of problems before a full fledge fall
    7. Layers of deception

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Doug Phillips has made it easy to prove he’s a cult leader. I had no trouble seeing it years ago when Jen started telling her story. “Cult!” was the first word that popped into my head. The hostile reactions by some to her exposés amazed me, and most other people’s reactions were:

      I have another article close to completion that will go into further detail explaining how Doug Phillips used many of the classic mind control tactics to dominate and control BCA members.

      • Latoya Says:

        The book may be offensive, but since you mention that your next work is on mind control tactics, I was wondering if you or Jen read the Art of Seduction or 48 Laws of Power. Doug seems be a “charismatic” (AoS), that has taken advice on how to built a cult/cult following from the latter book. It’s easier to see a cult or cult leader for what it is when removed from the situation.

    • Jen Says:

      Observer, I don’t know whether I truly want to thank you for pointing out that I was in a cult, but I am glad that I got out (even via excommunication) long before it reached this level of “cult.”

      However, I agree with you that TW did an outstanding job on this article!

      • Observer Says:

        I am wondering why so few come forward? Could it be that it is difficult to admit that one has been duped. After all, time, money, relationships have been invested. It is courageous to stand up precisely because one must admit (to some extent), one’s own lack of judgement…

        • Jen Says:

          That’s a good point, Observer. It is very hard to admit when you’ve been duped, even if it was the “slowly boiling the frog” type.

    • Sarah Pressler Says:

      Yep. This is what I said when I left in 2004. It had turned into a cult and I wanted nothing to do with it. I was called a gossip and heretic in the inner circle. Since I never signed the covenant (well since my husband never signed it) and since we didn’t EVER give them a dime of our money in tithing (well maybe $20… tops…but I had friends who were actually in need and that’s where I sent our tithe) we weren’t really important. So it didn’t matter when we left. But cult it was, and cult it is – thank you for pointing all this out!

  32. Angela Wittman Says:

    Folks, I must have been living in a cave the past several years as i had no clue this stuff was going on… But one thing I’ve always wondered about regarding the women and young ladies involved with VF is that they appear somewhat glamorous in their dress, hair style and make-up. Scripture tells us it is the inner beauty that counts, but some of these women appear to spend an inordinate amount of time focused on their outer beauty. I would not want my husband having any type of relationship with any woman that looked like these gals, and if one would put her hands on him, I would break her arms.

    • Latoya Says:

      This is the natural reaction. None of the wives or mothers confronted the woman in question? Hmmmm.

      • Angela Wittman Says:

        One can only conclude that either they didn’t care or they felt too powerless to say or do anything… I think it is the latter. 😦

      • Bridget Says:

        They may have done so, or not. We don’t know. One thing is certain, women were taught that it is the men who take care of such issues. Most likely, the women would not have interferred . . .

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          Well, I probably would have started a riot! 🙂

        • BlowItWideOpen Says:

          Some women did try to confront her. It did not go well and she knew she would not be held accountable to the elders. So most gave up. Is true they told the men to confront her husband in the spirit of Matthew 18. That did not go well either as he did not seem to care. The oddest thing.

    • Jen Says:

      Good for you, Angela! These women have been taught for so many years to be doormats (I mean, be submissive) that it appears that many of them lost their God-given ability to fight for what is theirs.

      • Angela Wittman Says:

        Hi Jen! For years I was depressed that my husband wasn’t like the men at church, but after encountering some religious bullies, I realized just how blessed I am to have him and not them. 🙂 He actually encouraged me to confront the bullies. 🙂

  33. See Urious Says:

    Where were other “elders” at BCA throughout this? Wasn’t Mr. Short an elder (albeit also a VF employee)?

    • Jen Says:

      See Urious, only Doug and Bob were elders, and Michael Gobart was an “elder in training.” Richard Short was not an elder.

      • Angela Wittman Says:

        And this is quite typical for a bully in the pulpit – he hand picks his elders as he knows who he can more easily manipulate.

    • BlowItWideOpen Says:

      To our knowledge the other deacons,not elders,were never informed.It is now believed they did not want them informed to hide the other sin of Doug and his own affair. The only elders at BCA were Doug and Bob Sarratt with a period of time during this time that Michael Gobart was an ,”elder in training” People were forbidden to speak of this with messages in the pulpit firmly telling folks that it was unbiblical to even warn anyone of this. This was before it was made public and as folks were finding out about her. It instilled great fear and silenced people.

      • BlowItWideOpen Says:

        At the time Richard Short was a deacon.

      • Angela Wittman Says:

        This “church” sounds like they had their nose in everyone’s business – how could the deacons not know of or at least suspect something was amiss?

        • BlowItWideOpen Says:

          That is the $100 question! Maybe they too were told it would be gossip to hear of such things!

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          If so and they obeyed, wouldn’t they also “drink the kool-aid” if instructed to do so?

        • BlowItWideOpen Says:

          That is the $100 question! Could it be that they too were afraid of hearing of such evils and that would be grounds for them hearing gossip too?

        • Jen Says:

          Gossip was the #1 deadliest sin at BCA. No one spoke about anyone else. Ever. Or they knew they would face severe discipline.

      • Jen Says:

        For those who have never experienced this level of control and fear in life, it is probably inconceivable, but I can attest to the extreme methods that were used to keep everyone from discussing these things amongst one another.

        I know it will take a while to finally realize we are all free.

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          It took me approximately 4 years to recover enough from my situation that I no longer cowered in fear when I saw my ex-pastor in town. My prayers are with y’all.

        • Andrew McDonald Says:

          Jen, You are so right. The level of control that the leaders in these groups is amazing. That is why, while I don’t doubt that members may have been involved in some pretty weird stuff, an outsider has to realize that in the context of the whole scheme of things the weird seems fairly normal to the members at the time. It is a form of mind control and don’t think that it only applies to the dim-bulbs among us. This is spiritual deception and it is incredibly insidious. Be very patient and understanding if you have a loved one in these groups. PRAY! Take heed anyone of us could fall.

        • Jen Says:

          Andrew, I think TW is writing another article to deal with all those excellent points you brought up. Thanks.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          Angela Wittman Says:
          It took me approximately 4 years to recover enough from my situation that I no longer cowered in fear when I saw my ex-pastor in town. My prayers are with y’all.
          Angela, Seven (7) years here and we still cringe at the thought of the leaders and pastor of the Family Integrated church where we used to attend.Our experience was devastating…. It was …surreal, looking back.

        • Jen Says:

          God has not given us a spirit of fear, but He has given us … LOVE.

          It is so sad when I hear about the fear that people live regarding these situations. I want to LOVE them all out of that fear!

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          Jen, We moved out of state and so do not have to see them but I vividly remember them pounding at my door, phone-calls, emails, accusations, wild accusations, gossip that went extremely weird. Not in fear anymore but serious mistrust for sure….of anyone really, except God. We know that this was not his doing. In the beginning it looked so good…happy…biblical… I hear stories lately from *there* and it is still not good…just different phases/areas of intensity on pet man made doctrines.

        • Jen Says:

          DesiringToDiscern, I can understand how difficult it is to trust after this. It sounds like you are learning to discern. One thing I have found to be helpful is to love those who hurt you. Love does not mean you have to trust them, but it not only helps guard against bitterness, but also paves the way to any possibility of future relationships, perhaps with those who have hurt you, but more importantly, with those who may be hurt by the same people in the future. I am glad you are here. 🙂

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          serious mistrust for sure….of anyone in clergy really, (in clergy should have been in there)

      • notsurprised Says:

        Michael Gobart was an ,”elder in training”

        What is Gobart’s status now with BCA?

        • Sarah Says:

          It says in training on the website. At least it did yesterday.

        • Jen Says:

          Sarah, I have never seen that on the website. Are we looking at the same website? What is your link?

        • Sarah Says:

          Sorry I am incorrect! Bob Sarrot is the only elder listed currently with Jeff Horn listed as the elder in training.

        • BlowItWideOpen Says:

          Surprised to “hear” Doug still on the messages portion of the site. Not sure of Michael Gobarts status. Thinking he may no longer be pursuing that but unsure.

  34. Jean Says:

    Jen and T.W… I’m confused… I have some questions I was wondering if you could answer
    1. Jen- in view of the fact that VF and Doug did pay rent for the buildings and his home, even though under fair market value, is that acceptable to IRS? Was VFM required by law to pay rent? Does VFM own the building? Jim L. purchased building many years ago and turned it over to FEAST. Then, FEAST moved location to the old SACS school, which, I believe, was also purchased by Jim L. Does FEAST still exist or did VFM take over?
    2. Since Jim L. specifically brought Phillips -and many like him – to San Antonio, where does Jim now stand in this mess? Didn’t his family attend the church when it was held at the home?
    3. If you know, is the Government now involved in VFM ministries? Since it sounds as though there was a co-mingling of funds, would Doug be personally liable? The board?
    4. Isn’t an accounting required every year by a non- profit? If so, how was the ball dropped?
    5. Does Ruth P. continue to ‘run’ FEAST? And attend BCA?
    T.W. – I do NOT understand why the authorities have not become involved!
    1. Where is Jennifer Grady and her family now? Do they still attend BCA?
    2. If you know, what is happening to the small church and the people who attend? Who is preaching? Would you give an account of the other elders?
    3. Do you know what has happened to the young woman who Doug was involved with – and her family? Did they know in January when they left about their daughter’s involvement with Doug? Was that the reason why they left the church? If so, why on earth was he allowed to continue to be heavily involved in ministry?
    4. Where does Jim L, Little Bear, Welch’s stand now that this has come to pass?
    5. In your opinion, do you think Peter B, etc. understand that – knowingly or unknowingly, they have been complacent and hold some responsibility for the abuse that has taken place over the YEARS!

    I am so sorry for all these questions … Trying to sort all through this in my mind – and having a difficult time trying to understand why some of my friends who are involved with Phillips family and ministries could not see through the horrific abuse that was taking place over YEARS. They were and continue to remain silent.

    • EyesWideOpen Says:

      Great questions. There are many more like these to be asked. I hope the answers are found…and soon.

      • BlowItWideOpen Says:

        Yes, very good questions indeed. Agreeing with EyesWideOpen, many more do need to be asked and hopefully the prayers of many hurting people will be answered and bring healing and true repentance.

    • Janna Wiersma Says:

      What is FEAST? and who is Jim L who brought DP to Texas? Did Jim L. start VFM and then hand it over to DP?

      • T.W. Eston Says:

        FEAST is Family Educators Alliance of South Texas.

        Jim L. is a permissible name here. His last name is blocked in our comment filter because we won’t permit it to appear here out of respect for him, just as the name of the young lady that Doug Phillips sexually abused won’t be permitted here out of respect for her. I would request that you don’t speculate about Jim L. here or elsewhere. He, as many others, are now suffering the embarrassment of their prior affiliation with Doug Phillips. Some may deserve to get called out for it, perhaps a few former interns, for example. However, most do not, and Jim L. is one of those who do not.

        • Janna Says:

          Sorry. I assumed it was just an abbreviation for someone’s name that it was well known that I wasn’t remembering. I have no intention of speculating about him. Just wondered how DP ended up in SA, and why. Thanks 🙂

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Jean, good questions. Some have been answered here in other articles, but I’ll address them again here. I’ll do my best to answer what I can at this time and we’ll trying resolve the others as we are able. However, neither Jen or I are likely to answer all your questions. It’s not that we don’t know but that we’re not fee to disclose.

      Let me address your first question here. I’ll return and try to address some addition questions later.

      Question 1:
      As I noted in another thread VFM holds legal title to the house that Doug has occupied for some years. Doug is legally required to pay fair market value rent to the property owner, Vision Forum Ministries. To the best of our knowledge Doug has paid some rent for living in the house, but at far less than fair market rental value that Jen has calculated at $5,000/month, based on other comparable properties in that neighborhood, and the Bexar County’s tax appraisal of $681,900. Doug moved into the house in 2002, some 11 years ago. We don’t know at this time how much he has paid since the rental income shown on VFM’s tax returns is a total figure and doesn’t break down the sources of rental incomes between the house and the VF office/warehouse building. But since the total combined figure shown is so low we can safely assume that Doug probably only paid around $500/month, if that.

      Vision Forum Ministries acquired title to the warehouse/office building in 2002 and VFM and VFI moved in at that time. Vision Forum Inc is legally obligated to pay fair market rent to VFM for its occupancy of the office building that VFI owns, calculated against what percentage of the building it occupies. I’m familiar with the layout and who uses what, as is Jen. The lion’s share of the building is warehouse space and that is used exclusively by VFI. VFI also runs the retail shop. The rest is shared use office space. We can conservatively say that VFI uses exclusively 80% of the building. Again, we don’t know exactly how much has been paid in rent by VFI to VFM. It’s not public information. All we know is the total paid between Doug to VFM, and VFI to VFM. To the best of our knowledge VFI has paid VFM some rent, but at far below the fair market value of the $14,400/month Jen conservatively calculates for industrial warehouse space in the neighborhood.

      See my comment here for those total figures and the rental loss consistently incurred every year, as shown on the tax returns that are publicly available:

      The 2011 tax return shows:
      Gross rents: $18,452
      Less gross exp: 47,838
      Rental inc. (or loss) -29,386

      Gross rents: $17,671
      Less gross exp: 38,036
      Rental inc. (or loss) -20,365

      Gross rents: $7,261
      Less gross exp: 38,362
      Rental inc. (or loss) -31,101

      Jen’s comment on this can be found here. It reads in part:

      Between the two properties, Vision Forum Ministries should have received approximately $232,832 in annual rents received. In reality, only $18,452 was collected by VFM between the two properties, leaving an annual shortfall of $214,380. Doesn’t seem like fair market value to me.

      In calculating 11 years of fair market rent for the two properties combined we arrive at a figure of $2,560,800. We don’t know the exact figure of rents received over the entire 11 years, but if we are to calculate it generously at the high figure shown in 2011 times 11 years, rents received are $202,972 (odds are it’s much lower). The difference is $2,357,828.

      Doug Phillips personally owes VFM hundreds of thousands of dollars in the difference between fair market value rent, and the rent he actually paid on the house. If and when the IRS audits Doug they’ll likely attribute the market value difference as “ordinary income” to Doug (this is how they normally settle it). He’ll receive a substantial tax bill with penalties and interest.

      VFI and VFM will likely face an IRS examination, as well, if they aren’t already. VFI will likely be treated the same and will be sent a tax bill for around two million dollars, plus penalties and interest.

      Doug is moving rapidly in selling off inventory and assets to wind down VFI and will shortly dissolve it. However, in order to dissolve a corporation you first have to pay off your creditors and pay all outstanding tax liabilities. An IRS examination could also prevent VFI’s dissolution and all the IRS would need to do it contact the Texas Secretary of State to make that happen. Even if Doug were able to legally dissolve VFI prior to the IRS blocking the dissolution, it won’t prevent the IRS’ collection enforcement afterwards. Doug Phillips, being the sole shareholder of VFI, could find himself personally on the hook for the bill since he will be attempting to dissolve VFI. The IRS typically will keep a collection action active for ten years, but they have options available, if they wanted to, to keep Doug in collection the rest of his life.

      Doug would have the option of filing for bankruptcy and listing the IRS as a creditor on the “discharge list.” However he would have to comply with certain legal requirements, and he may not be able to meet those. Even if he complied with the bankruptcy requirements and listed the IRS as a creditor, he’s likely to just antagonize the IRS. In such a case as this that could prove disastrous. Here’s why:

      There is the distinct possibility that the IRS will criminally charge Doug Phillips with tax fraud, and likely all the more so if he declares bankruptcy. If the IRS is unable to collect the taxes, and those taxes are substantial (as they would be in this kind of case) they’ll look for other ways of punishing you. The big stick is criminal action. Once the IRS determines to move forward with prosecution, and they’ve prepared the case for prosecution, it becomes a “numbered case.” They then turn the case over to the US Attorney’s office in San Antonio who reviews the case to determine the likelihood of a successful prosecution. If the US Attorney determines the odds of a successful prosecution at 70% or better they’re guaranteed to prosecute. But they also often prosecute even if the odds are only 50/50. The fact that Doug is an attorney, a “licensed professional”, makes the odds of DOJ moving forward with an indictment very high. Because it most certainly would be a high profile case, with the attendant media buzz, the US DOJ would be eager to make an example of him. The US Attorney would emphasize that Doug should have known better and he most certainly did. As an attorney Doug won’t be able to plead ignorance of the law and DOJ would read his actions as intent to defraud the federal government. The judge in the case would view it that way as well and Doug wouldn’t receive the normal courtesies of any “benefit of doubt” in the court that a non-attorney would. Doug would be a fool to defend himself pro se. He’d need to hire a top notch tax attorney, and that’s likely to cost him several hundred thousand dollars. At this point he may not even have that.

      Doug would be wise to ask for a trial by jury (which he would be granted) because he would most certainly be convicted in a trial by judge. But he isn’t likely to fair much better with a trial by jury either, regardless of his charming demeanor. Cases of this nature are a hard sell for a man who’s scammed millions when the typical jury member is struggling just to feed their family. Simply put there is no such thing anymore as a “trial by jury of your peers.”

      The sentencing guidelines in such a case would mean that Doug would be facing around ten years or more in a federal correctional facility. Since tax fraud is a white collar crime he’d likely be placed in a minimum security facility, not nearly as bad as a medium security facility, but still hardly a pleasurable vacation. Judges have discretion in such matters, and if the judge were so disposed he might order that Doug be remanded to a medium security facility.

      This is a lengthy answer to a question that you probably didn’t realize required this level of detail. But I believe it was necessary to do so. Jen tells me that she’ll probably want to incorporate this into a future article that she’s preparing, especially since she doesn’t want to see this go unnoticed in the comments. I’m sure she’ll have more to add in that article.

      • Jean Says:

        Thank you, T.W. for your answer to my questions. I have a much better understanding of the legal ramifications for Doug as well as the legality of all the tax issues. One more question… Gut feeling – do you think the law will pursue this matter? Okay, two questions! Can the other board members be held accountable for misappropriations as well, and why didn’t an accountant pick this up years ago. (Okay, that was three questions). Again, thank you for the answer.

        • noturniptruck Says:

          I would think it would be Josh Wean (CFO) and Doug who are responsible…… I right?

        • Jen Says:

          The whole board is responsible, although there may be varying degrees of culpability.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Jean, yes, I’m very confident the IRS is already on this. I’ve heard that several people have already blown the whistle to the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (neither Jen or I have though).

          The entire VFM board will be on the hot seat. The ones who will be subjected to the greatest scrutiny are Doug Phillips, Josh Wean, and Don Hart. Doug is self-evident. Josh because he’s the CFO and directly facilitated any fraud. Don because he’s on VF staff and paid to be a board member. As a licensed legal professional he knew better.

          “why didn’t an accountant pick this up years ago”? Tax fraud in these kinds of organizations is commonplace and can go unnoticed by IRS for years. There are red flags that are supposed to get automatically raised in the system, but they don’t always work. A crafty accountant tax preparer (Josh Wean would likely qualify) knows how to game the system to reduce the likelihood of an audit.

      • Jen Says:

        TW, it sounds like Doug could be in big-time trouble. I hope he doesn’t resort to anything foolish. It is time to be a man and face the consequences of his own actions.

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        TW…Kent Hovind has been moved all over the place, including Super Max in Colorado… for tax conviction

      • T.W. Eston Says:

        I’ve been able to secure the 990 tax returns for all the years that Vision Forum Ministries has existed. They will be linked to in this comment as I provide the rental income figures below.

        If we have any forensic accountants reading, or any accountants or tax preparers, please offer your comments and observations of any other red flags you see in the tax returns. You’re also welcome to email myself and Jen.

        2008 990 tax return:
        Gross rents: $31,680
        Less gross exp: 59,276
        Rental inc. (or loss) -27,596

        Gross rents: $10,214
        Less gross exp: 44,111
        Rental inc. (or loss) -33,897

        Gross rents: $29,883
        Less gross exp: 33,959
        Rental inc. (or loss) -4,076

        Gross rents: $39,969
        Less gross exp: 82,910
        Rental inc. (or loss) -42,941

        Gross rents: $30,704
        Less gross exp: 52,199
        Rental inc. (or loss) -21,495

        Gross rents: $20,771
        Less gross exp: 20,771
        Rental inc. (or loss) -0

        Gross rents: $22,976
        Less gross exp: 27,480
        Rental inc. (or loss) -4,684

        So to recalculate based upon the best available information, VFM received a total of $229,581 in rental income for tax years 2002-2011. The fair market value rents that should have been received are approximately $2,560,800, leaving a difference of $2,331,219 (I was surprised to discover how close this figure is to my original estimate of $2,357,828, above).

        Scott Brown received no director’s salary in 2008-2011, and he is shown as working 0 hours/week. However, he did receive a salary in 2005-2007 and he’s shown as working 30 hours/week in each of those years. This would make him far more culpable in the eyes of the IRS for any tax fraud perpetrated by Doug Phillips and Josh Weans because, as a salaried director, he was responsible for providing oversight.

        Scott Brown VFM income:
        2007: $4,000
        2006: $37,095
        2005: $53,089

      • GB Says:

        I would go to and reassess your rent figures. I have all kinds of rental properties and your estimated fair market value rents seems way high to me. Not trying to defend anyone, I think you need to redo your calculations if you want to be viewed credible on the rent claims.

        • Jen Says:

          GB, thanks for the information. In my article about finances, coming up soon, I will be addressing exactly how I came up with my figures, which I think are actually fairly conservative. There is far more to it than meets than eye. It is an unusual situation. Stay tuned!

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          Zillow is not totally reliable …but the problem with this property is the valuation is split at the same address (as if there were two properties) and the square footage is not fully inclusive even at that.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          GB, I noticed zillow’s listing of the home quite some time ago. I’ve been a guest in Doug’s home, so I knew immediately that the zillow listing was way off. I can assure you that house is much bigger than the 3,364 sq. ft. 3br that they list. So if you’re going to challenge anyone’s “credibility” feel free to challenge zillow. I wouldn’t challenge them too hard though. Under the circumstances it would be an easy mistake to make. It was Jen who pointed out to me that the listing only includes half the total property.

          But even at the “Rent Zestimate: $3,364/mo” I think you’d agree it must be a very nice house. Moreover, even if the zillow listing were accurate it still doesn’t make enough of a difference to alter the fact that Doug has been paying, for at least 11 years that we know of, substantially under fair market rental value.

          Jen will explain all that in an upcoming article in which she will go into some detail of VFM finances, property, and tax issues. I concur with her that even at the $5,000/mo she calculated, it’s a very conservative figure. More than likely the final figure will be considerably higher.

    • Jen Says:

      Jean, I apologize that I missed your long comment earlier today. I was trying to answer them all, but I missed the longest one of all! I cannot answer all your questions, but obviously you are someone who knows a lot about certain people here in San Antonio. Thank you for not using their last names if they are not pertinent to the story. I will respond in kind.

      FEAST still exists, but I have had nothing to do with them since I told my story and Ruth lied about it. I do not know her position now, nor where she goes to church.

      Jim only attended BCA for about a year, until we moved too far out in the country. I do not know his position today.

      If the government is not yet involved, they need to be. I don’t think Doug is going to volunteer that information.

      From what I have seen so far, it looks like both the VFM board and Doug Phillips will be financially responsible for many financial mishandlings (and perhaps much worse). TW laid out some of it. I may do an article about it soon.

      VFM has submitted the required Form 990 to the IRS every year. Apparently, they have not yet been audited because I see some serious problems there.

      Bob Sarratt is still the only elder at BCA. Jeff Horn is a “provisional” (temporary) elder. The men take turns preaching. Doug rarely showed up at church, but when he did, he usually preached a sermon he could then sell through his business in order to profit from working on the Sabbath (which he preached against while profiting at the same time).

      As far as I know, Jennifer Grady and her family still attend BCA and nothing has changed.

      The fact that Doug continued his ministry after a mass exodus in January is indeed troubling to me.

      Little Bear and Bob Welch have not publicly stated anything at this time. I doubt if they will, but I do think they owe people a statement, personally. They need time right now to process all this. It is probably very painful for them as well.

      I cannot tell what was in Peter’s heart and mind. On the one hand, it seems inconceivable to me that he would NOT know all this, but on the other hand, I know how much “gossip” was frowned on and how people were not allowed to talk, so Doug was able to exercise considerable control over all gossiping and could have easily kept everyone quiet. Peter was heavily involved in VF’s horrible treatment of me when I was excommunicated, so I would not be surprised that he was involved in many other abuses as well. For that, yes, I feel that he needs to repent. I am giving him time to grieve and sort this all for himself first. Betrayal hurts. It will take time to find his way.

      • Sarah Pressler Says:

        “Doug rarely showed up at church, but when he did, he usually preached a sermon he could then sell through his business in order to profit from working on the Sabbath (which he preached against while profiting at the same time).”

        And that’s why we call it a Businestry! This was one of my biggest issues w/BCA. It wasn’t all that much different than the mega-churches who broadcast their messages on TV, etc, for the sake of garnishing tithes… er…reaching the community….

  35. DaMom Says:

    Why do people keep comparing him to David and demanding forgiveness for him because, after all David was a man after God’s own heart?
    I get forgiveness as I’ve given it and received it, but 1 Cor. 5:9-13 keeps popping into my head….

    “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”

    …especially when a few of Phillips’ “yes” men are speaking out against him, among other things pointing out that he may not be truly repentant.

    • Angela Wittman Says:

      I agree with DaMom and strongly suspect DP is not regenerated… look at the pattern of abuse.

    • steve240 Says:

      They shouldn’t compare DP to David but if anything compare DP to Solomn. David’s sin was more of a one time thing while DP’s and Solomon’s were sins done over years.

      David had a Nathan and repented when he was rebuked. One can only imagine what DP would have done if a Nathan confronted him. My guess is DP would have done all he could do to discredit a Nathan using his power and even calling it an attack of Satan.

      • Jen Says:

        Steve240, there was a “Nathan” who confronted Doug Phillips — Peter Bradrick. And we see how that ended up. Very sad indeed.

      • Donna Says:

        This was exactly my thought when DP’s supporters immediately compared him to David after his 10/31 confession. Uhhh, no! David was truly repentant… and he expressed *immediate* repentance when he was confronted. DP had multiple sins going on over a long period of time, without repentance. Then, many months AFTER stepping down as elder of his church and keeping it all a secret, he finally typed out a formally worded confession with a lot of legal jargon in which he referred to ONE sin, lied about the nature and depth of that sin, and then later admitted he lied about it (I suspect by accident), and then someone ELSE finally admitting that there were *multiple* sins…. is NOTHING like David.

  36. Tropaka Says:

    While I understand that this is just another example of Doug Phillips’ hypocrisy I fail to see the need to name this woman out of, at the very least, respect for her husband and children. Instead of just going to DP to demand he discipline her, why did no one else speak to her directly? If people were really afraid for their sons, why didn’t they also speak to them about it? While I don’t agree with her behaviour, unless she was doing something illegal I see this as needlessly humiliating for her and her family. The story could have been told without the “slut shaming”.

  37. BlowItWideOpen Says:

    We think the main point, outsiders especially, seem to be missing here is that the whole thing was not just about a woman who people tried to stop and did everything they could according to scripture to handle it within the church. Once it could not be folks started leaving, having no idea about Doug’s own relationship.

    Since he has now outed himself (albeit we think he was forced to do so) it has finally given those involved a little bit of courage to come forward with what they saw. Doug created a culture, now known to all to have been very hypocritical, and in that culture things like this just did not go on.

    Mom’s did not act this way and did not do these things. Hey, if another young lady even carried on even one time like this she would have been branded a brazen hussy in this circle and church! So the question to all who knew was, “Why?” It went against all Doug said he held dear.And all that these families in his church held dear. This is why many families left as they could not figure out why he hid her sin. Then when they confronted them they were disciplined severely and threatened with excommunication and those threats have never been resolved nor taken back to this day and they still stand.

    We now feel certain it was to cover his own sinful relationship. As hard as it may seem to believe, people did try but they were literally stopped. The way things were handled we believe none of these other big player men in this movement would have believed this story at the time. Does this woman hold the answers to the whys? Is this why she was given a free pass on her behavior? Many of us want to know.

    Now that more and more is coming out it is starting to make a little more sense, but there is still a mother-lode of information we are not being told. Folks it needs to be told so this cannot ever happen again.

    • Jen Says:

      BlowItWideOpen, thank you so much for publicly speaking out and sharing these things that need to be shared. Things are beginning to make more sense now.

    • noturniptruck Says:

      Since he has now outed himself (albeit we think he was forced to do so)

      Yes I can confirm that he was forced to step down.

  38. steve240 Says:

    I thought somewhere Bill Gothard was mentioned. In case people aren’t aware or have forgotten it has been alleged that Bill Gothard sexually harassed young women that he had working for him in his organization:

    It is sad to see this happening in supposed Christian groups. It must be that these men when they get power it goes to their head and think they can get away with anything. It also must make them loose the morals that the supposedly teach.

    • amom Says:

      2 Peter 2:1–3
      But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

  39. Susan Says:

    Nathan Darnell (sp?) has posted on the scandal at

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Nathan Darnell’s article:


      The Nathan Darnell and Jordan Muela articles posted today are extremely important as they come from two former VF Interns who worked with Doug Phillips and knew him well. I’m pleased to see these young men now coming out from under Doug’s control and speaking out publicly. No doubt others will be doing the same in coming days.

      • Jackie C. Says:

        Noticed though that Darnell doesn’t get why naming what DP did was important. I personally see clergy sexual abuse as a sin greater than pride, even if it was pride that led to it. I’m not sure it was. DP sounds like someone who preys on anyone he can. Where is his empathy? Pride doesn’t erase that. This man attempted to destroy people and had no conscience. Worse yet, he lured others into his game and got them to hurt people also, people who just wanted to be followers of Christ. You can recover from the sin of pride and learn humility. You don’t generally gain a conscience and learn empathy – only how to fake it.

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          Mr. Darnell didn’t hammer it as hard as I would like, but the fact that he is speaking out encourages me. My opinion of DP isn’t as kind as his.

        • Jen Says:

          Fake empathy. For the victim, that only makes things much worse.

        • notsurprised Says:

          I don’t put much stock in anything that Darnell says…… be honest.

      • Sarah Pressler Says:

        I read through it – scanned it really – and all I could hear was “blah blah blah.” Sheeple. Still just sheeple. He’ll be the first one to give Doug a high-five when Doug attempts to step back into businestry…er…ministry.

        • Feeling sad/bad no longer Says:

          Sinful pride is one thing; the behavior we are questioning is criminal or close to it. I got very angry reading Mr. Darnell’s article. He’s skirting the real issues.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          Maybe that’s why I started skimming it – it was really aggravating me! He skirts the issues – argues straw men and red herrings. Let’s deal with the ISSUES not the “root sin.” Good grief. Can we muddle the waters anymore?

  40. EyesWideOpen Says:

    From Jordan Muela’s (former VF intern) FB page today:

    How Silence Enables Abuse
    December 2, 2013 at 10:42pm

    The LORD watches and is displeased, for there is no justice. He sees there is no advocate, He is shocked that no one intervenes. – Isaiah 59:15-16

    Up until this point I’ve had very little first hand experience with abuse of any kind, whether it be physical, spiritual, sexual, etc. While I’m grateful for God’s mercy towards me personally, I also see more clearly how this personal inexperience led to a myopic view of the issue of abuse and how people respond to it.

    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. It wasn’t so much the idea of abuse I unconsciously questioned, but rather the idea of widespread collusion amongst the various parties the victims sought justice from. 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.

    Below are some of the concepts I’ve found helpful in trying to understand how leaders and followers respond to allegations of abuse.

    Why It’s Different When It Happens in the Church

    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.

    I will be quoting extensively from Martin G. Selbrede’s article, “Liberty from Abuse.” originally published here on the Chalcedon website. Regarding the unique impact of abuse at the hands of Christian leader, Selbrede says:

    Continue reading article…

    We were aware of Jordan Muela’s Facebook article, posted today, and were going to post a link to it, but you beat us to it. Jen’s been in tears over it and I’ve been trying to comfort her on the phone, albeit probably not doing a very good job that.

    Just so everyone is aware, it’s bad netiquette to copy and paste someone else’s article in total without their prior authorization. As such I’ve deleted most of the article and linked to it, which is proper form. Comments on Jordan’s article are still welcome here. However I view it as far more important that he receive comments on his Facebook page.


  41. Krysti Says:

    God has used this situation to “unwind” years of wrong thinking.
    I find that I’m more on guard against the “world” than those who say,”I’m a Christian. You can trust me.”
    Jen, my background would have made me easy prey (I’ve got a ‘power gap’ like a North Korean= the authority must know what they are doing.) I can’t help but admire your strength! I think you were hand picked for this adventure. I can’t thank you enough for going public. (Christians need to revisit the issue of gossip.)
    God bless you all who find the courage to speak up!

  42. noturniptruck Says:

    what’s frustrating is that Voddie, Geoff Botkin and Scott Brown can get into a “tizzy” about making a rash judgement against “rap music” but none of them will boldly and personally hold Doug responsible for his misgivings……….grrrrrrrrrr. Scott is the ONLY one who preached against it but this needs to be spoken about from the pulpit. I wished people would stop running “scared”. I am glad to see that there are others “boldly” speaking out, eventhough they aren’t the ones that we thought we would hear from first (nor should).

    • Sarah Says:

      There is no way Voddie will speak about this until he is certain he has all the facts. He had no idea what was going on. The same goes for Ray Comfort, Ken Ham, and other men who knew Doug and had business ties with him, they certainly aren’t going to comment on anything until all the facts are out. I think that is a smart move on their part.

      • Eileen Says:

        Voddie maybe the exception but the point is, that his closest confidants (Scott Brown, Geoff Botkin, Joe Morecraft, Bill Potter) are mostly silent………TOO silent (ex Scott who preached on it, indirectly)………their silence is public and private………and it lacks LOTS of accountability.

      • Donna Says:

        I will say that I think Voddie is handling it well… at least so far. MY impression is that he’s trying to speak the truth as he learns it, but won’t say anymore than ONLY what can be factually verified. I think he’s trying to avoid gossip and slander while still being truthful. Just my impression, anyway. In fact, his FB page is the first place I learned of DP’s “confession”.

    • Jen Says:

      noturniptruck, it is truly amazing how caught up they all were in that non-apology about rap music. Now if they would all apply those same standards to Doug’s non-repentance, they would see a similar pattern here.

      I am just as anxious as you to hear from others, but I think we need to be patient in letting them grieve and deal with their feelings of betrayal and hurt right now. They will speak when they are ready. If not, silence speaks volumes. I would not want to be known by my silence right now.

  43. Sarah Says:

    @Jen I know this is a little off topic but The Hazordous Journey Society only started on Feb.2/13. It appears to be humming along thru this all with several trips in the last couple months. One expedition is actually starting this week with none other then David Fry(the only current deacon at BCA) as team leader. HJS is a project of Vision Forum Ministries. Doug is the founder and in charge of it so why is it continuing to run and running on donar money for that matter?

    • Jean Says:

      Jen, is there anyway the board at VFM could be funneling $$ to BCA? Any way to find out? These are very expensive trips, are they not???

      • Eileen Says:

        oh my………oh my……….this needs to be discussed. If VFM has been shut down, than any and ALL extensions should be shut down as well…….yesterday. Yes this needs to be discussed and asked. Inquiring minds want to know.

      • Jen Says:

        While VFM is a 501c3, BCA is not, so I am not sure that VFM could legally give them money or not. I will find out.

        What trips are you speaking of?

    • Teresa Says:

      God have mercy. I fell sick right now because I was praying the Fry family were long gone. I know them, and I am praying they get out of there. I am in tears over this family.

      • EyesWideOpen Says:

        Me too Teresa!

        • Teresa Says:

          David Fry, his wife and children are special to me and I am praying they remove themselves from this ministry.

          I saw his name on the BCA website as deacon after Doug’s name was removed as elder. I was praying and will not stop that this family is not harmed and others as well.

  44. Sarah Says:

    The HJS launched 15 missions in Feb. all for 2013. Yes some people have to pay their own way but not all of course. Some go on donation money. Like Joshua Phillips I am sure.

  45. Janna Wiersma Says:

    The HJS website says they are no longer accepting donations due to the closing of VFM.

    • Sarah Says:

      Hmm I will check. I didn’t see it earlier today.

      • Sarah Says:

        Yep you are right if you click on support it leaves the website and go VFM. That being said they have done several major trips lately with one coming up this week. It doesn’t say anything on HJS website about anything being cancelled or HJS no long continuing.

  46. Truth Lasts Says:

    I think all who ever were or still are involved in that despicable cult should be ashamed and held accountable. All those adults who brought their families into that ugly and atrocious 3 ring circus can go skulking off into the shadows for shame, or now that they are on the outs or things have taken a turn they didn’t quite like are turning around to be vengeful and hold Doug Phillips accountable better take a look in the mirror, because without them all that that man did wouldn’t be possible.

    When my parents found out about Doug and this blown out scandal they apologized to me for this man and his actions in my life and how he had hurt me. And they said, “Where is his apology to you or to us?”
    My reaction was one of immediate anger, not towards as many might assume to this man Doug Phillips, but towards my parents. Doug Phillips doesn’t owe me an apology. The damn man didn’t raise me, he didn’t have my raising in his hands, that was my parents, that was them and only them.

    So take responsibility, the only victims here are the children of the idiotic and wicked hearts of the parents that flocked to this man and his worthless message.
    This article talks of how Doug abused his power, but how more so the parents of the families that across the country modeled their churches and homes into the mockery that was his image of family. Daughters were raised with no greater aim than filling their hope chests and preparing themselves to be the bearers of children to their husbands. Not given the hope of anything beyond that, but of being chattel, sold to the highest and best bidder.
    Courtship: A young man sees a woman and prays on it, and if he feels God has given his blessing goes to his parents, and they pray about it, and if they also see it as a good thing, go to the parents of the girl. They all pray about it and if it seems right and approved then and only then do they approach the young woman with the proffer, not of “courtship” per say, but of marriage. There are many young women who cried at this news, but as they had been raised to believe that to refuse their parents would be to refuse God and disobey His commandments, give in… I almost was one of these victims, but life was kinder to me and it didn’t work out.

    But all the parents who participated in the lies and the life of that cultish movement, don’t you dare revel or seek out vengeance on Doug Phillips until you accept full responsibility and seek repentance for the lies you yourselves have participated in sending into despair and pain. The movement that Doug started never was holy to begin with and don’t you dare pretend that it was. From the foundations to the very top, the homeschool movement that I knew and was raised in has always been a big farce.

    Biblical justice be on the heads of all of you who have ever and still do participate in the accursed mismanagement of your children.

    • Andrew McDonald Says:

      I can understand your feelings but please give some grace toward those caught up in the “law” movement. The very thing you wish had been extended towards you is not what you seem to be refusing to extend towards others. I do not mean to be harsh sounding at all but the real healing from the anger can only come by extending forgiveness and then remembering “There, but for the grace of God, go I”.

      • Truth Lasts Says:

        Sir, the grace of God doesn’t mean there are not consequences for actions. The grace of God set up this whole world where for every action there is a definite consequence.
        I can extend grace towards those who were blindly lead into the movement, but that is for the children and not the parents.
        I understand being blinded, but in all the blindness of folly or sin I have ever experienced Gods truth has always shown what was truly right and what was truly wrong. The blindness of this movement might be a nice excuse to cozy up with to salve the wounds of poor decisions, but the truth remains, as a cutting two edged sword. There are really no excuses, and within that movement, and I am talking about the deepest darkest part of that movement, it was all about control. Doug preached and parents willingly followed the idea that you can breed your own little kingdom.
        Sir, there with the grace of God I went, led by my parents.

    • Jen Says:

      Truth Lasts, I can hear the anger and pain in your heart. I am so sorry that you were hurt in all this, in so many ways. Yes, each person needs to take responsibility for their own actions and their own part in this. Each church, and each individual family, had its own set of “patriarchy” rules they lived by. While I can see that you were very hurt by courtship, please remember that it was not always done this way in every situation. To a great degree, it was, and it certainly can be quite damaging, but there have also been many happy marriages result from that as well.

      I appreciate your perspective, and I pray for healing to take place within your own life and family, as well as the thousands of others who have experienced untold pain as well. I do have one request, however: Please be respectful in your comments here. I think there are respectful ways to show your hurt and anger and still get your point across. Thanks.

      • Leslie Says:

        Jen, I think Truth Lasts was being as respectful as possible. Being betrayed by one’s own parents who bought into a system that turns out to be a cult is a very good reason to voice an anger that can verge on disrespect. In this case I think it is acceptable.

        • Andrew McDonald Says:

          Leslie, ‘betrayed’ is a strong word and implies some agenda that most folks do not intend AT ALL! I do not imagine that anyone’s parents would purposefully join a group to screw their kids up. I do not think Truth Lasts parents did that. If they did then there’s more problems than just joining a Kook Group. Catering to a wrong perspective is no better than justifying what DP did. When you drive a car you naturally go the direction you’re looking. It’s the same in life. Before you hit the ditch it might be time to refocus and look in a better direction. Bitterness and anger will cause an accident for sure. An angry spirit is completely understandable but not something that should be excused, prolonged or applauded without the real desire of leading the person into a better place emotionally and spiritually. My prayers go out to Truth Lasts, I have been there. Your parents were victims too. If they have repented then let the healing start. You can still be a family to be proud of. You can make it together as long as all are willing to forgive and start the journey home.

        • Truth Lasts Says:

          To Andrew McDonald, I would hazard a guess you are a parent, and a parent who might have participated in that movement? To all the hurt and injured I have talked to, we agree and find comfort and solace in acknowledging the pain and BETRAYAL we all felt at the hands of our parents.
          As to all parents I have talked to, there is a refusal to admit wrong doing on their part, however it is easy to point at others like Doug as the culprits. With any cult, I hold the adults very responsible for the cult they are in, because it is due to their choices. And the Doug Phillips movement is just such a brand of cultism as promises control for parents over the lives of their children. And the damage thereby caused has had some pretty horrendous consequences.
          So please don’t tell me that parents went into that movement with good intentions. They may have home schooled their children with good intentions, but not followed that movement with them.
          That is the part that really gets me, the sin Doug committed didn’t start with his lascivious sins, it started long before with the seed of sin in the way he handled church, family and most importantly, God.
          Even if his little home church hadn’t fallen apart on him due to the sins now come to light, it was still wrong. To raise children that way is deeply wrong.
          A young person cannot be bubble wrapped from the sin that is in the world, it is born with them and follows them through life. It is Jesus who frees and redeems the sinner born from the get go into sin. Only Jesus, and arming your children with HIM is the only way they have a chance of navigating life.
          A parent stands before God and answers perhaps for the life of their children while in the home, but the child must stand before God and answer for their own sin, their own choices. I would think no other person would want to take the responsibility for the choices of another when they stand before the Almighty, that being the case in life how much more important that an individual work out their own salvation with fear and trembling?
          This world is not about building little fiefdoms, it is about raising warriors for God armed with a real knowledge of who Jesus is and what the world will do to them.
          There was no love in this movement for the lost, there was no love for those who looked sinful. As long as you looked the part you were accepted, but not with love. With judgement and derision.
          My parents are responsible for their choices, and if I ever have children, I am adequately sobered by that knowledge. I hope for Gods grace in me to recognize my sins and to always be repentant of wrong choices, and to course correct from the wrong path.

          As to the concern over my anger, I am angry, but it does not consume me. I am not bitter because it does not fester. I have left behind all of this, but I still care for those still there. But what will not help those who are still there is the blindness of parents to their own part and the pointing of fingers after this man, after all, it was those fingers and their building that put him on a pedestal of power in the first place.
          But he never really had the power, all of the parents did…………………………………… Oh the irony….. The patriarchal movement claims victim hood and impotence………..

      • Truth Lasts Says:

        Jen, I do not mean to be disrespectful on your site.

        • Leslie Says:

          My heart breaks for Truth Lasts .Andrew, my husband and I as Grandparents have been deeply affected by this movement. Our daughter and SOL have been involved in this movement for 20 years. They have 8 children ages from 21 to 5. All have been homeschooled and isolated from others. The family moved 1000 miles away 12 years ago and we have been able to have little, if any impact on their lives. The 21 year old told me last year that God’s will for her life was to get married, have a lot of kids and homeschool. She still calls her parents Mommy and Daddy. SOL told me in June that they are going to start the courting process soon. The kids are never allowed to attend family weddings, funerals,etc. We have 5 other children and 10 other grandchildren so there are a lot of family events. I could go on and on but I think you get my point.Out of the other 5 kids, 3 are active in their local churches.One SOL is a licensed Minister .

        • Andrew McDonald Says:

          Leslie, We also broke away from family not that extreme but there was always the distance. It took us two years to get back into a church. A family friend called it ‘the skirt cult’. lol Anyway I guess I wasn’t always a good ‘disciple’ as I continued to question stuff. When my daughter was learning to ride a bike I broke the rules and told my wife she was NOT going to wear a skirt on the bike. Seemed dangerous to me. Also I put my foot down on picking blackberries in a skirt. That’s a job for pants. Surprisingly enough I had to fight with my wife on some of the stuff. She was sold, in some aspects, as much as me and maybe a little more so. It seemed like we were in pursuit of holiness and on the way. We became followers of the law… and not Biblical law only. Much was man made. Well, some through the fire, some through the flood. Glad we’re on this side of it now.

    • Observer Says:

      Truth lasts: A stinging and sober rebuke. But please answer a question. We read some books on courtship (actually from another author). We never followed it because it did not seem to fit in with 21st century. We homeschooled with a very keen eye towards education for our girls as well as our boys. However, we did not know that young women were railroaded into marriage. Is this in fact courtship reality? I recall my own father railing against parental choosing of spouses. Coming from an oriental background, he had seen bad spouse choices made because of the parents’ sin.

      • Truth Lasts Says:

        Yes Observer, young women are railroaded into marriage. The amount of control and cultism going on within that movement is sickening. There are cases where happy marriages have come of it, so far. But there are also many horror stories. As with this particular brand of control, there are so many marriages where couples escaped into their weddings merely as a route out of their homes.
        I saw it time and again with my own eyes, and was myself almost a victim. The truth is at the time I would willingly have gone into the marriage. I hadn’t ever wanted to get married, indeed, I was not ready. I was 18 when my dad told me. And while I liked the young man in question and thought he was cute, marriage is a far cry from the strength needed when entering into the marriage state. I broke down and cried, but because I believed in God and His word, and that my honoring my father and mother was a commandment that meant obedience in my adult years, I submitted. I trusted my father, implicitly.
        But God had other plans for me and the marriage never happened, thankfully. But so many others were not as lucky.
        And was it all in the name of God? Tell me how that honors Him?

        • Observer Says:

          Truth Lasts: It is grievous to learn that some have endured this level of control and have had ruinous marriages. It is crushingly ironic that some parts of the patriarchy movement actually stripped fathers from their real role. Very difficult and humbling for parents to admit their own sin. It is that ol pride that hits us all. As a parent, I know I have had to ask forgiveness and I continue to have to with my own children. A parent who does so gains respect (God’s cool irony). It is the gospel of Jesus Christ! God give you grace as you forgive your parents. God bless you.

    • A Troubled Daughter Says:

      OK, I read this last night and decided not to get involved, but some of your replies trouble me enough that I am going to jump in, for one very specific reason: Truth Lasts, in your remarks (especially some of your other replies) you appear to be electing yourself representative of the daughters hurt by patriarchy. Please stop doing that. I am a daughter affected, even deeply hurt, by this movement; one of the reasons I tried to commit suicide was the intolerable pressure of the model of womanhood proffered by patriarchalism. However, I am able to acknowledge that my parents were hurt, too. Victimhood is not a zero-sum game. My parents were young, immature Christians, who’d just turned their backs on much that had seemed good to their unregenerate instincts, and wanted desperately to find the path of true holiness for them and their children. They were young and afraid. Wicked men and women preyed on their fears, spinning a tissue of falsehood that twisted my parents’ good intentions into something harmful. I saw what this teaching did to their marriage; it caused true pain to both of them, all the more so because they thought (being deceived) that they were doing God’s will, and couldn’t understand why so much suffering resulted. Yes, they needed to own their own sin (and contrary to your allegations, they have done so), but it is unjust to place the heavy burden of guilt on them that you seem to want to place. As their daughter, I can’t and won’t do that. Please don’t pretend to speak for our experience when discussing your own difficulties with patriarchalism and your parents.

      • Andrew McDonald Says:

        Troubled Daughter:
        Thank you for your comments. The key to all this is the word deceived. Webster defines it as: “to make (someone) believe something that is not true.” Was it the wrong choice? Yep, sure was. We were in a house church where it took me two years of observation (and unfortunately participation) to realize something was wrong. I came to know this because the Biblical rules of grace and love were not being followed. Until I got saved I struggled with really bad feelings towards the leaders of our group. Those feelings did me no good at all. Today I can say that I truly have moved on. Has my family suffered? Yes and so have I, but I see some good too. It has made me more discerning, it was instrumental in my coming to Christ and that is worth it all. After asking forgiveness from the ones we shunned (and getting it too, how good is that!) I continue to hold to Romans 8.28.
        By God’s grace, and after some time had past, I came to have some contact with the old leaders. While they have never asked for forgiveness for the mess, they do seem to have moved on. The fact that their son was an intern in DP “Village Forum” and is now dis-owned; not too mention all the peripheral fall out that goes with it, will, I hope, put the final end to blind devotion to man. I can say that I am moved for them. I want God’s best for them and I am sorry they were deceived. I rejoice that God has healed my hurts and that I can pray for those who used me. I love them and hope God’s love will shine into the deepest part of their souls and heal all their hurts; that they will use any guilt to drive them to prayer. Do I care if they ever ask my forgiveness? No, not really because God has shed His love into my heart and He will take care of them as well. I am FREE! I do think that the truth needs to come out but even if it doesn’t the bitterness, anger and baggage needs to come out. It is natural that, in our hurt, we want everyone to know the truth. Let’s present it but know that it will never fully come out. The hurts and wounds that false teachings have caused are never fully realized but by God and He can deal with them in each heart. That is where the truth counts most. To all who have suffered, know that you have suffered for righteousness sake and it is counted to your credit. Do not loose the blessing by sinning in anger or malice or we hazard becoming like those we are trying to expose. Now is the time to ‘circle the wagons’ protect the wounded, the survivors and effect a rescue of the prisoners of deception. I wish the peace of Christ for everyone who has commented here, for the deceived ones and especially for Truth Lasts and all the others like her. I am sorry for your hurt and I pray for you. Do not give up on God for that would be the ultimate victory for the author of all false teaching. If you are discouraged please cry out to your Heavenly Father who loves you and will never, ever, leave you. He alone can make sense of this non-sense.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          Andrew, THANK YOU !….you nailed it ! when you wrote…..* Do not give up on God for that would be the ultimate victory for the author of all false teaching. If you are discouraged please cry out to your Heavenly Father who loves you and will never, ever, leave you. He alone can make sense of this non-sense. *

      • Refugee Says:

        *Thank* you. I do feel a great deal of sorrow and frustration, and TL’s vindictive tone is not much of a help in seeking healing. I have apologized to our children, and I bitterly regret the damage done to them by being exposed to (though never completely immersed in) this farce of a belief system.

        I became disillusioned with DP’s teachings when I first started reading this blog some years back, and completely turned my back on them a year or two ago. It all seemed so pretty, somehow, when our daughters were little. “Playing house” is a favorite game with many little girls. I suppose VF’s approach touched on that soft spot. Truly infantile, Peter Pan-ish, really. Let’s not grow up. But as our daughters grew and evinced talents and gifts that didn’t fit the mold (their mom is not good at being a homemaker; why should I expect it to come naturally to them?), the future turned from a rosy child’s dream to a bleak landscape. Why should they bury their gifts in the ground, just because their skill set doesn’t match the “perfect” VF picture?

        I’m sorry it took me so long to figure out. I had very little self-confidence (grew up with a domineering pagan dad; it doesn’t take Christian patriarchy to subjugate children), and I fumbled in the dark. Am still fumbling. Would love to find a book to point my dh to, to help him understand that “respect” is not the whole enchilada for his self worth, so that he doesn’t get threatened when the dc disagree with him. Hah. “Would like to find a book.” There I go again, looking for an expert, or someone who has gone before, who can at least tell us what good parenting looks like, since neither dh nor I have a clue from our own upbringing. It’s frightening to have to invent it all from nothing, or from a negative mindset “not to be like our parents, or make the mistakes our parents made.”

        I had no evil agenda, I had only fear, and a yearning for love and joy, peace and safety, harmony in the home. The people I knew who followed this teaching had picture-perfect families and homes, smiling, apparently contented children, nicely dressed with their hair combed. I found out much later that it was all a front, a lie, a mask people put on (the first clue was when one of our kids told me after spending time with one of the leading families, that some of the boys in that model family were very cruel and teasing to some of the girls). I got drawn into the craziness enough that I found myself wearing my own mask, towards the end, looking at the conflict in our home, miserable that I just couldn’t get it right, blaming myself (not our children), but trying to present the right face at church to “fit in.” The church crowd filled all our needs: we worshipped together, participated in a home school co-op that provided upper-level classes I didn’t feel qualified to teach, socialized together. Our children weren’t comfortable playing with the neighbor kids because they didn’t fit the culture — didn’t want to play at vampires when the movie The Little Vampire came out, for example. I don’t think they were smug about it, just squicked.

        It was the same old same old from junior high, trying to fit in while knowing you’re a complete misfit, thinking these people have something and wanting success, without knowing they’re just as frightened and fumbling.

        I came from a family that practiced cultural Christianity (as in dropping the kids off at Sunday school and going out for coffee, and sending the kids to VBS, and going to church together as a family for Easter and Christmas). I didn’t know what Christianity was really about. The VF crowd projected confidence and a pretty picture.

        It took time to see the rottenness hidden by the attractive looking package.

        Where do we go from here? How do we find health?

        I’ve had a lot of long talks with the dc over the past year, but I grieve to see the damage done. I am slowly talking our girls around to the idea of college studies. We’ve always talked about careers (my dh also didn’t completely buy into the idea of our girls burying their talents and gifts in the ground); now we’re investing more energy in the idea.

        But still, bleak despair hovers in the back of my mind. How do I do this? What does abundant life really look like? How do I trust, when I have never, from my childhood, found anyone to be trustworthy? (And hammered home again, in this current garbage…)

        • D.L F Says:

          Refuge, it sounds like you were wise enough to recognize the cultish nature of Vision Forum so I don’t think that TL’s post is directed at your situation. Don’t give into despair. It sounds like you are a far stronger person than you realize.

        • Jackie C. Says:

          Refugge, it sounds like you are making huge strides forward. You get that people hide their pain and imperfect lives from others. By not pretending anymore, you can set an example for the dc (dear children?). I always thought I was about the only person I knew who had a cranky husband. Not always but could be very moody. Suddenly one day a friend made a mention about her husband’s moods. The floodgates opened and suddenly I had someone who got it. I soon learned everyone has pain and most hide it. By not hiding it and discussing it, we eventually were led to understand he had PTSD and he got help. But I also came to understand that there were no perfect families and the more I shared my own pain, the more others were encouraged to open up about theirs.

          You find health by not dwelling on past mistakes. A friend (who happens to be married to a minister) always says they don’t have college funds for their kids. They have therapy funds. I’ve always said my kids are wonderful in spite of their parents, not because of us. We all screw up. That’s a fact.

          Personally, I think your best bet is to let go of looking for “abundant life.” I’m not sure even what that means but do know it’s a hook used to draw people in. Love your family, seek to make wise decisions (you did get out when you saw the crazy), and trust your gut. I’m concerned about the bleak dispair you mention. Could it be depression? Consider talking to a therapist if it’s hard to get through a day.

          I do think you need to forgive yourself. Sounds like you can trust the dc. People will always fail you in some way. No one is perfect. But you can love and trust anyway. The dc aren’t dead, they aren’t in prison or on drugs I’m assuming. You may already have abundant life and not recognize it because you’re looking for a story somebody sold you, a story that will never come true. Praying for you now.

      • Truth Lasts Says:

        A troubled daughter, I am not speaking for all affected by this, I am speaking from personal experience and from the situations of those I have come into contact with. To my knowledge I have never come into contact with you, so of course I was not speaking for you. Now that you have spoken and shared your part you add yet another voice.
        To those who think I am not showing love or mercy, but rather being too harsh and unforgiving? How so? Because I say its time the parents accepted responsibility? Its all this pointing at Doug Phillips that is getting under my skin. Doug didn’t raise your kids people, you did. They didn’t look to him on a daily basis, they looked to you. And if they trusted anyone, it was their parents. I know many people who got involved in this movement for a brief time and realized it was trash. I know others who have taken longer, and I know those who never went near because it was so blatantly obvious.
        I don’t mean to be unforgiving nor offer despair to those parents who have stubbornly maintained that heading. In fact I myself can offer nothing. But Jesus offers repentance and love, the confession of lips for the sins they have committed, there is no sweeter sound to His ears.
        If I am not going soft or saying comforting words, it is because I believe each and every person has a conscience. I could place myself on a pedestal and say I am alone in this, but I am pretty sure that is not the case. This movement claimed it was seeking the Lord, and if I am not mistaken, they all have had access to bibles. That being the case all combined, the work of the Lord would direct and the conscience of each would whisper…. hmmm there is something wrong here.
        I believe I clarified in my above comments that I am speaking to those parents who sought out the deepest and darkest part of that vision. The parents who revel in the exercise of control and who delight in themselves and the glory of their children and lives and how holy and truly amazing they were.
        I had a beautiful life until I reached my early teens, and than it happened. From that moment until I broke free in my 20s I was meant for nothing else except motherhood and marriage. What a sick joke on those institutions.
        If you take my comments and merely see someone who is angry and glean nothing else from this…. oh well. I give credit to all thinking people and give my due to your ability to judge right from wrong.

        • Jackie C. Says:

          Have you written your story out? I would like to learn more from you, especially since it sounds like you were older when your life changed, as opposed to those who never knew a difference. I ask because I’m working toward become a licensed therapist and we don’t learn specifically about spiritual abuse. Part of helping someone is understanding their culture or the culture in which the abuse occured. I am not asking so I can analyze you or try to “fix” you. I would just like to expand my knowledge base and bring more expertise to a theraputic relationship. I know from what others have said that it is difficult to find therapists who understand spiritual abuse.

    • Keith Blankenship Says:

      Were your parents baby boomers? Had they been exposed to Bill Gothard?

    • D.L F Says:

      When my children were young, sites like Vision Forum sucked me in also. Because I came from an unstable, abusive childhood, the idea of following black and white rules appealed to me. In my own defense, my love for Vision Forum died in a relatively short amount of time. However, I think that people who stay committed to this mindset are in denial and suffer from a lot of pride.

      Intellectually, we all realize that a person can follow all the rules, be the best person they can and have deep faith but still have bad things(even horrible things) happen to them; however, I think that emotionally many people act as though blindly following rules will keep them and their families safe and protected. It does not. .

      Children-even very young children-are distinct individuals apart from their parents. Once they reach adulthood, they have a right to make decisions with which the parents might not agree. A parent who cripples their children to the point that as adults those same kids can’t make decisions on their own has abused their child and prevented their offspring from reaching adulthood no matter what the chronological age of their child. Some parents might think that they are saving their kids from pain but learning to handle pain is part of being an adult

      Not everyone is comfortable in easily defined gender roles. There are women, like my own daughters, who enjoy math and science and would be much happier attending a university to study the field of science than staying at home waiting for Prince Charming. Further no one has only one role in life. A person can be a great parent and still have a job or skills in case their spouse dies or leaves them. Not preparing your daughters for the worst that can happen if they do decide to be stay at home moms is foolish and prideful(See my first point. Bad things can happen to you)

      If you want your children to be leaders, they have to learn to think for themselves. That means that sometimes the child will push against their first authority, the parent. It might make for a more quiet and peaceful household to have an always perfectly obedient child but the parent is actually training their offspring to blindly follow any authority figure. That future authority figure might not only be a good person but a sociopath who takes on a religious facade to hurt someone.

      Everything that I have written is common sense and it takes a very large amount of pride and denial to pretend that a family is above the same rules that apply to everyone else. I am no longer a Christian but I still value much that is found in the gospels. It seems to me that the people who follow Vision Forum and similar churches care more about having perfect families than they do about following their founder.

    • Latoya Says:

      Truth Lasts, you’re right about many things. At the end of the day, (both) parents are responsible for what they knowingly let into their homes, whether it’s tv programs, or a religious leader. Your parents may (or may not) owe you an apology. I don’t know your parents, but from my experience, if it is in fact owed, you may never get it. The fact that they realize that something was foul in VF land and apologized to you for it is a spark of hopefulness. They may come to reject what they currently believe and be horrified at how they treated you. Then again maybe not, I don’t know.
      You can’t life your life to please others, as you undoubtedly know. Hopefully you are taking action to repair and re-build your life as you wish. As a parent, I can tell you that mistakes are inevitable. Most parents, including many, I believe, who admired or revered Doug, wanted better things for their children. They wanted a “holier” life for their kids. Fundamentalism can be appealing to those who seek structure because of a “sinful” past. I’m not excusing it, I’m just offering you my insight. Fear of a “wrathful ” deity and a hot eternal “inferno” will motivate many to try any interpretation of scripture to avoid doom. Remember, most parents really do want better things for their kids, including a chance at salvation. Fear can be paralyzing and can inspire irrational behavior from otherwise level headed people.The parents are victims of the past they never completely resolved, otherwise VF’s Rx for normal family, marriage, or life issues would not have morphed into an all encompassing lifestyle or system. My view of my parents softened as I couldn’t be the Norman Rockwell fantasy mom. But for now, (disclaimer: I do not presently share the same beliefs or obligations of many here), I say forgive at your own pace. You don’t have to forget and allow more abuse or toxicity into your life Your emotions are not “sinful”, but rather natural ,or likely not surprising under the situation. Good luck to you. I hope the rest of your life is successful and happy.

  47. scott Says:

    Well I think a good old fashion Hazardous journey is just what Ole Doug needs about now to clear his head. Its has doubt been a rough few weeks for him and it’s not anywhere near over. He will probably need to find himself a job and since he has never really practiced law (unless you consider HSLDA work practicing law and most firms won’t) finding employment could prove difficult. Most of his contacts that could provide assistance in finding work won’t be much good anymore. If he truly doesn’t have a drivers license now would be a good time to change that. I don’t think there will be any intern driver/ bodyguards hanging around waiting to drive him around. He is in for a rude awakening and a pretty rough time. If half of what is written on this site is factual in regard to his business and tax issues, I could see him going to Federal prison. His days of playing up his Indian Jones adventure seeking image are over. The elitist homeschoolers ( maybe only the top 3-4 % of homeschoolers) that spent a small fortune attending VF functions will need to find new sources. You can already see the Botkins and Scott Brown charging onward in pursuit of market share in this niche that will be largely untouched with the departure of Vision Forum. While it will be entertaining to watch Geoff and Scott fall all over themselves trying to create a NEW VISION Forum like market leader with a 100 year plan (LOL) , I think this whole mess may effect how quickly homeschool families jump on the bandwagon of the next self appointed “BAND master”.

    Years ago when a few men with FAMILIES were out of work Doug flippantly joked , “well Burger King is hiring”. God’s justice tends to bring things full circle. Before it’s all over we may be hearing, ” Thank you for calling Dominos, this is Doug, will this be for delivery or carry out”.

    • DesiringToDiscern Says:

      scott, most of these *journeys* are out of the country, including this next one. We wouldn’t want him to get *lost* somewhere, unable to be found.

    • Jen Says:

      scott, it will definitely be interesting to see how quickly some will jump on Geoff Botkin’s 200-year plan, or Scott Brown’s quickly growing empire. If they didn’t learn the first time, I won’t have too much empathy the next time around. I will say that the few events that I did attend, I loved. Doug knew how to put on a great event. But there is more to life than just great events.

      I remember when Doug told certain men that Burger King was hiring. Doug, the Domino’s Dude. Now, that has a nice ring to it!

      • Sarah Pressler Says:

        “Doug, the Domino’s Dude. Now, that has a nice ring to it!”

        I would order every day just for the fun of it and not tip him … just for the fun of it. Actually I’d find some Jehovah Witness pamphlets to hand to him as his tip. LOL


        And no, I’m not a JW.

        • DaMom Says:

          Sarah, you crack me up. lol

        • Amy Says:

          How can Doug be a pizza delivery man if he doesn’t have a driver’s license?

          (You guys have posted a lot of stuff, but I keep coming back to him not having a driver’s license. I want to know the story on that. So odd.)

        • Jen Says:

          ROFLOL! Great point, Amy! Wow. That really narrows Doug’s job choices, doesn’t it?

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          RIGHT?!?!?! It’s so stupid. So I read somewhere that there’s a DWI on his record. In one of these 320+ comments. I’m not gonna search it out…. that’s a good enough reason why he doesn’t have his license…

        • Jen Says:

          Sarah, I don’t think anyone said that there IS a DWI on his record, but that it would be one possibility. I don’t think anyone knows why he does not have a driver’s license. I didn’t even know about it. Someone else thought it was a significant detail to bring up.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          Oh I thought someone said there was a DWI on his record he never cleared up. My bad. Hard to keep up with all the comments!

          It’s silly for sure. I wonder if it’s true….just because it’s kind of bizarre.

        • Jen Says:

          You’re right. The whole thing is silly!

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          Well it is fun to think of him delivering pizzas… but that probably won’t be the case. Men like him get away with murder….

        • Jackie C. Says:

          The driver’s license keeps sticking in my head too.

          I’m thinking his wife needs to work now and he can be the stay-at-home dad. She needs to party it up.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          She needs to do something. Maybe she and the kids can go move in with Doug’s sister – whom he doesn’t speak to.

        • Jackie C. Says:

          A conversation with her would be interesting. I’ve never understood people of faith who cut themselves off from family members for religious reasons (I realize I’m making an assumption). The greatest commandment for a Christian is to love God and the second is to love our neighbor. So I’m always suspicous when a Christian doesn’t speak to a family member. But then I’m suspicious of anything with this man.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          Good instincts. I always found him to be interesting, at first – but then as the years went on it just got bizarre… so glad I left before it got just flat out crazeeeee

        • watchfuleye Says:

          Sarah Pressler Says:
          December 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm

          Well it is fun to think of him delivering pizzas… but that probably won’t be the case. Men like him get away with murder…

          Well this story with Doug has more twists and turns than a roller coaster, so it sounds like he has basically gotten away with almost everything BUT murder………..but at this point, absolutely NOTHING would surprise me about him. Can’t stand him!

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          Agreed about the last sentence! He’s too much. God will deal with him. Thank goodness. 🙂

      • Refugee Says:

        I have such a bad taste in my mouth, I won’t be even *looking* at any bandwagons anytime soon. At the mention of Scott Brown, Geoff Botkin, James or Stacy McDonald, even Voddie Baucham (have heard all of them teach, in person, except the the Botkins, at large homeschool events in the local area), I feel physically nauseous.

        We never had the funds to go to any big events, not even sacrificially, but we knew people who did, who came back with wonderful stories. Always felt a little wistful about it, but then perhaps struggling finances were a protection of sorts from being drawn in deeper.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          All you missed was a bunch of pomp, circumstance, and emptiness. Stacy McDonald evokes a strong response from me … all of them do. But her especially. She’s something else…

          You’re gonna be ok. You’re on the right track. Keep at it, sister! Thankfully, GOD is bigger than ALL of this and His plan isn’t thwarted in the least!

        • Traveler Says:

          Stacy McDonald gives me the creeps. Her 150 courtship question nonsense is just awful. After going through two courtships and going through the ringer with two hyper controlling fathers AND mothers, 150 questions is the last thing they need. I was a good kid and the process nearly wrecked me. Two courtships ended over the most inane theological issues.

          Don’t even get me started on the home church thing. The only thing I remember about home church was it’s total inward all consuming focus. How are OUR families, OUR children, OUR beliefs, blah blah blah. What about the outside world? What about missions? Buying people VFM propaganda is not evangelism!

    • Angela Wittman Says:

      Hey Scott, I can’t help but wonder if his delusions of grandeur isn’t somehow the result of folks treating him as a prince due to their admiration of his father, Howard Phillips. I remember going to the 2004 CP National Convention and being told to step aside for his father and be sure to move him to the front of the line when he entered the room. Folks were falling all over the man, who I thought would be somewhat humble, but instead acted like this was normal behavior. It was very weird. I also remember how some CP folks wanted Doug as a presidential candidate. Praise God I didn’t have to endure that during my CP days!!!

      • Eileen Says:

        what is CP Angela?

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          The Constitution Party, formerly the US Taxpayer’s Party. I was an officer in the IL party and found that the national party was run with a tight fist by a few… Their control tactics sound similar to what I’ve read here about Vision Forum. Needless to say, I could not be controlled, so I was demonized and run out of the party in January of 2005.

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          Hi Eileen, The CP is the Constitution Party, formerly the US Taxpayer’s Party that Doug’s father helped found. The control tactics used by Doug sound similar to those used by the national Constitution Party leaders when I was an officer in the Illinois Party.

  48. notsurprised Says:

    Years ago when a few men with FAMILIES were out of work Doug flippantly joked , “well Burger King is hiring”. God’s justice tends to bring things full circle. Before it’s all over we may be hearing, ” Thank you for calling Dominos, this is Doug, will this be for delivery or carry out”. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy ::grin:: (rolls eyes)

    Thank you Scott for giving me my first laugh since this disaster started. “Turn about is fair play……..” and having “the shoe on the other foot” won’t be very fun for he OR his children. Not just that………their level of lifestyle is basically going to go from Riches to Rags………..

  49. oneh20 Says:

    Good reminder from the top right of this page: “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Col. 4:6

  50. sadmom Says:

    yes. it is difficult for me to look my kiddos in the eye and figure out what to say. i am worried what else they will think i have gotten so wrong. and no, i don’t want to admit that i had my eyes on the wrong person. i’m confused and hurt. i am trying to remember that all of the principles aren’t bad, but the messenger was. the comments by truth hurts is why many will not seek help, but trust me, you could not beat me up worse than i am beating myself.

    • PioneerHomeschooler Says:

      Dear, dear sadmom…as God is using this time in your life to adjust your vision and re-order priorities, please consider that many of the principles ARE bad. It wasn’t just the messenger. So much of what DP taught was either contrived out of whole cloth or twisted to fit the life he wanted to live. As long as he made you and your friends believe it, he could build his kingdom, keep you in line, and justify the bizarre life he lived. Don’t waste this lesson thinking it was only the wrong person…it was a wrong and mangled use of the Word of God that slowly, insidiously sucked his followers in. As you let go of him, let go of all but the tried and true Scripture that has sustained the Church since Jesus walked here and that the gates of hell will not prevail against until He returns. Never again let anyone convince you that he/she has the answers no one else has. May God wrap His powerful, tender arms around you and allow you to heal.

      • sadmom Says:

        Thank you PioneerHomeschooler. I am beginning to see (from this website and a few others) that things were not as they seemed. We (no longer) had gone to a church that carried only church ministry materials and VF materials. There was never a different perspective, but I felt like I was the only one having doubts…I know now this wasn’t true. I pray for others who are hurting and silent. Thank you for your kind words, they are being taken to heart.

        • steve240 Says:

          You felt you were “the only one having doubts.” One affect of how a lot of these groups define “gossip” and “slander” works is that it makes people think they are the “only one” with questions. People are afraid to share their questions due to fears of being called a “gossip” or “slander” or showing “rebellion” to “god ordained” authority.

          Sadly, this type of environment works for keeping people “in line” to the dictates of the group’s dictator.

          A classic psychology study called the Aasch line test (Google it or see the test on You Tube) shows what can happen.

        • Maxwell Says:

          This is actually in response to Steve240: Thanks for the info on the Aasch experiment — I find such studies fascinating. There are 2 others that might actually apply to here and I would encourage folks to watch. The first is the Miligram experiment and the second is the Stanford Prison experiment.

          The people in these experiments were not “crazy” or “disturbed” or “religious wackos”, they were average people put into situations of power and control over others and the results are quite telling. I’d like to say that I’d fair better than most if put into those positions but reality is that I probably would not. Most would not. It’s more than a little scary.

        • Maxwell Says:

          OK, replying to my reply is bad form… sorry.

          Have just been a video of Philip Zimbardo, the guy behind the Stanford Prison Experiment noted above — very interesting guy — the video is entitled “The Psychology of Evil: The Lucifer Effect in Action”, it’s on youtube. At 44:30 in to the presentation is this gem, “Power without oversight is a recipe for abuse everywhere.” And that, my friends, is what we have with Doug Phillips — no oversight whatsoever. I would HIGHLY recommend watching the video as it really begins to explain some of the why’s behind situations such as this. I will warn you, the first part of the video deals with the Abu Ghraib prison abuse situation in Iraq from 2004, complete with pictures that may be a bit hard to get through.

          Truly eye opening.

        • Krysti Says:

          This is how the Mafia works. It’s also how ‘Boston Rob’ won Survivor.

        • steve240 Says:


          I am familiar with the other studies you mention and agree. It is especially scary when one reads about the Stanford Prison Experiment that Zimbardo did and wrote about in a book called the “Lucifer Effect.” Hopefully the next generation of leaders will learn to take this into consideration when when new groups or even to impose checks and balances within existing groups. There are a number of examples where power went to a man’s head. Bob Weiner (Maranatha Ministries), C.J. Mahaney (Sovereign Grace Ministries) and Doug Phillips.

          We should be thankful that our founding fathers for this country established checks and balances in the Constituton.

          I have a blog where I critique Josh Harris’s book “Kissing Dating Goodbye” and courtship in general. What I find ironic is that some of the same men that impose strict rules about or against dating (some promote courtship as the only “biblical” way) due to all the problems they see with dating and dangers of two single people being together set up systems that don’t address how power hungry men can become or how it can go to their heads.

          Maybe they should apply the same logic to men in leadership positions that they apply to singles and dating and courtship. Of course if they did this the rules would apply to them and thus probably explains their reluctance.

          With C.J. Mahaney I was always baffled that he set himself up as the group’s pope while at the same time talking about “indwelling sin”, he was the worst sinner he knew and how imperfect leaders are.

          Sorry for the long comment.

    • Jen Says:

      Sadmom, in the near future, we are going to be dealing with the issues of all the various responses going through people’s minds and hearts now. It is a very confusing and painful time for many. One thing I want you know is that “beating yourself up” is not necessary. Please don’t feel that you need to live in guilt and condemnation. If you feel that you need to repent for, say, idolizing a man, then repent. Perhaps now is a good time to come together as a family and decide together which principles your family wants to hang on to, and which ones need to be put in the past. As parents, we ALL make mistakes. Now, when we realize we have made one, what do we do?

      • sadmom Says:

        Thanks Jen. I have repented for putting many things as an idol before the Lord in this whole mess. You’re right, I need to decide what to keep and what to chuck. Thank you for offering support at this time, when so many are confused. I would NEVER have gotten on a board like this and spoken candidly and bodly if I thought it were not safe to do so.

        • Jen Says:

          I’m glad you’re here, sadmom, but I’m looking forward to the day when you call yourself “Happy Mom!”

    • Sarah Pressler Says:

      Dear sadmom,

      You will fail your children in ways you could not have possibly seen coming. You will also do great things for them, in ways you will not have considered. When you look into your kiddos eyes, do they meet your gaze? Do they love you back? What they want is leadership. Give that to them. Life is a journey with lessons to be learned – share in learning the lessons WITH them. No mother has done it 100% right. Consider Beall, and the situation she is facing. Would you throw stones at her and judge her for doing “this” to her children? Beall was always a doting, present and loving mother – I cannot imagine that she knowingly and willingly subjected her children to this level of spiritual and emotional abuse. What advice would YOU give Beall? Would you wrap your arms around her and love her and show her mercy and grace?

      Do the same for yourself.

      You’re a great mom – that is evidenced by this post.

      Give yourself a break. Love your children. Walk together as a family THROUGH this.


    • Molly Says:

      Sadmom- this website might help you as you reconsider things in your life. Good luck and God bless you. Please know that you are not the only one who has been hurt by these teachings. You are not alone!

  51. Sarah Pressler Says:

    312 comments. This is an epic thread, Jennifer!

  52. mom2six Says:

    Longing for a place of refuge for homeschooling moms & kids to go for healing. My husband has never physically harmed us nor sexually sinned that I can find. His children adore him but he’s a controlling bully. He’s harmed us all emotionally. My email, fb & text are periodically checked by him. When you are told from infancy that women must obey and then vow before God to obey, your husband then isolates the family – you have no way to escape. My husband isn’t a bad man he’s been indoctrinated. Woman like me are stuck and grieve for our children.

    • Sarah Pressler Says:

      You’re not stuck. You’re a woman. With children. Your options are LIMITLESS!!

    • sadmom Says:

      I am praying in earnest for you sweet sister.

    • Donna Says:

      I will pray for you and your children, mom2six. And for your husband. Praying for complete healing and strengthening in the LORD (not some man’s ideas) for your whole family. May your husband find the godly and biblical leadership that he *needs*.

    • Jen Says:

      Mom2six, I really feel for you. I am considering various options to start bringing healing to so many who are hurting in so many ways right now. Hang in there! This is a time of transition. We will all get through this together.

    • Truth Says:

      Been there. It has been almost a year since I was excommunicated from a church closely tied to VF. I recommend reading A Cry for Justice, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse and In Sheep’s Clothing. A Cry for Justice has a blog and is on Facebook. I was also monitored so I assume you cannot get caught with these books. I downloaded A Cry for Justice on my phone. Also listened to Jeff Crippen’s sermon series on The Abusive Man and The Religion of the Pharisees on my phone. You can find them on sermonaudio. Make sure to delete your history after visiting these sites. Our recovery was fairly quick because of these books and sermons.

  53. 8inTexas Says:

    Okay, okay. I’m getting very concerned because I feel we’re losing sight of the issue here. People who were devout followers of DP and VF were putting man’s opinion, above God’s. DP was not directing people to Christ and His redemptive work on the cross, but to a set of man made rules. (take the time to read Gal. 1:10 and I Cor 1:10-17).

    We have been suspicious of VF for years – we are conservative homeschoolers ourselves but we saw an enormous arrogance and pride in DP and his materials. We also saw him take Scripture and try to fit it in with what he believed; rather than taking Scripture and having that be the foundation for all theology.

    We do have friends and family that were devoted VF followers, and while we are thankful that these things are coming to light, we are grieved for how the name of Christ is being dragged through the mud.

    Please take this to heart if you are someone who feels blindsided by DP’s revelation of sin: we are to be followers of God, not man. To *sadmom* in the comment above, caution your children with the dangers of giving more credence to man’s words instead of God’s. Read Acts 17 with them and be like a Berean – not just taking a man, who appears to be godly, and following his every word. But testing his words according to the Scriptures and seeing if they are true.

    If people had done this all along, DP would NEVER have been able to reach this level of power. My prayer in all of this is that people, whether victims or perpetrators, will be drawn to Christ and that His name will still be glorified.

    • sadmom Says:

      Thank you 8intexas. Looking to God is what I should have been doing all along. I will take your words to heart and be like a Berean. I did see things that now I see as arrogance, but at the time I thought he was just a “go-getter”. I feel blessed that the Lord has chosen to open my eyes and show me that I had lost sight of Him.

  54. Mark Hanson Says:

    For those who are interested – here is an article on hermeneutics as it relates to Patriarchy and some of the mistakes they make. You will see other non-Patriarchal homeschoolers and even some mainstream Evangelicals make these same mistakes in their hermeneutical approach.

    I apologize in advance for the website as its still being developed and all of the menu/navigation links do not consistently work on all pages, etc.

    • Jen Says:

      Thanks, Mark. Excellent article. And I can attest that Mark Hanson speaks as one who grew up in this movement and found his way out.

      • Sarah Says:

        @Jen May I ask why these articles are being drug out over several days? Why not tell the whole story so they can start healing and move on?

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          Do you blog, Sarah? Do you know how long it takes to put together articles like these together? It’s very time consuming. I, personally, don’t have 40hrs a week to devote to doing all the work that it takes to write one of these expository research papers aka a blog post for Jen’s site. I’m just thankful that they are putting the work into this to expose everything. I don’t have the time – much less desire – to do so. And it needs to be done.

        • Jen Says:

          Sarah, I assure you that TW and I are NOT dragging anything out. We are writing as we come aware of new things. At this point, people are just beginning to break free from the tremendous sense of fear that has held them silent all these years. As they do, many of them contact us with information. Some information we need to corroborate so we do not post until we have witnesses. Some people have been very afraid to share their stories or talk. The more that is openly discussed here, the more people feel free to share.

          Also, it is a LOT of work to put these articles together. Not only do we put in hours and hours of research and investigation, but then to turn that material into a well-written article, is very time-consuming. Replying to the comments is very time consuming. And we have tons of private emails, messages, phone calls, and other forms of communication to keep up with as well. I am just glad that TW came along to help me because, right now, it is more than full-time for both of us.

  55. Amy Says:

    Does anyone know the timeframe of when Peter B. confronted Doug and was disowned? I think the timing of that is very important. It begs the question:

    1. How long did these insider men know and not warn the sheep?

    2. If more than a day (a week?), then are they morally responsible to the Church for discipline? For knowing they ought to do good and not doing it (to him, it is sin….).

    3. Why is adultery the sin that makes Peter B. say something? Why not confront Doug about his arrogance and pride, which according to many, was on display for years?

  56. Rose Says:

    When will the second article about VF/VFM/Phillips be posted?

  57. On The Doug Phillips' Sex Abuse Scandal... | Sarah Pressler Says:

    […] 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. […]

  58. E Says:

    Just a word to the wise: you really, really should check the factuality of your statements. I have personally ridden in vehicles on multiple occasions with DP driving. Saying that he doesn’t have a license is frankly ridiculous, and it calls into question the truth of your other statements. If you want people to believe your message, just do not pepper it with untruths. Sorry to be blunt.

    • Jen Says:

      I have been told Doug let his driver’s license expire. Just because he drove, does not necessarily mean he has one.

    • Eileen Says:

      Just because DP drove, doesn’t mean he had a driver’s license………and doesn’t mean it’s current……..just a thought!

      • E Says:

        Granted, I never saw his license. But the original statement was “Doug has no driver’s license and has to be driven everywhere” — and that last part at least is completely untrue, as anyone who knows, knows. Then Eston said “I think the most likely explanation is that he had a driver’s license years ago and deliberately allowed it to lapse, giving him the perfect excuse to require that his Interns be at his beck and call 24/7. Then again he may just be lying to everyone and he really does have a driver’s license. ” My point is, no, he doesn’t pretend that he doesn’t have one. Eston was trying to prove that he doesn’t have one based on the (false) premise that he has to be driven everywhere… which is just not the case. You can’t reason things that way, and if people see you making sloppy (and silly) mistakes on small points, they’re that much less likely to believe you on the points that really do matter. That’s all I’m trying to say.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          You say, “if people see you making sloppy (and silly) mistakes on small points, they’re that much less likely to believe you on the points that really do matter.”

          E, we could go back and forth on this drivers license issue for quite some time; but that would only reinforce in your mind that it’s a major issue, even though you’ve already acknowledged is a “small point.” I make this one last retort and then I plan on dropping it.

          I agree that it’s a small point, a point which you’ve completely failed to see the much greater significance of, which is that Doug Phillips is a pompous and arrogant man, absorbed by his own self-importance and requires that he to be treated like royalty. There are many examples of this, only one of which is that he requires his Interns to chauffeur him everywhere he goes. Of course I don’t doubt there have been exceptions over the years where it may not have been feasible in a given situation for him to have been chauffeured, and so he drove himself.

          Doug Phillips’ excuse for this compulsory chauffeur service is that he doesn’t have a driver’s license. Perhaps he’s lying, perhaps he’s not. The fact that you’ve been in a the same car, with him behind the wheel, doesn’t prove anything, and least of all could it prove that he has a drivers license. You seem ignorant of the fact that people do drive without drivers licenses, and I’ve personally known a few myself. I had a friend, a member of my church, who drove for ten years without a drivers license, and in his construction business he drove every day. No one was aware that he didn’t have a license. It would be normal to assume that anyone who drives has a drivers license (I don’t fault you for assuming the same of Doug Phillips). It was ten years before my friend ever got pulled over and ticketed. It was then that it was discovered that he had been in the country illegally for those ten years. He was promptly deported back to Canada. Needless to say this came as quite a shock to us all. None of us had any idea this man had overstayed his visit by ten years. My point is that driving a car is not proof of having a drivers license, any more than is working in the US a guarantee that someone is a US citizen or in the country legally.

          To the best of my knowledge there is no category among the common logical fallacies to classify your fallacy argument, so I’ve coined my own: the Doug Wilson Logical Fallacy. It goes like this:
          1). Once you’ve determined that you’re going to seek to discredit the person, go through their statements and assertions with a fine tooth comb to identify if there is something you know about it that they don’t know. Then say, “You don’t have all the facts. I know something about it you don’t know. That means you’re not omniscient and no one can trust you and you’re not credible.”
          2). Find the slightest flaw in the person’s statements and assertions. Make a big, big deal out of that flaw and urge everyone else to reject every single thing that person says because they obviously can’t be trusted because of that one minor inaccuracy.

          In this system of yours, in which you require absolute perfection (something I freely admit I am incapable of), you create for yourself the perfect excuse to reject the whole for a minor defect in one part.

          I hope you’re willing to live up to that same level of perfection yourself. But I won’t require it of you. You claim you’ve been in the car multiple times with Doug Phillips driving. I believe you. I have no cause to question that, nor will I hold you accountable to the same Doug Wilson Logical Fallacy that you hold me accountable to.

  59. Dawn Says:


  60. Amy Says:

    Scott Brown is now deleting comments on his “Please Forgive Me” post.

    And remember, rappers are the cowards….

    • NC Says:

      Amy, what is being deleted?

      • Amy Says:

        Comments on this thread:

        Hi, Scott Brown! (waves)

        Specifically, Scott Brown sarcastically replied to my comment, “The very question itself lacked clarity” <— as if the question was the problem and not the superiority in your hearts. Wow…." with a very unpastoral reply.

        Scott Brown wrote something to the effect of, "So you have the gift to see inside hearts? From where does one get this gift? Please tell us!" etc.

        And I replied with one sentence, "Out of the abundance of the mouth, the heart speaks."

        The only Scripture used in the whole sordid tale and he deletes it. Oops, he also deleted the post wherein the qualifications for an elder were mentioned and ended with, "You can have your family integration. You can be pleased with how much better you are. Go ahead. You can issue these fake apologies and ignore the real sin: arrogance and superiority. But don't call it the Gospel."

        I watched all this internet stuff with a grain of salt. But now I see who these men as they are.

  61. Jean Says:

    Jen and T.W. – question -was the home that the Phillip’s reside purchased by VFM ministries or was it donated to VFM by a generous individual? Was this the same home that the Welch’s once lived in?
    Do you know of a situation where a family left BCA, moved to a different state, and Doug actually had someone drive him to this state where he proceeded to go to the church this family now attended and talked to the pastor about this family? If you know, and if you are able, would you elaborate?

    • Jen Says:

      Jean, yes, a very generous person donated the home to VFM for the Phillips to live in. I am not aware of who lived there previously.

      Regarding the situation you describe, I do not know the specific situation, but I have a very good idea. However, Doug often went to people’s churches, all over the country, regarding supposed offenses. He held way too much power and control over people’s personal lives.

      • Jackie C. Says:

        Did the new churches care? Is this why the threat of ex-communication has such power?

        • justagirl Says:

          I know several things about the DP situation (no more than the good people writing these posts, which is why I’ve never commented), but I know that he has visited other pastors to “warn” them of the families who have left BCA. In the situation I was closest to, the other pastor firmly rebuked DP and never heard from him again.

        • Jen Says:

          justagirl, good for your pastor! Unfortunately, we never hear these kinds of stories, so those are the good ones we like to hear!

        • Scott Says:

          That is yet another example of the Doug over estimating his influence. I think his head was so inflated that he believed that everyone revered him. The problem is he only associated with his niche market. Take him out of that small sliver of the christian community and he is pretty much an unknown (AND a complete joke if they have seen him in costume. Not many guys his age are always dressing up in all these weird outfits. It’s just bizarre behavior for an adult.

        • End it Says:

          Scott, I completely agree! I remember when I first saw all of the pics of the titanic stuff and the war stuff. I thought and said to a few people, they’ve gone off the rails on the crazy train! They looked like grown ups playing dress up. Besides the fact of how much money was used for it. I remember thinking, for such a big movement, why are they spending all that money on something like THAT and not on furthering the Kingdom of God. Bizarro. And all that is not only directed at DP, but all of the other adults that participated in that whole pathetic display.

  62. Andrew McDonald Says:

    New and off the wall subject for opinions: OK so we are all pretty sure, at this point, that DP is not the man you’d want as pastor. What do we do about men in leadership who were involved with him, used his materials, or held to a patriarchal view? I think that men should be leaders am I wrong? What about Scott T. Brown? Is he hosed up too? What about the NCFIC? To be brutally honest I want to protect my family and myself from being deceived. Thanks for the input.

    • Amy Says:

      As far as Scott Brown and NCFIC, there is a certain poetry to the timing of their rap video. Everyone can see who they are. It’s out there. The ones who want to see it, will see it. The ones who are blinded, won’t.

      • NC Says:

        All you need to know about Scott Brown and the leaders of NCFIC is that they failed to protect the “least of these” from the sexual, physical and psychological abuse from Doug Phillips for the last 10 years. The word was out on many of Doug’s abuses and they ignored them, to the point of slandering those who raised the red flags. Scott, Jason, Peter and company FAILED where it counted most, to protect the body from wolves. I am certain Scott would much rather be arguing over rap music than answering questions regarding his sick relationship with Doug.

        In my view, all of these so called leaders have lost all credibility to teach others anything. Anyone who sits under them, buys from them or attends their conferences gets what they deserve, BS.

        • Amy Says:

          Agreed. (They deleted the comment where I mentioned that.)

        • Jen Says:

          NC, good point. Rap music is a good deflection from answering questions about why you may have covered up for your BFF/ministry leader/President of the Board.

        • Mike Says:

          Here is a very informative video by Scott Brown’s co elder at Hope Baptist church. Doug Phillips influenced Scott tremendously and helped him to get into the NCFIC business. Scott’s co-elder is Dan Horn at Hope Baptist Church and is the creator and narrator of this video.

      • NC Says:

        Tim, where in the heck did you find that?

        • Joyelle Says:

          Tim, you beat me to it! Thanks for posting the link. Scott Brown is every bit as arrogant as Phillips. His present stance against DP seems to be naught more than pointing fingers…. The tactic that guilty people use to deflect responsibility from themselves onto others. NC, that link has been around a long time– but not a lot people are aware of it.

    • Rebecca Says:

      Yes, I am very curious too what many of you believe about NFIC churches and Scott Brown. We had been attending a lovely family integrated church for the last six months. We are a conservative Christian family and after homeschooling for seven years it only seemed a natural course for us to want to fellowship with other homeschooling families. We also have seven children and I enjoy wearing skirts so we fit in quite nicely and were welcomed with open arms by all the families. I couldn’t overcome the gross display of manly prayers and how women were not allowed to speak in church. I also refuse to spank my 18 month old for not sitting quietly for two hours even if Mr. Horn was visiting or not. There were so many other things that seemed wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on why my spirit kept saying this is wrong when the church used scripture to stand behind their beliefs. I bought a huge bunch of cd’s from VF about six years ago on a 50% off sale. I only ever ended up listening to a couple of them though. I have to admit that when I first read DP’s resignation I was shocked. How could this man who is selling the homeschooling community cd’s on how to live the Christian life have it all so wrong? I’ve been lurking here for days trying to figure this all out for our own family. It seems to me that DP’s message has spread very deep into the fabric of the Christian homeschooling community, farther reaching than I ever realized. We have been teaching our teen boys about courtship, even though we never courted ourselves. Now I’m learning that even the authors of courtship books got their ideas from people associated with DP. We’ve walked too far in the freedom only found when following after Jesus Christ and Him alone to stay at this FIC church any longer even when it all seems so “delicious”, right down to the Sabbath potlucks that last all afternoon. Anyway, my point here is Jen and readers do you believe all NFIC churches should be avoided? I don’t believe I ever idolized DP, but I did work very hard at trying to raise a wonderful Christian homeschooling family and to find out many ideas I had begun to follow may not be straight out of DP’s teaching but definitely influenced by him. I just want to shake it all off and go, “eeewww” when I think of trying to lead our boys toward courting a girl and other now very blatant VF/DP teachings. Any suggestions what I should do with my box of unopened cd’s? (Now I know how much God shielded me from VF/DP because I never felt led to listen to most of them and can see why friends believe what they do, like stay-at-home daughter’s, again, “eeewww”.) I have three daughter’s, and they will date and go to college!

      • Eva Says:

        I would like to mention something that my husband and I read just this last week. It was saying that the Sabbath is always on Saturday. God rested on the seventh day which is Saturday. Sunday is the first day of the week when the believers met in the book of Acts. So if they are calling Sunday meetings “the Sabbath” then you know that is wrong right off.

        • Jen Says:

          That is correct, Eva, but Doug, and many others, believe that Sunday is the new Sabbath.

        • Eva Says:

          I’m not Messianic either and don’t celebrate (if that is the correct word) the Sabbath either. Just pointing out that the Sabbath is not Sunday. In Leviticus there are mentions of the “day after the Sabbath” or the eighth day both of which would be Sunday or the first day of the week. But I don’t know of anyplace where a Sunday (or first day) Sabbath is mentioned.

        • Scott Says:

          Sunday became the day of worship when Constantine come to power and merged church and State., Sumday was actually the day when the sun gods were worshiped so they made it a day for all worship. Multiple days of worship for different gods was hurting the economy.

      • Jackie C. Says:

        I would trash the CDs. Not like you want anyone else listening to them either! And trust your gut. Sounds like you enjoy the fellowship with friends but you can find that lots of places. I questioned our decision as a homeschool family not to go down the path so many others in our group seemed to. And it was lonely at times but my gut said, “Eeewww” like yours and we didn’t. When I read the stories now I am so grateful.

        • Mike Race Says:

          If you celebrate the 7th day Sabbath you will not be accepted by NFIC. I was told that being Messianic wasn’t Christian.

        • Donna Says:

          I have some CDs from VF that I’m going to trash. Even if the information on them is good (this particular set is primarily about baptism), I just can’t stand the thought of listening to DP speak! Nor do I want to sell or give away anything with DP or VF’s name on it. I also have to decide now whether to buy anymore Jonathan Park CDs that my girls love so much while they’re still available. DP has made an appearance on a couple of them. But again, the adventure science stories are great, so… what to do? Btw, we have an 18 year old daughter (as well as two other daughters), and the 18yo IS going to college. I can’t begin to tell you how much we wrestled with that decision because of the fear that’s been placed into us by VF teachings! She’s about to finish her first college class (as a 12th grader), and she has really bloomed over the past few months. There’s been some controversial things she’s had to learn how to properly deal with, but that IS the real world. And you can only stay home and bake so many pies, right? Not that we don’t love pie…. LOL But my husband is not an entrepreneur (much to the disappointment of his former VF mentor-guy who idolized DP), so there’s no family business for daughter to work for her dad even if we wanted it that way.

        • Jen Says:

          Donna, in case you missed it, Joyelle is collecting VF resources in order to write a book about it. Rather than throwing them out, you may want to consider the option of putting them to good use. If so, please contact me privately for her info.

          The baptism series was one of the first where I realized that Doug always had an agenda. That conference was put on just to prove some very intelligent young men wrong. It backfired, and the majority of this group of interns did NOT follow in Doug’s footsteps.

          If your kids love to listen to JP, perhaps they would love some of the radio drama that Focus on the Family puts out. It is not so fraught with error. 🙂

        • Donna Says:

          Jen, my girls have enjoyed the Narnia CDs from FOTF. I should take a look and see what else they have. Thanks for the reminder!

      • liza Says:

        Yes I would run away. It looks lovely and the people just seem so wonderful. But there is so much false teaching in this movement. Read more about what happened to Jen, this is not isolated to just Doug Philips and his church, this is how many of them operate. I have seen it myself and experienced rejection from this brand of believers because of spiritual pride. I feel strongly that the FIC movement is a division to the body of Christ where preferences are held up as biblical. You can learn a lot on – she does a wonderful job of very lovingly with balance examines the movement – her website has been very healing for me. God is nudging you to follow him, don’t waste any more time here in the legalism.

      • Joyelle Says:

        Rebecca, thanks for sharing. I am writing a book on issues pertaining to all of this (I was a stay at home daughter until I was 24) and would like to have whatever CDs or VF resources you’d like to get rid of. I want to review Doug’s teachings, but I don’t want to purchase the materials. If you’re interested in sharing them with me, please contact me through Jen. She has my email. And yes, I would consider all NCFIC churches to be avoided. Their foundation is unbiblical. Their doctrines are schewed. Their premise is heretical. Christ did not come to build the Christian family. He came to build His church. NCFIC has it backwards: the Christian family does not make a biblical church. It is a biblical church that helps to form Christian families. Those proud men have neglected to study Colossians and Ephesians.

        • Donna Says:

          Joyelle, I would love to read your story when you’re finished! I will look around and see what material I have that you might be able to use. Although you might already have some of it.

        • Teresa Says:

          @Donna–Re: Jonathan Park. Re-listen to them. I found some indoctrination on the third set which my kiddos were just listening to! I do not plan on ordering the latest one like I usually do for Christmas. Already been having MANY conversations about “authority”, courtship, college etc. with my children. What a relief to shed these man-made ideas.
          @Joyelle. I have a some VF resources I’d be willing to ship to you free for your research.

        • Jen Says:

          The first couple seasons of Jonathan Park were produced by someone else, and then Vision Forum bought them. When they did so, you will find a radical change in indoctrination. They suddenly become everything Doug teaches, in a child-friendly format. What a clever way of reaching the children with an agenda. Yet another form of brainwashing.

        • Teresa Says:

          Clarification, the talks I am having with my son and daughter regarding college is that both should go if they want to. I meant that shedding the man-made ideas about no college for girls is a relief, not that I truly bought into it anyway.

        • Jen Says:

          Teresa, how did your children react to your change of mind in that area?

        • Rebecca Says:

          @Joyelle, I would be more than happy to send you all I the cd’s I have! I will ask Jen for your email. Best wishes on your book, I would love to read it when it is finished!

        • Freedom from Chaos Says:

          This comment is for Joyelle. Wow! I have a huge box of tapes of VF stuff from the beginning. Attended a church of one of the board members of Vision Forum that owned a tape-duplication machine and handed the stuff out for FREE by the masses. Am HAPPY to get you this stuff for your research! This is the first time I have ever posted, but not the first time I have read. All of this “coming out” about VF validates the life I lived for the last 10 years (6+ of which were in a FIC). It really, really really helps the “abused” have their voice heard and I would completely agree with the assessment that many know much and are very AFRAID to say anything. It has been so wonderful for me & my children (my husband has abandoned us, had multiple affairs, addicted to porn, etc.. all after physically & mentally & emotionally abusing us) and me NOT realizing it & thinking I was the problem b/c I was “the wife/woman”, easily deceived and ALWAYS the problem. There has been much healing for this sister’s heart as the Lord has helped me find my way out of that darkness. I pray daily for any other women who were or ARE STILL in my shoes. It’s scary, but the Lord will lead you one step at a time and give you strength, courage & guidance to help heal & tell your story to help others………NOT b/c we are gossips!!

      • Jen Says:

        Rebecca, there are no black-and-white, one-size-fits-all answers to the multiple questions thousands of people are facing right now. The one thing I would say is to make these decisions together as a family. You may decide one thing this week, and find that you change your mind again next week. Guess what? That’s perfectly fine! It will take a while to find balance. As I see where people are struggling in all this, I hope to start addressing these areas as well. At this point, we are all going through this together.

        • Teresa Says:

          @Jen–My children LOVE the change/clarifications!!! Hubby, not so much 😦 We (the kiddos & I ) made up our minds to seek the Lord’s will for our lives and “careers”, not man made ideas. We have so many people we admire like female doctors, missionaries, etc., as well as great SAHM’s. Can you imagine what the world would look like if “patriarchy” really did take over?

    • Retha Says:

      “I think that men should be leaders am I wrong? … To be brutally honest I want to protect my family and myself from being deceived. ”
      There is nothing in the new Testament that really states men should lead. There are texts pertaining to elders that contain the word “he” in English, but not in the Greek it is translated from. People extrapolate too much from those texts. Here is a piece on male leadership and the Bible:

      • Andrew McDonald Says:

        I think we have a different definition for “leader”. I am not defining as it is by DP. At our home my wife and I talk out our situations/decisions. If at the end of that talking we have not agreed (this is very rare, sometimes my wife has wisdom that I don’t, sometimes I have a good idea), again if we can’t reach an agreement I have the responsible veto power to which she can make an appeal and which God will judge.

        She is a good guide to me. For instance she reads much of my email before I send it out as I can put something plainly (or so I think) and it can be actually too blunt. So we actually work more as a team with my wife often tempering my aggressiveness. As a new Christian I have become more loving and have, by God’s grace, changed. I will read the article and see if we need to make more changes. Thanks!

        • cptruthlover Says:

          I agree, the Bible clearly gives husbands authority in the home, but that does not mean it is not run as a team. My husband and I compliment each other. He is a rusk taker and I am more conservative. It is about discussing things together, praying about it, and ultimately he is responsible for the choices we make as a family. It does not mean you do not say anything to a husband who is about to do something rash. I have friends who will even let bills be late because that is “his” responsibility. Say what?

        • Andrew McDonald Says:

          That is just ignorant adherence to foolishness. My wife used to work at a bank and she does the money and book keeping. I have had some tell me this was wrong. And frankly I could do it but she honestly enjoys it. Go figure. Some men (past, not present) told me that I should hold the ‘purse’. I just let it go, I don’t argue or discuss things with folks that I perceive are not teachable. It is only my pride that makes me have to convince them of my own rightness.
          Since becoming a Christian at 60 years of age (I was raised in the church) I now enjoy a freedom that I have never known before. I tell people that I am vacation from myself. It’s great!! I was addicted to porn and immoral behavior and God answered the question that drove me to my sin. To some it might seem shallow but He told me He loved me and would never leave me and finally, after all these years I just believed Him. That belief, the agreement with Him, saved me. I stopped ‘working’ for my salvation. Oh how sweet to trust in Jesus!! Suddenly I was free.

        • cptruthlover Says:

          Amen, brother! I do all the money stuff too. He knows I’m good at it. And yes, all our works are as filthy rags. I learned that after I had had it with all the judgement in the church. Only then did I truly find Gods peace.

    • Retha Says:

      Part 2 of my comment to Andrew, as I don’t want to include more than 1 link per comment:
      “I think that men should be leaders am I wrong? … To be brutally honest I want to protect my family and myself from being deceived. ” – Andrew
      Here is a whole blog about the teachings of “Biblical Patriarchy, examining each one for how Biblical it is:
      Jen’s three part “Biblical Tenets of Patriarchy Series” covers the same topic as the blog. Look at the left column of this site for a link.

  63. Nony Says:

    Hi, I’m new and don’t really feel like sharing my name, but our church is directly affiliated with Scott Brown’s. The families that are covenanted with the church regularly attend the NCFIC conferences and we have not due to finances. I hear wonderful things about Scott Brown, but I have always been scared of DP based on the times I’ve heard him speak at homeschooling conferences. He always seemed unkind and sour underneath it all–also very fake. I have to wonder, how could Scott Brown keep close company with such a man and not see this? Or did he not really care, or is he like DP?

    • Jen Says:

      Nony, Scott Brown and Doug Phillips were BFFs. They also were on the board together. They also shared many a pulpit together. They have spent much time in each other’s homes. You should be able to figure it out from there.

    • noturniptruck Says:

      …………….birds of a feather Nony

    • Sarah Pressler Says:

      RUN from Scott Brown. Find a different church. Preferably a mainstream church. Get the hell out of there.

      He is much like DP and will one day fall. All false prophets/wolves in sheeps clothing eventually do.

  64. NC Says:

    Nony, you said something I want to question you on, you said “I hear wonderful things about Scott Brown”. In this church you attend, do you hear wonderful things about Jesus Christ far, far in excess, I mean really far in excess to what you hear about a man? If not, RUN!

    • bbb Says:

      I am a vision forum fan from way back. Toys and kid stuff mostly. some curriculum…things I would have anyway like the ww2 stuff and some history. So I wouldn’t call myself a Phillips sheep.
      Still I am completely furious at how this thing had effected so many. We were soon to be 3rd year festival participants and were ready to submit a movie entry.

      We did not do this for dp, but the saicff was definitely our motivation for scurrying to finish by the deadline and spending some homeschool days making that happen. Do you know when we recd notice about the cancellation? One week prior give or take. Why in the world would they have sent notices a month back about deadline extensions seemingly knowing this was going down?

      I want to know if the other festival team…Kevin turley and the like…knew this all along? We want answers! Bbb

      • Jen Says:

        And you deserve answers, bbb. As we find out, we will let you know. One thing I do know is that Doug’s personal choices in life affected thousands of people in many different, and sad, ways.

      • nowoolovertheeyes Says:

        We were soon to be 3rd year festival participants and were ready to submit a movie entry.

        We did not do this for dp, but the saicff was definitely our motivation for scurrying to finish by the deadline and spending some homeschool days making that happen. Do you know when we recd notice about the cancellation? One week prior give or take. Why in the world would they have sent notices a month back about deadline extensions seemingly knowing this was going down?

        What’s sad is that we have known for a few years that the film festival was on “it’s last leg”. It almost didn’t happen last year! Last year, they didn’t accept any “outsiders”. Instead, they told ALL of the people that submitted a film, that they were “finalists” and were in the “running for an award”. So these families, with one income and lots of children, spend money that they clearly did NOT have to go to San Antonio (for a week), thinking that they were going to win. When they got there, their film WAS NOT EVEN MENTIONED! The finalists were HORRIBLE and they realized that they had been LIED to, in order to “fill the seats with bodies”. Let me just say, that the SAICFF wasn’t what “it was “cracked up” to be”. I mean Courageous won the top award a couple of years ago. Did the Kendricks REALLY need that $100k? Why was it even in the running? Why not give it to a film that made an impact and does not have that funding……….???

        • Jen Says:

          nowoolovertheeyes, it sounds like you are saying that the film festival was rigged! That is exactly what we found out the first year, but I did not realize that it continued to be rigged. I would love to do a story on this. Anyone who would like to talk about their experiences at the SAICFF, please feel free to write me.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          We know at least 2 of the families/entrants in the festival. One that honestly should have won in their category for content and quality but did not ( DP later used these folks to his advantage)… the other that did win, and we still shake our heads as to WHY. BTW, all winners lose distribution rights to their film. I wonder what has become of those rights now???

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          P.S. A third situation/family we know… They have to buy their own film from the festival in order to sell it. AND why???? is there no DVD yet of Return to the Hiding Place???????????

  65. Joyelle Says:

    Donna, I used to purchase a lot of Doug Phillips’ messages and Vision Forum products. I remember vividly how I felt and even what I was doing (usually cleaning, baking or laundry in my father’s house– doing my mother’s work, that is) as I listened to Doug and soaked up his every word and passion and accepted it as my own. I even cried as I envisioned going through the perfect courtship and having a perfect home and doing all the right wifely duties. And having 12 children..
    .. It was a fantasy that was shattered with the reality of hidden sin in people’s lives and God pulled the rug out from under my dreamworld when I began to really study what the Bible says about the Christian life. So, without any rebellion in my heart, but a lot of pain and sorrow (and antagonism from so called Christians), I left my parents’ ungodly authority and found that following Christ is freedom and grace! Now I am seeking to help others do the same. My book is part of that endeavor. I am compiling resources for the chapter on Vision Forum, and will gladly take anyone’s VF trash. 🙂 I left most everything related to VF at my parent’s house and would rather just compile a new resource library. So if anyone wants to help me with my book writing efforts (either with resources or testimonies or commentary), please contact through Jen. Thanks!

    • OnlyJesus Says:

      Got rid of mine, or I would help. Sounds like a great project. I’m glad you figured out the love and Grace of Christ! Blessings.

    • Sarah Pressler Says:

      “It was a fantasy that was shattered with the reality of hidden sin in people’s lives and God pulled the rug out from under my dreamworld…”

      I SO UNDERSTAND!!!! Best of luck with your book. People need to read it. People need reality checks!

    • Jen Says:

      Joyelle, the key, to me, of your whole story here, is “I began to really study what the Bible says about the Christian life.” When people learn to study, and think, for themselves, they will come to a very different conclusion than what Doug Phillips, and patriarchy, teaches. I look forward to your book!

  66. Joyelle Says:

    Teresa, that’s wonderful! Thanks for being willing to help me. I don’t want to put my contact info on this thread, but if you ask Jen in a private email for my info, we can get in touch that way.

  67. Blondie Says:

    What about Jennifer’s husband? Did he just stand by while his wife made her rounds with the men at BCA?

  68. Scott Says:

    Wow, I just spent a couple of hours reading about Scott Brown over at Thanks so much for posting the link, Tim. I strongly suggest anyone concerned about Scott’s Center for Family Integrated Churches, his involvement with Doug Philips and the Vision Forum sex scandal check out the site.

    For starters you will find that as an Elder Scott Brown disregarded the constitution at his former church and with another elder attempted a take over of leadership. He was rebuked by the church for Lording over people and the attempted takeover but fled Jurisdiction of his local church instead of facing church discipline. He has refused to reconcile with his former church and instead started his own, along with the
    which is doing horrible damage to every church it touches. Apparently these great patriarchs think that rules and laws are only something they apply to other people and ignore themselves.

    The whole thrust of the NCFIC is the sufficiency of scripture with respect to church operation. Sounds good, at first anyway. Then you learn that means (according to Scott Brown) that youth groups, Sunday school and nursery ministries are unscriptural and need to be done away with. Every age from baby to senior citizen should just be in the service listening to the likes of Scott Brown harp on their flavor of the month brand of Christianity. What is ironic to me is the scriptures say nothing about para-church organizations either. Pretty hypocritical of Scott Brown to start a para-church organization that is not anymore authorized in scripture than youth groups or Sunday schools, while demanding the dismantling of those ministries for being “unscriptural”. Church discipline is of course scriptural, just NOT for Scott Brown. Probably because he is a Patriarch, you think ?

    Scott Brown also serves on the Vision Forum Ministries board, another organization that can’t be justified according to the standard Scott Brown judges youth groups by as there is absolutely NO provision in the Bible for these types of non- church ministries.

    I find it hilarious that Scott Brown fled the same Ecclesiastical justice system that he advocates for everyone else, including Doug Philips. These patriarch daydreamers are going to have to get their act together with a bit of consistency if they ever hope to come close to achieving their dream of shredding the United States Constitution and imposing a theocracy on our nation. The way these ego driven, cult like “leaders” are going that 200 year plan for Multi-generation faithfulness isn’t going to be anywhere near enough time. In fact I bet the Lord returns before you ever see theocracy in the United States,and sets up HIS Millennial kingdom as promised in scriptures. I don’t think it will look anything like the Doug Phillips, Scott Brown, Geoff Botkin fantasy vision. Regardless of how many wombs they and their “TEN billion decedents” not including their servants and estate managers) pray over.

    • Donna Says:

      WONDERFUL post, Scott! We saw firsthand that pattern of VF patriarchal wannabe’s over and over again when we were rubbing shoulders with those folks. First of all, the idea of a nationwide patriarchal system for God’s people is *very* Old Testament… full of rules and systems that absolutely do NOT apply to New Testament Christians. If you’ve ever read much of the OT, you know what I mean. (They completely miss the point of the OT, which was to point to Christ, not a nationwide takeover of churches and families!) But of course for them, it HAS to be that way in order to fulfill their idea of Reconstruction for America. (Ever notice that the time periods they portray in both their lifestyle choices and their drama presentations are pre-Civil War/Reconstruction?)

      Secondly, you said, “For starters you will find that as an Elder Scott Brown disregarded the constitution at his former church and with another elder attempted a take over of leadership.” This is exactly what they DO. These men literally go from church to church trying to convert the church structure to fit their idea of what it’s supposed to look like. We saw one man in particular do this *repeatedly*…. even within at least two different PCA churches that we know of! (If you know anything about the PCA, an outsider doesn’t have a chance in ten million of making it into a patriarchal family-integrated church!) After so many months or a year or so of attempting to do this in each church this man and his family were attending, he would finally give up and move on to another one. But in the meantime, he was also attempting to recruit other men (and families) to follow him. My husband was one of them. His ultimate goal was to start his own family-integrated home church. This man did belong to a different denomination than DP (the same one that Sproul, Jr. belongs to, or did, I don’t know where Sproul, Jr. goes now)… but only because their views of communion and baptism were different than DP/VF’s. All the ideas of patriarchal, family-integrated, young ladies basically being “engaged” to their fathers until marriage, etc. were the same. What these men do SMACKS of Apostasy…. and the New Testament has plenty to say about that!

      • JPGR Says:

        There’s a pattern here. Scott Brown was rebuked and put under church discipline by his old church, Sproul, Jr., was defrocked by his denomination and Doug Phillips, well…we know about that.

        Only Geoff Botkin has not yet been defrocked. But perhaps his day is coming soon enough what with his recent brilliant insights on music…..

      • Jen Says:

        Donna, in BCA, we never got out of the Old Testament. From my understanding, they still continue to teach only the Old Testament. Every Sunday, the main point of the sermon would be “Law, Law, Law.” They NEVER preached about Jesus, except during communion. Yes, this is all wrapped up in the Old Testament.

        RC Jr. attends his father’s church now, if I remember correctly.

    • Jen Says:

      Scott, very good summary on Scott Brown! Thank you! I never noticed the hypocrisy of beginning these para-church ministries that actually claim that if Sunday School, etc, are not in the Bible that we shouldn’t do them, yet para-church ministries are not in the Bible either. Oh, that is rich!

      • NC Says:

        Their view on the sufficiency of scripture goes something like this: all that happens inside the walls of the church, where the activities of the church are happening (worship, fellowship, instruction, service and envangelism (sheep rustling)) need to comply strictly to what is taught in the bible. They would say para church organizations are fine because they are not happening when the church meets. Of course giving happens in the church meeting, then the money is spent on thier favorite para church org….go figure.

        • NC Says:

          One of the major concerns brought before the elders (Scott and Jason) before they split the church in Wake Forest NC was that church funds were being used to sponsor events that benefited VFM and NCFIC. It is my firm belief that the same is still going on today. Scott Brown might be trying to distance himself from Doug right now, but they were tight, really tight.

        • Retha Says:

          “all that happens inside the walls of the church, where the activities of the church are happening … need to comply strictly to what is taught in the bible. They would say para church organizations are fine because they are not happening when the church meets.
          In other words: “The church should only do what the Bible say. So we arbitrarily call W(the Sunday morning sermon) and X (children learning about God on Sundays) church while not calling Y(children learning about God from parents on other days) and Z (selling CDs with our message on the Internet) church.”
          Serious, church is the gathering of believers. A parachurch ministry should be church. A Christian mother and her Christian daughter talking to each other at home is church.
          And I bet, for all their “need to comply strictly to what is taught in the Bible” that they do not follow this: “26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up…29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.”
          Their sermons don’t seem to have the whole congregation bringing their speaking gifts, with the first prophet shutting up to hear the messages of people like Julie Anne. Nor do they encourage “weigh carefully what is said”, but to trust the preacher’s “authority”.

  69. Corrine Says:

    Since there are so many “insiders” on this board,
    I was wondering if anyone knows if Beall is
    still with him? How are the children handling it?

  70. Jane Says:

    You should take a look at what Randy Mary Gavin wrote on Peter Bradick’s Facebook wall

    • Mary Says:

      Can you share? I don’t do Facebook.

    • Jen Says:

      Here is what Mary Gavin wrote to Peter Bradrick (regarding Joe Taylor):

      Life’s journey strengthens us through God’s grace! You have a beautiful family. I wanted to share a favorite scripture that our pastor shared with us in 2004 while we were where you are now. Romans 16:17-18 “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Our pastor wrote a letter to Doug expressing much the same feelings you expressed. “Next to my father you have been the most influential man in my life.” After going to Doug alone we went in conjunction with our pastor, hoping their was an explanation for what we were experiencing. It is crucial that our leaders are under accountability. Doug didn’t have elders in 2004 and his board told us they were a resource board and not an accountability board. His board member that is an attorney threatened to sue us if Doug’s reputation was harmed in any way. Based on conversations with the other board members, that member never reported to the board what Doug was involved with from 2001-2004. An accusation against an elder should always be accompanied by evidence and we have 10 large notebooks full. Perhaps if there had been someone that would listen, this present situation could have been averted. It is human to raise up a man, but we need to remember to keep our eyes upon Jesus. It is human to hold a man up, but only Jesus is worthy. My children were disappointed and discouraged by this man’s failure and with us for leading them into close proximity with sin. It was a heartbreak for me! I pray the lesson from this will help all our children to navigate more wisely to protect their families in the future. Blessings, Mary

  71. blessed2bamommy96 Says:

    All of this is so sad and maddening but the cover ups are just beyond my comprehension. Shame on these people for covering for Doug for so long.

  72. RJB Says:

    How come Goeff Botkin’s name isn’t appearing more often? When is someone going to vet him? He’s been the most mysterious one of the group to me.

    • Jen Says:

      RJB, this blog is about Doug Phillips. At some point, we may expand it to include others, but only if it is pertinent to the situation. I am not here to drum up accusations against everyone ever associated with Doug. From my understanding, the Botkins have somewhat distanced themselves from Doug already. There are others who are complicit in helping Doug abuse and hurt others, and who have willingly looked the other way rather than help their friend. That is a serious matter well worth investigating.

  73. onceuponatime Says:

    I haven’t read all 400+ comments, but is it possible that Jennifer Grady was trying to get Doug and the elders to excommunicate her? Maybe her husband thought it was funny since there wasn’t an easy way out? Could she have been playing a game? Possibly Doug came on to her in the past (since she’s obviously attractive) and she was trying to make a statement about his behavior and got carried away, making all the other church member think she was a tramp. I’m not defending her. I don’t know her and am pretty sure I’ve never met her. Anyway, just a thought.

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