Doug Phillips: Portrait of a Religious Sociological Cult Leader

Doug Phillips the wizardThe public exposure of Doug Phillips’ clergy sexual abuses have had the net effect of Toto pulling the curtain back on The Great and Powerful Wizard Of Oz. With the exposure of his colossal hypocrisies, Doug Phillips has lost all credibility, along with all his close personal friends and most of his admirers. Even several former Vision Forum employees and interns are posting articles and Facebook comments that clearly target their former boss, Jordan Muela’s article being the best example so far. Though in most cases they fail to mention Doug Phillips by name, everyone gets the idea anyway.

Doug Phillips has also lost his ability to control and intimidate through scare tactics. The level of fear from current and former members of Boerne Christian Assembly — “The Community”, as they call it — is not completely evaporated, at least not quite yet; but it’s been rapidly diminishing in the past month.

Seldom has any man fallen so abruptly from such a high and respected position to such a low one. With his public plunge comes the abrupt loss of Doug Phillips’ power over others, in particular his power to dominate Boerne Christian Assembly and Vision Forum employees. The fear of Doug Phillips has diminished commensurate with the plunge in his public image. With the loss of that fear more and more people are willing to come forward to tell their stories.

Those who have never been in a mind control cult themselves, or who have never studied the psychology of religious sociological cults, will have  difficulty believing that one 5’4″ man could wield so much power and control over one church, not to mention tremendous influence over thousands of his adoring followers. But for those who have gone through a cult experience yourself you’ll very much relate to this exposé, just as you’d relate to The Village.

When people who have never been in a cult themselves hear accounts of a cult they typically exclaim, “Why didn’t those people just get out of there? What held them back? Have they all lost their minds?” The answers are somewhat complex, except for this one: Yes, in a sense, they did lose control over their otherwise very sane minds. That’s not to say that any of them ever were or became stupid or crazy or mindless drones. They’re not any of those things. Anyone who believes they are too smart or invulnerable to coming under the mind control of a master manipulator, such as a Douglas W. Phillips, Esq., may be a prime cult group recruitment candidate themselves. Millions of people have gone through experiences just like the people of Boerne Christian Assembly. Those millions would have no trouble at all believing the stories of BCA victims.

What sort of people join cults? If BCA is any indication then it would seem that surprisingly intelligent and successful people often do. In BCA’s case they have included:

  • Medical doctors
  • Military officers and enlisted
  • College professors
  • Ranchers
  • Missionaries
  • Construction contractor
  • Business owners
  • Electrical engineer
  • Hotel manager
  • Financial analyst

I may not have believed their stories myself had I heard of them as a younger man. I’ve since experienced the devastation of joining what I thought was a perfectly normal church, only to recognize some six months later that I was actually in a religious sociological cult. I very much relate to BCA members because my own cult had been heavily influenced by the teachings of Doug Phillips and his fellow Patriarchy/Quiverfull/Home School/Stay At Home Daughter/Family Integrated Church gurus. My cult was led by a man who suffers from the same personality disorders as Doug Phillips (most cult leaders are sociopathic narcissists).

Cults are generally categorized as religious, sociological, and sometimes both. Religious cults are typically benign in practice and aberrant in doctrine. In other words they’re often non-abusive. Sociological cults are highly manipulative and often abusive. Religious sociological cults are the worst of both worlds. The abuses in these cults often manifest in clusters — various combinations of:

  • Emotional Abuse
  • Psychological Abuse
  • Spiritual Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Physical Abuse

Every cult will manifest at least one of these forms of abuses, and where one abuse is manifest it’s common to see additional forms manifested too. The fact that Doug Phillips has been publicly exposed for clergy sexual abuse means there is good cause to scrutinize him for perpetrating other forms of abuse. In my previous article I exposed a very perverse form of clergy sexual abuse that Doug Phillips is directly and personally responsible for. In this article I’ll address the emotional, psychological, and spiritual abuses that Doug Phillips is guilty of. It is only by the methodical and repetitive application of these other abuses that Doug Phillips was able to condition and control BCA members, thereby making them vulnerable to the clergy sexual abuses which followed.

Cult leaders generally have an entire toolbox of manipulation and control tools that they rely on. Charm is generally the first choice of Doug Phillips’ manipulation tools, and he’s a very accomplished charmer. Charm usually does work for him. However, “charm is deceitful” (Prov 31:30), and charm will only take a man so far. When charm doesn’t work Doug Phillips can abruptly shift to scare tactics. He can transform from friendly soft-spoken charmer to furious red-faced screamer in half a heart beat. An example of this is how he could charm the audience at the San Antonio International Christian Film Festival, yet go back stage and scream at the young BCA volunteers who were helping there. This Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde whipsaw effect is a classic cult leader conditioning technique. Not many people have personally witnessed Doug’s explosive rage, but those who have will never forget it.

As a religious cult leader Doug relies on the authority of the scriptures to give him an air of legitimacy. Like all other religious cult leaders, Doug Phillips cherry-picks scripture, twisting and perverting for his own manipulative agenda. The Doctrines of Grace don’t make for particularly effective tools of mind control, which is why Doug rarely, if ever, preaches on grace. But in the right hands the “Law-Word” Doug Phillips adulterers stoned to deathcan be terrifying. It doesn’t get any scarier than the prospect of eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire. Law in the hands of a religious sociopath can be a terrifyingly effective mind-control tool. Doug Phillips preaches Old Testament Law every Sunday, and rarely ever exposits anything from the New Testament (with the exception of a brief homily during communion). Grace is given little more than a passing nod. Ironically enough, throughout the entire time Doug Phillips was cheating on his wife he was also preaching, “The Bible requires that all adulterers be stoned to death.”

To any casual observer BCA would strike them as having an appearance much like any other conventional family-friendly church. In fact BCA members have consistently praised the genuine “community” atmosphere that is hard to find in so many other churches. Sunday church often turns into an all-day affair, just like church typically was a hundred years ago, with services lasting 2-3 hours, and then a dinner on the ground “pot-providence” (pot-luck is evil). BCA families become intimate friends, fellowshipping not just at church on Sunday but also throughout the week. Children grow up together and some have married, making the bonds of family friendship just that much more intimate. For most BCA members these become the closest friendships they have ever known. That level of family investment in any church would make it extraordinarily painful to have to leave. This too can be another tool in the toolbox of the cult leader, and in the hands of a malicious man he can easily rip families to shreds.

In those times where there were no causes for conflict, things tended to operate much at just like other family-friendly churches. But every church still has problems arise from time to time, and every pastor must have some conflict resolution skills. Doug Phillips is woefully equipped in this department, and he has a penchant for turning a conflict into the makings of a church split. When conflicts have arisen at BCA Doug Phillips has often resorted to resolution by threat. Fear, if not terror, is the emotion that has overwhelmed many under Doug Phillips’ pastoral care. Doug Phillips has used threats and intimidation to great effect — to control The Community.

Doug Phillips excommunicationAt BCA one can come under “church discipline” for practically any reason at all. One does not need to be guilty of any particular sin, as the Bible defines sin. All that is necessary to come under “church discipline” (a euphemism for the wrath of Doug) is to say or do anything contrary to Doug Phillips’ personal preferences. Such was the case for Jennifer Epstein. According to Doug no Christian should or could vote for George Bush. Doug held that, as pastor, it was his prerogative to coerce his church members to vote for Constitution Party Candidate Michael Peroutka (Doug’s father, Howard, is founder of the Constitution Party). Anyone who disagreed was subject to church discipline. Jen dared to write Doug Phillips a letter expressing an opinion contrary to his. She believed that it was acceptable to vote for the Republican candidate. She was wrong. She found out that voting Republican was an excommunicatable offense. In response to Jen’s letter Doug snarled, “You’ll pay for this!” She was excommunicated by Doug’s Star Chamber proceedings absent any due process. The church was then ordered to shun Jen and her entire family.

Shunning is the big stick in most cults. However, religious cults, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, only shun the accused sinner. A sure sign of a religious sociological cult is that they will shun an entire family for the sins of just one member of the family. Not only were Jen and her husband treated as pariahs, so were the Epstein children. Their friends could no longer so much as say, “Hello.” Natasha Epstein experienced the devastation of having her best friend fold her arms and turn her back on her. If ever there were a system intended to destroy the Christian faith of children and teens, Doug Phillips has perfected it.

Another sure sign of a religious sociological cult is what happens when anyone tries to leave. In a normal church, if a member wants to leave, they can just leave. More formal churches have more formal expectations, such as requesting a letter of transfer to another church. But in all cases, real churches will always permit members to leave for any cause, at any time, with relative ease. A sure sign of a cult is that the cult leader makes it difficult to get out. If a request is made to leave, or for a letter of transfer, and the response is a threat, you know it’s a cult. Like all other cults it’s relatively easy to join BCA. One attends a membership class and then signs “The Covenant.” The problem is that Doug views The Covenant as being akin to marriage: ‘Til death do us part. To quote Doug Phillips: “There are only two ways you can leave BCA. You can die or the Elders can agree to transfer you to another church.”

Multiple BCA members have tried to leave over the years and there have been multiple threats.  The threats get especially ugly if a member wishes to transfer their membership to another church because they are displeased with Doug in any way. It’s unacceptable to ever show any displeasure or disapproval in a cult leader. Doug Phillips has seldom permitted a transfer to another local church, even under the best of circumstances, but leaving because someone is displeased with him is rarely ever permitted. Transfers are usually only permitted if you’re moving out of state, and a move out of state must be for a reason that Doug approves of. Any who try and leave without first obtaining Doug’s permission are “put under church discipline,” a preliminary sanction intended to dissuade the member from departing. If that doesn’t work the member is excommunicated.

Excommunication from BCA is emotionally and spiritually traumatic enough as it is. But Doug Phillips has often shown himself to be a very vindictive man. In Doug Phillips’ way of thinking excommunication is often insufficient punishment. Like so many other ecclesiastical bullies, Doug recruits teams of men as enforcers. At BCA it’s been Bob Sarratt, and Michael Gobart. At Vision Forum it’s been his interns and a few select employees. Through his henchmen he has proactively meddled and interfered with various “excommunicants” ability to join any other church, and he will keep up the harassment for years after an excommunication. Doug Phillips is also known for meddling and interfering in excommunicants livelihoods, including their businesses and employment. If he can ruin excommunicants financially he will. Last but not least is the threat of litigation which Doug Phillips has made against many.

As is the case in most religious sociological cults, conditioning through repetition is a key component of successful mind control. Squelching any and all complaints necessitates fabricating a plausible biblical doctrine. Labeling all grievances, legitimate or not, as “gossip” is a ready-made excuse for stifling complaints. Gossip is a subject Doug has harped on many Sundays, labeling it a “horrific sin.” Any gossip is subject to “church discipline.” This includes even listening to “gossip” or looking at “gossip” on the internet. Any web site that ever says the least thing unfavorable towards Doug Phillips is especially “horrific”, and any bloggers who have ever said anything negative of Doug have been branded “internet assassins” (such as Jen’s Gems). BCA members have been threatened with church discipline should they so much as look at any such blogs. So-called gossips have been made examples of by Doug to maintain control through instilling fear. BCA members have lived in mortal fear of speaking or listening to one another about any problems they have witnessed in the church, regardless of their severity.

However, everyone has their limits, and that limit is usually reached where it concerns the safety of one’s own children. Doug Phillips’ refusal to take charge of the Jennifer Grady issue ultimately pushed numerous BCA parents past their limits. Every BCA member has witnessed many examples of Doug Phillips meddling, interfering and being a control freak; and yet he wouldn’t take control of the Jennifer Grady sexual harassment. It remains a great mystery to this day.

Group conformity is another significant psychological factor of mind control in religious sociological cults. Even outside of cult settings, group conformity can be an enormous influence, as the Asch Conformity Experiments in the 1950’s proved. As the group grows in numbers the influence of conformity grows with it and it becomes ever more difficult for individual members to voice dissent. Any nonconformity is dealt with swiftly, and nonconformists often won’t even have to be corrected by the cult leader — the members themselves will often put down any nonconformity. An example of this is the BCA dress code. BCA women must wear dresses, not just to church, but at all times. Several of the BCA women are so observant that they can actually tell when a woman walks into church if she’s been wearing pants that week. One woman in particular won’t hesitate to call any such nonconformists out back of the church and give her a shaming session.

One would think that a cult leader’s influence would extend only as far as the four walls of his “church.” However, the power of group conformity is sometimes so significant that it can easily extend far beyond those four walls. Doug Phillips’ influence has extended coast to coast, largely through the micro-culture of the Christian home school community. It’s primary platform for leaders like Doug Phillips are its various state conferences and conventions. As a gifted and charming orator, thousands have hung on Doug Phillips’ every word. Being enamored by his charm, eloquence and gushing, an audience’s logic and common sense often goes right out the window. They become easy candidates for indoctrination. Even in spite of Doug Phillips’ public disgrace, many are still hearing his voice in their heads saying, “As Christians we must hate the horrific sin of gossip.”

For years many conference attending home schoolers have, because of Doug’s programming, lived an almost neo-Amish existence, viewing the internet as an evil promoter of “horrific gossip” with blogs like this one being run by “internet assassins.” No truth or insight can be found here because, as everyone knows, Doug Phillips is a godly righteous servant of Christ worthy of only praise and adulation. To go anywhere near a blog that mentions Doug Phillips by name without praising him to the heavens is “horrific sin.” Naturally, they also refuse to listen to any of the numerous home schoolers who feel betrayed and feel compelled to talk openly about it.

Preaching against the “horrific sin of gossip” has proven to be an effective mind-control tool. In spite of the magnitude of the Doug Phillips’ sex scandal, a scandal one would easily assume that everyone by now is up to speed on, we know from the numerous emails we’ve received that there are likely still thousands of Doug Phillips fans that refuse to inform themselves on Doug’s self-destruction.

A Cult Leader Destroys Himself, Yet His Followers Remain Under His Influence:

Jen was sent via email a newsletter from CHEF, a Missouri-based home school organization with a large membership. In it they plead with members to contribute generously toward “a special care package” for Doug Phillips and family. I thought this a nice gesture, at least up until I got to the part of the obsequious praises they sing to “our hero.” It makes me wonder just how odious Doug’s sins would have to be before they’d stop worshiping him. Be forewarned — it takes a strong stomach to read this:

Dear Families,

As many of you know by now, on October 30, Doug Philips resigned from Vision Forum, with Vision Forum Ministries dissolving on November 11. Like most of you, we are deeply grieved over this tragedy. On behalf of Doug, we would like to say that in all our years of leadership, we have never known another man with such a brilliant mind, clear reasoning, great wisdom, passion for God’s Word, courage and fortitude in fighting for the family, an innovative mind in creating tools for equipping families for the cultural battle, and who possessed a genuine love for his family. Nor have we known another man who has produced so much fruit for God’s kingdom. Just think of all the fruit Doug created and spearheaded. It is truly phenomenal! He deeply cared for the flock and labored continuously to feed the flock God’s best. He protected many from continuing in their sin of neglecting their duty as fathers, mothers, and children. He fed; he fed; he fed. He took God’s people to the choicest of pastures and the purest of waters. He elevated their sights to the heavenly throne of God and labored to keep them there. Doug had been given a vision and mission from God.

Doug was clearly raised up for such a time as this. He was our hero—the man who could lead us to victory through this horrific war. We revered him, loved him, and cheered him on. He was family.    Furthermore, in all the years we worked with Doug, we have never known another man who adhered to such high standards in keeping himself above reproach. He always traveled with his family, or at least one of his children, and surrounded himself with interns and staff. Doug told us that he went so far as to refrain from entering an elevator alone with a woman. So you may wonder, with all this protection, how did this great sin occur?

From our study of history, we know that the enemy always works at destroying the very thing that leaders boldly proclaim—the very principles upon which the fortress is built— and like a lion ferociously devours his prey.    Doug built his ministry on Christian marriage, Christian patriarchy, the Christian family, virtuous boyhood, virtuous manhood, virtuous womanhood, virtuous families. Boldly engaging in the cultural battle for the family, Doug was winning victory after victory, so naturally, the foundational truths upon which the ministry was built was the area that Satan must destroy.

Everyone knows that the best strategy for winning a war is to concentrate all efforts against the leaders of the battle. You simply take out the generals, the captains, the colonels—those who lead the fight—and you demoralize the troops to the point of total defeat.

Doug Phillips was the general in the homeschooling community. He led the battles, so it comes as no surprise that Satan pointed his biggest guns against him—to silence the voice of hope and destroy the heart and soul of the ministry. Although God is mightier than Satan, we must never underestimate the power of the enemy and the endless legions he has for fighting his battles. Although the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church, leaders always suffer heavy losses because they are in the forefront of the battle for life.

So if God is greater than the enemy, why did He give Satan permission to sift him and allow this to happen?

This is a perfect illustration of the magnitude of willful ignorance that often comes of following a cult leader. Their hero has fallen but they remain in abject denial of the fact that he isn’t just an adulterer, he’s an abusive narcissistic sociopath. They are prime candidates for blindly following after the next charismatic home school guru that rises to the top, only to repeat the cycle of abuse. And who will that next guru be? Voddie Baucham? Scott Brown? Peter Bradrick? Gregg Harris? Geoffrey Botkin? R.C. Sproul Jr? Kevin Swanson? Most of them, with the likely exception of Voddie Baucham, are already skilled manipulators and just a hair’s breadth away from being cult leaders, if they’re not that already. The last thing their overinflated egos now need is to assume Doug Phillips’ mantle.

Sadly, there remain thousands of home schoolers who just don’t get it. They’ve learned nothing from the example of the disastrous life of Doug Phillips. They don’t recognize they were conned by a huckster, a carnival barker, a facile manipulator. As such, they’re almost certain to get conned again.

Thankfully there are those who see clearly that Doug Phillips is nothing more than a master manipulator. To quote Nathan Huber, a former Vision Forum intern and BCA member:

“I thank God that I experienced the art of manipulation from a master and can now spot it a 1,000 miles away.”


All memes used by permission of Doug Phillips Memes


378 Responses to “Doug Phillips: Portrait of a Religious Sociological Cult Leader”

  1. Morgan Farmer Says:

    The worst is ‘ the devil made me do it ‘ syndrome. CHEF nailed the Doug Phillips excuse. Maybe he should copy it and use it as his own.

  2. Close to BCA members Says:

    Timely and well written. How to get this in the hands of those who most need it? Requires much prayer and discernment. Thank you, TW.

    • DaMom Says:

      Hope it turns out better for others to pass on this information than it did for me. I was banned from posting any more of Jen’s blog posts as the moderator of our group labeled T.W. and this blog as “gossip”. I think I stepped on toes or did a “jig” on their last nerve.

      • Jen Says:

        DaMom, what do you mean? You are banned from talking about this on another site? Are they afraid of the truth? Or do they still rever Doug? The “gossip” label is too freely used to shut down any conversation we don’t want to hear sometimes.

        • DaMom Says:

          I was asked not to bring up DP/VF on my local online HS group anymore. Afraid of truth or rever DP? I suspect both. Although I had a few moms emailing me privately to thank me for bringing up the topic, It was the DP/VF followers who accused me and another HS mom of “gossiping” when we posted links from your blog and other websites. I live near “Duggar”-ville…that should give a clue as to what I’m up against, right? Yeah, I’m familiar with the “gossip card” and how it’s used to shut up those who are trying to shed light on a given issue. Oh, well.

        • Refugee Says:

          Replying to DaMom, but there’s no reply link so I went up one link.
          Yes, this is exactly why sites like this one are needed. Some of it reads like gossip and conjecture, and some reads like carefully researched information and hard-won experience.

          This site has served me as a valuable resource. I grew wary of the VF message some years ago, but didn’t have the Biblical understanding to know just what was wrong. DP and his ilk use scripture to back up their claims; I need to study more to understand when verses are being used out of context. In the meantime, I am glad for the “backup” in a confusing and sad situation. Helpful links have been posted here, like to documentation of Scott Brown’s altercation with his church, and to the scripture-based refutation of the tenets of patriarchy.

          Our daughters have been forever marked by DP/VF/Stacy McDonald/RCJr-style patriarchy. While I see slow healing happening, I want to weep at the obstacles we set up in their path, all unwitting and meaning only the best, having been “promised” that this was God’s proven way for them to have and grow into happy, fulfilling lives. We were foolish.

          …studying God’s promises once more, from the Word, trying to shake off men’s filters. I wish I understood this stuff better.

        • Jen Says:

          Refugee, I understand how difficult this time must be for you all. I’m glad you’re here. I pray that you will come to a clearer understanding of truth as you draw near to Jesus and rest in his love. We will get to specifics here later as well.

        • Refugee Says:

          Oh, I got sidetracked. I meant to say that sites like this one are necessary, just because of that “love covers all sins” mentality that would have all this pushed under the rug at the earliest opportunity, and allow the wolves to continue preying and picking up future unsuspecting victims. It is frustrating to talk to people who see DP as the victim, a great man who stumbled, but “his teachings are of God, so we’ll just keep on as we were keeping on because it’s what the Bible says.”

          Perhaps when their family shatters, as ours nearly did under the weight of patriarchy’s false teachings, they’ll be able to find some of the answers to getting back on the right track here in these articles and discussions.

          So far none of our dc have abandoned faith in Christ, amazingly enough, given what I’ve seen on ex-patriarchy websites and places like HSA (reading there, actually, was what blew this whole thing open for me and helped me to see that my uneasy feelings about how well it all was working–not–were based in reality, and not just me). My own faith has been shaken, though I still cling to Christ. Hanging on by my fingernails some days, but still hanging on.

  3. jeremiahjw Says:

    Are there any details on the situation when Doug shouted at the intern after the SAICFF awards ceremony? I was very connected to the people in that festival (and submitted a number of projects).

    • Jen Says:

      Jeremiahjw, I’ve heard that this probably happened more than once, but on one particular occasion, a couple years ago, there was a whole group of young people, most/all of whom were volunteers for the film festival, who were working on something backstage, and after being charming on stage, Doug came backstage and became enraged about something, yelling and screaming at these young volunteers. Perhaps someone with more details will be to answer more fully.

    • Observant Says:

      Many BCA and community people have volunteered their time at the SAICFF. Some men from what we understand were working behind the scenes back stage and one of the interns or other man put on some Contemporary Christian music in between things and it was piped out into the lobby and auditorium . Doug screamed at them about that and it got turned off. It could have been handled in a much nicer way. It was surprising to some as they had not personally seen that side of Doug. To our knowledge Doug has never addressed types of music like Gothard does so it came as as surprise since many back there listened to that kind of Christian music.

      • Jen Says:

        Observant, I would have loved to have seen Doug actually rock out to some CCM! A little “going with the flow” can save the day!

        Yes, Doug has extremely strong views on music.

        • MomT Says:

          What were his views on music?

        • Just a shadow Says:

          MomT – DP held to much the same music standards as Gothard. But he had a penchant for early American music – see Charlie Zahm for example. A favorite gripe of DP’s was that in modern music most male singers sing tenor rather than baratone or bass. He saw cultural implications in this – the feminizing of men. So he preferred music that had deeper male tones. In church only hymns were allowed. ONLY hymns. Also used Psalter pieces sometimes ( psalms put to music/meter). I don’t remember singing choruses of any kind at all – certainly nothing current.

        • Jen Says:

          Doug also minored in music in college, and studied classical music in great detail. As such, he determined that certain classical music was evil and certain was good.

          I will say that, for the most part, I LOVED the way BCA sings hymns. Now, the psalms were a bit more difficult to work through, but I think it was Psalm 100 that we mastered in the Pilgrim style.

    • D.L F Says:

      This is interesting. It surprises me that the parents of the interns didn’t get upset with Doug.Does Doug often scream at the young people who work for him?

      • notsurprised Says:

        it’s kind of a no win situation DL F. Even if the kids told their parents, they were told not to question authority and they wouldn’t DARE question Doug, for fear of being fired. But some would have been intimidated to say anything.

  4. Amy Says:

    Here is the interesting thing: Doug Phillips’s followers have no problem seeing Obama as a sociopathic narcissist, but they fail to detect one when he is staring them straight in the face.

    I am not mad at Doug Phillips; he’s behaving as he should, given what he is. But I’m spitting nails at all the cowards who enabled his behavior– the interns, the men at BCA, the NCFIC, his friends.

    • Half truths abound Says:

      Men have stood up from time to time over a period of years.The problem is that they have tried to do things Biblically and have been obstructed, lied to, & diverted and could never finish the process due to some unbiblical views of church discipline that did not fully manifest themselves at the beginning.

    • NC Says:

      Careful now Amy, next thing you will be saying is that they’re disobedient also, that would make them as bad a Rap musicians,

    • Steve240 Says:


      It is easy to wonder how people could support someone like Doug Phillips but sadly that can be what happens when a cult personality like Doug quickly going from being one way to being something else. You hear the leader say all the right things and people around him are claiming he is a noble man of integrity but then you see actions that contradict all that you have been told. One term for this is cognitive dissonance.

      The way that information was so tightly controlled that you only heard good things and wasn’t able to question sadly can set things up for a sociological cult like this.

      Bob Weiner who founded and lead Maranatha Ministries behaved along these same lines.

      • Jen Says:

        Steve240, I pray that everyone who ever followed Doug Phillips is currently experiencing a great deal of cognitive dissonance. A thinking person uses cognitive dissonance to lead to a necessary paradigm shift. I realize most followers aren’t quite ready for that paradigm shift yet, but I hope that they actually allow themselves a period of cognitive dissonance right now.

        • Steve240 Says:

          I pray that also if it will allow them to see the truth about Doug Phillips. One thing that goes on in many peoples minds is denial. A lot of people don’t want to face the truth; it will ruin their “perfect world”; they will have to admit they have been duped.

        • Jen Says:

          Steve240, and no one wants to admit they were gullible enough to actually be duped. Rather than beating ourselves up for past mistakes, however, we should use them as a strength for the future.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

          In a con game, it is important to get the mark emotionally involved in the con. Once that happens, the mark cannot bail out (and admit he was wrong all along), even after he gets taken to the cleaners. And the longer he gets scammed, the more he cannot admit to being scammed and the more loyal to the con man he becomes while he’s being cleaned out.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

        ” One term for this is cognitive dissonance.”

        Another is doublethink.

  5. Steve240 Says:


    Another good post on very sad happening.

    I Tim 4 does talk about leaders whose conscience is seared:

    1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will [a]fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,

    II Peter 2 says:

    1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories.

    Apparently Doug Phillips conscience (assuming he originally had one) became seared as Paul describes as if with a branding iron. Peter warns that many will follow their depraved conduct (one translation says shameful ways). The fact that Peter says “many” should be a warning to all of us about just how susceptible people are in the body of Christ to false prophets and teachers.

    As Peter wrote Doug Phillip’s actions have brought disrepute on Christianity. I also have no doubt that DP due to his greed fabricated stories.

    • Jen Says:

      Steve240, yes, TW wrote an excellent article as usual. I couldn’t keep up with all this without him.

      I have wondered about how Doug Phillips could reach this level of self-aggrandizement with a clear conscience. The truth is that he can’t, so the only option is to slowly, slowly sear the conscience. While it may hurt a little bit at first, it quickly becomes easier and easier, until the conscience is so deeply seared that life is all about SELF and other people are merely tools and props to elevate himself even higher.

      I do not know which is worse: the fact that Doug Phillips harmed so many people already in life, or that he is leaving such a black mark on the name of Christ to the watching world.

      • Steve240 Says:

        You are assuming that Doug Phillips at one point had a conscience (which may or may not be true). One interesting book on some people not having a conscience is the book titled “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout:

        One editorial review of the book says:

        Stout says that as many as 4% of the population are conscienceless sociopaths who have no empathy or affectionate feelings for humans or animals. As Stout (The Myth of Sanity) explains, a sociopath is defined as someone who displays at least three of seven distinguishing characteristics, such as deceitfulness, impulsivity and a lack of remorse. Such people often have a superficial charm, which they exercise ruthlessly in order to get what they want. Stout argues that the development of sociopathy is due half to genetics and half to nongenetic influences that have not been clearly identified.

        Some of what is written about above sure sounds like DP.

        The author explains one danger people have is assuming all people have a conscience when this 4% don’t have one. You have to be aware that not all people have a conscience. It sure sounds DP might be in this 4%.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Steve, one of the great things I get to experience in writing articles like this is seeing how intelligent and well-read people like you respond.

          In my personal quest to figure out what had gone wrong in my own cult experience, I turned first to Christian authors. I read a dozen or more books on spiritual abuse. I do recommend several, such as Toxic Churches and Healing Spiritual Abuse. They’re among several good books in this genre and should definitely be read by anyone who’s lived through the trauma of a religious sociological cult. Unfortunately they also come up short in several respects. One of the deficiencies I often note with Christian authors is their tendency to spiritualize everything and, therefore, their aversion for psychology, or “psychobabble” as some like to disparage psychology with.

          I agree that psychology often comes up short with solutions. There are no drugs that can cure sociopathy or narcissism, nor is therapy typically of much value. In fact recent studies confirm that psychotherapy usually only makes a sociopath even worse. Nevertheless, psychology can often have great value because it can give us insights that no spiritualizing Christan author can. For example, one insight I gained from reading The Sociopath Next Door is that there is no practical hope for Doug Phillips, or my own former cult leader, ever coming to the place of genuine repentance. Both of them have made public statements of repentance, but in both cases it was an utter sham used to manipulate people further. Some of the most gullible bought it, but thankfully most did not.

          People can post their “Let’s pray for Doug’s repentance” all they want. Doug will not ever repent any more than will my former cult leader ever repent. Why? Because Doug Phillips is a sociopath, and sociopaths have no conscience. He’s incapable of feeling the “godly sorrow” that brings repentance. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

          The Sociopath Next Door provided me far greater insights than the dozen or more books I read on spiritual abuse. Almost everything in The Sociopath Next Door applies to my cult leader, and it certainly applies to Doug Phillips. I hope that all BCA members and VF employees and interns read it.

          I also highly recommend The Control Freak (a Christian author who really gets it!) and I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me. The former contains a questionnaire that you can fill out, applying to yourself or anyone else, including your pastor. Doing so is what confirmed to me that my cult leader was a control freak. Any control freak pastor is probably a cult leader, not a pastor. The latter book is the seminal work on Borderline Personality Disorder. When I saw the title I knew it described my cult leader: I hate you but if you try and leave my church I’ll punish you and your entire family in every way I can. Any pastor who enforces a ‘Til death do us part view of church membership is probably Borderline.

          Personality disorders are often manifested in clusters. My own former cult leader manifests the necessary number of traits such that, if he were to be professionally analyzed, he would likely be diagnosed as a Narcissist and Sociopath. In all likelihood he’s also Borderline. The same applies to Doug Phillips.

          Mentally ill people deserve our compassion, and we should certainly pray for them. But it’s foolish and misguided to pray for their repentance. You can’t repent of a mental illness.

        • Lisa Says:

          FINALLY! Someone who understands the mental illness aspect of these people. I hope everyone reads and re reads your post. Thank you and Jen for all your hard work on this blog. I’m going to sit down with my children (ages 14-20) and discuss christian cults, etc,,,We have some VF materials, but never drank the kool ade. Good friends of ours did, though. After getting involved with the film festival, etc,,,,they became very patriarchal, quiverful, home business, and anti college. And, in general, not much fun to be around. Oh well…I, for one, am wearing my pants, sending my girls to college, and sharing in the decision making with my husband!

        • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

          “One of the deficiencies I often note with Christian authors is their tendency to spiritualize everything and, therefore, their aversion for psychology, or “psychobabble” as some like to disparage psychology with.”

          Because the Heathen(TM)’s Psychobabble competes directly with their Spiritualbabble?

        • Steve240 Says:

          Thanks for the feedback and book suggestions TW.

          When I read “The Lucifer Effect” I recall the author mentioning a book about why people like authoritarian leaders. I will have to look that book up and read it.

        • Dom Walk Says:

          I’m “replying to Steve240, but this is for T. W. Easton (there’s no reply link under his comment). Here’s a quote for context.

          “Mentally ill people deserve our compassion, and we should certainly pray for them. But it’s foolish and misguided to pray for their repentance. You can’t repent of a mental illness.”

          T. W., thank you for all your research and writing on this horrible situation. I did want to respond to the thought in your post, as stated in the quote above. While I agree with you on all your analysis (but this), I believe that we need to keep in mind that “With God, all things are possible”. We should not put our trust in or spiritual care in the hands of men like Doug Phillips, agreed. He should never, ever be restored to “ministry” (assuming that is what he actually had). However, we should pray for his repentance (and, by all appearances, conversion).

          This is not to say that it *will* happen. Nor that we should expect it. Nor that we should temper our views of what was done by him and his fellow-travelers. But, we should not rule it out.

          Finally, there is irony in that Phillips’ (supposed) Calvinistic view of election is that one is either elect or reprobate purely by the decree of God. Given the fruit in his case, he (and others around him) should probably be very concerned about his salvation. IOW, is Doug Phillips reprobate?

          LORD, have mercy.

        • Lisa Says:

          To Dom Walk,
          Many years ago, I was confronted with the medical facts that people with personality disorders never get better, I refused to believe it for years. My husband is a physician and I would get soooo mad at him for saying that. He would always reply, “I’m just telling you the facts.” Now, I’m almost fifty years old and have had experience with four narcissistic personalities. I learned the hard way! They do not get better. IMO, this is one of the biggest problems facing our churches and our Christian communities. We need to realize just as some children are born with birth defects that are never healed, some people are born with personality disorders and while God IS powerful enough to heal them, the medical/factual data reveals that He does not.

        • zooey111 Says:

          Thank you for this!
          I have experienced the difficulty of explaining that people with personality disorders don’t get better, and why. Your comparison to birth defects is something that I believe that I can use to shed light on this situation.
          Because there is no “fixing” sociopaths. There just isn’t, & folks need to know this.
          There is nothing like knowing one, is there? I think some things almost have to be seen to be believed.

        • Lisa Says:

          You are so right! Nothing like knowing one. Or two! Or finding yourself in business with one! I think that because I so adamantly believed they could be helped, saved, repent, etc…, God allowed several to come into my life. Guess I learn the hard way!
          I read the book Spy the Lie, recently. It says that liars sometimes tell the truth. That doesn’t make them truthful people. They are just smart enough to occasionally tell the truth and, therefore, people think they are truthful. Sounds like DP is smart enough to give his followers what they want: a confession, a statement of repentance, a token time off to deal with his sin. Fact is, one sign (even two or three) of repentance does not a repentant man make. We will never see the deep humility and grief from him that would be characteristic of true repentance, because people like this are INCAPABLE of it. The best we can do is focus on protecting ourselves and others from these kinds of people.
          By the way- an interesting book you may find helpful is Emotional Vampires by Albert Bernstein.

        • Jen Says:

          Lisa, good observations! However, I am still trying to figure out if Doug has even shown ONE sign of repentance yet. Help me out here!

        • Lisa Says:

          Jen, I only refer to his spoken confession, the one that well meaning, loving Christians eagerly accept as proof that he has confessed, repented, etc…oh to be naive and trusting again! Lol.

        • Jen Says:

          Lisa, I thought so. However, I don’t see him truly confessing much of anything in there other than what he was “caught” doing. I think he has a whole LOT more confessing to do!

        • Steve240 Says:


          Thanks for your post indicating that persons with personality disorders change. I imagine it is along the lines of when they say that pedophiles really never change from that (I am sure that could be called or is called a personality disorder).

      • Half truths abound Says:

        Jude 1:3-4 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

  6. Jen Says:

    TW, I want to commend you for yet another truly outstanding article. Your depth of knowledge in this area of understanding Doug’s psyche is almost frightening, but sometimes an outsider looking in can see things that those of us on the inside are blind to. It is difficult to own that I once belonged to a cult, but from my understanding, the cultish aspects grew exponentially after my excommunication. This article makes me jump up and down for joy that we were excommunicated before it became decidedly in the religious sociological cult category, but I am truly sad for all those who never found their way out. I pray that this time of reflection, as we come to see the person Doug Phillips truly is, will cause many folks to choose that paradigm shift rather than a new homeschool hero to lead them.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Thanks Jen. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity of preparing these articles. I find this cathartic, and all the more so in knowing that there may be some reading these articles who are being ministered to. I know from personal experience how hard it is to come to terms with these things. The hardest thing in the world that I ever had to face is admitting to myself that I willingly, and even eagerly, joined a cult. I’m no longer ashamed to admit that, but coming to that place was exceedingly difficult because I’d for so long blamed myself entirely. This isn’t to say I was without blame, or that I no longer accept responsibility for the decision and how it harmed my family. The responsibility is indeed mine; but I am not the one who inflicted the harm, and that responsibility rests solely with my cult leader. I tremble to think on what his fate will be when he has to give an accounting before the throne of God. (Mark 9:42)

      Doug Phillips heavily influenced my own cult leader by their mutual friendship (I no longer use the term “pastor” to describe such men). So I’m hardly an “outsider.” In my view, Doug Phillips’ most significant impact isn’t with the thousands of home school families he has reached through Vision Forum and his numerous home school conference appearances. Though those are indeed significant, of even greater impact is how he has influenced hundreds of pastors, many of whom have received from him the knowledge and motivation to become their own cult leaders. Doug Phillips likely has at least two very serious personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Sociopathic Personality Disorder), and perhaps more. Sociopaths and narcissists tend to attract others like them. Tragically, the profession of pastor already attracts a great many sociopaths. In fact it’s in the top ten of professions that attract sociopaths.

      I home schooled my children, I went to the conferences, I heard all the speakers, and I witnessed the hero-worship and adulation of these men. For years I witnessed how all the flattery inflated their egos. “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:43) Doug and I became personal friends, but Doug also kept me at somewhat of a distance. He would seek my counsel, but there was always a certain distance there too. I knew this was because I wasn’t one of his fawning worshippers. He knew that my loyalties weren’t for him but for the greater body of Christ.

      The demise of Doug Phillips isn’t likely to put a sudden stop to that hero-worship of various home school leaders. My great concern is that Scott Brown, through his NCFIC, will assume the mantle of cult-leader master-trainer. Far from the family-friendly family-integrating image they portray, NCFIC is directly responsible for splitting a great many churches through their self-righteous hostile takeover of many churches. This is just, what is for Scott Brown, a continuation of the pattern of his life. Scott attempted to pull the same stunt in his own church, Trinity Baptist Church, Wake Forest, N.C. in 2006. (see

      Like Doug Phillips, Scott Brown has the polished image of a kind benevolent man. My life experience tells me, as does the Word of God, to ignore the polished image and smooth speech and look instead to a man’s actions. Scott Brown’s actions are more than just suspect, and I believe I have good cause to think he will do everything he can to assume Doug Phillips’ rank of (to quote Jon and Candy Summers) “the general in the homeschooling community.”

      I have antipathy for bullies of all kinds, but especially ecclesiastical bullies. The magnitude of harm they cause is far more significant than your average bully. Any other type of bully generally inflicts just temporal consequences. But ecclesiastical bullies injure in ways that can, and often do, have eternal consequences. Doug Phillips’ departure from the scene doesn’t ameliorate the immense damage that he’s done, and especially the indoctrination that he provided to hundreds of pastors to become just like him. The risk is now considerable that another religious narcissistic sociopath will rush in to assume Doug’s mantle. Tragically, there are thousands of home school families who will learn nothing from all this and gleefully follow him.

      • Mike Says:

        I think everyone needs to be aware of the extreme theology of these folks. Brown has been greatly influenced by Doug who was probably the biggest promoter of Reconstructionist theology. Dan Horn is a disciple of Rushdoony (father of Reconstructionism) and choose to side with Scott and Doug when Scott split Trinity Baptist Church. When Scott fled Trinity Baptist to avoid being disciplined he formed Hope Baptist and claimed it was a church plant. Dan Horn is a Co-Elder at Hope with Scott. I think everyone should see how extreme their worldview is. This is one of two videos on Slavery that Horn teaches about.

        • Steve240 Says:

          Can see the video it is marked “private.” Guess they didn’t want the publicity.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          I’m impressed with how closely this article is being monitored. In less than a half hour of Mike posting his comment the video above was made private. Thankfully someone quickly reposted it. I’ve relinked it in Mike’s comment. No doubt Dan Horn or one of his men will promptly file a DMCA claim with YouTube and it will be taken down entirely. So download your copy while you can folks!

          Welcome to you, Dan Horn. Sir, the takedown of the video was the stupidest thing you, or your affiliates, could have done. You’ve just attracted far more attention to yourself than if you’d just left it alone. Please understand in advance that if you attempt a DMCA takedown others will just upload it again, and again.

          Mr. Horn, do you not believe in the authenticity of the primary sources you’ve quoted from in creating your documentary? What exactly are you trying to hide?

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Mr. Horn,

          I wouldn’t want to make a judgment on your DVD from which this teaser appears to be extracted, but from what little I’ve seen it does seem that you’re attempting to make a biblical and/or moral defense for Southern slavery.

          Perhaps you’re unaware of Doug Wilson’s Southern Slavery As It Was. Wilson suffered considerable public excoriation and critical historical review for his attempts to do the same as you, apparently now, are also doing. Wilson subsequently removed the section in his book that was authored by League of the South co-founder Pastor Steve Wilkins, republishing the work as Black and Tan.

          Seeking to justify Southern slavery is no small feat! My condolences are with you.

        • B. Marinoff Says:

          I’m not following how this video fits in with Doug Phillips. Doug is well known as a non-racist, who follows the PC line without question. Six or more years ago when PoC complained about the lack of diversity in his catalogs and ministry, he complied and things changed overnight. Enter Voddie Bachman, and PoC into the catalogs.

          As for him yanking it, perhaps he’s pulling the old Doug Phillip$/Douggie Wilson fast one. He’s afraid his video will paint him as a racist, or perhaps will think he’s a Kinist. He needs to grow a bit of testicular fortitude and stand by his product, and not run away like lil man Doug Shalom Phillip$ does when caught.

        • Jen Says:

          B. Marinoff, you say that Doug is well known as a non-racist. Not true. Doug is well known as being reactionary. It was quite comical to see him react when certain things were alleged on my blog (by commenters or by me) when I first told my story here. One of the issues brought up at that time was his apparent racism. Yes, he made moves to include token non-whites after those allegations, but few believed that it was done because he is a non-racist.

          Please notice that I am NOT calling Doug “racist” here, but I am also not agreeing that he is well-known as a non-racist. I believe it to be a non-issue, but I just wanted to clarify a bit.

        • Nelliebelle1197 Says:

          Are you kidding? History? This is apologia for slavery. I have advanced degrees in history with a focus on master-slave relations. This video and the whitewashing of slavery by VF and its various offshoots is not history, but fiction perpetuated by fools, not true academics.

        • D.L F Says:

          There is a site called,Racist Churches that does a pretty good expose on the connection between Vision Forum and racism. Doug Phillips is a very savvy businessman and it is apparent that he tries to hide certain racist connections but it doesn’t take a lot of digging to find those connections

        • P. Fury Says:

          Funny, DP has tried to get men fired from their jobs because of their Kinist convictions. He has had them served papers while in worship service. There is also rumor he is behind a bout of cyber-terrorism against Little Geneva, a now defunct Kinist site. Not withstanding, he’s never failed to get gushy when speaking about the civil rights movement, the underground railroad, Rosa Parks, or MLK. When he did try in the beginning to beat the Confederate drum, he denounced the League of the South, and distanced himself from any and all in that movement he deemed racist. These are hardly the signs of a racist.

          Sure I hear what you’re saying that DP is an opportunistic pig, warming to whatever crowd sill have him. It’s who he is, and is the nature of his people. But one thing for sure. He is as politically correct as they come, and has said once on Facebook that he believes in the Boasian farce that race is a social construct.

          You guys are trying to hang him on a charge he’s not guilty of. Trust me he’s got plenty of baggage already, far, far worse than being associated with this imaginary charge. But if you insist on grouping him with that is deemed not Kosher by the Sorry Podunk Law Center Swindlers, then please be my guest.

        • Jen Says:

          P. Fury, I’m not going to make a big deal of it, but for those who knew him, while I wouldn’t say he was an overt racist, others would. One person I can guarantee you he had NO love for was MLK. Never forget that PC does not equal non-racist.

        • B. Marinoff Says:


          I’ve watched the clip three times trying to see if I missed anything. He’s just giving the history, and didn’t say whether he agreed with the move to Monrovia nor Clay’s opinion about miscegenation. As for what he said about the black’s spiritual condition upon arrival to these shores, he said nothing different than Cotton Mather did in his 1706 booklet The Negro Christianized.

          I think I’ll order the video to watch it in it’s entirety, but thus far there is nothing I’ve seen of it that says he agrees with the idea of slavery in any way.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          And that is exactly why I’m wondering what he’s hiding from. If he believes what he’s produced he should stand by it, not run away at the first sign of some public scrutiny. It all strikes me as peculiar. After you review the video please report here and let us know what you think.

      • NC Says:

        you made a great point in saying the behavior of these men is a pattern in their lives. Doug Phillips didn’t fall into sin, he walked in it for many years. Scott Brown didn’t learn how to be a sociopath from Doug, he’s always been one. I believe this is why you can confidently predict Scott will pick up the torch (after giving it some time to cool) and take control of the movement. Anyone who takes the time to look into the past and see the patterns will learn who they are and what they will do next.
        The article from CHEF completely misses this by blaming satan on aiming his biggest guns at the top dogs. The fact is that Doug and Scott have been who they are for many years, back when they were nobodies. To credit satan for their demise would credit satan with omniscience.

        • nowoolovertheeyes Says:

          you made a great point in saying the behavior of these men is a pattern in their lives. Doug Phillips didn’t fall into sin, he walked in it for many years.

          Scott Brown said in his sermon on Apostasy that “he slid into it”

        • NC Says:

          Did Brown ever actually name Phillips in this sermon, or was it just assumed? Maybe I’m reading too much into this but it seems like the sermon was generic in a sense, or at least generic enough not to violate an agreement where legal action is a threat.

        • Jen Says:

          There is an unwritten rule in patriarchy that naming names is gossip, but telling the same story without names is not gossip. Look at all the others articles, Facebook posts, etc. 🙂

        • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

          “The fact is that Doug and Scott have been who they are for many years, back when they were nobodies. To credit satan for their demise would credit satan with omniscience.”

          There is a known heresy called “Attributing too much power to the Devil”, and Christianese Spiritual Warfare types have it to the extreme. To hear them go on, Satan is much more powerful than God and God would be defeated without his Faithful Spiritual Warriors (guess who?) to do the Spiritual Fighting. I wonder if the reason Spiritual Warfare types are so shrill is that they have made the Devil so omnipotent and omnipresent that deep down inside they’re afraid they’ve backed the losing side?

        • Jen Says:

          Headless Unicorn Guy, I agree. Most Christians give “Satan” far more power than they do God.

      • Lynne Says:

        My own church was nearly destroyed when our (former) pastor and his wife got caught up in these teachings. They even became friends with the Phillips and went on trips with them and stuff. I don’t rejoice that Doug has fallen this way, but I do pray that this will be a wake-up call to his followers to turn their eyes back to God and off of men.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

          P.S. That’s “Doug Phillips ESQUIRE.”

          He insists on that Title of Nobility in his correspondence, public statements, and blog, so let’s humor him on it. Henceforth, he is “Douggie ESQUIRE.”

  7. DesiringToDiscern Says:

    Me thinks Jon Summers of CHEF doth protest too much. Perhaps he has his own hidden *issues*. THANK YOU for writing and posting this article.

    • Evil Feminist Says:

      Yep, he does. How about a disowned daughter? Listed on the Summer’s website are their four kids. the last three are named. They help with the Chef homeschool convention. I’ve actually met them and was introduced to the 3 kids like that was all they had. But there is an ‘un-named’ oldest girl. I have read there is a very bad story behind this. There was also some kind of problem in the homeschool leadership in MO. I don’t know details. But a very trusted, long time friend warned me to stay far away from Candy and Jon Summers.

      • april61 Says:

        I am reading the story of Chandra Hawkins-Bernat at, and she kept referring to “Candi.” Candi didn’t sound too nice (see quotations below), so my curiosity led me to find out who she is. Turns out this is indeed Candy Summers of CHEF Missouri. From Part 1: “Within three years after having first began our homeschooling journey, my parents had become good friends with the Grandparents and writers of Missouri’s state homeschooling law, Jim and Laura Rogers; best friends with the couple that would later take our state homeschooling organization to the next level, Jon and Candy Summers; and became leaders serving directly underneath this same couple.”

        Chandra became friends with the Summers’ daughter, Heather. But the friendship was short-lived. Why? Because Chandra didn’t live up to the Summers’ standards for a godly christian homeschooled girl. From Parts 2-4: “I had been shunned and rejected by John and Candi and my own family as well.” “My mom had scheduled a meeting with Candi do discuss me, to see if there was any way that Heather and I could become friends once more. Mom did this at my unceasing insistence. This meeting, taking place at Candi’s house, took a full day.” “She proceeded to tell me that Candi had been keeping a record, a written record, on an 8 ½ x 11 yellow legal notepad… of every “instance” that I had committed against Heather, their family, and more importantly, the homeschooling support group. My mom had spent the entire day at Candi’s home, copying down everything that Candi had written. And then my mom pulled out her own legal notepad…and proceeded to read it to me.
        This is not an easy thing for me to write about. My entire world literally came crashing down around me.” ” Candi had told my mom that she had warned all of the other families “about Chandra” and what is worse: my mom agreed with her decision. I had become the bastard child of the homeschooling movement and true to form, they needed to peck me until their problem went away.”

        Leaders of a christian homeschool support group? Chandra gives her view on their purposes in Part 1: “They were doing this because they believed in perpetrating religious dogmatism onto the next generation. They believed, with our whole heart and mind, that the homeschoolers were “God’s chosen people, His remnant, His choice to save and reclaim America.” This mantra was recited far more times than I care to remember at every single homeschooling function or support group meeting. The support group meetings, over the course of time, came to resemble worship services where the people of God could go and become stirred up and motivated to go out of the doors and militantly take over the world through having more children and homeschooling them. In many senses, the homeschooling movement mimics radical Islam and their views on populating the earth and militantly reclaiming it for Ala. Homeschool conferences and conventions around the nation encourage militia sign-ups, hoarding of illegal weapons, and survival and world-collapse techniques and survival methods.”

        Another family, another daughter, abused and damaged by the misguided motives of homeschool leaders trying to raise “God’s army.” Sorry for the choppy editing–I tried to give the gist of the emotional abuse by these leaders for those who aren’t inclined to read the entire story. For those who are inclined, see the link above.

        May Jesus Christ be praised by anything I write.

      • ColleenInWis Says:

        I am reading the story of Chandra Hawkins-Bernat at, and she kept referring to “Candi.” Candi didn’t sound too nice (see quotations below), so my curiosity led me to find out who she is. Turns out this is indeed Candy Summers of CHEF Missouri. From Part 1: “Within three years after having first began our homeschooling journey, my parents had become good friends with the Grandparents and writers of Missouri’s state homeschooling law, Jim and Laura Rogers; best friends with the couple that would later take our state homeschooling organization to the next level, Jon and Candy Summers; and became leaders serving directly underneath this same couple.”

        Chandra became friends with the Summers’ daughter, Heather. But the friendship was short-lived. Why? Because Chandra didn’t live up to the Summers’ standards for a godly christian homeschooled girl. From Parts 2-4: “I had been shunned and rejected by John and Candi and my own family as well.” “My mom had scheduled a meeting with Candi do discuss me, to see if there was any way that Heather and I could become friends once more. Mom did this at my unceasing insistence. This meeting, taking place at Candi’s house, took a full day.” “She proceeded to tell me that Candi had been keeping a record, a written record, on an 8 ½ x 11 yellow legal notepad… of every “instance” that I had committed against Heather, their family, and more importantly, the homeschooling support group. My mom had spent the entire day at Candi’s home, copying down everything that Candi had written. And then my mom pulled out her own legal notepad…and proceeded to read it to me.
        This is not an easy thing for me to write about. My entire world literally came crashing down around me.” ” Candi had told my mom that she had warned all of the other families “about Chandra” and what is worse: my mom agreed with her decision. I had become the bastard child of the homeschooling movement and true to form, they needed to peck me until their problem went away.”

        Leaders of a christian homeschool support group? Chandra gives her view on their purposes in Part 1: “They were doing this because they believed in perpetrating religious dogmatism onto the next generation. They believed, with our whole heart and mind, that the homeschoolers were “God’s chosen people, His remnant, His choice to save and reclaim America.” This mantra was recited far more times than I care to remember at every single homeschooling function or support group meeting. The support group meetings, over the course of time, came to resemble worship services where the people of God could go and become stirred up and motivated to go out of the doors and militantly take over the world through having more children and homeschooling them. In many senses, the homeschooling movement mimics radical Islam and their views on populating the earth and militantly reclaiming it for Ala. Homeschool conferences and conventions around the nation encourage militia sign-ups, hoarding of illegal weapons, and survival and world-collapse techniques and survival methods.”

        Another family, another daughter, abused and damaged by the misguided motives of homeschool leaders trying to raise “God’s army.” Sorry for the choppy editing–I tried to give the gist of the emotional abuse by these leaders for those who aren’t inclined to read the entire story. For those who are inclined, see the link above.

        May Jesus Christ be praised by anything I write.

        • ColleenInWis Says:

          You know, after posting, I thought, “What if Chandra’s words about the Summers family aren’t true?” When I first started reading stories like this about homeschool families, I could hardly believe them. They really rocked my world. Now, a year or two later, I am hardened, in a sense, and very quickly believe that they are all true. Sad.

  8. amom Says:

    That letter was hard to read. I am trying to understand the tone of the question at the end. Was that theirs? That would be satan’s biggest victory- to make people question the sovereignty of God in all this. That grieves me and has been part of my concern about this movement. Where is trust in God when people can try to control everything? And it shows the elevation of the leader, with no accountability for his sins, to be, well…

    • amom Says:

      Now I’m looking at my tone :). I wasn’t intending to criticize followers. I do understand the intentions. I have watched friends in this. I am just sad that formula’s squeeze out or minimize God…

  9. Amy Says:

    Why are we sending care packages to unrepentant sinners? Seems like the admonition to not eat with them should extend to not sending care packages.

    Is CHEF unaware that those closest to him are saying he is unrepentant?

    Does anyone have their email so we can inform them?

  10. Kate Says:

    I can understand how many people are feeling totally betrayed by their (former) leader/mentor but I also hope that it leads many to question some of the core beliefs that DP was promoting while setting himself up as final word/power within BCA and VF. It sounds as if any minor disagreement with DP simply resulted in him twisting the offenders words/actions into being “unbiblical” or worthy of “discipline”. Women were silenced because it was “biblical” (despite many strong women in the bible). He wasn’t following scripture or Godliness, he was following his own preferences and feeding his ego. Money donated went towards vacations and “dress up” parties (often glorifying events that don’t need glorifying – like the antebellum South or the sinking of the Titanic). I’m wondering if the fire sale at VFInc is meant to gather up as much “get out of dodge” money as possible.

    • Jen Says:

      Kate, yes, now is a great time to reevaluate beliefs. I think we should tackle those one at a time here.

      I am sure that one of the purposes of Doug’s “fire sale” is to gather a few more dollars to skip town (and go far, far away). It is quite interesting that he only posted one sale notice this week.

  11. cptruthlover Says:

    I can see several errors in this letter that was put out. First, the author talks of God allowing Doug to be sifted by Satan. Of course they are referring to Job being allowed to be sifted. Anytime we are allowed to be sifted, it is a reference to hardships we are allowed to face for our own good or to bring glory to God. They are always a spiritually good thing. God is not capable of evil, so he would not sift Doug by allowing him to be seduced by a woman and then sin. That was completely the enemy and sin on Doug’s part, because we have the free choice to do evil. Second, they are assumin that Doug is a beleiver and talk of the fruit he displayed and produced. If that is the case, why is so much rotten fruit coming up? Talk about being deceived by the enemy!!!

    • NuttShell Says:

      Really???? Allowing Doug to be seduced by a woman? Oh yeah, it was all her fault…….

      • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

        After all, a Commander of Holy Gilead can do no wrong (because of his Holiness and Y Chromosome). It is always the fault of the Handmaid. (In this case, the Handmaid OfDougEsquire.)

    • Lynne Says:

      I believe the reference to being sifted is from Jesus’ words to Simon Peter in Luke 22, where He told him that “Satan has desired to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith would not fail.”

  12. Dont drink the Kool-Aid Says:

    People, we have been given a gift, a way to get our message to Doug Phillips directly C/O Jon Summers. He said he will take to the Phillips whatever comes to him: “Please send cards and notes of thanksgiving to the Phillips family by December 14, c/o Jon Summers, 236 St. Louis Avenue, Ferguson, MO 63135, and we will make certain that they are included in a special care package that we will be sending to their home.”

    Lets flood them with some “care packages”

    • Anon Says:

      Including notes to Beall to kick him to the curb? Mind you, she doesn’t sound like she’s all sunshine and flowers either.

      • Jen Says:

        Anon, I will approve your comment this time, but please use any name except some form of “Anonymous.” It becomes confusing when more than one person uses the same name. Thanks!

      • Jen Says:

        Anon, notes to Beall would be a great idea! No, I am sure she is not perfect either, but does she really deserve to be treated the way Doug has treated her all these years? I think not.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          I like the idea of including a kind note to Beall. If anyone is going to write her please don’t be mean about it. The woman has suffered a great deal, not just the complete loss of her own public image (which is inextricably linked with Doug’s), but also having to endure years of marriage to a sociopathic narcissist. If you haven’t been married to someone like that then you can’t even begin to imagine the hell that poor woman has gone through.

          Has she changed over the years for the worse? Everyone who has known her long-term would say yes. Being married to a narcissistic sociopath will never brighten your disposition or improve your personality. Many people have been driven to suicide because of such marriages. The fact that Beall is still alive and has been able to love and nurture her own children, in spite of living with Doug, is a testament to the strength of her character. I have considerable respect for her because of what she’s had to endure.

          Please show her compassion. It will likely take her years to recover. I agree that she needs to get out of the relationship if she ever hopes to recover. Perhaps divorce is her only option. But she doesn’t need to be sent letters telling her that. There’s no way to say something like that without it hurting her all the more.

        • Jen Says:

          TW, I understand your compassion and concern for Beall, but if others don’t talk to her about the option of divorce, considering that Doug has drilled it into her head that divorce is always a serious sin, how do you think Beall will ever be able to consider divorce as a viable option?

    • Jen Says:

      Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, great idea! I’m not entirely sure they will get them, but go for it!

    • zooey111 Says:

      Well, rats!!
      The garbageman just picked up the used cat litter……and here I could have sent to someone who seems to be full of…. Well. Ahem.*

      *;-)…..that stuff you step in if you get too close to the north end of a southbound horse.

  13. Rebecca Says:

    Excellent post TW! I’m so glad I followed this comment thread as I have been trying to learn more about how/if this Dan Horn was connected to DP. I heard him preach this summer and found him to be full of himself and long winded spilling over his sermon more than an hour past church’s ending time despite the fact we all were crammed into a tiny building with no a/c. I had never heard of him before and everyone in this FIC church only seemed to hold him with some high level of honor. The guy doesn’t preach very well I couldn’t figure out the significance of his coming to this little church that we were visiting. The fact that he had come from NC to speak for a week meant heavy pressure to come and here him preach. I’m so glad God worked out the details that my husband had to work that entire week so we never ended up subjecting ourselves to the more than 24 hours of preaching that took place over that week, (despite the fact it was made known that we were more than able to catch up by listening online. Sorry, my husband, for one, isn’t going to listen to even one more hour of this guy let alone 24 hours!) This video posted above is just absurd. I still don’t understand why these men feel so educated on history. They stand looking like fools once the facts are laid bare side by side.

    • Jen Says:

      Rebecca, I think this is a great example of how we need to examine each person individually. I am glad that you were saved from listening to 24 hours worth of regret!

  14. Tracey Says:

    Your post goes too far. You lump many names in with Doug that you have no justification for. I personally know Greg Harris and can testify to how the VF crowd bulldozed him after giving specific assurances they were not planning a like event in the same city. Within 1 month news came out that they were. When attempts were made to combine events or even cancel Greg’s to allow their event to go forward (there was no need to do two), he couldn’t even get the courtesy of a reply. I was personally offended for Greg and stated that to him. His humble reply to me was if you were going to bow, bow low. I will not claim that Greg is perfect but I do believe him to be an honorable and humble man. I have seen him repeatedly promote others into positions of teaching and leadership to spread around that work. In doing so he also establishes much accountability. I understand your dislike of VF and Doug and frankly share it. But let’s not pull out a shotgun and start blasting it at everyone that preaches the gospel and a message that you may not like completely. Not all family integration and homeschoolers are cult people. Some have honest intentions of leading their families humbly and serving the body of Christ in the most effective way possible. There are deep convictions with regards to what they do and they are not following man but to follow God. Disagreements are appropriate and I don’t wish to try to silence them. But to make unfair accusations against others that have not exhibited the pride and lack of accountability that Doug has exhibited for years is not appropriate.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      The fact that Doug Phillips bulldozed Gregg Harris wouldn’t, of itself, make Gregg Harris a good guy anymore than it would make him a bad guy. I don’t personally know Gregg Harris or much about him. All I know are some things I’ve heard about him, and some of those things warrant caution. It doesn’t sound like you know him any better than I do and, thus, all you’re doing is refuting that he warrants caution that I’ve issued.

      I’ve accused Gregg Harris of nothing specific, only that he might be the “next guru” to rise to the top of home school gurus (although I seriously doubt that will happen in his case), and that “Most of them, with the likely exception of Voddie Baucham, are already skilled manipulators and just a hair’s breadth away from being cult leaders.”

      “Most” isn’t all, and Gregg Harris may very well not be an aspiring cult leader. He may never become one either, but I would be negligent in not offering the caution anyway. I have my eye on him because of his past history in attempting to co-opt the Christian home school movement. Dr. Raymond Moore confronted him for that, as he did Michael Farris and others. Hopefully those days are behind Gregg but, nevertheless, I believe the caution is still warranted.

    • NC Says:

      Tracey, I understand and appreciate your comment, but I can’t help but wonder how different many lives would be today had these “leaders” associated with Phillips taken serious the accusations made against him instead of threatening people not to gossip. We (the christian community) have an obligation now to examine closely those who pitched their tents with Doug (literally in some cases) and protect the innocent from more abuse. I’m sure it’s no fun getting examined because of association with Doug, but if these leaders who have been close to him are above reproach and have nothing to hide they should willingly accept scrutiny and concern. 1 Cor. 15:33, “Do not be fooled, bad company corrupts good morals”

      • Tracey Says:

        That is my point. Although Greg teaches some similar things through the years he never has been associated with them that I know of. In fact I have experience where he was ignored. I also know some former VF people that will tell you he was viewed negatively by Doug. Perhaps that is because he was humble and did not teach the extremes that VF taught. You may not like it but a lot of VF’s teaching is right. Doug just took things too far and made it about him. Remember, the percent of the deadly ingredient in rat poison is very small. The rest of it is good good for the rat!

        • NC Says:

          I’m happy for Greg, this is one time where being ignored is a good thing:)
          You are right about the rat poison, but would you eat it on that basis? It might not always be right, but it’s very difficult to separate a message from the man. In addition, whatever was right about their teaching ought to be clear from the scriptures, and yes, I do like it, I love the truth. But as you can see from reading some of the testimonies on this blog many people have been exposed to the poison of VF, suggesting to them now that there is good also if they try some more is silly.
          I think we’re on the same page Tracey, but for those who have been hurt they need a completely different message, one with only one Man at the center.

        • Jen Says:

          It is good to hear that Greg Harris teaches some different things, but that may be all the more reason that he could possibly become the next homeschool hero. I am not saying that he would set himself up to be that man, but that people may be looking for someone to be their new idol now, and many of those will be looking for a new message as well. This is a time where we need to both re-evaluate our beliefs as well as learn the lesson of not idolizing a man.

        • Steve240 Says:

          One thing that I have hear about Greg Harris (happened a while ago) is that he drove a split amongst homeschoolers. As I recall the person reporting this indicated that Greg Harris drove a wedge between the secular homeschoolers and Christian based homeschoolers? Does anyone have any information on this?

          One other thing I have heard about Greg Harris is his pushing that (almost everyone) should be in business for themselves working for someone. Harris doesn’t seem to realize that the self employed business he has (selling materials to homsechoolers) is a niche that most self employed people wouldn’t be in. He also doesn’t seem to realize that a lot of people would have significantly reduced incomes if they went the self employment route.

  15. Walking in Freedom Says:

    I can lurk no longer.
    I’m trying to locate a specific video that Doug posted on his blog some time back. It was of he, his family and their entourage being stuck in an airport for several days. Ever since viewing the video I have been haunted by something I saw and have not been able to get it out of my mind. I NEED to see this again…to see if I “saw” what I think I “saw.”

    • Sarah Says:

      It’s called 72 hours in a terminal. Just google it. It will come up.

      • Louise Says:

        I was thinking of a similar video taken in the airport, but not that one.

      • End it Says:

        interesting how DP has Virginia interview her 2 friends. was Beall even there? I find it very odd that Beall rarely went on any of these adventures.

        • Jen Says:

          End it, that is interesting that Beall does not appear to be there. Considering how many Phillips’ kids are in the video, it looks like Doug is taking just a couple kids with him on this trip.

        • End it Says:

          Why is my original comment above missing a particular sentence? Does it mean what I think it means?

        • Jen Says:

          I have not changed any comments, End it. Perhaps you only thought you wrote it?

        • End it Says:

          Before my comment about Beall, I said Lourdes is gorgeous.

        • End it Says:

          So my comment was not approved. Jen I have read your blog and felt compassion for you. I write a comment with something in it that apparently was not ok to write. Now I KNOW for a FACT what I wrote and you’re going to act like I never wrote it. That is pathetic. At least be honest with me.

        • Lori Voeller Says:

          I was told I was mentioned on this forum and for my own reputation I just wanted to clarify that I am not involved with this situation at all nor have I communicated with Jen (besides a chance encounter yesterday) since 2005. After hearing the contents of what is on this forum, I don’t think this conversation is edifying. For my own conscience sake, I want nothing to do with it. I grieve at what Doug has done and pray for him and his family. However I don’t feel the need to beat a dead horse nor slander those who have already been exposed. Lets stay humble and all remember… “But for the grace of God, there go I.”

        • Jen Says:

          Lori, it was so good running into you yesterday! I have missed you so much! I understand that we have different ways of dealing with this situation, and I respect that. Sometimes, loving others means to warn them about a danger that they don’t realize exists. I wish this was really a dead horse, but from my private emails, I can assure you that there are many people who are quietly lurking, trying to figure out what the truth really is. There are thousands who are totally confused and don’t understand why they see the wonderful Doug Phillips in person, but a totally different person hiding behind the curtain. Sometimes it is necessary to pull back the curtain and let people know what evil is lurking behind the beautiful facade.

        • Jen Says:

          End It, I did a search to see if there were any comments by you that were not approved. The only one I can find is that you said Lourdes is gorgeous. I agree. She is very stunning when dressed up!

          As for deleting comments or sentences, I do not mess with other people’s comments unless they ask me to. I am not sure what happened here, but if you think something is missing, please state it again. I will let it through, no problem. Sorry for any confusion!

        • Mary Says:

          It seems so self-righteous to attempt to shut people up and shut people down when they are attempting to make sense of major pain and upheaval in their lives that came to them through no fault of their own. I have no personal involvement in this particular case, but our family has suffered spiritual abuse in the past. In fact, I have found healing here because I heard stories similar to mine and can finally label my experience — cult. There are so many mean-spirited authoritarian narcissists among Christians – wolves among the sheep — that we must have open, honest, and forthright discussion. I DO believe we should teach others how to be more discerning. How can we do that if we are continually muzzled? It is not slander to talk about what happened. It is therapy for those who are deeply hurt and whose world has fallen apart and who are questioning what they still believe and how “Christians” could do this to them. Therapy is messy. Real love is messy. I have spent too many years with “Christians” who promoted grace for themselves and judgment for me. I choose grace. and mercy. and messy genuine love. for everyone. not just for the elite few who placed themselves over the rest of us…

        • Jen Says:

          Mary, I am glad that you find this a place of healing. We need to comfort one another.

    • DaMom Says:

      I looked at the video clip….iIsn’t the young woman with long brown hair next to the blonde headed lady with glasses…the “nanny”?

    • TDoc72 Says:

      Walking In Freedom…What is it you think you saw? Because I see a lot of little things that could mean nothing but could mean something.

    • NeverAgain Says:

      Just looked at this video for the first time. My impressions: Jubilee is snuggled in a cozy, age-appropriate way next to her dad. She looks comfortable and happy. Virginia is cute. Yes, you do see the children’s nanny in the video. Has anyone ever noticed that she looks just like a younger version of Beall? There are eerie similarities between them in looks and mannerisms. In the video she gives either Doug (who was narrating) or the cameraman flirtatious, lifted-eyebrow glances.

      • cptruthlover Says:

        Really? That is quite rude. She looks exhausted and Doug is not behind the camera. I hear a hint of victim blaming.

      • D.L F Says:

        I didn’t view her mannerisms as flirtatious but instead she seemed amused by the child and was sharing that amusement with whoever is behind the camera. She does resemble Doug’s Jubilee and Joshua. It would annoy me if I was stuck in an airport terminal with someone who insisted on filming me. I doubt that I’d be so friendly

      • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

        If this is OfDoug the Handmaid, her physical appearance “just like a younger version of Beall” would be part of the package. Now that Beall has aged to where she’s no longer attractive to Commander Esquire, of course he’d go for a Handmaid that looks just like her except YOUNG. And the younger the better.

        As for the Confederate States of America/Peculiar Institution/Animate Property tie-in, pre-Civil War Southern Planters knew all about “Houseservants With Benefits”.

  16. Latoya Says:

    Laundry list of questions. I understand if you can’t answer some of these…

    1. Since the bombshell, have more people come forward or indicating that they are at least re-thinking their spiritual path?

    2. To you knowledge is there any organization that helps girls/women that leave the patriarchal system of homeschooling/courtship/etc.?

    3. To that end, how well have the older Phillips kids been educated? Do they have career options? Particularly the girls?

    4. If in the future civil or criminal charges are brought against Doug or some Doug related entity, what is the likelihood that any, or even a few former BCA members or VF employees would testify against their dear leader?

    5.Did you or any of your family members ever attend one of Doug’s events, i.e. Film Fest, Father Daughter weekend etc.,? Did he make you pay full price even if you were a member of his church? What was it like?

    6. Aside from what has already been exposed about Doug, can you say that he has any social, artistic, or business redeeming qualities?

    last question, I promise,,

    7.I can’t help but feel to some extent that some of his former friends are throwing him under the bus. Did his preacher pals really have to do this to save their businesses? Could they not have said”No comment.” or , “Doug is a long time friend. I have no comment about the situation, Not enough info, we wish him well.” I’m still not sure what Doug did to get kicked out of BCA leadership etc., (other than what you’ve definitely revealed) but the 4 horsemen seem a bit classless.

    • NeverAgain Says:

      I’m not Jen, but I can answer a couple of your questions. Our family attended several Faith and Freedom Tour events. They were well organized and (mostly) fun. The not-so-fun parts were standing outside for HOURS in pouring rain and bitter cold (or heat and humidity, depending on the tour) and enduring hostility from some of the ladies. Kelly Bradrick is especially unpleasant — over the course of three F&F tours, I never saw her smile once. She always had a frown or a sneer on her face. There were always several buses, an A-list, a B-list, and (sometimes) a C-list bus. The lectures were excellent and we always learned a great deal. We really got to know our fellow participants well over the course of those trips.

      I think Doug has destroyed his reputation utterly. He might still have a few deluded homeschool supporters, but most people would never associate with him again. He is an attorney, so perhaps he could go back to doing that for a living? He has a great deal of charm and much knowledge about history and politics, but he has destroyed his personal credibility.

      I have always thought that Phillips children (especially the boys) were being groomed to continue the VF legacy. Certainly Joshua was taking on projects and appearing on camera quite a bit. I think all the children could have made excellent marriages in homeschooling/patriarchal circles if this scandal hadn’t happened. Now…I think the whole family has been tainted by Doug’s actions and the name “Phillips” will just be an embarrassment.

      • NC Says:

        Not cool about Peters wife, even if it is true, it’s a cheap shot,

      • Sarah Says:

        Maybe Kelley was tired or overwhelmed doing all that travelling with little ones. I’m sorry but that’s rude to judge who she is as a person by weather she is smiling and bubbly. Who knows what may have been going on. Maybe she didnt like being on all the trips and was grumpy about as would I have been.

        • NeverAgain Says:

          Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: One day on a tour I wore a knee-length denim skirt and a pullover sweater. On the way to breakfast Kelly saw me, looked me up and down, and curled her lip. I imagine it was because my skirt wasn’t floor-length (though it was still fairly modest). Her look was so nasty that it spoiled the whole trip for me. This was quite a while before her marriage. She was always that way every time I saw her. Never a smile, never a polite word. Peter, on the other hand, is absolutely wonderful — kind, gracious, and polite in every situation. Most of the VF employees and affiliates were really nice. It was only Kelly who was scowling and unfriendly.

        • Jen Says:

          NeverAgain, unfortunately, that was an all-too-common experience, not just with Kelly, but with many, including Doug.

      • D.L F Says:

        This isn’t directed at Kelly but the women in that movement have so little power that it wouldn’t surprise me if there wasn’t a lot of passive aggressive nastiness among them.

      • Jen Says:

        NeverAgain, I mostly agree with you, but I think there will be a few diehard families who will be glad if their children marry one of the Phillips’ family children.

    • Jen Says:

      Latoya, thanks for your questions. Let me try my best at answering them.

      1. Although the “bombshell” was significant, I would say that there has been a gradual increase from the time Doug posted his statement of resignation until now, and hopefully that will continue, of both people coming forward with stories of their own, some publicly, some privately; and some people are just now beginning to think through the spiritual implications of all this.

      2. I am not aware of any organization specifically designed to help not only women, but men and families as well, re-think patriarchy, Doug Phillips’ version. However, I would love to do something like that, but am not quite sure how I can make that happen. I have considering traveling to help people in various ways, but I am not sure of the exact need at this time. I have considered writing a book that would specifically address the issues people face at a time like this. I know the books I read were somewhat helpful, but I felt so disconnected from their brand of abuse or cult. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

      3. I cannot speak specifically to the Phillips’ children education, but since Beall and I used almost identical methods of education, I would say that the children are well educated. The boys should have developed some good skills already, and the girls know how to be good wives and mothers.

      4. Unless BCA/VF people, even former ones, do some serious re-evaluation, it is highly doubtful that most of them would testify against Doug, given the heavy emphasis against gossiping and tale-bearing. Those words will ring in the ears of Doug’s followers for years after he’s gone.

      5. Yes, we went to many VF events. We LOVED them! Doug Phillips does an excellent job of putting on events, and I wish he would have found balance in putting on events without weaving his agenda throughout it all. Personally, I think he filled a need in the homeschooling community with those events. I am not saying that they weren’t overpriced, but that cost was designed to provide enough money to cover the expenses of his own family, plus probably several VF employees/interns. I don’t know the specifics on that. Yes, we paid full price.

      6. Actually, Doug has many skills, abilities, and talents. If he would use them ethically, he still could have had a tremendous impact on the homeschool community, but in a much more positive way.

      7. On this point, I feel it is just the opposite. If more people, especially those who know him well, would have first approached him privately, both individually and in groups, and if he did not repent, then speak out publicly and refuse to share the pulpit with him, then we would not all be in the mess we are today. I think many people knew many things that they should have dealt with years ago, and they owe the public an explanation and perhaps an apology. I am, however, willing to give them a little time and space to work through all the emotions of this first.

      • Latoya Says:

        Thanks! For the answers. I always wanted to go to the film festival, but my circumstances never allowed for it. I hope someone can reboot it. It’s the only event pf its kind that I know of for Christian artists.

      • Retha Says:

        “3. To that end, how well have the older Phillips kids been educated? Do they have career options? Particularly the girls?” – Latoya
        “3. I cannot speak specifically to the Phillips’ children education, but since Beall and I used almost identical methods of education, I would say that the children are well educated. The boys should have developed some good skills already, and the girls know how to be good wives and mothers.” -Jen
        Jen, I do not want to read too much into your comment, but do you regard “know how to be good wives and mothers” as “well educated” for girls?

        • Jen Says:

          Retha, most high school educations do not prepare anyone for real world jobs/careers, so I was thinking in terms of an education for high school and below, while they are being homeschooled, yes, I believe they are well educated in that respect.

          I think the girls are ALSO trained to be good wives and mothers.

          I left it at that on purpose. Will they be educated beyond high school, and home ec? Only if it is something that is either a part of their father’s business or some business they can do at home.

      • Bethany Says:

        Regarding your point #2…..I think so many of us are with you in wanting to help people recovering from this. (I am going to school just a few hours from the VF/BCA area and I keep turning over crazy ideas of heading out there in an attempt to help.)
        Hillary McFarland did a great thing several years ago, with her book Quivering Daughters…her book and website helped me when I was exiting the stay-at-home daughters movement. Sadly her book is out of print now. I think it was a good model –she told her story, and included the stories of several other ‘quivering daughters’, and handled the whole thing with a lot of grace and mercy to all involved. She definitely came at it from a Christian perspective and focused a lot on Jesus’ healing. It is so encouraging, for people who are questioning the movement, to have an example of strong Christians who do not believe in patriarchy!! For me, it was very scary to hear (from the VF types) that the only options were Christian/patriarchy/quiverfull/stay-at-home daughter movement on one hand, and rebellious/liberal/atheist/feminism on the other. It was very helpful to hear from women like Karen Campbell and Hillary.
        A friend of mine, another ex stay-at-home daughter, and I have talked about doing some sort of book/blog/other ministry to girls who grew up in similar situations. We think there are pitfalls of any sort of media: book, because it can be very difficult for highly controlled girls to bring a book like anything we might write into their house (it was even controversial in my actually pretty relaxed family), and web, because many families monitor or restrict internet access so much.
        I would like to start some sort of support group on my campus…I am attending a Christian school, and my freshman year there were two other girls on my (very small) dorm floor who had grown up believing these extreme patriarchal teachings. They both said that they were very glad to be able to talk to someone else who had experienced similar things, and said they were helped by reading my copy of Quivering Daughters.
        I think often the first step is validation, letting people know that they are not alone or crazy, that there really is something harmful in the patriarchal movement. I think Julie Anne at SSB has expressed a similar sentiment to that–she has been one of the bloggers who rose to renown fairly recently, in the time after I came out of the movement, so it has been interesting to watch her journey.
        Jen, thank you for the work you do here. Please keep us updated if there is anything we can do to help.

        • Jen Says:

          Thank you for sharing that with me, Bethany. That is very helpful to know what has helped others. And thanks for ministering to those God has put in your path right now. 🙂

        • Maggie Says:

          This website may be helpful to those coming out of these teaching as well. It’s for those who grew up under the teachings of Bill Gothard, but the teachings and the man himself are remarkably similar.

  17. Louise Says:

    I saw that video too! It was weird! I remember thinking that he acted inappropriately when he introduced some young girl. I’ve been thinking about it for weeks.

  18. Kelly Says:

    Does anyone remember a post on Doug’s Blog from several years ago about ectopic pregnancy? He basically stated that women who have surgery for an ectopic (out of place) pregnancy are guilty of murder and need to repent. He used an example of a woman who survived an ectopic pregnancy, however this woman’s pregnancy was in her abdomen, not the fallopian tubes where the huge majority of ectopics occur. I had had an emergency surgery a few years before for an ectopic pregnancy in my fallopian tube and had almost died. The experience was devastating-the loss of a baby and near-loss of my life and fertility. The baby always dies when it’s located in the tube, and the mother will also certainly die from internal bleeding if surgery isn’t performed. Also, from what I’ve researched, the baby has almost always died by the time the distress is occurring to the mother and she requires surgery to live. I remember being horrified and furious after reading his post on this topic. Horrified that he would heap guilt on women already going through such a devastating event and calling them the equivalent of murderers. And scared that homeschool women might actually refuse to have emergency surgery in this kind of situation after reading his comments on this. I emailed VF expressing my thoughts (as perhaps many others did also) and the next day he followed up with a post about emotional women reacting hysterically through their own guilt. Ug.

    We’re a homeschool family and had heard him speak several times before at homeschool conventions in our state. As others have stated, he’s a gifted, compelling speaker. It was too easy to get caught up in his enthusiasm. However, My husband and I started to seriously wonder about several things- for example, at our homeschool convention his wife and several children were sitting in the audience. We were sitting behind them. They had their nanny with them and when the youngest child needed to go out it was the nanny who took her while Beall and the other kids stayed put. Seriously, how many homeschool families have a nanny?? Silly me, I always took my own kids to the potty, or (gasp) my husband did. I was bothered by the message that EVERYONE should have all the children they possibly could- easy to say when you have nannies and household help. Things just aren’t quite that way for most homeschoolers. And most of us can’t afford $800 harps, $150 dolls, etc. that were offered in their catalog. (didn’t want them either, actually)

    My husband went to one VF event with our two young sons years ago-it was the annual Titanic Men/boys event they held in DC. My husband’s impression of Doug was that he was arrogant and elitist. He came away liking Charlie Zahm much more-very nice, humble guy with huge talent. My husband sat at a table with several other men. They were all from the south and were all doctors, lawyers, etc. and wealthy. Nothing inherently wrong with being wealthy or from the south, but my husband felt very out of place. We’re from the northeast and he has a regular old management job and we had to save up for them to go to that over-priced event. He didn’t go along with hooting and hollering when “Dixie” was played. And our boys were the only ones not in three-piece suits. The whole thing was weird.

    And speaking of weird, we got the Return of the Daughters video. All the daughters in the video (except one) were daughters of obviously wealthy families. They showed them doing things like cooking gourmet meals with their Daddy, or helping their Daddy at his very important job. No one was shown doing real stuff like cleaning toilets, doing laundry, etc. Most homeschool families do actually have to do those things! Again, it was weird and we came away from that thinking we wanted more of an opportunity and future for our daughter than helping Daddy forever. And why did VF only ever have FATHER/son retreats, FATHER/daughter teas, MEN/boys events. What about the MOTHERS??

    Jen, at one of Doug’s convention appearances that I attended he went on and on about gossip being evil and how we shouldn’t believe everything we see on the internet. Of course, that got my curiosity up so I went home and googled and found your story. Wow. Lots of heartache and devastation to many.

    I’m sorry to go on and on and I’m not sure this comment even goes here. These thoughts have been swirling around in me for years and I felt the need to comment.

    • T.W. Eston Says:


      Doug Phillips long ago adopted a Pro-Life, No Exceptions position:

      WHEREAS those theories which justify the killing of the unborn child on the basis of the circumstances of conception (as in the case of rape and incest), or even the life of the mother (ectopic pregnancies) are completely false because they are based on unbiblical and humanistic ethics, unbiblical definitions of “self defense” theory, and a rejection of the personhood of the child; andtook quite a public beating over his assertion that women could not seek medical intervention in the case of an ectopic pregnancy.

      Whether treated or untreated, an ectopic pregnancy always results in the death of the fetus, and medical science currently has no way of saving the life of the fetus in the case of ectopic pregnancy. Left untreated an ectopic pregnancy generally results in the rupture of the fallopian tube, causing massive hemorrhaging, with the death of the mother the likely result. Tragically, current medical science is unable to intervene to save the life of the baby, but it can save the life of the mother by preventing the rupture of the fallopian tube by surgically removing the fetus. Untreated ectopic pregnancies account for 40-50 deaths in the US each year.

      Doug Phillips’ “no exceptions” position brands any woman a “murderer” if she seeks medical intervention in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. Not a single pro-life organization supports Doug Phillips’ “no exceptions” position and most think he’s grossly irresponsible, and many think he’s a kook. However, there is one “health care sharing” program that adopted Doug Phillips’ no exceptions policy, Samaritan Ministries. They won’t cover an ectopic pregnancy, and my understanding is that Doug Phillips had a great deal to do with making that happen. To quote from Doug Phillips blog post of 2003:

      But before we walk comfortably away from Mr. Hill, perhaps we should examine ourselves as well. Many Christians today oppose abortion, except in those circumstances where doctors claim that the mother’s life is threatened by the unborn baby. The classic case involves a “tubal” or ectopic pregnancy.

      Though most “life of the mother” arguments for killing a baby stem from pure emotionalism, many Christians who seek to offer a rational defense of this type of abortion, usually do so by borrowing the same reinvented justifiable homicide argument embraced by Paul Hill to sanction the assassination of abortionists.

      As with Paul Hill’s justification of the murder of abortionists, advocates of killing unborn babies “for the life of the mother” reason that it is o.k. for a mother to kill her child if it is an act of self-defense. But Paul Hill and pro-life exception advocates fail the biblical test. Both are terribly guilty of borrowing from pragmatic, non-biblical arguments, and twisting the Scriptures to justify a desired result.

      Several things are worthy of note: First, a baby is not a willful aggressor. This ends the debate on justifiable homicide. A baby neither intends the harm, nor acts aggressively against its mother. (In fact, if “blame” is to be passed, it should rest on the mother, not the baby, since it was the mother’s body which produced the circumstances in which the baby has found himself.) The Bible makes no provision for executing an innocent party (one which lacks intent to harm) in order to help another.

      Second, while the unborn baby in the case of an ectopic pregnancy may pose a threat which could materialize into a harm to the mother, the threat is not imminent in the classic sense, nor is it conclusive that the baby’s presence necessarily will cause harm. All that is known is that it might cause harm. Consequently, the murder of the baby takes place in anticipation of a statistical possibility. Here again, the biblical requirements for justifiable homicide are not met.

      Conclusion: God’s law is the standard. God’s word speaks not only to vague principles, but to specific methodologies. We are not at liberty to improvise, nor may we substitute our own private interpretations in order to advance a “greater cause.” The greatest cause is obedience to our Lord. Paul Hill was wrong because he misconstrued Scripture. His thinking became off-base and he embraced a form of unbiblical pragmatism—-the ends justifies the means. Consequently, there is blood on his hands. It is my prayer that the Church of Jesus Christ will learn from this error, and self-examine our view of the so-called abortion exceptions, such that we will not be guilty of the same crime.

      • A physician Says:

        Those quotes from Doug on ectopic pregnancies are factually/medically wrong and very dangerous for women in those situations.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          “Very dangerous”, as in a woman could easily die?

          I have to wonder if any women have died, as a direct result of Doug’s dangerous and grossly irresponsible medical advice.

          Furthermore, I have to wonder how many women are suffering immense unwarranted guilt from hearing Doug equate them with being murderers for their having gotten medical treatment for an ectopic pregnancy.

          There are so many ways this man has been an utter outrage to the Christian community.

      • Kelly Says:

        I remember reading all of this at the time he posted it on his blog and feeling absolutely horrible. I don’t remember there being any choice being given by my doctor or discussed at all at the time of my ectopic and emergency surgery. I went to the emergency room in awful pain, bleeding internally not even aware yet that I was pregnant. I was told I must immediately have surgery to save my life. Certainly no one said to me that I had to murder my baby so that I could live. Of course they knew that the baby had a 100% certainty of dying, and so did I unless surgery was performed. From what I’ve researched my baby was almost certainly gone at that point because the bleeding/pain had been going on for at least a week until the tube finally ruptured and a baby could not live in those circumstances. I went into surgery prayerfully and at peace, but hopeful that I could live to raise my two young boys. If the doctor told me that my baby could live but I wouldn’t, I definitely would not have had the surgery and my baby would be here and I’d be in heaven, period. But, according to Doug Phillips I’m a murderer. So I guess in these situations they (Doug and company) believe nothing should be done and both mother and baby should die-even though there is the possibility to save one life. My husband said there was no way he would stand by and just let me bleed to death. I wonder if that is what they would do???

        Thanks for letting me know Samaritan Ministry’s position on this.

        • cptruthlover Says:

          I dont think that is their position since several people who do the samaritans ministries medical share plan had their ectopic surgeries paid for. You can Google samaritan ministries and ectopic pregnancy and it comes up with a couple stories.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          I know for some years that Doug was recommending Samaritan Ministries. He endorsed them and they posted his endorsement on their web site. It was removed shortly after his public resignation.

          Doug brought them a lot of business, and he may have gotten some nice commissions for it too. One of the reasons he recommended them, or at least so he claimed, is because they were “100% pro-life”, meaning in Dougspeak they wouldn’t pay for an ectopic pregnancy. Perhaps they changed their policy at some point and Doug didn’t know? If they have changed their policy I’m glad to hear it.

          Doug suffered a huge public backlash over his anti-ectopic pregnancy position, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Samaritan Ministries quietly changed their policy around the same time.

        • Amy Says:

          Can anyone confirm if this is Samaritan’s current position on ectopic pregnancy? I searched the guidelines, but it doesn’t seem to be addressed (or I missed it).

          Click to access 20130614Guidelines.pdf

        • "Mozzie" Says:

          Amy, I found this on Samaritan’s website where it says that at least one couple did have the surgery with ectopic pregnancy paid for.

        • Jen Says:

          Kelly, it is a good thing Doug Phillips is not God! You are not a murderer. I’m glad you are alive and well today!

        • Kelly Says:

          Thank you-I know I’m not (I’m guilty of plenty-but I’m pretty sure I’m not deliberately guilty of murder) but it was very painful to hear that from someone I respected at the time. And it’s frightening the influence his comments may have had on others. I was so upset that I went to my (now former) pastor and his wife for counsel. This was a VERY conservative IFB church, yet they still thought his stance on ectopic pregnancy was completely wrong.

          Also, although my tube ruptured and my doctor was sure I would lose the tube and the ovary, when he examined me a month later there was no visible evidence that I had ever had an issue at all. He was shocked.

          We went on to have three more children. God is merciful and kind.

        • Jen Says:

          It sounds like much healing has taken place, Kelly. I hope this helps even more.

      • 8inTexas Says:

        I think we need to be very careful to not drag Samaritan Ministries into this. They have been a huge blessing in thousands of people’s lives (including my own family) and just because of this questionable link w/ DP, it doesn’t mean you should “throw the baby out with the bathwater”. They take a strong stand on members committing to living godly lives – including sex is reserved for marriage – so I’m sure DP’s membership was dropped as soon as this scandal came out.

      • Lynne Says:

        I have never understood why “pro-life” did not include a respect and desire to save the mother’s life. I get that most women would die to protect their children, but in the case of ectopic pregnancy, BOTH will die. So why is the mother’s life considered unimportant?

      • Corrine Says:

        Oh the arrogance ! I have 2 sisters who had ectopic pregnancies, one of them ruptured & nearly died. My mom’s good friend did die from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. So irresponsible !! What proof does he offer? Really ridiculous!

    • Jen Says:

      Kelly, thanks for telling us your stories. We love to hear everyone’s story here, although we truly wish there were no stories of this type to begin with.

    • Catholic Homeschooler Says:

      Good grief. Even we Katolicks allow for surgery with ectopic pregnancies…for exactly the reason you mention (the baby can’t survive anyway).

    • Maggie Says:

      Kelly- I heard Doug speak at an event once. Although I had no personal interactions with him, the vibe I got from him was “cold.” He was obviously intelligent and well-spoken, but I never got the feeling that he cared about anyone else or about sharing the gospel.
      And imagine how out of place I felt, as I showed up in pants!

      • Kelly Says:

        My husband got the same impression.

        Oh dear-pants! I finally got up the nerve to wear them to last year’s homeschool convention. Times are changing. Hardly saw a Jean jumper in the whole place.

  19. Rich Says:

    I am a pastor and have been reading the posts and comments about VF and DP. Like all of us, it breaks my heart to see how much hurt has been caused, and has yet to be fully felt, by those who have been run over and truly abused by this cultish ministry and personalities.

    If you will allow me, I would like to attempt to offer ‘repentance’ on behalf of these wolfish shepherds. I am not your pastor but I do represent “those guys” to many of you. I am guessing that some of you reel at the mention of a pastor or elder. I understand how easy it is to put all shepherds into the false shepherd herd. Worst of all, we deserve it. We have abused our calling, fleeced and scattered the sheep and blasphemed God’s name to the unbelieving world.

    Therefore, as a shepherd, I would like to offer sorrow and apologies on behalf of the shepherd who wounded you so deeply. I cannot repent in their place. No man can atone for the sins of another. Only Jesus can do that. Doug or whoever personally caused you harm, must himself repent to you. But since I fall into the functional category of shepherd/pastor, I am sorry for what we have done to you. Some of us are true predators who seek to destroy God’s flock. Some have significant sin and psychological issues which blind them to their own harmful ways. Others can be callous and still others merely careless. But all can and have wounded at times, myself included.

    If my apology means nothing to you, brush it off and forget it. But if it helps you in any way, please accept it as well-intentioned from a sinful shepherd who needs the grace of God as much as anyone.

    • cptruthlover Says:

      Wish there were more humble pastors like you. My experience with being told my meds were unbiblical, Beth Moore was bad, the Pearls book was the only answer for marriage, I gave up on trying to challenge them. By the way, I am a homeschooling, Christian mom who has conservative views, but yoy would think I was an outsider for beleiving differently about the above. The problem with many pastors is they are concerned about false teachings and so they go too far and try to play the role of the Holy Spirit in the beleiver’s life.

    • Feeling sad/bad no longer Says:

      Thank you for saying this. It made my day.

    • Jen Says:

      Rich, if I had a pastor like you, I might actually go to church again! Thank you for your kind words, but you are not the one at fault here. Those who are at fault need to own their own offenses, and take responsibility for the hurt and harm they have spread far and wide.

      Thank you for taking such a stand!

    • Raymond249 Says:

      This is nothing against you Rich, you seem like a really good guy, plus humble and nice. But since you are in the profession I always wondered this- why do you think pastors have such a propensity for immorality? I would have to think it ranks as a profession, and these are people that are supposed to be big on Biblical principles. I feel like pastor’s have a lot of time on their hands too, maybe its not that way with you but we have to work with churches a lot and a coworker and I laugh when we have to call a church to talk to a pastor. The over/under is always about 90% on the pastor not being at the church. Maybe they have too much time on their hands and this causes them to get into porn, affairs, etc?

      • Rich Says:

        Raymond 249—a fair question: “why do you think pastors have such a propensity for immorality?”

        First, I have to wonder if pastors have a propensity for immorality or that is just the perception since they are public figures. (i.e. We see it and feel it more profoundly than we do our next door neighbor.) I don’t have good stats on this but whatever the reality is, we all agree there are FAR too many moral failures among pastors/ministry leaders.

        I hate to bring in the CHEF newsletter defending Doug, but it is certainly true that Satan attacks Christian pastors and leaders. It is simply a strategic way to attack God’s flock. If you can take out the shepherd the sheep will suffer. Of course the enemy does this through sexual temptation but also innumerable other ways.

        Howard Hendricks did a study years ago and came up with 4 things that were true of a large group of pastors who walked into immorality. The one that always stood out the most to me was this factor: “It can never happen to me.” You can imagine that this sense of invincibility could lead to all manner of problems.

        T.W. posted a link which places clergy in the top ten professions which attracts sociopaths. In my 20 years I have only see one true instance of this up close. There’s an article in the current World magazine about the reality TV show called The Preachers of LA. This quote was especially disturbing.

        “When you get to my age you think, ‘Why can’t I have some fun. I like to play chess. I like to go to exquisite restaurants. I like to go fast in my cars. I like it. It’s part of being successful.’ He also very much likes women ‘throwing themselves at him.’ ‘It’s the whole rock star thing…pictures, emails, just sticking numbers in your hand.’”

        It’s the rare pastor who thinks just like this man but far too many stand on a slippery slope just above it. Perhaps a problem greater than immorality is old-fashioned insecurity. We all struggle with it to some degree, but when you are given a platform of influence and often free rein to lead the church and her people, this can be a recipe for disaster. This is especially true when your platform is as large as the one managed by DP and VF. The vast majority of pastors I have known or been acquainted with have been noting like these extremes but that does not change the fact that it is a minor epidemic.

        I think that genuine, humble accountability is one of the keys to prevention. Anyone can say that they are accountable or claim that they want accountability, but pastors (and all believers!) need to seek out accountability and demonstrate their sincerity by listening to feedback without defensiveness and an with an open heart.

        • Jen Says:

          Rich, I was with you all the way until you got to accountability. I am going to take the unpopular position on this one, for two reasons. First, Doug was “accountable” to more people than possibly any human being on planet Earth today. And we can see where that got him. He was nearly always surrounded by scads of young men, and he had countless older men in his life, constantly either ministering together with him, walking with him, mentoring him, and being on multiple boards with him. There was NO lack of accountability in his life.

          Which brings me to my second, and most important, point of why I do not agree with the “accountability” angle. Other than the fact that we do not find it anywhere in Scripture, it all boils down to our own heart, our own character, our own integrity. Yes, we are to love one another and bear one another’s burdens, but we are each ultimately responsible for our own actions in life. If our heart is not pure, all the accountability in the world will not keep us from doing what we want to do. And Doug Phillips is a perfect example of that.

          Regarding pastors who commit sexual sins, I have heard that they have all said that it happened when they stopped praying. When we sever our own relationship with God, we will much more easily sin. Perhaps, then, relationship with God, rather than accountability to man, should be the key factor here.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          Jen, YES! We were talking bout that very thing. Reading about Joseph, he had all kinds of possible excuses and NO accountability partner. He had a time of power and abundance but RAN from the advances of an evil woman. He went to prison. He remained faithful to God….through it all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Jen Says:

          Amen! Great biblical example!

        • Rich Says:

          Yes, I have read about his accountability and I agree that as a mere fact, it us utterly useless. Tons of guys are in accountability relationships that can degrade to simply becoming more adept at lying.

          The type of accountability I am referring to is what you mentioned–a matter of the heart. If your heart wants fellow believers to help you in your walk with Christ (which is a simple definition of “accountability,” then you will seek it out and allow God to work through these folks.

          There is something I call the ‘relational triad’–3 avenues of relational accountability: Gal. 6:1-2, Matt. 5:22-24 and Matt. 18:15. If these are followed with good intentions all around, they are powerful, and necessary tools for seeing our sin and moving toward forgiveness and reconciliation.

        • Catholic Homeschooler Says:

          Maybe the answer is the Billy Graham model? I’m sketchy on the details, but I seem to recall reading that he traveled everywhere with his wife and never allowed himself to be alone with another woman. Or, as we say here in Catholic-Land, he avoided the near occasion of sin. Because he knew we are all weak…even religious rock stars. (Wish our own Father Corapi had followed Graham’s example!)

        • Rich Says:

          It seems that Doug modeled himself after Graham. As you said Jen, it’s all a matter of the heart.

          Yes, Joseph is a good example but so is Nathan and David. God didn’t “need” Nathan to illuminate David’s sin, but God used Nathan for this purpose. Along with countess other Scriptures, these are the “one anothering” that is to take place in the body. Just because there are abuses does not mean we should eliminate these Biblical truths, IMHO.

        • Jen Says:

          Rich, those are good examples as well. Was Nathan David’s “accountability partner” or did God use him to confront David after the fact?

          What Scriptures would you use to support having “accountability” in our lives? I absolutely agree that God uses people. In fact, He usually uses people. But I don’t see “accountability” to people.

          Love one another.
          Be kind to one another.
          Bear one another’s burdens.
          Submit one to another.

          Be accountable to one another?

        • Rich Says:

          Jen, I don’t think I ever used the term “accountability partner.” I think we are talking about the same thing but using different terms. All of the one anothers include the necessity of mutual accountability. You do not have to partner up to do this or sign a covenant. But you do need to be willing to be confronted and to confront others in truth and love.

        • Jen Says:

          Thanks, Rich. So you are saying that pastors just need to be willing to be confronted in love if they are in sin then?

          That would be quite different from the type of accountability Doug claims is the reason he fell into “serious sin” to begin with. I guess that is what I take exception to — essentially blaming others for not preventing him from sinning rather than taking full responsibility for his own actions.

        • Rich Says:

          That is CLEARLY not accountability. Such a thing never entered my mind.

          Yes, not just be willing to be confronted, but invite close friends to point out things before they get bad, as soon as they see possible trends leading to sin, etc. This is one anothering and is absolutely essential.

        • Jen Says:

          I think we were talking past one another, Rich. I was only thinking of Doug’s statement. 🙂

        • Maxwell Says:

          The Billy Graham model sounds well and good but ultimately, it is unreasonable. Why? Several reasons. 1st, it assumes that I, as a man, can’t be expected to control myself in the mere presence of a woman. It’s almost as if simply being along with woman is enough to lead any man to rape her. What utter nonsense. The second reason it doesn’t work — at least for +90% of men is that it is impossible to do. I am self employed and work in the service industry — I am called to service equipment in homes and businesses, sometimes on nights and weekends. I have no control over who will be there, when they will show up or when they will leave. Many of my direct contacts in the businesses are women and they are often in charge of the equipment I service. There is simply NO WAY I could follow the “Billy Graham Model”, even if I wanted to. To suggest that I, or any one else, do so is foolishness in my opinion. God bless Mr. Graham, I’m sure it worked for him, but it would never work for most.

  20. P. Fury Says:

    Great article TW. I’ve been anti DP for about 13 years or so. I’ve always closely followed his ministry, because I smelled a rat years ago. In that time he’s financially ruined good men, threatened families, tried to have people terminated from their employment, and has lied repeatedly. There is even suspicion he’s engaged in Mossad like cyber-war, (I’ll let others explain that one). As a result for years I’ve suspected he didn’t believe what he taught, but instead found an opportunity with a willing audience and exploited them for filthy lucre. With that, is the nagging suspicion his desire wasn’t just to make money, but to destroy the very Christian movement he claimed to be a part of. I can think of no other logical explanation to his behavior.

    I could spend all day covering the lies DP has spewed, but I’ll mention one that I’ve never seen discussed before. The first time I heard DP speak in 2000, he mentioned that he grew up in a loving Christian family from a young age. He reiterated that in numerous speeches, videos, and blog posts over the years. In the past two years, he mentioned in a blog post that he attended a Hebrew school, and grew up in a traditional Jewish family. (For some reason I can’t find that blog post, has DP deleted all of his VFM blog posts prior to his resignation?)

    Which is it Dougie, did you grow up Christian or Jewish? I suspect it was the latter, but he didn’t make that known until recently. Instead he lead thousands of Christians to think he had been a Christian from the cradle, and will be to the grave. Personally I think he never has been a Christian, just based off his behavior. The only thing he’s been consistent with is his lies, and treachery.

    I pray any other victims will step forward, and anyone with inside information detailing the activity of DP will step forward. Don’t be afraid of this little swine any longer, he has no control over you any longer. I’m really interested if anyone has any proof of DP attending non-Christian conferences, or hiring humanistic advisors that taught him some of the tactics he’s used.

    • Turkey Says:

      “I’ve suspected he didn’t believe what he taught, but instead found an opportunity with a willing audience and exploited them for filthy lucre.”
      Something in your comment reminded me of the Ape in “The Last Battle”. He was a showman– playing to audiences. He couldn’t help having his Apishness come out sometimes. But he was useful to those behind he scenes in the “Tashlan” movement, winking and nodding to each other. When his usefulness was done, they were happy to sacrifice him to Tash.
      Hmm– will need to think more about this….

      • P. Fury Says:

        Great analogy! From the first time I saw DP speak, to every interaction I had with him or his knee-knocking underlings, I’ve never trusted him. I could tell from the beginning he was a better master showman than his father had ever been–and that’s saying something! He could work a crowd, and have homeschool moms feeding on his every word, willing to follow him to the ends of the Earth. Glad the pied-piper has played his last song.

        I still can’t get past the itching feeling I have that DP already had an option to handle this situation should it ever arise. Men of his ilk always have an exit plan, even for the worst situations. Whether he makes it into the limelight again, and regardless of whether he serves time or not, he’ll never hit rock bottom financially. Extensive prior planning, in combination with wicked men in lofty places will see that his needs are taken care of.

        I hope every wrong he’s committed against servants of Christ will be brought full-fold on him.

        • Jen Says:

          P. Fury, I fear that you are correct. I think he has something planned and we may not hear from him again for a LONG time.

        • mrs. w Says:

          Is there any word about his current whereabouts or recent “dougie sightings?” I’m guessing he has gone underground to wait out the storm. His poor family 😦

        • JourneyGirl Says:

          P Fury, Doug’s dad was Jewish and his mother is staunch Roman Catholic. His younger brother Samuel was raised Catholic. What I have heard from people who knew him well is that Doug was raised in his father’s tradition, and was also discipled by hardcore Calvinistic Christians, including pastor Robert Gifford (whom Doug reveres in so many of his sermons). Based on my understanding, it is questionable whether or not Howard Phillips was a true follower of Christ. Obviously, Doug’s salvation is also in question. Wolves are false prophets. Which also stands true for pastor Gifford…..

        • Tinuviel Says:

          Whoa, there, JourneyGirl. Do you even know Pastor Gifford? Are you personally acquainted with him? He is absolutely NOT a hardcore Calvinist – he is a believer in the doctrines of grace but does not even like the term Reformed because he is a strict Baptist. The history of the Baptist church teaches that Baptists were not part of the reformation, but rather have been persevering from the time of Christ according to the verse which states “I will establish my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” In other words, there was never a time when the true church of Christ did not exist, nor did the true church of Christ need reforming. (See the book, “Are Baptists Reformed?” by Kenneth H. Good for more information about that.)

          Not only that, when DP attended Pastor Gifford’s church he wanted to be allowed to speak and to give sermons. After much careful consideration, Pastor Gifford chose not to allow DP to speak and that was one of the reasons (perhaps the main one) DP left Virginia and went to Texas. DP met with several of the men at Pastor Gifford’s church in an effort to persuade them to allow him to speak, but they did not (and still do not) agree with his views, especially his Reconstructionist, Dominionist, views. This was over twenty years ago and DP has never been invited back to speak in all those years.

          Pastor Gifford has also mentioned from the pulpit several times through the years that he feared for Doug and felt he was going down the wrong path theologically and also mentioned talking to Doug on the phone trying to persuade him to change – alas, to no avail.

          Pastor Gifford is one of the dearest, sweetest Christians I have ever had the privilege of knowing and I will not stand by and watch someone defame his character – especially someone who obviously has never met him.

    • D.L F Says:

      Could you clarify a statement for me P Fury? You said, “Which is it Dougie, did you grow up Christian or Jewish? I suspect it was the latter, but he didn’t make that known until recently. Instead he lead thousands of Christians to think he had been a Christian from the cradle, and will be to the grave. Personally I think he never has been a Christian, just based off his behavior. The only thing he’s been consistent with is his lies, and treachery.”

      Are you suggesting that Doug is secretly Jewish and is deceitful because he is Jewish? I apologize ahead of time for misreading your statement.Sometimes online conversations can be confusing.

      • EyesWideOpen Says:

        I always heard him say his mother was a staunch Roman Catholic. He never did discuss his own conversion let alone that of his parents.

        • Ed Says:

          In the late 1980’s I heard Doug Phillips say his father, Howard Phillips was not a Christian although Howard was not hostile to Christianity. This was about the time his youngest brother Samuel was born–1986 perhaps. While Doug seemed to be conversant with his Jewish heritage and not ashamed of it, I was never led to believe that he grew up steeped in it, was barmitzpha’d (sp?) etc. Neither did he seem to be an observant or strict Roman Catholic. He went to Langley High School in Northern Virginia and when he started out at William and Mary he was a member of a fraternity. He is 5’8″ or so, not 5’4″ (and while I’m fairly in agreement with the Napoleionic complex observations, I agree with another post/different thread I think his stature is fairly irrelevant but it ought to be stated correctly).

          All that Tinuviel says about Pastor Gifford above rings true to me based on what I observed and heard about Doug’s relationship with him then. Gifford did perform the Phillips’ marriage. A propos another thread here, I appreciate former members of BCA bringing to light that the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his saving blood was not “preached” by Doug Phillips. Doug majored in “American Studies” I believe, and has had no formal theological, seminary training. To my knowledge he does not know Greek or Hebrew; he was never trained in preaching or hermeneutics and I never knew him to participate in missions trips, service (i.e. serve as a deacon in a church), or teach children in a church prior to his VF incarnation.

        • Jen Says:

          Thank you, Ed. I appreciate you filling in the details. I do think it is important to be accurate. I agree that he is 5’8″ as I remember him being exactly my height.

          While I do not believe that it is necessary to be seminary-trained to be a pastor, the obvious lack of any sort of biblical training, especially hermeneutics, is a huge concern to me. I have since studied hermeneutics myself and now understand why Doug made such a huge mess of misunderstanding and misapplying Scripture. I am also studying Hebrew and Greek and find that not having a basic understanding of the biblical languages can lead a “pastor” to some very wrong teaching.

          What is most interesting to me here, along with the other comment about Pastor Gifford not allowing Doug to speak at the church he practically grew up in (since a young teenager), is that Doug apparently went from never having done anything in a church to starting one of his own overnight. And no one apparently questioned his qualifications.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Jen, men know enough not to judge a woman’s height when she’s wearing heels. Women, however, seem to often be unaware that short men often compensate for their short stature by wearing heels. In Doug’s case it’s cowboy boots and tall healed dress shoes, if not platform shoes.

          I can assure you that Doug Phillips is not 5’8″ in anything other than heels, and even in heels it would be a stretch to say he’s 5’8″.

          In any event, it’s a minor issue that I’d rather not see us dispute over. The point is that Doug Phillips suffers some deep-seated insecurities. Most of these likely originated in childhood and, I believe, his small stature played a part in that. His small stature likely continues to this day adversely affecting his self image.

          Many short men I have known suffer no loss of self esteem, and that’s as it should be. But Doug Phillips isn’t one of them. The man shows all the signs of a Napoleon Complex.

      • Ed Says:

        Trying to respond to TW’s last comment in this thread here. He is completely right about the cowboy boots (had to smile in remembering that) as that was going on in the mid/late 80’s too!!

  21. just a shadow Says:

    Hi. First time posting here. Been reading here awhile, though. I’m not sure where to put this comment. I was watching the “72 hours in a terminal” video and something struck me as odd. I wondered if anyone else noticed it or found it strange. During the time when Virginia is being interviewed, you can see the nanny (L) and the Monteufel lady sitting together. Later the camera is on Virginia but you can see the legs & hands of L and the M. lady. Here is the odd part: M. lady reaches over , takes L’s hand and holds it for about 3 MINUTES. She only releases L’s hand when the camera is again on their faces. I find this very odd behavior. No, I’m NOT suggesting it was anything sexual at all. But at the time of this video L would have been around 26-28 years old. What it points to for me is the way that women/mothers in that group “help” each other by keeping tabs on the daughters when they are away from the moms.The older women are adept at becoming deputized/surrogate gatekeepers. I watched that – M. taking L’s hand, and I wondered: how many people helped keep L “in her place” as a “stay at home daughter”. How many older women held her “in her place”? I could understand an older woman holding the hand of a very young child left in her care in a crowded/unfamiliar place. But a 26-28 year old? It points to the way these unmarried girls are viewed by the “community”. 26 years old, yet not capable of being an adult in an airport, viewed as needing the “protection” of the older woman who watches over her. It honestly sent shivers up my spine – it was so representative of the way that community views and treats young women. The older women frankly have much to answer for. Another question that haunted me: Did L want M to hold her hand as a 26 yr old woman? Or was it just what she was used to – having no say, having no opinion, having no “self” other than what those older than you allow. Take time to watch it. It speaks volumes of the community, the mindset of the older women, and the often helpless position the younger women are forced to take. Tragic. Feel free to edit the names. I just wanted to be clear of whom I was speaking.

    • Jen Says:

      Just a shadow, welcome! I finally had a chance to watch the video. I saw the way Mrs. M held her hand. I think that is just Mrs. M’s way. I wouldn’t read too much into it. She’s just very old fashioned and used to be a very good friend of mine.

  22. just a shadow Says:

    If you want to watch it is at 3:09 all the way to 4:16 of the video “72 hours in a Terminal with Virginia.” So it wasn’t 3 minutes as I stated before, but still is very odd.

    • DesiringToDiscern Says:

      It looks to us as if L. was not feeling well (perhaps ill) and attempted to be cheerful for the child and camera…. kind of wishing for a rest and recovery.

  23. just a shadow Says:

    I know both of them personally as well – L and M. I still found it odd. And as I said above, I found it indicative of the way the older women in that group “cover” for each other as gatekeepers. Not trying to be argumentative, but I know that world *very* well and to me it looked like a possesive gesture, “You’re one of OURS…I promised your mommy I would keep my eye on you very closely.” One of the things I found so disturbing about that group is there was so much control, selfishness, and out right disregard for grown humans peddled as “love” and “concern” and “oversight” by the parents/leadership in that group. Most of these girls are surrounded on *all* sides by suffocating intrusion masquerading as “love”. Often, their only choices are to walk away from everything they’ve ever known ( and be labeled an infidel) or to curl up emotionally somewhere inside themselves (effectively dying emotionally) and allow others to say whom they will marry & when & if they will marry at all, what they will eat ( varies from no gluten to no sugar to only hand milled, sprouted, fermented goodies), what they will wear, whom they can talk to & befriend and on and on. I saw all of this in M’s gesture. Much that is billed as “love” in that group is nothing more than a desire to consume and control another human. So, I will have to agree to disagree about M’s gesture. I’m glad that places are finally opening up where these things can be discussed in the light of day, rather than just fearfully whispering them in the brain, and still looking over my shoulder even then.

    • Jen Says:

      Well, Just a Shadow, it has been several years since I was a part of that church and culture, and I know that it has dramatically changed since then, so perhaps you are seeing something that I never experienced. Even my daughter said she never remembered anything like that happening while we were there.

  24. just a shadow Says:

    Perhaps I’m misunderstanding your comment. You and your daughter never saw grown daughters being controlled? You never saw them told what to wear, whom to talk to, whom to marry? You never saw other women “deputized” to watch over other girls and their “hearts” in the absence of their parents? I’m not trying to be rude, honestly. But I saw this *all* the time. I guess there must have been huge changes in the culture. I can remember being part of conversations where the mother was going to be absent for some trip or event, and she would ask another mother to “watch over her daughter’s heart” in the mom’s absence. Maybe it was just the women I was personally around. But I heard it with my own 2 ears.

    Thanks for letting me comment here.

    • Jen Says:

      Just a Shadow, I was actually referring to the hand holding thing. That was odd. Yes, I have definitely seen rules set out for grown women in this circles, but I have never seen other women “deputized” to watch over grown women and certainly not over their hearts. It could be just certain women who do that, or it could have really changed a lot since I left.

      • Just a shadow Says:

        Thanks for your reply. I did not mean to sound rude. I’m realizing I have some latent anger that seems to be bubbling to the surface lately over VF. I thought I was past that, but it seems that I’m not.

        • Jen Says:

          I did not take it as being rude at all, Just a Shadow. You are welcome to find healing here. We will experience various emotions as we go through healing. They are acceptable. 🙂

  25. just a shadow Says:

    And I’ll say another thing. Off topic. I am sincerely praying that Doug’s kids are finally allowed to celebrate Christmas. I’m hoping that they finally get to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I hope they get more than nutcrackers, “welcome winter” signs, and gilded pumpkins left over from Thanksgiving. I hope Beall uses this time as an opportunity to put up a Christmas tree, hang some lights, sing some Christmas “hymns”, and generally demand some Christmas Christian normalcy.

    • zooey111 Says:

      Amen to that!!

    • Jen Says:

      Don’t count on that ever happening! Certainly not this year!

    • Raymond249 Says:

      Wait, they never celebrated Christmas before?

      • Just a shadow Says:

        No. DP and family never celebrate Christmas (or Easter). According to DP, Christmas is a pagan holiday full of pagan evil traditions. Christmas trees are evil. Depictions of Jesus are evil. Manger scenes are idolatrous. Many Christmas carols have “faulty theology” or were written by “armininanists” or were written by “deist leaning unitarians” or some such objection. While I was there, the church was NEVER decorated for Christmas & the fact that it was the Christmas season was not mentioned in church. It was very uncomfortable to be a “Christmas celebrating” family at that church. DP espoused a principle called “Regulative Worship” which only allows the church to do what is explicitly mentioned in the Bible.

        • Just a shadow Says:

          But somehow, “Welcome Winter” signs, nutcrackers, and pumpkins spray painted gold were o.k.. Never mind that the “Nutcracker” was written by a non Christian. It was ok to welcome “winter” but not ok to welcome celebrating the birth of Jesus. It was WONDERFUL to celebrate the birth of the U.S. (July 4) and Marvelous to celebrate the Titanic and Godly to celebrate the day picked as ( by the gov’t) Thsnksgiving. But celebrate the Birth of Jesus on an actual day? And in December? Now that is horrible, wicked paganism!

        • Just a shadow Says:

          The decorations specified below ( nutcrackers etc) were not at church but were at DP’s home.

        • watchingclosely Says:

          Marvelous to celebrate the Titanic

          What he did was embellish, romanticize, falsify, manipulate the Story of the Titanic. The people “in the know” with the ship are having a “hey day” with Doug & his crappy products because they are FILLED with errors…….they are chewing him up and spitting him out……….

        • Jen Says:

          The only “Christmas” that was celebrated by the Phillips family was making money as a “fourth-quarter business.” Yes, they decorated all their online sales this time of year with red and green ribbons and such, and even had guaranteed delivery dates of December 24, but it was a pagan, evil, wicked, CATHOLIC holiday to Doug. I always thought the nutcrackers was just Beall being a bit passive-aggressive in missing Christmas. 🙂

        • P. Fury Says:

          With DP, I’ve wondered long about why he adopted the RWP. I also know he’s a staunch supporter of The Federal Vision, as is his buddies Steve Schi$$el, and Sproul 2.0. Since my first interactions with DP in 1999 he’s always acted the part of a showman working the crowds, yet acting his faith out contrary to what he taught. With that I’ve seen his treatment of those in the church, many that were of the reformed variety. It’s not the marks of a Christian. Elsewhere on this thread I mentioned I think he might hold onto his Jewish lineage. If this is true, what better way for a Christ- hater to defame the birth of Christ than to follow the RWP. Notwithstanding, by being an adherent to the Federal Vision, he’d naturally be a-okay with leading Christian’s astray to the Roman church.

          I might be wrong but I can’t help but think DP has a serious beef with Christianity, and has sought to destroy it since taking the stage. His actions sure seem to support that. Along the way, if he can make an easy buck, whether it be by begging for donations, or hocking cheap junk for quadruple the price matters little.

          While he poo-pooed on Christmas, I bet he was down with celebrating Cinco de Mayo with [].

        • Jen Says:

          P. Fury, the reason Doug stated for not celebrating Christmas is that it is a CATHOLIC holiday and he rejects it on those grounds. That is pretty much a slap in his Catholic mother’s face, although Jews also feel that way about it. While he loosely holds to the RWP, he does not fully embrace it — only when it suits him. Not only was Doug Phillips never a Federal Vision adherent, he also organized a conference to refute the baptism aspect of it when several of his interns became very interested in studying the theology of Federal Vision.

          While I can definitely laugh at your last line here, please notice that I am leaving certain people unnamed for their privacy’s sake. Thanks!

        • P. Fury Says:

          Jen, not trying to fuss, when did DP come out against the FV? His best buds are all in bed with it, and I know at one time he was too. Perhaps he jumped ship on that, because it suited him? I think it was around 2008ish, there was a debate on FB about FV I was involved with his pals, and he took their side. In talking to some of those same friends of his, they said at the time he was FV. Perhaps they were just being zealous and hopeful they could fool me. Cult leaders stick up for cult leaders, pure and simple.

          As I’ve said elsewhere, regardless of what DP claims he is, he’s a con-man through and through. Never trusted him, and never will. I first met him in 1999, and I didn’t trust him then, but I tolerated him. After what happened over the Allosaurus liberatus, couldn’t even tolerate him. Then along came the Mrs. Binocular’s site and it’s news about him, and I began telling everyone that would listen about this wicked man. Since that time I’ve had no less than eight people come to me with horror stories about him trying to ruin their life, and I’ll not stop until this man repents and begins the steps of restitution.

          The further down the rabbit hole I’ve gone on this saga, I’ve now started to question the lives of those surrounding him. The interns, other leaders, and even his sugar-daddy in ministry. Are they in on the gig too? I sure hope not.

        • Jen Says:

          P. Fury, I believe the conference was in 2002/3, soon after the whole thing began. Perhaps he changed his mind later, but I sincerely doubt it. He was not that heavily invested into studying that type of theology.

          While it confirms what I have been saying about many people with horror stories about Doug, it is always so sad to hear these. However, there is strength in numbers, and the only way to prevent Doug from doing this again is to speak out now. Please, if you can convince your friends of the importance of speaking out publicly now, use your influence with them to do so. It is SO important.

          Doug was not the only one involved in all these shenanigans, but he was certainly the ring-leader.

        • Grace alone Says:

          What was DP’s version of the regulative principle? I understand the basis for it, but again, it can be taken to ungodly and legalistic extremes.

  26. oneh20 Says:

    “Personality disorders are often manifested in clusters.”

    This could explain so much.

  27. justinvoeller Says:

    This is a bunch of bullshit. I can’t stand Doug personally. Never have liked the guy. Your article is flat out pathetic tho. While I too believe vision forum is a cult, I’d be more inclined to agree with you if your article wasn’t so riddled with lies. I went to the church for years growing up. Trust me, there was a lot more to the Jen Epstien story. When you’re so focused on bashing someone wrong as they may be, yet make stupid claims backed with no evidence that I know first hand are incorrect, you end up looking like a complete fool mate. Let me be clear, a STRONGLY dislike VF, but I don’t write lengthy articles online about it. Get a life, nobody gives a damn about your opinion if they actually know the truth. The people that believe this article only do so because they don’t know the truth of what really happened (which is just as bad as what you wrote in some cases), only what you tell them. So congrats, you just started your own little cult.

    • Jen Says:

      Hi Justin! How ironic that I was having a good conversation with your mother while you were posting this comment. She told me how proud she is of you! I am going to approve your comment this time, and you are welcome to comment here, but since most people here are your mother’s age, please consider being respectful. Thanks.

      I find it very interesting that you claim there is more to my story. Please, be my guest. Fill us in. I would truly like to know more. Since you were in Korea when this happened, I know that you heard all this secondhand. Is it possible that you were lied to? Ask your mother how many times I came to her for help in my marriage. Ask her about the times I feared for my life. Your mother was the ONLY person there who believed me. She was a very dear friend to me.

      If you would like to shed some light on any aspect here, you are free to do so, respectfully.

      • justinvoeller Says:

        I’m sorry to be disrespectful. Seeing all of this makes me very upset and is highly offensive on many levels. I don’t know any specifics on your story that are credible and therefore aren’t worth sharing. I do know that you and your family were treated terribly by the church which is sad. However I believe this article is very misleading to imply that the entirety of the situation arose from whom you chose to vote for.

        Here is how this article and the majority of what I’ve seen on this website is offensive and I believe wrong: My own dad had a scandal much worse than the one Mr. Phillips had. Plenty of rumors went around, thousands left the movement he was involved in… It wasn’t pretty. Nobody considered tho that articles like these are very hurtful to those associated with the person in question. Have any of you considered how hurtful some of this might be to Doug’s kids or his wife? I have a very firsthand experience with how painful that can be. Ask yourself if your need to gossip is important enough to hurt the innocent.

        Secondly, calling him a sociopath, psychotic, or saying he has mental issues or personality disorders makes light of a very serious issue that is also near and dear to me. If in fact he DOES have mental issues or disorders, then I feel terrible sorry for him. That is NOT something to mock or use against a person tho. Nor is it something to accuse someone lightly of. I’ve read on here that he has no conscience (because apparently sociopaths complete lack that), and that he is incapable of repentance. What does that say about God…?

        I saw an article on here about Mrs. Grady and that was the last straw for me. I pray her kids don’t have to see the terrible things written about their mother on here. Answer me this, how on EARTH does divulging her name or the details on that story benefit the many readers you have which I’m sure have never met her? How does it uplift anyone?

        I’m sure you say you just want people to know the truth because somehow you think that will help. Trust me, people already know Doug is fallen and that whole situation is a mess. The ones still clinging on to that ship will not be dissuaded by a single thing you say. When something like this happens, I think its best to disassociate yourself from the situation. That is why I’m inclined to think that based on what I have seen, this site is nothing but gossip and slander. It doesn’t add anything meaningful to a situation which needs no more comment. If you think otherwise, ponder objectively the comments and some of the things said in the articles. ANY, and I mean ANY third party person not familiar with the situation, upon reading what is here would immediately conclude that this is just a bunch of gossip. I’m sure you’ve been hurt by gossip yourself and know how hard that can be. And hey, maybe 95% of what’s said here is somehow accurate. What of the 5% that is completely false? I simply don’t understand how any of this can be justified besides the need to gossip and vent about a situation that’s already gone to hell.

        • Jen Says:

          Justin, thank you for your perspective. You are definitely in a unique position, considering what happened with your parents. I am sorry you had go through that. Truly. I feel REALLY bad for Beall and their kids. I wish I could do something to help them. Part of being in the public eye is that you are in the public eye in the good times as well as the bad. If Doug truly wanted to protect his wife and children, he would have told the truth and repented so that this site would not even need to exist. But he chose otherwise.

          I know the pain this causes children. My kids are still reeling from this, nearly nine years later. I wish no other children ever had to experience that, but that is beyond my control. Please notice that I try to keep them out of the limelight, although Doug did bring his kids into the public eye, so they are already well known.

          I understand your concerns about the particular article. I am not sure I agree with everything that was presented here, but I have not studied psychology enough to state one way or another. I do believe that God has given each one of us a conscience, but that some choose to sear their own conscience by years and years of choosing wickedness instead of love. I fear that Doug has reached that level at this time, considering his abject refusal to repent. However, I believe that ANYONE can be restored. ANYONE.

          Justin, Jennifer Grady, her husband, the elders, and nearly every adult in BCA was either confronted, or did the confronting, in that issue for many years. You are 20 years old now. Do you think you want her hitting on you or your brothers? Would you warn your friends about it if you knew and they did not? Did you know that the sister churches were not informed about this danger? Jennifer had ample opportunities to repent, but the real point of that story was Doug’s continual hypocrisy. Did you know that one of Doug’s neighbors says that she would show up at the house nearly every time Beall left with the kids? Don’t you think people should know that, if there has been no repentance on the part of either Doug or Jennifer? There is another reason why it was important to state her name. Those who know that reason understand exactly why. That is all I can say about that.

          I can understand what you have been taught about gossip. For the most part, I agree with you. However, there has been so much secrecy, and so much cover-up, and so much abuse and harm and hurt over the last ten years, that if people do not tell the truth about Doug, people will not know the kind of person he truly is and he would be restored to ministry within a year. If someone was about to harm you, would you want me to let you know? Or would you tell me I was gossiping? I think you would want me to warn you. That is what I am doing here. I truly wish it was not necessary. Truly.

          Justin, with each passing day, more and more people are coming to realize the truth about Doug. I know you already know, but many don’t. Do you know what we all need? Closure. If Doug would simply come forward and tell the truth, and then repent, we could move on and begin healing. But everything is left hanging right now. There are thousands of people who desperately need healing. I hope to transition to that part soon.

          I try to be highly accurate here. If you find something you disagree with, you are welcome to challenge it, or correct it. I don’t know everything.

          Thank you for your thoughts, Justin.

        • justinvoeller Says:

          Well, I respect your opinion Jen. A lot of what you said makes pretty good sense. I personally don’t think people need to be warned about Doug anymore. When the huffington post writes several articles on the matter, its hardly under the radar. And yes, if I was in the church it might be appropriate for someone to warn me about Mrs. Grady if what’s said is true. But I am not in the church anymore. My guess using logic is, most of the readers here aren’t either.

          You know what’s sad is, for the people looking for closure… history tells us it will never come. I’m as good a judge as anyone about my dad and I think he’s fully repented. I’ll bet 80%+ of the people affected by that story don’t know it tho. Too bad. The point is, it’s HIGHLY unlikely that an online public apology besides whats been given will come. Honestly, I don’t think Doug is in a position to manipulate anymore… He’s been far too exposed.

          To be fair, I haven’t read much of what’s on here and haven’t seen anything written by you that was gossip. But I’ve seen PLENTY of things like this…

          “Yep, he does. How about a disowned daughter? Listed on the Summer’s website are their four kids. the last three are named. They help with the Chef homeschool convention. I’ve actually met them and was introduced to the 3 kids like that was all they had. But there is an ‘un-named’ oldest girl. I have read there is a very bad story behind this. There was also some kind of problem in the homeschool leadership in MO. I don’t know details. But a very trusted, long time friend warned me to stay far away from Candy and Jon Summers.”

          I just don’t get how someone can look at that and say it’s not a rumor or gossip. Am I wrong to think this all would be easier if we could recognize that the apology everyone wants isn’t coming and this just needs to be buried? It’s that or hang on hoping one comes while harvesting bitterness about the situation. I don’t see the third option.

          Your point about gossip makes sense but I’m pretty sure Doug is done. He’s not going to have a position to hurt anyone again UNLESS, its those people who are still hanging on to the sinking ship. Saying things like, the whole situation was the young ladies fault and she was a temptress. People like that in my experience won’t be convinced of anything no matter how much evidence they are given.

          A lot of this stuff is true I’m sure. But there’s also a pretty big lack of evidence it seems which is why it should be left alone… in my opinion.

        • Jen Says:

          Justin, I have finals tonight, so this will be quick. From my understanding, the “sister” churches just found out about this through my blog. That’s sad.

        • Lisa Says:

          Many, many years ago, before anyone ever talked about pedophilia, my brother and cousins were repeatedly molested by a youth pastor. It was covered up by the senior pastor and another leader in the church. If there had been a forum like this back then, at least people could hv been warned and possibly future victimization prevented. I understand your concern regarding gossip, but I believe these blogs do more to prevent hurt than cause it.
          I don’t know your age, but I do hope that whatever it is, your passion will be tempered with cooler thinking. It may well protect you and your loved ones one day if you gather information and think on it long and hard before making decisions. I say this with all love. I was once very much like you sound. God’s blessings to you.

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        Ouch!…crud!…another example of the long-term effects of one man’s selfish actions which rippled through MANY many lives. The V’s.

        • justinvoeller Says:

          I’m sorry what is that supposed to mean? Gosh, isn’t it easy to bash people anonymously through the keys of a message board? lol

        • Jen Says:

          Justin, I think she means that what your father did impacted many, many people. Sometimes we don’t realize how many people we affect by our personal decisions.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          We were one of the families indirectly affected by Mr.V’s actions. I think, honestly, that too many people walked away by putting too much stock in one man. We have great respect for your mom and siblings and you were immediately in our prayers. I have not thought about the ordeal for several years though. It hurts to see your hurt remains…being that we dealt with a nasty situation in our family that hurt DEEP and still affects several of my children. The VF issue goes way beyond adultery in a home-educating/family oriented community. In the Phillips case there were/are millions of dollars/donations scammed off of us as well as the deceptions. It is difficult to express emotion on the internet. I am sorry if I seem cold. I assure you that is not the case. I read your comment (the language being less than nice) and THEN I saw your name. It stirred up our own memories. Please forgive me.

      • NC Says:

        Jen, you were entirely too kind to Justin, it is apparent that the years spent being slandered by Doug and his cronies has not only strengthened your resolve to expose the deeds of darkness, but also to kindly handle idiots like this,

        • justinvoeller Says:

          Yes, Jen responded very politely to my anger. How horrible of her. Try to use more sharp language next time Mrs. Epstien! Lol.

        • Jen Says:

          Justin, I am just “Jen” now. Thanks!

        • Jen Says:

          NC, Justin has been hurt way too much for a young man of twenty. I think he is handling it very well, all things considering.

        • NC Says:

          like I said, you are too kind, he is fortunate to have you as a friend,

        • Jen Says:

          NC, I have a 20-year-old son as well (who used to be friends with Justin). My son would not have been quite as respectful as Justin. I just think of how I would treat my own son. 🙂 Also, I miss his family.

        • watchingclosely Says:

          Was Mr. V held accountable for his actions? I find it ironic that Doug (probably) was the one holding Mr. V accountable, while doing the same thing in his own personal life……what tangled webs we weave!

  28. Steve240 Says:

    One thing I have seen discussed here is the Aasch study video that was posted as part of this blog. This is the picture of the 5 male heads looking to the left above.

    This study could explain why leaders like Phillips are so quick to silence dissent in their groups under the guise of calling it “gossip”, “slander” or “rebellion to authority.” It is an old but quite informative study and shows how people can go along with the group and believe what the group says denying their own judgment due to thinking the group must be right.

    What is interesting in this study is what happens when you someone else also disagrees with the group. It had a dramatic affect on the test subject following the group think. Just something that people should be aware of in their lives. Be wary where you are in groups that leadership is quick to silence any dissent. You might think you are the only person that questions what is being said but chances are there are others with the same questions who are also fearful of speaking out.

    • Jen Says:

      Steve240, that is BCA to a T. When I spoke out about voting, I was immediately silenced. When one member tried to question my excommunication, he was immediately silenced as well. Yep. Group think, Aasch style.

  29. T.W. Eston Says:

    For those not already aware of it, Pastor Joe Morecraft flew to San Antonio, as did Peter Bradrick, on or about October 20 to confront Doug Phillips. They showed up at his door unannounced and confronted him for his immoral relationship with the young lady. Noticeably absent from that meeting was Vision Forum Ministries board member Scott Brown. Doug not only did not receive Joe and Peter’s rebuke, he lied and said that he wasn’t guilty of the sin for which they rebuked him. Pastor Joe turned his back and walked away. Peter remained at the door and pleaded with his friend to confess and repent.

    On November 24 Joe Morecraft preached a sermon in his church in which he was clearly speaking of Doug Phillips. His sermon is well worth listening to. I include some choice quotes:

    @21:45 “I warned a friend of mine recently that if his confession was sanitized and fake he would be another Jimmy Swaggart. I said that the word confession in the Bible is made up of two Greek words that mean to speak the same thing. That is that when you confess your sins you don’t make yours sins sound sweet and pretty. You call your sins by the same things God would call them… If you want to restore your house that you have torn down confess your sins before your family, your wife, even your children and anybody else that knows about it in terms that God would use to describe your broken down family and what you’ve done to break that family down.”

    Pastor Joe then gives a somber warning @26:30

    Pastor Morecraft offered wise counsel to Doug Phillips. I’m confident that Pastor Joe is not merely disappointed but disillusioned that Doug rejected his rebuke and his wise counsel. But as I’ve already said in the article, Doug Phillips is a sociopath, and sociopaths are incapable of repentance.

    @29:00 “Turn with me to chapter 5 in Proverbs. But I have to begin with this clarification. These chapters are about a harlot and a sexual predator. I do not want you to think that the woman that was involved with the famous evangelical is either one of these. She is neither a harlot nor a sexual predator. She is neither of these things.”

    And my personal favorite quote from Pastor Morecraft’s sermon:

    @51:10: “There is in a movement called Patriarchy, among other false doctrines, this false doctrine: In a boy girl relationship it is primarily the girl’s responsibility to maintain the purity of the boy and of the relationship because the boy, poor guy, is wild at heart. He has this uncontrollable sexual urge, he just cannot control himself, and you’re the one responsible to keep him in control. So wear your dresses up to your neck. Wear your sleeves down to your wrists and then wear gloves. Wear your dresses down below your ankles. Cover up your feet. Get a burka, and not just one where the eyes show because eyes can be sexy. Put something over the eyes. Don’t let anyone see your shape… So who’s responsible for the purity in a relationship for the boy? The boy. And if you can’t trust him to be pure, drop him. Don’t have anything to do with him.”

    • Latoya Says:

      If Joe Morecraft is correct that the young woman is neither, as he puts it, “a harlot” nor a “sexual predator” then it means, in my mind, that DP is completely responsible as the initiator and aggressor. Maybe I’m wrong, but it sounds like the young lady is at a minimum a sexual harassment victim.

      • Aviano Says:

        I don’t know that I would label the young woman in question either a harlot or a sexual predator, but I don’t know that I would go so far as to label her a victim, either, as many have done. Yes, if she were still 18 or if things had only been going on for a year or so, maybe … but after 10 years??? That hardly spells “victim” to me.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          I can see with what the public knows so far how one would come to such a conclusion. I’m not at liberty to share what I know, but if I could I’m confident you’d see that she is indeed a victim of clergy sexual abuse, and much more. It will all in time work its way through the appropriate channels. When it does we’ll be first to report it.

    • Keith Blankenship Says:

      Pastor Morecraft stated this very well. However, why did he not state the name of the “…famous evangelical…”?
      How was the congregation to know who this person is? Is it common in Presbyterian/Reformed circles to fail to name names? Why not just say “Doug Phillips was unfaithful to his wife”? Aren’t y’all a bunch of latter-day John Knox-types? i get frustrated when a Pastor preaches a sermon critical of a person or movement and fails to actually name the person or movement. I suppose we are meant to guess or something.
      Still, I am impressed that they went to his house and confronted him.

      • Jen Says:

        Keith, if you will notice in all the online posts and articles about Doug Phillips from former interns, while they are clearly talking about Doug, they all refuse to name him. So did Scott Brown. But we all, or at least those in the know, know who they are talking about. Doug used to preach this way, and not knowing who or what he was talking about was very frustrating to me. Name names and let us figure it out for ourselves. I suppose this is how they get around the “no gossip” rule, but Paul had NO problems naming Peter when he called him out, and that is preserved forever for every generation to hear that gossip!

        • Keith Blankenship Says:

          The St. Paul and St. Peter example is the correct approach, I think. Direct language is preferable to implication. I don’t know how to avoid these -isms and movements unless it is plainly stated who the leaders are. “Let us figure it out ourselves” is absolutely correct. When I was told about the father-daughter conferences years ago, I decided not to take my daughter. But I had to do a little research on my own to figure out why it was not right for my daughter. If the pastors want us to trust them they should be direct and transparent. Thankfully my current pastor displays these qualities. Still, I think we have to watch pastors closely.

  30. Discerning Sleuth Says:

    I’ve heard from those in San Antonio that the men who confronted Doug came on Oct 29. The next day an emergency meeting was called at BCA for Doug to confess and then he issued his parsed confession on the vfm website. This would have been Oct 29 not Oct 20 as Eston states.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Thank you Discerning Truth. We’ve been trying to nail down an exact date and it hasn’t been easy. That’s why I said, “on or about October 20.” It also hasn’t been easy figuring out why Scott Brown ignored his board duties in all this. Why didn’t Scott go? Why would a non-board member, Joe Morecraft go instead? It’s all very peculiar.

      I’m very familiar with how a board of directors is supposed to function. This was an emergency situation that called for the board’s immediate intervention. The most significant member of the board was Scott Brown, and he was nowhere to be seen.

    • Jen Says:

      If that date is accurate, DS, that makes it all that much more suspect that Scott Brown himself would not have gone. He would have had PLENTY of opportunity to make arrangements to go with the amount of time he knew about this.

      If so, that means the board knew by 10/21/31, postponed the Film Festival, and said nothing to anybody else? And Doug wasn’t suspicious that his precious film festival was postponed/canceled without giving him a reason? Something doesn’t add up here.

      • Mike Says:

        Has it been stated why Doug stepped down in Feb.? To me this is a key issue. If the board knew he wasn’t qualified to be an elder at his local church then why didn’t they shut everything down back then? Why did the board wait so long to take any action? What was revealed or learned between Feb. and Oct. that caused such grave concern that the board would take such dramatic and drastic measures? Did Doug do any conferences after he stepped down? If he did do ‘Ministry’ events between these dates did the board approve those events? Did anyone ever approach any board member before about Doug’s behavior? Did the board approve the sale of Jonathan Parks knowing about any of the issues with Grady? Did the board ever question Doug’s behavior and treatment of people such as yourself? Did the board know that there was an exodus of people leaving Doug’s church because of his hypocrisy with the Grady situation? Did the board know that members of BCA were concerned about the purity of their boys in BCA? IF the board did know that these things were happening why didn’t they do anything? It seems to me that the board owes everyone an explanation.
        These are simple questions that should be answered truthfully. After all if you have a sheep farm and your hired hands come to you and tell you that most of the sheep have been slaughtered by a wolf and the ones who haven’t been slaughtered have been scattered throughout, wouldn’t you as a good shepherd demand an answer to how this happened?

        • Jen Says:

          Mike, those are questions we all have. What I do know is that Scott Brown and Doug Phillips were not only on the board together, and ministered together at many events, but they were BFFs as well There is no way I believe that Scott Brown did not know that Doug stepped down in February. Also, Josh Wean, the CFO, worked very closely with Doug in the office. While I don’t think he attended BCA, he was certainly in daily contact with many who do. There is no way he would not have known as well, but from all accounts, he is far more abusive than Doug. Doug’s father was still a board member when Doug stepped down as elder. He surely knew that Doug stepped down, but I doubt if Doug told his dad he was cheating on Beall. Doug’s close personal attorney friend, Don Hart, is also on the board. My instincts tell me he also knew. The only one who might have been in the dark is Jim Zes.

          Why did Doug step down in February? I have heard that it was to spend time with his family but I don’t think anyone was buying that, considering that he rarely showed up at church anyway. I have my thoughts about what happened in February, but I can’t say just now.

          Yes, Doug did many conferences between February and October, all board approved.

          No one on the board ever tried to contact me for my side of the excommunication, nor any of the others, as far as I know. Don Hart, however, did threaten to sue us for trying to reconcile with Doug. He threatened Joe Taylor, too.

          The VFM board probably kept themselves in the dark on purpose regarding many activities Doug was involved in, so they would not feel the need to deal with it.

          Yes, the VFM board has a ton of explaining to do, but don’t hold your breath waiting for it.

        • NeverAgain Says:

          Howard Phillips was very ill last winter and spring. He was almost certainly not in a condition to know what was going on with VFM, and that is a real blessing. Doug was spending a great deal of time with his father in the months before his death in late April, so it’s possible that the “spending time with family” excuse has some validity.

        • Jen Says:

          NeverAgain, thank you for that information. Knowing how close Doug is to his father, I was merely saying that I am sure that Howard would have known that Doug stepped down from being an elder. Perhaps Howard was too sick to question the real reason why. If that was the case, however, Doug would have merely taken a sabbatical (from doing almost nothing by this point anyway) and would have come back to being an elder in May or June.

      • Shawn Mathis Says:

        If the board listing at NCFIC is any indication of time, Doug’s name was removed at least by October 21 according to the Wayback Machine.

        They redid their website in the Spring but Doug was listed on the board. March 9th is the last recorded (via Wayback Machine anyway) listing of Doug on the board under the older website:

        • Jen Says:

          Very interesting, Shawn! So the board quietly removed Doug’s name at least ten days before he resigned. For those who say Peter and Joe appeared on his doorstep Oct. 29, that doesn’t seem to add up.

  31. Scott Says:

    Well I think we have to cut Scott Brown a break for not going down to confront Doug. He is an oppertunist and a pretty sharp schemer. He was already figuring out how to best play his cards and become the next Doug Philips .

    • Jen Says:

      Scott Brown was SO close to Doug that it appears that he is going down with Doug, to some degree. I am not one to use guilt-by-association, but in this case, the shoe fits.

      • NC Says:

        Doug Phillips, May 5 2009 Mens Leadership Summit:

        “Scott Brown is my bosom brother. We work together. We fight together. We have been engaged in battles together. Our sons are spending time with each other….”

        Scott Brown felt the same way towards Doug, perhaps even more so. Relationships like these don’t happen for all of us, we’re lucky if we have one or two in a lifetime. I have my spouse and one friend of whom I can say this. God spare us from an ending this tragic.

        • Jen Says:

          It is fantastic to have friends that close, unless you use it for harm rather than for good.

        • NC Says:

          your right, and the jury is still out on how Scott will prove to be a friend. I truly believe those friends of mine would do whatever was right and needed to bring me to repentance if I fell into a grievous and public sin. If by Scotts silence it affords Doug cover for his sin, then I guess he is no better friend than Doug was.

  32. Scott Says:

    Plus his attorney probably already clued him in that as an board member he could legally be considered a responsible party for any tax deficiency or in some cases criminal conduct on behalf of the ministry / enterprise. People forget, an Corporation, LLC or other entity can be charged with crimes. Scott Brown could have some real issues down the road. Doug Phillips didn’t own a home or real estate, so the IRS can’t lien or levy it. They could go after Scott Brown and levy his farm, home or office building.

    He is smart to cut the cord with Doug ASAP and conclude all VF business. Once the operation ceases operation the IRS is less inclined to pursue it. They can’t just seize personal assets of board members like they can ministry assets. It would require litigation and take years.

    The relationship between Vision a Forum Inc and Vision Forum ministry was obviously one huge tax evasion scheme. Doug was taking a small salary ( not enough for the support of his family) and living off the ministry. If the IRS does a complete review of all this, I wouldn’t want to be Scott Brown, Mr. Zess or that idiot Hart guy. Hart and Philips are attorneys, they will get slammed.

  33. Not Fooled Anymore Says:

    There seems to be those who want to be critical of what is going on here.. Some thoughts on that are:

    1. Be patient with TW, Jen and others who are trying their best to be as accurate as possible.
    2. Keep in mind that many who are posting points and relaying facts never had any idea that when they got involved with VFM, FIC and or BCA , nor when they started seeing things they would some day end up here. We never had any idea we would need to recall so many facts and dates later in our lives. If some details are wrong it has not been intentional it may just be the best of someones recollection. If someone knows the more accurate answer or has their own take on it please feel free to share and lovingly correct to help bring this out properly.
    .3. If those supposedly so close to DP- Peter Bradrick, Joe Morecraft and more were not able to call him out and reach him, how on earth do you think us little peon folks were really treated by this man and his henchmen? Unless you were there you have no idea.. These men who went to him were of the royalty, inner circle of friends, as we see it now, and we were the commoners and nothings in DP’s eyes and yet they got nowhere with him. Many commoners took him on and stood their ground and were labeled, “Covenant Breakers and heathen publicans.” after being victimized by yelling, tantrums and nasty correspondence. We truly do understand what Peter was called as we have been there and done that.Yet none of us got sympathy or support. Even though we know it hurts and in no way want to under estimate that pain, at least they have that and are getting prayers and support! Many of us were left to fend for ourselves leaving behind a totally disillusioned life, trying to go on without any love or support. Many of us had hurting families to tend to, answer to and had try to deal with our own hurts in addition to theirs. Only through the grace of God and love of Jesus Christ have we muddled through.
    4. These men who served by his side need to seriously look at those of us in the postilions we were left in and start finding out what really went on as we are real people and have real families and have real issues from this man and his ministries that need to be addressed by those on his boards. They have a lot of people to answer to and so does the board of BCA and those members who choose to stay at BCA to this day. The intention is not to take away any of the seriousness of what was done with the confessed relationship as this does need to most definitely be addressed and handled for the young woman’s sake especially, but they need to realize it all goes hand in hand and all must be dealt with.
    .5. Amen to all the questions asked by “Mike” on December 8 at 8:47. These are great questions. We have many of the same questions and are sure others do too. So VFM board, BCA Board and members- we are waiting for your answers.!!
    6. We will continue to pray that the truth will be told to protect others and heal the hurts. Until then we will be waiting!

  34. Jen Says:

    I don’t know if Michael Farris is speaking of anyone in particular, but I like what he posted on Facebook today:

    “It is my observation that some homeschooling families are too insulated and have no real plan to reach out to those who need to know Jesus. And yet, the majority of church ministries in our nation haven’t got the right priority for ensuring that we raise godly children and don’t lose our own.

    “Formulas don’t work on either side of this. There is no formula for raising godly children. And there is no viable mechanistic method for winning the lost. In both sectors we need a vibrant walk with Christ where we know the Word and listen to the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

    “We serve a living God–not a man with an incredibly complicated checklist.”

  35. Scott Says:

    Not Fooled anymore: Personally I believe these folks being critical of this blog and others that are exposing abusive churches and pastors fall into one of several categories.

    1) People that are still loyal to Philips and people like him because they are very much like him. He made it ok to be a self absorbed, self righteous jerk with no regard for anyone besides himself. He set up classes of people among vulnerable home school families. Those in the elitist minority are sad to see the phony world they lived in shattered and exposed. They were dreaming of a family like the Phillips, but that was just a lie. They were chasing a lie. That is embarrassing and some of them will get a bit snarky now. So what, their opinion is irrelevant. They were part of the lie.

    2) People that are just totally clueless of the incredible harm this man did to people. The families he damaged, lives he wrecked and relationships he ruined. Doug and many of the abusive leaders like him are ends justifies the means individuals. They really could careless about the people they walk on, use and destroy in pursuit of their objectives. It should be obvious to any thinking person that God’s judgment has come down on Doug Phillips like a load of bricks. He has called those exposing him destroyers and enemies of God. He really seems to place himself on level with GOD. If you are against his bizarre views you are against God. Disagree with his political ideas and you are against God.

    3) People that are going to push on with their agenda regardless of what bandleader they are marching behind. They are followers, but followers with clear goals.They are seeking to use the home school community for their own selfish purposes. Some for financial gain, some for advancing Dominion theology and all the evil it entails, and some for the self validation that they “did the right thing” with their family.

    To anyone critical of this blog at this point, after all we have seen come to pass I would just have to shake my head at their lack of discernment. They do explain how so many families got caught up in Vision Forum, lack of discernment coupled with seeking validation of their beliefs and person hood. Human nature sets us up for trouble from the start. Lack of judgment, discernment , and a basic understanding of God’s WORD dooms us.

    There will always be people like Doug Phillips, Scott Brown and Sir Geoffro Botkin looking to cash in on the whole hey come march in my parade thing. Hopefully the body of Christ is growing up a bit, and those remaining info- marketers like the above mentioned, won’t get as far as Philips did at wrecking havoc with Christian families and churches.

    • A Says:

      I agree that the Christian community needs to stop being so gullible. It is embarrassing. Christians need to work at being “wise as serpents”. Vision Forum and groups like VF were teaching young people to be followers and giving them a mindset to accept a very authoritarian structure. The Jewish families , I know, encourage their children to debate and argue. Christians need to encourage the same and stop telling their kids it’s a sign of disrespect to debate the issues.

      • Jen Says:

        There is a healthy way to debate, A, and that kind of debate brings us all to a better understanding of the issues, or Scriptures, or whatever we are debating. Well, it brings those with an open mind to a better understanding. When you are working with a very closed-mind group of people (“we ONLY believe what Doug Phillips tells us to”), all the debate in the world won’t change a thing.

    • Jen Says:

      Scott, you are very observant. I agree 100% with what you have laid out here.

      I would also add that we need to love them and pray that each of these people have their eyes opened to the truth so that they can repent, if necessary, and they can move in a more productive direction in life.

    • Eva Says:

      So many people have been fooled by so many false teachers over the years and it just seems to keep going on. I didn’t know who Geoff Botkin was so I looked him up online and discovered that he had at one time been in a group started by Jim McCotter. If you have never heard of Jim McCotter just look him up online. I am nearly 75 years old and so I’ve seen similar things in the past that are just repeating themselves. Satan doesn’t give up. Jim McCotter had similar beliefs like lots of children, follow my rules, marry who I say, etc. I didn’t know all that at the time I first met him (in late 60s or early 70s) but when I looked him up years later I saw all the weird and odd things he had been involved in. So I’m guessing that some of Botkin’s ideas came from McCotter. I don’t know who McCotter got them from but probably from the same source – the great Deceiver. I’m not trying to bring in another person in this discussion. I don’t know if there is any direct link from McCotter to DP but the teachings have been handed down. In the days when I knew McCotter (his group started as The Blitz – shades of Naziism!) they drove an old VW van with the engine in the rear. Their standard theme about that was “it’s all going to burn up in the end”. Well one time that VW caught fire in the engine and sure enough it did burn up in the end. But today apparently Jim McCotter is a wealthy man – “looking to cash in on the whole hey come march in my parade thing”. It’s still going on and maybe has even gotten worse as time has gone by and I’m not sure the body has gown up any like Scott hopes

  36. Keith Blankenship Says:

    Mr. Weston: “…5’4 man…” Why do you continue to sully otherwise interesting articles with references to this mans’ stature? It is quite juvenile, especially since it appears that you write under a pseudonym. Would it be possible for you to refrain from references to his height in the future? I am beginning to think he beat you at arm wrestling or something. The story of this church and the people who have been affected by it is a serious one. References to Phillips stature adds nothing to the story (that I am aware of) and just seems childish.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Keith, the reference to Doug Phillips’ diminutive stature isn’t to publicly mock him, but for the benefit of those who’ve been threatened by him and who are still fearful. I’d like for men to start acting as men, and for some of them it may necessitate that the thought enter their minds, “Hey, why am I so afraid of this little punk?” As I’ve said elsewhere:

      Any comments about Doug’s short stature aren’t meant as any slight on Doug’s physical attributes, but on his constant need to overcompensate for his insecurities due to his short stature. That is evidenced in his obsession with having to constantly be bigger than life, the center of attention, the life of the party, the attention whore. I believe a great deal of that originated in childhood as a direct result of his short stature. His abusive behavior, especially obvious to any former BCA members, is indicative of a Napoleon complex.

      Too many are still hiding in the shadows, rather than coming out to tell their own stories of Doug Phillips’ awful abuses against them. It has never ceased to amaze me how such pintsize men (think also R.C. Sproul Jr) can hold such power over men considerably larger than them. That power was sometimes valid, but was also, in many cases, entirely over-rated and largely based on bluster and bluff.

      The best example of it is Doug Phillips’ penchant for threatening to sue people, especially anyone who would dare to expose him. Clearly this is bluff (that even includes the Joe Taylor situation), and the best proof of it is this blog. Common sense would dictate that if Doug Phillips were one to make good on his threat to sue “gossips” and “internet assassins” that he would have sued Jen years ago.

      • Aviano Says:

        Doug Phillips is really only 5’4″ tall? Wow. I don’t know why I’m surprised at that but I am, lol. Beall must be a tiny thing herself, then, since she appears shorter than him when photographed standing next to him.

        • Jen Says:

          Aviano, no, Doug is not that short, but others are going to argue about it till the sun sets, apparently, so I am going to shut down this topic of his height. It really is silly and meaningless in the big picture.

          Beall is about my height as well, and I am 5’8″. She is anything but tiny! Doug and Beall are approximately the same height.

          Now, please, no more comments about height here! 🙂

      • Jen Says:

        In case folks did not see it already, there will be no more future comments here about anyone’s physical size. I am no longer approving such comments. Thanks.

  37. Tim Says:

    Here is an interesting link about the responsibilities of 501c3 Board Members.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Thanks for posting that link, Tim.

      “Your board members are also directly responsible for setting appropriate compensation arrangements at arms-length. As we discussed in last week’s installment, the IRS can and will hold individual board members personally liable if they find what they consider excessive compensation, particularly if not set at arms-length. Under Intermediate Sanctions, these penalties can be substantial.”

      The issue of Doug Phillips not paying anywhere near fair market rent for the VFM-owned home, and VFI not paying anywhere near fair market rent for the VFM-owned office/warehouse isn’t an “excessive compensation” issue, but it will be treated in a similar way. In all likelihood the VFM board of directors will be held personally and individually liable for it. Don Hart, as an attorney, is likely to be in bigger trouble than the other directors. Josh Weans as CFO and tax return preparer could be facing a criminal indictment.

      Doug Phillips could be facing a criminal indictment, perhaps even just over the rental issues alone. Knowing Doug’s character as I do, the likelihood is an almost certainty that he also lined his pockets by diverting funds under false pretexts from Vision Forum Ministries into Vision Forum Inc, where he had direct control over the funds, absent the oversight (what little there was of that) of the VFM board. Once in VFI’s bank account he would have had no trouble squandering it on whatever he wanted.

      From all appearances Doug Phillips operated VFM and VFI as if they were a single entity. In other words, he was running a sham.

      • Raymond249 Says:

        For the IRS to investigate this officially someone has to actually formally report it. I don’t have the time or desire to go through this but it seems there are some really upset and hurt people on here, maybe they want to file the paperwork. Not out of spite, but you know… for ethical reasons.

    • Jen Says:

      That is a great link, Tim! Thanks!

  38. Scott Says:

    I think before this is all over more than one letter of complaint will find it’s way to the criminal enforcement division of the IRS.

    Criminal Investigation Division
    1111 Constitution Ave Nw
    Room 2501
    Washington, D.C. 20224

    Write to :
    Richard Weber Chief
    Patrica Haynes Deputy Chief

  39. Mrs. W Says:

    Can anyone tell me why Doug was so devoted and close to his father, yet seemed to never mention his mother? Was their relationship strained, or is it likely just because of his general view of women? It’s always seemed very odd to me.

    • EyesWideOpen Says:

      Good question. I’ve always wondered that too.

    • Jen Says:

      Mrs. W, I can assure you that I have LONG had those same thoughts. When Doug would preach/teach on honoring your father and mother, I would almost cringe to see the disparity between the way he treated his father and the way he treated his mother. I know that his extreme hatred for Catholicism seems to emanate from his relationship with his mother. It could that Doug is simply a misogynist, or that there is something between him and his mother that was never made right. Or something else. But you are not the only one to notice this. To me, it is yet another in a long list of hypocrisies.

  40. T.W. Eston Says:

    Vision Forum 70% off

    I’m predicting the liquidation discount will increase to 90% on Dec 21.

    • Jen Says:

      I don’t even think that is Doug writing the very small ad for this. He might as well call it his “Going Out of Business” sale at this point!

  41. MomT Says:

    Just found this ironic DP comment from the History of America Mega Conference July 2013….

    “By living and working near each other, families experienced less infidelity, closer ties existed between parents and children, and more economic incentives to perpetuate family life.”

    • Jen Says:

      MomT, that is a fascinating quote by Doug Phillips! I took the liberty of removing your last paragraph in your comment because I felt it might distract from our purpose here, but I was quite interested in the quote itself. Notice that he says this while he is cheating on his wife. How does he think that bringing young women in closer to his family would actually help keep him pure in that area?

  42. Keith Blankenship Says:

    It seems to me that directly or indirectly there is a connection between SGM, VF/BCA, and Gothard. His views seem to have bled over to others. It appears that Botkin had a direct relationship to Gothard. Any ideas regarding how Gothard developed his views? Are there other groups which have been influenced by Gothard?
    I find this relationship fascinating, while at the same time my heart aches for folks who have been caught up in such groups.

    • Eva Says:

      Keith, you have to go back to a man named Jim McCotter and his group called The Blitz. He was out there in the early 70s (maybe even late 60s). I am nearly 75 years old. Jim McCotter is 68 and Gill Gothard is 79. I don’t know how old Geoff Botkin is but he met up with McCotter in OK in the 70s. McCotter taught similar things as to large families, and probably something like courtship although I’m not sure it was called that. I’m thinking that Doug Phillips is around 50 based on the age of his father when he died. So he would be about the age of some of my children. It’s much too complicated to go into here but you can search on some of these folks and I’m sure there is a link if not directly, then indirectly. I think it’s possible that DP got some of his from Botkin. That is just a guess. Money seems to always be at the bottom of it all.

      • Keith Blankenship Says:

        Eva, thank you for the names. I have been doing some research on my own, and am trying to get a clear view of the connections. What is striking to me is that some of these groups will take an obviously Biblical idea, and then extend it to bizarre lengths. Of course promiscuity is wrong, but a rigid “courtship’ system is not the answer. A rule or set of rules is invented to protect the principle, and then this rule is imposed on “subordinates’.
        I will do some more digging on Gothard. i think the observation regarding money as a motivation is an important one. The personalities of the leaders are important, too. It also seems that there are theological issues as well, but that is harder for me to analyse.
        It does give me the “creeps’, since the “Christian’ groups seem to share a lot of characteristics of non-Christian cults.

    • Monique Says:

      Cindy K. at has a wealth of information re: these groups, connections and spiritual abuse. She also has a Patriarchy Workshop which is very helpful in connecting the dots. Also, has written much on these connections. You could spend days on either site ~ these ladies have done much research on these people/movements. So thankful for them 🙂

      • Jen Says:

        While there is much information at both sites, Monique, please use them wisely. Guilt by association is a common logical fallacy. While everyone Doug Phillips ever worked with is NOT just like Doug, there are a few that we should be concerned about who will continue his wicked bullying-type behavior if people don’t stand up against it.

        • Monique Says:

          Yes, I understand the concern not to label many of these leaders guilty by association. What has helped me is seeing the bigger picture of where these ideas have originated and how their influences have shaped some of these extreme teachings/practices. I’ve had lots of “aha” moments ☺

      • Keith Blankenship Says:

        Thank you Monique!

  43. sweet t Says:

    Jen & TW, thanks for your important work here. I’m a first-time poster but have followed the blog here for quite a while. I’ve known Doug in the past and have worked for him and learned under him – not so recently.
    After reading from several blogs about this situation, I have a theory that may or may not be accurate but it seems to fit the general timelines. I’d appreciate your thoughts:
    Its been written that Doug stepped down from BCA in February of 2013. What happened at this time to cause that? Well, according to one of Doug’s neighbors who has shared some eye-opening info over at Spiritual Sounding Board, JG has been observed at the Phillips mansion as recently as early Feb of 2013. It has also been shared that the nanny was the one to cut off the relationship with Doug. So, the theory is that the nanny caught Doug with JG around February, or got a good sense that something was happening between the two of them, and abruptly ended both relationships. Either the nanny went to BCA leadership or shared things with her family and Doug stepped down. As the year unfolds, the nanny and/or her family start to share a few details of her past relationship with Doug with those close to Doug as an attempt to hold him accountably and the result is the confrontation with Bradrick/Morecraft.
    Implausible, right?

    • Jen Says:

      Sweet T, interesting theory. Knowing a few other things that I am not free to share right now, I would say that that is probably not what happened. Wish I could say more, but not at this time. 🙂

      But welcome anyway! I hope that you were not one of his many business contacts whom he turned on.

      • sweet t Says:

        Jen, thanks for clarifying. Can you shed some light on the “confrontation?” It is mentioned above that Bradrick and Morecraft were the ones that confronted Doug, but I believe I’ve also read that Renaud may have also been involved. Were there others that you are aware of?

        • Jen Says:

          Sweet t, there was one other person but it was not Bob. I am not at liberty to say yet.

        • Just a shadow Says:

          Not arguing here – just pondering. What did Bob R. mean by his FB comment something to the effect, “That’s why we did what we did brother …” I can’t recall the rest of the quote but it talked about their “mentor ” (DP)

          Did another group go as well at a different time? Or is he referencing something else?

        • NeverAgain Says:

          I wonder why it would matter whether Bob went or not? He is no longer affiliated with VF. It’s just as likely that he simply gave the others encouragement, or joined them in prayer about the situation.

        • Jen Says:

          To me, it matters who went and who did not go. The ones who SHOULD have been there should have been those closest to him. The fact that his BFF and director of the board, Scott Brown, was NOT there is SUPER significant. For all those Scott Brown followers today, that alone would have been a make-it or break-it deal for to continue following Scott.

        • Just a shadow Says:

          Never Again – Bob R.was DP’s personal assistant for years (before Peter). As such he would have been there when the whole affair began. I just wondered how many of DP’s former acolytes tried to warn him and I wonder when they “knew” something. I wonder if they too are reliving memories ( as I am) and seeing those memories through a different “lense”. Maybe in retrospect the signs were there, but were mentally brushed away.

        • Jen Says:

          Just a Shadow, I am sure there is plenty of that going on now, with those closest to Doug reliving so many memories through a different lens now, but I also believe that some of them knew full well what was going on and chose to keep their livelihood rather than do anything about it.

  44. Andrea Says:

    Even though we are not part of a FIC, nor have we ever met DP, this whole situation has caused me great grief and pain. The pain is especially for his family, the nanny, and all of you who have been directly hurt by this man. My heart breaks for all of you. We have been a part of the conservative homeschooling crowd and a VF catalog receiver for over a decade. All of this garbage coming out has made me almost vomit. This isn’t Jesus and the gospel.

    I’ve been reading over at HA, for the first time ever, and I am just in shock. Oh the darkness and evil……………

    I’ve read through all of your recent articles and just about every single comment, and still have a question. I don’t mean to be hurtful or insensitive at all, but did Bealle really not know for all these years about the truth of her husband’s sexual sin? Or did she know and was expected to just love, forgive, cover, and smile? My heart so hurts for her……..

    • Jen Says:

      Andrea, welcome! Thanks for your love for us!

      I am not sure that anyone knows exactly what Beall did or did not know about her husband. I wish I could answer your question! There are still many unanswered questions, and I suspect there will always be unanswered questions in this whole saga.

    • DesiringToDiscern Says:

      Andrea, Many possible scenarios but one comes to mind….. If you _____ then you will never see your children again, no one will come to your aid since your extended family is estranged, and the *church* will look at you as the gossipy non-submissive wifey if you dare say anything…. besides, All of the money is mine. You, wifey, have nothing and are nothing without me. (just thoughts)

    • Walking in Freedom Says:

      Andrea, you mention reading at HA…what is that?

  45. Keith Blankenship Says:

    I got moderated and I don’t know why. Gothard and McCotter are off limits?

    • End it Says:

      Did you talk about his height in it? Because apparently talking about height is QUITE controversial… 😉

    • Jen Says:

      Keith, you are now out of moderation prison. 😉 Please don’t address Doug’s height anymore. Thanks! (BTW, that applies to EVERYONE.)

      • Keith Blankenship Says:

        I merely criticised Mr. Eston’s repeated mention of a person’s immutable characteristic, which had no bearing on the issues being discussed here. I have learned much about VF/BCA and its negative impact on many who were involved with it. I will be putting those who have been victimised by this and related groups on our prayer list at church(Providence Reformed Presbyterian, Wytheville, Va.) this Sunday. However, if one is not permitted to criticise Mr. Eston, which is apparently the case, I shall no longer be posting here. Christ’s blessings!

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Keith, you were moderated because long after Jen said to knock it off with the comments about Doug Phillips’ height you kept going there again, and again, and again. I complied with her request. You did not. She had to warn you a second time and you ignored her again and continued beating that dead horse. You can dress it up as criticism of me all you like, but the fact is you deliberately ignored Jen’s instructions. Play by the rules and there won’t be any problems. This discussion is now over. Kindly move on to some topic of actual significance.

        • Jen Says:

          Keith, thank you for the prayers and thank you for being here. You are still very welcome here. You are certainly permitted to criticize Mr. Eston, but don’t you think one time is sufficient? We all got your point. My point was only to ask you to stop beating a dead horse over a minor issue. Please feel free to remain here and participate freely. I very much appreciate your input. Blessings to you!

        • Keith Blankenship Says:

          Jen: As I cannot reply to Mr. “Eston”, or you due to the format, I will clarify that in the article and in comments he repeatedly displays an uncharitable attitude towards people with a characteristic which is immutable, even to the extent of posting Randy Newman’s silly “song” about short people. I have only reacted to these statements. Most of what I have commented on have been issues relating to the historical connections of these groups, i.e. Gothard-Botking-SGM-GCC etc. I got moderated, but it seems Mr. “Eston” is the one who owes short people an apology. After all, if Phillips were blind, black, obese or asian such comments would be clearly wrong. I private messaged you on Facebook, and on your wall. I think you should keep up the work of exposing spiritual abuse, and perhaps branch out to other groups.
          Thank you for your diligent efforts. Christ’s Blessings on you and your family!

        • Jen Says:

          Thank you, Keith. I had to change the “reply” feature because it just made the comments too narrow to read.

          You are very welcome here. 🙂

        • Keith Blankenship Says:

          Mr. “Eston”, Why don’t you simply apologise to short people?

  46. Freedom from Chaos Says:

    I am so thankful for this blog! Although I haven’t posted much, I am keeping up with it as this is all very interesting and I have a story to tell as do many others I know. And it is a process and takes a LONG time to realize & then to now have the chaos all validated. It’s surreal. I realize someone mentioned an additional board member of VF (Jim Z.) not being aware of the goings-on. Let me just say this……….were you all aware that this “sister church” of Doug’s in the STL area, of whom Jim Z. is the “head elder” was attended by Jennifer G. as well as her parents for several years. I seriously doubt Jim Z. is “in the dark”, although his family has always tried to take a “back seat/not in the spotlight” approach over the decade they’ve been extremely dedicated to this man (DP). I can validate the creepy things posted from others on this blog as being true. Very sad, but true.

    • Just a shadow Says:

      Whoa Nelly! That is an INTERESTING bit of info!

      Something I found googling around that I found interesting was that apparently Howard Phillips met Michael Billings ( JG’s brother) when Michael was 4 years old. Howard says on his blog that he met him b/c Michael was handing out leaflets for Howard’s presidential campaign ( at 4 years old) so these families have known each other for a looooong time.

      • Freedom from Chaos Says:

        I am sure as more people get courage to tell their story, details & horror stories will come out. Much has happened at the VF-type church run by Jim Z. (VF Board member from the beginning). He’s “one of the boys”, in with Scott Brown, Doug & the like or at least WAS in the past and I have heard/seen nothing to think otherwise. They were “blood brothers”, however I have also known/seen others who THOUGHT they were “in/A-list” outted. It’s sad & sick.

        For those of you “outside looking in” on this blog…….let me just say this…… cannot even BEGIN to comprehend the chaos/abuse/deceit in these circles/churches. It’s not extremely blatant at first and it’s difficult to put your finger on & clearly articulate & identify, however, many who have posted here have done a great job putting words to the craziness many of us have lived & witnessed and it really does help to be validated b/c you really are convinced everything is YOUR fault, especially if you are a female.

        I can say after several years of being “out”, along with several years of outside, but Biblical counseling – I can agree with the “socio-path”/narcissistic” tendencies in this group. I can also validate that MANY families have been harmed and/or confused because of this movement and MANY people are AFRAID and filled with FEAR and truly have a desire NOT TO GOSSIP and honor the Lord with their life/words, so are VERY hesitant to share anything (including myself).

        Bottom line, PLEASE pray! For all the victims, for the families, for the body of Christ. Yes, we need the law to show us our sin, but we also need grace & love mixed in or people walk around in continual condemnation. I also want to state that not ALL the men in these groups are “oppressive”. In many cases, the wives were intrigued by this “movement” or DP’s conference homeschool talks or the picturesque VF magazine. I’ve heard it said the most dangerous “cults” out there DON’T deny the basic Biblical Tenets of Christianity (deity of Christ, virgin birth, Christ’s death/resurrection, etc…)…….they just add things to the gospel message that is not there (legalism).

        I am no judge of any man/woman’s heart or intention – that is reserved for God only. But as details unfold, the actions are just surreal and helps validate much of what many of us lived and felt guilty and condemned for so long that it was our fault somehow.

        • Jen Says:

          Freedom from Chaos, thank you, thank you, thank you! I am glad you are finding your voice! Yes, what you are saying is exactly what so many of us have experienced! I pray that you no longer feel condemnation and guilt and shame, just because you are a woman. That is how I was made to feel and that is a horrible place to be.

          Please feel free to share what you learned in your counseling afterward. I’m sure that many others will be helped by it as well.

      • Jen Says:

        Gotta indoctrinate them from birth, you know!

    • Jen Says:

      Freedom From Chaos, that is extremely significant information! Was there similar behavior then, or did that begin at BCA? Or do you know?

      I am sorry that you have a story to tell, but I hope that you find healing here, and as you do, I hope you find your voice! Welcome!

  47. Teresa N Says:

    I am on the outside and trying to figure out what and who everybody is talking about. All these abbreviations…. What is FIC? I must have missed that on somewhere. Keeping up is making my head

  48. Scott Says:

    I think it’s worth mentioning that discussing a matter such as the topic at hand is NOT gossip or “slander”.

    Slander is making false statements that you know to be false.
    Gossip is running from person to person telling of a third person’s private business.

    The matters being discussed here are not Doug Phillip’s private business. He is a very public person with a long history of abusing other Christians. While it may seem to some that a dead horse is being beaten, there are serious threats posed by other persons picking up where Doug Phillips left off and continuing his evil, vile legacy. That must be thwarted at all costs and is the real objective of many of us posting here. No one is looking to hurt Doug’s children or wife, he did that all by himself.

    It would have been nice if those now concerned for Doug’s wife and children , would have been just a little concerned when Doug was screwing over joint venture partners, misusing church discipline /excommunication, insisting on Natasha Epstein being UNINVITED from her best friend’s wedding, directing interns and others to put up websites directed at destroying a family, constantly threatening people with litigation, attempting to destroy people’s finances and interfering with people’s employment or new church home.

    Almost Everything Doug Phillips did or attempted to do to other people is now happening to him. That’s what I call God’s NEVER Ending BOOMERANG ,and Doug totally deserves to get ZINGED.

    • Jen Says:

      Scott, yes, to the degree that one exercises influence is the same degree that warning messages must be directed. Doug Phillips made himself a very public man and while he harmed hundreds directly, and thousands indirectly, he may have done so privately and secretly, but doesn’t everyone try to hide their sin? When those who were hurt cower to the bully not to tell anyone then they become complicit in the bully’s future harm toward others, just by their silence. If your neighbor knew you were about to be robbed, but he didn’t tell you because that would be “gossip,” would you thank your neighbor for not gossiping or would you be angry that your neighbor did not warn you?

      The law of sowing and reaping — God’s never ending Boomerang. Never heard that one before, but I love it!

  49. steve240 Says:

    In case people didn’t see this on another blog I am posting this here:

    Then comes the irony. The very first church we attended in the new state was a house church led by Doug Phillips. I’d placed my hope in a harsher, tighter cookie cutter. Our things still in boxes, we entered our mini-van to go to a location I’d had to beg Vision Forum to reveal to me. Our oldest daughter came out last to get in the van. I was horrified. She had on blue jeans, because her dresses were still in boxes. While I didn’t mind blue jeans on a normal day, I knew that this would not be acceptable at Dough Phillips’ church. I was correct. We went in and were met with stares and scowls. During the message and hymns, little girls stared at my daughter as though she were one of the demons they’d learned about. We were not spoken to nor welcomed. Thankfully, God spoke to me that morning. He said, “You know her heart.” He said that. And it touched me. My husband couldn’t wait to get us out of there and immediately assured our children that we would never return.

    As a side note, the message Doug Phillips delivered that day had nothing to do at all with the glory of Christ. The entire discussion centered on how different they were from the world, and there was discussion following of congregants comparing themselves with neighbors or acquaintances, and most of all, those who called themselves Christians who were not living biblically like they were. It was entirely self-glorifying.

    I found it here:

    The person posting this went by the name of A Dittmeier.

    If nothing else that is quite a sad traumatizing experience for a young girl going to DP’s church to have to experience as this person shared happen. Maybe God used this to spare this family from being involved in DP’s church.

    • Jen Says:

      Steve240, thank you for sharing that family’s story with us here. I am certain that God spared this family what would surely have amounted to years of hurt, at the very least.

      • steve240 Says:

        Glad it was of value. Hopefully that traumatized young girl when looking back on it will realizes it was really a blessing that opened her family’s eyes to what the people were really like there.

  50. steve240 Says:

    FWIW here is a story that I reposted on my blog. It is an old story about king teaching his nobles and wise men about the value of thinking:

    It is quite short but brings home the need to think for yourself and how this wise king was trying to bring home that fact to his wise people. Sadly I doubt you would see this type of encouragement to think for yourself with most Evangelical Leaders.

    As the story says “Your failure to answer my question discloses that you place too much confidence in me, your king.”

    Sadly we as believers place way too much confidence in our leaders and don’t question and think for ourselves.

    • Jen Says:

      Really good story, Steve240. I am pondering on a post about this subject.

      • steve240 Says:


        Glad it is of value. I have no doubt that the teaching on gossip and slander works to make people suppress their thinking for themselves.

        I am also sure that leaders using teaching on “gossip” and “slander” to suppress people discussing questions they have likewise works well. Just think of what happens when people on blogs do the equivalent of “brainstorming” when they discuss something. One person’s thoughts lead to another person of thinking about something else etc. Leaders that are authoritarian want so much to quell any discussion for fear that other people’s eyes will also be opened.

        • Jen Says:

          Absolutely, Steve. When I first told my story, it was just my story. Then hundreds and hundreds of people came along and offered their insight, opinions, thoughts, beliefs, etc. and it forced me to start thinking outside the patriarchy box. When I came back here many years later to just post one more blog article that Doug Phillips resigned, new people came along and had new insights, opinions, thoughts, beliefs, etc. and it triggered more and more and more in my own head. It is good and healthy to have these types of discussions! I am so grateful for everyone who posts here!

        • cptruthlover Says:

          We are grateful to you! I can see people growing as we discuss-its a great thing!

  51. Mrs R Says:

    I am a retired homeschool mother – my children are all grown now. We started homeschooling in the early 80’s long before Doug Phillips or Vision Forum came about. Homeschooling has changed so much. In the beginning, it was all about education and not about religious ideals like patriarchy. My heart aches for the families that are hurting. My prayers are with you.

  52. cptruthlover Says:

    OMGosh! Stop already.

  53. Ethan Says:

    Just curious how you know so much about this.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Ethan, my knowledge comes from a combination of having had a personal relationship with Doug Phillips, as well as intel from insider sources.

    • Jen Says:

      Ethan, and part of this is based on my personal knowledge, having attended BCA for five years and getting to know everyone there, some very well. And part of it comes from people who are concerned enough that they want to make sure that not only does the truth get told but that Doug never has the opportunity to do these wicked deeds again.

  54. Jean Says:

    T.W. And Jen… Just looked at some of DP’s Vimeos. How many trips did he take over the past five-eight years? Can I safely assume these were paid by donations to VFM?
    How were the Film Festivals funded…I saw that one of the winners received $101,000! Didn’t the Film Festivals operate in the red? If so, how -or who – made up the difference?

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      I’ve asked Jen to consider writing an article on this subject. Doug’s personal lifestyle is really quite amazing. He’s taken in millions of dollars, all tax free, to fund his lives of the rich and famous globe-trotting lifestyle. I’ll give credit where credit is due: In some respects Doug Phillips has outdone the “prosperity gospel name it and claim it” charlatans. He hasn’t even had to rely on those doctrines and he’s still picked many pockets. Thousands of people have sent him millions in donations so that he gets to take lavish vacations all over the world. It’s really quite impressive.

      How many has he taken in the last five years? Jen will address that in her article; but part of the problem in knowing that is that some of them weren’t publicly advertised and were A-lister by invitation only.

      The last VF trip was by yacht and cost $5,700 a head.

      Equally amazing to us is the Hazardous Journeys “ministry”, the web site of which was just today shut down, but available on the Wayback Machine. That was funded entirely by donations and allowed Doug, his son Josh (who ran HJ), and their pals to take “journeys” at donor expense to far flung regions of the world. Those who have seen any of the videos know that the destinations could hardly be considered genuinely “hazardous.”

      Jim Bakker has nothing on Doug Phillips. I hope that the many donors are starting to rethink their own gullibility and will be more careful before they throw any more money at some slick salesman/preacher so that he can take lavish vacations at their expense.

      • cptruthlover Says:

        I dont know how anyone, in good conscience, could use money from people that are living paycheck to paycheck to live an extravagant lifestyle. And people wonder if he is truly saved? How can you have no empathy for others?

        • A Shore Says:

          Agree 100%. Look at the financial devastation to Joe Taylor.

        • zooey111 Says:

          I may get brickbats for this ( as I have elsewhere, for expressing this), but it is my considered opinion that sociopaths are never truly saved; they have no remorse, therefore they never truly repent of their sins.
          Its not God’s power that I doubt; its the fact that a sociopath is incapable of everything involved in seeking salvation….except for “saying the words”.

        • Jen Says:

          All labels aside, Doug has learned this behavior over the course of many years. It will be extremely difficult to go in another direction, but not impossible.

        • Just a shadow Says:

          Agree with all above. Judging by the fruit – which is what Jesus himself TOLD us to do – he is in no way “saved”. In the words of my old childhood pastor ( who DID love Jesus), “When you meet Jesus, your ‘want to’ changes. If your ‘want to’ ain’t changed then you aint changed neither.”

          DP’s “want to” never changed from the old life of lust, greed and deception.

          And he ain’t changed neither.

          He is yet unregenerate.

          Pick some fruit. Take a bite. Notice that it is rotten to the core.

          THROW IT AWAY. And hope you didn’t get worms from the one bite you did take.

          Does a good tree produce bad fruit?

          NO ( Jesus said so)

      • Jean Says:

        Jen, I can only imagine the work it would take to unravel this mess and ‘follow the money’ but I would appreciate an article on this DP situation. Looking at the HJS site on wayback site – it had a section for support. Where has all the money gone from these donations since October? From the VFM coffers?
        The invitation only trips – what is that all about and who were the invitees?
        How does DP justify these trips and HJS as missions??? Or ministry?
        Has TW or you discussed this with financial supporters of this former ministry? Did they, at any time, question what the donations were being used for? I’m still trying to wrap my head around all this. Thanks for your work.

        • Jen Says:

          Jean, I am still working on the financials, but if anyone has any information regarding the financials, in any way, please contact me. Thanks!

  55. Eyes Wide Open Says:

    I’m curious about the intern knowledge and involvement, please share more. Thank you.

  56. Half truths abound Says:


    • oneh20 Says:

      Wow. Well, from the interview TW had with Pastor Gifford, I’d have to agree with DP in honoring him, but what disparity between TW’s interview and this one.

    • Jen Says:

      HT, thank you for that video. Why do you say “Hmmm?”

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Thanks for tracking that down, HTA. I’ll embed that in the current article.

      • GMV Says:

        This makes me so very sad 😦 My dad took so much time with DP and now it seems as though it was for nothing. This breaks our hearts! We need to pray for his soul. Only the Lord Jesus can change his heart and turn it to Him. The thousands of families and people he has hurt, we need to pray that the Lord keeps bitterness away and pray for each of them. DP will answer one day to Jesus Christ, as we all will.

        • cptruthlover Says:

          It’s never for nothing! It is honoring to the lord, even if the person you are trying to reach rejects the message. Your father’s reward will be in heaven! Have a blessed Christmas!

        • GMV Says:

          Yes!! You’re so right! Thank you for the reminder 🙂

        • Jen Says:

          GMV, perhaps Doug will be drawn to his roots again — at least those that involved your father. I pray that he does so humbly this time.

      • Just a shadow Says:

        Yes. Pray for his soul. His actions, pattern of walking in sin/deceit, pattern of hurting families is not consistent with a person who knows Jesus. Having watched all this for years now, I came to the conclusion awhile back that he is not a Christian, regardless of whatever prayer he prayed at one time. The news of his decade long infidelity was confirmation to me of what I already believed – he has not met Jesus.

        So, yes, pray for him.


        More importantly pray for all the teens, young adults, and children whose faith he has shipwrecked.

        Pray for those who have turned away from the gospel b/c the “Christianity” he presented was so very repugnant that they ran away from faith entirely.

        He will meet ALL of them again in Jesus eyes when he stands before him. Scripture tells us that whatever we’ve done to the least of these, we’ve done to Jesus.

        Absent true repentance there is a reckoning day coming.

        • Jen Says:

          Just a Shadow, I cannot even begin to imagine what TRUE repentance for Doug Phillips would look like. It would take him the rest of his life to right those wrongs, and then some.

  57. sartrewasamoron Says:

    It is so very obvious what Dog was doing with his young lady lover. Having given her a ring and promised her marriage and children … and having focused and preached and modeled his doctrine mostly on OT versions of patriarchy … Dog was grooming Bealle his children, BCA and the larger homeschool community for the idea that polygamy is the next step in the patriarchal vision, with him adding his young lover as the first example of how this doctrine should work in homeschool families. Dog brought her into his family as a nanny, advancing her eventually to a complete family member, thereby winning his family over incrementally to support what may then have seemed to them like an obvious next step, Daddy’s new wife, ust like Abraham and the patriarchs of old. He also worked out materials to support polygamy, and was waiting for the moment when he could announce his new revelatory book, video and doctrine regarding the right of all godly men, especially leaders, to have many wives. He was ALMOST there when he was exposed by those who saw the way this was going. I hope they will one day have the courage to come out and tell the truth and bring orth those materials that Dob has probably now set aside and hidden … at least for a time.

  58. Raising The Allosaur, A Doug Phillips Fraudumentary | Jen's Gems -- Doug Phillips' Ecclesiastical Tyranny and Abuse Says:

    […] spoken before of the fact that Doug Phillips is a religious sociological cult leader, and that like so many other cult leaders he employs various mind control techniques to keep his […]

  59. Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing | Reinvention Diary Says:

    […] had these thoughts after after stumbling across an horrific account of a particularly wicked “wolf” who mentally abused his little flock. Reading just a […]

  60. D.A. Moran Says:

    Wrong! Jesus changed that!

  61. Mom :) Says:

    Oddly enough, I first became disillusioned with DP/VF when I wanted to order some of their educational toys from their website. The fact that they refused to ship overseas, even to patriotic ex-pats like me, sort of turned me off. I realize lots of internet vendors ship only in the US, but this just seemed to be a symptom of their “USA is God’s country” mantra. I was not surprised to hear of Mr. Philips’ fall. As Ravi Zacharias once said in a sermon about David and Bathsheba, God hates pride so much that He will often allow spiritual leaders to fall into the “lesser” sin of adultery in order to deal with the pride.

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